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Faust A Tragedy - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 2.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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Witches, old and young; Wizards, Will-o’-the-Wisp, Witch Pedler, Protophantasmist, Servibilis, Monkeys, Spirits, Journeymen, Country-folk, Citizens, Beggar, Old Fortuneteller, Shepherd, Soldier, Students, etc.
In the Intermezzo.
Puck, etc., etc.
DIM forms, ye hover near, a shadowy train,
As erst upon my troubl’d sight ye stole.
Say, shall I strive to hold you once again?
Still for the fond illusion yearns my soul?
Ye press around! Come, then, resume your reign,
As upwards from the vapory mist ye roll;
Within my breast youth’s throbbing pulses bound,
Fann’d by the magic air that breathes your march around.
Shades fondly lov’d appear, your train attending,
And visions fair of many a blissful day;
First-love and friendship their fond accents blending,
Like to some ancient, half expiring lay;
Sorrow revives, her wail of anguish sending
Back o’er life’s devious labyrinthine way,
The dear ones naming who, in life’s fair morn,
By Fate beguiled, from my embrace were torn.
They hearken not unto my later song,
The souls to whom my earlier lays I sang;
Dispers’d for ever is the friendly throng,
Mute are the voices that responsive rang.
My song resoundeth stranger crowds among,
E’en their applause is to my heart a pang;
And those who heard me once with joyful heart,
If yet they live, now wander far apart.
A strange unwonted yearning doth my soul,
To yon calm solemn spirit-land, upraise;
In faltering cadence now my numbers roll,
As when, on harp Æolian, Zephyr plays;
My pulses thrill, tears flow without control,
A tender mood my steadfast heart o’ersways;
What I possess as from afar I see;
Those I have lost become realities to me.
PROLOGUE FOR THE THEATRE.
Manager. Dramatic Poet. Merryman.
Ye twain, whom I so oft have found
True friends in trouble and distress,
Say, in our scheme on German ground,
What prospect have we of success?
Fain would I please the public, win their thanks;
Because they live and let live, as is meet.
The posts are now erected and the planks,
And all look forward to a festal treat.
Their places taken, they, with eyebrows rais’d,
Sit patiently, and fain would be amaz’d.
I know the art to hit the public taste,
Yet so perplex’d I ne’er have been before;
’Tis true, they’re not accustom’d to the best,
But then they read immensely, that’s the bore.
How make our entertainment striking, new,
And yet significant and pleasing too?
For to be plain, I love to see the throng,
As to our booth the living tide progresses;
As wave on wave successive rolls along,
And through heaven’s narrow portal forceful presses;
Still in broad daylight, ere the clock strikes four,
With blows their way towards the box they take;
And, as for bread in famine, at the baker’s door,
For tickets are content their necks to break.
Such various minds the bard alone can sway,
My friend, oh work this miracle to-day!
Oh speak not of the motley multitude,
At whose aspect the spirit wings its flight;
Shut out the noisy crowd, whose vortex rude
Still draws us downward with resistless might.
Lead to some nook, where silence loves to brood,
Where only for the bard blooms pure delight,
Where love and friendship, gracious heavenly pair,
Our hearts true bliss create, and tend with fostering care.
What there up-welleth deep within the breast,
What there the timid lip shap’d forth in sound,
A failure now, now haply well express’d
In the wild tumult of the hour is drown’d;
Oft doth the perfect form then first invest
The poet’s thought, when years have sped their round;
What dazzles satisfies the present hour,
The genuine lives, of coming years the dower.
This cant about posterity I hate;
About posterity were I to prate,
Who then the living would amuse? For they
Will have diversion, ay, and ’tis their due.
A sprightly fellow’s presence at your play,
Methinks, should always go for something too;
Whose genial wit the audience still inspires,
Is not embittered by its changeful mood;
A wider circle he desires,
To move with greater power, the multitude.
To work, then! Prove a master in your art!
Let phantasy with all her choral train,
Sense, reason, feeling, passion, bear their part,
But mark! let folly also mingle in the strain!
And, chief, let incidents enough arise!
A show they want; they come to feast their eyes.
When stirring scenes before them are display’d,
At which the gaping crowd may wondering gaze,
Your reputation is already made,
The man you are all love to praise.
The masses you alone through masses can subdue,
Each then selects in time what suits his bent.
Bring much, you somewhat bring to not a few,
And from the house goes every one content.
You give a piece, in pieces give it, friend!
Such a ragout, success must needs attend;
’Tis easy to serve up, as easy to invent.
A finish’d whole what boots it to present!
’Twill be in pieces by the public rent.
How mean such handicraft as this you cannot feel!
How it revolts the genuine artist’s mind!
The sorry trash in which these coxcombs deal,
Is here approved on principle, I find.
Such a reproof disturbs me not a whit!
Who on efficient work is bent,
Must choose the fittest instrument.
Consider! ’tis soft wood you have to split;
Think too for whom you write, I pray!
One comes to while an hour away;
One from the festive board, a sated guest;
Others, more dreaded than the rest,
From journal-reading hurry to the play.
As to a masquerade, with absent minds, they press,
Sheer curiosity their footsteps winging;
Ladies display their persons and their dress,
Actors unpaid their service bringing.
What dreams beguile you on your poet’s height?
What puts a full house in a merry mood?
More closely view your patrons of the night!
The half are cold, the other half are rude.
One, the play over, craves a game of cards;
Another a wild night in wanton joy would spend.
Poor fool, the muses’ fair regards
Why court for such a paltry end?
I tell you, give them more, still more, ’tis all I ask,
Thus you will ne’er stray widely from the goal;
Your audience seek to mystify, cajole;—
To satisfy them—that’s a harder task.
What ails thee? art enraptur’d or distress’d?
Depart! elsewhere another servant choose!
What! shall the bard his godlike power abuse?
Man’s loftiest right, kind nature’s high bequest,
For your mean purpose basely sport away?
Whence comes his mastery o’er the human breast,
Whence o’er the elements his sway,
But from the harmony that, gushing from his soul,
Draws back into his heart the wondrous whole?
When round her spindle, with unceasing drone,
Nature still whirls th’ unending thread of life;
When Being’s jarring crowds, together thrown,
Mingle in harsh inextricable strife;
Who deals their course unvari’d till it falls,
In rhythmic flow to music’s measur’d tone?
Each solitary note whose genius calls,
To swell the mighty choir in unison?
Who in the raging storm sees passion lour,
Or flush of earnest thought in evening’s glow,
Who, in the springtide, every fairest flower
Along the lov’d one’s path would strow?
From green and common leaves whose hand doth twine,
The wreath of glory, won in every field?
Makes sure Olympos, blends the powers divine?—
Man’s mighty spirit, in the bard reveal’d!
Come then, employ your lofty inspiration,
And carry on the poet’s avocation,
Just as we carry on a love affair.
Two meet by chance, are pleas’d they linger there,
Insensibly are link’d, they scarce know how;
Fortune seems now propitious, adverse now,
Then come alternate rapture and despair;
And ’tis a true romance ere one’s aware.
Just such a drama let us now compose.
Plunge boldly into life—its depths disclose!
Each lives it, not to many is it known,
’Twill interest wheresoever seiz’d and shown;
Bright pictures, but obscure their meaning:
A ray of truth through error gleaming,
Thus you the best elixir brew,
To charm mankind, and edify them too.
Then youth’s fair blossoms crowd to view your play,
And wait as on an oracle; while they,
The tender souls, who love the melting mood,
Suck from your work their melancholy food;
Now this one, and now that, you deeply stir,
Each sees the working of his heart laid bare;
Their tears, their laughter, you command with ease,
The lofty still they honor, the illusive love,
Your finish’d gentlemen you ne’er can please;
A growing mind alone will grateful prove.
Then give me back youth’s golden prime,
When my own spirit too was growing,
When from my heart th’ unbidden rhyme
Gush’d forth, a fount for ever flowing;
Then shadowy mist the world conceal’d,
And every bud sweet promise made,
Of wonders yet to be reveal’d,
As through the vales, with blooms inlaid,
Culling a thousand flowers I stray’d.
Naught had I, yet a rich profusion;
The thirst for truth, joy in each fond illusion.
Give me unquell’d those impulses to prove;—
Rapture so deep, its ecstasy was pain,
The power of hate, the energy of love,
Give me, oh give me back my youth again!
Youth, my good friend, you certainly require
When foes in battle round you press,
When a fair maid, her heart on fire,
Hangs on your neck with fond caress,
When from afar, the victor’s crown,
Allures you in the race to run;
Or when in revelry you drown
Your sense, the whirling dance being done.
But the familiar chords among
Boldly to sweep, with graceful cunning,
While to its goal, the verse along
Its winding path is sweetly running;
This task is yours, old gentlemen, to-day;
Nor are you therefore in less reverence held;
Age does not make us childish, as folk say,
It finds us genuine children e’en in eld.
A truce to words, mere empty sound,
Let deeds at length appear, my friends!
While idle compliments you round,
You might achieve some useful ends.
Why talk of the poetic vein?
Who hesitates will never know it;
If bards ye are, as ye maintain,
Now let your inspiration show it.
To you is known what we require,
Strong drink to sip is our desire;
Come, brew me such without delay!
To-morrow sees undone, what happens not to-day;
Still forward press, nor ever tire!
The possible, with steadfast trust,
Resolve should by the forelock grasp;
Then she will ne’er let go her clasp,
And labors on, because she must.
On German boards, you’re well aware,
The taste of each may have full sway;
Therefore in bringing out your play,
Nor scenes nor mechanism spare!
Heaven’s lamps employ, the greatest and the least,
Be lavish of the stellar lights,
Water, and fire, and rocky heights,
Spare not at all, nor birds nor beast.
Thus let creation’s ample sphere
Forthwith in this our narrow booth appear,
And with considerate speed, through fancy’s spell,
Journey from heaven, thence through the world, to hell!
PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN.
The Lord. The Heavenly Hosts.AfterwardsMephistopheles.
The three Archangels come forward.
Still quiring as in ancient time
With brother spheres in rival song,
The sun with thunder-march sublime
Moves his predestin’d course along.
Angels are strengthen’d by his sight,
Though fathom him no angel may;
Resplendent are the orbs of light,
As on creation’s primal day.
And lightly spins earth’s gorgeous sphere,
Swifter than thought its rapid flight;
Alternates Eden-brightness clear,
With solemn, dread-inspiring night;
The foaming waves, with murmurs hoarse,
Against the rocks’ deep base are hurl’d;
And in the sphere’s eternal course
Are rocks and ocean swiftly whirl’d.
And rival tempests rush amain
From sea to land, from land to sea,
And raging form a wondrous chain
Of deep mysterious agency;
Full in the thunder’s fierce career,
Flaming the swift destructions play;
But, Lord, thy messengers revere
The mild procession of thy day.
Angels are strengthened by thy sight,
Though fathom thee no angel may;
Thy works still shine with splendor bright,
As on creation’s primal day.
Since thou, O Lord, approachest us once more,
And how it fares with us, to ask art fain,
Since thou hast kindly welcom’d me of yore,
Thou seest me also now among thy train.
Excuse me, fine harangues I cannot make,
Though all the circle look on me with scorn;
My pathos soon thy laughter would awake,
Hadst thou the laughing mood not long forsworn.
Of suns and worlds I nothing have to say,
I see alone mankind’s self-torturing pains.
The little world-god still the self-same stamp retains,
And is as wondrous now as on the primal day.
Better he might have fared, poor wight,
Hadst thou not given him a gleam of heavenly light;
Reason he names it, and doth so
Use it, than brutes more brutish still to grow.
With deference to your grace, he seems to me
Like any long-legged grasshopper to be,
Which ever flies, and flying springs,
And in the grass its ancient ditty sings.
Would he but always in the grass repose
In every heap of dung he thrusts his nose.
Hast thou naught else to say? Is blame
In coming here, as ever, thy sole aim?
Does nothing on the earth to thee seem right?
No, Lord! I find things there in miserable plight.
Men’s wretchedness in sooth I so deplore,
Not even I would plague the sorry creatures more.
Know’st thou my servant, Faust?
He serves thee in strange fashion, as I think.
Poor fool! Not earthly is his food or drink.
An inward impulse hurries him afar,
Himself half conscious of his frenzied mood;
From heaven claimeth he its brightest star,
And from the earth craves every highest good,
And all that’s near, and all that’s far,
Fails to allay the tumult in his blood.
Though now he serves me with imperfect sight,
I will ere long conduct him to the light.
The gard’ner knoweth, when the green appears,
That flowers and fruit will crown the coming years.
What wilt thou wager? Him thou yet shalt lose,
If leave to me thou wilt but give,
Gently to lead him as I choose!
So long as he on earth doth live,
So long ’tis not forbidden thee.
Man still must err, while he doth strive.
I thank you; for not willingly
I traffic with the dead, and still aver
That youth’s plump blooming cheek I very much prefer.
I’m not at home to corpses; ’tis my way,
Like cats with captive mice to toy and play.
Enough! ’tis granted thee! Divert
This mortal spirit from his primal source;
Him, canst thou seize, thy power exert
And lead him on thy downward course,
Then stand abash’d, when thou perforce must own,
A good man, in the direful grasp of ill,
His consciousness of right retaineth still.
Agreed!—the wager will be quickly won.
For my success no fears I entertain;
And if my end I finally should gain,
Excuse my triumphing with all my soul.
Dust he shall eat, ay, and with relish take,
As did my cousin, the renowned snake.
Here too thou’rt free to act without control;
I ne’er have cherished hate for such as thee.
Of all the spirits who deny,
The scoffer is least wearisome to me.
Ever too prone is man activity to shirk,
In uncondition’d rest he fain would live;
Hence this companion purposely I give,
Who stirs, excites, and must, as devil, work.
But ye, the genuine sons of heaven, rejoice!
In the full living beauty still rejoice!
May that which works and lives, the ever-growing,
In bonds of love enfold you, mercy-fraught,
And Seeming’s changeful forms, around you flowing,
Do ye arrest, in ever-during thought!
[Heaven closes, the Archangels disperse.
(Alone.) The ancient one I like sometimes to see,
And not to break with him am always civil;
’Tis courteous in so great a lord as he,
To speak so kindly even to the devil.
A high vaulted narrow Gothic chamber.
Faust,restless, seated at his desk.
ERE have I, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labor, studied through.
And yet I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
Magister, doctor styled, indeed,
Already these ten years I lead,
Up, down, across, and to and fro,
My pupils by the nose,—and learn,
That we in truth can nothing know!
This in my heart like fire doth burn.
’Tis true, I’ve more cunning than all your dull tribe,
Magister and doctor, priest, parson, and scribe;
Scruple or doubt comes not to enthrall me,
Neither can devil nor hell now appall me—
Hence also my heart must all pleasure forego!
I may not pretend, aught rightly to know,
I may not pretend, through teaching, to find
A means to improve or convert mankind.
Then I have neither goods nor treasure,
No worldly honor, rank, or pleasure;
No dog in such fashion would longer live!
Therefore myself to magic I give,
In hope, through spirit-voice and might,
Secrets now veiled to bring to light,
That I no more, with aching brow,
Need speak of what I nothing know;
That I the force may recognize
That binds creation’s inmost energies;
Her vital powers, her embryo seeds survey,
And fling the trade in empty words away.
O full-orb’d moon, did but thy rays
Their last upon mine anguish gaze!
Beside this desk, at dead of night,
Art hovering near!
Ha! How my heart is riven now!
Each sense, with eager palpitation,
Is strain’d to catch some new sensation!
I feel my heart surrender’d unto thee!
Thou must! Thou must! Though life should be the fee!
[He seizes the book, and pronounces mysteriously the sign of the spirit. A ruddy flame flashes up; the spirit appears in the flame.
Who calls me?
(Turning aside.) Dreadful shape!
Thou hast compell’d me to appear,
Long hast been sucking at my sphere,
Woe’s me! I cannot bear thy sight.
To know me thou didst breathe thy prayer,
My voice to hear, to gaze upon my brow;
Me doth thy strong entreaty bow—
Lo! I am here!—What pitiful despair
Grasps thee, the demigod! Where’s now the soul’s deep cry?
Where is the breast which in its depths a world conceiv’d
And bore and cherish’d; which, with ecstasy,
To rank itself with us, the spirits, heav’d?
Where art thou, Faust? whose voice I heard resound,
Who towards me press’d with energy profound?
Art thou he? Thou—whom thus my breath can blight,
Whose inmost being with affright
Trembles, a crush’d and writhing worm!
Shall I yield, thing of flame, to thee?
Faust, and thine equal, I am he!
In the currents of life, in action’s storm,
Thus time’s whirring loom unceasing I ply,
And weave the life-garment of deity.
Thou, restless spirit, dost from end to end
O’ersweep the world; how near I feel to thee!
Thou’rt like the spirit, thou dost comprehend,
(Deeply moved.) Not thee?
I, God’s own image!
And not rank with thee!
O death! I know it—’tis my famulus—
My fairest fortune now escapes!
That all these visionary shapes
A soulless groveller should banish thus!
[Wagnerin his dressing-gown and nightcap, a lamp in his hand.Faustturns round reluctantly.
Pardon! I heard you here declaim;
A Grecian tragedy you doubtless read?
Improvement in this art is now my aim,
For now-a-days it much avails. Indeed
An actor, oft I’ve heard it said at least,
May give instruction even to a priest.
Ay, if your priest should be an actor too,
As not improbably may come to pass.
When in his study pent the whole year through,
Man views the world as through an optic glass,
On a chance holiday, and scarcely then,
How by persuasion can be govern men?
If feeling prompt not, if it doth not flow
Fresh from the spirit’s depths, with strong control
Swaying to rapture every listener’s soul,
Idle your toil; the chase you may forego!
Brood o’er your task! Together glue,
Cook from another’s feast your own ragout,
Still prosecute your paltry game,
And fan your ash-heaps into flame!
Thus children’s wonder you’ll excite,
And apes’, if such your appetite:
But that which issues from the heart alone
Will bend the hearts of others to your own.
The speaker in delivery will find
Success alone; I still am far behind.
A worthy object still pursue!
Be not a hollow tinkling fool!
Sound understanding, judgment true,
Find utterance without art or rule;
And when with earnestness you speak,
Then is it needful cunning words to seek?
Your fine harangues, so polish’d in their kind,
Wherein the shreds of human thought ye twist,
Are unrefreshing as the empty wind,
Whistling through wither’d leaves and autumn mist!
O Heavens! art is long and life is short!
Still as I prosecute with earnest zeal
The critic’s toil, I’m haunted by this thought,
And vague misgivings o’er my spirit steal.
The very means how hardly are they won
By which we to the fountains rise!
And, haply, ere one half the course is run,
Check’d in his progress, the poor devil lies.
Parchment, is that the sacred fount whence roll
Waters, he thirsteth not who once hath quaffed?
Oh, if it gush not from thine inmost soul,
Thou hast not won the life-restoring draught.
Your pardon! ’tis delightful to transport
One’s self into the spirit of the past,
To see in times before us how a wise man thought,
And what a glorious height we have achiev’d at last.
Ay truly! even to the loftiest star!
To us, my friend, the ages that are pass’d
A book with seven seals, close-fasten’d, are;
And what the spirit of the times men call,
Is merely their own spirit after all,
Wherein, distorted oft, the times are glass’d.
Then truly, ’tis a sight to grieve the soul!
At the first glance we fly it in dismay;
A very lumber-room, a rubbish-hole;
At best a sort of mock-heroic play,
With saws pragmatical, and maxims sage,
To suit the puppets and their mimic stage.
But then the world and man, his heart and brain!
Touching these things all men would something know.
Ay! what ’mong men as knowledge doth obtain!
Who on the child its true name dares bestow?
The few who somewhat of these things have known,
Who their full hearts unguardedly reveal’d,
Nor thoughts nor feelings from the mob conceal’d,
Have died on crosses, or in flames been thrown.—
Excuse me, friend, far now the night is spent,
For this time we must say adieu.
Still to watch on I had been well content,
Thus to converse so learnedly with you.
But as to-morrow will be Easter-day,
Some further questions grant, I pray;
With diligence to study still I fondly cling;
Already I know much, but would know everything.
(Alone.) How he alone is ne’er bereft of hope,
Who clings to tasteless trash with zeal untir’d,
Who doth, with greedy hand, for treasure grope,
And finding earth-worms, is with joy inspir’d!
And dare a voice of merely human birth,
E’en here, where shapes immortal throng’d, intrude?
Yet ah! thou poorest of the sons of earth,
For once, I e’en to thee feel gratitude.
Despair the power of sense did well-nigh blast,
And thou didst save me ere I sank dismay’d;
So giant-like the vision seem’d, so vast,
I felt myself shrink dwarf’d as I survey’d!
I, God’s own image, from this toil of clay
Already freed, with eager joy who hail’d
The mirror of eternal truth unveil’d,
Mid light effulgent and celestial day—
I, more than cherub, whose unfetter’d soul
With penetrative glance aspir’d to flow
Through nature’s veins, and, still creating, know
The life of gods,—how am I punish’d now!
One thunder-word hath hurl’d me from the goal!
Spirit! I dare not lift me to thy sphere.
What though my power compell’d thee to appear,
My art was powerless to detain thee here.
In that great moment, rapture-fraught,
I felt myself so small, so great;
Fiercely didst thrust me from the realm of thought
Back on humanity’s uncertain fate!
Who’ll teach me now? What ought I to forego?
Ought I that impulse to obey?
Alas! our every deed, as well as every woe,
Impedes the tenor of life’s onward way!
E’en to the noblest by the soul conceiv’d,
Some feelings cling of baser quality;
And when the goods of this world are achiev’d,
Each nobler aim is term’d a cheat, a lie.
Our aspirations, our soul’s genuine life,
Grow torpid in the din of earthly strife.
Though youthful phantasy, while hope inspires,
Stretch o’er the infinite her wing sublime,
A narrow compass limits her desires,
When wreck’d our fortunes in the gulf of time.
In the deep heart of man care builds her nest.
O’er secret woes she broodeth there,
Sleepless she rocks herself and scareth joy and rest;
Still is she wont some new disguise to wear;
She may as house and court, as wife and child appear,
As dagger, poison, fire and flood;
Imagin’d evils chill thy blood,
And what thou ne’er shall lose, o’er that dost shed the tear.
I am not like the gods! Feel it I must;
I’m like the earth-worm, writhing in the dust,
Which, as on dust it feeds, its native fare,
Crush’d ’neath the passer’s tread, lies buried there.
Is it not dust, wherewith this lofty wall,
With hundred shelves, confines me round,
Rubbish, in thousand shapes, may I not call
What in this moth-world doth my being bound?
Here, what doth fail me, shall I find?
Read in a thousand tomes that, everywhere,
Self-torture is the lot of human-kind,
With but one mortal happy, here and there?
Thou hollow skull, that grin, what should it say,
But that thy brain, like mine, of old perplex’d,
Still yearning for the truth, hath sought the light of day,
And in the twilight wander’d, sorely vex’d?
Ye instruments, forsooth, ye mock at me,—
With wheel, and cog, and ring, and cylinder;
To nature’s portals ye should be the key;
Cunning your wards, and yet the bolts ye fail to stir.
Inscrutable in broadest light,
To be unveil’d by force she doth refuse,
What she reveals not to thy mental sight,
Thou wilt not wrest from her with levers and with screws.
Old useless furnitures, yet stand ye here,
Because my sire ye serv’d, now dead and gone.
Old scroll, the smoke of years dost wear,
So long as o’er this desk the sorry lamp hath shone.
Better my little means have squander’d quite away,
Than burden’d by that little here to sweat and groan!
Wouldst thou possess thy heritage, essay,
By use to render it thine own!
What we employ not, but impedes our way,
That which the hour creates, that can it use alone!
But wherefore to yon spot is riveted my gaze?
Is yonder flasket there a magnet to my sight?
Whence this mild radiance that around me plays,
As when, ’mid forest gloom, reigneth the moon’s soft light?
Hail, precious phial! Thee, with reverent awe,
Down from thine old receptacle I draw!
Science in thee I hail and human art.
Essence of deadliest powers, refin’d and sure,
Of soothing anodynes abstraction pure,
Now in thy master’s need thy grace impart!
