|XXXIII. THE GRAVE-SONG.
“Yonder is the grave-island, the silent isle; yonder also are the graves
of my youth. Thither will I carry an evergreen wreath of life.”
Resolving thus in my heart, did I sail o’er the sea.–
Oh, ye sights and scenes of my youth! Oh, all ye gleams of love, ye
divine fleeting gleams! How could ye perish so soon for me! I think of
you to-day as my dead ones.
From you, my dearest dead ones, cometh unto me a sweet savour,
heart-opening and melting. Verily, it convulseth and openeth the heart
of the 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
To kill ME, did they strangle you, ye singing birds of my hopes! Yea, at
you, ye dearest ones, did malice ever shoot its arrows–to hit my heart!
And they hit it! Because ye were always my dearest, my possession and my
possessedness: ON THAT ACCOUNT had ye to die young, and far too early!
At my most vulnerable point did they shoot the arrow–namely, at you,
whose skin is like down–or more like the smile that dieth at a glance!
But this word will I say unto mine enemies: What is all manslaughter in
comparison with what ye have done unto me!
Worse evil did ye do unto me than all manslaughter; the irretrievable
did ye take from me:–thus do I speak unto you, mine enemies!
Slew ye not my youth’s visions and dearest marvels! My playmates took ye
from me, the blessed spirits! To their memory do I deposit this wreath
and this curse.
This curse upon you, mine enemies! Have ye not made mine eternal short,
as a tone dieth away in a cold night! Scarcely, as the twinkle of divine
eyes, did it come to me–as a fleeting gleam!
Thus spake once in a happy hour my purity: “Divine shall everything be
Then did ye haunt me with foul phantoms; ah, whither hath that happy
hour 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
All loathing did I once vow to renounce: then did ye change my nigh ones
and nearest ones into ulcerations. Ah, whither did my noblest vow then
As a blind one did I once walk in blessed ways: then did ye cast
filth on the blind one’s course: and now is he disgusted with the old
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
In thee still liveth also the unrealisedness of my youth; and as life
and youth sittest thou here hopeful on the yellow ruins of graves.
Yea, thou art still for me the demolisher of all graves: Hail to thee,
my Will! And only where there are graves are there resurrections.–
Thus sang Zarathustra.
“Will to Truth” do ye call it, ye wisest ones, that which impelleth you
and maketh you ardent?
Will for the thinkableness of all being: thus do _I_ call your will!
All being would ye MAKE thinkable: for ye doubt with good reason whether
it be already thinkable.
But it shall accommodate and bend itself to you! So willeth your will.
Smooth shall it become and subject to the spirit, as its mirror and
That is your entire will, ye wisest ones, as a Will to Power; and even
when ye speak of good and evil, and of estimates of value.
Ye would still create a world before which ye can bow the knee: such is
your ultimate hope and ecstasy.
The ignorant, to be sure, the people–they are like a river on which a
boat floateth along: and in the boat sit the estimates of value, solemn
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
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
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
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
And this secret spake Life herself unto me. “Behold,” said she, “I am
that WHICH MUST EVER SURPASS ITSELF.
To be sure, ye call it will to procreation, or impulse towards a goal,
towards the higher, remoter, more manifold: but all that is one and the
Rather would I succumb than disown this one thing; and verily, where
there is succumbing and leaf-falling, lo, there doth Life sacrifice
That I have to be struggle, and becoming, and purpose, and
cross-purpose–ah, he who divineth my will, divineth well also on what
CROOKED paths it hath to tread!
Whatever I create, and however much I love it,–soon must I be adverse
to it, and to my love: so willeth my will.
And even thou, discerning one, art only a path and footstep of my will:
verily, my Will to Power walketh even on the feet of thy Will to Truth!
He certainly did not hit the truth who shot at it the formula: ‘Will to
existence’: that will–doth not exist!
For what is not, cannot will; that, however, which is in existence–how
could it still strive for existence!
Only where there is life, is there also will: not, however, Will to
Life, but–so teach I thee–Will to Power!
Much is reckoned higher than life itself by the living one; but out of
the very reckoning speaketh–the Will to Power!”–
Thus did Life once teach me: and thereby, ye wisest ones, do I solve you
the riddle of your hearts.
Verily, I say unto you: good and evil which would be everlasting–it
doth not exist! Of its own accord must it ever surpass itself anew.
With your values and formulae of good and evil, ye exercise power,
ye valuing ones: and that is your secret love, and the sparkling,
trembling, and overflowing of your souls.
