Thus Spake Zarathustra
Part 1 out of 8
This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher
THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
A BOOK FOR ALL AND NONE
TRANSLATED BY THOMAS COMMON
INTRODUCTION BY MRS FORSTER-NIETZSCHE.
THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA.
I. The Three Metamorphoses.
II. The Academic Chairs of Virtue.
IV. The Despisers of the Body.
V. Joys and Passions.
VI. The Pale Criminal.
VII. Reading and Writing.
VIII. The Tree on the Hill.
IX. The Preachers of Death.
X. War and Warriors.
XI. The New Idol.
XII. The Flies in the Market-place.
XIV. The Friend.
XV. The Thousand and One Goals.
XVII. The Way of the Creating One.
XVIII. Old and Young Women.
XIX. The Bite of the Adder.
XX. Child and Marriage.
XXI. Voluntary Death.
XXII. The Bestowing Virtue.
XXIII. The Child with the Mirror.
XXIV. In the Happy Isles.
XXV. The Pitiful.
XXVI. The Priests.
XXVII. The Virtuous.
XXVIII. The Rabble.
XXIX. The Tarantulas.
XXX. The Famous Wise Ones.
XXXI. The Night-Song.
XXXII. The Dance-Song.
XXXIII. The Grave-Song.
XXXV. The Sublime Ones.
XXXVI. The Land of Culture.
XXXVII. Immaculate Perception.
XL. Great Events.
XLI. The Soothsayer.
XLIII. Manly Prudence.
XLIV. The Stillest Hour.
XLV. The Wanderer.
XLVI. The Vision and the Enigma.
XLVII. Involuntary Bliss.
XLVIII. Before Sunrise.
XLIX. The Bedwarfing Virtue.
L. On the Olive-Mount.
LI. On Passing-by.
LII. The Apostates.
LIII. The Return Home.
LIV. The Three Evil Things.
LV. The Spirit of Gravity.
LVI. Old and New Tables.
LVII. The Convalescent.
LVIII. The Great Longing.
LIX. The Second Dance-Song.
LX. The Seven Seals.
FOURTH AND LAST PART.
LXI. The Honey Sacrifice.
LXII. The Cry of Distress.
LXIII. Talk with the Kings.
LXIV. The Leech.
LXV. The Magician.
LXVI. Out of Service.
LXVII. The Ugliest Man.
LXVIII. The Voluntary Beggar.
LXIX. The Shadow.
LXXI. The Greeting.
LXXII. The Supper.
LXIII. The Higher Man.
LXXIV. The Song of Melancholy.
LXXVI. Among Daughters of the Desert.
LXXVII. The Awakening.
LXXVIII. The Ass-Festival.
LXXIX. The Drunken Song.
LXXX. The Sign.
Notes on "Thus Spake Zarathustra" by Anthony M. Ludovici.
INTRODUCTION BY MRS FORSTER-NIETZSCHE.
HOW ZARATHUSTRA CAME INTO BEING.
"Zarathustra" is my brother's most personal work; it is the history of his
most individual experiences, of his friendships, ideals, raptures,
bitterest disappointments and sorrows. Above it all, however, there soars,
transfiguring it, the image of his greatest hopes and remotest aims. My
brother had the figure of Zarathustra in his mind from his very earliest
youth: he once told me that even as a child he had dreamt of him. At
different periods in his life, he would call this haunter of his dreams by
different names; "but in the end," he declares in a note on the subject, "I
had to do a PERSIAN the honour of identifying him with this creature of my
fancy. Persians were the first to take a broad and comprehensive view of
history. Every series of evolutions, according to them, was presided over
by a prophet; and every prophet had his 'Hazar,'--his dynasty of a thousand
All Zarathustra's views, as also his personality, were early conceptions of
my brother's mind. Whoever reads his posthumously published writings for
the years 1869-82 with care, will constantly meet with passages suggestive
of Zarathustra's thoughts and doctrines. For instance, the ideal of the
Superman is put forth quite clearly in all his writings during the years
1873-75; and in "We Philologists", the following remarkable observations
"How can one praise and glorify a nation as a whole?--Even among the
Greeks, it was the INDIVIDUALS that counted."
"The Greeks are interesting and extremely important because they reared
such a vast number of great individuals. How was this possible? The
question is one which ought to be studied.
"I am interested only in the relations of a people to the rearing of the
individual man, and among the Greeks the conditions were unusually
favourable for the development of the individual; not by any means owing to
the goodness of the people, but because of the struggles of their evil
"WITH THE HELP OF FAVOURABLE MEASURES GREAT INDIVIDUALS MIGHT BE REARED WHO
WOULD BE BOTH DIFFERENT FROM AND HIGHER THAN THOSE WHO HERETOFORE HAVE OWED
THEIR EXISTENCE TO MERE CHANCE. Here we may still be hopeful: in the
rearing of exceptional men."
The notion of rearing the Superman is only a new form of an ideal Nietzsche
already had in his youth, that "THE OBJECT OF MANKIND SHOULD LIE IN ITS
HIGHEST INDIVIDUALS" (or, as he writes in "Schopenhauer as Educator":
"Mankind ought constantly to be striving to produce great men--this and
nothing else is its duty.") But the ideals he most revered in those days
are no longer held to be the highest types of men. No, around this future
ideal of a coming humanity--the Superman--the poet spread the veil of
becoming. Who can tell to what glorious heights man can still ascend?
That is why, after having tested the worth of our noblest ideal--that of
the Saviour, in the light of the new valuations, the poet cries with
passionate emphasis in "Zarathustra":
"Never yet hath there been a Superman. Naked have I seen both of them, the
greatest and the smallest man:--
All-too-similar are they still to each other. Verily even the greatest
The phrase "the rearing of the Superman," has very often been
misunderstood. By the word "rearing," in this case, is meant the act of
modifying by means of new and higher values--values which, as laws and
guides of conduct and opinion, are now to rule over mankind. In general
the doctrine of the Superman can only be understood correctly in
conjunction with other ideas of the author's, such as:--the Order of Rank,
the Will to Power, and the Transvaluation of all Values. He assumes that
Christianity, as a product of the resentment of the botched and the weak,
has put in ban all that is beautiful, strong, proud, and powerful, in fact
all the qualities resulting from strength, and that, in consequence, all
forces which tend to promote or elevate life have been seriously
undermined. Now, however, a new table of valuations must be placed over
mankind--namely, that of the strong, mighty, and magnificent man,
overflowing with life and elevated to his zenith--the Superman, who is now
put before us with overpowering passion as the aim of our life, hope, and
will. And just as the old system of valuing, which only extolled the
qualities favourable to the weak, the suffering, and the oppressed, has
succeeded in producing a weak, suffering, and "modern" race, so this new
and reversed system of valuing ought to rear a healthy, strong, lively, and
courageous type, which would be a glory to life itself. Stated briefly,
the leading principle of this new system of valuing would be: "All that
proceeds from power is good, all that springs from weakness is bad."
This type must not be regarded as a fanciful figure: it is not a nebulous
hope which is to be realised at some indefinitely remote period, thousands
of years hence; nor is it a new species (in the Darwinian sense) of which
we can know nothing, and which it would therefore be somewhat absurd to
strive after. But it is meant to be a possibility which men of the present
could realise with all their spiritual and physical energies, provided they
adopted the new values.
The author of "Zarathustra" never lost sight of that egregious example of a
transvaluation of all values through Christianity, whereby the whole of the
deified mode of life and thought of the Greeks, as well as strong Romedom,
was almost annihilated or transvalued in a comparatively short time. Could
not a rejuvenated Graeco-Roman system of valuing (once it had been refined
and made more profound by the schooling which two thousand years of
Christianity had provided) effect another such revolution within a
calculable period of time, until that glorious type of manhood shall
finally appear which is to be our new faith and hope, and in the creation
of which Zarathustra exhorts us to participate?
In his private notes on the subject the author uses the expression
"Superman" (always in the singular, by-the-bye), as signifying "the most
thoroughly well-constituted type," as opposed to "modern man"; above all,
however, he designates Zarathustra himself as an example of the Superman.