I gaze on thee, my pain is lull’d to rest;
I grasp thee, calm’d the tumult in my breast;
The flood-tide of my spirit ebbs away;
Onward I’m summon’d o’er a boundless main,
Calm at my feet expands the glassy plain,
To shores unknown allures a brighter day.
Lo, where a car of fire, on airy pinion,
Comes floating towards me! I’m prepar’d to fly
By a new track through ether’s wide dominion,
To distant spheres of pure activity.
This life intense, this godlike ecstasy—
Worm that thou art such rapture canst thou earn?
Only resolve with courage stern and high,
Thy visage from the radiant sun to turn;
Dare with determin’d will to burst the portals
Past which in terror others fain would steal!
Now is the time, through deeds, to show that mortals
The calm sublimity of gods can feel;
To shudder not at yonder dark abyss,
Where phantasy creates her own self-torturing brood,
Right onward to the yawning gulf to press,
Around whose narrow jaws rolleth hell’s fiery flood;
With glad resolve to take the fatal leap,
Though danger threaten thee, to sink in endless sleep!
Pure crystal goblet, forth I draw thee now,
From out thine antiquated case, where thou
Forgotten hast reposed for many a year!
Oft at my father’s revels thou didst shine,
To glad the earnest guests was thine,
As each to other pass’d the generous cheer.
The gorgeous brede of figures, quaintly wrought,
Which he who quaff’d must first in rhyme expound,
Then drain the goblet at one draught profound,
Hath nights of boyhood to fond memory brought.
I to my neighbor shall not reach thee now,
Nor on thy rich device shall I my cunning show.
Here is a juice, makes drunk without delay;
Its dark brown flood thy crystal round doth fill;
Let this last draught, the product of my skill,
My own free choice, be quaff’d with resolute will,
A solemn festive greeting, to the coming day!
[He places the goblet to his mouth.
[The ringing of bells, and choral voices.
Chorus of Angels.
Christ is arisen!
Mortal, all hail to thee,
Thou whom mortality,
Earth’s sad reality,
Held as in prison.
What hum melodious, what clear silvery chime,
Thus draws the goblet from my lips away?
Ye deep-ton’d bells, do ye with voice sublime,
Announce the solemn dawn of Easter-day?
Sweet choir! are ye the hymn of comfort singing,
Which once around the darkness of the grave,
From seraph-voices, in glad triumph ringing,
Of a new covenant assurance gave?
Chorus of Women.
Chorus of Angels.
Wherefore, ye tones celestial, sweet and strong,
Come ye a dweller in the dust to seek?
Ring out your chimes believing crowds among,
The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak;
From faith her darling, miracle, hath sprung.
Aloft to yonder spheres I dare not soar,
Whence sound the tidings of great joy;
And yet, with this sweet strain familiar when a boy,
Back it recalleth me to life once more.
Then would celestial love, with holy kiss,
Come o’er me in the Sabbath’s stilly hour,
While, fraught with solemn meaning and mysterious power,
Chim’d the deep-sounding bell, and prayer was bliss;
A yearning impulse, undefin’d yet dear,
Drove me to wander on through wood and field;
With heaving breast and many a burning tear,
I felt with holy joy a world reveal’d.
Gay sports and festive hours proclaim’d with joyous pealing,
This Easter hymn in days of old;
And fond remembrance now doth me, with childlike feeling,
Back from the last, the solemn step, withhold.
O still sound on, thou sweet celestial strain!
The tear-drop flows—Earth, I am thine again!
Chorus of Disciples.
Chorus of Angels.
Before the Gate.
Promenaders of all sorts pass out.
Why choose ye that direction, pray?
To the hunting-lodge we’re on our way.
We towards the mill are strolling on.
A walk to Wasserhof were best.
The road is not a pleasant one.
What will you do?
I’ll join the rest.
Let’s up to Burghof, there you’ll find good cheer,
The prettiest maidens and the best of beer,
And brawls of a prime sort.
You scapegrace! How!
Your skin still itching for a row?
Thither I will not go, I loathe the place.
No, no! I to the town my steps retrace.
Near yonder poplars he is sure to be.
And if he is, what matters it to me!
With you he’ll walk, he’ll dance with none but you,
And with your pleasures what have I to do?
To-day he will not be alone, he said
His friend would be with him, the curly-head.
Why how those buxom girls step on!
Come, brother, we will follow them anon.
Strong beer, a damsel smartly dress’d,
Stinging tobacco,—these I love the best.
Look at those handsome fellows there!
’Tis really shameful, I declare,
The very best society they shun,
After those servant-girls forsooth, to run.
(To the first) Not quite so fast! for in our rear,
Two girls, well-dress’d, are drawing near;
Not far from us the one doth dwell,
And sooth to say, I like her well.
They walk demurely, yet you’ll see,
That they will let us join them presently.
Not I! restraints of all kinds I detest.
Quick! let us catch the wild-game ere it flies,
The hand on Saturday the mop that plies
Will on the Sunday fondle you the best.
No, this new Burgomaster, I like him not; each hour
He grows more arrogant, now that he’s rais’d to power;
And for the town, what doth he do for it?
Are not things worse from day to day?
To more restraints we must submit;
And taxes more than ever pay.
(Sings.) Kind gentlemen and ladies fair,
I know naught better on a holiday,
Than chatting about war and war’s alarms;
When folk in Turkey are all up in arms,
Fighting their deadly battles far away,
We at the window stand, our glasses drain,
And watch adown the stream the painted vessels glide,
Then, blessing peace and peaceful times, again
Homeward we turn our steps at eventide.
Ay, neighbor! So let matters stand for me!
There they may scatter one another’s brains,
And wild confusion round them see—
So here at home in quiet all remains!
(To theBurghers’ Daughters.) Heyday! How smart! The fresh young blood!
Who would not fall in love with you?
Not quite so proud! ’Tis well and good!
And what you wish, that I could help you to.
Come, Agatha! I care not to be seen
Walking in public with these witches. True,
My future lover, last St. Andrew’s E’en,
In flesh and blood she brought before my view.
And mine she show’d me also in the glass,
A soldier’s figure, with companions bold:
I look around, I seek him as I pass,
In vain, his form I nowhere can behold.
Loos’d from their fetters are streams and rills
Through the gracious spring-tide’s all-quickening glow;
Hope’s budding joy in the vale doth blow;
Old Winter back to the savage hills
Withdraweth his force, decrepit now.
Thence only impotent icy grains
Scatters he as he wings his flight,
Striping with sleet the verdant plains;
But the sun endureth no trace of white;
Everywhere growth and movement are rife,
All things investing with hues of life:
Though flowers are lacking, varied of dye,
Their colors the motley throng supply.
Turn thee around, and from this height,
Back to the town direct thy sight.
Forth from the hollow, gloomy gate,
Stream forth the masses, in bright array.
Gladly seek they the sun to-day;
The Resurrection they celebrate:
For they themselves have risen, with joy,
From tenement sordid, from cheerless room,
From bonds of toil, from care and annoy,
From gable and roof’s o’erhanging gloom,
From crowded alley and narrow street,
And from the churches’ awe-breathing night,
All now have issued into the light.
But look! how spreadeth on nimble feet
Through garden and field the joyous throng,
How o’er the river’s ample sheet,
Many a gay wherry glides along!
And see, deep sinking in the tide,
Pushes the last boat now away.
E’en from yon far hill’s path-worn side,
Flash the bright hues of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village mirth arise;
This is the people’s paradise.
Both great and small send up a cheer;
Here am I man, I feel it here.
Sir Doctor, in a walk with you
There’s honor and instruction too;
Yet here alone I care not to resort,
Because I coarseness hate of every sort.
This fiddling, shouting, skittling, I detest;
I hate the tumult of the vulgar throng;
They roar as by the evil one possess’d,
And call it pleasure, call it song.
(Under the linden tree.)
Doctor, ’tis really kind of you,
To condescend to come this way,
A highly learned man like you,
To join our mirthful throng to-day.
Our fairest cup I offer you,
Which we with sparkling drink have crown’d,
And pledging you, I pray aloud,
That every drop within its round,
While it your present thirst allays,
May swell the number of your days.
I take the cup you kindly reach,
Thanks and prosperity to each!
[The crowd gather round in a circle.
Ay, truly! ’tis well done, that you
Our festive meeting thus attend;
You, who in evil days of yore,
So often show’d yourself our friend!
Full many a one stands living here,
Who from the fever’s deadly blast,
Your father rescued, when his skill
The fatal sickness stay’d at last.
A young man then, each house you sought,
Where reign’d the mortal pestilence.
Corpse after corpse was carried forth,
But still unscath’d you issued thence.
Sore then your trials and severe;
The Helper yonder aids the helper here.
Heaven bless the trusty friend, and long
To help the poor his life prolong!
To Him above in homage bend,
Who prompts the helper and Who help doth send.
[He proceeds withWagner.
With what emotions must your heart o’erflow,
Receiving thus the reverence of the crowd!
Great man! How happy, who like you doth know
Such use for gifts by heaven bestow’d!
You to the son the father shows;
They press around, inquire, advance,
Hush’d is the fiddle, check’d the dance.
Still where you pass they stand in rows,
And each aloft his bonnet throws,
They fall upon their knees, almost
As when there passeth by the Host.
A few steps further, up to yonder stone!
Here rest we from our walk. In times long past,
Absorb’d in thought, here oft I sat alone,
And disciplin’d myself with prayer and fast.
Then rich in hope, with faith sincere,
With sighs, and hands in anguish press’d,
The end of that sore plague, with many a tear,
From heaven’s dread Lord, I sought to wrest.
These praises have to me a scornful tone.
Oh, could’st thou in my inner being read,
How little either sire or son,
Of such renown deserve the meed!
My sire, of good repute, and sombre mood,
O’er nature’s powers and every mystic zone,
With honest zeal, but methods of his own,
With toil fantastic loved to brood;
His time in dark alchemic cell,
With brother adepts he would spend,
And there antagonists compel,
Through numberless receipts to blend.
A ruddy lion there, a suitor bold,
In tepid bath was with the lily wed.
Thence both, while open flames around them roll’d,
Were tortur’d to another bridal bed.
Was then the youthful queen descri’d
With many a hue, to crown the task;—
This was our medicine; the patients died,
“Who were restor’d?” none car’d to ask.
With our infernal mixture thus, ere long,
These hills and peaceful vales among,
We rag’d more fiercely than the pest;
Myself the deadly poison did to thousands give;
They pined away, I yet must live,
To hear the reckless murderers blest.
Why let this thought your soul o’ercast?
Can man do more than with nice skill,
With firm and conscientious will,
Practise the art transmitted from the past?
If duly you revere your sire in youth,
His lore you gladly will receive;
In manhood, if you spread the bounds of truth,
Then may your son a higher goal achieve.
O blest, whom still the hope inspires,
To lift himself from error’s turbid flood!
What a man knows not, he to use requires,
And what he knows, he cannot use for good.
But let not moody thoughts their shadow throw
O’er the calm beauty of this hour serene!
In the rich sunset see how brightly glow
Yon cottage homes, girt round with verdant green!
Slow sinks the orb, the day is now no more;
Yonder he hastens to diffuse new life.
Oh for a pinion from the earth to soar,
And after, ever after him to strive!
Then should I see the world below,
Bath’d in the deathless evening beams,
The vales reposing, every height a-glow,
The silver brooklets meeting golden streams.
The savage mountain, with its cavern’d side,
Bars not my godlike progress. Lo, the ocean,
Its warm bays heaving with a tranquil motion,
To my rapt vision opes its ample tide!
But now at length the god appears to sink!
A new-born impulse wings my flight,
Onward I press, his quenchless light to drink,
The day before me, and behind the night,
The pathless waves beneath, and over me the skies.
Fair dream, it vanish’d with the parting day!
Alas! that when on spirit-wing we rise,
No wing material lifts our mortal clay.
But ’tis our inborn impulse, deep and strong,
Upwards and onwards still to urge our flight,
When far above us pours its thrilling song
The sky-lark, lost in azure light,
When on extended wing amain
O’er pine-crown’d height the eagle soars,
And over moor and lake, the crane
Still striveth towards its native shores.
To strange conceits oft I myself must own,
But impulse such as this I ne’er have known:
Nor woods, nor fields, can long our thoughts engage,
Their wings I envy not the feather’d kind;
Far otherwise the pleasures of the mind,
Bear us from book to book, from page to page!
Then winter nights grow cheerful; keen delight
Warms every limb; and ah! when we unroll
Some old and precious parchment, at the sight
All heaven itself descends upon the soul.
Your heart by one sole impulse is possess’d;
Unconscious of the other still remain!
Two souls, alas! are lodg’d within my breast,
Which struggle there for undivided reign:
One to the world, with obstinate desire,
And closely-cleaving organs, still adheres;
Above the mist, the other doth aspire,
With sacred vehemence, to purer spheres.
Oh, are there spirits in the air,
Who float ’twixt heaven and earth dominion wielding.
Stoop hither from your golden atmosphere,
Lead me to scenes, new life and fuller yielding!
A magic mantle did I but possess,
Abroad to waft me as on viewless wings,
I’d prize it far beyond the costliest dress,
Nor would I change it for the robe of kings.
Call not the spirits who on mischief wait!
Their troop familiar, streaming through the air,
From every quarter threaten man’s estate,
And danger in a thousand forms prepare!
They drive impetuous from the frozen north,
With fangs sharp-piercing, and keen arrowy tongues;
From the ungenial east they issue forth,
And prey, with parching breath, upon your lungs;
If, wafted on the desert’s flaming wing,
They from the south heap fire upon the brain,
Refreshment from the west at first they bring,
Anon to drown thyself and field and plain.
In wait for mischief, they are prompt to hear;
With guileful purpose our behests obey;
Like ministers of grace they oft appear,
And lisp like angels, to betray.
But let us hence! Gray eve doth all things blend,
The air grows chill, the mists descend!
’Tis in the evening first our home we prize—
Why stand you thus, and gaze with wondering eyes?
What in the gloom thus moves you?
Yon black hound
Seest thou, through corn and stubble scampering round?
I’ve mark’d him long, naught strange in him I see!
Note him! What takest thou the brute to be?
But for a poodle, whom his instinct serves
His master’s track to find once more.
Dost mark how round us, with wide spiral curves,
He wheels, each circle closer than before?
And, if I err not, he appears to me
A fiery whirlpool in his track to leave.
Naught but a poodle black of hue I see;
’Tis some illusion doth your sight deceive.
Methinks a magic coil our feet around,
He for a future snare doth lightly spread.
Around us as in doubt I see him shyly bound,
Since he two strangers seeth in his master’s stead.
The circle narrows, he’s already near.
A dog dost see, no spectre have we here;
He growls, doubts, lays him on his belly too,
And wags his tail—as dogs are wont to do.
Come hither, Sirrah! join our company!
A very poodle, he appears to be!
Thou standest still, for thee he’ll wait;
Thou speak’st to him, he fawns upon thee straight;
Aught you may lose, again he’ll bring,
And for your stick will into water spring.
Thou’rt right indeed; no traces now I see
Whatever of a spirit’s agency.
’Tis training—nothing more.
A dog well taught
E’en by the wisest of us may be sought.
Ay, to your favor he’s entitled too,
Apt scholar of the students, ’tis his due!
[They enter the gate of the town.
(Entering with the poodle.)
Behind me now lie field and plain,
As night her veil doth o’er them draw,
Our better soul resumes her reign
With feelings of foreboding awe.
Lull’d is each stormy deed to rest,
And tranquilliz’d each wild desire;
Pure charity doth warm the breast,
And love to God the soul inspire.
Peace, poodle, peace! Scamper not thus; obey me!
Why at the threshold snuffest thou so?
Behind the stove now quietly lay thee,
My softest cushion to thee I’ll throw.
As thou, without, didst please and amuse me,
Running and frisking about on the hill,
Neither shelter will I refuse thee;
A welcome guest, if thou’lt be still.
Cease, poodle, cease! with the tone that arises,
Hallow’d and peaceful, my soul within,
Accords not thy growl, thy bestial din.
We find it not strange, that man despises
What he conceives not;
The good and the fair he misprizes;
What lies beyond him he doth contemn;
Snarleth the poodle at it, like men?
But ah! E’en now I feel, howe’er I yearn for rest,
Contentment welleth up no longer in my breast.
Yet wherefore must the stream, alas, so soon be dry,
That we once more athirst should lie?
This sad experience oft I’ve approv’d!
The want admitteth of compensation;
We learn to prize what from sense is remov’d,
Our spirits yearn for revelation,
Which nowhere burneth with beauty blent,
More pure than in the New Testament.
To the ancient text an impulse strong
Moves me the volume to explore,
And to translate its sacred lore,
Into the tones beloved of the German tongue.
[He opens a volume and applies himself to it.
’Tis writ, “In the beginning was the Word!”
I pause, perplex’d! Who now will help afford?
I cannot the mere Word so highly prize;
I must translate it otherwise,
If by the spirit guided as I read.
“In the beginning was the Sense!” Take heed,
The import of this primal sentence weigh,
Lest thy too hasty pen be led astray!
Is force creative then of Sense the dower?
“In the beginning was the Power!”
Thus should it stand: yet, while the line I trace,
A something warns me, once more to efface.
The spirit aids! from anxious scruples freed,
I write, “In the beginning was the Deed!”
Am I with thee my room to share,
Poodle, thy barking now forbear,
Forbear thy howling!
Comrade so noisy, ever growling,
I cannot suffer here to dwell.
One or the other, mark me well,
Forthwith must leave the cell.
I’m loath the guest-right to withhold;
The door’s ajar, the passage clear;
But what must now mine eyes behold!
Are nature’s laws suspended here?
Real is it, or a phantom show?
In length and breadth how doth my poodle grow!
He lifts himself with threat’ning mien,
In likeness of a dog no longer seen!
What spectre have I harbor’d thus!
Huge as a hippopotamus,
With fiery eye, terrific tooth!
Ah! now I know thee, sure enough!
For such a base, half-hellish brood,
The key of Solomon is good.
The monster to confront, at first,
The spell of Four must be rehears’d;
Who doth ignore
The primal Four,
Nor knows aright
Their use and might,
O’er spirits will he
Ne’er master be!
None of the Four
Lurks in the beast:
He grins at me, untroubled as before;
I have not hurt him in the least.
A spell of fear
Thou now shalt hear.
With bristling hair now doth the creature swell.
Behind the stove, tam’d by my spells,
Like an elephant he swells;
Wholly now he fills the room,
He into mist will melt away.
Ascend not to the ceiling! Come,
Thyself at the master’s feet now lay!
Thou seest that mine is no idle threat.
With holy fire I will scorch thee yet!
Wait not the might
That lies in the triple-glowing light!
Wait not the might
Of all my arts in fullest measure!
(As the mist sinks, comes forward from behind the stove, in the dress of a travelling scholar.)
Why all this uproar? What’s the master’s pleasure?
This then the kernel of the brute!
A travelling scholar? Why I needs must smile.
Your learned reverence humbly I salute!
You’ve made me swelter in a pretty style.
The question trifling seems from one,
Who it appears the Word doth rate so low;
Who, undeluded by mere outward show,
To Being’s depths would penetrate alone.
With gentlemen like you indeed
The inward essence from the name we read,
As all too plainly it doth appear,
When Beelzebub, Destroyer, Liar, meets the ear.
Who then art thou!
Part of that power which still
Produceth good, whilst ever scheming ill.
What hidden mystery in this riddle lies?
The spirit I, which evermore denies!
And justly; for whate’er to light is brought
Deserves again to be reduc’d to naught;
Then better ’twere that naught should be.
Thus all the elements which ye
Destruction, Sin, or briefly, Evil, name,
As my peculiar element I claim.
Thou nam’st thyself a part, and yet a whole I see.
The modest truth I speak to thee.
Though folly’s microcosm, man, it seems,
Himself to be a perfect whole esteems,
Part of the part am I, which at the first was all.
A part of darkness, which gave birth to light.
Proud light, who now his mother would enthrall,
Contesting space and ancient rank with night.
Yet he succeedeth not, for struggle as he will,
To forms material he adhereth still;
From them he streameth, them he maketh fair,
And still the progress of his beams they check;
And so, I trust, when comes the final wreck,
Light will, ere long, the doom of matter share.
Thy worthy avocation now I guess!
Wholesale annihilation won’t prevail,
So thou’rt beginning on a smaller scale.
And, to say truth, as yet with small success.
Oppos’d to nothingness, the world,
This clumsy mass, subsisteth still;
Not yet is it to ruin hurl’d,
Despite the efforts of my will.
Tempests and earthquakes, fire and flood, I’ve tried;
Yet land and ocean still unchang’d abide!
And then of humankind and beasts, the accursed brood,—
Neither o’er them can I extend my sway.
What countless myriads have I swept away!
Yet ever circulates the fresh young blood.
It is enough to drive me to despair!
As in the earth, in water, and in air,
In moisture and in drought, in heat and cold,
Thousands of germs their energies unfold!
If fire I had not for myself retain’d,
No sphere whatever had for me remain’d.
So thou with thy cold devil’s fist,
Still clench’d in malice impotent,
Dost the creative power resist,
The active, the beneficent!
Henceforth some other task essay,
Of Chaos thou the wondrous son!
We will consider what you say,
And talk about it more anon!
For this time have I leave to go?
Why thou shouldst ask, I cannot see.
Since one another now we know,
At thy good pleasure, visit me.
Here is the window, here the door,
The chimney, too, may serve thy need.
I must confess, my stepping o’er
Thy threshold a slight hindrance doth impede;
The wizard-foot doth me retain.
The pentagram thy peace doth mar?
To me, thou son of hell, explain,
How camest thou in, if this thine exit bar!
Could such a spirit aught ensnare?
Observe it well, it is not drawn with care,
One of the angles, that which points without,
Is, as thou seest, not quite closed.
Chance hath the matter happily dispos’d!
So thou my captive art? No doubt!
By accident thou thus art caught!
In sprang the dog, indeed, observing naught;
Things now assume another shape,
The devil’s in the house and can’t escape.
Why through the window not withdraw?
For ghosts and for the devil ’tis a law,
Where they stole in, there they must forth. We’re free
The first to choose; as to the second, slaves are we.
E’en hell hath its peculiar laws, I see!
I’m glad of that! a pact may then be made,
The which, you gentlemen, will surely keep?
Whate’er therein is promis’d thou shalt reap,
No tittle shall remain unpaid.
But such arrangements time require;
We’ll speak of them when next we meet;
Most earnestly I now entreat,
This once permission to retire.
Another moment prithee here remain,
Me with some happy word to pleasure.
Now let me go! ere long I’ll come again,
Then thou mayst question at thy leisure.
To capture thee was not my will.
Thyself hast freely entered in the snare:
Let him who holds the devil, hold him still!
A second time so soon he will not catch him there.
If it so please thee, I’m at thy command;
Only on this condition, understand;
That worthily thy leisure to beguile,
I here may exercise my arts awhile.
Thou’rt free to do so! Gladly I’ll attend;
But be thine art a pleasant one!
This hour enjoyment more intense,
Shall captivate each ravish’d sense,
Than thou could’st compass in the bound
Of the whole year’s unvarying round;
And what the dainty spirits sing,
The lovely images they bring,
Are no fantastic sorcery.
Rich odors shall regale your smell,
On choicest sweets your palate dwell,
Your feelings thrill with ecstasy.
No preparation do we need,
Here we together are. Proceed!
Well done, my dainty spirits! now he slumbers;
Ye have entranc’d him fairly with your numbers;
This minstrelsy of yours I must repay.—
Thou art not yet the man to hold the devil fast!—
With fairest shapes your spells around him cast,
And plunge him in a sea of dreams!
But that this charm be rent, the threshold pass’d,
Tooth of rat the way must clear.
I need not conjure long it seems,
One rustles hitherward, and soon my voice will hear.
The master of the rats and mice,
Of flies and frogs, of bugs and lice,
Commands thy presence; without fear
Come forth and gnaw the threshold here,
Where he with oil has smear’d it.—Thou
Com’st hopping forth already! Now
To work! The point that holds me bound
Is in the outer angle found.
