Site Contents  •  Contact

Zoroastrian Heritage

Author: K. E. Eduljee

Contents

spacer

Thus Spake Zarathushtra

Introduction

Prologue

Discourses

Part 1

1. The Three Metamorphoses

2. The Academic Chairs of Virtue

3. Backworldsmen

4. The Despisers of the Body

5. Joys and Passions

6. The Pale Criminal

7. Reading and Writing

8. The Tree on the Hill

9. The Preachers of Death

10. War and Warriors

11. The New Idol

12. The Flies in the Market-Place

13. Chastity

14. The Friend

15. The Thousand and One Goals

16. Neighbour Love

17. The Way of the Creating One

18. Old and Young Women

19. The Bite of the Adder

20. Child and Marriage

21. Voluntary Death

22. The Bestowing Virtue

Part 2

23. The Child with the Mirror

24. In the Happy Isles

25. The Pitiful

26. The Priests

27. The Virtuous

28. The Rabble

29. The Tarantulas

30. The Famous Wise People

31. The Night Song

32. The Dance Song

33. The Grave Song

34. Self-Overcoming

35. The Sublime Ones

36. The Land of Culture

37. Immaculate Perception

38. Scholars

39. Poets

40. Great Events

41. The Soothsayer

42. Redemption

43. Manly Prudence

44. The Stillest Hour

Part 3

45. The Wanderer

46. The Vision and the Enigma

47. Involuntary Bliss

48. Before Sunrise

49. The Bedwarfing Virtue

50. On the Olive-Mount

51. On Passing-by

52. The Apostates

53. The Return Home

54. The Three Evil Things

55. The Spirit of Gravity

56. Old and New Tables

57. The Convalescent

58. The Great Longing

59. The Second Dance-Song

60. The Seven Seals

Part 4

61. The Honey Sacrifice

62. The Cry of Distress

63. Talk with the Kings

64. The Leech

65. The Magician

66. Out of Service

67. The Ugliest Man

68. The Voluntary Beggar

69. The Shadow

70. Noon-Tide

71. The Greeting

72. The Supper

73. The Higher Man

74. The Song of Melancholy

75. Science

76. Among Daughters of the Desert

77. The Awakening

78. The Ass-Festival

79. The Drunken Song

80. The Sign

Part 4b. Discourses 66-70


» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche


66. Out of Service

NOT long, however, after Zarathustra had freed himself from the magician, he again saw a person sitting beside the path which he followed, namely a tall, black man, with a haggard, pale countenance: this man grieved him exceedingly. "Alas," said he to his heart, "there sits disguised affliction; methinks he is of the type of the priests: what do they want in my domain?

What! Hardly have I escaped from that magician, and must another necromancer again run across my path - some sorcerer with laying-on-of-hands, some sombre wonder-worker by the grace of God, some anointed world-maligner, whom, may the devil take!

But the devil is never at the place which would be his right place: he always comes too late, that cursed dwarf and club-foot!"

Thus cursed Zarathustra impatiently in his heart, and considered how with averted look he might slip past the black man. But behold, it came about otherwise. For at the same moment had the sitting one already perceived him; and not unlike one whom an unexpected happiness overtakes, he sprang to his feet, and went straight towards Zarathustra.

"Whoever you are, you traveller," said he, "Help a strayed one, a seeker, an old man, who may here easily come to grief!

The world here is strange to me, and remote; wild beasts also did I hear howling; and he who could have given me protection- he is himself no more.

I was seeking the pious man, a saint and an hermit, who, alone in his forest, had not yet heard of what all the world knows at present."

"What does all the world know at present?" asked Zarathustra. "Perhaps that the old God no longer lives, in whom all the world once believed?"

"You say it," answered the old man sorrowfully. "And I served that old God until his last hour.

Now, however, am I out of service, without master, and yet not free; likewise am I no longer merry even for an hour, except it be in recollections.

Therefore did I ascend into these mountains, that I might finally have a festival for myself once more, as becomes an old pope and church-father: for know it, that I am the last pope!- a festival of pious recollections and divine services.

