52. LII. THE APOSTATES.
Ah, lieth everything already withered and grey which but lately stood green
and many-hued on this meadow! And how much honey of hope did I carry hence
into my beehives!
Those young hearts have already all become old--and not old even! only
weary, ordinary, comfortable:--they declare it: "We have again become
Of late did I see them run forth at early morn with valorous steps: but
the feet of their knowledge became weary, and now do they malign even their
Verily, many of them once lifted their legs like the dancer; to them winked
the laughter of my wisdom:--then did they bethink themselves. Just now
have I seen them bent down--to creep to the cross.
Around light and liberty did they once flutter like gnats and young poets.
A little older, a little colder: and already are they mystifiers, and
mumblers and mollycoddles.
Did perhaps their hearts despond, because lonesomeness had swallowed me
like a whale? Did their ear perhaps hearken yearningly-long for me IN
VAIN, and for my trumpet-notes and herald-calls?
--Ah! Ever are there but few of those whose hearts have persistent courage
and exuberance; and in such remaineth also the spirit patient. The rest,
however, are COWARDLY.
The rest: these are always the great majority, the common-place, the
superfluous, the far-too many--those all are cowardly!--
Him who is of my type, will also the experiences of my type meet on the
way: so that his first companions must be corpses and buffoons.
His second companions, however--they will call themselves his BELIEVERS,--
will be a living host, with much love, much folly, much unbearded
To those believers shall he who is of my type among men not bind his heart;
in those spring-times and many-hued meadows shall he not believe, who
knoweth the fickly faint-hearted human species!