Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Ye wavering forms draw near again as ever
When ye long since moved past my clouded eyes.
To hold you fast, shall I this time endeavour?
Still does my heart that strange illusion prize?
Ye crowd on me! 'Tis well! Your might assever
While ye from mist and murk around me rise.
As in my youth my heart again is bounding,
Thrilled by the magic breath your train surrounding.
Ye bring with you glad days and happy faces.
Ah, many dear, dear shades arise with you;
Like some old tale that Time but half erases,
First Love draws near to me and Friendship too.
The pain returns, the sad lament retraces
Life's labyrinthine, erring course anew
And names the good souls who, by Fortune cheated
Of lovely hours, forth from my world have fleeted.
They do not hear the melodies I'm singing,
The souls to whom my earliest lays I sang;
Dispersed that throng who once to me were clinging,
The echo's died away that one time rang.
Now midst an unknown crowd my grief is ringing,
Their very praise but gives my heart a pang,
While those who once my song enjoyed and flattered,
If still they live, roam through the wide world scattered.
And I am seized with long-unwonted yearning
Toward yonder realm of spirits grave and still.
My plaintive song's uncertain tones are turning
To harps aeolian murmuring at will.
Awe binds me fast; tear upon tear falls burning,
My stern heart feels a gentle, tender thrill;
What I possess, as if far off I'm seeing,
And what has vanished, now comes into being.
PRELUDE ON THE STAGE
MANAGER. DRAMATIC POET. JESTER.
Manager. Ye two that have so often stood by me
In time of need and tribulation,
Come, say: what hope in any German nation
For what we undertake have ye?
I much desire to give the crowd a pleasure,
In chief, because they live and let us live.
The posts, the boards are up, and here at leisure
The crowd expects a feast in what we'll give.
They're sitting now with eyebrows raised,
Quite calmly there, would gladly be amazed.
I know how one can make all minds akin,
Yet so embarrassed I have never been.
In truth, accustomed to the best they're not,
But they have read a really awful lot.
How shall we plan that all be fresh and new
And with a meaning, yet attractive too?
For I do like to see them crowding, urging,
When toward our booth the stream sets in apace
And with its powerful, repeated surging
Pours through the strait and narrow gate of grace,
When still in broad daylight, ere it is four,
They fight and push their way up to the wicket
And as the famine-stricken at the baker's door
They nearly break their necks to get a ticket.
This miracle, upon such varied folk, the poet
Alone can work; today, my friend, oh, show it!
Poet. I beg you, of that motley crowd cease telling
At sight of whom the spirit takes to flight!
Enveil from me the billowing mass compelling
Us to its vortex with resistless might.
No, lead me to the tranquil, heavenly dwelling
Where only blooms for poets pure delight,
Where Love and Friendship give the heart their blessing,
With godlike hand creating and progressing.
Ah, all that from the bosom's depths sprang flowing,
All that from shy and stammering lips has passed,
Sometimes success and sometimes failure knowing,
To each wild moment's power a prey is cast.
Oft only after years, in credit growing,
Doth it appear in perfect form at last.
What gleams is born but for the moment's pages;
The true remains, unlost to after-ages.
Jester. Could I but hear no more of after-ages!
Suppose the thought of them my mind engages,
Who'd give the present world its fun?
That will it have and ought to have it too.
The presence of a gallant chap, revealed to you,
I think, is also worth while being shown.
Who pleasantly can just himself impart,
Is not embittered by the people's whim;
He likes to have a crowd surrounding him,
More certainly to stir and thrill each heart.
So do be good, show you can set the fashion.
Let Fantasy be heard with all her chorus:
Sense, Reason, Sentiment, and Passion;
Yet mark you well! bring Folly too before us!
Manager. But, more than all, do let enough occur!
Men come to look, to see they most prefer.
If, as they gaze, much is reeled off and spun,
So that the startled crowd gapes all it can,
A multitude you will at once have won;
You then will be a much-loved man.
You can compel the mass by mass alone;
Each in the end will seek out something as his own.
Bring much and you'll bring this or that to everyone
And each will leave contented when the play is done.
If you will give a piece, give it at once in pieces!
Ragout like this your fame increases.
Easy it is to stage, as easy to invent.
What use is it, a whole to fashion and present?
The Public still will pick it all to pieces.
Poet. You do not feel how bad such handiwork must be,
How little that becomes the artist true!
I see, neat gentlemanly botchery
Is now a sovereign rule with you.
Manager. Reproof like this leaves me quite unoffended!
A man who does his work, effectively intended,
Must stick to tools that are the best for it.
Reflect! You have a tender wood to split;
And those for whom you write, just see!
If this one's driven hither by ennui,
Another leaves a banquet sated with its vapours;
And- what the very worst will always be-
Many come fresh from reading magazines and papers.
Men haste distraught to us as to the masquerade,
And every step but winged by curiosity;
The ladies give a treat, all in their best arrayed,
And play their part without a fee.
Why do you dream in lofty poet-land?
Why does a full house make you gay?
Observe the patrons near at hand!
They are half cold, half coarse are they.
One, when the play is over, hopes a game of cards;
A wild night on a wench's breast another chooses.
Why then, with such an aim, poor silly bards,
Will you torment so much the gracious Muses?
Give only more and ever, ever more, I say.
Then from the goal you nevermore can stray.
Seek to bewilder men- that is my view.
But satisfy them? That is hard to do.-
What is attacking you? Pain or delight?
Poet. Go hence and seek yourself another slave!
What! Shall the poet take that highest right,
The Right of Man, that Right which Nature gave,
And wantonly for your sake trifle it away?
How doth he over every heart hold sway?
How doth he every element enslave?
Is it not the harmony that from his breast doth start,
Then winds the world in turn back in his heart?
When Nature forces lengths of thread unending
In careless whirling on the spindle round,
When all Life's inharmonic throngs unblending
In sullen, harsh confusion sound,
Who parts the changeless series of creation,
That each, enlivened, moves in rhythmic time?
Who summons each to join the general ordination,
In consecrated, noble harmonies to chime?
Who bids the storm with raging passion lower?
The sunset with a solemn meaning glow?
Who scatters Springtime's every lovely flower
Along the pathway where his love may go?
Who twines the verdant leaves, unmeaning, slighted,
Into a wreath of honour, meed of every field?
Who makes Olympus sure, the gods united?
That power of Man the Poet has revealed!
Jester. Then use these handsome powers as your aid
And carry on this poet trade
As one a love-adventure carries!
By chance one nears, one feels, one tarries!
And, bit by bit, one gets into a tangle.
Bliss grows, then comes a tiff, a wrangle;
One is enrapt, now one sees pain advance,
And ere one is aware, it is a real romance!
So let us also such a drama give!
Just seize upon the full life people live!
Each lives it though it's known to few,
And grasp it where you will, there's interest for you.
In motley pictures with a little clarity,
Much error and a spark of verity,
Thus can the best of drinks be brewed
To cheer and edify the multitude.
Youth's fairest bloom collects in expectation
Before your play and harks the revelation.
Then from your work each tender soul, intent,
Absorbs a melancholy nourishment.
Then now one thought and now another thought you start;
Each sees what he has carried in his heart.
As yet they are prepared for weeping and for laughter;
They still revere the flight, illusion they adore.
A mind once formed finds naught made right thereafter;
A growing mind will thank you evermore.
Poet. Then give me back the time of growing
When I myself was growing too,
When crowding songs, a fountain flowing,
Gushed forth unceasing, ever new;
When still the mists my world were veiling,
The bud its miracle bespoke;
When I the thousand blossoms broke,
Profusely through the valleys trailing.
Naught, yet enough had I when but a youth,
Joy in illusion, yearning toward the truth.
Give impulse its unfettered dower,
The bliss so deep 'tis full of pain,
The strength of hate, Love's mighty power,
Oh, give me back my youth again!
Jester. Youth, my good friend, you need most in the fight
When enemies come on, hard pressing,
When, clinging to your necks so tight,
The dearest maidens hang caressing,
When, from afar, a wreath entrances,
Luring to hard-won goal the runner's might,
When, after madly whirling dances,
A man carousing drinks away the night.
But on the lyre's familiar strings
To play with grace and spirit ever
And sweep with lovely wanderings
Toward goals you choose for your endeavour,
That is your duty, aged sirs,
And we revere you for it no less dearly.
Age makes not childish, as one oft avers;
It finds us still true children merely.
Manager. Words have been interchanged enough,
Let me at last see action too.
While compliments you're turning- idle stuff!
Some useful thing might come to view.
Why talk of waiting for the mood?
No one who dallies ever will it see.
If you pretend you're poets- good!
Command then, poets, poetry!
What we're in need of, that full well you know,
We want to sip strong drink, so go
And start the brew without delay!
Never is done tomorrow what is not done today
And one should let no day slip by.
With resolution seize the possible straightway
By forelock and with quick, courageous trust;
Then holding fast you will not let it further fly
And you will labour on because you must.
Upon our German stage, you are aware,
Each tries out what he wishes to display,
So in your work for me today
Scenes, mechanism you are not to spare.
Use both the lights of heaven, great and small;
The stars above are yours to squander;
Nor water, fire, nor rocky wall,
Nor beasts nor birds are lacking yonder.
Thus in our narrow house of boards preside
And on through all Creation's circle stride;
And wander on, with speed considered well,
From Heaven, through the world, to Hell!
PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN
The LORD. The HEAVENLY HOSTS.
The THREE ARCHANGELS come forward.
Raphael. The Sun intones, in ancient tourney
With brother-spheres, a rival song,
Fulfilling its predestined journey,
With march of thunder moves along.
Its aspect gives the angels power,
Though none can ever solve its ways;
The lofty works beyond us tower,
Sublime as on the first of days.
Gabriel. And swift beyond where knowledge ranges,
Earth's splendour whirls in circling flight;
A paradise of brightness changes
To awful shuddering depths of night.
The sea foams up, widespread and surging
Against the rocks' deep-sunken base,
And rock and sea sweep onward, merging
In rushing spheres' eternal race.
Michael. And rival tempests roar and shatter,
From sea to land, from land to sea,
And, raging, form a circling fetter
Of deep, effective energy.
There flames destruction, flashing, searing,
Before the crashing thunder's way;
Yet, Lord, Thy angels are revering
The gentle progress of Thy day.
The Three. Its aspect gives the angels power,
Since none can solve Thee nor Thy ways;
And all Thy works beyond us tower,
Sublime as on the first of days.
Mephistopheles. Since you, O Lord, once more draw near
And ask how all is getting on, and you
Were ever well content to see me here,
You see me also midst your retinue.
Forgive, fine speeches I can never make,
Though all the circle look on me with scorn;
Pathos from me would make your sides with laughter shake,
Had you not laughter long ago forsworn.
Of suns and worlds I've naught to say worth mention.
How men torment them claims my whole attention.
Earth's little god retains his same old stamp and ways
And is as singular as on the first of days.
A little better would he live, poor wight,
Had you not given him that gleam of heavenly light.
He calls it Reason, only to pollute
Its use by being brutaler than any brute.
It seems to me, if you'll allow, Your Grace,
He's like a grasshopper, that long-legged race
That's made to fly and flying spring
And in the grass to sing the same old thing.
If in the grass he always were reposing!
But in each filthy heap he keeps on nosing.
The Lord. You've nothing more to say to me?
You come but to complain unendingly?
Is never aught right to your mind?
Mephistopheles. No, Lord! All is still downright bad, I find.
Man in his wretched days makes me lament him;
I am myself reluctant to torment him.
The Lord. Do you know Faust?
Mephistopheles. The Doctor?
The Lord. Yes, my servant!
Forsooth, he serves you most peculiarly.
Unearthly are the fool's drink and his food;
The ferment drives him forth afar.
Though half aware of his insensate mood,
He asks of heaven every fairest star
And of the earth each highest zest,
And all things near and all things far
Can not appease his deeply troubled breast.
The Lord. Although he serves me now confusedly,
I soon shall lead him forth where all is clear.
The gardener knows, when verdant grows the tree,
That bloom and fruit will deck the coming year.
Mephistopheles. What will you wager? Him you yet shall lose,
If you will give me your permission
To lead him gently on the path I choose.
The Lord. As long as on the earth he shall survive,
So long you'll meet no prohibition.
Man errs as long as he doth strive.
Mephistopheles. My thanks for that, for with the dead I've never
Myself entangled of my own volition.
I like full, fresh cheeks best of all the lot.
I'm not at home when corpses seek my house;
I feel about it as a cat does with a mouse.
The Lord. 'Tis well! So be it granted you today!
Divert this spirit from its primal source
And if you can lay hold on him, you may
Conduct him downward on your course,
And stand abashed when you are forced to say:
A good man, though his striving be obscure,
Remains aware that there is one right way.
Mephistopheles. All right! But long it won't endure!
I have no fear about my bet, be sure!
When I attain my aim, do not protest,
But let me triumph with a swelling breast.
Dust shall he eat, and that with zest,
As did the famous snake, my near relation.
The Lord. In that too you may play your part quite free;
Your kind I never did detest.
Of all the spirits of negation
The wag weighs least of all on me.
Mankind's activity can languish all too easily,
A man soon loves unhampered rest;
Hence, gladly I give him a comrade such as you,
Who stirs and works and must, as devil, do.
But ye, real sons of God, lift up your voice,
In living, profuse beauty to rejoice!
May that which grows, that lives and works forever,
Engird you with Love's gracious bonds, and aught
That ever may appear, to float and waver,
Make steadfast in enduring thought!
Heaven closes, the ARCHANGELS disperse.
Mephistopheles [alone]. I like to see the Old Man not infrequently,
And I forbear to break with Him or be uncivil;
It's very pretty in so great a Lord as He
To talk so like a man even with the Devil.
The First Part
OF THE TRAGEDY
In a high-vaulted, narrow Gothic chamber FAUST,
restless in his chair by his desk.
