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Modern Library



A masterpiece of philosophy and of liter-
ature, Thus Spake Zarathustra is the fulfill-
ment of Nietzsche's belief that "the object
of mankind should lie in its highest individ-
uals!" In his thirtieth year Zarathustra -
the archetypal Ubermensch representative
of the highest passion and creativity
abandons his home for the mountains,
where he lives, literally and figuratively,
on a level of experience far above the
conventional standards of good and evil.
His poetic testimony is a vivid demonstra-
tion of the genius of Nietzsche's thought

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Translated by Thomas Common


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1. The Three Metamorphoses 23

2. The Academic Chairs of Virtue 25

3. Backworldsmen 28

4. The Despisers of the Body 3 2

5. Joys and Passions 34

6. The Pale Criminal 3 6

7. Reading and Writing 39

8. The Tree on the Hill 4 1

9. The Preachers of Death 44

10. War and Warriors 47

11. The New Idol 49

12. The Flies in the Market-Place 5 2

13. Chastity 5 6

14. The Friend 57

15. The Thousand and One Goals 60

1 6. Neighbour-Love 6 3

17. The Way of the Creating One 65

1 8. Old and Young Women 68

19. The Bite of the Adder 7

20. Child and Marriage 7 2

21. Voluntary Death 75

22. The Bestowing Virtue 7 8




23. The Child with the Mirror 87

24. In the Happy Isles 90

25. The Pitiful 93

26. The Priests 96

27. The Virtuous 99

28. The Rabble 103

29. The Tarantulas 106

30. The Famous Wise Ones no

3 1 . The Night Song 113

32. The Dance Song 116

33. The Grave Song 119

34. Self -Surpassing 122

35. The Sublime Ones 126

36. The Land of Culture 129

37. Immaculate Perception 132

38. Scholars 135

39. Poets 138

40. Great Events 142

41. The Soothsayer 146

42. Redemption 150

43. Manly Prudence 156

44. The Stillest Hour 159


45. The Wanderer 167

46. The Vision and the Enigma 171

47. Involuntary Bliss 177

48. Before Sunrise 181

49. The Bedwarfmg Virtue 184

50. On the Olive-Mount 191



51. OnPassing-by 194

52. The Apostates 198

53. The Return Home 203

54. The Three Evil Things 207
5 5 . The Spirit of Gravity 213

56. Old and New Tables 218

57. The Convalescent 241

58. The Great Longing 248

59. The Second Dance Song 252

60. The Seven Seals 256


61. The Honey Sacrifice 263

62. The Cry of Distress 267

63. Talk with the Kings 271

64. The Leech 276

65. The Magician 280

66. Out of Service 288

67. The Ugliest Man 293

68. The Voluntary Beggar 298

69. The Shadow 303

70. Noontide 307

7 1 . The Greeting 311

72. The Supper 317

73. The Higher Man 319

74. The Song of Melancholy 332

75. Science 338

76. Among Daughters of the Desert 341

77. The Awakening 348

78. The Ass-Festival 352

79. The Drunken Song 356

80. The Sign 365


arathustra's Prologue

WHEN Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and
the lake of his home, and went into the mountains. There he
enjoyed his spirit and his solitude, and for ten years did not
weary of it. But at last his heart changed, and rising one
morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the sun, and
spake thus unto it:

Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst
not those for whom thou shinest!

For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou
wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not
been for me, mine eagle, and my serpent.

But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine
overflow, and blessed thee for it.

Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gath-
ered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.

I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once
more become joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their

Therefore must I descend into the deep: as thou doest in
the evening, when thou goest behind the sea, and givest light
also to the nether-world, thou exuberant star!

Like thee must I go down, as men say, to whom I shall


Bless me, then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even the
greatest happiness without envy!

Bless the cup that is about to overflow, that the water may
flow golden out of it, and carry everywhere the reflection of
thy bliss!

Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Zarathustra
is again going to be a man.

Thus began Zarathustra' s down-going.

Zarathustra went down the mountain alone, no one meeting
him. When he entered the forest, however, there suddenly
stood before him an old man, who had left his holy cot to seek
roots. And thus spake the old man to Zarathustra:

"No stranger to me is this wanderer: many years ago passed
he by. Zarathustra he was called; but he hath altered.

