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The Course of a Life

You also want something greater, but love
Overpowers us all, suffering bends us more forcibly
Though our arch does not vainly
Return from where it comes

Upward or downward! Don’t they reign at the holy solstice
Where silent nature reflects on the lengthening days?
They rule in the crookedest underworld
Not a degree, nor have they even a right.

This I found out. This I knew, with foresight,
That never, unlike mortal masters,
Have they, the gods, the all-conserving
Guided me away from the even paths

Check everything, man, say the gods,
And I was grateful to learn everything, to become strong
And to understand the freedom
To break away, whenever I might

Friedrich Hölderlin