Beyond Good and Evil
Friedrich Nietzsche

Part 4 out of 4

the ESSENCE of all intercourse, belongs also to the natural
condition of things. The noble soul gives as he takes, prompted
by the passionate and sensitive instinct of requital, which is at
the root of his nature. The notion of "favour" has, INTER PARES,
neither significance nor good repute; there may be a sublime way
of letting gifts as it were light upon one from above, and of
drinking them thirstily like dew-drops; but for those arts and
displays the noble soul has no aptitude. His egoism hinders him
here: in general, he looks "aloft" unwillingly--he looks either
FORWARD, horizontally and deliberately, or downwards--HE KNOWS

266. "One can only truly esteem him who does not LOOK OUT FOR
himself."--Goethe to Rath Schlosser.

267. The Chinese have a proverb which mothers even teach their
children: "SIAO-SIN" ("MAKE THY HEART SMALL"). This is the
essentially fundamental tendency in latter-day civilizations. I
have no doubt that an ancient Greek, also, would first of all
remark the self-dwarfing in us Europeans of today--in this
respect alone we should immediately be "distasteful" to him.

268. What, after all, is ignobleness?--Words are vocal symbols
for ideas; ideas, however, are more or less definite mental
symbols for frequently returning and concurring sensations, for
groups of sensations. It is not sufficient to use the same words
in order to understand one another: we must also employ the same
words for the same kind of internal experiences, we must in the
end have experiences IN COMMON. On this account the people of one
nation understand one another better than those belonging to
different nations, even when they use the same language; or
rather, when people have lived long together under similar
conditions (of climate, soil, danger, requirement, toil) there
ORIGINATES therefrom an entity that "understands itself"--namely,
a nation. In all souls a like number of frequently recurring
experiences have gained the upper hand over those occurring more
rarely: about these matters people understand one another rapidly
and always more rapidly--the history of language is the history
of a process of abbreviation; on the basis of this quick
comprehension people always unite closer and closer. The greater
the danger, the greater is the need of agreeing quickly and
readily about what is necessary; not to misunderstand one another
in danger--that is what cannot at all be dispensed with in
intercourse. Also in all loves and friendships one has the
experience that nothing of the kind continues when the discovery
has been made that in using the same words, one of the two
parties has feelings, thoughts, intuitions, wishes, or fears
different from those of the other. (The fear of the "eternal
misunderstanding": that is the good genius which so often keeps
persons of different sexes from too hasty attachments, to which
sense and heart prompt them--and NOT some Schopenhauerian "genius
of the species"!) Whichever groups of sensations within a soul
awaken most readily, begin to speak, and give the word of
command--these decide as to the general order of rank of its
values, and determine ultimately its list of desirable things. A
man's estimates of value betray something of the STRUCTURE of his
soul, and wherein it sees its conditions of life, its intrinsic
needs. Supposing now that necessity has from all time drawn
together only such men as could express similar requirements and
similar experiences by similar symbols, it results on the whole
that the easy COMMUNICABILITY of need, which implies ultimately
the undergoing only of average and COMMON experiences, must have
been the most potent of all the forces which have hitherto
operated upon mankind. The more similar, the more ordinary
people, have always had and are still having the advantage; the
more select, more refined, more unique, and difficultly
comprehensible, are liable to stand alone; they succumb to
accidents in their isolation, and seldom propagate themselves.
One must appeal to immense opposing forces, in order to thwart
this natural, all-too-natural PROGRESSUS IN SIMILE, the evolution
of man to the similar, the ordinary, the average, the gregarious
--to the IGNOBLE!--

