Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 19

been too scanty or too unconditional--will now
have the advantage with us, of laying before himself more seriously and
answering more deeply than is usually the case some stirring points of
controversy of present-day æsthetics and still more of contemporary
artists. Let us think now, after all our assumptions, what an
undertaking it must be, to set music to a poem; _i.e.,_ to illustrate
a poem by music, in order to help music thereby to obtain a language
of ideas. What a perverted world! A task that appears to my mind like
that of a son wanting to create his father! Music can create metaphors
out of itself, which will always however be but schemata, instances as
it were of her intrinsic general contents. But how should the metaphor,
the conception, create music out of itself! Much less could the idea,
or, as one has said, the "poetical idea" do this. As certainly as a
bridge leads out of the mysterious castle of the musician into the free
land of the metaphors--and the lyric poet steps across it--as certainly
is it impossible to go the contrary way, although some are said to
exist who fancy they have done so. One might people the air with the
phantasy of a Raphael, one might see St. Cecilia, as he does, listening
enraptured to the harmonies of the choirs of angels--no tone issues
from this world apparently lost in music: even if we imagined that that
harmony in reality, as by a miracle, began to sound for us, whither
would Cecilia, Paul and Magdalena disappear from us, whither even
the singing choir of angels! We should at once cease to be Raphael:
and as in that picture the earthly instruments lie shattered on the
ground, so our painter's vision, defeated by the higher, would fade
and die away.--How nevertheless could the miracle happen? How should
the Apollonian world of the eye quite engrossed in contemplation be
able to create out of itself the tone, which on the contrary symbolises
a sphere which is excluded and conquered just by that very Apollonian
absorption in Appearance? The delight at Appearance cannot raise out
of itself the pleasure at Non-appearance; the delight of perceiving is
delight only by the fact that nothing reminds us of a sphere in which
individuation is broken and abolished. If we have characterised at
all correctly the Apollonian in opposition to the Dionysean, then the
thought which attributes to the metaphor, the idea, the appearance,
in some way the power of producing out of itself the tone, must
appear to us strangely wrong. We will not be

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