Faust. I've studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine,
And even, alas! Theology
All through and through with ardour keen!
Here now I stand, poor fool, and see
I'm just as wise as formerly.
Am called a Master, even Doctor too,
And now I've nearly ten years through
Pulled my students by their noses to and fro
And up and down, across, about,
And see there's nothing we can know!
That all but burns my heart right out.
True, I am more clever than all the vain creatures,
The Doctors and Masters, Writers and Preachers;
No doubts plague me, nor scruples as well.
I'm not afraid of devil or hell.
To offset that, all joy is rent from me.
I do not imagine I know aught that's right;
I do not imagine I could teach what might
Convert and improve humanity.
Nor have I gold or things of worth,
Or honours, splendours of the earth.
No dog could live thus any more!
So I have turned to magic lore,
To see if through the spirit's power and speech
Perchance full many a secret I may reach,
So that no more with bitter sweat
I need to talk of what I don't know yet,
So that I may perceive whatever holds
The world together in its inmost folds,
See all its seeds, its working power,
And cease word-threshing from this hour.
Oh, that, full moon, thou didst but glow
Now for the last time on my woe,
Whom I beside this desk so oft
Have watched at midnight climb aloft.
Then over books and paper here
To me, sad friend, thou didst appear!
Ah! could I but on mountain height
Go onward in thy lovely light,
With spirits hover round mountain caves,
Weave over meadows thy twilight laves,
Discharged of all of Learning's fumes, anew
Bathe me to health in thy healing dew.
Woe! am I stuck and forced to dwell
Still in this musty, cursed cell?
Where even heaven's dear light strains
But dimly through the painted panes!
Hemmed in by all this heap of books,
Their gnawing worms, amid their dust,
While to the arches, in all the nooks,
Are smoke-stained papers midst them thrust,
Boxes and glasses round me crammed,
And instruments in cases hurled,
Ancestral stuff around me jammed-
That is your world! That's called a world!
And still you question why your heart
Is cramped and anxious in your breast?
Why each impulse to live has been repressed
In you by some vague, unexplained smart?
Instead of Nature's living sphere
In which God made mankind, you have alone,
In smoke and mould around you here,
Beasts' skeletons and dead men's bone.
Up! Flee! Out into broad and open land!
And this book full of mystery,
From Nostradamus' very hand,
Is it not ample company?
The stars' course then you'll understand
And Nature, teaching, will expand
The power of your soul, as when
One spirit to another speaks. 'Tis vain
To think that arid brooding will explain
The sacred symbols to your ken.
Ye spirits, ye are hovering near;
Oh, answer me if ye can hear!
He opens the book and perceives the sign of the Macrocosm.
What rapture, ah! at once is flowing
Through all my senses at the sight of this!
I feel a youthful life, its holy bliss,
Through nerve and vein run on, new-glowing.
Was it a god who wrote these signs that still
My inner tumult and that fill
My wretched heart with ecstasy?
Unveiling with mysterious potency
The powers of Nature round about me here?
Am I a god? All grows so clear to me!
In these pure lineaments I see
Creative Nature's self before my soul appear.
Now first I understand what he, the sage, has said:
'The world of spirits is not shut away;
Thy sense is closed, thy heart is dead!
Up, Student! bathe without dismay
Thy earthly breast in morning-red!'
He contemplates the sign.
Into the whole how all things blend,
Each in the other working, living!
How heavenly powers ascend, descend,
Each unto each the golden vessels giving!
On pinions fragrant blessings bringing,
From Heaven through Earth all onward winging,
Through all the All harmonious ringing!
What pageantry! Yet, ah, mere pageantry!
Where shall I, endless Nature, seize on thee?
Thy breasts are- where? Ye, of all life the spring,
To whom both Earth and Heaven cling,
Toward whom the withering breast doth strain-
Ye gush, ye suckle, and shall I pine thus in vain?
He turns the book over impatiently and perceives the
sign of the EARTH-SPIRIT.
How differently upon me works this sign!
Thou, Spirit of the Earth, I feel, art nigher.
I feel my powers already higher,
I glow already as from some new wine.
I feel the courage, forth into the world to dare;
The woe of earth, the bliss of earth to bear;
With storms to battle, brave the lightning's glare;
And in the shipwreck's crash not to despair!
Clouds gather over me-
The moon conceals her light-
The lamp fades out!
Mists rise- red beams dart forth
Around my head- there floats
A horror downward from the vault
And seizes me!
Spirit invoked! near me, I feel, thou art!
Ha! how it rends my heart!
To unknown feeling
All my senses burst forth, reeling!
I feel my heart is thine and to the uttermost!
Thou must! Thou must! though my life be the cost!
He clutches the book and utters the sign of the
SPIRIT in a tone of mystery. A ruddy flame flashes up;
the SPIRIT appears in the flames.
Spirit. Who calls to me?
Faust [turning away]. Appalling apparition!
Spirit. By potent spell hast drawn me here,
Hast long been tugging at my sphere,
Faust. Oh woe! I can not bear thy vision!
Spirit. With panting breath thou hast implored this sight,
Wouldst hear my voice, my face wouldst see;
Thy mighty spirit-plea inclineth me!
Here am I!- what a pitiable fright
Grips thee, thou Superman! Where is the soul elated?
Where is the breast that in its self a world created
And bore and fostered it? And that with joyous trembling
Expanded as if spirits, us, resembling?
Where art thou, Faust, whose voice rang out to me,
Who toward me pressed with all thy energy?
Is it thou who, by my breath surrounded,
In all the deeps of being art confounded?
A frightened, fleeing, writhing worm?
Faust. Am I, O form of flame, to yield to thee in fear?
'Tis I, I'm Faust, I am thy peer!
Spirit. In the tides of life, in action's storm,
Up and down I wave,
To and fro weave free,
Birth and the grave,
An infinite sea,
A varied weaving,
A radiant living,
Thus at Time's humming loom it's my hand that prepares
The robe ever-living the Deity wears.
Faust. Thou who dost round the wide world wend,
Thou busy spirit, how near I feel to thee!
Spirit. Thou art like the spirit thou canst comprehend,
Faust [collapsing]. Not thee!
I, image of the Godhead!
And not even like to thee!
O death! I know it- 'tis my famulus-
Thus turns to naught my fairest bliss!
That visions in abundance such as this
Must be disturbed by that dry prowler thus!
WAGNER in dressing-gown and night-cap, a lamp in his hand.
FAUST turns round impatiently.
Wagner. Pardon! I've just heard you declaiming.
'Twas surely from a Grecian tragic play?
At profit in this art I'm also aiming;
For much it can effect today.
I've often heard the boast: a preacher
Might take an actor as his teacher.
Faust. Yes, if the preacher is an actor, there's no doubt,
As it indeed may sometimes come about.
Wagner. Ah! if thus in his study one must stay,
And hardly sees the world upon a holiday,
Scarce through a telescope, and far off then,
How through persuasion shall one lead one's fellow-men?
Faust. Unless you feel, naught will you ever gain;
Unless this feeling pours forth from your soul
With native, pleasing vigour to control
The hearts of all your hearers, it will be in vain.
Pray keep on sitting! Pray collect and glue,
From others' feasts brew some ragout;
With tiny heaps of ashes play your game
And blow the sparks into a wretched flame!
Children and apes will marvel at you ever,
If you've a palate that can stand the part;
But heart to heart you'll not draw men, no, never,
Unless your message issue from your heart.
Wagner. Yet elocution makes the orator succeed.
I feel I am still far behind indeed.
Faust. Seek for the really honest gain!
Don't be a fool in loudly tinkling dress!
Intelligence and good sense will express
Themselves with little art and strain.
And if in earnest you would say a thing,
Is it needful to chase after words? Ah, yes,
Your eloquence that is so glittering,
In which you twist up gewgaws for mankind,
Is unrefreshing as the misty wind,
Through withered leaves in autumn whispering.
Wagner. Ah, God! how long is art!
And soon it is we die.
Oft when my critical pursuits I ply,
I truly grow uneasy both in head and heart.
How hard to gain the means whereby
A man mounts upward to the source!
And ere man's ended barely half the course,
Poor devil! I suppose he has to die.
Faust. Parchment! Is that the sacred fountain whence alone
There springs a draught that thirst for ever quells?
Refreshment? It you never will have won
If from that soul of yours it never wells.
Wagner. Excuse me! But it is a great delight
To enter in the spirit of the ages and to see
How once a sage before us thought and then how we
Have brought things on at last to such a splendid height.
Faust. Oh, yes! Up to the stars afar!
My friend, the ages of aforetime are
To us a book of seven seals.
What you call 'spirit of the ages'
Is after all the spirit of those sages
In which the mirrored age itself reveals.
Then, truly, that is oft a sorry sight to see!
I vow, men do but glance at it, then run away.
A rubbish-bin, a lumber-garret it may be,
At best a stilted, mock-heroic play
With excellent, didactic maxims humming,
Such as in puppets' mouths are most becoming.
Wagner. But, ah, the world! the mind and heart of men!
Of these we each would fain know something just the same.
Faust. Yes, 'know'! Men call it so, but then
Who dares to call the child by its right name?
The few who have some part of it descried,
Yet fools enough to guard not their full hearts, revealing
To riffraff both their insight and their feeling,
Men have of old burned at the stake and crucified.
I beg you, friend, it's far into the night,
We must break off our converse now.
Wagner. I'd gladly keep awake for ever if I might
Converse with you in such a learned way;
Tomorrow, though, our Easter-Sunday holiday,
This and that question you'll allow.
I've studied zealously, and so
I know much now, but all I fain would know.
Faust [alone]. How strange a man's not quitted of all hope,
Who on and on to shallow stuff adheres,
Whose greedy hands for hidden treasure grope,
And who is glad when any worm appears!
Dare such a human voice resound
Where spirits near me throng around?
Yet still I thank you, poorest one
Of all the sons of earth, for what you've done.
Torn loose by you, from that despair I'm freed
That nearly drove my senses frantic.
That vision, ah! was so gigantic,
I could but feel myself a dwarf indeed.
I, image of the Godhead, and already one
Who thought him near the mirror of the Truth Eternal,
Who revelled in the clearness, light supernal,
And stripped away the earthly son;
I, more than cherub, whose free force
Presumed, prophetic, even now to course,
Creating, on through Nature's every vein,
To share the life of gods: that!- how must I atone!
A voice of thunder swept me back again.
I may not dare to call myself thy peer!
What though I had the might to draw thee near,
To hold thee I possessed no might.
At that ecstatic moment's height
I felt so small, so great;
Thou cruelly didst thrust me back as one
Doomed to uncertain human fate.
Who will instruct me? And what shall I shun?
Shall I that impulse then obey?
Alas! the deeds that we have done-
Our sufferings too- impede us on life's way.
To what the mind most gloriously conceives,
An alien, more, more alien substance cleaves.
When to the good of this world we attain,
We call the better a delusion vain.
Sensations glorious, that gave us life,
Grow torpid in the world's ignoble strife.
Though Fantasy with daring flight began
And hopeful toward Infinity expanded,
She's now contented in a little span
When in Time's eddy joy on joy's been stranded.
For Worry straightway nestles deep within the heart,
There she produces many a secret smart.
Recklessly rocking, she disturbs both joy and rest.
In new disguises she is always dressed;
She may appear as house and land, as child and wife,
As fire, as water, poison, knife.
What never will happen makes you quail,
And what you'll never lose, always must you bewail.
I am not like the gods! Feel it I must.
I'm like the worm that burrows through the dust,
That in the dust in which it lived and fed,
Is crushed and buried by a wanderer's tread.
Is it not dust that narrows in this lofty wall
Made up of shelves a hundred, is it not all
The lumber, thousandfold light frippery,
That in this world of moths oppresses me?
Here shall I find what is my need?
Shall I perchance in a thousand volumes read
That men have tortured themselves everywhere,
And that a happy man was here and there?-
Why grinnest thou at me, thou hollow skull?
Save that thy brain, confused like mine, once sought bright day
And in the sombre twilight dull,
With lust for truth, went wretchedly astray?
Ye instruments, ye surely jeer at me,
With handle, wheel and cogs and cylinder.
I stood beside the gate, ye were to be the key.
True, intricate your ward, but no bolts do ye stir.
Inscrutable upon a sunlit day,
Her veil will Nature never let you steal,
And what she will not to your mind reveal,
You will not wrest from her with levers and with screws.
You, ancient lumber, that I do not use,
You're only here because you served my father.
On you, old scroll, the smoke-stains gather,
Since first the lamp on this desk smouldered turbidly.
Far better had I spent my little recklessly
Than, burdened with that little, here to sweat!
All that you have, bequeathed you by your father,
Earn it in order to possess it.
Things unused often burden and beset;
But what the hour brings forth, that can it use and bless it.
Why does my gaze grow fixed as if a spell had bound me?
That phial there, is it a magnet to my eyes?
Why does a lovely light so suddenly surround me
As when in woods at night the moonbeam drifts and lies?
Thou peerless phial rare, I welcome thee
And now I take thee down most reverently.
In thee I honour human wit and art.
Thou essence, juice of lovely, slum'brous flowers,
Thou extract of all deadly, subtle powers,
Thy favour to thy Master now impart!
I look on thee, and soothed is my distress;
I seize on thee, the struggle groweth less.
The spirit's flood-tide ebbs away, away.
I'm beckoned out, the open seas to meet,
The mirror waters glitter at my feet
To other shores allures another day.
A fiery chariot floats on airy pinions
Hither to me! I feel prepared to flee
Along a new path, piercing ether's vast dominions
To other spheres of pure activity.
This lofty life, this ecstasy divine!
Thou, but a worm, and that deservest thou?
Yes! turn thy back with resolution fine
Upon earth's lovely sun, and now
Make bold to fling apart the gate
Which every man would fain go slinking by!
