THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA -by Friedrich Nietzsche

22. The Bestowing Virtue


WHEN Zarathustra had taken leave of the town to which his heart
was attached, the name of which is “The Pied Cow,” there followed
him many people who called themselves his disciples, and kept him
company. Thus came they to a crossroads. Then Zarathustra told them
that he now wanted to go alone; for he was fond of going alone. His
disciples, however, presented him at his departure with a staff, on
the golden handle of which a serpent twined round the sun. Zarathustra
rejoiced on account of the staff, and supported himself thereon;
then spake he thus to his disciples:

Tell me, pray: how came gold to the highest value? Because it is
uncommon, and unprofiting, and beaming, and soft in lustre; it
always bestoweth itself.

Only as image of the highest virtue came gold to the highest
value. Goldlike, beameth the glance of the bestower. Gold-lustre
maketh peace between moon and sun.

Uncommon is the highest virtue, and unprofiting, beaming is it,
and soft of lustre: a bestowing virtue is the highest virtue.

Verily, I divine you well, my disciples: ye strive like me for the
bestowing virtue. What should ye have in common with cats and wolves?

It is your thirst to become sacrifices and gifts yourselves: and
therefore have ye the thirst to accumulate all riches in your soul.

Insatiably striveth your soul for treasures and jewels, because your
virtue is insatiable in desiring to bestow.

Ye constrain all things to flow towards you and into you, so that
they shall flow back again out of your fountain as the gifts of your

Verily, an appropriator of all values must such bestowing. love
become; but healthy and holy, call I this selfishness.-

Another selfishness is there, an all-too-poor and hungry kind, which
would always steal- the selfishness of the sick, the sickly

With the eye of the thief it looketh upon all that is lustrous; with
the craving of hunger it measureth him who hath abundance; and ever
doth it prowl round the tables of bestowers.

Sickness speaketh in such craving, and invisible degeneration; of
a sickly body, speaketh the larcenous craving of this selfishness.

Tell me, my brother, what do we think bad, and worst of all? Is it
not degeneration?- And we always suspect degeneration when the
bestowing soul is lacking.

Upward goeth our course from genera on to super-genera. But a horror
to us is the degenerating sense, which saith: “All for myself.”

Upward soareth our sense: thus is it a simile of our body, a
simile of an elevation. Such similes of elevations are the names of
the virtues.

Thus goeth the body through history, a becomer and fighter. And
the spirit- what is it to the body? Its fights’ and victories’ herald,
its companion and echo.

Similes, are all names of good and evil; they do not speak out, they
only hint. A fool who seeketh knowledge from them!

Give heed, my brethren, to every hour when your spirit would speak
in similes: there is the origin of your virtue.

Elevated is then your body, and raised up; with its delight,
enraptureth it the spirit; so that it becometh creator, and valuer,
and lover, and everything’s benefactor.

When your heart overfloweth broad and full like the river, a
blessing and a danger to the lowlanders: there is the origin of your

When ye are exalted above praise and blame, and your will would
command all things, as a loving one’s will: there is the origin of
your virtue.

When ye despise pleasant things, and the effeminate couch, and
cannot couch far enough from the effeminate: there is the origin of
your virtue.

When ye are willers of one will, and when that change of every
need is needful to you: there is the origin of your virtue.

Verily, a new good and evil is it! Verily, a new deep murmuring, and
the voice of a new fountain!

Power is it, this new virtue; a ruling thought is it, and around
it a subtle soul: a golden sun, with the serpent of knowledge around


Here paused Zarathustra awhile, and looked lovingly on his
disciples. Then he continued to speak thus- and his voice had changed:

Remain true to the earth, my brethren, with the power of your
virtue! Let your bestowing love and your knowledge be devoted to be
the meaning of the earth! Thus do I pray and conjure you.

Let it not fly away from the earthly and beat against eternal
walls with its wings! Ah, there hath always been so much flown-away

Lead, like me, the flown-away virtue back to the earth- yea, back to
body and life: that it may give to the earth its meaning, a human

A hundred times hitherto hath spirit as well as virtue flown away
and blundered. Alas! in our body dwelleth still all this delusion
and blundering: body and will hath it there become.

A hundred times hitherto hath spirit as well as virtue attempted and
erred. Yea, an attempt hath man been. Alas, much ignorance and error
hath become embodied in us!

Not only the rationality of millennia- also their madness,
breaketh out in us. Dangerous is it to be an heir.

Still fight we step by step with the giant Chance, and over all
mankind hath hitherto ruled nonsense, the lack-of-sense.

Let your spirit and your virtue be devoted to the sense of the
earth, my brethren: let the value of everything be determined anew
by you! Therefore shall ye be fighters! Therefore shall ye be

Intelligently doth the body purify itself; attempting with
intelligence it exalteth itself; to the discerners all impulses
sanctify themselves; to the exalted the soul becometh joyful.

Physician, heal thyself: then wilt thou also heal thy patient. Let
it be his best cure to see with his eyes him who maketh himself whole.

A thousand paths are there which have never yet been trodden; a
thousand salubrities and hidden islands of life. Unexhausted and
undiscovered is still man and man’s world.

Awake and hearken, ye lonesome ones! From the future come winds with
stealthy pinions, and to fine ears good tidings are proclaimed.

Ye lonesome ones of today, ye seceding ones, ye shall one day be a
people: out of you who have chosen yourselves, shall a chosen people
arise:- and out of it the Superman.

Verily, a place of healing shall the earth become! And already is
a new odour diffused around it, a salvation-bringing odour- and a
new hope!


When Zarathustra had spoken these words, he paused, like one who had
not said his last word; and long did he balance the staff doubtfully
in his hand. At last he spake thus- and his voice had changed:

I now go alone, my disciples! Ye also now go away, and alone! So
will I have it.

Verily, I advise you: depart from me, and guard yourselves against
Zarathustra! And better still: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he hath
deceived you.

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies,
but also to hate his friends.

One requiteth a teacher badly if one remain merely a scholar. And
why will ye not pluck at my wreath?

Ye venerate me; but what if your veneration should some day
collapse? Take heed lest a statue crush you!

Ye say, ye believe in Zarathustra? But of what account is
Zarathustra! Ye are my believers: but of what account are all

Ye had not yet sought yourselves: then did ye find me. So do all
believers; therefore all belief is of so little account.

Now do I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when ye
have all denied me, will I return unto you.

Verily, with other eyes, my brethren, shall I then seek my lost
ones; with another love shall I then love you.

And once again shall ye have become friends unto me, and children of
one hope: then will I be with you for the third time, to celebrate the
great noontide with you.

