Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 65

is an instinct for rhythmic relations which
embraces a whole world of forms (length, the need of a wide-embracing
rhythm, is almost the measure of the force of an inspiration, a sort
of counterpart to its pressure and tension). Everything happens
quite involuntarily, as if in a tempestuous outburst of freedom,
of absoluteness, of power and divinity. The involuntary nature of
the figures and similes is the most remarkable thing; one loses all
perception of what is imagery and metaphor; everything seems to present
itself as the readiest, the truest, and simplest means of expression.
It actually seems, to use one of Zarathustra's own phrases, as if all
things came to one, and offered themselves as similes. ("Here do all
things come caressingly to thy discourse and flatter thee, for they
would fain ride upon thy back. On every simile thou ridest here unto
every truth. Here fly open unto thee all the speech and word shrines
of the world, here would all existence become speech, here would
all Becoming learn of thee how to speak.") This is my experience of
inspiration. I do not doubt but that I should have to go back thousands
of years before I could find another who could say to me: "It is mine


For a few weeks afterwards I lay an invalid in Genoa. Then followed
a melancholy spring in Rome, where I only just managed to live--and
this was no easy matter. This city, which is absolutely unsuited to
the poet-author of _Zarathustra,_ and for the choice of which I was
not responsible, made me inordinately miserable. I tried to leave it.
I wanted to go to Aquila--the opposite of Rome in every respect, and
actually founded in a spirit of hostility towards that city, just as
I also shall found a city some day, as a memento of an atheist and
genuine enemy of the Church, a person very closely related to me, the
great Hohenstaufen, the Emperor Frederick II. But Fate lay behind it
all: I had to return again to Rome. In the end I was obliged to be
satisfied with the Piazza Barberini, after I had exerted myself in
vain to find an anti-Christian quarter. I fear that on one occasion,
to avoid bad smells as much as possible, I actually inquired at the
Palazzo del Quirinale whether they could not provide a quiet room for
a philosopher. In a chamber high above the Piazza just mentioned, from
which one obtained a general view of Rome, and could hear the fountains
plashing far below, the loneliest of all songs was composed--"The
Night-Song." About this

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