Another bite—so—now ’tis done—
Now, Faustus, till we meet again, dream on.
(Awaking.) Am I once more deluded! must I deem
This troop of thronging spirits all ideal?
The devil’s presence, was it nothing real?
The poodle’s disappearance but a dream?
A knock? Come in! Who now would break my rest?
Thrice be the words express’d.
Then I repeat, Come in!
I hope that we shall soon agree!
For now your fancies to expel,
Here, as a youth of high degree,
I come in gold-lac’d scarlet vest,
And stiff silk mantle richly dress’d,
A cock’s gay feather for a plume,
A long and pointed rapier, too;
And briefly I would counsel you
To don at once the same costume,
And, free from trammels, speed away,
That what life is you may essay.
In every garb I needs must feel oppress’d,
My heart to earth’s low cares a prey.
Too old the trifler’s part to play,
Too young to live by no desire possess’d.
What can the world to me afford?
Renounce! renounce! is still the word;
This is the everlasting song
In every ear that ceaseless rings,
And which, alas, our whole life long,
Hoarsely each passing moment sings.
But to new horror I awake each morn,
And I could weep hot tears to see the sun
Dawn on another day, whose round forlorn
Accomplishes no wish of mine—not one;
Which still, with froward captiousness, impairs
E’en the presentiment of every joy,
While low realities and paltry cares
The spirit’s fond imaginings destroy.
And must I then, when falls the veil of night,
Stretch’d on my pallet languish in despair;
Appalling dreams my soul affright;
No rest vouchsaf’d me even there.
The god, who thron’d within my breast resides,
Deep in my soul can stir the springs;
With sovereign sway my energies he guides,
He cannot move external things;
And so existence is to me a weight,
Death fondly I desire, and life I hate.
And yet, methinks, by most ’twill be confess’d
That Death is never quite a welcome guest.
Happy the man around whose brow he binds
The bloodstain’d wreath in conquest’s dazzling hour;
Or whom, excited by the dance, he finds
Dissolv’d in bliss, in love’s delicious bower!
Oh that before the lofty spirit’s might,
Enraptured, I had render’d up my soul!
Yet did a certain man refrain one night,
Of its brown juice to drain the crystal bowl.
To play the spy diverts you then?
Though not omniscient, much to me is known.
If o’er my soul the tone familiar, stealing,
Drew me from harrowing thought’s bewild’ring maze,
Touching the ling’ring chords of childlike feeling,
With the sweet harmonies of happier days:
So curse I all, around the soul that windeth
Its magic and alluring spell,
And with delusive flattery bindeth
Its victim to this dreary cell!
Curs’d before all things be the high opinion,
Wherewith the spirit girds itself around!
Of shows delusive curs’d be the dominion,
Within whose mocking sphere our sense is bound!
Accurs’d of dreams the treacherous wiles,
The cheat of glory, deathless fame!
Accurs’d what each as property beguiles,
Wife, child, slave, plough, whate’er its name!
Accurs’d be mammon, when with treasure
He doth to daring deeds incite:
Or when to steep the soul in pleasure,
He spreads the couch of soft delight!
Curs’d be the grape’s balsamic juice!
Accurs’d love’s dream, of joys the first!
Accurs’d be hope! accurs’d be faith!
And more than all, be patience curs’d!
Chorus of Spirits.
(Invisible.) Woe! woe!
Thou hast destroy’d
The beautiful world
With violent blow;
’Tis shiver’d! ’tis shatter’d!
The fragments abroad by a demigod scatter’d!
Now we sweep
The wrecks into nothingness!
Fondly we weep
The beauty that’s gone!
Thou, ’mongst the sons of earth,
Lofty and mighty one,
Build it once more!
In thine own bosom the lost world restore!
Now with unclouded sense
Enter a new career;
Songs shall salute thine ear,
Ne’er heard before!
My little ones these spirits be.
Hark! with shrewd intelligence,
How they recommend to thee,
Action, and the joys of sense!
In the busy world to dwell,
Fain they would allure thee hence:
For within this lonely cell,
Stagnates sap of life and sense.
Forbear to trifle longer with thy grief,
Which, vulture-like, consumes thee in this den.
The worst society is some relief,
Making thee feel thyself a man with men.
Nathless it is not meant, I trow,
To thrust thee ’mid the vulgar throng.
I to the upper ranks do not belong;
Yet if, by me companion’d, thou
Thy steps through life forthwith wilt take,
Upon the spot myself I’ll make
Should it suit thy need,
I am thy servant, and thy slave indeed!
And how must I thy services repay?
Thereto thou lengthen’d respite hast!
The devil is an egotist I know:
And, for Heaven’s sake, ’tis not his way
Kindness to any one to show.
Let the condition plainly be express’d;
Such a domestic is a dangerous guest.
I’ll pledge myself to be thy servant here,
Still at thy back alert and prompt to be;
But when together yonder we appear,
Then shalt thou do the same for me.
But small concern I feel for yonder world;
Hast thou this system into ruin hurl’d,
Another may arise the void to fill.
This earth the fountain whence my pleasures flow,
This sun doth daily shine upon my woe,
And if this world I must forego,
Let happen then,—what can and will.
I to this theme will close mine ears,
If men hereafter hate and love,
And if there be in yonder spheres
A depth below or height above.
In this mood thou mayst venture it. But make
The compact, and at once I’ll undertake
To charm thee with mine arts. I’ll give thee more
Than mortal eye hath e’er beheld before.
What, sorry Devil, hast thou to bestow?
Was ever mortal spirit, in its high endeavor,
Fathom’d by Being such as thou?
Yet food thou hast which satisfieth never,
Hast ruddy gold, that still doth flow
Like restless quicksilver away,
A game thou hast, at which none win who play,
A girl who would, with amorous eyen,
E’en from my breast, a neighbor snare,
Lofty ambition’s joy divine,
That, meteor-like, dissolves in air.
Show me the fruit that, ere ’tis pluck’d, doth rot,
And trees, whose verdure daily buds anew.
Such a commission scares me not,
I can provide such treasures, it is true;
But, my good friend, a season will come round
When on what’s good we may regale in peace.
If e’er upon my couch, stretch’d at my ease, I’m found,
Then may my life that instant cease;
Me canst thou cheat with glozing wile
Till self-reproach away I cast?—
Me with joy’s lure canst thou beguile?—
Let that day be for me the last!
Be this our wager!
Sure and fast!
When to the moment I shall say,
“Linger awhile, so fair thou art!”
Then mayst thou fetter me straightway,
Then to the abyss will I depart;
Then may the solemn death-bell sound,
Then from thy service thou art free,
The index then may cease its round,
And time be never more for me!
I shall remember: pause, ere ’tis too late.
Thereto a perfect right hast thou.
My strength I do not rashly overrate.
Slave am I here, at any rate,
If thine, or whose, it matters not, I trow.
At thine inaugural feast I will this day
Attend, my duties to commence.—
But one thing!—Accidents may happen, hence
A line or two in writing grant, I pray.
A writing, Pedant! dost demand from me?
Man, and man’s plighted word, are these unknown to thee?
Is’t not enough, that by the word I gave,
My doom for evermore is cast?
Doth not the world in all its currents rave,
And must a promise hold me fast?
Yet fixed is this delusion in our heart;
Who, of his own free will, therefrom would part?
How blest within whose breast truth reigneth pure!
No sacrifice will he repent when made!
A formal deed, with seal and signature,
A spectre this from which all shrink afraid.
The word its life resigneth in the pen,
Leather and wax usurp the mastery then.
Spirit of evil! what dost thou require?
Brass, marble, parchment, paper, dost desire?
Shall I with chisel, pen, or graver write?
Thy choice is free; to me ’tis all the same.
Wherefore thy passion so excite,
And thus thine eloquence inflame?
A scrap is for our compact good.
Thou undersignest merely with a drop of blood.
If this will satisfy thy mind,
Thy whim I’ll gratify, howe’er absurd.
Blood is a juice of very special kind.
Be not afraid that I shall break my word!
The scope of all my energy
Is in exact accordance with my vow.
Vainly I have aspir’d too high;
I’m on a level but with such as thou;
Me the great spirit scorn’d, defi’d;
Nature from me herself doth hide;
Rent is the web of thought; my mind
Doth knowledge loathe of every kind.
In depths of sensual pleasure drown’d,
Let us our fiery passions still!
Enwrapp’d in magic’s veil profound,
Let wondrous charms our senses thrill!
Plunge we in time’s tempestuous flow,
Stem we the rolling surge of chance!
There may alternate weal and woe,
Success and failure, as they can,
Mingle and shift in changeful dance!
Excitement is the sphere for man.
Nor goal, nor measure is prescrib’d to you.
If you desire to taste of everything,
To snatch at joy while on the wing,
May your career amuse and profit too!
Only fall to and don’t be over coy!
Hearken! The end I aim at is not joy;
I crave excitement, agonizing bliss,
Enamour’d hatred, quickening vexation.
Purg’d from the love of knowledge, my vocation,
The scope of all my powers henceforth be this,
To bare my breast to every pang,—to know
In my heart’s core all human weal and woe,
To grasp in thought the lofty and the deep,
Men’s various fortunes on my breast to heap,
And thus to theirs dilate my individual mind,
And share at length with them the shipwreck of mankind.
Oh, credit me, who still as ages roll,
Have chew’d this bitter fare from year to year,
No mortal, from the cradle to the bier,
Digests the ancient leaven! Know, this Whole
Doth for the Deity alone subsist!
He in eternal brightness doth exist,
Us unto darkness he hath brought, and here
Where day and night alternate, is your sphere.
But ’tis my will!
Well spoken, I admit!
But one thing puzzles me, my friend;
Time’s short, art long; methinks ’twere fit
That you to friendly counsel should attend.
A poet choose as your ally!
Let him thought’s wide dominion sweep,
Each good and noble quality,
Upon your honored brow to heap;
The lion’s magnanimity,
The fleetness of the hind,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northern’s steadfast mind!
Let him to you the mystery show
To blend high aims and cunning low;
And while youth’s passions are aflame
To fall in love by rule and plan!
I fain would meet with such a man;
Would him Sir Microcosmus name.
What then am I, if I aspire in vain
The crown of our humanity to gain,
Towards which my every sense doth strain?
Thou’rt after all—just what thou art.
Put on thy head a wig with countless locks,
Raise to a cubit’s height thy learned socks,
Still thou remainest ever, what thou art.
I feel it, I have heap’d upon my brain
The gather’d treasure of man’s thought in vain;
And when at length from studious toil I rest,
No power, new-born, springs up within my breast;
A hair’s breadth is not added to my height,
I am no nearer to the infinite.
Good sir, these things you view indeed,
Just as by other men they’re view’d;
We must more cleverly proceed,
Before life’s joys our grasp elude.
The devil! thou hast hands and feet,
And head and heart are also thine;
What I enjoy with relish sweet,
Is it on that account less mine?
If for six stallions I can pay,
Do I not own their strength and speed?
A proper man I dash away,
As their two dozen legs were mine indeed.
Up then, from idle pondering free,
And forth into the world with me!
I tell you what:—your speculative churl
Is like a beast which some ill spirit leads,
On barren wilderness, in ceaseless whirl,
While all around lie fair and verdant meads.
But how shall we begin?
We will go hence with speed,
A place of torment this indeed!
A precious life, thyself to bore,
And some few youngsters evermore!
Leave it to neighbor Paunch;—withdraw,
Why wilt thou plague thyself with thrashing straw?
The very best that thou dost know
Thou dar’st not to the striplings show.
One in the passage now doth wait!
I’m in no mood to see him now.
Poor lad! He must be tired, I trow;
He must not go disconsolate.
Hand me thy cap and gown; the mask
Is for my purpose quite first rate.
[He changes his dress.
Now leave it to my wit! I ask
But quarter of an hour; meanwhile equip,
And make all ready for our pleasant trip!
(InFaust’slong gown.) Mortal! the loftiest attributes of men,
Reason and Knowledge, only thus contemn,
Still let the Prince of lies, without control,
With shows, and mocking charms delude thy soul,
I have thee unconditionally then!—
Fate hath endow’d him with an ardent mind,
Which unrestrain’d still presses on for ever,
And whose precipitate endeavor
Earth’s joys o’erleaping, leaveth them behind.
Him will I drag through life’s wild waste,
Through scenes of vapid dulness, where at last
Bewilder’d, he shall falter, and stick fast;
And, still to mock his greedy haste,
Viands and drink shall float his craving lips beyond—
Vainly he’ll seek refreshment, anguish-toss’d,
And were he not the devil’s by his bond,
Yet must his soul infallibly be lost!
But recently I’ve quitted home,
Full of devotion am I come
A man to know and hear, whose name
With reverence is known to fame.
Your courtesy much flatters me!
A man like other men you see;
Pray have you yet applied elsewhere?
I would entreat your friendly care!
I’ve youthful blood and courage high;
Of gold I’bring a fair supply;
To let me go my mother was not fain;
But here I long’d true knowledge to attain.
You’ve hit upon the very place.
And yet my steps I would retrace.
These walls, this melancholy room,
O’erpower me with a sense of gloom;
The space is narrow, nothing green,
No friendly tree is to be seen:
And in these halls, with benches lin’d,
Sight, hearing fail, fails too my mind.
It all depends on habit. Thus at first
The infant takes not kindly to the breast,
But before long, its eager thirst
Is fain to slake with hearty zest:
Thus at the breasts of wisdom day by day
With keener relish you’ll your thirst allay.
Upon her neck I fain would hang with joy;
To reach it, say, what means must I employ?
Explain, ere further time we lose,
What special faculty you choose?
Profoundly learned I would grow,
What heaven contains would comprehend,
O’er earth’s wide realm my gaze extend,
Nature and science I desire to know.
You are upon the proper track, I find,
Take heed, let nothing dissipate your mind.
My heart and soul are in the chase!
Though to be sure I fain would seize,
On pleasant summer holidays,
A little liberty and careless ease.
Use well your time, so rapidly it flies;
Method will teach you time to win;
Hence, my young friend, I would advise,
With college logic to begin!
Then will your mind be so well brac’d,
In Spanish boots so tightly lac’d,
That on ’twill circumspectly creep,
Thought’s beaten track securely keep,
Nor will it, ignis-fatuus like,
Into the path of error strike.
Then many a day they’ll teach you how
The mind’s spontaneous acts, till now
As eating and as drinking free,
Require a process;—one! two! three!
In truth the subtle web of thought
Is like the weaver’s fabric wrought:
One treadle moves a thousand lines,
Swift dart the shuttles to and fro,
Unseen the threads together flow,
A thousand knots one stroke combines.
Then forward steps your sage to show,
And prove to you, it must be so;
The first being so, and so the second,
The third and fourth deduc’d we see;
And if there were no first and second,
Nor third nor fourth would ever be.
This, scholars of all countries prize,—
Yet ’mong themselves no weavers rise.
He who would know and treat of aught alive,
Seeks first the living spirit thence to drive:
Then are the lifeless fragments in his hand,
There only fails, alas! the spirit-band.
This process, chemists name, in learned thesis,
Mocking themselves, Nature encheiresis.
Your words I cannot fully comprehend.
In a short time you will improve, my friend,
When of scholastic forms you learn the use;
And how by method all things to reduce.
So doth all this my brain confound.
As if a mill-wheel there were turning round.
And next, before aught else you learn,
You must with zeal to metaphysics turn!
There see that you profoundly comprehend,
What doth the limit of man’s brain transcend;
For that which is or is not in the head
A sounding phrase will serve you in good stead.
But before all strive this half year
From one fix’d order ne’er to swerve!
Five lectures daily you must hear;
The hour still punctually observe!
Yourself with studious zeal prepare,
And closely in your manual look,
Hereby may you be quite aware
That all he utters standeth in the book;
Yet write away without cessation,
As at the Holy Ghost’s dictation!
This, Sir, a second time you need not say!
Your counsel I appreciate quite;
What we possess in black and white,
We can in peace and comfort bear away.
A faculty I pray you name.
For jurisprudence some distaste I own.
To me this branch of science is well known,
And hence I cannot your repugnance blame.
Customs and laws in every place,
Like a disease, an heir-loom dread,
Still trail their curse from race to race,
And furtively abroad they spread.
To nonsense, reason’s self they turn;
Beneficence becomes a pest;
Woe unto thee, that thou’rt a grandson born!
As for the law born with us, unexpressed;—
That law, alas, none careth to discern.
You deepen my dislike. The youth
Whom you instruct, is blest in sooth.
To try theology I feel inclined.
I would not lead you willingly astray,
But as regards this science, you will find,
So hard it is to shun the erring way,
And so much hidden poison lies therein,
Which scarce can you discern from medicine.
Here too it is the best, to listen but to one,
And by the master’s words to swear alone.
To sum up all—To words hold fast!
Then the safe gate securely pass’d,
You’ll reach the fane of certainty at last.
But then some meaning must the words convey.
Right! But o’er-anxious thought, you’ll find of no avail,
For there precisely where ideas fail,
A word comes opportunely into play.
Most admirable weapons words are found,
On words a system we securely ground,
In words we can conveniently believe,
Nor of a single jot can we a word bereave.
Your pardon for my importunity;
Yet once more must I trouble you:
On medicine, I’ll thank you to supply
A pregnant utterance or two!
Three years! how brief the appointed tide!
The field, heaven knows, is all too wide!
If but a friendly hint be thrown,
’Tis easier then to feel one’s way.
(Aside.) I’m weary of the dry pedantic tone,
And must again the genuine devil play.
(Aloud.) Of medicine the spirit’s caught with ease,
The great and little world you study through,
That things may then their course pursue,
As heaven may please.
In vain abroad you range through science’ ample space,
Each man learns only that which learn he can;
Who knows the moment to embrace,
He is your proper man.
In person you are tolerably made,
Nor in assurance will you be deficient:
Self-confidence acquire, be not afraid,
Others will then esteem you a proficient.
Learn chiefly with the sex to deal!
Their thousand ahs and ohs,
These the sage doctor knows,
He only from one point can heal.
Assume a decent tone of courteous ease,
You have them then to humor as you please.
First a diploma must belief infuse,
That you in your profession take the lead:
You then at once those easy freedoms use
For which another many a year must plead;
Learn how to feel with nice address
The dainty wrist;—and how to press,
With ardent furtive glance, the slender waist,
To feel how tightly it is lac’d.
There is some sense in that one sees the how and why.
Gray is, young friend, all theory:
And green of life the golden tree.
I swear it seemeth like a dream to me,
May I some future time repeat my visit,
To hear on what your wisdom grounds your views?
Command my humble service when you choose.
Ere I retire, one boon I must solicit:
Here is my album, do not, Sir, deny
This token of your favor!
[He writes and returns the book.
(Reads.)Eritis sicut Deus, scientes bonum et malum.
[He reverently closes the book and retires.
Let but this ancient proverb be your rule,
My cousin follow still, the wily snake,
And with your likeness to the gods, poor fool,
Ere long be sure your poor sick heart will quake!
(Enters.) Whither away?
’Tis thine our course to steer.
The little world, and then the great we’ll view.
With what delight, what profit too,
Thou’lt revel through thy gay career!
Despite my length of beard I need
The easy manners that insure success;
Th’ attempt I fear can ne’er succeed;
To mingle in the world I want address;
I still have an embarrass’d air, and then
I feel myself so small with other men.
Time, my good friend, with all that’s needful give;
Be only self-possess’d, and thou hast learn’d to live.
But how are we to start, I pray?
Steeds, servants, carriage, where are they?
We’ve but to spread this mantle wide,
’Twill serve whereon through air to ride,
No heavy baggage need you take,
When we our bold excursion make,
A little gas, which I will soon prepare,
Lifts us from earth; aloft through air,
Light laden, we shall swiftly steer;—
I wish you joy of your new life-career.
UERBACH’S cellar in leipsic.
(A drinking party.)
No drinking? Naught a laugh to raise?
None of your gloomy looks, I pray!
You, who so bright were wont to blaze,
Are dull as wetted straw to-day.
’Tis all your fault; your part you do not bear,
No beastliness, no folly.
(Pours a glass of wine over his head.) There,
You have them both!
You double beast!
’Tis what you ask’d me for, at least!
Whoever quarrels, turn him out!
With open throat drink, roar and shout.
Hollo! Hollo! Ho!
Zounds, fellow, cease your deaf’ning cheers!
Bring cotton-wool! He splits my ears.
’Tis when the roof rings back the tone,
Then first the full power of the bass is known.
Right! out with him who takes offence!
A tara lara la!
A tara lara la!
Our throats are tun’d. Come, let’s commence.
An ugly song! a song political!
A song offensive! Thank God, every morn
To rule the Roman empire, that you were not born!
I bless my stars at least that mine is not
Either a kaiser’s or a chancellor’s lot.
Yet ’mong ourselves should one still lord it o’er the rest;
That we elect a pope I now suggest.
Ye know, what quality ensures
A man’s success, his rise secures.
No greetings to a sweetheart! No love-songs shall there be!
Love-greetings and love-kisses! Thou shalt not hinder me!
Ay, sing away, sing on, her praises sound;—the snake!
My turn to laugh will come some day.
Me hath she jilted once, you the same trick she’ll play.
Some gnome her lover be! where cross-roads meet,
With her to play the fool; or old he-goat,
From Blocksberg coming in swift gallop, bleat
A good night to her, from his hairy throat!
A proper lad of genuine flesh and blood
Is for the damsel far too good;
The greeting she shall have from me,
To smash her window-panes will be!
(Striking on the table.)
Silence! Attend! to me give ear!
Confess, sirs, I know how to live:
Some love-sick folk are sitting here!
Hence, ’tis but fit, their hearts to cheer,
That I a good-night strain to them should give.
Hark! of the newest fashion is my song!
Strike boldly in the chorus, clear and strong!
(Shouting.) As if his frame love wasted.
He ran around, he ran abroad,
Of every puddle drinking.
The house with rage he scratch’d and gnaw’d,
In vain,—he fast was sinking;
Full many an anguish’d bound he gave,
Nothing the hapless brute could save,
As if his frame love wasted.
As if his frame love wasted.
By torture driven, in open day,
The kitchen he invaded,
Convuls’d upon the hearth he lay,
With anguish sorely jaded;
The poisoner laugh’d, Ha! ha! quoth she,
His life is ebbing fast, I see,
As if his frame love wasted.
As if his frame love wasted.
How the dull boors exulting shout!
Poison for the poor rats to strew
A fine exploit it is no doubt.
They, as it seems, stand well with you!
Old bald-pate! with the paunch profound!
The rat’s mishap hath tam’d his nature;
For he his counterpart hath found
Depicted in the swollen creature.
I now must introduce to you
Before aught else, this jovial crew,
To show how lightly life may glide away;
With the folk here each day’s a holiday.
With little wit and much content,
Each on his own small round intent,
Like sportive kitten with its tail;
While no sick headache they bewail,
And while their host will credit give,
Joyous and free from care they live.
They’re off a journey, that is clear,—
They look so strange; they’ve scarce been here
You’re right! Leipsic’s the place for me!
’Tis quite a little Paris; people there
Acquire a certain easy finish’d air.
What take you now these travellers to be?
Let me alone! O’er a full glass you’ll see,
As easily I’ll worm their secret out
As draw an infant’s tooth. I’ve not a doubt
That my two gentlemen are nobly born,
They look dissatisfied and full of scorn.
They are but mountebanks, I’ll lay a bet!
Mark me, I’ll screw it from them yet!
(ToFaust.) These fellows would not scent the devil out,
E’en though he had them by the very throat!
Thanks for your fair salute.
[Aside, glancing atMephistopheles.
How! goes the fellow on a halting foot?
Is it permitted here with you to sit?
Then though good wine is not forthcoming here,
Good company at least our hearts will cheer.
A dainty gentleman, no doubt of it.
You’re doubtless recently from Rippach? Pray,
Did you with Master Hans there chance to sup?
To-day we pass’d him, but we did not stop!
When last we met him he had much to say
Touching his cousins, and to each he sent
Full many a greeting and kind compliment.
[With an inclination towardsFrosch.
(Aside toFrosch.) You have it there!
Faith! he’s a knowing one!
Have patience! I will show him up anon!