And it is the great noontide, when man is in the middle of his
course between animal and Superman, and celebrateth his advance to the
evening as his highest hope: for it is the advance to a new morning.

At such time will the down-goer bless himself, that he should be
an over-goer; and the sun of his knowledge will be at noontide.

“Dead are all the Gods: now do we desire the Superman to live.”- Let
this be our final will at the great noontide!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.



“-and only when ye have all denied me, will I return unto you.

Verily, with other eyes, my brethren, shall I then seek my lost
ones; with another love shall I then love you.”- ZARATHUSTRA, I., “The
Bestowing Virtue.”

23. The Child with the Mirror

AFTER this Zarathustra returned again into the mountains to the
solitude of his cave, and withdrew himself from men, waiting like a
sower who hath scattered his seed. His soul, however, became impatient
and full of longing for those whom he loved: because he had still much
to give them. For this is hardest of all: to close the open hand out
of love, and keep modest as a giver.

Thus passed with the lonesome one months and years; his wisdom
meanwhile increased, and caused him pain by its abundance.

One morning, however, he awoke ere the rosy dawn, and having
meditated long on his couch, at last spake thus to his heart:

Why did I startle in my dream, so that I awoke? Did not a child come
to me, carrying a mirror?

“O Zarathustra”- said the child unto me- “look at thyself in the

But when I looked into the mirror, I shrieked, and my heart
throbbed: for not myself did I see therein, but a devil’s grimace
and derision.

Verily, all too well do I understand the dream’s portent and
monition: my doctrine is in danger; tares want to be called wheat!

Mine enemies have grown powerful and have disfigured the likeness of
my doctrine, so that my dearest ones have to blush for the gifts
that I gave them.

Lost are my friends; the hour hath come for me to seek my lost

With these words Zarathustra started up, not however like a person
in anguish seeking relief, but rather like a seer and a singer whom
the spirit inspireth. With amazement did his eagle and serpent gaze
upon him: for a coming bliss overspread his countenance like the
rosy dawn.

What hath happened unto me, mine animals?- said Zarathustra. Am I
not transformed? Hath not bliss come unto me like a whirlwind?

Foolish is my happiness, and foolish things will it speak: it is
still too young- so have patience with it!

Wounded am I by my happiness: all sufferers shall be physicians unto

To my friends can I again go down, and also to mine enemies!
Zarathustra can again speak and bestow, and show his best love to
his loved ones!

My impatient love overfloweth in streams,- down towards sunrise
and sunset. Out of silent mountains and storms of affliction,
rusheth my soul into the valleys.

Too long have I longed and looked into the distance. Too long hath
solitude possessed me: thus have I unlearned to keep silence.

Utterance have I become altogether, and the brawling of a brook from
high rocks: downward into the valleys will I hurl my speech.

And let the stream of my love sweep into unfrequented channels!
How should a stream not finally find its way to the sea!

Forsooth, there is a lake in me, sequestered and self-sufficing; but
the stream of my love beareth this along with it, down- to the sea!

New paths do I tread, a new speech cometh unto me; tired have I
become- like all creators- of the old tongues. No longer will my
spirit walk on worn-out soles.

Too slowly runneth all speaking for me:- into thy chariot, O
storm, do I leap! And even thee will I whip with my spite!

Like a cry and an huzza will I traverse wide seas, till I find the
Happy Isles where my friends sojourn;-

And mine enemies amongst them! How I now love every one unto whom
I may but speak! Even mine enemies pertain to my bliss.

And when I want to mount my wildest horse, then doth my spear always
help me up best: it is my foot’s ever ready servant:-

The spear which I hurl at mine enemies! How grateful am I to mine
enemies that I may at last hurl it!

Too great hath been the tension of my cloud: ‘twixt laughters of
lightnings will I cast hail-showers into the depths.

Violently will my breast then heave; violently will it blow its
storm over the mountains: thus cometh its assuagement.

Verily, like a storm cometh my happiness, and my freedom! But mine
enemies shall think that the evil one roareth over their heads.

Yea, ye also, my friends, will be alarmed by my wild wisdom; and
perhaps ye will flee therefrom, along with mine enemies.

Ah, that I knew how to lure you back with shepherds’ flutes! Ah,
that my lioness wisdom would learn to roar softly! And much have we
already learned with one another!

My wild wisdom became pregnant on the lonesome mountains; on the
rough stones did she bear the youngest of her young.

Now runneth she foolishly in the arid wilderness, and seeketh and
seeketh the soft sward- mine old, wild wisdom!

On the soft sward of your hearts, my friends!- on your love, would
she fain couch her dearest one!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

24. In the Happy Isles

THE figs fall from the trees, they are good and sweet; and in
falling the red skins of them break. A north wind am I to ripe figs.

Thus, like figs, do these doctrines fall for you, my friends: imbibe
now their juice and their sweet substance! It is autumn all around,
and clear sky, and afternoon.

Lo, what fullness is around us! And out of the midst of
superabundance, it is delightful to look out upon distant seas.

Once did people say God, when they looked out upon distant seas;
now, however, have I taught you to say, Superman.

God is a conjecture: but I do not wish your conjecturing to reach
beyond your creating will.

Could ye create a God?- Then, I pray you, be silent about all
gods! But ye could well create the Superman.

Not perhaps ye yourselves, my brethren! But into fathers and
forefathers of the Superman could ye transform yourselves: and let
that be your best creating!-

God is a conjecture: but I should like your conjecturing
restricted to the conceivable.

Could ye conceive a God?- But let this mean Will to Truth unto
you, that everything be transformed into the humanly conceivable,
the humanly visible, the humanly sensible! Your own discernment
shall ye follow out to the end!

And what ye have called the world shall but be created by you:
your reason, your likeness, your will, your love, shall it itself
become! And verily, for your bliss, ye discerning ones!

And how would ye endure life without that hope, ye discerning
ones? Neither in the inconceivable could ye have been born, nor in the

But that I may reveal my heart entirely unto you, my friends: if
there were gods, how could I endure it to be no God! Therefore there
are no gods.

Yea, I have drawn the conclusion; now, however, doth it draw me.-

God is a conjecture: but who could drink all the bitterness of
this conjecture without dying? Shall his faith be taken from the
creating one, and from the eagle his flights into eagle-heights?

God is a thought- it maketh all the straight crooked, and all that
standeth reel. What? Time would be gone, and all the perishable
would be but a lie?

To think this is giddiness and vertigo to human limbs, and even
vomiting to the stomach: verily, the reeling sickness do I call it, to
conjecture such a thing.