In "Ecco Homo" he is careful to enlighten us concerning the precursors and
prerequisites to the advent of this highest type, in referring to a certain
passage in the "Gay Science":--
"In order to understand this type, we must first be quite clear in regard
to the leading physiological condition on which it depends: this condition
is what I call GREAT HEALTHINESS. I know not how to express my meaning
more plainly or more personally than I have done already in one of the last
chapters (Aphorism 382) of the fifth book of the 'Gaya Scienza'."
"We, the new, the nameless, the hard-to-understand,"--it says there,--"we
firstlings of a yet untried future--we require for a new end also a new
means, namely, a new healthiness, stronger, sharper, tougher, bolder and
merrier than all healthiness hitherto. He whose soul longeth to experience
the whole range of hitherto recognised values and desirabilities, and to
circumnavigate all the coasts of this ideal 'Mediterranean Sea', who, from
the adventures of his most personal experience, wants to know how it feels
to be a conqueror, and discoverer of the ideal--as likewise how it is with
the artist, the saint, the legislator, the sage, the scholar, the devotee,
the prophet, and the godly non-conformist of the old style:--requires one
thing above all for that purpose, GREAT HEALTHINESS--such healthiness as
one not only possesses, but also constantly acquires and must acquire,
because one unceasingly sacrifices it again, and must sacrifice it!--And
now, after having been long on the way in this fashion, we Argonauts of the
ideal, more courageous perhaps than prudent, and often enough shipwrecked
and brought to grief, nevertheless dangerously healthy, always healthy
again,--it would seem as if, in recompense for it all, that we have a still
undiscovered country before us, the boundaries of which no one has yet
seen, a beyond to all countries and corners of the ideal known hitherto, a
world so over-rich in the beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the
frightful, and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our thirst for
possession thereof, have got out of hand--alas! that nothing will now any
longer satisfy us!--
"How could we still be content with THE MAN OF THE PRESENT DAY after such
outlooks, and with such a craving in our conscience and consciousness? Sad
enough; but it is unavoidable that we should look on the worthiest aims and
hopes of the man of the present day with ill-concealed amusement, and
perhaps should no longer look at them. Another ideal runs on before us, a
strange, tempting ideal full of danger, to which we should not like to
persuade any one, because we do not so readily acknowledge any one's RIGHT
THERETO: the ideal of a spirit who plays naively (that is to say
involuntarily and from overflowing abundance and power) with everything
that has hitherto been called holy, good, intangible, or divine; to whom
the loftiest conception which the people have reasonably made their measure
of value, would already practically imply danger, ruin, abasement, or at
least relaxation, blindness, or temporary self-forgetfulness; the ideal of
a humanly superhuman welfare and benevolence, which will often enough
appear INHUMAN, for example, when put alongside of all past seriousness on
earth, and alongside of all past solemnities in bearing, word, tone, look,
morality, and pursuit, as their truest involuntary parody--and WITH which,
nevertheless, perhaps THE GREAT SERIOUSNESS only commences, when the proper
interrogative mark is set up, the fate of the soul changes, the hour-hand
moves, and tragedy begins..."
Although the figure of Zarathustra and a large number of the leading
thoughts in this work had appeared much earlier in the dreams and writings
of the author, "Thus Spake Zarathustra" did not actually come into being
until the month of August 1881 in Sils Maria; and it was the idea of the
Eternal Recurrence of all things which finally induced my brother to set
forth his new views in poetic language. In regard to his first conception
of this idea, his autobiographical sketch, "Ecce Homo", written in the
autumn of 1888, contains the following passage:--
"The fundamental idea of my work--namely, the Eternal Recurrence of all
things--this highest of all possible formulae of a Yea-saying philosophy,
first occurred to me in August 1881. I made a note of the thought on a
sheet of paper, with the postscript: 6,000 feet beyond men and time! That
day I happened to be wandering through the woods alongside of the lake of
Silvaplana, and I halted beside a huge, pyramidal and towering rock not far
from Surlei. It was then that the thought struck me. Looking back now, I
find that exactly two months previous to this inspiration, I had had an
omen of its coming in the form of a sudden and decisive alteration in my
tastes--more particularly in music. It would even be possible to consider
all 'Zarathustra' as a musical composition. At all events, a very
necessary condition in its production was a renaissance in myself of the
art of hearing. In a small mountain resort (Recoaro) near Vicenza, where I
spent the spring of 1881, I and my friend and Maestro, Peter Gast--also one
who had been born again--discovered that the phoenix music that hovered
over us, wore lighter and brighter plumes than it had done theretofore."
During the month of August 1881 my brother resolved to reveal the teaching
of the Eternal Recurrence, in dithyrambic and psalmodic form, through the
mouth of Zarathustra. Among the notes of this period, we found a page on
which is written the first definite plan of "Thus Spake Zarathustra":--
"MIDDAY AND ETERNITY."
"GUIDE-POSTS TO A NEW WAY OF LIVING."
Beneath this is written:--
"Zarathustra born on lake Urmi; left his home in his thirtieth year,
went into the province of Aria, and, during ten years of solitude in
the mountains, composed the Zend-Avesta."
"The sun of knowledge stands once more at midday; and the serpent of
eternity lies coiled in its light--: It is YOUR time, ye midday brethren."
In that summer of 1881, my brother, after many years of steadily declining
health, began at last to rally, and it is to this first gush of the
recovery of his once splendid bodily condition that we owe not only "The
Gay Science", which in its mood may be regarded as a prelude to
"Zarathustra", but also "Zarathustra" itself. Just as he was beginning to
recuperate his health, however, an unkind destiny brought him a number of
most painful personal experiences. His friends caused him many
disappointments, which were the more bitter to him, inasmuch as he regarded
friendship as such a sacred institution; and for the first time in his life
he realised the whole horror of that loneliness to which, perhaps, all
greatness is condemned. But to be forsaken is something very different
from deliberately choosing blessed loneliness. How he longed, in those
days, for the ideal friend who would thoroughly understand him, to whom he
would be able to say all, and whom he imagined he had found at various
periods in his life from his earliest youth onwards. Now, however, that
the way he had chosen grew ever more perilous and steep, he found nobody
who could follow him: he therefore created a perfect friend for himself in
the ideal form of a majestic philosopher, and made this creation the
preacher of his gospel to the world.
Whether my brother would ever have written "Thus Spake Zarathustra"
according to the first plan sketched in the summer of 1881, if he had not
had the disappointments already referred to, is now an idle question; but
perhaps where "Zarathustra" is concerned, we may also say with Master
Eckhardt: "The fleetest beast to bear you to perfection is suffering."
My brother writes as follows about the origin of the first part of
"Zarathustra":--"In the winter of 1882-83, I was living on the charming
little Gulf of Rapallo, not far from Genoa, and between Chiavari and Cape
Porto Fino. My health was not very good; the winter was cold and
exceptionally rainy; and the small inn in which I lived was so close to the
water that at night my sleep would be disturbed if the sea were high.
These circumstances were surely the very reverse of favourable; and yet in
spite of it all, and as if in demonstration of my belief that everything
decisive comes to life in spite of every obstacle, it was precisely during
this winter and in the midst of these unfavourable circumstances that my
'Zarathustra' originated. In the morning I used to start out in a
southerly direction up the glorious road to Zoagli, which rises aloft
through a forest of pines and gives one a view far out into the sea. In
the afternoon, as often as my health permitted, I walked round the whole
bay from Santa Margherita to beyond Porto Fino. This spot was all the more
interesting to me, inasmuch as it was so dearly loved by the Emperor
Frederick III. In the autumn of 1886 I chanced to be there again when he
was revisiting this small, forgotten world of happiness for the last time.
It was on these two roads that all 'Zarathustra' came to me, above all
Zarathustra himself as a type;--I ought rather to say that it was on these
walks that these ideas waylaid me."
The first part of "Zarathustra" was written in about ten days--that is to
say, from the beginning to about the middle of February 1883. "The last
lines were written precisely in the hallowed hour when Richard Wagner gave
up the ghost in Venice."