Here is the time to demonstrate
That man's own dignity yields not to gods on high;
To tremble not before that murky pit
Where fantasies, self-damned, in tortures dwell;
To struggle toward that pass whose narrow mouth is lit
By all the seething, searing flames of Hell;
Serenely to decide this step and onward press,
Though there be risk I'll float off into nothingness.
So now come down, thou goblet pure and crystalline!
From out that ancient case of thine,
On which for many a year I have not thought!
Thou at my fathers' feasts wert wont to shine,
Didst many a solemn guest to mirth incline,
When thee, in pledge, one to another brought.
The crowded figures, rich and artful wrought,
The drinker's duty, rhyming to explain them,
The goblet's depths, at but one draught to drain them,
Recall full many a youthful night to me.
Now to no neighbour shall I offer thee,
Upon thy art I shall not show my wit.
Here is a juice, one's quickly drunk with it.
With its brown flood it fills thy ample bowl.
This I prepared, I choose this, high upborne;
Be this my last drink now, with all my soul,
A festal, lofty greeting pledged to morn!
He puts the goblet to his lips.
The sound of bells and choral song.
Chorus of Angels.
Christ is arisen!
Joy to mortality,
Whom earth's carnality,
Held as in prison!
Faust. What a deep humming, what a clarion tone,
Draws from my lips the glass with mighty power!
Ye deep-toned bells, make ye already known
The Easter-feast's first solemn hour?
Ye choirs, do ye the hymn of consolation sing,
Which angels sang around the grave's dark night, to bring
Assurance of new covenant and dower?
Chorus of Women.
Rare spices we carried
And laid on His breast;
We tenderly buried
Him whom we loved best;
Cloths and bands round Him,
Spotless we wound Him o'er;
Ah! and we've found Him,
Christ, here no more.
Chorus of Angels.
Christ is ascended!
Blessed the loving one
Who endured, moving one,
Trials improving one,
Till they were ended!
Faust. Ye heavenly tones, so powerful and mild,
Why seek ye me, me cleaving to the dust?
Ring roundabout where tender-hearted men will hear!
I hear the message well but lack Faith's constant trust;
The miracle is Faith's most cherished child.
I do not dare to strive toward yonder sphere
From whence the lovely tidings swell;
Yet, wonted to this strain from infancy,
Back now to life again it calleth me.
In days that are no more, Heaven's loving kiss
In solemn Sabbath stillness on me fell;
Then rang prophetical, full-toned, the bell;
And every prayer was fervent bliss.
A sweet, uncomprehending yearning
Drove me to wander on through wood and lea,
And while a thousand tears were burning,
I felt a world arise for me.
Of youth's glad sports this song foretold me,
The festival of spring in happy freedom passed;
Now memories, with childlike feeling, hold me
Back from that solemn step, the last.
Sound on and on, thou sweet, celestial strain!
The tear wells forth, the earth has me again!
Chorus of Disciples.
Though He, victorious,
From the grave's prison,
Living and glorious,
Nobly has risen,
Though He, in bliss of birth,
Creative Joy is near,
Ah! on the breast of earth
We are to suffer here.
He left His very Own
Pining for Him we miss;
Ah! we bemoan,
Master, Thy bliss!
Chorus of Angels.
Christ is arisen
Out of Corruption's womb!
Burst bonds that prison,
Joy over the tomb!
Actively pleading Him,
Showing love, heeding Him,
Brotherly feeding Him,
Preaching, far speeding Him,
Rapture succeeding Him,
To you the Master's near,
To you is here!
OUTSIDE THE GATE OF THE TOWN
All sorts of people are walking out.
Some Young Workmen. Why are you going off that way?
Others. We're going to the Hunters' Lodge today.
The Former. But toward the Mill we'd like to wander.
Workman. Go to the River Inn, that's my advice.
A Second. The road that way is far from nice.
The Others. What will you do?
A Third. Go with them yonder.
A Fourth. Come up to Burgdorf! There you'll surely find
The prettiest girls and beer, the finest kind,
Besides a first-rate sort of scrap.
A Fifth. How you do swagger! What a chap!
Does your skin itch a third time for a row?
I will not go, I fear that place somehow.
Servant-Girl. No, no, I'll go back toward the town.
Another. We'll find him by those poplars certainly.
The First. But that is no great luck for me!
At your side he'll go walking up and down;
He never dances but with you.
With your fun what have I to do?
The Second. Today he's surely not alone; he said
His friend would be with him, the curly-head.
Student. By thunder! how the whacking wenches stride!
We must go with them, brother, come along.
Strong beer, tobacco with a bite, and, on the side,
A servant-maid decked out, for these I long.
Citizen's Daughter. I say, just see those fine young blades!
It really is an insult. See!
They could have had the best of company
And run here after serving-maids!
Second Student [to the first].
Not quite so fast! There come two others, there behind,
Quite neatly dressed and rather striking.
One of them is my neighbour too, I find,
And she is greatly to my liking.
They go their way now quite demurely,
Yet in the end, they'll take us with them surely.
The First. No friend! To feel constrained is too depressing.
Quick then! lest we should lose the wilder prey.
The hand that wields the broom on Saturday
Will Sunday treat you with the best caressing.
Citizen. No, that new burgomaster I don't like a bit.
Now since he's in, he's daily bolder every way,
And for the town, what does he do for it?
Are things not growing worse each day?
Now more than ever we must all submit,
And more than ever must we pay.
Good gentlemen and ladies pretty,
So flushed of cheek and fine of dress,
May it please you, look on me with pity,
And see and soften my distress!
Let me not vainly grind here waiting!
Who likes to give, alone is gay.
A day all men are celebrating,
Be it for me a harvest day.
Another Citizen. I know naught better on a Sunday or a holiday
Than chat of wars and warlike pother,
When off in Turkey, far away,
The people clash and fight with one another.
We stand beside the window, drain our glasses,
And see how each gay vessel down the river passes,
Then in the evening homeward wend our ways,
Blessing with joy sweet peace and peaceful days.
Third Citizen. Yes, neighbour! I would leave things so;
Each other's skulls they well may crack,
And everything may topsyturvy go,
If only things at home stay in the old, old track.
Old Woman [to two CITIZENS' DAUGHTERS].
My! How dressed up! You beautiful young dears!
Who would not gape now if he met you?
But not so haughty! Have no fears!
What you desire I know well how to get you.
Citizen's Daughter. Come, Agatha, away! I take great heed
That with such witches no one sees me go;
Yet to me on St. Andrew's night, indeed,
My future lover she did really show.
The Other. She showed me mine too in the crystal ball,
So soldier-like, with others swift to dare;
I look about, I seek him everywhere,
But I can't find him, not at all.
Castles with lofty
Maids who are haughty,
Fain I'd be gaining!
Bold is the venture,
Grand is the pay!
We let the trumpet
Summon us, wooing,
Calling to pleasure,
Oft to undoing.
That is a storming!
Life in its splendour!
Maidens and castles
Both must surrender.
Bold is the venture,
Grand is the pay!
Then are the soldiers
Off and away.
FAUST and WAGNER.
Faust. From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,
By the Spring's enlivening, lovely look;
The valley's green with joys of hope;
The Winter old and weak ascends
Back to the rugged mountain slope.
From there, as he flees, he downward sends
An impotent shower of icy hail
Streaking over the verdant vale.
Ah! but the Sun will suffer no white,
Growth and formation stir everywhere,
'Twould fain with colours make all things bright,
Though in the landscape are no blossoms fair.
Instead it takes gay-decked humanity.
Now turn around and from this height,
Looking backward, townward see.
Forth from the cave-like, gloomy gate
Crowds a motley and swarming array.
Everyone suns himself gladly today.
The Risen Lord they celebrate,
For they themselves have now arisen
From lowly houses' mustiness,
From handicraft's and factory's prison,
From the roof and gables that oppress,
From the bystreets' crushing narrowness,
From the churches' venerable night,
They are all brought out into light.
See, only see, how quickly the masses
Scatter through gardens and fields remote;
How down and across the river passes
So many a merry pleasure-boat.
And over-laden, almost sinking,
The last full wherry moves away.
From yonder hill's far pathways blinking,
Flash to us colours of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village joy arise;
Here is the people's paradise,
Contented, great and small shout joyfully:
'Here I am Man, here dare it to be!'
Wagner. Doctor, to walk with you is ever
An honour and a profit, though
I'd here not care to stray alone- no, never-
Because to all that's vulgar I'm a foe.
This fiddling, shrieking, bowling- all this revel
To me's a sound detested long;
They riot as if driven by the Devil,
And call it a pleasure, call it a song.
Peasants under the linden tree. [Dance and song].
The shepherd decked him for the dance,
In ribbons, vest, and wreath to prance,
Adorned with fine arraying.
Now round the linden lass and lad
Were thronging, dancing there like mad.
Thus fiddle-bow was playing.
He crowded and he pushed in haste,
Then bumped into a maiden's waist,
Elbow against her laying.
The lively damsel turned her head:
'I find that stupid, now!' she said.
'Don't be so rude and swaying!'
Then round and round they winged their flight,
They danced to left, they danced to right,
All petticoats displaying.
They grew so red, they grew so warm,
Then rested panting, arm in arm,
On hip the elbow staying.
'I say, don't make so free with me!
How many fooled his bride-to-be,
Deceiving and betraying!'
And yet he coaxed her to one side,
And from the linden far and wide:
Rang shouts and fiddle-playing.
Old Peasant. Good Doctor, this is fine of you,
That you don't scorn us here today,
And now amid this crowding throng,
A highly-learned man, you stray.
Hence take in turn the finest mug
That with a fresh, cool drink we've filled.
I pledge you, sir, and wish aloud
Not only that your thirst be stilled:
For every drop the mug conveys,
A day be added to your days!
Faust. I take the refreshing drink and thus I too
Return the health with thanks to all of you.
The people gather round in a circle.
Old Peasant. Forsooth, it is indeed well done
That you on happy days appear.
You have aforetime with us too
Been kind when days were evil here!
Full many a one stands here alive,
Whom your good father still did wrest
From burning fever's deadly rage
When he set limits to the pest.
And you as well, a young man then,
To every sick man's house you went around.
Many a corpse did men bring forth,
But from within you came out sound,
Withstanding many a test severe;
The Helper over us helped our helper here.
All. Health to the man whom we have tried,
Long may he be our help and guide!
Faust. To Him on High with reverence bend,
Who teaches help and help doth send!
He goes on with WAGNER.
Wagner. Oh, what a feeling you must have, great man,
Thus venerated by this multitude!
Oh, happy he who, through his own gifts, can
Draw such a gain, such gratitude!
The father shows you to his brood,
Each asks and hastes and nearer draws;
The fiddle stops, the dancers pause.
You go, they stand in rows to see.
The caps are quickly lifted high;
A little more and they would bend the knee
As if the Holy Sacrament came by.
Faust. Only a few steps farther, up to yonder stone!
Here let us rest a little from our straying.
Here often, wrapped in thought, I sat alone
And tortured me with fasting and with praying.
In hope full rich, firm in the faith possessed,
With tears, sighs, wringing hands, I meant
To force the Lord in Heaven to relent
And end for us the fearful pest.
The crowd's applause now sounds like scorn to me.
Oh, could you but within me read
How little, son and father, we
Were worthy such a fame and meed!
My father was a simple, worthy man,
Who over Nature and her every sacred zone,
Quite honestly, in his odd plan
Mused with a wayward zeal that was his own,
Who, with adepts their presence lending,
Shut him in that black kitchen where he used,
According to receipts unending,
To get the contraries together fused.
There was a lover bold, a lion red,
Who to the lily in a tepid bath was wed.
Both, tortured then with flames, a fiery tide,
From one bride-chamber to another pass.
Thereon appeared, with motley colours pied,
The youthful queen within the glass.
Here was the medicine; the patients died,
And no one questioned: who got well?
Thus we with hellish nostrums, here
Within these mountains, in this dell,
Raged far more fiercely than the pest.
I gave the poison unto thousands, ere
They pined away; and I must live to hear
The shameless murderers praised and blessed.
Wagner. How can you give yourself to such lament?
Does not a good man do his part
In practising transmitted art
Exactly and with good intent?
If you revere your father as a youth,
Gladly from him you will receive;
If as a man you further knowledge and the truth,
Then can your son a higher goal achieve.
Faust. Oh, happy he who still hopes that he can
Emerge from Error's boundless sea!
What man knows not, is needed most by man,
And what man knows, for that no use has he.
But what fair blessing that this hour can show
Let's not with mournful thoughts like these embitter!
Behold how in the evening sunset-glow
The green-encircled hamlets glitter.
The sun retreats- the day, outlived, is o'er-
It hastens hence and lo! a new world is alive!
Oh, that from earth no wing can lift me up to soar
And after, ever after it to strive!
I'd see in that eternal evening beam,
Beneath my feet, the world in stillness glowing,
Each valley hushed and every height agleam,
The silver brook to golden rivers flowing.
The mountain wild with all its gorges
Would hinder not the godlike course for me;
Before astounded eyes already surges,
With bays yet warm, the open sea.
And yet at last the god seems to be sinking;
But new impulse awakes, to light
I hasten on, eternal brightness drinking,
Before me day, behind me night,
Above me heaven, and under me the billow.
A lovely dream, the while the glory fades from sight.
Alas! To wings that lift the spirit light
No earthly wing will ever be a fellow.
Yet 'tis inborn in everyone, each fancies
His feeling presses upward and along,
When over us lost amid the blue expanses
The lark sings down his showering song,
When over rough heights of firs and larches
The outspread eagles soaring roam,
And over lakes and over marshes
The crane strives onward toward his home.
Wagner. I've often had capricious, odd hours of my own,
Yet such an impulse I have never known.
One's sated soon if on the woods and fields he look;
I'll never envy any bird his wing.
How differently the joys of spirit bring
Us on from page to page, from book to book!
