Originally Posted by Pylair
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
Thus speak and stammer: “That is my good, that do I
love, thus doth it please me entirely, thus only do I desire
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 guidepost for me to superearths and paradises.
An earthly virtue is it which I love: little prudence is
therein, and the least everyday wisdom.
But that bird built its nest beside me: therefore, I love
and cherish it—now sitteth it beside me on its golden
Thus shouldst thou stammer, and praise thy virtue.43
Once hadst thou passions and calledst them evil. But
now hast thou only thy virtues: they grew out of thy
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
Once hadst thou wild dogs in thy cellar: but they changed
at last into birds and charming songstresses.
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
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, and love.
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
Thus spake Zarathustra.44
Thus Spake Zarathustra
VI. THE PALE CRIMINAL
YE DO NOT mean to slay, ye judges and sacrificers, until the
animal hath bowed its head? Lo! the pale criminal hath
bowed his head: out of his eye speaketh the great contempt.
“Mine ego is something which is to be surpassed: mine
ego is to me the great contempt of man”: so speaketh it
out of that eye.
When he judged himself—that was his supreme moment; let not the exalted one relapse again into his low
There is no salvation for him who thus suffereth from
himself, unless it be speedy death.
Your slaying, ye judges, shall be pity, and not revenge;
and in that ye slay, see to it that ye yourselves justify life!
It is not enough that ye should reconcile with him whom
ye slay. Let your sorrow be love to the Superman: thus
will ye justify your own survival!
“Enemy” shall ye say but not “villain,” “invalid” shall ye
say but not “wretch,” “fool” shall ye say but not “sinner.”
And thou, red judge, if thou would say audibly all thou
hast done in thought, then would every one cry: “Away
with the nastiness and the virulent reptile!”
But one thing is the thought, another thing is the deed,
and another thing is the idea of the deed. The wheel of
causality doth not roll between them.
An idea made this pale man pale. Adequate was he for
his deed when he did it, but the idea of it, he could not
endure when it was done.
Evermore did he now see himself as the doer of one
deed. Madness, I call this: the exception reversed itself to
the rule in him.
The streak of chalk bewitcheth the hen; the stroke he
struck bewitched his weak reason. Madness after the deed,
I call this.
Hearken, ye judges! There is another madness besides,
and it is before the deed. Ah! ye have not gone deep
enough into this soul!
Thus speaketh the red judge: “Why did this criminal
commit murder? He meant to rob.” I tell you, however,
that his soul wanted blood, not booty: he thirsted for the45
happiness of the knife!
But his weak reason understood not this madness, and
it persuaded him. “What matter about blood!” it said;
“wishest thou not, at least, to make booty thereby? Or
And he hearkened unto his weak reason: like lead lay its
words upon him—thereupon he robbed when he murdered.
He did not mean to be ashamed of his madness.
And now once more lieth the lead of his guilt upon him,
and once more is his weak reason so benumbed, so paralysed, and so dull.
Could he only shake his head, then would his burden roll
off; but who shaketh that head?
What is this man? A mass of diseases that reach out
into the world through the spirit; there they want to get
What is this man? A coil of wild serpents that are seldom at peace among themselves—so they go forth apart
and seek prey in the world.
Look at that poor body! What it suffered and craved,
the poor soul interpreted to itself—it interpreted it as
murderous desire, and eagerness for the happiness of the
Him who now turneth sick, the evil overtaketh which is
now the evil: he seeketh to cause pain with that which
causeth him pain. But there have been other ages, and
another evil and good.
Once was doubt evil, and the will to Self. Then the
invalid became a heretic or sorcerer; as heretic or sorcerer
he suffered, and sought to cause suffering.
But this will not enter your ears; it hurteth your good
people, ye tell me. But what doth it matter to me about
your good people!
Many things in your good people cause me disgust, and
verily, not their evil. I would that they had a madness by
which they succumbed, like this pale criminal!
Verily, I would that their madness were called truth, or
fidelity, or justice: but they have their virtue in order to
live long, and in wretched self-complacency.
I am a railing alongside the torrent; whoever is able to
grasp me may grasp me! Your crutch, however, I am not.—
Thus spake Zarathustra.46
Thus Spake Zarathustra
VII. READING AND WRITING
OF ALL THAT is written, I love only what a person hath
written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt
find that blood is spirit.
It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate
the reading idlers.
He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the
reader. Another century of readers—and spirit itself will
Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the
long run not only writing but also thinking.
Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it
even becometh populace.