Unless I err, as we drew near
We heard some practis’d voices pealing.
A song must admirably here
Re-echo from this vaulted ceiling!
That you’re an amateur one plainly sees!
Oh no, though strong the love, I cannot boast much skill.
Give us a song!
As many as you will.
But be it a brand new one, if you please!
But recently returned from Spain are we,
The pleasant land of wine and minstrelsy.
Hark! did you rightly catch the words? a flea!
An odd sort of a guest he needs must be.
Take proper heed, the tailor strictly charge,
The nicest measurement to take,
And as he loves his head, to make
The hose quite smooth and not too large!
In satin and in velvet,
Behold the younker dressed;
Bedizen’d o’er with ribbons,
A cross upon his breast.
Prime minister they made him,
He wore a star of state!
And all his poor relations
Were courtiers, rich and great.
The gentlemen and ladies
At court were sore distress’d;
The queen and all her maidens
Were bitten by the pest,
And yet they dared not scratch them,
Or chase the fleas away.
If we are bit, we catch them,
And crack without delay.
(Shouting.) If we are bit, etc.
Bravo! That’s the song for me.
Such be the fate of every flea!
With clever finger catch and kill.
Hurrah for wine and freedom still!
Were but your wine a trifle better, friend,
A glass to freedom I would gladly drain.
You’d better not repeat those words again!
I am afraid the landlord to offend!
Else freely would I treat each worthy guest
From our own cellar to the very best.
Out with it then! Your doings I’ll defend.
Give a good glass, and straight we’ll praise you, one and all.
Only let not your samples be too small;
For if my judgment you desire,
Certes, an ample mouthful I require.
(Aside.) I guess, they’re from the Rhenish land.
Fetch me a gimlet here!
Say, what therewith to bore?
You cannot have the wine-casks at the door.
Our landlord’s tool-basket behind doth yonder stand.
(Takes the gimlet.)(ToFrosch.)
Now only say! what liquor will you take?
How mean you that? have you of every sort?
Each may his own selection make.
(ToFrosch.) Ha! ha! You lick your lips already at the thought.
Good, if I have my choice, the Rhenish I propose;
For still the fairest gifts the fatherland bestows.
(Boring a hole in the edge of the table opposite to whereFroschis sitting.)
Get me a little wax—and make some stoppers—quick!
Why, this is nothing but a juggler’s trick!
(ToBrander.) And you?
Champagne’s the wine for me;
Right brisk and sparkling let it be!
[Mephistophelesbores; one of the party has in the meantime prepared the wax stoppers and stopped the holes.
What foreign is one always can’t decline,
What’s good is often scatter’d far apart.
The French your genuine German hates with all his heart,
Yet has a relish for their wine.
(AsMephistophelesapproaches him.) I like not acid wine, I must allow,
Give me a glass of genuine sweet!
Shall, if you wish it, flow without delay.
Come! look me in the face! no fooling now!
You are but making fun of us, I trow.
Ah! ah! that would indeed be making free
With such distinguish’d guests. Come, no delay;
What liquor can I serve you with, I pray?
Only be quick, it matters not to me.
[After the holes are all bored and stopped.
(With strange gestures.)
(As they draw the stoppers, and the wine chosen by each runs into his glass.)
Oh beauteous spring, which flows so fair!
Spill not a single drop, of this beware!
[They drink repeatedly.
(Sing.) Happy as cannibals are we,
Or as five hundred swine.
They’re in their glory, mark their elevation!
Let’s hence, nor here our stay prolong.
Attend, of brutishness ere long
You’ll see a glorious revelation.
(Drinks carelessly; the wine is spilt upon the ground, and turns to flame.)
Help! fire! help! Hell is burning!
(Addressing the flames.) Stop,
Kind element, be still, I say!
(To the company.)
Of purgatorial fire as yet ’tis but a drop.
What means the knave! For this you’ll dearly pay!
Us, it appears, you do not know.
Such tricks a second time he’d better show!
Methinks ’twere well we pack’d him quietly away.
What, sir! with us your hocus-pocus play!
Silence! old wine-cask!
How! add insult too!
Hold! or blows shall rain on you!
(Draws a stopper out of the table: fire springs out against him.)
I burn! I burn!
’Tis sorcery, I vow!
Strike home! The fellow is fair game, I trow!
[Draw knives and attackMephistopheles.
(With solemn gestures.)
[They stand amazed and gaze on each other.
Where am I? What a beauteous land!
Vineyards! unless my sight deceives?
And clust’ring grapes too, close at hand!
And underneath the spreading leaves,
What stems there be! What grapes I see!
[He seizesSiebelby the nose. The others reciprocally do the same, raising their knives.
(As above.) Delusion, from their eyes the bandage take!
Note how the devil loves a jest to break!
[He disappears withFaust;the fellows draw back from one another.
What was it?
Was that your nose?
(ToSiebel.) And look, my hand doth thine enclose!
I felt a shock, it went through every limb!
A chair! I’m fainting! All things swim!
Say what has happen’d, what’s it all about?
Where is the fellow? Could I scent him out,
His body from his soul I’d soon divide!
With my own eyes, upon a cask astride,
Forth through the cellar-door I saw him ride—
Heavy as lead my feet are growing.
[Turning to the table.
Would that the wine again were flowing!
’Twas all delusion, cheat and lie.
’Twas wine I drank, most certainly.
What of the grapes too,—where are they?
Who now will miracles gainsay?
[A large caldron hangs over the fire on a low hearth; various figures appear in the vapor rising from it. Afemale Monkeysits beside the caldron to skim it, and watch that it does not boil over. Themale Monkeywith the young ones is seated near, warming himself. The walls and ceiling are adorned with the strangest articles of witch-furniture.
This senseless, juggling witchcraft I detest!
Dost promise that in this foul nest
Of madness, I shall be restor’d?
Must I seek counsel from an ancient dame?
And can she, by these rites abhorr’d,
Take thirty winters from my frame?
Woe’s me, if thou naught better canst suggest!
Hope has already fled my breast.
Has neither nature nor a noble mind
A balsam yet devis’d of any kind?
My friend, you now speak sensibly. In truth,
Nature a method giveth to renew thy youth;
But in another book the lesson’s writ;—
It forms a curious chapter, I admit.
I fain would know it.
Good! A remedy
Without physician, gold, or sorcery:
Away forthwith, and to the fields repair,
Begin to delve, to cultivate the ground,
Thy senses and thyself confine
Within the very narrowest round,
Support thyself upon the simplest fare,
Live like a very brute the brutes among,
Neither esteem it robbery
The acre thou dost reap, thyself to dung—
This the best method, credit me,
Again at eighty to grow hale and young.
I am not used to it, nor can myself degrade
So far as in my hand to take the spade.
For this mean life my spirit soars too high.
Then must we to the witch apply!
Will none but this old beldame do?
Canst not thyself the potion brew?
A pretty play our leisure to beguile!
A thousand bridges I could build meanwhile.
Not science only and consummate art,
Patience must also bear her part.
A quiet spirit worketh whole years long;
Time only makes the subtle ferment strong.
And all things that belong thereto
Are wondrous and exceeding rare!
The devil taught her, it is true;
But yet the draught the devil can’t prepare.
[Perceiving the beasts.
Look yonder, what a dainty pair!
Here is the maid! the knave is there!
[To the beasts.
It seems your dame is not at home?
Gone to carouse,
How long is it her wont to roam?
While we can warm our paws she’ll stay.
(ToFaust.) What think you of the charming creatures?
I loathe alike their form and features!
Nay, such discourse, be it confess’d,
Is just the thing that pleases me the best.
Tell me, ye whelps, accursed crew!
What stir ye in the broth about?
Coarse beggar’s gruel here we stew.
Of customers you’ll have a rout.
The he Monkey.
(Approaching and fawning onMephistopheles.)
How blest the ape would think himself, if he
Could only put into the lottery!
[In the meantime the youngMonkeyshave been playing with a large globe, which they roll forwards.
The he Monkey.
The world behold!
Of what use is the sieve?
The he Monkey.
(Taking it down.). The sieve would show
If thou wert a thief or no.
[He runs to theshe Monkey,and makes her look through it.
(Approaching the fire.) And then this pot?
The half-witted sot!
Be civil at least!
The he Monkey.
Take the whisk and sit down in the settle!
[He makesMephistophelessit down.
(Who all this time has been standing before a looking-glass, now approaching, and now retiring from it.) What do I see? What form whose charms transcend
The loveliness of earth, is mirror’d here!
O Love, to waft me to her sphere,
To me the swiftest of thy pinions lend!
Alas! if I remain not rooted to this place,
If to approach more near I’m fondly lur’d,
Her image fades, in veiling mist obscur’d!—
Model of beauty both in form and face!
Is’t possible? Hath woman charms so rare?
Is this recumbent form, supremely fair,
The very essence of all heavenly grace?
Can aught so exquisite on earth be found?
The six days’ labor of a god, my friend,
Who doth himself cry bravo, at the end,
By something clever doubtless should be crown’d.
For this time gaze your fill, and when you please
Just such a prize for you I can provide;
How blest is he to whom kind fate decrees,
To take her to his home, a lovely bride!
[Faustcontinues to gaze into the mirror.Mephistophelesstretching himself on the settle and playing with the whisk, continues to speak.
Here sit I, like a king upon his throne;
My sceptre this;—the crown I want alone.
(Who have hitherto been making all sorts of strange gestures, bringMephistophelesa crown, with loud cries.)
[They handle the crown awkwardly and break it into two pieces, with which they skip about.
(Before the mirror.) Woe’s me! well-nigh distraught I feel!
(Pointing to the beasts.) And even my own head almost begins to reel.
If good luck attend,
(As above.) A flame is kindled in my breast!
Let us begone! nor linger here!
(In the same position.) It now at least must be confess’d,
That poets sometimes are sincere.
[The caldron which theshe Monkeyhas neglected begins to boil over; a great flame arises, which streams up the chimney. TheWitchcomes down the chimney with horrible cries.
Ough! ough! ough! ough!
Accursed brute! accursed sow!
Thou dost neglect the pot, for shame!
Accursed brute to scorch the dame!
[She dips the skimming-ladle into the caldron and throws flames atFaust, Mephistophelesand theMonkeys.TheMonkeyswhimper.
(Twirling the whisk which he holds in his hand, and striking among the glasses and pots.)
[While theWitchsteps back in rage and astonishment.
Dost know me? Skeleton! Vile scarecrow, thou!
Thy lord and master dost thou know?
What holds me, that I deal not now
Thee and thine apes a stunning blow?
No more respect to my red vest dost pay?
Does my cock’s feather no allegiance claim?
Have I my visage mask’d to-day?
Must I be forc’d myself to name?
Master, forgive this rude salute!
But I perceive no cloven foot.
And your two ravens, where are they?
This once I must admit your plea—
For truly I must own that we
Each other have not seen for many a day.
The culture, too, that shapes the world, at last
Hath e’en the devil in its sphere embrac’d;
The northern phantom from the scene hath pass’d,
Tail, talons, horns, are nowhere to be traced!
As for the foot, with which I can’t dispense,
’Twould injure me in company, and hence,
Like many a youthful cavalier,
False calves I now have worn for many a year.
(Dancing.) I am beside myself with joy,
To see once more the gallant Satan here!
Woman, no more that name employ!
But why? what mischief hath it done?
To fable it too long hath appertain’d;
But people from the change have nothing won.
Rid of the evil one, the evil has remain’d.
Lord Baron call thou me, so is the matter good;
Of other cavaliers the mien I wear.
Dost make no question of my gentle blood?
See here, this is the scutcheon that I bear!
[He makes an unseemly gesture.
Ha! ha! Just like yourself! You are, I ween,
The same mad wag that you have ever been!
(ToFaust.) My friend, learn this to understand, I pray!
To deal with witches this is still the way.
Now tell me, gentlemen, what you desire?
Of your known juice a goblet we require.
But for the very oldest let me ask;
Double its strength with years doth grow.
Most willingly! And here I have a flask,
From which I’ve sipp’d myself ere now;
What’s more, it doth no longer stink;
To you a glass I joyfully will give.
If unprepar’d, however, this man drink,
He hath not, as you know, an hour to live.
He’s my good friend, with whom ’twill prosper well;
I grudge him not the choicest of thy store.
Now draw thy circle, speak thy spell,
And straight a bumper for him pour!
[TheWitch,with extraordinary gestures, describes a circle, and places strange things within it. The glasses meanwhile begin to ring, the caldron to sound, and to make music. Lastly, she brings a great book; places theMonkeysin the circle to serve her as a desk, and to hold the torches. She beckonsFaustto approach.
(ToMephistopheles.) Tell me, to what doth all this tend?
Where will these frantic gestures end?
This loathsome cheat, this senseless stuff
I’ve known and hated long enough.
Mere mummery, a laugh to raise!
Pray don’t be so fastidious! She
But as a leech, her hocus-pocus plays,
That well with you her potion may agree.
[He compelsFaustto enter the circle.
(TheWitch,with great emphasis, begins to declaim from the book.)
The hag doth as in fever rave.
To these will follow many a stave.
I know it well, so rings the book throughout;
Much time I’ve lost in puzzling o’er its pages,
For downright paradox, no doubt,
A mystery remains alike to fools and sages.
Ancient the art and modern too, my friend.
’Tis still the fashion as it used to be,
Error instead of truth abroad to send
By means of three and one, and one and three.
’Tis ever taught and babbled in the schools.
Who’d take the trouble to dispute with fools?
When words men hear, in sooth, they usually believe,
That there must needs therein be something to conceive.
What nonsense doth the hag propound?
My brain it doth well-nigh confound.
A hundred thousand fools or more,
Methinks I hear in chorus roar
Incomparable Sibyl cease, I pray!
Hand us thy liquor without more delay.
And to the very brim the goblet crown!
My friend he is, and need not be afraid;
Besides, he is a man of many a grade,
Who hath drunk deep already.
[TheWitch,with many ceremonies, pours the liquor into a cup; asFaustlifts it to his mouth, a light flame arises.
Gulp it down!
No hesitation! It will prove
A cordial, and your heart inspire!
What! with the devil hand and glove,
And yet shrink back afraid of fire?
[TheWitchdissolves the circle.Fauststeps out.
Now forth at once! thou dar’st not rest.
And much, sir, may the liquor profit you!
(To theWitch.) And if to pleasure thee I aught can do,
Pray on Walpurgis mention thy request.
Here is a song, sung o’er sometimes, you’ll see,
That ’twill a singular effect produce.
(ToFaust.) Come, quick, and let thyself be led by me;
Thou must perspire, in order that the juice
Thy frame may penetrate through every part.
Thy noble idleness I’ll teach thee then to prize,
And soon with ecstasy thou’lt recognize
How Cupid stirs and gambols in thy heart.
Let me but gaze one moment in the glass!
Too lovely was that female form!
A model which all women shall surpass,
In flesh and blood ere long thou shalt survey.
As works the draught, thou presently shalt greet
A Helen in each woman thou dost meet.
Fair lady, may I thus make free
To offer you my arm and company?
I am no lady, am not fair,
Can without escort home repair.
[She disengages herself and exit.
By heaven! This girl is fair indeed!
No form like hers can I recall.
Virtue she hath, and modest heed,
Is piquant too, and sharp withal.
Her cheek’s soft light, her rosy lips,
No length of time will e’er eclipse!
Her downward glance in passing by,
Deep in my heart is stamp’d for aye;
How curt and sharp her answer too!
My ravish’d heart to rapture grew!
This girl must win for me! Dost hear?
She who but now pass’d.
She from confession cometh here,
From every sin absolv’d and free;
I crept near the confessor’s chair.
All innocence her virgin soul,
For next to nothing went she there;
O’er such as she I’ve no control!
She’s past fourteen.
You really talk
Like any gay Lothario,
Who every floweret from its stalk
Would pluck, and deems nor grace nor truth
Secure against his arts, forsooth!
This ne’ertheless won’t always do.
Sir Moralizer, prithee pause;
Nor plague me with your tiresome laws!
To cut the matter short, my friend,
She must this very night be mine,—
And if to help me you decline,
Midnight shall see our compact end.
What may occur just bear in mind!
A fortnight’s space, at least, I need,
A fit occasion but to find.
With but seven hours I could succeed;
Nor should I want the devil’s wile,
So young a creature to beguile.
Like any Frenchman now you speak,
But do not fret, I pray; why seek
To hurry to enjoyment straight?
The pleasure is not half so great
As when at first, around, above,
With all the fooleries of love,
The puppet you can knead and mould
As in Italian story oft is told.
No such incentives do I need.
But now, without offence or jest!
You cannot quickly, I protest,
In winning this sweet child succeed.
By storm we cannot take the fort,
To stratagem we must resort.
Conduct me to her place of rest?
Some token of the angel bring!
A kerchief from her snowy breast,
A garter bring me,—anything!
That I my anxious zeal may prove,
Your pangs to sooth and aid your love,
A single moment will we not delay,
Will lead you to her room this very day.
And shall I see her?—Have her?
She to a neighbor’s house will go;
But in her atmosphere alone,
The tedious hours meanwhile you may employ,
In blissful dreams of future joy.
Can we go now?
’Tis yet too soon.
Some present for my love procure!
Presents so soon! ’tis well! success is sure!
I know full many a secret store
Of treasure, buried long before,
I must a little look them o’er.
Evening. A small and neat room.
(Braiding and binding up her hair.) I would give something now to know,
Who yonder gentleman could be!
He had a gallant air, I trow,
And doubtless was of high degree:
That written on his brow was seen—
Nor else would he so bold have been.
Come in! tread softly! be discreet!
(After a pause.) Begone and leave me, I entreat!
(Looking round.) Not every maiden is so neat.
(Gazing round.) Welcome sweet twilight gloom which reigns,
Through this dim place of hallow’d rest!
Fond yearning love, inspire my breast,
Feeding on hope’s sweet dew thy blissful pains!
What stillness here environs me!
Content and order brood around.
What fulness in this poverty!
In this small cell what bliss profound!
[He throws himself on the leather arm-chair beside the bed.
Receive me thou, who hast in thine embrace,
Welcom’d in joy and grief the ages flown!
How oft the children of a bygone race
Have cluster’d round this patriarchal throne!
Haply she, also, whom I hold so dear,
For Christmas gift, with grateful joy possess’d,
Hath with the full round cheek of childhood, here,
Her grandsire’s wither’d hand devoutly press’d.
Maiden! I feel thy spirit haunt the place,
Breathing of order and abounding grace.
As with a mother’s voice it prompteth thee,
The pure white cover o’er the board to spread,
To strew the crisping sand beneath thy tread.
Dear hand! so godlike in its ministry!
The hut becomes a paradise through thee!
[He raises the bed-curtain.
How thrills my pulse with strange delight!
Here could I linger hours untold;
Thou, Nature, didst in vision bright,
The embryo angel here unfold.
Here lay the child, her bosom warm
With life; while steeped in slumber’s dew,
To perfect grace her godlike form
With pure and hallow’d weavings grew!
And thou! ah here what seekest thou?
How quails mine inmost being now!
What wouldst thou here? what makes thy heart so sore?
Unhappy Faust! I know thee now no more.
Do I a magic atmosphere inhale?
Erewhile, my passion would not brook delay!
Now in a pure love-dream I melt away.
Are we the sport of every passing gale?
Should she return and enter now,
How wouldst thou rue thy guilty flame!
Proud vaunter—thou wouldst hide thy brow,—
And at her feet sink down with shame.
Quick! quick! below I see her there.
Away! I will return no more!
Here is a casket, with a store
Of jewels, which I got elsewhere.
Just lay it in the press; make haste!
I swear to you, ’twill turn her brain;
Therein some trifles I have plac’d,
Wherewith another to obtain.
But child is child, and play is play.
I know not—shall I?
Do you ask?
Perchance you would retain the treasure?
If such your wish, why then, I say,
Henceforth absolve me from my task,
Nor longer waste your hours of leisure.
I trust you’re not by avarice led!
I rub my hands, I scratch my head,—
[He places the casket in the press and closes the lock.
Now quick! Away!
That soon the sweet young creature may
The wish and purpose of your heart obey;
Yet stand you there
As would you to the lecture-room repair,
As if before you stood,
Array’d in flesh and blood,
Physics and metaphysics weird and gray!—
(With a lamp.) It is so close, so sultry now,
[She opens the window.
Yet out of doors ’tis not so warm.
I feel so strange, I know not how—
I wish my mother would come home,
Through me there runs a shuddering—
I’m but a foolish timid thing!
[While undressing herself she begins to sing.
[She opens the press to put away her clothes, and perceives the casket.
How comes this lovely casket here? The press
I lock’d, of that I’m confident.
’Tis very wonderful! What’s in it I can’t guess;
Perhaps ’twas brought by some one in distress,
And left in pledge for loan my mother lent.
Here by a ribbon hangs a little key!
I have a mind to open it and see!
Heavens! only look! what have we here!
In all my days ne’er saw I such a sight!
Jewels! which any noble dame might wear,
For some high pageant richly dight!
How would the necklace look on me!
These splendid gems, whose may they be?
[She puts them on and steps before the glass.
Were but the ear-rings only mine!
Thus one has quite another air.
What boots it to be young and fair?
It doubtless may be very fine;
But then, alas, none cares for you,
And praise sounds half like pity too.
Gold all doth lure,
Gold doth secure
All things. Alas, we poor!
Faustwalking thoughtfully up and down.
By love despis’d! By hell’s fierce fires I curse,
Would I knew aught to make my imprecation worse!
What aileth thee? what chafes thee now so sore?
A face like that I never saw before!
I’d yield me to the devil instantly,
Did it not happen that myself am he!
There must be some disorder in thy wit!
To rave thus like a madman, is it fit?
Just think! The gems for Gretchen brought,
Them hath a priest now made his own!—
A glimpse of them the mother caught,
And ’gan with secret fear to groan.
The woman’s scent is keen enough;
Doth ever in the prayer-book snuff;
Smells every article to ascertain
Whether the thing is holy or profane,
And scented in the jewels rare,
That there was not much blessing there.
“My child,” she cries, “ill-gotten good
Ensnares the soul, consumes the blood;
With them we’ll deck our Lady’s shrine,
She’ll cheer our souls with bread divine!”
At this poor Gretchen ’gan to pout;
’Tis a gift-horse, at least, she thought,
And sure, he godless cannot be,
Who brought them here so cleverly.
Straight for a priest the mother sent,
Who, when he understood the jest,
With what he saw was well content.
“This shows a pious mind!” Quoth he:
“Self-conquest is true victory.
The Church hath a good stomach; she, with zest,
Hath lands and kingdoms swallow’d down,
And never yet a surfeit known.
The Church alone, be it confess’d,
Daughters, can ill-got wealth digest.”
It is a general custom, too,
Practised alike by king and jew.
With that, clasp, chain and ring he swept
As they were mushrooms; and the casket,
Without one word of thanks, he kept,
As if of nuts it were a basket.
Promis’d reward in heaven, then forth he hied:
And greatly they were edified.
In unquiet mood
Knows neither what she would or should;
The trinkets night and day thinks o’er,
On him who brought them, dwells still more.
The darling’s sorrow grieves me, bring
Another set without delay!
The first, methinks, was no great thing.
All’s to my gentleman child’s play!
Plan all things to achieve my end!
Engage the attention of her friend!
No milk-and-water devil be,
And bring fresh jewels instantly!
Ay, sir! Most gladly I’ll obey.
Your doting love-sick fool, with ease,
Merely his lady-love to please,
Sun, moon and stars in sport would puff away.
The Neighbor’s House.
(Alone.) God pardon my dear husband, he
Doth not in truth act well by me!
Forth in the world abroad to roam,
And leave me on the straw at home.
And yet his will I ne’er did thwart,
God knows, I lov’d him from my heart!
Perchance he’s dead!—oh wretched state!—
Had I but a certificate!
My knees beneath me well-nigh sink!
Within my press I’ve found to-day,
Another case, of ebony.
And things—magnificent they are,
More costly than the first, by far.
You must not name it to your mother!
It would to shrift, just like the other.
Nay look at them! now only see!
(Dresses her up.) Thou happy creature!
Woe is me!
