The Apostates


Ah, lieth everything already withered and grey which but lately stood green and many-hued on this meadow! And how much honey of hope did I carry hence into my beehives!

Those young hearts have already all become old — and not old even! Only weary, ordinary, comfortable. They declare it: ‘We have again become pious.’

Of late did I see them run forth at early morn with valorous steps; but the feet of their knowledge became weary, and now do they malign even their morning valour!

Verily, many of them once lifted their legs like the dancer; to them winked the laughter of my wisdom — then did they bethink themselves. Just now have I seen them bent down — to creep to the cross.

Around light and liberty did they once flutter like gnats and young poets. A little older, a little colder: and already are they mystifiers, and mumblers and mollycoddles.

Did perhaps their hearts despond, because lonesomeness had swallowed me like a whale? Did their ear perhaps hearken yearningly-long for me in vain, and for my trumpet-notes and herald-calls?

Ah, ever are there but few of those whose hearts have persistent courage and exuberance; and in such remaineth also the spirit patient. The rest, however, are cowardly.

The rest: these are always the great majority, the commonplace, the superfluous, the far-too-many — those all are cowardly!

Him who is of my type, will also the experiences of my type meet on the way; so that his first companions must be corpses and buffoons.

His second companions, however — they will call themselves his believers — will be a living host, with much love, much folly, much unbearded veneration.

To those believers shall he who is of my type among men not bind his heart; in those spring-times and many-hued meadows shall he not believe, who knoweth the fickle faint-hearted human species!

Could they do otherwise, then would they also will otherwise. The half-and-half spoil every whole. That leaves become withered — what is there to lament about that!

Let them go and fall away, O Zarathustra, and do not lament! Better even to blow amongst them with rustling winds —

Blow amongst those leaves, O Zarathustra, that everything withered may run away from thee the faster!


‘We have again become pious’ — so do those apostates confess; and some of them are still too pusillanimous thus to confess.

Unto them I look into the eye — before them I say it unto their face and unto the blush on their cheeks: Ye are those who again pray!

It is however a shame to pray! Not for all, but for thee, and me, and whoever hath his conscience in his head. For thee it is a shame to pray!

Thou knowest it well: the faint-hearted devil in thee, which would fain fold its arms and place its hands in its bosom, and take it easier — this faint-hearted devil persuadeth thee that ‘there is a God’!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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