W.hen you think about it right, the poet Johann Friedrich Kind (1768 to 1843) could comfortably lean back in the literary heaven. His eternal fame is taken care of. Famous and influential in the years of his greatest creative power, at least among his friendly poet colleagues from the Dresden Liederkreis, he had to accept in the last few years before his death that he was forgotten by the book market – when he died, only two meager obituaries appeared, and it was initiated by his daughter – but he had written the libretto for “Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber, Germany’s first national opera, which was acclaimed all over the country.
It was an unparalleled success that harmonized in many ways with the newly awakened German national feeling. Everyone trilled the melodies, everywhere you could hear the lines: “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, green maiden wreath, with violet-blue silk, with violet-blue silk!”, So permanent and annoying that Heinrich Heine bitterly the most beautiful moments in Berlin, as he did in wrote his famous letter about musical noise pollution.
But Kind was not happy with this success; on the contrary, he was indignant, did not feel that he was sufficiently valued as a poet – and that he was not rewarded appropriately.
Youthful dreams of the life of a poet
He came from a widespread Saxon family of lawyers whose head office was in Werdau. His father was an advocate for the upper court and consistory in Leipzig and a senator. Friedrich grew up in Leipzig, graduated as a “privateist” from the Leipzig Thomas School and studied law at the university. After an internship in Delitzsch, he moved to Dresden. Even in his school days, the boy had not only developed a tendency to the gruesome, but also began to write poetry. His father watched this with great concern.
But it remained with enthusiasm, bold dreams of a free life as a poet and a lot of written paper. In Dresden, the young child became a capable lawyer – so capable that the then Chancellor Georg Wilhelm von Hopffgarten allowed him to open his own practice after only a year. Everything could have been wonderful. Child married his childhood sweetheart, and a relative in Dresden introduced him to Karl August Böttiger and the publisher Georg Joachim Göschen, who were impressed by his poetic attempts. But the happiness was short-lived, as his young wife died in childbed just a year after the marriage.
The first months after her death were appalling. “My heart, all of God’s beautiful earth seemed petrified,” wrote Kind in a later autobiographical text. A letter from his friend Göschen, however, was able to get him back up, because he sent him the “power of attorney in his case against the Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, concerning the publishing house of all Wieland’s works, before the local appellate court”. This remark has so far been overlooked by everyone who has dealt with the “Freischütz” and his librettist or – since they were at home in the world of opera – it was not considered important enough to go into it.