Fine, with one another silent,
Finer, with one another laughing
Under heaven’s silky cloth
Leaning over books and moss
With friends lightly, loudly laughing
Each one showing white teeth shining.
If I did well, let us be silent,
If I did badly, let us laugh
And do it bad again by half,
More badly done, more badly laugh,
Until the grave, when down we climb
Friends! Well! What do you say?
Amen! Until we meet again!
Don’t excuse it! Don’t forgive!
You happy, heart‑free people, give
This unreasonable book of mine
Ear and heart and sheltering!
Truly, friends, my own unreason
Did not grow to earn a curse!
What I find, what I am seeking
Was that ever in a book?
Honor one from the fools’ legion!
Learn from out of this fool’s book
How reason can be brought‑ “to reason”!
So then, friends, what do you say?
Amen! Until we meet again.

Human, All Too Human, “Among Friends. An Epilog”, by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in German in [1878]1886, English translation by Helen Zimmern, published 1909-1913 (with additional footnotes from Marion Faber’s translation). Original German edition available at Project Gutenberg

The “Epilog” was written in 1882 and published in the second edition of Human, All Too Human in 1886.
Here’s the French translation from the Colli and Montinari edition (translated by Robert Rovini):

Il est beau de se taire ensemble,
Plus beau de rire ensemble, –
Sous la tente d’un ciel de soie,
Le dos à la mousse du hêtre, Rire entre amis, éclats cordiaux
Et blanches dents qui se découvrent.
Ai-je gagné, nous nous tairons;
Ai-je mal fait –, et bien rions
Et de plus en plus mal faisons,
Plus mal faisons, plus mal rions,
Au bout la fosse nous attend.
Çà mes amis! L’aurons-nous bien?…
Ainsi soit-il! Et au revoir!
Point d’excuses! Ni de pardon!
Vous les contents, libres de coeur,
Veuillez, ce livre sans raison, Lui ouvrir coeur, oreille et gîte!
Croyez, Amis, ma déraison
N’appelle point malédiction!
Ce que je trouve et cherche, moi–,
Livre jamais en parla-t-il?
La gent des fous, en moi honorez-là!
Et ce livre de fou, apprenez-y
Comment Raison vient… à raison!
Çà, mes amis, l’aurez-vous bien?…
Ainsi soit-il! Et au revoir!

(Gallimard, Oeuvres philosophiques complètes, Humain, trop humain, tome 1, “Entre amis. Épilogue”, §2, [1968]1986, pp. 337-338).


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