Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Nietzsch

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:48 pm



Dawn of Day is a yea-saying book, profound, but clear and kindly. The same applies once more and in the highest degree to La Gaya Scienza: in almost every sentence of this book, profundity and playfulness go gently hand in hand. A verse which expresses my gratitude for the most wonderful month of January which I have ever lived—the whole book is a gift—sufficiently reveals the abysmal depths from which "wisdom" has here become joyful.

"Thou who with cleaving fiery lances
The stream of my soul from its ice dost free,
Till with a rush and a roar it advances
To enter with glorious hoping the sea:
Brighter to see and purer ever,
Free in the bonds of thy sweet constraint,—
So it praises thy wondrous endeavour,
January, thou beauteous saint!"[1]

Who can be in any doubt as to what "glorious hoping" means here, when he has realised the[Pg 96] diamond beauty of the first of Zarathustra's words as they appear in a glow of light at the close of the fourth book? Or when he reads the granite sentences at the end of the third book, wherein a fate for all times is first given a formula? The songs of Prince Free-as-a-Bird, which, for the most part, were written in Sicily, remind me quite forcibly of that Provencal notion of "Gaya Scienza," of that union of singer, knight, and free spirit, which distinguishes that wonderfully early culture of the Provencals from all ambiguous cultures. The last poem of all, "To the Mistral,"—an exuberant dance song in which, if you please, the new spirit dances freely upon the corpse of morality,—is a perfect Provençalism.



[1]Translated for Joyful Wisdom by Paul V. Cohn.—TR.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:51 pm



I now wish to relate the history of Zarathustra. The fundamental idea of the work, the Eternal Recurrence, the highest formula of a Yea-saying to life that can ever be attained, was first conceived in the month of August 1881. I made a note of the idea on a sheet of paper, with the postscript: "Six thousand feet beyond man and time." That day I happened to be wandering through the woods alongside of the Lake of Silvaplana, and I halted not far from Surlei, beside a huge rock that towered aloft like a pyramid. It was then that[Pg 97] the thought struck me. Looking back now, I find that exactly two months before this inspiration I had an omen of its coming in the form of a sudden and decisive change in my tastes—more particularly in music. The whole of Zarathustra might perhaps be classified under the rubric music. At all events, the essential condition of its production was a second birth within me of the art of hearing. In Recoaro, a small mountain resort near Vicenza, where I spent the spring of 1881, I and my friend and maestro, Peter Gast—who was also one who had been born again, discovered that the phœnix music hovered over us, in lighter and brighter plumage than it had ever worn before. If, therefore, I now calculate from that day forward the sudden production of the book, under the most unlikely circumstances, in February 1883,—the last part, out of which I quoted a few lines in my preface, was written precisely in the hallowed hour when Richard Wagner gave up the ghost in Venice,—I come to the conclusion that the period of gestation covered eighteen months. This period of exactly eighteen months, might suggest, at least to Buddhists, that I am in reality a female elephant The interval was devoted to the Gaya Scienza, which contains hundreds of indications of the proximity of something unparalleled; for, after all, it shows the beginning of Zarathustra, since it presents Zarathustra's fundamental thought in the last aphorism but one of the fourth book. To this interval also belongs that Hymn to Life (for a mixed choir and orchestra), the score of which was published in[Pg 98] Leipzig two years ago by E. W. Fritsch, and which gave perhaps no slight indication of my spiritual state during this year, in which the essentially yea-saying pathos, which I call the tragic pathos, completely filled me heart and limb. One day people will sing it to my memory. The text, let it be well understood, as there is some misunderstanding abroad on this point, is not by me; it was the astounding inspiration of a young Russian lady, Miss Lou von Salome, with whom I was then on friendly terms. He who is in any way able to make some sense of the last words of the poem, will divine why I preferred and admired it: there is greatness in them. Pain is not regarded as an objection to existence: "And if thou hast no bliss now left to crown me—Lead on! Thou hast thy Sorrow still."

Maybe that my music is also great in this passage. (The last note of the oboe, by the bye, is C sharp, not C. The latter is a misprint.) During the following winter, I was living on that charmingly peaceful Gulf of Rapallo, not far from Genoa, which cuts inland between Chiavari and Cape Porto Fino. My health was not very good; the winter was cold and exceptionally rainy; and the small albergo in which I lived was so close to the water that at night my sleep was disturbed if the sea was rough. These circumstances were surely the very reverse of favourable; and yet, in spite of it all, and as if in proof of my belief that everything decisive comes to life in defiance of every obstacle, it was precisely during this winter and in the midst of these unfavourable[Pg 99] circumstances that my Zarathustra originated. In the morning I used to start out in a southerly direction up the glorious road to Zoagli, which rises up through a forest of pines and gives one a view far out to sea. In the afternoon, or as often as my health allowed, I walked round the whole bay from Santa Margherita to beyond Porto Fino. This spot affected me all the more deeply because it was so dearly loved by the Emperor Frederick III. In the autumn of 1886 I chanced to be there again when he was revisiting this small forgotten world of happiness for the last time. It was on these two roads that all Zarathustra came to me, above all, Zarathustra himself as a type—I ought rather to say that it was on these walks that he waylaid me.


In order to understand this type, you must first be quite clear concerning its fundamental physiological condition: this condition is what I call great healthiness. In regard to this idea I cannot make my meaning more plain or more personal than I have done already in one of the last aphorisms (No. 382) of the fifth book of the Gaya Scienza: "We new, nameless, and unfathomable creatures," so reads the passage, "we firstlings of a future still unproved—we who have a new end in view also require new means to that end, that is to say, a new healthiness, a stronger, keener, tougher, bolder, and merrier healthiness than any that has existed heretofore. He who longs to[Pg 100] feel in his own soul the whole range of values and aims that have prevailed on earth until his day, and to sail round all the coasts of this ideal 'Mediterranean Sea'; who, from the adventures of his own inmost experience, would fain know how it feels to be a conqueror and discoverer of the ideal;—as also how it is with the artist, the saint, the legislator, the sage, the scholar, the man of piety and the godlike anchorite of yore;—such a man requires one thing above all for his purpose, and that is, great healthiness—such healthiness as he not only possesses, but also constantly acquires and must acquire, because he is continually sacrificing it again, and is compelled to sacrifice it! And now, therefore, after having been long on the way, we Argonauts of the ideal, whose pluck is greater than prudence would allow, and who are often shipwrecked and bruised, but, as I have said, healthier than people would like to admit, dangerously healthy, and for ever recovering our health—it would seem as if we had before us, as a reward for all our toils, a country still undiscovered, the horizon of which no one has yet seen, a beyond to every country and every refuge of the ideal that man has ever known, a world so overflowing with beauty, strangeness, doubt, terror, and divinity, that both our curiosity and our lust of possession are frantic with eagerness. Alas! how in the face of such vistas, and with such burning desire in our conscience and consciousness, could we still be content with the man of the present day? This is bad indeed; but, that we should regard his worthiest aims and hopes with ill-concealed amusement,[Pg 101] or perhaps give them no thought at all, is inevitable. Another ideal now leads us on, a wonderful, seductive ideal, full of danger, the pursuit of which we should be loath to urge upon any one, because we are not so ready to acknowledge any one's right to it: the ideal of a spirit who plays ingenuously (that is to say, involuntarily, and as the outcome of superabundant energy and power) with everything that, hitherto, has been called holy, good, inviolable, and divine; to whom even the loftiest thing that the people have with reason made their measure of value would be no better than a danger, a decay, and an abasement, or at least a relaxation and temporary forgetfulness of self: the ideal of a humanly superhuman well-being and goodwill, which often enough will seem inhuman—as when, for instance, it stands beside all past earnestness on earth, and all past solemnities in hearing, speech, tone, look, morality, and duty, as their most lifelike and unconscious parody—but with which, nevertheless, great earnestness perhaps alone begins, the first note of interrogation is affixed, the fate of the soul changes, the hour hand moves, and tragedy begins."


Has any one at the end of the nineteenth century any distinct notion of what poets of a stronger age understood by the word inspiration? If not, I will describe it. If one had the smallest vestige of superstition left in one, it would hardly be possible completely to set aside the idea that one is the mere[Pg 102] incarnation, mouthpiece, or medium of an almighty power. The idea of revelation, in the sense that something which profoundly convulses and upsets one becomes suddenly visible and audible with indescribable certainty and accuracy—describes the simple fact. One hears—one does not seek; one takes—one does not ask who gives: a thought suddenly flashes up like lightning, it comes with necessity, without faltering—I have never had any choice in the matter. There is an ecstasy so great that the immense strain of it is sometimes relaxed by a flood of tears, during which one's steps now involuntarily rush and anon involuntarily lag. There is the feeling that one is utterly out of hand, with the very distinct consciousness of an endless number of fine thrills and titillations descending to one's very toes;—there is a depth of happiness in which the most painful and gloomy parts do not act as antitheses to the rest, but are produced and required as necessary shades of colour in such an overflow of light. There is an instinct for rhythmic relations which embraces a whole world of forms (length, the need of a wide-embracing rhythm, is almost the measure of the force of an inspiration, a sort of counterpart to its pressure and tension). Everything happens quite involuntarily, as if in a tempestuous outburst of freedom, of absoluteness, of power and divinity. The involuntary nature of the figures and similes is the most remarkable thing; one loses all perception of what is imagery and metaphor; everything seems to present itself as the readiest, the truest, and simplest means of expression. It actually seems, to use one of Zarathustra's[Pg 103] own phrases, as if all things came to one, and offered themselves as similes. ("Here do all things come caressingly to thy discourse and flatter thee, for they would fain ride upon thy back. On every simile thou ridest here unto every truth. Here fly open unto thee all the speech and word shrines of the world, here would all existence become speech, here would all Becoming learn of thee how to speak.") This is my experience of inspiration. I do not doubt but that I should have to go back thousands of years before I could find another who could say to me: "It is mine also!"