Then winter nights become so sweet and fair,
A blessed life warms up our every limb;
And ah! if one unrolls a parchment really rare,
The whole of Heaven descends on him.
Faust. By one impulse alone are you impressed.
Oh, never learn to know the other!
Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast;
And each is fain to leave its brother.
The one, fast clinging, to the world adheres
With clutching organs, in love's sturdy lust;
The other strongly lifts itself from dust
To yonder high, ancestral spheres.
Oh, are there spirits hovering near,
That ruling weave, twixt earth and heaven are rife,
Descend! come from the golden atmosphere
And lead me hence to new and varied life!
Yea! were a magic mantle only mine,
To bear me to strange lands at pleasure,
I would not barter it for costliest treasure,
Not for the mantle of a king resign.
Wagner. Oh, call them not, the well-known swarms
That streaming spread throughout the murky air;
In every quarter they prepare
A danger for mankind in a thousand forms,
Sharp spirit-fangs press from the north
Upon you here with arrow-pointed tongues;
And from the east, now parching, they come forth
And feast themselves upon your lungs;
And when the south wind from the desert drives
Those that heap glow on glow upon your brain,
The west wind brings the swarm that first revives,
Then drowns you and the field and plain.
They like to hear, on mischief gaily bent,
They like to hearken, for they like to try
To fool us, pose as if from Heaven sent,
And lisp like angels when they lie.
But let us go! The world's already grey,
The air grows chill, the mists of evening fall!
'Tis now we treasure home the most of all-
Why do you stand and stare? What is the trouble?
What in the gloaming seizes you in such a way?
Faust. You see that black dog streaking through the grain and
Wagner. I saw him long since; not important did he seem to me.
Faust. Observe him well! What do you take the beast to be?
Wagner. Why, just a poodle; in his way he's worrying
In his attempt to find his master's traces.
Faust. But do you note how in wide spiral rings he's hurrying
Around us here and ever nearer chases?
And if I err not, there's a trail behind him!
Along his path a fiery eddy flies.
Wagner. Only a plain black poodle do I see. Don't mind him!
I think it's an illusion of your eyes.
Faust. He seems in magic nooses to be sweeping
Around our feet, a future snare to bind.
Wagner. I see he doubts, he's timidly around us leaping,
Two strangers- not his master- does he find.
Faust. The circle narrows; he's already near!
Wagner. You see a dog! It is no spectre here.
He snarls and doubts, now on his belly see him crawl,
He wags his tail, dog-habits all.
Faust. Come here! And be a friend with us!
Wagner. It is a beast and, poodle-like, ridiculous.
Stand quiet and he'll sit up too;
Speak to him and he'll scramble up on you;
Lose something and he'll bring it back again,
Leap into water for your cane.
Faust. You're likely right. I find no trace remaining
Of any spirit; it is all mere training.
Wagner. By any dog, if he but be well trained,
Even a wise man's liking may be gained,
Yes, he deserves your favour thoroughly,
A clever pupil of students, he.
They go into the gateway of the town.
Faust [entering with the poodle].
Meadow and field have I forsaken,
That deeps of night from sight enroll;
A solemn awe the deeps awaken,
Rousing in us the better soul.
No wild desires can longer win me,
No stormy lust to dare and do;
The love of all mankind stirs in me,
The love of God is stirred anew.
Be quiet, poodle! Don't make such a riot!
Why at the threshold do you sniff the air?
Lie down behind the stove in quiet!
My best of cushions I will give you there.
As on the hillside pathway, leaping
And running about, you amused us best,
So take now too from me your keeping,
But as a welcome, silent guest.
Ah, when the friendly lamp is glowing
Again within our narrow cell,
Through heart and bosom light comes flowing
If but the heart knows itself well.
Then Reason once again discourses
And Hope begins to bloom again;
Man yearns to reach life's flowing sources,
Ah! to the Fount of Life attain.
Snarl not, you poodle! To the sacred strain
That now doth all my soul surround,
Is suited not that bestial sound.
We know full well that men deride whate'er
They do not understand
And that before the Good and Fair,
Which of is hard for them, they grumble;
And will the dog, like them too, snarl and bumble?
But ah! I feel already, with a will the best,
Contentment wells no longer from my breast.
But wherefore must the stream so soon run dry
And we again thus thirsting lie?
I have experienced this in ample measure.
And yet this feeling has its compensation;
We learn the supernatural to treasure.
Our spirits yearn toward revelation
That nowhere glows more fair, more excellent,
Than here in the New Testament.
To open the fundamental text I'm moved,
With honest feeling, once for all,
To turn the sacred, blest original
Into my German well-beloved.
He opens a volume and applies himself to it.
'Tis written: 'In the beginning was the Word!'
Here now I'm balked! Who'll put me in accord?
It is impossible, the Word so high to prize,
I must translate it otherwise
If I am rightly by the Spirit taught.
'Tis written: In the beginning was the Thought!
Consider well that line, the first you see,
That your pen may not write too hastily!
Is it then Thought that works, creative, hour by hour?
Thus should it stand: In the beginning was the Power!
Yet even while I write this word, I falter,
For something warns me, this too I shall alter.
The Spirit's helping me! I see now what I need
And write assured: In the beginning was the Deed!
If I'm to share this room with you,
Poodle, then leave off howling,
Then leave off growling!
Such a distracting fellow I can't view
Or suffer to have near me.
One of us two, or I or you,
Must quit this cell, I fear me.
I'm loath your right as guest thus to undo.
The door is open, you've a passage free.
But what is this I now must see!
Can that happen naturally?
Is it phantom? Is it reality?
How long and broad the poodle grows!
He rises up in mighty pose,
'Tis not a dog's form that he shows!
What spectre have I sheltered thus?
He's like a hippopotamus
With fiery eyes, jaws terrible to see.
Oh, mine you are most certainly.
For such as your half-hellish crew
The Key of Solomon will do.
Spirits [in the corridor].
Captured is someone within!
Stay without, none follow in!
Like a fox in a snare
Quakes an ancient hell-lynx there.
But now give heed!
Hover hence, hither hover,
And he soon himself has freed.
Can ye avail him,
Oh, do not fail him!
For he has already done
Much to profit us, each one.
Faust. First, to deal with this beast's core,
I will use the Spell of Four:
Salamander must be glowing,
Sylph vanish in going,
Kobold keep toiling.
Who would ignore
The elements four,
No master he
Over spirits can be.
Vanish in fiery glow,
Gurgling, together flow,
In meteoric beauty shine,
Bring homely help,
Step forth and end the charm for us.
None of the Four
Hides in the beast.
He lies quite calmly, grins evermore;
I've not yet hurt him in the least.
Thou'lt hear me longer
Conjure thee stronger!
Art thou, fellow, one
That out of Hell has run?
Then see this Sign!
Before which incline
Black cohorts e'er!
It swells up now with bristling hair.
Canst rede His token?
Who every Heaven has permeated,
He! wantonly immolated!
Behind the stove, held by my spells,
Like an elephant it swells,
And all the space it fills complete.
In vapour it will melt away.
Mount not up to the ceiling! Lay
Thyself down at thy Master's feet!
I threaten not in vain as thou canst see.
With holy fire I'll shrivel thee!
Do not await
The light thrice radiate!
Do not await
The strongest art at my command!
MEPHISTOPHELES steps forth from behind the stove while the
vapour is vanishing. He is dressed as a travelling scholar.
Mephistopheles. Wherefore this noise? What does my lord command?
Faust. So this, then, was the kernel of the brute!
A travelling scholar it is? The casus makes me smile.
Mephistopheles. To you, O learned sir, I proffer my salute!
You made me sweat in vigorous style.
Faust. What is your name?
Mephistopheles. The question seems but cheap
From one who for the Word has such contempt,
Who from all outward show is quite exempt
And only into beings would delve deep.
Faust. The being of such gentlemen as you, indeed,
In general, from your titles one can read.
It shows itself but all too plainly when men dub
You Liar or Destroyer or Beelzebub.
Well now, who are you then?
Mephistopheles. Part of that Power which would
The Evil ever do, and ever does the Good.
Faust. A riddle! Say what it implies!
Mephistopheles. I am the Spirit that denies!
And rightly too; for all that doth begin
Should rightly to destruction run;
'Twere better then that nothing were begun.
Thus everything that you call Sin,
Destruction- in a word, as Evil represent-
That is my own, real element.
Faust. You call yourself a part, yet whole you're standing there.
Mephistopheles. A modest truth do I declare.
A man, the microcosmic fool, down in his soul
Is wont to think himself a whole,
But I'm part of the Part which at the first was all,
Part of the Darkness that gave birth to Light,
The haughty Light that now with Mother Night
Disputes her ancient rank and space withal,
And yet 'twill not succeed, since, strive as strive it may,
Fettered to bodies will Light stay.
It streams from bodies, it makes bodies fair,
A body hinders it upon its way,
And so, I hope, it has not long to stay
And will with bodies their destruction share.
Faust. Now I perceive your worthy occupation!
You can't achieve wholesale annihilation
And now a retail business you've begun.
Mephistopheles. And truly there by nothing much is done.
What stands out as the opposite of Naught-
This Something, this your clumsy world- for aught
I have already undertaken,
It have I done no harm nor shaken
With waves and storms, with earthquakes, fiery brand.
Calm, after all, remain both sea and land.
And that accursed trash, the brood of beasts and men,
A way to get at them I've never found.
How many now I've buried in the ground!
Yet fresh, new blood forever circulates again.
Thus on and on- one could go mad in sheer despair!
From earth, from water, and from air
A thousand germs evolving start,
In dryness, moisture, warmth, and cold!
Weren't it for fire which I withhold,
I'd have as mine not one thing set apart.
Faust. So to that Power never reposing,
Creative, healing, you're opposing
Your frigid devil's fist with might and main.
It's clenched in spite and clenched in vain!
Seek something else to undertake,
You, Chaos' odd, fantastic son!
Mephistopheles. We'll really ponder on what can be done
When my next visits here I make.
But may I for the present go away?
Faust. Why you should ask, I do not see.
Though we have only met today,
Come as you like and visit me.
Here is a window, here a door, for you,
Besides a certain chimney-flue.
Mephistopheles. Let me own up! I cannot go away;
A little hindrance bids me stay.
The witch's foot upon your sill I see.
Faust. The pentagram? That's in your way?
You son of Hell explain to me,
If that stays you, how came you in today?
And how was such a spirit so betrayed?
Mephistopheles. Observe it closely! It is not well made;
One angle, on the outer side of it,
Is just a little open, as you see.
Faust. That was by accident a lucky hit!
And are you then my captive? Can that be?
By happy chance the thing's succeeded!
Mephistopheles. As he came leaping in, the poodle did not heed it.
The matter now seems turned about;
The Devil's in the house and can't get out.
Faust. Well, through the window- why not there withdraw?
Mephistopheles. For devils and for ghosts it is a law:
Where they slipped in, there too must they go out.
The first is free, the second's slaves are we.
Faust. Does Hell itself have its laws then?
That's fine! A compact in that case might be
Concluded safely with you gentlemen?
Mephistopheles. What's promised, you'll enjoy with naught
With naught unduly snipped off or exacted.
But that needs more than such a brief consideration
And we'll discuss it soon in further conversation.
But now, most earnestly I pray,
For this time let me go away.
Faust. One moment longer do remain;
Tell me at last some pleasant news.
Mephistopheles. Let me go now, I'll soon be back again;
Then you may question as you choose.
Faust. I've never set a snare for you;
You walked, yourself, into this net tonight.
Let him who holds the Devil hold him tight!
He'll not so soon catch him anew.
Mephistopheles. If it so please you, I'm prepared, indeed,
To lend you company, but take good heed:
It's on condition that my arts beguile
The time for you in worthy style.
Faust. I'll gladly see your arts, in that you're free,
Though only if you please with artistry!
Mephistopheles. More for your senses, friend, you'll gain
In this one hour than you'd obtain
In a whole year's monotony.
All that the tender spirits sing you,
The lovely images they bring you,
Are not an empty sorcery.
They will delight your sense of smell,
They will refresh your palate well,
And blissful will your feeling swell.
Of preparation there's no need,
We're here together, so proceed!
Vanish, ye darkling
Vaultings above him!
More lovely gleaming,
Blue ether beaming,
Gaze down, benign!
Now are the darkling
Faint stars are sparkling,
Gentler suns nearing
Sons of the morning,
Follows them over;
Wide spaces cover,
Cover the bower,
Where, with deep feeling,
Lovers are dreaming,
Bower by bower!
Heavy grape's gushing,
In the vats plunging;
Out from the cushing
Wine-streams are whirling;
Foaming and purling
Onward o'er precious
Pure stones they wind them,
Leave heights behind them,
Broad'ning to spacious
Fair lakes, abounding
Green hills surrounding.
Sunward is fleeting,
Bright islands meeting,
Flying to meet them
On the waves dancing,
Where we, to greet them,
Hear a glad chorus,
See o'er the meadows
Dancers like shadows,
Flitting before us,
Hills some are scaling;
Others are swimming,
Lakes swiftly skimming;
Other ones flitter,
All for existent,
All for the distant
Stars as they glitter
Mephistopheles. He sleeps! Well done, ye tender, airy throng!
Ye truly lulled him with your song,
And for this concert I am in your debt.
You're not the man to keep the Devil captive yet!
Enchant him with a dream's sweet imagery,
Plunge him into an ocean of untruth!
But now, to break this threshold's sorcery,
I have to get a rat's sharp tooth.
To conjure long I do not need;
Already one is rustling and it soon will heed.
The lord of all the rats and mice,
Of flies and frogs and bugs and lice,
Bids you now venture to appear
And gnaw upon this threshold here
Where he is dabbing it with oil.
Already you come hopping forth. Now to your toil!
Quick to the work! The point that held me bound
There on the outer edge is found.
