Then, when it was about midnight, Zarathustra went his way over the ridge of the isle, that he might arrive early in the morning at the other coast; because there he meant to embark. For there was a good roadstead there, in which foreign ships also liked to anchor: those ships took many people with them, who wished to cross over from the Blessed isles. So when Zarathustra thus ascended the mountain, he thought on the way of his many solitary wanderings from youth onwards, and how many mountains and ridges and summits he had already climbed.
I am a wanderer and mountain-climber, said he to his heart. I love not the plains, and it seems I cannot long sit still.
And whatever may still overtake me as fate and experience- a wandering will be therein, and a mountain-climbing: in the end one experiences only oneself.
The time is now past when accidents could befall me; and what could now fall to my lot which would not already be my own!
It returns only, it comes home to me at last- my own Self, and such of it as has been long abroad, and scattered among things and accidents.
And one thing more do I know: I stand now before my last summit, and before that which has been longest reserved for me. Ah, my hardest path must I ascend! Ah, I have begun my most lonesome wandering!
Yet he who is of my nature does not avoid such an hour: the hour that says to him: Now only do you go the way to your greatness! Summit and abyss- these are now comprised together!
You go the way to your greatness: now has it become your last refuge, what was hitherto your last danger!
You go the way to your greatness: it must now be your best courage that there is no longer any path behind you!
You go the way to your greatness: here shall no one steal after you! your foot itself has effaced the path behind you, and over it stands written: Impossibility.
And if all ladders henceforth fail you, then must you learn to mount upon your own head: how could you mount upward otherwise?
Upon your own head, and beyond your own heart! Now must the gentlest in you become the hardest.
He who has always much-indulged himself, sickens at last by his much-indulgence. Praises on what makes hardy! I do not praise the land where butter and honey- flow!
To learn to look away from oneself, is necessary in order to see many things.- this hardiness is needed by every mountain-climber.
Yet he who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner, how can he ever see more of anything than its foreground!
But you, O Zarathustra, would view the ground of everything, and its background: thus must you mount even above yourself- up, upwards, until you have even your stars under you!
Yes! To look down upon myself, and even upon my stars: that only would I call my summit, that has remained for me as my last summit!-
Thus spoke Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his heart with harsh maxims: for he was sore at heart as he had never been before. And when he had reached the top of the mountain-ridge, behold, there lay the other sea spread out before him; and he stood still and was long silent. The night, however, was cold at this height, and clear and starry.
I recognize my destiny, said he at last, sadly. Well! I am ready. Now has my last lonesomeness begun.
Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal vexation! Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now go down!
Before my highest mountain do I stand, and before my longest wandering: therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended:
-Deeper down into pain than I ever ascended, even into its darkest flood! So wills my fate. Well! I am ready.
Whence come the highest mountains? so did I once ask. Then did I learn that they come out of the sea.
That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of their summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its height.-
Thus spoke Zarathustra on the ridge of the mountain where it was cold: when, however, he came into the vicinity of the sea, and at last stood alone amongst the cliffs, then had he become weary on his way, and eagerer than ever before.
Everything as yet sleeps, said he; even the sea sleeps. Drowsily and strangely does its eye gaze upon me.
But it breaths warmly- I feel it. And I feel also that it dreams. It tosses about dreamily on hard pillows.
Hark! Hark! How it groans with evil recollections! Or evil expectations?
Ah, I am sad along with you, you dusky monster, and angry with myself even for your sake.
Ah, that my hand has not strength enough! Gladly, indeed, would I free you from evil dreams!-
And while Zarathustra thus spoke, he laughed at himself with melancholy and bitterness. What! Zarathustra, said he, will you even sing consolation to the sea?
Ah, you amiable fool, Zarathustra, you too-blindly confiding one! But thus have you ever been: ever have you approached confidently all that is terrible.
Every monster would you caress. A whiff of warm breath, a little soft tuft on its paw:- and immediately were you ready to love and lure it.
Love is the danger of the most lonesome one, love to anything, if it only live! Laughable, verily, is my folly and my modesty in love!-
Thus spoke Zarathustra, and laughed thereby a second time. Then, however, he thought of his abandoned friends- and as if he had done them a wrong with his thoughts, he upbraided himself because of his thoughts. And forthwith it came to pass that the laugher wept- with anger and longing wept Zarathustra bitterly.