(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
IT WAS late in the afternoon
only when Zarathustra, after long useless searching and strolling
about, again came home to his cave. When, however, he stood
over against it, not more than twenty paces therefrom, the
thing happened which he now least of all expected: he heard
anew the great cry of distress. And extraordinary! this time
the cry came out of his own cave. It was a long, manifold,
peculiar cry, and Zarathustra plainly distinguished that it
was composed of many voices: although heard at a distance
it might sound like the cry out of a single mouth.
Thereupon Zarathustra rushed
forward to his cave, and behold! what a spectacle awaited
him after that concert! For there did they all sit together
whom he had passed during the day: the king on the right and
the king on the left, the old magician, the pope, the voluntary
beggar, the shadow, the intellectually conscientious one,
the sorrowful soothsayer, and the ass; the ugliest man, however,
had set a crown on his head, and had put round him two purple
girdles,- for he liked, like all ugly ones, to disguise himself
and play the handsome person. In the midst, however, of that
sorrowful company stood Zarathustra's eagle, ruffled and disquieted,
for it had been called upon to answer too much for which its
pride had not any answer; the wise serpent however hung round
All this did Zarathustra behold
with great astonishment; then however he scrutinised each
individual guest with courteous curiosity, read their souls
and wondered anew. In the meantime the assembled ones had
risen from their seats, and waited with reverence for Zarathustra
to speak. Zarathustra however spake thus:
"Ye despairing ones! Ye
strange ones! So it was your cry of distress that I heard?
And now do I know also where he is to be sought, whom I have
sought for in vain today: the higher man-:
-In mine own cave sitteth he,
the higher man! But why do I wonder! Have not I myself allured
him to me by honey-offerings and artful lure-calls of my happiness?
But it seemeth to me that ye
are badly adapted for company: ye make one another's hearts
fretful, ye that cry for help, when ye sit here together?
There is one that must first come,
-One who will make you laugh
once more, a good jovial buffoon, a dancer, a wind, a wild
romp, some old fool:- what think ye?
Forgive me, however, ye despairing
ones, for speaking such trivial words before you, unworthy,
verily, of such guests! But ye do not divine what maketh my
heart wanton:-Ye yourselves do it, and your aspect, forgive
it me! For every one becometh courageous who beholdeth a despairing
one. To encourage a despairing one- every one thinketh himself
strong enough to do so.
To myself have ye given this
power,- a good gift, mine honourable guests! An excellent
guest's-present! Well, do not then upbraid when I also offer
you something of mine.
This is mine empire and my
dominion: that which is mine, however, shall this evening
and tonight be yours. Mine animals shall serve you: let my
cave be your resting-place!
At house and home with me shall
no one despair: in my purlieus do I protect every one from
his wild beasts. And that is the first thing which I offer
The second thing, however,
is my little finger. And when ye have that, then take the
whole hand also, yea and the heart with it! Welcome here,
welcome to you, my guests!"
Thus spake Zarathustra, and
laughed with love and mischief. After this greeting his guests
bowed once more and were reverentially silent; the king on
the right, however, answered him in their name.
"O Zarathustra, by the
way in which thou hast given us thy hand and thy greeting,
we recognise thee as Zarathustra. Thou hast humbled thyself
before us; almost hast thou hurt our reverence-:
-Who however could have humbled
himself as thou hast done, with such pride? That uplifteth
us ourselves; a refreshment is it, to our eyes and hearts.
To behold this, merely, gladly
would we ascend higher mountains than this. For as eager beholders
have we come; we wanted to see what brighteneth dim eyes.
And lo! now is it all over
with our cries of distress. Now are our minds and hearts open
and enraptured. Little is lacking for our spirits to become
There is nothing, O Zarathustra,
that groweth more pleasingly on earth than a lofty, strong
will: it is the finest growth. An entire landscape refresheth
itself at one such tree.
To the pine do I compare him,
O Zarathustra, which groweth up like thee- tall, silent, hardy,
solitary, of the best, supplest wood, stately,-In the end,
however, grasping out for its dominion with strong, green
branches, asking weighty questions of the wind, the storm,
and whatever is at home on high places;
-Answering more weightily,
a commander, a victor! Oh! who should not ascend high mountains
to behold such growths?
At thy tree, O Zarathustra,
the gloomy and ill-constituted also refresh themselves; at
thy look even the wavering become steady and heal their hearts.
