You are on page 1of 11

HEINZ WIDERPORSTS EPICUREAN CONFESSION OF FAITH

F.W.J. SCHELLING

[German: Schellingiana Rariora. Edited by Luigi Pareysen. Torino: Erasmo, 1977.]

**The following draft translation should not be quoted or used for any published material or assessed work. It is very rough and full of mistakes; its only worth is to acquaint readers with the broad outlines of Schellings intention in this work. I have made no attempt to convey the metre or rhyme scheme, at this stage.**

Its true I cannot bear it much longer, Must fight against it once again, Stir up all my senses once more Against what seemed to destroy me: Those high theories of the other-world To which they wanted to convert me by force, To become again the one among us, Who has blood, flesh, bone and marrow. I do not know how they can carry on Writing and speaking of religion; I do not like to brood on such things, Instead I unleash my fury amidst them, So as not to let these superior spirits Force feed me understanding and meaning;

I affirm on the contrary, at this very instant, That the only things with reality or truth are What one can feel with ones fingers, What one can grasp without having to fast, Nor otherwise mortify oneself, Nor forcibly be delivered from ones flesh.

Its true, when they spoke so defiantly of it, I was taken aback for a moment, I read, as if I could understand it, The Speeches as well as the Fragments.1 I have really given my all to such things as Renouncing work and life without God; I hoped even to mock evil So as to make myself a god, And I was already up to my neck In the intuition of the universal whole, When my Witz reminded me, That I had taken the wrong route And must retrace the ancient path And do nothing more to become wise. I was not idle about doing this; But did not become straight like old Saul, Had to dispel my whims That still had upset my head, Advise my body on all points, To send for as much wine as sausage. Such, that is, to make me happily pious, I had completely come into my own, Could again indulge myself with women, See brightly out of both eyes, And then having had my fill of amusement,
1

[References to Schleiermachers Speeches and Novalis Christianity or Europa: A Fragment respectively.]

I at once sat down to write.

I spoke as follows in my inner thoughts: Do not waver in your faith, That which helped you through the world And held together body and soul; All this cannot, though, be demonstrated to you Nor reduced to concepts. When they speak of inner light, They talk a lot and prove nothing, They fill your ears with great words, About something that neither boils nor ferments, That looks like a fantastic chimera or a poem, But is, in fact, the negation of all poetry. They could not give or say anything else about themselves, But what they feel and carry within themselves. Thus I intend also to confess, As I feel it burn within me, As it swells in all my veins, With words worth as much as others, Which I in evil and good hours, Have really determined within me, Since I have come to clearly know That the following is the only truth, All our protection and counsel, All things from the righteous father, All thinkings element, All knowledges beginning and end. I take no stock in the invisible, But instead think of as revelation What I can smell, taste and feel, Rummage inside with all my senses. My one religion is To love a pretty knee,

Full breasts and slim hips, And, on top, flowers with sweet smells, All pleasures full of nourishment, All loves sweet with licence. This is why should there still be a religion (Though I personally could live without one) More than any other Only the Catholic could please me, As it was in ancient times2, When there was neither argument nor strife, When all were One in paste and cake, They did not search off into the distance, Nor did they gape at heaven, They all were truly mad about God, Believed the earth was at the centre of the world, And that Rome was found at the centre of the earth, Where the Chief resided And the holiest sceptre governed, And there lived the laymen and the parsons Together as in a land of plenty. And in the house high in the sky The same people lived in the lap of luxury, Held a daily wedding feast Between the virgins and the wizened old gents; And the wife reigned in the house And took control, as happens below. I had laughed over all of this, Although I would have profited from it at the time. All by itself the page has turned; It is a scandal; it is a disgrace, As now and in all places Everything has become so very reasonable,

[This is a reference to Novalis.]

It is comme il faut to strut with ethics, And form a parade of fine speeches; In every case, even the youths Are clipped with virtue, And one Catholic Is as good as another. Which is why I have renounced all religion, None of this stuff satisfies me anymore, I go neither to church nor to sermon, Have completely finished with all faith, Except that which rules me, Leads me to my senses and to poetry, Stirs my heart each and every day With eternal action Consistent transformation, Without peace nor delay, An open secret, An immortal poem, Which speaks to all my senses, So that I can never more believe nor think, What does not cut deep into my breast, Nor can anything remain certain and just, That does not reveal itself to me In its deeply engraved properties The truth lying hidden within; The false never can come into it, Nor is it taken in by it; Through form and image it says to us, Not concealing itself within, That out of the remaining ciphers We would also like to decipher the mystery, And yet would like to conceive nothing, But what it gives to us to grasp by hand. This is why if one religion is the just,