Then thou carriedst thine ashes into the mountains: wilt
thou now carry thy fire into the valleys? Fearest thou not the
incendiary's doom?

Yea, I recognize Zarathustra. Pure is his eye, and no loath-
ing lurketh about his mouth. Goeth he not along like a

Altered is Zarathustra; a child hath Zarathustra become; an
awakened one is Zarathustra: what wilt thou do in the land of
the sleepers?

As in the sea hast thou lived in solitude, and it hath borne
thee up. Alas, wilt thou now go ashore? Alas, wilt thou again
drag thy body thyself?"

Zarathustra answered: "I love mankind."


"Why," said the saint, "did I go into the forest and the
desert? Was it not because I loved men far too well?

Now I love God: men, I do not love. Man is a thing too
imperfect for me. Love to man would be fatal to me."

Zarathustra answered: "What spake I of love! I am bring-
ing gifts unto men."

"Give them nothing," said the saint. '"Take rather part of
their load, and carry it along with them that will be most
agreeable unto them: if only it be agreeable unto thee!

If, however, thou wilt give unto them, give them no more
than an alms, and let them also beg for it!"

"No," replied Zarathustra, "I give no alms. I am not poor
enough for that."

The saint laughed at Zarathustra, and spake thus: "Then
see to it that they accept thy treasures! They are distrustful of
anchorites, and do not believe that we come with gifts.

The fall of our footsteps ringeth too hollow through their
streets. And just as at night, when they are in bed and hear a
man abroad long before sunrise, so they ask themselves con-
cerning us: Where goeth the thief?

Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go rather to the ani-
mals! Why not be like me a bear amongst bears, a bird
amongst birds?"

"And what doeth the saint in the forest?" asked Zarathustra.

The saint answered: "I make hymns and sing them; and in
making hymns I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise

With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling do I praise
the God who is my God. But what dost thou bring us as a gift?"

When Zarathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the
saint and said: "What should I have to give thee! Let me rather
hurry hence lest I take aught away from thee!" And thus


they parted from one another, the old man and Zarathustra,
laughing like schoolboys.

When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart:
"Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet
heard of it, that God is dead!"


When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which ad-
joineth the forest, he found many people assembled in the
market-place; for it had been announced that a rope-dancer
would give a performance. And Zarathustra spake thus unto
the people:

/ teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be
surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?

All beings hitherto have created something beyond them-
selves : and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would
rather go back to the beast than surpass man?

What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-
stock, a thing of shame.

Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much
within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man
is more of an ape than any of the apes.

Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid
of plant and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or

Lo, I teach you the Superman!

The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will
say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!

I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and be-


lieve not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes!
Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.

Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones
themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!

Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy;
but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blas-
pheme the earth is now the dreadf ulest sin, and to rate the heart
of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!

Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then
that contempt was the supreme thing: the soul wished the
body meagre, ghastly, and famished. Thus it thought to escape
from the body and the earth.

Oh, that soul was itself meagre, ghastly, and famished; and
cruelty was the delight of that soul!

But ye, also, my brethren, tell me: What doth your body say
about your soul? Is your soul not poverty and pollution and
wretched self-complacency?

Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to re^
ceive a polluted stream without becoming impure.

Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your
great contempt be submerged.

What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour
of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness be-
cometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue.

The hour when ye say: "'What good is my happiness! It is
poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my
happiness should justify existence itself!"

The hour when ye say: "What good is my reason! Doth it
long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and
pollution and wretched self-complacency!"

The hour when ye say: "What good is my virtue! As yet it
hath not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good


and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-

The hour when ye say: "What good is my justice! I do not
see that I am fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour
and fuel!"

The hour when we say: "What good is my pity! Is not pity
the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity
is not a crucifixion."

Have ye ever spoken thus? Have ye ever cried thus? Ah!
would that I had heard you crying thus!

It is not your sin it is your self-satisfaction that crieth unto
heaven; your very sparingn&s in sin crieth unto heaven!

Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where
is the frenzy with which ye should ue inoculated?

Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that

When Zarathustra had thus spoken, one of the people called
out: "We have now heard enough of the rope-dancer; it is
time now for us to see him!" And all the people laughed at
Zarathustra. But the rope-dancer, who thought the words ap-
plied to him, began his performance.