For a few weeks afterwards I lay an invalid in Genoa. Then followed a melancholy spring in Rome, where I only just managed to live—and this was no easy matter. This city, which is absolutely unsuited to the poet-author of Zarathustra, and for the choice of which I was not responsible, made me inordinately miserable. I tried to leave it. I wanted to go to Aquila—the opposite of Rome in every respect, and actually founded in a spirit of hostility towards that city, just as I also shall found a city some day, as a memento of an atheist and genuine enemy of the Church, a person very closely related to me, the great Hohenstaufen, the Emperor Frederick II. But Fate lay behind it all: I had to return again to Rome. In the end I was obliged to be satisfied with the Piazza Barberini, after I had exerted myself in vain to find an anti-Christian quarter. I fear that on one occasion, to avoid bad[Pg 104] smells as much as possible, I actually inquired at the Palazzo del Quirinale whether they could not provide a quiet room for a philosopher. In a chamber high above the Piazza just mentioned, from which one obtained a general view of Rome, and could hear the fountains plashing far below, the loneliest of all songs was composed—"The Night-Song." About this time I was obsessed by an unspeakably sad melody, the refrain of which I recognised in the affords, "dead through immortality," ... In the summer, finding myself once more in the sacred place where the first thought of Zarathustra flashed like a light across my mind, I conceived the second part. Ten days sufficed. Neither for the second, the first, nor the third part, have I required a day longer. In the ensuing winter, beneath the halcyon sky of Nice, which then for the first time poured its light into my life, I found the third Zarathustra—and came to the end of my task: the whole having occupied me scarcely a year. Many hidden corners and heights in the country round about Nice are hallowed for me by moments that I can never forget. That decisive chapter, entitled "Old and New Tables," was composed during the arduous ascent from the station to Eza—that wonderful Moorish village in the rocks. During those moments when my creative energy flowed most plentifully, my muscular activity was always greatest. The body is inspired: let us waive the question of "soul." I might often have been seen dancing in those days, and I could then walk for seven or eight hours on end over the hills without a suggestion of fatigue. I slept well and[Pg 105] laughed a good deal—I was perfectly robust and patient.


With the exception of these periods of industry lasting ten days, the years I spent during the production of Zarathustra, and thereafter, were for me years of unparalleled distress. A man pays dearly for being immortal: to this end he must die many times over during his life. There is such a thing as what I call the rancour of greatness: everything great, whether a work or a deed, once it is completed, turns immediately against its author. The very fact that he is its author makes him weak at this time. He can no longer endure his deed. He can no longer look it full in the face. To have something at one's back which one could never have willed, something to which the knot of human destiny is attached—and to be forced thenceforward to bear it on one's shoulders! Why, it almost crushes one! The rancour of greatness! A somewhat different experience is the uncanny silence that reigns about one. Solitude has seven skins which nothing can penetrate. One goes among men; one greets friends: but these things are only new deserts, the looks of those one meets no longer bear a greeting. At the best one encounters a sort of revolt. This feeling of revolt, I suffered, in varying degrees of intensity, at the hands of almost every one who came near me; it would seem that nothing inflicts a deeper wound than suddenly to make one's distance felt. Those noble natures are scarce who[Pg 106] know not how to live unless they can revere. A third thing is the absurd susceptibility of the skin to small pin-pricks, a kind of helplessness in the presence of all small things. This seems to me a necessary outcome of the appalling expenditure of all defensive forces, which is the first condition of every creative act, of every act which proceeds from the most intimate, most secret, and most concealed recesses of a man's being. The small defensive forces are thus, as it were, suspended, and no fresh energy reaches them. I even think it probable that one does not digest so well, that one is less willing to move, and that one is much too open to sensations of coldness and suspicion; for, in a large number of cases, suspicion is merely a blunder in etiology. On one occasion when I felt like this I became conscious of the proximity of a herd of cows, some time before I could possibly have seen it with my eyes, simply owing to a return in me of milder and more humane sentiments: they communicated warmth to me....


This work stands alone. Do not let us mention the poets in the same breath; nothing perhaps has ever been produced out of such a superabundance of strength. My concept "Dionysian" here became the highest deed; compared with it everything that other men have done seems poor and limited. The fact that a Goethe or a Shakespeare would not for an instant have known how to take breath in this atmosphere of passion and of the heights; the[Pg 107] fact that by the side of Zarathustra, Dante is no more than a believer, and not one who first creates the truth—that is to say, not a world-ruling spirit, a Fate; the fact that the poets of the Veda were priests and not even fit to unfasten Zarathustra's sandal—all this is the least of things, and gives no idea of the distance, of the azure solitude, in which this work dwells. Zarathustra has an eternal right to say: "I draw around me circles and holy boundaries. Ever fewer are they that mount with me to ever loftier heights. I build me a mountain range of ever holier mountains." If all the spirit and goodness of every great soul were collected together, the whole could not create a single one of Zarathustra's discourses. The ladder upon which he rises and descends is of boundless length; he has seen further, he has willed further, and gone further than any other man. There is contradiction in every word that he utters, this most yea-saying of all spirits. Through him all contradictions are bound up into a new unity. The loftiest and the basest powers of human nature, the sweetest, the lightest, and the most terrible, rush forth from out one spring with everlasting certainty. Until his coming no one knew what was height, or depth, and still less what was truth. There is not a single passage in this revelation of truth which had already been anticipated and divined by even the greatest among men. Before Zarathustra there was no wisdom, no probing of the soul, no art of speech: in his book, the most familiar and most vulgar thing utters unheard-of words. The sentence quivers with passion. Eloquence has become music. Forks of[Pg 108] lightning are hurled towards futures of which no one has ever dreamed before. The most powerful use of parables that has yet existed is poor beside it, and mere child's-play compared with this return of language to the nature of imagery. See how Zarathustra goes down from the mountain and speaks the kindest words to every one! See with what delicate fingers he touches his very adversaries, the priests, and how he suffers with them from themselves! Here, at every moment, man is overcome, and the concept "Superman" becomes the greatest reality,—out of sight, almost far away beneath him, lies all that which heretofore has been called great in man. The halcyonic brightness, the light feet, the presence of wickedness and exuberance throughout, and all that is the essence of the type Zarathustra, was never dreamt of before as a prerequisite of greatness. In precisely these limits of space and in this accessibility to opposites Zarathustra feels himself the highest of all living things: and when you hear how he defines this highest, you will give up trying to find his equal.

"The soul which hath the longest ladder and can step down deepest,

"The vastest soul that can run and stray and rove furthest in its own domain,

"The most necessary soul, that out of desire flingeth itself to chance,

"The stable soul that plungeth into Becoming, the possessing soul that must needs taste of willing and longing,

"The soul that flyeth from itself, and over-taketh itself in the widest circle,

[Pg 109]

"The wisest soul that folly exhorteth most sweetly,

"The most self-loving soul, in whom all things have their rise, their ebb and flow."

But this is the very idea of Dionysus. Another consideration leads to this idea. The psychological problem presented by the type of Zarathustra is, how can he, who in an unprecedented manner says no, and acts no, in regard to all that which has been affirmed hitherto, remain nevertheless a yea-saying spirit? how can he who bears the heaviest destiny on his shoulders and whose very life-task is a fatality, yet be the brightest and the most transcendental of spirits—for Zarathustra is a dancer? how can he who has the hardest and most terrible grasp of reality, and who has thought the most "abysmal thoughts," nevertheless avoid conceiving these things as objections to existence, or even as objections to the eternal recurrence of existence?—how is it that on the contrary he finds reasons for being himself the eternal affirmation of all things, "the tremendous and unlimited saying of Yea and Amen"?... "Into every abyss do I bear the benediction of my yea to Life." ... But this, once more, is precisely the idea of Dionysus.


What language will such a spirit speak, when he speaks unto his soul? The language of the dithyramb. I am the inventor of the dithyramb. Hearken unto the manner in which Zarathustra speaks to his soul Before Sunrise (iii. 48). Before[Pg 110] my time such emerald joys and divine tenderness had found no tongue. Even the profoundest melancholy of such a Dionysus takes shape as a dithyramb. As an example of this I take "The Night-Song,"—the immortal plaint of one who, thanks to his superabundance of light and power, thanks to the sun within him, is condemned never to love.

"It is night: now do all gushing springs raise their voices. And my soul too is a gushing spring.

"It is night: now only do all lovers burst into song. And my soul too is the song of a lover.

"Something unquenched and unquenchable is within me, that would raise its voice. A craving for love is within me, which itself speaketh the language of love.

"Light am I: would that I were night! But this is my loneliness, that I am begirt with light.

"Alas, why am I not dark and like unto the night! How joyfully would I then suck at the breasts of light!

"And even you would I bless, ye twinkling starlets and glow-worms on high! and be blessed in the gifts of your light.

"But in mine own light do I live, ever back into myself do I drink the flames I send forth.

"I know not the happiness of the hand stretched forth to grasp; and oft have I dreamt that stealing must be more blessed than taking.

"Wretched am I that my hand may never rest from giving: an envious fate is mine that I see expectant eyes and nights made bright with longing.

[Pg 111]

"Oh, the wretchedness of all them that give! Oh, the clouds that cover the face of my sun! That craving for desire! that burning hunger at the end of the feast!

"They take what I give them; but do I touch their soul? A gulf is there 'twixt giving and taking; and the smallest gulf is the last to be bridged.

"An appetite is born from out my beauty: would that I might do harm to them that I fill with light; would that I might rob them of the gifts I have given:—thus do I thirst for wickedness.

"To withdraw my hand when their hand is ready stretched forth like the waterfall that wavers, wavers even in its fall:—thus do I thirst for wickedness.

"For such vengeance doth my fulness yearn: to such tricks doth my loneliness give birth.