Evil do I call it and misanthropic: all that teaching about the one,
and the plenum, and the unmoved, and the sufficient, and the

All the imperishable- that’s but a simile, and the poets lie too

But of time and of becoming shall the best similes speak: a praise
shall they be, and a justification of all perishableness!

Creating- that is the great salvation from suffering, and life’s
alleviation. But for the creator to appear, suffering itself is
needed, and much transformation.

Yea, much bitter dying must there be in your life, ye creators! Thus
are ye advocates and justifiers of all perishableness.

For the creator himself to be the new-born child, he must also be
willing to be the child-bearer, and endure the pangs of the

Verily, through a hundred souls went I my way, and through a hundred
cradles and birth-throes. Many a farewell have I taken; I know the
heart-breaking last hours.

But so willeth it my creating Will, my fate. Or, to tell you it more
candidly: just such a fate- willeth my Will.

All feeling suffereth in me, and is in prison: but my willing ever
cometh to me as mine emancipator and comforter.

Willing emancipateth: that is the true doctrine of will and
emancipation- so teacheth you Zarathustra.

No longer willing, and no longer valuing, and no longer creating!
Ah, that that great debility may ever be far from me!

And also in discerning do I feel only my will’s procreating and
evolving delight; and if there be innocence in my knowledge, it is
because there is will to procreation in it.

Away from God and gods did this will allure me; what would there
be to create if there were- gods!

But to man doth it ever impel me anew, my fervent creative will;
thus impelleth it the hammer to the stone.

Ah, ye men, within the stone slumbereth an image for me, the image
of my visions! Ah, that it should slumber in the hardest, ugliest

Now rageth my hammer ruthlessly against its prison. From the stone
fly the fragments: what’s that to me?

I will complete it: for a shadow came unto me- the stillest and
lightest of all things once came unto me!

The beauty of the superman came unto me as a shadow. Ah, my
brethren! Of what account now are- the gods to me!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

25. The Pitiful

MY FRIENDS, there hath arisen a satire on your friend: “Behold
Zarathustra! Walketh he not amongst us as if amongst animals?”

But it is better said in this wise: “The discerning one walketh
amongst men as amongst animals.”

Man himself is to the discerning one: the animal with red cheeks.

How hath that happened unto him? Is it not because he hath had to be
ashamed too oft?

O my friends! Thus speaketh the discerning one: shame, shame, shame-
that is the history of man!

And on that account doth the noble one enjoin on himself not to
abash: bashfulness doth he enjoin himself in presence of all

Verily, I like them not, the merciful ones, whose bliss is in
their pity: too destitute are they of bashfulness.

If I must be pitiful, I dislike to be called so; and if I be so,
it is preferably at a distance.

Preferably also do I shroud my head, and flee, before being
recognised: and thus do I bid you do, my friends!

May my destiny ever lead unafflicted ones like you across my path,
and those with whom I may have hope and repast and honey in common!

Verily, I have done this and that for the afflicted: but something
better did I always seem to do when I had learned to enjoy myself

Since humanity came into being, man hath enjoyed himself too little:
that alone, my brethren, is our original sin!

And when we learn better to enjoy ourselves, then do we unlearn best
to give pain unto others, and to contrive pain.

Therefore do I wash the hand that hath helped the sufferer;
therefore do I wipe also my soul.

For in seeing the sufferer suffering- thereof was I ashamed on
account of his shame; and in helping him, sorely did I wound his

Great obligations do not make grateful, but revengeful; and when a
small kindness is not forgotten, it becometh a gnawing worm.

“Be shy in accepting! Distinguish by accepting!”- thus do I advise
those who have naught to bestow.

I, however, am a bestower: willingly do I bestow as friend to
friends. Strangers, however, and the poor, may pluck for themselves
the fruit from my tree: thus doth it cause less shame.

Beggars, however, one should entirely do away with! Verily, it
annoyeth one to give unto them, and it annoyeth one not to give unto

And likewise sinners and bad consciences! Believe me, my friends:
the sting of conscience teacheth one to sting.

The worst things, however, are the petty thoughts. Verily, better to
have done evilly than to have thought pettily!

To be sure, ye say: “The delight in petty evils spareth one many a
great evil deed.” But here one should not wish to be sparing.

Like a boil is the evil deed: it itcheth and irritateth and breaketh
forth- it speaketh honourably.

“Behold, I am disease,” saith the evil deed: that is its

But like infection is the petty thought: it creepeth and hideth, and
wanteth to be nowhere- until the whole body is decayed and withered by
the petty infection.

To him however, who is possessed of a devil, I would whisper this
word in the ear: “Better for thee to rear up thy devil! Even for
thee there is still a path to greatness!”-

Ah, my brethren! One knoweth a little too much about every one!
And many a one becometh transparent to us, but still we can by no
means penetrate him.

It is difficult to live among men because silence is so difficult.

And not to him who is offensive to us are we most unfair, but to him
who doth not concern us at all.

If, however, thou hast a suffering friend, then be a resting-place
for his suffering; like a hard bed, however, a camp-bed: thus wilt
thou serve him best.

And if a friend doeth thee wrong, then say: “I forgive thee what
thou hast done unto me; that thou hast done it unto thyself,
however- how could I forgive that!”

Thus speaketh all great love: it surpasseth even forgiveness and

One should hold fast one’s heart; for when one letteth it go, how
quickly doth one’s head run away!

Ah, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the
pitiful? And what in the world hath caused more suffering than the
follies of the pitiful?

Woe unto all loving ones who have not an elevation which is above
their pity!

Thus spake the devil unto me, once on a time: “Even God hath his
hell: it is his love for man.”

And lately, did I hear him say these words: “God is dead: of his
pity for man hath God died.”-

So be ye warned against pity: from thence there yet cometh unto
men a heavy cloud! Verily, I understand weather-signs!

But attend also to this word: All great love is above all its
pity: for it seeketh- to create what is loved!

“Myself do I offer unto my love, and my neighbour as myself”- such
is the language of all creators.

All creators, however, are hard.-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

26. The Priests

AND one day Zarathustra made a sign to his disciples and spake these
words unto them:

“Here are priests: but although they are mine enemies, pass them
quietly and with sleeping swords!

Even among them there are heroes; many of them have suffered too
much:- so they want to make others suffer.

Bad enemies are they: nothing is more revengeful than their
meekness. And readily doth he soil himself who toucheth them.

