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Dionysus Dithyrambs

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					Only Fool! Only Poet!


In the fading light of dusk,
When the dew’s solace begins
To well down to the earth,
Invisible, as well as unheard —
For the comforter dew slips on
Delicate footwear as all gentle consolers —
Then do you remember, hot heart, remember
How once you thirsted
After heavenly tears and dewdrops,
Scorched and weary, thirsting
While on yellow paths of grass
The spiteful evening glances of the sun
Ran around you through black trees,
Glowing sun-glances, dazzling with malicious delight.

“The suitor of truth—you?"—thus they mocked me —
"No! Only a poet!
A cunning, plundering, stealthy beast,
That must lie,
That knowingly, willingly must lie,
Lusting after prey,
Colorfully masked,
Self-shrouded,
Prey for itself
This—the suitor of truth? ...
Only fool! Only poet!
Merely speaking colorfully,
From fools’ masks shouting colorfully,
Climbing about on deceptive word-bridges,
On misleading rainbows,
Between false heavens
Rambling, lurking —
Only fool! Only poet!

This—the suitor of truth? ...

Not still, stiff, smooth, cold,
Become an image,
A pillar of God,
Not set up before temples,
A god’s gatekeeper:
No! hostile to all such truth statues,
More at home in any desert than in temples,
Fraught with cats’ mischief,
Leaping through every window
Swiftly! into every chance,
Sniffing for every jungle,
That you in jungles
Among motley-shagged beasts of prey
Would run sinfully sound and beautiful and colorful,
With lusting animal lips,
Blissfully sneering, blissfully hellish, blissfully bloodthirsty,
Plundering, prowling, lying would run ...

Or like the eagle that, for a long time,
A long time gazes with a fixed stare into abysses,
Into its abysses ...
— Oh how they spiral downward,
Down, down under,
Into ever deeper depths! —
Then,
Suddenly,
Plummeting straight down
Wings pulled out
To pounce on lambs,
Right down, hot-hungry,
Lusting for lambs,
Hating all lamb-souls,
Grimly hating whatever looks
Virtuous, sheepish, curly-wooled,
Dull, with lambs’ milk-goodwill ...

Thus
Eagle-like, panther-like,
Are the poet’s longings,
Are your longings under a thousand masks,
You fool! You poet!...

You that have looked upon man
As god and as sheep —
Tearing to pieces the god in man
As well as the sheep in man,
And laughing while tearing —

This, this is your bliss,
A panther’s and eagle’s bliss,
A poet’s and fool’s bliss!” ...

In the fading light of dusk,
When just as the moon’s sickle
In between green and crimson-reds
Enviously creeps —
The day’s enemy,
With every stealthy step
At rose hammocks
Scything, till they sink,
Sink down pale in nightfall:

Thus I myself once sank,
Out of my truth-madness,
Out of my day-longings,
Weary of day, sick from the light —
Sank downward, eveningward, shadowward,
By one truth
Burnt and thirsty —
Do you still remember, hot heart, remember
How you thirsted then? —
That I be exiled
From all truth!
Only fool!
Only poet!...

Among Daughters of the Desert


1.

“Don't go!” said the wanderer who called himself Zarathustra’s shadow.
“Stay with us—otherwise our old dull affliction might seize us again.

That old magician has already given us his worst for our benefit, and
behold, that good pious pope there has tears in his eyes and has again
embarked on the sea of melancholy.

These kings here may still put on a pleasant countenance: but had they no
witnesses, I wager that for them too the wicked game would recommence—

The wicked game of drifting clouds, of damp melancholy, of imposing
skies, of stolen suns, of howling autumn winds—

The wicked game of our own howling and cries of distress: Stay with us,
Zarathustra! Here there is much concealed misery that wants to speak,
much evening, much cloud, much musty air!

You have nourished us with strong food for men and fortifying maxims: do
not let the frail effeminate spirits seize us again for dessert!

You alone make the air around you strong and clear! Have I ever found
such good air on earth than with you in your cave?

I have seen many lands, my nose has learned to test and assess many kinds
of air: but with you my nostrils taste their greatest delight!

Unless , unless—oh forgive an old memory! Forgive me an old after-dinner
song, which I once composed among the daughters of the desert.

For with them the air was equally good, clear, and oriental; never was I
farther away from cloudy, damp, melancholy old Europe!

At that time I loved such Oriental girls and other blue skies, over which
no clouds and no thoughts hung.