"My joy in giving died with the deed. By its very fulness did my virtue grow weary of itself.

"He who giveth risketh to lose his shame; he that is ever distributing groweth callous in hand and heart therefrom.

"Mine eyes no longer melt into tears at the sight of the suppliant's shame; my hand hath become too hard to feel the quivering of laden hands.

"Whither have ye fled, the tears of mine eyes and the bloom of my heart? Oh, the solitude of all givers! Oh, the silence of all beacons!

"Many are the suns that circle in barren space; to all that is dark do they speak with their light—to me alone are they silent.

"Alas, this is the hatred of light for that which shineth: pitiless it runneth its course.

[Pg 112]

"Unfair in its inmost heart to that which shineth; cold toward suns,—thus doth every sun go its way.

"Like a tempest do the suns fly over their course: for such is their way. Their own unswerving will do they follow: that is their coldness.

"Alas, it is ye alone, ye creatures of gloom, ye spirits of the night, that take your warmth from that which shineth. Ye alone suck your milk and comfort from the udders of light.

"Alas, about me there is ice, my hand burneth itself against ice!

"Alas, within me is a thirst that thirsteth for your thirst!

"It is night: woe is me, that I must needs be light! And thirst after darkness! And loneliness!

"It is night: now doth my longing burst forth like a spring,—for speech do I long.

"It is night: now do all gushing springs raise their voices. And my soul too is a gushing spring.

"It is night: now only do all lovers burst into song. And my soul too is the song of a lover."


Such things have never been written, never been felt, never been suffered: only a God, only Dionysus suffers in this way. The reply to such a dithyramb on the sun's solitude in light would be Ariadne. ... Who knows, but I, who Ariadne is! To all such riddles no one heretofore had ever found an answer; I doubt even whether any one had ever seen a riddle here. One day Zarathustra severely[Pg 113] determines his life-task—and it is also mine. Let no one misunderstand its meaning. It's a yea-saying to the point of justifying, to the point of redeeming even all that is past.

"I walk among men as among fragments of the future: of that future which I see.

"And all my creativeness and effort is but this, that I may be able to think and recast all these fragments and riddles and dismal accidents into one piece.

"And how could I bear to be a man, if man were not also a poet, a riddle reader, and a redeemer of chance!

"To redeem all the past, and to transform every 'it was' into 'thus would I have it'—that alone would be my salvation!"

In another passage he defines as strictly as possible what to him alone "man" can be,—not a subject for love nor yet for pity—Zarathustra became master even of his loathing of man: man is to him a thing unshaped, raw material, an ugly stone that needs the sculptor's chisel.

"No longer to will, no longer to value, no longer to create! Oh, that this great weariness may never be mine!

"Even in the lust of knowledge, I feel only the joy of my will to beget and to grow; and if there be innocence in my knowledge, it is because my procreative will is in it.

"Away from God and gods did this will lure me: what would there be to create if there were gods?

"But to man doth it ever drive me anew, my[Pg 114] burning, creative will. Thus driveth it the hammer to the stone.

"Alas, ye men, within the stone there sleepeth an image for me, the image of all my dreams! Alas, that it should have to sleep in the hardest and ugliest stone!

"Now rageth my hammer ruthlessly against its prison. From the stone the fragments fly: what's that to me?

"I will finish it: for a shadow came unto me—the stillest and lightest thing on earth once came unto me!

"The beauty of the Superman came unto me as a shadow. Alas, my brethren! What are the—gods to me now?"

Let me call attention to one last point of view. The line in italics is my pretext for this remark. A Dionysian life-task needs the hardness of the hammer, and one of its first essentials is without doubt the joy even of destruction. The command, "Harden yourselves!" and the deep conviction that all creators are hard, is the really distinctive sign of a Dionysian nature.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:54 pm



My work for the years that followed was prescribed as distinctly as possible. Now that the yea-saying part of my life-task was accomplished,[Pg 115] there came the turn of the negative portion, both in word and deed: the transvaluation of all values that had existed hitherto, the great war,—the conjuring-up of the day when the fatal outcome of the struggle would be decided. Meanwhile, I had slowly to look about me for my peers, for those who, out of strength, would proffer me a helping hand in my work of destruction. From that time onward, all my writings are so much bait: maybe I understand as much about fishing as most people? If nothing was caught, it was not I who was at fault There were no fish to come and bite.


In all its essential points, this book (1886) is a criticism of modernity, embracing the modern sciences, arts, even politics, together with certain indications as to a type which would be the reverse of modern man, or as little like him as possible, a noble and yea-saying type. In this last respect the book is a school for gentlemen—the term gentleman being understood here in a much more spiritual and radical sense than it has implied hitherto. All those things of which the age is proud,—as, for instance, far-famed "objectivity," "sympathy with all that suffers," "the historical sense," with its subjection to foreign tastes, with its lying-in-the-dust before petits faits, and the rage for science,—are shown to be the contradiction of the type recommended, and are regarded as almost ill-bred. If you remember that this book follows upon Zarathustra, you may possibly guess to what system of diet it owes its life. The eye which,[Pg 116] owing to tremendous constraint, has become accustomed to see at a great distance,—Zarathustra is even more far-sighted than the Tsar,—is here forced to focus sharply that which is close at hand, the present time, the things that lie about him. In all the aphorisms and more particularly in the form of this book, the reader will find the same voluntary turning away from those instincts which made a Zarathustra a possible feat. Refinement in form, in aspiration, and in the art of keeping silent, are its more or less obvious qualities; psychology is handled with deliberate hardness and cruelty,—the whole book does not contain one single good-natured word.... All this sort of thing refreshes a man. Who can guess the kind of recreation that is necessary after such an expenditure of goodness as is to be found in Zarathustra? From a theological standpoint—now pay ye heed; for it is but on rare occasions that I speak as a theologian—it was God Himself who, at the end of His great work, coiled Himself up in the form of a serpent at the foot of the tree of knowledge. It was thus that He recovered from being a God.... He had made everything too beautiful.... The devil is simply God's moment of idleness, on that seventh day.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:55 pm


The three essays which constitute this genealogy are, as regards expression, aspiration, and the art[Pg 117] of the unexpected, perhaps the most curious things that have ever been written. Dionysus, as you know, is also the god of darkness. In each case the beginning is calculated to mystify; it is cool, scientific, even ironical, intentionally thrust to the fore, intentionally reticent. Gradually less calmness prevails; here and there a flash of lightning defines the horizon; exceedingly unpleasant truths break upon your ears from out remote distances with a dull, rumbling sound,—until very soon a fierce tempo is attained in which everything presses forward at a terrible degree of tension. At the end, in each case, amid fearful thunderclaps, a new truth shines out between thick clouds. The truth of the first essays the psychology of Christianity: the birth of Christianity out of the spirit of resentment, not, as is supposed, out of the "Spirit,"—in all its essentials, a counter-movement, the great insurrection against the dominion of noble values. The second essay contains the psychology of conscience: this is not, as you may believe, "the voice of God in man"; it is the instinct of cruelty, which turns inwards once it is unable to discharge itself outwardly. Cruelty is here exposed, for the first time, as one of the oldest and most indispensable elements in the foundation of culture. The third essay replies to the question as to the origin of the formidable power of the ascetic ideal, of the priest ideal, despite the fact that this ideal is essentially detrimental, that it is a will to nonentity and to decadence. Reply: it flourished not because God was active behind the priests, as is generally believed, but because it was[Pg 118] a faute de mieux—from the fact that hitherto it has been the only ideal and has had no competitors. "For man prefers to aspire to nonentity than not to aspire at all." But above all, until the time of Zarathustra there was no such thing as a counter-ideal. You have understood my meaning. Three decisive overtures on the part of a psychologist to a Transvaluation of all Values.—This book contains the first psychology of the priest.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:56 pm



This work—which covers scarcely one hundred and fifty pages, with its cheerful and fateful tone, like a laughing demon, and the production of which occupied so few days that I hesitate to give their number—is altogether an exception among books: there is no work more rich in substance, more independent, more upsetting—more wicked. If any one should desire to obtain a rapid sketch of how everything, before my time, was standing on its head, he should begin reading me in this book. That which is called "Idols" on the title page is simply the old truth that has been believed in hitherto. In plain English, The Twilight of the Idols means that the old truth is on its last legs.

[Pg 119]


There is no reality, no "ideality," which has not been touched in this book (touched! what a cautious euphemism!). Not only the eternal idols, but also the youngest—that is to say, the most senile: modern ideas, for instance. A strong wind blows between the trees and in all directions fall the fruit—the truths. There is the waste of an all-too-rich autumn in this book: you trip over truths. You even crush some to death, there are too many of them. Those things that you can grasp, however, are quite unquestionable; they are irrevocable decrees. I alone have the criterion of "truths" in my possession. I alone can decide. It would seem as if a second consciousness had grown up in me, as if the "life-will" in me had thrown a light upon the downward path along which it has been running throughout the ages. The downward path—hitherto this had been called the road to "Truth." All obscure impulse—"darkness and dismay"—is at an end, the "good man" was precisely he who was least aware of the proper way.[1] And, speaking in all earnestness, no one before me knew the proper way, the way upwards: only after my time could men once more find hope, life-tasks, and roads mapped out[Pg 120] that lead to culture—I am the joyful harbinger of this culture. ... On this account alone I am also a fatality.


