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Full text of "The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche (Vol. 17) - Ecce Homo"

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llMFOMD°WIVERSHY°UBRARY 



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V 



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THE COMPLETE WORKS 

OF 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 

The First Complete and Authorised English Translation ; 

EDITED BY 

Dr. OSCAR LEVY 



VOLUME SEVENTEEN 



ECCE HOMO 



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t/677U 

Of the First Edition of 

Two Thousand Copies 

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FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 



ECCE HOMO 



( NIETZSCHE S AUTOBIOGRAPHY) 



TRANSLATED BY 

ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI 

POETRY RENDERED BY 

PAUL V. COHN FRANCIS BICKLEY 

HERMAN SCHEFFAUER Dr. G. T. WRENCH 

HYMN TO LIFE (composed by F. NIETZSCHE) 



NEW YORK 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

191 1 



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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



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Printed by Morrison & Gibb Limitep, Edinburgh 



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FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 

REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF 
THE SCULPTOR 

PROFESSOR KARL DONNDORF in STUTTGART 



'N 



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CONTENTS 



Translator's Introduction 

Author's Preface - 

Why I am so Wise - 

Why I am so Clever 

Why I Write such Excellent Books 

The Birth of Tragedy - 

Thoughts out of Season 

Human, A 11- too- Human 

The Dawn of Day 

Joyful Wisdom - 

Thus spake Zarathustra 

Beyond Good and Evil - 

The Genealogy of Morals 

The Twilight of the Idols 

The Case of Wagner - 
Why I am a Fatality 



PAGE 

vii 
I 

9 
28 

55 
68 

75 
82 

9i 
95 
96 

114 
116 
118 
121 

131 



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vi CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Editorial Note to Poetry - - - 145 

Poetry— 

Songs, Epigrams, etc. - 147 

Dionysus-Dithyrambs - - - 173 

Fragments of Dionysus-Dithyrambs - - 191 

Hymn to Life, composed by F. Nietzsche - 209 



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TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION 

Ecce Homo is the last prose work that Nietzsche 
wrote. It is true that the pamphlet Nietzsche contra 
Wagner was prepared a month later than the Auto- 
biography ; but we cannot consider this pamphlet as 
anything more than a compilation, seeing that it con- 
sists entirely of aphorisms drawn from such previous 
works as Joyful Wisdom, Beyond Good and Evil, The 
Genealogy of Morals, etc. Coming at the end of a year 
in which he had produced the Case of Wagner, The 
Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist, Ecce Homo 
is not only a coping-stone worthy of the wonderful 
creations of that year, but also a fitting conclusion to 
his whole life, in the form of a grand summing up of 
his character as a man, his purpose as a reformer, and * 
his achievement as a thinker. As if half conscious of 
his approaching spiritual end, Nietzsche here bids his 
friends farewell, just in the manner in which, in the 
Twilight of the Idols (Aph. 36, Part ix.), he declares 
that every one should be able totake leave of his circle 
of relatives and intimates when his time seems to have 
come — that is to say, while he is still himself while he 
still knows what he is about, and is able to measure his 
own life and life in general, and speak of both in a * 
manner which is not vouchsafed to the groaning in- 
valid, to the man lying on his back, decrepit and ex- 



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viii TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION 

hausted, or to the moribund victim of some wasting 
disease. Nietzsche's spiritual death, like his whole 
life, was in singular harmony with his doctrine : he 
died suddenly and proudly, — sword in hand. War, 
which he — and he alone among all the philosophers 
of Christendom — had praised so whole-heartedly, at 
last struck him down in the full vigour of his man- 
hood, and left him a victim on the battlefield — the 
terrible battlefield of thought, on which there is no 
quarter, and for which no Geneva Convention has yet 
been established or even thought of. 

To those who know Nietzsche's life-work, no apol- 
ogy will be needed for the form and content of this 
wonderful work. They will know, at least, that a man 
either is, or is not, aware of his significance and of the 
significance of what he has accomplished, and that if 
he is aware of it, then self-realisation, even of the kind 
which we find in these pages, is neither morbid nor 
suspicious, but necessary and inevitable. Such chap- 
ter headings as " Why I am so Wise," " Why I am a 
Fatality," " Why I write such Excellent Books,"— 
however much they may have disturbed the equan- 
imity, and "objectivity" in particular, of certain 
Nietzsche biographers, can be regarded as patho- 
logical only i n a democratic age in which people ha ve 
lost all sense of gradj J^QjRjnfl T an ^j and in which the 
} virtues of modesty and humility have to be preached 
far and wide as a corrective against the vulgar pre- 
tensions of thousands of wretched nobodies. For 
little people can be endured only as modest citizeps 
or humble Christians. If, however, they demand a 
like modesty on the part of the truly great ; if they 
raise their voices against Nietzsche's lack of the very 



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TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION ix 

virtue they so abundantly possess or pretend to pos- 
sess, it is time to remind them of Goethe's famous re- 
mark: "Nur Lumpe sind bescheiden " (Only nobodies 
are ever modest). 

It took Nietzsche barely three weeks to write this 
story of his life. Begun on the 1 5 th of October 1 888, 
his four-and-fourtieth birthday, it was finished on the 
4th of November of the same year, and, but for a few 
trifling modifications and additions, is just as Nietz- 
sche left it. It was not published in Germany until 
the year 1908, eight years after Nietzsche's death. In 
a letter dated the 27th of December 1888, addressed 
to the musical composer Fuchs, the author declares 
the object of the work to be to dispose of all discus- 
sion, doubt, and inquiry concerning his own person- 
ality, in order to leave the public mind free to consider 
merely " the things for the sake of which he existed " 
(" die Dinge> derentwegen ich da bin "). And, true to 
his intention, Nietzsche's honesty in these pages is 
certainly one of the most remarkable features about 
them. From the first chapter, in which he frankly ac- 
knowledges the decadent elements within him, to the 
last page, whereon he characterises his mission, his 
life-task, and his achievement, by means of the one 
symbol , Dionysus versus Christ,— -everything comes 
straight irom the shoulder, without hesitation, without 
fear of consequences, and, above all, without conceal- 
ment. Only in one place does he appear to conceal 
something, and then he actually leads one to under- 
stand that he is doing so. It is in regard to Wagner, 
the greatest friend of his life. " Who doubts," he 
says, " that I, old artillery-man that I am, would be 
able if I liked to point my heavy guns at Wagner ? " 



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x TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION 

— But he adds : " Everything decisive in thisquestion 
I kept to myself— I have loved Wagner" (p. 122). 

To point, as many have done, to the proximity of 
all Nietzsche's autumn work of the year 1888 to his 
breakdown at the beginning of 1889, and to argue 
that in all its main features it foretells the catastrophe 
that is imminent, seems a little too plausible, a little 
too obvious and simple to require refutation. That 
Nietzsche really was in a state which in medicine is 
known i&euphoria — that is to say, that stateof highest 
well-being and capacity which often precedes a com- 
plete breakdown, cannot, I suppose, be questioned; 
for his style, his penetrating vision, and his vigour, 
reach their zenith in the works written in this autumn 
of 1888 ; but the contention that the matter, the sub- 
stance, of these works reveals any signs whatsoever 
of waning mental health, or, as a certain French bio- 
GHPhn* h ac -' f , ftf an inability to " holdTumself and_ 
his judgments in check, " is best contradicted by the 
internal evidence itself To take just a few examples 
at random, examine the cold and calculating tone 
of self-analysis in Chapter I. of the present work; con- 
siderthe reserve and the restraint with which the idea 
in Aphorism 7 of that chapter is worked out, — not to 
speak of the restraint and self-mastery in the idea 
itself, namely : — 

" To be one's enemy's equal — this is the first condition of an 
honourable duel. Where one despises one cannot wage war. 
Where one commands, where one sees something beneath one, 
oneifigtf/nottowage war. My war tactics can be reduced to four 
principles : First, I attack only things that are triumphant— if 
necessary I wait until they become triumphant. Secondly, I 
attack only those things against which I find no allies, against 
which I stand alone — against which I compromise nobody but 



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TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION xi 

myself. . . . Thirdly, I never make personal attacks — I use a 
personality merely as a magnifying-glass, by means of which I 
render a general, but elusive and scarcely noticeable evil, more 
apparent. . . . Fourthly, I attack only those things from which 
all personal differences are excluded, in which any such thing 
as a background of disagreeable experiences is lacking." 

And now notice the gentleness with which, in 
Chapter II., Wagner — the supposed mortal enemy, 
the supposed envied rival to Nietzsche — is treated. 
Are these the words and the thought s of a ma n who 
has lqsL or wjio is losing, control ? ' " ~* 

And even if we confineourselves~simply to the sub- 
stance of this work and put the question — Is it a new 
Nietzsche or the old Nietzsche that we find in these 
pages ? Is it the old countenance with which we are 
familiar, or are the features distorted, awry , disfigured ? 
What will the answer be ? Obviously there is no new 
or even deformed Nietzsche here, because he is still 
faithful to the position which he assumed in Thus 
spake Zarathustra, five years previously, and is per- 
fectly conscious of this fidelity (see p. 141); neither 
can he be even on the verge of any marked change, 
because the whole of the third chapter, in which he 
reviews his life-work, is simply a reiteration and a 
confirmation of his old points of view, which are here 
made all the more telling by additional arguments 
suggested, no doubt, by maturer thought. In fact, if 
anything at all is new in this work, it is its cool cer- 
tainty, its severe deliberateness, and its extraordin- 
arily incisive vision, as shown, for instance, in the sum- 
ming up of the genuine import of the third and fourth 
essays in the Thoughts out of Season (pp. 75-76, 80, 
81, 82), a summing up which a most critical analysis 
of the essays in question can but verify. 



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xii TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION 

Romanticism,idealism,Christianity,arestillscorned 
( and despised ; another outlook, a nobler, braver, and 
| more earthly outlook, is still upheld and revered ; the 
^ great yea to life, including all that it contains that is 
terrible and questionable, is still pronounced in the 
teethofpessimists,nihilists,anarchists,Christians,and 
other decadents; an d Germany, " Europe's flatlan d," is 
still subjected to the most relentless criticism. Ittliere 
are any signs of change, besides those of mere growth, 
in this work, they certainly succeed in eluding the 
most careful search, undertaken with a full knowledge 
of Nietzsche's former opinions, and it would be inter- 
esting to know precisely where they are found by 
those writers whom the titles of the chapters, alone, 
seem so radically to have perturbed. 

But the most striking thing of all, the miracle, so 
to speak, of this autobiography, is the absence from 
it of that loathing, that suggestion of surfeit, with 
which a life such as the one Nietzsche had led, would 
have filled any other man even of power approximate 
to his own. This anchorite, who, in the last years of 
his life as a healthy human being, suffered the ex- 
perience of seeing even his oldest friends, including 
Rhode, 6how the most complete indifference to his lot, 
this wrestler with Fate, for whom recognition, in the 
persons of Brandes, Taine, and Strindberg, had come 
all too late, and whom even support, sympathy, and 
help, arriving as it did at last, through Deussen and 
from Madame de Salis Marschlins, could no longer 
cheer or comfort, — this was the man who was able 
notwithstanding to inscribe thedeviceamorfati upon 
his shield on the very eve of his final collapse as a 
victim of the unspeakable suffering he had endured, 



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TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION xiii 

And this final collapse might easily have been fore- 
seen. Nietzsche's sensorium, as his autobiography 
proves, was probably the most delicate instrument 
ever possessed by ahuman being; and with this fragile 
structure — the prerequisite, by the bye, of all genius, 
— his terrible will compelled him to confront the most 
profound and most recondite problems. We happen 
to know from another artist and profound thinker, 
Benjamin Disraeli, who himself had experienced a 
dangerous breakdown, what the consequences pre- 
cisely are of indulging in excessive activity in the 
sphere of the spirit, more particularly when that spirit 
is highly organised. Disraeli says in Contarini Flem- 
ing (Part iv. chap, v.) : — 

" I have sometimes half believed, although the suspicion is 
mortifying, that there is only one step between his state who 
deeply indulges in imaginative meditation, and insanity ; for I 
well remember that at this period of my life, when I indulged 
in meditation to a degree that would now be impossible, and 
I hope unnecessary, my senses sometimes appeared to be 
wandering." 

And artists are the proper judges of artists, — not 
Oxford Dons, like TV 5chfl 1eg . who, in his imprudent 
attemptatdealingwithsomfediing for which his prag- 
matic hands are not sufficiently delicate, eagerly av- 
ails himself of popular help inh iaarticl eon Nietzsche 
in the eleventh edition of the Ency tlopcedia Britannica % 
and implies the hackneyed and wholly exploded belief 

that Nietzschffo phi1f)Sftpl|y is maHnpgg infligypalqng', 

As German philosophies, however, are said to go to 
Oxford only when they die, we may, perhaps, conclude 
from this want of appreciation in that quarter, how 
very much alive Nietzsche's doctrine still is. 

Not that Nietzsche went mad so soon, but that he 



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xiv TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION 

went mad so late is the wonder of wonders. Con- 
sidering the extraordinary amount of work he did, 
the great task of the trans valuation of all values, which 
he actually accomplished, and the fact that he endured 
such long years of solitude, which to him, the sensitive 
artist to whom friends were everything, must have 
been a terrible hardship, we can only wonder at his 
great health, and can well believe his sister's account ; 
of the phenomenal longevity and bodily vigour of 
his ancestors. 

Noone, however, who is initiated, no onewho reads 
this work with understanding, will be in need of this 
introductory note of mine ; for, to all who know, these 
pages must speak for themselves. We are no longer 
in the nineteenth century. We have learned many 
things since then, and if caution is only one of these 
things, at least it will prevent us from judging a book 
such as this one, with all its apparent pontifical pride 
and surging self-reliance, with undue haste, or with 
that arrogant assurance with which the ignorance 
of a the humble " and " the modest " has always con- 
fronted everything truly great. 

ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI. 



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PREFACE 



As it is my intention within a very short time to 
confront my fellow-men with the very greatest 
demand that has ever yet been made upon them, 

it seems to me above all nereqsflry fn rterlflra h*» r p> 

who and what fl am. As a matter of fact, this 
ought to be pretty well known already, for I have 
not " held my tongue " about myself. But the 
disparity which obtains between the greatness of 
my task and the smallness of my contemporaries, 
is revealed by the fact that people have neither 
heard me nor yet seen me. I live on my own 
self-made credit, and it is probably only a pre- 
judice to suppose that I am alive at all. I do but 
require to speak to any one of the scholars who 
come to the Ober-Engadine in the summer in 
order to convince myself that I am not alive. . . . 
Under these circumstances, it is a duty — and one 
against which my customary reserve, and to a still 
greater degree the pride of my instincts, rebel — 
to say : Listen ! for I am such and such a person. 
For Heaven's sake do not confound me with any one 
else / 

2 

I am, for instance, in no wise a bogey man, or 
moral monster. On the contrary, I am the very 



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2 - • p£ E £ AC g 

opposite in nature to the kind of man that has 
been honoured hitherto as virtuous. Between 
ourselves, it seems to me that this is precisely a 
matter on which I may feel proud. J am a d is- 
ciple ofthe philo sopher Dionysus, and I would 
i ^prefer~tol>e even a satyr than a saint. But just 
read this book ! Maybe I have here succeeded in 
expressing this contrast in a cheerful and at the 
same time sympathetic manner — maybe this is the 
only purpose of the present work. 
./The very last thing I should promise to accom- 
Iplish would be to " improve " mankind. I do not 
set up any new idols ; may old idols only learn 
what it costs to have legs of clay. To overthrow 
idols (idols is the name I give to all ideals) is 
much more like my business. In proportion as 
an ideal world has been falsely assumed, reality 
has been robbed of its value, its meaning, and its 
truthfulness. . . . The " true world " and the " ap- 
parent world" — in plain English, the fictitious 
world and reality. . . . Hitherto the lie of the 
ideal has been the curse of reality ; by means of 
it the very source of mankind's instincts has be- 
come mendacious and false; so much so that 
those values have come to be worshipped which 
are the exact opposite of the ones which would 
ensure man's prosperity, his future, and his great 
right to a future. 



r 



He who knows how to breathe in the air of my 
writings is conscious that it is the air of the 
heights, that it is bracing. A man must be built 



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PREFACE 3 

for it, otherwise the chances are that it will chill 
him. The ice is near, the loneliness is terrible — 
but how serenely everything lies in the sunshine ! 
how freely one can breathe ! how much, one feels, 
lies beneath one! j Philosophy, as I have under- 
s tood it hitherto, is_a_yoluntary retirement into 
regions of ice_and_ mountain-peaks^—the seeking- 
out of everything strange and questionable in 
existencefe v ery thing upon which, hit herto , morality 
Has set its ban. / Through long experience, de- 
rived from such wanderings in forbidden country, 
I acquired an opinion very different from that 
which may seem generally desirable, of the causes 
which hitherto have led to men's moralising and 
idealising. The secret history of philosophers, 
the psychology of their great names, was revealed 
to me. How much truth can a certain mind en- 
dure ; how much truth can it dare ? — these ques- 
tions became for me ever more and more the actual 
test of values. Error (the belief in the ideal) is 
not blindness ; error is cowardice. . . . Every con- 
quest, every step forward in knowledge, is the out- 
come of courage, of hardness towards one's self, of 
cleanliness towards one's self. I do not refute 
ideals ; all I do is to draw on my gloves in their 
presence. . % . Nitimur in vetitum ; with this de- 
vice my philosophy will one day be victorious ; 
for that which has hitherto been most stringently 
forbidden is, without exception, Truth. 

4 
In my lifework, my Zarathustra holds a place 
apart. With it, I gave my fellow-men the greatest I 



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4 PREFACE 

igift that has ever been bestowed upon them. 
, This book, the voice of which speaks out across 
] the ages, is not only the loftiest book on earth, 
literally the book of mountain air, — the whole 
phenomenon, mankind, lies at an incalculable dis- 
tance beneath it, — but it is also the deepest book, 
born of the inmost abundance of truth ; an inex- 
haustible well, into which no pitcher can be 
lowered without coming up again laden with gold 
and with goodness. Here it is not a " prophet " 
who speaks, one of those gruesome hybrids of 
sickness and Will to Power, whom men call 
founders of religions. If a man would not do a 
sad wrong to his wisdom, he must, above all give 
proper heed to the tones — the halcyonic tones — 
that fall from the lips of Zarathustra : — 

" The most silent words are harbingers of the 
storm ; thoughts that come on dove's feet lead the 
world. 

" The figs fall from the trees ; they are good and 
sweet, and, when they fall, their red skins are rent. 

" A north wind am I unto ripe figs. 

" Thus, like figs, do these precepts drop down 
to you, my friends; now drink their juice and 
their sweet pulp. 

" It is autumn all around, and clear sky, and 
afternoon." 

No fanatic speaks to you here ; this is not a 
" sermon " ; no faith is demanded in these pages. 
From out an infinite treasure of light and.well of 
joy, drop by drop, my words fall out — a slow and 
gentle gait is the cadence of these discourses. 
Such things can reach only the most elect ; it is 



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PREFACE 5 

a rare privilege to be a listener here ; not every 
one who likes can have ears to hear Zarathustra. 
Is not Zarathustra, because of these things, a 
seducer 1 . . . But what, indeed, does he himself 
say, when for the first time he goes back to his 
solitude? Just the reverse of that which any 
" Sage," " Saint," " Saviour of the world," and 
other decadent would say. . . . Not only his 
words, but he himself is other than they. 

" Alone do I now go, my disciples ! Get ye also 
hence, and alone ! Thus would I have it. 

" Verily, I beseech you : take your leave of me 
and arm yourselves against Zarathustra! And 
better still, be ashamed of him ! Maybe he hath 
deceived you. 

" The knight of knowledge must be able not only 
to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends. 

" The man who remaineth a pupil requiteth his 
teacher but ill. And why would ye not pluck at 
my wreath? 

" Ye honour me ; but what if your reverence 
should one day break down ? Take heed, lest a 
statue crush you. 

"Ye say ye believe in Zarathustra? But of 
what account is Zarathustra ? Ye are my be- 
lievers : but of what account are all believers ? 

"Ye had not yet sought yourselves when ye 
found me. Thus do all believers ; therefore is all 
believing worth so little. 

" Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves ; 
a nd only when ye nave ainienietf1ine~wiirr"c ome 
back unto vou." 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



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On this perfect day, when everything is ripening, 
and not only the grapes are getting brown, a ray 
of sunshine has fallen on my life : I looked behind 
me, I looked before me, and never have I seen so 
many good things all at once. Not in vain have 
I buried my four-and-fortieth year to-day ; I had 
the right to bury it — that in it which still had life, 
has been saved and is immortal. The first book 
of the Transvaluation of all Values^ The Songs of 
Zarathustra, The Twilight of the Idols, ji w attempts 
to philosophise with the hammer — all these things 
are the gift of this year, and even of its last quarter. 
How could I help being thankful to the whole of my 
life? 

That is why I am now going to tell myself the 
story of my life. 



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ECCE HOMO 

HOW ONE BECOMES WHAT ONE IS 



WHY I AM SO WISE 



The happiness of my existence, its unique char- 
acter perhaps, consists in its fatefulness : to speak 
in a riddle, as my own father I am already dead, 
as my own mother I still live and grow old. This 
double origin, taken as it were from the highest 
and lowest rungs of the ladder of life, at once a 
decadent and a beginning, this, if anything, ex- 
plains that neutrality, that freedom from partisan- - 
ship in regard to the general problem of existence, 
which perhaps distinguishes me. To the first in- 
dications of ascending or of descending life my 
nostrils are more sensitive than those of any man 
that has yet lived. In this domain I am a master 
to my backbone — I know both sides, for I am 
both sides. My father died in his six-and-thirtieth 
year : he was delicate, lovable, and morbid, like one 
who is preordained to pay simply a flying visit — 
a gracious reminder of life rather than life itself. 
In the same year that his life declined mine also 
declined: in my six-and-thirtieth year I reached 
the lowest point in my vitality, — I still lived, but 



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IO ECCE HOMO 

my eyes could distinguish nothing that lay three 
paces away from me. At that time — it was the 
year 1 879 — I resigned my professorship at B&le, 
lived through the summer like a shadow in St. 
Moritz, and spent the following winter, the most 
sunless of my life, like a shadow in Naumburg. 
This was my lowest ebb. During this period I 
wrote The Wanderer and His Shadow. Without 
a doubt I was conversant with shadows then. The 
winter that followed, my first winter in Genoa, 
brought forth that sweetness and spirituality which 
is almost inseparable from extreme poverty of blood 
and muscle, in the shape of The Dawn of Day, 
The perfect lucidity and cheerfulness, the intel- 
lectual exuberance even, that this work reflects, 
coincides, in my case, not only with the most pro- 
found physiological weakness, but also with an ex- 
cess of suffering. In the midst of the agony of a 
headache which lasted three days, accompanied by 
violent nausea, I was possessed of most singular 
dialectical clearness, and in absolutely cold blood 
I then thought out things, for which, in my more 
healthy moments, I am not enough of a climber, 
not sufficiently subtle, not sufficiently cold. My 
readers perhaps know to what extent I consider dia- 
lectic a symptom of decadence, as, for instance, in 
the most famous of all cases — the case of Socrates. 
All the morbid disturbances of the intellect, even 
that semi-stupor which accompanies fever, have, 
unto this day, remained completely unknown to me; 
and for my first information concerning their nature 
and frequency, I was obliged to have recourse to 
the learned works which have been compiled on the 



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WHY I AM SO WISE II 

subject. My circulation is slow. No one has ever 
been able to detect fever in me. A doctor who 
treated me for some time as a nerve patient finally 
declared : " No ! there is nothing wrong with your 
nerves, it is simply I who am nervous." It has 
been absolutely impossible to ascertain any' local < 
degeneration in me, nor any organic stomach 
trouble, however much I may have suffered from 
profound weakness of the gastric system as the 
result of general exhaustion. Even my eye trouble, 
which sometimes approached so parlously near to 
blindness, was only an effect and not a cause ; for, 
whenever my general vital condition improved, my 
power of vision also increased. Having admitted 
all this, do I need to say that I am experienced 
in questions of decadence ? I know them inside 
and out. Even that filigree art of prehension and 
comprehension in general, that feeling for delicate 
shades of difference, that psychology of "seeing 
through brick walls," and whatever else I may be 
able to do, was first learnt then, and is the specific 
gift of that period during which everything in me 
was subtilised, — observation itself, together with all 
the organs of observation. To look upon healthier 
concepts and values from the standpoint of the sick, 
and conversely to look down upon the secret work 
of the instincts of decadence from the standpoint 
of him who is laden and self-reliant with the rich- 
ness of life — this has been my longest exercise, my 
principal experience. If in anything at all, it was 
in this that I became a master. To-day my hand 
knows the trick, I now have the knack of reversing 
perspectives: the first reason perhaps why a Trans- 



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12 ECCE HOMO 

valuation of all Values has been possible to me 
alone. 



