Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

NIETZSCHE'S EVENSONG

147

beholder with awe but does not warm dynamite.' 'I am an historical event or vivify. . . . Nietzsche's collapse was that divides human history into two a sort of flame-death. His spirit was parts.' As Napoleon in burning Mosconsumed on its own altar-fire.

cow, faced by the endless Russian winIndeed, that soul had long quivered ter and surrounded by the miserable and shrunk from this excessive radi- fragments of a once powerful army, ance; the magically knowing one was continued to issue arrogant and threatfrightened by this flood of inner light, ening proclamations, presumptuous to and the wild joyousness with which it the verge of the ridiculous, so Nietzsche thrilled him. 'The intensity of my in the burning Kremlin of his brain, feelings makes me shudder and laugh. powerless amid the ruined remnants of But nothing could check this ecstatic his thoughts, sent forth pamphlet after current, this plunging down of thoughts pamphlet of wild and exaggerated nonlike flights of falcons from heaven, sense, bidding the German Kaiser come enveloping him and hovering over him to Rome to be shot, calling upon the day and night, night and day, hour European Powers to make a united after hour, until his blood throbbed attack on Germany and bring her to with their fever as he slept. Chloral reason. Thus his apocalyptic wrath helped at night, built a fragile shelter struck wildly at shadows, beating of sleep to shut out the constant flood vainly against all constituted things. of visions; but his nerves glowed like He demanded that the calendar be incandescent wires, his whole being was revised and dated from the appearance like an electric charge of darting, flash- of his Antichrist. Even in his madness ing, consuming light.

Nietzsche was greater in his concepIs it strange that in this vortex of tions than any other madman. inspirational emotions, in this un- Never did such a tidal wave of ceasing torrent of ideas, Nietzsche inspiration sweep over a creative man sometimes failed to kept his feet on the as that which surged through Nietzsche solid ground and, torn this way and during this single autumn. 'Never that, no longer knew who he was or before was there such poetry, such what his limitations were? For some sensibility, such pain; thus suffers the time before the end he ceased to sign god Dionysus' – these words on the his letters by his own name, Friedrich eve of his madness are fearfully true. Nietzsche. Probably he vaguely felt For that little fourth-story chamber that one who had experienced such and the caves of Sils-Maria sheltered, mighty things was no longer the little together with the sick, nerve-shaken Protestant pastor's son from Naum- man Friedrich Nietzsche, the boldest burg, but some other being as yet thoughts, the loftiest language, that unnamed, something exceptional and his generation knew. The creative paramount, a new martyr of man. spirit had ensconced itself under the Therefore he signed his last messages low, weather-beaten roof and emptied with some symbolic word: 'The Mon- its whole treasury of gifts into the arms ster,' 'The Crucified,' 'The Antichrist,' of a single poor, nameless, timid, lost ‘Dionysus.' Completely possessed by immeasurably more than any overmastering powers, he no longer felt single human being could receive and himself a human being, but a focus, an yet survive. And in this tiny room, instrument, of outside forces. He stifled by infinity, the terrified, pitiful, shouts with tremendous hybris into the earthly senses struggled and shriveled fearful silence: 'I am no man; I am under the fury of these lightning flashes,

man

under those whiplike blows of revela- The Antichrist has appeared and they tion and prophecy. He felt that a sing Hosanna! Hosanna! Everywhere divinity was stooping over him, a fiery melody, the universe melodious with divinity whose radiance his eyes could music — And then sudden silence. not bear and whose breath burned like Something has fallen. It is himself, fire. Every time the shrinking human fallen in front of the house. Someone lifted his eyes to scan the counte- picks him up, and now he is back in nance of this presence his thoughts his chamber. Has he slept long? It is flew from him in a dazzling chaos. so dark. There is the piano. Music! Is not he who feels these inexpressible Music! And then, suddenly, people things, who puts them into words, in the room. Is that not Overbeck? and suffers from them is not he But Overbeck is surely in Basel; and himself God a god of the world now he, where is he himself? He no longer that he has killed all other gods? Who knows. Why do they look at him so who is he? . . . Is he the Crucified, strangely, so solicitously? And then the dead, or the living God, the god of a car, a car. How the rails rattle, so his youth, Dionysus? Or is he both strangely, as if they were trying to sing. simultaneously, a crucified Dionysus? Yes, they sing his gondola song, and He grows ever more bewildered; the he sings it with them, sings it into the stream roars too loudly, with too endless darkness. much light. . . . Is it still light? Is it And later in a room somewhere else, not music? The little fourth-story with darkness, constant darkness. No chamber in Via Alberto is filled with

more sun, no more light, either within harmonies; the stars sing in their or without. Somewhere around him courses; the heavens are luminous people are talking. A woman is it Oh, what music! Hot salt tears bedew not his sister? But she is certainly far his beard. What divine tenderness! away in Lama Land. Yet she reads What ineffable happiness! And now to him from books. Has he not also how luminous everything is — And written books? Someone all the while in the street below men softly, but he does not understand. smile at him, greet him, and the old After such a tempest has once swept apple-woman picks her fairest fruit through the soul the victim is deaf to from her basket for him. They all all human words. He into whose eyes bow

to him - the murderer of the spirit has gazed too deeply is blind God. ... Yes, he knows, he knows. forever after.