Immediately after the completion of the above-named work, and without letting even one day go by, I tackled the formidable task of the Transvaluation with a supreme feeling of pride which nothing could equal; and, certain at each moment of my immortality, I cut sign after sign upon tablets of brass with the sureness of Fate. The Preface came into being on 3rd September 1888. When, after having written it down, I went out into the open that morning, I was greeted by the most beautiful day I had ever seen in the Upper Engadine—clear, glowing with colour, and presenting all the contrasts and all the intermediary gradations between ice and the south. I left Sils-Maria only on the 20th of September. I had been forced to delay my departure owing to floods, and I was very soon, and for some days, the only visitor in this wonderful spot, on which my gratitude bestows the gift of an immortal name. After a journey that was full of incidents, and not without danger to life,—as for instance at Como, which was flooded when I reached it in the dead of night,—I got to Turin on the afternoon of the 21 st. Turin is the only suitable place for me, and it shall be my home henceforward. I took the same lodgings as I had occupied in the spring, 6111 Via Carlo Alberto, opposite the mighty Palazzo Carignano, in which Vittorio Emanuele was born; and I had a view of the Piazza Carlo Alberto and[Pg 121] above it across to the hills. Without hesitating, or allowing myself to be disturbed for a single moment, I returned to my work, only the last quarter of which had still to be written. On the 30th September, tremendous triumph; the seventh day; the leisure of a god on the banks of the Po.[2] On the same day, I wrote the Preface to The Twilight of the Idols, the correction of the proofs of which provided me with recreation during the month of September. Never in my life have I experienced such an autumn; nor had I ever imagined that such things were possible on earth—a Claude Lorrain extended to infinity, each day equal to the last in its wild perfection.



[1]A witty reference to Goethe's well-known passage in the Prologue to Faust:—

"A good man, though in darkness and dismay,
May still be conscious of the proper way."

The words are spoken by the Lord.—TR.

[2]There is a wonderful promenade along the banks of the Po, for which Turin is famous, and of which Nietzsche was particularly fond.—TR.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:58 pm



In order to do justice to this essay a man ought to suffer from the fate of music as from an open wound.—From what do I suffer when I suffer from the fate of music? From the fact that music has lost its world-transfiguring, yea-saying character—that it is decadent music and no longer the flute of Dionysus. Supposing, however, that the fate of music be as dear to man as his own life, because joy and suffering are alike bound up with it; then he will find this pamphlet comparatively mild and[Pg 122] full of consideration. To be cheerful in such circumstances, and laugh good-naturedly with others at one's self,—ridendodicere severum[1] when the verum dicere would justify every sort of hardness,—is humanity itself. Who doubts that I, old artillery-man that I am, would be able if I liked to point my heavy guns at Wagner?—Everything decisive in this question I kept to myself—I have loved Wagner.—After all, an attack upon a more than usually subtle "unknown person" whom another would not have divined so easily, lies in the meaning and path of my life-task. Oh, I have still quite a number of other "unknown persons" to unmask besides a Cagliostro of Music! Above all, I have to direct an attack against the German people, who, in matters of the spirit, grow every day more indolent, poorer in instincts, and more honest who, with an appetite for which they are to be envied, continue to diet themselves on contradictions, and gulp down "Faith" in company with science, Christian love together with anti-Semitism, and the will to power (to the "Empire"), dished up with the gospel of the humble, without showing the slightest signs of indigestion. Fancy this absence of party-feeling in the presence of opposites! Fancy this gastric neutrality and "disinterestedness"! Behold this sense of justice in the German palate, which can grant equal rights to all,—which finds everything tasteful! Without a shadow of a doubt the Germans are idealists. When I was last in Germany, I found German taste striving to grant[Pg 123] Wagner and the Trumpeter of Sakkingen[2] equal rights; while I myself witnessed the attempts of the people of Leipzig to do honour to one of the most genuine and most German of musicians,—using German here in the old sense of the word,—a man who was no mere German of the Empire, the master Heinrich Schütz, by founding a Liszt Society, the object of which was to cultivate and spread artful (listige[3]) Church music. Without a shadow of doubt the Germans are idealists.


But here nothing shall stop me from being rude, and from telling the Germans one or two unpleasant home truths: who else would do it if I did not? I refer to their laxity in matters historical. Not only have the Germans entirely lost the breadth of vision which enables one to grasp the course of culture and the values of culture; not only are they one and all political (or Church) puppets; but they have also actually put a ban upon this very breadth of vision. A man must first and foremost be "German," he must belong to "the race"; then only can he pass judgment upon all values and lack of values in history—then only can he establish them.... To be German is in itself an argument, "Germany, Germany above all,"[4] is a principle; the Germans[Pg 124] stand for the "moral order of the universe" in history; compared with the Roman Empire, they are the up-holders of freedom; compared with the eighteenth century, they are the restorers of morality, of the "Categorical Imperative." There is such a thing as the writing of history according to the lights of Imperial Germany; there is, I fear, anti-Semitic history—there is also history written with an eye to the Court, and Herr von Treitschke is not ashamed of himself. Quite recently an idiotic opinion in historicis, an observation of Vischer the Swabian æsthete, since happily deceased, made the round of the German newspapers as a "truth" to which every German must assent The observation was this: "The Renaissance and the Reformation only together constitute a whole—the æsthetic rebirth, and the moral rebirth." When I listen to such things, I lose all patience, and I feel inclined, I even feel it my duty, to tell the Germans, for once in a way, all that they have on their conscience. Every great crime against culture for the last four centuries lies on their conscience.... And always for the same reason, always owing to their bottomless cowardice in the face of reality, which is also cowardice in the face of truth; always owing to the love of falsehood which has become almost instinctive in them—in short, "idealism." It was the Germans who caused Europe to lose the fruits, the whole meaning of her last period of greatness—the period of the Renaissance. At a moment when a higher order of values, values that were noble, that said yea to life, and that guaranteed a future, had succeeded in triumphing over the opposite values,[Pg 125] the values of degeneration, in the very seat of Christianity itself,—and even in the hearts of those sitting there,—Luther, that cursed monk, not only restored the Church, but, what was a thousand times worse, restored Christianity, and at a time too when it lay defeated. Christianity, the Denial of the Will to Live, exalted to a religion! Luther was an impossible monk who, thanks to his own "impossibility," attacked the Church, and in so doing restored it! Catholics would be perfectly justified in celebrating feasts in honour of Luther, and in producing festival plays[5] in his honour. Luther and the "rebirth of morality"! May all psychology go to the devil! Without a shadow of a doubt the Germans are idealists. On two occasions when, at the cost of enormous courage and self-control, an upright, unequivocal, and perfectly scientific attitude of mind had been attained, the Germans were able to discover back stairs leading down to the old "ideal" again, compromises between truth and the "ideal," and, in short, formulæ for the right to reject science and to perpetrate falsehoods. Leibniz and Kant—these two great breaks upon the intellectual honesty of Europe! Finally, at a moment when there appeared on the bridge that spanned two centuries of decadence, a superior force of genius and will which was strong enough to consolidate Europe and to convert it into a political and economic unit, with the object of ruling the world, the Germans, with their Wars of Independence, robbed Europe[Pg 126] of the significance—the marvellous significance, of Napoleon's life. And in so doing they laid on their conscience everything that followed, everything that exists to-day,—this sickliness and want of reason which is most opposed to culture, and which is called Nationalism,—this névrose nationale from which Europe is suffering acutely; this eternal subdivision of Europe into petty states, with politics on a municipal scale: they have robbed Europe itself of its significance, of its reason,—and have stuffed it into a cul-de-sac. Is there any one except me who knows the way out of this cul-de-sac? Does anyone except me know of an aspiration which would be great enough to bind the people of Europe once more together?


And after all, why should I not express my suspicions? In my case, too, the Germans will attempt to make a great fate give birth merely to a mouse. Up to the present they have compromised themselves with me; I doubt whether the future will improve them. Alas! how happy I should be to prove a false prophet in this matter! My natural readers and listeners are already Russians, Scandinavians, and Frenchmen—will they always be the same? In the history of knowledge, Germans are represented only by doubtful names, they have been able to produce only "unconscious" swindlers (this word applies to Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Hegel, and Schleiermacher, just as well as to Kant or Leibniz; they were all mere[Pg 127] Schleiermachers).[6] The Germans must not have the honour of seeing the first upright intellect in their history of intellects, that intellect in which truth ultimately got the better of the fraud of four thousand years, reckoned as one with the German intellect. "German intellect" is my foul air: I breathe with difficulty in the neighbourhood of this psychological uncleanliness that has now become instinctive—an uncleanliness which in every word and expression betrays a German. They have never undergone a seventeenth century of hard self-examination, as the French have,—a La Rochefoucauld, a Descartes, are a thousand times more upright than the very first among Germans,—the latter have not yet had any psychologists. But psychology is almost the standard of measurement for the cleanliness or uncleanliness of a race.... For if a man is not even clean, how can he be deep? The Germans are like women, you can scarcely ever I fathom their depths—they haven't any, and that's the end of it. Thus they cannot even be called shallow. That which is called "deep" in Germany, is precisely this instinctive uncleanliness towards one's self, of which I have just spoken: people refuse to be clear in regard to their own natures. Might I be allowed, perhaps, to suggest the word "German" as an international epithet denoting this psychological depravity?—At the moment of writing, for instance, the German Emperor is declaring it to be his Christian duty to liberate the slaves in Africa;[Pg 128] among us Europeans, then, this would be called simply "German." ... Have the Germans ever produced even a book that had depth? They are lacking in the mere idea of what constitutes a book. I have known scholars who thought that Kant was deep. At the Court of Prussia I fear that Herr von Treitschke is regarded as deep. And when I happen to praise Stendhal as a deep psychologist, I have often been compelled, in the company of German University Professors, to spell his name aloud.