For, apart from the fact that I am a decadent, I 
am also the reverse of such a creature. Among 
other things my proof of this is, that I always 
instinctively select the proper remedy when my 
spiritual or bodily health is low ; whereas the de- 
cadent, as such, invariably chooses those remedies 
which are bad for him. As a whole I was sound, 
but in certain details I was a decadent. That 
energy with which I sentenced myself to absolute 
solitude, and to a severance from all those condi- 
tions in life to which I had grown accustomed ; my 
discipline of myself, and my refusal to allow myself 
to be pampered, to be tended hand and foot, and to 
be doctored — all this betrays the absolute certainty 
of my instincts respecting what at that time was 
most needful to me. I placed myself in my own 
hands, I restored myself to health : the first con- 
dition of success in such an undertaking, as every 
physiologist will admit, is that at bottom a man 
should be sound. An intrinsically morbid nature 
cannot become healthy. On the other hand, to an 
intrinsically sound nature, illness may even con- 
stitute a powerful stimulus to life, to a surplus of 
life. It is in this light that I now regard the long 
period of illness that I endured : it seemed as if I 
had discovered life afresh, my own self included. I 
tasted all good things and even trifles in a way in 
which it was not easy for others to taste them — 
out of my Will to Health and to Life I made my 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 1 3 

philosophy. . . .[jor this should be thoroughly 
understood ; it was during those years in which my 
vitality reached its lowest point that I ceased from 
being a pessimist : the instinct of self-recovery for- 
bade my holding to a philosophy of poverty and 
desperation. Now, by what signs are Nature's 
lucky strokes recognised among men ? They are 
recognised by the fact that any such lucky stroke 
gladdens our senses ; that he is carved from one 
integral block, which is hard, sweet, and fragrant as 
well. He enjoys that only which is good for him ; 
his pleasure, his desire, ceases when the limits of 
that which is good for him are overstepped. He 
divines remedies for injuries; he knows how to turn 
serious accidents to his own advantage ; that which 
does not kill him makes him stronger. He in- 
stinctively gathers his material from all he sees, 
hears, and experiences. | He is a selective principle ; 
he rejects much. He is always in his own com- 
pany, whether his intercourse be with books, with 
men, or with natural scenery; he honours the 
things he chooses, the things he acknowledges, the 
things he trusts. He reacts slowly to all kinds of 
stimuli, with that tardiness which long caution and 
deliberate pride have bred in him — he tests the 
approaching stimulus ; he would not dream of 
meeting it half-way. He believes neither in " ill- 
luck" nor "guilt"; he can digest himself and others ; 
he knows how to forget — he is strong enough to 
make everything turn to his own advantage^ 

Lo then ! I am the very reverse of a decadent, 
for he whom I have just described is none other 
than myself. 



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14 ECCE HOMO 



This double thread of experiences, this means of 
access to two worlds that seem so far asunder, finds 
in every detail its counterpart in my own nature — I 
am my own complement : I have a " second " sight, 
as well as a first. And perhaps I also have a third 
sight. By the very nature of my origin I was 
allowed an outlook beyond all merely local, merely 
national and limited horizons ; it required no effort 
on my part to be a " good European." On the 
other hand, I am perhaps more German than modern 
Germans — mere Imperial Germans — can hope to 
be, — I, the last anti-political German. Be this as 
it may, my ancestors were Polish noblemen : it is 
owing to them that I have so much race instinct in 
my blood — who knows ? perhaps even the liberum 
veto* When I think of the number of times in my 
travels that I have been accosted as a Pole, even by 
Poles themselves, and how seldom I have been taken 
for a German, it seems to me as if I belonged to 
those only who have a sprinkling of German in 
them. But my mother, Franziska Oehler, is at any 
rate something very German; as is also my paternal 
grandmother, Erdmuthe Krause. The latter spent 
the whole of her youth in good old Weimar, not 
without coming into contact with Goethe's circle. 
Her brother, Krause, the Professor of Theology in 

* The right which every Polish deputy, whether a great or 
an inferior nobleman, possessed of forbidding the passing of 
any measure by the Diet, was called in Poland the liberum veto 
(in Polish nie pozwalam\ and brought all legislation to a 
standstill. — Tr. 



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WHY I AM SO WISE IS 

Konigsberg, was called to the post of General 
Superintendent at Weimar after Herder's death. 
It is not unlikely that her mother, my great grand- 
mother, is mentioned in young Goethe's diary under 
the name of " Muthgen." She married twice, and 
her second husband was Superintendent Nietzsche 
of Eilenburg. In 1 8 1 3, the year of the great war, 
when Napoleon with his general staff entered Eilen- 
burg on the 10th of October, she gave birth to a 
son. As a daughter of Saxony she was a great 
admirer of Napoleon, and maybe I am so still. My 
father, born in 181 3, died in 1849. Previous to 
taking over the pastorship of the parish of Rocken, 
not far from Liitzen, he lived for some years at the 
Castle of Altenburg, where he had charge of the 
education of the four princesses. His pupils are the 
Queen of Hanover,the Grand-Duchess Constantine, 
the Grand-Duchess of Oldenburg, and the Princess 
Theresa of Saxe-Altenburg. He was full of loyal 
respect for the Prussian King, Frederick William the 
Fourth, from whom he obtained his living at Rocken ; 
the events of 1848 saddened him extremely. As 
I was born on the 1 5 th of October, the birthday of 
the king above mentioned, I naturally received the 
Hohenzollern names of Frederick William. There 
was at all events one advantage in the choice of 
this day : my birthday throughout the whole of my 
childhood was a day of public rejoicing. I regard 
it as a great privilege to have had such a father : it 
even seems to me that this embraces all that I can 
claim in the matter of privileges — life, the great yea 
to life, excepted. What I owe to him above all is 
this, that I do not need any special intention, but 



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1 6 ECCE HOMO 

merely a little patience, in order involuntarily to 
enter a world of higher and more delicate things. 
There I am at home, there alone does my inmost 
passion become free. The fact that I had to pay 
for this privilege almost with my life, certainly does 
not make it a bad bargain. In order to understand 
even a little ofmyZarathustra, perhaps a man must 
be situated and constituted very much as I am my- 
self — with one foot beyond the realm of the living. 



I have never understood the art of arousing ill- 
feeling against myself, — this is also something for 
which I have to thank my incomparable father, — 
even when it seemed to me highly desirable to do 
so. However un-Christian it may seem, I do not 
even bear any ill-feeling towards myself. Turn my 
life about as you may, you will find but seldom — 
perhaps indeed only once — any trace of some one's 
having shown me ill-will. You might perhaps dis- 
cover, however, too many traces of good-vf\[\. . . . 
My experiences even with those on whom every 
other man has burnt his fingers, speak without ex- 
ception in their favour ; I tame every bear, I can 
make even clowns behave decently. During the 
seven years in which I taught Greek to the sixth 
form of the College at B&le, I never had occasion to 
administer a punishment ; the laziest youths were 
diligent in my class. The unexpected has always 
found me equal to it; I must be unprepared in order 
to keep my self-command. Whatever the instru- 
ment was, even if it were as out of tune as the instru- 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 1 7 

merit " man " can possibly be, — it was only when 
I was ill that I could not succeed in making it ex- 
press something that was worth hearing. And how 
often have I not been told by the " instruments " 
themselves, that they had never before heard their 
voices express such beautiful things. . . . This 
was said to me most delightfully perhaps by that 
young fellow Heinrich von Stein, who died at such 
an unpardonably early age, and who, after having 
considerately asked leave to do so, once appeared 
in Sils-Maria for a three days' sojourn, telling every- 
body there that it was not for the Engadine that he 
had come. This excellent person, who with all the 
impetuous simplicity of a young Prussian nobleman, 
had waded deep into the swamp of Wagnerism 
(and into that of Diihringism * into the bargain !), 
seemed almost transformed during these three days 
by a hurricane of freedom, like one who has been 
suddenly raised to his full height and given wings. 
Again and again I said to him that this was all 
owing to the splendid air; everybody felt the same, 
— one could not stand 6000 feet above Bayreuth 
for nothing, — but he would not believe me. . . . 
Be this as it may, if I have been the victim of many 
a small or even great offence, it was not " will," and 
least of all ///-will that actuated the offenders ; but 
rather, as I have already suggested, it was good- 
will, the cause of no small amount of mischief in 
my life, about which I had to complain. /My ex-^U, 
perience gave me a right to feel suspicious in regard 

* Eugen Diihring is a philosopher and political economist 
whose general doctrine might be characterised as a sort of 
abstract Materialism with an optimistic colouring.— Tr. 

b 



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1 8 ECCE HOMO 

to all so-called " unselfish " instincts, in regard to 
the whole of "neighbourly love" which is ever ready 
and waiting with deeds or with advice. To me it 
seems that these instincts are a sign of weakness, 
they are an example of the inability to withstand 
a stimulus — it is only among decadents that this 
pity is called a virtue. What I reproach the pitiful 
with is, that they are too ready to forget shame, 
reverence, and the delicacy of feeling which knows 
how to keep at a distance ; they do not remember 
that this gushing pity stinks of the mob, and that 
it is next of kin to bad manners — that pitiful hands 
may be thrust with results fatally destructive into 
a great destiny, into a lonely and wounded retire- 
ment, and into the privileges with which great guilt 
endows one. The overcoming of pity I reckon 
among the noble virtuesj In the " Temptation of 
Zarathustra " I have imagined a case, in which a 
great cry of distress reaches his ears, in which pity 
swoops down upon him like a last sin, and would 
make him break faith with himself. To remain 
one's own master in such circumstances, to keep the 
sublimity of one's mission pure in such cases, — pure 
from the many ignoble and more Short-sighted im- 
pulses which come into play in so-called unselfish 
actions, — this is the rub, the last test perhaps which 
a Zarathustra has to undergo — the actual proof of 
his power. 

5 

In yet another respect I am no more than my 
father over again, and as it were the continuation 
of his life after an all-too-early death. Like every 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 1 9 

man who has never been able to meet his equal, 
and unto whom the concept " retaliation " is just 
as incomprehensible as the notion of " equal rights," 
I have forbidden myself the use of any sort of 
measure of security or protection — and also, of 
course, of defence and "justification" — in all 
cases in which I have been made the victim either 
of trifling or even very great foolishness. My form 
of retaliation consists in this : as soon as possible 
to set a piece of cleverness at the heels of an act 
of stupidity ; by this means perhaps it may still 
be possible to overtake it. To speak in a parable : 
I dispatch a pot of jam in order to get rid of a 
bitter experience. . . . Let anybody only give me 
offence, I shall " retaliate," he can be quite sure 
of that : before long I discover an opportunity of 
expressing my thanks to the " offender " (among 
other things even for the offence) — or of asking 
him for something, which can be more courteous 
even than giving. It also seems to me that the 
rudest word, the rudest letter, is more jjood- 
natured, more straightforward, than silence. £Those < 
who keep silent are almost always lacking in 
subtlety and refinement of heart ; silence is an 
objection, to swallow a grievance must necessarily 
produce a bad temper — it even upsets the stomach. 
All silent people are dyspeptic. You perceive 
that I should not like to see rudeness undervalued ; 
it is by far the most humane form of contradiction, 
and, in the midst of modern effeminacy, it is one 
of our first virtuesj If one is sufficiently rich for 
it, it may even be a joy to be wrong. If a god 
were to descend to this earth, he would have to 



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20 ECCE HOMO 

do nothing but wrong — to take guilt, not punish- 
ment, on one's shoulders > is the first proof of divinity. 

6 

Freedom from resentment and the understand- 
ing of the nature of resentment — who knows how 
very much after all I am indebted to my long ill* 
ness for these two things ? The problem is not 
exactly simple: a man must h^ve experienced 
both through his strength and through his weak- 
ness, (if illness and weakness are to be charged 
with anything at all, it is with the fact that when 
they prevail, the very instinct of recovery, which is 
the instinct of defence and of war in man, becomes 
decayed. He knows not how to get rid of any- 
thing, how to come to terms with anything, and 
how to cast anything behind him. Everything 
wounds him. People and things draw importun- 
ately near, all experiences strike deep, memory 
is a gathering wound. To be ill is a sort of 
resentment in itselfj Against this resentment 
the invalid has only one great remedy — I call 
it Russian fatalism^ that fatalism which is free 
from revolt, and with which the Russian soldier, 
to whom a campaign proves unbearable, ultimately 
lays himself down in the snow. To accept noth- 
ing more, to undertake nothing more, to absorb 
nothing more — to cease entirely from reacting. 
. . . The tremendous sagacity of this fatalism, 
which does not always imply merely the courage 
for death, but which in the most dangerous cases 
may actually constitute a self-preservative measure, 
amounts to a reduction of activity in the vital 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 21 

functions, the slackening down of which is like a 
sort of will to hibernate. A few steps farther in 
this direction we find the fakir, who will sleep for 

weeks in a tomb Owing to the fact 

that one would be used up too quickly if one 
reacted, one no longer reacts at all : this is the 
principle. And nothing on earth consumes a 
man more quickly than the passion of resentment. 
{Mortification, nvprbid susceptibility, the inability 
to wreak revenge, the desire and thirst for re- 
venge, the concoction of every sort of poison — this 
is surely the most injurious manner of reacting 
which could possibly be conceived by exhausted 
men. It involves a rapid wasting away of nervous 
energy, an abnormal increase of detrimental 
secretions, as, for instance, that of bile into the 
stomach. To the sick man resentment ought to 
be more strictly forbidden than anything else — 
it is his special danger: unfortunately, however, 
it is also his most natural propensity. This was 
fully grasped by that profound physiologist 
Buddha. His "religion," which it would be 
better to call a system of hygiene, in order to 
avoid confounding it with a creed so wretched as 
Christianity, depended for its effect upon the 
triumph over resentment : to make the soul free 
therefrom was considered the first step towards re- 
covery. " Not through hostility is hostility put to 
flight ; through friendship does hostility end": this 
stands at the beginning of Buddha's teaching — 
this is not a precept of morality, but of physiology. 
Resentment born of weakness is not more deleteri- 
ous to anybody than it is to the weak man himself 



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22 ECCE HOMO 

— conversely, in the case of that man whose nature 
is fundamentally a rich one, resentment is a 
superfluous feeling, a feeling to remain master of 
which is almost a proof of richesr) Those of my 
readers who know the earnestness - with which my 
philosophy wages war against the feelings of re- 
venge and rancour, even to the extent of attacking 
the doctrine of " free will " (my conflict with Chris- 
tianity is only a particular instance of it), will 
understand why I wish to focus attention upon 
my own personal attitude and the certainty of my 
practical instincts precisely in this matter. In 
my moments of decadence I forbade myself the 
indulgence of the above feelings, because they 
were hariuful ; as soon as my life recovered enough 
riches and pride, however, I regarded them again 
as forbidden, but this time because they were 
beneath me. That " Russian fatalism " of which 
I have spoken manifested itself in me in such a 
way that for years I held tenaciously to almost 
insufferable conditions, places, habitations, and 
companions, once chance had placed them on my 
path — it was better than changing them, than 
feeling that they could be changed, than revolting 
against them. . . . He who stirred me from 
this fatalism, he who violently tried to shake me 
into consciousness, seemed to me then a mortal 
enemy — in point of fact, there was danger of 
death each time this was done. To regard one's 
self as a destiny, not to wish one's self " differ- 
ent" — this, in such circumstances, is sagacity^ 
itself. 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 23 



War, on the other hand, is something different. 
At heart I am a warrior. Attacking belongs to my 
instincts. To be able to be an enemy, to be an 
enemy — maybe these things presuppose a strong 
nature ; in any case all strong natures involve 
these things. Such natures need resistance, con- 
sequently they go in search of obstacles : the 
pathos of aggression belongs of necessity to 
strength as much as the feelings of revenge and 
of rancour belong to weakness. [Woman, for in-, ^ ^ 
stance, is revengeful ; her weakness involves this 
passion, just as it involves her susceptibility in the 
presence of other people's suffering. The strength 
of the aggressor can be measured by the opposi- 
tion which he needs; every increase of growth 
betrays itself by a seeking out of more formidable 
opponents — or problems : for a philosopher who 
is combative challenges even problems to a duel. 
The task is not to overcome opponents in general, 
but only those opponents against whom one has 
to summon all one's strength, one's skill, and one's 
swordsmanship — in fact, opponents who are one's 
equals. ... To be one's enemy's equal — this is 
the first condition of an honourable duel. Where 
one despises, one cannot wage war. Where one 
commands, where one sees something beneath 
one, one ought not to wage war. My war tactics 
can be reduced to four principles :\First, I attack X 
only things that are triumphant — lT-necessary I 
N wait until they become triumphant. Secondly, I 
attack only those things against which I find no 



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24 ECCE HOMO 

allies, against which I stand alone — against which 
I compromise nobody but myself. ... I have 
not yet taken one single step before the public 
eye, which did not compromise me : that is my 
criterion of a proper mode of action. Thirdly, I 
never make personal attacks — I use a personality 
merely as a magnifying-glass, by means of which 
I render a general, but elusive and scarcely notice- 
able evil, more apparent. In this way I attacked 
David Strauss, or rather the success given to a 
senile book by the cultured classes of Germany 
— by this means I caught German culture red- 
handed. In this way I attacked Wagner, or rather 
the falsity or mongrel instincts of our " culture " 
which confounds the super-refined with the strong, 
and the effete with the great. Fourthly, I attack 
only those things from which all personal differ- 
ences are excluded, in which any such thing as a 
background of disagreeable experiences is lacking. 
On the contrary, attacking is to me a proof of 
goodwill and, in certain circumstances, of gratitude. 
By means of it, I do honour to a thing, I dis- 
tinguish a thing ; whether I associate my name 
with that of an institution or a person, by being 
against ox for either, is all the same to me. If I 
wage war against Christianity, I feel justified in 
doing so, because in that quarter I have met with 
no fatal experiences and difficulties — the most ear- 
nest Christians have always been kindly disposed 
to me. I, personally, the most essential opponent 
of Christianity, am far from holding the individ- 
ual responsible for what is the fatality of long 
ages. 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 2$ 



8 



S May I be allowed to hazard a suggestion con- 
cerning one last trait in my character, which in my 
intercourse with other men has led me into some 
difficulties ? I am gifted with a sense of cleanliness 
the keenness of which is phenomenal ; so much so, 
that I can ascertain physiologically — that is to say, 
smell — the proximity, nay, the inmost core, the 
" entrails " of every human soul. . . . This sensi- L 
tiveness of mine is furnished with psychological 
antennae, wherewith I feel and grasp every secret : 
the quality of concealed filth lying at the base of 
many a human character which may be the in- 
evitable outcome of base blood, and which education 
may have veneered, is revealed to me at the first 
glance. If my observation has been correct, such 
people, whom my sense of cleanliness rejects, also 
become conscious, on their part, of the cautiousness 
to which my loathing prompts me: and this does 
not make them any more fragrant. , . . In keeping 
with a custom which I have long observed, — pure 
habits and honesty towards myself are among the 
first conditions of my existence, I would die in 
unclean surroundings, — I swim, bathe, and splash 
about, as it were, incessantly in water, in any kind 
of perfectly transparent and shining element. That 
is why my relations with my fellows try my patience 
to no small extent ; my humanity does not consist 
in the fact that I understand the feelings of my 
fellows, but that I can endure to understand. . . . 
My humanity is a perpetual process of self-mastery .J 
But I need solitude — that is to say, recovery, 



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26 ECCE HOMO 

return to myself, the breathing of free, crisp, brac- 
ing air. . . . The whole of my Zarathustra is a 
dithyramb in honour of solitude, or, if I have been 
understood, in honour of purity. Thank Heaven, 
it is not in honour of " pure foolery " ! # He who 
has an eye for colour will call him a diamond. 
The loathing of mankind, of the rabble, was always 
my greatest danger. . . . Would you hearken to the 
words spoken by Zarathustra concerning deliver- 
ance from loathing? 

" What forsooth hath come unto me ? How did I 
deliver myself from loathing? Who hath made mine 
eye younger ? How did I soar to the height, where 
there are no more rabble sitting about the well ? 

" Did my very loathing forge me wings and the 
strength to scent fountains afar off? Verily to 
the loftiest heights did I need to fly, to find once 
more the spring of joyfulness. 

" Oh, I found it, my brethren ! Up here, on the 
loftiest height, the spring of joyfulness gusheth 
forth for me. And there is a life at the well of 
which no rabble can drink with you. 

" Almost too fiercely dost thou rush, for me, thou 
spring of joyfulness ! And ofttimes dost thou empty 
the pitcher again in trying to fill it. 

" And yet must I learn to draw near thee more 
humbly. Far too eagerly doth my heart jump to 
meet thee. 

" My heart, whereon my summer burnetii, my 
short, hot, melancholy, over-blessed summer : how 
my summer heart yearneth for thy coolness ! 

* This, of course, is a reference to Wagner's Parsifal, 
See my note on p. 96 of The Will to Power^ vol. i. — Tr. 



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WHY I AM SO WISE 27 

" Farewell, the lingering affliction of my spring ! 
Past is the wickedness of my snowflakes in June ! 
Summer have I become entirely, and summer noon- 
tide! 

" A summer in the loftiest heights, with cold 
springs and blessed stillness : oh come, my friends, 
that the stillness may wax even more blessed ! 

" For this is our height and our home : too high 
and steep is our dwelling for all the unclean and 
their appetites. 

" Do but cast your pure eyes into the well of my 
joyfulness, my friends ! How could it thus become 
muddy ! It will laugh back at you with its purity. 

" On the tree called Future do we build our nest : 
eagles shall bring food in their beaks unto us lonely 
ones! 

" Verily not the food whereof the unclean might 
partake. They would think they ate fire and would 
burn their mouths ! 

" Verily, no abodes for the unclean do we here 
hold in readiness ! To their bodies our happiness 
would seem an ice-cavern, and to their spirits also ! 

" And like strong winds will we live above them, 
neighbours to the eagles, companions of the snow, 
and playmates of the sun : thus do strong winds 
live. 

" And like a wind shall I one day blow amidst 
them, and take away their soul's breath with my 
spirit : thus my future willeth it. 

" Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra to all low 
lands ; and this is his counsel to his foes and to all 
those who spit and spew: 'Beware of spitting 
against the wind ! ' " 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 



Why do I know more things than other people ? 
Why, in fact,am I so clever ? I have never pondered 
over questions that are not questions. I have never 
squandered my strength. Of actual religious diffi- 
culties, for instance, I have no experience. I have 
never known what it is to feel " sinful." In the 
same way I completely lack any reliable criterion 
for ascertaining what constitutes a prick of con- 
science: from all accounts a prick of conscience 
does not seem to be a very estimable thing. . . . 
Once it was done I should hate to leave an action 
r of mine in the lurch ; I should prefer completely to 
omit the evil outcome, the consequences, from the 
problem concerning the value of an action. In the 
face of evil consequences one is too ready to lose 
the proper standpoint from which one's deed ought 
to be considered. A prick of conscience strikes me 
as a sort of " evil eye." Something that has failed 
should be honoured all the more jealously, precisely 
because it has failed — this is much more in keeping 
with my morality. — " God," " the immortality of the 
soul," "salvation," a "beyond" — to all these notions, 
even as a child, I never paid any attention whatso- 
ever, nor did I waste any time upon them, — maybe 
I was never naif enough for that ? — I am quite un- 
acquainted with atheism as a result, and still less 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 29 

as an event in my life : in me it is inborn, instinc- | 
tive. I am too inquisitive, too incredulous, too high 
spirited, to be satisfied with such a palpably clumsy 
solution of things. God is a too palpably clumsy 
solution of things ; a solution which shows a lack of 
delicacy towards us thinkers — at bottom He is really 
no more than a coarse and rude prohibition of us : 
ye shall not think ! ... I am much more interested 
in another question, — a question upon which the 
" salvation of humanity " depends to a far greater 
degree than it does upon any piece of theological 
curiosity : I refer to nutrition. For ordinary pur- 
poses, it may be formulated as follows : " How pre- 
cisely must thou feed thyself in order to attain to thy 
maximum of power, or virtii in the Renaissance 
style, — of virtue free fro m moralic acid ? " My J>C 
experiencesln regard to this matter have been as 
bad as they possibly could be ; I am surprised that 
I set myself this question so late in life, and that it 
took me so long to draw " rational " conclusions 
from my experiences. Only the absolute worth- 1 - 
lessness of German culture — its " idealism " — can 
to some extent explain how it was that precisely in 
this matter I was so backward that my ignorance 
was almost saintly. This "culture," which from first 
to last teaches one to lose sight of actual things and 
to hunt after thoroughly problematic and so-called 
ideal aims, as, for instance, " classical culture " — as 
if it were not hopeless from the start to try to unite * 
" classical " and " German " in one concept. It is 
even a little comical — try and imagine a " classic- 
ally cultured " citizen of Leipzig ! — Indeed, I can 
say, that up to a very mature age, my food was en- 



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30 ECCE HOMO 

tirely bad — expressed morally, it was "impersonal," 
" selfless," " altruistic," to the glory of cooks and all 
other fellow- Christians. It was through the cook- 
ing in vogue at Leipzig, for instance, together 
with my first study of Schopenhauer (1865), that 
I earnestly renounced my "Will to Live." To 
spoil one's stomach by absorbing insufficient 
nourishment — this problem seemed to my mind 
solved with admirable felicity by the above-men- 
tioned cookery. (It is said that in the year 
1866 changes were introduced into this depart- 
ment.) But as to German cookery in general — 
what has it not got on its conscience! Soup 
before the meal (still called alia tedesca in the Vene- 
tian cookery booljs of the sixteenth century) ; meat 
boiled to shreds, vegetables cooked with fat and 
flour; the degeneration of pastries into paper- 
weights ! And, if you add thereto the absolutely 
bestial post-prandial drinking habits of the ancients^ 
and not alone of the ancient Germans, you will 
understand where German intellect took its origin — 
that is to say, in sadly disordered intestines. . . . 
German intellect is indigestion ; it can assimilate 
nothing. But even English diet, which in com- 
parison with German, and indeed with French ali- 
mentation, seems to me to constitute a " return to 
Nature," — that is to say, to cannibalism, — is pro- 
foundly opposed to my own instincts. It seems 
to me to give the intellect heavy feet, in fact, 
Englishwomen's feet. . . . The best cooking is 
that of Piedmont. Alcoholic drinks do not agree 
with me ; a single glass of wine or beer a day is 
amply sufficient to turn life into a valley of tears 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 3 1 

for me ; — in Munich live my antipodes. Although 
I admit that this knowledge came to me somewhat 
late, it already formed part of my experience even 
as a child. As a boy I believed that the drinking 
of wine and the smoking of tobacco were at first but 
the vanities of youths, and later merely bad habits. 
Maybe the poor wine of Naumburg was partly re- 
sponsible for this poor opinion of wine in general. 
In order to believe that wine was exhilarating, I 
should have had to be a Christian — in other words, 
I should have had to believe in what, to my mind, is 
an absurdity. Strange to say, whereas small quan- 
tities of alcohol, taken with plenty of water, suc- 
ceed in making me feel out of sorts, large quanti- 
ties turn me almost into a rollicking tar. Even as 
a boy I showed my bravado in this respect. To 
compose a long Latin essay in one night, to revise 
and recopy it, to aspire with my pen to emulating 
the exactitude and the terseness of my model, 
Sallust, and to pour a few very strong grogs over 
it all — this mode of procedure, while I was a pupil 
at the venerable old school of Pforta, was not in the 
least out of keeping with my physiology, nor per- 
haps with that of Sallust, however much it may have 
been alien to dignified Pforta. Later on, towards 
the middle of my life, I grew more and more op- 
posed to alcoholic drinks : I, an opponent of vege- 
tarianism, who have experienced what vegetarian- 
ism is, — just as Wagner, who converted me back 
to meat, experienced it, — cannot with sufficient 
earnestness advise all more spiritual natures to ab- ~ 
stain absolutely from alcohol. Water answers the 
purpose. ... I have a predilection in favour of 



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32 ECCE HOMO 

those places where in all directions one has oppor- 
tunities of drinking from running brooks (Nice, 
Turin, Sils). In vino Veritas : it seems that here 
once more I am at variance with the rest of the 
world about the concept " Truth " — with me spirit 
moves on the face of the waters. . . . Here are a 
few more indications as to my morality. A heavy 
meal is digested more easily than an inadequate one. 
The first principle of a good digestion is that the 
stomach should become active as a whole. A man 
ought, therefore, to know the size of his stomach. 
For the same reasons all those interminable meals, 
which I call interrupted sacrificial feasts, and which 
are to 6e had at any table d'h6te, are strongly 
to be deprecated. Nothing should be eaten be- 
tween meals, coffee should be given up — coffee 
makes one gloomy. Tea is beneficial only in the 
morning. It should be taken in. small quantities, 
but very strong. It may be very harmful, and indis- 
pose you for the whole day, if it be taken the least 
bit too weak. Everybody has his own standard 
in this matter,often between the narrowest and most 
delicate limits. In an enervating climate tea is not 
a good beverage with which to start the day : an 
hour before taking it an excellent thing is to drink 
a cup of thick cocoa, feed from oil. Remain seated 
as little as possible, (put Ihb trust in any thought 
that is not born in the open, to the accompaniment 
of free bodily motionr — nor in- N one in which even 
the muscles do not celebrate a fekst. QUI prejudices 
take their origin in the intestines!^ A sedentary life, 
as I have already said elsewhere, is the real sin 
against the Holy Spirit. 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 33 



To the question of nutrition, that of locality and 
climate is next of kin. Nobody is so constituted 
as to be able to live everywhere and anywhere ; 
and he who has great duties to perform, which lay 
claim to all his strength, has, in this respect, a very 
limited choice. The influence of climate upon the 
bodily functions, affecting their acceleration or re- 
tardation, extends so far, that a blunder in the 
choice of locality and climate is able not only to 
alienate a man from his actual duty, but also to 
withhold it from him altogether, so that he never 
even comes face to face with it. Animal vigour 
never acquires enough strength in him in order to 
reach that pitch of artistic freedom which makes 
his own soul whisper to him : I, alone, can do 
that. . . . QEver so slight a tendency to laziness in 
the intestines, once it has become a habit, is quite 
sufficient to make something mediocre, something 
" German " out of a geniuspthe climate of Germany, 
alone, is enough to discourage the strongest and 
most heroically disposed intestines. The tempo of 
the body's functions is closely bound up with the 
agility or the clumsiness of the spirit's feet ; spirit 
jitselkisjruisedj^ 

Jions^ Let anybody make a list of the places in 
which men of great intellect have been found, and 
are still found ; where wit, subtlety, and malice 
constitute happiness ; where genius is almost neces- 
sarily at home : all of them rejoice in exceptionally 
dry air. Paris, Provence, Florence, Jerusalem, 
Athens — these names prove something, namely : 

c 



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34 ECCE HOMO 

that g^nm^is^TOndfljone^ 

sky — that is to say, by rapid organicjunctions, by 
the constant and ever-present possibility of procur- 
ing for one's self great jand even^normouaquantities 
of strength. I have a certain case in mind in which 
a man of remarkable intellect and independent 
spirit became a narrow, craven specialist and a 
grumpy old crank,simply owing to a lack of subtlety 
in his instinct for climate. And I myself might 
have been an example of the same thing, if illness 
had not compelled me to reason, and to reflect upon 
reason realistically. Now that I have learnt through 
long practice to read the effects of climatic and 
meteorological influences, from my own body, as 
though from a very delicate and reliable instrument, 
and that I am able to calculate the change in de- 
grees of atmospheric moisture by means of physio- 
logical observations upon myself, even on so short 
a journey as that from Turin to Milan ; I think with 
horror of the ghastly fact that my whole life, until 
the last ten years, — the most perilous years, — has 
always been spent in the wrong, and what to me 
ought to have been the most forbidden, places. 
Naumburg, Pforta, Thuringia in general, Leipzig, 
B&le, Venice — so* many ill-starred places for a con- 
stitution like mine. If I cannot recall one single 
happy reminiscence of my childhood and youth, it 
is nonsense to suppose that so-called " moral " 
causes could account for this — as, for instance, the 
incontestable fact that I lacked companions that 
could have satisfied me ; for this fact is the same 
to-day as it ever was, and it does not prevent me 
from being cheerful and brave. But it was ignor- 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 35 

ance in physiological matters — that confounded 
" Idealism " — that was the real curse of my life. 
This was the superfluous and foolish element in my 
existence; something from which nothing could 
spring, and for which there can be no settlement 
and no compensation. As the outcome of this 
" Idealism " I regard all the blunders, the great ab- 
errations of instinct, and the " modest specialisa- 
tions " which drew me aside from the task of my 
life ; as, for instance, the fact that I became a philo- 
logist — why not at least a medical man or anything 
else which might have opened my eyes ? My days 
at B&le, the whole of my intellectual routine, in- 
cluding my daily time-table, was an absolutely 
senseless abuse of extraordinary powers, without 
the slightest compensation for the strength that I 
spent, without even a thought of what I was squan- 
dering and how its place might be filled. I lacked 
all subtlety in egoism, all the fostering care of an 
imperative instinct ; I was in a state in which one 
is ready to regard one's self as anybody's equal, a 
state of " disinterestedness," a forgetting of one's 
distance from others — something,in short, for which 
I can never forgive myself. When I had well-nigh 
reached the end of my tether, simply because I had 
almost reached my end, I began to reflect upon the 
fundamental absurdity of my life — " Idealism." It 
was illness that first brought me to reason. 



After the choice of nutrition,the choice of climate 
and locality, the third matter concerning which one 



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36 ECCE HOMO 

must not on any account make a blunder, is the 
choice of the manner in which one recuperates one's 
strength. Here, again, according to the extent to 
which a spirit is sui generis, the limits of that which 
he can allow himself — in other words, the limits of 
that which is beneficial to him — become more and 
more confined. As far as I in particular am con- 
cerned, reading in general belongs to my means 
of recuperation ; consequently it belongs to that 
which rids me of myself, to that which enables me 
to wander in strange sciences and strange souls — 
to that,in fact,aboutwhich I am no longer in earnest. 
Indeed, it is while reading that I recover from my 
earnestness. During the time that I am deeply 
absorbed in my work, no books are found within my 
reach ; it would never occur to me to allow any one 
to speak or even to think in my presence. For that 
is what reading would mean. . . . Has any one ever 
actually noticed, that, during the period of.profound 
tension to which the state of pregnancy condemns 
not only the mind, but also, at bottom, the whole 
organism, accident and every kind of external 
stimulus acts too acutely and strikes too deep ? Ac- 
cident and external stimuli must, as far as possible, 
be avoided : a sort of walling-of-one's-self-in is one 
of the primary instinctive precautions of spiritual 
pregnancy. Shall I allow a strange thought to steal 
secretly over the wall ? For that is what reading 
would mean. . . . The periods of work and fruit- 
fulness are followed by periods of recuperation : 
come hither, ye delightful, intellectual, intelligent 
books ! Shall I read German books ? . . . I must 
go back six months to catch myself with a book in 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 37 

my hand. What was it ? An excellent study by 
* Victor Brochard upon the Greek sceptics, in which 
my Laertiana* was used to advantage. The 
sceptics ! — the only honourable types among that 
double-faced and sometimes quintuple-faced throng, 
the philosophers ! . . . Otherwise I almost always 
take refuge in the same books : altogether their 
number is small ; they are books which are precisely 
my proper fare. It is not perhaps in my nature to 
read much, and of all sorts : a library makes me ill. 
Neither is it my nature to love much or many kinds 
of things. Suspicion or even hostility towards new 
books is much more akin to my instinctive feeling 
than " toleration," largeur de cceur, and other forms 
of " neighbour-love." ... It is to a small number 
of old French authors, that I always return again 
and again ; I believe only in French culture, and 
regard everything else in Europe which calls itself 
" culture " as a misunderstanding. I do not even 
take the German kind into consideration. . . . The 
few instances of higher culture with which I have 

* Nietzsche, as is well known, devoted much time when a 
student at Leipzig to the study of three Greek philosophers, 
Theognis, Diogenes Laertius, and Democritus. This study 
first bore fruit in the case of a pa^er, Zur Geschichte der Theo- 
gnideischen Spruchsammlung^ which was subsequently pub- 
lished by the most influential journal of classical philology in 
Germany. Later, however, it enabled Nietzsche to enter for 
the prize offered by the University of Leipzig for an essay, De 
fontibus Diogenis Laertiu He was successful in gaining the 
prize, and the treatise was afterwards published in the 
Rheinisches Museum^ and is still quoted as an authority. It 
is to this essay, written when he was twenty- three years of age, 
that he here refers. — Tr. 



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38 ECCE HOMO 

met in Germany were all French in their origin. 
The most striking example of this was Madame 
Cosima Wagner, by far the most decisive voice in 
matters of taste that I have ever heard. If I do 
not read, but literally love Pascal? as the most in- 
stinctive sacrifice toChristianity,killing himself inch 
by inch, first bodily, then spiritually, according to 
the terrible consistency of this most appalling form 
of inhuman cruelty ; if I have something of Mon- 
taigne's mischievousness in my soul, and — who 
knows ? — perhaps also in my body ; if my artist's 
taste endeavours to defend the names of Moltere,^ 
Corneille, and Racine, and not without bitterness, 
against such a wild genius as Shakespeare — all 
this does not prevent me from regarding even the 
latter-day Frenchmen also as charming companions. 
I can think of absolutely no century in history, in 
which a netful of more inquisitive and at the same 
time more subtle psychologists could be drawn up 
together than in the Paris of the present day. Let 
me mention a few at random — for their number is 
by no means small — Paul Bourget, Pierre Loti,V 
Gyp, Meilhac, Anatole France, Jules Lemaitre ; or, 
to point to one of strong race, a genuine Latin, of 
whom I am particularly fond, Guy de Maupassant.^ 
Between ourselves, I prefer this generation even to 
its masters, all of whom were corrupted by German 
philosophy (Taine, for instance, by Hegel, whom he 
has to thank for his misunderstanding of great men 
and great periods). Wherever Germany extends 
her sway, she ruins culture. It was the war which 
first saved the spirit of France. . . .Stendhal is one 
of the happiest accidents of my life — for everything 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 39 

that marks an epoch in it has been brought to me 
by accident and never by means of a recommenda- 
tion. He is quite priceless, with his psychologist's 
eye, quick at forestalling and anticipating ; with his 
grasp of facts, which is reminiscent of the same art 
in the greatest of all masters of facts (exungue Napo- 
leonetri) ; and, last but not least, as an honest atheist 
— a specimen which is both rare and difficult to 
discover in France — all honour to Prosper M&i- * 
m6e ! . . . Maybe that I am even envious of Stend- 
hal ? He robbed me of the best atheistic joke, which 
I of all people could have perpetrated : " God's only 
excuse is that He does not exist" ... I myself 
have said somewhere — What has been the greatest 
objection to Life hitherto ? — God. 



It was Heinrich Heine who gave me the most 
perfect idea of what a lyrical poet could be. In 
vain do I search through all the kingdoms of an- 
tiquity or of modern times for anything to resemble 
his sweet and passionate music. He possessed that 
divine wickedness, without which perfection itself 
becomes unthinkable to me, — I estimate the value 
of men, of races, according to the extent to which 
they are unable to conceive of a god who has not a 
dash of the satyr in him. And with what mastery he 
wields his native tongue ! One day it will be said ! 
of Heine and me that we were by far the greatest ! 
artists of the German language that have ever ex- 
isted, and that we left all the efforts that mere Ger- 
mans made in this language an incalculable distance 



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40 ECCE HOMO 

behind us. I must be profoundly related to Byron's 
Manfred: of all the dark abysses in this work I found 
the counterparts in my own soul — at the age of 
thirteen I was ripe for this book. Words fail me, 
I have only a look, for those who dare to utter the 
name of Faust in the presence of Manfred. The 
Germans are incapable of conceiving anything sub- 
lime : for a proof of this, look at Schumann ! Out 
of anger for this mawkish Saxon, I once deliber- 
ately composed a counter-overture to Manfred, of 
which Hans von Biilow declared he had never 
seen the like before on paper : such compositions 
amounted to a violation of Euterpe. When I cast 
about me for my highest formula of Shakespeare, I 
find invariably but this one : that he conceived the 
type of Caesar. Such things a man cannot guess — 
he either is the thing, or he is not. The great poet 
draws his creations only from out of his own reality. 
This is so to such an extent, that often after a lapse 
of time he can no longer endure his own work. . . . 
After casting a glance between the pages of my 
Zarathustra y I pace my room to and fro for half an 
hour at a time, unable to overcome an insufferable 
fit of tears. I know of no more heartrending read- 
ing than Shakespeare: how a man must have 
suffered to be so much in need of playing the clown I 
Is Hamlet understood"! It is not doubt, but certi- 
tude that drives one mad. . . . But in order to feel 
this, one must be profound, one must be an abyss, 
a philosopher. . . . We all fear the truth. . . . And, 
to make a confession; ITeel instinctively certain and 
convinced that Lord Bacon is the originator, the 
self-torturer, of this most sinister kind of litera- 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 4 1 

ture: what do I care about the miserable gabble 
of American muddlers and blockheads ? But the 
power for the greatest realism in vision is not only 
compatible with the greatest realism in deeds, with 
the monstrous in deeds, with crime — it actually pre- 
supposes the latter. . . . We do not know half enough 
about Loftl Bacon — the first realist in all the highest 
acceptation of this word — to be sure of everything 
he did, everything he willed, and everything he ex- 
perienced in his inmost soul. . . . Let the critics go 
to hell ! Suppose I had christened my Zarathustra 
with a name not my own, — let us say with Richard 
Wagner's name, — the acumen of two thousand 
years would not have sufficed to guess that the 
author of Human, all-too-Human was the visionary 
of Zarathustra. 

5 

As I am speaking here of the recreations of my 
life, I feel I must express a word or two of gratitude 
for that which has refreshed me by far the most 
heartily and most profoundly. This, without the 
slightest doubt, was my intimate relationship with 
Richard Wagner. All my other relationships with 
men I treat quite lightly ; but I would not have the 
days I spent at Tribschen — those days of con- 
fidence, of cheerfulness, of sublime flashes, and of 
profound moments — blotted from my life at any 
price. I know not what Wagner may have been 
for others ; but no cloud ever darkened our sky. 
And this brings me back again to France, — I have 
no arguments against Wagnerites, and hoc genus 
omne, who believe that they do honour to Wagner 



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42 ECCE HOMO 

by believing him to be like themselves ; for such 
people I have only a contemptuous curl of my lip. 
With a nature like mine, which is so strange to 
everything Teutonic, that even the presence of a 
German retards my digestion, my first meeting with 
Wagner was the first moment in my life in which 
I breathed freely : I felt him, I honoured him, as 
a foreigner, as the opposite and the incarnate con- 
tradiction of all " German virtues." We who as chil- 
dren breathed the marshy atmosphere of the fifties, 
are necessarily pessimists in regard to the concept 
"German"; we cannot be anything else than revolu- 
tionaries — we can assent to no state of affairs which 
allows the canting bigot to be at the top. I care 
not a jot whether this canting bigot acts in different 
colours to-day, whether he dresses in scarlet or dons 
the uniform of a hussar* Very well, then ! Wagner 
was a revolutionary — he fled from the Germans. . . . 
As an artist, a man has no home in Europe save 
in Paris ; that subtlety of all the five senses which 
Wagner's art presupposes, those fingers that can de- 
tect slight gradations, psychological morbidity — all 
these things can be found only in Paris. Nowhere 
else can you meet with this passion for questions of 
form, this earnestness in matters of fnise-en-scene, 
which is the Parisian earnestness par excellence. In 
Germany no one has any idea of the tremendous am- 
bition that fills the heart of a Parisian artist. The 
German is a good fellow. Wagner was by no means 
a good fellow. . . . But I have already said quite 



* The favourite uniform of the German Emperor, William 
ii.— Tr. 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 43 

enough on the subject of Wagner's real nature (see 
Beyond Good and Evi/ y Aphorism 269), and about 
those to whom he is most closely related. He is one 
of the late French romanticists, that high-soaring 
and heaven-aspiring band of artists, like Delacroix 
and Berlioz, who in their inmost nacres are sick and 
incurable, and who are all fanatics of expression, and 
virtuosos through and through. . . . Who, in sooth, 
was the first intelligent follower of Wagner? Charles 
Baudelaire, the very man who first understood Dela- 
croix — that typical decadent, in whom a whole gen- 
eration of artists saw their reflection ; he was per- 
haps the last of them too. . . . What is it that I have t 
never forgiven Wagner ? The fact that he conde- | 
scended to the Germans — that he became a German r 
Imperialist . . . Wherever Germany spreads, she] 
ruins culture. > 



Taking everything into consideration, I could 
never have survived my youth without Wagnerian 
music. For I was condemned to the society of 
Germans. If a man wish to get rid of a feeling of 
insufferable oppression, he has to take to hashish. 
Well, I had to take to Wagner. Wagner is the 
counter-poison to everything essentially German — 
the fact that he is a poison too, I do not deny. From 
the moment that Tristan was arranged for the piano 
— all honour to you, Herr von Biilow ! — I was a 
Wagnerite. Wagner's previous works seemed be- 
neath me — they were too commonplace, too " Ger- 
man." . . . But to this day I am still seeking for 
a work which would be a match to Tristan in 



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44 ECCE HOMO 

dangerous fascination, and possess the same grue- 
some and dulcet quality of infinity ; I seek among 
all the arts in vain. All the quaint features of 
Leonardo da Vinci's work lose their charm at the 
sound of the first bar in Tristan. This work is 
without question Wagner's non plus ultra ; after its 
creation, the composition of the Mastersingers and 
of the Ring was a relaxation to him. To become 
more healthy — this in a nature like Wagner's 
amounts to going backwards. The curiosity of the 
psychologist is so great in me, that I regard it as 
quite a special privilege to have lived at the right 
time, and to have lived precisely among Germans, 
in order to be ripe for this work. The world must 
indeed be empty for him who has never been un- 
healthy enough for this " infernal voluptuousness " : 
it is allowable, it is even imperative, to employ a 
mystic formula for this purpose. I suppose I know 
better than any one the prodigious feats of which 
Wagner was capable, the fifty worlds of strange 
ecstasies to which no one else had wings to soar ; 
and as I am alive to-day and strong enough to turn 
even the most suspicious and most dangerous things 
to my own advantage, and thus to grow stronger, 
I declare Wagner to have been the greatest bene- 
factor of my life. The bond which unites us is the 
fact that we have suffered greater agony, even at 
each other's hands, than most men are able to bear 
nowadays, and this will always keep our names 
associated in the minds of men. For, just as Wagner 
is merely a misunderstanding among Germans, so, 
in truth, am I, and ever wiH ,be. Ye lack two 
centuries of psychological and artistic discipline, my 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 45 

dear countrymen ! . . . But ye can never recover 
the time lost. 



