in its being. The poet experiences an authority, a dignity of the word than which nothing vaster and loftier can be thought, But the word is also that possession with which the poet is trusted and entrusted as poet in an extraordinary way. The poet experiences his poetic calling as a call to the word as the source, the bourn of Being. The renunciation which the poet learns is of that special kind of fulfilled self-denial to which alone is promised what has long been concealed and is essentially vouchsafed already.

The poet, then, ought to rejoice at such an experience, which brings to him the most joyful gift a poet can receive. Instead, the poem says: "So I renounced and sadly see." The poet, then, is merely depressed by his renunciation because it means a loss. Yet, as we have seen, the renunciation is not a loss. Nor does "sadly" refer to the substance of the renunciation, but rather to the fact that he has learned it. That sadness, however, is neither mere dejection nor despondency. True sadness is in harmony with what is most joyful—but in this way, that the greatest joy withdraws, halts in its withdrawal, and holds itself in reserve. By learning that renunciation, the poet undergoes his experience with the word's lofty sway. He receives primal knowledge of what task is assigned to the poetic saying, what sublime and lasting matters are promised to it and yet withheld from it. The poet could never go through the experience he undergoes with the word if the experience were not attuned to sadness, to the mood of releasement into the nearness of what is withdrawn but at the same time held in reserve for an originary advent.

These few pointers may suffice to make it clearer what experience the poet has undergone with language. Experience means eundo assequi, to obtain something along the way, to attain something by going on a way. What is it that the poet reaches? Not mere knowledge. He obtains entrance into the relation of word to thing. This relation is not, however, a connection between the thing that is on one side and the word that is on the other. The word itself is the relation which in each instance retains the thing within itself in such a manner that it "is" a thing.