The Magician


When however Zarathustra had gone round a rock, then saw he on the same path, not far below him, a man who threw his limbs about like a maniac, and at last tumbled to the ground on his belly. Halt! said then Zarathustra to his heart. He there must surely be the higher man; from him came that dreadful cry of distress — I will see if I can help him. When, however, he ran to the spot where the man lay on the ground, he found a trembling old man with fixed eyes; and in spite of all Zarathustra’s efforts to lift him and set him again on his feet, it was all in vain. The unfortunate one, also, did not seem to notice that some one was beside him; on the contrary, he continually looked around with moving gestures, like one forsaken and isolated from all the world. At last, however, after much trembling and convulsion, and curling-himself-up, he began to lament thus:

Who warm’th me, who lov’th me still?
Give ardent fingers!
Give heartening charcoal-warmers!
Prone, outstretched, trembling,
Like him, half dead and cold, whose feet one warm’th —
And shaken, ah! by unfamiliar fevers,
Shivering with sharpened, icy-cold frost-arrows,
By thee pursued, my fancy! Ineffable! Recondite! Sore-frightening!
Thou huntsman ’hind the cloud-banks!
Now lightning-struck by thee,
Thou mocking eye that me in darkness watcheth —
Thus do I lie,
Bend myself, twist myself, convulsed
With all eternal torture,
And smitten
By thee, cruellest huntsman,
Thou unfamiliar — God
Smite deeper!
Smite yet once more!
Pierce through and rend my heart!
What mean’th this torture
With dull, indented arrows?
Why look’st thou hither,
Of human pain not weary,
With mischief-loving, godly flash-glances?
Not murder wilt thou,
But torture, torture?
For why — me torture,
Thou mischief-loving, unfamiliar God?

Ha! Ha!
Thou stealest nigh
In midnight’s gloomy hour?
What wilt thou?
Thou crowdst me, pressest —
Ha! now far too closely!
Thou hear’st me breathing,
Thou o’erhear’st my heart,
Thou ever jealous one —
Of what, pray, ever jealous?
Off! Off!
For why the ladder?
Wouldst thou get in?
To heart in-clamber?
To mine own secretest
Conceptions in-clamber?
Shameless one! Thou unknown one! Thief!
What seekst thou by thy stealing?
What seekst thou by thy hearkening?
What seekst thou by thy torturing?
Thou torturer! Thou — hangman-God!
Or shall I, as the mastiffs do,
Roll me before thee?
And cringing, enraptured, frantical,
My tail friendly — waggle!
In vain!
Goad further!
Cruellest goader!
No dog — thy game just am I,
Cruellest huntsman!
Thy proudest of captives,
Thou robber ’hind the cloud-banks …
Speak finally!
Thou lightning-veiled one! Thou unknown one!
What wilt thou, highway-ambusher. From — me?
What wilt thou, unfamiliar — God?
How much of ransom-gold?

Solicit much — that bid’th my pride!
And be concise — that bid’th mine other pride!

Ha! Ha!
Me — want’st thou? Me?
Entire? …

Ha! Ha!
And torturest me, fool that thou art,
Dead-torturest quite my pride?
Give love to me — who warm’th me still?
Who lov’th me still?
Give ardent fingers
Give heartening charcoal-warmers,
Give me, the lonesomest,
The ice (ah! seven-fold frozen ice
For very enemies,
For foes, doth make one thirst)
Give, yield to me,
Cruellest foe —
There fled he surely,
My final, only comrade.
My greatest foe,
Mine unfamiliar —
My hangman-God! …

Come thou back!
With all of thy great tortures!
To me the last of lonesome ones,
Oh, come thou back!
All my hot tears in streamlets trickle
Their course to thee!
And all my final hearty fervour —
Up-glow’th to thee!
Oh, come thou back,
Mine unfamiliar God! My pain!
My final bliss!


Here, however, Zarathustra could no longer restrain himself; he took his staff and struck the wailer with all his might. Stop this, cried he to him with wrathful laughter. Stop this, thou stage-player! Thou false coiner! Thou liar from the very heart! I know thee well!

I will soon make warm legs to thee, thou evil magician: I know well how — to make it hot for such as thou!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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