218  ❦ ELUCIDATIONS OF HÖLDERLIN'S POETRY

"Long and difficult is the word of this advent," Hölderlin speaks of the servers of the heavenly, that is, of the poets:


Their step is toward the abyss/ Of men.


"Toward" signifies: in the direction of the abyss.

To persevere in the saying of the word of the advent is allotted to the poet: "so that he may have his own/ Possession." The emphasis does not merely lie on the words "his own," but it lies at the same time, and even more strongly, on the word "possession," which stands at the beginning of the following line. It is a matter of achieving his own rightful possession. It is a matter of "retaining the load." It is a matter of enduring the necessity for the naming saying of the advent of the present gods. It is a matter of bearing this saying "quietly."

But on the other hand, what is his own does not belong to the poet like a property obtained through his own efforts. Rather, what is his own consists in that the poet belongs to the task for which he is needed. For the poet's saying is needed—showing, veiling-unveiling—to allow the appearance of the advent of the gods, who need the poet's words for their appearance, because only in their appearing are they themselves.

In the eighth stanza of "The Rhine" hymn, it is said (GSA II, p. 145, lines 109ff.):


. . . For since
The most blessed feel nothing in themselves,
Another, if to say such a thing
Is permitted, must,
Taking part, feel in the name of the gods,
And him they need;


And in the song "The Archipelago" (GSA II, p. 104, lines 60ff.), written in the preceding year (about 1800), Hölderlin says:


Elucidations of Hölderlin's Poetry (GA 4) by Martin Heidegger