Now, however, is he himself dead, the most pious of people, the saint in the forest, who praised his God constantly with singing and mumbling.

He himself found I no longer when I found his cot- but two wolves found I therein, which howled on account of his death,- for all animals loved him. Then did I haste away.

Had I thus come in vain into these forests and mountains? Then did my heart determine that I should seek another, the most pious of all those who believe not in God-, my heart determined that I should seek Zarathustra!"

Thus spoke the hoary man, and gazed with keen eyes at him who stood before him. Zarathustra however seized the hand of the old pope and regarded it a long while with admiration.

"Lo! you venerable one," said he then, "what a fine and long hand! That is the hand of one who has ever dispensed blessings. Now, however, does it hold fast him whom you seek, me, Zarathustra.

It is I, the ungodly Zarathustra, who says: 'Who is ungodlier than I, that I may enjoy his teaching?' "

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and penetrated with his glances the thoughts and arrear-thoughts of the old pope. At last the latter began:

"He who most loved and possessed him has now also lost him most.

Lo, I myself am surely the most godless of us at present? But who could rejoice at that!"

"You served him to the last?" asked Zarathustra thoughtfully, after a deep silence, "you know how he died? Is it true what they say, that sympathy choked him;

-That he saw how humanity hung on the cross, and could not endure it;- that his love to humanity became his hell, and at last his death?"

The old pope however did not answer, but looked aside timidly, with a painful and gloomy expression.

"Let him go," said Zarathustra, after prolonged meditation, still looking the old man straight in the eye.

"Let him go, he is gone. And though it honours you that you speak only in praise of this dead one, yet you know as well as I who he was, and that he went curious ways."

"To speak before three eyes," said the old pope cheerfully (he was blind of one eye), "in divine matters I am more enlightened than Zarathustra himself and may well be so.

My love served him long years, my will followed all his will. A good servant, however, knows everything, and many a thing even which a master hides from himself.

He was a hidden God, full of secrecy. He did not come by his son otherwise than by secret ways. At the door of his faith stands adultery.

Whoever extolls him as a God of love, does not think highly enough of love itself. Did not that God want also to be judge? But the loving one loves irrespective of reward and requital.

When he was young, that God out of the Orient, then was he harsh and revengeful, and built himself a hell for the delight of his favourites.

At last, however, he became old and soft and mellow and pitiful, more like a grandfather than a father, but most like a tottering old grandmother.

There did he sit shrivelled in his chimney-corner, fretting on account of his weak legs, world-weary, will-weary, and one day he suffocated of his all-too-great pity."

"You old pope," said here Zarathustra interposing, "have you seen that with your eyes? It could well have happened in that way: in that way, and also otherwise. When gods die they always die many kinds of death.

Well! At all events, one way or other- he is gone! He was counter to the taste of my ears and eyes; worse than that I should not like to say against him.

I love everything that looks bright and speaks honestly. But he- you know it, you old priest, there was something of your type in him, the priest-type- he was equivocal.

He was also indistinct. How he raged at us, this wrath-snorter, because we understood him badly! But why did he not speak more clearly?

And if the fault lay in our ears, why did he give us ears that heard him badly? If there was dirt in our ears, well! who put it in them?

Too much miscarried with him, this potter who had not learned thoroughly! That he took revenge on his pots and creations, however, because they turned out badly- that was a sin against good taste.

There is also good taste in piety: this at last said: 'Away with such a God! Better to have no God, better to set up destiny on one's own account, better to be a fool, better to be God oneself!'"

-"What do I hear!" said then the old pope, with intent ears; "O Zarathustra, you are more pious than you believe, with such an unbelief! Some god in you has converted you to your ungodliness.

Is it not your piety itself which no longer lets you believe in a God? And your over-great honesty will yet lead you even beyond good and evil!

Behold, what has been reserved for you? you have eyes and hands and mouth, which have been predestined for blessing from eternity. One does not bless with the hand alone.

Near to you, though you profess to be the ungodliest one, I feel a hale and holy odour of long benedictions: I feel glad and grieved thereby.

