THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA -by Friedrich Nietzsche

74. The Song of Melancholy


WHEN Zarathustra spake these sayings, he stood nigh to the
entrance of his cave; with the last words, however, he slipped away
from his guests, and fled for a little while into the open air.

“O pure odours around me,” cried he, “O blessed stillness around me!
But where are mine animals? Hither, hither, mine eagle and my serpent!

Tell me, mine animals: these higher men, all of them- do they
perhaps not smell well? O pure odours around me! Now only do I know
and feel how I love you, mine animals.”

-And Zarathustra said once more: “I love you, mine animals!” The
eagle, however, and the serpent pressed close to him when he spake
these words, and looked up to him. In this attitude were they all
three silent together, and sniffed and sipped the good air with one
another. For the air here outside was better than with the higher men.


Hardly, however, had Zarathustra left the cave when the old magician
got up, looked cunningly about him, and said: “He is gone!

And already, ye higher men- let me tickle you with this
complimentary and flattering name, as he himself doeth- already doth
mine evil spirit of deceit and magic attack me, my melancholy devil,

-Which is an adversary to this Zarathustra from the very heart:
forgive it for this! Now doth it wish to conjure before you, it hath
just its hour; in vain do I struggle with this evil spirit.

Unto all of you, whatever honours ye like to assume in your names,
whether ye call yourselves ‘the free spirits’ or ‘the
conscientious,’ or ‘the penitents of the spirit,’ or ‘the unfettered,’
or ‘the great longers,’-

-Unto all of you, who like me suffer from the great loathing, to
whom the old God hath died, and as yet no new God lieth in cradles and
swaddling clothes- unto all of you is mine evil spirit and magic-devil

I know you, ye higher men, I know him,- I know also this fiend
whom I love in spite of me, this Zarathustra: he himself often seemeth
to me like the beautiful mask of a saint,

-Like a new strange mummery in which mine evil spirit, the
melancholy devil, delighteth:- I love Zarathustra, so doth it often
seem to me, for the sake of mine evil spirit.-

But already doth it attack me and constrain me, this spirit of
melancholy, this evening-twilight devil: and verily, ye higher men, it
hath a longing-

-Open your eyes!- it hath a longing to come naked, whether male or
female, I do not yet know: but it cometh, it constraineth me, alas!
open your wits!

The day dieth out, unto all things cometh now the evening, also unto
the best things; hear now, and see, ye higher men, what devil- man
or woman- this spirit of evening-melancholy is!”

Thus spake the old magician, looked cunningly about him, and then
seized his harp.


In evening’s limpid air,

What time the dew’s soothings

Unto the earth downpour,

Invisibly and unheard-

For tender shoe-gear wear

The soothing dews, like all that’s kind-gentle-:

Bethinkst thou then, bethinkst thou, burning heart,

How once thou thirstedest

For heaven’s kindly teardrops and dew’s down-droppings,

All singed and weary thirstedest,

What time on yellow grass-pathways

Wicked, occidental sunny glances

Through sombre trees about thee sported,

Blindingly sunny glow-glances, gladly-hurting?

“Of truth the wooer? Thou?”- so taunted they-

“Nay! Merely poet!

A brute insidious, plundering, grovelling,

That aye must lie,

That wittingly, wilfully, aye must lie:

For booty lusting,

Motley masked,

Self-hidden, shrouded,

Himself his booty-

He- of truth the wooer?

Nay! Mere fool! Mere poet!

Just motley speaking,

From mask of fool confusedly shouting,

Circumambling on fabricated word-bridges,

On motley rainbow-arches,

‘Twixt the spurious heavenly,

And spurious earthly,

Round us roving, round us soaring,-

Mere fool! Mere poet!

He- of truth the wooer?

Not still, stiff, smooth and cold,

Become an image,

A godlike statue,

Set up in front of temples,

As a God’s own door-guard:

Nay! hostile to all such truthfulness-statues,

In every desert homelier than at temples,

With cattish wantonness,

Through every window leaping

Quickly into chances,

Every wild forest a-sniffing,

Greedily-longingly, sniffing,

That thou, in wild forests,

‘Mong the motley-speckled fierce creatures,

Shouldest rove, sinful-sound and fine-coloured,

With longing lips smacking,

Blessedly mocking, blessedly hellish, blessedly blood-thirsty,

Robbing, skulking, lying- roving:-

Or unto eagles like which fixedly,

Long adown the precipice look,

Adown their precipice:- -

Oh, how they whirl down now,

Thereunder, therein,

To ever deeper profoundness whirling!-



With aim aright,

With quivering flight,

On lambkins pouncing,

Headlong down, sore-hungry,

For lambkins longing,

Fierce ‘gainst all lamb-spirits,

Furious-fierce all that look

Sheeplike, or lambeyed, or crisp-woolly,

-Grey, with lambsheep kindliness!

Even thus,

Eaglelike, pantherlike,

Are the poet’s desires,

Are thine own desires ‘neath a thousand guises.

Thou fool! Thou poet!

Thou who all mankind viewedst-

So God, as sheep-:

The God to rend within mankind,

As the sheep in mankind,

And in rending laughing-

That, that is thine own blessedness!

Of a panther and eagle- blessedness!

Of a poet and fool- the blessedness!- -

In evening’s limpid air,

What time the moon’s sickle,

Green, ‘twixt the purple-glowings,

And jealous, steal’th forth:

-Of day the foe,

With every step in secret,

The rosy garland-hammocks

Downsickling, till they’ve sunken

Down nightwards, faded, downsunken:-

Thus had I sunken one day

From mine own truth-insanity,

From mine own fervid day-longings,

Of day aweary, sick of sunshine,

-Sunk downwards, evenwards, shadowwards:

By one sole trueness

All scorched and thirsty:

-Bethinkst thou still, bethinkst thou, burning heart,

How then thou thirstedest?-

That I should banned be

From all the trueness!

