van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Paris, 12 September 1875

Dear Theo,

Flügel, Flügel über's Leben!

Flügel über Grab und Tod!

[Wings, wings to fly above life!

Wings to fly above the grave and death!]

This morning I heard a beautiful sermon on the theme: Forget what is behind you; the preacher said for example: Have more hope than memories; what there has been seriousness and blessed in your past life is not lost; wait no longer therefore, you will find it elsewhere, but advance … All these things have become new in Jesus Christ.

Keep heart and believe me,

Your loving brother, Vincent

If it was true that youth and adolescence are only vanity - of course, if one takes into account what is written above and if one dreams that a well employed youth is a treasure, although he breaks off and resumes later, we would have to strive and hope to become men like our father and others. We hope on these two, and pray. Compliments to all that may ask after me.

You know the etching by Rembrandt, “Burgomaster Six,” standing reading before the window? I know that Uncle Vincent and Uncle Cor are very fond of it, and I sometimes think they must have resembled him when they were younger. You also know the portrait of Six when he was older. I think there is an engraving of it in the gallery at The Hague. His life must have been beautiful and serious.

At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 12 September 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 037.

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