Let me be your guest, O Zarathustra, for a single night! Nowhere on earth shall I now feel better than with you!"-

"Amen! So shall it be!" said Zarathustra, with great astonishment; "up there leads the way, there lies the cave of Zarathustra.

Gladly would I conduct you there myself, you venerable one; for I love all pious people. But now a cry of distress calls me hastily away from you.

In my domain shall no one come to grief; my cave is a good haven. And best of all would I like to put every sorrowful one again on firm land and firm legs.

Who, however, could take your melancholy off your shoulders? For that I am too weak. Long, verily, should we have to wait until some one re-awoke your God for you.

For that old God lives no more: he is indeed dead."

Thus spoke Zarathustra.


67. The Ugliest Man

-AND again did Zarathustra's feet run through mountains and forests, and his eyes sought and sought, but nowhere was he to be seen whom they wanted to see- the sorely distressed sufferer and crier. On the whole way, however, he rejoiced in his heart and was full of gratitude. "What good things," said he, "has this day given me, as amends for its bad beginning! What strange interlocutors have I found!

At their words will I now chew a long while as at good corn; small shall my teeth grind and crush them, until they flow like milk into my soul!"

When, however, the path again curved round a rock, all at once the landscape changed, and Zarathustra entered into a realm of death. Here bristled aloft black and red cliffs, without any grass, tree, or bird's voice. For it was a valley which all animals avoided, even the beasts of prey, except that a species of ugly, thick, green serpent came here to die when they became old. Therefore the shepherds called this valley: "Serpent-death."

Zarathustra, however, became absorbed in dark recollections, for it seemed to him as if he had once before stood in this valley. And much heaviness settled on his mind, so that he walked slowly and always more slowly, and at last stood still. Then, however, when he opened his eyes, he saw something sitting by the wayside shaped like a person, and hardly like a person, something nondescript. And all at once there came over Zarathustra a great shame, because he had gazed on such a thing. Blushing up to the very roots of his white hair, he turned aside his glance, and raised his foot that he might leave this ill-starred place. Then, however, became the dead wilderness vocal: for from the ground a noise welled up, gurgling and rattling, as water gurgles and rattles at night through stopped-up water-pipes; and at last it turned into human voice and human speech:- it sounded thus:

"Zarathustra! Zarathustra! Read my riddle! Say, say! What is the revenge on the witness?

I entice you back; here is smooth ice! See to it, see to it, that your pride does not here break its legs!

You think yourself wise, you proud Zarathustra! Read then the riddle, you hard nut-cracker,- the riddle that I am! Say then: who am I!"

-When however Zarathustra had heard these words,- what think you then took place in his soul? Pity overcame him; and he sank down all at once, like an oak that has long withstood many tree-fellers,- heavily, suddenly, to the terror even of those who meant to fell it. But immediately he got up again from the ground, and his countenance became stern.

"I know you well," said he, with a brazen voice, "you are the murderer of God! Let me go.

You could not endure him who beheld you, who ever beheld you through and through, you ugliest person. You took revenge on this witness!"

Thus spoke Zarathustra and was about to go; but the nondescript grasped at a corner of his garment and began anew to gurgle and seek for words. "Stay," said he at last-

-"Stay! Do not pass by! I have divined what axe it was that struck you to the ground: hail to you, O Zarathustra that you are again upon your feet!

You have divined, I know it well, how the man feels who killed him,- the murderer of God. Stay! Sit down here beside me; it is not to no purpose.

To whom would I go but to you? Stay, sit down! Do not however look at me! Honour thus- my ugliness!

They persecute me: now are you my last refuge. Not with their hatred, not with their bailiffs;- Oh, such persecution would I mock at, and be proud and cheerful!

Has not all success hereto been with the well-persecuted ones? And he who persecutes well learns readily to be obsequent- when once he is- put behind! But it is their pity-

-Their pity is it from which I flee away and flee to you. O Zarathustra, protect me, you, my last refuge, you sole one who divined me:

-You have divined how the man feels who killed him. Stay! And if you will go, you impatient one, go not the way that I came. That way is bad.

