A poet is an unhappy creature whose heart is tortured by deepest suffering but whose lips are so formed that when his sighs and cries stream out over them, their sound beomes like the sound of beautiful music . . . . And men flock about the poet saying, Sing for us soon again; that is to say, may new sufferings torture your soul, and may your lips continue to be formed as before.
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Do not interrupt the flight of your soul; do not distress what is best in you; do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts. Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer, for one may have known something many times, acknowledged it; one may have willed something many times, attempted it - and yet, only the deep inner motion, only the heart's indescribable emotion, only that will convince you that what you have acknowledged belongs to you, that no power can take it from you - for only the truth that builds up is truth for you.
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Do you know of any more overwhelming and humbling expression for God's condescension and extravagance towards us human beings than that He places Himself, so to say, on the same level of choice with the world, just so that we may be able to choose; that God, if language dare speak thus, woos humankind - that He, the eternally strong one, woos sapless humanity? Yet, how insignificant is the young lover's choice between her pursuers by comparison with this choice between God and the world.
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My life is absolutely meaningless. When I consider the different periods into which it falls, it seems like the word Schnur in the dictionary, which means in the first place a string, in the second, a daughter-in-law. The only thing lacking is that the word Schnur should mean in the third place a camel, in the fourth, a dust-brush.
Every human being is tried this way in the active service of expectancy. Now comes the fulfillment and relieves him, but soon he is again placed on reconnaissance for expectancy; then he isagain relieved, but as long as there is any future for him, he has not yet finished his service. And while human life goes on this way in very diverse expectancy, expecting very differentthings according to different times and occasions and in different frames of mind, all life is again one nightwatch of expectancy.
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Christ was crucified because he would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though he addressed himself to all). He did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what he was, the truth, which is related to the single individual. Therefore everyone who will genuinely serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. But no witness to the truth dares to get involved with the crowd.
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