Mere fool! Mere poet!

75. Science

THUS sang the magician; and all who were present went like birds
unawares into the net of his artful and melancholy voluptuousness.
Only the spiritually conscientious one had not been caught: he at once
snatched the harp from the magician and called out: “Air! Let in
good air! Let in Zarathustra! Thou makest this cave sultry and
poisonous, thou bad old magician!

Thou seducest, thou false one, thou subtle one, to unknown desires
and deserts. And alas, that such as thou should talk and make ado
about the truth!

Alas, to all free spirits who are not on their guard against such
magicians! It is all over with their freedom: thou teachest and
temptest back into prisons,-

-Thou old melancholy devil, out of thy lament soundeth a lurement:
thou resemblest those who with their praise of chastity secretly
invite to voluptuousness!

Thus spake the conscientious one; the old magician, however,
looked about him, enjoying his triumph, and on that account put up
with the annoyance which the conscientious one caused him. “Be still!”
said he with modest voice, “good songs want to re-echo well; after
good songs one should be long silent.

Thus do all those present, the higher men. Thou, however, hast
perhaps understood but little of my song? In thee there is little of
the magic spirit.

“Thou praisest me,” replied the conscientious one, “in that thou
separatest me from thyself; very well! But, ye others, what do I
see? Ye still sit there, all of you, with lusting eyes-:

Ye free spirits, whither hath your freedom gone! Ye almost seem to
me to resemble those who have long looked at bad girls dancing
naked: your souls themselves dance!

In you, ye higher men, there must be more of that which the magician
calleth his evil spirit of magic and deceit:- we must indeed be

And verily, we spake and thought long enough together ere.
Zarathustra came home to his cave, for me not to be unaware that we
are different.

We seek different things even here aloft, ye and I. For I seek
more security; on that account have I come to Zarathustra. For he is
still the most steadfast tower and will-

-Today, when everything tottereth, when all the earth quaketh. Ye,
however, when I see what eyes ye make, it almost seemeth to me that ye
seek more insecurity,

-More horror, more danger, more earthquake. Ye long (it almost
seemeth so to me- forgive my presumption, ye higher men)-

-Ye long for the worst and dangerousest life, which frighteneth me
most,- for the life of wild beasts, for forests, caves, steep
mountains and labyrinthine gorges.

And it is not those who lead out of danger that please you best, but
those who lead you away from all paths, the misleaders. But if such
longing in you be actual, it seemeth to me nevertheless to be

For fear- that is man’s original and fundamental feeling; through
fear everything is explained, original sin and original virtue.
Through fear there grew also my virtue, that is to say: Science.

For fear of wild animals- that hath been longest fostered in man,
inclusive of the animal which he concealeth and feareth in himself:-
Zarathustra calleth it ‘the beast inside.’

Such prolonged ancient fear, at last become subtle, spiritual and
intellectual- at present, me thinketh, it is called Science.”-

Thus spake the conscientious one; but Zarathustra, who had just come
back into his cave and had heard and divined the last discourse, threw
a handful of roses to the conscientious one, and laughed on account of
his “truths.” “Why!” he exclaimed, “what did I hear just now?
Verily, it seemeth to me, thou art a fool, or else I myself am one:
and quietly and quickly will I Put thy ‘truth’ upside down.

For fear- is an exception with us. Courage, however, and
adventure, and delight in the uncertain, in the unattempted- courage
seemeth to me the entire primitive history of man.

The wildest and most courageous animals hath he envied and robbed of
all their virtues: thus only did he become- man.

This courage, at last become subtle, spiritual and intellectual,
this human courage, with eagle’s pinions and serpent’s wisdom: this,
it seemeth to me, is called at present-“

“Zarathustra!” cried all of them there assembled, as if with one
voice, and burst out at the same time into a great laughter; there
arose, however, from them as it were a heavy cloud. Even the
magician laughed, and said wisely: “Well! It is gone, mine evil

And did I not myself warn you against it when I said that it was a
deceiver, a lying and deceiving spirit?

Especially when it showeth itself naked. But what can I do with
regard to its tricks! Have I created it and the world?

Well! Let us be good again, and of good cheer! And although
Zarathustra looketh with evil eye- just see him! he disliketh me-:

-Ere night cometh will he again learn to love and laud me; he cannot
live long without committing such follies.

He- loveth his enemies: this art knoweth he better than any one I
have seen. But he taketh revenge for it- on his friends!”

Thus spake the old magician, and the higher men applauded him; so
that Zarathustra went round, and mischievously and lovingly shook
hands with his friends,- like one who hath to make amends and
apologise to every one for something. When however he had thereby come
to the door of his cave, lo, then had he again a longing for the
good air outside, and for his animals,- and wished to steal out.

76. Among Daughters of the Desert


“GO NOT away!” said then the wanderer who called himself
Zarathustra’s shadow, “abide with us- otherwise the old gloomy
affliction might again fall upon us.

Now hath that old magician given us of his worst for our good, and
lo! the good, pious pope there hath tears in his eyes, and hath
quite embarked again upon the sea of melancholy.

