Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.
To everything cleanly am I well disposed; but I hate to see the grinning mouths and the thirst of the unclean.
They cast their eye down into the fountain; and now glanceth up to me their odious smile out of the fountain.
The holy water have they poisoned with their lustfulness; and when they called their filthy dreams delight, then poisoned they also the words.
Indignant becometh the flame when they put their damp hearts to the fire; the spirit itself bubbleth and smoketh when the rabble approach the fire.
Mawkish and over-mellow becometh the fruit in their hands; unsteady, and withered at the top, doth their look make the fruit-tree.
And many a one who hath turned away from life, hath only turned away from the rabble; he hated to share with them fountain, flame and fruit.
And many a one who hath gone into the wilderness and suffered thirst with beasts of prey, disliked only to sit at the cistern with filthy camel-drivers.
And many a one who hath come along as a destroyer, and as a hailstorm to all cornfields, wanted merely to put his foot into the jaws of the rabble, and thus stop their throat.
And it is not the mouthful which hath most choked me, to know that life itself requireth enmity and death and torture-crosses
But I asked once, and suffocated almost with my question: What? Is the rabble also necessary for life?
Are poisoned fountains necessary, and stinking fires, and filthy dreams, and maggots in the bread of life?
Not my hatred, but my loathing, gnawed hungrily at my life! Ah, ofttimes became I weary of spirit, when I found even the rabble spiritual!
And on the rulers turned I my back, when I saw what they now call ruling: to traffic and bargain for power with the rabble!
Amongst peoples of a strange language did I dwell, with stopped ears, so that the language of their trafficking might remain strange unto me, and their bargaining for power.
And holding my nose, I went morosely through all yesterdays and todays: verily, badly smell all yesterdays and todays of the scribbling rabble!
Like a cripple become deaf, and blind, and dumb thus have I lived long, that I might not live with the power-rabble, the scribe-rabble and the pleasure-rabble.
Toilsomely did my spirit mount stairs, and cautiously; alms of delight were its refreshment; on the staff did life creep along with the blind one.
What hath happened unto me? How have I freed myself from loathing? Who hath rejuvenated mine eye? How have I flown to the height where no rabble any longer sit at the wells?
Did my loathing itself create for me wings and fountain-divining powers? Verily, to the loftiest height had I to fly, to find again the well of delight!
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