269. The more a psychologist--a born, an unavoidable psychologist
and soul-diviner--turns his attention to the more select cases
and individuals, the greater is his danger of being suffocated by
sympathy: he NEEDS sternness and cheerfulness more than any other
man. For the corruption, the ruination of higher men, of the more
unusually constituted souls, is in fact, the rule: it is dreadful
to have such a rule always before one's eyes. The manifold
torment of the psychologist who has discovered this ruination,
who discovers once, and then discovers ALMOST repeatedly
throughout all history, this universal inner "desperateness" of
higher men, this eternal "too late!" in every sense--may perhaps
one day be the cause of his turning with bitterness against his
own lot, and of his making an attempt at self-destruction--of his
"going to ruin" himself. One may perceive in almost every
psychologist a tell-tale inclination for delightful intercourse
with commonplace and well-ordered men; the fact is thereby
disclosed that he always requires healing, that he needs a sort
of flight and forgetfulness, away from what his insight and
incisiveness--from what his "business"--has laid upon his
conscience. The fear of his memory is peculiar to him. He is
easily silenced by the judgment of others; he hears with unmoved
countenance how people honour, admire, love, and glorify, where
he has PERCEIVED--or he even conceals his silence by expressly
assenting to some plausible opinion. Perhaps the paradox of his
situation becomes so dreadful that, precisely where he has learnt
GREAT SYMPATHY, together with great CONTEMPT, the multitude, the
educated, and the visionaries, have on their part learnt great
reverence--reverence for "great men" and marvelous animals, for
the sake of whom one blesses and honours the fatherland, the
earth, the dignity of mankind, and one's own self, to whom one
points the young, and in view of whom one educates them. And who
knows but in all great instances hitherto just the same happened:
that the multitude worshipped a God, and that the "God" was only
a poor sacrificial animal! SUCCESS has always been the greatest
liar--and the "work" itself is a success; the great statesman,
the conqueror, the discoverer, are disguised in their creations
until they are unrecognizable; the "work" of the artist, of the
philosopher, only invents him who has created it, is REPUTED to
have created it; the "great men," as they are reverenced, are
poor little fictions composed afterwards; in the world of
historical values spurious coinage PREVAILS. Those great poets,
for example, such as Byron, Musset, Poe, Leopardi, Kleist, Gogol
(I do not venture to mention much greater names, but I have them
in my mind), as they now appear, and were perhaps obliged to be:
men of the moment, enthusiastic, sensuous, and childish, light-
minded and impulsive in their trust and distrust; with souls in
which usually some flaw has to be concealed; often taking revenge
with their works for an internal defilement, often seeking
forgetfulness in their soaring from a too true memory, often lost
in the mud and almost in love with it, until they become like the
Will-o'-the-Wisps around the swamps, and PRETEND TO BE stars--the
people then call them idealists,--often struggling with
protracted disgust, with an ever-reappearing phantom of
disbelief, which makes them cold, and obliges them to languish
for GLORIA and devour "faith as it is" out of the hands of
intoxicated adulators:--what a TORMENT these great artists are
and the so-called higher men in general, to him who has once
found them out! It is thus conceivable that it is just from
woman--who is clairvoyant in the world of suffering, and also
unfortunately eager to help and save to an extent far beyond her
powers--that THEY have learnt so readily those outbreaks of
boundless devoted SYMPATHY, which the multitude, above all the
reverent multitude, do not understand, and overwhelm with prying
and self-gratifying interpretations. This sympathizing invariably
deceives itself as to its power; woman would like to believe that
love can do EVERYTHING--it is the SUPERSTITION peculiar to her.
Alas, he who knows the heart finds out how poor, helpless,
pretentious, and blundering even the best and deepest love is--he
finds that it rather DESTROYS than saves!--It is possible that
under the holy fable and travesty of the life of Jesus there is
hidden one of the most painful cases of the martyrdom of
KNOWLEDGE ABOUT LOVE: the martyrdom of the most innocent and most
craving heart, that never had enough of any human love, that
DEMANDED love, that demanded inexorably and frantically to be
loved and nothing else, with terrible outbursts against those who
refused him their love; the story of a poor soul insatiated and
insatiable in love, that had to invent hell to send thither those
who WOULD NOT love him--and that at last, enlightened about human
love, had to invent a God who is entire love, entire CAPACITY for
love--who takes pity on human love, because it is so paltry, so
ignorant! He who has such sentiments, he who has such KNOWLEDGE
about love--SEEKS for death!--But why should one deal with such
painful matters? Provided, of course, that one is not obliged to
do so.

