21. Voluntary Death
MANY die too late, and some die too early. Yet strange sounds the precept: "Die at the right time!
Die at the right time: thus teaches Zarathustra.
To be sure, how could he who never lives at the right time ever die at the right time? If only he had never been born!- Thus do I advise the superfluous.
But even the superfluous make a show of their death, and even the hollowest nut wants to be cracked.
All regard dying as a great matter: but as yet death is not a festival. People have not yet learned to inaugurate the finest festivals.
I teach you the death which consummates, and becomes a spur and promise to the living.
He who consummates his life, then dies triumphant, surrounded by those who hope and promise.
Thus should one learn to die; and there should be no festival at which one who dies in this way does not consecrate the oaths of the living!
Thus to die is best; the next best, however, is to die in battle, and squander a great soul.
But equally hateful to vanquished and victor, is the grinning death which steals nigh like a thief,- and yet comes as master.
My death I praise to you, the voluntary death, which comes to me because I want it.
And when shall I want it?- He that has a goal and an heir, wants death at the right time for the goal and the heir.