[ocr errors]

answers

BROTHERS IN LENIN

BY NIKOLAI BUKHARIN

as

[WE print the following extracts from give a glance in these days. Do you rean alleged letter by Bukharin, one of member how I used to tell you anecthe most brilliant and courageous dotes of Soviet and Communist Party theorists of the Communist Party, to real life — incidents that unfortunately an intimate friend in the opposite revo- were no fairy tales, though they inlutionary camp, with some doubt as to variably sounded like the poorest sort its authenticity — at least in the entire of jokes? . . . I often feared lest Cheka form as published. But se non è vero è agents might come for you with a bene trovato; and there is good reason to search warrant, as they often did, and infer the genuineness of the passages find one of the ‘leaders of the world quoted. The entire ‘letter,' of which revolution' at your apartment. Teleapproximately three-fifths is given here, phones would ring crazily all over Moshas been printed privately at Berlin, cow trying to locate me so as to drag a booklet under the title Ibo ia bolshevik me to another night session of the Cen‘Since I am a Bolshevik.')

tral Executive Committee; and Iliich

[Lenin) would curse in true boatswain KREMLIN, Moscow (date illegible)

style when they reported to him that I MY DEAREST EXILE!

was ‘nowhere to be found.' You are quite incorrigible. Neither Obviously, these talking-spells were a the threat of execution, nor a long exile mere human weakness of mine. But in Siberia where we had put you re- does not your Dostoevskii say, through gardless of your title of 'Member of the the lips of his drunken Marmeladov: Moscow Soviet,' nor yet your final exile ‘But, sir, everyone must be able to go into the rotten West' and your home away somewhere; because there are sickness for dear old Moscow, have times when one must go away, at any made you sensible. On one hand, I cost, no matter where!' admire your consistency, but I see

Yes

we all are like Marmeladov, clearly now that there is not room for drunk, some with wine, others with ilboth of us under the Russian sun. lusions, and others with blood. So now

And yet - do you remember how that a mutual friend of ours is going often we have had heart-to-heart talks abroad to recuperate after a few years together, although I knew that you of Soviet paradise, I long 'to go away'

counter-revolutionary and to you; and I beg him to take this letter that my frankness toward you was a - probably the last I shall ever write breach of Party discipline? Yet I could you — and to put it in your own hands. not help taking refuge occasionally in It must be done cautiously, so as to your little corner of another world, with avoid the ubiquitous

avoid the ubiquitous eye of Felix the oil lamp before the sacred images Dzerzhinskii, who, by the way, is now and yourself poring over the mystical suffering from the deep Communist abracadabra of Vladimir Soloviov and hypochondria that afflicts all of us since Jacob Boehme, whom no one else will Lenin died.

[ocr errors]

were

а

How glad I am that you are not here! think abstractly. It is also true that I Nasty times: we are compelled to throw frequently used to expose his ignorance fat bones now and then to the insatiable of economics to the great terror of the ‘lower strata’ of the Party, who have Party Synod, and that only our bought been forced to fast severely since we and hired professors can write differstarted the 'New Economic Policy. We ently of him. cannot do otherwise, for if we did, all But on the other hand, have I not alof this Communist scum would turn ways insisted on other things, which against the Communist system we have even Zinoviev confirms — Zinoviev, erected, and we should be thrown out, with whom I refuse to shake hands in instead of fighting on for the world's spite of all my Party discipline, and social revolution - which, by the way, , never will, even though they should is coming confoundedly slow! We have threaten me with an 'indefinite leave of 'done' in fine shape those simpletons — absence'? or greedy gulls — who trusted to our Did I not tell you that in the summer earnest professions of tolerating trade of 1917, when many of us Bolsheviki and speculation. Now we are tossing were clamoring that we should surrenthem to the Communist helots to be der to Kerenski, get arrested, publicly devoured, although we originally en- disclaim the story of our German couraged these speculators in order to espionage, and preach Bolshevist truths exploit, and not to kill them. With from the defendants' bench, it was one hand we beckon to foreign capital, Lenin who stopped us, called us fools, with the other we strangle domestic and predicted that power would be in capital; because, if we did otherwise, our hands inside two or three months? we should ourselves be strangled.

