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Slowly wandering among many peoples and through divers cities, Zarathustra returned by round about roads to his mountain and his cave. Doing so, he came unaware to the gates of a great city. Here a foaming fool extended his hands, sprang forward toward him, and stood in his way. It was the fool who the people called “the ape of Zarathustra” for he had learned something of Zarathustra’s expressions and speech patterns, and liked to borrow from his store of wisdom. the fool said to Zarathustra:
Zarathustra, this is the great city,” “You have nothing to seek here and everything to lose. Why would you wade through this mud? Have pity upon your feet! Spit on the gate of the city, and turn back! This is a hell for anchorites’ thoughts. Here, great thoughts are boiled alive and reduced. Here, all great sentiments decay. Here, only rattle boned sensations rattle!
Can’t you smell you the shambles and cook shops of the spirit? Doesn’t this city steam with the fumes of slaughtered spirit? Don’t you see the souls hanging like limp dirty rags? They make newspapers out of these rags! Don’t you hear how here spirit has become a verbal game? It vomits forth loathsome swill, and they make newspapers out of this swill.
They hound one another, and don’t know why! They inflame one another, and don’t know why! They tinkle with their costume jewelry, and jingle with their gold. They are cold, and seek warmth from distilled water. They are inflamed, and seek coolness from frozen spirits. They are all sick and sore due to public opinion.
All lusts and vices are at home here. There are also virtuous people here. There is much officially appointed virtue, appointed by the fingers of scribes, and bodies suited to sitting and waiting. It is blessed with small breasted stars, and padded daughters with no hips. There is also much piety, and much faithful spit licking and holding back spit before the God of Hosts.
“From on high,” drips the star, with gracious spittle.
Every starless chest longs for the heights. The moon holds court, and the court has its moon calves. To all who come from the court, the religious pray, as they do to all assignable religious virtues.
“I serve, you serve, we serve” all appointable virtues pray to the prince.
They pray that the merited star may at last stick on the slender breast! But the moon still revolves around all that is earthly. Likewise, the prince revolves around what is earthliest of all: the gold of the merchants. The God of the Hosts of war is not the God of the bar of gold. The prince proposes, but the merchant disposes!
By all that is luminous, strong, and good in you, Zarathustra! Spit on this city of merchants and turn back! Here, all blood flows putrid, tepid, and frothy through all veins. Spit on the great city, which is the great slum where all the scum froth together! Spit on this city of compressed souls and slender breasts, of pointed eyes and sticky fingers. This is the city of the obtrusive, the brazen, the demagogues, and the overheated ambitious, where everything maimed, ill famed, lustful, untrusting, over mellow, sickly yellow, and seditious, festers perniciously. Spit on the great city and turn back!
Zarathustra interrupt the foaming fool, and shut his mouth:
Stop at once! Your speech and your species have long disgusted me! Why did you live so long by the swamp that you yourself had to become a frog or a toad? A tainted, frothy, swamp blood flows in your veins. When did you learn to croak and revile like this? Why didn’t you go into the forest? Why didn’t you farm the land? Isn’t the sea full of green islands?
I despise your contempt. You warn me: why didn’t you warn yourself? Out of love alone shall my contempt and my warning take wing; but not out of the swamp!
They call you my mimic, you foaming fool, but I call you a grunting pig. Your grunting spoils even my praise of folly. What was it that first made you grunt? It is because no one sufficiently flattered you. Therefore, you seat yourself beside this filth, so that you have a reason to grunt, and cause for much vengeance! Vengeance, you vain fool, is all your foaming is. I understand you well!
Your foolish words injure me, even when you are right! Even if my words were a hundred times as justified, you would always twist them!
So said Zarathustra. Then he looked on the great city and sighed, and was silent for a long time. At last he spoke again:
I also loath this great city, and not only this fool. Here and there there is nothing better and nothing worse. Woe to this great city! I wish that I already saw the pillar of fire in which it will be consumed! Such pillars of fire will precede the great noontide. But this city has its time and its own fate.
This precept, however, give I to you, in parting, you fool: Where one can no longer love, there one should pass by!
So said Zarathustra, and passed by the fool and the great city.
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