With the exception of the ten days occupied in composing the first part of
this book, my brother often referred to this winter as the hardest and
sickliest he had ever experienced. He did not, however, mean thereby that
his former disorders were troubling him, but that he was suffering from a
severe attack of influenza which he had caught in Santa Margherita, and
which tormented him for several weeks after his arrival in Genoa. As a
matter of fact, however, what he complained of most was his spiritual
condition--that indescribable forsakenness--to which he gives such
heartrending expression in "Zarathustra". Even the reception which the
first part met with at the hands of friends and acquaintances was extremely
disheartening: for almost all those to whom he presented copies of the
work misunderstood it. "I found no one ripe for many of my thoughts; the
case of 'Zarathustra' proves that one can speak with the utmost clearness,
and yet not be heard by any one." My brother was very much discouraged by
the feebleness of the response he was given, and as he was striving just
then to give up the practice of taking hydrate of chloral--a drug he had
begun to take while ill with influenza,--the following spring, spent in
Rome, was a somewhat gloomy one for him. He writes about it as follows:--
"I spent a melancholy spring in Rome, where I only just managed to live,--
and this was no easy matter. This city, which is absolutely unsuited to
the poet-author of 'Zarathustra', and for the choice of which I was not
responsible, made me inordinately miserable. I tried to leave it. I
wanted to go to Aquila--the opposite of Rome in every respect, and actually
founded in a spirit of enmity towards that city (just as I also shall found
a city some day), as a memento of an atheist and genuine enemy of the
Church--a person very closely related to me,--the great Hohenstaufen, the
Emperor Frederick II. But Fate lay behind it all: I had to return again
to Rome. In the end I was obliged to be satisfied with the Piazza
Barberini, after I had exerted myself in vain to find an anti-Christian
quarter. I fear that on one occasion, to avoid bad smells as much as
possible, I actually inquired at the Palazzo del Quirinale whether they
could not provide a quiet room for a philosopher. In a chamber high above
the Piazza just mentioned, from which one obtained a general view of Rome
and could hear the fountains plashing far below, the loneliest of all songs
was composed--'The Night-Song'. About this time I was obsessed by an
unspeakably sad melody, the refrain of which I recognised in the words,
'dead through immortality.'"
We remained somewhat too long in Rome that spring, and what with the effect
of the increasing heat and the discouraging circumstances already
described, my brother resolved not to write any more, or in any case, not
to proceed with "Zarathustra", although I offered to relieve him of all
trouble in connection with the proofs and the publisher. When, however, we
returned to Switzerland towards the end of June, and he found himself once
more in the familiar and exhilarating air of the mountains, all his joyous
creative powers revived, and in a note to me announcing the dispatch of
some manuscript, he wrote as follows: "I have engaged a place here for
three months: forsooth, I am the greatest fool to allow my courage to be
sapped from me by the climate of Italy. Now and again I am troubled by the
thought: WHAT NEXT? My 'future' is the darkest thing in the world to me,
but as there still remains a great deal for me to do, I suppose I ought
rather to think of doing this than of my future, and leave the rest to THEE
and the gods."
The second part of "Zarathustra" was written between the 26th of June and
the 6th July. "This summer, finding myself once more in the sacred place
where the first thought of 'Zarathustra' flashed across my mind, I
conceived the second part. Ten days sufficed. Neither for the second, the
first, nor the third part, have I required a day longer."
He often used to speak of the ecstatic mood in which he wrote
"Zarathustra"; how in his walks over hill and dale the ideas would crowd
into his mind, and how he would note them down hastily in a note-book from
which he would transcribe them on his return, sometimes working till
midnight. He says in a letter to me: "You can have no idea of the
vehemence of such composition," and in "Ecce Homo" (autumn 1888) he
describes as follows with passionate enthusiasm the incomparable mood in
which he created Zarathustra:--
"--Has any one at the end of the nineteenth century any distinct notion of
what poets of a stronger age understood by the word inspiration? If not, I
will describe it. If one had the smallest vestige of superstition in one,
it would hardly be possible to set aside completely the idea that one is
the mere incarnation, mouthpiece or medium of an almighty power. The idea
of revelation in the sense that something becomes suddenly visible and
audible with indescribable certainty and accuracy, which profoundly
convulses and upsets one--describes simply the matter of fact. One hears--
one does not seek; one takes--one does not ask who gives: a thought
suddenly flashes up like lightning, it comes with necessity,
unhesitatingly--I have never had any choice in the matter. There is an
ecstasy such that the immense strain of it is sometimes relaxed by a flood
of tears, along with which one's steps either rush or involuntarily lag,
alternately. There is the feeling that one is completely out of hand, with
the very distinct consciousness of an endless number of fine thrills and
quiverings to the very toes;--there is a depth of happiness in which the
painfullest and gloomiest do not operate as antitheses, but as conditioned,
as demanded in the sense of necessary shades of colour in such an overflow
of light. There is an instinct for rhythmic relations which embraces wide
areas of forms (length, the need of a wide-embracing rhythm, is almost the
measure of the force of an inspiration, a sort of counterpart to its
pressure and tension). Everything happens quite involuntarily, as if in a
tempestuous outburst of freedom, of absoluteness, of power and divinity.
The involuntariness of the figures and similes is the most remarkable
thing; one loses all perception of what constitutes the figure and what
constitutes the simile; everything seems to present itself as the readiest,
the correctest and the simplest means of expression. It actually seems, to
use one of Zarathustra's own phrases, as if all things came unto one, and
would fain be similes: 'Here do all things come caressingly to thy talk
and flatter thee, for they want to ride upon thy back. On every simile
dost thou here ride to every truth. Here fly open unto thee all being's
words and word-cabinets; here all being wanteth to become words, here all
becoming wanteth to learn of thee how to talk.' This is MY experience of
inspiration. I do not doubt but that one would have to go back thousands
of years in order to find some one who could say to me: It is mine
In the autumn of 1883 my brother left the Engadine for Germany and stayed
there a few weeks. In the following winter, after wandering somewhat
erratically through Stresa, Genoa, and Spezia, he landed in Nice, where the
climate so happily promoted his creative powers that he wrote the third
part of "Zarathustra". "In the winter, beneath the halcyon sky of Nice,
which then looked down upon me for the first time in my life, I found the
third 'Zarathustra'--and came to the end of my task; the whole having
occupied me scarcely a year. Many hidden corners and heights in the
landscapes round about Nice are hallowed to me by unforgettable moments.
That decisive chapter entitled 'Old and New Tables' was composed in the
very difficult ascent from the station to Eza--that wonderful Moorish
village in the rocks. My most creative moments were always accompanied by
unusual muscular activity. The body is inspired: let us waive the
question of the 'soul.' I might often have been seen dancing in those
days. Without a suggestion of fatigue I could then walk for seven or eight
hours on end among the hills. I slept well and laughed well--I was
perfectly robust and patient."
As we have seen, each of the three parts of "Zarathustra" was written,
after a more or less short period of preparation, in about ten days. The
composition of the fourth part alone was broken by occasional
interruptions. The first notes relating to this part were written while he
and I were staying together in Zurich in September 1884. In the following
November, while staying at Mentone, he began to elaborate these notes, and
after a long pause, finished the manuscript at Nice between the end of
January and the middle of February 1885. My brother then called this part
the fourth and last; but even before, and shortly after it had been
privately printed, he wrote to me saying that he still intended writing a
fifth and sixth part, and notes relating to these parts are now in my
possession. This fourth part (the original MS. of which contains this
note: "Only for my friends, not for the public") is written in a
particularly personal spirit, and those few to whom he presented a copy of
it, he pledged to the strictest secrecy concerning its contents. He often
thought of making this fourth part public also, but doubted whether he
would ever be able to do so without considerably altering certain portions
of it. At all events he resolved to distribute this manuscript production,
of which only forty copies were printed, only among those who had proved
themselves worthy of it, and it speaks eloquently of his utter loneliness
and need of sympathy in those days, that he had occasion to present only
seven copies of his book according to this resolution.
Already at the beginning of this history I hinted at the reasons which led
my brother to select a Persian as the incarnation of his ideal of the
majestic philosopher. His reasons, however, for choosing Zarathustra of
all others to be his mouthpiece, he gives us in the following words:--
"People have never asked me, as they should have done, what the name
Zarathustra precisely means in my mouth, in the mouth of the first
Immoralist; for what distinguishes that philosopher from all others in the
past is the very fact that he was exactly the reverse of an immoralist.
Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the
essential wheel in the working of things. The translation of morality into
the metaphysical, as force, cause, end in itself, was HIS work. But the
very question suggests its own answer. Zarathustra CREATED the most
portentous error, MORALITY, consequently he should also be the first to
PERCEIVE that error, not only because he has had longer and greater
experience of the subject than any other thinker--all history is the
experimental refutation of the theory of the so-called moral order of
things:--the more important point is that Zarathustra was more truthful
than any other thinker. In his teaching alone do we meet with truthfulness
upheld as the highest virtue--i.e.: the reverse of the COWARDICE of the
'idealist' who flees from reality. Zarathustra had more courage in his
body than any other thinker before or after him. To tell the truth and TO
AIM STRAIGHT: that is the first Persian virtue. Am I understood?...The
overcoming of morality through itself--through truthfulness, the overcoming
of the moralist through his opposite--THROUGH ME--: that is what the name
Zarathustra means in my mouth."
Weimar, December 1905.
THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA.
When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of
his home, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and
solitude, and for ten years did not weary of it. But at last his heart
changed,--and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the
sun, and spake thus unto it:
Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for
whom thou shinest!
For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have
wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine
eagle, and my serpent.
But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow
and blessed thee for it.
Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much
honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.
I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once more become
joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their riches.
Therefore must I descend into the deep: as thou doest in the evening,
when thou goest behind the sea, and givest light also to the nether-world,
thou exuberant star!
Like thee must I GO DOWN, as men say, to whom I shall descend.
Bless me, then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even the greatest
happiness without envy!
Bless the cup that is about to overflow, that the water may flow golden out
of it, and carry everywhere the reflection of thy bliss!
Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Zarathustra is again
going to be a man.
Thus began Zarathustra's down-going.
Zarathustra went down the mountain alone, no one meeting him. When he
entered the forest, however, there suddenly stood before him an old man,
who had left his holy cot to seek roots. And thus spake the old man to
"No stranger to me is this wanderer: many years ago passed he by.
Zarathustra he was called; but he hath altered.
Then thou carriedst thine ashes into the mountains: wilt thou now carry
thy fire into the valleys? Fearest thou not the incendiary's doom?
Yea, I recognise Zarathustra. Pure is his eye, and no loathing lurketh
about his mouth. Goeth he not along like a dancer?
Altered is Zarathustra; a child hath Zarathustra become; an awakened one is
Zarathustra: what wilt thou do in the land of the sleepers?
As in the sea hast thou lived in solitude, and it hath borne thee up.
Alas, wilt thou now go ashore? Alas, wilt thou again drag thy body
Zarathustra answered: "I love mankind."
"Why," said the saint, "did I go into the forest and the desert? Was it
not because I loved men far too well?
Now I love God: men, I do not love. Man is a thing too imperfect for me.
Love to man would be fatal to me."
Zarathustra answered: "What spake I of love! I am bringing gifts unto
"Give them nothing," said the saint. "Take rather part of their load, and
carry it along with them--that will be most agreeable unto them: if only
it be agreeable unto thee!
If, however, thou wilt give unto them, give them no more than an alms, and
let them also beg for it!"
"No," replied Zarathustra, "I give no alms. I am not poor enough for
The saint laughed at Zarathustra, and spake thus: "Then see to it that
they accept thy treasures! They are distrustful of anchorites, and do not
believe that we come with gifts.
The fall of our footsteps ringeth too hollow through their streets. And
just as at night, when they are in bed and hear a man abroad long before
sunrise, so they ask themselves concerning us: Where goeth the thief?
Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go rather to the animals! Why not
be like me--a bear amongst bears, a bird amongst birds?"
"And what doeth the saint in the forest?" asked Zarathustra.
The saint answered: "I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns
I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God.
With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling do I praise the God who is my
God. But what dost thou bring us as a gift?"
When Zarathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the saint and said:
"What should I have to give thee! Let me rather hurry hence lest I take
aught away from thee!"--And thus they parted from one another, the old man
and Zarathustra, laughing like schoolboys.
When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be
possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that GOD
When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoineth the forest, he
found many people assembled in the market-place; for it had been announced
that a rope-dancer would give a performance. And Zarathustra spake thus
unto the people:
I TEACH YOU THE SUPERMAN. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What
have ye done to surpass man?
All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want
to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast
than surpass man?
What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the
same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still
worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of
Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and
phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?
Lo, I teach you the Superman!
The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman
SHALL BE the meaning of the earth!
I conjure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH, and believe not those
who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they
know it or not.
Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of
whom the earth is weary: so away with them!
Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died, and
therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the
dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the
meaning of the earth!
Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then that contempt was
the supreme thing:--the soul wished the body meagre, ghastly, and famished.
Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth.
Oh, that soul was itself meagre, ghastly, and famished; and cruelty was the
delight of that soul!
But ye, also, my brethren, tell me: What doth your body say about your
soul? Is your soul not poverty and pollution and wretched self-
Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted
stream without becoming impure.
Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your great
contempt be submerged.
What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great
contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto
you, and so also your reason and virtue.
The hour when ye say: "What good is my happiness! It is poverty and
pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify
The hour when ye say: "What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge
as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-
The hour when ye say: "What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me
passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and
pollution and wretched self-complacency!"
The hour when ye say: "What good is my justice! I do not see that I am
fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour and fuel!"
The hour when we say: "What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on
which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion."
Have ye ever spoken thus? Have ye ever cried thus? Ah! would that I had
heard you crying thus!
It is not your sin--it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto heaven;
your very sparingness in sin crieth unto heaven!
Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy
with which ye should be inoculated?
Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!--
When Zarathustra had thus spoken, one of the people called out: "We have
now heard enough of the rope-dancer; it is time now for us to see him!"
And all the people laughed at Zarathustra. But the rope-dancer, who
thought the words applied to him, began his performance.
Zarathustra, however, looked at the people and wondered. Then he spake
Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman--a rope over an
A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a
dangerous trembling and halting.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is
lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING.
I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are
I love the great despisers, because they are the great adorers, and arrows
of longing for the other shore.
I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars for going down
and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to the earth, that the earth
of the Superman may hereafter arrive.
I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that
the Superman may hereafter live. Thus seeketh he his own down-going.
I love him who laboureth and inventeth, that he may build the house for the
Superman, and prepare for him earth, animal, and plant: for thus seeketh
he his own down-going.
I love him who loveth his virtue: for virtue is the will to down-going,
and an arrow of longing.
I love him who reserveth no share of spirit for himself, but wanteth to be
wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus walketh he as spirit over the
I love him who maketh his virtue his inclination and destiny: thus, for
the sake of his virtue, he is willing to live on, or live no more.
I love him who desireth not too many virtues. One virtue is more of a
virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for one's destiny to cling
I love him whose soul is lavish, who wanteth no thanks and doth not give
back: for he always bestoweth, and desireth not to keep for himself.
I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour, and who then
asketh: "Am I a dishonest player?"--for he is willing to succumb.
I love him who scattereth golden words in advance of his deeds, and always
doeth more than he promiseth: for he seeketh his own down-going.
I love him who justifieth the future ones, and redeemeth the past ones:
for he is willing to succumb through the present ones.
I love him who chasteneth his God, because he loveth his God: for he must
succumb through the wrath of his God.
I love him whose soul is deep even in the wounding, and may succumb through
a small matter: thus goeth he willingly over the bridge.
I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgetteth himself, and all
things are in him: thus all things become his down-going.
I love him who is of a free spirit and a free heart: thus is his head only
the bowels of his heart; his heart, however, causeth his down-going.
I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark
cloud that lowereth over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and
succumb as heralds.
Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the cloud: the
lightning, however, is the SUPERMAN.--
When Zarathustra had spoken these words, he again looked at the people, and
was silent. "There they stand," said he to his heart; "there they laugh:
they understand me not; I am not the mouth for these ears.
Must one first batter their ears, that they may learn to hear with their
eyes? Must one clatter like kettledrums and penitential preachers? Or do
they only believe the stammerer?
They have something whereof they are proud. What do they call it, that
which maketh them proud? Culture, they call it; it distinguisheth them
from the goatherds.
They dislike, therefore, to hear of 'contempt' of themselves. So I will
appeal to their pride.
I will speak unto them of the most contemptible thing: that, however, is
THE LAST MAN!"
And thus spake Zarathustra unto the people:
It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ
of his highest hope.
Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor
and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow thereon.
Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his
longing beyond man--and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!
I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing
star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.
Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any
star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no
longer despise himself.
Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.
"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?"--so
asketh the last man and blinketh.
The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who
maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the
ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.
"We have discovered happiness"--say the last men, and blink thereby.
