(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
Then, however, something happened which
made every mouth mute and every eye fixed. In the meantime, of course,
the rope-dancer had commenced his performance: he had come out at a little
door, and was going along the rope which was stretched between two towers,
so that it hung above the market-place and the people. When he was just
midway across, the little door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed
fellow like a buffoon sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one.
"Go on, halt-foot," cried his frightful voice, "go on,
lazy-bones, interloper, sallow-face!- lest I tickle thee with my heel!
What dost thou here between the towers? In the tower is the place for
thee, thou shouldst be locked up; to one better than thyself thou blockest
the way!"- And with every word he came nearer and nearer the first
one. When, however, he was but a step behind, there happened the frightful
thing which made every mouth mute and every eye fixed- he uttered a yell
like a devil, and jumped over the other who was in his way. The latter,
however, when he thus saw his rival triumph, lost at the same time his
head and his footing on the rope; he threw his pole away, and shot downward
faster than it, like an eddy of arms and legs, into the depth. The market-place
and the people were like the sea when the storm cometh on: they all flew
apart and in disorder, especially where the body was about to fall.
Zarathustra, however, remained standing,
and just beside him fell the body, badly injured and disfigured, but not
yet dead. After a while consciousness returned to the shattered man, and
he saw Zarathustra kneeling beside him. "What art thou doing there?"
said he at last, "I knew long ago that the devil would trip me up.
Now he draggeth me to hell: wilt thou prevent him?"
"On mine honour, my friend,"
answered Zarathustra, "there is nothing of all that whereof thou
speakest: there is no devil and no hell. Thy soul will be dead even sooner
than thy body; fear, therefore, nothing any more!"
The man looked up distrustfully. "If
thou speakest the truth," said he, "I lose nothing when I lose
my life. I am not much more than an animal which hath been taught to dance
by blows and scanty fare."
"Not at all," said Zarathustra,
"thou hast made danger thy calling; therein there is nothing contemptible.
Now thou perishest by thy calling: therefore will I bury thee with mine
When Zarathustra had said this the dying
one did not reply further; but he moved his hand as if he sought the hand
of Zarathustra in gratitude.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science