Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 99

bridge I stood,
Mellow was the night,
Music came from far--
Drops of gold outpoured
On the shimmering waves.
Song, gondolas, light,
Floated a-twinkling out into the dusk.

The chords of my soul, moved
By unseen impulse, throbbed
Secretly into a gondola song,
With thrills of bright-hued ecstasy.
Had I a listener there?

[Footnote 1: Translated by Herman Scheffauer.]

[Footnote 2: Translated by Herman Scheffauer.]

[Footnote 3: This poem was written on the betrothal of one of
Nietzsche's Bâle friends.--TR.]

[Footnote 4: Translated by Herman Scheffauer.]

[Footnote 5: Campo Santo di Staglieno is the cemetery of Staglieno,
near Genoa. The poem was inspired by the sight of a girl
with a lamb on the tombstone, with the words underneath--
"Pia, caritatevole, amorosissima."]

[Footnote 6: Published by Nietzsche himself. The poem was inspired
by a ship that was christened _Angiolina,_ in memory of a
love-sick girl who leapt into the sea.--TR.]

[Footnote 7: See above, p. 157. Both poems were inspired by the same

[Footnote 8: The Genoese is Nietzsche himself, who lived a great
part of his life at Genoa.--TR.]

[Footnote 9: Translated by Herman Scheffauer.]



He who cannot laugh at this had better not start reading;

For if he read and do not laugh, physic he'll be needing!


With jesters it is good to jest:
Who likes to tickle, is tickled best.


I dearly love the living word,
That flies to you like a merry bird,
Ready with pleasant nod to greet,
E'en in misfortune welcome, sweet,
Yet it has blood, can pant you deep:
Then to the dove's ear it will creep:
And curl itself, or start for flight--
Whate'er it does, it brings delight.

Yet tender doth the word remain,
Soon it is ill, soon well again:
So if its little life you'd spare,
O grasp it lightly and with care,
Nor heavy hand upon it lay,

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