Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Dying Socrates.  I admire the courage and wisdom of Socrates in all that he did, said and did not say.  This mocking and amorous demon and rat catcher of Athens, who made the most* insolent youths tremble and sob, was not only the wisest babbler that has ever lived, but was just as great in his silence.  I would that he had also been silent in the last moment of his life, perhaps he might then have belonged to a still higher order of intellects.  Whether it was death, or the poison, or piety, or wickedness something or other loosened his tongue at that moment, and he said: "O Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios."  For him who has ears, this ludicrous and terrible "last word" implies: "O Crito, life is a long sickness!"  Is it possible!  A man like him, who had lived cheerfully and to all appearance as a soldier, was a pessimist!  He had merely put on a good demeanour towards life, and had all along concealed his ultimate judgment, his profoundest sentiment!  Socrates, Socrates had suffered from life!  And he also took his revenge for it with that veiled, fearful, pious, and blasphemous phrase!  Had even a Socrates to revenge himself?  Was there a grain too little of magnanimity in his superabundant virtue?  Ah, my friends!  We must surpass even the Greeks!  
 

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