Three passions have governed my life: The longings for love, the search for knowledge, And unbearable pity for the suffering of (humankind).
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. In the union of love I have seen In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of [people]. I have wished to know why the stars shine.
Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, But always pity brought me back to earth; Cries of pain reverberated in my heart Of children in famine, of victims tortured And of old people left helpless. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, And I too suffer.
This has been my life; I found it worth living. ( adapted)