The curtain is raised; the music must cease.
The temple is gone; and far in the distance
Appeareth the terrible form of the – Sphinx.
Fr Schlegel on Schleiermacher’s speeches
It’s the enigmatic character of the sphinx that Schlegel has in mind there, not that the sphinx is frightening … in the end of the day after all the drama you find yourself as it were facing the stage, the curtain goes up, the music stops, the tempo of the old religion is gone, but behind it, the equivalent of, very simply, the sphinx, with the old knowing but not telling-smile on its face.
That was Schlegel’s point.