Are you angry with me because I have already racked language too long? Because I have already counselled you? But know that it is I, the ugliest person,

-Who have also the largest, heaviest feet. Where I have gone, the way is bad. I tread all paths to death and destruction.

But that you passed me by in silence, that you blushed- I saw it well: thereby did I know you as Zarathustra.

Every one else would have thrown to me his alms, his pity, in look and speech. But for that- I am not beggar enough: that did you divine.

For that I am too rich, rich in what is great, frightful, ugliest, most unutterable! your shame, O Zarathustra, honoured me!

With difficulty did I get out of the crowd of the pitiful,- that I might find the only one who at present teaches that 'pity is obtrusive'- yourself, O Zarathustra!

-Whether it be the pity of a God, or whether it be human pity, it is offensive to modesty. And unwillingness to help may be nobler than the virtue that rushes to do so.

That however- namely, pity- is called virtue itself at present by all petty people:- they have no reverence for great misfortune, great ugliness, great failure.

Beyond all these do I look, as a dog looks over the backs of thronging flocks of sheep. They are petty, good-wooled, good-willed, grey people.

As the heron looks contemptuously at shallow pools, with backward-bent head, so do I look at the throng of grey little waves and wills and souls.

Too long have we acknowledged them to be right, those petty people: so we have at last given them power as well;- and now do they teach that 'good is only what petty people call good.'

And 'truth' is at present what the preacher spoke who himself sprang from them, that singular saint and advocate of the petty people, who testified of himself: 'I- am the truth.'

That shameless one has long made the petty people greatly puffed up,- he who taught no small error when he taught: 'I- am the truth.'

Has a shameless one ever been answered more courteously?- You, however, O Zarathustra, passed him by, and said: 'No! No! Three times No!'

You warned against his error; you warned- the first to do so- against pity:- not every one, not none, but yourself and your type.

You are ashamed of the shame of the great sufferer; and verily when you say: 'From pity there comes a heavy cloud; take heed, you people!'

-When you teach: 'All creators are hard, all great love is beyond their pity:' O Zarathustra, how well versed do you seem to me in weather-signs!

You yourself, however,- warn yourself also against your pity! For many are on their way to you, many suffering, doubting, despairing, drowning, freezing ones-

I warn you also against myself. You have read my best, my worst riddle, myself, and what I have done. I know the axe that fells you.

But he- had to die: he looked with eyes which beheld everything,- he beheld people's depths and dregs, all his hidden ignominy and ugliness.

His pity knew no modesty: he crept into my dirtiest corners. This most prying, over-intrusive, over-pitiful one had to die.

He ever beheld me: on such a witness I would have revenge- or not live myself.

The God who beheld everything, and also humanity: that God had to die! Humanity cannot endure it that such a witness should live."

Thus spoke the ugliest person. Zarathustra however got up, and prepared to go on: for he felt frozen to the very bowels.

"You nondescript," said he, "you warned me against your path. As thanks for it I praise my to you. Behold, up there is the cave of Zarathustra.

My cave is large and deep and has many corners; there finds he that is most hidden his hiding-place. And close beside it, there are a hundred lurking-places and by-places for creeping, fluttering, and hopping creatures.

You outcast, who have cast yourself out, you will not live amongst people and people's pity? Well then, do like me! Thus will you learn also from me; only the doer learns.

And talk first and foremost to my animals! The proudest animal and the wisest animal- they might well be the right counsellors for us both!"- -

Thus spoke Zarathustra and went his way, more thoughtfully and slowly even than before: for he asked himself many things, and hardly knew what to answer.

"How poor indeed is humanity," thought he in his heart, "how ugly, how wheezy, how full of hidden shame!

They tell me that humanity loves itself. Ah, how great must that self-love be! How much contempt is opposed to it!

Even this man has loved himself, as he has despised himself,- a great lover methinks he is, and a great despiser.

No one have I yet found who more thoroughly despised himself: even that is elevation. Alas, was this perhaps the higher person whose cry I heard?

I love the great despisers. Humanity is something that has to be overcome."