But my blood is related to theirs; and I want withal to see my blood
honoured in theirs.”-

And when they had passed, a pain attacked Zarathustra; but not
long had he struggled with the pain, when he began to speak thus:

It moveth my heart for those priests. They also go against my taste;
but that is the smallest matter unto me, since I am among men.

But I suffer and have suffered with them: prisoners are they unto
me, and stigmatised ones. He whom they call Saviour put them in

In fetters of false values and fatuous words! Oh, that some one
would save them from their Saviour!

On an isle they once thought they had landed, when the sea tossed
them about; but behold, it was a slumbering monster!

False values and fatuous words: these are the worst monsters for
mortals- long slumbereth and waiteth the fate that is in them.

But at last it cometh and awaketh and devoureth and engulfeth
whatever hath built tabernacles upon it.

Oh, just look at those tabernacles which those priests have built
themselves! Churches, they call their sweet-smelling caves!

Oh, that falsified light, that mustified air! Where the soul- may
not fly aloft to its height!

But so enjoineth their belief: “On your knees, up the stair, ye

Verily, rather would I see a shameless one than the distorted eyes
of their shame and devotion!

Who created for themselves such caves and penitence-stairs? Was it
not those who sought to conceal themselves, and were ashamed under the
clear sky?

And only when the clear sky looketh again through ruined roofs,
and down upon grass and red poppies on ruined walls- will I again turn
my heart to the seats of this God.

They called God that which opposed and afflicted them: and verily,
there was much hero-spirit in their worship!

And they knew not how to love their God otherwise than by nailing
men to the cross!

As corpses they thought to live; in black draped they their corpses;
even in their talk do I still feel the evil flavour of charnel-houses.

And he who liveth nigh unto them liveth nigh unto black pools,
wherein the toad singeth his song with sweet gravity.

Better songs would they have to sing, for me to believe in their
Saviour: more! like saved ones would his disciples have to appear unto

Naked, would I like to see them: for beauty alone should preach
penitence. But whom would that disguised affliction convince!

Verily, their saviours themselves came not from freedom and
freedom’s seventh heaven! Verily, they themselves never trod the
carpets of knowledge!

Of defects did the spirit of those saviours consist; but into
every defect had they put their illusion, their stop-gap, which they
called God.

In their pity was their spirit drowned; and when they swelled and
o’erswelled with pity, there always floated to the surface a great

Eagerly and with shouts drove they their flock over their
foot-bridge; as if there were but one foot-bridge to the future!
Verily, those shepherds also were still of the flock!

Small spirits and spacious souls had those shepherds: but, my
brethren, what small domains have even the most spacious souls
hitherto been!

Characters of blood did they write on the way they went, and their
folly taught that truth is proved by blood.

But blood is the very worst witness to truth; blood tainteth the
purest teaching, and turneth it into delusion and hatred of heart.

And when a person goeth through fire for his teaching- what doth
that prove! It is more, verily, when out of one’s own burning cometh
one’s own teaching!

Sultry heart and cold head; where these meet, there ariseth the
blusterer, the “Saviour.”

Greater ones, verily, have there been, and higher-born ones, than
those whom the people call saviours, those rapturous blusterers!

And by still greater ones than any of the saviours must ye be saved,
my brethren, if ye would find the way to freedom!

Never yet hath there been a Superman. Naked have I seen both of
them, the greatest man and the smallest man:-

All-too-similar are they still to each other. Verily, even the
greatest found I- all-too-human!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

27. The Virtuous

WITH thunder and heavenly fireworks must one speak to indolent and
somnolent senses.

But beauty’s voice speaketh gently: it appealeth only to the most
awakened souls.

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 ones!

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 way?

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 travelleth.

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 call virtue!

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

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 unrighteousness.

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-

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

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

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

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.

28. 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

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

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

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

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
todays: verily, badly smell all yesterdays and todays 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 pleasure-rabble.

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 delight!

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

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

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.

29. 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

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 ones!

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 “justice.”

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 in virtue-words!

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 injury.

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

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 supreme fight!

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 surpass itself.

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

How divinely do vault and arch here contrast in the struggle: how
with light and shade they strive against each other, the divinely
striving ones.-

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

Verily, no cyclone or whirlwind is Zarathustra: and if he be a
dancer, he is not at all a tarantula-dancer!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

30. 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 reverence.

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

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

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

Free from the happiness of slaves, redeemed from deities and
adorations, fearless and fear-inspiring, grand and lonesome: so is the
will of the conscientious.

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

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 before?

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

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 coldness.

In all respects, however, ye make too familiar with the spirit;
and out of wisdom have ye often made an alms-house 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 abysses.

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 handlers.

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 me!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

31. 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 with light!

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 wickedness.

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 lonesomeness.

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

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 udders!

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! And lonesomeness!

‘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.

32. 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 by trees and bushes, where maidens were
dancing together. As soon as the maidens recognised Zarathustra,
they ceased dancing; Zarathustra, however, approached them with
friendly mien and spake these words:

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

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 weeping!

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 danced together:

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 is unfathomable.

But changeable am I only, and wild, and altogether a woman, and no
virtuous one:

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 praise Life!”

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 one’s Wisdom.

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 her.

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 to live?-

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.

33. 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 lone seafarer.

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 faithlessness.

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

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

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

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.

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 unto me.”

Then did ye haunt me with foul phantoms; ah, whither hath that happy
hour now fled!

“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 flee?

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 them most.

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 tomb!

In thee still liveth also the unrealisedness of my youth; and as
life and youth sittest thou here hopeful on the yellow ruins of

Yea, thou art still for me the demolisher of all graves: Hail to
thee, my Will! And only where there are graves are there

Thus sang Zarathustra.

34. Self-Surpassing

“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 reflection.

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 disguised.

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, procreating life-will.

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 for death.

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 same secret.

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 power!

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

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.

35. 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

A sublime one saw I today, 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-engrossed ones.

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

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 earthly!

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-less one!

He hath subdued monsters, he hath solved enigmas. But he should also
redeem his monsters and enigmas; into heavenly children should he
transform them.

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 here.

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 condescension, beauty.

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

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 super-hero.-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

36. 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

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 paint-pots,”- 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

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-worldlings!

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

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

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 believing!-

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 therefrom!

“Amazing is the poverty of my ribs!” thus hath spoken many a
present-day man.

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

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.

37. 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

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 in 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 hanging-out tongue:

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 hundred facets.”-

Oh, ye sentimental dissemblers, ye covetous ones! Ye lack
innocence in your desire: and now do ye defame desiring on that

Verily, not as creators, as procreators, or as jubilators do ye love
the earth!

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 horizon!

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

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 height!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

38. Scholars

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

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 upon it!

