(1844 - 1900)
Thus Spake Zarathustra
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
WHEN however Zarathustra had
gone round a rock, then saw he on the same path, not far below
him, a man who threw his limbs about like a maniac, and at
last tumbled to the ground on his belly. "Halt!"
said then Zarathustra to his heart, "he there must surely
be the higher man, from him came that dreadful cry of distress,-
I will see if I can help him." When, however, he ran
to the spot where the man lay on the ground, he found a trembling
old man with fixed eyes; and in spite of all Zarathustra's
efforts to lift him and set him again on his feet, it was
all in vain. The unfortunate one, also, did not seem to notice
that some one was beside him; on the contrary, he continually
looked around with moving gestures, like one forsaken and
isolated from all the world. At last, however, after much
trembling, and convulsion, and curling-himself-up, he began
to lament thus:
Who warm'th me, who lov'th me still?
Give ardent fingers!
Give heartening charcoal-warmers!
Prone, outstretched, trembling,
Like him, half dead and cold, whose feet one warm'th
And shaken, ah! by unfamiliar fevers,
Shivering with sharpened, icy-cold frost-arrows,
By thee pursued, my fancy!
Ineffable! Recondite! Sore-frightening!
Thou huntsman 'hind the cloud-banks!
Now lightning-struck by thee,
Thou mocking eye that me in darkness watcheth:
-Thus do I lie,
Bend myself, twist myself, convulsed
With all eternal torture,
By thee, cruellest huntsman,
Thou unfamiliar- God...
Smite yet once more!
Pierce through and rend my heart!
What mean'th this torture
With dull, indented arrows?
Why look'st thou hither,
Of human pain not weary,
With mischief-loving, godly flash-glances?
Not murder wilt thou,
But torture, torture?
For why- me torture,
Thou mischief-loving, unfamiliar God?
Thou stealest nigh
In midnight's gloomy hour?...
What wilt thou?
Thou crowdst me, pressest
Ha! now far too closely!
Thou hearst me breathing,
Thou o'erhearst my heart,
Thou ever jealous one!
-Of what, pray, ever jealous?
For why the ladder?
Wouldst thou get in?
To heart in-clamber?
To mine own secretest
Shameless one! Thou unknown one!- Thief!
What seekst thou by thy stealing?
What seekst thou by thy hearkening?
What seekst thou by thy torturing?
Or shall I, as the mastiffs do,
Roll me before thee?
And cringing, enraptured, frantical,
My tail friendly- waggle!
No dog- thy game just am I,
Thy proudest of captives,
Thou robber 'hind the cloud-banks...
Thou lightning-veiled one! Thou unknown one! Speak!
What wilt thou, highway-ambusher, from- me?
What wilt thou, unfamiliar- God?
How much of ransom-gold?
Solicit much- that bid'th my pride!
And be concise- that bid'th mine other pride!
Me- wantst thou? me?
And torturest me, fool that thou art,
Dead-torturest quite my pride?
Give love to me- who warm'th me still?
Who lov'th me still?
Give ardent fingers
Give heartening charcoal-warmers,
Give me, the lonesomest,
The ice (ah! seven-fold frozen ice
For very enemies,
For foes, doth make one thirst).
Give, yield to me,
There fled he surely,
My final, only comrade,
My greatest foe,
Come thou back!
With all of thy great tortures!
To me the last of lonesome ones,
Oh, come thou back!
All my hot tears in streamlets trickle
Their course to thee!
And all my final hearty fervour
Up-glow'th to thee!
Oh, come thou back,
Mine unfamiliar God! my pain!
My final bliss!
-Here, however, Zarathustra
could no longer restrain himself; he took his staff and struck
the wailer with all his might. "Stop this," cried
he to him with wrathful laughter, "stop this, thou stage-player!
Thou false coiner! Thou liar from the very heart! I know thee
I will soon make warm legs
to thee, thou evil magician: I know well how- to make it hot
for such as thou!"
-"Leave off," said
the old man, and sprang up from the ground, "strike me
no more, O Zarathustra! I did it only for amusement!
That kind of thing belongeth
to mine art. Thee thyself, I wanted to put to the proof when
I gave this performance. And verily, thou hast well detected
But thou thyself- hast given
me no small proof of thyself: thou art hard, thou wise Zarathustra!
Hard strikest thou with thy 'truths,' thy cudgel forceth from
me- this truth!"
-"Flatter not," answered
Zarathustra, still excited and frowning, "thou stage-player
from the heart! Thou art false: why speakest thou- of truth!