And why should I not proceed to the end? I am fond of clearing the air. It is even part of my ambition to be considered as essentially a despiser of Germans. I expressed my suspicions of the German character even at the age of six-and-twenty (see Thoughts out of Season, vol. ii. pp. 164, 165),—to my mind the Germans are impossible. When I try to think of the kind of man who is opposed to me in all my instincts, my mental image takes the form of a German. The first thing I ask myself when I begin analysing a man, is, whether he has a feeling for distance in him; whether he sees rank, gradation, and order everywhere between man and man; whether he makes distinctions; for this is what constitutes a gentleman. Otherwise he belongs hopelessly to that open-hearted, open-minded—alas! and always very good-natured species, la canaille! But the Germans are canaille—alas! they are so good-natured! A man lowers himself by frequenting the society of Germans: the German places every one on an equal footing. With the[Pg 129] exception of my intercourse with one or two artists, and above all with Richard Wagner, I cannot say that I have spent one pleasant hour with Germans. Suppose, for one moment, that the profoundest spirit of all ages were to appear among Germans, then one of the saviours of the Capitol would be sure to arise and declare that his own ugly soul was just as great. I can no longer abide this race with which a man is always in bad company, which; has no idea of nuances—woe to me! I am a nuance—and which has not esprit in its feet, and cannot even walk withal! In short, the Germans have no feet at all, they simply have legs. The Germans have not the faintest idea of how vulgar they are—but this in itself is the acme of vulgarity,—they are not even ashamed of being merely Germans. They will have their say in everything, they regard themselves as fit to decide all questions; I even fear that they have decided about me. My whole life is essentially a proof of this remark. In vain have I sought among them for a sign of tact and delicacy towards myself. Among Jews I did indeed find it, but not among Germans. I am so constituted as to be gentle and kindly to every one,—I have the right not to draw distinctions,—but this does not prevent my eyes from being open. I except no one, and least of all my friends,—I only trust that this has not prejudiced my reputation for humanity among them? There are five or six things which I have always made points of honour. Albeit, the truth remains that for many years I have considered almost every letter that has reached me as a piece of cynicism. There is more cynicism in an attitude[Pg 130] of goodwill towards me than in any sort of hatred. I tell every friend to his face that he has never thought it worth his while to study any one of my writings: from the slightest hints I gather that they do not even know what lies hidden in my books. And with regard even to my Zarathustra, which of my friends would have seen more in it than a piece of unwarrantable, though fortunately harmless, arrogance? Ten years have elapsed, and no one has yet felt it a duty to his conscience to defend my name against the absurd silence beneath which it has been entombed. It was a foreigner, a Dane, who first showed sufficient keenness of instinct and of courage to do this, and who protested indignantly against my so-called friends. At what German University to-day would such lectures on my philosophy be possible, as those which Dr. Brandes delivered last spring in Copenhagen, thus proving once more his right to the title psychologist? For my part, these things have never caused me any pain; that which is necessary does not offend me. Amor fati is the core of my nature. This, however, does not alter the fact that I love irony and even world-historic irony. And thus, about two years before hurling the destructive thunderbolt of the Transvaluation,which will send the whole of civilisation into convulsions, I sent my Case of Wagner out into the world. The Germans were given the chance of blundering and immortalising their stupidity once more on my account, and they still have just enough time to do it in. And have they fallen in with my plans? Admirably! my dear Germans. Allow me to congratulate you.



[1]The motto of The Case of Wagner.—TR.

[2]An opera by Nessler which was all the rage in Germany twenty years ago.—TR.

[3]Unfortunately it is impossible to render this play on the words in English.—TR.

[4]The German National Song (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles).—TR.

[5]Ever since the year 1617 such plays have been produced by the Protestants of Germany.—TR.

[6]Schleiermacher literally means a weaver or maker of veils.—TR.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:00 pm



I know my destiny. There will come a day $ when my name will recall the memory of something formidable—a crisis the like of which has never been known on earth, the memory of the most profound clash of consciences, and the passing of a sentence upon all that which theretofore had been believed, exacted, and hallowed. I am not a man, I am dynamite. And with it all there is nought of the founder of a religion in me. Religions are matters for the mob; after coming in contact with a religious man, I always feel that I must wash my hands.... I require no "believers," it is my opinion that I am too full of malice to believe even in myself; I never address myself to masses. I am horribly frightened that one day I shall be pronounced "holy." You will understand why I publish this book beforehand—it is to prevent people from wronging me. I refuse to be a saint; I would rather be a clown. Maybe I am a clown. And I am notwithstanding, or rather not notwithstanding, the mouthpiece of truth; for nothing more blown-out with falsehood has ever existed, than a saint. But my truth is terrible: for hitherto lieshave been called truth. The Transvaluation of all Values, this is my formula for mankind's greatest step towards coming to its[Pg 132] senses—a step which in me became flesh and genius. My destiny ordained that I should be the first decent human being, and that I should feel myself opposed to the falsehood of millenniums. I was the first to discover truth, and for the simple reason that I was the first who became conscious of falsehood as falsehood—that is to say, I smelt it as such. My genius resides in my nostrils. I contradict as no one has contradicted hitherto, and am nevertheless the reverse of a negative spirit. I am the harbinger of joy, the like of which has never existed before; I have discovered tasks of such lofty greatness that, until my time, no one had any idea of such things. Mankind can begin to have fresh hopes, only now that I have lived. Thus, I am necessarily a man of Fate. For when Truth enters the lists against the falsehood of ages, shocks are bound to ensue, and a spell of earthquakes, followed by the transposition of hills and valleys, such as the world has never yet imagined even in its dreams. The concept "politics" then becomes elevated entirely to the sphere of spiritual warfare. All the mighty realms of the ancient order of society are blown into space—for they are all based on falsehood: there will be wars, the like of which have never been seen on earth before. Only from my time and after me will politics on a large scale exist on earth.


If you should require a formula for a destiny of this kind that has taken human form, you will find it in my Zarathustra.

[Pg 133]

"And he who would be a creator in good and evil—verily, he must first be a destroyer, and break values into pieces.

"Thus the greatest evil belongeth unto the greatest good: but this is the creative good."

I am by far the most terrible man that has ever existed; but this does not alter the fact that I shall become the most beneficent. I know the joy of annihilation to a degree which is commensurate with my power to annihilate. In both cases I obey my Dionysian nature, which knows not how to separate the negative deed from the saying of yea. I am the first immoralist, and in this sense I am essentially the annihilator.


People have never asked me as they should have done, what the name of Zarathustra precisely meant in my mouth, in the mouth of the first immoralist; for that which distinguishes this Persian from all others in the past is the very fact that he was the exact reverse of an immoralist. Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things. The translation of morality into the realm of metaphysics, as force, cause, end-in-itself, is his work. But the very question suggests its own answer. Zarathustra created this most portentous of all errors,—morality; therefore he must be the first to expose it. Not only because he has had longer and greater experience of the subject than any other thinker,—all history is indeed the experimental[Pg 134] refutation of the theory of the so-called moral order of things,—but because of the more important fact that Zarathustra was the most truthful of thinkers. In his teaching alone is truthfulness upheld as the highest virtue—that is to say, as the reverse of the cowardice of the "idealist" who takes to his heels at the sight of reality. Zarathustra has more pluck in his body than all other thinkers put together. To tell the truth and to aim straight: that is the first Persian virtue. Have I made myself clear? ... The overcoming of morality by itself, through truthfulness, the moralist's overcoming of himself in his opposite—in me—that is what the name Zarathustra means in my mouth.


In reality two negations are involved in my title Immoralist. I first of all deny the type of man that has hitherto been regarded as the highest—the good, the kind, and the charitable; and I also deny that kind of morality which has become recognised and paramount as morality-in-itself—I speak of the morality of decadence, or, to use a still cruder term, Christian morality. I would agree to the second of the two negations being regarded as the more decisive, for, reckoned as a whole, the overestimation of goodness and kindness seems to me already a consequence of decadence, a symptom of weakness, and incompatible with any ascending and yea-saying life. Negation and annihilation are inseparable from a yea-saying attitude towards life. Let me halt for a moment at the question of the[Pg 135] psychology of the good man. In order to appraise the value of a certain type of man, the cost of his maintenance must be calculated,—and the conditions of his existence must be known. The condition of the existence of the good is falsehood: or, otherwise expressed, the refusal at any price to see how reality is actually constituted. The refusal to see that this reality is not so constituted as always to be stimulating beneficent instincts, and still less, so as to suffer at all moments the intrusion of ignorant and good-natured hands. To consider distress of all kinds as an objection, as something which must be done away with, is the greatest nonsense on earth; generally speaking, it is nonsense of the most disastrous sort, fatal in its stupidity—almost as mad as the will to abolish bad weather, out of pity for the poor, so to speak. In the great economy of the whole universe, the terrors of reality (in the passions, in the desires, in the will to power) are incalculably more necessary than that form of petty happiness which is called "goodness"; it is even needful to practise leniency in order so much as to allow the latter a place at all, seeing that it is based upon a falsification of the instincts. I shall have an excellent opportunity of showing the incalculably calamitous consequences to the whole of history, of the credo of optimism, this monstrous offspring of the homines optimi. Zarathustra,[1] the first who recognised that the optimist is just as degenerate as the pessimist, though perhaps more[Pg 136] detrimental, says: "Good men never speak the truth. False shores and false harbours were ye taught by the good. In the lies of the good were ye born and bred. Through the good everything hath become false and crooked from the roots." Fortunately the world is not built merely upon those instincts which would secure to the good-natured herd animal his paltry happiness. To desire everybody to become a "good man," "a gregarious animal," "a blue-eyed, benevolent, beautiful soul," or—as Herbert Spencer wished—a creature of altruism, would mean robbing existence of its greatest character, castrating man, and reducing humanity to a sort of wretched Chinadom. And this some have tried to do! It is precisely this that men called morality. In this sense Zarathustra calls "the good," now "the last men," and anon "the beginning of the end"; and above all, he considers them as the most detrimental kind of men, because they secure their existence at the cost of Truth and at the cost of the Future.

"The good—they cannot create; they are ever the beginning of the end.

"They crucify him who writeth new values on new tables; they sacrifice unto themselves the future; they crucify the whole future of humanity!

"The good—they are ever the beginning of the end.

"And whatever harm the slanderers of the world may do, the harm of the good is the most calamitous of all harm."

