"What? Does no Caesar, does no Achilles appear on your stage now,
Not an Andromache e'en, not an Orestes, my friend?"
"No! there is naught to be seen there but parsons, and syndics of commerce,
Secretaries perchance, ensigns, and majors of horse."
"But, my good friend, pray tell me, what can such people e'er meet with
That can be truly great? - what that is great can they do?"
- Friedrich Schiller, "Shakespeare's Ghost," translated by John Bowring
TO MY COUNTRY
Recorded in the history of human suffering are cancers of such malignant character that even minor contact aggravates them, endangering overwhelming pain. How often, in the midst of modern civilizations have I wanted to bring you into the discussion, sometimes to recall these memories, sometimes to compare you to other countries, so often that your beloved image became to me like a social cancer.
Therefore, because I desire your good health, which is indeed all of ours, and because I seek better stewardship for you, I will do with you what the ancients did with their infirmed: they placed them on the steps of their temples so that each in his own way could invoke a divinity that might offer a cure.
With that in mind, I will try to reproduce your current condition faithfully, without prejudice; I will lift the veil hiding your ills, and sacrifice everything to truth, even my own pride, since, as your son, I, too, suffer your defects and shortcomings.