Schumann’s enigmatic tragedy
Robert Schumann (1810-56), the equal and best friend of Felix Mendelssohn and Frédéric Chopin.
He was the greatest lover of them all,
a generous enthusiast of music,
editing the leading music paper of the age
and helping colleagues on the way,
like Mendelssohn and Joachim,
Chopin, Franz Liszt and Wagner,
Berlioz and Brahms,
his heart being the warmest and most tender,
and with the finest wife at that,
the lovely pianist-composer Clara Schumann,
first his pupil, then the mother of his seven children;
and then suddenly a strange eclipse,
a sudden downfall without cause,
a terrible depression coming sneakingly
when his two closest friends had left –
Chopin and Mendelssohn, all too prematurely,
leading to his tragical attempted suicide,
as he jumped into the river Rhine,
abandoning his wife and seven children,
afterwards hospitalized, by his own request,
where he remained for years
attempting constant self-starvation.
The mystery of his depression has never been solved,
there have been written volumes on his illnesses,
none satisfactory, none explaining anything.
He was the greatest lover of them all
until he suddenly one day lost contact with his love
and rather killed himself and starved himself to death
than lived without the love of his ideal.