Thus Spake Zarathustra
Part 7 out of 8
Hath there ever been anything filthier on earth than the saints of the
wilderness? AROUND THEM was not only the devil loose--but also the swine.
Shy, ashamed, awkward, like the tiger whose spring hath failed--thus, ye
higher men, have I often seen you slink aside. A CAST which ye made had
But what doth it matter, ye dice-players! Ye had not learned to play and
mock, as one must play and mock! Do we not ever sit at a great table of
mocking and playing?
And if great things have been a failure with you, have ye yourselves
therefore--been a failure? And if ye yourselves have been a failure, hath
man therefore--been a failure? If man, however, hath been a failure: well
then! never mind!
The higher its type, always the seldomer doth a thing succeed. Ye higher
men here, have ye not all--been failures?
Be of good cheer; what doth it matter? How much is still possible! Learn
to laugh at yourselves, as ye ought to laugh!
What wonder even that ye have failed and only half-succeeded, ye half-
shattered ones! Doth not--man's FUTURE strive and struggle in you?
Man's furthest, profoundest, star-highest issues, his prodigious powers--do
not all these foam through one another in your vessel?
What wonder that many a vessel shattereth! Learn to laugh at yourselves,
as ye ought to laugh! Ye higher men, Oh, how much is still possible!
And verily, how much hath already succeeded! How rich is this earth in
small, good, perfect things, in well-constituted things!
Set around you small, good, perfect things, ye higher men. Their golden
maturity healeth the heart. The perfect teacheth one to hope.
What hath hitherto been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not the
word of him who said: "Woe unto them that laugh now!"
Did he himself find no cause for laughter on the earth? Then he sought
badly. A child even findeth cause for it.
He--did not love sufficiently: otherwise would he also have loved us, the
laughing ones! But he hated and hooted us; wailing and teeth-gnashing did
he promise us.
Must one then curse immediately, when one doth not love? That--seemeth to
me bad taste. Thus did he, however, this absolute one. He sprang from the
And he himself just did not love sufficiently; otherwise would he have
raged less because people did not love him. All great love doth not SEEK
love:--it seeketh more.
Go out of the way of all such absolute ones! They are a poor sickly type,
a populace-type: they look at this life with ill-will, they have an evil
eye for this earth.
Go out of the way of all such absolute ones! They have heavy feet and
sultry hearts:--they do not know how to dance. How could the earth be
light to such ones!
Tortuously do all good things come nigh to their goal. Like cats they
curve their backs, they purr inwardly with their approaching happiness,--
all good things laugh.
His step betrayeth whether a person already walketh on HIS OWN path: just
see me walk! He, however, who cometh nigh to his goal, danceth.
And verily, a statue have I not become, not yet do I stand there stiff,
stupid and stony, like a pillar; I love fast racing.
And though there be on earth fens and dense afflictions, he who hath light
feet runneth even across the mud, and danceth, as upon well-swept ice.
Lift up your hearts, my brethren, high, higher! And do not forget your
legs! Lift up also your legs, ye good dancers, and better
still, if ye stand upon your heads!
This crown of the laughter, this rose-garland crown: I myself have put on
this crown, I myself have consecrated my laughter. No one else have I
found to-day potent enough for this.
Zarathustra the dancer, Zarathustra the light one, who beckoneth with his
pinions, one ready for flight, beckoning unto all birds, ready and
prepared, a blissfully light-spirited one:--
Zarathustra the soothsayer, Zarathustra the sooth-laugher, no impatient
one, no absolute one, one who loveth leaps and side-leaps; I myself have
put on this crown!
Lift up your hearts, my brethren, high, higher! And do not forget your
legs! Lift up also your legs, ye good dancers, and better still if ye
stand upon your heads!
There are also heavy animals in a state of happiness, there are club-footed
ones from the beginning. Curiously do they exert themselves, like an
elephant which endeavoureth to stand upon its head.
Better, however, to be foolish with happiness than foolish with misfortune,
better to dance awkwardly than walk lamely. So learn, I pray you, my
wisdom, ye higher men: even the worst thing hath two good reverse sides,--
--Even the worst thing hath good dancing-legs: so learn, I pray you, ye
higher men, to put yourselves on your proper legs!
So unlearn, I pray you, the sorrow-sighing, and all the populace-sadness!
Oh, how sad the buffoons of the populace seem to me to-day! This to-day,
however, is that of the populace.
Do like unto the wind when it rusheth forth from its mountain-caves: unto
its own piping will it dance; the seas tremble and leap under its
That which giveth wings to asses, that which milketh the lionesses:--
praised be that good, unruly spirit, which cometh like a hurricane unto all
the present and unto all the populace,--
--Which is hostile to thistle-heads and puzzle-heads, and to all withered
leaves and weeds:--praised be this wild, good, free spirit of the storm,
which danceth upon fens and afflictions, as upon meadows!
Which hateth the consumptive populace-dogs, and all the ill-constituted,
sullen brood:--praised be this spirit of all free spirits, the laughing
storm, which bloweth dust into the eyes of all the melanopic and
Ye higher men, the worst thing in you is that ye have none of you learned
to dance as ye ought to dance--to dance beyond yourselves! What doth it
matter that ye have failed!
How many things are still possible! So LEARN to laugh beyond yourselves!
Lift up your hearts, ye good dancers, high! higher! And do not forget the
This crown of the laughter, this rose-garland crown: to you my brethren do
I cast this crown! Laughing have I consecrated; ye higher men, LEARN, I
pray you--to laugh!
LXXIV. THE SONG OF MELANCHOLY.
When Zarathustra spake these sayings, he stood nigh to the entrance of his
cave; with the last words, however, he slipped away from his guests, and
fled for a little while into the open air.
"O pure odours around me," cried he, "O blessed stillness around me! But
where are mine animals? Hither, hither, mine eagle and my serpent!
Tell me, mine animals: these higher men, all of them--do they perhaps not
SMELL well? O pure odours around me! Now only do I know and feel how I
love you, mine animals."
--And Zarathustra said once more: "I love you, mine animals!" The eagle,
however, and the serpent pressed close to him when he spake these words,
and looked up to him. In this attitude were they all three silent
together, and sniffed and sipped the good air with one another. For the
air here outside was better than with the higher men.
Hardly, however, had Zarathustra left the cave when the old magician got
up, looked cunningly about him, and said: "He is gone!
And already, ye higher men--let me tickle you with this complimentary and
flattering name, as he himself doeth--already doth mine evil spirit of
deceit and magic attack me, my melancholy devil,
--Which is an adversary to this Zarathustra from the very heart: forgive
it for this! Now doth it wish to conjure before you, it hath just ITS
hour; in vain do I struggle with this evil spirit.
Unto all of you, whatever honours ye like to assume in your names, whether
ye call yourselves 'the free spirits' or 'the conscientious,' or 'the
penitents of the spirit,' or 'the unfettered,' or 'the great longers,'--
--Unto all of you, who like me suffer FROM THE GREAT LOATHING, to whom the
old God hath died, and as yet no new God lieth in cradles and swaddling
clothes--unto all of you is mine evil spirit and magic-devil favourable.
I know you, ye higher men, I know him,--I know also this fiend whom I love
in spite of me, this Zarathustra: he himself often seemeth to me like the
beautiful mask of a saint,
--Like a new strange mummery in which mine evil spirit, the melancholy
devil, delighteth:--I love Zarathustra, so doth it often seem to me, for
the sake of mine evil spirit.--
But already doth IT attack me and constrain me, this spirit of melancholy,
this evening-twilight devil: and verily, ye higher men, it hath a
--Open your eyes!--it hath a longing to come NAKED, whether male or female,
I do not yet know: but it cometh, it constraineth me, alas! open your
The day dieth out, unto all things cometh now the evening, also unto the
best things; hear now, and see, ye higher men, what devil--man or woman--
this spirit of evening-melancholy is!"
Thus spake the old magician, looked cunningly about him, and then seized
In evening's limpid air,
What time the dew's soothings
Unto the earth downpour,
Invisibly and unheard--
For tender shoe-gear wear
The soothing dews, like all that's kind-gentle--:
Bethinkst thou then, bethinkst thou, burning heart,
How once thou thirstedest
For heaven's kindly teardrops and dew's down-droppings,
All singed and weary thirstedest,
What time on yellow grass-pathways
Wicked, occidental sunny glances
Through sombre trees about thee sported,
Blindingly sunny glow-glances, gladly-hurting?
"Of TRUTH the wooer? Thou?"--so taunted they-
"Nay! Merely poet!
A brute insidious, plundering, grovelling,
That aye must lie,
That wittingly, wilfully, aye must lie:
For booty lusting,
Himself his booty-
HE--of truth the wooer?
Nay! Mere fool! Mere poet!
Just motley speaking,
From mask of fool confusedly shouting,
Circumambling on fabricated word-bridges,
On motley rainbow-arches,
'Twixt the spurious heavenly,
And spurious earthly,
Round us roving, round us soaring,--
MERE FOOL! MERE POET!
HE--of truth the wooer?
Not still, stiff, smooth and cold,
Become an image,
A godlike statue,
Set up in front of temples,
As a God's own door-guard:
Nay! hostile to all such truthfulness-statues,
In every desert homelier than at temples,
With cattish wantonness,
Through every window leaping
Quickly into chances,
Every wild forest a-sniffing,
That thou, in wild forests,
'Mong the motley-speckled fierce creatures,
Shouldest rove, sinful-sound and fine-coloured,
With longing lips smacking,
Blessedly mocking, blessedly hellish, blessedly bloodthirsty,
Robbing, skulking, lying--roving:--
Or unto eagles like which fixedly,
Long adown the precipice look,
Adown THEIR precipice:--
Oh, how they whirl down now,
To ever deeper profoundness whirling!--
With aim aright,
With quivering flight,
On LAMBKINS pouncing,
Headlong down, sore-hungry,
For lambkins longing,
Fierce 'gainst all lamb-spirits,
Furious-fierce all that look
Sheeplike, or lambeyed, or crisp-woolly,
--Grey, with lambsheep kindliness!