He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to
be read, but learnt by heart.
In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak,
but for that route thou must have long legs. Proverbs should
be peaks, and those spoken to should be big and tall.
The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit
full of a joyful wickedness: thus are things well matched.
I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous.
The courage which scareth away ghosts, createth for itself
goblins—it wanteth to laugh.
I no longer feel in common with you; the very cloud
which I see beneath me, the blackness and heaviness at
which I laugh—that is your thunder-cloud.
Ye look aloft when ye long for exaltation; and I look
downward because I am exalted.
Who among you can at the same time laugh and be
He who climbeth on the highest mountains, laugheth
at all tragic plays and tragic realities.
Courageous, unconcerned, scornful, coercive—so wisdom wisheth us; she is a woman, and ever loveth only a
Ye tell me, “Life is hard to bear.” But for what purpose
should ye have your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening?
Life is hard to bear: but do not affect to be so delicate!
We are all of us fine sumpter asses and assesses.
What have we in common with the rose-bud, which47
trembleth because a drop of dew hath formed upon it?
It is true we love life; not because we are wont to live,
but because we are wont to love.
There is always some madness in love. But there is always, also, some method in madness.
And to me also, who appreciate life, the butterflies,
and soap-bubbles, and whatever is like them amongst us,
seem most to enjoy happiness.
To see these light, foolish, pretty, lively little sprites
flit about—that moveth Zarathustra to tears and songs.
I should only believe in a God that would know how to
And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity—
through him all things fall.
Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us
slay the spirit of gravity!
I learned to walk; since then have I let myself run. I
learned to fly; since then I do not need pushing in order
to move from a spot.
Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under
myself. Now there danceth a God in me.—
Thus spake Zarathustra.
VIII. THE TREE ON THE HILL
ZARATHUSTRA’S EYE HAD perceived that a certain youth avoided
him. And as he walked alone one evening over the hills
surrounding the town called “The Pied Cow,” behold, there
found he the youth sitting leaning against a tree, and
gazing with wearied look into the valley. Zarathustra thereupon laid hold of the tree beside which the youth sat, and
“If I wished to shake this tree with my hands, I should
not be able to do so.
But the wind, which we see not, troubleth and bendeth
it as it listeth. We are sorest bent and troubled by invisible hands.”
Thereupon the youth arose disconcerted, and said: “I
hear Zarathustra, and just now was I thinking of him!”
“Why art thou frightened on that account?—But it is48
Thus Spake Zarathustra
the same with man as with the tree.
The more he seeketh to rise into the height and light,
the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthward, downward, into the dark and deep—into the evil.”
“Yea, into the evil!” cried the youth. “How is it possible
that thou hast discovered my soul?”
Zarathustra smiled, and said: “Many a soul one will never
discover, unless one first invent it.”
“Yea, into the evil!” cried the youth once more.
“Thou saidst the truth, Zarathustra. I trust myself no
longer since I sought to rise into the height, and nobody
trusteth me any longer; how doth that happen?
I change too quickly: my to-day refuteth my yesterday.
I often overleap the steps when I clamber; for so doing,
none of the steps pardons me.
When aloft, I find myself always alone. No one speaketh
unto me; the frost of solitude maketh me tremble. What
do I seek on the height?
My contempt and my longing increase together; the
higher I clamber, the more do I despise him who
clambereth. What doth he seek on the height?
How ashamed I am of my clambering and stumbling!
How I mock at my violent panting! How I hate him who
flieth! How tired I am on the height!”
Here the youth was silent. And Zarathustra contemplated the tree beside which they stood, and spake thus:
“This tree standeth lonely here on the hills; it hath
grown up high above man and beast.
And if it wanted to speak, it would have none who
could understand it: so high hath it grown.
Now it waiteth and waiteth,—for what doth it wait? It
dwelleth too close to the seat of the clouds; it waiteth
perhaps for the first lightning?”
When Zarathustra had said this, the youth called out with
violent gestures: “Yea, Zarathustra, thou speakest the truth.
My destruction I longed for, when I desired to be on the
height, and thou art the lightning for which I waited! Lo!
what have I been since thou hast appeared amongst us? It
is mine envy of thee that hath destroyed me!”—Thus spake
the youth, and wept bitterly. Zarathustra, however, put his
arm about him, and led the youth away with him.
And when they had walked a while together, Zarathustra49
began to speak thus:
It rendeth my heart. Better than thy words express it,
thine eyes tell me all thy danger.
As yet thou art not free; thou still seekest freedom. Too
unslept hath thy seeking made thee, and too wakeful.
