I long to sleep, to sleep, but you must dance

He looked at her, and remembered a line of poetry, a line he had long forgotten and that was nevertheless so close to his mind and heart: “I long to sleep, to sleep, but you must dance.” He knew so well the melancholy northern mood it expressed, awkward and half-articulate and heartfelt. To sleep . . . To long to be able to live simply for one’s feelings alone, to rest idly in sweet self-sufficient emotion, uncompelled to translate it into activity, unconstrained to dance — and to have to dance nevertheless, to have to be alert and nimble and perform the difficult, difficult and perilous sword-dance of art, and never to be able to quite forget the humiliating paradox of having to dance when one’s heart is heavy with love . . .

— Thomas Mann, Tonio Kröger

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