Since I have known the body better, said Zarathustra to one of his disciples, the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all the imperishablethat is also but a simile.
So have I heard thee say once before, answered the disciple, and then thou addedst: But the poets lie too much. Why didst thou say that the poets lie too much?
Why? said Zarathustra. Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who may be asked after their Why.
Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the reasons for mine opinions.
Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my reasons with me?
It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a bird flieth away.
And sometimes also do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my hand upon it.
But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets lie too much? But Zarathustra also is a poet.
Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou believe it?
The disciple answered: I believe in Zarathustra. But Zarathustra shook his head and smiled.
Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief in myself.
But granting that someone did say in all seriousness that the poets lie too much: he was rightwe do lie too much.
We also know too little, and are bad learners; so we are obliged to lie.
And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars; many an indescribable thing hath there been done.
And because we know little, therefore are we pleased from the heart with the poor in spirit, especially when they are young women!
And even of those things are we desirous, which old women tell one another in the evening. This do we call the eternally feminine in us.
And as if there were a special secret access to knowledge, which choketh up for those who learn anything, so do we believe in the people and in their wisdom.
This, however, do all poets believe: that whoever pricketh up his ears when lying in the grass or on lonely slopes, learneth something of the things that are betwixt heaven and earth.
And if there come unto them tender emotions, then do the poets always think that nature herself is in love with them;
And that she stealeth to their ear to whisper secrets into it, and amorous flatteries: of this do they plume and pride themselves, before all mortals!
Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of which only the poets have dreamed!
And especially above the heavens: for all Gods are poet-symbolisations, poet-sophistications!
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