To the most exceptional of my readers I should 
like to say just one word about what I really exact 
from music. £lt must be cheerful and yet profound, 
like an October afternoon. ) It must be original, 
exuberant, and tender, and like a dainty,soft woman 
in roguishness and grace. .) . . I shall never admit 
that a German can understand what music is. Those 
musicians who are called German, the greatest and 
most famous foremost, are allforeigners,either Slavs, 
Croats, Italians, Dutchmen — or Jews ; or else, like 
Heinrich Schutz, Bach, and Handel, they are Ger- 
mans of a strong race which is now extinct. For 
my own part, I have still enough of the Pole left in 
me to let all other music go, if only I can keep 
Chopin. For three reasons I would except Wag- 
ner's Siegfried Idyll, and perhaps also one or two 
things of Liszt, who excelled all other musicians in 
the noble tone of his orchestration ; and finally 
everything that has been produced beyond the Alps 
— this side of the Alps.* I could not possibly dis- 
pense with Rossini, and still less with my Southern 
soul in music, the work of my Venetian maestro, 
Pietro Gasti. And when I say beyond the Alps, all 
I really mean is Venice. If I try to find a new 
word for music, I can never find any other than 
Venice. I know not how to draw any distinction 



* In the latter years of his life, Nietzsche practically made 
Italy his home. — Tr. 



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46 ECCE HOMO 

between tears and music. I do not know how to 
think either of joy, or of the south, without a 
shudder of fear. 

On the bridge I stood 

Lately, in gloomy night. 

Came a distant song : 

In golden drops it rolled 

Over the glittering rim away. 

Music, gondolas, lights — 

Drunk, swam far forth in the gloom. . . . 

A stringed instrument, my soul, 
Sang, imperceptibly moved, 
A gondola song by stealth, 
Gleaming for gaudy blessedness. 
— Hearkened any thereto ? 

8 

In all these things — in the choice of food, place, 
climate, and recreation — the instinct of self-pre- 
servation is dominant, and this instinct manifests 
itself with least ambiguity when it acts as an in- 
stinct of defence. To close one's eyes to much, 
to seal one's ears to much, to keep certain things 
at a distance — this is the first principle of prudence, 
the first proof of the fact that a man is not an 
accident but a necessity. The popular word for 
this instinct of defence is taste. A man's impera- 
tive command is not only to say " no " in cases 
where " yes " would be a sign of " disinterested- 
ness," but also to say " no " as seldom as possible. 
One must part with all that which compels one to 
repeat "no," with ever greater frequency. The 
rationale of this principle is that all discharges of 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 47 

defensive forces, however slight they may be, in- 
volve enormous and absolutely superfluous losses 
when they become regular and habitual. Our 
greatest expenditure of strength is made up of 
those small and most frequent discharges of it. 
The act of keeping things off, of holding them at 
a distance, amounts to a discharge of strength, — 
do not deceive yourselves on this point ! — and an 
expenditure of energy directed at purely negative 
ends. Simply by being compelled to keep con- 
stantly on his guard, a man may grow so weak as 
to be unable any longer to defend himself. Sup- 
pose I were to step out of my house, and, instead 
of the quiet and aristocratic city of Turin, I were 
to find a German provincial town, my instinct 
would have to brace itself together in order to 
repel all that which would pour in upon it from 
this crushed-down and cowardly world. Or sup- 
pose I were to find a large German city — that 
structure of vice in which nothing grows, but 
where every single thing, whether good or bad, is 
squeezed in from outside. In such circumstances 
should I not be compelled to become a hedgehog ? 
But to have prickles amounts to a squandering of 
strength ; they even constitute a twofold luxury, 
when, if we only chose to do so, we could dispense 
with them and open our hands instead. . . . 

Another form of prudence and self-defence con- 
sists in trying to react as seldom as possible, and 
to keep one's self aloof from those circumstances 
and conditions wherein one would be condemned, 
as it were, to suspend one's " liberty " and one's 
initiative, and become a mere reacting medium. 



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48 ECCE HOMO 

As an example of this I point to the intercourse 
with books. The scholar who, in sooth, does little 
else than handle books — with the philologist of 
average attainments their number may amount to 
two hundred a day — ultimately forgets entirely 
and completely the capacity of thinking for him- 
self. When he has not a book between his fingers 
he cannot think. When he thinks, he responds to 
a stimulus (a thought he has read), — finally all he 
does is to react. The scholar exhausts his whole 
strength in saying either " yes " or " no " to matter 
which has already been thought out, or in criticis- 
ing it — he is no longer capable of thought on his 
own account. ... In him the instinct of self- 
defence has decayed, otherwise he would defend 
himself against books. The scholar is a decadent. 
With my own eyes I have seen gifted, richly en- 
dowed, and free-spirited natures already " read to 
ruins " at thirty, and mere wax vestas that have 
to be rubbed before they can give off any sparks 
— or " thoughts." To set to early in the morning, 
at the break of day, in all the fulness and dawn 
of one's strength, and to read a book — this I call 
positively vicious ! 



At this point I can no longer evade a direct 
answer to the question, how one becomes what one 
is. And in giving it, I shall have to touch upon 
that masterpiece in the art of self-preservation, 
which is selfishness. . . . Granting that one's life- 
task — the determination and the fate of one's life- 
task — greatly exceeds the average measure of 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 49 

such things, nothing more dangerous could be 
conceived than to come face to face with one's 
self by the side of this life-task. The fact that 
one becomes what one is, presupposes that one 
has not the remotest suspicion of what one is. 
From this standpoint even the blunders of one's 
life have their own meaning and value, the tem- 
porary deviations and aberrations, the moments of 
hesitation and of modesty, the earnestness wasted 
upon duties which lie outside the actual life-task. 
In these matters great wisdom, perhaps even the 
highest wisdom, comes into activity : in these cir- 
cumstances, in which nosce teipsum would be the 
sure road to ruin, forgetting one's self, misunder- 
standing one's self, belittling one's self, narrowing 
one's self, and making one's self mediocre, amount 
to reason itself. Expressed morally, to love one's 
neighbour and to live for others and for other 
things may be the means of protection employed 
to maintain the hardest kind of egoism. This is 
the exceptional case in which I, contrary to my 
principle and conviction, take the side of the altru- 
istic instincts ; for here they are concerned in sub- 
serving selfishness and self-discipline. The whole 
surface of consciousness — for consciousness is a 
surface — must be kept free from any one of the 
great imperatives. Beware even of every striking 
word, of every striking attitude ! They are all so 
many risks which the instinct runs of" understand- 
ing itself" too soon. Meanwhile the organising 
" idea," which is destined to become master, grows 
and continues to grow into the depths, — it begins 
to command, it leads you slowly back from your 



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50 ECCE HOMO 

deviations and aberrations, it prepares individual 
qualities and capacities, which one day will make 
themselves felt as indispensable to the whole of 
your task, — step by step it cultivates all the ser- 
viceable faculties, before it ever whispers a word 
concerning the dominant task, the " goal," the 
" object," and the " meaning " of it all. Looked 
at from this standpoint my life is simply amazing. 
For the task of transvaluing values, more capaci- 
ties were needful perhaps than could well be found 
side by side in one individual ; and above all, an- 
tagonistic capacities which had to be free from the 
mutual strife and destruction which they involve. 
An order of rank among capacities ; distance ; the 
art of separating without creating hostility ; to re- 
frain from confounding things; to keep from re- 
conciling things ; to possess enormous multifarious- 
ness and yet to be the reverse of chaos — all this 
was the first condition, the long secret work, and 
the artistic mastery of my instinct. Its superior 
guardianship manifested itself with such ex- 
ceeding strength, that not once did I ever dream 
of what was growing within me — until suddenly 
all my capacities were ripe, and one day burst 
forth in all the perfection of their highest bloom. 
I cannot remember ever having exerted myself, I 
can point to no trace of struggle in my life ; I am 
the reverse of a heroic nature. To " will " some- 
thing, to "strive" after something, to have an 
" aim " or a " desire " in my mind — I know none 
of these things from experience. Even at this 
moment I look out upon my future — a broad 
future ! — as upon a calm sea : no sigh of longing 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 5 1 

makes a ripple on its surface. I have not the 
slightest wish that anything should be otherwise 
than it is : I myself would not be otherwise. . . . 
But in this matter I have always been the same. 
I have never had a desire. A man who, after his 
four-and-fortieth year, can say that he has never 
bothered himself about honours, women, or money ! 
— not that they did not come his way. ... It was 
thus that I became one day a University Professor 
— I had never had the remotest idea of such a 
thing; for I was scarcely four-and-twenty years 
of age. In the same way, two years previously, 
I had one day become a philologist, in the sense 
that my first philological work, my start in every 
way, was expressly obtained by my master Ritschl 
for publication in h\s Rheinisches Museum.* (Ritschl 
— and I say it in all reverence — was the only 
genial scholar that I have ever met. He possessed 
that pleasant kind of depravity which distinguishes 
us Thuringians, and which makes even a German 
sympathetic — even in the pursuit of truth we pre- 
fer to avail ourselves of roundabout ways. In 
saying this I do not mean to underestimate in any 
way my Thuringian brother, the intelligent Leopold 
von Ranke, . . .) 

10 

You may be wondering why I should actually 
have related all these trivial and, according to tra- 
ditional accounts, insignificant details to you ; such 
action can but. tell against me, more particularly if 



* See note on page 37. 



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52 ECCE HOMO 

I am fated to figure in great causes. To this I reply 
that these trivial matters — diet, locality, climate, 
and one's mode of recreation, the whole casuistry of; 
self-love — are inconceivably more important than 
all that which has hitherto been held in high esteem! 
It is precisely in this quarter that we must begfti 
to learn afresh. All those things which mankind 
has valued with such earnestness heretofore are not 
even real; they are mere creations of fancy, or, 
more strictly speaking, lies born of the evil instincts 
of diseased and, in the deepest sense, noxious 
natures — all the concepts, " God," " soul," " virtue," 
"sin," "Beyond," "truth," "eternal life." ... But 
the greatness of human nature, its " divinity," was 
sought for in them. . . . All questions of politics, 
of social ord^r, of education, have been falsified, root 
and branch, owing to the fact that the most noxipus 
men have been taken for great men, and that 
people were taught to despise the small things,' or 
rather the fundamental things, of life. If I now 
choose to compare myself with those creatures who 
have hitherto been honoured as the first among men, 
the difference becomes obvious. I do not reckon 
the so-called " first " men even as human beings — 
for me they are the excrements of mankind, the 
products of disease and of the instinct of revenge : 
they are so many monsters laden with rottenness, 
so many hopeless fcictitfables, who avenge them- 
selves on life. . . . ^wish to be the opposite of 
these people : it is my- privilege to have the very 
sharpest discernment for every sign of healthy in- 
stincts. There is no such thing as a morbid trait 
in me : even in times of serious illness I have never 



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WHY I AM SO CLEVER 53 

grown morbid, and you might seek in vain for a 
trace of fanaticism in my nature. No one can point 1 
to any moment of my life in which I have assumed / 
either an arrogant or a pathetic attitude. Pathetic f 
attitudes are not in keeping with greatness; he whcj 
needs attitudes is false. . . . Beware of all p ictur- 
escjue men ! Life was easy — in fact easiest — to me, 
in those periods when it exacted the heaviest duties 
from me. Whoever could have seen me during the r 
seventy days of this autumn, when, without inter- 
ruption, I did a host of things of the highest rank — 
things that no man can do nowadays — with a sense 
of responsibility for all the ages yet to come, would 
have noticed no sign of tension in my condition, but 
rather a state of overflowing freshness and good 
cheer. Never have I eaten with more pleasant sen- 
sations, never has my sleep been better. I know of 
no other manner of dealing with great tasks, than 
as play : this, as a sign of greatness, is an essential 
prerequisite. The slightest constraint, a sombre 
mien, any hard accent in the voice — all these things 
are objections to a man, but how much more to his 
work ! . . . One must not have nerves. . . . Even 
to suffer from solitude is an objection — the only 
thing I have always suffered from is " multitude." * 



* The German words are, Einsamkeit and Vielsamkeit. 
The latter was coined by Nietzsche. The English word , 
" multitude " should, therefore, be understood as signifying 
multifarious instincts and gifts, which in Nietzsche strove for 
ascendancy and caused him more suffering than any solitude. 
Complexity of this sort, held in check by a dominant instinct, 
as in Nietzsche's case, is of course the only possible basis of 
an artistic nature. — Tr. 



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54 ECCE HOMO 

At an absurdly tender age, in fact when I was seven 
years old, I already knew that no human speech 
would ever reach me : did any one ever see me sad 
on that account? At present I still possess the same 
affability towards everybody, I am even full of con- 
sideration for the lowest : in all this there is not an 
atom of haughtiness or of secret contempt. He 
whom I despise soon guesses that he is despised by 
me: the very fact of my existence is enough to rouse 
indignation in all those who have polluted blood in 
their veins. My formula for greatness in man isl 
amor fati: the fact that a man wishes nothing to 
be different, either in front of him or behind him, 
or for all eternity. Not only must the necessary be 
borne, and on no account concealed, — all idealism 
is falsehood in the face of necessity, — but it must 
also be loved. . . . 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 



I AM one thing, my creations are another. Here, \\ 
before I speak of the books themselves, I shall 
touch upon the question of the understanding and 
misunderstanding with which they have met. I 
shall proceed to do this in as perfunctory a manner 
as the occasion demands ; for the time has by no 
means come for this question. My time has not 
yet come either; some are born posthumously. One ^ 
day institutions will be needed in which men will 
live and teach, as I understand living and teaching ; 
maybe, also, that by that time, chairs will be 
founded and endowed for the interpretation of 
Zarathustra. But I should regard it as a complete 
contradiction of myself, if I expected to find ears 
and eyes for my truths to-day : the fact that no one ^ 
listens to me, that no one knows how to receive at 
my hands to-day, is not only comprehensible, it 
seems to me quite the proper thing. I do not wish 
to be mistaken for another — and to this end I must 
not mistake myself. To repeat what I have al- 
ready said, I can point to but few instances of ill- \ 
will in my life : and as for literary ill-will, I could I 
mention scarcely a single example of it. On the 
other hand, I have met with far too much pure 
foolery ! ... It seems to me that to take up one 



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56 ECCE HOMO 

of my books is one of the rarest honours that a man 
can pay himself — even supposing that he put his 
shoes from off his feet beforehand, not to mention 
boots. . . . When on one occasion Dr. Heinrich von 
Stein honestly complained that he could not under- 
stand a word of my Zarathustra, I said to him that 
this was just as it should be : to have understood 
six sentences in that book — that is to say, to have 
lived them — raises a man to a higher level among 
mortals than " modern " men can attain. With 
this feeling of distance how could I even wish to 
be read by the " moderns " whom I know ! My 
triumph is just the opposite of what Schopenhauer's 
was — I say " Non legor, non legar." — Not that I 
should like to underestimate the pleasure I have 
derived from the innocence with which my works 
have frequently been contradicted. As late as last 
summer, at a time when I was attempting, perhaps 
by means of my weighty, all-too-weighty literature, 
to throw the rest of literature off its balance, a 
\ certain professor of Berlin University kindly gave 
i me to understand that I ought really to make use 
of a different form : no one could read such stuff 
as I wrote. — Finally, it was not Germany, but 
Switzerland that presented me with the two most 
extreme cases. An essay on Beyond Good and 
Evil, by Dr. V. Widmann in the paper called the 
Bund, under the heading " Nietzsche's Dangerous 
Book," and a general account of all my works, from 
the pen of Herr Karl Spitteler, also in the Bund, 
constitute a maximum in my life — I shall not say 
of what. . . . The lattertreditedmyZaratAustrafor in- 
stance^ " advanced exercises in style? and expressed 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 57 

the wish that later on I might try and attend to 
the question of substance as well ; Dr. Widmann 
assured me of his respect for the courage I showed l 
in endeavouring to abolish all decent feeling. ; 
Thanks to a little trick of destiny, every sentence 
in these criticisms seemed, with a consistency that 
I could but admire, to be an inverted truth. In 
fact it was most remarkable that all one had to do 
was to " transvalue all values," in order to hit the 
nail on the head with regard to me, instead of 
striking my head with the nail. ... I am more 
particularly anxious therefore to discover an ex- 
planation. After all, no one can draw more out of 
things, books included, than he already knows. A 
man has no ears for that to which experience has 
given him no access. To take an extreme case, 
suppose a book contains simply incidents which lie 
quite outside the range of general or even rare ex- 
perience — suppose it to be the first language to 
express a whole series of experiences. In this case 
nothing it contains will really be heard at all, and, 
thanks to an acoustic delusion, people will believe 
that where nothing is heard there is nothing to 
hear. . . . This, at least, has been my usual experi- 
ence, and proves, if you will, the originality of my 
experience. He who thought he had understood 
something in my work, had as a rule adjusted some- 
thing in it to his own image — not infrequently the 
very opposite of myself, an " idealist," for instance. 
He who understood nothing in my work, would deny 
that I was worth considering at all. — The word | 
" Superman," which designates a type of man that 
would be one of nature's rarest and luckiest strokes, 



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5 8 ECCE HOMO 

as opposed to " modern " men, to " good " men, to 
Christians and other Nihilists, — a word which in the 
mouth of Zarathustra, the annihilator of morality, 
acquires a very profound meaning, — is understood 
almost everywhere, and with perfect innocence, in 
the light of those values to which a flat contradic- 
tion was made manifest in the figure of Zarathustra 
— that is to say, as an " ideal " type, a higher kind 
of man, half " saint " and half " genius." . . . Other 
learned cattle have suspected me of Darwinism on 
account of this word : even the " hero cult " of that \ 
great unconscious and involuntaryswindler, Carlyle, ; 
— a cult which I repudiated with such roguish 
malice, — was recognised in my doctrine. Once, 
when I whispered to a man that he would do better 
I to seek for the Superman in a Caesar Borgia than in 
a Parsifal, he could not believe his ears. The fact 

> that I am quite free from curiosity in regard to 
criticisms of my books, more particularly when they 
appear in newspapers, will have to be forgiven me. 

> My friends and my publishers know this, and never 
speak to me of such things. In one particular case, 
I once saw all the sins that had been committed 
against a single book — it was Beyond Good and 
Evil; I could tell you a nice story about it. Is it 
possible that the National-Zeitung — a Prussian 
paper (this comment is for the sake of my foreign 
readers — for my own part, I beg to state, I read 
only Le Journal des Dibats) — really and seriously 
regarded the book as a " sign of the times," or a 
genuine and typical example of Tory philosophy , # 

* Junker-Philosophic The landed proprietors constitute 
the dominating class in Prussia, and it is from this class that 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 59 

for which the Kreuz-Zeitung had not sufficient 
courage? . . . 



This was said for the benefit of Germans : for 
everywhere else I have my readers — all of them 
exceptionally intelligent men, characters that have 
won their spurs and that have been reared in high 
offices and superior duties ; I have even real geniuses L 
among my readers. In Vienna, in St Petersburg, u 
in Stockholm, in Copenhagen, in Paris, and New ^ 
York — I have been discovered everywhere : I have I 
not yet been discovered in Europe's flatland — \ 
Germany. . . . And, to make a confession, I re- 
joice much more heartily over those who do not 
read me, over those who have neither heard of my 
name nor of the word philosophy. But whither- 
soever I go, here in Turin, for instance, every | 
face brightens and softens at the sight of me. \ 
A thing that has flattered me more than anything 
else hitherto, is the fact that old market-women ! 
cannot rest until they have picked out the sweetest 
of their grapes for me. To this extent must a man 
be a philosopher. ... It is not in vain that the Poles 
are considered as the French among the Slavs. A 
charming Russian lady will not be mistaken for a 
single moment concerning my origin. I am not 
successful at being pompous, the most I can do is 
to appear embarrassed. ... I can think in German, 
I can feel in German — I can do most things ; but 
this is beyond my powers. . . . My old master Ritschl 

all officers and higher officials are drawn. The Kreuz-Zeitung 
is the organ of the Junker party. — Tr. 



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60 ECCE HOMO 

went so far as to declare that I planned even my 
philological treatises after the manner of a Parisian 
novelist — that I made them absurdly thrilling. 
In Paris itself people are surprised at " toutes mes 
audaces et finesses " ; — the words are Monsieur 
Taine's; — I fear that even in the highest forms of the 
dithyramb, that salt will be found pervading my 
work which never becomes insipid, which never be- 
comes u German " — and that is, wit. ... I can do 
nought else. God help me ! Amen. — We all know, 
some of us even from experience, what a " long- 
ears " is. Well then, I venture to assert that I 
have the smallest ears that have ever been seen. 
This fact is not without interest to women — it 
seems to me they feel that I understand them 
better ! ... I am essentially the anti-ass, and on 
this account alone a monster in the world's history 
— in Greek, and not only in Greek, I am the Anti- 
christ 



I am to a great extent aware of my privileges 
as a writer : in one or two cases it has even been 
brought home to me how very much the habitual 
reading of my works " spoils " a man's taste. Other 
books simply cannot be endured after mine, and 
least of all philosophical ones. It is an incompar- 
able distinction to cross the threshold of this noble 
and subtle world — in order to do so one must 
certainly not be a German ; it is, in short, a distinc- 
tion which one must have deserved. He, however, 
who is related to me through loftiness of will, 
experiences genuine raptures of understanding in 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 6l 

my books : for I swoop down from heights into 
which no bird has ever soared ; I know abysses 
into which no foot has ever slipped. People have 
told me that it is impossible to lay down a book 
of mine — that I disturb even the night's rest. . . . 
There is no prouder or at the same time more 
subtle kind of books : they sometimes attain to the 
highest pinnacle of earthly endeavour, cynicism ; 
to capture their thoughts a man must have the ten- 
derest fingers as well as the most intrepid fists. 
Any kind of spiritual decrepitude utterly excludes 
all intercourse with them — even any kind of dys- 
pepsia : a man must have no nerves, but he must 
have a cheerful belly. Not only the poverty of a 
man's soul and its stuffy air excludes all intercourse 
with them, but also, and to a much greater degree, 
cowardice, uncleanliness, and secret intestinal re- 
vengefulness ; a word from my lips suffices to make 
the colour of all evil instincts rush into a face. 
Among my acquaintances I have a number of 
experimental subjects, in whom I see depicted all 
the different, and instructively different, reactions 
which follow upon a perusal of my works. Those 
who will have nothing to do with the contents of 
my books, as for instance my so-called friends, as- 
sume an "impersonal" tone concerning them : they 
wish me luck, and congratulate me for having pro- 
duced another work ; they also declare that my 
writings show progress, because they exhale a more 
cheerful spirit. . . . Thejthoroughly vicious people, 
the " beautiful souls," the false from top to toe, do 
not know in the least what to dp „with-my books — 
consequently, with the. beautiful consistency of all 



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62 ECCE HOMO 

tea^ifuLsouls^ibey^regatd^my. work as beneath 
them.^ The cattle among my acquaintances, the 
mere Germans,leave me to understand, if you please, 
that they are not always of my opinion, though here 
and there they agree with me. ... I have heard 
this said even about Zarathustra. "Feminism," 
whether in mankind or in man, is likewise a barrier 
to my writings ; with it, no one could ever enter 
into this labyrinth of fearless knowledge. To this 
end, a man must never have spared himself, he must 
have been hard in his habits, in order to be good- 
humoured and merry among a host of inexorable 
truths. When I try to picture the character of a per- 
fect reader, I always imagine a monster of courage 
and curiosity, as well as of suppleness, cunning, and 
prudence — in short, a born adventurer and explorer. 
After all, I could not describe better than Zara- 
thustra has done unto whom I really address my- 
self: unto whom alone would he reveal his riddle ? 