Are the poet's desires,
Are THINE OWN desires 'neath a thousand guises,
Thou fool! Thou poet!
Thou who all mankind viewedst--
So God, as sheep--:
The God TO REND within mankind,
As the sheep in mankind,
And in rending LAUGHING--
THAT, THAT is thine own blessedness!
Of a panther and eagle--blessedness!
Of a poet and fool--the blessedness!--
In evening's limpid air,
What time the moon's sickle,
Green, 'twixt the purple-glowings,
And jealous, steal'th forth:
--Of day the foe,
With every step in secret,
The rosy garland-hammocks
Downsickling, till they've sunken
Down nightwards, faded, downsunken:--
Thus had I sunken one day
From mine own truth-insanity,
From mine own fervid day-longings,
Of day aweary, sick of sunshine,
--Sunk downwards, evenwards, shadowwards:
By one sole trueness
All scorched and thirsty:
--Bethinkst thou still, bethinkst thou, burning heart,
How then thou thirstedest?-
THAT I SHOULD BANNED BE
FROM ALL THE TRUENESS!
MERE FOOL! MERE POET!
Thus sang the magician; and all who were present went like birds unawares
into the net of his artful and melancholy voluptuousness. Only the
spiritually conscientious one had not been caught: he at once snatched the
harp from the magician and called out: "Air! Let in good air! Let in
Zarathustra! Thou makest this cave sultry and poisonous, thou bad old
Thou seducest, thou false one, thou subtle one, to unknown desires and
deserts. And alas, that such as thou should talk and make ado about the
Alas, to all free spirits who are not on their guard against SUCH
magicians! It is all over with their freedom: thou teachest and temptest
back into prisons,--
--Thou old melancholy devil, out of thy lament soundeth a lurement: thou
resemblest those who with their praise of chastity secretly invite to
Thus spake the conscientious one; the old magician, however, looked about
him, enjoying his triumph, and on that account put up with the annoyance
which the conscientious one caused him. "Be still!" said he with modest
voice, "good songs want to re-echo well; after good songs one should be
Thus do all those present, the higher men. Thou, however, hast perhaps
understood but little of my song? In thee there is little of the magic
"Thou praisest me," replied the conscientious one, "in that thou separatest
me from thyself; very well! But, ye others, what do I see? Ye still sit
there, all of you, with lusting eyes--:
Ye free spirits, whither hath your freedom gone! Ye almost seem to me to
resemble those who have long looked at bad girls dancing naked: your souls
In you, ye higher men, there must be more of that which the magician
calleth his evil spirit of magic and deceit:--we must indeed be different.
And verily, we spake and thought long enough together ere Zarathustra came
home to his cave, for me not to be unaware that we ARE different.
We SEEK different things even here aloft, ye and I. For I seek more
SECURITY; on that account have I come to Zarathustra. For he is still the
most steadfast tower and will--
--To-day, when everything tottereth, when all the earth quaketh. Ye,
however, when I see what eyes ye make, it almost seemeth to me that ye seek
--More horror, more danger, more earthquake. Ye long (it almost seemeth so
to me--forgive my presumption, ye higher men)--
--Ye long for the worst and dangerousest life, which frighteneth ME most,--
for the life of wild beasts, for forests, caves, steep mountains and
And it is not those who lead OUT OF danger that please you best, but those
who lead you away from all paths, the misleaders. But if such longing in
you be ACTUAL, it seemeth to me nevertheless to be IMPOSSIBLE.
For fear--that is man's original and fundamental feeling; through fear
everything is explained, original sin and original virtue. Through fear
there grew also MY virtue, that is to say: Science.
For fear of wild animals--that hath been longest fostered in man, inclusive
of the animal which he concealeth and feareth in himself:--Zarathustra
calleth it 'the beast inside.'
Such prolonged ancient fear, at last become subtle, spiritual and
intellectual--at present, me thinketh, it is called SCIENCE."--
Thus spake the conscientious one; but Zarathustra, who had just come back
into his cave and had heard and divined the last discourse, threw a handful
of roses to the conscientious one, and laughed on account of his "truths."
"Why!" he exclaimed, "what did I hear just now? Verily, it seemeth to me,
thou art a fool, or else I myself am one: and quietly and quickly will I
Put thy 'truth' upside down.
For FEAR--is an exception with us. Courage, however, and adventure, and
delight in the uncertain, in the unattempted--COURAGE seemeth to me the
entire primitive history of man.
The wildest and most courageous animals hath he envied and robbed of all
their virtues: thus only did he become--man.
THIS courage, at last become subtle, spiritual and intellectual, this human
courage, with eagle's pinions and serpent's wisdom: THIS, it seemeth to
me, is called at present--"
"ZARATHUSTRA!" cried all of them there assembled, as if with one voice, and
burst out at the same time into a great laughter; there arose, however,
from them as it were a heavy cloud. Even the magician laughed, and said
wisely: "Well! It is gone, mine evil spirit!
And did I not myself warn you against it when I said that it was a
deceiver, a lying and deceiving spirit?
Especially when it showeth itself naked. But what can _I_ do with regard
to its tricks! Have _I_ created it and the world?
Well! Let us be good again, and of good cheer! And although Zarathustra
looketh with evil eye--just see him! he disliketh me--:
--Ere night cometh will he again learn to love and laud me; he cannot live
long without committing such follies.
HE--loveth his enemies: this art knoweth he better than any one I have
seen. But he taketh revenge for it--on his friends!"
Thus spake the old magician, and the higher men applauded him; so that
Zarathustra went round, and mischievously and lovingly shook hands with his
friends,--like one who hath to make amends and apologise to every one for
something. When however he had thereby come to the door of his cave, lo,
then had he again a longing for the good air outside, and for his animals,
--and wished to steal out.
LXXVI. AMONG DAUGHTERS OF THE DESERT.
"Go not away!" said then the wanderer who called himself Zarathustra's
shadow, "abide with us--otherwise the old gloomy affliction might again
fall upon us.
Now hath that old magician given us of his worst for our good, and lo! the
good, pious pope there hath tears in his eyes, and hath quite embarked
again upon the sea of melancholy.
Those kings may well put on a good air before us still: for that have THEY
learned best of us all at present! Had they however no one to see them, I
wager that with them also the bad game would again commence,--
--The bad game of drifting clouds, of damp melancholy, of curtained
heavens, of stolen suns, of howling autumn-winds,
--The bad game of our howling and crying for help! Abide with us, O
Zarathustra! Here there is much concealed misery that wisheth to speak,
much evening, much cloud, much damp air!
Thou hast nourished us with strong food for men, and powerful proverbs: do
not let the weakly, womanly spirits attack us anew at dessert!
Thou alone makest the air around thee strong and clear! Did I ever find
anywhere on earth such good air as with thee in thy cave?
Many lands have I seen, my nose hath learned to test and estimate many
kinds of air: but with thee do my nostrils taste their greatest delight!
Unless it be,--unless it be--, do forgive an old recollection! Forgive me
an old after-dinner song, which I once composed amongst daughters of the
For with them was there equally good, clear, Oriental air; there was I
furthest from cloudy, damp, melancholy Old-Europe!
Then did I love such Oriental maidens and other blue kingdoms of heaven,
over which hang no clouds and no thoughts.
Ye would not believe how charmingly they sat there, when they did not
dance, profound, but without thoughts, like little secrets, like beribboned
riddles, like dessert-nuts--
Many-hued and foreign, forsooth! but without clouds: riddles which can be
guessed: to please such maidens I then composed an after-dinner psalm."
Thus spake the wanderer who called himself Zarathustra's shadow; and before
any one answered him, he had seized the harp of the old magician, crossed
his legs, and looked calmly and sagely around him:--with his nostrils,
however, he inhaled the air slowly and questioningly, like one who in new
countries tasteth new foreign air. Afterward he began to sing with a kind
THE DESERTS GROW: WOE HIM WHO DOTH THEM HIDE!
In effect solemnly!
A worthy beginning!
Afric manner, solemnly!
Of a lion worthy,
Or perhaps of a virtuous howl-monkey--
--But it's naught to you,
Ye friendly damsels dearly loved,
At whose own feet to me,
The first occasion,
To a European under palm-trees,
A seat is now granted. Selah.
Here do I sit now,
The desert nigh, and yet I am
So far still from the desert,
Even in naught yet deserted:
That is, I'm swallowed down
By this the smallest oasis--:
--It opened up just yawning,
Its loveliest mouth agape,
Most sweet-odoured of all mouthlets:
Then fell I right in,
Right down, right through--in 'mong you,
Ye friendly damsels dearly loved! Selah.
Hail! hail! to that whale, fishlike,
If it thus for its guest's convenience
Made things nice!--(ye well know,
Surely, my learned allusion?)
Hail to its belly,
If it had e'er
A such loveliest oasis-belly
As this is: though however I doubt about it,
--With this come I out of Old-Europe,
That doubt'th more eagerly than doth any
Elderly married woman.
May the Lord improve it!
Here do I sit now,
In this the smallest oasis,
Like a date indeed,
Brown, quite sweet, gold-suppurating,
For rounded mouth of maiden longing,
But yet still more for youthful, maidlike,
Ice-cold and snow-white and incisory
Front teeth: and for such assuredly,
Pine the hearts all of ardent date-fruits. Selah.
