Thus I saw between me and my distant goal nothing but abysses yawning; everything was uncertain; everything devoid of value, only one thing remained constant: that I intended to become a poet, whether that turned out to be easy or hard, ridiculous or creditable. The external consequences of this resolve - or rather of this fatality - were as follows.


When I was thirteen years old and this conflict had just begun, my conduct in my parents' house as well as in school left so much to be desired that I was banished to a Latin school in another city. A year later I became a pupil in a theological seminary, learned to write the Hebrew alphabet, and was already on the point of grasping what a dagesh forte implicitum is, when suddenly from inside me storms arose that led to flight from the monastery school, punishment by strict imprisonment, and dismissal from the seminary.


Then for a while I struggled to advance my studies at a gymnasium; however, the lock-up and expulsion were the end there too. After that, for three days I was a merchant's apprentice, ran away again and for several days and nights, to the great distress of my parents, disappeared. For a period of six months I was my father's assistant, for a year and a half I was an employee in a mechanical workshop and tower-clock factory.