Have I not told you that when Nasty times! If Lenin himself, whose everyone, even Trotskii, insisted that slow embalming has been such a bother the Brest-Litovsk Treaty was imposto us and such a profitable enterprise sible, it was Lenin alone who forced us for the embalmers, should rise again, I to sign “the obscene peace,' predicting am sure he would only curse like a the downfall of Wilhelm and a revolupirate, in the style of a ten-year-old boy tion in Germany? from the League of Communist Youth, Remember! When all of us stuck, but would be helpless to remedy the like a flock of sheep, to our 'war-time situation.

Communism,' and were for summarily Yet - who knows? Perhaps he would executing any peasant who refused to be the only man able to find a way give up all his grain, it was Lenin who out of this devilish cobweb. For it saw that every sunrise was bringing us is all wrong for you to call him a third

one day nearer our destruction, and rate prophet. He was of course a home- compelled us to change our economic made theorist, no question about that; and his Marxism, to-day called her in Who, if not he, dared to proclaim the Leninism, was a poor mixture of Blan- New Economic Policy, to the utter qui, Bakunin, Pugachov, and some- terror of us pure Communists, and thing borrowed from Fedjka, Dostoev- thereby saved the Party? skii's desperado. I grant you also that Who but Lenin, having gotten all the his philosophical processes were some- use he could out of our Social-Revoluthing to be laughed at, and that his tionary and Menshevik opponents, book Materialism and Empirism is a knocked them on the heads, and dismasterpiece only of obtuse efforts to cussed measures even with us Bolshe

course.

BROTHERS IN LENIN

151

viki only after he had already made his bringing about a World Union of Sodecisions? 'You don't want to?' he cialist Republics. Immortality is the used to thunder. 'Good, go to the chief — although unwritten — point of Devil. I'm tired of you, and I'm going our programme. I tell this to you - I, away to the country.' This 'I'm going the author of it! away to the country'was our worst bug- And so, we are in a wilderness, and bear worse than Denikin. And so without a leader. Judge for yourself we submitted in silence, - in spite of Stalin zero. He sees the salvation theory, Party programme, and the rest, in one million more how many will - and the results were splendid! that make? one million more dead

Do you remember how you and I bodies, oncemet in a pitch-dark street?—those Kamenev — another zero. He teaches were days when even the Central us how to sit comfortably between two. Executive Committee held its sessions chairs. by the light of a single sixteen-candle Krupskaia - a zero and a dunce, power lamp. Denikin was at Tula, only whom we have permitted, for the satisa hundred miles from Moscow. Our faction of our 'lower Party strata,' to grips were packed and our pockets advertise her Herostratic exploits such bulged with forged passports and as burning libraries and suppressing traveling-funds. I, a great lover of schools, supposedly after the teaching birds, thought seriously of choosing of Ilich. For, you know, anything can Argentina as my future home, because be credited to the dead who ‘have no of its abundance of parrots. Lenin shame.' and he alone! — was perfectly calm, Zinoviev permit me not to speak and said — or rather prophesied: 'The of Zinoviev. situation is -' he used words I cannot Rykov also a zero. He has even repeat. 'It has never been worse. But lost his gift of witticism, his only gift we have always been lucky, and we whether drunk or sober; which loss is shall be lucky this time.'

much to the liking of Lunacharskii, And when the infernal ring of the whom he used to call Luna-Park-skii, blockade tightened so that we thought and also something funnier and worse: of capitulating and asking for mercy,

or instead of calling him narkom [peowho but Lenin kept saying that the ple's commissioner' in Bolshevist jarblockade would soon burst asunder and gon) he called him narkomik, or 'peoin a short time he would be discussing ple's clownlet.' the situation peacefully with Euro- Dzerzhinskii is a zero in everything pean diplomats? His optimistic prophe- except the Cheka or GPU, and so he cies were without end, and from them converts anything that we entrust to we drew our strength and our faith, him — railways and what not — into even when foolish facts knocked over departments of the GPU. all our plans twenty times a day.

I myself? - my dear friend, I, too, Oh, yes! . . . If only Lenin were am a zero if you take me off the platwith us! I have always said that the form or away from the writing-desk most terrible and the most counter- and put me to real work. I know it, and revolutionary thing in the world - therefore never accept any 'business more counter-revolutionary even than posts' the more so as I happen to yourself - was Death. Unless a remedy have Spartan tastes and no liking for is found for this pug-nosed Menshevik embezzlement. Death, there is little sense even in I know, you are waiting for a word

« ElőzőTovább »