To the there-named south-fruits now,
Do I lie here; by little
Round-sniffled and round-played,
And also by yet littler,
Foolisher, and peccabler
Wishes and phantasies,--
Environed by you,
Ye silent, presentientest
Dudu and Suleika,
--ROUNDSPHINXED, that into one word
I may crowd much feeling:
(Forgive me, O God,
All such speech-sinning!)
--Sit I here the best of air sniffling,
Paradisal air, truly,
Bright and buoyant air, golden-mottled,
As goodly air as ever
From lunar orb downfell--
Be it by hazard,
Or supervened it by arrogancy?
As the ancient poets relate it.
But doubter, I'm now calling it
In question: with this do I come indeed
Out of Europe,
That doubt'th more eagerly than doth any
Elderly married woman.
May the Lord improve it!
This the finest air drinking,
With nostrils out-swelled like goblets,
Lacking future, lacking remembrances
Thus do I sit here, ye
Friendly damsels dearly loved,
And look at the palm-tree there,
How it, to a dance-girl, like,
Doth bow and bend and on its haunches bob,
--One doth it too, when one view'th it long!--
To a dance-girl like, who as it seem'th to me,
Too long, and dangerously persistent,
Always, always, just on SINGLE leg hath stood?
--Then forgot she thereby, as it seem'th to me,
The OTHER leg?
For vainly I, at least,
Did search for the amissing
--Namely, the other leg--
In the sanctified precincts,
Nigh her very dearest, very tenderest,
Flapping and fluttering and flickering skirting.
Yea, if ye should, ye beauteous friendly ones,
Quite take my word:
She hath, alas! LOST it!
Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu!
It is away!
For ever away!
The other leg!
Oh, pity for that loveliest other leg!
Where may it now tarry, all-forsaken weeping?
The lonesomest leg?
In fear perhaps before a
Furious, yellow, blond and curled
Leonine monster? Or perhaps even
Gnawed away, nibbled badly--
Most wretched, woeful! woeful! nibbled badly! Selah.
Oh, weep ye not,
Weep ye not, ye
Date-fruit spirits! Milk-bosoms!
Weep ye no more,
Be a man, Suleika! Bold! Bold!
--Or else should there perhaps
Something strengthening, heart-strengthening,
Here most proper be?
Some inspiring text?
Some solemn exhortation?--
Ha! Up now! honour!
Moral honour! European honour!
Blow again, continue,
Bellows-box of virtue!
Once more thy roaring,
Thy moral roaring!
As a virtuous lion
Nigh the daughters of deserts roaring!
--For virtue's out-howl,
Ye very dearest maidens,
Is more than every
European fervour, European hot-hunger!
And now do I stand here,
I can't be different, God's help to me!
THE DESERTS GROW: WOE HIM WHO DOTH THEM HIDE!
LXXVII. THE AWAKENING.
After the song of the wanderer and shadow, the cave became all at once full
of noise and laughter: and since the assembled guests all spake
simultaneously, and even the ass, encouraged thereby, no longer remained
silent, a little aversion and scorn for his visitors came over Zarathustra,
although he rejoiced at their gladness. For it seemed to him a sign of
convalescence. So he slipped out into the open air and spake to his
"Whither hath their distress now gone?" said he, and already did he himself
feel relieved of his petty disgust--"with me, it seemeth that they have
unlearned their cries of distress!
--Though, alas! not yet their crying." And Zarathustra stopped his ears,
for just then did the YE-A of the ass mix strangely with the noisy
jubilation of those higher men.
"They are merry," he began again, "and who knoweth? perhaps at their host's
expense; and if they have learned of me to laugh, still it is not MY
laughter they have learned.
But what matter about that! They are old people: they recover in their
own way, they laugh in their own way; mine ears have already endured worse
and have not become peevish.
This day is a victory: he already yieldeth, he fleeth, THE SPIRIT OF
GRAVITY, mine old arch-enemy! How well this day is about to end, which
began so badly and gloomily!
And it is ABOUT TO end. Already cometh the evening: over the sea rideth
it hither, the good rider! How it bobbeth, the blessed one, the home-
returning one, in its purple saddles!
The sky gazeth brightly thereon, the world lieth deep. Oh, all ye strange
ones who have come to me, it is already worth while to have lived with me!"
Thus spake Zarathustra. And again came the cries and laughter of the
higher men out of the cave: then began he anew:
"They bite at it, my bait taketh, there departeth also from them their
enemy, the spirit of gravity. Now do they learn to laugh at themselves:
do I hear rightly?
My virile food taketh effect, my strong and savoury sayings: and verily, I
did not nourish them with flatulent vegetables! But with warrior-food,
with conqueror-food: new desires did I awaken.
New hopes are in their arms and legs, their hearts expand. They find new
words, soon will their spirits breathe wantonness.
Such food may sure enough not be proper for children, nor even for longing
girls old and young. One persuadeth their bowels otherwise; I am not their
physician and teacher.
The DISGUST departeth from these higher men; well! that is my victory. In
my domain they become assured; all stupid shame fleeth away; they empty
They empty their hearts, good times return unto them, they keep holiday and
ruminate,--they become THANKFUL.
THAT do I take as the best sign: they become thankful. Not long will it
be ere they devise festivals, and put up memorials to their old joys.
They are CONVALESCENTS!" Thus spake Zarathustra joyfully to his heart and
gazed outward; his animals, however, pressed up to him, and honoured his
happiness and his silence.
All on a sudden however, Zarathustra's ear was frightened: for the cave
which had hitherto been full of noise and laughter, became all at once
still as death;--his nose, however, smelt a sweet-scented vapour and
incense-odour, as if from burning pine-cones.
"What happeneth? What are they about?" he asked himself, and stole up to
the entrance, that he might be able unobserved to see his guests. But
wonder upon wonder! what was he then obliged to behold with his own eyes!
"They have all of them become PIOUS again, they PRAY, they are mad!"--said
he, and was astonished beyond measure. And forsooth! all these higher men,
the two kings, the pope out of service, the evil magician, the voluntary
beggar, the wanderer and shadow, the old soothsayer, the spiritually
conscientious one, and the ugliest man--they all lay on their knees like
children and credulous old women, and worshipped the ass. And just then
began the ugliest man to gurgle and snort, as if something unutterable in
him tried to find expression; when, however, he had actually found words,
behold! it was a pious, strange litany in praise of the adored and censed
ass. And the litany sounded thus:
Amen! And glory and honour and wisdom and thanks and praise and strength
be to our God, from everlasting to everlasting!
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
He carrieth our burdens, he hath taken upon him the form of a servant, he
is patient of heart and never saith Nay; and he who loveth his God
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
He speaketh not: except that he ever saith Yea to the world which he
created: thus doth he extol his world. It is his artfulness that speaketh
not: thus is he rarely found wrong.
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
Uncomely goeth he through the world. Grey is the favourite colour in which
he wrappeth his virtue. Hath he spirit, then doth he conceal it; every
one, however, believeth in his long ears.
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
What hidden wisdom it is to wear long ears, and only to say Yea and never
Nay! Hath he not created the world in his own image, namely, as stupid as
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
Thou goest straight and crooked ways; it concerneth thee little what
seemeth straight or crooked unto us men. Beyond good and evil is thy
domain. It is thine innocence not to know what innocence is.
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
Lo! how thou spurnest none from thee, neither beggars nor kings. Thou
sufferest little children to come unto thee, and when the bad boys decoy
thee, then sayest thou simply, YE-A.
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
Thou lovest she-asses and fresh figs, thou art no food-despiser. A thistle
tickleth thy heart when thou chancest to be hungry. There is the wisdom of
a God therein.
--The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.
LXXVIII. THE ASS-FESTIVAL.
At this place in the litany, however, Zarathustra could no longer control
himself; he himself cried out YE-A, louder even than the ass, and sprang
into the midst of his maddened guests. "Whatever are you about, ye grown-
up children?" he exclaimed, pulling up the praying ones from the ground.
"Alas, if any one else, except Zarathustra, had seen you:
Every one would think you the worst blasphemers, or the very foolishest old
women, with your new belief!
And thou thyself, thou old pope, how is it in accordance with thee, to
adore an ass in such a manner as God?"--
"O Zarathustra," answered the pope, "forgive me, but in divine matters I am
more enlightened even than thou. And it is right that it should be so.
Better to adore God so, in this form, than in no form at all! Think over
this saying, mine exalted friend: thou wilt readily divine that in such a
saying there is wisdom.
He who said 'God is a Spirit'--made the greatest stride and slide hitherto
made on earth towards unbelief: such a dictum is not easily amended again
Mine old heart leapeth and boundeth because there is still something to
adore on earth. Forgive it, O Zarathustra, to an old, pious pontiff-
--"And thou," said Zarathustra to the wanderer and shadow, "thou callest
and thinkest thyself a free spirit? And thou here practisest such idolatry
Worse verily, doest thou here than with thy bad brown girls, thou bad, new
"It is sad enough," answered the wanderer and shadow, "thou art right: but
how can I help it! The old God liveth again, O Zarathustra, thou mayst say
what thou wilt.
The ugliest man is to blame for it all: he hath reawakened him. And if he
say that he once killed him, with Gods DEATH is always just a prejudice."
--"And thou," said Zarathustra, "thou bad old magician, what didst thou do!
Who ought to believe any longer in thee in this free age, when THOU
believest in such divine donkeyism?
It was a stupid thing that thou didst; how couldst thou, a shrewd man, do
such a stupid thing!"
"O Zarathustra," answered the shrewd magician, "thou art right, it was a
stupid thing,--it was also repugnant to me."
--"And thou even," said Zarathustra to the spiritually conscientious one,
"consider, and put thy finger to thy nose! Doth nothing go against thy
conscience here? Is thy spirit not too cleanly for this praying and the
fumes of those devotees?"