[Pg 137]


Zarathustra, as the first psychologist of the good man, is perforce the friend of the evil man. When a degenerate kind of man has succeeded to the highest rank among the human species, his position must have been gained at the cost of the reverse type—at the cost of the strong man who is certain of life. When the gregarious animal stands in the glorious rays of the purest virtue, the exceptional man must be degraded to the rank of the evil. If falsehood insists at all costs on claiming the word "truth" for its own particular standpoint, the really truthful man must be sought out among the despised. Zarathustra allows of no doubt here; he says that it was precisely the knowledge of the good, of the "best," which inspired his absolute horror of men. And it was out of this feeling of repulsion that he grew the wings which allowed him to soar into remote futures. He does not conceal the fact that his type of man is one which is relatively superhuman—especially as opposed to the "good" man, and that the good and the just would regard his superman as the devil.

"Ye higher men, on whom my gaze now falls, this is the doubt that ye wake in my breast, and this is my secret laughter: methinks ye would call my Superman—the devil! So strange are ye in your souls to all that is great, that the Superman would be terrible in your eyes for his goodness."

It is from this passage, and from no other, that you must set out to understand the goal to which Zarathustra aspires—the kind of man that he[Pg 138] conceives sees reality as it is; he is strong enough for this—he is not estranged or far removed from it, he is that reality himself, in his own nature can be found all the terrible and questionable character of reality: only thus can man have greatness.


But I have chosen the title of Immoral is t as a surname and as a badge of honour in yet another sense; I am very proud to possess this name which distinguishes me from all the rest of mankind. No one hitherto has felt Christian morality beneath him; to that end there were needed height, a remoteness of vision, and an abysmal psychological depth, not believed to be possible hitherto. Up to the present Christian morality has been the Circe of all thinkers—they stood at her service. What man, before my time, had descended into the underground caverns from out of which the poisonous fumes of this ideal—of this slandering of the world—burst forth? What man had even dared to suppose that they were underground caverns? Was a single one of the philosophers who preceded me a psychologist at all, and not the very reverse of a psychologist—that is to say, a "superior swindler," an "Idealist"? Before my time there was no psychology. To be the first in this new realm may amount to a curse; at all events, it is a fatality: for one is also the first to despise. My danger is the loathing of mankind.

[Pg 139]


Have you understood me? That which defines me, that which makes me stand apart from the whole of the rest of humanity, is the fact that I unmasked Christian morality. For this reason I was in need of a word which conveyed the idea of a challenge to everybody. Not to have awakened to these discoveries before, struck me as being the sign of the greatest uncleanliness that mankind has on its conscience, as self-deception become instinctive, as the fundamental will to be blind to every phenomenon, all causality and all reality; in fact, as an almost criminal fraud in psychologicis. Blindness in regard to Christianity is the essence of criminality—for it is the crime against life. Ages and peoples, the first as well as the last, philosophers and old women, with the exception of five or six moments in history (and of myself, the seventh), are all alike in this. Hitherto the Christian has been the "moral being," a peerless oddity, and, as "a moral being," he was more absurd, more vain, more thoughtless, and a greater disadvantage to himself, than the greatest despiser of humanity could have deemed possible. Christian morality is the most malignant form of all false too the actual Circe of humanity: that which has corrupted mankind. It is not error as error which infuriates me at the sight of this spectacle; it is not the millenniums of absence of "goodwill," of discipline, of decency, and of bravery in spiritual things, which betrays itself in the triumph of Christianity; it is rather the absence of nature, it is the perfectly[Pg 140] ghastly fact that anti-nature itself received the highest honours as morality and as law, and remained suspended over man as the Categorical Imperative. Fancy blundering in this way, not as an individual, not as a people, but as a whole species! as humanity! To teach the contempt of all the principal instincts of life; to posit falsely the existence of a "soul," of a "spirit," in order to be able to defy the body; to spread the feeling that there is something impure in the very first prerequisite of life—in sex; to seek the principle of evil in the profound need of growth and expansion—that is to say, in severe self-love (the term itself is slanderous); and conversely to see a higher moral value—but what am I talking about?—I mean the moral value per se, in the typical signs of decline, in the antagonism of the instincts, in "selflessness," in the loss of ballast, in "the suppression of the personal element," and in "love of one's neighbour" (neighbouritis!). What! is humanity itself in a state of degeneration? Has it always been in this state? One thing is certain, that ye are taught only the values of decadence as the highest values. The morality of self-renunciation is essentially the morality of degeneration; the fact, "I am going to the dogs," is translated into the imperative," Ye shall all go to the dogs"—and not only into the imperative. This morality of self-renunciation, which is the only kind of morality that has been taught hitherto, betrays the will to nonentity—it denies life to the very roots. There still remains the possibility that it is not mankind that is in a state of degeneration, but only that parasitical kind of man—the priest,[Pg 141] who, by means of morality and lies, has climbed up to his position of determinator of values, who divined in Christian morality his road to power. And, to tell the truth, this is my opinion. The teachers and I leaders of mankind—including the theologians—have been, every one of them, decadents: hence their) transvaluation of all values into a hostility towards; life; hence morality. The definition of morality;Morality is the idiosyncrasy of decadents, actuated by a desire to avenge themselves with success upon life. I attach great value to this definition.


Have you understood me? I have not uttered a single word which I had not already said five years ago through my mouthpiece Zarathustra. The unmasking of Christian morality is an event which unequalled in history, it is a real catastrophe. The man who throws light upon it is a force majeure, a fatality; he breaks the history of man into two. Time is reckoned up before him and after him. The lightning flash of truth struck precisely that which theretofore had stood highest: he who understands what was destroyed by that flash should look to see whether he still holds anything in his hands. Everything which until then was called truth, has been revealed as the most detrimental, most spiteful, and most subterranean form of life; the holy pretext, which was the "improvement" of man, has been recognised as a ruse for draining life of its energy and of its blood. Morality conceived as Vampirism.... The man who[Pg 142] unmasks morality has also unmasked the worthlessness of the values in which men either believe or have believed; he no longer sees anything to be revered in the most venerable man—even in the types of men that have been pronounced holy; all he can see in them is the most fatal kind of abortions, fatal, because they fascinate. The concept "God" was invented as the opposite of the concept life—everything detrimental, poisonous, and slanderous, and all deadly hostility to life, wad bound together in one horrible unit in Him. The concepts "beyond" and "true world" were invented in order to depreciate the only world that exists—in order that no goal or aim, no sense or task, might be left to earthly reality. The concepts "soul," "spirit," and last of all the concept "immortal soul," were invented in order to throw contempt on the body, in order to make it sick and "holy," in order to cultivate an attitude of appalling levity towards all things in life which deserve to be treated seriously, i.e. the questions of nutrition and habitation, of intellectual diet, the treatment of the sick, cleanliness, and weather. Instead of health, we find the "salvation of the soul"—that is to say, a folie circulate fluctuating between convulsions and penitence and the hysteria of redemption. The concept "sin," together with the torture instrument appertaining to it, which is the concept "free will," was invented in order to confuse and muddle our instincts, and to render the mistrust of them man's second nature! In the concepts "disinterestedness" and "self-denial," the actual signs of decadence are to be found. The allurement of that[Pg 143] which is detrimental, the inability to discover one's own advantage and self-destruction, are made into absolute qualities, into the "duty," the "holiness," and the "divinity" of man. Finally—to keep the worst to the last—by the notion of the good man, all that is favoured which is weak, ill, botched, and sick-in-itself, which ought to be wiped out. The law of selection is thwarted, an ideal is made out of opposition to the proud, well-constituted man, to him who says yea to life, to him who is certain of the future, and who guarantees the future—this man is henceforth called the evil one. And all this was believed in as morality!—Ecrasez l'infâme!


Have you understood me? Dionysus versus Christ.



[1]Needless to say this is Nietzsche, and no longer the Persian.—TR.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:01 pm


The editor begs to state that, contrary to his announcement in the Editorial Note to The Joyful Wisdom, in which he declared his intention of publishing all of Nietzsche's poetry, he has nevertheless withheld certain less important verses from publication. This alteration in his plans is due to his belief that it is an injustice and an indiscretion on the part of posterity to surprise an author, as it were, in his négligé, or, in plain English, "in his shirt-sleeves." Authors generally are very sensitive on this point, and rightly so: a visit behind the scenes is not precisely to the advantage of the theatre, and even finished pictures not yet framed are not readily shown by the careful artist. As the German edition, however, contains nearly all that Nietzsche left behind, either in small notebooks or on scraps of paper, the editor could not well suppress everything that was not prepared for publication by Nietzsche himself, more particularly as some of the verses are really very remarkable. He has, therefore, made a very plentiful selection from the Songs and Epigrams, nearly all of which are to be found translated here, and from the Fragments of the Dionysus Dithyrambs, of which over half have been given. All the complete Dionysus Dithyrambs[Pg 146] appear in this volume, save those which are duplicates of verses already translated in the Fourth Part of Zarathustra. These Dionysus Dithyrambs were prepared ready for press by Nietzsche himself. He wrote the final manuscript during the summer of 1888 in Sils Maria; their actual composition, however, belongs to an earlier date.

All the verses, unless otherwise stated, have been translated by Mr. Paul Victor Cohn.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:08 pm




O Melancholy, be not wroth with me
That I this pen should point to praise thee only,
And in thy praise, with head bowed to the knee,
Squat like a hermit on a tree-stump lonely.
Thus oft thou saw'st me,—yesterday, at least,—
Full in the morning sun and its hot beaming,
While, visioning the carrion of his feast,
The hungry vulture valleyward flew screaming.

Yet didst thou err, foul bird, albeit I,
So like a mummy 'gainst my log lay leaning!
Thou couldst not see these eyes whose ecstasy
Rolled hither, thither, proud and overweening.
What though they did not soar unto thine height,
or reached those far-off, cloud-reared precipices,
For that they sank the deeper so they might
Within themselves light Destiny's abysses.