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 dusty rooms.

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

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

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 spirit!

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 it.

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 will!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

39. Poets

“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 flieth away.

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

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 “wisdom.”

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 mortals!

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, poet-sophistications!

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

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

I am of today 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 of peacocks?

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

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 themselves.

Penitents of the spirit have I seen appearing; they grew out of
the poets.-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

40. 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

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

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 afraid.

“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

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 mud!

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

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 gold.”

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.

41. The Soothsayer

“-AND I saw a great sadness come over mankind. The best turned weary
of their works.

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 been!’

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

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

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 me.

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 silence.

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

Thrice did there peal peals at the gate like thunders, thrice did
the vaults resound and howl again: then did I go to the sate.

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
open, 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 wilt thou 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

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 sorest dream.

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 voice:

“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 dreams!

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.-

42. Redemption

WHEN Zarathustra went one day over the great bridge, then did the
cripples and beggars surround him, and a hunchback spake thus unto

“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

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 Zarathustra.

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 answers.

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 contemplate.

And it is all my poetisation and aspiration to compose and collect
into unity what is fragment and riddle and fearful chance.

And how could I endure to be a man, if man were not also the
composer, and riddle-reader, and redeemer of chance!

To redeem what is past, and to transform every “It was” into “Thus
would I have it!”- that only do I call redemption!

Will- so is the emancipator and joy-bringer called: thus have I
taught you, my friends! But now learn this likewise: the Will itself
is still a prisoner.

Willing emancipateth: but what is that called which still putteth
the emancipator in chains?

“It was”: thus is the Will’s teeth-gnashing and lonesomest
tribulation called. Impotent towards what hath been done- it is a
malicious spectator of all that is past.

Not backward can the Will will; that it cannot break time and time’s
desire- that is the Will’s lonesomest tribulation.

Willing emancipateth: what doth Willing itself devise in order to
get free from its tribulation and mock at its prison?

Ah, a fool becometh every prisoner! Foolishly delivereth itself also
the imprisoned Will.

That time doth not run backward- that is its animosity: “That
which was”: so is the stone which it cannot roll called.

And thus doth it roll stones out of animosity and ill-humour, and
taketh revenge on whatever doth not, like it, feel rage and

Thus did the Will, the emancipator, become a torturer; and on all
that is capable of suffering it taketh revenge, because it cannot go

This, yea, this alone is revenge itself: the Will’s antipathy to
time, and its “It was.”

Verily, a great folly dwelleth in our Will; and it became a curse
unto all humanity, that this folly acquired spirit!

The spirit of revenge: my friends, that hath hitherto been man’s
best contemplation; and where there was suffering, it was claimed
there was always penalty.

“Penalty,” so calleth itself revenge. With a lying word it
feigneth a good conscience.

And because in the willer himself there is suffering, because he
cannot will backwards- thus was Willing itself, and all life, claimed-
to be penalty!

And then did cloud after cloud roll over the spirit, until at last
madness preached: “Everything perisheth, therefore everything
deserveth to perish!”

“And this itself is justice, the law of time- that he must devour
his children:” thus did madness preach.

“Morally are things ordered according to justice and penalty. Oh,
where is there deliverance from the flux of things and from the
‘existence’ of penalty?” Thus did madness preach.

“Can there be deliverance when there is eternal justice? Alas,
unrollable is the stone, ‘It was': eternal must also be all
penalties!” Thus did madness preach.

“No deed can be annihilated: how could it be undone by the
penalty! This, this is what is eternal in the ‘existence’ of
penalty, that existence also must be eternally recurring deed and

Unless the Will should at last deliver itself, and Willing become
non-Willing-:” but ye know, my brethren, this fabulous song of

Away from those fabulous songs did I lead you when I taught you:
“The Will is a creator.”

All “It was” is a fragment, a riddle, a fearful chance- until the
creating Will saith thereto: “But thus would I have it.”-

Until the creating Will saith thereto: “But thus do I will it!
Thus shall I will it!”

But did it ever speak thus? And when doth this take place? Hath
the Will been unharnessed from its own folly?

Hath the Will become its own deliverer and joy-bringer? Hath it
unlearned the spirit of revenge and all teeth-gnashing?

And who hath taught it reconciliation with time, and something
higher than all reconciliation?

Something higher than all reconciliation must the Will will which is
the Will to Power-: but how doth that take place? Who hath taught it
also to will backwards?

-But at this point in his discourse it chanced that Zarathustra
suddenly paused, and looked like a person in the greatest alarm.
With terror in his eyes did he gaze on his disciples; his glances
pierced as with arrows their thoughts and arrear-thoughts. But after a
brief space he again laughed, and said soothedly:

“It is difficult to live amongst men, because silence is so
difficult- especially for a babbler.”-

Thus spake Zarathustra. The hunchback, however, had listened to
the conversation and had covered his face during the time; but when he
heard Zarathustra laugh, he looked up with curiosity, and said slowly:

“But why doth Zarathustra speak otherwise unto us than unto his

Zarathustra answered: “What is there to be wondered at! With
hunchbacks one May well speak in a hunchbacked way!”

“Very good,” said the hunchback; “and with pupils one may well
tell tales out of school.

But why doth Zarathustra speak otherwise unto his pupils- than
unto himself?”-

43. Manly Prudence

NOT the height, it is the declivity that is terrible!

The declivity, where the gaze shooteth downwards, and the hand
graspeth upwards. There doth the heart become giddy through its double

Ah, friends, do ye divine also my heart’s double will?

This, this is my declivity and my danger, that my gaze shooteth
towards the summit, and my hand would fain clutch and lean- on the

To man clingeth my will; with chains do I bind myself to man,
because I am pulled upwards to the Superman: for thither doth mine
other will tend.

And therefore do I live blindly among men, as if I knew them not:
that my hand may not entirely lose belief in firmness.

I know not you men: this gloom and consolation is often spread
around me.

I sit at the gateway for every rogue, and ask: Who wisheth to
deceive me?

This is my first manly prudence, that I allow myself to be deceived,
so as not to be on my guard against deceivers.

Ah, if I were on my guard against man, how could man be an anchor to
my ball! Too easily would I be pulled upwards and away!

This providence is over my fate, that I have to be without

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.

And thus spake I often to myself for consolation: “Courage! Cheer
up! old heart! An unhappiness hath failed to befall thee: enjoy that
as thy- happiness!”

This, however, is mine other manly prudence: I am more forbearing to
the vain than to the proud.

Is not wounded vanity the mother of all tragedies? Where, however,
pride is wounded, there there groweth up something better than pride.