Just one bite more- 'tis done! Begone!
Now, Faustus, till we meet again, dream on!
Faust awakening. Am I again a victim of delusion?
That streaming throng of spirits- gone are they?
Dreamt I the Devil through some mere illusion?
Or did a poodle only leap away?
Faust. A knock? Come in! Who now will bother me?
Mephistopheles. 'Tis I.
Faust. Come in!
Mephistopheles. Full three times must it be.
Faust. Come in, then?
Mephistopheles. Fine! I like that! All is well!
I hope we'll bear with one another and agree!
For I, your every crotchet to dispel,
Am here all dressed up like a noble squire,
In scarlet, gold-betrimmed attire:
A little cloak of heavy silk brocade,
Here on my hat a tall cock's-feather too,
Here at my side a long and pointed blade;
And now, to make it brief, I counsel you
That you too likewise be arrayed,
That you, emancipated, free,
Experience what life may be.
Faust. I'll feel, whatever my attire,
The pain of life, earth's narrow way
I am too old to be content with play,
Too young to be without desire.
What can the world afford me now?
Thou shalt renounce! Renounce shalt thou!
That is the never-ending song
Which in the ears of all is ringing,
Which always, through our whole life long,
Hour after hour is hoarsely singing.
I but with horror waken with the sun,
I'd fain weep bitter tears, because I see
Another day that, in its course, for me
Will not fulfil one wish- not one,
Yea, that the foretaste of each joy possessed
With carping criticism half erases,
That checks creation in my stirring breast
With thousands of life's grinning faces.
I too, when darkness sinks down o'er me,
Must anxious stretch me on my bed;
There, too, no rest comes nigh my weary head,
For savage dreams will rise before me.
The god that dwells within my soul
Can stir to life my inmost deeps.
Full sway over all my powers he keeps,
But naught external can he ever control.
So Being like a load on me is pressed,
I long for death, existence I detest.
Mephistopheles. And yet Death never is a wholly welcome guest.
Faust. Ah, happy he around whose brow Death binds
The blood-stained wreath mid victory's blaze,
Whom in a maiden's arms Death finds
After a dance's maddening maze.
Oh, would that I, beneath the lofty Spirit's sway,
Enrapt, had rendered up my soul and sunk away!
Mephistopheles. And yet that night, those juices brown
A certain man did not drink down.
Faust. Spying is your delight, is that not so?
Mephistopheles. Omniscient am I not, yet many things I know.
Faust. Though, from the frightful frenzy reeling,
A sweet, familiar tone drew me away,
Though what remained of childlike feeling
Was duped by echoes of a happier day,
I now curse all that, round the soul, enfolds it
With dazzling lures and jugglery,
And, banned within this cave of sorrows, holds it
With blinding spells and flattery.
Cursed, before all, the high adherence
To some opinion that ensnares the mind!
Cursed be the blinding of appearance
That holds our senses thus confined!
Cursed be dissembling dream-obsessions,
The fraud of fame, a name's enduring life!
Cursed all that flatters as possessions,
As slave and plough, as child and wife!
Cursed too be Mammon, when with treasures
He stirs us on to deeds of might,
When he, for lazy, idle pleasures,
Lays down for us the cushions right!
Cursed be the grape's sweet juice deceiving!
Cursed Love's supreme, delicious thrall!
A curse on Hoping! on Believing!
And cursed be Patience most of all!
Chorus of Spirits [invisible].
Thou hast destroyed
The beautiful world,
With powerful fist;
'Tis smashed, downward hurled!
A demigod dashed it to bits!
The ruins on to the Void,
Over the beauty lost and gone!
Midst the sons of earth,
Build it again,
Build it aloft in thy breast!
And life's new quest
With clearer sense,
And songs of cheer
Anew shalt hear!
These are the little folk
Of those whom I evoke.
Hark how they to joy and deed
Sagely bid you to give heed!
Into life they would,
Far from solitude
There stagnate sap and sense,
Persuade and lure you hence.
Cease with your brooding grief to play
That, like a vulture, eats your life away.
The worst of company will let you find
That you're a man among mankind.
But yet I don't mean that I'll thrust
You midst the rabble men don't trust.
I'm not one of the Great;
Still, if through life you'll go with me,
In that case I'll agree
With pleasure to accommodate
You, on the spot belong to you.
I'll be your comrade true
And if to your liking I behave,
I'll be your servant, be your slave!
Faust. And what in turn am I to do for you?
Mephistopheles. That is a long way off! Pray don't insist.
Faust. No, no! The Devil is an egoist
And not 'for God's sake!' only will he do
What will another's needs assist.
Tell me your terms both plain and clear!
Such servants in the house bring danger near.
Mephistopheles. Here to your service I will bind me;
Beck when you will, I will not pause or rest;
But in return when yonder you will find me,
Then likewise shall you be at my behest.
Faust. The yonder is to me a trifling matter.
Should you this world to ruins shatter,
The other then may rise, its place to fill.
'Tis from this earth my pleasure springs,
And this sun shines upon my sufferings;
When once I separate me from these things,
Let happen then what can and will.
And furthermore I've no desire to hear
Whether in future too men hate and love,
And whether too in yonder sphere
There is an under or above.
Mephistopheles. In this mood you can dare to go my ways.
Commit yourself; you shall in these next days
Behold my arts and with great pleasure too.
What no man yet has seen, I'll give to you.
Faust. Poor devil! What have you to give?
Was any human spirit, struggling to ascend,
Such as your sort could ever comprehend?
Still, have you food on which no man can live?
Have you red gold that runs through, without rest,
Quicksilver-like, the hand it's in?
A game at which men never win?
A maiden who while on my breast
Will with my neighbour ogle and conspire?
The joys divine of honour, once possessed,
Which vanish like a meteor's fire?
Show me the fruit which, ere it's plucked, will rot,
And trees that every day grow green anew!
Mephistopheles. Such a commission frights me not;
Such treasures I can serve to you.
But, my good friend, the time approaches when we could
In peace and quiet feast on something good.
Faust. If ever I lay me on a bed of sloth in peace,
That instant let for me existence cease!
If ever with lying flattery you can rule me
So that contented with myself I stay,
If with enjoyment you can fool me,
Be that for me the final day!
That bet I offer!
Faust. Another hand-clasp! There!
If to the moment I shall ever say:
'Ah, linger on, thou art so fair!'
Then may you fetters on me lay,
Then will I perish, then and there!
Then may the death-bell toll, recalling
Then from your service you are free;
The clock may stop, the pointer falling,
And time itself be past for me!
Mephistopheles. Consider well, we'll not forget it.
Faust. Your perfect right to that I'll not deny.
My action was not rash, I'll not regret it.
As soon as I stagnate, a slave am I,
And whether yours or whose, why should I ask?
Mephistopheles. Then at a Doctor's-feast this very day
I'll act as servant and fulfil my task.
But one thing still: in case of life or death, I pray,
Give me a written line or two.
Faust. What, pedant! Something written do you ask of me?
Was neither man nor word of man yet known to you?
Is it not enough that this my spoken word
Disposes of my days for all eternity?
Does not the world rush on, in all its currents stirred,
And should a promise have a hold on me?
Yet to our hearts we've taken this conceit.
Who gladly would its hold undo?
Blest he whose bosom is with breachless faith replete,
No sacrifice will that man ever rue.
But any stamped and written parchment sheet
Is like a ghost that all men shrink to view.
The spoken word dies forthwith in the quill;
Leather and wax remain our masters still.
What, Evil Spirit, do you want of me?
Brass, marble, parchment, paper? Name it then!
Am I to write with graver, chisel, pen?
I offer you your choice quite free.
Mephistopheles. How can you talk so heatedly,
Exaggerate in such a way?
Just any little sheet will do, it's all the same.
With one wee drop of blood you sign your name.
Faust. If this will satisfy you, then I say:
Let us agree and put the farce to this odd use.
Mephistopheles. Blood is a quite peculiar juice.
Faust. Fear not! This league with you I shall not break!
The aim and goal of all my energy
Is to fulfil the promise I now make.
I've puffed myself too high, I see;
Only within your ranks do I deserve to be.
The Mighty Spirit spurned me with a scoff,
And Nature turns herself away from me.
The thread of thought is broken off,
To me all learning's long been nauseous.
In depths of sensuality
Let us our glowing passions still!
In magic's veils impervious
Prepared at once be every marvel's thrill!
Come, let us plunge into Time's rushing dance,
Into the roll of Circumstance!
There may then pain and joyance,
Successes and annoyance,
Alternately follow as they can.
Only restlessly active is a man!
Mephistopheles. To you no goal is set, nor measure.
If you should like to nibble everything,
To snatch up something on the wing,
May all agree with you that gives you pleasure!
Fall to, I say, and don't be coy.
Faust. You hear indeed, I do not speak of joy.
Life's wildering whirl be mine, its painfulest enjoyment,
Enamoured hate, and quickening annoyment.
My bosom, of all thirst for knowledge cured,
Shall close itself henceforth against no woe;
Whatever to all mankind is assured,
I, in my inmost being, will enjoy and know,
Seize with my soul the highest and most deep;
Men's weal and woe upon my bosom heap;
And thus this self of mine to all their selves expanded,
Like them I too at last be stranded.
Mephistopheles. Oh, trust me who for many a thousand year
Have chewed this crust, it is so hard at best
That twixt the cradle and the bier
That ancient leaven no man can digest.
Trust one like me: this Whole is wrought
And fashioned only for a God's delight!
He dwells in an eternal light;
Us into darkness He has brought;
To you are suited only day and night.
Faust. Ah, but I will!
Mephistopheles. Well said and right!
And yet I fear there is but one thing wrong;
For life is short and art is long.
I'd think you'd let yourself be taught.
Associate you with a poet; then, in thought,
You leave the gentleman full sweep,
Upon your honoured head to heap
Each good and noble quality:
The lion's mood,
The stag's rapidity,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northman's hardihood.
The secret for it? Let him find
How magnanimity and cunning are combined,
How with a youth's hot impulse you may fall
In love according to a plan.
Might I myself know such a gentleman,
Him Mr. Microcosm I would call.
Faust. What am I if I strive in vain
To win the crown of all mankind which, though afar,
All senses struggle to obtain?
Mephistopheles. You at the end are- what you are.
Put on your head perukes with a million locks,
Put on your feet a pair of ell-high socks,
You after all will still be- what you are.
Faust. I feel that I have made each treasure
Of human mind my own in vain,
And when at last I sit me down at leisure,
No new-born power wells up within my brain.
I'm not a hair's-breadth more in height
Nor nearer to the infinite.
Mephistopheles. My good sir, you observe this matter
As men these matters always see;
But we must manage that much better
Before life's pleasures from us flee.
Your hands and feet too- what the devil!-
Your head and seed are yours alone!
Yet all with which I gaily revel,
Is it on that account the less my own?
If for six stallions I can pay,
Aren't all their powers added to my store?
I am a proper man and dash away
As if the legs I had were twenty-four!
Quick, then! Let all reflection be,
And straight into the world with me!
A chap who speculates- let this be said-
Is very like a beast on moorland dry,
That by some evil spirit round and round is led,
While fair, green pastures round about him lie.
Faust. But how shall we begin?
Mephistopheles. We'll just get out, so come!
Bah! what a place of martyrdom!
What kind of life is this you lead?
Boring the youngsters and yourself indeed!
Leave that to Master Paunch, your neighbour!
Why plague yourself by threshing straws?
The best that you can know with all your labour,
You dare not tell the striplings raw.
Right now I hear one in the passageway.
Faust. I cannot possibly see him today.
Mephistopheles. He's waited long the poor young chap;
Uncomforted, he must not go away.
Come, let me have your gown and cap;
I in that costume? What a precious fit!
He dresses himself up.
Now you can leave things to my wit!
I only need a quarter of an hour.
And then our lovely tour, meanwhile prepare for it!
Mephistopheles [in FAUST'S long robe].
Humanity's most lofty power,
Reason and knowledge, pray despise!
Let but the Spirit of all Lies
With works of dazzling magic blind you;
Then, absolutely mine, I'll have and bind you!
To him has Fate a spirit given
That, uncurbed, ever onward sweeps,
Whose striving, by too hasty impulse driven,
The joys of this earth overleaps.
Him will I drag through wild life whirling past,
Through all that is unmeaning, shallow stuff;
I'll see him struggle, weaken, and stick fast!
Before his greedy lips that can not feast enough
Shall hover food and drink as if for some grand revel;
Refreshment will he all in vain implore;
And had he not surrendered to the Devil,
Still were he lost forevermore.
A STUDENT enters
Student. I've been here just a little while or so
And come to pay an humble call,
To talk with you, a man to know,
One who is named with reverence by all.
Mephistopheles. You please me greatly by your courtesy!
A man like many another one you see.
Have you already looked about elsewhere?
Student. I beg you, take me in your kindly care!
I come with every good intention,
Fresh blood, and money, though not much to mention.
My mother scarcely would permit my going.
I'd fain learn here abroad something worth knowing.
Mephistopheles. Well, now you're at the proper place.
Student. Yet, frankly, would I could my steps retrace!
Within these walls the lecture hall,
I do not like it here at all.
It is a space that's so confined;
One sees no green nor any tree,
And in the halls with benches lined,
Sight, hearing, thought, all go from me.
Mephistopheles. That only comes with habit, so
A child takes not its mother's breast
Quite willingly in the beginning, though
Soon nourishes itself with zest.
So at the breasts of Wisdom nursed,
Each day you'll lust for them the more athirst.
Student. I'll cling about her neck with joy,
But say what means thereto I shall employ.
Mephistopheles. Ere you go on, explain your views.
Which is the faculty you choose?
Student. I'd like right learned to become; what is
On earth I'd gladly comprehend,
To heaven itself my range extend,
Know all of nature and the sciences.
Mephistopheles. Then you are on the proper way
But must not let yourself be lured astray.
