Old and New Tables
Here do I sit and wait, old broken tables around me and also new half-written tables. When cometh mine hour?
The hour of my descent, of my down-going; for once more will I go unto men.
For that hour do I now wait; for first must the signs come unto me that it is mine hournamely, the laughing lion with the flock of doves.
Meanwhile do I talk to myself as one who hath time. No one telleth me anything new, so I tell myself mine own story.
When I came unto men, then found I them resting on an old infatuation: all of them thought they had long known what was good and bad for men.
An old wearisome business seemed to them all discourse about virtue; and he who wished to sleep well spake of good and bad ere retiring to rest.
This somnolence did I disturb when I taught that no one yet knoweth what is good and badunless it be the creating one!
It is he, however, who createth mans goal, and giveth to the earth its meaning and its future: he only effecteth it that aught is good or bad.
And I bade them upset their old academic chairs, and wherever that old infatuation had sat, I bade them laugh at their great moralists, their saints, their poets, and their Saviours.
At their gloomy sages did I bid them laugh, and whoever had sat admonishing as a black scarecrow on the tree of life.
On their great grave-highway did I seat myself, and even beside the carrion and vulturesand I laughed at all their bygone and its mellow decaying glory.
Verily, like penitential preachers and fools did I cry wrath and shame on all their greatness and smallness. Oh, that their best is so very small! Oh, that their worst is so very small! Thus did I laugh.
Thus did my wise longing, born in the mountains, cry and laugh in me; a wild wisdom, verilymy great pinion-rustling longing!
And oft did it carry me off and up and away and in the midst of laughter; then flew I quivering like an arrow with sun-intoxicated rapture
Out into distant futures, which no dream hath yet seen into warmer souths than ever sculptor conceivedwhere gods in their dancing are ashamed of all clothes:
(That I may speak in parables and halt and stammer like the poets; and verily I am ashamed that I have still to be a poet!)
Where all becoming seemed to me dancing of Gods, and wantoning of Gods, and the world unloosed and unbridled and fleeing back to itself
As an eternal self-fleeing and re-seeking of one another of many Gods, as the blessed self-contradicting, recommuning, and refraternising with one another of many Gods
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