270. The intellectual haughtiness and loathing of every man who
has suffered deeply--it almost determines the order of rank HOW
deeply men can suffer--the chilling certainty, with which he is
thoroughly imbued and coloured, that by virtue of his suffering
he KNOWS MORE than the shrewdest and wisest can ever know, that
he has been familiar with, and "at home" in, many distant,
dreadful worlds of which "YOU know nothing"!--this silent
intellectual haughtiness of the sufferer, this pride of the elect
of knowledge, of the "initiated," of the almost sacrificed, finds
all forms of disguise necessary to protect itself from contact
with officious and sympathizing hands, and in general from all
that is not its equal in suffering. Profound suffering makes
noble: it separates.--One of the most refined forms of disguise
is Epicurism, along with a certain ostentatious boldness of
taste, which takes suffering lightly, and puts itself on the
defensive against all that is sorrowful and profound. They are
"gay men" who make use of gaiety, because they are misunderstood
on account of it--they WISH to be misunderstood. There are
"scientific minds" who make use of science, because it gives a
gay appearance, and because scientificness leads to the
conclusion that a person is superficial--they WISH to mislead to
a false conclusion. There are free insolent minds which would
fain conceal and deny that they are broken, proud, incurable
hearts (the cynicism of Hamlet--the case of Galiani); and
occasionally folly itself is the mask of an unfortunate OVER-
ASSURED knowledge.--From which it follows that it is the part of
a more refined humanity to have reverence "for the mask," and not
to make use of psychology and curiosity in the wrong place.

271. That which separates two men most profoundly is a different
sense and grade of purity. What does it matter about all their
honesty and reciprocal usefulness, what does it matter about all
their mutual good-will: the fact still remains--they "cannot
smell each other!" The highest instinct for purity places him who
is affected with it in the most extraordinary and dangerous
isolation, as a saint: for it is just holiness--the highest
spiritualization of the instinct in question. Any kind of
cognizance of an indescribable excess in the joy of the bath, any
kind of ardour or thirst which perpetually impels the soul out of
night into the morning, and out of gloom, out of "affliction"
into clearness, brightness, depth, and refinement:--just as much
as such a tendency DISTINGUISHES--it is a noble tendency--it also
SEPARATES.--The pity of the saint is pity for the FILTH of the
human, all-too-human. And there are grades and heights where pity
itself is regarded by him as impurity, as filth.

272. Signs of nobility: never to think of lowering our duties to
the rank of duties for everybody; to be unwilling to renounce or
to share our responsibilities; to count our prerogatives, and the
exercise of them, among our DUTIES.

273. A man who strives after great things, looks upon every one
whom he encounters on his way either as a means of advance, or a
delay and hindrance--or as a temporary resting-place. His
peculiar lofty BOUNTY to his fellow-men is only possible when he
attains his elevation and dominates. Impatience, and the
consciousness of being always condemned to comedy up to that
time--for even strife is a comedy, and conceals the end, as every
means does--spoil all intercourse for him; this kind of man is
acquainted with solitude, and what is most poisonous in it.

274. THE PROBLEM OF THOSE WHO WAIT.--Happy chances are necessary,
and many incalculable elements, in order that a higher man in
whom the solution of a problem is dormant, may yet take action,
or "break forth," as one might say--at the right moment. On an
average it DOES NOT happen; and in all corners of the earth there
are waiting ones sitting who hardly know to what extent they are
waiting, and still less that they wait in vain. Occasionally,
too, the waking call comes too late--the chance which gives
"permission" to take action--when their best youth, and strength
for action have been used up in sitting still; and how many a
one, just as he "sprang up," has found with horror that his limbs
are benumbed and his spirits are now too heavy! "It is too late,"
he has said to himself--and has become self-distrustful and
henceforth for ever useless.--In the domain of genius, may not
the "Raphael without hands" (taking the expression in its widest
sense) perhaps not be the exception, but the rule?--Perhaps
genius is by no means so rare: but rather the five hundred HANDS
which it requires in order to tyrannize over the [GREEK INSERTED
HERE], "the right time"--in order to take chance by the forelock!

