Friedrich Nietzsche, The Night-Song

The Night-Song

Night it is: now all springing fountains talk more loudly. And my soul too is a springing fountain.

Night it is: now all songs of lovers at last awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover.

Something unstilled, unstillable is within me, that wants to become loud. A desire for love is within me, that itself talks in the language of love.

Light am I: ah, would that I were night! But this is my solitude, that I am girded round with light.

Ah, would that I were dark and night-like! How I would suckle at the breasts of light!

And you yourselves would I yet bless, you twinkling stars and fireflies up above!—and be blissful from your light-bestowals.

But I live in my very own light, I drink back the flames that break out from within me.

I know none of the happiness of him who takes; and often have I dreamed that stealing must be more blessèd than taking.

This is my poverty, that my hand never rests from bestowing; this is my envy, that I see expectant eyes and illumined nights of yearning.

Oh the wretchedness of all who bestow! Oh the eclipse of my sun! Oh the desire for desiring! Oh the ravenous hunger in satiety!

They take from me: but do I yet touch their souls? A chasm there is between giving and taking; and the smallest chasm is the last to be bridged.

A hunger grows from my beauty: I should like to cause pain to those I illumine, should like to rob those upon whom I have bestowed—thus I hunger after wickedness.

Withdrawing the hand when another hand reaches out for it; hesitating like the waterfall, which hesitates even in plunging—thus do I hunger after wickedness.

Such revenge my fullness devises; such spite now wells up from my solitude.

My joy in bestowing died away through bestowing, my virtue grew weary of itself in its overflow!

He who always bestows is in danger of losing his sense of shame; he who always distributes has hands and heart calloused from sheer distributing.

My eye no longer brims over at the shame of those who beg; my hand has grown too hard for the trembling of hands that are filled.

Where has the tear gone from my eye and the soft down from my heart? Oh the solitude of all who bestow! Oh the reticence of all who shine forth!

Many suns circle in barren space: to all that is dark they speak with their light—to me they are silent.

Oh this is the enmity of light toward that which shines: mercilessly it pursues its courses.

Unjust in its inmost heart toward that which shines; cold toward suns—thus wanders every sun.

Like a storm the suns fly along their courses, that is their wandering. Their inexorable will they follow, that is their coldness.

Oh, it is only you, dark ones, and night-like, who create warmth from that which shines! Oh, it is only you who drink milk and comfort from the udders of light!

Ah, ice is around me, my hand is burned on what is icy! Ah, thirst is within me, and it languishes after your thirst!

Night it is: ah, that I must be light! And thirst for the night-like! And solitude!

Night it is: now like a spring my desire flows forth from me—I am desirous of speech.

Night it is: now all springing fountains talk more loudly. And my soul too is a springing fountain.

Night it is: now all songs of lovers at last awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover.—

Thus sang Zarathustra

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Oxford Press, 2008 edition, Translated by Graham Parkes


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