" Unto you, daring explorers and experimenters, 
and unto all who have ever embarked beneath 
cunning sails upon terrible seas ; 

" Unto you who revel in riddles and in twilight, 
whose souls are lured by flutes unto every treacher- 
ous abyss : 

" For ye care not to grope your way along a 
thread with craven fingers ; and where ye are able 
to guess, ye hate to argue" 



I will now pass just one or two general remarks 
about my art of style. To communicate a state 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 63 

an inner tension of pathos by means of signs, in- 
cluding the tempo of these signs, — that is the 
meaning of every style ; and in view of the fact ^ 
that the multiplicity of inner states in me is enor- 
mous, I am capable of many kinds of style — in short, 
the most multifarious art of style that any man has 
ever had at his disposal. Any style is good which 
genuinely communicates an inner condition, which 
does not blunder over the signs, over the tempo of 
the signs, or over moods — all the laws of phrasing 
are the outcome of representing moods artistically. 
Good style, in itself, is a piece of sheer foolery, 
mere idealism, like " beauty in itself," for instance, 
or "goodness in itself," or "the thing-in-itself." 
All this takes for granted, of course, that there 
exist ears that can hear, and such men as are cap- 
able and worthy of a like pathos, that those are 
not wanting unto whom one may communicate . 
one's self. Meanwhile my Zarathustra, for instance, 
is still in quest of such people — alas ! he will have 
to seek a long while yet ! A man must be worthy 
of listening to him. . . . And, until that time, 
there will be no one who will understand the art 
that has been squandered in this book. No one 
has ever existed who has had more novel, more 
strange, and purposely created art forms to fling 
to the winds. The fact that such things were 
possible in the German language still awaited 
proof; formerly, I myself would have denied most 
emphatically that it was possible. Before my time x t 
people did not know what could be done with the 
German language — what could be done with lan- 
guage in general. The art of grand rhythm, of grand ' 



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64 ECCE HOMO 

style in periods, for expressing the tremendous 
fluctuations of sublime and superhuman passion, 
was first discovered by me: with the dithyramb 
entitled £ The Seven Seals," which constitutes the 
1 last discourse of the third part of Zarathustra^ I 
soared miles above all that which heretofore has 
been called poetry. 

5 

The fad* that the voice which speaks in my 
> works is that of a psychologist who has not his 
peer, is perhaps the first conclusion at which a good 
reader will arrive — a reader such as I deserve, and 
one who reads me just as the good old philologists 
used to read their Horace. Those propositions 
about which all the world is fundamentally agreed 
— not to speak of fashionable philosophy, of moral- 
ists and other empty-headed and cabbage-brained 
people — are to me but ingenuous blunders : for in- 
stance, the belief that " altruistic " and " egoistic " 
| are opposites, while all tfce time the " ego " itself is 
merely a "supreme swindle," an "ideal." . . . There 
are no such things as egoistic or altruistic actions : 
both concepts are psychological nonsense. Or the 
proposition that " man pursues happiness " ; or the 
proposition that "happiness is the reward of virtue." 
... Or the proposition that "pleasure and pain are 
opposites." . . . Morality, the Circe of mankind, has 
falsified everything psychological, root and branch 
— it has bemoralised everything, even to the terribly 
nonsensical point of callingiove "unselfish." A man 
must first be firmly poised, he must stand securely 
on his two legs, otherwise he cannot love at all. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 65 

This indeed the girls know only too well : they don't 
care two pins about unselfish and me rely objective 
men. . *^iSTay I venture to suggest, incidentally, 
that I know women? This knowledge is part 
of my Dionysian patrimony. Who knows ? may- 
be I am the first psychologist of the eternally femi- 
nine. Women all like m e. . . . But that's an old 
story : save, of course, the abortions among them, 
the emancipated ones, those who lack the where- 
withal to have children. Thank goodness I am not 
willing to let myself be torn to pieces ! the perfect 
woman tears you to pieces when she loves you : I 
know these amiable Maenads. . . . Oh! what a 
dangerous, creeping, subterranean little beast of 
prey she is! And so agreeable withal! . . . A little 
woman, pursuing her vengeance, would force open 
even the iron gates of Fate itself. Woman is incal- 
culably more wicked than man, she is also cleverer. 
Goodness in a woman is already a sign of degenera- 
tion. All cases of " beautiful souls " in women may 
be traced to a faulty physiological condition — but 
I go no further, lest I should become medicynical. 
The struggle for equal rights is even a symptom 
of disease ; every doctor knows this. The more 
womanly a woman is, the more she fights tooth and 
nail against rights in general : the natural order of 
things, the eternal war between the sexes, assigns 
to her by far the foremost rank. Have people had 
ears to hear my definition of love ? It is the only 
definition worthy of a philosopher. Loye^ in its 
mean s, is w ar ; in its foundation, it is the mortal 
hatred of the^exes. Have you heard my reply to 
the question how a woman can be cured, " saved " 

E 



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66 ECCE HOMO 

in fact?— ^lyejier^a^ child ! A woman needs 
\ chiElren, man is always only a means, thus spake 
Zarathustra. " The emancipation of women," — this 
is the instinctive hatred of physiologically botched 
— that is to say, barren — women for those of their 
sisters who are well constituted : the fight against 
" man " is always only a means, a pretext, a piece 
of strategy. By trying to rise to " Woman per se" 
to " Higher Woman," to the " Ideal Woman," all 
they wish to do is to lower the general level of 
( women's rank : and there are no more certain means 
I to this end than university education, trousers, and 
the rights of voting cattle. Truth to tell, the emanci- 
pated are the anarchists in the " eternally feminine " 
world, the physiological mishaps, the most deep- 
rooted instinct of whom is revenge. A whole species 
of the most malicious " idealism " — which, by the 
bye, also manifests itself in men, in Henrik Ibsen 
for instance, that typical old maid — whose object 
is to poison the clean conscience, the natural spirit, 
of sexual love. . . . And in order to leave no doubt 
in your minds in regard to my opinion, which, on 
this matter, is as honest as it is severe, I will reveal 
to you one more clause out of my moral code against 
vice— with the word " vice " I combat every kind of \ 
opposition to Nature, or, if you prefer fine words, f 
idealism. The clause reads : "Preaching of chastity/ 
is a public incitement to unnatural practices. All 
depreciation of the sexual life, all the sullying of 
it by means of the concept ' impure/ is the essen 
tialcrimeagainstLife — is the essential crime against 
the Holy Spirit of Life." 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 6j 

f , 

In order to give you some idea of myself as a 
psychologist, let me take this curious piece of 
psychological analysis out pf the book Beyond Good 
and Evil, in which it appears. I forbid, by the bye, 
any guessing as to whom J am describing in this 
passage. " The genius of the heart, as that great 
anchorite possesses it, the divine tempter and born 
Pied Piper of consciences, whose voice knows how 
to sink into the inmost depths of every soul, who 
neither utters a word nor casts a glance, in which 
some seductive motive or trick does not lie : a part 
of whose masterliness is that he understands the art 
of seeming — not what he is, but that which will 
place a fresh constraint upon his followers to press 
ever more closely upon him, to follow him ever more 
enthusiastically and whole-heartedly. . . . The 
genius of the heart, which makes all loud and self- 
conceited things hold their tongues and lend their 
ears, which polishes all rough souls and makes them 
taste a new longing — to lie placid as a mirror, 
that the deep heavens may be reflected in them. . . . 
The genius of the heart which teaches the clumsy 
and too hasty hand to hesitate and grasp more 
tenderly ; which scents the hidden and forgotten 
treasure, the pearl of goodness and sweet spiritual- 
ity, beneath thick black ice, and is a divining rod 
for every grain of gold, long buried and imprisoned 
in heaps of mud and sand. . . . The genius of the 
heart, from contact with which every man goes away 
richer, not € blessed * and overcome, not as though 
favoured and crushed by the good things of others ; 



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68 ECCE HOMO 

but richer in himself, fresher to himself than before, 
opened up, breathed upon and sounded by a thawing 
wind ; more uncertain, perhaps, more delicate, more 
fragile, more bruised ; but full of hopes which as 
yet lack names, full of a new will and striving, full 
of a new unwillingness and counter-striving." . . . 



9AAV "The Birth of Tragedy" 



In order to be fair to the Birth of Tragedy (1872) 
it is necessary to forget a few things. It created 
a sensation and even fascinated by means of its 
mistakes — by means of its application to Wagner- 
ism, as if the latter were the sign of an ascending 
tendency. On that account alone, this treatise was 
an event in Wagner's life: thenceforward great hopes 
surrounded the name of Wagner. Even to this 
day, people remind me, sometimes in the middle of 
Parsifal, that it rests on my conscience if the opin- 
ion, that this movement is of great value to culture, 
at length became prevalent I have often seen the 
book quoted as " The Second Birth of Tragedy 
from the Spirit of Music " : people had ears only 
for new formulae for Wagner's art, his object and 
his mission — and in this way the real hidden value 
of the book was overlooked. " Hellenism and 
Pessimism " — this would have been a less equivocal 
title, seeing that the book contains the first attempt 
at showing ho wjhs Gregk ^su cceeded in disposing^ 
of pessimism — * n what manner they overcame it. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 



& 



. . . Tragedy itself is the proof of the fact that the 
Greeks were not pessimist s: Schopen foanerhlijnHerefi 
hereas he blundered in everything else. — Regarded 
impartially, The Birth of Tragedy is a book quite 
strange to its age : no one would dream that it was 
begun in the thunder of the battle of Worth, I 
thought out these problems on cold September 
nights beneath the walls of Metz, in the midst of my 
duties as nurse to the wounded; it would be easier to 
think that it was written fifty years earlier. Its atti- 
tude towards politics is one of indifference, — " un- 
German, M # as people would say to-day, — it smells 
offensively of Hegel* only in one or two formulae is 
it infected with the bitter odour of corpses which is 
p eculiar to Schopenhauer. An idea — t hf frj^agon- 
"Tsm off the two c oncro^sJQitta}^^ 
-^-is translated into metaphysics ; history itself is 
depicted as the development of this idea • in tr aced v 
this antithesis has become unity* from this stand- 
point things which theretofore had never been face 
to face are suddenly confronted, and understood 
and illuminated bv each othe r. . . . Opera and re- ** 
volution, for instance. . . . The two decisive inno- 
vations in the book are, firg », «*"> fflmp^h^nginn nf 

the Diony' siaq yfr e r)orrier|or^ among the Grgfikff — it 
provides the first psychological analysis of this 
phenomenon, and sees in it the single root of all 
Greek art; and, secondly, the comprehension of 

* Those Germans who, like Nietzsche or Goethe, recog^) 
nised that politics constituted a danger to culture, and who J 
appreciated the literature of maturer cultures, such as that J 
of France, are called un-deutsch (un-German) by Imperial- \ 
istic Germans. — Tr. ^ 



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JO ECCE HOMO 

f Socraticism — Socrates being presented for the first 
time as the instrument of Greek dissolution, as 
a typical decadent. " Reason " versus Instinct. 



attitude to life are attained. In one part of the 
book the Christian priesthood is referred to as a 
" perfidious order of goblins," as " subterraneans." 



This start of mine was remarkable beyond meas- 
ure. As a confirmation of my inmost personal ex- 
perience I had discovered the only example of this 
f act that history p os sesses.— with this I was t he 
ji rst to und erstand the amazing Dionysian pheno- 
menon ^ At the same time,Jby recognisiog^^cr^tes^ 
as a de caden t. I proved most conclusively that the 
certainty of my psychological grasp of things ran 
very little risk at the hands of any sort of moral 
idiosyncrasy: to regard morality itself as a symptom 
of degeneration is an innovation, a unique event of 
the first order in the history of knowledge. How 
high I had soared above the pitifully foolish gabble 
about Optimism and Pessimism with my two new 
doctrines ! I was the first to see the actual contrast: 
the degenerate instinct which turns upon life with 
a subterranean lust of vengeance (Christianity, 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 7 1 

Schopenhauer's philosophy, and in some respects . 
too even Plato's philosophy — in short, the whole of 
idealism in its typical forms), as opposed to a 
formula of the highest yea-saying to life, born of 
an abundance and a superabundance of life — a ' 
yea-saying free from all reserve, applying even to 
suffering, and guilt, and all that is questionable and 
strange in existence. . . . This last, most joyous, 
most exuberant and exultant yea to life, is not only 
the highest, but also the profoundest conception,and 
one which is most strictly confirmed and supported 
by truth and science. Nothing that exists must be 
suppressed, nothing can be dispensed with. Those 
aspects of life which Christians and other Nihilists 
reject, belong to an incalculably higher order in the 
hierarchy of values, than that which the instinct of 
degeneration calls good, and may call good. In 
order to understand this, a certain courage is neces- 
sary, and, as a prerequisite of this, a certain super- 
fluity of strength : for a man can approach only as 
near to truth as he has the courage to advance — that 
is to say, eve rything depends strict ly upon the me^- 
sure of his strengt h. Knowledge, and the affirmation \ 

r\¥ ratili+xT o«*a met oo nor>ocennr tr* 4-Vio efrf/^nrr mon » 



reality, are just as necessary to the strong man 
as cowardice, the flight from reality — in fact, the j 
"ideal" — are necessaryto the weak inspired by weak- / 
ness. . . . These people are not at liberty to "know," 
— jggadfint&sianri in oeed i of lies, — it is one of their 
self-preservative measures. He who not only under- \ 
stands the word " Dionysian," but understands him- \ 
self in that term, does not require any refutation of 
Plato, or of Christianity, or of Schopenhauer — for 
his nose scents decomposition. 



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?2 ECCE HOMO 



The extent to which I had by means of these 
doctrines discovered the idea of " tragedy," the ulti- 
mate explanation of what the psychology of tragedy 



Not to cast out terror and pity, or to purge one's self 
of dangerous passion by discharging it with vehem- 
ence, — this was Aristotle's* misunderstanding of 
it, — but to be far beyond terror and pity afflfl to be 
the eternal lust of ±^011^ 1 1^ itseli 1 — that lust which 
also involves the joy of destruction /' . . . In this 
sense I have the right to regard myself as the first 
tragic philosopher — that is to say, the most extreme 
antithesis and antipodes of a pessimistic philosopher. 
Before my time no such thingexisted as this transla- 
tion of the Dionysian phenomenon into philosophic 
emotion : tragic wisdom was lacking ; in vain have 
I sought for signs of it even among the great Greeks 
in philosophy — those belonging to the two centuries 
before Socrates. I still remained a little doubtful 
about Heraclitus, in whose presence, alone, I felt 
warmer and more at ease than anywhere else. The 
yea-saying to the impermanence and annihilation 
of things, which is the decisive feature of a Diony^ 



* Aristotle's Poetics^ c. vi. — Tr. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 73 

sian philosophy; the yea-saying to contradi ction 
and war, the postulation of Becoming , together with 
tha. radical rejection even of the concept BttHjgf— 
i n all these th ings, at all events, I must recognise 
h im who has come nearest to me InThought hitheF 
to. TEie doctrinFoTIhe^EternaTTtecurrenc^ ^ 
^that is to sav. of the absolute and eternal repetition 
f of all things jp p?riQflfc^) liY*?!?? — this doctrine of 
Zarathustra's might, it is true, have been taught be- 
fore. In any case, the Stoics, who derived nearly 
all their fundamental ideas from Heraclitus, show 
traces of it. 



A tremendous hope finds expression in this work. 
After all, I have absolutely no reason to renounce 
the hope for a Dionysian future of music. Let us 
look a century ahead, and let us suppose that my 
attempt to destroy two millenniums of hostility to 
Nature and of the violation of humanity be crowned 
with success That new party of life-advocates, 
which will undertake the greatest of all tasks, the 
elevation and perfection of mankind, as well as the 
relentless destruction of all degenerate and para- 
sitical elements, will make that superabundance of 
life on earth once more possible, out of which the 
Dionysian state will perforce arise again. I promise 
the advent of a tragic age : the highest art in the 
saying of yea to life, " tragedy," will be born again 
when mankind has the knowledge of the hardest, 
but most necessary of wars, behind it, without, how- 
ever, suffering from that knowledge. . . . A psycho- 
logist might add that what I heard in Wagnerian 




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74 ECCE HOMO 

music in my youth and early manhood had nothing 
whatsoever to do with Wagner ; that when I de- 
scribed Dionysian music, I described merely what 
/ personally had heard — that I was compelled in- 
stinctively to translate and transfigure everything 
into the new spirit which filled my breast. A proof 
of this, and as strong a proof as you could have, is 
my essay, Wagner in Bayreuth : in all its decisive 
psychological passages I am the only person con- 
cerned — without any hesitation you may read my 
name or the word " Zarathustra " wherever the text 
contains the name of Wagner. The whole pano- 
rama of the dithyrambic artist is the representation 
of the already existing author of Zarathustra, and 
it is drawn with an abysmal depth which does not 
even once come into contact with the real Wagner. 
Wagner himself had a notion of the truth ; he did 
not recognise himself in the essay. — In this way, 
"the idea of Bayreuth" was changed into something 
which to those who are acquainted with my Zara- 
thustra will be no riddle — that is to say, into the 
Great Noon when the highest of the elect will conse- 
crate themselves for the greatest of all duties — who 
knows ? the vision of a feast which I may live to 
see. . . . The pathos of the first few pages is uni- 
versal history ; the look which is discussed on page 
1 05 * of the book, is the actual look of Zarathustra ; 
Wagner, Bayreuth, the whole of this petty German 
wretchedness, is a cloud upon which an infinite Fata 
Morgana of the future is reflected. Even from the 



* This number and those which follow refer to Thoughts out 
of Season, Part I. in this edition of Nietzsche's Works. — Tr. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 75 

psychological standpoint, all the decisive traits in 
my character are introduced into Wagner's nature 
— the juxtaposition of the most brilliant and most 
fatal forces, a Will to Power such as no man has ever 
possessed — inexorable bravery in matters spiritual, 
an unlimited power of learning unaccompanied by 
depressed powers for action. Everything in this 
essay is a prophecy : the proximity of the resur- 
rection of the Greek spirit, the need of men who 
will be counter-Alexanders, who will once more tie 
the Gordian knot of Greek culture, after it has been 
cut. Listen to the world-historic accent with which 
the concept " sense for the tragic " is introduced on 
page 1 80: there are little else but world-historic 
accents in this essay. This is the strangest kind of 
" objectivity " that ever existed : my absolute cer- 
tainty in regard to what I am y projected itself into 
any chance reality — truth about myself was voiced 
from out appalling depths. On pages 174 and 175 
the style of Zarathustra is described and foretold 
with incisive certainty, and no more magnificent 
expression will ever he found than that on pages 
144-147 for the event for which Zarathustra stands 
— that prodigious act of the purification and conse- 
cration of mankind, s 



"Thoughts out of Season" 

1 

The four essays composing the Thoughts out 
of Season are thoroughly warlike in tone. They 
prove that I was no mere dreamer, that I delight 



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76 ECCE HOMO 

in drawing the sword — and perhaps, also, that my 
wrist is dangerously supple. The first onslaught 
(1873) was directed against German culture, upon 
which I looked down even at that time with un- 
mitigated contempt Without either sense, sub- 
stance, or goal, it was simply "public opinion." 
/There could be no more dangerous misunder- 
standing than to suppose that Germany's success 
at arms proved anything in favour of German 
culture — and still less the triumph of this culture 
over that of France. The second essay (1874) 
brings to light that which is dangerous, that which 
corrodes and poisons life in our manner of pursu- 
it ing scientific study : Life is diseased, thanks to this 
dehumanised piece of clockwork and mechanism, 
i j thanks to the " impersonality " of the workman, 
' and the false economy of the " division of labour." 
The object, which is culture, is lost sight of: 
modern scientific activity as a means thereto simply 
produces barbarism. In this treatise, the " histori- 
cal sense," of which this century is so proud, is for 
the first time recognised as sickness, as a typical 
symptom of decay. In the third and fourth essays, 
|! a sign-post is set up pointing to a higher concept 
of culture, to a re-establishment of the notion 
" culture " ; and two pictures of the hardest self- 
love and self-discipline are presented, two essentially 
un-modern types, full of the most sovereign con- 
tempt for all that which lay around them and 
was called "Empire," "Culture," "Christianity," 
"Bismarck," and "Success," — these two types 
were Schopenhauer and Wagner, or, in a word, 
Nietzsche. . . . 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 77 



Of these four attacks, the first met with extra- 
ordinary success. The stir which it created was in 
every way gorgeous. I had put my finger on the 
vulnerable spot of a triumphant nation — I had told 
it that its victory was not a red-letter day for culture, 
but, perhaps, something very different. The reply 
rang out from all sides, and certainly not only from 
old friends of David Strauss, whom I had made 
ridiculous as the type of a German Philistine of 
Culture and a man of smug self-content — in short, 
as the author of that suburban gospel of his, called 
The Old and the New Faith (the term " Philistine 
of Culture " passed into the current language of 
Germany after the appearance of my book). These 
old friends, whose vanity as Wiirtembergians and 
Swabians I had deeply wounded in regarding 
their unique animal, their bird of Paradise, as a 
trifle comic, replied to me as ingenuously and as 
grossly as I could have wished. The Prussian 
replies were smarter; they contained more" Prussian 
blue." The most disreputable attitude was assumed 
by a Leipzig paper, the egregious Grentzboten\ and 
it cost me some pains to prevent my indignant 
friends in Bile from taking action against it. Only 
a few old gentlemen decided in my favour, and for 
very diverse and sometimes unaccountable reasons. 
Among them was one, Ewald of Gottingen, who 
made it clear that my attack on Strauss had been 
deadly. There was also the Hegelian, Bruno Bauer, 
who from that time became one of my most atten- 
tive readers. In his later years he liked to refer to 



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78 ECCE HOMO 

me, when, for instance, he wanted to give Herr 
von Treitschke, the Prussian Historiographer, a 
hint as to where he could obtain information about 
the notion " Culture," of which he (Herr von T.) 
had completely lost sight. The weightiest and 
longest notice of my book and its author appeared 
in Wurzburg, and was written by Professor Hoff- 
mann, an old pupil of the philosopher von Baader. 
The essays made him foresee a great future for me, 
namely, that of bringing about a sort of crisis and 
decisive turning-point in the problem of atheism, 
of which he recognised in me the most instinctive 
and most radical advocate. It was atheism that 
had drawn me to Schopenhauer. The review which 
received by far the, most attention, and which ex- 
cited the most bitterness, was an extraordinarily 
powerful and plucky appreciation of my work by 
Carl Hillebrand, a man who was usually so mild, 
and the last humane German who knew how to 
wield a pen. The article appeared in the Augs- 
burg Gazette^ and it can be read to-day, couched in 
rather more cautious language, among his collected 
essays. In it my work was referred to as an event, 
as a decisive turning-point, as the first sign of 
an awakening, as an excellent symptom, and as 
an actual revival of German earnestness and of 
German passion in things spiritual. Hillebrand 
could speak only in the terms of the highest re- 
spect, of the form of my book, of its consummate 
taste, of its perfect tact in discriminating between 
persons and causes : he characterised it as the best 
polemical work in the German language, — the best 
performance in the art of polemics, which for 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 79 

