Thus Spake Zarathustra
Part 3 out of 8
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXVII. THE VIRTUOUS.
With thunder and heavenly fireworks must one speak to indolent and
But beauty's voice speaketh gently: it appealeth only to the most awakened
Gently vibrated and laughed unto me to-day my buckler; it was beauty's holy
laughing and thrilling.
At you, ye virtuous ones, laughed my beauty to-day. And thus came its
voice unto me: "They want--to be paid besides!"
Ye want to be paid besides, ye virtuous ones! Ye want reward for virtue,
and heaven for earth, and eternity for your to-day?
And now ye upbraid me for teaching that there is no reward-giver, nor
paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward.
Ah! this is my sorrow: into the basis of things have reward and punishment
been insinuated--and now even into the basis of your souls, ye virtuous
But like the snout of the boar shall my word grub up the basis of your
souls; a ploughshare will I be called by you.
All the secrets of your heart shall be brought to light; and when ye lie in
the sun, grubbed up and broken, then will also your falsehood be separated
from your truth.
For this is your truth: ye are TOO PURE for the filth of the words:
vengeance, punishment, recompense, retribution.
Ye love your virtue as a mother loveth her child; but when did one hear of
a mother wanting to be paid for her love?
It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The ring's thirst is in you: to
reach itself again struggleth every ring, and turneth itself.
And like the star that goeth out, so is every work of your virtue: ever is
its light on its way and travelling--and when will it cease to be on its
Thus is the light of your virtue still on its way, even when its work is
done. Be it forgotten and dead, still its ray of light liveth and
That your virtue is your Self, and not an outward thing, a skin, or a
cloak: that is the truth from the basis of your souls, ye virtuous ones!--
But sure enough there are those to whom virtue meaneth writhing under the
lash: and ye have hearkened too much unto their crying!
And others are there who call virtue the slothfulness of their vices; and
when once their hatred and jealousy relax the limbs, their "justice"
becometh lively and rubbeth its sleepy eyes.
And others are there who are drawn downwards: their devils draw them. But
the more they sink, the more ardently gloweth their eye, and the longing
for their God.
Ah! their crying also hath reached your ears, ye virtuous ones: "What I am
NOT, that, that is God to me, and virtue!"
And others are there who go along heavily and creakingly, like carts taking
stones downhill: they talk much of dignity and virtue--their drag they
And others are there who are like eight-day clocks when wound up; they
tick, and want people to call ticking--virtue.
Verily, in those have I mine amusement: wherever I find such clocks I
shall wind them up with my mockery, and they shall even whirr thereby!
And others are proud of their modicum of righteousness, and for the sake of
it do violence to all things: so that the world is drowned in their
Ah! how ineptly cometh the word "virtue" out of their mouth! And when they
say: "I am just," it always soundeth like: "I am just--revenged!"
With their virtues they want to scratch out the eyes of their enemies; and
they elevate themselves only that they may lower others.
And again there are those who sit in their swamp, and speak thus from among
the bulrushes: "Virtue--that is to sit quietly in the swamp.
We bite no one, and go out of the way of him who would bite; and in all
matters we have the opinion that is given us."
And again there are those who love attitudes, and think that virtue is a
sort of attitude.
Their knees continually adore, and their hands are eulogies of virtue, but
their heart knoweth naught thereof.
And again there are those who regard it as virtue to say: "Virtue is
necessary"; but after all they believe only that policemen are necessary.
And many a one who cannot see men's loftiness, calleth it virtue to see
their baseness far too well: thus calleth he his evil eye virtue.--
And some want to be edified and raised up, and call it virtue: and others
want to be cast down,--and likewise call it virtue.
And thus do almost all think that they participate in virtue; and at least
every one claimeth to be an authority on "good" and "evil."
But Zarathustra came not to say unto all those liars and fools: "What do
YE know of virtue! What COULD ye know of virtue!"--
But that ye, my friends, might become weary of the old words which ye have
learned from the fools and liars:
That ye might become weary of the words "reward," "retribution,"
"punishment," "righteous vengeance."--
That ye might become weary of saying: "That an action is good is because
it is unselfish."
Ah! my friends! That YOUR very Self be in your action, as the mother is in
the child: let that be YOUR formula of virtue!
Verily, I have taken from you a hundred formulae and your virtue's
favourite playthings; and now ye upbraid me, as children upbraid.
They played by the sea--then came there a wave and swept their playthings
into the deep: and now do they cry.
But the same wave shall bring them new playthings, and spread before them
new speckled shells!
Thus will they be comforted; and like them shall ye also, my friends, have
your comforting--and new speckled shells!--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXVIII. THE RABBLE.
Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all
fountains are poisoned.
To everything cleanly am I well disposed; but I hate to see the grinning
mouths and the thirst of the unclean.
They cast their eye down into the fountain: and now glanceth up to me
their odious smile out of the fountain.
The holy water have they poisoned with their lustfulness; and when they
called their filthy dreams delight, then poisoned they also the words.
Indignant becometh the flame when they put their damp hearts to the fire;
the spirit itself bubbleth and smoketh when the rabble approach the fire.
Mawkish and over-mellow becometh the fruit in their hands: unsteady, and
withered at the top, doth their look make the fruit-tree.
And many a one who hath turned away from life, hath only turned away from
the rabble: he hated to share with them fountain, flame, and fruit.
And many a one who hath gone into the wilderness and suffered thirst with
beasts of prey, disliked only to sit at the cistern with filthy camel-
And many a one who hath come along as a destroyer, and as a hailstorm to
all cornfields, wanted merely to put his foot into the jaws of the rabble,
and thus stop their throat.
And it is not the mouthful which hath most choked me, to know that life
itself requireth enmity and death and torture-crosses:--
But I asked once, and suffocated almost with my question: What? is the
rabble also NECESSARY for life?
Are poisoned fountains necessary, and stinking fires, and filthy dreams,
and maggots in the bread of life?
Not my hatred, but my loathing, gnawed hungrily at my life! Ah, ofttimes
became I weary of spirit, when I found even the rabble spiritual!
And on the rulers turned I my back, when I saw what they now call ruling:
to traffic and bargain for power--with the rabble!
Amongst peoples of a strange language did I dwell, with stopped ears: so
that the language of their trafficking might remain strange unto me, and
their bargaining for power.
And holding my nose, I went morosely through all yesterdays and to-days:
verily, badly smell all yesterdays and to-days of the scribbling rabble!
Like a cripple become deaf, and blind, and dumb--thus have I lived long;
that I might not live with the power-rabble, the scribe-rabble, and the
Toilsomely did my spirit mount stairs, and cautiously; alms of delight were
its refreshment; on the staff did life creep along with the blind one.
What hath happened unto me? How have I freed myself from loathing? Who
hath rejuvenated mine eye? How have I flown to the height where no rabble
any longer sit at the wells?
Did my loathing itself create for me wings and fountain-divining powers?
Verily, to the loftiest height had I to fly, to find again the well of
Oh, I have found it, my brethren! Here on the loftiest height bubbleth up
for me the well of delight! And there is a life at whose waters none of
the rabble drink with me!
Almost too violently dost thou flow for me, thou fountain of delight! And
often emptiest thou the goblet again, in wanting to fill it!
And yet must I learn to approach thee more modestly: far too violently
doth my heart still flow towards thee:--
My heart on which my summer burneth, my short, hot, melancholy, over-happy
summer: how my summer heart longeth for thy coolness!
Past, the lingering distress of my spring! Past, the wickedness of my
snowflakes in June! Summer have I become entirely, and summer-noontide!
A summer on the loftiest height, with cold fountains and blissful
stillness: oh, come, my friends, that the stillness may become more
For this is OUR height and our home: too high and steep do we here dwell
for all uncleanly ones and their thirst.
Cast but your pure eyes into the well of my delight, my friends! How could
it become turbid thereby! It shall laugh back to you with ITS purity.
On the tree of the future build we our nest; eagles shall bring us lone
ones food in their beaks!
Verily, no food of which the impure could be fellow-partakers! Fire, would
they think they devoured, and burn their mouths!
Verily, no abodes do we here keep ready for the impure! An ice-cave to
their bodies would our happiness be, and to their spirits!
And as strong winds will we live above them, neighbours to the eagles,
neighbours to the snow, neighbours to the sun: thus live the strong winds.
And like a wind will I one day blow amongst them, and with my spirit, take
the breath from their spirit: thus willeth my future.
Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra to all low places; and this counsel
counselleth he to his enemies, and to whatever spitteth and speweth: "Take
care not to spit AGAINST the wind!"--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXIX. THE TARANTULAS.
Lo, this is the tarantula's den! Would'st thou see the tarantula itself?
Here hangeth its web: touch this, so that it may tremble.
There cometh the tarantula willingly: Welcome, tarantula! Black on thy
back is thy triangle and symbol; and I know also what is in thy soul.
Revenge is in thy soul: wherever thou bitest, there ariseth black scab;
with revenge, thy poison maketh the soul giddy!
Thus do I speak unto you in parable, ye who make the soul giddy, ye
preachers of EQUALITY! Tarantulas are ye unto me, and secretly revengeful
But I will soon bring your hiding-places to the light: therefore do I
laugh in your face my laughter of the height.
Therefore do I tear at your web, that your rage may lure you out of your
den of lies, and that your revenge may leap forth from behind your word
Because, FOR MAN TO BE REDEEMED FROM REVENGE--that is for me the bridge to
the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.
Otherwise, however, would the tarantulas have it. "Let it be very justice
for the world to become full of the storms of our vengeance"--thus do they
talk to one another.
"Vengeance will we use, and insult, against all who are not like us"--thus
do the tarantula-hearts pledge themselves.
"And 'Will to Equality'--that itself shall henceforth be the name of
virtue; and against all that hath power will we raise an outcry!"
Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you
for "equality": your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus
Fretted conceit and suppressed envy--perhaps your fathers' conceit and
envy: in you break they forth as flame and frenzy of vengeance.
What the father hath hid cometh out in the son; and oft have I found in the
son the father's revealed secret.
Inspired ones they resemble: but it is not the heart that inspireth them--
but vengeance. And when they become subtle and cold, it is not spirit, but
envy, that maketh them so.
Their jealousy leadeth them also into thinkers' paths; and this is the sign
of their jealousy--they always go too far: so that their fatigue hath at
last to go to sleep on the snow.
In all their lamentations soundeth vengeance, in all their eulogies is
maleficence; and being judge seemeth to them bliss.
But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to
punish is powerful!
They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the
hangman and the sleuth-hound.
Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls
not only honey is lacking.
And when they call themselves "the good and just," forget not, that for
them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but--power!
My friends, I will not be mixed up and confounded with others.
There are those who preach my doctrine of life, and are at the same time
preachers of equality, and tarantulas.
That they speak in favour of life, though they sit in their den, these
poison-spiders, and withdrawn from life--is because they would thereby do
To those would they thereby do injury who have power at present: for with
those the preaching of death is still most at home.
Were it otherwise, then would the tarantulas teach otherwise: and they
themselves were formerly the best world-maligners and heretic-burners.
With these preachers of equality will I not be mixed up and confounded.
For thus speaketh justice UNTO ME: "Men are not equal."
And neither shall they become so! What would be my love to the Superman,
if I spake otherwise?
On a thousand bridges and piers shall they throng to the future, and always
shall there be more war and inequality among them: thus doth my great love
make me speak!
Inventors of figures and phantoms shall they be in their hostilities; and
with those figures and phantoms shall they yet fight with each other the
Good and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all names of
values: weapons shall they be, and sounding signs, that life must again
and again surpass itself!
Aloft will it build itself with columns and stairs--life itself: into
remote distances would it gaze, and out towards blissful beauties--
THEREFORE doth it require elevation!
And because it requireth elevation, therefore doth it require steps, and
variance of steps and climbers! To rise striveth life, and in rising to
And just behold, my friends! Here where the tarantula's den is, riseth
aloft an ancient temple's ruins--just behold it with enlightened eyes!
Verily, he who here towered aloft his thoughts in stone, knew as well as
the wisest ones about the secret of life!
That there is struggle and inequality even in beauty, and war for power and
supremacy: that doth he here teach us in the plainest parable.
How divinely do vault and arch here contrast in the struggle: how with
light and shade they strive against each other, the divinely striving
Thus, steadfast and beautiful, let us also be enemies, my friends!
Divinely will we strive AGAINST one another!--
Alas! There hath the tarantula bit me myself, mine old enemy! Divinely
steadfast and beautiful, it hath bit me on the finger!
"Punishment must there be, and justice"--so thinketh it: "not gratuitously
shall he here sing songs in honour of enmity!"
Yea, it hath revenged itself! And alas! now will it make my soul also
dizzy with revenge!
That I may NOT turn dizzy, however, bind me fast, my friends, to this
pillar! Rather will I be a pillar-saint than a whirl of vengeance!
Verily, no cyclone or whirlwind is Zarathustra: and if he be a dancer, he
is not at all a tarantula-dancer!--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXX. THE FAMOUS WISE ONES.
The people have ye served and the people's superstition--NOT the truth!--
all ye famous wise ones! And just on that account did they pay you
And on that account also did they tolerate your unbelief, because it was a
pleasantry and a by-path for the people. Thus doth the master give free
scope to his slaves, and even enjoyeth their presumptuousness.
But he who is hated by the people, as the wolf by the dogs--is the free
spirit, the enemy of fetters, the non-adorer, the dweller in the woods.
To hunt him out of his lair--that was always called "sense of right" by the
people: on him do they still hound their sharpest-toothed dogs.
"For there the truth is, where the people are! Woe, woe to the seeking
ones!"--thus hath it echoed through all time.
Your people would ye justify in their reverence: that called ye "Will to
Truth," ye famous wise ones!
And your heart hath always said to itself: "From the people have I come:
from thence came to me also the voice of God."
Stiff-necked and artful, like the ass, have ye always been, as the
advocates of the people.
And many a powerful one who wanted to run well with the people, hath
harnessed in front of his horses--a donkey, a famous wise man.
And now, ye famous wise ones, I would have you finally throw off entirely
the skin of the lion!
The skin of the beast of prey, the speckled skin, and the dishevelled locks
of the investigator, the searcher, and the conqueror!
Ah! for me to learn to believe in your "conscientiousness," ye would first
have to break your venerating will.
Conscientious--so call I him who goeth into God-forsaken wildernesses, and
hath broken his venerating heart.
In the yellow sands and burnt by the sun, he doubtless peereth thirstily at
the isles rich in fountains, where life reposeth under shady trees.
But his thirst doth not persuade him to become like those comfortable ones:
for where there are oases, there are also idols.
Hungry, fierce, lonesome, God-forsaken: so doth the lion-will wish itself.
Free from the happiness of slaves, redeemed from Deities and adorations,
fearless and fear-inspiring, grand and lonesome: so is the will of the
In the wilderness have ever dwelt the conscientious, the free spirits, as
lords of the wilderness; but in the cities dwell the well-foddered, famous
wise ones--the draught-beasts.
For, always, do they draw, as asses--the PEOPLE'S carts!
Not that I on that account upbraid them: but serving ones do they remain,
and harnessed ones, even though they glitter in golden harness.
And often have they been good servants and worthy of their hire. For thus
saith virtue: "If thou must be a servant, seek him unto whom thy service
is most useful!
The spirit and virtue of thy master shall advance by thou being his
servant: thus wilt thou thyself advance with his spirit and virtue!"
And verily, ye famous wise ones, ye servants of the people! Ye yourselves
have advanced with the people's spirit and virtue--and the people by you!
To your honour do I say it!
But the people ye remain for me, even with your virtues, the people with
purblind eyes--the people who know not what SPIRIT is!
Spirit is life which itself cutteth into life: by its own torture doth it
increase its own knowledge,--did ye know that before?
And the spirit's happiness is this: to be anointed and consecrated with
tears as a sacrificial victim,--did ye know that before?
And the blindness of the blind one, and his seeking and groping, shall yet
testify to the power of the sun into which he hath gazed,--did ye know that
And with mountains shall the discerning one learn to BUILD! It is a small
thing for the spirit to remove mountains,--did ye know that before?
Ye know only the sparks of the spirit: but ye do not see the anvil which
it is, and the cruelty of its hammer!
Verily, ye know not the spirit's pride! But still less could ye endure the
spirit's humility, should it ever want to speak!
And never yet could ye cast your spirit into a pit of snow: ye are not hot
enough for that! Thus are ye unaware, also, of the delight of its
In all respects, however, ye make too familiar with the spirit; and out of
wisdom have ye often made an almshouse and a hospital for bad poets.