68. The Voluntary Beggar

WHEN Zarathustra had left the ugliest person, he was chilled and felt lonesome: for much coldness and lonesomeness came over his spirit, so that even his limbs became colder thereby. When, however, he wandered on and on, uphill and down, at times past green meadows, though also sometimes over wild stony couches where once perhaps an impatient brook had made its bed, then he turned all at once warmer and heartier again.

"What has happened to me?" he asked himself, "something warm and living quickens me; it must be in the neighbourhood.

Already am I less alone; unconscious companions and brothers rove around me; their warm breath touches my soul."

When, however, he spied about and sought for the comforters of his lonesomeness, behold, there were kine there standing together on an eminence, whose proximity and smell had warmed his heart. The kine, however, seemed to listen eagerly to a speaker, and took no heed of him who approached. When, however, Zarathustra was quite near to them, then did he hear plainly that a human voice spoke in the midst of the kine, and apparently all of them had turned their heads towards the speaker.

Then ran Zarathustra up speedily and drove the animals aside; for he feared that some one had here met with harm, which the pity of the kine would hardly be able to relieve. But in this he was deceived; for behold, there sat a person on the ground who seemed to be persuading the animals to have no fear of him, a peaceable person and Preacher-on-the-Mount, out of whose eyes kindness itself preached. "What do you seek here?" called out Zarathustra in astonishment.

"What do I here seek?" answered he: "the same that you seek, you mischief-maker; that is to say, happiness upon earth.

To that end, however, I would rather learn of these kine. For I tell you that I have already talked half a morning to them, and just now were they about to give me their answer. Why do you disturb them?

Except we be converted and become as kine, we shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn from them one thing: ruminating.

And verily, although a person should gain the whole world, and yet not learn one thing, ruminating, what would it profit him! He would not be rid of his affliction,

-His great affliction: that, however, is at present called disgust. Who has not at present his heart, his mouth and his eyes full of disgust? you also! you also! But behold these kine!"-

Thus spoke the Preacher-on-the-Mount, and turned then his own look towards Zarathustra- for hereto it had rested lovingly on the kine-: then, however, he put on a different expression. "Who is this with whom I talk?" he exclaimed, frightened, and sprang up from the ground.

"This is the person without disgust, this is Zarathustra himself, the overcomer of the great disgust, this is the eye, this is the mouth, this is the heart of Zarathustra himself."

And whilst he thus spoke he kissed with overflowing eyes the hands of him with whom he spoke, and behaved altogether like one to whom a precious gift and jewel has fallen unawares from heaven. The kine, however, gazed at it all and wondered.

"Speak not of me, you strange one; you amiable one!" said Zarathustra, and restrained his affection, "speak to me firstly of yourself! are you not the voluntary beggar who once cast away great riches,-

-Who was ashamed of his riches and of the rich, and fled to the poorest to give upon them his abundance and his heart? But they received him not."

"But they received me not," said the voluntary beggar, "you know it, forsooth. So I went at last to the animals and to those kine."

"Then learned you," interrupted Zarathustra, "how much harder it is to give properly than to take properly, and that giving well is an art- the last, subtlest master-art of kindness.

"Especially nowadays," answered the voluntary beggar: "at present, that is to say, when everything low has become rebellious and exclusive and haughty in its manner- in the manner of the rabble.

For the hour has come, you know it , for the great, evil, long, slow mob-and-slave-insurrection: it extends and extends!

Now does it provoke the lower classes, all benevolence and petty giving; and the overrich may be on their guard!

Whoever at present drip, like bulgy bottles out of all-too-small necks:- of such bottles at present one willingly breaks the necks.

Wanton avidity, bilious envy, careworn revenge, rabble-pride: all these struck my eye. It is no longer true that the poor are blessed. The kingdom of heaven, however, is with the kine."

"And why is it not with the rich?" asked Zarathustra temptingly, while he kept back the kine which sniffed familiarly at the peaceful one.

"Why do you tempt me?" answered the other. "You know it yourself better even than I. What was it drove me to the poorest, O Zarathustra? Was it not my disgust at the richest?

