Thus slowly wandering through many peoples and divers cities, did Zarathustra return by round-about roads to his mountains and his cave. And behold, thereby came he unawares also to the gate of the great city. Here, however, a foaming fool, with extended hands, sprang forward to him and stood in his way. It was the same fool whom the people called “the ape of Zarathustra:” for he had learned from him something of the expression and modulation of language, and perhaps liked also to borrow from the store of his wisdom. And the fool talked thus to Zarathustra:
O Zarathustra, here is the great city: here have you nothing to seek and everything to lose.
Why would you wade through this mire? Have pity upon your foot! Spit rather on the gate of the city, and- turn back!
Here is the hell for hermits’ thoughts: here are great thoughts seethed alive and boiled small.
Here do all great sentiments decay: here may only rattle-boned sensations rattle!
Smell you not already the shambles and cookshops of the spirit? Steams not this city with the fumes of slaughtered spirit?
See you not the souls hanging like limp dirty rags?- And they make newspapers also out of these rags!
Hear you not how spirit has here become a verbal game? Loathsome verbal swill does it vomit forth!- And they make newspapers also out of this verbal swill.
They hound one another, and know not where! They inflame one another, and know not why! They tinkle with their pinchbeck, they jingle with their gold.
They are cold, and seek warmth from distilled waters: they are inflamed, and seek coolness from frozen spirits; they are all sick and sore through public opinion.
All lusts and vices are here at home; but here there are also the virtuous; there is much appointable appointed virtue:-
Much appointable virtue with scribe-fingers, and hardy sitting-flesh and waiting-flesh, blessed with small breast-stars, and padded, haunchless daughters.
There is here also much piety, and much faithful spittle-licking and spittle-backing, before the God of Hosts.
“From on high,” drips the star, and the gracious spittle; for the high, longs every starless bosom.
The moon has its court, and the court has its moon-calves: to all, however, that comes from the court do the mendicant people pray, and all appointable mendicant virtues.
“I serve, you serve, we serve”- so prays all appointable virtue to the prince: that the merited star may at last stick on the slender breast!
But the moon still revolves around all that is earthly: so revolves also the prince around what is earthliest of all- that, however, is the gold of the shopman.
The God of the Hosts of war is not the God of the golden bar; the prince proposes, but the shopman- disposes!
By all that is luminous and strong and good in you, O Zarathustra! Spit on this city of shopmen and return back!
Here flows all blood putridly and tepidly and frothily through all veins: spit on the great city, which is the great slum where all the scum froths together!
Spit on the city of compressed souls and slender breasts, of pointed eyes and sticky fingers-
-On the city of the obtrusive, the brazen-faced, the pen-demagogues and tongue-demagogues, the overheated ambitious:Where everything maimed, ill-famed, lustful, untrustful, over-mellow, sickly-yellow and seditious, festers perniciously:-
-Spit on the great city and turn back!Here, however, did Zarathustra interrupt the foaming fool, and shut his mouth.-
Stop this at once! called out Zarathustra, long have your speech and your species disgusted me!
Why did you live so long by the swamp, that you yourself had to become a frog and a toad?
Flows there not a tainted, frothy, swamp-blood in your own veins, when you have thus learned to croak and revile?
Why went you not into the forest? Or why did you not till the ground? Is the sea not full of green islands?
I despise your contempt; and when you warned me- why did you not warn yourself?
Out of love alone shall my contempt and my warning bird take wing; but not out of the swamp!-
They call you my ape, you foaming fool: but I call you my gruntingpig,- by your grunting, you spoil even my praise of folly.
What was it that first made you grunt? Because no one sufficiently flattered you:- therefore did you seat yourself beside this filth, that you might have cause for much grunting,-
-That you might have cause for much vengeance! For vengeance, you vain fool, is all your foaming; I have divined you well!
But your fools’-word injures me, even when you are right! And even if Zarathustra’s word were a hundred times justified, you would ever- do wrong with my word!
Thus spoke Zarathustra. Then did he look on the great city and sighed, and was long silent. At last he spoke thus:
I loathe also this great city, and not only this fool. Here and therethere is nothing to better, nothing to worsen.
Woe to this great city!- And I would that I already saw the pillar of fire in which it will be consumed!
For such pillars of fire must precede the great noontide. But this has its time and its own fate.-
This precept, however, give I to you, in parting, you fool: Where one can no longer love, there should one- pass by!-
Thus spoke Zarathustra, and passed by the fool and the great city.