“Three Words of Strength” by Friedrich von Schiller

Are three words of encouragement of any use to heal this divided and conflicted world of ours? Probably not, but we need to start somewhere, and this uplifting poem by the 18th century German poet, Friedrich von Schiller is as good as any.

There are three lessons I would write,
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the hearts of men.

Have Hope.
Though dark clouds linger round,
And gladness hides his face in scorn,
Put off the shadow from thy brow:
No night but hath its morn.

Have Faith.
Where’er thy bark is driven –
The calm’s disport, the tempest’s mirth –
Know this: God rules the host of heaven,
The inhabitants of earth.

Have Love.
Not love alone for one,
But man, as man thy brother call;
And scatter, like a circling sun,
Thy charities on all.

Translated from the German.

Friedrich von Schiller (1795 – 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright, and arguably German’s most accomplished Romantic poet. Birgit Lahann, author of Schiller: Rebel from Arcadia, describes how von Schiller became the “pop star of his time” and a “cult throughout Germany”: the author of Ode to Joy, which Beethoven set to music in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony.

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