They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth.
One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth
Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily.
He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or men!
A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams. And much
poison at last for a pleasant death.
One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the
pastime should hurt one.
One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still
wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey? Both are too burdensome.
No shepherd, and one herd! Every one wanteth the same; every one is equal:
he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse.
"Formerly all the world was insane,"--say the subtlest of them, and blink
They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to
their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled--otherwise
it spoileth their stomachs.
They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures
for the night, but they have a regard for health.
"We have discovered happiness,"--say the last men, and blink thereby.--
And here ended the first discourse of Zarathustra, which is also called
"The Prologue": for at this point the shouting and mirth of the multitude
interrupted him. "Give us this last man, O Zarathustra,"--they called out-
-"make us into these last men! Then will we make thee a present of the
Superman!" And all the people exulted and smacked their lips.
Zarathustra, however, turned sad, and said to his heart:
"They understand me not: I am not the mouth for these ears.
Too long, perhaps, have I lived in the mountains; too much have I hearkened
unto the brooks and trees: now do I speak unto them as unto the goatherds.
Calm is my soul, and clear, like the mountains in the morning. But they
think me cold, and a mocker with terrible jests.
And now do they look at me and laugh: and while they laugh they hate me
too. There is ice in their laughter."
Then, however, something happened which made every mouth mute and every eye
fixed. In the meantime, of course, the rope-dancer had commenced his
performance: he had come out at a little door, and was going along the
rope which was stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the
market-place and the people. When he was just midway across, the little
door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like a buffoon sprang
out, and went rapidly after the first one. "Go on, halt-foot," cried his
frightful voice, "go on, lazy-bones, interloper, sallow-face!--lest I
tickle thee with my heel! What dost thou here between the towers? In the
tower is the place for thee, thou shouldst be locked up; to one better than
thyself thou blockest the way!"--And with every word he came nearer and
nearer the first one. When, however, he was but a step behind, there
happened the frightful thing which made every mouth mute and every eye
fixed--he uttered a yell like a devil, and jumped over the other who was in
his way. The latter, however, when he thus saw his rival triumph, lost at
the same time his head and his footing on the rope; he threw his pole away,
and shot downwards faster than it, like an eddy of arms and legs, into the
depth. The market-place and the people were like the sea when the storm
cometh on: they all flew apart and in disorder, especially where the body
was about to fall.
Zarathustra, however, remained standing, and just beside him fell the body,
badly injured and disfigured, but not yet dead. After a while
consciousness returned to the shattered man, and he saw Zarathustra
kneeling beside him. "What art thou doing there?" said he at last, "I knew
long ago that the devil would trip me up. Now he draggeth me to hell:
wilt thou prevent him?"
"On mine honour, my friend," answered Zarathustra, "there is nothing of all
that whereof thou speakest: there is no devil and no hell. Thy soul will
be dead even sooner than thy body: fear, therefore, nothing any more!"
The man looked up distrustfully. "If thou speakest the truth," said he, "I
lose nothing when I lose my life. I am not much more than an animal which
hath been taught to dance by blows and scanty fare."
"Not at all," said Zarathustra, "thou hast made danger thy calling; therein
there is nothing contemptible. Now thou perishest by thy calling:
therefore will I bury thee with mine own hands."
When Zarathustra had said this the dying one did not reply further; but he
moved his hand as if he sought the hand of Zarathustra in gratitude.
Meanwhile the evening came on, and the market-place veiled itself in gloom.
Then the people dispersed, for even curiosity and terror become fatigued.
Zarathustra, however, still sat beside the dead man on the ground, absorbed
in thought: so he forgot the time. But at last it became night, and a
cold wind blew upon the lonely one. Then arose Zarathustra and said to his
Verily, a fine catch of fish hath Zarathustra made to-day! It is not a man
he hath caught, but a corpse.
Sombre is human life, and as yet without meaning: a buffoon may be fateful
I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the Superman,
the lightning out of the dark cloud--man.
But still am I far from them, and my sense speaketh not unto their sense.
To men I am still something between a fool and a corpse.
Gloomy is the night, gloomy are the ways of Zarathustra. Come, thou cold
and stiff companion! I carry thee to the place where I shall bury thee
with mine own hands.
When Zarathustra had said this to his heart, he put the corpse upon his
shoulders and set out on his way. Yet had he not gone a hundred steps,
when there stole a man up to him and whispered in his ear--and lo! he that
spake was the buffoon from the tower. "Leave this town, O Zarathustra,"
said he, "there are too many here who hate thee. The good and just hate
thee, and call thee their enemy and despiser; the believers in the orthodox
belief hate thee, and call thee a danger to the multitude. It was thy good
fortune to be laughed at: and verily thou spakest like a buffoon. It was
thy good fortune to associate with the dead dog; by so humiliating thyself
thou hast saved thy life to-day. Depart, however, from this town,--or
tomorrow I shall jump over thee, a living man over a dead one." And when
he had said this, the buffoon vanished; Zarathustra, however, went on
through the dark streets.
At the gate of the town the grave-diggers met him: they shone their torch
on his face, and, recognising Zarathustra, they sorely derided him.
"Zarathustra is carrying away the dead dog: a fine thing that Zarathustra
hath turned a grave-digger! For our hands are too cleanly for that roast.
Will Zarathustra steal the bite from the devil? Well then, good luck to
the repast! If only the devil is not a better thief than Zarathustra!--he
will steal them both, he will eat them both!" And they laughed among
themselves, and put their heads together.
Zarathustra made no answer thereto, but went on his way. When he had gone
on for two hours, past forests and swamps, he had heard too much of the
hungry howling of the wolves, and he himself became a-hungry. So he halted
at a lonely house in which a light was burning.
"Hunger attacketh me," said Zarathustra, "like a robber. Among forests and
swamps my hunger attacketh me, and late in the night.
"Strange humours hath my hunger. Often it cometh to me only after a
repast, and all day it hath failed to come: where hath it been?"
And thereupon Zarathustra knocked at the door of the house. An old man
appeared, who carried a light, and asked: "Who cometh unto me and my bad
"A living man and a dead one," said Zarathustra. "Give me something to eat
and drink, I forgot it during the day. He that feedeth the hungry
refresheth his own soul, saith wisdom."
The old man withdrew, but came back immediately and offered Zarathustra
bread and wine. "A bad country for the hungry," said he; "that is why I
live here. Animal and man come unto me, the anchorite. But bid thy
companion eat and drink also, he is wearier than thou." Zarathustra
answered: "My companion is dead; I shall hardly be able to persuade him to
eat." "That doth not concern me," said the old man sullenly; "he that
knocketh at my door must take what I offer him. Eat, and fare ye well!"--
Thereafter Zarathustra again went on for two hours, trusting to the path
and the light of the stars: for he was an experienced night-walker, and
liked to look into the face of all that slept. When the morning dawned,
however, Zarathustra found himself in a thick forest, and no path was any
longer visible. He then put the dead man in a hollow tree at his head--for
he wanted to protect him from the wolves--and laid himself down on the
ground and moss. And immediately he fell asleep, tired in body, but with a
Long slept Zarathustra; and not only the rosy dawn passed over his
head, but also the morning. At last, however, his eyes opened, and
amazedly he gazed into the forest and the stillness, amazedly he gazed
into himself. Then he arose quickly, like a seafarer who all at once
seeth the land; and he shouted for joy: for he saw a new truth. And he
spake thus to his heart:
A light hath dawned upon me: I need companions--living ones; not
dead companions and corpses, which I carry with me where I will.
But I need living companions, who will follow me because they want
to follow themselves--and to the place where I will.
A light hath dawned upon me. Not to the people is Zarathustra to speak,
but to companions! Zarathustra shall not be the herd's herdsman and hound!
To allure many from the herd--for that purpose have I come. The people and
the herd must be angry with me: a robber shall Zarathustra be called by
Herdsmen, I say, but they call themselves the good and just. Herdsmen, I
say, but they call themselves the believers in the orthodox belief.
Behold the good and just! Whom do they hate most? Him who breaketh up
their tables of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker:--he, however, is the
Behold the believers of all beliefs! Whom do they hate most? Him who
breaketh up their tables of values, the breaker, the law-breaker--he,
however, is the creator.