That life may be fair to behold, its game must be well played; for
that purpose, however, it needeth good actors.

Good actors have I found all the vain ones: they play, and wish
people to be fond of beholding them- all their spirit is in this wish.

They represent themselves, they invent themselves; in their
neighbourhood I like to look upon life- it cureth of melancholy.

Therefore am I forbearing to the vain, because they are the
physicians of my melancholy, and keep me attached to man as to a

And further, who conceiveth the full depth of the modesty of the
vain man! I am favourable to him, and sympathetic on account of his

From you would he learn his belief in himself; he feedeth upon
your glances, he eateth praise out of your hands.

Your lies doth he even believe when you lie favourably about him:
for in its depths sigheth his heart: “What am I?”

And if that be the true virtue which is unconscious of itself- well,
the vain man is unconscious of his modesty!-

This is, however, my third manly prudence: I am not put out of
conceit with the wicked by your timorousness.

I am happy to see the marvels the warm sun hatcheth: tigers and
palms and rattlesnakes.

Also amongst men there is a beautiful brood of the warm sun, and
much that is marvellous in the wicked.

In truth, as your wisest did not seem to me so very wise, so found I
also human wickedness below the fame of it.

And oft did I ask with a shake of the head: Why still rattle, ye

Verily, there is still a future even for evil! And the warmest south
is still undiscovered by man.

How many things are now called the worst wickedness, which are
only twelve feet broad and three months long! Some day, however,
will greater dragons come into the world.

For that the Superman may not lack his dragon, the super-dragon that
is worthy of him, there must still much warm sun glow on moist
virgin forests!

Out of your wild cats must tigers have evolved, and out of your
poison-toads, crocodiles: for the good hunter shall have a good hunt!

And verily, ye good and just! In you there is much to be laughed at,
and especially your fear of what hath hitherto been called “the

So alien are ye in your souls to what is great, that to you the
Superman would be frightful in his goodness!

And ye wise and knowing ones, ye would flee from the solar-glow of
the wisdom in which the Superman joyfully batheth his nakedness!

Ye highest men who have come within my ken! this is my doubt of you,
and my secret laughter: I suspect ye would call my Superman- a devil!

Ah, I became tired of those highest and best ones: from their
“height” did I long to be up, out, and away to the Superman!

A horror came over me when I saw those best ones naked: then there
grew for me the pinions to soar away into distant futures.

Into more distant futures, into more southern souths than ever
artist dreamed of: thither, where gods are ashamed of all clothes!

But disguised do I want to see you, ye neighbours and fellowmen, and
well-attired and vain and estimable, as “the good and just;”-

And disguised will I myself sit amongst you- that I may mistake
you and myself: for that is my last manly prudence.-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

44. The Stillest Hour

WHAT hath happened unto me, my friends? Ye see me troubled, driven
forth, unwillingly obedient, ready to go- alas, to go away from you!

Yea, once more must Zarathustra retire to his solitude: but
unjoyously this time doth the bear go back to his cave!

What hath happened unto me? Who ordereth this?- Ah, mine angry
mistress wisheth it so; she spake unto me. Have I ever named her
name to you?

Yesterday towards evening there spake unto me my stillest hour: that
is the name of my terrible mistress.

And thus did it happen- for everything must I tell you, that your
heart may not harden against the suddenly departing one!

Do ye know the terror of him who falleth asleep?-

To the very toes he is terrified, because the ground giveth way
under him, and the dream beginneth.

This do I speak unto you in parable. Yesterday at the stillest
hour did the ground give way under me: the dream began.

The hour-hand moved on, the timepiece of my life drew breath-
never did I hear such stillness around me, so that my heart was

Then was there spoken unto me without voice: “Thou knowest it,

And I cried in terror at this whispering, and the blood left my
face: but I was silent.

Then was there once more spoken unto me without voice: “Thou knowest
it, Zarathustra, but thou dost not speak it!”-

And at last I answered, like one defiant: “Yea, I know it, but I
will not speak it!”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “Thou wilt not,
Zarathustra? Is this true? Conceal thyself not behind thy defiance!”-

And I wept and trembled like a child, and said: “Ah, I would indeed,
but how can I do it! Exempt me only from this! It is beyond my power!”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “What matter
about thyself, Zarathustra! Speak thy word, and succumb!”

And I answered: “Ah, is it my word? Who am I? I await the worthier
one; I am not worthy even to succumb by it.”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “What matter
about thyself? Thou art not yet humble enough for me. Humility hath
the hardest skin.”-

And I answered: “What hath not the skin of my humility endured! At
the foot of my height do I dwell: how high are my summits, no one hath
yet told me. But well do I know my valleys.”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “O Zarathustra,
he who hath to remove mountains removeth also valleys and plains.”-

And I answered: “As yet hath my word not removed mountains, and what
I have spoken hath not reached man. I went, indeed, unto men, but
not yet have I attained unto them.”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “What knowest
thou thereof! The dew falleth on the grass when the night is most

And I answered: “They mocked me when I found and walked in mine
own path; and certainly did my feet then tremble.

And thus did they speak unto me: Thou forgottest the path before,
now dost thou also forget how to walk!”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “What matter
about their mockery! Thou art one who hast unlearned to obey: now
shalt thou command!

Knowest thou not who is most needed by all? He who commandeth
great things.

To execute great things is difficult: but the more difficult task is
to command great things.

This is thy most unpardonable obstinacy: thou hast the power, and
thou wilt not rule.”-

And I answered: “I lack the lion’s voice for all commanding.”

Then was there again spoken unto me as a whispering: “It is the
stillest words which bring the storm. Thoughts that come with doves’
footsteps guide the world.

O Zarathustra, thou shalt go as a shadow of that which is to come:
thus wilt thou command, and in commanding go foremost.”-

And I answered: “I am ashamed.”

Then was there again spoken unto me without voice: “Thou must yet
become a child, and be without shame.

The pride of youth is still upon thee; late hast thou become
young: but he who would become a child must surmount even his youth.”-

And I considered a long while, and trembled. At last, however, did I
say what I had said at first. “I will not.”

Then did a laughing take place all around me. Alas, how that
laughing lacerated my bowels and cut into my heart!

And there was spoken unto me for the last time: “O Zarathustra,
thy fruits are ripe, but thou art not ripe for thy fruits!

So must thou go again into solitude: for thou shalt yet become

And again was there a laughing, and it fled: then did it become
still around me, as with a double stillness. I lay, however, on the
ground, and the sweat flowed from my limbs.

-Now have ye heard all, and why I have to return into my solitude.
Nothing have I kept hidden from you, my friends.

