Friedrich Nietzsche, Miscellaneous Maxims and opinions (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche).

Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, the first supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1879.  A second supplement, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten) followed in 1880.


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Previous Section   172. THE POET NO LONGER A TEACHER   Next Section

The Poet no longer a Teacher.  Strange as it may sound to our time, there were once poets and artists whose soul was above the passions with their delights and convulsions, and who therefore took their pleasure in purer materials, worthier men, more delicate complications and denouements.  If the artists of our day for the most part unfetter the will, and so are under certain circumstances for that very reason emancipators of life, those were tamers of the will, enchanters of animals, creators of men.  In fact, they moulded, re-moulded, and new-moulded life, whereas the fame of poets of our day lies in unharnessing, unchaining, and shattering.  The ancient Greeks demanded of the poet that he should be the teacher of grown men.  How ashamed the poet would be now if this demand were made of him!  He is not even a good student of himself, and so never himself becomes a good poem or a fine picture.  Under the most favourable circumstances he remains the shy, attractive ruin of a temple, but at the same time a cavern of cravings, overgrown like a ruin with flowers, nettles, and poisonous weeds, inhabited and haunted by snakes, worms, spiders, and birds; an object for sad reflection as to why the noblest and most precious must grow up at once like a ruin, without the past and future of perfection.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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