Ye are not eagles: thus have ye never experienced the happiness of the
alarm of the spirit. And he who is not a bird should not camp above
Ye seem to me lukewarm ones: but coldly floweth all deep knowledge. Ice-
cold are the innermost wells of the spirit: a refreshment to hot hands and
Respectable do ye there stand, and stiff, and with straight backs, ye
famous wise ones!--no strong wind or will impelleth you.
Have ye ne'er seen a sail crossing the sea, rounded and inflated, and
trembling with the violence of the wind?
Like the sail trembling with the violence of the spirit, doth my wisdom
cross the sea--my wild wisdom!
But ye servants of the people, ye famous wise ones--how COULD ye go with
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXI. THE NIGHT-SONG.
'Tis night: now do all gushing fountains speak louder. And my soul also
is a gushing fountain.
'Tis night: now only do all songs of the loving ones awake. And my soul
also is the song of a loving one.
Something unappeased, unappeasable, is within me; it longeth to find
expression. A craving for love is within me, which speaketh itself the
language of love.
Light am I: ah, that I were night! But it is my lonesomeness to be begirt
Ah, that I were dark and nightly! How would I suck at the breasts of
And you yourselves would I bless, ye twinkling starlets and glow-worms
aloft!--and would rejoice in the gifts of your light.
But I live in mine own light, I drink again into myself the flames that
break forth from me.
I know not the happiness of the receiver; and oft have I dreamt that
stealing must be more blessed than receiving.
It is my poverty that my hand never ceaseth bestowing; it is mine envy that
I see waiting eyes and the brightened nights of longing.
Oh, the misery of all bestowers! Oh, the darkening of my sun! Oh, the
craving to crave! Oh, the violent hunger in satiety!
They take from me: but do I yet touch their soul? There is a gap 'twixt
giving and receiving; and the smallest gap hath finally to be bridged over.
A hunger ariseth out of my beauty: I should like to injure those I
illumine; I should like to rob those I have gifted:--thus do I hunger for
Withdrawing my hand when another hand already stretcheth out to it;
hesitating like the cascade, which hesitateth even in its leap:--thus do I
hunger for wickedness!
Such revenge doth mine abundance think of: such mischief welleth out of my
My happiness in bestowing died in bestowing; my virtue became weary of
itself by its abundance!
He who ever bestoweth is in danger of losing his shame; to him who ever
dispenseth, the hand and heart become callous by very dispensing.
Mine eye no longer overfloweth for the shame of suppliants; my hand hath
become too hard for the trembling of filled hands.
Whence have gone the tears of mine eye, and the down of my heart? Oh, the
lonesomeness of all bestowers! Oh, the silence of all shining ones!
Many suns circle in desert space: to all that is dark do they speak with
their light--but to me they are silent.
Oh, this is the hostility of light to the shining one: unpityingly doth it
pursue its course.
Unfair to the shining one in its innermost heart, cold to the suns:--thus
travelleth every sun.
Like a storm do the suns pursue their courses: that is their travelling.
Their inexorable will do they follow: that is their coldness.
Oh, ye only is it, ye dark, nightly ones, that extract warmth from the
shining ones! Oh, ye only drink milk and refreshment from the light's
Ah, there is ice around me; my hand burneth with the iciness! Ah, there is
thirst in me; it panteth after your thirst!
'Tis night: alas, that I have to be light! And thirst for the nightly!
'Tis night: now doth my longing break forth in me as a fountain,--for
speech do I long.
'Tis night: now do all gushing fountains speak louder. And my soul also
is a gushing fountain.
'Tis night: now do all songs of loving ones awake. And my soul also is
the song of a loving one.--
Thus sang Zarathustra.
XXXII. THE DANCE-SONG.
One evening went Zarathustra and his disciples through the forest; and when
he sought for a well, lo, he lighted upon a green meadow peacefully
surrounded with trees and bushes, where maidens were dancing together. As
soon as the maidens recognised Zarathustra, they ceased dancing;
Zarathustra, however, approached them with friendly mein and spake these
Cease not your dancing, ye lovely maidens! No game-spoiler hath come to
you with evil eye, no enemy of maidens.
God's advocate am I with the devil: he, however, is the spirit of gravity.
How could I, ye light-footed ones, be hostile to divine dances? Or to
maidens' feet with fine ankles?
To be sure, I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not
afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
And even the little God may he find, who is dearest to maidens: beside the
well lieth he quietly, with closed eyes.
Verily, in broad daylight did he fall asleep, the sluggard! Had he perhaps
chased butterflies too much?
Upbraid me not, ye beautiful dancers, when I chasten the little God
somewhat! He will cry, certainly, and weep--but he is laughable even when
And with tears in his eyes shall he ask you for a dance; and I myself will
sing a song to his dance:
A dance-song and satire on the spirit of gravity my supremest, powerfulest
devil, who is said to be "lord of the world."--
And this is the song that Zarathustra sang when Cupid and the maidens
Of late did I gaze into thine eye, O Life! And into the unfathomable did I
there seem to sink.
But thou pulledst me out with a golden angle; derisively didst thou laugh
when I called thee unfathomable.
"Such is the language of all fish," saidst thou; "what THEY do not fathom
But changeable am I only, and wild, and altogether a woman, and no virtuous
Though I be called by you men the 'profound one,' or the 'faithful one,'
'the eternal one,' 'the mysterious one.'
But ye men endow us always with your own virtues--alas, ye virtuous ones!"
Thus did she laugh, the unbelievable one; but never do I believe her and
her laughter, when she speaketh evil of herself.
And when I talked face to face with my wild Wisdom, she said to me angrily:
"Thou willest, thou cravest, thou lovest; on that account alone dost thou
Then had I almost answered indignantly and told the truth to the angry one;
and one cannot answer more indignantly than when one "telleth the truth" to
For thus do things stand with us three. In my heart do I love only Life--
and verily, most when I hate her!
But that I am fond of Wisdom, and often too fond, is because she remindeth
me very strongly of Life!
She hath her eye, her laugh, and even her golden angle-rod: am I
responsible for it that both are so alike?
And when once Life asked me: "Who is she then, this Wisdom?"--then said I
eagerly: "Ah, yes! Wisdom!
One thirsteth for her and is not satisfied, one looketh through veils, one
graspeth through nets.
Is she beautiful? What do I know! But the oldest carps are still lured by
Changeable is she, and wayward; often have I seen her bite her lip, and
pass the comb against the grain of her hair.
Perhaps she is wicked and false, and altogether a woman; but when she
speaketh ill of herself, just then doth she seduce most."
When I had said this unto Life, then laughed she maliciously, and shut her
eyes. "Of whom dost thou speak?" said she. "Perhaps of me?
And if thou wert right--is it proper to say THAT in such wise to my face!
But now, pray, speak also of thy Wisdom!"
Ah, and now hast thou again opened thine eyes, O beloved Life! And into
the unfathomable have I again seemed to sink.--
Thus sang Zarathustra. But when the dance was over and the maidens had
departed, he became sad.
"The sun hath been long set," said he at last, "the meadow is damp, and
from the forest cometh coolness.
An unknown presence is about me, and gazeth thoughtfully. What! Thou
livest still, Zarathustra?
Why? Wherefore? Whereby? Whither? Where? How? Is it not folly still
Ah, my friends; the evening is it which thus interrogateth in me. Forgive
me my sadness!
Evening hath come on: forgive me that evening hath come on!"
Thus sang Zarathustra.
XXXIII. THE GRAVE-SONG.
"Yonder is the grave-island, the silent isle; yonder also are the graves of
my youth. Thither will I carry an evergreen wreath of life."
Resolving thus in my heart, did I sail o'er the sea.--
Oh, ye sights and scenes of my youth! Oh, all ye gleams of love, ye divine
fleeting gleams! How could ye perish so soon for me! I think of you to-
day as my dead ones.
From you, my dearest dead ones, cometh unto me a sweet savour, heart-
opening and melting. Verily, it convulseth and openeth the heart of the
Still am I the richest and most to be envied--I, the lonesomest one! For I
HAVE POSSESSED you, and ye possess me still. Tell me: to whom hath there
ever fallen such rosy apples from the tree as have fallen unto me?
Still am I your love's heir and heritage, blooming to your memory with
many-hued, wild-growing virtues, O ye dearest ones!
Ah, we were made to remain nigh unto each other, ye kindly strange marvels;
and not like timid birds did ye come to me and my longing--nay, but as
trusting ones to a trusting one!
Yea, made for faithfulness, like me, and for fond eternities, must I now
name you by your faithlessness, ye divine glances and fleeting gleams: no
other name have I yet learnt.
