Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Vita femina.  To see the ultimate beauties in a work all knowledge and good will is not enough; it requires the rarest, good chance for the veil of clouds to move for once from the summits, and for the sun to shine on them.  We must not only stand at precisely the right place to see this, our very soul itself must have pulled away the veil from its heights, and must be in need of an external expression and simile, so as to have a hold and remain master of itself.  All these, however, are so rarely united at the same time that I am inclined to believe that the highest summit of all that is good, be it work, deed, man, or nature, has hitherto remained for most people, and even for the best, as something concealed and shrouded: that, however, which unveils itself to us, unveils itself to us but once.  The Greeks indeed prayed : "Twice and thrice, everything beautiful!"  Ah, they had their good reason to call on the Gods, for ungodly actuality does not furnish us with the beautiful at all, or only does so once!  I mean to say that the world is overfull of beautiful things, but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful moments, and in the unveiling of those beautiful things.  But perhaps this is the greatest charm of life: it puts a gold embroidered veil of lovely potentialities over itself, promising, resisting, modest, mocking, sympathetic, seductive.  Yes, life is a woman!  
 

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