275. He who does not WISH to see the height of a man, looks all
the more sharply at what is low in him, and in the foreground--
and thereby betrays himself.

276. In all kinds of injury and loss the lower and coarser soul
is better off than the nobler soul: the dangers of the latter
must be greater, the probability that it will come to grief and
perish is in fact immense, considering the multiplicity of the
conditions of its existence.--In a lizard a finger grows again
which has been lost; not so in man.--

277. It is too bad! Always the old story! When a man has finished
building his house, he finds that he has learnt unawares
something which he OUGHT absolutely to have known before he--
began to build. The eternal, fatal "Too late!" The melancholia of
everything COMPLETED!--

278.--Wanderer, who art thou? I see thee follow thy path without
scorn, without love, with unfathomable eyes, wet and sad as a
plummet which has returned to the light insatiated out of every
depth--what did it seek down there?--with a bosom that never
sighs, with lips that conceal their loathing, with a hand which
only slowly grasps: who art thou? what hast thou done? Rest thee
here: this place has hospitality for every one--refresh thyself!
And whoever thou art, what is it that now pleases thee? What will
serve to refresh thee? Only name it, whatever I have I offer
thee! "To refresh me? To refresh me? Oh, thou prying one, what
sayest thou! But give me, I pray thee---" What? what? Speak out!
"Another mask! A second mask!"

279. Men of profound sadness betray themselves when they are
happy: they have a mode of seizing upon happiness as though they
would choke and strangle it, out of jealousy--ah, they know only
too well that it will flee from them!

280. "Bad! Bad! What? Does he not--go back?" Yes! But you
misunderstand him when you complain about it. He goes back like
every one who is about to make a great spring.

281.--"Will people believe it of me? But I insist that they
believe it of me: I have always thought very unsatisfactorily of
myself and about myself, only in very rare cases, only
compulsorily, always without delight in 'the subject,' ready to
digress from 'myself,' and always without faith in the result,
owing to an unconquerable distrust of the POSSIBILITY of self-
knowledge, which has led me so far as to feel a CONTRADICTIO IN
ADJECTO even in the idea of 'direct knowledge' which theorists
allow themselves:--this matter of fact is almost the most certain
thing I know about myself. There must be a sort of repugnance in
me to BELIEVE anything definite about myself.--Is there perhaps
some enigma therein? Probably; but fortunately nothing for my own
teeth.--Perhaps it betrays the species to which I belong?--but
not to myself, as is sufficiently agreeable to me."

282.--"But what has happened to you?"--"I do not know," he said,
hesitatingly; "perhaps the Harpies have flown over my table."--It
sometimes happens nowadays that a gentle, sober, retiring man
becomes suddenly mad, breaks the plates, upsets the table,
shrieks, raves, and shocks everybody--and finally withdraws,
ashamed, and raging at himself--whither? for what purpose? To
famish apart? To suffocate with his memories?--To him who has the
desires of a lofty and dainty soul, and only seldom finds his
table laid and his food prepared, the danger will always be
great--nowadays, however, it is extraordinarily so. Thrown into
the midst of a noisy and plebeian age, with which he does not
like to eat out of the same dish, he may readily perish of hunger
and thirst--or, should he nevertheless finally "fall to," of
sudden nausea.--We have probably all sat at tables to which we
did not belong; and precisely the most spiritual of us, who are
most difficult to nourish, know the dangerous DYSPEPSIA which
originates from a sudden insight and disillusionment about our
food and our messmates--the AFTER-DINNER NAUSEA.