Those kings may well put on a good air before us still: for that
have they learned best of us all at present! Had they however no one
to see them, I wager that with them also the bad game would again

-The bad game of drifting clouds, of damp melancholy, of curtained
heavens, of stolen suns, of howling autumn-winds,

-The bad game of our howling and crying for help! Abide with us, O
Zarathustra! Here there is much concealed misery that wisheth to
speak, much evening, much cloud, much damp air!

Thou hast nourished us with strong food for men, and powerful
proverbs: do not let the weakly, womanly spirits attack us anew at

Thou alone makest the air around thee strong and clear. Did I ever
find anywhere on earth such good air as with thee in thy cave?

Many lands have I seen, my nose hath learned to test and estimate
many kinds of air: but with thee do my nostrils taste their greatest

Unless it be,- unless it be-, do forgive an old recollection!
Forgive me an old after-dinner song, which I once composed amongst
daughters of the desert:-

For with them was there equally good, clear, Oriental air; there was
I furthest from cloudy, damp, melancholy Old-Europe!

Then did I love such Oriental maidens and other blue kingdoms of
heaven, over which hang no clouds and no thoughts.

Ye would not believe how charmingly they sat there, when they did
not dance, profound, but without thoughts, like little secrets, like
beribboned riddles, like dessert-nuts-

Many-hued and foreign, forsooth! but without clouds: riddles which
can be guessed: to please such maidens I then composed an after-dinner

Thus spake the wanderer who called himself Zarathustra’s shadow; and
before any one answered him, he had seized the harp of the old
magician, crossed his legs, and looked calmly and sagely around
him:- with his nostrils, however, he inhaled the air slowly and
questioningly, like one who in new countries tasteth new foreign
air. Afterward he began to sing with a kind of roaring.


The deserts grow: woe him who doth them hide!



In effect solemnly!

A worthy beginning!

Afric manner, solemnly!

Of a lion worthy,

Or perhaps of a virtuous howl-monkey-

-But it’s naught to you,

Ye friendly damsels dearly loved,

At whose own feet to me,

The first occasion,

To a European under palm-trees,

At seat is now granted. Selah.

Wonderful, truly!

Here do I sit now,

The desert nigh, and yet I am

So far still from the desert,

Even in naught yet deserted:

That is, I’m swallowed down

By this the smallest oasis-:

-It opened up just yawning,

Its loveliest mouth agape,

Most sweet-odoured of all mouthlets:

Then fell I right in,

Right down, right through- in ‘mong you,

Ye friendly damsels dearly loved! Selah.

Hail! hail! to that whale, fishlike,

If it thus for its guest’s convenience

Made things nice!- (ye well know,

Surely, my learned allusion?)

Hail to its belly,

If it had e’er

A such loveliest oasis-belly

As this is: though however I doubt about it,

-With this come I out of Old-Europe,

That doubt’th more eagerly than doth any

Elderly married woman.

May the Lord improve it!


Here do I sit now,

In this the smallest oasis,

Like a date indeed,

Brown, quite sweet, gold-suppurating,

For rounded mouth of maiden longing,

But yet still more for youthful, maidlike,

Ice-cold and snow-white and incisory

Front teeth: and for such assuredly,

Pine the hearts all of ardent date-fruits. Selah.

To the there-named south-fruits now,

Similar, all-too-similar,

Do I lie here; by little

Flying insects

Round-sniffled and round-played,

And also by yet littler,

Foolisher, and peccabler

Wishes and phantasies,-

Environed by you,

Ye silent, presentientest


Dudu and Suleika,

-Round sphinxed, that into one word

I may crowd much feeling:

(Forgive me, O God,

All such speech-sinning!)

-Sit I here the best of air sniffling,

Paradisal air, truly,

Bright and buoyant air, golden-mottled,

As goodly air as ever

From lunar orb downfell-

Be it by hazard,

Or supervened it by arrogancy?

As the ancient poets relate it.

But doubter, I’m now calling it

In question: with this do I come indeed

Out of Europe,

That doubt’th more eagerly than doth any

Elderly married woman.

May the Lord improve it!


This the finest air drinking,

With nostrils out-swelled like goblets,

Lacking future, lacking remembrances,

Thus do I sit here, ye

Friendly damsels dearly loved,

And look at the palm-tree there,

How it, to a dance-girl, like,

Doth bow and bend and on its haunches bob,

-One doth it too, when one view’th it long!-

To a dance-girl like, who as it seem’th to me,

Too long, and dangerously persistent,

Always, always, just on single leg hath stood?

-Then forgot she thereby, as it seem’th to me,

The other leg?

For vainly I, at least,

Did search for the amissing


-Namely, the other leg-

In the sanctified precincts,

Nigh her very dearest, very tenderest,

Flapping and fluttering and flickering skirting.

Yea, if ye should, ye beauteous friendly ones,

Quite take my word:

She hath, alas! lost it!

Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu!

It is away!

For ever away!

The other leg!

Oh, pity for that loveliest other leg!

Where may it now tarry, all-forsaken weeping?

The lonesomest leg?

In fear perhaps before a

Furious, yellow, blond and curled

Leonine monster? Or perhaps even

Gnawed away, nibbled badly-

Most wretched, woeful! woeful! nibbled badly! Selah.

Oh, weep ye not,

Gentle spirits!

Weep ye not, ye

Date-fruit spirits! Milk-bosoms!

Ye sweetwood-heart


Weep ye no more,

Pallid Dudu!

Be a man, Suleika! Bold! Bold!

-Or else should there perhaps

Something strengthening, heart-strengthening,

Here most proper be?

Some inspiring text?

Some solemn exhortation?-

Ha! Up now! honour!

Moral honour! European honour!

Blow again, continue,

Bellows-box of virtue!