Thus oft in sullenness perverse and free,
Bent hideous like a savage at his altar,
There, Melancholy, held I thought of thee,
[Pg 150]A penitent, though youthful, with his psalter.

So crouched did I enjoy the vulture's span,
The thunder of the avalanche's paces,
Thou spakest to me—nor wast false like man,
Thou spakest, but with stern and dreadful faces.

Harsh goddess thou of Nature wild and stark,
Mistress, that com'st with threats to daunt and quell me,
To point me out the vulture's airy are
And laughing avalanches, to repel me.
Around us gnashing pants the lust to kill,
The torment to win life in all its changes;
Alluring on some cliff, abrupt and chill,
Some flower craves the butterfly that ranges.

All this am I—shuddering I feel it all—
O butterfly beguiled, O lonely flower,
The vulture and the ice-pent waterfall,
The moaning storm—all symbols of thy power,—
Thou goddess grim before whom deeply bowed,
With head on knee, my lips with pæans bursting,
I lift a dreadful song and cry aloud
For Life, for Life, for Life—forever thirsting!

O vengeful goddess, be not wroth, I ask,
That I to mesh thee in my rhymes have striven.
He trembles who beholds thine awful mask;
He quails to whom thy dread right hand is given.
Song upon trembling song by starts and fits
I chant, in rhythm all my thought unfolding,
The black ink flows, the pointed goose-quill spits,
O goddess, goddess—leave me to my scolding!

[Pg 151]


To-day in misty veils thou hangest dimly,
Gloomy goddess, o'er my window-pane.
Grimly whirl the pallid snow-flakes, grimly
Roars the swollen brook unto the plain.

Ah, by light of haggard levins glaring,
'Neath the untamed thunder's roar and roll,
'Midst the valley's murk wast thou preparing—
Sorceress! thy dank and poisoned bowl.

Shuddering, I heard through midnight breaking
Raptures of thy voice—and howls of pain.
Saw thy bright orbs gleam, thy right hand shaking
With the mace of thunder hurled amain.

Near my dreary couch I heard the crashes
Of thine armoured steps, heard weapons slam,
Heard thy brazen chain strike 'gainst the sashes,
And thy voice: "Come! hearken who I am!

The immortal Amazon they call me;
All things weak and womanish I shun;
Manly scorn and hate in war enthral me;
Victress I and tigress all in one!

Where I tread there corpses fall before me;
From mine eyes the furious torches fly,
And my brain thinks poisons. Bend, adore me!
Worm of Earth and Will o' Wisp—or die!"

[Pg 152]


(Two Fragments)


Goddess Friendship, deign to hear the song
That we sing in friendship's honour!
Where the eye of friendship glances,
Filled with all the joy of friendship
Come thou nigh to aid me,
Rosy dawn in thy gaze and
In holy hand the faithful pledge of youth eternal.


Morning's past: the sun of noonday
Scorches with hot ray our heads.
Let us sit beneath the arbour
Singing songs in praise of friendship.
Friendship was our life's red dawning,
And its sunset red shall be.


All through the night a wanderer walks
Sturdy of stride,
With winding vale and sloping height
E'er at his side.
Fair is the night:
On, on he strides, nor slackens speed,
[Pg 153]And knows not where his path will lead.

A bird's song in the night is heard,
"Ah me, what hast thou done, O bird,
How dost thou grip my sense and feet
And pourest heart-vexation sweet
Into mine ear—I must remain,
To hearken fain:
Why lure me with inviting strain?"

The good bird speaks, staying his song:
"I lure not thee,—no, thou art wrong—
With these my trills
I lure my mate from off the hills—
Nor heed thy plight.
To me alone the night's not fair.
What's that to thee? Forth must thou fare,
On, onward ever, resting ne'er.

Why stand'st thou now?
What has my piping done to thee,
Thou roaming wight?"
The good bird pondered, silent quite,
"Why doth my piping change his plight?
Why stands he now,
That luckless, luckless, roaming wight?"


At noontide hour, when first,
Into the mountains Summer treads,
Summer, the boy with eyes so hot and weary,
Then too he speaks,
[Pg 154]Yet we can only see his speech.

His breath is panting, like the sick man's breath
On fevered couch.
The glacier and the fir tree and the spring
Answer his call
—Yet we their answer only see.
For faster from the rock leaps down
The torrent stream, as though to greet,
And stands, like a white column trembling,
All yearning there.
And darker yet and truer looks the fir-tree
Than e'er before.
And 'twixt the ice-mass and the cold grey stone
A sudden light breaks forth—
Such light I once beheld, and marked the sign.

Even the dead man's eye
Surely once more grows light,
When, sorrowful, his child
Gives him embrace and kiss:
Surely once more the flame of light
Wells out, and glowing into life
The dead eye speaks: "My child!
Ah child, you know I love you true!"

So all things glow and speak—the glacier speaks,
The brook, the fir,
Speak with their glance the selfsame words:
We love you true,
[Pg 155]Ah, child, you know we love you, love you true!

And he,
Summer, the boy with eyes so hot and weary,
Woe-worn, gives kisses
More ardent ever,
And will not go:
But like to veils he blows his words
From out his lips,
His cruel words:
"My greeting's parting,
My coming going,
In youth I die."

All round they hearken
And scarcely breathe
(No songster sings),
And shuddering run
Like gleaming ray
Over the mountain;
All round they ponder,—
Nor speak—

Twas at the noon,
At noontide hour, when first
Into the mountains Summer treads,
Summer, the boy with eyes so hot and weary.


'Tis Autumn:—Autumn yet shall break thy heart!
Fly away! fly away!—
The sun creeps 'gainst the hill
And climbs and climbs
[Pg 156]And rests at every step.

How faded grew the world!
On weary, slackened strings the wind
Playeth his tune.
Fair Hope fled far—
He waileth after.

'Tis Autumn:—Autumn yet shall break thy heart!
Fly away! fly away!
O fruit of the tree,
Thou tremblest, fallest?
What secret whispered unto thee
The Night,
That icy shudders deck thy cheek,
Thy cheek of purple hue?

Silent art thou, nor dost reply—
Who speaketh still?—

'Tis Autumn:—Autumn yet shall break thy heart!
Fly away! fly away!—
"I am not fair,"—
So speaks the lone star-flower,—
"Yet men I love
And comfort men—
Many flowers shall they behold,
And stoop to me,
And break me, ah!—
So that within their eyes shall gleam
Remembrance swift,
Remembrance of far fairer things than I:—
I see it—see it—and I perish so."

'Tis Autumn:—Autumn yet shall break thy heart!
Fly away! fly away!

[Pg 157]


Maiden, in gentle wise
You stroke your lamb's soft fleece,
Yet flashing from your eyes
Both light and flame ne'er cease.
Creature of merry jest
And favourite near and far,
Pious with kindness blest,

What broke so soon the chain,
What does your heart deplore?
And who, pray, would not fain,
If you loved him, adore?—
You're mute, but from your eye,
The tear-drop is not far,
You're mute: you'll yearn and die,


"Little Angel" call they me!—
Now a ship, but once a girl,
Ah, and still too much a girl!
My steering-wheel, so bright to see,
[Pg 158]But for sake of love doth whirl.

"Little Angel" call they me,
With hundred flags to ornament,
A captain smart, on glory bent,
Steers me, puffed with vanity
(He himself's an ornament).

"Little Angel" call they me,
And where'er a little flame
Gleams for me, I, like a lamb,
Go my journey eagerly
(I was always such a lamb!).

"Little Angel" call they me—
Think you I can bark and whine
Like a dog, this mouth of mine
Throwing smoke and flame full free?
Ah, a devil's mouth is mine.

"Little Angel" call they me—
Once I spoke a bitter word,
That my lover, when he heard,
Fast and far away did flee:
Yes, I killed him with that word!

"Little Angel" call they me:
Hardly heard, I sprang so glib
From the cliff and broke a rib:
From my frame my soul went free,
Yes, escaped me through that rib.

"Little Angel" call they me—
Then my soul, like cat in flight
Straight did on this ship alight
Swiftly bounding—one, two, three!
[Pg 159]Yes, its claws are swift to smite.

"Little Angel" call they me!—
Now a ship, but once a girl,
Ah, and still too much a girl!
My steering-wheel, so bright to see,
For sake of love alone doth whirl.


Yesterday with seventeen years
Wisdom reached I, a maiden fair,
I am grey-haired, it appears,
Now in all things—save my hair.

Yesterday, I had a thought,
Was't a thought?—you laugh and scorn!
Did you ever have a thought?
Rather was a feeling born.

Dare a woman think? This screed
Wisdom long ago begot:
"Follow woman must, not lead;
If she thinks, she follows not."

Wisdom speaks—I credit naught:
Rather hops and stings like flea:
"Woman seldom harbours thought;
If she thinks, no good is she!"

To this wisdom, old, renowned,
Bow I in deep reverence:
Now my wisdom I'll expound
[Pg 160]In its very quintessence.

A voice spoke in me yesterday
As ever—listen if you can:
"Woman is more beauteous aye,
But more interesting—man!"


Cave where the dead ones rest,
O marble falsehood, thee
I love: for easy jest
My soul thou settest free.

To-day, to-day alone,
My soul to tears is stirred,
At thee, the pictured stone,
At thee, the graven word.

This picture (none need wis)
I kissed the other day.
When there's so much to kiss
Why did I kiss the—clay?

Who knows the reason why?
"A tombstone fool!" you laugh:
I kissed—I'll not deny—
E'en the long epitaph.


Hail to thee, Friendship!
My hope consummate,
My first red daybreak!
[Pg 161]Alas, so endless
Oft path and night seemed,
And life's long road
Aimless and hateful!
Now life I'd double
In thine eyes seeing
Dawn-glory, triumph,
Most gracious goddess!


