Friday, May 3, 2013

kleist - arch.

On the evening before that most important day of my life, in Würzburg, I went for a walk. When the sun went down, it seemed as though my happiness were sinking with it. I was horrified to think that I might be forced to part with everything, everything of importance to me. I was walking back to the city, lost in my own thoughts, through an arched gateway. Why, I asked myself, does this arch not collapse, since after all it has no support? It remains standing, I answered, because all the stones want to fall down at the same time - and from this thought I derived an indescribable heartening consolation, which stayed with me right up to the decisive moment: I too would not collapse, even if all my support were removed.

Heinrich von Kleist, Letter to Wilhelmine von Zenge, November 16, 18, 1800

Image: Ravenna, Kirche San Vitale. Geweiht 547, byzantinisch. Kapitell im Chor.