Canon, O Tobias, WoO 182 (mp3)
To Tobias Haslinger
When I was in my carriage yesterday, on the way to Vienna, sleep overpowered me, the more so as I had scarcely ever had a good night's sleep (because of my early rising here). Now, as I was slumbering, I dreamed that I was travelling far away, no less far than Syria, no less far than India and back again; to Arabia, too, and at last I came even to Jerusalem. The Holy City reminded me of the Holy Scriptures; no wonder, then, that I thought of the man Tobias, too, and naturally this led me my thinking also of our little Tobias and of the pertobiasser; now, during my dream journey, the following canon occurred to me :
Yet I had hardly awoken when the canon was gone and I could not recall a single note or word of it to my mind. However, when on the next day I returned here, in the same carriage (that of a poor Austrian musician) and continued my dream journey, though now awake, lo and behold, in accordance with the law of the association of ideas, the same canon occurred to me; now, waking, I held it fast, as once Menelaus held Proteus, and only granted it one last favour, that of allowing it to transform itself into three voices :
Farewell! Soon I shall send in something about Steiner, too, just to prove that he hasn't a heart of stone . Farewell, very dearest of friends, we wish you continually that you may never be true to the name of publisher and may never be publicly humiliated , but a publisher who is never humiliated either in public or in private, neither in taking nor in giving. Never fail to sing the epistles of St. Paul every day, go to see Father Werner  every day, for he will show you the book whereby you will go to Heaven forthwith; you see my solicitude for your spiritual health, and I remain always with the greatest pleasure from eternity to eternity,
1. A pun, the German "Stein" means: "stone".[Translation Michael Hamburger, Beethoven Letters, Journals and Conversations, (Thames and Hudson, 1984) p.177.]
2. The pun on "Verleger" (publisher) and "verlegen" (embarrassed, at a loss) was one
of which Beethoven was especially fond.
3. The dramatic poet Zacharias Werner, who had become a convert to Roman Catholicism.