"There is something therein," said the spiritually conscientious one, and
put his finger to his nose, "there is something in this spectacle which
even doeth good to my conscience.
Perhaps I dare not believe in God: certain it is however, that God seemeth
to me most worthy of belief in this form.
God is said to be eternal, according to the testimony of the most pious:
he who hath so much time taketh his time. As slow and as stupid as
possible: THEREBY can such a one nevertheless go very far.
And he who hath too much spirit might well become infatuated with stupidity
and folly. Think of thyself, O Zarathustra!
Thou thyself--verily! even thou couldst well become an ass through
superabundance of wisdom.
Doth not the true sage willingly walk on the crookedest paths? The
evidence teacheth it, O Zarathustra,--THINE OWN evidence!"
--"And thou thyself, finally," said Zarathustra, and turned towards the
ugliest man, who still lay on the ground stretching up his arm to the ass
(for he gave it wine to drink). "Say, thou nondescript, what hast thou
Thou seemest to me transformed, thine eyes glow, the mantle of the sublime
covereth thine ugliness: WHAT didst thou do?
Is it then true what they say, that thou hast again awakened him? And why?
Was he not for good reasons killed and made away with?
Thou thyself seemest to me awakened: what didst thou do? why didst THOU
turn round? Why didst THOU get converted? Speak, thou nondescript!"
"O Zarathustra," answered the ugliest man, "thou art a rogue!
Whether HE yet liveth, or again liveth, or is thoroughly dead--which of us
both knoweth that best? I ask thee.
One thing however do I know,--from thyself did I learn it once, O
Zarathustra: he who wanteth to kill most thoroughly, LAUGHETH.
'Not by wrath but by laughter doth one kill'--thus spakest thou once, O
Zarathustra, thou hidden one, thou destroyer without wrath, thou dangerous
saint,--thou art a rogue!"
Then, however, did it come to pass that Zarathustra, astonished at such
merely roguish answers, jumped back to the door of his cave, and turning
towards all his guests, cried out with a strong voice:
"O ye wags, all of you, ye buffoons! Why do ye dissemble and disguise
yourselves before me!
How the hearts of all of you convulsed with delight and wickedness, because
ye had at last become again like little children--namely, pious,--
--Because ye at last did again as children do--namely, prayed, folded your
hands and said 'good God'!
But now leave, I pray you, THIS nursery, mine own cave, where to-day all
childishness is carried on. Cool down, here outside, your hot child-
wantonness and heart-tumult!
To be sure: except ye become as little children ye shall not enter into
THAT kingdom of heaven." (And Zarathustra pointed aloft with his hands.)
"But we do not at all want to enter into the kingdom of heaven: we have
become men,--SO WE WANT THE KINGDOM OF EARTH."
And once more began Zarathustra to speak. "O my new friends," said he,--
"ye strange ones, ye higher men, how well do ye now please me,--
--Since ye have again become joyful! Ye have, verily, all blossomed forth:
it seemeth to me that for such flowers as you, NEW FESTIVALS are required.
--A little valiant nonsense, some divine service and ass-festival, some old
joyful Zarathustra fool, some blusterer to blow your souls bright.
Forget not this night and this ass-festival, ye higher men! THAT did ye
devise when with me, that do I take as a good omen,--such things only the
And should ye celebrate it again, this ass-festival, do it from love to
yourselves, do it also from love to me! And in remembrance of me!"
Thus spake Zarathustra.
LXXIX. THE DRUNKEN SONG.
Meanwhile one after another had gone out into the open air, and into the
cool, thoughtful night; Zarathustra himself, however, led the ugliest man
by the hand, that he might show him his night-world, and the great round
moon, and the silvery water-falls near his cave. There they at last stood
still beside one another; all of them old people, but with comforted, brave
hearts, and astonished in themselves that it was so well with them on
earth; the mystery of the night, however, came nigher and nigher to their
hearts. And anew Zarathustra thought to himself: "Oh, how well do they
now please me, these higher men!"--but he did not say it aloud, for he
respected their happiness and their silence.--
Then, however, there happened that which in this astonishing long day was
most astonishing: the ugliest man began once more and for the last time to
gurgle and snort, and when he had at length found expression, behold! there
sprang a question plump and plain out of his mouth, a good, deep, clear
question, which moved the hearts of all who listened to him.
"My friends, all of you," said the ugliest man, "what think ye? For the
sake of this day--_I_ am for the first time content to have lived mine
And that I testify so much is still not enough for me. It is worth while
living on the earth: one day, one festival with Zarathustra, hath taught
me to love the earth.
'Was THAT--life?' will I say unto death. 'Well! Once more!'
My friends, what think ye? Will ye not, like me, say unto death: 'Was
THAT--life? For the sake of Zarathustra, well! Once more!'"--
Thus spake the ugliest man; it was not, however, far from midnight. And
what took place then, think ye? As soon as the higher men heard his
question, they became all at once conscious of their transformation and
convalescence, and of him who was the cause thereof: then did they rush up
to Zarathustra, thanking, honouring, caressing him, and kissing his hands,
each in his own peculiar way; so that some laughed and some wept. The old
soothsayer, however, danced with delight; and though he was then, as some
narrators suppose, full of sweet wine, he was certainly still fuller of
sweet life, and had renounced all weariness. There are even those who
narrate that the ass then danced: for not in vain had the ugliest man
previously given it wine to drink. That may be the case, or it may be
otherwise; and if in truth the ass did not dance that evening, there
nevertheless happened then greater and rarer wonders than the dancing of an
ass would have been. In short, as the proverb of Zarathustra saith: "What
doth it matter!"
When, however, this took place with the ugliest man, Zarathustra stood
there like one drunken: his glance dulled, his tongue faltered and his
feet staggered. And who could divine what thoughts then passed through
Zarathustra's soul? Apparently, however, his spirit retreated and fled in
advance and was in remote distances, and as it were "wandering on high
mountain-ridges," as it standeth written, "'twixt two seas,
--Wandering 'twixt the past and the future as a heavy cloud." Gradually,
however, while the higher men held him in their arms, he came back to
himself a little, and resisted with his hands the crowd of the honouring
and caring ones; but he did not speak. All at once, however, he turned his
head quickly, for he seemed to hear something: then laid he his finger on
his mouth and said: "COME!"
And immediately it became still and mysterious round about; from the depth
however there came up slowly the sound of a clock-bell. Zarathustra
listened thereto, like the higher men; then, however, laid he his finger on
his mouth the second time, and said again: "COME! COME! IT IS GETTING ON
TO MIDNIGHT!"--and his voice had changed. But still he had not moved from
the spot. Then it became yet stiller and more mysterious, and everything
hearkened, even the ass, and Zarathustra's noble animals, the eagle and the
serpent,--likewise the cave of Zarathustra and the big cool moon, and the
night itself. Zarathustra, however, laid his hand upon his mouth for the
third time, and said:
COME! COME! COME! LET US NOW WANDER! IT IS THE HOUR: LET US WANDER
INTO THE NIGHT!
Ye higher men, it is getting on to midnight: then will I say something
into your ears, as that old clock-bell saith it into mine ear,--
--As mysteriously, as frightfully, and as cordially as that midnight clock-
bell speaketh it to me, which hath experienced more than one man:
--Which hath already counted the smarting throbbings of your fathers'
hearts--ah! ah! how it sigheth! how it laugheth in its dream! the old,
deep, deep midnight!
Hush! Hush! Then is there many a thing heard which may not be heard by
day; now however, in the cool air, when even all the tumult of your hearts
hath become still,--
--Now doth it speak, now is it heard, now doth it steal into overwakeful,
nocturnal souls: ah! ah! how the midnight sigheth! how it laugheth in its
--Hearest thou not how it mysteriously, frightfully, and cordially speaketh
unto THEE, the old deep, deep midnight?
O MAN, TAKE HEED!
Woe to me! Whither hath time gone? Have I not sunk into deep wells? The
Ah! Ah! The dog howleth, the moon shineth. Rather will I die, rather
will I die, than say unto you what my midnight-heart now thinketh.
Already have I died. It is all over. Spider, why spinnest thou around me?
Wilt thou have blood? Ah! Ah! The dew falleth, the hour cometh--
--The hour in which I frost and freeze, which asketh and asketh and asketh:
"Who hath sufficient courage for it?
--Who is to be master of the world? Who is going to say: THUS shall ye
flow, ye great and small streams!"
--The hour approacheth: O man, thou higher man, take heed! this talk is
for fine ears, for thine ears--WHAT SAITH DEEP MIDNIGHT'S VOICE INDEED?
It carrieth me away, my soul danceth. Day's-work! Day's-work! Who is to
be master of the world?
The moon is cool, the wind is still. Ah! Ah! Have ye already flown high
enough? Ye have danced: a leg, nevertheless, is not a wing.
Ye good dancers, now is all delight over: wine hath become lees, every cup
hath become brittle, the sepulchres mutter.
Ye have not flown high enough: now do the sepulchres mutter: "Free the
dead! Why is it so long night? Doth not the moon make us drunken?"
Ye higher men, free the sepulchres, awaken the corpses! Ah, why doth the
worm still burrow? There approacheth, there approacheth, the hour,--
--There boometh the clock-bell, there thrilleth still the heart, there
burroweth still the wood-worm, the heart-worm. Ah! Ah! THE WORLD IS
Sweet lyre! Sweet lyre! I love thy tone, thy drunken, ranunculine tone!--
how long, how far hath come unto me thy tone, from the distance, from the
ponds of love!