On the open height wouldst thou be; for the stars
thirsteth thy soul. But thy bad impulses also thirst for
Thy wild dogs want liberty; they bark for joy in their
cellar when thy spirit endeavoureth to open all prison
Still art thou a prisoner—it seemeth to me—who
deviseth liberty for himself: ah! sharp becometh the soul
of such prisoners, but also deceitful and wicked.
To purify himself, is still necessary for the freedman of
the spirit. Much of the prison and the mould still remaineth
in him: pure hath his eye still to become.
Yea, I know thy danger. But by my love and hope I
conjure thee: cast not thy love and hope away!
Noble thou feelest thyself still, and noble others also
feel thee still, though they bear thee a grudge and cast
evil looks. Know this, that to everybody a noble one
standeth in the way.
Also to the good, a noble one standeth in the way: and
even when they call him a good man, they want thereby
to put him aside.
The new, would the noble man create, and a new virtue.
The old, wanteth the good man, and that the old should
But it is not the danger of the noble man to turn a
good man, but lest he should become a blusterer, a scoffer,
or a destroyer.
Ah! I have known noble ones who lost their highest
hope. And then they disparaged all high hopes.
Then lived they shamelessly in temporary pleasures, and
beyond the day had hardly an aim.
“Spirit is also voluptuousness,”—said they. Then broke
the wings of their spirit; and now it creepeth about, and
defileth where it gnaweth.
Once they thought of becoming heroes; but sensualists
are they now. A trouble and a terror is the hero to them.
But by my love and hope I conjure thee: cast not away50
Thus Spake Zarathustra
the hero in thy soul! Maintain holy thy highest hope!—
Thus spake Zarathustra.
IX. THE PREACHERS OF DEATH
THERE ARE PREACHERS of death: and the earth is full of
those to whom desistance from life must be preached.
Full is the earth of the superfluous; marred is life by the
many-too-many. May they be decoyed out of this life by
the “life eternal”!
“The yellow ones”: so are called the preachers of death,
or “the black ones.” But I will show them unto you in
other colours besides.
There are the terrible ones who carry about in themselves the beast of prey, and have no choice except lusts
or self-laceration. And even their lusts are self-laceration.
They have not yet become men, those terrible ones:
may they preach desistance from life, and pass away themselves!
There are the spiritually consumptive ones: hardly are
they born when they begin to die, and long for doctrines
of lassitude and renunciation.
They would fain be dead, and we should approve of
their wish! Let us beware of awakening those dead ones,
and of damaging those living coffins!
They meet an invalid, or an old man, or a corpse—and
immediately they say: “Life is refuted!”
But they only are refuted, and their eye, which seeth
only one aspect of existence.
Shrouded in thick melancholy, and eager for the little
casualties that bring death: thus do they wait, and clench
Or else, they grasp at sweetmeats, and mock at their
childishness thereby: they cling to their straw of life, and
mock at their still clinging to it.
Their wisdom speaketh thus: “A fool, he who remaineth
alive; but so far are we fools! And that is the foolishest
thing in life!”
“Life is only suffering”: so say others, and lie not. Then
see to it that ye cease! See to it that the life ceaseth
which is only suffering!
And let this be the teaching of your virtue: “Thou shalt51
slay thyself! Thou shalt steal away from thyself!”—
“Lust is sin,”—so say some who preach death—”let us
go apart and beget no children!”
“Giving birth is troublesome,”—say others—”why still
give birth? One beareth only the unfortunate!” And they
also are preachers of death.
“Pity is necessary,”—so saith a third party. “Take what
I have! Take what I am! So much less doth life bind me!”
Were they consistently pitiful, then would they make
their neighbours sick of life. To be wicked—that would be
their true goodness.
But they want to be rid of life; what care they if they
bind others still faster with their chains and gifts!—
And ye also, to whom life is rough labour and disquiet,
are ye not very tired of life? Are ye not very ripe for the
sermon of death?
All ye to whom rough labour is dear, and the rapid, new,
and strange—ye put up with yourselves badly; your diligence is flight, and the will to self-forgetfulness.
If ye believed more in life, then would ye devote yourselves less to the momentary. But for waiting, ye have
not enough of capacity in you—nor even for idling!
Everywhere resoundeth the voices of those who preach
death; and the earth is full of those to whom death hath
to be preached.
Or “life eternal”; it is all the same to me—if only they
pass away quickly!—
Thus spake Zarathustra.
X. WAR AN