Zarathustra's roundelay

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First instance of the poem, within Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in German
Second instance of the poem, within Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in German

Zarathustra's roundelay (German: Zarathustra's Rundgesang),[1] also called the Midnight Song (Mitternachts-Lied[2]) or Once More (German: Noch ein Mal),[3] is a poem in the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–1885) by Friedrich Nietzsche.

The poem first appears in Thus Spoke Zarathustra's chapter "The Second Dance-Song", then reappears in a later chapter, "The Drunken Song".[3]

German original[edit]

O Mensch! Gib 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!«

Selected English translations[edit]

Alexander Tille:[4]

O man! Lose not sight!
What saith the deep midnight?
"I lay in sleep, in sleep;
From deep dream I come to light.
The world is deep,
And deeper than ever day thought it might.
Deep is its woe—
And deeper still than woe—delight.
Saith woe: 'Pass, go!
Eternity's sought by all delight—,
Eternity deep—by all delight!'"

Thomas Common:[5]

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!"

Textual characteristics[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hollinrake, Roger (1982). "7. Zarathustra's Great Noon". Nietzsche, Wagner and the Philosophy of Pessimism. Routledge. p. 92. doi:10.4324/9780203092705. ISBN 978-0-203-09270-5.
  2. ^ Stegmaier, Werner (21 March 2019), Bertino, Andrea C. (ed.), "12. "Oh Mensch! Gieb Acht!" Kontextuelle Interpretation des Mitternachts-Lieds aus Also sprach Zarathustra", Europa im Geisterkrieg. Studien zu Nietzsche, OBP collection (in German), Cambridge: Open Book Publishers (published 2018), pp. 333–361, ISBN 979-10-365-2455-4, retrieved 2023-01-21
  3. ^ a b Puffett, Derrick (1998). "A Nietzschean Libretto: Delius and the Text for 'A Mass of Life'". Music & Letters. 79 (2): 244–267. doi:10.1093/ml/79.2.244. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 854955.
  4. ^ Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (1899). Thus spake Zarathustra: a book for all and none. The Works of Friedrich Nietzsche. Vol. II. London: T. Fisher Unwin. pp. 339–40, 483.
  5. ^ Nietzsche, Friedrich, "Part Three", Thus Spake Zarathustra, retrieved 2022-12-24

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]