Them in the street I cannot wear,
Or in the church, or anywhere.
Come often over here to me,
The gems put on quite privately;
And then before the mirror walk an hour or so,
Thus we shall have our pleasure too.
Then suitable occasions we must seize,
As at a feast, to show them by degrees:
A chain at first, then ear-drops,—and your mother
Won’t see them, or we’ll coin some tale or other.
But who, I wonder, could the caskets bring?
I fear there’s something wrong about the thing!
Good heavens! can that my mother be?
(Peering through the blind.) ’Tis a strange gentleman I see.
I’ve ventured to intrude to-day.
Ladies, excuse the liberty, I pray.
[He steps back respectfully beforeMargaret.
After dame Martha Schwerdtlein I inquire!
’Tis I. Pray what have you to say to me?
(Aside to her.) I know you now,—and therefore will retire;
At present you’ve distinguish’d company.
Pardon the freedom, Madam, with your leave,
I will make free to call again at eve.
(Aloud.) Why, child, of all strange notions, he
For some grand lady taketh thee!
I am, in truth, of humble blood—
The gentleman is far too good—
Nor gems nor trinkets are my own.
Oh, ’tis not the mere ornaments alone;
Her glance and mien far more betray.
Rejoic’d I am that I may stay.
Your business, Sir? I long to know—
Would I could happier tidings show!
I trust mine errand you’ll not let me rue;
Your husband’s dead, and greeteth you.
Is dead? True heart! Oh misery!
My husband dead! Oh, I shall die!
Alas! good Martha! don’t despair!
Now listen to the sad affair!
I for this cause should fear to love.
The loss my certain death would prove.
Joy still must sorrow, sorrow joy attend.
Proceed, and tell the story of his end!
At Padua, in St. Anthony’s,
In holy ground his body lies;
Quiet and cool his place of rest,
With pious ceremonials blest.
And had you naught besides to bring?
Oh yes! one grave and solemn prayer;
Let them for him three hundred masses sing!
But in my pockets, I have nothing there.
No trinket! no love-token did he send!
What every journeyman safe in his pouch will hoard
There for remembrance fondly stor’d,
And rather hungers, rather begs than spend!
Madam, in truth, it grieves me sore,
But he his gold not lavishly hath spent,
His failings too he deeply did repent,
Ay! and his evil plight bewail’d still more.
Alas! That men should thus be doom’d to woe!
I for his soul will many a requiem pray.
A husband you deserve this very day,
A child so worthy to be loved.
That time hath not yet come for me.
If not a spouse, a gallant let it be.
Among heaven’s choicest gifts I place
So sweet a darling to embrace.
Our land doth no such usage know.
Usage or not, it happens so.
Go on, I pray!
I stood by his bedside.
Something less foul it was than dung;
’Twas straw half rotten; yet, he as a Christian died.
And sorely hath remorse his conscience wrung.
“Wretch that I was,” quoth he, with parting breath,
“So to forsake my business and my wife!
Ah! the remembrance is my death.
Could I but have her pardon in this life!”—
(Weeping.) Dear soul! I’ve long forgiven him, indeed!
“Though she, God knows, was more to blame than I.”
What, on the brink of death assert a lie!
If I am skill’d the countenance to read,
He doubtless fabled as he parted hence.—
“No time had I to gape, or take my ease,” he said,
“First to get children, and then get them bread;
And bread, too, in the very widest sense;
Nor could I eat in peace even my proper share.”
What, all my truth, my love forgotten quite?
My weary drudgery by day and night!
Not so! He thought of you with tender care.
Quoth he: “Heaven knows how fervently I prayed
For wife and children when from Malta bound;—
The prayer hath Heaven with favor crown’d;
We took a Turkish vessel which convey’d
Rich store of treasure for the Sultan’s court;
Its own reward our gallant action brought;
The captur’d prize was shared among the crew,
And of the treasure I receiv’d my due.”
How? Where? The treasure hath he buried, pray?
Where the four winds have blown it, who can say?
In Naples as he stroll’d, a stranger there,—
A comely maid took pity on my friend;
And gave such tokens of her love and care,
That he retain’d them to his blessed end.
Scoundrel! to rob his children of their bread!
And all this misery, this bitter need,
Could not his course of recklessness impede!
Well, he hath paid the forfeit, and is dead.
Now were I in your place, my counsel hear;
My weeds I’d wear for one chaste year,
And for another lover meanwhile would look out.
Alas, I might search far and near,
Not quickly should I find another like my first!
There could not be a fonder fool than mine,
Only he lov’d too well abroad to roam;
Lov’d foreign women too, and foreign wine,
And lov’d besides the dice accurs’d.
All had gone swimmingly, no doubt,
Had he but given you at home,
On his side, just as wide a range.
Upon such terms, to you I swear,
Myself with you would gladly rings exchange!
The gentleman is surely pleas’d to jest!
(Aside.) Now to be off in time, were best!
She’d make the very devil marry her.
How fares it with your heart?
How mean you, Sir?
(Aside.) The sweet young innocent!
But ere you leave us, quickly tell!
I from a witness fain had heard,
Where, how and when my husband died and was interr’d.
To forms I’ve always been attach’d indeed,
His death I fain would in the journals read.
Ay, madam, what two witnesses declare
Is held as valid everywhere;
A gallant friend I have, not far from here,
Who will for you before the judge appear.
I’ll bring him straight.
I pray you do!
And this young lady, we shall find her too?
A noble youth, far travell’d, he,
Shows to the sex all courtesy.
I in his presence needs must blush for shame.
Not in the presence of a crowned king!
The garden, then, behind my house we’ll name,
There we’ll await you both this evening.
How is it now? How speeds it? Is’t in train?
Bravo! I find you all aflame!
Gretchen full soon your own you’ll name.
This eve, at neighbor Martha’s, her you’ll meet again;
The woman seems expressly made
To drive the pimp and gypsy’s trade.
But from us she something would request.
A favor claims return as this world goes.
We have on oath but duly to attest
That her dead husband’s limbs, outstretch’d, repose
In holy ground at Padua.
So I suppose we straight must journey there!
Sancta simplicitas! For that no need!
Without much knowledge we have but to swear.
If you have nothing better to suggest,
Against your plan I must at once protest.
Oh, holy man! methinks I have you there!
In all your life say, have you ne’er
False witness borne, until this hour?
Have you of God, the world, and all it doth contain,
Of man, and that which worketh in his heart and brain,
Not definitions given, in words of weight and power,
With front unblushing, and a dauntless breast?
Yet, if into the depth of things you go,
Touching these matters, it must be confess’d,
As much as of Herr Schwerdtlein’s death you know!
Thou art and dost remain liar and sophist too.
Ay, if one did not take a somewhat deeper view!
To-morrow, in all honor, thou
Poor Gretchen wilt befool, and vow
Thy soul’s deep love, in lover’s fashion.
And from my heart.
All good and fair!
Then deathless constancy thou’lt swear;
Speak of one all-o’ermastering passion,—
Will that too issue from the heart?
When passion sways me, and I seek to frame
Fit utterance for feeling, deep, intense,
And for my frenzy finding no fit name,
Sweep round the ample world with every sense,
Grasp at the loftiest words to speak my flame,
And call the glow, wherewith I burn,
Quenchless, eternal, yea, eterne—
Is that of sophistry a devilish play?
Yet am I right!
Mark this, my friend,
And spare my lungs: whoe’er to have the right is fain,
If he have but a tongue, wherewith his point to gain,
Will gain it in the end.
But come, of gossip I am weary quite;
Because I’ve no resource, thou’rt in the right.
MargaretonFaust’sarm.MarthawithMephistopheleswalking up and down.
I feel it, you but spare my ignorance,
To shame me, sir, you stoop thus low.
A traveller from complaisance,
Still makes the best of things; I know
Too well, my humble prattle never can
Have power to entertain so wise a man.
One glance, one word of thine doth charm me more,
Than the world’s wisdom or the sage’s lore.
[He kisses her hand.
Nay! trouble not yourself! A hand so coarse,
So rude as mine, now can you kiss!
What constant work at home must I not do perforce!
My mother too exacting is.
[They pass on.
Thus, sir, unceasing travel is your lot?
Traffic and duty urge us! With what pain
Are we compell’d to leave full many a spot,
Where yet we dare not once remain!
In youth’s wild years, with vigor crown’d,
’Tis not amiss thus through the world to sweep;
But ah, the evil days come round!
And to a lonely grave as bachelor to creep,
A pleasant thing has no one found.
The prospect fills me with dismay.
Therefore in time, dear sir, reflect, I pray.
[They pass on.
Ay, out of sight is out of mind!
Politeness easy is to you;
Friends everywhere, and not a few,
Wiser than I am, you will find.
Trust me, my angel, what doth pass for sense
Full oft is self-conceit and blindness!
Simplicity and holy innocence,—
When will ye learn your hallow’d worth to know?
Ah, when will meekness and humility,
Kind and all-bounteous nature’s loftiest dower—
Only one little moment think of me!
To think of you I shall have many an hour.
You are perhaps much alone?
Yes, small our household is, I own,
Yet must I see to it. No maid we keep,
And I must cook, sew, knit and sweep,
Still early on my feet and late;
My mother is in all things, great and small,
Not that for thrift there is such pressing need;
Than others we might make more show indeed;
My father left behind a small estate,
A house and garden near the city-wall.
Quiet enough my life has been of late;
My brother for a soldier’s gone;
My little sister’s dead; the babe to rear
Occasion’d me some care and fond annoy;
But I would go through all again with joy,
The darling was to me so dear.
An angel, sweet, if it resembled thee!
I rear’d it up, and it grew fond of me.
After my father’s death it saw the day;
We gave my mother up for lost, she lay
In such a wretched plight, and then at length
So very slowly she regain’d her strength.
Weak as she was, ’twas vain for her to try
Herself to suckle the poor babe, so I
Reared it on milk and water all alone;
And thus the child became as ’twere my own;
Within my arms it stretch’d itself and grew,
And smiling, nestled in my bosom too.
Doubtless the purest happiness was thine.
But many weary hours, in sooth, were also mine.
At night its little cradle stood
Close to my bed; so was I wide awake
If it but stirr’d;
One while I was oblig’d to give it food,
Or to my arms the darling take;
From bed full oft must rise, whene’er its cry I heard,
And, dancing it, must pace the chamber to and fro;
Stand at the wash-tub early; forthwith go
To market, and then mind the cooking too—
To-morrow like to-day, the whole year through.
Ah, sir, thus living, it must be confess’d
One’s spirits are not always of the best;
Yet it a relish gives to food and rest.
[They pass on.
Poor women! we are badly off, I own;
A bachelor’s conversion’s hard, indeed!
Madam, with one like you it rests alone
To tutor me a better course to lead.
Speak frankly, sir, none is there you have met?
Has your heart ne’er attach’d itself as yet?
One’s own fireside and a good wife are gold
And pearls of price, so says the proverb old.
I mean, has passion never stirr’d your breast?
I’ve everywhere been well receiv’d, I own.
Yet hath your heart no earnest preference known?
With ladies one should ne’er presume to jest.
Ah! you mistake!
I’m sorry I’m so blind!
But this I know—that you are very kind.
[They pass on.
Me, little angel, didst thou recognize,
When in the garden first I came?
Did you not see it? I cast down my eyes.
Thou dost forgive my boldness, dost not blame
The liberty I took that day,
When thou from church didst lately wend thy way?
I was confus’d. So had it never been;
No one of me could any evil say.
Alas, thought I, he doubtless in thy mien
Something unmaidenly or bold hath seen?
It seem’d as if it struck him suddenly,
Here’s just a girl with whom one may make free!
Yet I must own that then I scarcely knew
What in your favor here began at once to plead;
Yet I was angry with myself indeed,
That I more angry could not feel with you.
Just wait awhile!
[She gathers a star-flower and plucks off the leaves one after another.
A nosegay may that be?
No! It is but a game.
Go, you’ll laugh at me!
[She plucks off the leaves and murmurs to herself.
What murmurest thou?
(Half aloud.) He loves me,—loves me not.
Sweet angel, with thy face of heavenly bliss!
(Continues.) He loves me—not—he loves me—not—
[Plucking off the last leaf with fond joy.
He loves me!
And this flower-language, darling, let it be,
A heavenly oracle! He loveth thee!
Know’st thou the meaning of, He loveth thee?
[He seizes both her hands.
I tremble so!
Nay! do not tremble, love!
Let this hand-pressure, let this glance reveal
Feelings, all power of speech above;
To give one’s self up wholly and to feel
A joy that must eternal prove!
Eternal!—Yes, its end would be despair.
No end!—It cannot end!
[Margaretpresses his hand, extricates herself, and runs away. He stands a moment in thought, and then follows her.
(Approaching.) Night’s closing.
Yes, we’ll presently away.
I would entreat you longer yet to stay;
But ’tis a wicked place, just here about;
It is as if the folk had nothing else to do,
Nothing to think of too,
But gaping watch their neighbors, who goes in and out;
And scandal’s busy still, do whatsoe’er one may.
And our young couple?
They have flown up there.
The wanton butterflies!
He seems to take to her.
And she to him. ’Tis of the world the way!
Margaretruns in, hides behind the door, holds the tip of her finger to her lip, and peeps through the crevice.
Ah, little rogue, so thou
Think’st to provoke me! I have caught thee now!
[He kisses her.
(Embracing him and returning the kiss.) Dearest of men! I love thee from my heart!
(Stamping.) Who’s there?
’Tis time to part.
(Comes.) Ay, it is late, good sir.
Mayn’t I attend you, then?
Oh no—my mother would—adieu, adieu!
And must I really then take leave of you?
Ere long to meet again!
Good heavens! how all things far and near
Must fill his mind,—a man like this!
Abash’d before him I appear,
And say to all things only yes.
Poor simple child, I cannot see
What ’tis that he can find in me.
Forest and Cavern.
(Alone.) Spirit sublime! Thou gav’st me, gav’st me all
For which I pray’d! Not vainly hast thou turn’d
To me thy countenance in flaming fire:
Gav’st me glorious nature for my realm,
And also power to feel her and enjoy;
Not merely with a cold and wond’ring glance,
Thou dost permit me in her depths profound,
As in the bosom of a friend, to gaze.
Before me thou dost lead her living tribes,
And dost in silent grove, in air and stream
Teach me to know my kindred. And when roars
The howling storm-blast through the groaning wood,
Wrenching the giant pine, which in its fall
Crashing sweeps down its neighbor trunks and boughs,
While with the hollow noise the hill resounds,
Then thou dost lead me to some shelter’d cave,
Dost there reveal me to myself, and show
Of my own bosom the mysterious depths.
And when, with soothing beam, the moon’s pale orb
Full in my view climbs up the pathless sky,
From crag and dewy grove the silvery forms
Of bygone ages hover, and assuage
The joy austere of contemplative thought.
Oh, that naught perfect is assign’d to man,
I feel, alas! With this exalted joy,
Which lifts me near and nearer to the gods,
Thou gav’st me this companion, unto whom
I needs must cling, though cold and insolent;
He still degrades me to myself, and turns
Thy glorious gifts to nothing with a breath.
He in my bosom with malicious zeal
For that fair image fans a raging fire;
From craving to enjoyment thus I reel,
And in enjoyment languish for desire.
Of this lone life have you not had your fill?
How for so long can it have charms for you?
’Tis well enough to try it if you will;
But then away again to something new!
Would you could better occupy your leisure
Than in disturbing thus my hours of joy.
Well! well! I’ll leave you to yourself with pleasure,
A serious tone you hardly dare employ.
To part from one so crazy, harsh and cross
I should not find a grievous loss.
The livelong day, for you I toil and fret;
Ne’er from his worship’s face a hint I get,
What pleases him, or what to let alone.
Ay truly! that is just the proper tone!
He wearies me, and would with thanks be paid!
Poor Son of Earth, without my aid,
How would thy weary days have flown?
Thee of thy foolish whims I’ve cur’d,
Thy vain imaginations banish’d,
And but for me, be well assur’d,
Thou from this sphere must soon have vanish’d.
In rocky hollows and in caverns drear,
Why like an owl sit moping here?
Wherefore from dripping stones and moss with ooze imbued,
Dost suck, like any toad, thy food?
A rare, sweet pastime. Verily!
The doctor cleaveth still to thee.
Dost comprehend what bliss without alloy
From this wild wand’ring in the desert springs?—
Couldst thou but guess the new life-power it brings,
Thou wouldst be fiend enough to envy me my joy.
What super-earthly ecstasy! at night,
To lie in darkness on the dewy height,
Embracing heaven and earth in rapture high,
The soul dilating to a deity;
With prescient yearnings pierce the core of earth,
Feel in your laboring breast the six-days’ birth,
Enjoy, in proud delight what no one knows,
While your love-rapture o’er creation flows,—
The earthly lost in beatific vision,
And then the lofty intuition—
[With a gesture.
I need not tell you how—to close!
Fie on you!
This displeases you? “For shame!”
You are forsooth entitled to exclaim;
We to chaste ears it seems must not pronounce
What, nathless, the chaste heart cannot renounce.
Well, to be brief, the joy as fit occasions rise,
I grudge you not, of specious lies.
But soon the self-deluding vein
Is past, once more thou’rt whirl’d away,
And should it last, thou’lt be the prey
Of frenzy or remorse and pain.
Enough of this! Thy true love dwells apart,
And all to her seems flat and tame;
Alone thine image fills her heart,
She loves thee with an all-devouring flame.
First came thy passion with o’erpowering rush,
Like mountain torrent, swollen by the melted snow;
Full in her heart didst pour the sudden gush,
Now has thy brooklet ceas’d to flow.
Instead of sitting thron’d midst forests wild,
It would become so great a lord
To comfort the enamour’d child,
And the young monkey for her love reward.
To her the hours seem miserably long;
She from the window sees the clouds float by
As o’er the lofty city-walls they fly.
“If I a birdie were!” so runs her song,
Half through the night and all day long;
Cheerful sometimes, more oft at heart full sore;
Fairly outwept seem now her tears,
Anon she tranquil is, or so appears,
And lovesick evermore.
Snake! Serpent vile!
(Aside.) Good! If I catch thee with my guile!
Vile reprobate! go get thee hence;
Forbear the lovely girl to name!
Nor in my half-distracted sense,
Kindle anew the smouldering flame!
What wouldst thou! She thinks you’ve taken flight;
It seems she’s partly in the right.
I’m near her still—and should I distant rove,
Her I can ne’er forget, ne’er lose her love;
And all things touch’d by those sweet lips of hers,
Even the very Host my envy stirs.
’Tis well! I oft have envi’d you indeed,
The twin-pair that among the roses feed.
Go to! I laugh, the while you rail.
The power which fashion’d youth and maid,
Well understood the noble trade;
So neither shall occasion fail.
But hence!—In truth a case for gloom!
Bethink thee, to thy mistress’ room
And not to death shouldst go!
What is to me heaven’s joy within her arms?
What though my life her bosom warms!—
Do I not ever feel her woe?
The outcast am I not, who knows no rest,
In human monster, aimless and unblest,
Who, like the greedy surge, from rock to rock,
Sweeps down the dread abyss with desperate shock?
While she, within her lowly cot, which grac’d
The Alpine slope, beside the waters wild,
Her homely cares in that small world embrac’d,
Secluded liv’d, a simple artless child.
Was’t not enough, in thy delirious whirl,
To blast the steadfast rocks?
Her, and her peace as well,
Must I, God-hated one, to ruin hurl!
Dost claim this holocaust, remorseless Hell!
Fiend, help me to cut short the hours of dread!
Let what must happen, happen speedily!
Her direful doom fall crushing on my head,
And into ruin let her plunge with me!
Why how again it seethes and glows!
Away, thou fool! Her torment ease!
When such a head no issue sees,
It pictures straight the final close.
Long life to him who boldly dares!
A devil’s pluck thou’rt wont to show;
As for a devil who despairs,
There’s naught so mawkish here below.
(Alone at her spinning-wheel.)
Promise me, Henry—
What I can!
How is it with religion in thy mind?
Thou art a dear kind-hearted man,
But I’m afraid not piously inclin’d.
Forbear! Thou feel’st I love thee alone;
For those I love, my life I would lay down,
And none would of their faith or church bereave.
That’s not enough, we must ourselves believe!
Ah, could I but thy soul inspire!
Thou honorest not the sacraments, alas!
I honor them.
But yet without desire;
’Tis long since thou hast been either to shrift or mass.
Dost thou believe in God?
My darling, who dares say,
Yes, I in God believe?
Question or priest or sage, and they
Seem, in the answer you receive,
To mock the questioner.
Then thou dost not believe?
Sweet one! my meaning do not misconceive!
Him who dare name
And who proclaim,
Him I believe?
Who that can feel,
His heart can steel,
To say: I believe him not?
Holds and sustains he not
Thee, me, himself?
Lifts not the Heaven its dome above?
Doth not the firm-set earth beneath us lie?
And beaming tenderly with looks of love,
Climb not the everlasting stars on high?
Do I not gaze into thine eyes?
Nature’s impenetrable agencies,
Are they not thronging on thy heart and brain,
Viewless, or visible to mortal ken,
Around thee weaving their mysterious chain?
Fill thence thy heart, how large soe’er it be;
And in the feeling when thou utterly art blest,
Then call it, what thou wilt,—
Call it Bliss! Heart! Love! God!
I have no name for it!
’Tis feeling all;
Name is but sound and smoke
Shrouding the glow of heaven.
All this is doubtless good and fair;
Almost the same the parson says,
Only in slightly different phrase.
Beneath heaven’s sunshine, everywhere,
This is the utterance of the human heart;
Each in his language doth the like impart;
Then why not I in mine?
What thus I hear
Sounds plausible, yet I’m not reconcil’d;
There’s something wrong about it; much I fear
That thou art not a Christian.
My sweet child!
Alas! it long hath sorely troubled me,
To see thee in such odious company.
The man who comes with thee, I hate,
Yea, in my spirit’s inmost depths abhor;
As his loath’d visage, in my life before,
Naught to my heart e’er gave a pang so great.
Fear not, sweet love!
His presence chills my blood.
Towards all beside I have a kindly mood;
Yet, though I yearn to gaze on thee, I feel
At sight of him strange horror o’er me steal;
That he’s a villain my conviction’s strong.
May Heaven forgive me, if I do him wrong!
Yet such strange fellows in the world must be!
I would not live with such an one as he.
If for a moment he but enter here,
He looks around him with a mocking sneer,
And malice ill-conceal’d;
That he, with naught on earth can sympathize is clear;
Upon his brow ’tis legibly reveal’d,
That to his heart no living soul is dear.
So blest I feel, within thine arms,
So warm and happy—free from all alarms;
And still my heart doth close when he comes near.
Foreboding angel! check thy fear!
It so o’ermasters me, that when
Or wheresoe’er his step I hear,
I almost think, no more I love thee then.
Besides, when he is near, I ne’er could pray,
This eats into my heart; with thee
The same, my Henry, it must be.
This is antipathy!
I must away.
For one brief hour then may I never rest,
And heart to heart, and soul to soul be press’d?
Ah, if I slept alone, to-night
The bolt I fain would leave undrawn for thee;
But then my mother’s sleep is light,
Were we surpris’d by her, ah me!
Upon the spot I should be dead.
Dear angel! there’s no cause for dread.
Here is a little phial,—if she take
Mix’d in her drink three drops, ’twill steep
Her nature in a deep and soothing sleep.
What do I not for thy dear sake!
To her it will not harmful prove?
Should I advise else, sweet love?
I know not, dearest, when thy face I see,
What doth my spirit to thy will constrain;
Already I have done so much for thee,
That scarcely more to do doth now remain.
The monkey! Is she gone?
Again hast play’d the spy?
Of all that pass’d I’m well appris’d,
I heard the doctor catechis’d,
And trust he’ll profit much thereby!
Fain would the girls inquire indeed
Touching their lover’s faith, if he
Believe according to the ancient creed;
They think: if pliant there, to us he’ll yielding be.
Thou monster, dost not see that this
Pure soul, possess’d by ardent love,
Full of the living faith,
To her of bliss
The only pledge, must holy anguish prove,
Holding the man she loves, fore-doom’d to endless death!