Thou old clock-bell, thou sweet lyre! Every pain hath torn thy heart,
father-pain, fathers'-pain, forefathers'-pain; thy speech hath become
--Ripe like the golden autumn and the afternoon, like mine anchorite heart
--now sayest thou: The world itself hath become ripe, the grape turneth
--Now doth it wish to die, to die of happiness. Ye higher men, do ye not
feel it? There welleth up mysteriously an odour,
--A perfume and odour of eternity, a rosy-blessed, brown, gold-wine-odour
of old happiness,
--Of drunken midnight-death happiness, which singeth: the world is deep,
AND DEEPER THAN THE DAY COULD READ!
Leave me alone! Leave me alone! I am too pure for thee. Touch me not!
Hath not my world just now become perfect?
My skin is too pure for thy hands. Leave me alone, thou dull, doltish,
stupid day! Is not the midnight brighter?
The purest are to be masters of the world, the least known, the strongest,
the midnight-souls, who are brighter and deeper than any day.
O day, thou gropest for me? Thou feelest for my happiness? For thee am I
rich, lonesome, a treasure-pit, a gold chamber?
O world, thou wantest ME? Am I worldly for thee? Am I spiritual for thee?
Am I divine for thee? But day and world, ye are too coarse,--
--Have cleverer hands, grasp after deeper happiness, after deeper
unhappiness, grasp after some God; grasp not after me:
--Mine unhappiness, my happiness is deep, thou strange day, but yet am I no
God, no God's-hell: DEEP IS ITS WOE.
God's woe is deeper, thou strange world! Grasp at God's woe, not at me!
What am I! A drunken sweet lyre,--
--A midnight-lyre, a bell-frog, which no one understandeth, but which MUST
speak before deaf ones, ye higher men! For ye do not understand me!
Gone! Gone! O youth! O noontide! O afternoon! Now have come evening
and night and midnight,--the dog howleth, the wind:
--Is the wind not a dog? It whineth, it barketh, it howleth. Ah! Ah! how
she sigheth! how she laugheth, how she wheezeth and panteth, the midnight!
How she just now speaketh soberly, this drunken poetess! hath she perhaps
overdrunk her drunkenness? hath she become overawake? doth she ruminate?
--Her woe doth she ruminate over, in a dream, the old, deep midnight--and
still more her joy. For joy, although woe be deep, JOY IS DEEPER STILL
THAN GRIEF CAN BE.
Thou grape-vine! Why dost thou praise me? Have I not cut thee! I am
cruel, thou bleedest--: what meaneth thy praise of my drunken cruelty?
"Whatever hath become perfect, everything mature--wanteth to die!" so
sayest thou. Blessed, blessed be the vintner's knife! But everything
immature wanteth to live: alas!
Woe saith: "Hence! Go! Away, thou woe!" But everything that suffereth
wanteth to live, that it may become mature and lively and longing,
--Longing for the further, the higher, the brighter. "I want heirs," so
saith everything that suffereth, "I want children, I do not want MYSELF,"--
Joy, however, doth not want heirs, it doth not want children,--joy wanteth
itself, it wanteth eternity, it wanteth recurrence, it wanteth everything
Woe saith: "Break, bleed, thou heart! Wander, thou leg! Thou wing, fly!
Onward! upward! thou pain!" Well! Cheer up! O mine old heart: WOE
SAITH: "HENCE! GO!"
Ye higher men, what think ye? Am I a soothsayer? Or a dreamer? Or a
drunkard? Or a dream-reader? Or a midnight-bell?
Or a drop of dew? Or a fume and fragrance of eternity? Hear ye it not?
Smell ye it not? Just now hath my world become perfect, midnight is also
Pain is also a joy, curse is also a blessing, night is also a sun,--go
away! or ye will learn that a sage is also a fool.
Said ye ever Yea to one joy? O my friends, then said ye Yea also unto ALL
woe. All things are enlinked, enlaced and enamoured,--
--Wanted ye ever once to come twice; said ye ever: "Thou pleasest me,
happiness! Instant! Moment!" then wanted ye ALL to come back again!
--All anew, all eternal, all enlinked, enlaced and enamoured, Oh, then did
ye LOVE the world,--
--Ye eternal ones, ye love it eternally and for all time: and also unto
woe do ye say: Hence! Go! but come back! FOR JOYS ALL WANT--ETERNITY!
All joy wanteth the eternity of all things, it wanteth honey, it wanteth
lees, it wanteth drunken midnight, it wanteth graves, it wanteth grave-
tears' consolation, it wanteth gilded evening-red--
--WHAT doth not joy want! it is thirstier, heartier, hungrier, more
frightful, more mysterious, than all woe: it wanteth ITSELF, it biteth
into ITSELF, the ring's will writheth in it,--
--It wanteth love, it wanteth hate, it is over-rich, it bestoweth, it
throweth away, it beggeth for some one to take from it, it thanketh the
taker, it would fain be hated,--
--So rich is joy that it thirsteth for woe, for hell, for hate, for shame,
for the lame, for the WORLD,--for this world, Oh, ye know it indeed!
Ye higher men, for you doth it long, this joy, this irrepressible, blessed
joy--for your woe, ye failures! For failures, longeth all eternal joy.
For joys all want themselves, therefore do they also want grief! O
happiness, O pain! Oh break, thou heart! Ye higher men, do learn it, that
joys want eternity.
--Joys want the eternity of ALL things, they WANT DEEP, PROFOUND ETERNITY!
Have ye now learned my song? Have ye divined what it would say? Well!
Cheer up! Ye higher men, sing now my roundelay!
Sing now yourselves the song, the name of which is "Once more," the
signification of which is "Unto all eternity!"--sing, ye higher men,
O man! Take heed!
What saith deep midnight's voice indeed?
"I slept my sleep--,
"From deepest dream I've woke, and plead:--
"The world is deep,
"And deeper than the day could read.
"Deep is its woe--,
"Joy--deeper still than grief can be:
"Woe saith: Hence! Go!
"But joys all want eternity-,
"-Want deep, profound eternity!"
LXXX. THE SIGN.
In the morning, however, after this night, Zarathustra jumped up from his
couch, and, having girded his loins, he came out of his cave glowing and
strong, like a morning sun coming out of gloomy mountains.
"Thou great star," spake he, as he had spoken once before, "thou deep eye
of happiness, what would be all thy happiness if thou hadst not THOSE for
whom thou shinest!
And if they remained in their chambers whilst thou art already awake, and
comest and bestowest and distributest, how would thy proud modesty upbraid
Well! they still sleep, these higher men, whilst _I_ am awake: THEY are
not my proper companions! Not for them do I wait here in my mountains.
At my work I want to be, at my day: but they understand not what are the
signs of my morning, my step--is not for them the awakening-call.
They still sleep in my cave; their dream still drinketh at my drunken
songs. The audient ear for ME--the OBEDIENT ear, is yet lacking in their
--This had Zarathustra spoken to his heart when the sun arose: then looked
he inquiringly aloft, for he heard above him the sharp call of his eagle.
"Well!" called he upwards, "thus is it pleasing and proper to me. Mine
animals are awake, for I am awake.
Mine eagle is awake, and like me honoureth the sun. With eagle-talons doth
it grasp at the new light. Ye are my proper animals; I love you.
But still do I lack my proper men!"--
Thus spake Zarathustra; then, however, it happened that all on a sudden he
became aware that he was flocked around and fluttered around, as if by
innumerable birds,--the whizzing of so many wings, however, and the
crowding around his head was so great that he shut his eyes. And verily,
there came down upon him as it were a cloud, like a cloud of arrows which
poureth upon a new enemy. But behold, here it was a cloud of love, and
showered upon a new friend.
"What happeneth unto me?" thought Zarathustra in his astonished heart, and
slowly seated himself on the big stone which lay close to the exit from his
cave. But while he grasped about with his hands, around him, above him and
below him, and repelled the tender birds, behold, there then happened to
him something still stranger: for he grasped thereby unawares into a mass
of thick, warm, shaggy hair; at the same time, however, there sounded
before him a roar,--a long, soft lion-roar.
"THE SIGN COMETH," said Zarathustra, and a change came over his heart. And
in truth, when it turned clear before him, there lay a yellow, powerful
animal at his feet, resting its head on his knee,--unwilling to leave him
out of love, and doing like a dog which again findeth its old master. The
doves, however, were no less eager with their love than the lion; and
whenever a dove whisked over its nose, the lion shook its head and wondered
When all this went on Zarathustra spake only a word: "MY CHILDREN ARE
NIGH, MY CHILDREN"--, then he became quite mute. His heart, however, was
loosed, and from his eyes there dropped down tears and fell upon his hands.
And he took no further notice of anything, but sat there motionless,
without repelling the animals further. Then flew the doves to and fro, and
perched on his shoulder, and caressed his white hair, and did not tire of
their tenderness and joyousness. The strong lion, however, licked always
the tears that fell on Zarathustra's hands, and roared and growled shyly.
Thus did these animals do.--
All this went on for a long time, or a short time: for properly speaking,
there is NO time on earth for such things--. Meanwhile, however, the
higher men had awakened in Zarathustra's cave, and marshalled themselves
for a procession to go to meet Zarathustra, and give him their morning
greeting: for they had found when they awakened that he no longer tarried
with them. When, however, they reached the door of the cave and the noise
of their steps had preceded them, the lion started violently; it turned
away all at once from Zarathustra, and roaring wildly, sprang towards the
cave. The higher men, however, when they heard the lion roaring, cried all
aloud as with one voice, fled back and vanished in an instant.
Zarathustra himself, however, stunned and strange, rose from his seat,
looked around him, stood there astonished, inquired of his heart, bethought
himself, and remained alone. "What did I hear?" said he at last, slowly,
"what happened unto me just now?"
But soon there came to him his recollection, and he took in at a glance all
that had taken place between yesterday and to-day. "Here is indeed the
stone," said he, and stroked his beard, "on IT sat I yester-morn; and here
came the soothsayer unto me, and here heard I first the cry which I heard
just now, the great cry of distress.
