ZARATHUSTRA'S DISCOURSES

XIII. CHASTITY
by Friedrich Nietzsche

I love the forest. It is bad to live in cities: there, there are too many of the lustful.

Is it not better to fall into the hands of a murderer, than into the dreams of a lustful woman?

And just look at these men: their eye saith it--they know nothing better on earth than to lie with a woman.

Filth is at the bottom of their souls; and alas! if their filth hath still spirit in it!

Would that ye were perfect--at least as animals! But to animals belongeth innocence.

Do I counsel you to slay your instincts? I counsel you to innocence in your instincts.

Do I counsel you to chastity? Chastity is a virtue with some, but with many almost a vice.

These are continent, to be sure: but doggish lust looketh enviously out of all that they do.

Even into the heights of their virtue and into their cold spirit doth this creature follow them, with its discord.

And how nicely can doggish lust beg for a piece of spirit, when a piece of flesh is denied it!

Ye love tragedies and all that breaketh the heart? But I am distrustful of your doggish lust.

Ye have too cruel eyes, and ye look wantonly towards the sufferers. Hath not your lust just disguised itself and taken the name of fellow-suffering?

And also this parable give I unto you: Not a few who meant to cast out their devil, went thereby into the swine themselves.

To whom chastity is difficult, it is to be dissuaded: lest it become the road to hell--to filth and lust of soul.

Do I speak of filthy things? That is not the worst thing for me to do.

Not when the truth is filthy, but when it is shallow, doth the discerning one go unwillingly into its waters.

Verily, there are chaste ones from their very nature; they are gentler of heart, and laugh better and oftener than you.

They laugh also at chastity, and ask: What is chastity?

Is chastity not folly? But the folly came unto us, and not we unto it.

We offered that guest harbour and heart: now it dwelleth with us--let it stay as long as it will!

Thus spake Zarathustra.

the first thought of Zarathustra

From Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare:
Re-enter TITUS ANDRONICUS
with a knife, and LAVINIA, with a basin

TITUS. Come, come, Lavinia; look, thy foes are bound. Sirs, stop their mouths, let them not speak to me; But let them hear what fearful words I utter. O villains, Chiron and Demetrius! Here stands the spring whom you have stain'd with mud; This goodly summer with your winter mix'd. You kill'd her husband; and for that vile fault Two of her brothers were condemn'd to death, My hand cut off and made a merry jest; Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity, Inhuman traitors, you constrain'd and forc'd.

+++

Titus goes on with his rant, eventually explaining to Chiron and Demetrius how he will make them into a pie which he later feeds to their mother. Shakespeare at his most horrific!

Anthony Hopkins does an excellent job with this scene (and most every other scene) in the recent film adaptation, "Titus".

Text from the play courtesy Project Gutenberg.

Chas"ti*ty (?), n. [F. chastet'e, fr. L. castitas, fr. castus. See Chaste.]

1.

The state of being chaste; purity of body; freedom from unlawful sexual intercourse.

She . . . hath preserved her spotless chastity. T. Carew.

2.

Moral purity.

So dear to heaven is saintly chastity, That, when a soul is found sicerely so A thousand liveried angels lackey her. Milton.

3.

The unmarried life; celibacy.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

4. Literature & Art

Chasteness.

 

© Webster 1913.

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