Germans is so dangerous and so strongly to be 
deprecated. Besides confirming my standpoint, he 
laid even greater stress upon what I had dared to 
say about the deterioration of language in Germany 
(nowadays writers assume the airs of Purists * and 
can no longer even construct a sentence) ; sharing 
my contempt for the literary stars of this nation, 
he concluded by expressing his admiration for my 
courage — that " greatest courage of all which 
places the very favourites of the people in the 
dock." . . . The after-effects of this essay of mine 
proved invaluable to me in my life. No one has 
ever tried to meddle with me since. People are 
silent. In Germany I am treated with gloomy 
caution : for years I have rejoiced in the privilege 
of such absolute freedom of speech, as no one now- 
adays, least of all in the " Empire," has enough 
liberty to claim. My paradise is " in the shadow 
of my sword." At bottom all I had done was to 
put one of Stendhal's maxims into practice : he 
advises one to make one's entrance into society by 
means of a duel. And how well I had chosen my 
opponent ! — the foremost free-thinker of Germany. 
As a matter of fact, quite a novel kind of free 



* The Purists constitute a definite body in Germany, which 
is called the Deutscher Sprach- Verein. Their object is to 
banish every foreign word from the language, and they carry 
this process of ostracism even into the domain of the menu, 
where their efforts at rendering the meaning of French dishes 
are extremely comical. Strange to say, their principal organ, 
and their other publications, are by no means free either from 
solecisms or faults of style, and it is doubtless to this curious 
anomaly that Nietzsche here refers.— Tr, 



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80 ECCE HOMO 

thought found its expression in this way : up to 
the present nothing has been more strange and 
more foreign to my blood than the whole of that 
European and American species known as litres 
penseurs. Incorrigible blockheads and clowns of 
" modern ideas " that they are, I feel much more 
profoundly at variance with them than with any 
one of their adversaries. They also wish to " im- 
prove " mankind, after their own fashion — that is to 
say, in their own image ; against that which I stand 
for and desire, they would wage an implacable war, 
if only they understood it ; the whole gang of them 
still believe in an "ideal." ... I am the first 
ImrnoralisL 



I should not like to say that the last two essays 
in the Thoughts out of Season, associated with the 
names of Schopenhauer and Wagner respectively, 
serve any special purpose in throwing light upon 
these two cases, or in formulating their psycholo- 
gical problems. This of course does not apply to 
a few details. Thus, for instance, in the second 
of the two essays, with a profound certainty of in- 
stinct I already characterised the elementary factor 
in Wagner's nature as a theatrical talent which in 
all his means and inspirations only draws its final 
conclusions. At bottom, my desire in this essay 
was to do something very different from writing 
psychology: an unprecedented educational prob- 
lem, a new understanding of self-discipline and 
self-defence carried to the point of hardness, a road 
to greatness and to world-historic duties, yearned 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 8 1 

to find expression. Roughly speaking, I seized 
two famous and, theretofore, completely undefined 
types by the forelock, after the manner in which 
one seizes opportunities, simply in order to speak 
my mind on certain questions, in order to have a 
few more formulas, signs, and means of expression 
at my disposal. Indeed I actually suggest this, 
with most unearthly sagacity, on page 183 of 
Schopenhauer as Educator. Plato made use of 
Socrates in the same way — that is to say, as a 
cipher for Plato. Now that, from some distance, 
I can look back upon the conditions of which these 
essays are the testimony, I would be loth to deny 
that they refer simply to me. The essay Wagner 
in Bayreuth is a vision of my own future ; on the 
other hand, my most secret history, my develop- 
ment, is written down in Schopenhauer as Educator. 
But, above all, the vow I made I What I am to- \ 
day, the place I now hold — at a height from which 
I speak no longer with words but with thunderbolts 1 
— oh, how far I was from all this in those days ! 
But I saw the land — I did not deceive myself for 
one moment as to the way, the sea, the danger — 
and success ! The great calm in promising, this 
happy prospect of a future which must not remain 
only a promise ! — In this book every word has been 
lived, profoundly and intimately ; the most painful 
things are not lacking in it; it contains words which 
are positively running with blood. But a wind of 
great freedom blows over the whole; even its 
wounds do not constitute an objection. As to 
what I understand by being a philosopher, — that \ 1 
is to say, a terrible explosive in the presence of ' 

F 



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82 ECCE HOMO 

which everything is in danger ; as to how I sever 
my idea of the philosopher by miles from that 
other idea of him which includes even a Kant, not 
to speak of the academic " ruminators " and other 
professors of philosophy, — concerning all these 
things this essay provides invaluable information, 
even granting that at bottom, it is not " Schopen- 
hauer as Educator " but " Nietzsche as Educator," 
who speaks his sentiments in it. Considering that, 
in those days, my trade was that of a scholar, and 
perhaps, also, that I understood my trade, the piece 
of austere scholar psychology which suddenly 
makes its appearance in this essay is not without 
importance: it expresses the feeling of distance, 
and my profound certainty regarding what was my 
real life-task, and what were merely means, intervals, 
and accessory work to me. My wisdom consists 
in my having been many things, and in many places, 
in order to become one thing — in order to be able 
to attain to one thing. It was part of my fate to 
be a scholar for a while. 



" Human, all-too-Human " 



Human, all- too-Human > with its two sequels, is 
the memorial of a crisis. It is called a book for 
free spirits : almost every sentence in it is the ex- 
pression of a triumph — by means of it I purged my- 
self of everything in me which was foreign to my 
nature. Idealism is foreign to me : the title of the 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EiCELLENT BOOKS 83 

book means : " Where ye see ideal things I see — 
human, alas ! all-too-human things ! " . . . I know 
men better. The word " free spirit " in this book 
must not be understood as anything else than a spirit 
that has become free, that has once more taken 
possession of itself. My tone, the pitch of my voice, 
has completely changed ; the book will be thought 
clever, cool, and at times both hard and scornful. A 
certain spirituality, of noble taste, seems to be ever 
struggling to dominate a passionate torrent at its 
feet. In this respect there is some sense in the fact 
that it was the hundredth anniversary of Voltaire's 
death that served, so to speak, as an excuse for the 
publication of the book as early as 1878. For Vol- 
taire, as the opposite of every one who wrote after 
him, was above all a grandee of the intellect : pre- 
cisely what I am also. The name of Voltaire on 
one of my writings — that was verily a step forward 
— in my direction. . . . Looking into this book a 
little more closely, you perceive a pitiless spirit who 
knows all the secret hiding-places in which ideals 
are wont to skulk — where they find their dungeons, 
and, as it were, their last refuge. With a torch in 
my hand, the light of which is not by any means a 
flickering one, I illuminate this nether world with 
beams that cut like blades. It is war, but war with- 
out powder and smoke, without warlike attitudes, 
without pathos and contorted limbs — all these 
things would still be "idealism." One error after the 
other is quietly laid upon ice; the ideal is not refuted 
— it freezes. Here, for instance, "genius" freezes; 
round the corner the " saint " freezes ; under a thick 
icicle the " hero " freezes ; and in the end " faith " 



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84 ECCE HOMO 

itself freezes. So-called " conviction " and also " pity " 
are considerably cooled — and almost everywhere 
the "thing in itself" is freezing to death. 



This book was begun during the first musical fes- 
tival at Bayreuth ; a feeling of profound strange- 
ness towards everything that surrounded me there, 
is one of its first conditions. He who has any 
notion of the visions which even at that time had 
flitted across my path, will be able to guess what 
I felt when one day I came to my senses in Bay- 
reuth. It was just as if I had been dreaming. 
Where on earth was I ? I recognised nothing that 
I saw ; I scarcely recognised Wagner. It was in 
vain that I called up reminiscences. Tribschen — 
remote island of bliss : not the shadow of a resem- 
blance ! The incomparable days devoted to the lay- 
ing of the first stone, the small group of the initi- 
ated who celebrated them, and who were far from 
lacking fingers for the handling of delicate things : 
not the shadow of a resemblance ! What had hap- 
penedt — Wagner had been translated into German! 

! The Wagnerite had become master of Wagner ! 
— German art! the German master! German 
beer ! . . . We who know only too well the kind 
of refined artists and cosmopolitanism in taste, to 

j which alone Wagner's art can appeal, were beside 
ourselves at the sight of Wagner bedecked with 
German virtues. I think I know the Wagnerite, I 
have experienced three generations of them, from 
Brendel of blessed memory, who confounded 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 85 

Wagner with Hegel, to the " idealists " of the Bay- 
reuth Gazette^ who confound Wagner with them- 
selves, — I have been the recipient of every kind of 
confession about Wagner, from " beautiful souls." 
My kingdom for just one intelligent word 1 — In 
very truth, a blood-curdling company ! Nohl, Pohl, 
and Kohl* and others of their kidney to infinity ! 
There was not a single abortion that was lacking 
among them — no, not even the anti-Semite. — Poor 
Wagner ! Into whose hands had he fallen ? If only 
he had gone into a herd of swine ! But among Ger- 
mans ! Some day, for the edification of posterity, 
one ought really to have a genuine Bayreuthian 
stuffed, or, better still, preserved in spirit, — for it is 
precisely spirit that is lacking in this quarter, — with 
this inscription at the foot of the jar : " A sample 
of the spirit whereon the ' German Empire ' was 
founded." . . . But enough ! In the middle of the 
festivities I suddenly packed my trunk and left the 
place for a few weeks, despite the fact that a charm- 
ing Parisian lady sought to comfort me ; I excused 
myself to Wagner simply by means of a fatalistic 
telegram. In a little spot called Klingenbrunn, 
deeply buried in the recesses of the Bohmerwald, I 
carried my melancholy and my contempt of Ger- 
mans about with me like an illness — and, from time 
to time, under the general title of " The Plough- 
share," I wrote a sentence or two down in my note- 
book, nothing but severe psychological stuff, which 



* Nohl and Pohl were both writers on music ; Kohl, 
however, which literally means cabbage, is a slang expres- 
sion, denoting superior nonsense. — Tr. 



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86 ECCE HOMO 

it is possible may have found its way into Human, 
all~too-Hutnan. 

3 
That which had taken place in me, then, was not 
only a breach with Wagner — I was suffering from 
a general aberration of my instincts, of which a 
mere isolated blunder, whether it were Wagner or 
my professorship at B&le, was nothing more than a 
symptom. I was seized with a fit of impatience with 
myself; I saw that it was high time that I should 
turn my thoughts upon my own lot. In a trice I 
realised, with appalling clearness, how much time 
had already been squandered — how futile and how 
senseless my whole existence as a philologist ap- 
peared by the side of my life-task. I was ashamed 
of this false modesty. . . . Ten years were behind 
me, during which, to tell the truth, the nourishment 
of my spirit had been at a standstill, during which I 
had added not a single useful fragment to my know- 
ledge, and had forgotten countless things in the 
pursuit of a hotch-potch of dry-as-dust scholarship. 
Tocrawlwithmeticulouscareand short-sighted eyes 
through old Greek metricians — that is what I had 
come to ! . . . Moved to pity I saw myself quite 
thin, quite emaciated: realities were only too plainly 
absent from my stock of knowledge, and what the 
" idealities " were worth the devil alone knew ! A 
positively burning thirst overcame me : and from 
that time forward I have done literally nothing else 
than study physiology, medicine, andnaturalscience 
— I even returned to the actual study of history 
only when my life-task compelled me to. It was 
at that time, too, that I first divined the relation be- 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 87 

tween an instinctively repulsive occupation, a so- 
called vocation, which is the last thing to which one 
is " called," and that need of lulling a feeling of 
emptiness and hunger, by means of an art which 
is a narcotic — by means of Wagner's art, for in- 
stance. After looking carefully about me, I have 
discovered that a large number of young men are 
all in the same state of distress : one kind of un- 
natural practice perforce leads to another. In Ger- 
many, or rather, to avoid all ambiguity, in the 
Empire,* only too many are condemned to deter- 
mine their choice too soon, and then to pine away 
beneath a burden that they can no longer throw . 
off. . . . Such creatures crave for Wagner as for an 
opiate, — they are thus able to forget themselves, to 
be rid of themselves for a moment. . . . What am 
I saying ! — for five or six hours. 

4 
At this time my instincts turned resolutely » 
against any further yielding or following on my part, V 
and any further misunderstanding of myself. Every ' 
kind of life, the most unfavourable circumstances, 
illness, poverty — anything seemed to. me preferable 
to that undignified " selfishness " into which I had 
fallen ; in the first place, thanks to my ignorance and 
youth, and in which I had afterwards remained 
owing to laziness — the so-called " sense of duty." 
At this juncture there came to my help, in a way 

* Needless to say, Nietzsche distinguishes between Bis- 
marckian Germany and that other Germany — Austria, 
Switzerland, and the Baltic Provinces — where the German 
language is also spoken.— Tr. 



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88 ECCE HOMO 

that I cannot sufficiently admire, and precisely at 
the right time, that evil heritage which I derive 
from my father's side of the family, and which, at 
bottom, is no more than a predisposition to die 
young. Illness slowly liberated me from the toils, 
it spared me any sort of sudden breach, any sort 
of violent and offensive step. At that time I lost 
not a particle of the good will of others, but rather 
added to my store. Illness likewise gave me the 
right completely to reverse my mode of life ; it not 
only allowed, it actually commanded, me to forget ; 
it bestowed upon me the necessity of lying still, 
of having leisure, of waiting, and of exercising 
patience. . . . But all this means thinking ! . . . 
The state of my eyes alone put an end to all book- C^ 
wormishness,or,in plain English — philology: I was 
thus delivered from books ; for years I ceased from 
reading, and this was the greatest boon I ever con- 
ferred upon myself! (That nethermost self, which 
was, as it were, entombed, and which had grown 
dumb because it had been forced to listen perpetu- 
ally to other selves (for that is what reading means !), 
slowly awakened ; at first it was shy and doubtful, 
but at last it spoke agaitis Never have I rejoiced 
more over my condition tnan during the sickest and 
most painful moments of my life. You have only 
to examine The Dawn of Day, or, perhaps, The 
Wanderer and his Shadow* in order to understand 
what this "return to myself" actually meant: in 
itself it was the highest kind of recovery ! . . . My 
cure was simply the result of it. 

* Human^ all- too- Human, Part II. in this edition. — Tr. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 89 



Human, all-too-Human, this monument of a 
cours^of vigorous selfdiscipline, by means of which 
I put an abrupt end to all the " Superior Bunkum," 
" Idealism," " Beautiful Feelings," and other effem- 
inacies that had percolated into my being, was 
written principally in Sorrento ; it was finished and 
given definite shape during a winter at B&le, under 
conditions far less favourable than those in Sorrento. 
Truth to tell, it was Peter Gast, at that time a 
student at the University of B&le, and a devoted 
friend of mine, who was responsible for the book. 
With my head wrapped in bandages, and extremely 
painful, I dictated while he wrote and corrected as 
he went along — to be accurate, he was the real 
composer, whereas I was only the author. When 
the completed book ultimately reached me, — to 
the great surprise of the serious invalid I then was, 
— I sent, among others, two copies to Bayreuth. 
Thanks to a miraculous flash of intelligence on the 
part of chance, there reached me precisely at the 
same time a splendid copy of the Parsifal text, 
with the following inscription from Wagner's pen : 
"To his dear friend Friedrich Nietzsche, from 
Richard Wagner, Ecclesiastical Councillor." At 
this crossing of the two books I seemed to hear an 
ominous note. Did it not sound as if two swords 
had crossed ? At all events we both felt this was 
so, for each of us remained silent. At about this 
time the first Bayreuth Pamphlets appeared : and 
I then understood the move on my part for which 



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90 ECCE HOMO 

it was high time. Incredible ! Wagner had be- 
come pious. 



My attitude to myself at that time (1876), and 
the unearthly certitude with which I grasped my 
life-task and all its world-historic consequences, is 
well revealed throughout the book, but more par- 
ticularly in one very significant passage, despite 
the fact that, with my instinctive cunning, I once 
more circumvented the use of the little word " I," 
— not however, this time, in order to shed world- 
historic glory on the names of Schopenhauer and 
Wagner, but on that of another of my friends, the 
excellent Dr. Paul R£e — fortunately much too 
acute a creature to be deceived — others were less 
subtle. Among my readers I have a number of 
hopeless people, the typical German professor for 
instance, who can always be recognised from the 
fact that, judging from the passage in question, he 
feels compelled to regard the whole book as a sort 
of superior R^ealism. As a matter of fact it con- 
tradicts five or six of my friend's utterances : only 
read the introduction to The Genealogy of Morals 
on this question. — The passage above referred to 
reads : " What, after all, is the principal axiom to 
which the boldest and coldest thinker, the author 
of the book On the Origin of Moral Sensations " 
(read Nietzsche, the first Immoralist), " has attained 
by means of his incisive and decisive analysis of 
human actions ? * The moral man/ he saj£ ' is no 
nearer to the intelligible (metaphysical) wSnd than 
is the physical man, for there is no intelligible 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 9 1 

world.' This theory, hardened and sharpened under 
the hammer-blow of historical knowledge "(read The 
Transvaluation of all Values), " may some time or 
other, perhaps in some future period, — 1890! — 
serve as the axe which is applied to the root of the 
' metaphysical need ' of man, — whether more as a 
blessing than a curse to the general welfare it is 
not easy to say ; but in any case as a theory with 
the most important consequences, at once fruitful 
and terrible, and looking into the world with that 
Janus-face which all great knowledge possesses." * 



"The Dawn of Day: 
Thoughts about Morality as a Prejudice" 



With this book I open my campaign against 
morality. Not that it is at all redolent of powder — 
you will find quite other and much nicer smells in 
it, provided that you have any keenness in your 
nostrils. There is nothing either of light or of heavy 
artillery in its composition, and if its general end be 
a negative one, its means are not so — means out of 
which the end follows like a logical conclusion, not 
like a cannon-shot. And if the reader takes leave 
of this book with a feeling of timid caution in re- 
gard to everything which has hitherto been honoured 
and even worshipped under the name of morality, it 
does not alter the fact that there is not one negative 

* Human, all- too- Human, vol. i. Aph. 37. 



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92 ECCE HOMO 

word, not one attack, and not one single piece 
of malice in the whole work — on the contrary, it 
lies in the sunshine, smooth and happy, like a marine 
animal, basking in the sun between two rocks. For, 
after all, I was this marine animal : almost every sen- 
tence in the book was thought out, or rather caught^ 
among that medley of rocks in the neighbourhood 
' of Genoa, where I lived quite alone, and exchanged 
secrets with the ocean. Even to this day, when by 
chance I happen to turn over the leaves of this book, 
almost every sentence seems to me like a hook by 
means of which I draw something incomparable out 
of the depths ; its whole skin quivers with delicate 
shudders of recollection. This book is conspicuous 
for no little art in gently catching things which 
whisk rapidly and silently away, moments which 1 
call godlike lizards — not with the cruelty of that 
young Greek god who simply transfixed the poor 
little beast ; but nevertheless with something pointed 
— with a pen. " There are so many dawns which 
have not yet shed their light" — this Indian maxim is 
written over the doorway of this book. Where does 
its author seek that new morning, that delicate red, 
as yet undiscovered, with which another day — ah ! 
a whole series of days, a whole world of new days ! — 
will begin? In the Transvaluation of all Values \ 
in an emancipation from all moral values, in a say- 
ing of yea, and in an attitude of trust, to all that 
which hitherto has been forbidden, despised, and 
damned. This yea-saying book projects its light, 
its love, its tenderness, over all evil things, it restores 
to them their soul, their clear conscience, and their 
superior right and privilege to exist on earth. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 93 

Morality is not assailed, it simply ceases to be 
considered. This book closes with the word " or ? " 
— it is the only book which closes with an " or ? ". 



My life-task is to prepare for humanity onev 
supreme moment in which it can come to its senses, 
a Great Noon in which it will turn its gaze back- 
wards and forwards, in which it will step from under 
the yoke of accident and of priests, and for the first 
time set the question of the Why and Wherefore of* 
humanity as a whole — this life-task naturally fol- 
lows out of the conviction that mankind does not 
get on the right road of its own accord, that it is 
by no means divinely ruled, but rather that it is 
precisely under the cover of its most holy valuations 
that the instinct of negation, of corruption, and of 
degeneration has held such a seductive sway. The 
question concerning the origin of moral valuations 
is therefore a matter of the highest importance to 
me because it determines the future of mankind. 
The demand made upon us to believe that every- 
thing is really in the best hands, that a certain book, 
the Bible, gives us the definite and comforting as- 
surance that there is a Providence that wisely rules 
the fate of man, — when translated back into reality 
amounts simply to this, namely, the will to stifle 
the truth which maintains the reverse of all this, 
which is that hitherto man has been in the worst 
possible hands, and that he has been governed by 
the physiologically botched, the men of cunning aftd 
burning revengefulness, and the so-called " saints " 



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94 ECCE HOMO 

— those slanderers of the world and traducers of 
humanity. The definite proof of the fact that the 
priest (including the priest in disguise, the philo- 
sopher) has become master, not only within a cer- 
tain limited religious community, but everywhere, 
and that the morality of decadence, the will to 
nonentity, has become morality per se, is to be 
found in this: that Altruism is now an absolute 
value, and egoism is regarded with hostility every- 
i where. He who* disagrees with me on this point, 
I regard as infected. But all the world disagrees 
with me. To a physiologist a like antagonism 
between values admits of no doubt. If th§ most 
insignificant organ within the body neglects, how- 
ever slightly, to assert with absolute certainty its 
self-preservative powers, its recuperative claims, and 
its egoism, the whole system degenerates. The 
physiologist insists upon the removal of' degener- 
ated parts, he denies all fellow-feeling for such parts, 
and has not the smallest feeling of pity for them. 
But the desire of the priest is precisely the degenera- 
tion of the whole of mankind ; hence his preservation 
of that which is degenerate — this is what his dom- 
inion costs humanity. What meaning have those 
lying concepts, those handmaids of morality, " Soul," 
" Spirit," " Free will," " God," if their aim is not the 
physiological ruin of mankind? When earnest- 
ness is diverted from the instincts that aim at self- 
preservation and an increase of bodily energy, i.e. 
at an increase of life ; when anaemia is raised to an 
ideal and the contempt of the body is construed as 
" the salvation of the soul," what is all this if it is not 
a recipe for decadence ? Loss of ballast, resistance 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 95 

offered to natural instincts, selflessness, in fact — this 
is what has hitherto been known as morality. 
With The Dawn of Day I first engaged in a 
struggle against the morality of self-renunciation. 



" Joyful Wisdom : 
La Gaya Scienza " 



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 wonder- 
ful 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 ! " * 

Who can be in any doubt as to what " glorious 
hoping" means here, when he has realised the 

* Translated {or Joyful Wisdom by Paul V. Cohn.— Tr. 



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96 ECCE HOMO 

. 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 for- 
cibly 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 
Provengalism. 



