Three Passions I have Lived For
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 hither and thither,
in a wayward course over adeep ocean of anguish,
reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy—
ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of my life for a few hours for this joy.
I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness—
that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss.
I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen,
in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the 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—at last—I have found.