Life begins in youth. It reaches its high point in the man and the woman. It sinks like the sun into old age.
§ One must see life as a whole, as a natural process, which is perfected in each moment. There is nothing wrong in youth or age. Youth is youth and old age is old age, neither good nor bad, but rather only natural.
§ Youth is hope, maturity becoming. Youth means the possibility of a proper life and great deeds. If one sees in youth the signs of a coming bad and useless life, that is the worse reproach, for the greatest gift is being wasted.
§ Youth does not have the goal of remaining young, but of becoming man or woman. In a man is found courage and strength, seriousness and experience. Life follows its course to great deeds. For the man as well as the woman.
§ After the great battle is fought and the heavy work done, people have formed themselves inwardly and outwardly. Body and soul have shown what they are, where they belong, whether to the strength that builds or to that which destroys. The softening of age comes. The impatience of youth, the strength of the man, fade. A wide vision comes, the clear knowledge of the what is valuable and useless in this world.
§ After a person has fought a good fight, his last expression is the best, because it reveals the greatness of his life. It reveals all, need and toil, struggle and joy, and a reflection of the world to come. We sense that when we see the death mask of Frederick the Great. Is there a face that speaks more eloquently to us?
§ He who has fought such a fight earns honor in old age. Failing to respect the aged is a failure to respect life itself.
§ “I spent myself in the service of the Fatherland,” Bismarck said. Who should not honor those who have grown old and worn in such a cause. Or do we want to honor those who say: “I have avoided service to the fatherland?”
§ Each stage of life is good: youth full of hope, maturity in the fullness of strength, the old filled with honor. Nothing deserves honor more than that which is greater than we are!