But a stronger power groweth out of your values, and a new surpassing:
by it breaketh egg and egg-shell.
And he who hath to be a creator in good and evil–verily, he hath first
to be a destroyer, and break values in pieces.
Thus doth the greatest evil pertain to the greatest good: that, however,
is the creating good.–
Let us SPEAK thereof, ye wisest ones, even though it be bad. To be
silent is worse; all suppressed truths become poisonous.
And let everything break up which–can break up by our truths! Many a
house is still to be built!–
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXV. THE SUBLIME ONES.
Calm is the bottom of my sea: who would guess that it hideth droll
Unmoved is my depth: but it sparkleth with swimming enigmas and
A sublime one saw I to-day, a solemn one, a penitent of the spirit: Oh,
how my soul laughed at his ugliness!
With upraised breast, and like those who draw in their breath: thus did
he stand, the sublime one, and in silence:
O’erhung with ugly truths, the spoil of his hunting, and rich in torn
raiment; many thorns also hung on him–but I saw no rose.
Not yet had he learned laughing and beauty. Gloomy did this hunter
return from the forest of knowledge.
From the fight with wild beasts returned he home: but even yet a wild
beast gazeth out of his seriousness–an unconquered wild beast!
As a tiger doth he ever stand, on the point of springing; but I do not
like those strained souls; ungracious is my taste towards all those
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
And only when he turneth away from himself will he o’erleap his own
shadow–and verily! into HIS sun.
Far too long did he sit in the shade; the cheeks of the penitent of the
spirit became pale; he almost starved on his expectations.
Contempt is still in his eye, and loathing hideth in his mouth. To be
sure, he now resteth, but he hath not yet taken rest in the sunshine.
As the ox ought he to do; and his happiness should smell of the earth,
and not of contempt for the earth.
As a white ox would I like to see him, which, snorting and lowing,
walketh before the plough-share: and his lowing should also laud all
that is 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
He hath subdued monsters, he hath solved enigmas. But he should also
redeem his monsters and enigmas; into heavenly children should he
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
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 good.
Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings, who think themselves good
because they have crippled paws!
The virtue of the pillar shalt thou strive after: more beautiful doth
it ever become, and more graceful–but internally harder and more
sustaining–the higher it riseth.
Yea, thou sublime one, one day shalt thou also be beautiful, and hold up
the mirror to thine own beauty.
Then will thy soul thrill with divine desires; and there will be
adoration even in thy vanity!
For this is the secret of the soul: when the hero hath abandoned it,
then only approacheth it in dreams–the superhero.–
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXVI. THE LAND OF CULTURE.
Too far did I fly into the future: a horror seized upon me.
And when I looked around me, lo! there time was my sole contemporary.
Then did I fly backwards, homewards–and always faster. Thus did I come
unto you, ye present-day men, and into the land of culture.
For the first time brought I an eye to see you, and good desire: verily,
with longing in my heart did I come.
But how did it turn out with me? Although so alarmed–I had yet to
laugh! Never did mine eye see anything so motley-coloured!
I laughed and laughed, while my foot still trembled, and my heart as
well. “Here forsooth, is the home of all the paintpots,”–said I.
With fifty patches painted on faces and limbs–so sat ye there to mine
astonishment, ye present-day men!
And with fifty mirrors around you, which flattered your play of colours,
and repeated it!
Verily, ye could wear no better masks, ye present-day men, than your own
faces! Who could–RECOGNISE you!
Written all over with the characters of the past, and these characters
also pencilled over with new characters–thus have ye concealed
yourselves well from all decipherers!
And though one be a trier of the reins, who still believeth that ye have
reins! Out of colours ye seem to be baked, and out of glued scraps.
All times and peoples gaze divers-coloured out of your veils; all
customs and beliefs speak divers-coloured out of your gestures.
He who would strip you of veils and wrappers, and paints and gestures,
would just have enough left to scare the crows.
Verily, I myself am the scared crow that once saw you naked, and without
paint; and I flew away when the skeleton ogled at me.
Rather would I be a day-labourer in the nether-world, and among the
shades of the by-gone!–Fatter and fuller than ye, are forsooth the
This, yea this, is bitterness to my bowels, that I can neither endure
you naked nor clothed, ye present-day men!
All that is unhomelike in the future, and whatever maketh strayed birds
shiver, is verily more homelike and familiar than your “reality.”
For thus speak ye: “Real are we wholly, and without faith and
superstition”: thus do ye plume yourselves–alas! even without plumes!