-At the culprits of riches, with cold eyes and rank thoughts, who pick up profit out of all kinds of rubbish- at this rabble that stinks to heaven,

-At this gilded, falsified rabble, whose fathers were pickpockets, or carrion-crows, or rag-pickers, with wives compliant, lewd and forgetful:- for they are all of them not far different from harlots-

Rabble above, rabble below! What are 'poor' and 'rich' at present! That distinction did I unlearn,- then did I flee away further and ever further, until I came to those kine."

Thus spoke the peaceful one, and puffed himself and perspired with his words: so that the kine wondered anew. Zarathustra, however, kept looking into his face with a smile, all the time the man talked so severely- and shook silently his head.

"You do violence to yourself, you Preacher-on-the-Mount, when you use such severe words. For such severity neither your mouth nor your eye have been given you.

Nor, methinks, has your stomach either: to it all such rage and hatred and foaming-over is repugnant. Your stomach wants softer things: you are not a butcher.

Rather seem you to me a plant-eater and a root-person. Perhaps you grind corn. Certainly, however, you are averse to fleshly joys, and you love honey."

"You have divined me well," answered the voluntary beggar, with lightened heart. "I love honey, I also grind corn; for I have sought out what tastes sweetly and makes pure breath:

-Also what requires a long time, a day's-work and a mouth's-work for gentle idlers and sluggards.

Furthest, to be sure, have those kine carried it: they have created ruminating and lying in the sun. They also abstain from all heavy thoughts which inflate the heart."

-"Well!" said Zarathustra, "you should also see my animals, my eagle and my serpent,- their like do not at present exist on earth.

Behold, there leads the way to my cave: be tonight its guest. And talk to my animals of the happiness of animals,-

-Until I myself come home. For now a cry of distress calls me hastily away from you. Also, should you find new honey with me, ice-cold, golden-comb-honey, eat it!

Now, however, take leave at once of your kine, you strange one! you amiable one! though it be hard for you. For they are your warmest friends and preceptors!"-

-"One excepted, whom I hold still dearer," answered the voluntary beggar. "You yourself are good, O Zarathustra, and better even than a cow!"

"Away, away with you! you evil flatterer!" cried Zarathustra mischievously, "why do you spoil me with such praise and flattery-honey?

"Away, away from me!" cried he once more, and heaved his stick at the fond beggar, who, however, ran nimbly away.


69. The Shadow

SCARCELY however was the voluntary beggar gone in haste, and Zarathustra again alone, when he heard behind him a new voice which called out: "Stay! Zarathustra! Do wait! It is myself, O Zarathustra, myself, your shadow!" But Zarathustra did not wait; for a sudden irritation came over him on account of the crowd and the crowding in his mountains. "Where has my lonesomeness gone?" spoke he.

"It is verily becoming too much for me; these mountains swarm; my kingdom is no longer of this world; I require new mountains.

My shadow calls me? What matter about my shadow! Let it run after me! I- run away from it."

Thus spoke Zarathustra to his heart and ran away. But the one behind followed after him, so that immediately there were three runners, one after the other- namely, foremost the voluntary beggar, then Zarathustra, and thirdly, and hindmost, his shadow. But not long had they run thus when Zarathustra became conscious of his folly, and shook off with one jerk all his irritation and detestation.

"What!" said he, "have not the most ludicrous things always happened to us old hermits and saints?

My folly has grown big in the mountains! Now do I hear six old fools' legs rattling behind one another!

But does Zarathustra need to be frightened by his shadow? Also, methinks that after all it has longer legs thin mine."

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and, laughing with eyes and entrails, he stood still and turned round quickly- and behold, he almost thereby threw his shadow and follower to the ground, so closely had the latter followed at his heels, and so weak was he. For when Zarathustra scrutinized him with his glance he was frightened as by a sudden apparition, so slender, swaryour, hollow and worn-out did this follower appear.

"Who are you?" asked Zarathustra vehemently, "what do you here? And why call you yourself my shadow? you are not pleasing to me."