You would not believe how dutifully they sat there, when they were not
dancing, deep, but without thoughts, like little secrets, like ribboned
riddles, like after-dinner nuts—

Colorful and strange, forsooth! but without clouds: riddles that let
themselves be guessed: for such girls I then conceived an after-dinner
psalm.”
Thus spoke the wanderer, who called himself Zarathustra’s shadow; and
before anyone answered him, he had already seized the harp of the old
magician, crossed his legs and looked around, composed and wise: but with
his nostrils he drew in the air slowly and inquiringly, as one tastes the
new air in a foreign land. At last he began to sing with a kind of roar.

2.

The desert grows: woe to him in whom deserts hide...

3.

Ha!
Solemn!
A worthy beginning!
Solemnly African!
Worthy of a lion
Or of a moral screaming monkey ...
— But nothing for you,
You most beloved maidens,
At whose feet I,
A European under palm trees,
Am allowed to sit. Selah.

Truly wonderful!
Here I now sit,
Near the desert and yet
So far from the desert again,
And in no way desolate:
To wit, gulped down
By this smallest oasis —
It just opened up yawning
Its lovely mouth,
The most redolent of all little mouths:
Then I fell in,
Down, through—among you,
You most beloved maidens. Selah.

Hail, hail to that whale,
If he let his guest be so
Well off! —you understand
My learned allusion? ...
Hail to his belly,
If it was as
Lovely an oasis-belly
As this: yet I cast doubt on it.
For I come from Europe,
Which is more doubt-addicted than any nagging old wife.
May God improve it!
Amen!

Here I now sit,
In this smallest oasis,
Like a date,
Brown, sweet through, gold-oozing,
Lusting for the round mouth of a girl,
But even more for girlish
Ice-cold, snow-white, cutting
Biting-teeth: for after these
The hearts of all hot dates lust. Selah.

Similar, all-too-similar
To the aforesaid Mediterranean fruit,
I lie here, with little
Winged beetles
Dancing about and playing around,
Just like even smaller,
More foolish, more sinful
Wishes and notions —
Surrounded by you,
You silent, you ominous
Girl-kittens
Dudu und Suleika —
Ensphinxed, to cram a lot of
Feelings into one word
(—May God forgive me
This sin of speech! ...)—
I sit here, sniffing the best air,
Verily, air of paradise,
Clear, mild air, gold-striped,
As good air as ever
Fell down from the moon,
Be it by chance
Or did it happen from wantonness?
As the old poets tell.
Yet I, a sceptic, have my doubts,
For I come
From Europe,
Which is more doubt-addicted than any nagging old wife.
May God improve it!
Amen!

Drinking in this fairest air,
My nostrils swollen like goblets,
Without future, without memories,
Thus I sit here, you
Most beloved maidens,
And watch the palm tree,
As it, like a dancer,
Bends and arches and sways at the hips —
One does it too, if one watches long ...
Like a dancer, who, as it would seem to me,
Has stood too long, precariously long
Always, always only on one little leg? —
For she has forgotten, it would seem to me,
The other leg?
At least in vain
I sought the missing
Twin-jewel
— Namely, the other leg —
In the holy proximity
Of her most beloved, most delicate
Fanned-, and flittering-, and tinseled-tutus.
Yes, if you would, you fair maidens,
Quite believe me,
She has lost it ...

Oh my! oh my! oh my! oh my! oh my!...
It is gone,
Gone forever,
The other leg!
Oh what a shame about that lovely other leg!
Where—whence may it be lamenting forsaken,
This lonely leg?
Perhaps in fear of a
Grim, yellow, blond-maned
Lion-monster? Or maybe even
Gnawed off, nibbled off —
Pitiful, alas! alas! Nibbled off! Selah.

Oh weep not,
Soft hearts!
Weep not, you
Date-hearts! Milk-bosoms!
You little-licorice-
Heart-sacs!
Be a man, Suleika! Courage! Courage!
Weep no more,
Pale Dudu!—
Or should perhaps
Something fortifying, heart-fortifying
Be called for here?
An anointed maxim?
A more solemn exhortation? ...

Ha! Up, dignity!
Blow, blow again,
Bellows of virtue!
Ha!
Once more roar,
Roar morally,
Roar like a moral lion before the daughters of the desert!
— For virtuous howling,
You most beloved maidens,
Is more than anything
European fervor, European ravenous appetite!
And yet here I stand,
As a European,
I cannot do else, God help me!
Amen!
The desert grows: woe to him in whom deserts hide!
Stone grinds against stone, the desert devours and strangles,
Glowing brown monstrous death stares
And chews; its life is to chew ...

Do not forget, man, consumed by lust:
you—are the stone, the desert, are death...

