Nietzsche's Letters | 1873© The Nietzsche Channel

Nietzsche's Letters


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Friedrich Nietzsche.
Reproduction from a b/w photo by:
Friedrich Hermann Hartmann, Basel.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Basel, November 14, 1873:
Letter1 to Gustav Krug.

My dear friend, put up with me now once more, if I am very short with you, namely as short as this photograph; you should only remember that today I cordially think of the day after tomorrow, your birthday, just like my own. I recommend to you Cupid's cap, the nine Muses, the three Graces and every little imp of antiquity and of the modern age. But above all, beloved friend, take and grow in pleasure and grace with your Dutch mistress, queen and goddess2: while we friends must be sufficiently content to live off the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table.3 But friendship may also say of itself: "it's not puffed up"4 — and so we, outdone by love yet envyless, want our friend's chorus to sing:

"That cheerfulness
Guides and leads you,
Friends in comfort, yet foes5
[From eternal jealousy!"]6

Friedrich the Untimely One7

1. Written on the back of the photograph.
2. Nietzsche is referring to Krug's August 1873 engagement to Therese Brummer (who was born in Amsterdam); they were married on Sept. 10, 1874.
3. cf. Luke 16:21: "And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table ..."
4. cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4: "Love is patient, love is kind; it's not envious, it's not puffed up [with pride]."
5. "Freunden zum Trost, Feinden jedoch": an allusion to Richard Wagner's Kaisermarsch chorus ("Feind zum Trutz, / Freund zum Schutz").
6. The last line is the conclusion of the complete poem from Nietzsche's November 13, 1871 letter to Krug.
7. Written on the front of the photograph. A moniker alluding to his Untimely Meditations.

Nietzsche's Letters | 1873© The Nietzsche Channel

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