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THE NATURE OF LANGUAGE

soundness of our roots. If we lose the earth, of course, we also lose the roots.

In the fifth stanza of Hölderlin's hymn "Germania," Zeus's eagle is made to say to "the quietest daughter of God":

            And secretly, while you dreamed, at noon,
            Departing I left a token of friendship,
            The flower of the mouth behind, and lonely you spoke.
            Yet you, the greatly blessed, with the rivers too
            Dispatched a wealth of golden words, and they well
                unceasing
            Into all regions now.*
    

Language is the flower of the mouth. In language the earth blossoms toward the bloom of the sky.

The first stanza of the elegy "Walk in the Country" sings:

            Therefore I even hope it may come to pass,
                When we begin what we wish for and our tongue loosens,
            And the word has been found and the heart has opened,
                And from ecstatic brows springs a higher reflection,
            That the sky's blooms may blossom even as do our own,
                And the luminous sky open to opened eyes.
    

It must be left to you, my audience, to think about these verses in the light of what my three lectures are attempting, so that you may someday see how the nature of language as Saying, as that which moves all things, here announces itself. But one word that the poet says about the word must not be passed over—and we will do well to listen now to the gathering of those verses from which that word speaks.

The verses occur at the end of the fifth stanza of the elegy "Bread and Wine":

            Such is man: when the wealth is there, and no
                    less than a god in
                Person tends him with gifts, blind he remains, unaware.
            First he must suffer; but now he names his most treasured
                    possession.
    

* Translation by Michael Hamburger, loc. cit. p. 405. (Tr.)