Ultimate Will


To die thus,
As once I saw him die —
The friend who threw divine thunderbolts and
Glances into my dark youth.
Sportive and profound,
A dancer in the battle —

The most cheerful among warriors,
The gravest among victors,
A fate standing upon his fate,
Hard, reflective, calculating:

Trembling because he triumphed,
Rejoicing in that he triumphed dying:

Commanding while he died —
And he commanded that one destroy ...

To die thus,
As once I saw him die —
Vanquishing, destroying ...

Cf. Notebooks, KSA 10, 594, Fall 1883 20 [11] (Notes for Thus Spoke
Zarathustra):

Of the One Victory.

Thus, as once I saw him conquering and dying: the friend, who threw
divine moments and lightning into my dark youth —

sportive and profound, storming forward for joy even in the storm of
battle, forward in bloody pain, and where the chosen flags of the enemy
neared, —

among the dying the most cheerful, among the victors the gravest,
reflective, calculating, standing on his fate—trembling about it,
laughing about it, that he triumphed dying —

commanding while he died:—and he commanded that one destroy and not be
sparing —

Oh you my will, my in-me, over-me! you my necessity! Give that I also
conquer—and save me up for this one victory!
Preserve and save me up and guard me from all small victories, you gift
of my soul and turning point of all need, you my necessity!

[Cf. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Old and New Tables 30.]

Amid Birds of Prey


Whoever tends to descend here,
How quickly
The depths swallow them! —
But you, Zarathustra,
Still love the abyss —
Do you, just as the spruce?

Its roots shoot down, where
The rock itself tremors
Gazing into the depths —
It tarries at abysses,
Where everything around
Tends to fall:
Amid the impatience
Of the rough boulders and torrential streams
Patiently enduring, firm, silent,
Solitary ...

Solitary!
Who would even venture
To be a guest here,
To be your guest? ...

A bird of prey perhaps:
who might well hang,
the steadfast patient sufferer,
Gloating delightfully in its coat,
With mad laughter,
A bird of prey’s laughter ...

Why so steadfast? —
Cruelly, it scoffs:
One must have wings, if one loves the abyss ...
One must not remain suspended,
Like you, hanged one! —

Oh Zarathustra,
Cruelest nimrod!
Recently still a hunter of God,
The snare of all virtue,
The arrow of evil!
Now —
Hunted by yourself,
Your own prey,
Bored into yourself ...
Now —
Alone with yourself,
Paired in your own knowledge,
Amid a hundred reflections
Before your false self,
Amid a hundred dubious
Memories,
Weary from every hurt,
Chilled by every frost,
Strangled by your own rope,
Self-knower!
Self-hangman!

Why did you bind yourself
With the rope of your wisdom?
Why did you seduce yourself
Into the paradise of the ancient serpent?
Why did you crawl into yourself
In you—into you?

An invalid now,
One who is sick from snake venom;
A prisoner now,
One who drew the hardest lot:
In your own shaft
Laboring bent over,
Excavating yourself,
Digging into yourself,
Without aid,
Stiff,
A corpse —
Overpiled by a hundred burdens,
By your overburdens,
One in the know!
A self-knower!
The wise Zarathustra! ...

You sought the heaviest burden
Yet found yourself —
Cannot cast off yourself from you...

Lurking,
Crouching,
One who no longer stands upright!
You are deeply rooted in your tomb,
Tangled spirit! ...

And yet recently so proud,
Upon all your stilted pride!
Recently still the godless hermit,
The co-settler with the devil,
The scarlet prince of all arrogance! ...
Now —
Between two voids
One who is twisted,
A question mark,
A weary enigma —
An enigma for birds of prey ...

They'll certainly “dissolve” you,
They no doubt hunger after your “dissolution,"
Indeed they flutter about you, their enigma,
Around you, hanged man! ...
Oh Zarathustra! ...
Self-knower! ...
Self-hangman! ...

The Beacon
[“Das Feuerzeichen,” literally: “The Fire Signal.”]


Here, where an island grew between seas,
A stone altar steeply piled up,
Here beneath blackened sky,
Zarathustra lit his mountain fire,
The beacon for mariners driven off course,
The question mark for those who have answers ...

This flame with a white-grey belly —
Flickers its greedy tongue into the cold beyond,
Bends its neck towards ever purer heights —
A raised serpent of impatience:
This signal I placed before me.

My soul is this flame,
Insatiable for new expanses
To blaze upward, upward in silent passion.
Why did Zarathustra flee from animals and men?
Why did he run away suddenly from all settled lands?
Six solitudes he knew already —
But the sea itself was not lonely enough for him,
The island let him rise, on the mountain he became the flame,
Into a seventh solitude,
Searching now, he casts a hook over his head.