Once more thy roaring,

Thy moral roaring!

As a virtuous lion

Nigh the daughters of deserts roaring!

-For virtue’s out-howl,

Ye very dearest maidens,

Is more than every

European fervour, European hot-hunger!

And now do I stand here,

As European,

I can’t be different, God’s help to me!


The deserts grow: woe him who doth them hide!

77. The Awakening


AFTER the song of the wanderer and shadow, the cave became all at
once full of noise and laughter: and since the assembled guests all
spake simultaneously, and even the ass, encouraged thereby, no
longer remained silent, a little aversion and scorn for his visitors
came over Zarathustra, although he rejoiced at their gladness. For
it seemed to him a sign of convalescence. So he slipped out into the
open air and spake to his animals.

“Whither hath their distress now gone?” said he, and already did
he himself feel relieved of his petty disgust- “with me, it seemeth
that they have unlearned their cries of distress!

-Though, alas! not yet their crying.” And Zarathustra stopped his
ears, for just then did the YE-A of the ass mix strangely with the
noisy jubilation of those higher men.

“They are merry,” he began again, “and who knoweth? perhaps at
their host’s expense; and if they have learned of me to laugh, still
it is not my laughter they have learned.

But what matter about that! They are old people: they recover in
their own way, they laugh in their own way; mine ears have already
endured worse and have not become peevish.

This day is a victory: he already yieldeth, he fleeth, the spirit of
gravity, mine old arch-enemy! How well this day is about to end, which
began so badly and gloomily!

And it is about to end. Already cometh the evening: over the sea
rideth it hither, the good rider! How it bobbeth, the blessed one, the
home-returning one, in its purple saddles!

The sky gazeth brightly thereon, the world lieth deep. Oh, all ye
strange ones who have come to me, it is already worth while to have
lived with me!”

Thus spake Zarathustra. And again came the cries and laughter of the
higher men out of the cave: then began he anew:

“They bite at it, my bait taketh, there departeth also from them
their enemy, the spirit of gravity. Now do they learn to laugh at
themselves: do I hear rightly?

My virile food taketh effect, my strong and savoury sayings: and
verily, I did not nourish them with flatulent vegetables! But with
warrior-food, with conqueror-food: new desires did I awaken.

New hopes are in their arms and legs, their hearts expand. They find
new words, soon will their spirits breathe wantonness.

Such food may sure enough not be proper for children, nor even for
longing girls old and young. One persuadeth their bowels otherwise;
I am not their physician and teacher.

The disgust departeth from these higher men; well! that is my
victory. In my domain they become assured; all stupid shame fleeth
away; they empty themselves.

They empty their hearts, good times return unto them, they keep
holiday and ruminate,- they become thankful.

That do I take as the best sign: they become thankful. Not long will
it be ere they devise festivals, and put up memorials to their old

They are convalescents!” Thus spake Zarathustra joyfully to his
heart and gazed outward; his animals, however, pressed up to him,
and honoured his happiness and his silence.


All on a sudden however, Zarathustra’s ear was frightened: for the
cave which had hitherto been full of noise and laughter, became all at
once still as death;- his nose, however, smelt a sweet-scented
vapour and incense-odour, as if from burning pine-cones.

“What happeneth? What are they about?” he asked himself, and stole
up to the entrance, that he might be able unobserved to see his
guests. But wonder upon wonder! what was he then obliged to behold
with his own eyes!

“They have all of them become pious again, they pray, they are
mad!”- said he, and was astonished beyond measure. And forsooth! all
these higher men, the two kings, the pope out of service, the evil
magician, the voluntary beggar, the wanderer and shadow, the old
soothsayer, the spiritually conscientious one, and the ugliest man-
they all lay on their knees like children and credulous old women, and
worshipped the ass. And just then began the ugliest man to gurgle
and snort, as if something unutterable in him tried to find
expression; when, however, he had actually found words, behold! it was
a pious, strange litany in praise of the adored and censed ass. And
the litany sounded thus:

Amen! And glory and honour and wisdom and thanks and praise and
strength be to our God, from everlasting to everlasting!

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

He carried our burdens, he hath taken upon him the form of a
servant, he is patient of heart and never saith Nay; and he who loveth
his God chastiseth him.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

He speaketh not: except that he ever saith Yea to the world which he
created: thus doth he extol his world. It is his artfulness that
speaketh not: thus is he rarely found wrong.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

Uncomely goeth he through the world. Grey is the favourite colour in
which he wrappeth his virtue. Hath he spirit, then doth he conceal it;
every one, however, believeth in his long ears.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

What hidden wisdom it is to wear long ears, and only to say Yea
and never Nay! Hath he not created the world in his own image, namely,
as stupid as possible?

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

Thou goest straight and crooked ways; it concerneth thee little what
seemeth straight or crooked unto us men. Beyond good and evil is thy
domain. It is thine innocence not to know what innocence is.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

Lo! how thou spurnest none from thee, neither beggars nor kings.
Thou sufferest little children to come unto thee, and when the bad
boys decoy thee, then sayest thou simply, YE-A.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

Thou lovest she-asses and fresh figs, thou art no food-despiser. A
thistle tickleth thy heart when thou chancest to be hungry. There is
the wisdom of a God therein.

-The ass, however, here brayed YE-A.

78. The Ass-Festival


AT THIS place in the litany, however, Zarathustra could no longer
control himself; he himself cried out YE-A, louder even than the
ass, and sprang into the midst of his maddened guests. “Whatever are
you about, ye grown-up children?” he exclaimed, pulling up the praying
ones from the ground. “Alas, if any one else, except Zarathustra,
had seen you:

Every one would think you the worst blasphemers, or the very
foolishest old women, with your new belief!