O ye higher men, YOUR distress was it that the old soothsayer foretold to
--Unto your distress did he want to seduce and tempt me: 'O Zarathustra,'
said he to me, 'I come to seduce thee to thy last sin.'
To my last sin?" cried Zarathustra, and laughed angrily at his own words:
"WHAT hath been reserved for me as my last sin?"
--And once more Zarathustra became absorbed in himself, and sat down again
on the big stone and meditated. Suddenly he sprang up,--
"FELLOW-SUFFERING! FELLOW-SUFFERING WITH THE HIGHER MEN!" he cried out,
and his countenance changed into brass. "Well! THAT--hath had its time!
My suffering and my fellow-suffering--what matter about them! Do I then
strive after HAPPINESS? I strive after my WORK!
Well! The lion hath come, my children are nigh, Zarathustra hath grown
ripe, mine hour hath come:--
This is MY morning, MY day beginneth: ARISE NOW, ARISE, THOU GREAT
Thus spake Zarathustra and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a
morning sun coming out of gloomy mountains.
NOTES ON "THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA" BY ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI.
I have had some opportunities of studying the conditions under which
Nietzsche is read in Germany, France, and England, and I have found that,
in each of these countries, students of his philosophy, as if actuated by
precisely similar motives and desires, and misled by the same mistaken
tactics on the part of most publishers, all proceed in the same happy-go-
lucky style when "taking him up." They have had it said to them that he
wrote without any system, and they very naturally conclude that it does not
matter in the least whether they begin with his first, third, or last book,
provided they can obtain a few vague ideas as to what his leading and most
sensational principles were.
Now, it is clear that the book with the most mysterious, startling, or
suggestive title, will always stand the best chance of being purchased by
those who have no other criteria to guide them in their choice than the
aspect of a title-page; and this explains why "Thus Spake Zarathustra" is
almost always the first and often the only one of Nietzsche's books that
falls into the hands of the uninitiated.
The title suggests all kinds of mysteries; a glance at the chapter-headings
quickly confirms the suspicions already aroused, and the sub-title: "A
Book for All and None", generally succeeds in dissipating the last doubts
the prospective purchaser may entertain concerning his fitness for the book
or its fitness for him. And what happens?
"Thus Spake Zarathustra" is taken home; the reader, who perchance may know
no more concerning Nietzsche than a magazine article has told him, tries to
read it and, understanding less than half he reads, probably never gets
further than the second or third part,--and then only to feel convinced
that Nietzsche himself was "rather hazy" as to what he was talking about.
Such chapters as "The Child with the Mirror", "In the Happy Isles", "The
Grave-Song," "Immaculate Perception," "The Stillest Hour", "The Seven
Seals", and many others, are almost utterly devoid of meaning to all those
who do not know something of Nietzsche's life, his aims and his
As a matter of fact, "Thus Spake Zarathustra", though it is unquestionably
Nietzsche's opus magnum, is by no means the first of Nietzsche's works that
the beginner ought to undertake to read. The author himself refers to it
as the deepest work ever offered to the German public, and elsewhere speaks
of his other writings as being necessary for the understanding of it. But
when it is remembered that in Zarathustra we not only have the history of
his most intimate experiences, friendships, feuds, disappointments,
triumphs and the like, but that the very form in which they are narrated is
one which tends rather to obscure than to throw light upon them, the
difficulties which meet the reader who starts quite unprepared will be seen
to be really formidable.
Zarathustra, then,--this shadowy, allegorical personality, speaking in
allegories and parables, and at times not even refraining from relating his
own dreams--is a figure we can understand but very imperfectly if we have
no knowledge of his creator and counterpart, Friedrich Nietzsche; and it
were therefore well, previous to our study of the more abstruse parts of
this book, if we were to turn to some authoritative book on Nietzsche's
life and works and to read all that is there said on the subject. Those
who can read German will find an excellent guide, in this respect, in Frau
Foerster-Nietzsche's exhaustive and highly interesting biography of her
brother: "Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's" (published by Naumann); while
the works of Deussen, Raoul Richter, and Baroness Isabelle von Unger-
Sternberg, will be found to throw useful and necessary light upon many
questions which it would be difficult for a sister to touch upon.
In regard to the actual philosophical views expounded in this work, there
is an excellent way of clearing up any difficulties they may present, and
that is by an appeal to Nietzsche's other works. Again and again, of
course, he will be found to express himself so clearly that all reference
to his other writings may be dispensed with; but where this is not the
case, the advice he himself gives is after all the best to be followed
here, viz.:--to regard such works as: "Joyful Science", "Beyond Good and
Evil", "The Genealogy of Morals", "The Twilight of the Idols", "The
Antichrist", "The Will to Power", etc., etc., as the necessary preparation
for "Thus Spake Zarathustra".
These directions, though they are by no means simple to carry out, seem at
least to possess the quality of definiteness and straightforwardness.
"Follow them and all will be clear," I seem to imply. But I regret to say
that this is not really the case. For my experience tells me that even
after the above directions have been followed with the greatest possible
zeal, the student will still halt in perplexity before certain passages in
the book before us, and wonder what they mean. Now, it is with the view of
giving a little additional help to all those who find themselves in this
position that I proceed to put forth my own personal interpretation of the
more abstruse passages in this work.
In offering this little commentary to the Nietzsche student, I should like
it to be understood that I make no claim as to its infallibility or
indispensability. It represents but an attempt on my part--a very feeble
one perhaps--to give the reader what little help I can in surmounting
difficulties which a long study of Nietzsche's life and works has enabled
me, partially I hope, to overcome.
Perhaps it would be as well to start out with a broad and rapid sketch of
Nietzsche as a writer on Morals, Evolution, and Sociology, so that the
reader may be prepared to pick out for himself, so to speak, all passages
in this work bearing in any way upon Nietzsche's views in those three
important branches of knowledge.
(A.) Nietzsche and Morality.
In morality, Nietzsche starts out by adopting the position of the
relativist. He says there are no absolute values "good" and "evil"; these
are mere means adopted by all in order to acquire power to maintain their
place in the world, or to become supreme. It is the lion's good to devour
an antelope. It is the dead-leaf butterfly's good to tell a foe a
falsehood. For when the dead-leaf butterfly is in danger, it clings to the
side of a twig, and what it says to its foe is practically this: "I am not
a butterfly, I am a dead leaf, and can be of no use to thee." This is a
lie which is good to the butterfly, for it preserves it. In nature every
species of organic being instinctively adopts and practises those acts
which most conduce to the prevalence or supremacy of its kind. Once the
most favourable order of conduct is found, proved efficient and
established, it becomes the ruling morality of the species that adopts it
and bears them along to victory. All species must not and cannot value
alike, for what is the lion's good is the antelope's evil and vice versa.
Concepts of good and evil are therefore, in their origin, merely a means to
an end, they are expedients for acquiring power.
Applying this principle to mankind, Nietzsche attacked Christian moral
values. He declared them to be, like all other morals, merely an expedient
for protecting a certain type of man. In the case of Christianity this
type was, according to Nietzsche, a low one.
Conflicting moral codes have been no more than the conflicting weapons of
different classes of men; for in mankind there is a continual war between
the powerful, the noble, the strong, and the well-constituted on the one
side, and the impotent, the mean, the weak, and the ill-constituted on the
other. The war is a war of moral principles. The morality of the powerful
class, Nietzsche calls NOBLE- or MASTER-MORALITY; that of the weak and
subordinate class he calls SLAVE-MORALITY. In the first morality it is the
eagle which, looking down upon a browsing lamb, contends that "eating lamb
is good." In the second, the slave-morality, it is the lamb which, looking
up from the sward, bleats dissentingly: "Eating lamb is evil."
(B.) The Master- and Slave-Morality Compared.
The first morality is active, creative, Dionysian. The second is passive,
defensive,--to it belongs the "struggle for existence."
Where attempts have not been made to reconcile the two moralities, they may
be described as follows:--All is GOOD in the noble morality which proceeds
from strength, power, health, well-constitutedness, happiness, and
awfulness; for, the motive force behind the people practising it is "the
struggle for power." The antithesis "good and bad" to this first class
means the same as "noble" and "despicable." "Bad" in the master-morality
must be applied to the coward, to all acts that spring from weakness, to
the man with "an eye to the main chance," who would forsake everything in
order to live.
With the second, the slave-morality, the case is different. There,
inasmuch as the community is an oppressed, suffering, unemancipated, and
weary one, all THAT will be held to be good which alleviates the state of
suffering. Pity, the obliging hand, the warm heart, patience, industry,
and humility--these are unquestionably the qualities we shall here find
flooded with the light of approval and admiration; because they are the
most USEFUL qualities--; they make life endurable, they are of assistance
in the "struggle for existence" which is the motive force behind the people
practising this morality. To this class, all that is AWFUL is bad, in fact
it is THE evil par excellence. Strength, health, superabundance of animal
spirits and power, are regarded with hate, suspicion, and fear by the
Now Nietzsche believed that the first or the noble-morality conduced to an
ascent in the line of life; because it was creative and active. On the
other hand, he believed that the second or slave-morality, where it became
paramount, led to degeneration, because it was passive and defensive,
wanting merely to keep those who practised it alive. Hence his earnest
advocacy of noble-morality.
(C.) Nietzsche and Evolution.
Nietzsche as an evolutionist I shall have occasion to define and discuss in
the course of these notes (see Notes on Chapter LVI., par.10, and on
Chapter LVII.). For the present let it suffice for us to know that he
accepted the "Development Hypothesis" as an explanation of the origin of
species: but he did not halt where most naturalists have halted. He by no
means regarded man as the highest possible being which evolution could
arrive at; for though his physical development may have reached its limit,
this is not the case with his mental or spiritual attributes. If the
process be a fact; if things have BECOME what they are, then, he contends,
we may describe no limit to man's aspirations. If he struggled up from
barbarism, and still more remotely from the lower Primates, his ideal
should be to surpass man himself and reach Superman (see especially the
(D.) Nietzsche and Sociology.
