Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The Favor of the Muses

Homer, Odyssey 8.62-64 (tr. A.T. Murray and George E. Dimock):
Then the herald approached leading the good minstrel, whom the Muse loved above all men, and gave him both good and evil; of his sight she deprived him, but gave him the gift of sweet song.

κῆρυξ δ᾽ ἐγγύθεν ἦλθεν ἄγων ἐρίηρον ἀοιδόν,
τὸν πέρι μοῦσ᾽ ἐφίλησε, δίδου δ᾽ ἀγαθόν τε κακόν τε:
ὀφθαλμῶν μὲν ἄμερσε, δίδου δ᾽ ἡδεῖαν ἀοιδήν.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, II, 212 (tr. R.J. Hollingdale):
Yes, the favour of the Muses! — What Homer says of it is so true and so terrible, it pierces us through: 'the muse loved him dearly and gave to him good and evil; for she took from him his eyes and bestowed upon him sweet song'. — This is a text without end for the thinker: she gives good and evil, that is her way of loving dearly! And everyone will interpret for himself why it is we thinkers and poets have to give our eyes in exchange.

Ja die Gunst der Musen! — Was Homer darüber sagt, greift ins Herz, so wahr, so schrecklich ist es: "herzlich liebt' ihn die Muse und gab ihm Gutes und Böses; denn die Augen entnahm sie und gab ihm süssen Gesang ein." — Dies ist ein Text ohne Ende für den Denkenden: Gutes und Böses gibt sie, das ist ihre Art von herzlicher Liebe! Und jeder wird es sich besonders auslegen, warum wir Denker und Dichter unsre Augen darangeben müssen.
Related post: Miscellaneous Notes.

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