Land of Culture
(1844 - 1900)
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
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 paint-pots,"- said I.
With fifty patches painted on faces and
limbs- so sat ye there to mine astonishment, ye present-day men!
And with fifty mirrors around you, which
flattered your play of colours, and repeated it!
Verily, ye could wear no better masks,
ye present-day men, than your own faces! Who could- recognise you!
Written all over with the characters of
the past, and these characters also pencilled over with new characters-
thus have ye concealed yourselves well from all decipherers!
And though one be a trier of the reins,
who still believeth that ye have reins! Out of colours ye seem to be baked,
and out of glued scraps.
All times and peoples gaze divers-coloured
out of your veils; all customs and beliefs speak divers-coloured out of
He who would strip you of veils and wrappers,
and paints and gestures, would just have enough left to scare the crows.
Verily, I myself am the scared crow that
once saw you naked, and without paint; and I flew away when the skeleton
ogled at me.
Rather would I be a day-labourer in the
nether-world, and among the shades of the by-gone!- Fatter and fuller
than ye, are forsooth the nether-worldlings!
This, yea this, is bitterness to my bowels,
that I can neither endure you naked nor clothed, ye present-day men!
All that is unhomelike in the future, and
whatever maketh strayed birds shiver, is verily more homelike and familiar
than your "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
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
Many a one hath said: "There hath
surely a God filched something from me secretly whilst I slept? Verily,
enough to make a girl for himself therefrom!
"Amazing is the poverty of my ribs!"
thus hath spoken many a present-day man.
Yea, ye are laughable unto me, ye present-day
men! And especially when ye marvel at yourselves!
And woe unto me if I could not laugh at
your marvelling, and had to swallow all that is repugnant in your platters!
As it is, however, I will make lighter
of you, since I have to carry what is heavy; and what matter if beetles
and May-bugs also alight on my load!
Verily, it shall not on that account become
heavier to me! And not from you, ye present-day men, shall my great weariness
arise.Ah, whither shall I now ascend with my longing! From all mountains
do I look out for fatherlands and motherlands.
But a home have I found nowhere: unsettled
am I in all cities, and decamping at all gates.
Alien to me, and a mockery, are the present-day
men, to whom of late my heart impelled me; and exiled am I from fatherlands
Thus do I love only my children's land,
the undiscovered in the remotest sea: for it do I bid my sails 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
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science