This document was originally published in The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, vol. 11. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 77-78.

At the sack of Weimar, where many of Goethe's friends lost everything they possessed, his property and perhaps his life were saved by the firmness of Christiane, and afterward by the billeting of Marshal Augureau in his house. On the day after Jena Napoleon entered the town, but, though one of his greatest admirers, Goethe did not meet him until the congress of Erfurt, where the sovereigns and princes of Europe were assembled in 1808. He was attracted at least as much by the prospect of seeing Talma as of meeting Napoleon. When invited to an audience, Talleyrand, Berthier and Savary were present, and the emperor was seated at a large round table eating his breakfast. He beckoned Goethe to approach him, and said to him, "Vous êtes un homme." He asked how old he was, expressed his wonder at the freshness of his appearance, said that he had read Werther through seven times, and made some acute remarks on the management of the plot. Then, after an interruption, he declared that tragedy ought to be the school of kings and peoples, and that there was no worthier subject than the death of Caesar, which Voltaire had treated insufficiently. A great poet would have given prominence to Caesar's plans for the regeneration of the world, and shown what a loss mankind had suffered by his assassination. He invited Goethe to Paris, where he would find subjects worthy of his skill. They parted with mutual admiration, and the bust of Napoleon was always a prominent ornament in Goethe's study.




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