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He was indeed evidently miserable; and that idea, awakened

time:2023-11-29 12:52:20Classification:libraryedit:rna

1. A LETTER OF FRIEDRICH'S TO D'ARGENS (Durgoy, near Breslau, 19th December, 1757).--"Your friendship seduces you, MON CHER; I am but a paltry knave (POLISSON) in comparison with 'Alexander,' and not worthy to tie the shoe-latchets of 'Caesar'! Necessity, who is the mother of industry, has made me act, and have recourse to desperate remedies in evils of a like nature.

He was indeed evidently miserable; and that idea, awakened

"We have got here [this day, by capitulation of Breslau] from fourteen to fifteen thousand prisoners: so that, in all, I have above twenty-three thousand of the Queen's troops in my hands, fifteen Generals, and above seven hundred Officers. 'T is a plaster on my wounds, but it is far enough from healing them.

He was indeed evidently miserable; and that idea, awakened

"I am now about marching to the Mountain region, to settle the chain of quarters there; and if you will come, you will find the roads free and safe. I was sorry at the Abbe's treason,"--paltry De Prades, of whom we heard enough already. [ OEuvres de Frederic, xix. 47.]

He was indeed evidently miserable; and that idea, awakened

2. A POTTERY-APOTHEOSIS OF FRIEDRICH.--"There stands on this mantel-piece," says one of my Correspondents, the amiable Smelfungus, in short, whom readers are acquainted with, "a small China Mug, not of bad shape; declaring itself, in one obscure corner, to be made at Worcester, 'R. I., Worcester, 1757' (late in the season, I presume, demand being brisk); which exhibits, all round it, a diligent Potter's-Apotheosis of Friedrich, hastily got up to meet the general enthusiasm of English mankind. Worth, while it lasts unbroken, a moment's inspection from you in hurrying along.

"Front side, when you take our Mug by the handle for drinking from it, offers a poor well-meant China Portrait, labelled KING OF PRUSSIA: Copy of Friedrich's Portrait by Pesne, twenty years too young for the time, smiling out nobly upon you; upon whom there descends with rapidity a small Genius (more like a Cupid who had hastily forgotten his bow, and goes headforemost on another errand) to drop a wreath on this deserving head;--wreath far too small for ever getting on (owing to distance, let us hope), though the artless Painter makes no sign; and indeed both Genius and wreath, as he gives them, look almost like a big insect, which the King will be apt to treat harshly if he notice it. On the opposite side, again, separated from Friedrich's back by the handle, is an enormous image of Fame, with wings filling half the Mug, with two trumpets going at once (a bass, probably, and a treble), who flies with great ease; and between her eager face end the unexpectant one of Friedrich (who is 180 degrees off, and knows nothing of it) stands a circular Trophy, or Imbroglio of drums, pikes, muskets, cannons, field-flags and the like; very slightly tied together,-- the knot, if there is one, being hidden by some fantastic bit of scroll or escutcheon, with a Fame and ONE trumpet scratched on it; --and high out of the Imbroglio rise three standards inscribed with Names, which we perceive are intended to be names of Friedrich's Victories; standards notable at this day, with Names which I will punctually give you.

"Standard first, which flies to the westward or leftward, has 'Reisberg' (no such place on this distracted globe, but meaning Bevern's REICHENBERG, perhaps),--'Reisberg,' 'Prague,' 'Collin.' Middle standard curves beautifully round its staff, and gives us to read, 'Welham' (non-extant, too; may mean WELMINA or Lobositz), 'Rossbach' (very good), 'Breslau' (poor Bevern's, thought a VICTORY in Worcester at this time!). Standard third, which flies to eastward or right hand, has 'Neumark' (that is, NEUMARKT and the Austrian Bread-ovens, 4th December); 'Lissa' (not yet LEUTHEN in English nomenclature); and 'Breslau' again, which means the capture of Breslau CITY this time, and is a real success, 7th-19th December;--giving us the approximate date, Christmas, 1757, to this hasty Mug. A Mug got up for temporary English enthusiasm, and the accidental instruction of posterity. It is of tolerable China; holds a good pint, 'To the Protestant Hero, with all the honors;'-- and offers, in little, a curious eyehole into the then England, with its then lights and notions, which is now so deep-hidden from us, under volcanic ashes, French Revolutions, and the wrecks of a Hundred very decadent Years."


Friedrich, during those grand victories, is suffering sadly in health, "COLIQUE DEPUIS HUIT JOURS, neither sleep nor appetite;" "eight months of mere anguishes and agitations do wear one down." He is tired too, he says, of the mere business-talk, coarse and rugged, which has been his allotment lately; longs for some humanly roofed kind of lodging, and a little talk that shall have flavor in it. [Letters of his to Prince Henri (December 26th, &c.: OEuvres, xxvi. 167, 169; Stenzel, v: 123).] The troops once all in their Winter-quarters, he sits down in Breslau as his own wintering-place: place of relaxation,--of rest, or at least of changed labor,--no man needing it more. There for some three months he had a tolerable time; perhaps, by contrast, almost a delightful. Readers must imagine it; we have no details allowed us, nor any time for them even if we had.

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