"Forgive me," answered the shadow, "that it is I; and if I please you not- well, O Zarathustra! therein do I admire you and your good taste.

A wanderer am I, who have walked long at your heels; always on the way, but without a goal, also without a home: so that verily, I lack little of being the eternally Wandering Jew, except that I am not eternal and not a Jew.

What? Must I ever be on the way? Whirled by every wind, unsettled, driven about? O earth, you have become too round for me!

On every surface have I already sat, like tired dust have I fallen asleep on mirrors and window-panes: everything takes from me, nothing gives; I become thin- I am almost equal to a shadow.

After you, however, O Zarathustra, did I fly and hie longest; and though I hid myself from you, I was nevertheless your best shadow: wherever you have sat, there sat I also.

With you have I wandered about in the remotest, coldest worlds, like a phantom that voluntarily haunts winter roofs and snows.

With you have I pushed into all the forbidden, all the worst and the furthest: and if there be anything of virtue in me, it is that I have had no fear of any prohibition.

With you have I broken up whatever my heart revered; all boundary-stones and statues have I overthrown; the most dangerous wishes did I pursue,- verily, beyond every crime did I once go.

With you did I unlearn the belief in words and worths and in great names. When the devil casts his skin, does not his name also fall away? It is also skin. The devil himself is perhaps- skin.

'Nothing is true, all is permitted': so said I to myself. Into the coldest water did I plunge with head and heart. Ah, how oft did I stand there naked on that account, like a red crab!

Ah, where have gone all my goodness and all my shame and all my belief in the good! Ah, where is the lying innocence which I once possessed, the innocence of the good and of their noble lies!

Too oft, verily, did I follow close to the heels of truth: then did it kick me on the face. Sometimes I meant to lie, and behold! then only did I hit- the truth.

Too much has become clear to me: now it does not concern me any more. Nothing lives any longer that I love,- how should I still love myself?

'To live as I incline, or not to live at all': so do I wish; so wishes also the holiest. But alas! how have I still- inclination?

Have I- still a goal? A haven towards which my sail is set?

A good wind? Ah, he only who knows where he sails, knows what wind is good, and a fair wind for him.

What still remains to me? A heart weary and flippant; an unstable will; fluttering wings; a broken backbone.

This seeking for my home: O Zarathustra, do you know that this seeking has been my home-sickening; it eats me up.

'Where is- my home?' For it do I ask and seek, and have sought, but have not found it. O eternal everywhere, O eternal nowhere, O eternal- in-vain!"

Thus spoke the shadow, and Zarathustra's countenance lengthened at his words. "You are my shadow!" said he at last sadly.

"Your danger is not small, you free spirit and wanderer! you have had a bad day: see that a still worse evening does not overtake you!

To such unsettled ones as you, seems at last even a prisoner blessed. Did you ever see how captured criminals sleep? They sleep quietly, they enjoy their new security.

Beware lest in the end a narrow faith capture you, a hard, rigorous delusion! For now everything that is narrow and fixed seduces and tempts you.

You have lost your goal. Alas, how will you forego and forget that loss? Thereby- have you also lost your way!

You poor rover and rambler, you tired butterfly! will you have a rest and a home this evening? Then go up to my cave!

There leads the way to my cave. And now will I run quickly away from you again. Already lies as it were a shadow upon me.

I will run alone, so that it may again become bright around me. Therefore must I still be a long time merrily upon my legs. In the evening, however, there will be- dancing with me!"

Thus spoke Zarathustra.


70. Noon-Tide

-AND Zarathustra ran and ran, but he found no one else, and was alone and ever found himself again; he enjoyed and quaffed his solitude, and thought of good things- for hours. About the hour of noontide, however, when the sun stood exactly over Zarathustra's head, he passed an old, bent and gnarled tree, which was encircled round by the ardent love of a vine, and hidden from itself; from this there hung yellow grapes in abundance, confronting the wanderer. Then he felt inclined to quench a little thirst, and to break off for himself a cluster of grapes. When, however, he had already his arm out-stretched for that purpose, he felt still more inclined for something else- namely, to lie down beside the tree at the hour of perfect noontide and sleep.