"Thus Spake Zarathustra: 
A Book for All and None " 



I now wish to rglatethe history of Z arathus tra. 
The fundamental idea~oi 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 97 

the thought struck me. Looking back now, I 
find that exactly two months before this inspira- 
tion 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 jn,usic. 
At all eventSjj!i£_essential condition oF its produc- 
tion was asecond 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 phoenix music hovered over us, in lighter and 
brighter plumage than it had ever worn before. 
If, therefore, I now calculate from that day for- 
ward the sudden production of the book, under 
the most unlikely circumstances, in February 1 883, 
— the last part, out of which I quoted a few lines 
in my preface, was written precisely in the hal- 
lowed 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 unparal- 
leled ; for, after all, it shows the beginning of 
Zarathustra^ since it presents Zarathustrcts funda- 
mental 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 or- 
chestra), the score of which was published in 

c 



^ 



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98 ECCE HOMO 

Leipzig two years ago by E. W. Fritsch, and 
which gave perhaps no slight indication of my 
spiritual stateduring^this year, in which the essen- 
fialtyr^a-saymg pathos, which I ca ll the-tragic 

tpatKbs, CGttipletelyJilkrime heart and limb. One 
day people wHTsuig it to my memory. The text, 
let it be well understood, as there is some mis- 
understanding abroad on this point, is not by me ; 
it was the astounding inspiration of a young 
j Russian lady, Miss Lou von Salome, with whom I 
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 re- 
garded 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 o bstac le, it was precisely during this winter 
and in the midst of these unfavourable cir- 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 99 

cumstances 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 for- 
gotten 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 physio - 
l ogical 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 aphor- 
isms (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 I 
that has existed heretofore. He who longs to 1 



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100 ECCE HOMO 

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 sacri- 
ficing 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, danger- 
ously 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 am use- 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS IOI 

ment, or perhaps give them no thought at all, is in- 
evitable. 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 ingenu- 
ously (that is to say, involuntarily, and as the out- 
come of superabundant energy and power) with 
everything that, hitherto, has been called holy, 
good, inviolable, and divine; to whom even the 
loftiest thing that thp 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 relaxatibn and temporary forgetfulness of 
self: the ideal of a humanly superhuman well-being 
and goodwill, which often enough will seem in- 
human — 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 interroga- 
tion is affixed, the fate of the soul changes, the 
hour hand moves, and tragedy begins." 



Ha)s 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. I f one had tnesmallest vestige of super- 
stition left in one, it would hardly be possible com- 
pletely to set aside the idea that one is the mere 



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1 02 ECCE HOMO 

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 inde- 
scribable 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 in- 
voluntarily 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). Every- 
thing happens quite involuntarily, as if in a tem- 
pestuous 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 expres- 
sion. 1 1 actually seems, to use one of Zarathustra's 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 103 

own phrases, as if all things came to one, ana | 
offered themselves as similes. (" Here do all things I 
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 



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104 ECCE HOMO 

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 un- 
speakably sad melody ^ the refrain of which I 
recognised in the affords, " dead through immor- 
tality," ... In the summer, finding myself once 
more in the sacred place where the first thought of 
Zarathustr a flashed likej iJight,across my mind, I 
conceived the second part. Ten da ys 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. 
Du ring those moments when my creative energy 
flowedjnost plentifully, my musculaTlictivity was 
ad way§ greaiesL The bo dy 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS I OS 

laughed ajjood deal — I was perfectly robust and 
patient 



With the exception of these periods of industry 
lasting ten days, the years I spent during the pro- 
duction of Zarathustra y and thereafter*, were fof'me 
years of unparallele d distress. A man pays dearly 
for being intmortal : 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 : every thing 
great, whether a work or a deed, .once it is com - 
pleted, 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 thencefor- 
ward to bear it on one's shoulders! Why, it almost 
crushes one ! The rancour of greatness ! A some- l 
what 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 



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106 ECCE HOMO 

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 sensa- 
tions 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 " Dion^si^n " here be- 
came the highest^ssA ; 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 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, 1 
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 bound- 
aries. 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 Zara- 
thustra's discourses. The ladder upon which he 
rises and descends is of boundless length ; he has L 
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 ardl 



bound up into a new unity. The loftiest and th 
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 ancT 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 



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108 ECCE HOMO 

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 Zara- 
thustra 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 them- 
selves ! Here, at every moment, man is overcome, 
and the concept " S uperma n " 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 through- 
out, and all that is the essence of the type Zara- 
thustra, 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 hi ghest ofjglLliuing things : and when 
you hear how ne 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, 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 109 

"The wisest soul that folly exhorteth most 
sweetly, 

"The most self-loving soul, in whom all things ! <j 
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 transcen- 
dental 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 j 
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 dithy- 
ramb. I am the inventor of the dithyramb. 
Hearken unto the manner in which Zarathustra 
speaks to his soul Before Sunrise (iii. 48). Before 



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IIO ECCE HOMO 

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 star- 
lets 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 steal- 
ing 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 ex- 
pectant eyes and nights made bright with longing. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS III 

" 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 tak- 
ing ; 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 be- 
come 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. 



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112 ECCE HOMO 

" 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 com- 
fort 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." 

8 

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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 113 

determines his life-task — and it is also mine. Let 

j^- — — 

no one misunderstand its meaning. I Ms 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 creativenes s 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 

H 



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114 ECCE HOMO 

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 
ail creators are hard, is the really distinctive sign 
of a Dionysian nature. 



"Beyond Good and Evil: The Prelude ft 
to a Philosophy of the Future" 

i 

My work for the years that followed was pre- 
scribed as distinctly as possible. Now that the 
yea-sayipgjiart of my life-task wasjj&compllshed, 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 11$ 

there came the turn of the negative portion, both 
in word and deed : the transvaluation of all values 
that had existed hitherto, t he great wa r, — the con- 
juring-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 destru ction. r 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. v 



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 hither- 
to. 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 re- 
commended, 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, 



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Il6 ECCE HOMO 

owing to tremendous constraint, has become 
accustomed to see at a great distance, — Zara- 
thustra 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. Re- 
finement in form, in aspiration, and in the art of 
keeping silent, are its more or less obvious quali- 
ties ; psychology is handled with deliberate hard- 
ness and cruelty, — the whole book does not con- 
tain 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. 



" The Genealogy of Morals : 
A Polemic" 

The three essays which constitute this genealogy 
are, as regards expression, aspiration, and the art 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 117 

of the unexpected, perhaps the most curious 
things that have ever been written. Dionvsu s. 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 les s 
calmness preva ils ; here and there a flash of lig ht- 
ning defines the horizon ; exceedingly unpleasant 
truths break upon your ears from out remote dis- 
tances with a dull, rumbling sound, — until very 
soon a fierce tempo is attained in which everything 
presses forward at a terrible degre e of tension. 
At the end, in each case, amid fearful thunderclaps, 
a new truth shines out between thick clouds. The 
truth of the first essayls the~psych61ogy of Chris- 
tianity : 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 psy- 
chology of conscience : this is not, as you may be- 
lieve, " 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 ex- 
posed, 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 



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Il8 ECCE HOMO 

afaute de rnieux — 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 counte r- 
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. 



"The Twilight of the Idols: 
How to Philosophise with the Hammer" 



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 be- 
lieved in hitherto. In plain English, The Twi- 
light of the Idols means that the old truth is on its 
last legs. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 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.* 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 

* 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. 



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120 ECCE HOMO 

that lead to culture — / 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 Transvalua- 
tion 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 depart- 
ure 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 im- 
mortal name. After a journey that was full of incid- 
ents, 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 2 1 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, 
6 111 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 121 

above it across to the hills. Without hesitating, ot 
allowing myself to be disturbed for a single moment, 
I returned to my work, only the last quarter of 
which had still tobewritten. On the 30th September, 
tremendous triumph ; the seventh day ; the leisure 
of a god on the banks of the Po.* 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. 

"The Case of Wagner: 
A Musician's Problem" 



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 

* 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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122 ECCE HOMO 

full of consideration. To be cheerful in such circum- 
stances, and laugh good-naturedly with others at 
one's self, — ridendodicere severum* when the verutn 
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 mean- 
ing 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 in- 
dolent, 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 

* The motto of The Case of Wagner.— Tk. 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 1 23 

Wagner and the Trumpeter of Sakkingen * equal 
rights; while I myself witnessed the attempts of the 
people of Leipzig to do honour to one of the most 
genuineand most German of musicians, — using Ger- 
man here in the old sense of the word, — a man who 
was no mere German of the Empire, the master 
Heinrich Schutz, by founding a Liszt Society, the 
object of which was to cultivate and spread artful 
(listige t) 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 cul- 
ture 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 " Ger- 
man," 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," J is a principle ; the Germans 

* An opera by Nessler which was all the rage in Germany 
twenty years ago. — Tr. 

t Unfortunately it is impossible to render this play on the 
words in English. — Tr. 

% The German National Song {Deutschland^ Deutschland 
iiber alks).—TR. 



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124 ECCE HOMO 

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 aesthete, since happily deceased, made the 
round of the German newspapers as a " truth " to 
wliich every German must assent. The observation 
was this : " The Renaissance and the Reformation 
only together constitute a whole — the aesthetic re- 
birth, 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 bottom- 
less 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 instinc- 
tive 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, 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 125 

the values of degeneration, in the very seat of 
Christianity itself, — and even in the hearts of those 
sitting there y — 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 im- 
possible monk who, thanks to his own " impossi- 
bility," attacked the Church, and in so doing restored 
it ! Catholics would be perfectly justified in cele- 
brating feasts in honour of Luther, and in produc- 
ing festival plays * in his honour. Luther and the 
" rebirth of morality " ! May all psychology go to 
the devil ! Without a shadow of a doubt the Ger- 
mans are idealists. On two occasions when, at the 
cost of enormous courage and self-control, an up- 
right, 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, formulae 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 cen- 
turies 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 

* Ever since the year 1617 such plays have been produced 
by the Protestants of Germany. — Tr. 



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126 ECCE HOMO 

[ 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 nforose nationale from which 
Europe is suffering acutely; this eternal subdivision 
of Europe into petty states, with politics on a muni- 
cipal 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 any- 
one 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 compro- 
mised 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 Rus- 
sians, 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 1 27 

Scfdeiertnachers).* 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 Roche- 
foucauld, 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 
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 " Ger- 
man " as an international epithet denoting this psy- 
chological 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 ; 



* Schleiermacher literally means a weaver or maker of veils. 
— Tr. 



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128 ECCE HOMO 

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. 

4 

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 my- 
self 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 be- 
longs 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 



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WHY I WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS 1 29 

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 essenti- 
ally 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 

1 



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130 ECCE HOMO 

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 Zaratkustra, which of 
my friends would have seen more in it than a piece 
of unwarrantable, though fortunately harmless, ar- 
rogance ? 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 philo- 
sophy be possible, as those which Dr. Brandes de- 
livered 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 Trans- 
valuation, 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. 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 

I KNOW my destiny. There will come a day 
when my name will recall the memory of some- 
thing 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. Re- 
ligions are matters for the mob ; after coming in 
contact with a religious man, I always feel that I 
must wash my hands. . . . ^jrequire no "J ae- 
lievers , " it jg_my_OBJnionJb^ of 

malice Jo j>elieve^yeoJrL myself ; I ney&LJB3ress 
m yself to masse s. 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 ^/withstanding, the mouthpiece of 
truth ; for nothing more blown-out with falsehood 
has ever existed, than a saint. But_jnytruth_is 
terriblg : for hitherto lies have beencafled truth. 
The Transvaluation of all Values, this is my formula 

for mankind's greatest step towards coming to its 

13* 



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132 ECCE HOMO 

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 ti^uth, 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. J_ 
contradict as no one has^contradicted hitherto, and 
t am_nevertheless the reverse of a negative spiri t _! _ 
: am the harbinger of joy, the like of which has never 
existed- S e for e ; 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. 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 1 33 

" 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 thej sayinigrof yea. 
I am the first immoralist, and in this sense^lim 
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 meta- 
physics, as force, cause, end-in-itself, is his work. 
But the very question suggests its own answer. z 
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 re- 



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134 ECCE HOMO 

futation 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 Zara- 
thustra 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 over- 
estimation 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 in- 
separable from a yea-saying attitude towards life. 
Let me halt for a moment at the question of the 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 1 35 

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 condi- 
tions of his existence must be known. The con- 
dition 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 non- 
sense 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 incal- 
culably calamitous consequences to the whole of 
history, of the credo of optimism, this monstrous 
offspring of the homines optimi. Zarathustra,* the 
first who recognised that the optimist is just as 
degenerate as the pessimist, though perhaps more 



* Needless to say this is Nietzsche, and no longer the 
Persian. — Tr. 



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I36 ECCE HOMO 

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 al- 
truism, 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 be- 
ginning 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? 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 1 37 



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 de- 
spised. 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 con- 



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138 ECCE HOMO 

^ceives 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 re- 
moteness 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 under- 
ground 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 sup- 
pose 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. 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY <£&) 



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 instinc- 
tive, as the fundamental will to be blind to every 
phenomenon, all causality and all reality ; in fact, 
as an almost criminal fraud in psychologies. Blind- 
n ess in regar d to^ Christianity is the essence of 
cHminality^—for it is the crime against life. Ages 
and peoples, the first as well as the last, philo- 
sophers 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 Chris- 
tian 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 m orality is 
the, most malignant form of all falsehood^the actual 
Circeof humanity : that which has corrupted man- 
kind. It is not error as error which infuriates me 
at the sight of this spectacle ; it is not the millen- 
niums 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 



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I40 ECCE HOMO 

ghastly fact that anti-nature itself received the 
highest honours as morality and as law, and re- 
mained suspended over man as the Categorical Im- 
perative. 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 ex- 
istence 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 slander- 
ous) ; 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 " (neigh- 
bour-itis !). 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 mor- 
ality of degeneration ; the fact, " I am going to the 
dogs," is translated into the imperative, " Yeshall 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, be- 
trays 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, 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 141 

who, by means of morality and lies, has climbed up 
to his position of determinator of values, whodivined 
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 — j 
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. 

8 

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 
wEich iTlinequalled in history, it tea real catas- 
trophe^l TEe" man who throws light upon it is a 
force majeure^ a fatality ; he breaks the history of 
man into j woT" 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 any- 
thing in his hands. Everything which until then 
was called truth, has been revealed as the most de- 
trimental, most spiteful, and most subterranean form 
of life ; the holy pretext, which was the " improve- 
ment " of man, has been recognised as a ruse for 
draining life of its energy and of its blood. Mor- 
ality conceived as Vampirism. . . . The man who 



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142 ECCE HOMO 

unmasks morality has also unmasked the worth- 
lessness 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 ab- 
ortions, fatal, because they fascinate. The concept 
" God " was invented as the opposite of the concept 
life — everything detrimental, poisonous, and slan- 
derous, 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 in- 
tellectual diet, the treatment of the sick, cleanli- 
ness, and weather. Instead of health, we find the 
" salvation of the soul " — that is to say, a folic cir- 
culate fluctuating between convulsions and peni- 
tence and the hysteria of redemption. The concept 
" sin," together with the torture instrument apper- 
taining to it, which is the concept " free will," was 
invented in order to confuse and muddle our in- 
stincts, and to render the mistrust of them man's 
second nature! In the concepts "disinterested- 
ness and "self-denial," the actual signs of de- 
cadence are to be found. The allurement of that 



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WHY I AM A FATALITY 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 1 
sick-in-itself, which ought to be wiped out. The law * 
ofselectionjs 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 I 
was believed in as morality ! — Ecrasez Vinf&me ! t 



Have you understood me? Dionysus versus 
Christ. 



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EDITORIAL NOTE TO POETRY 

The editor begs to state that, contrary to his an- 
nouncement in the Editorial Note to The Joyful 

Wisdom^ in which he declared his intention of pub- 
lishing all of Nietzsche's poetry, he has nevertheless 
withheld certain less important verses from publi- 
cation. 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 ntgligt, 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 sup- 
press everything that was not prepared for publica- 
tion 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 



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I46 EDITORIAL NOTE TO POETRY 

appear in this volume, save those which are dupli- 
cates 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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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, Etc. 



i47 



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SONGS 

To Melancholy* 

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, 

Nor 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, 
A penitent, though youthful, with his psalter. 

* Translated by Herman Scheffauer. 

*49 



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150 POETRY 

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 arc 

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 — 

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 paeans 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 

1 chant, in rhythm all my thought unfolding, 
The black ink flows, the pointed goose-quill spits, 

O goddess, goddess — leave me to my scolding ! 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 151 



After a Night Storm* 

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 ! " 

* Translated by Herman Scheffauer. 



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152 POETRY 

Hymns to Friendship 
{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. 



The Wanderer* 

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, 
And knows not where his path will lead. 

* This poem was written on the betrothal of one of 
Nietzsche's Bale friends.— Tr. 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 153 

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 ? " 



To the Glacier 

At noontide hour, when first, 

Into the mountains Summer treads, 

Summer, the boy with eyes so hot and weary, 

Then too he speaks, 

Yet we can only see his speech. 



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154 POETRY 

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, 
Ah, child, you know we love you, love you true ! 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 155 

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. 

Autumn * 

TlS Autumn : — Autumn yet shall break thy heart ! 

Fly away ! fly away ! — 

The sun creeps 'gainst the hill 

And climbs and climbs 

And rests at every step. 

* Translated by Herman Scheffauer. 



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I $6 POETRY 

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 ! 

fruit o' 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 titan I : — 

1 see it — see it — and I perish so." 

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



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songs, epigrams, etc. 1 57 

Campo Santo di Staglieno* 

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 v with kindness blest, 
Amorosissima I 

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, 
Amorosissima ? 

The Little Brig named "Little Angel "f 

" 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, 
But for sake of love doth whirl. 

* 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." 

r 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. 



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I $8 POETRY 

u 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 
(1 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 ! 
Yes, its claws are swift to smite. 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 1 59 

" 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. 



Maiden's Song 

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 
In its very quintessence. 



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160 POETRY 

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

"Pia, Caritatevole, Amorosissima 

Cave where the dead ones rest, 

marble falsehood, thee 

1 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. 

To Friendship 

Hail to thee, Friendship ! 
My hope consummate, 
My first red daybreak ! 
Alas, so endless 

* See above, p. 1 57. Both poems were inspired by the same 
tombstone. — Tr. 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. l6l 

Oft path and night seemed, 
And life's long road 
Aimless and hateful ! 
Now life Td double 
In thine eyes seeing 
Dawn-glory, triumph, 
Most gracious goddess ! 



Pine Tree and Lightning 

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. 



Tree in Autumn 

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 — 
Dishes of ripe fruit — at your head. 
h 



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1 62 POETRY 

Among # Foes (or Against Critics) 
{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 IVe 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 IVe faced death's plight, 

Yet steam and light and breath am I. 
Hanging me is useless quite : 

Die ? Nay, nay, I cannot die ! 

The New Columbus* 

" 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 ! 

Sea before me : land — at last ? 

♦The Genoese is Nietzsche himself, who lived a great 
part of his life at Genoa. — Tr. 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 1 63 

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. 



In Lonesomeness * 

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. 

* Translated by Herman Scheffauer. 



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1 64 POETRY 

The cawing crows 

Town wards 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 ! 



Venice 

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? 



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EPIGRAMS 

Caution : Poison ! * 

He who cannot laugh at this had better not start 

reading ; 
For if he read and do not laugh, physic he'll be 

needing ! 

How to find One's Company 

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

The Word 

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, 
Soon it is ill, soon well again : 



* Translated by Francis Bickley. 

165 



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1 66 POETRY 

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 ! 



The Wanderer and his Shadow 
^ 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 ! 

Joyful Wisdom 

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



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 1 67 

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. 



Dedication * 

He who has much to tell, keeps much 

Silent and unavowed. 
He who with lightning-flash would touch 

Must long remain a cloud ! 



The New Testament 



^ 



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 ? 



The " True German " 

" O PEUPLE des meillures Tartuffes, 

To you I'm true, I wis." 
He spoke, but in the swiftest skiff 
Went to Cosmopolis. 

* On the title-page of a copy of Joyful Wisdom^ dedicated 
to Herr August Bungal. — Tr. 
t Translated by Francis Bickley. 



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I 68 POETRY 



To the Darwinians* 

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 ! 



To Hafiz 
{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 phoenix, 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 phoenix, 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, 

Why do you ask for — wine ? 

* Translated by Francis Bickley. 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 1 69 

To Spinoza 

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 ? 

Arthur Schopenhauer 

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 ! 

To Richard Wagner 

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, 
For I escaped ! 



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170 POETRY 

Music of the South* 

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 

A RIDDLE here — can you the answer scent ? 

" When man discovers, woman must invent." 



To False Friends 

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. 

Friend Yorick 

Be of good cheer, 

Friend Yorick ! If this thought gives pain, 

As now it does, I fear, 

'* Probably written for Peter Gast, Nietzsche's faithful 
friend, and a musician whose " Southern " music Nietzsche 
admired. — Tk 



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SONGS, EPIGRAMS, ETC. 171 

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. ,, 



Resolution 

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 ! " 
And sweeter still " I may 1 " 



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172 POETRY 

The Halcyonian * 

Addressing me most bashfully, 
A woman to-day said this : 

" What would you be like in ecstasy, 
If sober you feel such bliss ? " 



Finale * 

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. 

* Translated by Francis Bickley. 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 

(1888) 

These are the songs of Zarathustra which he sang to 
himself so as to endure his last solitude. 



173 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 

Of the Poverty of the Richest 

Ten years passed by — 

Not a drop reached me, 

No rain-fraught wind, no dew of love 

— A rainless land. . . . 

Now entreat I my wisdom 

Not to become stingy in this drought ; 

Overflow thyself, trickle thy dew, 

Be thyself the rain of the parched wilderness ! 

I once bade the clouds 

Depart from my mountains ; 

Once I said to them, 

" More light, ye dark ones ! " 

To-day I entice them to come : 

Make me dark with your udders : 

— I would milk you, 

Ye cows of the heights ! 

Milk-warm wisdom, sweet dew of love 

I pour over the land. 

Away, away, ye truths 

That look so gloomy ! 

I will not have on my mountains 

Bitter, impatient truths. 



'75 



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176 POETRY 

May truth approach me to-day 

Gilded by smiles, 

Sweetened by the sun, browned by love, — 

A ripe truth I would fain break off from the tree. 

To-day I stretch my hands 

Toward the tresses of chance, 

Wise enough to lead, 

To outwit chance like a child. 

To-day I will be hospitable 

'Gainst the unwelcome, 

'Gainst destiny itself I will not be prickly. . . . 

— Zarathustra is no hedgehog. 

My soul, 

Insatiable with its tongue, 

Has already tasted of all things good and evil, 

And has dived into all depths. 

But ever, like the cork, 

It swims to the surface again, 

And floats like oil upon brown seas : 

Because of this soul men call me fortunate. 

Who are my father and mother ? 

Is not my father Prince Plenty ? 

And my mother Silent Laughter ? 

Did not the union of these two 

Beget me, the enigmatic beast — 

Me, the monster of light — 

Me, Zarathustra, the squanderer of all wisdom ? 

Sick to-day from tenderness, 
A dewy wind, 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 77 

Zarathustra sits waiting, waiting on his moun- 
tains — 
Sweet and stewing 
In his own juice, 
Beneath his own summit, 
Beneath his ice, 
Weary and happy, 
A Creator on his seventh day. 

— Silence ! 

A truth passes over me 

Like a cloud, — 

With invisible lightnings it strikes me, 

On broad, slow stairs, 

Its happiness climbs to me : 

Come, come, beloved truth ! 

— Silence ! 

Tis my truth ! 

From timid eyes, 

From velvet shudders, 

Her glance meets mine, 

Sweet and wicked, a maiden's glance. 

She has guessed the reason of my happiness, 

She has guessed me — ha! what is she thinking? 

A purple dragon 

Lurks in the abyss of her maiden's glance. 

— Silence ! My truth is speaking ! — 

" Woe to thee, Zarathustra I 
Thou lookest like one 
That hath swallowed gold : 
They will slit up thy belly yet ! 



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178 POETRY 

Thou art too rich, 

Thou corrupter of many ! 

Thou makest too many jealous, 

Too many poor. . . . 

Even on me thy light casts a shadow — 

I feel chill : go away, thou rich one 

Go away, Zarathustra, from the path of thy sun ! " 



Between Birds of Prey 

Who would here descend, 

How soon 

Is he swallowed up by the depths ! 

But thou, Zarathustra, 

Still lovest the abysses, 

Lovest them as doth the fir tree ! 

The fir flings its roots 

Where the rock itself gazes 

Shuddering at the depths, — 

The fir pauses before the abysses 

Where all around 

Would fain descend : 

Amid the impatience 

Of wild, rolling, leaping torrents 

It waits so patient, stern and silent, 

Lonely. . . . 

