Zarathustra's Roundelay


Zarathustra's Roundelay

Zarathustra's Roundelay is a philosophical poem that features as a central motif in the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. The roundelay first appears in "Chapter 59: The Second Dance-Song", as a mysterious revelation that precedes "Chapter 60: The Seven Seals", a conclusion and affirmation of Zarathustra's middle-aged philosophical escapades. Then, in the second last chapter, "The Drunken Song", Zarathustra elaborates upon and explains his roundelay, revealing its connection to the Eternal Recurrence.

The German original is as follows:

Zarathustra's Rundgesang:Oh Mensch! Gieb Acht!:Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht?:"Ich schlief, ich schlief -,:Aus tiefem Traum bin ich erwacht: -:Die Welt ist tief,:Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht.:Tief ist ihr Weh -,:Lust - tiefer noch als Herzeleid::Weh spricht: Vergeh!:Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit:will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!"

There are a number of different English translations:

"Thomas Common":O man! Take heed!:What saith deep midnight's voice indeed?:"I slept my sleep—:"From deepest dream I've woke and plead:—:"The world is deep,:"And deeper than the day could read.:"Deep is its woe—:"Joy—deeper still than grief can be::"Woe saith: Hence! Go!:"But joys all want eternity—:"Want deep profound eternity!"

"Alexander Tille, revised":O man! Take heed!:What saith deep midnight, indeed?:"I lay asleep, asleep—:I waked from my deep dream.:The world is deep,:And deeper than even day may dream.:Deep is its woe—:Joy— deeper yet than woe is she::Saith woe: 'Hence! Go!':Yet joy would have eternity,:—Profound, profound eternity!"

"Walter Kaufmann":O man, take care!:What does the deep midnight declare?:"I was asleep—:From a deep dream I woke and swear::The world is deep,:Deeper than day had been aware.:Deep is its woe;:Joy—deeper yet than agony::Woe implores: Go!:But all joy wants eternity—:Wants deep, wants deep eternity."

"R. J. Hollingdale":O man! Attend!:What does deep midnight's voice contend?:'I slept my sleep,:'And now awake at dreaming's end::'The world is deep,:'And deeper than day can comprehend.:'Deep is its woe,:'Joy—deeper than heart's agony::'Woe says: Fade! Go!:'But all joy wants eternity,:'Wants deep, deep, deep eternity!'

Cultural impact

The roundelay was used as the text for the 4th movement (originally titled "What Man Tells Me") of the "3rd Symphony", composed in 1895, by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler.

External links

*gutenberg|no=1998|name=Thus Spake ZarathustraEnglish


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