It must, in stone and moss, In flowers, metals and all things, Press itself into air and light, In all heights and depths Reveal itself in hieroglyphs. I really would love to bend over before the cross, If you could show me a mountain, On which for the example of Christians A temple was built by nature, On top of which high towers shone forth, With great bells hung by lodestones, And on the alters, in the knaves, Crucifixes of beautiful crystal, And in gold-fringed chasubles Silver chalices and ostensories, And anything else that adorns the vergers, Would stand petrified Capuchins. However, as up until this moment Such a mountain has not been, I will not be fooled, But will instead remain in godlessness, Until someone is sent to me, Who puts faith into my hands, Where it will happily remain. Therefore, I intend to continue so, To live until the Last Judgment, Which no one else will live to see. I believe the world has been from time immemorial, And will never decompose in itself; I would like to know when it shall burn With all the wood and shrubbery therein, With which it would try to heat up hell To cook and pickle sinners. I am delivered from all fear,

I can heal body and soul, Instead of waving my arms about, Losing myself in the universe, Immersing myself in the deep blue Of the bright eyes of a loved one. I also do not know how I should feel dread before the world, Since I know it outside and in. It is a docile and meek animal, Who threatens neither you nor I, Who has to submit itself to laws And lie peaceful at my feet. A giant spirit resides within, But all its senses have been petrified, It cannot escape out from its tight shell Nor break open its iron dungeon, Although it is often stirred to flight, Stretching itself and moving on in an immense manner, In dead and living things It struggles actively towards consciousness; Which explains the quality of things, Because it actively wells up in them and drives them forward, This force, which gives rise to metals, Which forces trees to sprout in Spring, Which searches in all corners and limits For that which turns out towards the light, Which does not allow itself to spare any effort, Which now shoots out into heights, Elongating its members and organs, And now once more shortens and retracts, Searches twisting and turning To find its true form and shape. And struggling thus with feet and hands Against the adverse element, It learns to live in a small space,

In which it first comes to its senses; Enclosed in a dwarf Of beautiful form and straight frame, Called in language the son of man, The giant spirit finds itself. From a deep sleep, from a long dream It awakes, scarcely recognises itself, Is extremely amazed at itself, With huge eyes greets itself and regrets whats past; It would like at once with all its senses again To melt away into natures expanses, But is now cut loose, Cannot again flow back, But it must stand narrow and small for a lifetime, Alone in the vast world in which it finds itself. Fearing in fearful dreams, That the giant could pluck up its courage and rebel, And like the ancient god Saturn Devour his own children in a rage. It thinks not that it is itself, It has quite forgotten its ancestry, Torments itself with ghosts, Could therefore say to itself: I am the god who nourishes in his chest, The spirit which moves in all things. From the first struggle of dark forces Until the gush of the first life juices, Through which swells force in force and matter in matter, Through which breaks forth the first bloom and the first bud, To the first beam of the newly born light, Which breaks through the night like a second creation, And out of the thousand eyes of the world Illuminates the heavens as day does night. Up to the youthful power of thought,

Through which rejuvenated nature creates itself once more, Is a power, a mere pulsation, a life, An interplay of restriction and expansion. For this reason I hate nothing so much As a foreign, if distinguished, guest, Who struts about the world With evil speeches in his mouth Of nature and its essence; And seems to himself particularly exquisite. It is a particular race of men With their own meaning and spiritual breeding, Consider all others as lost, Have sworn eternal hatred Against matter and its works, Give themselves sustenance to oppose all this with images, Speak on religion like a woman, Who one ought only to see through a veil3 So as not to feel sensual ardour, And thus produce a fog of words, Feel themselves superior and all-powerful, Believe that all their members are pregnant With the new Messiah still unborn, Elected by their resolution To lead the poor people Great and small into a sheep pen Where they cease to tease them, And together they, in a pretty Christian manner, as one And everything else they prophesise is done. They are, indeed, by nature non-magnetic, Although if they touch a genuine spirit, By its force sense what is in it, They believe themselves to have become it,

[A pun on Schleier-macher.]

Could by themselves point North, But in fact give only bad advice, Speak so much of other actions, Understand how to shake everything well, To muddle up thoughts among one another, And think that by so doing they develop lots of spirit, But only make their noses feel tingly, Polemically affect the stomach And take away all appetite. They advise everyone who has read So as to recover from corruption, To explain on the sofa With a beautiful child Lucinde.

However, to all of these and their like, I pant to make known and not keep silent, That against their piety and sanctity, Their superior sense and otherworldliness, I will rile with strenuous work and life, So long as is still given me The adoration of matter and of light, And the fundamental force of German poetry, So long as I cling on to her sweet eyes, So long as I feel myself surrounded By the uniqueness of her welcoming arms, Warmed by her lips, Made to resonate by her melody, Penetrated by her life, Then I only strive for the true, Disdain all smoke and shimmer, Then for me no thoughts could Fluctuate here and there like chimeras, They would instead have nerves, flesh, blood and marrow, And be born free, fresh and strong.

But I do still offer my greetings to the others And add so as to conclude well: Let the devil and saltpetre take All Russians4 and Jesuits.

In the nest of Frau Venus Such have I, Heinz Widerporst, written, The second called by this name, God give us still many such seeds.5

4 5

[A reference to Kotzebue.] [These last lines are a parody of the beginning of Novalis collection of fragments, Pollen.]