Companions, the creator seeketh, not corpses--and not herds or believers
either. Fellow-creators the creator seeketh--those who grave new values on
Companions, the creator seeketh, and fellow-reapers: for everything is
ripe for the harvest with him. But he lacketh the hundred sickles: so he
plucketh the ears of corn and is vexed.
Companions, the creator seeketh, and such as know how to whet their
sickles. Destroyers, will they be called, and despisers of good and evil.
But they are the reapers and rejoicers.
Fellow-creators, Zarathustra seeketh; fellow-reapers and fellow-rejoicers,
Zarathustra seeketh: what hath he to do with herds and herdsmen and
And thou, my first companion, rest in peace! Well have I buried thee in
thy hollow tree; well have I hid thee from the wolves.
But I part from thee; the time hath arrived. 'Twixt rosy dawn and rosy
dawn there came unto me a new truth.
I am not to be a herdsman, I am not to be a grave-digger. Not any more
will I discourse unto the people; for the last time have I spoken unto the
With the creators, the reapers, and the rejoicers will I associate: the
rainbow will I show them, and all the stairs to the Superman.
To the lone-dwellers will I sing my song, and to the twain-dwellers; and
unto him who hath still ears for the unheard, will I make the heart heavy
with my happiness.
I make for my goal, I follow my course; over the loitering and tardy will I
leap. Thus let my on-going be their down-going!
This had Zarathustra said to his heart when the sun stood at noon-tide.
Then he looked inquiringly aloft,--for he heard above him the sharp call of
a bird. And behold! An eagle swept through the air in wide circles, and
on it hung a serpent, not like a prey, but like a friend: for it kept
itself coiled round the eagle's neck.
"They are mine animals," said Zarathustra, and rejoiced in his heart.
"The proudest animal under the sun, and the wisest animal under the sun,--
they have come out to reconnoitre.
They want to know whether Zarathustra still liveth. Verily, do I still
More dangerous have I found it among men than among animals; in dangerous
paths goeth Zarathustra. Let mine animals lead me!
When Zarathustra had said this, he remembered the words of the saint in the
forest. Then he sighed and spake thus to his heart:
"Would that I were wiser! Would that I were wise from the very heart, like
But I am asking the impossible. Therefore do I ask my pride to go always
with my wisdom!
And if my wisdom should some day forsake me:--alas! it loveth to fly away!-
-may my pride then fly with my folly!"
Thus began Zarathustra's down-going.
I. THE THREE METAMORPHOSES.
Three metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: how the spirit
becometh a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.
Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong load-bearing spirit
in which reverence dwelleth: for the heavy and the heaviest longeth its
What is heavy? so asketh the load-bearing spirit; then kneeleth it down
like the camel, and wanteth to be well laden.
What is the heaviest thing, ye heroes? asketh the load-bearing spirit, that
I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.
Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To
exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?
Or is it this: To desert our cause when it celebrateth its triumph? To
ascend high mountains to tempt the tempter?
Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the
sake of truth to suffer hunger of soul?
Or is it this: To be sick and dismiss comforters, and make friends of the
deaf, who never hear thy requests?
Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and
not disclaim cold frogs and hot toads?
Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and give one's hand to the
phantom when it is going to frighten us?
All these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit taketh upon itself: and
like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so
hasteneth the spirit into its wilderness.
But in the loneliest wilderness happeneth the second metamorphosis: here
the spirit becometh a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its
Its last Lord it here seeketh: hostile will it be to him, and to its last
God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.
What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call
Lord and God? "Thou-shalt," is the great dragon called. But the spirit of
the lion saith, "I will."
"Thou-shalt," lieth in its path, sparkling with gold--a scale-covered
beast; and on every scale glittereth golden, "Thou shalt!"
The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaketh
the mightiest of all dragons: "All the values of things--glitter on me.
All values have already been created, and all created values--do I
represent. Verily, there shall be no 'I will' any more. Thus speaketh the
My brethren, wherefore is there need of the lion in the spirit? Why
sufficeth not the beast of burden, which renounceth and is reverent?
To create new values--that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish: but to
create itself freedom for new creating--that can the might of the lion do.
To create itself freedom, and give a holy Nay even unto duty: for that, my
brethren, there is need of the lion.
To assume the right to new values--that is the most formidable assumption
for a load-bearing and reverent spirit. Verily, unto such a spirit it is
preying, and the work of a beast of prey.
As its holiest, it once loved "Thou-shalt": now is it forced to find
illusion and arbitrariness even in the holiest things, that it may capture
freedom from its love: the lion is needed for this capture.
But tell me, my brethren, what the child can do, which even the lion could
not do? Why hath the preying lion still to become a child?
Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-
rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.
Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy Yea unto
life: ITS OWN will, willeth now the spirit; HIS OWN world winneth the
Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit
became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.--
Thus spake Zarathustra. And at that time he abode in the town which is
called The Pied Cow.
II. THE ACADEMIC CHAIRS OF VIRTUE.
People commended unto Zarathustra a wise man, as one who could discourse
well about sleep and virtue: greatly was he honoured and rewarded for it,
and all the youths sat before his chair. To him went Zarathustra, and sat
among the youths before his chair. And thus spake the wise man:
Respect and modesty in presence of sleep! That is the first thing! And to
go out of the way of all who sleep badly and keep awake at night!
Modest is even the thief in presence of sleep: he always stealeth softly
through the night. Immodest, however, is the night-watchman; immodestly he
carrieth his horn.
No small art is it to sleep: it is necessary for that purpose to keep
awake all day.
Ten times a day must thou overcome thyself: that causeth wholesome
weariness, and is poppy to the soul.
Ten times must thou reconcile again with thyself; for overcoming is
bitterness, and badly sleep the unreconciled.
Ten truths must thou find during the day; otherwise wilt thou seek truth
during the night, and thy soul will have been hungry.
Ten times must thou laugh during the day, and be cheerful; otherwise thy
stomach, the father of affliction, will disturb thee in the night.
Few people know it, but one must have all the virtues in order to sleep
well. Shall I bear false witness? Shall I commit adultery?
Shall I covet my neighbour's maidservant? All that would ill accord with
And even if one have all the virtues, there is still one thing needful: to
send the virtues themselves to sleep at the right time.
That they may not quarrel with one another, the good females! And about
thee, thou unhappy one!
Peace with God and thy neighbour: so desireth good sleep. And peace also
with thy neighbour's devil! Otherwise it will haunt thee in the night.
Honour to the government, and obedience, and also to the crooked
government! So desireth good sleep. How can I help it, if power like to
walk on crooked legs?
He who leadeth his sheep to the greenest pasture, shall always be for me
the best shepherd: so doth it accord with good sleep.
Many honours I want not, nor great treasures: they excite the spleen. But
it is bad sleeping without a good name and a little treasure.
A small company is more welcome to me than a bad one: but they must come
and go at the right time. So doth it accord with good sleep.
Well, also, do the poor in spirit please me: they promote sleep. Blessed
are they, especially if one always give in to them.
Thus passeth the day unto the virtuous. When night cometh, then take I
good care not to summon sleep. It disliketh to be summoned--sleep, the
lord of the virtues!
But I think of what I have done and thought during the day. Thus
ruminating, patient as a cow, I ask myself: What were thy ten overcomings?
And what were the ten reconciliations, and the ten truths, and the ten
laughters with which my heart enjoyed itself?
Thus pondering, and cradled by forty thoughts, it overtaketh me all at
once--sleep, the unsummoned, the lord of the virtues.
Sleep tappeth on mine eye, and it turneth heavy. Sleep toucheth my mouth,
and it remaineth open.
Verily, on soft soles doth it come to me, the dearest of thieves, and
stealeth from me my thoughts: stupid do I then stand, like this academic
But not much longer do I then stand: I already lie.--
When Zarathustra heard the wise man thus speak, he laughed in his heart:
for thereby had a light dawned upon him. And thus spake he to his heart:
A fool seemeth this wise man with his forty thoughts: but I believe he
knoweth well how to sleep.
Happy even is he who liveth near this wise man! Such sleep is contagious--
even through a thick wall it is contagious.
A magic resideth even in his academic chair. And not in vain did the
youths sit before the preacher of virtue.
His wisdom is to keep awake in order to sleep well. And verily, if life
had no sense, and had I to choose nonsense, this would be the desirablest
nonsense for me also.
Now know I well what people sought formerly above all else when they sought
teachers of virtue. Good sleep they sought for themselves, and poppy-head
virtues to promote it!
To all those belauded sages of the academic chairs, wisdom was sleep
without dreams: they knew no higher significance of life.
Even at present, to be sure, there are some like this preacher of virtue,
and not always so honourable: but their time is past. And not much longer
do they stand: there they already lie.
Blessed are those drowsy ones: for they shall soon nod to sleep.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
Once on a time, Zarathustra also cast his fancy beyond man, like all
backworldsmen. The work of a suffering and tortured God, did the world
then seem to me.
The dream--and diction--of a God, did the world then seem to me; coloured
vapours before the eyes of a divinely dissatisfied one.
Good and evil, and joy and woe, and I and thou--coloured vapours did they
seem to me before creative eyes. The creator wished to look away from
himself,--thereupon he created the world.
Intoxicating joy is it for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and
forget himself. Intoxicating joy and self-forgetting, did the world once
seem to me.
This world, the eternally imperfect, an eternal contradiction's image and
imperfect image--an intoxicating joy to its imperfect creator:--thus did
the world once seem to me.
Thus, once on a time, did I also cast my fancy beyond man, like all
backworldsmen. Beyond man, forsooth?
Ah, ye brethren, that God whom I created was human work and human madness,
like all the Gods!
A man was he, and only a poor fragment of a man and ego. Out of mine own
ashes and glow it came unto me, that phantom. And verily, it came not unto
me from the beyond!
What happened, my brethren? I surpassed myself, the suffering one; I
carried mine own ashes to the mountain; a brighter flame I contrived for
myself. And lo! Thereupon the phantom WITHDREW from me!
To me the convalescent would it now be suffering and torment to believe in
such phantoms: suffering would it now be to me, and humiliation. Thus
speak I to backworldsmen.
Suffering was it, and impotence--that created all backworlds; and the short
madness of happiness, which only the greatest sufferer experienceth.
Weariness, which seeketh to get to the ultimate with one leap, with a
death-leap; a poor ignorant weariness, unwilling even to will any longer:
that created all Gods and backworlds.
Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the body--it
groped with the fingers of the infatuated spirit at the ultimate walls.
Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the earth--it
heard the bowels of existence speaking unto it.
And then it sought to get through the ultimate walls with its head--and not
with its head only--into "the other world."
But that "other world" is well concealed from man, that dehumanised,
inhuman world, which is a celestial naught; and the bowels of existence do
not speak unto man, except as man.
Verily, it is difficult to prove all being, and hard to make it speak.
Tell me, ye brethren, is not the strangest of all things best proved?
Yea, this ego, with its contradiction and perplexity, speaketh most
uprightly of its being--this creating, willing, evaluing ego, which is the
measure and value of things.
And this most upright existence, the ego--it speaketh of the body, and
still implieth the body, even when it museth and raveth and fluttereth with
Always more uprightly learneth it to speak, the ego; and the more it
learneth, the more doth it find titles and honours for the body and the
A new pride taught me mine ego, and that teach I unto men: no longer to
thrust one's head into the sand of celestial things, but to carry it
freely, a terrestrial head, which giveth meaning to the earth!
A new will teach I unto men: to choose that path which man hath followed
blindly, and to approve of it--and no longer to slink aside from it, like
the sick and perishing!
The sick and perishing--it was they who despised the body and the earth,
and invented the heavenly world, and the redeeming blood-drops; but even
those sweet and sad poisons they borrowed from the body and the earth!
From their misery they sought escape, and the stars were too remote for
them. Then they sighed: "O that there were heavenly paths by which to
steal into another existence and into happiness!" Then they contrived for
themselves their by-paths and bloody draughts!
Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they now fancied themselves
transported, these ungrateful ones. But to what did they owe the
convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.
Gentle is Zarathustra to the sickly. Verily, he is not indignant at their
modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and
overcomers, and create higher bodies for themselves!
Neither is Zarathustra indignant at a convalescent who looketh tenderly on
his delusions, and at midnight stealeth round the grave of his God; but
sickness and a sick frame remain even in his tears.
Many sickly ones have there always been among those who muse, and languish
for God; violently they hate the discerning ones, and the latest of
virtues, which is uprightness.
Backward they always gaze toward dark ages: then, indeed, were delusion
and faith something different. Raving of the reason was likeness to God,
and doubt was sin.
Too well do I know those godlike ones: they insist on being believed in,
and that doubt is sin. Too well, also, do I know what they themselves most
Verily, not in backworlds and redeeming blood-drops: but in the body do
they also believe most; and their own body is for them the thing-in-itself.
But it is a sickly thing to them, and gladly would they get out of their
skin. Therefore hearken they to the preachers of death, and themselves
Hearken rather, my brethren, to the voice of the healthy body; it is a more
upright and pure voice.
More uprightly and purely speaketh the healthy body, perfect and square-
built; and it speaketh of the meaning of the earth.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
IV. THE DESPISERS OF THE BODY.
To the despisers of the body will I speak my word. I wish them neither to
learn afresh, nor teach anew, but only to bid farewell to their own
bodies,--and thus be dumb.
"Body am I, and soul"--so saith the child. And why should one not speak
But the awakened one, the knowing one, saith: "Body am I entirely, and
nothing more; and soul is only the name of something in the body."
The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace,
a flock and a shepherd.
An instrument of thy body is also thy little sagacity, my brother, which
thou callest "spirit"--a little instrument and plaything of thy big
"Ego," sayest thou, and art proud of that word. But the greater thing--in
which thou art unwilling to believe--is thy body with its big sagacity; it
saith not "ego," but doeth it.
What the sense feeleth, what the spirit discerneth, hath never its end in
itself. But sense and spirit would fain persuade thee that they are the
end of all things: so vain are they.
Instruments and playthings are sense and spirit: behind them there is
still the Self. The Self seeketh with the eyes of the senses, it
hearkeneth also with the ears of the spirit.
Ever hearkeneth the Self, and seeketh; it compareth, mastereth, conquereth,
and destroyeth. It ruleth, and is also the ego's ruler.
Behind thy thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, an
unknown sage--it is called Self; it dwelleth in thy body, it is thy body.
There is more sagacity in thy body than in thy best wisdom. And who then
knoweth why thy body requireth just thy best wisdom?
Thy Self laugheth at thine ego, and its proud prancings. "What are these
prancings and flights of thought unto me?" it saith to itself. "A by-way
to my purpose. I am the leading-string of the ego, and the prompter of its
The Self saith unto the ego: "Feel pain!" And thereupon it suffereth, and
thinketh how it may put an end thereto--and for that very purpose it IS
MEANT to think.
The Self saith unto the ego: "Feel pleasure!" Thereupon it rejoiceth, and
thinketh how it may ofttimes rejoice--and for that very purpose it IS MEANT
To the despisers of the body will I speak a word. That they despise is
caused by their esteem. What is it that created esteeming and despising
and worth and will?
The creating Self created for itself esteeming and despising, it created
for itself joy and woe. The creating body created for itself spirit, as a
hand to its will.
Even in your folly and despising ye each serve your Self, ye despisers of
the body. I tell you, your very Self wanteth to die, and turneth away from
No longer can your Self do that which it desireth most:--create beyond
itself. That is what it desireth most; that is all its fervour.
But it is now too late to do so:--so your Self wisheth to succumb, ye
despisers of the body.
To succumb--so wisheth your Self; and therefore have ye become despisers of
the body. For ye can no longer create beyond yourselves.
And therefore are ye now angry with life and with the earth. And
unconscious envy is in the sidelong look of your contempt.
I go not your way, ye despisers of the body! Ye are no bridges for me to
Thus spake Zarathustra.
V. JOYS AND PASSIONS.
My brother, when thou hast a virtue, and it is thine own virtue, thou hast
it in common with no one.
To be sure, thou wouldst call it by name and caress it; thou wouldst pull
its ears and amuse thyself with it.
And lo! Then hast thou its name in common with the people, and hast become
one of the people and the herd with thy virtue!
Better for thee to say: "Ineffable is it, and nameless, that which is pain
and sweetness to my soul, and also the hunger of my bowels."
Let thy virtue be too high for the familiarity of names, and if thou must
speak of it, be not ashamed to stammer about it.
Thus speak and stammer: "That is MY good, that do I love, thus doth it
please me entirely, thus only do _I_ desire the good.
