To Goethe

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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.


"The Undecaying"
Is but thy label,
God the betraying
Is poets' fable.

Our aims all are thwarted
By the World-wheel's blind roll:
"Doom," says the downhearted,
"Sport," says the fool.

The World-sport, all-ruling,
Mingles false with true:
The Eternally Fooling
Makes us play, too!

  1. This poem is a parody of the "Chorus Mysticus" which concludes the second part of Goethe's "Faust." Bayard Taylor's translation of the passage in "Faust" runs as follows:—
    "All things transitory
    But as symbols are sent,
    Earth's insufficiency
    Here grows to Event:
    The Indescribable
    Here it is done:
    The Woman-Soul leadeth us
    Upward and on!"

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This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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