Saturday, December 22

Partir, c'est mourir un peu

Yet i feel as if it were scarcely yesterday, that magical evening when the holy stranger first encountered me, when he, like a mourning genius, shone into the shadows of the forest where the carefree maiden sat in the dream of youth – in the May air he came, in Ionia’s magical May air, and it made him bloom more for me, it waved his hair, opened his lip like flowers, dissolved melancholy in smiles, and O you rays of heaven! how you shone upon me from those eyes, from those intoxicating wellsprings where, in the shadow of sheltering arches, eternal life shimmers and surges! –
Good gods! how beautiful he became with his gaze upon me! how the whole youth, grown a span taller, stood there in easy vigor but for his dear arms that sank down humbly as if they were nothing! And then how he looked up in enchantment, as if i had flown towards the heavens and were no longer there, O! How he then smiled and blushed in all the grace of his heart when he again became aware of me and his Phoebes eye shone through the darkening tears to ask: is it you? is it really you?
And why did he encounter me so piously, so full of dear superstition? Why did he first bow his head, why was the divine youth so full of longing and mourning? His genius was too blessed to remain alone, and the world too poor to comprehend him. O it was a dear image, woven of greatness and suffering! But now it is different! The suffering is over! He has been given something to do, he is the sick man no longer! –
I was full of sighs when i began to write to you, my beloved! Now i am full of pure joy. Thus one speaks of you and becomes happy. And see! so shall it also remain. Farewell!
(Hyperion. Holderlin.)

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...