Ecce Homo (book)  

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"I know not how to draw any distinction between tears and music." ("Ich weiß keinen Unterschied zwischen Tränen und Musik zu machen")--Ecce Homo (1908) by Friedrich Nietzsche

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Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (Ecce homo: Wie man wird, was man ist) is the last original book written by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche before his death in 1900. It was written in 1888 and was not published until 1908.

According to one of Nietzsche's most prominent English translators, Walter Kaufmann, the book offers "Nietzsche's own interpretation of his development, his works, and his significance." The book contains several chapters with self-laudatory titles, such as "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Am So Clever", "Why I Write Such Good Books" and "Why I Am a Destiny". Walter Kaufmann, in his biography Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist noticed the internal parallels, in form and language, to Plato's Apology which documented the Trial of Socrates. In effect, Nietzsche was putting himself on trial with this work, and his sardonic judgments and chapter headings can be seen as mordant, mocking, self-deprecating, or sly.

Within this work, Nietzsche is self-consciously striving to present a new image of the philosopher and of himself, for example, a philosopher "who is not an Alexandrian academic nor an Apollonian sage, but Dionysian." On these grounds, Kaufmann considers Ecce Homo a literary work comparable in its artistry to Vincent van Gogh's paintings. Nietzsche argues that he is a great philosopher because of his withering assessment of the pious fraud of the entirety of Philosophy which he considered as a retreat from honesty when most necessary, and a cowardly failure to pursue its stated aim to its reasonable end. Nietzsche insists that his suffering is not noble but the expected result of hard inquiry into the deepest recesses of human self-deception, and that by overcoming one's agonies a person achieves more than any relaxation or accommodation to intellectual difficulties or literal threats. He proclaims the ultimate value of everything that has happened to him (including his father's early death and his near-blindness – an example of love of Fate or amor fati). Nietzsche's primary point is that to be "a man" alone is to be actually more than "a Christ": his position is that the very idea of "a Christ" is in truth an empty impossibility, that it is nothing more than a dangerous creation of the human imagination.

One of the main purposes of Ecce Homo was to offer Nietzsche's own perspective on his work as a philosopher and human being. He wrote: "Under these circumstances I have a duty against which my habits, even more the pride of my instincts, revolt at bottom – namely, to say: Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else!" Throughout the course of the book, he expounds — in the characteristically hyperbolic style found in his later period (1886–1888) — upon his life as a child, his tastes as an individual, and his vision for humanity. He gives reviews and insights about his various works, including: The Birth of Tragedy, The Untimely Meditations, Human, All Too Human, The Dawn, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morality, Twilight of the Idols and The Case of Wagner. The last chapter of Ecce Homo, entitled "Why I Am a Destiny", is primarily concerned with reiterating Nietzsche's thoughts on Christianity, corroborating Christianity's decadence and his ideas as to uncovering Christian morality.

He signs the book "Dionysus versus the Crucified."

See also

Full text[1]

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

The First Complete and Authorised English Translation ;

EDITED BY

Dr. OSCAR LEVY

VOLUME SEVENTEEN

ECCE HOMO

by VjOOQLC 

/*3

t/677U

Of the First Edition of

Two Thousand Copies

this is

No.

710

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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

by VjOOQLC 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

168896

Printed by Morrison & Gibb Limitep, Edinburgh

by VjOOQLC 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF THE SCULPTOR

PROFESSOR KARL DONNDORF in STUTTGART

'N

by VjOOQLC 

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

id

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-



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



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 ? "



^

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



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.



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,



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



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.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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-



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



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.



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.



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



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-



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



s

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



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



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



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



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.



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



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.



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,



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.



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 ! ' "



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



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-



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



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



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.



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



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-



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



S

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



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.



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



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



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-



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



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.



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



"V

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



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.



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



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.



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



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



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



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.



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



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.



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. . . .



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



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



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,



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



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.



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



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



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



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 '



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.



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



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."



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 ;



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.



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. ^



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,



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.



?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.



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



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.



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



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. . . .



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



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



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,



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



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



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



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 "



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



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.



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-



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.



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.



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



\

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



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.



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.



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 "



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



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.



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



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

^



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-



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



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-



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



I

{

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



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



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



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



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



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



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,



I

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



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.



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.



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



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



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,



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,



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



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



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.



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.



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



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.



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.



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.



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,



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.



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



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.



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



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



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.



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*



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.



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-



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



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.



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?



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-



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.



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



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,



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



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



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.





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



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.



SONGS, EPIGRAMS, Etc.

i47





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



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 !



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.



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.



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.



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 !



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.



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 !



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.



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.



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.



» #

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.



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



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.



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.



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?



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



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.



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.



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.



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 !



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



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 "



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.



DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS

(1888)

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

173





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



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,



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 !



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 ?



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 !



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 !



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 !



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



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. . . .



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.



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 !



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.



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,



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.



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 !





FRAGMENTS OF DIONYSUS-DITHYRAMBS

(1882-88)

•9»



    • ■■ -

I

by VjOOQLC 

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



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 ?



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.



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.



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.



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 ?



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.



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.



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.



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 ?



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 !



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.



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



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.



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.]





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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