Lonely I 

Who would venture 
Here to be guest — 
To be thy guest ? 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 79 

A bird of prey, perchance 

Joyous at others' misfortune, 

Will cling persistent 

To the hair of the steadfast watcher, 

With frenzied laughter, 

A vulture's laughter. . . . 

Wherefore so steadfast ? 

— Mocks he so cruel : 

He must have wings, who loves the abyss, 

He must not stay on the cliff, 

As thou who hangest there ! — 

O Zarathustra, 

Cruellest Nimrod ! 

Of late still a hunter of God, 

A spider's web to capture virtue, 

An arrow of evil ! 

Now 

Hunted by thyself, 

Thine own prey 

Caught in the grip of thine own soul. 

Now 

Lonely to me and thee, 

Twofold in thine own knowledge, 

Mid a hundred mirrors 

False to thyself, 

Mid a hundred memories 

Uncertain, 

Weary at every wound, 

Shivering at every frost, 

Throttled in thine own noose, 

Self-knower ! 

Self-hangman ! 



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l8o POETRY 

Why didst bind thyself 

With the noose of thy wisdom ? 

Why luredst thyself 

Into the old serpent's paradise ? 

Why stolest into 

Thyself, thyself? . . . 

A sick man now, 
Sick of serpent's poison, 
A captive now 

Who hast drawn the hardest lot : 
\ In thine own shaft 

Bowed as thou workest, 

In thine own cavern 

Digging at thyself, 

Helpless quite, 

Stiff, 

A cold corse 

Overwhelmed with a hundred burdens, 

Overburdened by thyself, 

A knower ! 

A self-knower ! 

The wise Zarathustra ! . . . 



? 



Thou soughtest the heaviest burden, 

So foundest thou thyself, 

And canst not shake thyself off. . . . 

Watching, 

Chewing, 

One that stands upright no more ! 

Thou wilt grow deformed even in thy grave, 

Deformed spirit ! 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 8 1 

And of late still so proud 

On all the stilts of thy pride ! 

Of late still the godless hermit, 

The hermit with one comrade — the devil, 

The scarlet prince of every devilment ! . . . 

Now — 

Between two nothings 

Huddled up, 

A question-mark, 

A weary riddle, 

A riddle for vultures. . . . 

They will " solve " thee, 

They hunger already for thy " solution," 

They flutter already about their " riddle," 

About thee, the doomed one ! 

O Zarathustra, 

Self-knower ! 

Self-hangman ! 



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I 82 POETRY 



The Sun Sinks 



Not much longer thirstest thou, 

O burnt-up heart ! 

Promise is in the air, 

From unknown mouths I feel a breath, 

— The great coolness comes. . . . 

My sun stood hot above me at noonday : 

A greeting to you that are coming, 

Ye sudden winds, 

Ye cool spirits of afternoon ! 

The air is strange and pure. 

See how the night 

Leers at me with eyes askance, 

Like a seducer ! . . . 

Be strong, my brave heart, 

And ask not "Why?" 



The day of my life ! 

The sun sinks, 

And the calm flood 

Already is gilded. 

Warm breathes the rock : 

Did happiness at noonday 

Take its siesta well upon it ? 

In green light 

Happiness still glimmers up from the brown abyss 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 83 

Day of my life ! 
Eventide's nigh, 
Thy eye already 
Glows half-broken, 
Thy dew already 
Pours out its tear-drops, 
Already over the white seas 
Walks the purple of thy love, 
Thy last hesitating holiness. . . . 

3 

Golden gaiety, come ! 

Thou, the sweetest foretaste — 

Foretaste of death ! 

— Went I my way too swiftly ? 

Now that the foot grows weary, 

Thine eye still catches me, 

Thy happiness still catches me. 

Around but waves and play. 

Whatever was hard 

— Sank into blue oblivion. 

My boat now stands idle. 

Storm and motion — how did it forget them ! 

Desire and Hope are drowned, 

Sea and soul are becalmed. 

Seventh Solitude ! 

Never felt I 

Sweet certainty nearer, 

Or warmer the sun's ray. 

— Glows not the ice of my summit yet ? 

Silvery, light, a fish, 

Now my vessel swims out. . . . 



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1 84 POETRY 



The Last Desire * 

So would I die 
As then I saw him die, 
The friend, who like a god 
Into my darkling youth 
Threw lightning's light and fire : 
Buoyant yet deep was he, 
Yea, in the battle's strife 
With the gay dancer's heart. 

Amid the warriors 

His was the lightest heart, 

Amid the conquerors 

His brow was dark with thought — 

He was a fate poised on his destiny : 

Unbending, casting thought into the past 

And future, such was he. 

Fearful beneath the weight of victory, 
Yet chanting, as both victory and death 
Came hand and hand to him. 

Commanding even as he lay in death, 
And his command that man annihilate. 

So would I die 

As then I saw him die, 

Victorious and destroying. 

* Translated by Dr. G. T. Wrench. 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 8 5 



The Beacon 

Here, where the island grew amid the seas, 

A sacrificial rock high-towering, 

Here under darkling heavens, 

Zarathustra lights his mountain-fires, 

A beacon for ships that have strayed, 

A beacon for them that have an answer ! . . . 

These flames with grey-white belly, 

In cold distances sparkle their desire, 

Stretches its neck towards ever purer heights — 

A snake upreared in impatience : 

This signal I set up there before me. 

This flame is mine own soul, 

Insatiable for new distances, 

Speeding upward, upward its silent heat. 

Why flew Zarathustra from beasts and men ? 

Why fled he swift from all continents ? 

Six solitudes he knows already — 

But even the sea was not lonely enough for him, 

On the island he could climb, on the mount he 

became flame, 
At the seventh solitude 
He casts a fishing-rod far o'er his head. 

Storm-tossed seamen ! Wreckage of ancient stars 
Ye seas of the future ! Uncompassed heavens ! 
At all lonely ones I now throw my fishing-rod. 
Give answer to the flame's impatience, 
Let me, the fisher on high mountains, 
Catch my seventh, last solitude ! 



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1 86 POETRY 



Fame and Eternity* 



Speak, tell me, how long wilt thou brood 
Upon this adverse fate of thine ? 
Beware, lest from thy doleful mood 
A countenance so dark is brewed 
That men in seeing thee divine 
A hate more bitter than the brine. 



Speak, why does Zarathustra roam 
Upon the towering mountain-height ? 
Distrustful, cankered, dour, his home 
Is shut so long from human sight? 

* * * * 

See, suddenly flames forth a lightning-flash, 

The pit profound with thunderous challenge fights 

Against the heavens, midst clamorous crack and 

crash 
Of the great mountain ! Cradled in the heights, 
Born as the fruit of hate and lightning's love, 
The wrath of Zarathustra dwells above 
And looms with menace of a thundercloud. 



Ye, who have roofs, go quickly, creep and hide ! 
To bed, ye tenderlings ! For thunders loud 
Upon the blasts of storm triumphant ride, 
And bastions and ramparts sway and rock, 



♦Translated by Dr. G. T. Wrench. 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 87 

The lightning sears the dusky face of night, 
And eerie truths like gleams of Hades mock 
The sense familiar. So in storm breaks forth 
The flaming curse of Zarathustra's wrath. 



This fame, which all the wide worltf loves, 
I touch with gloves, 
And scorning beat 
Beneath my feet. 



Who hanker after the pay of it ? 

Who cast themselves in the way of it ? 

These prostitutes to gold, 

These merchant folk. They fold 

Their unctuous palms over the jingling fame, 

Whose ringing chink wins all the world's acclaim. 



Hast thou the lust to buy ? It needs no skill. 
They are all venal. Let thy purse be deep, 
And let their greedy paws unhindered creep 
Into its depths. So let them take their fill, 
For if thou dost not offer them enough, 
Their " virtue " they'll parade, to hide their huff. 



They are all virtuous, yea every one. 
Virtue and fame are ever in accord 
So long as time doth run, 



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1 88 POETRY 

The tongues that prate of virtue as reward 
Earn fame. For virtue is fame's clever bawd. 



Amongst these virtuous, I prefer to be 
One guilty of all vile and horrid sin ! 
And when I see fame's importunity 
So advertise her shameless harlotry, 
Ambition turns to gall. Amidst such kin 
One place alone, the lowest, would I win. 



This fame, which all the wide world loves, 
I touch with gloves, 
And scorning beat 
Beneath my feet. 



Hush ! I see vastness ! — and of vasty things 
Shall man be dumb, unless he can enshrine 
Them with his words ? Then take the might which 

brings 
The heart upon thy tongue, charmed wisdom 

mine! 



I look above, there rolls the star-strown sea. 
O night, mute silence, voiceless cry of stars ! 
And lo ! A sign ! The heaven its verge unbars — 
A shining constellation falls towards me. 



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DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 89 



O loftiest, star-clustered crown of Being ! 

O carved tablets of Eternity ! 

And dost thou truly bend thy way to me ? 

Thy loveliness, to all— obscurity, 

What ? Fear'st not to unveil before my seeing ? 



O shield of Destiny ! 

O carven tablets of Eternity ! 

Yea, verily, thou knowest — what mankind doth 

hate, 
What I alone do love : thou art inviolate 
To strokes of change and time, of fates the fate ! 
'Tis only thou, O dire Necessity, 
Canst kindle everlasting love in me ! 



O loftiest crown of Life ! O shield of Fate ! 
That no desire can reach to invocate, 
That ne'er defiled or sullied is by Nay, 
Eternal Yea of life, for e'er am I thy Yea : 
For I love thee, Eternity ! 



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FRAGMENTS 
OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 

(1882-88) 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS- 
DITHYRAMBS 

Speeches, Parables, and Similes 

3 
My home's in the highlands, 
For the highlands I yearn not, 
I raise not mine eyes aloft : 
I am one that looks downward, 
One that must bless, — 
All blessers look downward. 

ii 
Thus I began, 
I unlearned all self-pity ! 

13 
Not in shattering idols, 
But in shattering the idol-worshipper in thee, 
Consisted thy valour. 

14 
See, there stand 

Those heavy cats of granite, 

Those old, old Values. 

Woe is me ! How overthrow them ? 

* * * * 

Scratching cats, 

With paws that are fettered, 

There they sit 

And their glance is poison. 

N 



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194 POETRY 

A lightning-flash became my wisdom : 

With sword of adamant it clove me every 

darkness ! 

19 
A thought that still 

Flows hot, like lava : 

But all streams of lava 

Build a fortress around them, 

And every thought finally 

Oppresses itself with laws. 

20 
Such is my will : 
And since 'tis my will, 
All goes as I wish — 
That was my final wisdom : 
I willed what I must, 
And thus I forced every " must," — 
Since then has been for me no " must." 

23 
Deceit 

Is war's whole art 

The fox's skin 

Is my secret shirt of mail* 

25 
We of the new underworld 
Grub for new treasures. 
Godless it seemed to the ancients > 

To disturb the earth's bowels for treasures : 
And once more this godlessness revives, 
Hear ye not earth's bowels thunder ? 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 1 95 

28 

Looking for love and finding masks, 
Finding accursed masks and having to break 
them! 

29 
Do I love you ? 

Yes, as the rider loves his steed, 
That carryeth him to his goal. 

30 
His pity is cruel, 
His loving hand-clasp bruises, 
Give not a giant your hand ! 

3i 
Ye fear me ? 

Ye fear the taut-strung bow ? 
Ye fear a man might set his arrow to the bow ? 

33 
I am naught but a word-maker. 
What matter words ? 
What matter I ? 

34 
Ah, my friends, 

Whither has flown all that is called "good "? 
Whither all good people ? 
Whither the innocence of all these falsehoods ? 
I call all good, 
Leaves and grass, happiness, blessing, and rain. 



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196 POETRY 

35 
Not through his sins and greatest follies. 
Through his perfection I suffered, 
As I suffered most from men. * 

36 
" Man is evil." 

So spake the wisest 

For my consolement. 

37 
And only when I to myself am a burden 
Do ye fall heavy upon me ! 

38 
Too soon, already 

I laugh again : 

For a foe 'tis easy 

To make me amends. 

.39 
Gentle am I towards man and chance ; 
Gentle with all men, and even with grasses : 
A spot of sunshine on winter curtains, 
Moist with tenderness, 
A thawing wind to snow-bound souls : 
* * * * 

Proud-minded towards trifling 

Gains, where I see the huckster's long finger, 

Tis aye my pleasure 

To be bamboozled : 

Such is the bidding of my fastidious taste. 

* Nietzsche here alludes to Christian perfection, which he 
considers equivalent to harmlessness. — Tr. 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 197 
40 

A strange breath breathes and spits at me, 
Am I a mirror, that straightway is clouded ? 

4i 
Little people, 

Confiding, open-hearted, 

But low-built portals, 

Where only the low of stature can enter. 

* * * * 

How can I get through the city-gate 
Who had forgotten to live among dwarfs ? 

42 

My wisdom was like to the sun, 
I longed to give them light, 
But I only deceived them. 
The sun of my wisdom 
Blinded the eyes 
Of these poor bats. . . . 

43 
Blacker and eviller things didst thou see than ever 

a seer did : 
Through the revels of Hell no sage had ever 
journeyed. 

44 
Back ! on my heels too closely ye follow ! 
Back ! lest my wisdom should tread on you, crush 
you! 

45 
" He goes to hell who goes thy ways ! " 
So be it I to my hell 
I'll pave the way myself with well-made maxims. 



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198 POETRY 

4 6 

Your God, you tell me, 
Is a God of love ? 
The sting of conscience 
A sting from God ? 
A sting of love ? 

48 
They chew gravel, 
They lie on their bellies 
Before little round things, 
They adore all that falleth not down— 
These last servants of God 
Believers (in reality) ! 

50 
They made their God out of nothing, 
What wonder if now he is naught ? 

Ye loftier men ! There have once been 
More thoughtful times, more reflective, 
Than is our to-day and to-morrow. 

52 
Our time is like a sick woman — 
Let her but shriek, rave, scold, 
And break the tables and dishes ! 

54 
Ye mount ? 

Is it true that ye mount, 
Ye loftier men ? 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 199 

Are ye not, pray, 

Like to a ball 

Sped to the heights 

By the lowest that's in you ? 

Do ye not flee from yourselves, O ye climbers ? 

55 
All that you thought 

You had to despise, 

Where you only renounced ! 

56 

All men repeat the refrain ! 

No, no, and thrice say No ! 

What's all this yap-yap talk of heaven ? 

We would not enter the kingdom of heaven, 

The kingdom of earth shall be ours? 

57 
The will redeemeth, 

He that has nothing to do 

In a Nothing finds food for trouble. 

58 

You cannot endure it more, 

Your tyrannous destiny, 

Love it — you're given no choice ! 

59 
These alone free us from woes 
(Choose now I) 
Sudden death 
Or long-drawn-out love. 



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200 POETRY 

60 

Of death we are sure, 
So why not be merry ? 

61 
The worst of pleas 

I have hidden from you — that life grew tedious ! 
Throw it away, that ye find it again to your taste ! 

62 
Lonely days, 
Ye must walk on valorous feet ! 

63 

Loneliness 

Plants naught, it ripens. . . . 
And even then you must have the sun for your 
friend. 

64 

Once more must ye plunge in the throng — 
In the throng ye grow hard and smooth. 
Solitude withers 
And lastly destroys. - 

65 
When on the hermit comes the great fear ; 
When he runs and runs 
And knows not whither ; 
When the storms roar behind 
And the lightning bears witness against him, 
And his cavern breeds spectres 
And fills him with dread. 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 201 



67 

Throw thy pain in the depths, 
Man, forget ! Man, forget ! 
Divine is the art of forgetting ! 
Wouldstfly? 

Wouldst feel at home in the heights ? 
Throw thy heaviest load in the sea ! 
Here is the sea, hurl thyself in the sea ! 
Divine is the art of forgetting ! 

69 

Look forward, never look back ! 

We sink to the depths 

If we peer ever into the depths. 

70 
Beware, beware 

Of warning the reckless ! 
Thy warning will drive them 
To leap into every abyss ! 

7i 

Why hurled he himself from the heights ? 
What led him astray ? 
His pity for all that is lowly led him astray, 
And now he lies there, broken, useless, and cold. 

72 

Whither went he ? Who knows ? 
We only know that he sank. 
A star went out in the desolate void, 
And lone was the void. 



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202 POETRY 

73 

What we have not 

But need, 

We must take. 

And so a good conscience I took. 

74 

Who is there that could bestow right upon thee ? 

So take thy right ! 

75 
O ye waves, 

Wondrous waves, are ye wroth with me ? 

Do ye raise me your crests in wrath ? 

With my rudder I smite 

Your folly full square. 

This bark ye yourselves 

To immortal life will carry along. 

77 
When no new voice was heard, 
Ye made from old words 
A law: 
When life grows stark, there shoots up the law. 

78 
What none can refute 

Ye say must be true ? 

Oh, ye innocents ! 

79 
Art thou strong? 

Strong as an ass ? Strong as God ? 

Art thou proud ? 

So proud as to flaunt 

Unashamed thy conceit ? 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 203 

80 
Beware, 

And ne'er beat the drum 
Of thy destiny I 
Go out of the way 
From all pom-pom of fame ! 

* * * * 

Be not known too soon ! 

Be one that has hoarded renown ! 

81 

Wilt thou grasp at the thorns ? 
Thy fingers must pay. 
Grasp at a poniard. 

85 
Be a tablet of gold, 
They will grave upon thee 
In golden script. 

86 
Upright he stands 
With more sense of "justice" 
In his outermost toe 
Than I have in all my head. 
A virtue-monster 
Mantled in white. 

87 
Already he mimics himself, 
Already weary he grows, 
Already he seeks the paths he has trod — 
Who of late still loved all tracks untrodden ! 



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204 POETRY 

Secretly burnt — 

Not for his faith, 

Rather because he had lost the heart 

To find new faith. 

88 

Too long he sat in the cage, 
That runaway ! 
Too long he dreaded 
A gaoler ! 

Timorous now he goeth his ways, 

All things make him to stumble — 

The shadow e'en of a stick makes him to stumble. 

89 
Ye chambers smoky and musty, 
Ye cages and narrow hearts, 
How could your spirit be free ? 

90 
Narrow souls ! 
Huckster-souls ! 

When money leaps into the box 
The soul leaps into it too ! * 

92 
Are ye women, 
That ye wish to suffer 
From that which ye love ? 

* Alluding to the saying of the Dominican monk Tetzel, 
who sold indulgences in the time of Luther : " When money 
leaps into the box, the soul leaps from hell to heaven ! " — Tr. 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 205 

99 
They are cold, these men of learning ! 
Would that a lightning-flash might strike their 

food, 
And their mouths could learn to eat fire ! 

IOI 

Your false love 

For the past, 

A love for the graves of the dead, 

Is a theft from life 

That steals all the future. 

* * * * 

An antiquary 

Is a craftsman of dead things, 

Who lives among coffins and skeletons. 

103 

Only the poet who can lie 
Wilfully, skilfully, 
Can tell the truth. 

104 
Our chase after truth, 
Is't a chase after happiness? 



Truth 
Is a woman, no better, 
Cunning in her shame : 
Of what she likes best 
She will know naught, 
And covers her face. . . 
To what doth she yield 



105 



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206 POETRY 

But to violence ? 
Violence she needs. 
Be hard, ye sages ! 
Ye must compel her, 
That shamefaced Truth. . . . 
For her happiness 
She needs constraint — 
She is a woman, no better. 

106 
We thought evil of each other ? 
We were too distant, 
But now in this tiny hut, 
Pinned to one destiny, 
How could we still be foes ? 
We must needs love those 
Whom we cannot escape. 

107 
Love thy foe, 
Let the robber rob thee : 
The woman hears and— does it. 

no 
A proud eye 
With silken curtains, 
Seldom clear, 
Honours him that may see it unveiled. 

in 
Sluggard eyes 
That seldom love — 
But when they love, the levin flashes 
As from shafts of gold 
Where a dagger keeps guard at the treasure of love. 



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FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS 207 
117 

They are crabs, for whom I have no fellow-feeling. 

Grasp them, they pinch you ; 

Leave them alone, and they walk backward. 

119 

Crooked go great rivers and men, 
Crooked, but turned to their goal ; 
That is their highest courage, 
They dreaded not crooked paths. 

121 

Wouldst catch them ? 

Then speak to them 

As to stray sheep : 

" Your path, your path 

You have lost ! " 

They follow all 

That flatter them so : 

"What? had we a path?" 

Each whispers the other : 

" It really seems that we have a path." 



[The numbering given corresponds to that of the original, 
several fragments having been omitted. — Tr.] 



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HYMN TO LIFE. 

For Chorus and Orchestra. 
Words by Lou Salome. Music by Friedrich Nietzsche. 
Trans, by Herman Schbffaubr. Arr. for Piano bv Adrian Collins. M.A. 



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THE WORKS OF 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

First Complete and Authorised English Translation, in 18 Volumes. 

Edited by Dr. OSCAR LEVY. 

I. THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY. Translated by William/ 

A. Haussmann, B. A., Ph.D., with Biographical Introduction by 
the Author's Sister, Portrait and Facsimile. [Second Edition. 

II. EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND OTHER _ 

ESSAYS. Translated by M. A. MOggb, Ph.D. Crown 8vo. 

III. THE FUTURE OF OUR fcDUCATIONAL 

INSTITUTIONS. Translated by J. M. Kennedy. 

[Second Edition. 

IV. THOUGHTS OUT OF SEASON, Vol I. Trans- 

lated by A. M. Ludovici, with Editorial Note. [Second Edition. 

V. THOUGHTS OUT OF SEASON, Vol. II. Trans- 
lated, with Introduction, by Adrian Collins, M.A. 

[Second Edition. 

VI. HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, Vol. I. Translated by 
Helen Zimmbrn, with Introduction by J. M. Kennedy. 

[Second Edition. 

VII. HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, Vol. II. Translated, 

with Introduction, by Paul V. Cohn, B.A. 

VIII. THE CASE OF WAGNER: We Philologists, &c. 

Translated by A. M. Ludovici. Crown 8vo. [Third Edition. * — * 

IX. THE DAWN OF DAY. Translated, with Intro- 
duction, by T. M. Kennedy. 
X. THE JOYFUL WISDOM. Translated, with Intro- 
duction, by Thomas Common. 
XI. THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA. Revised Trans- - 
lation by T. Common, with Introduction by Mrs. Foerstbr- 
Nibtzsche, and Commentary by A. M. Ludovici. . 

[Second Edition. 

XII. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. Translated by Helen 

Zimmbrn, with Introduction by T. Common. [Third Edition. *• — 

XIII. THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS. Translated by 

Horace B. Samuel, M.A, with Introductory Note. •— 

XIV. THE WILL TO POWER, Vol. I. Translated, with 

Introduction, by A. M. Ludovici. [Second Edition. 

XV. THE WILL TO POWER, Vol. II. Translated, with 

Introduction, by A. M. Ludovicl 

XVI. THE TWILIGHT OF IDOLS, THE ANJI- - 

CHRIST, &c Translated by A M. Ludovici. Crown 8vo. 
XVII. ECCE HOMO AND POETRY. Translated by A. M. 

Ludovici. Crown 8vo. - 

Ready, Spring 1912. 
SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAYS AND INDEX. Crown 8vo. 



It is claimed for these translations that they have been written by accom- 
plished German scholars, who have spared no pains to render the poetical, 
passionate, racy, and witty style of Nietzsche in adeauate English. Original 
and valuable introductions are prefixed to all the translations, giving all details 
as to dates, circumstances, Nietzsche's development, &c, so that each volume 
may be bought separately. 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, Publishers, NEW YORK. 



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STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES 

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