Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Learning to do Homage.

One must learn the art of homage, as well as the art of contempt.  Whoever goes in new paths and has led many persons therein, discovers with astonishment how awkward and incompetent all of them are in the expression of their gratitude, and indeed how rarely gratitude is able even to express itself.  It is always as if something comes into people's throats when their gratitude wants to speak so that it only hems and haws, and becomes silent again The way in which a thinker succeeds in tracing the effect of his thoughts, and their transforming and convulsing power, is almost a comedy : it sometimes seems as if those who have been operated upon felt profoundly injured thereby, and could only assert their independence, which they suspect to be threatened, by all kinds of improprieties.  It needs whole generations in order merely to devise a courteous convention of gratefulness ; it is only very late that the period arrives when something of spirit and genius enters into gratitude.  Then there is usually some one who is the great receiver of thanks, not only for the good he himself has done, but mostly for that which has been gradually accumulated by his predecessors, as a treasure of what is highest and best.  
 

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