283. If one wishes to praise at all, it is a delicate and at the
same time a noble self-control, to praise only where one DOES NOT
agree--otherwise in fact one would praise oneself, which is
contrary to good taste:--a self-control, to be sure, which offers
excellent opportunity and provocation to constant
MISUNDERSTANDING. To be able to allow oneself this veritable
luxury of taste and morality, one must not live among
intellectual imbeciles, but rather among men whose
misunderstandings and mistakes amuse by their refinement--or one
will have to pay dearly for it!--"He praises me, THEREFORE he
acknowledges me to be right"--this asinine method of inference
spoils half of the life of us recluses, for it brings the asses
into our neighbourhood and friendship.

284. To live in a vast and proud tranquility; always beyond . . .
To have, or not to have, one's emotions, one's For and Against,
according to choice; to lower oneself to them for hours; to SEAT
oneself on them as upon horses, and often as upon asses:--for one
must know how to make use of their stupidity as well as of their
fire. To conserve one's three hundred foregrounds; also one's
black spectacles: for there are circumstances when nobody must
look into our eyes, still less into our "motives." And to choose
for company that roguish and cheerful vice, politeness. And to
remain master of one's four virtues, courage, insight, sympathy,
and solitude. For solitude is a virtue with us, as a sublime bent
and bias to purity, which divines that in the contact of man and
man--"in society"--it must be unavoidably impure. All society
makes one somehow, somewhere, or sometime--"commonplace."

285. The greatest events and thoughts--the greatest thoughts,
however, are the greatest events--are longest in being
comprehended: the generations which are contemporary with them do
not EXPERIENCE such events--they live past them. Something
happens there as in the realm of stars. The light of the furthest
stars is longest in reaching man; and before it has arrived man
DENIES--that there are stars there. "How many centuries does a
mind require to be understood?"--that is also a standard, one
also makes a gradation of rank and an etiquette therewith, such
as is necessary for mind and for star.

286. "Here is the prospect free, the mind exalted." [FOOTNOTE:
Goethe's "Faust," Part II, Act V. The words of Dr. Marianus.]--
But there is a reverse kind of man, who is also upon a height,
and has also a free prospect--but looks DOWNWARDS.

287. What is noble? What does the word "noble" still mean for us
nowadays? How does the noble man betray himself, how is he
recognized under this heavy overcast sky of the commencing
plebeianism, by which everything is rendered opaque and leaden?--
It is not his actions which establish his claim--actions are
always ambiguous, always inscrutable; neither is it his "works."
One finds nowadays among artists and scholars plenty of those who
betray by their works that a profound longing for nobleness
impels them; but this very NEED of nobleness is radically
different from the needs of the noble soul itself, and is in fact
the eloquent and dangerous sign of the lack thereof. It is not
the works, but the BELIEF which is here decisive and determines
the order of rank--to employ once more an old religious formula
with a new and deeper meaning--it is some fundamental certainty
which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be
sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to be

288. There are men who are unavoidably intellectual, let them
turn and twist themselves as they will, and hold their hands
before their treacherous eyes--as though the hand were not a
betrayer; it always comes out at last that they have something
which they hide--namely, intellect. One of the subtlest means of
deceiving, at least as long as possible, and of successfully
representing oneself to be stupider than one really is--which in
everyday life is often as desirable as an umbrella,--is called
ENTHUSIASM, including what belongs to it, for instance, virtue.
For as Galiani said, who was obliged to know it: VERTU EST

289. In the writings of a recluse one always hears something of
the echo of the wilderness, something of the murmuring tones and
timid vigilance of solitude; in his strongest words, even in his
cry itself, there sounds a new and more dangerous kind of
silence, of concealment. He who has sat day and night, from
year's end to year's end, alone with his soul in familiar discord
and discourse, he who has become a cave-bear, or a treasure-
seeker, or a treasure-guardian and dragon in his cave--it may be
a labyrinth, but can also be a gold-mine--his ideas themselves
eventually acquire a twilight-colour of their own, and an odour,
as much of the depth as of the mould, something uncommunicative
and repulsive, which blows chilly upon every passerby. The
recluse does not believe that a philosopher--supposing that a
philosopher has always in the first place been a recluse--ever
expressed his actual and ultimate opinions in books: are not
books written precisely to hide what is in us?--indeed, he will
doubt whether a philosopher CAN have "ultimate and actual"
opinions at all; whether behind every cave in him there is not,
and must necessarily be, a still deeper cave: an ampler,
stranger, richer world beyond the surface, an abyss behind every
bottom, beneath every "foundation." Every philosophy is a
foreground philosophy--this is a recluse's verdict: "There is
something arbitrary in the fact that the PHILOSOPHER came to a
stand here, took a retrospect, and looked around; that he HERE
laid his spade aside and did not dig any deeper--there is also
something suspicious in it." Every philosophy also CONCEALS a
philosophy; every opinion is also a LURKING-PLACE, every word is
also a MASK.

290. Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than
of being misunderstood. The latter perhaps wounds his vanity; but
the former wounds his heart, his sympathy, which always says:
"Ah, why would you also have as hard a time of it as I have?"

291. Man, a COMPLEX, mendacious, artful, and inscrutable animal,
uncanny to the other animals by his artifice and sagacity, rather
than by his strength, has invented the good conscience in order
finally to enjoy his soul as something SIMPLE; and the whole of
morality is a long, audacious falsification, by virtue of which
generally enjoyment at the sight of the soul becomes possible.
From this point of view there is perhaps much more in the
conception of "art" than is generally believed.

292. A philosopher: that is a man who constantly experiences,
sees, hears, suspects, hopes, and dreams extraordinary things;
who is struck by his own thoughts as if they came from the
outside, from above and below, as a species of events and
lightning-flashes PECULIAR TO HIM; who is perhaps himself a storm
pregnant with new lightnings; a portentous man, around whom there
is always rumbling and mumbling and gaping and something uncanny
going on. A philosopher: alas, a being who often runs away from
himself, is often afraid of himself--but whose curiosity always
makes him "come to himself" again.

293. A man who says: "I like that, I take it for my own, and mean
to guard and protect it from every one"; a man who can conduct a
case, carry out a resolution, remain true to an opinion, keep
hold of a woman, punish and overthrow insolence; a man who has
his indignation and his sword, and to whom the weak, the
suffering, the oppressed, and even the animals willingly submit
and naturally belong; in short, a man who is a MASTER by nature--
when such a man has sympathy, well! THAT sympathy has value! But
of what account is the sympathy of those who suffer! Or of those
even who preach sympathy! There is nowadays, throughout almost
the whole of Europe, a sickly irritability and sensitiveness
towards pain, and also a repulsive irrestrainableness in
complaining, an effeminizing, which, with the aid of religion and
philosophical nonsense, seeks to deck itself out as something
superior--there is a regular cult of suffering. The UNMANLINESS
of that which is called "sympathy" by such groups of visionaries,
is always, I believe, the first thing that strikes the eye.--One
must resolutely and radically taboo this latest form of bad
taste; and finally I wish people to put the good amulet, "GAI
SABER" ("gay science," in ordinary language), on heart and neck,
as a protection against it.

294. THE OLYMPIAN VICE.--Despite the philosopher who, as a
genuine Englishman, tried to bring laughter into bad repute in
all thinking minds--"Laughing is a bad infirmity of human nature,
which every thinking mind will strive to overcome" (Hobbes),--I
would even allow myself to rank philosophers according to the
quality of their laughing--up to those who are capable of GOLDEN
laughter. And supposing that Gods also philosophize, which I am
strongly inclined to believe, owing to many reasons--I have no
doubt that they also know how to laugh thereby in an overman-like
and new fashion--and at the expense of all serious things! Gods
are fond of ridicule: it seems that they cannot refrain from
laughter even in holy matters.

