Zarathustra's Roundelay

Zarathustra's Roundelay

Zarathustra's Roundelay

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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,......

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