Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
Friedrich von Schiller 1759-1805 was one of the greatest German writers, and has been said to be second only to Goethe. Thus far I have found very little about Schiller's Masonic career or any research into how Freemasonry contributed to his drama. Masons always wonder how it is that biographers can mention so little about Freemasonry. Just as Goethe may have been prompted to become a Freemason because of Lessing's love of the craft, Schiller may have joined a Lodge because of his friendship with Goethe. One poem that I found by Schiller is clearly Freemasonic. Three Words Of Strength:

There are three lessons I would write, Three words, as with a burning pen, In tracings of eternal light, Upon the hearts of men. Have hope. Though clouds environ round And gladness hides her face in scorn, Put off the shadow from thy brow; No night but hath its morn. Have faith. Where'er they bark is driven- The calm's disport, the tempest's mirth- Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven, The inhabitants of earth. Have love. Not love alone for one, But man, as man, thy brother call; And scatter, like a circling sun, Thy charities on all.

"Schiller's great dramas are alike in being tragedies or epics with historical and political back- grounds; they exemplify his idealism, high ethical principles, and insistence on freedom and nobility of spirit." -19- Beethoven (also a Freemason) said to his biographer " I have it! I have it! Let us sing the song of the immortal Schiller!" -20- An unfinished novel, Die Geisterseher, and the "Ode to Joy" by Schiller was used for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. "The poem's philosophy of love and brotherhood was relevant enough to the composer as a young man in revolutionary Europe that he became a Freemason, a lodge dedi- cated to the ideals, and he remained a member until the organization was banned in Austria in 1795." -21- It has been said that men such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Schiller are "famous men in which they likewise see the Masonic hand at work." -22-

Schiller has been called the "poet of freedom" "His drama Don Carlos (1787) attempted to encourage the development of freedom throughout the world.. He "gave the highest literary expression, in any language, to the ideals of the American Revolution". -23- Schiller believed that "an actual composition does not embrace morality by lecturing it's audience on what is right, and what is wrong. Instead, Drama must develop the inner workings of the human soul, and thus empower man to act morally." - 24- I believe that this is precisely what the Masonic Ritual does for the Freemason. "Schiller wrote for the great ideas of Rev- olution, he destroyed the spiritual Bastille, he raised the temple of freedom, and indeed that very great tem- ple, that should encompass all nations, just like a single community of brethren." -25-

I have certainly found that the writings of Goethe, Lessing, and Schiller were influenced by Free- masonry. More and more I see why these Romantic playwrights would have a profound interest in Freemasonry. Like the Freemason today, they looked in Masonic ritual and history for inspiration and for heroes. The romantic writings about morality were not always practiced in Europe or the new world. The same can be said about the ideals of Freemasonry. Lessing heard of equality, fraternity, and brotherhood in the Lodge, so he could not just sit by and watch Jews being denied membership in Masonry. The middle class in Europe also began to see that all the talk about equality was not a reality in their lives. When they real- ized this the rise of realistic theatre began to take place. Lessing did not live to see the German Freemasonry correct the error of its ways. I believe these German Dramatists would be pleased to see the success of The United States of America. She is a country founded on a romantic document that has afforded its people more freedom than any other country in the world. A freedom the Goethe, Lessing, and Schiller loved so dearly.

A+ "A truly excellent paper! I shall be prepared to understand the great Lessing and Goethe much better now. As you know, I have directed the Magic Flute" - Dr. Stump -

References / Bibliography

1. Ruff, Loren K. and Stump, Dr. Walter R. Imitation: The Art of the Theatre (Hunter Textbooks, 1981) p. 103

2. Baigent, Michael and Leigh, Richard The Temple and The Lodge (Arcade Publishing . New York, 1989) p. 260

3. Ruff/Stump p. 103

4. Lessings Masonic Dialogues (The Masonic Book Club, Bloomington, Illinois 1991) p. ix.

5. The Short Talk Bulletin - G. E. Lessing: The Conscience of German Freemasonry (The Masonic Service Association of The United States, Vol. LV August, 1977 No. 8 p. 4

6. Ibid., p 6

7. Ibid., p6

8. Allison, Henry E. Lessing and The Enlightenment (Ann Arbor The University of Michigan Press, 1966) p. 136

9. The Conscience of German Freemasonry p. 8

10. Allison p. 145

11. Lessings Masonic Dialogues p. xi.

12. Ibid., p vii.

13. Reiss, Hans Goethe's Novels (University of Miami Press Coral Gables, Florida, 1969 p. 90

14. Ruff/Stump p. 105

15. The Short Talk Bulletin - Goethe, Freemason (The Masonic Service Association of The United States, Vol. X September, 1932 No. 9 p. 10

16. Ibid., p. 10

17. Friedenthal, Richard GOETHE - His Life and Times (The World Publishing Company Cleveland and New York, 1963) p. 300

18. Goethe, Freemason p. 12

19. Internet Encyclopedia

20. Internet - New Mexico Symphony Orchestra P. 1 of 3

21. Ibid., p 1 of 3

22. Internet - Classical Music Articles p. 9 of 16

23. Internet - The Battle Mozart Won In America's War With Britain p 3 of 17

24. Ibid., p 15 of 17

25. Internet - Schiller versus Goethe From "The Romantic School, 1835 p. 1