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 finely 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 symbolize my highest goal.

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

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Nietzsche