Most sensual, supersensualist! The while
A damsel leads thee by the nose!
Of filth and fire abortion vile!
In physiognomy strange skill she shows;
She in my presence feels she knows not how;
My mask it seems a hidden sense reveals;
That I’m a genius she must needs allow,
That I’m the very devil perhaps she feels.
So then to-night—
What’s that to you?
I’ve my amusement in it too!
At the Well.
Of Barbara hast nothing heard?
I rarely go from home,—no, not a word.
’Tis true: Sybilla told me so to-day!
That comes of being proud, methinks;
She play’d the fool at last.
That two she feedeth when she eats and drinks.
She’s rightly serv’d, in sooth.
How long she hung upon the youth!
What promenades, what jaunts there were,
To dancing booth and village fair!
The first she everywhere must shine,
He always treating her to pastry and to wine.
Of her good looks she was so vain,
So shameless, too, that she did not disdain
Even his presents to retain;
Sweet words and kisses came anon—
And then the virgin flower was gone!
Forsooth dost pity her?
At night, when at our wheels we sat,
Abroad our mothers ne’er would let us stir.
Then with her lover she must chat,
Or on the bench, or in the dusky walk,
Thinking the hours too brief for their sweet talk;
Her proud head she will have to bow,
And in white sheet do penance now!
But he will surely marry her?
He won’t be such a fool! a gallant lad
Like him can roam o’er land and sea;
Besides, he’s off.
That is not fair!
If she should get him, ’twere almost as bad!
Her myrtle wreath the boys would tear;
And then we girls would plague her too,
For we chopp’d straw before her door would strew!
(Walking towards home.)
How stoutly once I could inveigh,
If a poor maiden went astray!
Not words enough my tongue could find
’Gainst others’ sin to speak my mind;
Black as it seem’d, I blacken’d it still more,
And strove to make it blacker than before,
And did myself securely bless—
Now my own trespass doth appear!
Yet ah!—what urg’d me to transgress,
Sweet heaven, it was so good! so dear!
Enclosure between the City-wall and the Gate.
[In the niche of the wall a devotional image of the Mater Dolorosa, with flower-pots before it.
(Putting fresh flowers in the pots.)
How from yon sacristy, athwart the night,
Its beams the ever-burning taper throws,
While ever waning, fades the glimmering light,
As gathering darkness doth around it close!
So night-like gloom doth in my bosom reign.
I’m like a tom-cat in a thievish vein,
That up fire-ladders tall and steep,
And round the walls doth slyly creep;
Virtuous withal, I feel, with, I confess,
A touch of thievish joy and wantonness.
Thus through my limbs already there doth bound
The glorious Walpurgis night!
After to-morrow it again comes round,
What one doth wake for, then one knows aright!
Meanwhile, the flame which I see glimmering there,
Is it the treasure rising in the air?
Ere long, I make no doubt, but you
To raise the chest will feel inclin’d;
Erewhile I peep’d within it too;
With lion-dollars ’tis well lin’d.
And not a trinket? not a ring?
Wherewith my lovely girl to deck?
I saw among them some such thing,
A string of pearls to grace her neck.
’Tis well! I’m always loath to go,
Without some gift my love to show.
Some pleasures gratis to enjoy,
Should surely cause you no annoy.
While bright with stars the heavens appear,
I’ll sing a masterpiece of art:
A moral song shall charm her ear,
More surely to beguile her heart.
(Sings to the guitar.)
(Steps forward.) Whom are you luring here? I’ll give it you!
Accursed rat-catchers, your strains I’ll end!
First, to the devil the guitar I’ll send!
Then to the devil with the singer too!
The poor guitar! ’tis done for now.
Your skull shall follow next, I trow!
(ToFaust.) Doctor, stand fast! your strength collect!
Be prompt, and do as I direct.
Out with your whisk! keep close, I pray,
I’ll parry! do you thrust away!
Then parry that!
The devil fights for you!
Why how is this? my hand’s already lamed!
(ToFaust.) Thrust home!
There! Now the lubber’s tamed!
But quick, away! We must at once take wing;
A cry of murder strikes upon the ear;
With the police I know my course to steer,
But with the blood-ban ’tis another thing.
(At the window.) Without! without!
(At the window.) Quick, bring a light!
(As above.) They rail and scuffle, scream and fight!
One lieth here already dead!
(Coming out.) Where are the murderers? Are they fled?
(Coming out.) Who lieth here?
Thy mother’s son.
Almighty God! I am undone!
I’m dying—’tis a soon-told tale,
And sooner done the deed.
Why, women, do ye howl and wail?
To my last words give heed!
[All gather round him.
Gretchen, thou’rt still of tender age,
And, well I wot, not over sage,
Thou dost thy matters ill;
Let this in confidence be said:
Since thou the path of shame dost tread,
Tread it with right good will!
My brother! God! what can this mean?
Nor dare God’s holy name profane!
What’s done, alas, is done and past!
Matters will take their course at last;
By stealth thou dost begin with one,
Others will follow him anon;
And when a dozen thee have known,
Thou’lt common be to all the town.
When infamy is newly born,
In secret she is brought to light,
And the mysterious veil of night
O’er head and ears is drawn;
The loathsome birth men fain would slay;
But soon, full grown, she waxes bold,
And though not fairer to behold,
With brazen front insults the day:
The more abhorrent to the sight,
The more she courts the day’s pure light.
The time already I discern,
When thee all honest folk will spurn,
And shun thy hated form to meet,
As when a corpse infects the street.
Thy heart will sink in blank despair,
When they shall look thee in the face!
A golden chain no more thou’lt wear—
Nor near the altar take in church thy place—
In fair lace collar simply dight
Thou’lt dance no more with spirits light—
In darksome corners thou wilt bide,
Where beggars vile and cripples hide—
And e’en though God thy crime forgive,
On earth, a thing accurs’d, thou’lt live!
Your parting soul to God commend;
Your dying breath in slander will you spend?
Could I but reach thy wither’d frame,
Thou wretched beldame, void of shame!
Full measure I might hope to win
Of pardon then for every sin.
Brother! what agonizing pain!
I tell thee! from vain tears abstain!
’Twas thy dishonor pierc’d my heart,
Thy fall the fatal death-stab gave.
Through the death-sleep I now depart
To God, a soldier true and brave.
Service, Organ and Anthem.
Margaretamongst a number of people.
How different, Gretchen, was it once with thee,
When thou, still full of innocence,
Here to the altar camest,
And from the small and well-conn’d book
Didst lisp thy prayer,
Half childish sport,
Half God in thy young heart!
What thoughts are thine?
What deed of shame
Lurks in thy sinful heart?
Is thy prayer utter’d for thy mother’s soul,
Who into long, long torment slept through thee?
Whose blood is on thy threshold?
—And stirs there not already ’neath thy heart
Another quick’ning pulse, that even now
Tortures itself and thee
With its foreboding presence?
Oh, could I free me from the thoughts
That hither, thither, crowd upon my brain,
Against my will!
[The organ sounds.
Wouldst hide thee? sin and shame
Remain not hidden!
The glorified their faces turn
Away from thee!
Shudder the pure to reach
Their hands to thee!
Quid sum miser tunc dicturus.—
Neighbor! your smelling bottle!
[She swoons away.
The Hartz Mountains.
District of Schierke and Elend.
A broomstick dost thou not at least desire?
The roughest he-goat fain would I bestride,
By this road from our goal we’re still far wide.
While fresh upon my legs, so long I naught require,
Except this knotty staff. Beside,
What boots it to abridge a pleasant way?
Along the labyrinth of these vales to creep,
Then scale these rocks, whence, in eternal spray,
Adown the cliffs the silvery fountains leap:
Such is the joy that seasons paths like these!
Spring weaves already in the birchen trees;
E’en the late pine-grove feels her quickening powers;
Should she not work within these limbs of ours?
Naught of this genial influence do I know!
Within me all is wintry. Frost and snow
I should prefer my dismal path to bound.
How sadly, yonder, with belated glow
Rises the ruddy moon’s imperfect round,
Shedding so faint a light at every tread
One’s sure to stumble ’gainst a rock or tree!
An Ignis Fatuus I must call instead.
Yonder one burning merrily, I see.
Holla! my friend, may I request your light?
Why should you flare away so uselessly?
Be kind enough to show us up the height!
Through reverence, I hope I may subdue
The lightness of my nature; true,
Our course is but a zigzag one.
So man, forsooth, he thinks to imitate!
Now, in the devil’s name, for once go straight,
Or out at once your flickering life I’ll blow!
That you are master here is obvious quite;
To do your will, I’ll cordially essay;
Only reflect! The hill is magic-mad to-night;
And if to show the path you choose a meteor’s light,
You must not wonder should we go astray.
Faust, Mephistopheles, Ignis Fatuus.
[In alternate song.
To-whit! To-whoo! It sounds more near;
Pewit, owl, and jay appear,
All awake, around, above!
Paunchy salamanders too
Crawl, long-limbed, the bushes through!
And, like snakes, the roots of trees
Coil themselves from rock and sand,
Stretching many a wondrous band,
Us to frighten, us to seize;
From rude knots with life embued,
Polyp-fangs abroad they spread,
To snare the wanderer! ’Neath our tread,
Mice, in myriads, thousand-hued,
Through the heath and through the moss!
And the fire-flies’ glittering throng,
Wildering escort, whirls along,
Here and there, our path across.
Tell me, stand we motionless,
Or still forward do we press?
All things round us whirl and fly,
Rocks and trees make strange grimaces,
Dazzling meteors change their places,
How they puff and multiply!
Now grasp my doublet—we at last
Have reached a central precipice,
Whence we a wondering glance may cast,
How Mammon lights the dark abyss.
How through the chasms strangely gleams,
A lurid light, like dawn’s red glow,
Pervading with its quivering beams,
The gorges of the gulf below!
There vapors rise, there clouds float by,
And here through mist the splendor shines;
Now, like a fount, it bursts on high,
Now glideth on in slender lines;
Far-reaching, with a hundred veins,
Through the far valley see it glide,
Here, where the gorge the flood restrains,
At once it scatters far and wide;
Anear, like showers of golden sand
Strewn broadcast, sputter sparks of light:
And mark yon rocky walls that stand
Ablaze, in all their towering height!
Sir Mammon for this festival,
Grandly illumes his palace hall!
To see it was a lucky chance;
E’en now the boist’rous guests advance.
How the fierce tempest sweeps around!
Upon my neck it strikes with sudden shock!
Cling to these ancient ribs of granite rock,
Else it will hurl you down to yon abyss profound.
A murky vapor thickens night.
Hark! Through the woods the tempests roar!
The owlets flit in wild affright.
Split are the columns that upbore
The leafy palace, green for aye:
The shiver’d branches whirr and sigh,
Yawn the huge trunks with mighty groan,
The roots, upriven, creak and moan!
In fearful and entangled fall,
One crashing ruin whelms them all,
While through the desolate abyss,
Sweeping the wreck-strown precipice,
The raging storm-blasts howl and hiss!
Hear’st thou voices sounding clear,
Distant now and now more near?
Hark! the mountain ridge along,
Streameth a raving magic-song!
(In chorus.) Now to the Brocken the witches hie,
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green;
Thither the gathering legions fly,
And sitting aloft is Sir Urian seen:
O’er stick and o’er stone they go whirling along,
Witches and he-goats, a motley throng.
Alone old Baubo’s coming now;
She rides upon a farrow sow.
Honor to her, to whom honor is due!
Forward, Dame Baubo! Honor to you!
A goodly sow and mother thereon,
The whole witch chorus follows anon.
Which way didst come?
There I peep’d in an owlet’s nest.
With her broad eye she gazed in mine!
Drive to the devil, thou hellish pest!
Why ride so hard?
She has graz’d my side;
Look at the wounds, how deep and how wide!
(In chorus.) The way is broad, the way is long;
What mad pursuit! What tumult wild!
Scratches the besom and sticks the prong;
Crush’d is the mother, and stifled the child.
(Half chorus.) Like house-encumber’d snail we creep;
While far ahead the women keep,
For when to the devil’s house we speed,
By a thousand steps they take the lead.
The Other Half.
Not so, precisely do we view it;—
They with a thousand steps may do it;
But let them hasten as they can,
With one long bound ’tis clear’d by man.
(Above.) Come with us, come with us from Felsensee.
(From below.) Aloft to you we would mount with glee!
We wash, and free from all stain are we,
Yet barren evermore must be!
The wind is hush’d, the stars grow pale,
The pensive moon her light doth veil;
And whirling on, the magic choir,
Sputter forth sparks of drizzling fire.
(From below.) Stay! stay!
(From above.) What voice of woe
Calls from the cavern’d depths below?
(From below.) Take me with you! Oh take me too!
Three centuries I climb in vain,
And yet can ne’er the summit gain!
To be with my kindred I am fain.
Broom and pitchfork, goat and prong,
Mounted on these we whirl along;
Who vainly strives to climb to-night,
Is evermore a luckless wight!
(Below.) I hobble after, many a day;
Already the others are far away!
No rest at home can I obtain—
Here too my efforts are in vain!
Chorus of Witches.
Salve gives the witches strength to rise;
A rag for a sail does well enough;
A goodly ship is every trough;
To-night who flies not, never flies.
And when the topmost peak we round,
Then alight ye on the ground;
The heath’s wide regions cover ye
With your mad swarms of witchery!
[They let themselves down.
They crowd and jostle, whirl and flutter!
They whisper, babble, twirl and splutter!
They glimmer, sparkle, stink and flare—
A true witch-element! Beware!
Stick close! else we shall sever’d be.
Where art thou?
(In the distance.) Here!
Already whirl’d so far away!
The master then indeed I needs must play.
Give ground! Squire Voland comes! Sweet folk, give ground!
Here, doctor, grasp me! With a single bound
Let us escape this ceaseless jar;
Even for me too mad these people are.
Hard by there shineth something with peculiar glare,
Yon brake allureth me; it is not far;
Come, come along with me! we’ll slip in there.
Spirit of contradiction! Lead! I’ll follow straight!
’Twas wisely done, however, to repair
On May-night to the Brocken, and when there,
By our own choice ourselves to isolate!
Mark, of those flames the motley glare!
A merry club assembles there.
In a small circle one is not alone.
I’d rather be above, though, I must own!
Already fire and eddying smoke I view;
The impetuous millions to the devil ride;
Full many a riddle will be there untied.
Ay! and full many a one be tied anew.
But let the great world rave and riot!
Here will we house ourselves in quiet.
A custom ’tis of ancient date,
Our lesser worlds within the great world to create!
Young witches there I see, naked and bare,
And old ones, veil’d more prudently.
For my sake only courteous be!
The trouble’s small, the sport is rare.
Of instruments I hear the cursed din—
One must get used to it. Come in! come in!
There’s now no help for it. I’ll step before,
And introducing you as my good friend,
Confer on you one obligation more.
How say you now? ’Tis no such paltry room;
Why only look, you scarce can see the end.
A hundred fires in rows disperse the gloom;
They dance, they talk, they cook, make love and drink:
Where could we find aught better, do you think?
To introduce us, do you purpose here
As devil or as wizard to appear?
Though I am wont indeed to strict incognito,
Yet upon gala-days one must one’s orders show.
No garter have I to distinguish me,
Nathless the cloven foot doth here give dignity.
Seest thou yonder snail? Crawling this way she hies;
With searching feelers, she, no doubt,
Hath me already scented out;
Here, even if I would, for me there’s no disguise.
From fire to fire, we’ll saunter at our leisure,
The gallant you, I’ll cater for your pleasure.
(To a party seated round some expiring embers.)
Old gentlemen, apart, why sit ye moping here?
Ye in the midst should be of all this jovial cheer,
Girt round with noise and youthful riot;
At home one surely has enough of quiet.
In nations put his trust who may,
Whate’er for them one may have done;
The people are like women, they
Honor your rising stars alone!
Too far from truth and right they wander now;
I must extol the good old ways,
For truly when all spoke our praise,
Then was the golden age, I trow.
Ne’er were we ’mong your dullards found,
And what we ought not, that we did of old;
Yet now are all things turning round,
Just when we most desired them fast to hold.
Who, as a rule, a treatise now would care
To read, of even moderate sense?
As for the rising generation, ne’er
Has youth displayed such arrogant pretence.
(Suddenly appearing very old.)
Since for the last time I the Brocken scale,
That folk are ripe for doomsday, now one sees;
And just because my cask begins to fail,
So the whole world is also on the lees.
Stop, gentlemen, nor pass me by,
Of wares I have a choice collection:
Pray honor them with your inspection.
Lose not this opportunity!
No fellow to my booth you’ll find
On earth, for ’mong my store there’s naught,
Which to the world, and to mankind,
Hath not some direful mischief wrought.
No dagger here which hath not flow’d with blood,
No bowl which hath not pour’d into some healthy frame
Hot poison’s life-consuming flood,
No trinket, but hath wrought some woman’s shame,
No weapon but hath cut some sacred tie,
Or from behind hath stabb’d an enemy.
Gossip! For wares like these the time’s gone by.
What’s done is past! what’s past is done!
With novelties your booth supply;
Now novelties attract alone.
May this wild scene my senses spare!
This, may in truth be call’d a fair!
Upward the eddying concourse throng;
Thinking to push, thyself art push’d along.
Who’s that, pray?
Mark her well! That’s Lilith.
Adam’s first wife. Of her rich locks beware!
That charm in which she’s parallel’d by few;
When in its toils a youth she doth ensnare,
He will not soon escape, I promise you.
There sit a pair, the old one with the young;
Already they have bravely danced and sprung!
Here there is no repose to-day.
Another dance begins; we’ll join it, come away!
(Dancing with the young one.)
Once a fair vision came to me;
Therein I saw an apple tree,
Two beauteous apples charm’d mine eyes;
I climb’d forthwith to reach the prize.
The Fair One.
Apples still fondly ye desire,
From paradise it hath been so.
Feelings of joy my breast inspire
That such too in my garden grow.
(With the old one.) Once a weird vision came to me;
Therein I saw a rifted tree.
It had a . . . . . ;
But as it was it pleas’d me too.
The Old One.
I beg most humbly to salute
The gallant with the cloven foot!
Let him a . . . have ready here,
If he a . . . does not fear.
Accursed mob! How dare ye thus to meet?
Have I not shown and demonstrated too,
That ghosts stand not on ordinary feet?
Yet here ye dance, as other mortals do!
The Fair One.
(Dancing.) Then at our ball, what doth he here?
(Dancing.) Oh! He must everywhere appear.
He must adjudge, when others dance;
If on each step his say’s not said,
So is that step as good as never made.
He’s most annoy’d, so soon as we advance;
If ye would circle in one narrow round,
As he in his old mill, then doubtless he
Your dancing would approve,—especially
If ye forthwith salute him with respect profound!
Still here! what arrogance! unheard of quite!
Vanish; we now have fill’d the world with light!
Laws are unheeded by the devil’s host;
Wise as we are, yet Tegel hath its ghost!
How long at this conceit I’ve swept with all my might,
Lost is the labor: ’tis unheard of quite!
The Fair One.
Cease here to teaze us any more, I pray.
Spirits, I plainly to your face declare:
No spiritual control myself will bear,
Since my own spirit can exert no sway.
[The dancing continues.
To-night, I see, I shall in naught succeed;
But I’m prepar’d my travels to pursue,
And hope, before my final step indeed,
To triumph over bards and devils too.
Now in some puddle will he take his station,
Such is his mode of seeking consolation;
Where leeches, feasting on his blood, will drain
Spirit and spirits from his haunted brain.
(ToFaust,who has left the dance.)
But why the charming damsel leave, I pray,
Who to you in the dance so sweetly sang?
Ah! in the very middle of her lay,
Out of her mouth a small red mouse there sprang.
Suppose there did! One must not be too nice:
’Twas well it was not gray, let that suffice.
Who ’mid his pleasures for a trifle cares?
Then saw I—
Mephisto, seest thou there
Standing far off, a lone child, pale and fair?
Slow from the spot her drooping form she tears,
And seems with shackled feet to move along;
I own, within me the delusion’s strong,
That she the likeness of my Gretchen wears.
Gaze not upon her! ’Tis not good! Forbear!
’Tis lifeless, magical, a shape of air,
An idol. Such to meet with, bodes no good;
That rigid look of hers doth freeze man’s blood,
And well-nigh petrifies his heart to stone:—
The story of Medusa thou hast known.
Ay, verily! a corpse’s eyes are those,
Which there was no fond loving hand to close.
That is the bosom I so fondly press’d,
That my sweet Gretchen’s form, so oft caress’d!
Deluded fool! ’Tis magic, I declare!
To each she doth his lov’d one’s image wear.
What bliss! what torture! vainly I essay
To turn me from that piteous look away.
How strangely doth a single crimson line
Around that lovely neck its coil entwine,
It shows no broader than a knife’s blunt edge!
Quite right. I see it also, and allege
That she beneath her arm her head can bear,
Since Perseus cut it off.—But you I swear
Are craving for illusion still!
Come then, ascend you little hill!
As on the Prater all is gay,
And if my senses are not gone,
I see a theatre,—what’s going on?
They are about to recommence;—the play
Will be the last of seven, and spick-span new—
’Tis usual here that number to present—
A dilettante did the piece invent,
And dilettanti will enact it too.
Excuse me, gentlemen; to me’s assign’d
As dilettante to uplift the curtain.
You on the Blocksberg I’m rejoic’d to find,
That ’tis your most appropriate sphere is certain.
WALPURGIS-NIGHT’S DREAM; OR, OBERON AND TITANIA’S Golden Wedding Feast.
The Whole Orchestra.
A Little Pair.
Leader of the Band.
(Towards one side.)
(Towards the other side.)
Ci-Devant Genius of the Age.
Leader of the Band.
The Knowing Ones.
The Awkward Ones.
The Massive Ones.
A Gloomy Day.
IN misery! despairing! long wandering pitifully on the face of the earth and now imprisoned! This gentle hapless creature, immured in the dungeon as a malefactor and reserved for horrid tortures! That it should come to this! To this!—Perfidious, worthless spirit, and this thou hast concealed from me!—Stand! ay, stand! roll in malicious rage thy fiendish eyes! Stand and brave me with thine insupportable presence! Imprisoned! In hopeless misery! Delivered over to the power of evil spirits and the judgment of unpitying humanity!—And me, the while, thou wert lulling with tasteless dissipations, concealing from me her growing anguish, and leaving her to perish without help!
She is not the first.
Hound! Execrable monster!—Back with him, oh thou infinite spirit! back with the reptile into his dog’s shape, in which it was his wont to scamper before me at eventide, to roll before the feet of the harmless wanderer, and to fasten on his shoulders when he fell! Change him again into his favorite shape, that he may crouch on his belly before me in the dust, whilst I spurn him with my foot, the reprobate!—Not the first!—Woe! woe! By no human soul is it conceivable, that more than one human creature has ever sunk into a depth of wretchedness like this, or that the first in her writhing death-agony should not have atoned in the sight of all-pardoning Heaven for the guilt of all the rest! The misery of this one pierces me to the very marrow, and harrows up my soul; thou art grinning calmly over the doom of thousands!
Now we are once again at our wit’s end, just where the reason of you mortals snaps! Why dost thou seek our fellowship, if thou canst not go through with it? Wilt fly, and art not proof against dizziness? Did we force ourselves on thee, or thou on us?
Cease thus to gnash thy ravenous fangs at me! I loathe thee!—Great and glorious spirit, thou who didst vouchsafe to reveal thyself unto me, thou who dost know my very heart and soul, why hast thou linked me with this base associate, who feeds on mischief and revels in destruction?
Save her!—or woe to thee! The direst of curses on thee for thousands of years!
I cannot loose the bands of the avenger, nor withdraw his bolts.—Save her!—Who was it plunged her into perdition? I or thou?
[Faustlooks wildly around.
Wouldst grasp the thunder? Well for you, poor mortals, that ’tis not yours to wield! To smite to atoms the being, however innocent, who obstructs his path, such is the tyrant’s fashion of relieving himself in difficulties!
Convey me thither! She shall be free!
And the danger to which thou dost expose thyself! Know, the guilt of blood, shed by thy hand, lies yet upon the town. Over the place where fell the murdered one, avenging spirits hover and watch for the returning murderer.
