self-evident or easiest but remains what is most difficult. As what is most difficult, it is taken into poetic care. Between the spatio-temporal grasping that extends toward world domination and the movement of settlement subservient to such domination on the one side, and human beings coming to be at home via journeying and locality on the other, there presumably prevails a covert relation whose historical essence we do not know. We can attempt only to catch a view of "both sides," if we may call them that. in accordance with their specific nature in each case. Insofar as we are attentive to Hölderlin's poetizing of the rivers, we may ponder both the fact that, and the way in which, the spirit of the river bears a relation to becoming homely in one's own.
That poetry of Hölderlin that has taken on the form of the "hymn" has taken into its singular care this becoming homely in one's own. The ··hymn." of course, does not represent some ready-made literary or poetic schema. but rather itself first determines its essence from out of the telling of a coming into one's own. What is one's own in this case is whatever belongs to the fatherland of the Germans. Whatever is of the fatherland is itself at home with [bei] mother earth. This coming to be at home in one's own in itself entails that human beings are initially, and for a long time, and sometimes forever, not at home. And this in tum entails that human beings fail to recognize, that they deny, and perhaps even have to deny and flee what belongs to the home. Coming to be at home is thus a passage through the foreign. And if the becoming homely of a particular humankind sustains the historicality of its history, then the law of the encounter [Auseinandersetzung] between the foreign and one's own is the fundamental truth of history, a truth from out of which the essence of history must unveil itself. For this reason, the poetic meditation on becoming homely must also for its part be of a historical nature and. as poetic. demand a historical dialogue [Zwiesprache] with foreign poets. The foreign and the foreign poets are not simply arbitrary here. as though the foreign were merely the indeterminate or manifold other of one's own. What is one's own. which the poetic meditation and telling is concerned With finding and appropriating. itself contains the relations to that foreign through which coming to be at home takes its path. In this way. the foreign of one's own. but also the poets of these foreign parts. are determined in their singularity. In Hölderlin's poetizing of the hymns. the dialogue with foreign poets is removed from any arbitrariness. Nor do its singularity and Univocal character spring from any form of "historiographical" cultural erudition or personal preference that was prevalent at that time. The poets who respond and reply to the care taken by Hölderlin during the period in which he poetizes the hymns are two poets of the foreign and ancient land of the Greeks: Pindar and Sophocles.