Nietzsche as a sociologist aims at an aristocratic arrangement of society.
He would have us rear an ideal race. Honest and truthful in intellectual
matters, he could not even think that men are equal. "With these preachers
of equality will I not be mixed up and confounded. For thus speaketh
justice unto ME: 'Men are not equal.'" He sees precisely in this
inequality a purpose to be served, a condition to be exploited. "Every
elevation of the type 'man,'" he writes in "Beyond Good and Evil", "has
hitherto been the work of an aristocratic society--and so will it always
be--a society believing in a long scale of gradations of rank and
differences of worth among human beings."
Those who are sufficiently interested to desire to read his own detailed
account of the society he would fain establish, will find an excellent
passage in Aphorism 57 of "The Antichrist".
PART I. THE PROLOGUE.
In Part I. including the Prologue, no very great difficulties will appear.
Zarathustra's habit of designating a whole class of men or a whole school
of thought by a single fitting nickname may perhaps lead to a little
confusion at first; but, as a rule, when the general drift of his arguments
is grasped, it requires but a slight effort of the imagination to discover
whom he is referring to. In the ninth paragraph of the Prologue, for
instance, it is quite obvious that "Herdsmen" in the verse "Herdsmen, I
say, etc., etc.," stands for all those to-day who are the advocates of
gregariousness--of the ant-hill. And when our author says: "A robber
shall Zarathustra be called by the herdsmen," it is clear that these words
may be taken almost literally from one whose ideal was the rearing of a
higher aristocracy. Again, "the good and just," throughout the book, is
the expression used in referring to the self-righteous of modern times,--
those who are quite sure that they know all that is to be known concerning
good and evil, and are satisfied that the values their little world of
tradition has handed down to them, are destined to rule mankind as long as
In the last paragraph of the Prologue, verse 7, Zarathustra gives us a
foretaste of his teaching concerning the big and the little sagacities,
expounded subsequently. He says he would he were as wise as his serpent;
this desire will be found explained in the discourse entitled "The
Despisers of the Body", which I shall have occasion to refer to later.
Chapter I. The Three Metamorphoses.
This opening discourse is a parable in which Zarathustra discloses the
mental development of all creators of new values. It is the story of a
life which reaches its consummation in attaining to a second ingenuousness
or in returning to childhood. Nietzsche, the supposed anarchist, here
plainly disclaims all relationship whatever to anarchy, for he shows us
that only by bearing the burdens of the existing law and submitting to it
patiently, as the camel submits to being laden, does the free spirit
acquire that ascendancy over tradition which enables him to meet and master
the dragon "Thou shalt,"--the dragon with the values of a thousand years
glittering on its scales. There are two lessons in this discourse: first,
that in order to create one must be as a little child; secondly, that it is
only through existing law and order that one attains to that height from
which new law and new order may be promulgated.
Chapter II. The Academic Chairs of Virtue.
Almost the whole of this is quite comprehensible. It is a discourse
against all those who confound virtue with tameness and smug ease, and who
regard as virtuous only that which promotes security and tends to deepen
Chapter IV. The Despisers of the Body.
Here Zarathustra gives names to the intellect and the instincts; he calls
the one "the little sagacity" and the latter "the big sagacity."
Schopenhauer's teaching concerning the intellect is fully endorsed here.
"An instrument of thy body is also thy little sagacity, my brother, which
thou callest 'spirit,'" says Zarathustra. From beginning to end it is a
warning to those who would think too lightly of the instincts and unduly
exalt the intellect and its derivatives: Reason and Understanding.
Chapter IX. The Preachers of Death.
This is an analysis of the psychology of all those who have the "evil eye"
and are pessimists by virtue of their constitutions.
Chapter XV. The Thousand and One Goals.
In this discourse Zarathustra opens his exposition of the doctrine of
relativity in morality, and declares all morality to be a mere means to
power. Needless to say that verses 9, 10, 11, and 12 refer to the Greeks,
the Persians, the Jews, and the Germans respectively. In the penultimate
verse he makes known his discovery concerning the root of modern Nihilism
and indifference,--i.e., that modern man has no goal, no aim, no ideals
(see Note A).
Chapter XVIII. Old and Young Women.
Nietzsche's views on women have either to be loved at first sight or they
become perhaps the greatest obstacle in the way of those who otherwise
would be inclined to accept his philosophy. Women especially, of course,
have been taught to dislike them, because it has been rumoured that his
views are unfriendly to themselves. Now, to my mind, all this is pure
misunderstanding and error.
German philosophers, thanks to Schopenhauer, have earned rather a bad name
for their views on women. It is almost impossible for one of them to write
a line on the subject, however kindly he may do so, without being suspected
of wishing to open a crusade against the fair sex. Despite the fact,
therefore, that all Nietzsche's views in this respect were dictated to him
by the profoundest love; despite Zarathustra's reservation in this
discourse, that "with women nothing (that can be said) is impossible," and
in the face of other overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Nietzsche is
universally reported to have mis son pied dans le plat, where the female
sex is concerned. And what is the fundamental doctrine which has given
rise to so much bitterness and aversion?--Merely this: that the sexes are
at bottom ANTAGONISTIC--that is to say, as different as blue is from
yellow, and that the best possible means of rearing anything approaching a
desirable race is to preserve and to foster this profound hostility. What
Nietzsche strives to combat and to overthrow is the modern democratic
tendency which is slowly labouring to level all things--even the sexes.
His quarrel is not with women--what indeed could be more undignified?--it
is with those who would destroy the natural relationship between the sexes,
by modifying either the one or the other with a view to making them more
alike. The human world is just as dependent upon women's powers as upon
men's. It is women's strongest and most valuable instincts which help to
determine who are to be the fathers of the next generation. By destroying
these particular instincts, that is to say by attempting to masculinise
woman, and to feminise men, we jeopardise the future of our people. The
general democratic movement of modern times, in its frantic struggle to
mitigate all differences, is now invading even the world of sex. It is
against this movement that Nietzsche raises his voice; he would have woman
become ever more woman and man become ever more man. Only thus, and he is
undoubtedly right, can their combined instincts lead to the excellence of
humanity. Regarded in this light, all his views on woman appear not only
necessary but just (see Note on Chapter LVI., par. 21.)
It is interesting to observe that the last line of the discourse, which has
so frequently been used by women as a weapon against Nietzsche's views
concerning them, was suggested to Nietzsche by a woman (see "Das Leben F.
Chapter XXI. Voluntary Death.
In regard to this discourse, I should only like to point out that Nietzsche
had a particular aversion to the word "suicide"--self-murder. He disliked
the evil it suggested, and in rechristening the act Voluntary Death, i.e.,
the death that comes from no other hand than one's own, he was desirous of
elevating it to the position it held in classical antiquity (see Aphorism
36 in "The Twilight of the Idols").
Chapter XXII. The Bestowing Virtue.
An important aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy is brought to light in this
discourse. His teaching, as is well known, places the Aristotelian man of
spirit, above all others in the natural divisions of man. The man with
overflowing strength, both of mind and body, who must discharge this
strength or perish, is the Nietzschean ideal. To such a man, giving from
his overflow becomes a necessity; bestowing develops into a means of
existence, and this is the only giving, the only charity, that Nietzsche
recognises. In paragraph 3 of the discourse, we read Zarathustra's healthy
exhortation to his disciples to become independent thinkers and to find
themselves before they learn any more from him (see Notes on Chapters LVI.,
par. 5, and LXXIII., pars. 10, 11).
Chapter XXIII. The Child with the Mirror.
Nietzsche tells us here, in a poetical form, how deeply grieved he was by
the manifold misinterpretations and misunderstandings which were becoming
rife concerning his publications. He does not recognise himself in the
mirror of public opinion, and recoils terrified from the distorted
reflection of his features. In verse 20 he gives us a hint which it were
well not to pass over too lightly; for, in the introduction to "The
Genealogy of Morals" (written in 1887) he finds it necessary to refer to
the matter again and with greater precision. The point is this, that a
creator of new values meets with his surest and strongest obstacles in the
very spirit of the language which is at his disposal. Words, like all
other manifestations of an evolving race, are stamped with the values that
have long been paramount in that race. Now, the original thinker who finds
himself compelled to use the current speech of his country in order to
impart new and hitherto untried views to his fellows, imposes a task upon
the natural means of communication which it is totally unfitted to
perform,--hence the obscurities and prolixities which are so frequently met
with in the writings of original thinkers. In the "Dawn of Day", Nietzsche
actually cautions young writers against THE DANGER OF ALLOWING THEIR
THOUGHTS TO BE MOULDED BY THE WORDS AT THEIR DISPOSAL.
Chapter XXIV. In the Happy Isles.
While writing this, Nietzsche is supposed to have been thinking of the
island of Ischia which was ultimately destroyed by an earthquake. His
teaching here is quite clear. He was among the first thinkers of Europe to
overcome the pessimism which godlessness generally brings in its wake. He
points to creating as the surest salvation from the suffering which is a
concomitant of all higher life. "What would there be to create," he asks,
"if there were--Gods?" His ideal, the Superman, lends him the cheerfulness
necessary to the overcoming of that despair usually attendant upon
godlessness and upon the apparent aimlessness of a world without a god.
Chapter XXIX. The Tarantulas.
The tarantulas are the Socialists and Democrats. This discourse offers us
an analysis of their mental attitude. Nietzsche refuses to be confounded
with those resentful and revengeful ones who condemn society FROM BELOW,
and whose criticism is only suppressed envy. "There are those who preach
my doctrine of life," he says of the Nietzschean Socialists, "and are at
the same time preachers of equality and tarantulas" (see Notes on Chapter
XL. and Chapter LI.).
Chapter XXX. The Famous Wise Ones.
