Billeder på siden

O! bow of heaven! bow of heaven!

God hath sustained me in the days of storm ;
My soul, give praise to the Eternal!

Must I die before thou appear

To bring me the joys of a happier day?

Must I drink to the dregs the cup of enmity and malice?
Must I die before I find my peace, the peace I am seeking?

I acknowledge my own faults and weakness,

And I forgive others their faults;

I forgive them with love and tears.

It is in death alone that I shall find peace;

The day of my death will be my happiest day;

How beautiful wilt thou be when thou proclaimest my happier days,

Shining on my forgotten tomb,

O bow of heaven! bow of heaven!

At the death of my dear companion,
The pure snow-flakes of winter
Fell as a sweet testimony

Into her open grave.

And thus, O bow of heaven!

Do thou bring me a friendly testimony

On the day of my death.

God hath sustained me in the days of trouble;

My soul, give praise to the Eternal,

For God Himself dwells in thee,

In thee is His temple.

Praise God, O my soul,

Priestess of the temple of thy God!

Neither the heights of the earth, nor the heights of the heavens,

Neither the sea of stars, nor the army of clouds,

Shall pluck from thy being the presence of thy Creator.

No human science, no worldly honour

Can take away thy God, whom thou seest in thyself,

As thou dost in the spider and the worm.

Rest and mountain air, however, soon restored the old man's strength and calmness, and he returned to Yverdun. It was then that his friends tried once more to rescue him from Schmidt's domination, and make his last days happy and peaceful. Jullien, Fellenberg, and Charles Ritter endeavoured between them to find some means of saving the old man and his institute. Pestalozzi went several times to Hofwyl, often staying some considerable time. On these occasions he always recovered his courage and cheerfulness, and worked unceasingly at his exercises for the elementary teaching of language. One evening even, after walking from Berne to Hofwyl, a distance of nearly four miles, he asked for a light, that he might write, according

to habit, through the night. Fellenberg, wishing to spare the old man the noise of his school, had found rooms for him in the neighbourhood in the house of a Dutch gentleman, Mr. Van Muyden, who took a great interest in all questions of education, and afterwards became a Councillor of State in Lausanne.

On the 17th October, 1817, after much discussion, Pestalozzi and Fellenberg drew up an agreement in eighteen articles, the principal provisions of which were as follows:

A poor-school was to be founded, at a place to be determined afterwards, according to the plans and directions of Pestalozzi. This school was, financially, to be quite independent of the institute at Yverdun, which, in its turn, was to be reorganized under the joint supervision of Pestalozzi and Fellenberg, who together would appoint a director and the staff necessary for a good educational establishment for the middle classes. The institute was henceforth to be self-supporting, and any surplus in the receipts was to be employed for the admission of poor children. When Schmidt was no longer necessary at the institute, he would leave Yverdun, and come and direct the new poor-school under Pestalozzi, who would provide him with two assistants. To guarantee the existence of the institute and poor-school, these two foundations would be placed under the protection of a large Commission, composed, with their consent, of the following friends of humanity: Zellweger, of Trogen; de Rougemont, of Neuchâtel; May de la Schadau, of Berne; de Mollin, of Lausanne; and Father Girard, of Freiburg. Gottlieb, Pestalozzi's grandson, was to go at once to Hofwyl to take a course of instruction in practical agriculture, and to see the working of Fellenberg's poor-school, so that he might be in a position to manage the Neuhof estate, as well as the school which Pestalozzi was anxious to establish there.

But Schmidt had made Pestalozzi promise not to conclude anything without consulting him; and so the old man, although he agreed with Fellenberg on all the points of the agreement, would not sign it till a clause had been inserted leaving him free to withdraw at the shortest notice.

As a matter of fact, Schmidt disapproved of the whole arrangement, and persuaded Pestalozzi that this agreement left him entirely at Fellenberg's mercy. The matter, there

fore, fell through, the natural consequence of which was that from this time the old man's friends no longer dared attempt anything in his favour.

In an account of Pestalozzi's last years that he afterwards published, Fellenberg relates the whole of these negotiations in detail, with documents in corroboration, and judges Schmidt with extreme severity, declaring that he was actuated merely by motives of personal interest. But however this may have been, we are strongly of opinion that a lasting connection between Pestalozzi and Fellenberg was no more possible in 1817 that it had been in 1805. By the end of 1817, Jullien, all the French boys, a large number of other pupils, and most of the good masters had left the institute, which in every respect was in a most deplorable condition.

