Thursday, May 14 (14th of March 1874)

Cosima Wagner Diaries

R. tells me his dream: he beat Putz, who was incurably ill, to death with a stick, saying, “Nobody is bothering about you, poor creature—now at any rate you will find release,” and then buried him beneath a mass of rubble lying in the garden. 

At breakfast we discuss the children’s upbringing: what can one do contrary to Nature? — 

We were constrained yesterday to apply to Germany a saying concerning Greece shortly before its conquest by Rome. As long as we are not entirely lost, we cannot be helped. “As long as we are not Prussia” is the feeling in South Germany. Recently, when R. saw some infantry maneuvers, he came home and said, “I enjoyed them, and I thought: Thank God that here at least something is still obeying the laws of rhythm, and that not everything has degenerated into sack coats, cigars, and beards (as Schopenhauer puts it)!” — 

Visit from our good mayor, who is clearly pleased to see such a handsome house in Bayreuth. R. says that never before has he been on such good terms with the police. He then goes on to speak about Switzerland and his memories of Sulzer—how one could still encounter German communal life there, though unfortunately its heart had been shrivelled by the separation from the Reich and the influx of foreigners. — 

In the evening read the first act of Titus Andronicus with some distaste[1].  – 

Yesterday, when R. was explaining to the children the parable of the tribute money[2], I clearly realized that in sacred matters these images are like the program of a symphonic work, which one must never try to enjoy at the same time as the work itself: Titian’s splendid Christ and the Tribute Money and Raphael’s Madonnas lose their impact when one hears the words of the Gospels.

[1] Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare – distaste because of the violence presumably.

[2] The parable of the tribute money: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s!” (Matt. 22:21).

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