Indeed, how would ye be ABLE to believe, ye divers-coloured ones!–ye
who are pictures of all that hath ever been believed!
Perambulating refutations are ye, of belief itself, and a dislocation of
all thought. UNTRUSTWORTHY ONES: thus do _I_ call you, ye real ones!
All periods prate against one another in your spirits; and the dreams
and pratings of all periods were even realer than your awakeness!
Unfruitful are ye: THEREFORE do ye lack belief. But he who had to
create, had always his presaging dreams and astral premonitions–and
believed in 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
“Amazing is the poverty of my ribs!” thus hath spoken many a present-day
Yea, ye are laughable unto me, ye present-day men! And especially when
ye marvel at yourselves!
And woe unto me if I could not laugh at your marvelling, and had to
swallow all that is repugnant in your platters!
As it is, however, I will make lighter of you, since I have to carry
what is heavy; and what matter if beetles and May-bugs also alight on my
Verily, it shall not on that account become heavier to me! And not from
you, ye present-day men, shall my great weariness arise.–
Ah, whither shall I now ascend with my longing! From all mountains do I
look out for fatherlands and motherlands.
But a home have I found nowhere: unsettled am I in all cities, and
decamping at all gates.
Alien to me, and a mockery, are the present-day men, to whom of late my
heart impelled me; and exiled am I from fatherlands and motherlands.
Thus do I love only my CHILDREN’S LAND, the undiscovered in the remotest
sea: for it do I bid my sails search and search.
Unto my children will I make amends for being the child of my fathers:
and unto all the future–for THIS present-day!–
Thus spake Zarathustra.
XXXVII. IMMACULATE PERCEPTION.
When yester-eve the moon arose, then did I fancy it about to bear a sun:
so broad and teeming did it lie on the horizon.
But it was a liar with its pregnancy; and sooner will I believe in the
man in the moon than in the woman.
To be sure, little of a man is he also, that timid night-reveller.
Verily, with a bad conscience doth he stalk over the roofs.
For he is covetous and jealous, the monk in the moon; covetous of the
earth, and all the joys of lovers.
Nay, I like him not, that tom-cat on the roofs! Hateful unto me are all
that slink around half-closed windows!
Piously and silently doth he stalk along on the star-carpets:–but I
like no light-treading human feet, on which not even a spur jingleth.
Every honest one’s step speaketh; the cat however, stealeth along over
the ground. Lo! cat-like doth the moon come along, and dishonestly.–
This parable speak I unto you sentimental dissemblers, unto you, the
“pure discerners!” You do _I_ call–covetous ones!
Also ye love the earth, and the earthly: I have divined you well!–but
shame is in your love, and a bad conscience–ye are like the moon!
To despise the earthly hath your spirit been persuaded, but not your
bowels: these, however, are the strongest in you!
And now is your spirit ashamed to be at the service of your bowels, and
goeth by-ways and lying ways to escape its own shame.
“That would be the highest thing for me”–so saith your lying spirit
unto itself–“to gaze upon life without desire, and not like the dog,
with 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
That would be the dearest thing to me”–thus doth the seduced one seduce
himself,–“to love the earth as the moon loveth it, and with the eye
only to feel its beauty.
And this do I call IMMACULATE perception of all things: to want nothing
else from them, but to be allowed to lie before them as a mirror with a
Oh, ye sentimental dissemblers, ye covetous ones! Ye lack innocence in
your desire: and now do ye defame desiring on that account!
Verily, not as creators, as procreators, or as jubilators do ye love the
Where is innocence? Where there is will to procreation. And he who
seeketh to create beyond himself, hath for me the purest will.
Where is beauty? Where I MUST WILL with my whole Will; where I will love
and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image.
Loving and perishing: these have rhymed from eternity. Will to love:
that is to be ready also for death. Thus do I speak unto you cowards!
But now doth your emasculated ogling profess to be “contemplation!”
And that which can be examined with cowardly eyes is to be christened
“beautiful!” Oh, ye violators of noble names!
But it shall be your curse, ye immaculate ones, ye pure discerners, that
ye shall never bring forth, even though ye lie broad and teeming on the
Verily, ye fill your mouth with noble words: and we are to believe that
your heart overfloweth, ye cozeners?
But MY words are poor, contemptible, stammering words: gladly do I pick
up what falleth from the table at your repasts.
Yet still can I say therewith the truth–to dissemblers! Yea, my
fish-bones, shells, and prickly leaves shall–tickle the noses of
Bad air is always about you and your repasts: your lascivious thoughts,
your lies, and secrets are indeed in the air!