On the other hand, however, the subscription to Pestalozzi's works had met with extraordinary success, so great still was the sympathy for the celebrated old man in many parts of Europe. The Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and the King of Bavaria had each subscribed largely, and, thanks to the ability of Schmidt, and to the kindness and care of the publisher, Cotta of Stuttgart, the author of Leonard and Gertrude, without having run the least risk, was the fortunate recipient of some two thousand pounds.

This success revived Pestalozzi's courage and hope, but also, alas! his illusions. He thought the moment had at last come for realizing the dreams of his life, and accordingly sent for his grandson Gottlieb, his sole heir, in the hope of being able to fit him for carrying on his work.

Gottlieb, who had formerly been a pupil in the institute at Yverdun, had shown so little taste for study that his grandfather had thought it better that he should learn some handicraft. He had therefore become a tanner at Zurich.

Pestalozzi's discourse of the 12th of January, 1818, his seventy-second birthday, is one of the most interesting and important he ever made. In it we find his educational and philanthropical views stated perhaps with more force and clearness than anywhere else; all his projects, plans, and hopes for the future; and, lastly, his feelings with regard to the various people he has about him, and even the old friends who have just left him.

As the length of the discourse prevents us from giving it

in full, we shall translate those parts only which seem to us the most instructive:

"I now find myself in the position of a father, who, seeing his end approaching, and being anxious to prepare his household, calls his people around him, and solemnly opens his heart to them about the state of his house, the projects and desires of his life, and entreats them not to disappoint him in their efforts for the realization of his hopes.

"To-day I enter on the seventy-third year of my life, a life which has always been rather public than private. And so it is not my private life, my own personal position, that occupies my mind at this moment; I am thinking rather of my public work, for the continuation of which after my death I am most anxious to provide, and of the little that I have been able to do towards a great end, the discovery and diffusion, that is, of true principles of philanthropy and education, an end which requires the earnest co-operation of all men devoted to their country and humanity.

"Friends! I feel to-day obliged to say, and I say it with a firm and unalterable conviction, that our part of the world, so far at least as education and the condition of the poor are concerned, has long been plunged in a foul atmosphere of error, and that men, in their attempts to mend matters, have employed such unnatural and artificial means, that they have only succeeded in making matters worse. This error has indeed pervaded the mind, sentiments, and habits of men to such a degree, that truth and love are powerless against it; it is like a thick, impenetrable fog, against which the sun is powerless. I am aware that what I am now saying will be misunderstood, but that will be only because this erroneous habit of thought has become, for the men of our century, almost a second nature. And just

as this inveterate error perverts the views and methods of those who are willing to help the needy, so it perverts the views, sentiments, and aspirations of those who require the help.

"But I, who speak to you, am dead to the present; this world and century are nothing more to me. I am possessed by a dream, by the thought of what the education of man, of the people, of the poor, will be, in a world shorn of falseness and artificiality. And now, as I indulge in my dream,

it inspires me, and I see that higher education of the soul as a tree planted by the waterside. Behold it, with its roots, trunk, branches, and fruit! Whence are they! See, you put a small kernel in the ground, and in that kernel is the spirit of the tree, its essence and its life. But the Father and Creator of the kernel, as of the fruitful ground, is God, and it is He who makes the seed to grow.

"The seed is the spirit of the tree, and makes a body for itself. See it when it leaves the bosom of the earth, its mother ; even now it has already put forth its first roots, for as its internal essence develops, its external envelope must disappear. Its inner organic life has now passed into the root, and from the root everything, pith, wood, bark, and fruit will come. In trunk, branches, and twigs it is always the same pith, wood, and bark,-distinct and separate, yet continuous and connected,-protecting, sustaining, and nourishing each other, living the same organic life, and developing in accordance with Nature and the essence of the


"As the tree grows, so, too, does man. Even before the child is born there are within him the invisible germs of those tendencies that life will develop. The various powers of his being and his life are developed, as in the tree, by remaining united, yet distinct, during the whole course of his existence.

"And just as the essential parts of the tree, animated by the invisible spirit of their physical organism, working together, that is, in the sure and pre-established harmony of God, co-operate, though distinct, in the formation of the final product of their power, the fruit; so, too, in the man, all the faculties of knowledge, power, and will, distinct but united by the invisible spirit of the human organism, working together in the Divine harmony of faith and love, co-operate to form that spiritual being distinct from flesh and blood, that eternal witness to justice and holiness, man created in the image of God to become perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect.

"It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The spirit of man is not in any particular physical power, it is not in what we call his strength, nor in his hands, nor in his brain. No, his real and effective strength, the point where his powers meet, is in his faith and love.

« ForrigeFortsæt »