Joys and Passions
(1844 - 1900)
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
MY BROTHER, when thou hast
a virtue, and it is thine own virtue, thou hast it in common
with no one.
To be sure, thou wouldst call
it by name and caress it; thou wouldst pull its ears and amuse
thyself with it.
And lo! Then hast thou its
name in common with the people, and hast become one of the
people and the herd with thy virtue!
Better for thee to say: "Ineffable
is it, and nameless, that which is pain and sweetness to my
soul, and also the hunger of my bowels."
Let thy virtue be too high
for the familiarity of names, and if thou must speak of it,
be not ashamed to stammer about it.
Thus speak and stammer: "That
is my good, that do I love, thus doth it please me entirely,
thus only do I desire the good.
Not as the law of a God do
I desire it, not as a human law or a human need do I desire
it; it is not to be a guide-post for me to superearths and
An earthly virtue is it which
I love: little prudence is therein, and the least everyday
But that bird built its nest
beside me: therefore, I love and cherish it- now sitteth it
beside me on its golden eggs."
Thus shouldst thou stammer,
and praise thy virtue.
Once hadst thou passions and
calledst them evil. But now hast thou only thy virtues: they
grew out of thy passions.
Thou implantedst thy highest
aim into the heart of those passions: then became they thy
virtues and joys.
And though thou wert of the
race of the hot-tempered, or of the voluptuous, or of the
fanatical, or the vindictive;
All thy passions in the end
became virtues, and all thy devils angels.
Once hadst thou wild dogs in
thy cellar: but they changed at last into birds and charming
Out of thy poisons brewedst
thou balsam for thyself; thy cow, affliction, milkedst thou-
now drinketh thou the sweet milk of her udder.
And nothing evil groweth in
thee any longer, unless it be the evil that groweth out of
the conflict of thy virtues.
My brother, if thou be fortunate,
then wilt thou have one virtue and no more: thus goest thou
easier over the bridge.
Illustrious is it to have many
virtues, but a hard lot; and many a one hath gone into the
wilderness and killed himself, because he was weary of being
the battle and battlefield of virtues.
My brother, are war and battle
evil? Necessary, however, is the evil; necessary are the envy
and the distrust and the back-biting among the virtues.
Lo! how each of thy virtues
is covetous of the highest place; it wanteth thy whole spirit
to be its herald, it wanteth thy whole power, in wrath, hatred,
Jealous is every virtue of
the others, and a dreadful thing is jealousy. Even virtues
may succumb by jealousy.
He whom the flame of jealousy
encompasseth, turneth at last, like the scorpion, the poisoned
sting against himself.
Ah! my brother, hast thou never
seen a virtue backbite and stab itself?
Man is something that hath
to be surpassed: and therefore shalt thou love thy virtues,-
for thou wilt succumb by them.Thus spake Zarathustra.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science