Grant me just one summer, powerful ones,
And just one autumn for ripe songs,
That my heart, filled with that sweet
Music, may more willingly die within me.
The soul, denied its divine heritage in life,
Won’t find rest down in Hades either.
But if what is holy to me, the poem
That rests in my heart, succeeds —
Then welcome, silent world of shadows!
I’ll be content, even though it’s not my own lyre
That leads me downwards. Once I’ll have
Lived like the gods, and more isn’t necessary.
Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843)
Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin was a major German lyric poet, commonly associated with the artistic movement known as Romanticism.
The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature. Hölderlin was a man of his time, an early supporter of the French Revolution – in his youth at the Seminary of Tübingen, he and some colleagues from a “republican club” planted a “Tree of Freedom” in the market square, prompting the Grand-Duke himself to admonish the students at the seminary.
In his poetry, he incorporated classical Greek syntax and mythology while engaging themes of exile, divinity, and the natural world.Hölderlin’s work significantly influenced modern poetry and philosophy, including the writings of Nietzsche, Rilke, Heidegger, and Celan.