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Friedrich Nietzsche
  BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL

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[This document, which has been prepared by Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, has certain copyright restrictions. For information, please consult Copyright. Editorial comments and translations in square brackets and italics are by Ian Johnston; comments in normal brackets are from Nietzsche’s text. Last revised in December 2013]

[Table of Contents for Beyond Good and Evil]

 

OUT OF THE HIGH MOUNTAINS
AFTERSONG

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O noon of life! A time to celebrate!
           
 O garden in the summertime!
Restless happiness in standing, gazing,
 waiting:—
I wait for friends, ready day and night.
You friends, where are you? Come! It's time! It's time!

Was it not for you the glacier's grayness
           
 decked itself today with roses?
The stream is seeking you—today wind and clouds
with yearning push higher up into the blue
to look for you from the furthest bird's eye view.

At the highest point my table has been set for you.
           
 Who lives so near the stars?
So near the furthest reaches of the bleak abyss?
My realm—what realm has stretched so far?
And my honey, too—who has tasted that? . . .

There you are, my friends!—Alas, so I am not the man,
           
 not the one you are looking for?
You hesitate, surprised!—Ah, better you should be enraged!
Am I no more the one? My hand and step and face transformed?
And
 what am I, you friends—am I not the one?

Have I become another? A stranger to myself?
           
 Have I sprung from myself?
A wrestler who overpowered himself too often
,
who too often pushed against his very strength ,
wounded and checked by his own victory?

I searched where the wind most keenly blows?
           
 I learned to live
where no one lives, in deserted icy lands
,
forgot men and god, curse and prayer?
Became a ghost traversing glaciers?

—You old friends! Look! Now your gaze is pale,
           
 full of love and horror!
No, be off! Do not rage!
 You cannot dwell here:
here between the furthest realms of ice and rock—
here one must be a hunter, like a chamois.

I've become a wicked hunter! See, how far
           
 my taut bow was stretched!
It was the strongest man who made this pull—
But now, alas! The arrow is dangerous—
like
 no arrow—away from here! For your own good! . . .

You're turning round?—O heart, you’ve borne enough,
           
 your hopes stayed strong:
hold your doors open for
 new friends!
Let the old ones go! Let go the memory!
Once you were young, now—you are better young!

What bound us then, a band of a single hope—
           
 who reads the signs,
etched there once by love—still pale?
To me it is like a parchment which the hand
is afraid
 to touch—as if discoloured, burned.

No more friends—they are . . . But how can I name that?—
           
 Just ghosts of friends!
That knock for me at night on my window and my heart
,
that look at me and say, “But we
 were friends?”—
—O shrivelled word, once fragrant as a rose!

O youthful longing which misunderstood itself!
  
          Those I yearned for,
whom I imagined changed to my own kin,
they have grown
 old and so exiled themselves.
Only the one who changes stays in touch with me.

O noon of life! A second youthful time!
           
 O summer garden!
Restless happiness in standing, gazing, waiting!
I wait for friends, ready day and night.
New
 friends! Come! It's time! It's time!

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This song is done—the sweet cry of yearning
           
 died in my mouth:
A magician did it, a friend at the right hour,
a noontime friend—No! Do not ask who it might be—
at noontime one turned into two . . . .

Now we celebrate, certain of victory, united,
           
 the feast of feasts:
friend
 Zarathustra came, the guest of guests!
Now the world laughs, the fearful curtain splits
,
the wedding has come for light and darkness . . . .

 

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