And verily, towards thy mountain
and thy tree do many eyes turn to-day; a great longing hath
arisen, and many have learned to ask: 'Who is Zarathustra?'
And those into whose ears thou
hast at any time dripped thy song and thy honey: all the hidden
ones, the lone-dwellers and the twain-dwellers, have simultaneously
said to their hearts:
'Doth Zarathustra still live?
It is no longer worth while to live, everything is indifferent,
everything is useless: or else- we must live with Zarathustra!'
'Why doth he not come who hath
so long announced himself?' thus do many people ask; 'hath
solitude swallowed him up? Or should we perhaps go to him?'
Now doth it come to pass that
solitude itself becometh fragile and breaketh open, like a
grave that breaketh open and can no longer hold its dead.
Everywhere one seeth resurrected ones.
Now do the waves rise and rise
around thy mountain, O Zarathustra. And however high be thy
height, many of them must rise up to thee: thy boat shall
not rest much longer on dry ground.
And that we despairing ones
have now come into thy cave, and already no longer despair:-
it is but a prognostic and a presage that better ones are
on the way to thee,-For they themselves are on the way to
thee, the last remnant of God among men- that is to say, all
the men of great longing, of great loathing, of great satiety,
-All who do not want to live
unless they learn again to hope- unless they learn from thee,
O Zarathustra, the great hope!"
Thus spake the king on the
right, and seized the hand of Zarathustra in order to kiss
it; but Zarathustra checked his veneration, and stepped back
frightened, fleeing as it were, silently and suddenly into
the far distance. After a little while, however, he was again
at home with his guests, looked at them with clear scrutinising
eyes, and said:
"My guests, ye higher
men, I will speak plain language and plainly with you. It
is not for you that I have waited here in these mountains."
("'Plain language and
plainly?' Good God!" said here the king on the left to
himself; "one seeth he doth not know the good Occidentals,
this sage out of the Orient!
But he meaneth 'blunt language
and bluntly'- well! That is not the worst taste in these days!")
"Ye may, verily, all of
you be higher men," continued Zarathustra; "but
for me- ye are neither high enough, nor strong enough.
For me, that is to say, for
the inexorable which is now silent in me, but will not always
be silent. And if ye appertain to me, still it is not as my
For he who himself standeth,
like you, on sickly and tender legs, wisheth above all to
be treated indulgently, whether he be conscious of it or hide
it from himself.
My arms and my legs, however,
I do not treat indulgently, I do not treat my warriors indulgently:
how then could ye be fit for my warfare?
With you I should spoil all
my victories. And many of you would tumble over if ye but
heard the loud beating of my drums.
Moreover, ye are not sufficiently
beautiful and well-born for me. I require pure, smooth mirrors
for my doctrines; on your surface even mine own likeness is
On your shoulders presseth
many a burden, many a recollection; many a mischievous dwarf
squatteth in your corners. There is concealed populace also
And though ye be high and of
a higher type, much in you is crooked and misshapen. There
is no smith in the world that could hammer you right and straight
Ye are only bridges: may higher
ones pass over upon you! Ye signify steps: so do not upbraid
him who ascendeth beyond you into his height!
Out of your seed there may
one day arise for me a genuine son and perfect heir: but that
time is distant. Ye yourselves are not those unto whom my
heritage and name belong.
Not for you do I wait here
in these mountains; not with you may I descend for the last
time. Ye have come unto me only as a presage that higher ones
are on the way to me,-Not the men of great longing, of great
loathing, of great satiety, and that which ye call the remnant
-Nay! Nay! Three times Nay!
For others do I wait here in these mountains, and will not
lift my foot from thence without them;
-For higher ones, stronger
ones, triumphanter ones, merrier ones, for such as are built
squarely in body and soul: laughing lions must come!
O my guests, ye strange ones-
have ye yet heard nothing of my children? And that they are
on the way to me?
Do speak unto me of my gardens,
of my Happy Isles, of my new beautiful race- why do ye not
speak unto me thereof?
This guests'- present do I
solicit of your love, that ye speak unto me of my children.
For them am I rich, for them I became poor: what have I not
What would I not surrender
that I might have one thing: these children, this living plantation,
these life-trees of my will and of my highest hope!"
Thus spake Zarathustra, and
stopped suddenly in his discourse: for his longing came over
him, and he closed his eyes and his mouth, because of the
agitation of his heart. And all his guests also were silent,
and stood still and confounded: except only that the old soothsayer
made signs with his hands and his gestures.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science