Hajnrih fon Klajst, jedan od najznačajnijih predstavnika nemačkog romantizma, ostao je najviše upamćen po pripovetci Mihail Kolhas i drami Pentesileja. Krajem jula 1801. Klajst je upitio pismo prijateljici Vilhelmini fon Cenge, koje ovde prenosim u prevodu na engleski jezik, gde piše o pojedincu i njegovom položaju nasuprot nužnosti(ma) života. Deset godina kasnije Klajst je sa Henrijetom Fogel izvršio samoubistvo.
Kleist’s letter to Vilhelmine von Zenge:
Whoever loves life excessively, he is already morally dead; for his highest vital power, namely his ability to sacrifice it, molders even as he cultivates it. And yet—O, how incomprehensible the will that rules over us! This enigmatic thing that has been given to us, we know not from whom; that leads us on, we know not whither; that belongs to us, we do not know with what rights of possession; a property that is worth nothing if it is worth anything at all; a thing paradoxical, shallow and deep, barren and rich, honorable and contemptible, meaningful and inscrutable, a thing that anyone might throw aside like an unintelligible book: are we not obligated by a law of Nature to love it? We must tremble at annihilation, which could not be the torment that existence often is; and while many a man bewails this sad gift of life, he must nourish it with food and drink, and protect the flame, although it affords him neither heat nor light. That sounded rather dark? Patience—it will not be always thus, and I long for the day as the stag for the river at the heat of noon, to plunge myself into it. But patience!—Patience? Can Heaven ask it of its creatures, having itself given them such hearts? *