This Zarathustra did; and no sooner had he laid himself on the ground in the stillness and secrecy of the variegated grass, than he had forgotten his little thirst, and fell asleep. For as the aphorism of Zarathustra says: "One thing is more necessary than the other." Only that his eyes remained open:- for they never grew weary of viewing and admiring the tree and the love of the vine. In falling asleep, however, Zarathustra spoke thus to his heart:

"Hush! Hush! has not the world now become perfect? What has happened to me?

As a delicate wind dances invisibly upon parqueted seas, light, feather-light, so- dances sleep upon me.

No eye does it close to me, it leaves my soul awake. Light is it, verily, feather-light.

It persuades me, I know not how, it touches me inwardly with a caressing hand, it constrains me. Yes, it constrains me, so that my soul stretches itself out:-

-How long and weary it becomes, my strange soul! has a seventh-day evening come to it precisely at noontide? has it already wandered too long, blissfully, among good and ripe things?

It stretches itself out, long- longer! it lies still, my strange soul. Too many good things has it already tasted; this golden sadness oppresses it, it distorts its mouth.

-As a ship that puts into the calmest cove:- it now draws up to the land, weary of long voyages and uncertain seas. Is not the land more faithful?

As such a ship hugs the shore, tugs the shore:- then it suffices for a spider to spin its thread from the ship to the land. No stronger ropes are required there.

As such a weary ship in the calmest cove, so do I also now repose, nigh to the earth, faithful, trusting, waiting, bound to it with the lightest threads.

O happiness! O happiness! Will you perhaps sing, O my soul? you lie in the grass. But this is the secret, solemn hour, when no shepherd plays his pipe.

Take care! Hot noontide sleeps on the fields. Do not sing! Hush! The world is perfect.

Do not sing, you prairie-bird, my soul! Do not even whisper! Lo- hush! The old noontide sleeps, it moves its mouth: does it not just now drink a drop of happiness-

-An old brown drop of golden happiness, golden wine? Something whisks over it, its happiness laughs. Thus- laughs a God. Hush!-

-'For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!' Thus spoke I once and thought myself wise. But it was a blasphemy: that have I now learned. Wise fools speak better.

The least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a whisk, an eye-glance- little makes up the best happiness. Hush!

-What has befallen me: Hark! has time flown away? Do I not fall? Have I not fallen- hark! into the well of eternity?

-What happens to me? Hush! It stings me- alas- to the heart? To the heart! Oh, break up, break up, my heart, after such happiness, after such a sting!


-What? has not the world just now become perfect? Round and ripe? Oh, for the golden round ring- where does it fly? Let me run after it! Quick!

Hush- -" (and here Zarathustra stretched himself, and felt that he was asleep.)

"Up!" said he to himself, "you sleeper! you noontide sleeper! Well then, up, you old legs! It is time and more than time; many a good stretch of road is still awaiting you-

Now have you slept your fill; for how long a time? A half-eternity! Well then, up now, my old heart! For how long after such a sleep may you- remain awake?"

(But then did he fall asleep anew, and his soul spoke against him and defended itself, and lay down again)- "Leave me alone! Hush! has not the world just now become perfect? Oh, for the golden round ball!-

"Get up," said Zarathustra, "you little thief, you sluggard! What! Still stretching yourself, yawning, sighing, failing into deep wells?

Who are you then, O my soul!" (and here he became frightened, for a sunbeam shot down from heaven upon his face.)

"O heaven above me," said he sighing, and sat upright, "you gaze at me? you hearken to my strange soul?

When will you drink this drop of dew that fell down upon all earthly things,- when will you drink this strange soul-

-When, you well of eternity! you joyous, awful, noontide abyss! when will you drink my soul back into you?"

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and rose from his couch beside the tree, as if awakening from a strange drunkenness: and behold! there stood the sun still exactly above his head. One might, however, rightly infer therefrom that Zarathustra had not then slept long.


» Top


» Next section: Part 4c. Discourses 71-75

» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche

» Site Contents


Search Our Site: