37. XXXVII. IMMACULATE PERCEPTION.
When yester-eve the moon arose, then did I fancy it about to bear a sun:
so broad and teeming did it lie on the horizon.
But it was a liar with its pregnancy; and sooner will I believe in the man
in the moon than in the woman.
To be sure, little of a man is he also, that timid night-reveller. Verily,
with a bad conscience doth he stalk over the roofs.
For he is covetous and jealous, the monk in the moon; covetous of the
earth, and all the joys of lovers.
Nay, I like him not, that tom-cat on the roofs! Hateful unto me are all
that slink around half-closed windows!
Piously and silently doth he stalk along on the star-carpets:--but I like
no light-treading human feet, on which not even a spur jingleth.
Every honest one's step speaketh; the cat however, stealeth along over the
ground. Lo! cat-like doth the moon come along, and dishonestly.--
This parable speak I unto you sentimental dissemblers, unto you, the "pure
discerners!" You do I call--covetous ones!
Also ye love the earth, and the earthly: I have divined you well!--but
shame is in your love, and a bad conscience--ye are like the moon!
To despise the earthly hath your spirit been persuaded, but not your
bowels: these, however, are the strongest in you!
And now is your spirit ashamed to be at the service of your bowels, and
goeth by-ways and lying ways to escape its own shame.
"That would be the highest thing for me"--so saith your lying spirit unto
itself--"to gaze upon life without desire, and not like the dog, with
To be happy in gazing: with dead will, free from the grip and greed of
selfishness--cold and ashy-grey all over, but with intoxicated moon-eyes!