Student. Body and soul I'm for it bent;
Yet there would please me, I must say,
A little freedom and divertisement
Upon a pleasant summer holiday.
Mephistopheles. Make use of time, its course so soon is run,
Yet system teaches you how time is won.
I counsel you, dear friend, in sum,
That first you take collegium logicum.
Your spirit's then well broken in for you,
In Spanish boots laced tightly to,
That you henceforth may more deliberately keep
The path of thought and straight along it creep,
And not perchance criss-cross may go,
A- will-o'-wisping to and fro.
Then you'll be taught full many a day
What at one stroke you've done alway,
Like eating and like drinking free,
It now must go like: One! Two! Three!
In fact, when men are fabricating thought,
It goes as when a weaver's masterpiece is wrought.
One treadle sets a thousand threads a-going,
And to and fro the shuttle flies;
Quite unperceived the threads are flowing,
One stroke effects a thousand ties.
Then some philosopher steps in, and he
Will demonstrate to you it so must be:
The first was so, the second so,
And thus the third and fourth are so;
And if no first nor second had been there,
The third and fourth one would be never.
All students prize that everywhere,
But are they weavers? No, they're not that clever.
Who'll know aught living and describe it well,
Seeks first the spirit to expel.
He then has the component parts in hand
But lacks, alas! the spirit's band.
Encheirisis naturae, Chemistry names it so,
Mocking herself but all unwitting though.
Student. I can't quite understand you, I confess.
Mephistopheles. Next time, be sure, you will have more success,
When you have learned how to reduce
And classify all by its use.
Student. I feel as stupid after all you've said
As if a miller's wheel were whirling in my head.
Mephistopheles. And next- the first of all worth mention-
To Metaphysics you must give attention,
And see that you profoundly strive to gain
What is not suited for the human brain.
For what goes in or won't go in the head,
A brilliant phrase will serve you in good stead.
Yet, first of all for this half-year,
Observe the best of systems here
You take five lectures daily- understand?
And when the clock strikes, be on hand!
Be well prepared before the start,
With paragraphs well got by heart,
So later you can better look
And see he says naught save what's in the book;
But write away as unabated
As if the Holy Ghost dictated!
Student. You will not need to say that to me twice!
I can foresee how much I'll gain from this advice;
Because what one has down in black and white
It is a comfort to take home at night.
Mephistopheles. But come now, choose a faculty!
Student. I can't adjust myself to Law- not possibly.
Mephistopheles. I can't blame that in you, it's no demerit.
This science as it really is I see.
Statutes and laws that we inherit
Like an eternal malady
Go trailing on from race to race
And furtive shift from place to place.
To nonsense reason turns, and benefit to worry.
Woe unto you that you're a grandchild, woe!
For of the law that was born with us, no!
Of that, alas! there never is a query.
Student. You have increased my own disgust. The youth
Whom you instruct is blessed in sooth!
I'm now almost inclined to try Theology.
Mephistopheles. I would not wish to lead you so astray.
In what this science teaches, it would be
So hard to shun the false, misleading way;
So much of hidden poison lies therein,
You scarce can tell it from its medicine.
'Tis best here too that only one be heard
And that you swear then by the master's word.
Upon the whole- to words stick fast!
Then through a sure gate you'll at last
Enter the templed hall of Certainty.
Student. Yet in each word some concept there must be.
Mephistopheles. Quite true! But don't torment yourself to
For at the point where concepts fail,
At the right time a word is thrust in there.
With words we fitly can our foes assail,
With words a system we prepare,
Words we quite fitly can believe,
Nor from a word a mere iota thieve.
Student. Pardon, I keep you here with many a question,
But I must cause more trouble still.
Concerning Medicine as well you will
Not make some pithy, keen suggestion?
Three years! how quickly they are past!
And, God! the field is far too vast.
If but some sign is indicated,
A man can sooner feel his way.
Mephistopheles [aside]. With this dry tone I am now satiated;
The downright devil I must once more play.
Medicine's spirit one can grasp with ease.
The great and little world you study through,
To let things finally their course pursue
As God may please.
It's vain that you in search of knowledge roam and drift,
Each only learns what learn he can;
Yet he who grasps the moment's gift,
He is your proper man.
You are moreover quite well-built, beside,
Will never lack for boldness too;
And if you only in yourself confide,
All other souls confide in you.
Learn chiefly how to lead the women; be assured
That all their 'Ohs' and 'Ahs,' eternal, old,
Can at a single point be cured;
And if you half-way decorously come,
You have them all beneath your thumb.
A title first must make them comprehend
That your art many arts doth far transcend.
By way of welcome then you touch all matters
For sake of which, long years, another flatters.
Learn how the little pulse to squeeze
And then with sly and fiery glances seize
Her freely round the slender hips to see
How firmly laced up she may be.
Student. Now that looks better! Now one sees the where and how!
Mephistopheles. Dear friend, all theory is grey,
And green the golden tree of life.
Student. I vow,
It's all just like a dream to me.
Another time I'll bore you, if I may,
To hear your wisdom through and through.
Mephistopheles. All that I can I'll gladly do.
Student. It is impossible for me to go away
Before I hand my album here to you.
Will your grace grant this favour to me too?
Mephistopheles. Oh, very well!
He writes and gives it back.
Student [reads]. ERITIS SICUT DEUS, SCIENTES BONUM ET MALUM.
He closes the book reverently and takes his leave.
Mephistopheles. Follow the ancient text and heed my coz the snake;
With all your likeness to God you'll sometimes tremble and quake.
Faust. Now whither shall we go?
Mephistopheles. Whither it pleases you.
We'll see the little world and then we'll see the great.
With how much joy and how much profit too
You'll sponge the whole course through until you graduate.
Faust. But with my beard so long I may
Quite lack life's free and easy way.
In this attempt no luck will come to me;
I never fitted in society at all.
With other men I feel myself so small;
I'll feel embarrassed constantly.
Mephistopheles. For that, good friend, this is the remedy I give:
Just trust yourself, then you'll know how to live.
Faust. We'll leave the house but how shall we set out?
Have you a horse, a servant, carriage, anywhere?
Mephistopheles. We'll only spread this mantle out
And have it bear us through the air.
You'll take upon this daring flight
No heavy luggage, only light.
A bit of fiery air- I'll have it ready here-
Will lift us from this earth without ado,
And if we're light, we'll go up swiftly too.
I must congratulate you on your new career.
AUERBACH'S CELLAR IN LEIPSIC
DRINKING-BOUT OF JOLLY COMPANIONS.
Frosch. Will no one drink? and no one laugh?
I'll teach you how to look so wry!
You're everyone like sodden chaff
And always used to blaze sky-high!
Brander. That's your fault; you don't add a single stroke,
No beastliness and not one silly joke.
Frosch [pours a glass of wine over BRANDER'S HEAD].
There you have both!
Brander. You twofold beast!
Frosch. That's what you asked me for, at least!
Siebel. If any quarrel, throw 'em out!
Come, sing with all your lungs, boys, swill and shout!
Up! Holla! Ho!
Altmayer. My God! I'm done for! Here!
Some cotton wool! The fellow bursts my ear.
Siebel. When vaulted ceilings echo back our song,
Then first we feel the bass is deep and strong.
Frosch. Quite right! Then out with him who takes a thing amiss!
Ah! tara lara da!
Altmayer. Ah! tara lara da!
Frosch. The throats are tuned for this!
Dear Holy Roman Empire! Say,
How does it stick together?
Brander. A nasty song! Shame! a political song!
A wretched song! Thank God each morning, brother,
That for the Roman Empire you don't need to bother!
There is at least one gain I am most thankful for,
That I'm not Kaiser and not Chancellor.
And yet we must not fail to have a ruler. Stay!
Let us elect a Pope! What do you say?
You know the kind of quality that can
Bear down the scale and elevate the man.
Soar aloft, Dame Nightingale,
Ten thousand times my sweetheart hail!
Siebel. No greeting to a sweetheart! I'll not hear of this!
Frosch. You will not hinder me! My sweetheart, hail! A kiss!
Lift the latch! In silent night.
Lift the latch! The lover wakes.
Drop the latch! The morning breaks.
Siebel. Yes, sing on, praise and brag of her with all your might!
I will in my own time be sure to laugh at you.
She once led me astray, she'll do it to you too.
Give her a kobold for her lovesick yearning!
At some cross-road let him go woo her.
Let some old buck, from Blocksberg' homeward turning,
Still on the gallop, bleat 'Good Evening!' to her.
A gallant fellow of real flesh and blood
Is for that wench a deal too good.
I'll hear no greetings to that lass
But such as smash her window-glass.
Brander [pounding on the table].
Give heed Give heed! Lend me your ear!
You, sirs, confess that I know what is what.
Some lovesick folk are sitting here,
And so in honour due their present lot
I must contribute to their night's good cheer.
Give heed! A brand-new song 'twill be!
And sing the chorus lustily!
There once in a cellar lived a rat,
Had a paunch could scarce be smoother,
For it lived on butter and on fat,
A mate for Doctor Luther.
But soon the cook did poison strew
And then the rat, so cramped it grew
As if it had love in its body.
As if it had love in its body.
It flew around, and out it flew,
From every puddle swilling,
It gnawed and scratched the whole house
But its rage was past all stilling.
It jumped full of in anguish mad,
But soon, poor beast, enough it had,
As if it had love in its body.
As if it had love in its body.
By anguish driven in open day
It rushed into the kitchen,
Fell on the hearth and panting lay,
Most pitiably twitchin'.
Then laughed the poisoner: 'Hee! hee! hee!
It's at its last gasp now,' said she,
'As if it had love in its body.'
'As if it had love in its body.'
Siebel. How these dull chaps enjoy themselves! Now that's
A fine old art, so it would seem,
To scatter poison for poor rats!
Brander. They stand so high in your esteem?
Altmayer. See the old tub, so bald and fat!
Misfortune makes him mild and tame;
He sees in any bloated rat
His very own image, quite the same.
FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES enter.
Mephistopheles. Before all else I now must let you view
The doings of a jovial crew,
That you may see how smoothly life can flow along.
To this crowd every day's a feast and song.
With little wit and much content,
Each, on his own small round intent,
Is like a kitten with its tail.
While no sick headache they bewail
And while their host will still more credit give,
Joyous and free from care they live.
Brander. Those people come directly from a tour,
You see it in their strange, odd ways;
They've not been here an hour, I'm sure.
Frosch. In truth, you're right! My Leipsic will I praise!
A little Paris, one that cultivates its people.
Siebel. Who are these strangers, do you think?
Frosch. Leave it to me! Give me a brimming drink
And from these chaps I'll worm the truth
As one draws out a young child's tooth.
To me they seem of noble family,
So proud and discontented they appear to be.
Brander. They're mountebanks, I'll lay a bet with you!
Frosch. Pay heed, I'll make them feel the screw!
Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. These chaps don't scent the Devil out
And would not if he had them by the snout!
Faust. We greet you, sirs!
Siebel. Thanks and to you the same!
In a low tone, looking at MEPHISTOPHELES askance.
Why is that fellow's one foot lame?
Mephistopheles. We'll sit with you if you'll permit the liberty.
Instead of some good drink which is not here,
We shall enjoy your company's good cheer.
Altmayer. A very pampered man you seem to be.
Frosch. I guess you started late from Rippach on your way.
Can you have supped with Master Hans tonight?
Mephistopheles. We passed him by without a stop today!
We spoke with him last time. He'd quite
A lot about his cousins to convey,
Charged us with greetings to each one.
He bows toward FROSCH.
Altmayer [in a low tone]. You got it then! He knows!
Siebel. A cunning fellow, he!
Frosch. Just wait a bit, I'll get him on the run.
Mephistopheles. If I mistake not, didn't we
Hear practised voices sing in chorus?
In truth, a song must perfectly
Reecho from this vaulted ceiling o'er us!
Frosch. Are you perchance a virtuoso?
Mephistopheles. Oh no! The zest is great, ability but so-so.
Altmayer. Give us a song!
Mephistopheles. A lot, if that way you incline.
Siebel. But let it be a brand-new strain!
Mephistopheles. We have returned quite recently from Spain,
The lovely land of melody and wine.
A king there once was reigning,
Who cherished a great big flea-
Frosch. Hear that! A flea! Did you quite grasp the jest?
I say, a flea's a tidy guest.
A king there once was reigning,
Who cherished a great big flea;
No little love attaining,
As his own son loved he.
He called his tailor hireling,
The tailor to him flew:
'Ho, measure now the squireling
For coat and breeches too.'
Brander. Be sure to tell that man of stitches
That he must measure to a hair,
And if his head is dear to him, I swear,
No wrinkles must be in those breeches!
In silk and velvet splendid
He now was always dressed,
By ribbons gay attended,
A cross upon his breast.
Was minister created,
A mighty star did sport;
Then all his kin, elated,
Became great lords at court.
Lord, lady, and dependent
Were plagued and sore distressed;
The queen and her attendant
Were bitten by the pest.
And yet they dared not whack them
Nor scratch by day or night.
We smother and we crack them
Whenever we feel them bite.
We smother and we crack them
Whenever we feel them bite.
Frosch. Bravo! Bravo! That was splendid!
Siebel. And so should every flea be ended!
Brander. Point your fingers and squeeze them fine!
Altmayer. Long live freedom! Long live wine!
Mephistopheles. A glass to honour freedom I would gladly clink
If but your wines were better fit to drink.
Siebel. We do not want to hear such talk again!
Mephistopheles. I only fear the landlord might complain;
Else I would treat each worthy guest
With what our cellar offers of the best.
Siebel. Do bring it on! The risk be mine.
Frosch. Produce a good glass and we'll praise your wine.
But don't give us a sample all too small;
If I'm to play the solemn judge at all,
A right good mouthful I require.
Altmayer [in a low tone]. They're from the Rhine, I scented that
Mephistopheles. Fetch me a gimlet!
Brander. Say, why that desire?
You haven't got the casks outside the door?
Altmayer. Back there the landlord keeps his tool-kit placed.
Mephistopheles [taking the gimlet to FROSCH].
Now say, what do you want to taste?
Frosch. What do you mean? Have you so many kinds?
Mephistopheles. I leave the choice to each. Make up your minds!
Altmayer [to FROSCH].
You're licking your chops now! Be careful, steady!
Frosch. 'Tis well! If I'm to choose, it's Rhine wine I propose.
The best of gifts is what the fatherland bestows.
Mephistopheles [boring a hole in the edge of the table at the place
where FROSCH is sitting]. Get us some wax at once, to have the
Altmayer. Ah! These are tricks! It's jugglery!
Mephistopheles [to BRANDER]. And you?
Brander. Champagne's the stuff for me,
And bubbling, sparkling, must it be.
MEPHISTOPHELES is boring holes; one of the others has meanwhile
made the stoppers and plugged the holes.
Brander. What's foreign we can't always shun,
So far from us must good things often be.
A genuine German can't abide the French, not one,
But of their wines he drinks most cheerfully.
Siebel [as MEPHISTOPHELES comes near his place].
I do not like the sour, I'd have you know;
Give me a glass that's really sweet!
Mephistopheles [boring]. You'll see, at once Tokay will flow.
Altmayer. No, gentlemen, just look me in the face! I see't,
You're only fooling us, it is a jest.
Mephistopheles. Oh! Oh! With such a noble guest
That were a bit too much to dare!
Be quick about it and declare!
What kind of wine then shall I serve?
Altmayer. Oh, any! Don't keep asking! I don't care!
After all the holes are bored and plugged.
Mephistopheles [with strange gestures].
Clustered grapes the vine bears!
And horns the he-goat wears!
The wine is juicy, wood the vine;
The wooden table too can give forth wine.
A view of nature, deep and clear!
Only believe! A miracle's here!
Now draw the stoppers and enjoy your fill!
All [while they pull out the stoppers and the wine desired runs
into each one's glass]. O beauteous fountain flowing at our
Mephistopheles. But watch, I say, that not a drop you spill!
They drink repeatedly.
We're just as happy as cannibals,
As if we were five hundred swine!
Mephistopheles. Behold how happy is this folk- it's free!
Faust. I think now I would like to go away.
Mephistopheles. But first give heed to a display
Of glorious bestiality.
Siebel [drinks carelessly; the wine is spilt upon the ground and
turns into flame]. Help! Hell's on fire! It's burning me!
Mephistopheles [conjuring the flame]. Be quiet, friendly element!
To the young men.
This time 'twas but a flame that Purgatory sent.
Siebel. What's that? Just wait! For that you will pay dear.
You don't know who we are, that's clear.
Frosch. Don't try that game a second time, I say!
Altmayer. I think we'd better bid him gently go away.
Siebel. What, sir! You venture to provoke us
And carry on your hocus-pocus?
Mephistopheles. Silence, old wine-butt!
Siebel. Broomstick, you!
Will you insult me to my nose?
Brander. Just wait a bit, 'twill soon be raining blows!
Altmayer [draws a stopper out of the table; fire leaps out at him].
I burn! I burn!
Siebel. It's sorcery!
The rogue's an outlaw! Come, thrust home with me!
They draw their knives and rush at Mephistopheles.
Mephistopheles [with solemn gestures].
False form and word appear,
Change place and sense's sphere!
Be there and here!
They stand amazed and look at each other.
Altmayer. Where am I? What a lovely land!
Frosch. Vineyards! Do I see right?
Siebel. Grape clusters close at hand!
Brander. Here underneath this foliage green,
See, what a bunch! What grapes are to be seen!
He seizes SIEBEL by the nose. The others do the same, one to the
other, and raise their knives.
Mephistopheles [as before]. Error, loose from their eyes the band!
And mark you how the Devil's jesting goes.
He vanishes with FAUST. The fellows start back from one another.
Siebel. What's up?
Altmayer. How's this?
Frosch. Was that your nose?
Brander [to SIEBEL]. And yours I'm holding in my hand!
Altmayer. That was a blow, it staggered me down to my toes!
I can't stand up, get me a chair!
Frosch. Out with it, say, what's happened?
Oh, where's that rascal? If I find him now,
He shan't escape alive, I vow.
Altmayer. With my own eyes I saw him riding through
The cellar-door- upon a wine-cask too!
I feel a weight like lead about my feet!
Turning toward the table.
My God! I wonder if the wines still flow?
Siebel. It was a swindle, lies, 'twas all a cheat.
Frosch. Yet I drank wine or thought it so.
Brander. But how about the grapes? What was that anyway?
Altmayer. One should believe no miracles? Oh, say!
A great cauldron stands over the fire on a low hearth. In the
steam which rises from it, various figures become visible. A
Female Ape sits by the cauldron and skims the foam off it,
taking care that it does not run over. The Male Ape, with the
Young Apes sits beside it and warms himself. Walls and
ceiling are decked out with the strangest articles of
Faust. I am repelled by this mad sorcery.
I shall get well, you promise me,
In this chaotic craziness?
Shall I demand an old crone's remedy?
And will the dirty, boiling mess
Divest my body of some thirty years?
Woe's me, if there's naught better you can find!
For now my hope already disappears.
Has nature not, has not a noble mind,
Discovered somewhere any balm?
Mephistopheles. My friend, you talk once more as if you're calm.
By natural means you can acquire a youthful look,
But it is in another book
And is a chapter strange to see.
Faust. Still I will know it.
Mephistopheles. Good! To have a remedy
Without physician, money, sorcery:
Betake yourself into the fields without delay,
Begin to dig and hack away,
Maintain yourself, your thought and feeling,
Within a circle quite confined and fixed;
Take nourishment of food that is not mixed;
Live with the beasts as beast, nor deem it base
To spread the field you reap with your own dung.
Be sure, this method's best in any case,
Though eighty years of age, still to be young.
Faust. I am not used to that; I can't submit
To take the spade in hand and dig and ditch.
For me a narrow life is quite unfit.
Mephistopheles. So then there is no help save from the witch.
Faust. But why the old beldame? What is your notion?
Can you yourself not brew the potion?
Mephistopheles. That were a lovely pastime on my part!
Meanwhile a thousand bridges I could rear.
We can't depend alone on science or on art,
The work demands a deal of patience too.
A quiet spirit's busy many a year,
For time alone produces potent brew.
And all that is a part of it
Is wondrous as one must admit!
It's true, the Devil taught her how to do it,
And yet the Devil can not brew it.
Catching sight of THE BEASTS.
How delicate the breed! Just see!
That is the maid! The man is he!
To THE BEASTS.
It seems the dame is not at home with you.
To a rollicking crew
Out she flew
By the chimney-flue!
Mephistopheles. How long is it her wont to roam from here?
The Beasts. As long as it takes to warm a paw.
Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. How do you think the dainty beasts
Faust. Absurd as anyone I ever saw.
Mephistopheles. I say, this kind of conversation
I carry on with greatest delectation.
To THE BEASTS.
Accursed puppets! Come and tell,
What are you querling in that stuff?
The Beasts. A beggars' soup that's watered well.
Mephistopheles. Then you've a public large enough.
The Male Ape [sidles up to MEPHISTOPHELES and fawns on him].
Oh, do throw the dice,
Make me rich in a trice,
And do let it win me!
It all is so bad,
If money I had,
Good sense would be in me.
Mephistopheles. How fortunate the ape would think himself, could he
But also risk some money in a lottery!
Meanwhile THE YOUNG APES have been playing with a great globe
which they now roll forward.
The Male Ape.
That is the world!
It mounts, now whirled,
Its fall will follow,
Like glass it rings.
Soon break such things!
Within it's hollow.
Here bright it gleams,
Here brighter beams.
I am alive!
My dear son, strive
To keep away!
For you must die!
'Tis made of clay,
In bits 'twill fly.
What means the sieve?
The Male Ape [takes it down].
Came you to thieve,
I would know you directly.
He runs to THE FEMALE APE and makes her look through it.
Look through the sieve!
Know you the thief?
Dare not name him exactly?
Mephistopheles [going nearer to the fire].
And then this pot?
Male Ape and Female Ape.
The half-witted sot!
He knows not the pot,
He knows not the kettle!
The Male Ape.
Take the brush at least
And sit on the settle!
He makes MEPHISTOPHELES Sit down.
Faust [who all this time has been standing before a mirror, now
going near it, now going away from it].
What do I see? What form divinely fair
Within this magic mirror is revealed?
Oh lend me, Love, thy swiftest wing and bear
Me hence into her wondrous field!
Alas! If from this spot I dare
But stir, or if I venture to go near,
Then dim as through a mist doth she appear!
The fairest image of a woman! Can it be,
Is it possible? Can woman be so fair?
Must I in that recumbent body there
Behold of all the heavens the epitome?
Can one so fair be found on earth?
Mephistopheles. Well, if a God for six whole days, my friend,
Toils hard and says 'Ah, bravo!' at the end,
Then something rather neat must come to birth.
For this time gaze till you are satiate.
I know how I can find you such a treasure
And he who as a bridegroom has the happy fate
To lead her home, is blessed beyond all measure!
FAUST continues to look in the mirror. MEPHISTOPHELES,
stretching himself on the settle and playing with the brush,
continues to speak.
I sit here like a king upon his throne;
I hold the sceptre here, I lack the crown alone.
The Beasts [who meanwhile have been playing all sorts of odd
confused antics, bring a crown TO MEPHISTOPHELES with a loud
Oh, please be so good
With sweat and with blood
The crown to belime!
They handle the crown awkwardly and shatter it into two pieces
with which they jump about.
It's done for! and we,
We speak and we see,
We hear and we rhyme.
Faust [facing the mirror]. Woe's me! How nearly crazy do I feel!
Mephistopheles [pointing to THE BEASTS].
Now my head too almost begins to reel.
And if we succeed
And all fits indeed,
Will thoughts in it be!
Faust [as above]. My breast begins to burn in me!
Let's go away immediately!
Mephistopheles [in the same attitude as above].
Well, now at least one has to say,
There are some honest poets anyway.
The cauldron which THE FEMALE APE has neglected, begins to
boil over; a great flame arises which streams up the chimney.
THE WITCH comes careering down through the flame with horrible
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
You damned beast! Accursed sow!
Neglecting kettle, scorching me now!
Espying FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES.
What is that here?
Who are you here?
What will you wreak?
Who is the sneak?
May pangs of hell
Burn your bones well!
She plunges the skimming-ladle into the cauldron and sprinkles
flames toward FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and THE BEASTS. THE
Mephistopheles [who reverses the brush which he has been holding
and strikes among the glasses and pots].
In two! In two!
There lies the brew!
There lies the glass!
Let the joke pass
As beat, you ass,
To melodies from you!
As THE WITCH steps back full of rage and horror.
Do you know me? You skeleton! You fright!
Do you know me, your lord and master?
What holds me back that I don't smite
And crush you and your ape-sprites with disaster?
Have you no more respect before the doublet red?
Can you not recognize the tall cock's-feather?
Was this my face hid altogether?
My name forsooth I should have said?
The Witch. My rough salute, sir, pardon me!
But yet no horse's-foot I see.
Your pair of ravens, where are they?
Mephistopheles. This time I'll pardon you that you were rough,
For it's a long time, sure enough,
Since we have crossed each other's way.
Culture that licks and prinks the world anew,
Has reached out to the Devil too.
The northern phantom now is seen nowhere;
Where do you see the horns, the claws, and tail?
And as concerns the foot which I can't spare,
My credit socially it would impair;
So I, as many young men do, avail
Myself of false calves now for many a year.
The Witch [dancing]. I almost lose my senses and my brain- oh,
To see Squire Satan once more here!
Mephistopheles. That title, woman, I forbid it me!
The Witch. Why? Has it done you any injury?
Mephistopheles. That's been known as a fable many a season;
But men have things no better for that reason.
Free are they from the Evil One; the evil are still here.
Just call me Baron, that will satisfy me.
Like other cavaliers I am a cavalier.
My noble blood you don't deny me;
This is the coat of arms I bear, see here!
He makes an indecent gesture.
The Witch [laughs immoderately].
Ha! Ha! That is your very way!
Just as you ever were, you are a rogue today!
Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. My friend, learn well and understand,
This is the way to take a witch in hand.
The Witch. Now, gentlemen, what say you I shall do?
Mephistopheles. A good glass of the well-known juice,
Yet I must beg the oldest sort of you.
A double strength do years produce.
The Witch. With pleasure! Here I have a bottle
From which I sometimes wet my throttle,
Which has no more the slightest stink;
I'll gladly give a little glass to you.
In a low tone.
And yet this man, if unprepared he drink,
He can not live an hour, as you know too.
Mephistopheles. He is a friend of mine whom it will profit well;
I would bestow your kitchen's best on him.
So draw your circle, speak your spell,
Give him a cup full to the brim!
THE WITCH with curious gestures draws a circle and places
marvellous things in it; meanwhile the glasses begin to ring, the
cauldron to sound and make music. Lastly, she brings a large book
and places the APES in a circle so as to make them serve as
reading-desk and hold the torch. She beckons FAUST to come
Faust [to MEPHISTOPHEILES]. What is to come of all this? Say!
These frantic gestures and this crazy stuff?
This most insipid, fooling play,
I've known and hated it enough.
Mephistopheles. Nonsense! She only wants to joke us;
I beg you, do not be so stern a man!
Physician-like, she has to play some hocus-pocus
So that the juice will do you all the good it can.
He obliges FAUST to step into the circle.
The Witch [begins to declaim, with great emphasis, from the book].
This you must ken!
From one make ten,
And two let be,
Make even three,
Then rich you'll be.
Skip o'er the four!
