What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.
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I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years, I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people, 'I am deaf.' If I had any other profession, I might be able to cope with my infirmity; but in my profession, it is a terrible handicap.
O, you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you, and I would have ended my life - it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me.