In the South

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German Original published 1887 as part of the second edition of The Joyful Wisdom ('La Gaya Scienza'). This translation published in 1910 as part of Oscar Levy's The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche volume 10.

I swing on a bough, and rest
My tired limbs in a nest,
In the rocking home of a bird,
Wherein I perch as his guest,
 In the South!

I gaze on the ocean asleep,
On the purple sail of a boat;
On the harbour and tower steep,
On the rocks that stand out of the deep,
 In the South!

For I could no longer stay,
To crawl in slow German way;
So I called to the birds, bade the wind
Lift me up and bear me away
 To the South!

No reasons for me, if you please;
Their end is too dull and too plain;
But a pair of wings and a breeze,
With courage and health and ease,
And games that chase disease
 From the South!

Wise thoughts can move without sound,
But I've songs that I can't sing alone;
So birdies, pray gather around,
And listen to what I have found
 In the South!


"You are merry lovers and false and gay,
"In frolics and sport you pass the day;
"Whilst in the North, I shudder to say,
"I worshipped a woman, hideous and gray,
"Her name was Truth, so I heard them say,
"But I left her there and I flew away
 "To the South!"

  1. Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. Inserted by permission of the editor of the Nation, in which it appeared on April 17, 1909.