O'er man and beast I grew so high,
And speak—but none will give reply.

Too lone and tall my crest did soar:
I wait: what am I waiting for?

The clouds are grown too nigh of late,
'Tis the first lightning I await.


Why did ye, blockheads, me awaken
While I in blissful blindness stood?
Ne'er I by fear more fell was shaken—
Vanished my golden dreaming mood.

Bear-elephants, with trunks all greedy,
Knock first! Where have your manners fled?
I threw—and fear has made me speedy—
[Pg 162]Dishes of ripe fruit—at your head.


(After a Gipsy Proverb)

Here the gallows, there the cord,
And the hangman's ruddy beard.
Round, the venom-glancing horde:—
Nothing new to me's appeared.
Many times I've seen the sight,
Now laughing in your face I cry,
"Hanging me is useless quite:
Die? Nay, nay, I cannot die!"

Beggars all! Ye envy me
Winning what ye never won!
True, I suffer agony,
But for you—your life is done.
Many times I've faced death's plight,
Yet steam and light and breath am I.
Hanging me is useless quite:
Die? Nay, nay, I cannot die!


"Dearest," said Columbus, "never
Trust a Genoese again.
At the blue he gazes ever,
Distance doth his soul enchain.

Strangeness is to me too dear—
Genoa has sunk and passed—
Heart, be cool! Hand, firmly steer!
[Pg 163]Sea before me: land—at last?

Firmly let us plant our feet,
Ne'er can we give up this game—
From the distance what doth greet?
One death, one happiness, one fame.


The cawing crows
Townwards on whirring pinions roam;
Soon come the snows—
Thrice happy now who hath a home!

Fast-rooted there,
Thou gazest backwards—oh, how long!
Thou fool, why dare
Ere winter come, this world of wrong?

This world—a gate
To myriad deserts dumb and hoar!
Who lost through fate
What thou hast lost, shall rest no more.

Now stand'st thou pale,
A frozen pilgrimage thy doom,
Like smoke whose trail
Cold and still colder skies consume.

Fly, bird, and screech,
Like desert-fowl, thy song apart!
Hide out of reach,
Fool! in grim ice thy bleeding heart.

Firmly let us plant our feet,
Ne'er can we give up this game—
From the distance what doth greet?
[Pg 164]One death, one happiness, one fame.

The cawing crows
Townwards on whirring pinions roam:
Soon come the snows—
Woe unto him who hath no home!

My Answer

The man presumes—
Good Lord!—to think that I'd return
To those warm rooms
Where snug the German ovens burn

My friend, you see
'Tis but thy folly drives me far,—
Pity for thee
And all that German blockheads are!


ON the bridge I stood,
Mellow was the night,
Music came from far—
Drops of gold outpoured
On the shimmering waves.
Song, gondolas, light,
Floated a-twinkling out into the dusk.

The chords of my soul, moved
By unseen impulse, throbbed
Secretly into a gondola song,
With thrills of bright-hued ecstasy.
Had I a listener there?[Pg 165]



[1]Translated by Herman Scheffauer.

[2]Translated by Herman Scheffauer.

[3]This poem was written on the betrothal of one of Nietzsche's Bâle friends.—TR.

[4]Translated by Herman Scheffauer.

[5]Campo Santo di Staglieno is the cemetery of Staglieno, near Genoa. The poem was inspired by the sight of a girl with a lamb on the tombstone, with the words underneath— "Pia, caritatevole, amorosissima."

[6]Published by Nietzsche himself. The poem was inspired by a ship that was christened Angiolina, in memory of a love-sick girl who leapt into the sea.—TR.

[7]See above, p. 157. Both poems were inspired by the same tombstone.—TR.

[8]The Genoese is Nietzsche himself, who lived a great part of his life at Genoa.—TR.

[9]Translated by Herman Scheffauer.
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Re: Ecce Homo (Nietzsche's Autobiography), by Friedrich Niet

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:11 pm



He who cannot laugh at this had better not start reading;

For if he read and do not laugh, physic he'll be needing!


With jesters it is good to jest:
Who likes to tickle, is tickled best.


I dearly love the living word,
That flies to you like a merry bird,
Ready with pleasant nod to greet,
E'en in misfortune welcome, sweet,
Yet it has blood, can pant you deep:
Then to the dove's ear it will creep:
And curl itself, or start for flight—
Whate'er it does, it brings delight.

Yet tender doth the word remain,
[Pg 166]Soon it is ill, soon well again:
So if its little life you'd spare,
O grasp it lightly and with care,
Nor heavy hand upon it lay,
For e'en a cruel glance would slay!
There it would lie, unsouled, poor thing!
All stark, all formless, and all cold,
Its little body changed and battered,
By death and dying rudely shattered.

A dead word is a hateful thing,
A barren, rattling, ting-ting-ting.
A curse on ugly trades I cry
That doom all little words to die!


A Book

You'll ne'er go on nor yet go back?
Is e'en for chamois here no track?

So here I wait and firmly clasp
What eye and hand will let me grasp!

Five-foot-broad ledge, red morning's breath,
And under me—world, man, and death!


This is no book—for such, who looks?
Coffins and shrouds, naught else, are books!
What's dead and gone they make their prey,
[Pg 167]Yet in my book lives fresh To-day.

This is no book—for such, who looks?
Who cares for coffins, shrouds, and spooks?
This is a promise, an act of will,
A last bridge-breaking, for good or ill;
A wind from sea, an anchor light,
A whirr of wheels, a steering right.
The cannon roars, white smokes its flame,
The sea—the monster—laughs and scents its game.


He who has much to tell, keeps much
Silent and unavowed.
He who with lightning-flash would touch
Must long remain a cloud!


Is this your Book of Sacred Lore,
For blessing, cursing, and such uses?—
Come, come now: at the very door
God some one else's wife seduces?


"O Peuple des meillures Tartuffes,
To you I'm true, I wis."
He spoke, but in the swiftest skiff
[Pg 168]Went to Cosmopolis.


A fool this honest Britisher
Was not ... But a Philosopher!
As that you really rate him?
Set Darwin up by Goethe's side?
But majesty you thus deride—
Genii majestatem!


(Toast Question of a Water-Drinker)

What you have builded, yonder inn,
O'ertops all houses high:
The posset you have brewed therein
The world will ne'er drink dry.
The bird that once appeared on earth
As phœnix, is your, guest.
The mouse that gave a mountain birth
Is you yourself confessed!
You're all and naught, you're inn and wine,
You're phœnix, mountain, mouse.
Back to yourself to come you pine
Or fly from out your house.
Downward from every height you've sunk,
And in the depths still shine:
The drunkenness of all the drunk,
[Pg 169]Why do you ask for—wine?


Of "All in One" a fervent devotee
Amore Dei, of reasoned piety,
Doff shoes! A land thrice holy this must be!—
Yet underneath this love there sate
A torch of vengeance, burning secretly
The Hebrew God was gnawed by Hebrew hate.
Hermit! Do I aright interpret thee?


That which he taught, has had its day,
That which he lived, shall live for aye:
Look at the man! No bondsman he!
Nor e'er to mortal bowed his knee!


O You who chafe at every fetter's link,
A restless spirit, never free:
Who, though victorious aye, in bonds still cowered,
Disgusted more and more, and flayed and scoured,
Till from each cup of balm you poison drink,
Alas! and by the Cross all helpless sink,
You too, you too, among the overpowered!

For long I watched this play so weirdly shaped,
Breathing an air of prison, vault, and dread,
With churchly fragrance, clouds of incense spread,
And yet I found all strange/in terror gaped.
But now I throw my fool's cap o'er my head,
[Pg 170]For I escaped!


All that my eagle e'er saw clear,
I see and feel in heart to-day
(Although my hope was wan and gray)
Thy song like arrow pierced mine ear,
A balm to touch, a balm to hear,
As down from heaven it winged its way.

So now for lands of southern fire
To happy isles where Grecian nymphs hold sport!
Thither now turn the ship's desire—
No ship e'er sped to fairer port.


A riddle here—can you the answer scent?
"When man discovers, woman must invent."——


You stole, your eye's not clear to-day.
You only stole a thought, sir? nay,
Why be so rudely modest, pray?
Here, take another handful—stay,
Take all I have, you swine—you may
Eat till your filth is purged away.


Be of good cheer,
Friend Yorick! If this thought gives pain,
[Pg 171]As now it does, I fear,
Is it not "God"? And though in error lain,
'Tis but your own dear child,
Your flesh and blood,
That tortures you and gives you pain,
Your little rogue and do-no-good,
See if the rod will change its mood!

In brief, friend Yorick, leave that drear
Philosophy—and let me now
Whisper one word as medicine,
My own prescription, in your ear,
My remedy against such spleen—
"Who loves his God, chastises him, I ween,"


I should be wise to suit my mood,
Not at the beck of other men:
God made as stupid as he could
The world—well, let me praise him then.

And if I make not straight my track,
But, far as may be, wind and bend,
That's how the sage begins his tack,
And that is how the fool will—end.

* * * * *

The world stands never still,
Night loves the glowing day—
Sweet sounds to ear "I will!"
[Pg 172]And sweeter still "I may!"


Addressing me most bashfully,
A woman to-day said this:
"What would you be like in ecstasy,
If sober you feel such bliss?"


Laughter is a serious art.
I would do it better daily.
Did I well to-day or no?
Came the spark right from the heart?
Little use though head wag gaily,
If the heart contain no glow.



[1] Translated by Francis Bickley.

[2] On the title-page of a copy of Joyful Wisdom, dedicated to Herr August Bungal.—TR.

[3] Translated by Francis Bickley.

[4] Translated by Francis Bickley.

[5] Probably written for Peter Gast, Nietzsche's faithful friend, and a musician whose "Southern" music Nietzsche admired.—TR.

[6] Translated by Francis Bickley.
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