Dare only to believe in yourselves–in yourselves and in your inward
parts! He who doth not believe in himself always lieth.
A God’s mask have ye hung in front of you, ye “pure ones”: into a God’s
mask hath your execrable coiling snake crawled.
Verily ye deceive, ye “contemplative ones!” Even Zarathustra was once
the dupe of your godlike exterior; he did not divine the serpent’s coil
with which it was stuffed.
A God’s soul, I once thought I saw playing in your games, ye pure
discerners! No better arts did I once dream of than your arts!
Serpents’ filth and evil odour, the distance concealed from me: and that
a lizard’s craft prowled thereabouts lasciviously.
But I came NIGH unto you: then came to me the day,–and now cometh it to
you,–at an end is the moon’s love affair!
See there! Surprised and pale doth it stand–before the rosy dawn!
For already she cometh, the glowing one,–HER love to the earth cometh!
Innocence and creative desire, is all solar love!
See there, how she cometh impatiently over the sea! Do ye not feel the
thirst and the hot breath of her love?
At the sea would she suck, and drink its depths to her height: now
riseth the desire of the sea with its thousand breasts.
Kissed and sucked WOULD it be by the thirst of the sun; vapour WOULD it
become, and height, and path of light, and light itself!
Verily, like the sun do I love life, and all deep seas.
And this meaneth TO ME knowledge: all that is deep shall ascend–to my
Thus spake Zarathustra.
When I lay asleep, then did a sheep eat at the ivy-wreath on my
head,–it ate, and said thereby: “Zarathustra is no longer a scholar.”
It said this, and went away clumsily and proudly. A child told it to me.
I like to lie here where the children play, beside the ruined wall,
among thistles and red poppies.
A scholar am I still to the children, and also to the thistles and red
poppies. Innocent are they, even in their wickedness.
But to the sheep I am no longer a scholar: so willeth my lot–blessings
For this is the truth: I have departed from the house of the scholars,
and the door have I also slammed behind me.
Too long did my soul sit hungry at their table: not like them have I got
the knack of investigating, as the knack of nut-cracking.
Freedom do I love, and the air over fresh soil; rather would I sleep on
ox-skins than on their honours and dignities.
I am too hot and scorched with mine own thought: often is it ready to
take away my breath. Then have I to go into the open air, and away from
all 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 thought.
Should one lay hold of them, then do they raise a dust like flour-sacks,
and involuntarily: but who would divine that their dust came from corn,
and from the yellow delight of the summer fields?
When they give themselves out as wise, then do their petty sayings and
truths chill me: in their wisdom there is often an odour as if it came
from the swamp; and verily, I have even heard the frog croak in it!
Clever are they–they have dexterous fingers: what doth MY simplicity
pretend to beside their multiplicity! All threading and knitting and
weaving do their fingers understand: thus do they make the hose of the
Good clockworks are they: only be careful to wind them up properly!
Then do they indicate the hour without mistake, and make a modest noise
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
For men are NOT equal: so speaketh justice. And what I will, THEY may
Thus spake Zarathustra.
“Since I have known the body better”–said Zarathustra to one of his
disciples–“the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all
the ‘imperishable’–that is also but a simile.”
“So have I heard thee say once before,” answered the disciple, “and then
thou addedst: ‘But the poets lie too much.’ Why didst thou say that the
poets lie too much?”
“Why?” said Zarathustra. “Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who
may be asked after their Why.
Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the
reasons for mine opinions.
Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my
reasons with me?
It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a
bird 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 myself.
But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the poets lie
too much: he was right–WE do lie too much.
We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are obliged to lie.
And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous
hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an indescribable thing hath
there been done.
And because we know little, therefore are we pleased from the heart with
the poor in spirit, especially when they are young women!
And even of those things are we desirous, which old women tell one
another in the evening. This do we call the eternally feminine in us.
And as if there were a special secret access to knowledge, which CHOKETH
UP for those who learn anything, so do we believe in the people and in
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
Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of which only the
poets have dreamed!
And especially ABOVE the heavens: for all Gods are poet-symbolisations,
Verily, ever are we drawn aloft–that is, to the realm of the clouds:
on these do we set our gaudy puppets, and then call them Gods and
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 breath.–
I am of to-day and heretofore, said he thereupon; but something is in me
that is of the morrow, and the day following, and the hereafter.
I became weary of the poets, of the old and of the new: superficial are
they all unto me, and shallow seas.
They did not think sufficiently into the depth; therefore their feeling did not reach to the bottom.<!–"