Verily, too early did ye die for me, ye fugitives. Yet did ye not flee
from me, nor did I flee from you: innocent are we to each other in our
To kill ME, did they strangle you, ye singing birds of my hopes! Yea, at
you, ye dearest ones, did malice ever shoot its arrows--to hit my heart!
And they hit it! Because ye were always my dearest, my possession and my
possessedness: ON THAT ACCOUNT had ye to die young, and far too early!
At my most vulnerable point did they shoot the arrow--namely, at you, whose
skin is like down--or more like the smile that dieth at a glance!
But this word will I say unto mine enemies: What is all manslaughter in
comparison with what ye have done unto me!
Worse evil did ye do unto me than all manslaughter; the irretrievable did
ye take from me:--thus do I speak unto you, mine enemies!
Slew ye not my youth's visions and dearest marvels! My playmates took ye
from me, the blessed spirits! To their memory do I deposit this wreath and
This curse upon you, mine enemies! Have ye not made mine eternal short, as
a tone dieth away in a cold night! Scarcely, as the twinkle of divine
eyes, did it come to me--as a fleeting gleam!
Thus spake once in a happy hour my purity: "Divine shall everything be
Then did ye haunt me with foul phantoms; ah, whither hath that happy hour
"All days shall be holy unto me"--so spake once the wisdom of my youth:
verily, the language of a joyous wisdom!
But then did ye enemies steal my nights, and sold them to sleepless
torture: ah, whither hath that joyous wisdom now fled?
Once did I long for happy auspices: then did ye lead an owl-monster across
my path, an adverse sign. Ah, whither did my tender longing then flee?
All loathing did I once vow to renounce: then did ye change my nigh ones
and nearest ones into ulcerations. Ah, whither did my noblest vow then
As a blind one did I once walk in blessed ways: then did ye cast filth on
the blind one's course: and now is he disgusted with the old footpath.
And when I performed my hardest task, and celebrated the triumph of my
victories, then did ye make those who loved me call out that I then grieved
Verily, it was always your doing: ye embittered to me my best honey, and
the diligence of my best bees.
To my charity have ye ever sent the most impudent beggars; around my
sympathy have ye ever crowded the incurably shameless. Thus have ye
wounded the faith of my virtue.
And when I offered my holiest as a sacrifice, immediately did your "piety"
put its fatter gifts beside it: so that my holiest suffocated in the fumes
of your fat.
And once did I want to dance as I had never yet danced: beyond all heavens
did I want to dance. Then did ye seduce my favourite minstrel.
And now hath he struck up an awful, melancholy air; alas, he tooted as a
mournful horn to mine ear!
Murderous minstrel, instrument of evil, most innocent instrument! Already
did I stand prepared for the best dance: then didst thou slay my rapture
with thy tones!
Only in the dance do I know how to speak the parable of the highest
things:--and now hath my grandest parable remained unspoken in my limbs!
Unspoken and unrealised hath my highest hope remained! And there have
perished for me all the visions and consolations of my youth!
How did I ever bear it? How did I survive and surmount such wounds? How
did my soul rise again out of those sepulchres?
Yea, something invulnerable, unburiable is with me, something that would
rend rocks asunder: it is called MY WILL. Silently doth it proceed, and
unchanged throughout the years.
Its course will it go upon my feet, mine old Will; hard of heart is its
nature and invulnerable.
Invulnerable am I only in my heel. Ever livest thou there, and art like
thyself, thou most patient one! Ever hast thou burst all shackles of the
In thee still liveth also the unrealisedness of my youth; and as life and
youth sittest thou here hopeful on the yellow ruins of graves.
Yea, thou art still for me the demolisher of all graves: Hail to thee, my
Will! And only where there are graves are there resurrections.--
Thus sang Zarathustra.
"Will to Truth" do ye call it, ye wisest ones, that which impelleth you and
maketh you ardent?
Will for the thinkableness of all being: thus do _I_ call your will!
All being would ye MAKE thinkable: for ye doubt with good reason whether
it be already thinkable.
But it shall accommodate and bend itself to you! So willeth your will.
Smooth shall it become and subject to the spirit, as its mirror and
That is your entire will, ye wisest ones, as a Will to Power; and even when
ye speak of good and evil, and of estimates of value.
Ye would still create a world before which ye can bow the knee: such is
your ultimate hope and ecstasy.
The ignorant, to be sure, the people--they are like a river on which a boat
floateth along: and in the boat sit the estimates of value, solemn and
Your will and your valuations have ye put on the river of becoming; it
betrayeth unto me an old Will to Power, what is believed by the people as
good and evil.
It was ye, ye wisest ones, who put such guests in this boat, and gave them
pomp and proud names--ye and your ruling Will!
Onward the river now carrieth your boat: it MUST carry it. A small matter
if the rough wave foameth and angrily resisteth its keel!
It is not the river that is your danger and the end of your good and evil,
ye wisest ones: but that Will itself, the Will to Power--the unexhausted,
But that ye may understand my gospel of good and evil, for that purpose
will I tell you my gospel of life, and of the nature of all living things.
The living thing did I follow; I walked in the broadest and narrowest paths
to learn its nature.
With a hundred-faced mirror did I catch its glance when its mouth was shut,
so that its eye might speak unto me. And its eye spake unto me.
But wherever I found living things, there heard I also the language of
obedience. All living things are obeying things.
And this heard I secondly: Whatever cannot obey itself, is commanded.
Such is the nature of living things.
This, however, is the third thing which I heard--namely, that commanding is
more difficult than obeying. And not only because the commander beareth
the burden of all obeyers, and because this burden readily crusheth him:--
An attempt and a risk seemed all commanding unto me; and whenever it
commandeth, the living thing risketh itself thereby.
Yea, even when it commandeth itself, then also must it atone for its
commanding. Of its own law must it become the judge and avenger and
How doth this happen! so did I ask myself. What persuadeth the living
thing to obey, and command, and even be obedient in commanding?
Hearken now unto my word, ye wisest ones! Test it seriously, whether I
have crept into the heart of life itself, and into the roots of its heart!
Wherever I found a living thing, there found I Will to Power; and even in
the will of the servant found I the will to be master.
That to the stronger the weaker shall serve--thereto persuadeth he his will
who would be master over a still weaker one. That delight alone he is
unwilling to forego.
And as the lesser surrendereth himself to the greater that he may have
delight and power over the least of all, so doth even the greatest
surrender himself, and staketh--life, for the sake of power.
It is the surrender of the greatest to run risk and danger, and play dice
And where there is sacrifice and service and love-glances, there also is
the will to be master. By by-ways doth the weaker then slink into the
fortress, and into the heart of the mightier one--and there stealeth power.
And this secret spake Life herself unto me. "Behold," said she, "I am that
WHICH MUST EVER SURPASS ITSELF.
To be sure, ye call it will to procreation, or impulse towards a goal,
towards the higher, remoter, more manifold: but all that is one and the
Rather would I succumb than disown this one thing; and verily, where there
is succumbing and leaf-falling, lo, there doth Life sacrifice itself--for
That I have to be struggle, and becoming, and purpose, and cross-purpose--
ah, he who divineth my will, divineth well also on what CROOKED paths it
hath to tread!
Whatever I create, and however much I love it,--soon must I be adverse to
it, and to my love: so willeth my will.
And even thou, discerning one, art only a path and footstep of my will:
verily, my Will to Power walketh even on the feet of thy Will to Truth!
He certainly did not hit the truth who shot at it the formula: 'Will to
existence': that will--doth not exist!
For what is not, cannot will; that, however, which is in existence--how
could it still strive for existence!
Only where there is life, is there also will: not, however, Will to Life,
but--so teach I thee--Will to Power!
Much is reckoned higher than life itself by the living one; but out of the
very reckoning speaketh--the Will to Power!"--
Thus did Life once teach me: and thereby, ye wisest ones, do I solve you
the riddle of your hearts.
Verily, I say unto you: good and evil which would be everlasting--it doth
not exist! Of its own accord must it ever surpass itself anew.
With your values and formulae of good and evil, ye exercise power, ye
valuing ones: and that is your secret love, and the sparkling, trembling,
and overflowing of your souls.
But a stronger power groweth out of your values, and a new surpassing: by
it breaketh egg and egg-shell.
And he who hath to be a creator in good and evil--verily, he hath first to
be a destroyer, and break values in pieces.
Thus doth the greatest evil pertain to the greatest good: that, however,
is the creating good.--
Let us SPEAK thereof, ye wisest ones, even though it be bad. To be silent
is worse; all suppressed truths become poisonous.
And let everything break up which--can break up by our truths! Many a
house is still to be built!--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXV. THE SUBLIME ONES.
Calm is the bottom of my sea: who would guess that it hideth droll
Unmoved is my depth: but it sparkleth with swimming enigmas and laughters.
A sublime one saw I to-day, a solemn one, a penitent of the spirit: Oh,
how my soul laughed at his ugliness!
With upraised breast, and like those who draw in their breath: thus did he
stand, the sublime one, and in silence:
O'erhung with ugly truths, the spoil of his hunting, and rich in torn
raiment; many thorns also hung on him--but I saw no rose.
Not yet had he learned laughing and beauty. Gloomy did this hunter return
from the forest of knowledge.
From the fight with wild beasts returned he home: but even yet a wild
beast gazeth out of his seriousness--an unconquered wild beast!
As a tiger doth he ever stand, on the point of springing; but I do not like
those strained souls; ungracious is my taste towards all those self-
And ye tell me, friends, that there is to be no dispute about taste and
tasting? But all life is a dispute about taste and tasting!
Taste: that is weight at the same time, and scales and weigher; and alas
for every living thing that would live without dispute about weight and
scales and weigher!
Should he become weary of his sublimeness, this sublime one, then only will
his beauty begin--and then only will I taste him and find him savoury.
And only when he turneth away from himself will he o'erleap his own shadow
--and verily! into HIS sun.
Far too long did he sit in the shade; the cheeks of the penitent of the
spirit became pale; he almost starved on his expectations.
Contempt is still in his eye, and loathing hideth in his mouth. To be
sure, he now resteth, but he hath not yet taken rest in the sunshine.
As the ox ought he to do; and his happiness should smell of the earth, and
not of contempt for the earth.
As a white ox would I like to see him, which, snorting and lowing, walketh
before the plough-share: and his lowing should also laud all that is
Dark is still his countenance; the shadow of his hand danceth upon it.
O'ershadowed is still the sense of his eye.
His deed itself is still the shadow upon him: his doing obscureth the
doer. Not yet hath he overcome his deed.
To be sure, I love in him the shoulders of the ox: but now do I want to
see also the eye of the angel.
Also his hero-will hath he still to unlearn: an exalted one shall he be,
and not only a sublime one:--the ether itself should raise him, the will-
He hath subdued monsters, he hath solved enigmas. But he should also
redeem his monsters and enigmas; into heavenly children should he transform
As yet hath his knowledge not learned to smile, and to be without jealousy;
as yet hath his gushing passion not become calm in beauty.
Verily, not in satiety shall his longing cease and disappear, but in
beauty! Gracefulness belongeth to the munificence of the magnanimous.
His arm across his head: thus should the hero repose; thus should he also
surmount his repose.
But precisely to the hero is BEAUTY the hardest thing of all. Unattainable
is beauty by all ardent wills.
A little more, a little less: precisely this is much here, it is the most
To stand with relaxed muscles and with unharnessed will: that is the
hardest for all of you, ye sublime ones!
When power becometh gracious and descendeth into the visible--I call such
And from no one do I want beauty so much as from thee, thou powerful one:
let thy goodness be thy last self-conquest.
All evil do I accredit to thee: therefore do I desire of thee the good.
Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings, who think themselves good
because they have crippled paws!
The virtue of the pillar shalt thou strive after: more beautiful doth it
ever become, and more graceful--but internally harder and more sustaining--
the higher it riseth.
Yea, thou sublime one, one day shalt thou also be beautiful, and hold up
the mirror to thine own beauty.
Then will thy soul thrill with divine desires; and there will be adoration
even in thy vanity!
For this is the secret of the soul: when the hero hath abandoned it, then
only approacheth it in dreams--the superhero.--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXVI. THE LAND OF CULTURE.
Too far did I fly into the future: a horror seized upon me.
And when I looked around me, lo! there time was my sole contemporary.
Then did I fly backwards, homewards--and always faster. Thus did I come
unto you, ye present-day men, and into the land of culture.
For the first time brought I an eye to see you, and good desire: verily,
with longing in my heart did I come.
But how did it turn out with me? Although so alarmed--I had yet to laugh!
Never did mine eye see anything so motley-coloured!
I laughed and laughed, while my foot still trembled, and my heart as well.
"Here forsooth, is the home of all the paintpots,"--said I.
With fifty patches painted on faces and limbs--so sat ye there to mine
astonishment, ye present-day men!
And with fifty mirrors around you, which flattered your play of colours,
and repeated it!
Verily, ye could wear no better masks, ye present-day men, than your own
faces! Who could--RECOGNISE you!
Written all over with the characters of the past, and these characters also
pencilled over with new characters--thus have ye concealed yourselves well
from all decipherers!
And though one be a trier of the reins, who still believeth that ye have
reins! Out of colours ye seem to be baked, and out of glued scraps.
All times and peoples gaze divers-coloured out of your veils; all customs
and beliefs speak divers-coloured out of your gestures.
He who would strip you of veils and wrappers, and paints and gestures,
would just have enough left to scare the crows.
Verily, I myself am the scared crow that once saw you naked, and without
paint; and I flew away when the skeleton ogled at me.
Rather would I be a day-labourer in the nether-world, and among the shades
of the by-gone!--Fatter and fuller than ye, are forsooth the nether-
This, yea this, is bitterness to my bowels, that I can neither endure you
naked nor clothed, ye present-day men!
All that is unhomelike in the future, and whatever maketh strayed birds
shiver, is verily more homelike and familiar than your "reality."
For thus speak ye: "Real are we wholly, and without faith and
superstition": thus do ye plume yourselves--alas! even without plumes!
Indeed, how would ye be ABLE to believe, ye divers-coloured ones!--ye who
are pictures of all that hath ever been believed!
Perambulating refutations are ye, of belief itself, and a dislocation of
all thought. UNTRUSTWORTHY ONES: thus do _I_ call you, ye real ones!
All periods prate against one another in your spirits; and the dreams and
pratings of all periods were even realer than your awakeness!
Unfruitful are ye: THEREFORE do ye lack belief. But he who had to create,
had always his presaging dreams and astral premonitions--and believed in
Half-open doors are ye, at which grave-diggers wait. And this is YOUR
reality: "Everything deserveth to perish."
Alas, how ye stand there before me, ye unfruitful ones; how lean your ribs!
And many of you surely have had knowledge thereof.
Many a one hath said: "There hath surely a God filched something from me
secretly whilst I slept? Verily, enough to make a girl for himself
"Amazing is the poverty of my ribs!" thus hath spoken many a present-day
Yea, ye are laughable unto me, ye present-day men! And especially when ye
marvel at yourselves!
And woe unto me if I could not laugh at your marvelling, and had to swallow
all that is repugnant in your platters!
As it is, however, I will make lighter of you, since I have to carry what
is heavy; and what matter if beetles and May-bugs also alight on my load!
Verily, it shall not on that account become heavier to me! And not from
you, ye present-day men, shall my great weariness arise.--
Ah, whither shall I now ascend with my longing! From all mountains do I
look out for fatherlands and motherlands.
But a home have I found nowhere: unsettled am I in all cities, and
decamping at all gates.
Alien to me, and a mockery, are the present-day men, to whom of late my
heart impelled me; and exiled am I from fatherlands and motherlands.
Thus do I love only my CHILDREN'S LAND, the undiscovered in the remotest
sea: for it do I bid my sails search and search.
Unto my children will I make amends for being the child of my fathers: and
unto all the future--for THIS present-day!--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXVII. IMMACULATE PERCEPTION.
When yester-eve the moon arose, then did I fancy it about to bear a sun:
so broad and teeming did it lie on the horizon.
But it was a liar with its pregnancy; and sooner will I believe in the man
in the moon than in the woman.
To be sure, little of a man is he also, that timid night-reveller. Verily,
with a bad conscience doth he stalk over the roofs.
For he is covetous and jealous, the monk in the moon; covetous of the
earth, and all the joys of lovers.
Nay, I like him not, that tom-cat on the roofs! Hateful unto me are all
that slink around half-closed windows!
Piously and silently doth he stalk along on the star-carpets:--but I like
no light-treading human feet, on which not even a spur jingleth.
Every honest one's step speaketh; the cat however, stealeth along over the
ground. Lo! cat-like doth the moon come along, and dishonestly.--
This parable speak I unto you sentimental dissemblers, unto you, the "pure
discerners!" You do _I_ call--covetous ones!
Also ye love the earth, and the earthly: I have divined you well!--but
shame is in your love, and a bad conscience--ye are like the moon!
To despise the earthly hath your spirit been persuaded, but not your
bowels: these, however, are the strongest in you!
And now is your spirit ashamed to be at the service of your bowels, and
goeth by-ways and lying ways to escape its own shame.
"That would be the highest thing for me"--so saith your lying spirit unto
itself--"to gaze upon life without desire, and not like the dog, with
To be happy in gazing: with dead will, free from the grip and greed of
selfishness--cold and ashy-grey all over, but with intoxicated moon-eyes!
That would be the dearest thing to me"--thus doth the seduced one seduce
himself,--"to love the earth as the moon loveth it, and with the eye only
to feel its beauty.
And this do I call IMMACULATE perception of all things: to want nothing
else from them, but to be allowed to lie before them as a mirror with a
Oh, ye sentimental dissemblers, ye covetous ones! Ye lack innocence in
your desire: and now do ye defame desiring on that account!
Verily, not as creators, as procreators, or as jubilators do ye love the
Where is innocence? Where there is will to procreation. And he who
seeketh to create beyond himself, hath for me the purest will.
Where is beauty? Where I MUST WILL with my whole Will; where I will love
and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image.
Loving and perishing: these have rhymed from eternity. Will to love:
that is to be ready also for death. Thus do I speak unto you cowards!
But now doth your emasculated ogling profess to be "contemplation!" And
that which can be examined with cowardly eyes is to be christened
"beautiful!" Oh, ye violators of noble names!
But it shall be your curse, ye immaculate ones, ye pure discerners, that ye
shall never bring forth, even though ye lie broad and teeming on the
Verily, ye fill your mouth with noble words: and we are to believe that
your heart overfloweth, ye cozeners?
But MY words are poor, contemptible, stammering words: gladly do I pick up
what falleth from the table at your repasts.
Yet still can I say therewith the truth--to dissemblers! Yea, my fish-
bones, shells, and prickly leaves shall--tickle the noses of dissemblers!
Bad air is always about you and your repasts: your lascivious thoughts,
your lies, and secrets are indeed in the air!
Dare only to believe in yourselves--in yourselves and in your inward parts!
He who doth not believe in himself always lieth.
A God's mask have ye hung in front of you, ye "pure ones": into a God's
mask hath your execrable coiling snake crawled.
Verily ye deceive, ye "contemplative ones!" Even Zarathustra was once the
dupe of your godlike exterior; he did not divine the serpent's coil with
which it was stuffed.
A God's soul, I once thought I saw playing in your games, ye pure
discerners! No better arts did I once dream of than your arts!
Serpents' filth and evil odour, the distance concealed from me: and that a
lizard's craft prowled thereabouts lasciviously.
But I came NIGH unto you: then came to me the day,--and now cometh it to
you,--at an end is the moon's love affair!
See there! Surprised and pale doth it stand--before the rosy dawn!
For already she cometh, the glowing one,--HER love to the earth cometh!
Innocence and creative desire, is all solar love!
See there, how she cometh impatiently over the sea! Do ye not feel the
thirst and the hot breath of her love?
At the sea would she suck, and drink its depths to her height: now riseth
the desire of the sea with its thousand breasts.
Kissed and sucked WOULD it be by the thirst of the sun; vapour WOULD it
become, and height, and path of light, and light itself!
Verily, like the sun do I love life, and all deep seas.
And this meaneth TO ME knowledge: all that is deep shall ascend--to my
Thus spake Zarathustra.
When I lay asleep, then did a sheep eat at the ivy-wreath on my head,--it
ate, and said thereby: "Zarathustra is no longer a scholar."
It said this, and went away clumsily and proudly. A child told it to me.
I like to lie here where the children play, beside the ruined wall, among
thistles and red poppies.
A scholar am I still to the children, and also to the thistles and red
poppies. Innocent are they, even in their wickedness.
But to the sheep I am no longer a scholar: so willeth my lot--blessings
For this is the truth: I have departed from the house of the scholars, and
the door have I also slammed behind me.
Too long did my soul sit hungry at their table: not like them have I got
the knack of investigating, as the knack of nut-cracking.
Freedom do I love, and the air over fresh soil; rather would I sleep on ox-
skins than on their honours and dignities.
I am too hot and scorched with mine own thought: often is it ready to take
away my breath. Then have I to go into the open air, and away from all
But they sit cool in the cool shade: they want in everything to be merely
spectators, and they avoid sitting where the sun burneth on the steps.
Like those who stand in the street and gape at the passers-by: thus do
they also wait, and gape at the thoughts which others have thought.
Should one lay hold of them, then do they raise a dust like flour-sacks,
and involuntarily: but who would divine that their dust came from corn,
and from the yellow delight of the summer fields?
When they give themselves out as wise, then do their petty sayings and
truths chill me: in their wisdom there is often an odour as if it came
from the swamp; and verily, I have even heard the frog croak in it!
Clever are they--they have dexterous fingers: what doth MY simplicity
pretend to beside their multiplicity! All threading and knitting and
weaving do their fingers understand: thus do they make the hose of the
Good clockworks are they: only be careful to wind them up properly! Then
do they indicate the hour without mistake, and make a modest noise thereby.
Like millstones do they work, and like pestles: throw only seed-corn unto
them!--they know well how to grind corn small, and make white dust out of
They keep a sharp eye on one another, and do not trust each other the best.
Ingenious in little artifices, they wait for those whose knowledge walketh
on lame feet,--like spiders do they wait.
I saw them always prepare their poison with precaution; and always did they
put glass gloves on their fingers in doing so.
They also know how to play with false dice; and so eagerly did I find them
playing, that they perspired thereby.
We are alien to each other, and their virtues are even more repugnant to my
taste than their falsehoods and false dice.
And when I lived with them, then did I live above them. Therefore did they
take a dislike to me.
They want to hear nothing of any one walking above their heads; and so they
put wood and earth and rubbish betwixt me and their heads.
Thus did they deafen the sound of my tread: and least have I hitherto been
heard by the most learned.
All mankind's faults and weaknesses did they put betwixt themselves and
me:--they call it "false ceiling" in their houses.
But nevertheless I walk with my thoughts ABOVE their heads; and even should
I walk on mine own errors, still would I be above them and their heads.
For men are NOT equal: so speaketh justice. And what I will, THEY may not
Thus spake Zarathustra.
"Since I have known the body better"--said Zarathustra to one of his
disciples--"the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all
the 'imperishable'--that is also but a simile."
"So have I heard thee say once before," answered the disciple, "and then
thou addedst: 'But the poets lie too much.' Why didst thou say that the
poets lie too much?"
"Why?" said Zarathustra. "Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who
may be asked after their Why.
Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the
reasons for mine opinions.
Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my
reasons with me?
It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a bird
And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is
alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my hand upon it.
But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets lie too much?
--But Zarathustra also is a poet.
Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou believe it?"
The disciple answered: "I believe in Zarathustra." But Zarathustra shook
his head and smiled.--
Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief in myself.
But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the poets lie
too much: he was right--WE do lie too much.
We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are obliged to lie.
And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous
hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an indescribable thing hath
there been done.
And because we know little, therefore are we pleased from the heart with
the poor in spirit, especially when they are young women!
And even of those things are we desirous, which old women tell one another
in the evening. This do we call the eternally feminine in us.
And as if there were a special secret access to knowledge, which CHOKETH UP
for those who learn anything, so do we believe in the people and in their
This, however, do all poets believe: that whoever pricketh up his ears
when lying in the grass or on lonely slopes, learneth something of the
things that are betwixt heaven and earth.
And if there come unto them tender emotions, then do the poets always think
that nature herself is in love with them:
And that she stealeth to their ear to whisper secrets into it, and amorous
flatteries: of this do they plume and pride themselves, before all
Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of which only the
poets have dreamed!
And especially ABOVE the heavens: for all Gods are poet-symbolisations,
Verily, ever are we drawn aloft--that is, to the realm of the clouds: on
these do we set our gaudy puppets, and then call them Gods and Supermen:--
Are not they light enough for those chairs!--all these Gods and Supermen?--
Ah, how I am weary of all the inadequate that is insisted on as actual!
Ah, how I am weary of the poets!
When Zarathustra so spake, his disciple resented it, but was silent. And
Zarathustra also was silent; and his eye directed itself inwardly, as if it
gazed into the far distance. At last he sighed and drew breath.--
I am of to-day and heretofore, said he thereupon; but something is in me
that is of the morrow, and the day following, and the hereafter.
I became weary of the poets, of the old and of the new: superficial are
they all unto me, and shallow seas.
They did not think sufficiently into the depth; therefore their feeling did
not reach to the bottom.
Some sensation of voluptuousness and some sensation of tedium: these have
as yet been their best contemplation.
Ghost-breathing and ghost-whisking, seemeth to me all the jingle-jangling
of their harps; what have they known hitherto of the fervour of tones!--
They are also not pure enough for me: they all muddle their water that it
may seem deep.
And fain would they thereby prove themselves reconcilers: but mediaries
and mixers are they unto me, and half-and-half, and impure!--
Ah, I cast indeed my net into their sea, and meant to catch good fish; but
always did I draw up the head of some ancient God.
Thus did the sea give a stone to the hungry one. And they themselves may
well originate from the sea.
Certainly, one findeth pearls in them: thereby they are the more like hard
molluscs. And instead of a soul, I have often found in them salt slime.
They have learned from the sea also its vanity: is not the sea the peacock
Even before the ugliest of all buffaloes doth it spread out its tail; never
doth it tire of its lace-fan of silver and silk.
Disdainfully doth the buffalo glance thereat, nigh to the sand with its
soul, nigher still to the thicket, nighest, however, to the swamp.
What is beauty and sea and peacock-splendour to it! This parable I speak
unto the poets.
Verily, their spirit itself is the peacock of peacocks, and a sea of
Spectators, seeketh the spirit of the poet--should they even be
But of this spirit became I weary; and I see the time coming when it will
become weary of itself.
Yea, changed have I seen the poets, and their glance turned towards
Penitents of the spirit have I seen appearing; they grew out of the
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XL. GREAT EVENTS.
There is an isle in the sea--not far from the Happy Isles of Zarathustra--
on which a volcano ever smoketh; of which isle the people, and especially
the old women amongst them, say that it is placed as a rock before the gate
of the nether-world; but that through the volcano itself the narrow way
leadeth downwards which conducteth to this gate.
Now about the time that Zarathustra sojourned on the Happy Isles, it
happened that a ship anchored at the isle on which standeth the smoking
mountain, and the crew went ashore to shoot rabbits. About the noontide
hour, however, when the captain and his men were together again, they saw
suddenly a man coming towards them through the air, and a voice said
distinctly: "It is time! It is the highest time!" But when the figure
was nearest to them (it flew past quickly, however, like a shadow, in the
direction of the volcano), then did they recognise with the greatest
surprise that it was Zarathustra; for they had all seen him before except
the captain himself, and they loved him as the people love: in such wise
that love and awe were combined in equal degree.
"Behold!" said the old helmsman, "there goeth Zarathustra to hell!"
About the same time that these sailors landed on the fire-isle, there was a
rumour that Zarathustra had disappeared; and when his friends were asked
about it, they said that he had gone on board a ship by night, without
saying whither he was going.
Thus there arose some uneasiness. After three days, however, there came
the story of the ship's crew in addition to this uneasiness--and then did
all the people say that the devil had taken Zarathustra. His disciples
laughed, sure enough, at this talk; and one of them said even: "Sooner
would I believe that Zarathustra hath taken the devil." But at the bottom
of their hearts they were all full of anxiety and longing: so their joy
was great when on the fifth day Zarathustra appeared amongst them.
And this is the account of Zarathustra's interview with the fire-dog:
The earth, said he, hath a skin; and this skin hath diseases. One of these
diseases, for example, is called "man."
And another of these diseases is called "the fire-dog": concerning HIM men
have greatly deceived themselves, and let themselves be deceived.
To fathom this mystery did I go o'er the sea; and I have seen the truth
naked, verily! barefooted up to the neck.
Now do I know how it is concerning the fire-dog; and likewise concerning
all the spouting and subversive devils, of which not only old women are
"Up with thee, fire-dog, out of thy depth!" cried I, "and confess how deep
that depth is! Whence cometh that which thou snortest up?
Thou drinkest copiously at the sea: that doth thine embittered eloquence
betray! In sooth, for a dog of the depth, thou takest thy nourishment too
much from the surface!
At the most, I regard thee as the ventriloquist of the earth: and ever,
when I have heard subversive and spouting devils speak, I have found them
like thee: embittered, mendacious, and shallow.
Ye understand how to roar and obscure with ashes! Ye are the best
braggarts, and have sufficiently learned the art of making dregs boil.
Where ye are, there must always be dregs at hand, and much that is spongy,
hollow, and compressed: it wanteth to have freedom.
'Freedom' ye all roar most eagerly: but I have unlearned the belief in
'great events,' when there is much roaring and smoke about them.
And believe me, friend Hullabaloo! The greatest events--are not our
noisiest, but our stillest hours.
Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the inventors of new
values, doth the world revolve; INAUDIBLY it revolveth.
And just own to it! Little had ever taken place when thy noise and smoke
passed away. What, if a city did become a mummy, and a statue lay in the
And this do I say also to the o'erthrowers of statues: It is certainly the
greatest folly to throw salt into the sea, and statues into the mud.
In the mud of your contempt lay the statue: but it is just its law, that
out of contempt, its life and living beauty grow again!
With diviner features doth it now arise, seducing by its suffering; and
verily! it will yet thank you for o'erthrowing it, ye subverters!
This counsel, however, do I counsel to kings and churches, and to all that
is weak with age or virtue--let yourselves be o'erthrown! That ye may
again come to life, and that virtue--may come to you!--"
Thus spake I before the fire-dog: then did he interrupt me sullenly, and
asked: "Church? What is that?"
"Church?" answered I, "that is a kind of state, and indeed the most
mendacious. But remain quiet, thou dissembling dog! Thou surely knowest
thine own species best!
Like thyself the state is a dissembling dog; like thee doth it like to
speak with smoke and roaring--to make believe, like thee, that it speaketh
out of the heart of things.
For it seeketh by all means to be the most important creature on earth, the
state; and people think it so."
When I had said this, the fire-dog acted as if mad with envy. "What!"
cried he, "the most important creature on earth? And people think it so?"
And so much vapour and terrible voices came out of his throat, that I
thought he would choke with vexation and envy.
At last he became calmer and his panting subsided; as soon, however, as he
was quiet, I said laughingly:
"Thou art angry, fire-dog: so I am in the right about thee!
And that I may also maintain the right, hear the story of another fire-dog;
he speaketh actually out of the heart of the earth.
Gold doth his breath exhale, and golden rain: so doth his heart desire.
What are ashes and smoke and hot dregs to him!
Laughter flitteth from him like a variegated cloud; adverse is he to thy
gargling and spewing and grips in the bowels!
The gold, however, and the laughter--these doth he take out of the heart of
the earth: for, that thou mayst know it,--THE HEART OF THE EARTH IS OF
When the fire-dog heard this, he could no longer endure to listen to me.
Abashed did he draw in his tail, said "bow-wow!" in a cowed voice, and
crept down into his cave.--
Thus told Zarathustra. His disciples, however, hardly listened to him: so
great was their eagerness to tell him about the sailors, the rabbits, and
the flying man.
"What am I to think of it!" said Zarathustra. "Am I indeed a ghost?
But it may have been my shadow. Ye have surely heard something of the
Wanderer and his Shadow?
One thing, however, is certain: I must keep a tighter hold of it;
otherwise it will spoil my reputation."
And once more Zarathustra shook his head and wondered. "What am I to think
of it!" said he once more.
"Why did the ghost cry: 'It is time! It is the highest time!'
For WHAT is it then--the highest time?"--
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XLI. THE SOOTHSAYER.
"-And I saw a great sadness come over mankind. The best turned weary of
A doctrine appeared, a faith ran beside it: 'All is empty, all is alike,
all hath been!'
And from all hills there re-echoed: 'All is empty, all is alike, all hath
To be sure we have harvested: but why have all our fruits become rotten
and brown? What was it fell last night from the evil moon?
In vain was all our labour, poison hath our wine become, the evil eye hath
singed yellow our fields and hearts.
Arid have we all become; and fire falling upon us, then do we turn dust
like ashes:--yea, the fire itself have we made aweary.
All our fountains have dried up, even the sea hath receded. All the ground
trieth to gape, but the depth will not swallow!
'Alas! where is there still a sea in which one could be drowned?' so
soundeth our plaint--across shallow swamps.
Verily, even for dying have we become too weary; now do we keep awake and
live on--in sepulchres."
Thus did Zarathustra hear a soothsayer speak; and the foreboding touched
his heart and transformed him. Sorrowfully did he go about and wearily;
and he became like unto those of whom the soothsayer had spoken.--
Verily, said he unto his disciples, a little while, and there cometh the
long twilight. Alas, how shall I preserve my light through it!
That it may not smother in this sorrowfulness! To remoter worlds shall it
be a light, and also to remotest nights!
Thus did Zarathustra go about grieved in his heart, and for three days he
did not take any meat or drink: he had no rest, and lost his speech. At
last it came to pass that he fell into a deep sleep. His disciples,
however, sat around him in long night-watches, and waited anxiously to see
if he would awake, and speak again, and recover from his affliction.
And this is the discourse that Zarathustra spake when he awoke; his voice,
however, came unto his disciples as from afar:
Hear, I pray you, the dream that I dreamed, my friends, and help me to
divine its meaning!
A riddle is it still unto me, this dream; the meaning is hidden in it and
encaged, and doth not yet fly above it on free pinions.
All life had I renounced, so I dreamed. Night-watchman and grave-guardian
had I become, aloft, in the lone mountain-fortress of Death.
There did I guard his coffins: full stood the musty vaults of those
trophies of victory. Out of glass coffins did vanquished life gaze upon
The odour of dust-covered eternities did I breathe: sultry and dust-
covered lay my soul. And who could have aired his soul there!
Brightness of midnight was ever around me; lonesomeness cowered beside her;
and as a third, death-rattle stillness, the worst of my female friends.
Keys did I carry, the rustiest of all keys; and I knew how to open with
them the most creaking of all gates.
Like a bitterly angry croaking ran the sound through the long corridors
when the leaves of the gate opened: ungraciously did this bird cry,
unwillingly was it awakened.
But more frightful even, and more heart-strangling was it, when it again
became silent and still all around, and I alone sat in that malignant
Thus did time pass with me, and slip by, if time there still was: what do
I know thereof! But at last there happened that which awoke me.
Thrice did there peal peals at the gate like thunders, thrice did the
vaults resound and howl again: then did I go to the gate.
Alpa! cried I, who carrieth his ashes unto the mountain? Alpa! Alpa! who
carrieth his ashes unto the mountain?
And I pressed the key, and pulled at the gate, and exerted myself. But not
a finger's-breadth was it yet open:
Then did a roaring wind tear the folds apart: whistling, whizzing, and
piercing, it threw unto me a black coffin.
And in the roaring, and whistling, and whizzing the coffin burst up, and
spouted out a thousand peals of laughter.
And a thousand caricatures of children, angels, owls, fools, and child-
sized butterflies laughed and mocked, and roared at me.
Fearfully was I terrified thereby: it prostrated me. And I cried with
horror as I ne'er cried before.
But mine own crying awoke me:--and I came to myself.--
Thus did Zarathustra relate his dream, and then was silent: for as yet he
knew not the interpretation thereof. But the disciple whom he loved most
arose quickly, seized Zarathustra's hand, and said:
"Thy life itself interpreteth unto us this dream, O Zarathustra!
Art thou not thyself the wind with shrill whistling, which bursteth open
the gates of the fortress of Death?
Art thou not thyself the coffin full of many-hued malices and angel-
caricatures of life?
Verily, like a thousand peals of children's laughter cometh Zarathustra
into all sepulchres, laughing at those night-watchmen and grave-guardians,
and whoever else rattleth with sinister keys.
With thy laughter wilt thou frighten and prostrate them: fainting and
recovering will demonstrate thy power over them.
And when the long twilight cometh and the mortal weariness, even then wilt
thou not disappear from our firmament, thou advocate of life!
New stars hast thou made us see, and new nocturnal glories: verily,
laughter itself hast thou spread out over us like a many-hued canopy.
Now will children's laughter ever from coffins flow; now will a strong wind
ever come victoriously unto all mortal weariness: of this thou art thyself
the pledge and the prophet!
Verily, THEY THEMSELVES DIDST THOU DREAM, thine enemies: that was thy
But as thou awokest from them and camest to thyself, so shall they awaken
from themselves--and come unto thee!"
Thus spake the disciple; and all the others then thronged around
Zarathustra, grasped him by the hands, and tried to persuade him to leave
his bed and his sadness, and return unto them. Zarathustra, however, sat
upright on his couch, with an absent look. Like one returning from long
foreign sojourn did he look on his disciples, and examined their features;
but still he knew them not. When, however, they raised him, and set him
upon his feet, behold, all on a sudden his eye changed; he understood
everything that had happened, stroked his beard, and said with a strong
"Well! this hath just its time; but see to it, my disciples, that we have a
good repast; and without delay! Thus do I mean to make amends for bad
The soothsayer, however, shall eat and drink at my side: and verily, I
will yet show him a sea in which he can drown himself!"--
Thus spake Zarathustra. Then did he gaze long into the face of the
disciple who had been the dream-interpreter, and shook his head.--
When Zarathustra went one day over the great bridge, then did the cripples
and beggars surround him, and a hunchback spake thus unto him:
"Behold, Zarathustra! Even the people learn from thee, and acquire faith
in thy teaching: but for them to believe fully in thee, one thing is still
needful--thou must first of all convince us cripples! Here hast thou now a
fine selection, and verily, an opportunity with more than one forelock!
The blind canst thou heal, and make the lame run; and from him who hath too
much behind, couldst thou well, also, take away a little;--that, I think,
would be the right method to make the cripples believe in Zarathustra!"
Zarathustra, however, answered thus unto him who so spake: When one taketh
his hump from the hunchback, then doth one take from him his spirit--so do
the people teach. And when one giveth the blind man eyes, then doth he see
too many bad things on the earth: so that he curseth him who healed him.
He, however, who maketh the lame man run, inflicteth upon him the greatest
injury; for hardly can he run, when his vices run away with him--so do the
people teach concerning cripples. And why should not Zarathustra also
learn from the people, when the people learn from Zarathustra?
It is, however, the smallest thing unto me since I have been amongst men,
to see one person lacking an eye, another an ear, and a third a leg, and
that others have lost the tongue, or the nose, or the head.
I see and have seen worse things, and divers things so hideous, that I
should neither like to speak of all matters, nor even keep silent about
some of them: namely, men who lack everything, except that they have too
much of one thing--men who are nothing more than a big eye, or a big mouth,
or a big belly, or something else big,--reversed cripples, I call such men.
And when I came out of my solitude, and for the first time passed over this
bridge, then I could not trust mine eyes, but looked again and again, and
said at last: "That is an ear! An ear as big as a man!" I looked still
more attentively--and actually there did move under the ear something that
was pitiably small and poor and slim. And in truth this immense ear was
perched on a small thin stalk--the stalk, however, was a man! A person
putting a glass to his eyes, could even recognise further a small envious
countenance, and also that a bloated soullet dangled at the stalk. The
people told me, however, that the big ear was not only a man, but a great
man, a genius. But I never believed in the people when they spake of great
men--and I hold to my belief that it was a reversed cripple, who had too
little of everything, and too much of one thing.
When Zarathustra had spoken thus unto the hunchback, and unto those of whom
the hunchback was the mouthpiece and advocate, then did he turn to his
disciples in profound dejection, and said:
Verily, my friends, I walk amongst men as amongst the fragments and limbs
of human beings!
This is the terrible thing to mine eye, that I find man broken up, and
scattered about, as on a battle- and butcher-ground.
And when mine eye fleeth from the present to the bygone, it findeth ever
the same: fragments and limbs and fearful chances--but no men!
The present and the bygone upon earth--ah! my friends--that is MY most
unbearable trouble; and I should not know how to live, if I were not a seer
of what is to come.
A seer, a purposer, a creator, a future itself, and a bridge to the future
--and alas! also as it were a cripple on this bridge: all that is
And ye also asked yourselves often: "Who is Zarathustra to us? What shall
he be called by us?" And like me, did ye give yourselves questions for
Is he a promiser? Or a fulfiller? A conqueror? Or an inheritor? A
harvest? Or a ploughshare? A physician? Or a healed one?
Is he a poet? Or a genuine one? An emancipator? Or a subjugator? A good
one? Or an evil one?
I walk amongst men as the fragments of the future: that future which I
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