27. XXVII. THE VIRTUOUS.
With thunder and heavenly fireworks must one speak to indolent and
But beauty's voice speaketh gently: it appealeth only to the most awakened
Gently vibrated and laughed unto me to-day my buckler; it was beauty's holy
laughing and thrilling.
At you, ye virtuous ones, laughed my beauty to-day. And thus came its
voice unto me: "They want--to be paid besides!"
Ye want to be paid besides, ye virtuous ones! Ye want reward for virtue,
and heaven for earth, and eternity for your to-day?
And now ye upbraid me for teaching that there is no reward-giver, nor
paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward.
Ah! this is my sorrow: into the basis of things have reward and punishment
been insinuated--and now even into the basis of your souls, ye virtuous
But like the snout of the boar shall my word grub up the basis of your
souls; a ploughshare will I be called by you.
All the secrets of your heart shall be brought to light; and when ye lie in
the sun, grubbed up and broken, then will also your falsehood be separated
from your truth.
For this is your truth: ye are TOO PURE for the filth of the words:
vengeance, punishment, recompense, retribution.
Ye love your virtue as a mother loveth her child; but when did one hear of
a mother wanting to be paid for her love?
It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The ring's thirst is in you: to
reach itself again struggleth every ring, and turneth itself.
And like the star that goeth out, so is every work of your virtue: ever is
its light on its way and travelling--and when will it cease to be on its