Heidelberg Castle - Before Destruction - Goethe Memorial Tablet

Goethe Memorial Tablet

In 1961 a stone tablet was erected on a ruined wall of the aviary to replace an older tablet. The inscription on the tablet includes verses by Marianne von Willemer reflecting on her last meeting with Johann Wolfgang Goethe written on 28 August 1824, on the occasion of Goethe's 75th birthday.

"On the terrace a high vaulted arch
was once your coming and going
the code pulled from the beloved hand
I found her not, she is no longer to be seen"
...
This poem written by Marianne von Willemer
in remembrance of her last meeting with
Goethe in the Fall of the year 1815

Directly across from the Goethe memorial tablet, stands the Ginkgo tree, from which Goethe gave a leaf to Marianne von Willemer as a symbol of friendship. The poem was published later as "Suleika" in West-östlicher Diwan.

The text of the poem begins:

Ginkgo Biloba
This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.
...

The letter containing this poem with which Goethe included two Ginkgo leaves can be viewed in the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf. The Ginkgo, planted in 1795, that Goethe lead Marianne von Willemer to in September 1815, is no longer standing today. Since 1928 the Ginkgo tree in the castle garden was labelled that it was "the same tree that inspired Goethe to create his fine poem". The tree was probably still standing in 1936.

Read more about this topic:  Heidelberg Castle, Before Destruction

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