Not as the law of a God do I desire it, not as a human law or a human need
do I desire it; it is not to be a guide-post for me to superearths and
An earthly virtue is it which I love: little prudence is therein, and the
least everyday wisdom.
But that bird built its nest beside me: therefore, I love and cherish it--
now sitteth it beside me on its golden eggs."
Thus shouldst thou stammer, and praise thy virtue.
Once hadst thou passions and calledst them evil. But now hast thou only
thy virtues: they grew out of thy passions.
Thou implantedst thy highest aim into the heart of those passions: then
became they thy virtues and joys.
And though thou wert of the race of the hot-tempered, or of the voluptuous,
or of the fanatical, or the vindictive;
All thy passions in the end became virtues, and all thy devils angels.
Once hadst thou wild dogs in thy cellar: but they changed at last into
birds and charming songstresses.
Out of thy poisons brewedst thou balsam for thyself; thy cow, affliction,
milkedst thou--now drinketh thou the sweet milk of her udder.
And nothing evil groweth in thee any longer, unless it be the evil that
groweth out of the conflict of thy virtues.
My brother, if thou be fortunate, then wilt thou have one virtue and no
more: thus goest thou easier over the bridge.
Illustrious is it to have many virtues, but a hard lot; and many a one hath
gone into the wilderness and killed himself, because he was weary of being
the battle and battlefield of virtues.
My brother, are war and battle evil? Necessary, however, is the evil;
necessary are the envy and the distrust and the back-biting among the
Lo! how each of thy virtues is covetous of the highest place; it wanteth
thy whole spirit to be ITS herald, it wanteth thy whole power, in wrath,
hatred, and love.
Jealous is every virtue of the others, and a dreadful thing is jealousy.
Even virtues may succumb by jealousy.
He whom the flame of jealousy encompasseth, turneth at last, like the
scorpion, the poisoned sting against himself.
Ah! my brother, hast thou never seen a virtue backbite and stab itself?
Man is something that hath to be surpassed: and therefore shalt thou love
thy virtues,--for thou wilt succumb by them.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
VI. THE PALE CRIMINAL.
Ye do not mean to slay, ye judges and sacrificers, until the animal hath
bowed its head? Lo! the pale criminal hath bowed his head: out of his eye
speaketh the great contempt.
"Mine ego is something which is to be surpassed: mine ego is to me the
great contempt of man": so speaketh it out of that eye.
When he judged himself--that was his supreme moment; let not the exalted
one relapse again into his low estate!
There is no salvation for him who thus suffereth from himself, unless it be
Your slaying, ye judges, shall be pity, and not revenge; and in that ye
slay, see to it that ye yourselves justify life!
It is not enough that ye should reconcile with him whom ye slay. Let your
sorrow be love to the Superman: thus will ye justify your own survival!
"Enemy" shall ye say but not "villain," "invalid" shall ye say but not
"wretch," "fool" shall ye say but not "sinner."
And thou, red judge, if thou would say audibly all thou hast done in
thought, then would every one cry: "Away with the nastiness and the
But one thing is the thought, another thing is the deed, and another thing
is the idea of the deed. The wheel of causality doth not roll between
An idea made this pale man pale. Adequate was he for his deed when he did
it, but the idea of it, he could not endure when it was done.
Evermore did he now see himself as the doer of one deed. Madness, I call
this: the exception reversed itself to the rule in him.
The streak of chalk bewitcheth the hen; the stroke he struck bewitched his
weak reason. Madness AFTER the deed, I call this.
Hearken, ye judges! There is another madness besides, and it is BEFORE the
deed. Ah! ye have not gone deep enough into this soul!
Thus speaketh the red judge: "Why did this criminal commit murder? He
meant to rob." I tell you, however, that his soul wanted blood, not booty:
he thirsted for the happiness of the knife!
But his weak reason understood not this madness, and it persuaded him.
"What matter about blood!" it said; "wishest thou not, at least, to make
booty thereby? Or take revenge?"
And he hearkened unto his weak reason: like lead lay its words upon him--
thereupon he robbed when he murdered. He did not mean to be ashamed of his
And now once more lieth the lead of his guilt upon him, and once more is
his weak reason so benumbed, so paralysed, and so dull.
Could he only shake his head, then would his burden roll off; but who
shaketh that head?
What is this man? A mass of diseases that reach out into the world through
the spirit; there they want to get their prey.
What is this man? A coil of wild serpents that are seldom at peace among
themselves--so they go forth apart and seek prey in the world.
Look at that poor body! What it suffered and craved, the poor soul
interpreted to itself--it interpreted it as murderous desire, and eagerness
for the happiness of the knife.
Him who now turneth sick, the evil overtaketh which is now the evil: he
seeketh to cause pain with that which causeth him pain. But there have
been other ages, and another evil and good.
Once was doubt evil, and the will to Self. Then the invalid became a
heretic or sorcerer; as heretic or sorcerer he suffered, and sought to
But this will not enter your ears; it hurteth your good people, ye tell me.
But what doth it matter to me about your good people!
Many things in your good people cause me disgust, and verily, not their
evil. I would that they had a madness by which they succumbed, like this
Verily, I would that their madness were called truth, or fidelity, or
justice: but they have their virtue in order to live long, and in wretched
I am a railing alongside the torrent; whoever is able to grasp me may grasp
me! Your crutch, however, I am not.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
VII. READING AND WRITING.
Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his
blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.
It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate the reading
He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the reader. Another
century of readers--and spirit itself will stink.
Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only
writing but also thinking.
Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it even becometh populace.
He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to be read, but learnt
In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak, but for that route
thou must have long legs. Proverbs should be peaks, and those spoken to
should be big and tall.
The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit full of a joyful
wickedness: thus are things well matched.
I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous. The courage which
scareth away ghosts, createth for itself goblins--it wanteth to laugh.
I no longer feel in common with you; the very cloud which I see beneath me,
the blackness and heaviness at which I laugh--that is your thunder-cloud.
Ye look aloft when ye long for exaltation; and I look downward because I am
Who among you can at the same time laugh and be exalted?
He who climbeth on the highest mountains, laugheth at all tragic plays and
Courageous, unconcerned, scornful, coercive--so wisdom wisheth us; she is a
woman, and ever loveth only a warrior.
Ye tell me, "Life is hard to bear." But for what purpose should ye have
your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening?
Life is hard to bear: but do not affect to be so delicate! We are all of
us fine sumpter asses and assesses.
What have we in common with the rose-bud, which trembleth because a drop of
dew hath formed upon it?
It is true we love life; not because we are wont to live, but because we
are wont to love.
There is always some madness in love. But there is always, also, some
method in madness.
And to me also, who appreciate life, the butterflies, and soap-bubbles, and
whatever is like them amongst us, seem most to enjoy happiness.
To see these light, foolish, pretty, lively little sprites flit about--that
moveth Zarathustra to tears and songs.
I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance.
And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn:
he was the spirit of gravity--through him all things fall.
Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of
I learned to walk; since then have I let myself run. I learned to fly;
since then I do not need pushing in order to move from a spot.
Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself. Now there
danceth a God in me.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
VIII. THE TREE ON THE HILL.
Zarathustra's eye had perceived that a certain youth avoided him. And as
he walked alone one evening over the hills surrounding the town called "The
Pied Cow," behold, there found he the youth sitting leaning against a tree,
and gazing with wearied look into the valley. Zarathustra thereupon laid
hold of the tree beside which the youth sat, and spake thus:
"If I wished to shake this tree with my hands, I should not be able to do
But the wind, which we see not, troubleth and bendeth it as it listeth. We
are sorest bent and troubled by invisible hands."
Thereupon the youth arose disconcerted, and said: "I hear Zarathustra, and
just now was I thinking of him!" Zarathustra answered:
"Why art thou frightened on that account?--But it is the same with man as
with the tree.
The more he seeketh to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously
do his roots struggle earthward, downward, into the dark and deep--into the
"Yea, into the evil!" cried the youth. "How is it possible that thou hast
discovered my soul?"
Zarathustra smiled, and said: "Many a soul one will never discover, unless
one first invent it."
"Yea, into the evil!" cried the youth once more.
"Thou saidst the truth, Zarathustra. I trust myself no longer since I
sought to rise into the height, and nobody trusteth me any longer; how doth
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