The Way to Language [GA 12 247-248]

zeichnen [to show itself, to designate], although not with a view to the essence of language. Goethe says:

Von Aberglauben früh und spat umgarnt:
Es eignet sich, es zeigt sich an, es warnt.

Wrapped then as now in superstition's yarns:
It owns itself, it shows itself, it warns.*

Elsewhere, in a somewhat altered fashion, he says:

Sei auch noch so viel bezeichnet,
Was man fürchtet, was begehrt,
Nur weil es dem Dank sich eignet,
Ist das Leben schätzenswert.

Designate all else into the scheme
Of things that make you fear or dream;
Only when it owns itself to thanking
Is life held in esteem.

Propriation bestows on mortals residence in their essence, such that they can be the ones who speak. If by "law" we mean the gathering of what lets everything come to presence on its own and cohere with all that belongs to it, then propriation is the most candid and most gentle of laws, gentler still than the law acknowledged by Adalbert Stifter to be "the gentle law." To be sure, propriation is not a law in the sense of a norm that hovers over us somewhere; it is not an ordinance that orders and regulates a certain course of events.

Propriation is the law, inasmuch as it gathers mortals in such a way that they own up to their own essence. It gathers them and holds them there.

Because the showing of the saying is an owning, our being able to hear the saying, our belonging to it, also depends on propriation.

* Faust, Part II, Act V, "Midnight." [Note that what here is owned, announces itself, and warns is Sorge, "Care," the name that Heidegger in Being and Time chose as the existential-ontological designation of human existence.—ED.]

"For Grand Duke Karl August, New Year's, 1828."