"Thoughts at my mother's grave":
"There you lie now, dearest mother - on the bier - they carry you before me - there lies your ice-cold body - turned to clay, in this dead-house of four planks - there lies the heart under which I lay for nine months - the womb that carried me - the breasts at which I sucked. O flow now, ye tears - flow in streams down my cheeks - and thou, my heart - feel aright the sorrow of this deathly silence - what a crowd of people accompany your corpse - on your journey to the grave - there you will want for nothing - there they lower you into the cold grave - O, my heart - there sink down the feet that went on a thousand errands for me - the hands that carried me - that tended me so gently - O sorrow - what a dreadful knocking - the frozen clods of earth fall down on your coffin - Dearest, best of mothers - who loved me and the rest of us so tenderly: how many thousands of errands - what care - what trouble and sleepless nights I have caused you - and what have I repaid to you - Dearest mother - O not one step in a thousand - I am sorry, best of mothers - O that I had taken more care of you - God - my God - what debts do children not owe to their parents - O forgive me, good mother [...]

She has always met with kind people and had good lodging - and she did not want to leave the village - Her last lodging was with a bachelor cousin, Meister Rudolf Buchler - who, God reward him, well took the place of a child to her - and cared for her as if she had been his mother - Now I hope that she has all she needs for ever - she has passed beyond all sorrow - and it is for all of us to wait - who knows how close his end is to each of us. O Lord, prepare us too for a blessed end." [Voellmy, v 2 pp 204-206]

Schiel gives this passage as an example of Bräker's style before editing by Füssli. It is not typical, however, having been written under strong emotion, and its incoherence is much amplified by Bräker's habitually sloppy punctuation. Bowman says that it was written in the style of the English poet Young's "Night thoughts".

31st Dec. "The conclusion of a good year", yet in spite of this Bräker is struggling towards something he cannot put into words. [Chronik, p 249]

1784 aged 48

1st Jan. Bräker introduces this year's diary with some verses calling on his "poetic genius" and resolving that the praise of God shall be the most important content of his diary. [Chronik, p 252]

4th Jan. Snow, "the earth has its powder on again". Bräker thanks God for delivering him from some kind of trap that had been set for him, probably the episode of 14th Dec. On the 7th he records that he has been reproved by "the good Herr L."

The Chronik says that this might be Landschreiber Giezendanner or Pastor Lutz. [In either case it looks as if Bräker's problems were beginning to worry his friends as well as amusing his enemies.]

On the 10th he goes to Ganterswil, fearing that his reputation there has been damaged by the local "nogood boyos". In the event no-one talks of the subject but he reads suspicion on many faces. [Chronik, pp 252-253]

27th Jan. Bräker feels that everyone he knows is slandering him behind his back, they have even questioned his children in order to do him harm. [Chronik, pp 253-254]

th Feb. Bräker treats his daughters, along with his brother-in-law Hans Wendelin Looser, to a sleigh-ride to Herisau and St. Gallen, returning the next day. [Chronik, p 254]

7th Feb. Salome observes a servant-girl whispering in Bräker's ear and flies into a rage. Bräker says both he and Salome are to blame for harbouring such notions or provoking them, and should know better at their age. [Chronik, p 254]

19th Feb. "On Monday [the 16th] I received a whole packet of nonsensical letters - from Heinrich Bachmann of Walde, who in 1756 was my comrade in the Prussian service and my