This too from thee? The death and downfall of a world be on thee, monster! Conduct me thither, I say, and set her free!
I will conduct thee. And what I can do,—hear! Have I all power in heaven and upon earth? I’ll cloud the senses of the warder,—do thou possess thyself of the keys and lead her forth with human hand! I will keep watch! The magic steeds are waiting, I bear thee off. Thus much is in my power.
Up and away!
(Rushing along on black horses.)
What weave they yonder round the Ravenstone?
I know not what they shape and brew.
They’re soaring, swooping, bending, stooping.
A witches’ pack.
They charm, they strew.
(With a bunch of keys and a lamp before a small iron door.) A fear unwonted o’er my spirit falls;
Man’s concentrated woe o’erwhelms me here!
She dwells immur’d within these dripping walls;
Her only trespass a delusion dear!
Thou lingerest at the fatal door?
Thou dread’st to see her face once more?
On! While thou dalliest, draws her death-hour near.
[He seizes the lock.Margaretsinging within.
Then became I a wood-bird, and sang on the spray,
Fly away! little bird, fly away! fly away!
(Opening the lock.) Ah! she forebodes not that her lover’s near,
The clanking chains, the rustling straw, to hear.
(Hiding her face in the bed of straw.) Woe! woe! they come! oh bitter ’tis to die!
(Softly.) Hush! hush! be still! I come to set thee free!
(Throwing herself at his feet.)
If thou art human, feel my misery!
Thou wilt awake the jailor with thy cry!
[He grasps the chains to unlock them.
(On her knees.) Who, headsman, unto thee this power
O’er me could give?
Thou com’st for me at midnight-hour.
Be merciful, and let me live!
Is morrow’s dawn not time enough?
[She stands up.
I’m still so young, so young—
And must so early die!
Fair was I too, and that was my undoing.
My love is now afar, he then was nigh;
Torn lies the garland, the fair blossoms strew’d.
Nay, seize me not with hand so rude!
Spare me! What harm have I e’er done to thee?
Oh, let me not in vain implore!
I ne’er have seen thee in my life before!
Can I endure this bitter agony?
I now am at thy mercy quite.
Let me my babe but suckle once again!
I fondled it the livelong night;
They took it from me but to give me pain,
And now they say that I my child have slain.
Gladness I ne’er again shall know.
Then they sing songs about me,—’tis wicked of the throng—
An ancient ballad endeth so;
Who bade them thus apply the song?
(Throwing himself on the ground.)
A lover at thy feet bends low,
To loose the bonds of wretchedness and woe.
(Throws herself beside him.)
Oh, let us kneel and move the saints by prayer!
Look! look! yon stairs below,
Under the threshold there,
Hell’s flames are all aglow!
Beneath the floor,
With hideous noise,
The devils roar!
(Aloud.) Gretchen! Gretchen!
(Listening.) That was my lov’d one’s voice!
[She springs up, the chains fall off.
Where is he? I heard him calling me.
Free am I! There’s none shall hinder me.
To his neck will I fly,
On his bosom will lie!
Gretchen, he called!—On yon threshold he stood;
Amidst all the howling of hell’s fiery flood,
The scoff and the scorn of its devilish crew,
The tones of his voice, sweet and loving, I knew.
’Tis thou! O say so once again!
’Tis he! ’tis he! where’s now the torturing pain?
Where are the fetters? where the dungeon’s gloom?
’Tis thou! To save me thou art come!
And I am sav’d!—
Already now the street I see
Where the first time I caught a glimpse of thee.
There too the pleasant garden shade,
Where I and Martha for thy coming stay’d.
(Endeavoring to lead her away.)
Come! come away!
Oh, do not haste!
I love to linger where thou stayest.
Ah haste! For if thou still delayest,
Our lingering we shall both deplore.
How, dearest? canst thou kiss no more!
So short a time away from me, and yet,
To kiss thou couldst so soon forget!
Why on thy neck so anxious do I feel—
When formerly a perfect heaven of bliss
From thy dear looks and words would o’er me steal?
As thou wouldst stifle me thou then didst kiss!—
Or I’ll kiss thee!
[She embraces him.
Woe! woe! Thy lips are cold,—
Thy love where hast thou left?
Who hath me of thy love bereft?
[She turns away from him.
Come! Follow me, my dearest love, be bold!
I’ll cherish thee with ardor thousand-fold;
I but entreat thee now to follow me!
(Turning towards him.) And art thou he? and art thou really he?
’Tis I! Oh, come!
Thou wilt strike off my chain,
And thou wilt take me to thine arms again.
How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me?—
And dost thou know, love, whom thou wouldst set free?
Come! come! already night begins to wane.
I sent my mother to her grave,
I drown’d my child beneath the wave.
Was it not given to thee and me—thee too?
’Tis thou thyself! I scarce believe it yet.
Give me thy hand! It is no dream! ’Tis true!
Thine own dear hand!—But how is this? ’Tis wet!
Quick, wipe it off! Meseems that yet
There’s blood thereon.
Ah God! what hast thou done?
Put up thy sword,
I beg of thee!
Oh, dearest, let the past forgotten be!
Death is in every word.
No, thou must linger here in sorrow!
The graves I will describe to thee,
And thou to them must see
The best place give to my mother,
Close at her side my brother,
Me at some distance lay—
But not too far away!
And the little one place on my right breast.
Nobody else will near me lie!
To nestle beside thee so lovingly,
That was a rapture, gracious and sweet!
A rapture I never again shall prove;
Methinks I would force myself on thee, love,
And thou dost spurn me, and back retreat—
Yet ’tis thyself, thy fond kind looks I see.
If thou dost feel ’tis I, then come with me!
What, there? without?
Yes, forth in the free air.
Ay, if the grave’s without,—If death lurk there!
Hence to the everlasting resting-place,
And not one step beyond!—Thou’rt leaving me?
Oh, Henry! would that I could go with thee!
Thou canst! But will it! Open stands the door.
I dare not go! I’ve naught to hope for more.
What boots it to escape? They lurk for me!
’Tis wretched to beg, as I must do,
And with an evil conscience thereto!
’Tis wretched, in foreign lands to stray;
And me they will catch, do what I may!
With thee will I abide.
Dear Gretchen, more collected be!
One little step and thou art free!
Were we but only past the hill!
There sits my mother upon a stone—
My brain, alas, is cold with dread!—
There sits my mother upon a stone,
And to and fro she shakes her head;
She winks not, she nods not, her head it droops sore;
She slept so long, she wak’d no more;
She slept, that we might taste of bliss:
Ah! those were happy times, I wis!
Since here avails nor argument nor prayer,
Thee hence by force I needs must bear.
Loose me! I will not suffer violence!
With murderous hand hold not so fast!
I have done all to please thee in the past!
Day dawns! My love! my love!
Yes! day draws near.
The day of judgment too will soon appear!
It should have been my bridal! No one tell
That thy poor Gretchen thou hast known too well.
Woe to my garland!
Its bloom is o’er!
Though not at the dance—
We shall meet once more.
The crowd doth gather, in silence it rolls;
The squares, the streets,
Scarce hold the throng.
The staff is broken,—the death-bell tolls,—
They bind and seize me! I’m hurried along,
To the seat of blood already I’m bound!
Quivers each neck as the naked steel
Quivers on mine the blow to deal—
The silence of the grave now broods around!
Would I had ne’er been born!
(Appears without.) Up! or you’re lost.
Vain hesitation! Babbling, quaking!
My steeds are shivering,
Morn is breaking.
What from the floor ascendeth like a ghost?
’Tis he! ’Tis he! Him from my presence chase!
What would he in this holy place?
It is for me he cometh!
Thou shalt live!
Judgment of God! To thee my soul I give!
(ToFaust.) Come! come! I’ll leave thee else to share her doom!
Father, I’m thine! Save me! To thee I come!
Ye angels! Ye angelic hosts! descend,
Encamp around to guard me and defend!—
Henry! I shudder now to look on thee!
She now is judged!
(From above.) Is saved!
(ToFaust.) Come thou with me!
(From within, dying away.) Henry! Henry!
END OF PART I.
Mephistopheles(in various disguises).
Various Ladies, Gentlemen and Pages of the court. Also numerous male and female masks.
Scene—Chiefly in the different apartments and Pleasure Garden of the Imperial Palace.
Numerous mythical personages and monsters appearing in the Classical Walpurgis-Night.
Scene—Faust’sStudy; afterwards the Pharsalian Plains.
Panthalisand Chorus of Trojan women.
Scene—At first the supposed Palace of Menelaus in Sparta; afterwards the Courtyard of a mediæval castle, and finally a rocky dell.
The three mighty men:Bully, Havequick,andHoldfast.
TheEmperor,and other officers of his Court, as inAct I.
Scene—A high mountainous country and the adjacent neighborhood.
The four gray women:Want, Guilt, CareandNeed.
Chorus of Angels and Penitents and various Heavenly characters.
Scene—The neighborhood ofFaust’sPalace, afterwards rocky heights and the higher regions of the sky.
A Pleasing Landscape.
Faustreclining upon flowery turf, restless, seeking sleep.
Circle of spirits, hovering, flit around.—Graceful, tiny forms.
(Song, accompanied by Æolian harps.)
Ye round this head on airy wing careering,
Attend, in noble Elfin guise appearing;
Assuage the cruel strife that rends his heart,
The burning shaft remove of keen remorse,
From rankling horror cleanse his inmost part:
Four are the pauses of the nightly course;
Them, without rest, fill up with kindly art.
And first his head upon cool pillow lay,
Then bathe ye him in dew from Lethe’s stream;
His limbs, cramp-stiffen’d, will more freely play,
If sleep-refreshed he wait morn’s wak’ning beam.
Perform the noblest Elfin rite,
Restore ye him to the holy light!
(Singly, two or more, alternately and together.) Softly when warm gales are stealing
O’er the green-environ’d ground,
Twilight sheddeth all-concealing
Mists and balmy odors round:
Whispers low sweet peace to mortals,
Rocks the heart to childlike rest,
And of daylight shuts the portals
To these eyes, with care oppress’d.
Night hath now descended darkling,
Holy star is link’d to star;
Sovereign fires, or faintly sparkling,
Glitter near and shine afar;
Glitter here lake-mirror’d, yonder
Shine adown the clear night sky;
Sealing bliss of perfect slumber,
Reigns the moon’s full majesty.
Now the hours are cancell’d; sorrow,
Happiness, have pass’d away:
Whole thou shalt be on the morrow!
Feel it! Trust the new-born day!
Swell the hills, green grow the valleys,
In the dusk ere breaks the morn;
And in silvery wavelets dallies,
With the wind, the ripening corn.
Cherish hope, let naught appall thee!
Mark the East, with splendor dyed!
Slight the fetters that enthrall thee;
Fling the shell of sleep aside!
Gird thee for the high endeavor;
Shun the crowd’s ignoble ease!
Fails the noble spirit never,
Wise to think, and prompt to seize.
[A tremendous tumult announces the uprising of the sun.
Hark! the horal tempest nears!
Sounding but for spirit ears,
Lo! the new-born day appears;
Clang the rocky portals, climb
Phœbus’ wheels with thund’rous chime:
Breaks with tuneful noise the light!
Blare of trumpet, clarion sounding,
Eyesight dazing, ear astounding!
Hear not the unheard; take flight!
Into petal’d blossoms glide
Deeper, deeper, still to bide,
In the clefts, ’neath thickets! ye,
If it strike you, deaf will be.
Life’s pulses reawaken’d freshly bound,
The mild ethereal twilight fain to greet.
Thou, Earth, this night wast also constant found,
And, newly-quicken’d, breathing at my feet,
Beginnest now to gird me with delight:
A strong resolve dost rouse, with noble heat
Aye to press on to being’s sovereign height.
The world in glimmering dawn still folded lies;
With thousand-voiced life the woods resound;
Mist-wreaths the valley shroud; yet from the skies
Sinks heaven’s clear radiance to the depths profound;
And bough and branch from dewy chasms rise,
Where they had droop’d erewhile in slumber furl’d;
Earth is enamell’d with unnumber’d dyes,
Leaflet and flower with dewdrops are impearl’d;
Around me everywhere is paradise.
Gaze now aloft! Each mountain’s giant height
The solemn hour announces, herald-wise;
They early may enjoy the eternal light,
To us below which later finds its way.
Now are the Alpine slopes and valleys dight
With the clear radiance of the new-born day,
Which, downward, step by step, steals on apace.—
It blazes forth,—and, blinded by the ray,
With aching eyes, alas! I veil my face.
So when a hope, the heart hath long held fast,
Trustful, still striving towards its highest goal,
Fulfilment’s portals open finds at last;—
Sudden from those eternal depths doth roll
An overpowering flame;—we stand aghast!
The torch of life to kindle we were fain;—
A fire-sea,—what a fire!—doth round us close;
Love is it? Is it hate? with joy and pain,
In alternation vast, that round us glows?
So that to earth we turn our wistful gaze,
In childhood’s veil to shroud us once again!
So let the sun behind me pour its rays!
The cataract, through rocky cleft that roars,
I view, with growing rapture and amaze.
From fall to fall, with eddying shock, it pours,
In thousand torrents to the depths below,
Aloft in air up-tossing showers of spray.
But see, in splendor bursting from the storm,
Arches itself the many-colored bow,
An ever-changeful, yet continuous form,
Now drawn distinctly, melting now away,
Diffusing dewy coolness all around!
Man’s efforts there are glass’d, his toil and strife;
Reflect, more true the emblem will be found:
This bright reflected glory pictures life!
Imperial Palace. Throne-Room.
Council of State, in expectation of theEmperor.
Enter courtiers of every grade, splendidly attir’d. The Emperor ascends the throne; to the right theAstrologer.
I greet you, trusty friends and dear,
Assembled thus from far and wide!—
I see the wise man at my side,
But wherefore is the fool not here?
Entangled in thy mantle’s flow,
He tripped upon the stair below;
The mass of fat they bare away,
If dead or drunken—who can say?
Forthwith another comes apace,
With wondrous speed to take his place;
Costly, yet so grotesque his gear,
All start amaz’d as he draws near.
Crosswise the guards before his face,
Entrance to bar, their halberds hold—
Yet there he is, the fool so bold.
(Kneeling before the throne.)
What is accurs’d and gladly hail’d?
What is desir’d and chas’d away?
What is upbraid’d and assail’d?
What wins protection every day?
Whom darest thou not summon here?
Whose name doth plaudits still command?
What to thy throne now draweth near?
What from this place itself hath bann’d?
For this time thou thy words mayst spare!
This is no place for riddles, friend;
They are these gentlemen’s affair.—
Solve them! an ear I’ll gladly lend.
My old fool’s gone, far, far away, I fear;
Take thou his place, come, stand beside me here!
[Mephistophelesascends and places himself at theEmperor’sleft.
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
Here’s a new fool—for plague anew!
Whence cometh he?—How pass’d he through?
The old one fell—he squander’d hath.—
He was a tub—now ’tis a lath.—
So now, my friends, belov’d and leal,
Be welcome all, from near and far!
Ye meet ’neath an auspicious star;
For us above are written joy and weal.
But tell me wherefore, on this day,
When we all care would cast away,
And don the masker’s quaint array,
And naught desire but to enjoy,
Should we with state affairs ourselves annoy?
But if ye think it so must be indeed,
Why, well and good, let us forthwith proceed!
The highest virtue circles halo-wise
Our Cæsar’s brow; virtue, which from the throne,
He validly can exercise alone:
Justice!—What all men love and prize,
What all demand, desire, and sorely want,
It lies with him, this to the folk to grant.
But ah! what help can intellect command,
Goodness of heart, or willingness of hand,
When fever saps the state with deadly power,
And mischief breedeth mischief, hour by hour?
To him who downward from this height supreme
Views the wide realm, ’tis like a troubled dream,
Where the deform’d deformity o’ersways,
Where lawlessness, through law, the tyrant plays,
And error’s ample world itself displays.
One steals a woman, one a steer,
Lights from the altar, chalice, cross,
Boasts of his deed full many a year,
Unscath’d in body, without harm or loss.
Now to the hall accusers throng;
On cushion’d throne the judge presides;
Surging meanwhile in eddying tides,
Confusion waxes fierce and strong.
He may exult in crime and shame,
Who on accomplices depends;
Guilty! the verdict they proclaim,
When Innocence her cause defends.
So will the world succumb to ill,
And what is worthy perish quite;
How then may grow the sense which still
Instructs us to discern the right?
E’en the right-minded man, in time,
To briber and to flatterer yields;
The judge, who cannot punish crime,
Joins with the culprit whom he shields.—
I’ve painted black, yet fain had been
A veil to draw before the scene.
Measures must needs be taken; when
All injure or are injur’d, then
E’en Majesty becomes a prey.
In these wild days what tumults reign!
Each smitten is and smites again;
Deaf to command, will none obey.
The burgher, safe behind his wall,
Within his rocky nest, the knight,
Against us have conspir’d, and all
Firmly to hold their own unite.
Impatient is the hireling now,
With vehemence he claims his due;
And did we owe him naught, I trow,
Off he would run, nor bid adieu.
Who thwarts what fondly all expect,
He hath disturb’d a hornet’s nest;
The empire which they should protect,
It lieth plunder’d and oppress’d.
Their furious rage may none restrain;
Already half the world’s undone;
Abroad there still are kings who reign—
None thinks ’tis his concern, not one.
Who will depend upon allies!
For us their promis’d subsidies
Like conduit-water, will not flow.
Say, Sire, through your dominions vast
To whom hath now possession pass’d!
Some upstart, wheresoe’er we go,
Keeps house, and independent reigns;
We must look on, he holds his own;
So many rights away we’ve thrown,
That for ourselves no right remains.
On so-called parties in the state
There’s no reliance, now-a-days;
They may deal out or blame or praise,
Indifferent are love and hate.
The Ghibelline as well as Guelph
Retire, that they may live at ease!
Who helps his neighbor now? Himself
Each hath enough to do to please.
Barr’d are the golden gates; while each
Scrapes, snatches, gathers all within his reach—
Empty, meanwhile, our chest remains.
What worry must I, also, bear!
Our aim each day is still to spare—
And more each day we need; my pains,
Daily renew’d, are never o’er.
The cooks lack nothing;—deer, wild-boar,
Stags, hares, fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese,—
Tribute in kind, sure payment, these
Come fairly in, and none complains.
But now at last wine fails; and if of yore
Up-piled upon the cellar-floor,
Cask rose on cask, a goodly store,
From the best slopes and vintage; now
The swilling of our lords, I trow,
Unceasing, drains the very lees.
E’en the Town-council must give out
Its liquor;—bowls and cups they seize,
And ’neath the table lies the drunken rout.
Now must I pay, whate’er betides;
Me the Jew spares not; he provides
Anticipation-bonds which feed
Each year on that which must succeed;
The swine are never fatten’d now;
Pawn’d is the pillow or the bed,
And to the table comes fore-eaten bread.
(After some reflection toMephistopheles.) Say, fool, another grievance knowest thou?
I, nowise. On this circling pomp to gaze,
On thee and thine! There can reliance fail
Where majesty resistless sways,
And ready power makes foemen quail?
Where loyal will, through reason strong,
And prowess, manifold, unite,
What could together join for wrong,
For darkness, where such stars give light?
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
He is a knave—he comprehends—
He lies—while lying serves his ends—
Full well I know—what lurks behind—
What next?—Some scheme is in the wind!—
Where is not something wanting here on earth?
Here this,—there that: of gold is here the dearth.
It cannot from the floor be scrap’d, ’tis true;
But what lies deepest wisdom brings to view.
In mountain-veins, walls underground,
Is gold, both coin’d and uncoin’d, to be found.
And if ye ask me,—bring it forth who can?
Spirit and nature-power of gifted man.
Nature and spirit—Christians ne’er should hear
Such words, with peril fraught and fear.
These words doom atheists to the fire.
Nature is sin, spirit is devil; they,
Between them, doubt beget, their progeny,
Hermaphrodite, mis-shapen, dire.
Not so with us! Within our Cæsar’s land
Two orders have arisen, two alone,
Who worthily support his ancient throne:
Clergy and knights, who fearless stand,
Bulwarks ’gainst every storm, and they
Take church and state, as their appropriate pay.
Through lawless men, the vulgar herd
To opposition have of late been stirr’d;
The heretics these are, the wizards, who
The city ruin and the country too.
With thy bold jests, to this high sphere,
Such miscreants wilt smuggle in;
Hearts reprobate to you are dear;
They to the fool are near of kin.
Herein your learned men I recognize!
What you touch not, miles distant from you lies;
What you grasp not, is naught in sooth to you;
What you count not, cannot you deem be true;
What you weigh not, that hath for you no weight;
What you coin not, you’re sure is counterfeit.
Therewith our needs are not one whit the less.
What meanest thou with this thy Lent address?
I’m tired of this eternal If and How.
’Tis gold we lack; so good, procure it thou!
I’ll furnish more, ay, more than all you ask.
Though light it seem, not easy is the task.
There lies the gold, but to procure it thence,
That is the art: who knoweth to commence?
Only consider, in those days of terror,
When human floods swamp’d land and folk together,
How every one, how great soe’er his fear,
All that he treasur’d most, hid there or here;
So was it ’neath the mighty Roman’s sway,
So on till yesterday, ay, till to-day:
That all beneath the soil still buried lies—
The soil is Cæsar’s, his shall be the prize.
Now for a fool he speaketh not amiss;
Our Cæsar’s ancient right, in sooth, was this.
Satan for you spreads golden snares; ’tis clear,
Something not right or pious worketh here.
To us at court if welcome gifts he bring,
A little wrong is no such serious thing.
Shrewd is the fool, he bids what all desire;
The soldier, whence it comes, will not inquire.
You think yourselves, perchance, deceiv’d by me;
Ask the Astrologer! This man is he!
Circle round circle, hour and house, he knows.—
Then tell us how the heavenly aspect shows.
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
Two rascals—each to other known—
Phantast and fool—so near the throne—
The old old song,—now trite with age—
The fool still prompts—while speaks the sage.
(Speaks,Mephistophelesprompts.) The sun himself is purest gold; for pay
And favor serves the herald, Mercury;
Dame Venus hath bewitch’d you from above,
Early and late, she looks on you with love;
Chaste Luna’s humor varies hour by hour;
Mars, though he strike not, threats you with his power;
And Jupiter is still the fairest star;
Saturn is great, small to the eye and far;
As metal him we slightly venerate,
Little in worth, though ponderous in weight.
Now when with Sol fair Luna doth unite,
Silver with gold, cheerful the world and bright!
Then easy ’tis to gain whate’er one seeks;
Parks, gardens, palaces, and rosy cheeks;
These things procures this highly learned man.
He can accomplish what none other can.
Double, methinks, his accents ring,
And yet they no conviction bring.
Of what avail!—a worn-out tale—
I the false word—full oft have heard—
And as of yore—we’re hoax’d once more.
The grand discovery they misprize,
As, in amaze, they stand around;
One prates of gnomes and sorceries,
Another of the sable hound.
What matters it, though witlings rail,
Though one his suit ’gainst witchcraft press,
If his sole tingle none the less,
If his sure footing also fail?
Ye of all swaying Nature feel
The secret working, never-ending,
And, from her lowest depths up-tending,
E’en now her living trace doth steal.
If sudden cramps your limbs surprise,
If all uncanny seem the spot—
There dig and delve, but dally not!
There lies the fiddler, there the treasure lies!
Like lead it lies my foot about—
Cramp’d is my arm—’tis only gout—
Twitchings I have in my great toe—
Down all my back strange pains I know—
Such indications make it clear
That sumless treasuries are here.
To work—the time for flight is past.—
Put to the test your frothy lies!
These treasures bring before our eyes!
Sceptre and sword aside I’ll cast,
And with these royal hands, indeed,
If thou lie not, to work proceed.
Thee, if thou lie, I’ll send to hell!
Thither to find the way I know full well!—
Yet can I not enough declare,
What wealth unown’d lies waiting everywhere:
The countryman, who ploughs the land,
Gold-crocks upturneth with the mould;
Nitre he seeks in lime-walls old,
And findeth, in his meagre hand,
Scar’d, yet rejoic’d, rouleaus of gold.
