Monday, November 5

Untergenhen!

Hyperion! – here she seized my hand with fervor, and her voice rose with grandeur – Hyperion! I think you were born for higher things. Do not misjudge yourself! Lack of raw material held you back. Things did not move quickly enough. That struck you down. Like the young fencers, you lunged too rapidly, even before your aim was sure and your hand deft, and because you, as if by nature, were struck more than you struck, you grew timid and doubted yourself and everything; for you are as sensitive as you are impetuous. But thereby nothing is lost. Had your disposition and your activity ripened so early, your spirit would not be what it is; you would not be the thinking man, would not be the suffering, tumultuous man. Believe me, you would never have known the equilibrium of beautiful mankind so purely had you not lost it completely. Your heart has finally found peace. I will believe it. I understand it. But do you truly think that you are now at the end? Will you shut yourself into the heaven of your love and let the world that needs you wither and grow cold below you? Like the ray of light, you must descend; like the all-refreshing rain, you must go down into the land of mortality, you must illuminate like Apollo, shake and animate like Jupiter, or else you are not worthy of your heaven. I implore you, go into Athens, one more time, and look at the men, too, who walk about there among the ruins, the coarse Albanians and the other good, childlike Greeks, who console themselves with a merry dance and a holy fairy tale about the disgraceful power that weighs over them – can you say: I am ashamed of this material? I think that it could still be shaped. Can you turn your heart away from those in need? They are not wicked, they have done you no harm.

Even at that hour when the grey sky of St. Petersburg is shrouded in total darkness and all its race of officials have dined and sated the...