And thou thyself, thou old pope, how is it in accordance with
thee, to adore an ass in such a manner as God?”-

“O Zarathustra,” answered the pope, “forgive me, but in divine
matters I am more enlightened even than thou. And it is right that
it should be so.

Better to adore God so, in this form, than in no form at all!
Think over this saying, mine exalted friend: thou wilt readily
divine that in such a saying there is wisdom.

He who said ‘God is a Spirit’- made the greatest stride and slide
hitherto made on earth towards unbelief: such a dictum is not easily
amended again on earth!

Mine old heart leapeth and boundeth because there is still something
to adore on earth. Forgive it, O Zarathustra, to an old, pious

-“And thou,” said Zarathustra to the wanderer and shadow, “thou
callest and thinkest thyself a free spirit? And thou here practisest
such idolatry and hierolatry?

Worse verily, doest thou here than with thy bad brown girls, thou
bad, new believer!”

“It is sad enough,” answered the wanderer and shadow, “thou art
right: but how can I help it! The old God liveth again, O Zarathustra,
thou mayst say what thou wilt.

The ugliest man is to blame for it all: he hath reawakened him.
And if he say that he once killed him, with Gods death is always
just a prejudice.”

-“And thou,” said Zarathustra, “thou bad old magician, what didst
thou do! Who ought to believe any longer in thee in this free age,
when thou believest in such divine donkeyism?

It was a stupid thing that thou didst; how couldst thou, a shrewd
man, do such a stupid thing!”

“O Zarathustra,” answered the shrewd magician, “thou art right, it
was a stupid thing,- it was also repugnant to me.”

-“And thou even,” said Zarathustra to the spiritually
conscientious one, “consider, and put thy finger to thy nose! Doth
nothing go against thy conscience here? Is thy spirit not too
cleanly for this praying and the fumes of those devotees?”

“There is something therein,” said the spiritually conscientious
one, and put his finger to his nose, “there is something in this
spectacle which even doeth good to my conscience.

Perhaps I dare not believe in God: certain it is however, that God
seemeth to me most worthy of belief in this form.

God is said to be eternal, according to the testimony of the most
pious: he who hath so much time taketh his time. As slow and as stupid
as possible: thereby can such a one nevertheless go very far.

And he who hath too much spirit might well become infatuated with
stupidity and folly. Think of thyself, O Zarathustra!

Thou thyself- verily! even thou couldst well become an ass through
superabundance of wisdom.

Doth not the true sage willingly walk on the crookedest paths? The
evidence teacheth it, O Zarathustra,- thine own evidence!”

-“And thou thyself, finally,” said Zarathustra, and turned towards
the ugliest man, who still lay on the ground stretching up his arm
to the ass (for he gave it wine to drink). “Say, thou nondescript,
what hast thou been about!

Thou seemest to me transformed, thine eyes glow, the mantle of the
sublime covereth thine ugliness: what didst thou do?

Is it then true what they say, that thou hast again awakened him?
And why? Was he not for good reasons killed and made away with?

Thou thyself seemest to me awakened: what didst thou do? why didst
thou turn round? Why didst thou get converted? Speak, thou

“O Zarathustra,” answered the ugliest man, “thou art a rogue!

Whether he yet liveth, or again liveth, or is thoroughly dead- which
of us both knoweth that best? I ask thee.

One thing however do I know,- from thyself did I learn it once, O
Zarathustra: he who wanteth to kill most thoroughly, laugheth.

‘Not by wrath but by laughter doth one kill’- thus spakest thou
once, O Zarathustra, thou hidden one, thou destroyer without wrath,
thou dangerous saint,- thou art a rogue!”


Then, however, did it come to pass that Zarathustra, astonished at
such merely roguish answers, jumped back to the door of his cave,
and turning towards all his guests, cried out with a strong voice:

“O ye wags, all of you, ye buffoons! Why do ye dissemble and
disguise yourselves before me!

How the hearts of all of you convulsed with delight and
wickedness, because ye had at last become again like little
children- namely, pious,-

-Because ye at last did again as children do- namely, prayed, folded
your hands and said ‘good God’!

But now leave, I pray you, this nursery, mine own cave, where
today all childishness is carried on. Cool down, here outside, your
hot child-wantonness and heart-tumult!

To be sure: except ye become as little children ye shall not enter
into that kingdom of heaven.” (And Zarathustra pointed aloft with
his hands.)

“But we do not at all want to enter into the kingdom of heaven: we
have become men,- so we want the kingdom of earth.”


And once more began Zarathustra to speak. “O my new friends,” said
he,- “ye strange ones, ye higher men, how well do ye now please me,-

-Since ye have again become joyful! Ye have, verily, all blossomed
forth: it seemeth to me that for such flowers as you, new festivals
are required.

-A little valiant nonsense, some divine service and ass-festival,
some old joyful Zarathustra fool, some blusterer to blow your souls

Forget not this night and this ass-festival, ye higher men! That did
ye devise when with me, that do I take as a good omen,- such things
only the convalescents devise!

And should ye celebrate it again, this ass-festival, do it from love
to yourselves, do it also from love to me! And in remembrance of me!”

Thus spake Zarathustra.

