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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Zarathustra’s Prologue
By Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
 
From ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’: Translation of Thomas Common

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:  1
  Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!  2
  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.  3
  But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it.  4
  Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.  5
  I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once more become joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their riches.  6
  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!  7
  Like thee must I go down, as men say, to whom I shall descend.  8
  Bless me, then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even the greatest happiness without envy!  9
  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!  10
  Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Zarathustra is again going to be a man.  11
 
  Thus began Zarathustra’s down-going.
*        *        *        *        *
  12
  When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoineth 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:  13
  I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?  14
  All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?  15
  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.  16
  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.  17
  Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I bid you become phantoms or plants?  18
  Lo, I teach you the Superman!  19
  The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!  20
 
 
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