Zarathustra, however, looked at the people and wondered.
Then he spake thus :

Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Super-
man a rope over an abyss.

A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous
looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal:


what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-

I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers,
for they are the over-goers.

I love the great despisers, because they are the great adorers,
and arrows of longing for the other shore.

I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars
for going down and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to
the earth, that the earth of the Superman may hereafter arrive.

I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know
in order that the Superman may hereafter live. Thus seeketh he
his own down-going.

I love him who laboureth and inventeth, that he may build
the house for the Superm^, and prepare for him earth, animal,
and plant: for thus seeketh he his own down-going.

I love him who loveth his virtue: for virtue is the will to
down-going, and an arrow of longing.

I love him who reserveth no share of spirit for himself, but
wanteth to be wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus walketh he
as spirit over the bridge.

I love him who maketh his virtue his inclination and destiny:
thus, for the sake of his virtue, he is willing to live on, or live
no more.

I love him who desireth not too many virtues. One virtue is
more of a virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for one's
destiny to cling to.

I love him whose soul is lavish, who wanteth no thanks and
doth not give back: for he always bestoweth, and desireth not
to keep for himself.

I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour,
and who then asketh: "Am I a dishonest player?" for he is
willing to succumb.


I love him who scattereth golden words in advance of his
deeds, and always doeth more than he promiseth: for he
seeketh his own down-going.

I love him who justifieth the future ones, and redeemeth
the past ones: for he is willing to succumb through the present

I love him who chasteneth his God, because he loveth his
God: for he must succumb through the wrath of his God.

I love him whose soul is deep even in the wounding, and
may succumb through a small matter: thus goeth he willingly
over the bridge.

I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgetteth him-
self, and all things are in him : thus all things become his down-

I love him who is of a free spirit and a free heart: thus is his
head only the bowels of his heart; his heart, however, causeth
his down-going.

I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of
the dark cloud that lowereth over man : they herald the coming
of the lightning, and succumb as heralds.

Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of
the cloud: the lightning, however, is the Superman.

When Zarathustra had spoken these words, he again looked
at the people, and was silent. "There they stand," said he to his
heart; "there they laugh: they understand me not; I am not the
mouth for these ears.

Must one first batter their ears, that they may learn to hear
with their eyes? Must one clatter like kettledrums and peni-


tential preachers? Or do they only believe the stammerer?'

They have something whereof they are proud. What do they
call it, that which maketh them proud? Culture, they call it; it
distinguished! them from the goatherds.

They dislike, therefore, to hear of 'contempt* of themselves.
So I will appeal to their pride.

I will speak unto them of the most contemptible thing:
that, however, is the last man!"

And thus spake Zarathustra unto the people:

It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant
the germ of his highest hope.

Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day
be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be
able to grow thereon.

Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch
the arrow of his longing beyond man and the string of his.
bow will have unlearned to whizz!

I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to-
a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.

Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give-
birth to any star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most
despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.

Lo! I show you the last man.

"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is
a star?" so asketh the last man and blinketh.

The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth
the last man who maketh everything small. His species is in-
eradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth

"We have discovered happiness" say the last men, and
blink thereby.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they


need warmth. One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth
against him; for one needeth warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful : they
walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or

A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams.
And much poison at last for a pleasant death.

One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful
lest the pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burden-
some. Who still wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey?
Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wanteth the same;
everyone is equal : he who hath other sentiments goeth volun-
tarily into the madhouse.

"Formerly all the world was insane," -say the subtlest of
them, and blink thereby.

They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there
is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon
reconciled otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little
pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

'We have discovered happiness," say the last men, and
blink thereby.

And here ended the first discourse of Zarathustra, which is
also called "The Prologue", for at this point the shouting and
mirth of the multitude interrupted him. "Give us this last man,
O Zarathustra," they called out "make us into these last
men! Then will we make thee a present of the Superman!"
And all the people exulted and smacked their lips. Zarathustra,
however, turned sad, and said to his heart:

: 'They understand me not : I am not the mouth for these ears.


Too long, perhaps, have I lived in the mountains; too much
have I hearkened unto the brooks and trees: now do I speak
unto them as unto the goatherds.