79. The Drunken Song


MEANWHILE one after another had gone out into the open air, and into
the cool, thoughtful night; Zarathustra himself, however, led the
ugliest man by the hand, that he might show him his night-world, and
the great round moon, and the silvery water-falls near his cave. There
they at last stood still beside one another; all of them old people,
but with comforted, brave hearts, and astonished in themselves that it
was so well with them on earth; the mystery of the night, however,
came nigher and nigher to their hearts. And anew Zarathustra thought
to himself: “Oh, how well do they now please me, these higher men!”-
but he did not say it aloud, for he respected their happiness and
their silence.-

Then, however, there happened that which in this astonishing long
day was most astonishing: the ugliest man began once more and for
the last time to gurgle and snort, and when he had at length found
expression, behold! there sprang a question plump and plain out of his
mouth, a good, deep, clear question, which moved the hearts of all who
listened to him.

“My friends, all of you,” said the ugliest man, “what think ye?
For the sake of this day- I am for the first time content to have
lived mine entire life.

And that I testify so much is still not enough for me. It is worth
while living on the earth: one day, one festival with Zarathustra,
hath taught me to love the earth.

‘Was that- life?’ will I say unto death. ‘Well! Once more!’

My friends, what think ye? Will ye not, like me, say unto death:
‘Was that- life? For the sake of Zarathustra, well! Once more!'”- -

Thus spake the ugliest man; it was not, however, far from
midnight. And what took place then, think ye? As soon as the higher
men heard his question, they became all at once conscious of their
transformation and convalescence, and of him who was the cause
thereof: then did they rush up to Zarathustra, thanking, honouring,
caressing him, and kissing his hands, each in his own peculiar way; so
that some laughed and some wept. The old soothsayer, however, danced
with delight; and though he was then, as some narrators suppose,
full of sweet wine, he was certainly still fuller of sweet life, and
had renounced all weariness. There are even those who narrate that the
ass then danced: for not in vain had the ugliest man previously
given it wine to drink. That may be the case, or it may be
otherwise; and if in truth the ass did not dance that evening, there
nevertheless happened then greater and rarer wonders than the
dancing of an ass would have been. In short, as the proverb of
Zarathustra saith: “What doth it matter!”


When, however, this took place with the ugliest man, Zarathustra
stood there like one drunken: his glance dulled, his tongue faltered
and his feet staggered. And who could divine what thoughts then passed
through Zarathustra’s soul? Apparently, however, his spirit
retreated and fled in advance and was in remote distances, and as it
were “wandering on high mountain-ridges,” as it standeth written,
“‘twixt two seas,

-Wandering ‘twixt the past and the future as a heavy cloud.”
Gradually, however, while the higher men held him in their arms, he
came back to himself a little, and resisted with his hands the crowd
of the honouring and caring ones; but he did not speak. All at once,
however, he turned his head quickly, for he seemed to hear
something: then laid he his finger on his mouth and said: “Come!”

And immediately it became still and mysterious round about; from the
depth however there came up slowly the sound of a clock-bell.
Zarathustra listened thereto, like the higher men; then, however, laid
he his finger on his mouth the second time, and said again: “Come!
Come! It is getting on to midnight!”- and his voice had changed. But
still he had not moved from the spot. Then it became yet stiller and
more mysterious, and everything hearkened, even the ass, and
Zarathustra’s noble animals, the eagle and the serpent,- likewise
the cave of Zarathustra and the big cool moon, and the night itself.
Zarathustra, however, laid his hand upon his mouth for the third time,
and said:

Come! Come! Come! Let us now wander! It is the hour: let us wander
into the night!


Ye higher men, it is getting on to midnight: then will I say
something into your ears, as that old clock-bell saith it into mine

-As mysteriously, as frightfully, and as cordially as that
midnight clock-bell speaketh it to me, which hath experienced more
than one man:

-Which hath already counted the smarting throbbings of your fathers’
hearts- ah! ah! how it sigheth! how it laugheth in its dream! the old,
deep, deep midnight!

Hush! Hush! Then is there many a thing heard which may not be
heard by day; now however, in the cool air, when even all the tumult
of your hearts hath become still,-

-Now doth it speak, now is it heard, now doth it steal into
overwakeful, nocturnal souls: ah! ah! how the midnight sigheth! how it
laugheth in its dream!

-Hearest thou not how it mysteriously, frightfully, and cordially
speaketh unto thee, the old deep, deep midnight?

O man, take heed!


Woe to me! Whither hath time gone? Have I not sunk into deep
wells? The world sleepeth-

Ah! Ah! The dog howleth, the moon shineth. Rather will I die, rather
will I die, than say unto you what my midnight-heart now thinketh.

Already have I died. It is all over. Spider, why spinnest thou
around me? Wilt thou have blood? Ah! Ah! The dew falleth, the hour

-The hour in which I frost and freeze, which asketh and asketh and
asketh: “Who hath sufficient courage for it?

-Who is to be master of the world? Who is going to say: Thus shall
ye flow, ye great and small streams!”

-The hour approacheth: O man, thou higher man, take heed! this
talk is for fine ears, for thine ears- what saith deep midnight’s
voice indeed?


It carrieth me away, my soul danceth. Day’s-work! Day’s-work! Who is
to be master of the world?

The moon is cool, the wind is still. Ah! Ah! Have ye already flown
high enough? Ye have danced: a leg, nevertheless, is not a wing.

Ye good dancers, now is all delight over: wine hath become lees,
every cup hath become brittle, the sepulchres mutter.

Ye have not flown high enough: now do the sepulchres mutter: “Free
the dead! Why is it so long night? Doth not the moon make us drunken?”

Ye higher men, free the sepulchres, awaken the corpses! Ah, why doth
the worm still burrow? There approacheth, there approacheth, the

-There boometh the clock-bell, there thrilleth still the heart,
there burroweth still the wood-worm, the heart-worm. Ah! Ah! The world
is deep!


