To this time (1882) belongs still another youthful friendship very significant for me. This was with a young man who was in every way the opposite of the fair-haired youth. He felt that he was a poet. With him, too, I spent a great deal of time in stimulating talk. He was very sensitive to everything poetic. At an early age he undertook important productions. When we became acquainted, he had already written a tragedy, Hannibal, and much lyric verse.
I was with both these friends in the “practice in oral and written lectures” which Schröer conducted in the Hochschule. From this course we three, and many others, received the greatest inspiration. We young people could discuss what we had arrived at in our minds and Schröer talked over everything with us and elevated our souls by his dominant idealism and his noble capacity for imparting inspiration.
My friend often accompanied me when I had the privilege of visiting Schröer. There he always grew animated, whereas elsewhere a note of burden was manifest in his life. Because of a certain discord he was not ready to face life. No calling was so attractive to him that he would gladly have entered upon it. He was altogether taken up with his poetic interest, and apart from this he found no satisfying relation with existence. At last he had to take a position quite unattractive to him. With him also I continued my connection by means of letters. The fact that even in his poetry he could not find real satisfaction preyed upon his spirit. Life for him was not filled with anything possessing worth. I had to observe to my sorrow, how little by little in his letters and also in his conversation the belief grew upon him that he was suffering from an incurable disease. Nothing sufficed to dispel this groundless obsession. So one day I had to receive the distressing news that the young man who was very near to me had made an end of himself.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of My Life – Chapter IV
Previously posted on October 9, 2013