But even this have ye heard from me, who is still the most
reserved of men- and will be so!

Ah, my friends! I should have something more to say unto you! I
should have something more to give unto you! Why do I not give it?
Am I then a niggard?-

When, however, Zarathustra had spoken these words, the violence of
his pain, and a sense of the nearness of his departure from his
friends came over him, so that he wept aloud; and no one knew how to
console him. In the night, however, he went away alone and left his



“Ye look aloft when ye long for exaltation, and I look downward
because I am exalted.

“Who among you can at the same time laugh and be exalted?

“He who climbeth on the highest mountains, laugheth at all tragic
plays and tragic realities.”- ZARATHUSTRA, I., “Reading and Writing.”

45. The Wanderer

THEN, when it was about midnight, Zarathustra went his way over
the ridge of the isle, that he might arrive early in the morning at
the other coast; because there he meant to embark. For there was a
good roadstead there, in which foreign ships also liked to anchor:
those ships took many people with them, who wished to cross over
from the Happy Isles. So when Zarathustra thus ascended the
mountain, he thought on the way of his many solitary wanderings from
youth onwards, and how many mountains and ridges and summits he had
already climbed.

I am a wanderer and mountain-climber, said he to his heart. I love
not the plains, and it seemeth I cannot long sit still.

And whatever may still overtake me as fate and experience- a
wandering will be therein, and a mountain-climbing: in the end one
experienceth only oneself.

The time is now past when accidents could befall me; and what
could now fall to my lot which would not already be mine own!

It returneth only, it cometh home to me at last- mine own Self,
and such of it as hath been long abroad, and scattered among things
and accidents.

And one thing more do I know: I stand now before my last summit, and
before that which hath been longest reserved for me. Ah, my hardest
path must I ascend! Ah, I have begun my lonesomest wandering!

He, however, who is of my nature doth not avoid such an hour: the
hour that saith unto him: Now only dost thou go the way to thy
greatness! Summit and abyss- these are now comprised together!

Thou goest the way to thy greatness: now hath it become thy last
refuge, what was hitherto thy last danger!

Thou goest the way to thy greatness: it must now be thy best courage
that there is no longer any path behind thee!

Thou goest the way to thy greatness: here shall no one steal after
thee! Thy foot itself hath effaced the path behind thee, and over it
standeth written: Impossibility.

And if all ladders henceforth fail thee, then must thou learn to
mount upon thine own head: how couldst thou mount upward otherwise?

Upon thine own head, and beyond thine own heart! Now must the
gentlest in thee become the hardest.

He who hath always much-indulged himself, sickeneth at last by his
much-indulgence. Praises on what maketh hardy! I do not praise the
land where butter and honey- flow!

To learn to look away from oneself, is necessary in order to see
many things.- this hardiness is needed by every mountain-climber.

He, however, who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner, how
can he ever see more of anything than its foreground!

But thou, O Zarathustra, wouldst view the ground of everything,
and its background: thus must thou mount even above thyself- up,
upwards, until thou hast even thy stars under thee!

Yea! To look down upon myself, and even upon my stars: that only
would I call my summit, that hath remained for me as my last summit!-

Thus spake Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his
heart with harsh maxims: for he was sore at heart as he had never been
before. And when he had reached the top of the mountain-ridge, behold,
there lay the other sea spread out before him; and he stood still
and was long silent. The night, however, was cold at this height,
and clear and starry.

I recognise my destiny, said he at last, sadly. Well! I am ready.
Now hath my last lonesomeness begun.

Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal
vexation! Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now go down!

Before my highest mountain do I stand, and before my longest
wandering: therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended:

-Deeper down into pain than I ever ascended, even into its darkest
flood! So willeth my fate. Well! I am ready.

Whence come the highest mountains? so did I once ask. Then did I
learn that they come out of the sea.

That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of
their summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its

Thus spake Zarathustra on the ridge of the mountain where it was
cold: when, however, he came into the vicinity of the sea, and at last
stood alone amongst the cliffs, then had he become weary on his way,
and eagerer than ever before.

Everything as yet sleepeth, said he; even the sea sleepeth. Drowsily
and strangely doth its eye gaze upon me.

But it breatheth warmly- I feel it. And I feel also that it
dreameth. It tosseth about dreamily on hard pillows.

Hark! Hark! How it groaneth with evil recollections! Or evil

Ah, I am sad along with thee, thou dusky monster, and angry with
myself even for thy sake.

Ah, that my hand hath not strength enough! Gladly, indeed, would I
free thee from evil dreams!-

And while Zarathustra thus spake, he laughed at himself with
melancholy and bitterness. What! Zarathustra, said he, wilt thou
even sing consolation to the sea?

Ah, thou amiable fool, Zarathustra, thou too-blindly confiding
one! But thus hast thou ever been: ever hast thou approached
confidently all that is terrible.

Every monster wouldst thou caress. A whiff of warm breath, a
little soft tuft on its paw:- and immediately wert thou ready to
love and lure it.

Love is the danger of the lonesomest one, love to anything, if it
only live! Laughable, verily, is my folly and my modesty in love!-

Thus spake Zarathustra, and laughed thereby a second time. Then,
however, he thought of his abandoned friends- and as if he had done
them a wrong with his thoughts, he upbraided himself because of his
thoughts. And forthwith it came to pass that the laugher wept- with
anger and longing wept Zarathustra bitterly.

46. The Vision and the Enigma


WHEN it got abroad among the sailors that Zarathustra was on board
the ship- for a man who came from the Happy Isles had gone on board
along with him,- there was great curiosity and expectation. But
Zarathustra kept silent for two days, and was cold and deaf with
sadness; so that he neither answered looks nor questions. On the
evening of the second day, however, he again opened his ears, though
he still kept silent: for there were many curious and dangerous things
to be heard on board the ship, which came from afar, and was to go
still further. Zarathustra, however, was fond of all those who make
distant voyages, and dislike to live without danger. And behold!
when listening, his own tongue was at last loosened, and the ice of
his heart broke. Then did he begin to speak thus:

To you, the daring venturers and adventurers, and whoever hath
embarked with cunning sails upon frightful seas,-

To you the enigma-intoxicated, the twilight-enjoyers, whose souls
are allured by flutes to every treacherous gulf:

-For ye dislike to grope at a thread with cowardly hand; and where
ye can divine, there do ye hate to calculate-

To you only do I tell the enigma that I saw- the vision of the
lonesomest one.-

Gloomily walked I lately in corpse-coloured twilight- gloomily and
sternly, with compressed lips. Not only one sun had set for me.