Thou peacock of peacocks, thou
sea of vanity; what didst thou represent before me, thou evil
magician; whom was I meant to believe in when thou wailedst
in such wise?"
"The penitent in spirit,"
said the old man, "it was him- I represented; thou thyself
once devisedst this expression-The poet and magician who at
last turneth his spirit against himself, the transformed one
who freezeth to death by his bad science and conscience.
And just acknowledge it: it
was long, O Zarathustra, before thou discoveredst my trick
and lie! Thou believedst in my distress when thou heldest
my head with both thy hands,-I heard thee lament 'we have
loved him too little, loved him too little!' Because I so
far deceived thee, my wickedness rejoiced in me."
"Thou mayest have deceived
subtler ones than I," said Zarathustra sternly. "I
am not on my guard against deceivers; I have to be without
precaution: so willeth my lot.
Thou, however,- must deceive:
so far do I know thee! Thou must ever be equivocal, trivocal,
quadrivocal, and quinquivocal! Even what thou hast now confessed,
is not nearly true enough nor false enough for me!
Thou bad false coiner, how
couldst thou do otherwise! Thy very malady wouldst thou whitewash
if thou showed thyself naked to thy physician.
Thus didst thou whitewash thy
lie before me when thou saidst: 'I did so only for amusement!'
There was also seriousness therein, thou art something of
I divine thee well: thou hast
become the enchanter of all the world; but for thyself thou
hast no lie or artifice left,- thou art disenchanted to thyself!
Thou hast reaped disgust as
thy one truth. No word in thee is any longer genuine, but
thy mouth is so: that is to say, the disgust that cleaveth
unto thy mouth."- -"Who art thou at all!" cried
here the old magician with defiant voice, "who dareth
to speak thus unto me, the greatest man now living?"-
and a green flash shot from his eye at Zarathustra. But immediately
after he changed, and said sadly:
"O Zarathustra, I am weary
of it, I am disgusted with mine arts, I am not great, why
do I dissemble! But thou knowest it well- I sought for greatness!
A great man I wanted to appear,
and persuaded many; but the lie hath been beyond my power.
On it do I collapse.
O Zarathustra, everything is
a lie in me; but that I collapsethis my collapsing is genuine!"It
honoureth thee," said Zarathustra gloomily, looking down
with sidelong glance, "it honoureth thee that thou soughtest
for greatness, but it betrayeth thee also. Thou art not great.
Thou bad old magician, that
is the best and the honestest thing I honour in thee, that
thou hast become weary of thyself, and hast expressed it:
'I am not great.'
Therein do I honour thee as
a penitent-in-spirit, and although only for the twinkling
of an eye, in that one moment wast thougenuine.
But tell me, what seekest thou
here in my forests and rocks? And if thou hast put thyself
in my way, what proof of me wouldst thou have?-Wherein didst
thou put me to the test?"
Thus spake Zarathustra, and
his eyes sparkled. But the old magician kept silence for a
while; then said he: "Did I put thee to the test? I-
O Zarathustra, I seek a genuine
one, a right one, a simple one, an unequivocal one, a man
of perfect honesty, a vessel of wisdom, a saint of knowledge,
a great man!
Knowest thou it not, O Zarathustra?
I seek Zarathustra."
-And here there arose a long
silence between them: Zarathustra, however, became profoundly
absorbed in thought, so that he shut his eyes. But afterwards
coming back to the situation, he grasped the hand of the magician,
and said, full of politeness and policy:
"Well! Up thither leadeth
the way, there is the cave of Zarathustra. In it mayest thou
seek him whom thou wouldst fain find.
And ask counsel of mine animals,
mine eagle and my serpent: they shall help thee to seek. My
cave however is large.
I myself, to be sure- I have
as yet seen no great man. That which is great, the acutest
eye is at present insensible to it. It is the kingdom of the
Many a one have I found who
stretched and inflated himself, and the people cried: 'Behold;
a great man!' But what good do all bellows do! The wind cometh
out at last.
At last bursteth the frog which
hath inflated itself too long: then cometh out the wind. To
prick a swollen one in the belly, I call good pastime. Hear
that, ye boys!
Our today is of the popular:
who still knoweth what is great and what is small! Who could
there seek successfully for greatness! A fool only: it succeedeth
Thou seekest for great men,
thou strange fool? Who taught that to thee? Is today the time
for it? Oh, thou bad seeker, why dost thoutempt me?"-
Thus spake Zarathustra, comforted
in his heart, and went laughing on his way.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science