It was imagined
that new shells were forming round a small kernel, so to speak, and that
those pieces of popular poetry originated like avalanches, in the drift
and flow of tradition. They were, however, ready to consider that kernel
as being of the smallest possible dimensions, so that they might
occasionally get rid of it altogether without losing anything of the
mass of the avalanche. According to this view, the text itself and the
stories built round it are one and the same thing.
 Of course Nietzsche saw afterwards that this was not so.--TR.
Now, however, such a contrast between popular poetry and individual
poetry does not exist at all; on the contrary, all poetry, and of course
popular poetry also, requires an intermediary individuality. This
much-abused contrast, therefore, is necessary only when the term
_individual poem_ is understood to mean a poem which has not grown out
of the soil of popular feeling, but which has been composed by a
non-popular poet in a non-popular atmosphere--something which has come
to maturity in the study of a learned man, for example.
With the superstition which presupposes poetising masses is connected
another: that popular poetry is limited to one particular period of a
people's history and afterwards dies out--which indeed follows as a
consequence of the first superstition I have mentioned.