Dear Lou, for a month I have been alone and this is my first attempt to regain consciousness — you see what a plight I am in. In the end something will have been learnt, — at present of course I realise only this : that once more I was not proportioned to a task that was pure and joyous, a task in which Life again stepped up to me, guilelessly, forgivingly, as though it had not had any ill experience of me at all. Now it is clear that this time too I have muffed my exam and that I make no progress and must still sit for another year in the same agonising class and day after day, right from the beginning, be given those same words on the blackboard whose accents I thought I had learnt from the very bottom of my heart.

— Rilke, letter, 1914 (tr. Hull)


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