39. XXXIX. POETS.
"Since I have known the body better"--said Zarathustra to one of his
disciples--"the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all
the 'imperishable'--that is also but a simile."
"So have I heard thee say once before," answered the disciple, "and then
thou addedst: 'But the poets lie too much.' Why didst thou say that the
poets lie too much?"
"Why?" said Zarathustra. "Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who
may be asked after their Why.
Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the
reasons for mine opinions.
Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my
reasons with me?
It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a bird
And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is
alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my hand upon it.
But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets lie too much?
--But Zarathustra also is a poet.
Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou believe it?"
The disciple answered: "I believe in Zarathustra." But Zarathustra shook
his head and smiled.--
Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief in myself.
But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the poets lie
too much: he was right--WE do lie too much.
We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are obliged to lie.
And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous
hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an indescribable thing hath
there been done.