A path which ascended daringly among boulders, an evil, lonesome
path, which neither herb nor shrub any longer cheered, a
mountain-path, crunched under the daring of my foot.

Mutely marching over the scornful clinking of pebbles, trampling the
stone that let it slip: thus did my foot force its way upwards.

Upwards:- in spite of the spirit that drew it downwards, towards the
abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and archenemy.

Upwards:- although it sat upon me, half-dwarf, half-mole; paralysed,
paralysing; dripping lead in mine ear, and thoughts like drops of lead
into my brain.

“O Zarathustra,” it whispered scornfully, syllable by syllable,
“thou stone of wisdom! Thou threwest thyself high, but every thrown
stone must- fall!

O Zarathustra, thou stone of wisdom, thou sling-stone, thou
star-destroyer! Thyself threwest thou so high,- but every thrown
stone- must fall!

Condemned of thyself, and to thine own stoning: O Zarathustra, far
indeed threwest thou thy stone- but upon thyself will it recoil!”

Then was the dwarf silent; and it lasted long. The silence, however,
oppressed me; and to be thus in pairs, one is verily lonesomer than
when alone!

I ascended, I ascended, I dreamt, I thought,- but everything
oppressed me. A sick one did I resemble, whom bad torture wearieth,
and a worse dream reawakeneth out of his first sleep.-

But there is something in me which I call courage: it hath
hitherto slain for me every dejection. This courage at last bade me
stand still and say: “Dwarf! Thou! Or I!”-

For courage is the best slayer,- courage which attacketh: for in
every attack there is sound of triumph.

Man, however, is the most courageous animal: thereby hath he
overcome every animal. With sound of triumph hath he overcome every
pain; human pain, however, is the sorest pain.

Courage slayeth also giddiness at abysses: and where doth man not
stand at abysses! Is not seeing itself- seeing abysses?

Courage is the best slayer: courage slayeth also fellow-suffering.
Fellow-suffering, however, is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man
looketh into life, so deeply also doth he look into suffering.

Courage, however, is the best slayer, courage which attacketh: it
slayeth even death itself; for it saith: “Was that life? Well! Once

In such speech, however, there is much sound of triumph. He who hath
ears to hear, let him hear.-


“Halt, dwarf!” said I. “Either I- or thou! I, however, am the
stronger of the two:- thou knowest not mine abysmal thought! It-
couldst thou not endure!”

Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang
from my shoulder, the prying sprite! And it squatted on a stone in
front of me. There was however a gateway just where we halted.

“Look at this gateway! Dwarf!” I continued, “it hath two faces.
Two roads come together here: these hath no one yet gone to the end

This long lane backwards: it continueth for an eternity. And that
long lane forward- that is another eternity.

They are antithetical to one another, these roads; they directly
abut on one another:- and it is here, at this gateway, that they
come together. The name of the gateway is inscribed above: ‘This

But should one follow them further- and ever further and further on,
thinkest thou, dwarf, that these roads would be eternally

“Everything straight lieth,” murmured the dwarf, contemptuously.
“All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.”

“Thou spirit of gravity!” said I wrathfully, “do not take it too
lightly! Or I shall let thee squat where thou squattest, Haltfoot,-
and I carried thee high!”

“Observe,” continued I, “This Moment! From the gateway, This Moment,
there runneth a long eternal lane backwards: behind us lieth an

Must not whatever can run its course of all things, have already run
along that lane? Must not whatever can happen of all things have
already happened, resulted, and gone by?

And if everything has already existed, what thinkest thou, dwarf, of
This Moment? Must not this gateway also- have already existed?

And are not all things closely bound together in such wise that This
Moment draweth all coming things after it? Consequently- itself also?

For whatever can run its course of all things, also in this long
lane outward- must it once more run!-

And this slow spider which creepeth in the moonlight, and this
moonlight itself, and thou and I in this gateway whispering
together, whispering of eternal things- must we not all have already

-And must we not return and run in that other lane out before us,
that long weird lane- must we not eternally return?”-

Thus did I speak, and always more softly: for I was afraid of mine
own thoughts, and arrear-thoughts. Then, suddenly did I hear a dog
howl near me.

Had I ever heard a dog howl thus? My thoughts ran back. Yes! When
I was a child, in my most distant childhood:

-Then did I hear a dog howl thus. And saw it also, with hair
bristling, its head upwards, trembling in the stillest midnight,
when even dogs believe in ghosts:

-So that it excited my commiseration. For just then went the full
moon, silent as death, over the house; just then did it stand still, a
glowing globe- at rest on the flat roof, as if on some one’s

Thereby had the dog been terrified: for dogs believe in thieves
and ghosts. And when I again heard such howling, then did it excite my
commiseration once more.

Where was now the dwarf? And the gateway? And the spider? And all
the whispering? Had I dreamt? Had I awakened? ‘Twixt rugged rocks
did I suddenly stand alone, dreary in the dreariest moonlight.

But there lay a man! And there! The dog leaping, bristling, whining-
now did it see me coming- then did it howl again, then did it cry:-
had I ever heard a dog cry so for help?

And verily, what I saw, the like had I never seen. A young
shepherd did I see, writhing, choking, quivering, with distorted
countenance, and with a heavy black serpent hanging out of his mouth.

Had I ever seen so much loathing and pale horror on one countenance?
He had perhaps gone to sleep? Then had the serpent crawled into his
throat- there had it bitten itself fast.

My hand pulled at the serpent, and pulled:- in vain! I failed to
pull the serpent out of his throat. Then there cried out of me: “Bite!

Its head off! Bite!”- so cried it out of me; my horror, my hatred,
my loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice
out of me.-

Ye daring ones around me! Ye venturers and adventurers, and
whoever of you have embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas! Ye

Solve unto me the enigma that I then beheld, interpret unto me the
vision of the lonesomest one!

For it was a vision and a foresight:- what did I then behold in
parable? And who is it that must come some day?

Who is the shepherd into whose throat the serpent thus crawled?
Who is the man into whose throat all the heaviest and blackest will
thus crawl?

-The shepherd however bit as my cry had admonished him; he bit
with a strong bite! Far away did he spit the head of the serpent:- and
sprang up.-

No longer shepherd, no longer man- a transfigured being, a
light-surrounded being, that laughed! Never on earth laughed a man
as he laughed!

O my brethren, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter,-
and now gnaweth a thirst at me, a longing that is never allayed.

My longing for that laughter gnaweth at me: oh, how can I still
endure to live! And how could I endure to die at present!-

Thus spake Zarathustra.

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