The other friendship is entirely internal. A wonderful symmetry of the most intimately personal, as if it had been previously ordained that one should always be perfecting himself. All thoughts and feelings become social through the mutual excitation and development of the holiest. And this purely spiritual love, this beautiful mysticism of intercourse, does not merely hover as the distant goal of a perhaps futile effort. No, it is only to be found complete. There no deception occurs, as in that other heroic form. Whether a man’s virtue will stand the test, his actions must show. But he who inwardly sees and feels humanity and the world will not be apt to look for public disinterestedness where it is not to be found.
He only is capable of this friendship who is quite composed within himself, and who knows how to honor with humility the divinity of the other.
When the gods have bestowed such friendship upon a man, he can do nothing more than protect it carefully against everything external, and guard its holy being. For the delicate flower is perishable.
Lightly dressed, Lucinda and Julius stood by the window in the summer-house, refreshing themselves in the cool morning air. They were absorbed in watching the rising sun, which the birds were welcoming with their joyous songs.
“Julius,” asked Lucinda, “why is it that I feel a deep longing in this serene peace?”
“It is only in longing that we find peace,” answered Julius. “Yes, there is peace only when the spirit is entirely free to long and to seek, where it can find nothing higher than its own longing.”
“Only in the peace of the night,” said Lucinda, “do longing and love shine full and bright, like this glorious sun.”
“And in the daytime,” responded Julius, “the happiness of love shines dimly, even as the pale moonlight.”
“Or it appears and vanishes suddenly into the general darkness,” added Lucinda, “like those flashes of lightning which lighted up the room when the moon was hidden.”
“Only in the night,” said Julius, “does the little nightingale utter wails and deep sighs. Only in the night does the flower shyly open and breathe freely the fragrant air, intoxicating both mind and senses in equal delight. Only in the night, Lucinda, does the bold speech of deep passion flow divinely from the lips, which in the noise of the day close with tender pride their sweet sanctuary.”
It is not I, my Julius, whom you portray as so holy; although I would fain wail like the nightingale, and although I am, as I inwardly feel, consecrated to the night. It is you, it is the wonderful flower of your fantasy which you perceive in me, when the noise has died down and nothing commonplace distracts your noble mind.