In the evening R. opens Meister Eckhart, some
sentences occupy our thoughts completely, seeing and hearing, seeing bringing the realization that through knowledge one is bound to attain ignorance — so
profound: "here I feel myself at home", says R.
[Cosima's Diaries, entry for Thursday, 23 September 1875. Tr. Geoffrey Skelton]
he German mystic Johannes Eckhart, variously known to history as Meister Eckhart or Eckhart von Hochheim, was a Dominican who taught a kind of mystic pantheism that was
to influence later religious mysticism and speculative philosophy. Two years before his death he was accused of heresy but died before the proceedings had been
completed. After his death, his writings were condemned by Pope John XXII. As a result, many of his works were lost, although some sermons and treatises in Latin and MH German survived.
I would also like to introduce to a poet whom I have
recently recognized to be the greatest of all poets: it is the Persian poet "Hafiz", whose poems now exist in a most enjoyable German adaptation by Daumer.
Familiarity with this poet has filled me with a very real sense of terror: we with our pompous European intellectual culture must stand abashed in the presence of
this product of the Orient, with its self-assured and sublime tranquillity of mind ...
This Persian "Hafiz" is the greatest poet who ever
lived and wrote poetry.
[Richard Wagner to Theodor Uhlig, September 1852.]
The waves run high, night is clouded with
And eddying whirlpools clash and roar;
How shall my drowning voice strike their ears
Whose light-freighted vessels have reached the shore?
I sought mine own; the unsparing years
Have brought me mine own, a dishonoured name.
What cloak shall cover my misery o'er
When each jesting mouth has rehearsed my shame!
Oh Hafiz, seeking an end to strife,
Hold fast in thy mind what the wise have writ:
"If at last thou attain the desire of thy life,
Cast the world aside, yea, abandon it!"
he Sufi poet Hafiz (Hafez, Hafis), or Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez, is widely
regarded as the greatest of Persian mystical poets. He lived and died at Shiraz. The ghazals of Hafiz are sweet poems on sensuous subjects: wine, flowers,
beautiful women, with esoteric meanings beneath what appear, on the surface, to be love poems. Wagner discovered this poet in 1852 while he was working on the poem
of Das Rheingold.