Lost mariners! Wreckage of ancient stars!
You seas of the future! Unexplored sky!
Now I cast my hook towards all solitary ones:
Give an answer to the impatience of the flame,
Catch me, fisherman on high mountains,
My seventh ultimate solitude! — —

Ariadne’s Lament


Who will warm me, who loves me still?
Give warm hands!
Give the heart’s brazier!
Prone, shuddering
Like one half dead, whose feet are warmed;
Shaken, alas! by unknown fevers,
Trembling at pointed arrows of glacial frost,
Hunted by you, Thought!
Nameless! Cloaked! Horrid!
You hunter behind clouds!
Struck down by your lightning,
Your scornful eye, glaring at me out of the dark!
Thus I lie,
Writhing, twisted, tormented
By all the eternal afflictions,
Struck
By you, cruelest hunter,
You unknown—god...

Strike deeper!
Strike one more time!
Stab, break this heart!
Why all this affliction
With blunt-toothed arrows?
How can you gaze evermore,
Unweary of human agony,
With the spiteful lightning eyes of gods?
You do not wish to kill,
Only to torment, torment?
Why torment—me,
You spiteful unknown god?
Aha!
You creep closer
Around midnight?...
What do you want?
Speak!
You push me, press upon me,
Ah, already much too close!
You hear me breathing,
You eavesdrop on my heart,
Most jealous one! —
What are you jealous of anyway?
Away! Away!
What’s the ladder for?
Do you want inside,
Would you get into my heart,
And enter
My most secret thoughts?
Shameless one! Unknown! Thief!
What do you wish to steal for yourself?
What do you wish to hear for yourself?
What will you gain by torture,
You torturer!
You—executioner-god!
Or am I, like a dog,
To wallow before you?
Devoted, eager due to my
Love for you—fawning over you?
In vain!
It stabs again!
Cruelest sting!
I am not your dog, only your prey,
Cruelest hunter!
Your proudest prisoner,
You robber behind clouds...
Speak finally!
You, cloaked by lightning! Unknown! Speak!
What do you want, highwayman, from—me?...

What?
A ransom?
What do you want for ransom?
Demand much—so advises my pride!
And talk little—my pride advises as well!

Aha!
Me?—you want me?
Me—all of me?...

Aha!
And tormenting me, fool that you are,
You wrack my pride?
Give me love—who warms me still?
Who loves me still?
Give warm hands,
Give the heart’s brazier,
Give me, the loneliest one,
Ice, alas! whom ice sevenfold
Has taught to yearn for enemies,
Even for my enemies
Give, yes, surrender to me,
Cruelest enemy —
Yourself!...

Gone!
He has fled,
My only companion,
My splendid enemy,
My unknown,
My executioner-god!...
No!
Come back!
With all your afflictions!
All my tears gush forth
To you they stream
And the last flames of my heart
Glow for you.
Oh, come back,
My unknown god! my pain!
My ultimate happiness!...

A lightening bolt. Dionysus becomes visible in emerald beauty.

Dionysus:

Be clever, Ariadne!...
You have little ears; you have my ears:
Put a clever word in them! —
Must one not first hate oneself, in order to love oneself?...
I am your labyrinth...

Fame and Eternity


1.

How long will you sit
    on your misfortune?
Watch out! You hatch me yet
    Another egg,
    A basilisk-egg
Out of your long misery.

Why did Zarathustra sneak along the mountains? —

Distrustful, ulcerous, gloomy,
One who long lies in wait —
But suddenly, lightning,
Bright, terrible, a blast
Heavenwards out of the abyss:
The mountains themselves shake from
The bowels of the earth ...

Where hate and lightning-flash
Become one, a curse —
Now Zarathustra’s wrath cuts across the mountains,
A storm-cloud creeps along its way.

Sneak off, one who has a last cover!
Into bed with you, you weakling!
Now rolling thunder over the vaults,
Then shaking, as the beams and wall,
Then flickering lightning and sulphur-yellow truths —
    Zarathustra curses ...

2.

This coin, with which
All the world pays,
Fame —
I grasp this coin with gloves,
With disgust I trample it under me.
Who wants to be paid?
Those for sale ...
Whoever is for sale, seizes
With sticky hands
All the world’s coin-jingle-jangle fame!

— You want to buy them?
They're all for sale.
But offer much!
Jingle with a full purse!
— Otherwise you fortify them,
You fortify their virtue ...

They are all virtuous.
Fame and virtue—it rhymes. [Ruhm und Tugend—das reimt sich.”]
As long as the world lives,
It will pay virtue-prattling
With fame-rattling —
The world lives on this noise ...