295. The genius of the heart, as that great mysterious one
possesses it, the tempter-god and born rat-catcher of
consciences, whose voice can descend into the nether-world of
every soul, who neither speaks a word nor casts a glance in which
there may not be some motive or touch of allurement, to whose
perfection it pertains that he knows how to appear,--not as he
is, but in a guise which acts as an ADDITIONAL constraint on his
followers to press ever closer to him, to follow him more
cordially and thoroughly;--the genius of the heart, which imposes
silence and attention on everything loud and self-conceited,
which smoothes rough souls and makes them taste a new longing--to
lie placid as a mirror, that the deep heavens may be reflected in
them;--the genius of the heart, which teaches the clumsy and too
hasty hand to hesitate, and to grasp more delicately; which
scents the hidden and forgotten treasure, the drop of goodness
and sweet spirituality under thick dark ice, and is a divining-
rod for every grain of gold, long buried and imprisoned in mud
and sand; the genius of the heart, from contact with which every
one goes away richer; not favoured or surprised, not as though
gratified and oppressed by the good things of others; but richer
in himself, newer than before, broken up, blown upon, and sounded
by a thawing wind; more uncertain, perhaps, more delicate, more
fragile, more bruised, but full of hopes which as yet lack names,
full of a new will and current, full of a new ill-will and
counter-current . . . but what am I doing, my friends? Of whom am
I talking to you? Have I forgotten myself so far that I have not
even told you his name? Unless it be that you have already
divined of your own accord who this questionable God and spirit
is, that wishes to be PRAISED in such a manner? For, as it
happens to every one who from childhood onward has always been on
his legs, and in foreign lands, I have also encountered on my
path many strange and dangerous spirits; above all, however, and
again and again, the one of whom I have just spoken: in fact, no
less a personage than the God DIONYSUS, the great equivocator and
tempter, to whom, as you know, I once offered in all secrecy and
reverence my first-fruits--the last, as it seems to me, who has
offered a SACRIFICE to him, for I have found no one who could
understand what I was then doing. In the meantime, however, I
have learned much, far too much, about the philosophy of this
God, and, as I said, from mouth to mouth--I, the last disciple
and initiate of the God Dionysus: and perhaps I might at last
begin to give you, my friends, as far as I am allowed, a little
taste of this philosophy? In a hushed voice, as is but seemly:
for it has to do with much that is secret, new, strange,
wonderful, and uncanny. The very fact that Dionysus is a
philosopher, and that therefore Gods also philosophize, seems to
me a novelty which is not unensnaring, and might perhaps arouse
suspicion precisely among philosophers;--among you, my friends,
there is less to be said against it, except that it comes too
late and not at the right time; for, as it has been disclosed to
me, you are loth nowadays to believe in God and gods. It may
happen, too, that in the frankness of my story I must go further
than is agreeable to the strict usages of your ears? Certainly
the God in question went further, very much further, in such
dialogues, and was always many paces ahead of me . . . Indeed, if
it were allowed, I should have to give him, according to human
usage, fine ceremonious tides of lustre and merit, I should have
to extol his courage as investigator and discoverer, his fearless
honesty, truthfulness, and love of wisdom. But such a God does
not know what to do with all that respectable trumpery and pomp.
"Keep that," he would say, "for thyself and those like thee, and
whoever else require it! I--have no reason to cover my
nakedness!" One suspects that this kind of divinity and
philosopher perhaps lacks shame?--He once said: "Under certain
circumstances I love mankind"--and referred thereby to Ariadne,
who was present; "in my opinion man is an agreeable, brave,
inventive animal, that has not his equal upon earth, he makes his
way even through all labyrinths. I like man, and often think how
I can still further advance him, and make him stronger, more
evil, and more profound."--"Stronger, more evil, and more
profound?" I asked in horror. "Yes," he said again, "stronger,
more evil, and more profound; also more beautiful"--and thereby
the tempter-god smiled with his halcyon smile, as though he had
just paid some charming compliment. One here sees at once that it
is not only shame that this divinity lacks;--and in general there
are good grounds for supposing that in some things the Gods could
all of them come to us men for instruction. We men are--more

