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2006-02-01

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart)
B. 1.27.1756 Salzburg / D. 12.5.1791 Vienna
Severe military fever

With his Don Juan Mozart enters the little immortal circle of those whose names, whose works, time will not forget, because eternity remembers them. And though it is a matter of indifference, when one has found entrance there, whether one stands highest or lowest, because in a certain sense all stand equally high, since all stand infinitely high, and though it is childish to dispute over the first and the last place there, as it is when children quarrel about the order assigned to them in the church at confirmation, I am still too much of a child, or rather I am like a young girl in love with Mozart, and I must have him in the first place, cost what it may. And I will appeal to the parish clerk and to the priest and to the dean and to the bishop and to the whole consistory, and I will implore and abjure them to hear my prayer, and I will invoke the whole congregation on this matter, and if they refuse to hear me, if they refuse to grant my childish wish, I excommunicate myself, and renounce all fellowship with their modes of thought; and I will form a sect which not only gives Mozart first place, but which absolutely refuses to recognize any artist other than Mozart; and I shall beg Mozart to forgive me, because his music did not inspire me to great deeds, but turned me into a fool, who lost through him the little reason I had, and spent most of my time in quiet sadness humming what I do not understand, haunting like a specter day and night what I am not permitted to enter. Immortal Mozart! Thou, to whom I owe everything; to whom I owe the loss of my reason, the wonder that caused my soul to tremble, the fear that gripped my inmost being; thou, to whom I owe it that I did not pass through life without having been stirred by something. Thou, to whom I offer thanks that I did not die without having loved, even though my love became unhappy. Is it strange then that I should be more concerned for Mozartís glorification than for the happiest moment of my life, more jealous for his immortality than for my own existence? Aye, if he were taken away, if his name were erased from the memory of men, then would the last pillar be overthrown, which for me has kept everything from being hurled together into boundless chaos, into fearful nothingness.

From Either/Or, Volume I, by SÝren Kierkegaard (1843); trans. 1944 by David F. and Lillian Marvin Swenson

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