The Great Longing
O my soul, I have taught thee to say today as once on a time and formerly, and to dance thy measure over every Here and There and Yonder.
O my soul, I delivered thee from all by-places, I brushed down from thee dust and spiders and twilight.
O my soul, I washed the petty shame and the by-place virtue from thee, and persuaded thee to stand naked before the eyes of the sun.
With the storm that is called spirit did I blow over thy surging sea; all clouds did I blow away from it; I strangled even the strangler called sin.
O my soul, I gave thee the right to say Nay like the storm, and to say Yea as the open heaven saith Yea; calm as the light remainest thou, and now walkest through denying storms.
O my soul, I restored to thee liberty over the created and the uncreated; and who knoweth, as thou knowest, the voluptuousness of the future?
O my soul, I taught thee the contempt which doth not come like worm-eating; the great, the loving contempt, which loveth most where it contemneth most.
O my soul, I taught thee so to persuade that thou persuadest even the grounds themselves to thee; like the sun, which persuadeth even the sea to its height.
O my soul, I have taken from thee all obeying and knee-bending and homage-paying; I have myself given thee the names, Change of need and Fate.
O my soul, I have given thee new names and gay-coloured playthings, I have called thee Fate and the Circuit of circuits and the Navel-string of time and the Azure bell.
O my soul, to thy domain gave I all wisdom to drink, all new wines, and also all immemorially old strong wines of wisdom.
O my soul, every sun shed I upon thee, and every night and every silence and every longing then grewest thou up for me as a vine.
O my soul, exuberant and heavy dost thou now stand forth, a vine with swelling udders and full clusters of brown golden grapes
Filled and weighted by thy happiness, waiting from super-abundance, and yet ashamed of thy waiting.
O my soul, there is nowhere a soul which could be more loving and more comprehensive and more extensive! Where could future and past be closer together than with thee?
O my soul, I have given thee everything, and all my hands have become empty by thee and now! Now sayest thou to me, smiling and full of melancholy: Which of us oweth thanks?
Doth the giver not owe thanks because the receiver received? Is bestowing not a necessity? Is receiving not pitying?
O my soul, I understand the smiling of thy melancholy; thine over-abundance itself now stretcheth out longing hands!
Thy fulness looketh forth over raging seas, and seeketh and waiteth; the longing of over-fulness looketh forth from the smiling heaven of thine eyes!
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