The Work of the Soul

by Peter Saint-Andre

What, rightly seen, is being wise
But virtue in the ancient sense:
The strength of mind to supervise
Emotion and the future tense

Of how I think and choose and act,
The power to adjudicate
Between the claims of wish and fact,
And thus to mold and shape my fate.

This height's not easy to achieve,
So I might seek a shorter path
In god or faith — might self-deceive
And try to cheat the brutal math

Of greater work and countless hours
Spent practicing at depth and length
The cultivation of my powers
Of self-command and moral strength.

The inner beauty I refine
Through harmony of task and soul
Demands my best: I both define
And represent my highest goal.

(cf. Daybreak, §55, §58, §59, §60, §548)

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Nietzsche