O solitude! My home, solitude! Too long have I lived wildly in wild remoteness, to return to you without tears!
Now threaten me with the finger as mothers threaten; now smile upon me as mothers smile; now say just: “Who was it that like a whirlwind once rushed away from me?-
-Who when departing called out: ‘Too long have I sat with solitude; there have I unlearned silence!’ That have you learned now- surely?
O Zarathustra, everything do I know; and that you were more forsaken amongst the many, you unique one, than you ever were with me!
One thing is forsakenness, another matter is solitude: that have you now learned! And that amongst men you will ever be wild and strange:
-Wild and strange even when they love you: for above all they want to be treated indulgently!
Here, however, are you at home and house with yourself; here can you utter everything, and unbosom all motives; nothing is here ashamed of concealed, congealed feelings.
Here do all things come caressingly to your talk and flatter you: for they want to ride upon your back. On every simile do you here ride to every truth.
Honestly and openly may you here talk to all things: and verily, it sounds as praise in their ears, for one to talk to all things- directly!
Another matter, however, is forsakenness. For, do you remember, O Zarathustra? When your bird screamed overhead, when you stood in the forest, irresolute, ignorant where to go, beside a corpse:-
-When you spoke: ‘Let my animals lead me! More dangerous have I found it among men than among animals:’- That was forsakenness!
And do you remember, O Zarathustra? When you sat in your isle, a well of wine giving and granting amongst empty buckets, giving and distributing amongst the thirsty:
-Until at last you alone sat thirsty amongst the drunken ones, and wailed nightly: ‘Is taking not more blessed than giving? And stealing yet more blessed than taking?’- That was forsakenness!
And do you remember, O Zarathustra? When your still hour came and drove you forth from yourself, when with wicked whispering it said: ‘Speak and perish!’-
-When it disgusted you with all your waiting and silence, and discouraged your humble courage: That was forsakenness!”-
O solitude! My home, solitude! How blessedly and tenderly speaks your voice to me!
We do not question each other, we do not complain to each other; we go together openly through open doors.
For all is open with you and clear; and even the hours run here on lighter feet. For in the dark, time weighs heavier upon one than in the light.
Here fly open to me all beings’ words and word-cabinets: here all being wants to become words, here all becoming wants to learn of me how to talk.
Down there, however- all talking is in vain! There, forgetting and passing-by are the best wisdom: that have I learned now!
He who would understand everything in man must handle everything. But for that I have too clean hands.
I do not like even to inhale their breath; alas! that I have lived so long among their noise and bad breaths!
O blessed stillness around me! O pure odours around me! How from a deep breast this stillness fetches pure breath! How it hearkens, this blessed stillness!
But down there- there speaks everything, there is everything misheard. If one announce one’s wisdom with bells, the shopmen in the market-place will out-jingle it with pennies!
Everything among them talks; no one knows any longer how to understand. Everything falls into the water; nothing falls any longer into deep wells.
Everything among them talks, nothing succeeds any longer and accomplishes itself. Everything cackles, but who will still sit quietly on the nest and hatch eggs?
Everything among them talks, everything is out-talked. And that which yesterday was still too hard for time itself and its tooth, hangs today, outchamped and outchewed, from the mouths of the men of today.
Everything among them talks, everything is betrayed. And what was once called the secret and secrecy of profound souls, belongs to-day to the street-trumpeters and other butterflies.
O human hubbub, you wonderful thing! you noise in dark streets! Now are you again behind me:- my greatest danger lies behind me!
In indulging and pitying lay ever my greatest danger; and all human hubbub wishes to be indulged and tolerated.
With suppressed truths, with fool’s hand and befooled heart, and rich in petty lies of pity:- thus have I ever lived among men.
Disguised did I sit amongst them, ready to misjudge myself that I might endure them, and willingly saying to myself: “You fool, you do not know men!”
One unlearns men when one lives amongst them: there is too much foreground in all men- what can far-seeing, far-longing eyes do there!
And, fool that I was, when they misjudged me, I indulged them on that account more than myself, being habitually hard on myself, and often even taking revenge on myself for the indulgence.
Stung all over by poisonous flies, and hollowed like the stone by many drops of wickedness: thus did I sit among them, and still said to myself: “Innocent is everything petty of its pettiness!”
Especially did I find those who call themselves “the good,” the most poisonous flies; they sting in all innocence, they lie in all innocence; how could they- be just towards me!
He who lives amongst the good- pity teaches him to lie. Pity makes stifling air for all free souls. For the stupidity of the good is unfathomable.
To conceal myself and my riches- that did I learn down there: for every one did I still find poor in spirit. It was the lie of my pity, that I knew in every one.
-That I saw and scented in every one, what was enough of spirit for him, and what was too much!
Their stiff wise men: I call them wise, not stiff- thus did I learn to slur over words.
The grave-diggers dig for themselves diseases. Under old rubbish rest bad vapors. One should not stir up the marsh. One should live on mountains.
With blessed nostrils do I again breathe mountain-freedom. Freed at last is my nose from the smell of all human hubbub!
With sharp breezes tickled, as with sparkling wine, sneezes my soulsneezes, and shouts self-congratulatingly: “Health to you!”
Thus spoke Zarathustra.