Gently vibrated and laughed to me to-day my buckler; it was beauty's holy laughing and thrilling.
At you, you virtuous ones, laughed my beauty to-day. And thus came its voice to me: "They want- to be paid besides!"
You want to be paid besides, you virtuous ones! You want reward for virtue, and heaven for earth, and eternity for your to-day?
And now you upbraid me for teaching that there is no reward-giver, nor paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward.
Ah! this is my sorrow: into the basis of things have reward and punishment been insinuated- and now even into the basis of your souls, you virtuous ones!
But like the snout of the boar shall my word grub up the basis of your souls; a ploughshare will I be called by you.
All the secrets of your heart shall be brought to light; and when you lie in the sun, grubbed up and broken, then will also your falsehood be separated from your truth.
For this is your truth: you are too pure for the filth of the words: vengeance, punishment, recompense, retribution.
You love your virtue as a mother loves her child; but when did one hear of a mother wanting to be paid for her love?
It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The ring's thirst is in you: to reach itself again struggles every ring, and turns itself.
And like the star that goes out, so is every work of your virtue: ever is its light on its way and travelling- and when will it cease to be on its way?
Thus is the light of your virtue still on its way, even when its work is done. Be it forgotten and dead, still its ray of light lives and travels.
That your virtue is your Self, and not an outward thing, a