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Lou Andreas-Salomé's Hymn to Life


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Hymn to Life


Surely, a friend loves a friend the way

That I love you, enigmatic life —

Whether I rejoiced or wept with you,

Whether you gave me joy or pain.

I love you with all your harms;

And if you must destroy me,

I wrest myself from your arms,

As a friend tears himself away from a friend’s breast.


I embrace you with all my strength!

Let all your flames ignite me,

Let me in the ardor of the struggle

Probe your enigma ever deeper.


To live and think millennia!

Enclose me now in both your arms:

If you have no more joy to give me —

Well then—there still remains your pain.



Lou Andreas-Salomé, 1861-1937

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