When literary scholars speak of “bilingual” and “multilingual” writers, they usually presuppose a very restricted understanding of what it means to “have” a language, in which the norm is the “native” competence of the speaker of a mother tongue. This understanding of “multilingualism” rests on the modern science of linguistics, which, rejecting the methods of traditional philology, privileges the oral over the written in conceiving of “language” as the subject of investigation. Yet it is also rooted in the aesthetic ideologies of both Classicism and Romanticism, which agree with each other in insisting on a “monolingual” philosophy of history, where history involves the departure from and return to the One language in which meaning is secured and becomes immanent to itself. I will argue, against this, that a very different concept of bilingualism and multilingualism is possible, on the basis of an experience of language that is not linguistic and oral but grammatical and philological. Such a concept, I further claim, is exemplified in the poetry of Friedrich Holderlin. While many readers of Holderlin have sought to conceive of his relation to ancient Greece and Greek as if they were his true native land and mother tongue, and have, at the same, stressed his authentic and singular relation to the German language, I call attention to the central importance of his learned, scholastic relation to Ancient Greek, a language that he learned in school in preparation for a clerical vocation. To this end, I offer a reading of Holderlin`s hymn “Mnemosyne”. Named after the mother of the muses and the goddess of memory, this poem presents a very different concept of poetic memory, conceiving of it not as the recollection of authentic experience but as the revival of scholarly lore that has never been experienced first-hand. In this way, Holderlin seeks to turn his own “native” German into a learned, scholarly language.