THE GREAT LONGING.
my soul, I have taught thee to say "to-day" as "once
on a time" and "formerly," and to dance thy measure
over every Here and There and Yonder.
my soul, I delivered thee from all by-places, I brushed down from
thee dust and spiders and twilight.
my soul, I washed the petty shame and the by-place virtue from thee,
and persuaded thee to stand naked before the eyes of the sun.
the storm that is called "spirit" did I blow over thy
surging sea; all clouds did I blow away from it; I strangled even
the strangler called "sin."
my soul, I gave thee the right to say Nay like the storm, and to
say Yea as the open heaven saith Yea: calm as the light remainest
thou, and now walkest through denying storms.
my soul, I restored to thee liberty over the created and the uncreated;
and who knoweth, as thou knowest, the voluptuousness of the future?
my soul, I taught thee the contempt which doth not come like worm-eating,
the great, the loving contempt, which loveth most where it contemneth
my soul, I taught thee so to persuade that thou persuadest even
the grounds themselves to thee: like the sun, which persuadeth even
the sea to its height.
my soul, I have taken from thee all obeying and knee-bending and
homage- paying; I have myself given thee the names, "Change
of need" and "Fate."
my soul, I have given thee new names and gay-coloured playthings,
I have called thee "Fate" and "the Circuit of circuits"
and "the Navel-string of time" and "the Azure bell."
my soul, to thy domain gave I all wisdom to drink, all new wines,
and also all immemorially old strong wines of wisdom.
my soul, every sun shed I upon thee, and every night and every silence
and every longing:--then grewest thou up for me as a vine.
my soul, exuberant and heavy dost thou now stand forth, a vine with
swelling udders and full clusters of brown golden grapes:--
and weighted by thy happiness, waiting from superabundance, and
yet ashamed of thy waiting.
my soul, there is nowhere a soul which could be more loving and
more comprehensive and more extensive! Where could future and past
be closer together than with thee?
my soul, I have given thee everything, and all my hands have become
empty by thee:--and now! Now sayest thou to me, smiling and full
of melancholy: "Which of us oweth thanks?--
the giver not owe thanks because the receiver received? Is bestowing
not a necessity? Is receiving not--pitying?"--
my soul, I understand the smiling of thy melancholy: thine over-abundance
itself now stretcheth out longing hands!
fulness looketh forth over raging seas, and seeketh and waiteth:
the longing of over-fulness looketh forth from the smiling heaven
of thine eyes!
verily, O my soul! Who could see thy smiling and not melt into tears?
The angels themselves melt into tears through the over-graciousness
of thy smiling.
graciousness and over-graciousness, is it which will not complain
and weep: and yet, O my soul, longeth thy smiling for tears, and
thy trembling mouth for sobs.
not all weeping complaining? And all complaining, accusing?"
Thus speakest thou to thyself; and therefore, O my soul, wilt thou
rather smile than pour forth thy grief--
in gushing tears pour forth all thy grief concerning thy fulness,
and concerning the craving of the vine for the vintager and vintage-knife!
wilt thou not weep, wilt thou not weep forth thy purple melancholy,
then wilt thou have to SING, O my soul!--Behold, I smile myself,
who foretell thee this:
wilt have to sing with passionate song, until all seas turn calm
to hearken unto thy longing,--
over calm longing seas the bark glideth, the golden marvel, around
the gold of which all good, bad, and marvellous things frisk:--
many large and small animals, and everything that hath light marvellous
feet, so that it can run on violet-blue paths,--
the golden marvel, the spontaneous bark, and its master: he, however,
is the vintager who waiteth with the diamond vintage-knife,--
great deliverer, O my soul, the nameless one--for whom future songs
only will find names! And verily, already hath thy breath the fragrance
of future songs,--
glowest thou and dreamest, already drinkest thou thirstily at all
deep echoing wells of consolation, already reposeth thy melancholy
in the bliss of future songs!--
my soul, now have I given thee all, and even my last possession,
and all my hands have become empty by thee:--THAT I BADE THEE SING,
behold, that was my last thing to give!
I bade thee sing,--say now, say: WHICH of us now--oweth thanks?--
Better still, however: sing unto me, sing, O my soul! And let me