From five and six,
The Witch's tricks,
Make seven and eight,
'Tis finished straight;
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
That is the witch's one-time-one!
Faust. I think the old hag's talking in delirium.
Mephistopheles. Much more of it is still to come.
I know it well, thus doth the whole book chime;
I've squandered over it much time,
For perfect contradictions, in the end,
Remain mysterious alike for fools and sages.
The art is old and new, my friend.
It was the way in all the ages,
Through Three and One, and One and Three,
Error instead of truth to scatter.
Thus do men prate and teach untroubledly.
With fools who'll bandy wordy chatter?
Men oft believe, if only they hear wordy pother,
That there must surely be in it some thought or other.
The Witch [goes on].
The lofty power
Of Wisdom's dower
From all the world is hidden!
Who takes no thought,
To him it's brought,
Without a care, unbidden.
Faust. What nonsense is she chanting here before us?
My head's near splitting from her shrieking.
I seem to hear a whole, great chorus,
A hundred thousand idiots speaking.
Mephistopheles. Enough, O Sibyl excellent, enough!
Give us your drink, the precious stuff,
And fill the goblet quickly to the brim.
Since he's my friend, the drink will not hurt him.
A man of numerous degrees, he's quaffed
Already many a goodly draught.
THE WITCH with many ceremonies pours the drink into a goblet.
As FAUST lifts it to his mouth, a light flame rises.
Mephistopheles. Quick, down with it! And make an end!
Your heart will be delighted by the drink.
You are the Devil's bosom friend,
And yet, afraid of fire, you shrink?
THE WITCH breaks up the circle. FAUST steps out.
Mephistopheles. Quick, now, away! You must not rest.
The Witch. May you enjoy the small gulp's savour!
Mephistopheles [to THE WITCH]. If I can do you any favour,
Then on Walpurgis Night make your request.
The Witch. Here is a song! If sometimes sung, you'll see
In what a special way it will affect you.
Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. Come quickly and let me direct you;
You must perspire- that needs must be-
So that the potent juice all through you flow.
I'll teach you afterward to value noble leisure,
And soon you'll feel with thrilling pleasure
How Cupid stirs and leaps and trips it to and fro.
Faust. Let me but briefly gaze once more into the glass,
Ah, too fair seemed that woman's form!
Mephistopheles. No, no! A model that no woman can surpass,
You'll see anon alive and warm.
In a low tone.
With this drink in your body, soon you'll greet
A Helena in every girl you meet.
FAUST. MARGARET [passing by].
Faust. My fair young lady, may I make so free
As to lend you my arm and company?
Margaret. I'm not a lady, am not fair;
I can go home without your care.
She frees herself and exits.
Faust. By heaven, but this child is fair!
I've never seen her equal anywhere!
So virtuous, modest, through and through,
Yet with a bit of curtness too.
Her ruby lips, her cheek's clear bloom,
I'll not forget till the day of doom!
And then how she casts down her eyes,
Stamped deeply in my heart it lies!
How curt and short were her replies,
That fills me with sheer ecstasy!
Faust. Hear, you must get that girl for me!
Mephistopheles. Well, which one, then?
Faust. She just went by.
Mephistopheles. That one? She was just coming from her priest,
Absolved from every sin, down to the least.
Hard by the chair I stole quite nigh.
She's innocent in deed and thought
And went to confession all for naught.
Over her I have no power.
Faust. She's over fourteen years old even so.
Mephistopheles. My word! You talk like gay Lothario
Who covets for himself each lovely flower
And fancies, puffed up, there's no honour, no,
Nor favour that he may not cull;
But yet that is not always possible.
Faust. Sir Master Worshipful, I beg you, pause
And leave me in peace with all your laws!
And this I say- few words are best-
Unless that sweet young maiden lays
Her head this night upon my breast,
At midnight we've gone different ways.
Mephistopheles. Consider well what can and can not be.
I'll need at least some fourteen days
But to scent out an opportunity.
Faust. Had I but seven hours' rest, no need
Of devil would I have, to lead
A little creature such as this astray.
Mephistopheles. You're talking almost like a Frenchman. Pray
Don't let yourself be vexed beyond due measure.
What good is it to reap immediate pleasure?
The joy's not near so great, I say,
As if you first prepare the ground
With every sort of idle folly,
Knead and make ready your pretty dolly,
As many Romance tales expound.
Faust. I've appetite without that too.
Mephistopheles. Now jests aside, no more ado.
With that good, lovely child, indeed,
I tell you once for all, we can't use speed.
There's nothing here to take by storm;
To strategy we must conform.
Faust. Get something that the angel owns for me!
Oh, lead me to her place of rest!
Get me a kerchief from her breast,
A garter to my ecstasy!
Mephistopheles. Now just to prove that I will be
Of helpful service in your agony,
We'll lose no moment in delay.
I'll lead you to her room this very day.
Faust. And shall I see her? have her?
For she'll be at a neighbour's for a chat or so.
While she is gone, all by yourself you may
Enjoy her atmosphere till you are sated
And feast on all the hope of joys anticipated.
Faust. Can we go there?
Mephistopheles. It is too early yet.
Faust. Provide a gift for her and don't forget.
Mephistopheles. Ah, gifts at once? That's good! He'll make a hit!
Full many a lovely place I know
And many a treasure buried long ago.
I must survey the ground a bit.
A NEAT LITTLE ROOM
Margaret [plaiting and binding up her braids of hair].
I would give something, could I say
Who was that gentleman today!
Right gallant did he seem to be
And of some noble family.
That from his brow I could have told-
Else he would not have been so bold.
MEPHISTOPHELES and FAUST.
Mephistopheles. Come! come in! and on tiptoe!
Faust [after a silence]. Leave me alone here, I entreat!
Mephistopheles [peering about].
Not every girl keeps things so neat.
Faust [looking up and around]. Welcome, O thou sweet twilight glow
That through this shrine art stirring to and fro.
Sweet agony of love, possess this heart of mine,
Thou who on dews of hope dost live and yet dost pine.
What sense of quiet breathes around,
Of order, of contentedness!
What riches in this poverty abound!
Within this prison, ah! what blessedness!
He throws himself on the leather arm-chair by the bed.
Oh, welcome me, thou who the world now gone
Didst once receive in joy and sorrow, open-armed!
How often, ah! around this fathers'-throne
A flock of children clinging swarmed!
And, thankful for the Christmas gift, maybe
My darling here, her childish cheeks filled out,
Kissed grandsire's withered hand devotedly.
I feel, O maid, thy spirit radiate
Abundance, order, round about,
That, motherly, instructs thee day by day,
Bids thee the cloth upon the table neatly lay,
Even make the sand at thy feet decorate.
O darling hand! So godlike in thy ministry!
The hut becomes a realm of Heaven through thee.
He lifts one of the bed curtains.
What bliss and awe lay hold on me!
Here for whole hours I fain would tarry.
O Nature! Here didst thou in visions airy
Mould her, an angel in nativity.
Here lay the child; with warm life heaving
The tender bosom filled and grew;
And here, with pure and holy weaving,
The image of the gods was wrought anew!
And thou, O Faust, what led thee here? I feel
My very inmost being reel!
What wouldst thou here? What weights thy heart so sore?
O wretched Faust! I know thee now no more.
Does magic play about me, sweet and rare?
Some force impelled me to enjoy without delay,
And now in dreams of love I seem to float away!
Are we the sport of every puff of air?
And if this very moment she might enter here,
For thy rash conduct how wouldst thou atone!
Thou, great big lout, how small wouldst thou appear!
How, melted at her feet, thou wouldst lie prone!
Mephistopheles [enters]. Be quick! I see her coming down the lane.
Faust. Away! I'll never come back here again!
Mephistopheles. Here is a casket, of some weight,
Which I got elsewhere as a bait.
Here, put it in the press, this minute;
She'll lose her senses, I swear it to you.
In fact, I put some trinkets in it,
Enough another nobler maid to woo;
But still a child's a child, and play is play.
Faust. I don't know if I should?
Mephistopheles. Why ask you, pray?
Do you perhaps intend to hoard the treasure?
Then I'd advise you in your lustfulness
To waste no more sweet hours of leisure
And spare me further strain and stress.
I hope that you're not greedy!
I rub my hands, I scratch my head-
He puts the casket in the press and turns the lock again.
Away and speedy!-
To turn the sweet young child that she be led
To satisfy your heart's desire and will;
And you look around
As if to a lecture you were bound,
As if before you, living still,
Stood Physics and Metaphysics grey!
But off! away!
Margaret [with a lamp]. Here is such close such sultry air!
She opens the window.
And yet it's really not so warm out there.
I feel so strange- I don't know how-
I wish that Mother came home now.
From head to foot I'm shuddering-
I'm but a foolish, fearsome thing!
She begins to sing while she undresses.
There was in Thule olden
A king true till the grave,
To whom a beaker golden
His dying mistress gave.
Naught prized he more, this lover,
He drained it at each bout;
His eyes with tears brimmed over,
As oft he drank it out.
And when he came to dying,
His towns and his lands he told,
Naught else his heir denying
Except the beaker of gold.
Around him knight and vassal,
At a royal feast sat he
In his fathers' lofty castle,
The castle by the sea.
There the old pleasure-seeker
Drank, standing, life's last glow,
Then hurled the sacred beaker
Into the waves below.
He saw it plunging, drinking,
And sinking in the sea,
And so his eyes were sinking,
Never one drop more drank he.
She opens the press to put away her clothes and catches sight of
the little jewel-casket.
How came this lovely casket in my press?
Indeed I turned the lock most certainly.
It's very strange! What's in it I can't guess.
Someone has brought it as a pledge maybe,
And on it Mother loaned a bit.
Here on the ribbon hangs a little key,
I really think I'll open it.
What is that? God in Heaven! See!
I've never seen such things as here!
Jewels! A noble lady might appear
With these on any holiday.
This chain- how would it look on me?
Ah, whose can all this splendour be?
She adorns herself with it and steps before the mirror.
Were but the earrings mine! I say
One looks at once quite differently.
What good is beauty? blood of youth?
All that is nice and fine, in truth;
However, people pass and let it be.
They praise you- half with pity, though, be sure.
Toward gold throng all,
To gold cling all,
Yes, all! Alas, we poor!
FAUST walking thoughtfully up and down. MEPHISTOPHELES
Mephistopheles. By every despised love! By the red-hot fires of
Would I knew something worse, to curse by it as well!
Faust. What is the matter? What's so badly vexing you?
I've never seen before a face that looked that way.
Mephistopheles. Off to the Devil I'd betake myself this day
If I myself were not a devil too!
Faust. What has gone wrong? Why thus behave?
It suits you well to rant and rave!
Mephistopheles. Just think, the gems for Gretchen that I got,
A wretched priest has bagged the lot!
The mother gets to see the stuff
And starts at once to feel a secret shuddering.
The woman has a scent that's fine enough,
Forever in her prayer-book she delights to snuff,
And smells it out in every single thing
If it be sacred or profane;
So in those gems she noses till it's plain
That they held little blessing, little good.
'My child,' she cried, 'to keep unrighteous gain
Perturbs the soul, consumes the blood.
We'll dedicate it to the Mother of our Lord,
With heavenly manna She'll reward!'
Then Gretchen drew her mouth askew;
She thought: 'It is a gift-horse, it is true,
And surely godless is not he
Who brought it here so handsomely.'
The mother summoned in a priest who came
And when he'd scarce perceived the game,
Got much contentment from the sight.
He said: 'So one is minded right!
Who overcometh, winneth a crown.
The Church hath a good stomach ever,
Whole countries hath she gobbled down,
And yet hath over-eaten never;
The Church alone, dear ladies, best
Can all unrighteous goods digest.'
Faust. That is a custom that men oft pursue;
A Jew and king can do it too.
Mephistopheles. With that he bagged brooch, chain, and rings,
As if mere toadstools were the things,
And thanked them neither less nor more
Than were it a basketful of nuts he bore.
He promised them all heavenly pay
And greatly edified thereby were they.
Faust. And Gretchen?
Mephistopheles. Now sits restless. What she would
She knows not, neither what she should,
Thinks of the jewels night and day,
Still more on him who brought them to her.
Faust. The darling's grief distresses me.
Quick! get new ornaments to woo her.
The first ones were not much to see.
Mephistopheles. Oh yes, Milord thinks all is mere child's-play!
Faust. Make haste and do things as I like them done.
Into her neighbour's graces win your way!
Devil, don't be like mush and move so slow.
Fetch some new ornaments- up, now, and run!
Mephistopheles. Yes, gracious sir, with all my heart I'll go.
Such an enamoured fool would puff and blow
Sun, moon, and stars into thin air
Just as a pastime for his lady fair.
THE NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE
Martha [alone]. God pardon my dear husband! He
Has truly not done well by me!
Off in the world to go and roam
And leave me on the straw at home!
Sure, I did naught to vex him, truly,
And, God knows, always loved him duly.
Perhaps he's even dead!- Oh, cruel fate!
If I but had a death-certificate!
Margaret. Dame Martha!
Martha. Gretchen dear, what can it be?
Margaret. My knees almost sink under me!
There in my press I've found again
Just such a casket- and of ebony,
And things! magnificent they are,
Much richer than the first, by far!
Martha. You must not tell that to your mother;
She would confess it like the other.
Margaret. Ah, only look! ah, see now, do!
Martha [decking her out]. You lucky, lucky creature, you!
Margaret. Alas, these jewels I can never wear
At church or on the street, I'd never dare!
Martha. Come often over here to me
And here put on the jewels secretly.
Stroll up and down before the mirror for a season;
We'll have our own sweet joy of it.
And then there'll be a feast-day or some other reason
When one lets people see them, bit by bit.
A chain at first, a pearl then in your ear; your mother
Scarce will see it, we'll coin some fib or other.
Margaret. But both the caskets! Who could bring
Them both? Some wrong is in this thing!
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