Posted by: Alex Borders | February 11, 2011

Schiller – Poet of Freedom

Friday 11th February

The Philadelphia Forum for Anthroposophy will present a talk by Lewis du Pont Smith on Friedrich Schiller, entitled “The Poet of Freedom,” on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2 p.m., at the Chestnut Hill Library, 8711 Germantown Ave. Lewis du Pont Smith, and his wife, Andrea, have been residents of Chestnut Hill for over 20 years. Their three daughters attend The Waldorf School of Philadelphia in Mt. Airy.

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, 1759-1805, the most beloved poet in the history of the German language, was the first poet to unite the idea of political freedom with classical poetical beauty. His most famous poem was “Ode to Joy,” which Beethoven set to the fourth movement of his “Ninth Symphony.” Schiller’s most famous play was “William Tell.”

Schiller was inspired by the ideals of the American Revolution, but was censored by the ruling authorities and was forced to use the poetic device of setting scenes in an earlier historical period. It was immediately recognized that the story of William Tell being forced to shoot an apple off his son’s head with a bow and arrow by an Austrian tyrant was an allusion to the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. In the famous “Rutli Oath,” Schiller wrote:

“No, there is a limit to the tyrant’s power,
When the oppressed can find no justice, when
The burden grows unbearable — he reaches
With hopeful courage up onto the heavens
And seizes hither his eternal rights,
Which hang above, inalienable
And indestructible as stars themselves…”

You can read the full article about Lewis du Pont Smith’s talk by clicking on the link below to


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