296. Alas! what are you, after all, my written and painted
thoughts! Not long ago you were so variegated, young and
malicious, so full of thorns and secret spices, that you made me
sneeze and laugh--and now? You have already doffed your novelty,
and some of you, I fear, are ready to become truths, so immortal
do they look, so pathetically honest, so tedious! And was it ever
otherwise? What then do we write and paint, we mandarins with
Chinese brush, we immortalisers of things which LEND themselves
to writing, what are we alone capable of painting? Alas, only
that which is just about to fade and begins to lose its odour!
Alas, only exhausted and departing storms and belated yellow
sentiments! Alas, only birds strayed and fatigued by flight,
which now let themselves be captured with the hand--with OUR
hand! We immortalize what cannot live and fly much longer, things
only which are exhausted and mellow! And it is only for your
AFTERNOON, you, my written and painted thoughts, for which alone
I have colours, many colours, perhaps, many variegated
softenings, and fifty yellows and browns and greens and reds;--
but nobody will divine thereby how ye looked in your morning, you
sudden sparks and marvels of my solitude, you, my old, beloved--
EVIL thoughts!


By F W Nietzsche

Translated by L A Magnus


MIDDAY of Life! Oh, season of delight!
My summer's park!
Uneaseful joy to look, to lurk, to hark--
I peer for friends, am ready day and night,--
Where linger ye, my friends? The time is right!


Is not the glacier's grey today for you
The brooklet seeks you, wind, cloud, with longing thread
And thrust themselves yet higher to the blue,
To spy for you from farthest eagle's view


My table was spread out for you on high--
Who dwelleth so
Star-near, so near the grisly pit below?--
My realm--what realm hath wider boundary?
My honey--who hath sipped its fragrancy?


Friends, ye are there! Woe me,--yet I am not
He whom ye seek?
Ye stare and stop--better your wrath could speak!
I am not I? Hand, gait, face, changed? And what
I am, to you my friends, now am I not?


Am I an other? Strange am I to Me?
Yet from Me sprung?
A wrestler, by himself too oft self-wrung?
Hindering too oft my own self's potency,
Wounded and hampered by self-victory?


I sought where-so the wind blows keenest. There
I learned to dwell
Where no man dwells, on lonesome ice-lorn fell,
And unlearned Man and God and curse and prayer?
Became a ghost haunting the glaciers bare?


Ye, my old friends! Look! Ye turn pale, filled o'er
With love and fear!
Go! Yet not in wrath. Ye could ne'er live here.
Here in the farthest realm of ice and scaur,
A huntsman must one be, like chamois soar.


An evil huntsman was I? See how taut
My bow was bent!
Strongest was he by whom such bolt were sent--
Woe now! That arrow is with peril fraught,
Perilous as none.--Have yon safe home ye sought!


Ye go! Thou didst endure enough, oh, heart;--
Strong was thy hope;
Unto new friends thy portals widely ope,
Let old ones be. Bid memory depart!
Wast thou young then, now--better young thou art!


What linked us once together, one hope's tie--
(Who now doth con
Those lines, now fading, Love once wrote thereon?)--
Is like a parchment, which the hand is shy
To touch--like crackling leaves, all seared, all dry.


Oh! Friends no more! They are--what name for those?--
Friends' phantom-flight
Knocking at my heart's window-pane at night,
Gazing on me, that speaks "We were" and goes,--
Oh, withered words, once fragrant as the rose!


Pinings of youth that might not understand!
For which I pined,
Which I deemed changed with me, kin of my kind:
But they grew old, and thus were doomed and banned:
None but new kith are native of my land!


Midday of life! My second youth's delight!
My summer's park!
Unrestful joy to long, to lurk, to hark!
I peer for friends!--am ready day and night,
For my new friends. Come! Come! The time is right!


This song is done,--the sweet sad cry of rue
Sang out its end;
A wizard wrought it, he the timely friend,
The midday-friend,--no, do not ask me who;
At midday 'twas, when one became as two.


We keep our Feast of Feasts, sure of our bourne,
Our aims self-same:
The Guest of Guests, friend Zarathustra, came!
The world now laughs, the grisly veil was torn,
And Light and Dark were one that wedding-morn.


Back to Full Books