An individuality full of longings, hopes, wishes can never be ironical. Irony (as constituting a whole life) lies in the very reverse, in having one's pain just where others have their longings. Not to be able to possess the beloved is not irony. But to be able to possess her all too easily, so that she herself begs and prays to belong to one, and then not to be able to get her; that is irony. Not to be able to win the splendors of the world is never irony; but to have them, and in profusion, within one's reach, so that power and authority are almost forced upon one, and then to be unable to accept them: that is irony. In such cases the individuality must have a secret, a melancholy or the secret of a melancholy wisdom. That is why an ironical individuality cannot be understood by one who is full of longing.
Irony is an abnormal growth; like the abnormally enlarged liver of the Strassburg goose it ends by killing the individual.