Before all the virtuous
    I want to be guilty,
Called guilty of each great offence!
Before all fame-trumpets
My ambition will become a worm —
Among those I desire
To be the lowest ...

This coin, with which
All the world pays,
Fame —
I grasp this coin with gloves,
With disgust I trample it under me.

3.

Hush! —
From great things—I see a great deal! —
One should keep silent
Or speak greatly:
Speak greatly, my delighted wisdom!

Up there I see —
Rolling seas of light:
— Oh night, oh silence, oh deathly silent uproar!...

I see a sign —
From the distant beyond
A glittering constellation slowly sinks towards me...

4.

Supreme star of being!
Tablet of eternal forms!
You come towards me? —
Why hasn’t anyone beheld
Your mute beauty —
Why doesn’t it escape my gaze?

Sign of necessity!
Tablet of eternal forms!
— But of course you know it:
What everyone hates,
What I alone love,
That you are eternal!
That you are necessary!
My love is ever ignited
Only through necessity.

Sign of necessity!
Supreme star of being! —
That no desire attains,
That no No desecrates,
Eternal Yes of being,
Eternally I am your Yes:
For I love you, O eternity! — —

On the Poverty of the Richest


For ten years now —
No drop has reached me,
No humid wind, no dew of love —
A rainless land —
Now I beseech my wisdom
Not to become miserly in this drought:
Pour out of me, my trickling dew,
My own rain for the yellowed desert!

Once I commanded the clouds
To move away from my mountains —
Once I spoke, “More light, for your shady places!"
Today, I entice them so that they come:
Give shade to me with your udders! —
I want to milk
You cows on high!
Milkwarm wisdom, sweet dew of love
I pour over the land.

Begone, begone, truths
That gloomily watch over you!
I do not want to see on my mountains
Bitter impatient truths.
Today the truth approaches
Me with a gilded smile
Sweetened by the sun, from bronzed love —
I break off only a ripe truth from the tree.
Today I stretch out my hand
To the curls of chance,
Clever enough
To lead chance along like a child, to outfox it.
Today I want to be hospitable
To the unwelcome,
I don't even want to be sharp against destiny —
Zarathustra is not a hedgehog.

My soul,
Insatiable with its tongue,
Has already licked all the good and bad things,
It has dived down into every depth
But ever like a cork,
It always floats again to the top,
It flits about like oil over brown seas:
Thanks to this soul one calls me the happy one.

Who are father and mother to me?
Is not my father the prince of superabundance
And my mother tranquil laughter?
Did not these two in bond of marriage create
Me, animal of enigmas,
Me, unfriendly light,
Me, prodigal of all wisdom, Zarathustra?

Suffering today from tenderness,
A thawing wind,
Zarathustra waits seated, waits in his mountains —
In his own juice
Becoming sweet and stewed,
Underneath his summit,
Underneath his ice,
Weary and blissful,
A creator on his seventh day.

Hush!
A truth glides over me
Like a cloud —
It strikes me with invisible lightning.
Its happiness climbs slowly
Unto me by broad stairs:
Come, come, beloved truth!

Hush!
It’s my truth!
From demurring eyes,
From velvet shudderings
Its glance strikes at me,
Charming, evil, the glance of a girl...
She found the base of my happiness
She found me—ha! how did she figure it out? —
A crimson dragon lurks
Within the abyss of her girl-glance.
Hush! My truth speaks! —

Dear you, Zarathustra!
You look like one
Who has swallowed gold:
One day they must slit open your belly!...

You are too rich,
You corruptor of many!
You make too many envious,
You make too many poor...
I am cast into shadow by your light —
I shiver: go away, you rich one,
Go, Zarathustra, away from your sun!...

You would like to give, give away your superabundance,
But you yourself are the superfluous one!
Be clever, you rich one!
First give away yourself, oh Zarathustra!

For ten years now —
And no drop has reached you?
No humid wind? no dew of love?
But who ought to love thee as well,
You over-rich-one?
Your happiness creates nothing but aridity,
Makes a dearth of love —
A rainless land...

No one thanks you any longer,
But you thank everyone
Who takes from you:
Hence,
Over-rich-one,
I see you as the poorest of all the rich ones!

You sacrifice yourself, your wealth torments you,
You give away yourself,
You don't take care of yourself, you don't love yourself;
Great agony always compels you,
The agony of an overflowing barn, an overabundant heart;
But no one thanks you any longer...

You must become poorer,
Unwise wise one!
If you wish to be loved.
One loves only the suffering man,
One gives love only to the hungry man:
First give away yourself, oh Zarathustra!

—I am your truth...
.

				
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