Sweet lyre! Sweet lyre! I love thy tone, thy drunken, ranunculine
tone!- how long, how far hath come unto me thy tone, from the
distance, from the ponds of love!

Thou old clock-bell, thou sweet lyre! Every pain hath torn thy
heart, father-pain, fathers’-pain, forefathers’-pain; thy speech
hath become ripe,-

-Ripe like the golden autumn and the afternoon, like mine
anchorite heart- now sayest thou: The world itself hath become ripe,
the grape turneth brown,

-Now doth it wish to die, to die of happiness. Ye higher men, do
ye not feel it? There welleth up mysteriously an odour,

-A perfume and odour of eternity, a rosy-blessed, brown,
gold-wine-odour of old happiness.

-Of drunken midnight-death happiness, which singeth: the world is
deep, and deeper than the day could read!


Leave me alone! Leave me alone! I am too pure for thee. Touch me
not! Hath not my world just now become perfect?

My skin is too pure for thy hands. Leave me alone, thou dull,
doltish, stupid day! Is not the midnight brighter?

The purest are to be masters of the world, the least known, the
strongest, the midnight-souls, who are brighter and deeper than any

O day, thou gropest for me? Thou feelest for my happiness? For
thee am I rich, lonesome, a treasure-pit, a gold chamber?

O world, thou wantest me? Am I worldly for thee? Am I spiritual
for thee? Am I divine for thee? But day and world, ye are too coarse,-

-Have cleverer hands, grasp after deeper happiness, after deeper
unhappiness, grasp after some God; grasp not after me:

-Mine unhappiness, my happiness is deep, thou strange day, but yet
am I no God, no God’s-hell: deep is its woe.


God’s woe is deeper, thou strange world! Grasp at God’s woe, not
at me! What am I! A drunken sweet lyre,-

-A midnight-lyre, a bell-frog, which no one understandeth, but which
must speak before deaf ones, ye higher men! For ye do not understand

Gone! Gone! O youth! O noontide! O afternoon! Now have come
evening and night and midnight,- the dog howleth, the wind:

-Is the wind not a dog? It whineth, it barketh, it howleth. Ah!
Ah! how she sigheth! how she laugheth, how she wheezeth and panteth,
the midnight!

How she just now speaketh soberly, this drunken poetess! hath she
perhaps overdrunk her drunkenness? hath she become overawake? doth she

-Her woe doth she ruminate over, in a dream, the old, deep midnight-
and still more her joy. For joy, although woe be deep, joy is deeper
still than grief can be.


Thou grape-vine! Why dost thou praise me? Have I not cut thee! I
am cruel, thou bleedest-: what meaneth thy praise of my drunken

“Whatever hath become perfect, everything mature- wanteth to die!”
so sayest thou. Blessed, blessed be the vintner’s knife! But
everything immature wanteth to live: alas!

Woe saith: “Hence! Go! Away, thou woe!” But everything that
suffereth wanteth to live, that it may become mature and lively and

-Longing for the further, the higher, the brighter. “I want
heirs,” so saith everything that suffereth, “I want children, I do not
want myself,”-

Joy, however, doth not want heirs, it doth not want children,- joy
wanteth itself, it wanteth eternity, it wanteth recurrence, it wanteth
everything eternally-like-itself.

Woe saith: “Break, bleed, thou heart! Wander, thou leg! Thou wing,
fly! Onward! upward! thou pain!” Well! Cheer up! O mine old heart: Woe
saith: “Hence! Go!”


Ye higher men, what think ye? Am I a soothsayer? Or a dreamer? Or
a drunkard? Or a dream-reader? Or a midnight-bell?

Or a drop of dew? Or a fume and fragrance of eternity? Hear ye it
not? Smell ye it not? Just now hath my world become perfect,
midnight is also mid-day,-

Pain is also a joy, curse is also a blessing, night is also a
sun,- go away! or ye will learn that a sage is also a fool.

Said ye ever Yea to one joy? O my friends, then said ye Yea also
unto all woe. All things are enlinked, enlaced and enamoured,-

-Wanted ye ever once to come twice; said ye ever: “Thou pleasest me,
happiness! Instant! Moment!” then wanted ye all to come back again!

-All anew, all eternal, all enlinked, enlaced and enamoured, Oh,
then did ye love the world,-

-Ye eternal ones, ye love it eternally and for all time: and also
unto woe do ye say: Hence! Go! but come back! For joys all want-


All joy wanteth the eternity of all things, it wanteth honey, it
wanteth lees, it wanteth drunken midnight, it wanteth graves, it
wanteth grave-tears’ consolation, it wanteth gilded evening-red-

-What doth not joy want! it is thirstier, heartier, hungrier, more
frightful, more mysterious, than all woe: it wanteth itself, it biteth
into itself, the ring’s will writheth in it,-

-It wanteth love, it wanteth hate, it is over-rich, it bestoweth, it
throweth away, it beggeth for some one to take from it, it thanketh
the taker, it would fain be hated,-

-So rich is joy that it thirsteth for woe, for hell, for hate, for
shame, for the lame, for the world,- for this world, Oh, ye know it

Ye higher men, for you doth it long, this joy, this irrepressible,
blessed joy- for your woe, ye failures! For failures, longeth all
eternal joy.

For joys all want themselves, therefore do they also want grief! O
happiness, O pain! Oh break, thou heart! Ye higher men, do learn it,
that joys want eternity.

-Joys want the eternity of all things, they want deep, profound


Have ye now learned my song? Have ye divined what it would say?
Well! Cheer up! Ye higher men, sing now my roundelay!