Calm is my soul, and clear, like the mountains in the morn-
ing. But they think me cold, and a mocker with terrible jests.

And now do they look at me and laugh: and while they
laugh they hate me too. There is ice in their laughter."


Then, however, something happened which made every
mouth mute and every eye fixed. In the meantime, of course,
the rope-dancer had commenced his performance: he had come
out at a little door, and was going along the rope which was
stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the market-
place and the people. When he was just midway across, the
little door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like
a buffoon sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one. "Go
on, halt-foot," cried his frightful voice, "go on, lazy-bones,
interloper, sallow-face! lest I tickle thee with my heel! What
dost thou here between the towers? In the tower is the place
for thee, thou shouldst be locked up; to one better than thyself
thou blockest the way! " And with every word he came nearer
and nearer the first one. When, however, he was but a step
behind, there happened the frightful thing which made every
mouth mute and every eye fixed he uttered a yell like a devil,
and jumped over the other who was in his way. The latter,
however, when he thus saw his rival triumph, lost at the same
time his head and his footing on the rope; he threw his pole
away, and shot downward faster than it, like an eddy of arms
and legs, into the depth. The market-place and the people were


like the sea when the storm cometh on: they all flew apart and
in disorder, especially where the body was about to fall.

Zarathustra, however, remained standing, and just beside
him fell the body, badly injured and disfigured, but not yet
dead. After a while consciousness returned to the shattered
man, and he saw Zarathustra kneeling beside him. "What art
thou doing there?" said he at last, "I knew long ago that the
devil would trip me up. Now he draggeth me to hell: wilt thou
prevent him?"

"On mine honour, my friend," answered Zarathustra,
"there is nothing of all that whereof thou speakest: there is no
devil and no hell. Thy soul will be dead even sooner than thy
body; fear, therefore, nothing any more!"

The man looked up distrustfully. "If thou speakest the
truth," said he, "I lose nothing when I lose my life. I am not
much more than an animal which hath been taught to dance by
blows and scanty fare."

"Not at all," said Zarathustra, "thou hast made danger thy
calling; therein there is nothing contemptible. Now thou
perishest by thy calling: therefore will I bury thee with mine
own hands."

When Zarathustra had said this the dying one did not reply
further; but he moved his hand as if he sought the hand of
Zarathustra in gratitude.

Meanwhile the evening came on, and the market-place
veiled itself in gloom. Then the people dispersed, for even
curiosity and terror become fatigued. Zarathustra, however,
still sat beside the dead man on the ground, absorbed in


thought: so he forgot the time. But at last it became night, and
a cold wind blew upon the lonely one. Then arose Zarathustra
and said to his heart:

Verily, a fine catch of fish hath Zarathustra made to-day! It is
not a man he hath caught, but a corpse.

Sombre is human life, and as yet without meaning: a buffoon
may be fateful to it.

I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the
Superman, the lightning out of the dark cloud man.

But still am I far from them, and my sense speaketh not unto
their sense. To men I am still something between a fool and
a corpse.

Gloomy is the night, gloomy are the ways of Zarathustra.
Come, thou cold and stiff companion! I carry thee to the place
where I shall bury thee with mine own hands.


When Zarathustra had said this to his heart, he put the
corpse upon his shoulders and set out on his way. Yet had he
not gone a hundred steps, when there stole a man up to him
and whispered in his ear and lo! he that spake was the buf-
foon from the tower. "Leave this town, O Zarathustra," said
he, "there are too many here who hate thee. The good and just
hate thee, and call thee their enemy and despiser; the believers
in the orthodox belief hate thee, and call thee a danger to the
multitude. It was thy good fortune to be laughed at: and verily
thou spakest like a buffoon. It was thy good fortune to associate
with the dead dog; by so humiliating thyself thou hast saved
thy life today. Depart, however, from this town, or tomor-
row I shall jump over thee, a living man over a dead one." And


when he had said this, the buffoon vanished; Zarathustra, how-
ever, went on through the dark streets.

At the gate of the town the grave-diggers met him: they
shone their torch on his face, and, recognising Zarathustra,
they sorely derided him. "Zarathustra is carrying away the dead
dog: a fine thing that Zarathustra hath turned a grave-digger!

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