Pictor’s Metamorphoses – The Jackdaw

Then doth a nameless longing seize
His youthful heart; alone he rambles;
The frequent tear breaks from his eye;
He shuns his brethren’s noisy gambols;
Blushing, he follows in her track,
And is but by her greeting blest;
And to adorn his love brings back
From flowery meads the loveliest.

-“The Lay of the Bell,” Friedrich Schiller (Thomas James Arnold, trans.)

It is conceivable, or rather, imaginable that this Jakob was a genius who from an early age felt himself to be very different, striving for an abnormal degree of individuality, dreaming of accomplishments, achievements, and honors which were unknown in jackdaw life and the jackdaw tribe, and thus he became an outsider and loner who, like the young man in Schiller’s poem,shunned the coarse company of his companions and wandered about by himself until through some lucky chance the world opened for him a door to the realm of beauty, art, and fame, about which all young geniuses have dreamed since time out of mind.

-“The Jackdaw,” Pictor’s Metamorphoses, Hesse

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