Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for Love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
These passions, like great winds, have blown me here and there, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have lived a thousand lives and I have loved a thousand loves. I have walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time.
I have sought Love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy.
I have sought it finally, because in the union of Love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the vision of heaven that saints and poets have imagined.
This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine.
And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people, and the whole World of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I can not, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
I have enjoyed earthly happiness, I have lived and loved. – Friedrich Schiller
I have lived and I have loved;
I have waked and I have slept;
I have sung and I have danced;
I have smiled and I have wept;
I have won and wasted treasure;
I have had my fill of pleasure;
And all these things were weariness,
And some of them were dreariness;
And all these things, but two things,
Were emptiness and pain:
And Love – it was the best of them;
And Sleep – worth all the rest of them,
Worth everything but Love to my spirit and my brain.
But still my friend, O Slumber,
Till my days complete their number,
For Love shall never, never return to me again!