Sing now yourselves the song, the name of which is “Once more,”
the signification of which is “Unto all eternity!”- sing, ye higher
men, Zarathustra’s roundelay!

O man! Take heed!

What saith deep midnight’s voice indeed?

“I slept my sleep-,

“From deepest dream I’ve woke, and plead:-

“The world is deep,

“And deeper than the day could read.

“Deep is its woe-,

“Joy- deeper still than grief can be:

“Woe saith: Hence! Go!

“But joys all want eternity-,

“-Want deep, profound eternity!”

80. The Sign

IN THE morning, however, after this night, Zarathustra jumped up
from his couch, and, having girded his loins, he came out of his
cave glowing and strong, like a morning sun coming out of gloomy

“Thou great star,” spake he, as he had spoken once before, “thou
deep eye of happiness, what would be all thy happiness if thou hadst
not those for whom thou shinest!

And if they remained in their chambers whilst thou art already
awake, and comest and bestowest and distributest, how would thy
proud modesty upbraid for it!

Well! they still sleep, these higher men, whilst I am awake: they
are not my proper companions! Not for them do I wait here in my

At my work I want to be, at my day: but they understand not what are
the signs of my morning, my step- is not for them the awakening-call.

They still sleep in my cave; their dream still drinketh at my
drunken songs. The audient ear for me- the obedient ear, is yet
lacking in their limbs.”

-This had Zarathustra spoken to his heart when the sun arose: then
looked he inquiringly aloft, for he heard above him the sharp call
of his eagle. “Well!” called he upwards, “thus is it pleasing and
proper to me. Mine animals are awake, for I am awake.

Mine eagle is awake, and like me honoureth the sun. With
eagle-talons doth it grasp at the new light. Ye are my proper animals;
I love you.

But still do I lack my proper men!”-

Thus spake Zarathustra; then, however, it happened that all on a
sudden he became aware that he was flocked around and fluttered
around, as if by innumerable birds,- the whizzing of so many wings,
however, and the crowding around his head was so great that he shut
his eyes. And verily, there came down upon him as it were a cloud,
like a cloud of arrows which poureth upon a new enemy. But behold,
here it was a cloud of love, and showered upon a new friend.

“What happeneth unto me?” thought Zarathustra in his astonished
heart, and slowly seated himself on the big stone which lay close to
the exit from his cave. But while he grasped about with his hands,
around him, above him and below him, and repelled the tender birds,
behold, there then happened to him something still stranger: for he
grasped thereby unawares into a mass of thick, warm, shaggy hair; at
the same time, however, there sounded before him a roar,- a long, soft

“The sign cometh,” said Zarathustra, and a change came over his
heart. And in truth, when it turned clear before him, there lay a
yellow, powerful animal at his feet, resting its head on his knee,-
unwilling to leave him out of love, and doing like a dog which again
findeth its old master. The doves, however, were no less eager with
their love than the lion; and whenever a dove whisked over its nose,
the lion shook its head and wondered and laughed.

When all this went on Zarathustra spake only a word: “My children
are nigh, my children”-, then he became quite mute. His heart,
however, was loosed, and from his eyes there dropped down tears and
fell upon his hands. And he took no further notice of anything, but
sat there motionless, without repelling the animals further. Then flew
the doves to and fro, and perched on his shoulder, and caressed his
white hair, and did not tire of their tenderness and joyousness. The
strong lion, however, licked always the tears that fell on
Zarathustra’s hands, and roared and growled shyly. Thus did these
animals do.-

All this went on for a long time, or a short time: for properly
speaking, there is no time on earth for such things-. Meanwhile,
however, the higher men had awakened in Zarathustra’s cave, and
marshalled themselves for a procession to go to meet Zarathustra,
and give him their morning greeting: for they had found when they
awakened that he no longer tarried with them. When, however, they
reached the door of the cave and the noise of their steps had preceded
them, the lion started violently; it turned away all at once from
Zarathustra, and roaring wildly, sprang towards the cave. The higher
men, however, when they heard the lion roaring, cried all aloud as
with one voice, fled back and vanished in an instant.

Zarathustra himself, however, stunned and strange, rose from his
seat, looked around him, stood there astonished, inquired of his
heart, bethought himself, and remained alone. “What did I hear?”
said he at last, slowly, “what happened unto me just now?”

But soon there came to him his recollection, and he took in at a
glance all that had taken place between yesterday and to-day. “Here is
indeed the stone,” said he, and stroked his beard, “on it sat I
yester-morn; and here came the soothsayer unto me, and here heard I
first the cry which I heard just now, the great cry of distress.

O ye higher men, your distress was it that the old soothsayer
foretold to me yester-morn,-

-Unto your distress did he want to seduce and tempt me: ‘O
Zarathustra,’ said he to me, ‘I come to seduce thee to thy last sin.’

To my last sin?” cried Zarathustra, and laughed angrily at his own
words: “what hath been reserved for me as my last sin?”

-And once more Zarathustra became absorbed in himself, and sat
down again on the big stone and meditated. Suddenly he sprang up,-

“Fellow-suffering! Fellow-suffering with the higher men!” he cried
out, and his countenance changed into brass. “Well! That- hath had its

My suffering and my fellow-suffering- what matter about them! Do I
then strive after happiness? I strive after my work!

Well! The lion hath come, my children are nigh, Zarathustra hath
grown ripe, mine hour hath come:-

This is my morning, my day beginneth: arise now, arise, thou great
noontide!”- -

Thus spake Zarathustra and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a
morning sun coming out of gloomy mountains.

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