This refers to all those philosophers hitherto, who have run in the harness
of established values and have not risked their reputation with the people
in pursuit of truth. The philosopher, however, as Nietzsche understood
him, is a man who creates new values, and thus leads mankind in a new
Chapter XXXIII. The Grave-Song.
Here Zarathustra sings about the ideals and friendships of his youth.
Verses 27 to 31 undoubtedly refer to Richard Wagner (see Note on Chapter
Chapter XXXIV. Self-Surpassing.
In this discourse we get the best exposition in the whole book of
Nietzsche's doctrine of the Will to Power. I go into this question
thoroughly in the Note on Chapter LVII.
Nietzsche was not an iconoclast from choice. Those who hastily class him
with the anarchists (or the Progressivists of the last century) fail to
understand the high esteem in which he always held both law and discipline.
In verse 41 of this most decisive discourse he truly explains his position
when he says: "...he who hath to be a creator in good and evil--verily he
hath first to be a destroyer, and break values in pieces." This teaching
in regard to self-control is evidence enough of his reverence for law.
Chapter XXXV. The Sublime Ones.
These belong to a type which Nietzsche did not altogether dislike, but
which he would fain have rendered more subtle and plastic. It is the type
that takes life and itself too seriously, that never surmounts the camel-
stage mentioned in the first discourse, and that is obdurately sublime and
earnest. To be able to smile while speaking of lofty things and NOT TO BE
OPPRESSED by them, is the secret of real greatness. He whose hand trembles
when it lays hold of a beautiful thing, has the quality of reverence,
without the artist's unembarrassed friendship with the beautiful. Hence
the mistakes which have arisen in regard to confounding Nietzsche with his
extreme opposites the anarchists and agitators. For what they dare to
touch and break with the impudence and irreverence of the unappreciative,
he seems likewise to touch and break,--but with other fingers--with the
fingers of the loving and unembarrassed artist who is on good terms with
the beautiful and who feels able to create it and to enhance it with his
touch. The question of taste plays an important part in Nietzsche's
philosophy, and verses 9, 10 of this discourse exactly state Nietzsche's
ultimate views on the subject. In the "Spirit of Gravity", he actually
cries:--"Neither a good nor a bad taste, but MY taste, of which I have no
longer either shame or secrecy."
Chapter XXXVI. The Land of Culture.
This is a poetical epitome of some of the scathing criticism of scholars
which appears in the first of the "Thoughts out of Season"--the polemical
pamphlet (written in 1873) against David Strauss and his school. He
reproaches his former colleagues with being sterile and shows them that
their sterility is the result of their not believing in anything. "He who
had to create, had always his presaging dreams and astral premonitions--and
believed in believing!" (See Note on Chapter LXXVII.) In the last two
verses he reveals the nature of his altruism. How far it differs from that
of Christianity we have already read in the discourse "Neighbour-Love", but
here he tells us definitely the nature of his love to mankind; he explains
why he was compelled to assail the Christian values of pity and excessive
love of the neighbour, not only because they are slave-values and therefore
tend to promote degeneration (see Note B.), but because he could only love
his children's land, the undiscovered land in a remote sea; because he
would fain retrieve the errors of his fathers in his children.
Chapter XXXVII. Immaculate Perception.
An important feature of Nietzsche's interpretation of Life is disclosed in
this discourse. As Buckle suggests in his "Influence of Women on the
Progress of Knowledge", the scientific spirit of the investigator is both
helped and supplemented by the latter's emotions and personality, and the
divorce of all emotionalism and individual temperament from science is a
fatal step towards sterility. Zarathustra abjures all those who would fain
turn an IMPERSONAL eye upon nature and contemplate her phenomena with that
pure objectivity to which the scientific idealists of to-day would so much
like to attain. He accuses such idealists of hypocrisy and guile; he says
they lack innocence in their desires and therefore slander all desiring.
Chapter XXXVIII. Scholars.
This is a record of Nietzsche's final breach with his former colleagues--
the scholars of Germany. Already after the publication of the "Birth of
Tragedy", numbers of German philologists and professional philosophers had
denounced him as one who had strayed too far from their flock, and his
lectures at the University of Bale were deserted in consequence; but it was
not until 1879, when he finally severed all connection with University
work, that he may be said to have attained to the freedom and independence
which stamp this discourse.
Chapter XXXIX. Poets.
People have sometimes said that Nietzsche had no sense of humour. I have
no intention of defending him here against such foolish critics; I should
only like to point out to the reader that we have him here at his best,
poking fun at himself, and at his fellow-poets (see Note on Chapter LXIII.,
pars. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20).
Chapter XL. Great Events.
Here we seem to have a puzzle. Zarathustra himself, while relating his
experience with the fire-dog to his disciples, fails to get them interested
in his narrative, and we also may be only too ready to turn over these
pages under the impression that they are little more than a mere phantasy
or poetical flight. Zarathustra's interview with the fire-dog is, however,
of great importance. In it we find Nietzsche face to face with the
creature he most sincerely loathes--the spirit of revolution, and we obtain
fresh hints concerning his hatred of the anarchist and rebel. "'Freedom'
ye all roar most eagerly," he says to the fire-dog, "but I have unlearned
the belief in 'Great Events' when there is much roaring and smoke about
them. Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the inventors of
new values, doth the world revolve; INAUDIBLY it revolveth."
Chapter XLI. The Soothsayer.
This refers, of course, to Schopenhauer. Nietzsche, as is well known, was
at one time an ardent follower of Schopenhauer. He overcame Pessimism by
discovering an object in existence; he saw the possibility of raising
society to a higher level and preached the profoundest Optimism in
Chapter XLII. Redemption.
Zarathustra here addresses cripples. He tells them of other cripples--the
GREAT MEN in this world who have one organ or faculty inordinately
developed at the cost of their other faculties. This is doubtless a
reference to a fact which is too often noticeable in the case of so many of
the world's giants in art, science, or religion. In verse 19 we are told
what Nietzsche called Redemption--that is to say, the ability to say of all
that is past: "Thus would I have it." The in ability to say this, and the
resentment which results therefrom, he regards as the source of all our
feelings of revenge, and all our desires to punish--punishment meaning to
him merely a euphemism for the word revenge, invented in order to still our
consciences. He who can be proud of his enemies, who can be grateful to
them for the obstacles they have put in his way; he who can regard his
worst calamity as but the extra strain on the bow of his life, which is to
send the arrow of his longing even further than he could have hoped;--this
man knows no revenge, neither does he know despair, he truly has found
redemption and can turn on the worst in his life and even in himself, and
call it his best (see Notes on Chapter LVII.).
Chapter XLIII. Manly Prudence.
This discourse is very important. In "Beyond Good and Evil" we hear often
enough that the select and superior man must wear a mask, and here we find
this injunction explained. "And he who would not languish amongst men,
must learn to drink out of all glasses: and he who would keep clean
amongst men, must know how to wash himself even with dirty water." This, I
venture to suggest, requires some explanation. At a time when
individuality is supposed to be shown most tellingly by putting boots on
one's hands and gloves on one's feet, it is somewhat refreshing to come
across a true individualist who feels the chasm between himself and others
so deeply, that he must perforce adapt himself to them outwardly, at least,
in all respects, so that the inner difference should be overlooked.
Nietzsche practically tells us here that it is not he who intentionally
wears eccentric clothes or does eccentric things who is truly the
individualist. The profound man, who is by nature differentiated from his
fellows, feels this difference too keenly to call attention to it by any
outward show. He is shamefast and bashful with those who surround him and
wishes not to be discovered by them, just as one instinctively avoids all
lavish display of comfort or wealth in the presence of a poor friend.
Chapter XLIV. The Stillest Hour.
This seems to me to give an account of the great struggle which must have
taken place in Nietzsche's soul before he finally resolved to make known
the more esoteric portions of his teaching. Our deepest feelings crave
silence. There is a certain self-respect in the serious man which makes
him hold his profoundest feelings sacred. Before they are uttered they are
full of the modesty of a virgin, and often the oldest sage will blush like
a girl when this virginity is violated by an indiscretion which forces him
to reveal his deepest thoughts.
This is perhaps the most important of all the four parts. If it contained
only "The Vision and the Enigma" and "The Old and New Tables" I should
still be of this opinion; for in the former of these discourses we meet
with what Nietzsche regarded as the crowning doctrine of his philosophy and
in "The Old and New Tables" we have a valuable epitome of practically all
his leading principles.
Chapter XLVI. The Vision and the Enigma.
"The Vision and the Enigma" is perhaps an example of Nietzsche in his most
obscure vein. We must know how persistently he inveighed against the
oppressing and depressing influence of man's sense of guilt and
consciousness of sin in order fully to grasp the significance of this
discourse. Slowly but surely, he thought the values of Christianity and
Judaic traditions had done their work in the minds of men. What were once
but expedients devised for the discipline of a certain portion of humanity,
had now passed into man's blood and had become instincts. This oppressive
and paralysing sense of guilt and of sin is what Nietzsche refers to when
he speaks of "the spirit of gravity." This creature half-dwarf, half-mole,
whom he bears with him a certain distance on his climb and finally defies,
and whom he calls his devil and arch-enemy, is nothing more than the heavy
millstone "guilty conscience," together with the concept of sin which at
present hangs round the neck of men. To rise above it--to soar--is the
most difficult of all things to-day. Nietzsche is able to think cheerfully
and optimistically of the possibility of life in this world recurring again
and again, when he has once cast the dwarf from his shoulders, and he
announces his doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence of all things great and
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