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FROM BAHR TO DEHMEL IOI
with its acceptance of life, not in spite of suffering but because
of it, is chilled by one philosophical shudder: the doctrine of
eternal recurrence (die emge Wiederkehr, die Wiederkehr des Gleichen),
which Nietzsche substitutes for eternal life after death: the num-
ber of possibilities is limited, but time is unlimited; everything,
therefore, must repeat itself, and therefore man must inevitably
follow superman. Logically applied this doctrine neutralizes the
doctrine of the superman: what will be, has been; the superman
must come and go as one of the recurrent possibilities of existence.
Nietzsche sought to make this conception endurable by teaching
that we should live in such a way that we would gladly live again
in the same way. Thus we will eternity. 'Vergiss mcht* he cries,
'dass dufur die ILivigkeit handelstT (One might of course argue that
voluptuaries, criminals, Christians, and happy fools may wish for
a recurrence of their state.)
It has often been said of Nietzsche that he was more poet than
thinker, and by his own confession ^Man schreibt mr im Angesicbt
der Poesie gute Prosa'1) he cadenced his prose to the rhythms of
verse. Certain it is that the 'Dionysus-Dithyramben* of Zaratbustra
have, as much or more than Walt Whitman's rolling line, gone to
the making of the free rhythms of Arno Holz, Casar Flaischlen,
Alfred Mombert, and others. His verse in traditional form (Ge-
dichte tmd Spruche^ 1898) has been overmuch praised, but that of it
which is unrhymed has the suggestiveness and haunting melody
of impressionist poetry at its best; e.g.:
An der 'Brucke stand
jungst ich in brauner Nacht.
Fernher kam Gesang:
Goldener Tropfen quail's
uber die ^Itternde Icldche weg.
Gondeln> Lichter, Musik -
trunken schwamfffs in die Ddmmerung hinaus ...
Meine Seek, ein Saitenspiel^
sang sich^ unsichtbar beruhrt^
heimlich ein Gondellied da%u,
^itternd vor bunter Seligkeit,
- Hortejemand ihr %u? -
1 Dlefrohliche Wissenscbaft.