How many a vault upblown must be,
Into what clefts, what shafts, must he,
Who doth of hidden treasure know,
Descend, to reach the world below!
In cellars vast, impervious made,
Goblets of gold he sees display’d,
Dishes and plates, row after row;
There beakers, rich with rubies, stand;
And would he use them, close at hand
Well stor’d the ancient moisture lies;
Yet—would ye him who knoweth, trust?—
The staves long since have turned to dust,
A tartar cask their place supplies!
Not gold alone and jewels rare,
Essence of noblest wines are there,
In night and horror veiled. The wise
Unwearied here pursues his quest.
To search by day, that were a jest;
’Tis darkness that doth harbor mysteries.
What can the dark avail? Look thou to that!
If aught have worth, it cometh to the light.
Who can detect the rogue at dead of night?
Black are the cows, and gray is every cat.
These pots of heavy gold, if they be there—
Come, drive thy plough, upturn them with thy share!
Take spade and hoe thyself;—dig on—
Great shalt thou be through peasant toil—
A herd of golden calves anon
Themselves shall tear from out the soil;
Then straight, with rapture newly born,
Thyself thou canst, thy sweetheart wilt adorn.
A sparkling gem, lustrous, of varied dye,
Beauty exalts as well as majesty.
To work, to work! How long wilt linger?
Relax, I pray, such vehement desire!
First let us see the motley, joyous, show!
A mind distraught conducts not to the goal.
First must we calmness win through self-control,
Through things above deserve what lies below.
Who seeks for goodness must himself be good;
Who seeks for joy must moderate his blood;
Who wine desires, the luscious grape must press;
Who craveth miracles, more faith possess.
So be the interval in gladness spent!
Ash-Wednesday cometh, to our hearts’ content.
Meanwhile we’ll solemnize, whate’er befall,
More merrily the joyous Carnival.
That merit and success are link’d together,
This to your fools occurreth never;
Could they appropriate the wise man’s stone,
That, not the wise man, they would prize alone.
[A spacious Hall, with adjoining apartments, arranged and decorated for a masquerade.
Think not we hold in Germany our revels;
Where dances reign of death, of fools and devils;
You doth a cheerful festival invite.
Our Cæsar, Romeward turning his campaign,
Hath—for his profit, and for your delight—
Cross’d the high Alps, and won a fair domain.
Before the sacred feet bow’d down,
His right to reign he first hath sought,
And when he went to fetch his crown,
For us the fool’s cap hath he brought.
Now all of us are born anew;
And every world-experienc’d man
Draws it in comfort over head and ears;
A fool beneath it, he appears,
And plays the sage as best he can.
I see them, how they form in groups,
Now they pair off, now wavering sever;
Choir now with choir together troops,
Within, without, unwearied ever!
The world remaineth as of yore,
With fooleries, ten thousand score,
The one great fool, for ever more!
(Song, accompanied by mandolins.) That to us ye praise may render,
Deck’d are we in festive sort;
Girls of Florence, we the splendor
Follow of the German court.
Many a flower, we, Flora’s vassals,
In our dark brown tresses wear;
Silken threads and silken tassels,
Play their part and grace our hair.
For we hold ourselves deserving
All your praises, full and clear;
Since our flowers, their bloom preserving,
Blossom through the livelong year.
Cuttings divers-hued were taken,
And arrang’d with symmetry;
Piece by piece they mirth awaken,
Yet the whole attracts the eye.
Garden-girls and fair to look on,
Fittingly we play our part;
For the natural in woman,
Closely is allied to art.
Now from baskets richly laden,
Which, upon her head and arm,
Beareth every lovely maiden,
Let each choose what each doth charm!
Hasten ye, till bower and alley
Aspect of a garden bears!
Worthy are the crowds to dally
Round the sellers and their wares.
In this mart, your flowers unscreening,
Cheapen not, as them you show!
With brief words, but full of meaning,
What he hath, let each one know.
(With fruit.) I of blossoms envy none,
Quarrels studiously I shun;
They against my nature are:
Marrow of the land, in sooth
Pledge I am of peace and ruth,
To all regions near and far.
Be it my good fortune now
To adorn the loveliest brow.
(Golden.) Ceres’ gifts, sweet peace expressing,
Would enhance thy charms; be wise!
What is useful, rich in blessing,
As thy best adornment prize!
Colored flowers, from moss out-peering,
Mallow-like, a wondrous show—
Not in nature’s guise appearing,
Fashion ’tis that makes them blow.
Theophrastus would not venture
Names to give to flowers like these.
Yet, though some perchance may censure,
Many still I hope to please.
Who to wreathe her locks permits me
Straight shall win a heighten’d grace,
Or who near her heart admits me,
Finding on her breast a place.
Be your motley fancies moulded,
For the fashion of the day.
Nature never yet unfolded
Wonders half so strange as they:
Golden bells, green stalks, forth glancing
From rich locks, their charm enhancing.
Hide from mortal eyes.
Happy he who finds the prize!
When draws nigh once more the summer,
Rosebuds greet the bright new-comer.—
Who such happiness would miss?
Promise, then fulfilment,—this
Is the law in Flora’s reign,
Swayeth too sense, heart, and brain.
[The flower-girls tastefully arrange their wares under green, leafy arcades.
(Song, accompanied by Theorbos.)
[Amid alternate songs, accompanied by guitars and Theorbos, the two choruses proceed to arrange their wares, terrace-wise, and to offer them for sale.
[Girlish playfellows, young and beautiful, enter and join the groups; loud confidential chatting is heard. Fishers and bird-catchers with nets, fishing-rods, limed twigs, and other gear, enter and mingle with the maidens. Reciprocal attempts to win, to catch, to escape, and hold fast, give occasion to most agreeable dialogues.
(Enter, boisterous and uncouth.)
(Awkward and foolish.)
[Editor: illegible word]
Naught to-day shall mar my pleasure!
Frank I feel myself and free;
Cheerful songs and jovial leisure,
Both I hither bring with me;
Therefore drink I! Drink ye, drink!
Strike your glasses! Clink ye, clink!
You behind there, join the fun!
Strike your glasses; so, ’tis done!
Let my wife, shrill-tongued, assail me,
Sneering at my colored vest,
And, despite my vaunting, hail me
Fool, like masquerader dress’d;
Still I’ll drink! Come drink ye, drink!
Strike your glasses! Clink ye, clink!
Fools in motley, join the fun!
Strike your glasses; so, ’tis done!
Here I’m bless’d, whoever chooses
Me, as erring, to upbraid:
If to score mine host refuses,
Scores the hostess, scores the maid;
Always drink I! drink ye, drink!
Up my comrades! clink ye, clink!
Each to other! Join the fun!
To my thinking now ’tis done!
From this place there’s now no flying,
Here where pleasures are at hand:
Let me lie, where I am lying,
For I can no longer stand.
Brothers all, come drink ye, drink!
One more toast, now clink ye, clink!
Firmly sit on bench and board!
’Neath the table lie who’s floor’d!
[TheHeraldannounces various poets, the Poet of Nature, Court-singers, and Ritter-singers, tender as well as enthusiastic. In the throng of competitors of every kind none will allow the others to be heard. One sneaks past with a few words.
Know ye what would me to-day,
The poet, most rejoice and cheer?
If I dar’d to sing and say,
That which none would like to hear.
[Poets of Night and of the Sepulchre send apologies, inasmuch as they are engaged in a most interesting conversation with a newly-arisen Vampire, wherefrom a new kind of poetry may perhaps be developed; theHeraldmust admit the excuse, and meanwhile summons the Greek Mythology, which, though in modern masks, loses neither character nor charm.
Charm we bring to life, and grace;
In your gifts let both have place!
In receiving let the twain,
Preside! ’Tis sweet our wish to gain.
And when benefits you own
Chiefly be these graces shown!
I, the Eldest, am from yonder
Realm invited, here to spin.
Much to think of, much to ponder,
Lieth life’s frail thread within.
That it pliant be and tender,
Finest flax to choose be mine;
That it even be and slender,
Must the cunning finger twine.
If of festive dance and pleasure
Ye too wantonly partake,
Think upon this thread’s just measure;
O be cautious! It may break!
Know ye, to my guidance lately
They the fateful shears confide.
By our elder’s doings greatly
None, in sooth, were edified.
Spinnings, to no issue tending,
Forth she drew to air and light;
Threads of noblest promise rending,
Down she sent to realms of night.
While a novice still in reigning,
I too err’d, in bygone years;
But to-day, myself restraining,
In the sheath I plunge my shears.
Fain I am to wear the bridle,
Kindly I this place survey;
In these seasons, gay and idle,
Give your revelry full play!
Reason’s laws alone obeying,
Order was to me decreed.
Mine the will that, ever-swaying,
Never errs though over-speed.
Threads are coming; threads are going;
Each one in its course I guide,
None permit I overflowing,
From its skein to swerve aside.
Were I only once to slumber!—
For the world my spirit quakes;
Years we measure, hours we number,
And the hank the weaver takes.
How vers’d so e’er in lore of ancient fame,
Those who are coming now ye would not know;
Gazing upon these workers of much woe,
Them, as your welcome guests, ye would proclaim.
The Furies these,—none will believe us;—kind,
Graceful in figure, pretty, young and fair;
If their acquaintance ye would make, beware;
How serpent-like such doves can wound, ye’ll find.
Cunning they are, yet now, when every clown
Boastful, his failings shuns not to proclaim,
They too, desiring not angelic fame,
Own themselves plagues of country and of town.
What help for you? Since young we are and fair,
Ye in such flattering kittens will confide!
Has any here a sweetheart to his side,
Stealing, we gain his ear, until we dare
To tell him, face to face, she may be caught
Winking at this or that one; that ’tis plain,
She halts, is crooked-back’d, and dull of brain,
And, if to him betroth’d, is good for naught.
To vex the bride doth also tax our skill:
We tell what slighting things, some weeks agone,
Her lover said of her, to such an one.—
They’re reconcil’d, yet something rankles still.
That’s a mere jest! Let them be mated, then
I go to work, and e’en the fairest joy,
In every case, can through caprice destroy.
The hours are changeful, changeful too are men.
What was desir’d, once grasp’d, its charm hath lost;
Who firmly holds the madly longed-for prize,
Straight for some other blessing fondly sighs;
The sun he flieth, and would warm the frost.
How to arrange, I know, in such affairs;
And here Asmodi lead, my comrade true,
At the right time mischief abroad to strew;
And so destroy the human race in pairs.
Now may it please you, to retire behind;
For what now cometh is not of your kind.—
Ye see a mountain press the crowd among,
Its flanks with brilliant carpet proudly hung;
With lengthen’d tusks, and serpent-trunk below,
A mystery, but I the key will show.
Thron’d on his neck a gentle lady rides,
With a fine wand his onward course she guides.
Aloft the other stands, of stately height,
Girt with a splendor that o’erpowers the sight;
Beside him, chain’d, two noble dames draw near;
Sad is the one, the other blithe of cheer;
The one for freedom yearns, the other feels she’s free.
Let them declare in turn who they may be!
Torches, lamps, with lurid sheen,
Through the turmoil gleam around;
These deceitful forms between,
Fetters hold me firmly bound.
Hence, vain laughter-loving brood!
I mistrust your senseless grin!
All my foes, with clamor rude,
Strive to-night to hem me in.
Friend like foeman would betray me,
But his mask I recognize;
There is one who fain would slay me,
Now, unmask’d, away he hies.
Ah, how gladly would I wander
Hence, and leave this lower sphere;
But destruction, threatening yonder,
Holds me ’twixt despair and fear.
Hail! Beloved sisters, hail!
If to-day and yesterday
Ye have lov’d this masking play,
Yet to-morrow, trite the tale,
Will your masks aside be thrown;
And if, ’neath the torches’ glare,
We no special joy have known,
Yet will we, in daylight fair,
Just according to our pleasure,
Now with others, now alone,
Wander forth o’er lawn and mead;
Work at will, or take our leisure,
Careless live, exempt from need;
And at last, we’ll aye succeed.
Everywhere, as welcome guest,
Step we in, with easy mind;
Confident that we the best
Somewhere, certainly, may find.
Fear and hope, in chains thus guiding,
Two of man’s chief foes, I bar
From the thronging crowds;—dividing,
Clear the way;—now sav’d ye are!
I this live colosse am leading,
Which, tower-laden, as ye gaze,
Unfatigued is onward speeding,
Step by step, up steepest ways.
But, with broad and rapid pinion,
From the battlement on high,
Gazing on her wide dominion,
Turneth that divinity.
Fame, around her, bright and glorious,
Shining on all sides one sees:
Victory her name,—victorious
Queen of all activities.
Bah! bah! The very time I’ve hit!
You all are wrong, no doubt of it!
Yet what I make my special aim
Is victory, yon stately dame.
She, with her snowy wings, esteems
Herself an eagle, and still deems
That wheresoe’er she bends her sight,
Peoples and land are hers, by right!
But, where a glorious deed is done,
My harness straight I buckle on;
Where high is low, and low is high,
The crooked straight, the straight awry—
Then only am I wholly sound:
So be it on this earthly round.
So take thou then, thou ragged hound,
From my good staff, a master-blow!
There crouch and wriggle, bending low!
The double dwarfish form, behold,
Itself to a vile ball hath roll’d!
The ball becomes an egg!—strange wonder!
It now dilates and bursts asunder:
Thence falleth a twin-pair to earth,
Adder and bat;—a hideous birth;
Forth in the dust one creeps, his brother
Doth darkling to the ceiling flee;
Outside they haste to join each other—
The third I am not fain to be!
Since on me, at festive masque,
Laid hath been the Herald’s task,
At the doors I watch with care,
Lest aught harmful, unaware,
Creep into this joyous space;
I nor waver, nor give place.
Yet I fear the spectral brood
Through the window may intrude;
And from trick and sorcery,
I know not how to keep you free.
First the dwarf awaken’d doubt,
Now streams in the spectral rout.
I would show you herald-wise,
What each figure signifies.
But what none can comprehend
I should strive to teach in vain.
All must help me to explain!—
Through the crowd behold ye it wend;
A splendid car is borne along
By a team of four; the throng
Is not parted, nor doth reign
Tumult round the stately wain;
Bright it glitters from afar;
Shineth many a motley star,
As from magic-lantern cast;
On it snorts with stormful blast.—
I needs must shudder! Clear the way!
Stay your wings, ye coursers, stay!
Own the bridle’s wonted sway!
Rein yourselves, as you I rein;
When I prompt you, rush amain!—
Honor we this festal ground.
See how press the folk around,
Ring in ring, with wondering eyes.—
Herald, as thy wont is, rise;
From you ere we flee afar,
Tell our name, our meaning show!
Since we allegories are,
’Tis thy duty us to know.
I cannot guess how I should name thee;
I to describe thee should prefer.
So, try it then!
We must proclaim thee,
Firstly to be both young and fair;
A half-grown boy;—yet women own
They fain would see thee fully grown;
A future wooer seemest thou to me,
A gay deceiver out and out to be.
Not badly spoken! Pray proceed!
The riddle’s cheerful meaning strive to read.
Thine eyes swart flash, thy jewell’d bandlet glowing
Starlike, amid thy night-like hair;
And what a graceful robe dost wear,
Down from thy shoulder to thy buskin flowing,
With purple hem and fringes rare!
Thee as a girl one might misprize;
Yet thou, for weal or woe, wouldst be,
E’en now, of worth in maidens’ eyes;
Thee they would teach the A B C.
And he whose stately figure gleams
Enthron’d upon his chariot wain?
A monarch, rich and mild, he seems;
Happy who may his grace obtain,
Henceforth they’ve naught for which to strive!
His glance discerns if aught’s amiss;
Greater his pleasure is to give,
Than to possess or wealth or bliss.
Suspend not here thy words, I pray,
Him thou more fully must portray.
The noble none can paint. Yet there
Glows the round visage, hale and fair,
Full mouth, and blooming cheeks, descried
Beneath the turban’s jewell’d pride;
What ease his mantle folds display!
What of his bearing can I say?
As ruler seems he known to me.
Plutus, the god of wealth is he.
Hither he comes in royal state;
Of him the emperor’s need is great.
Tell of thyself the what and how to me!
I am profusion, I am Poesie;
The bard am I, who to perfection tends
When freely he his inner wealth expends.
I too have riches beyond measure,
And match with Plutus’ wealth my treasure;
For him adorn and quicken dance and show,
And what he lacketh, that do I bestow.
Boasting to thee new charm imparts.
Now show us something of thine arts!
See me but snap my fingers, lo!
Around the car what splendors glow!
A string of pearls forth leapeth here;
Take golden clasps for neck and ear;
Combs too, and other precious things,
Crowns without flaw, and jewell’d rings!
Flamelets I scatter too, in play,
Awaiting where they kindle may.
How the good people snatch and seize!
Almost the donor’s self they squeeze.
As in a dream he gems doth rain,
In the wide space they snatch amain.
But—here new juggling meets mine eye:
What one doth grasp so eagerly,
Doth prove, in sooth, a sorry prize;
Away from him the treasure flies;
The pearls are loosen’d from their band;
Now beetles crawl within his hand;
He shakes them off, poor fool, instead,
Swarming, they buzz around his head;
Others, in place of solid things,
Catch butterflies, with lightsome wings.
Though vast his promises, the knave
To them but golden glitter gave!
Masks, I remark, thou canst announce full well;
Only to reach the essence ’neath the shell,
Is not the Herald’s courtly task;
A sharper vision that dost ask.
But I from every quarrel would be free.—
Master, I speech and question turn to thee.
The storm-blast didst thou not confide
To me, of this four-yoked car?
Lead I not well, as thou dost guide?
Where thou dost point, thence am I far?
Have I not known, on daring wing
For thee the victor’s palm to wring?
Full often as for thee I’ve fought,
Still have I conquer’d; and if now
The laurel decorates thy brow,
Have not my hand and skill the chaplet wrought?
If need there be, that I should witness bear,—
Soul of my soul, thee gladly I declare:
According to my will thou actest ever;
Art richer than myself denied.
To give thy service its due meed,
Before all crowns the laurel wreath I treasure.
This truthful word let all men hear:
My son art thou, thee doth my soul hold dear.
(To the crowd.)
Now of my hand the choicest dower,
I’ve scatter’d in this festive hour;
There glows on this or that one’s head
A flame, which I abroad have shed;
From one to other now it hies,
To this one cleaves, from that one flies,
Seldom aloft its flames aspire;
Sudden they gleam, with transient fire;
With many, ere they know the prize,
It mournfully burns out and dies.
(Clamor of Women.)
Avaunt, ye loathed women-kind!
With you I ne’er a welcome find.—
When rul’d the hearth your thrifty dame,
Then Avaritia was my name;
Then throve our household well throughout;
For much came in, and naught went out!
Great was my zeal for chest and bin—
And that, forsooth, you call a sin!
But in these later years, no more
The wife is thrifty as of yore;
She, like each tardy payer, owns
Far more desires than golden crowns;
This for her spouse much care begets;
Where’er he turneth, there are debts;
What she by spinning earns, she spends
On gay attire, and wanton friends;
Better she feasts, and drinketh too
More wine, with her vile suitor crew:
That rais’d for me of gold the price.
Now, male of sex, I’m Avarice!
Leader of the Women.
Dragon may still with dragon spare;
It’s cheat and lies at last, no more!
He comes to rouse the men; beware!
Full troublesome they were before.
(All together.) The scarecrow! Box his ears! Make haste!
To threat us does the juggler dare?
Us shall his foolish prating scare?
The dragons are but wood and paste;
Press in upon him, do not spare!
Now, by my staff! Keep quiet there!
Yet scarcely needed is my aid.
See, in the quickly opened space,
How the grim monsters move apace!
Their pinions’ double pair display’d!
The dragons shake themselves in ire,
Scale-proof, their jaws exhaling fire—
The crowd recedes; clear is the place.
[Plutusdescends from the chariot.
He steps below, a king confess’d!
He nods, the dragons move; the chest
They from the chariot, in a trice,
Have lower’d, with gold and avarice;
Before his feet it standeth now:
How done a marvel is, I trow.
(To theCharioteer.) Now from the burden that oppress’d thee here
Thou’rt frank and free; away to thine own sphere!
Here is it not; distorted, wild, grotesque,
Surrounds us here a motley arabesque.
There fly, where on thy genius thou canst wait,
Lord of thyself; where charm the good, the fair;
Where clear thy vision in the clear calm air;
To solitude—there thine own world create!
Myself as trusty envoy I approve;
Thee as my nearest relative I love.
Where thou dost dwell, is fulness; where I reign,
Within himself each feeleth glorious gain;
And ’mid life’s contradictions wavers he:
Shall he resign himself to thee, to me?
Thy votaries may idly rest, ’tis true;
Who follows me, hath always work to do.
My deeds are not accomplish’d in the shade,
I only breathe, and forthwith am betray’d.
Farewell! My bliss thou grudgest not to me;
But whisper low, and straight I’m back with thee.
[Exit as he came.
Now is the time the treasure to set free!
The locks I strike, thus with the Herald’s rod;
’Tis open’d now! In blazing caldrons, see,
It bubbles up, and shows like golden blood;
Next crowns, and chains, and rings, a precious dower:
It swells and fusing threats the jewels to devour.
(Alternate cry of the Crowd.)
Look here! look there! How flows the treasure,
To the chest’s brim in ample measure!—
Vessels of gold are melting, near
Up-surging, coin’d rouleaux appear,
And ducats leap as if impress’d—
O how the vision stirs my breast!—
My heart’s desire now meets mine eye!
They’re rolling on the floor, hard by.—
To you ’tis proffer’d; do not wait,
Stoop only, you are wealthy straight!—
While, quick as lightning, we anon,
The chest itself will seize upon.
Ye fools, what ails you? What your quest?
’Tis but a masquerading jest.
To-night no more desire ye may;
Think you that gold we give away,
And things of worth? For such as you,
And at such foolish masking too,
E’en counters were too much to pay.
Blockheads! a pleasing show, forsooth,
Ye take at once for solid truth.
What’s truth to you? Delusion vain
At every turn ye clutch amain.—
Thou, Plutus, hero of the masque,
This folk to chase, be now thy task!
Ready at hand thy staff I see;
For a brief moment lend it me!—
Quickly in fire and seething glare
I’ll dip it.—Now, ye masks, beware!
It sputters, crackles, flares outright;
Bravely the torch is now alight;
And pressing round, who comes too nigh,
Is forthwith scorch’d, relentlessly!—
Now then my circuit is begun.
(Cries and Tumult.)
O misery! We are undone.—
Escape, let each escape who can!
Back! further back! thou hindmost man!—
Hot in my face it sputter’d straight—
Of the red staff I felt the weight—
We all, alas! we all are lost!—
Back, back, thou masquerading host!—
Back, back, unthinking crowd!—Ah me,
Had I but wings, I hence would flee!—
Back is the circle driven now;
And no one has been sing’d, I trow.
The crowds give way,
Scared, with dismay.—
Yet, pledge of order and of law,
A ring invisible I draw.
Achiev’d thou hast a noble deed;
For thy sage might be thanks thy meed!
Yet needs there patience, noble friend;
Still many a tumult doth impend.
If it so please us, pleasantly,
We on this living ring may gaze around.
For women ever foremost will be found,
If aught allure the palate or the eye.
Not yet am I grown rusty quite!
A pretty face must always please;
And since it nothing costs to-night,
We’ll go a-wooing at our ease.
Yet as in this o’ercrowded sphere,
Words are not audible to every ear,
Deftly I’ll try,—and can but hope success—
In pantomime my meaning to express.
Hand, foot and gesture will not here suffice,
Hence I must strive to fashion some device:
Like moisten’d clay forthwith I’ll knead the gold;
This metal into all things we can mould.
The meagre fool, what doeth he?
Hath such a starveling humor? See,
He kneadeth all the gold to dough,
Beneath his hand ’tis pliant too;
Yet howsoe’er he squeeze and strain,
Misshapen it must still remain.
He to the women turns, but they
All scream, and fain would flee away,
With gestures of aversion. Still
Ready the rascal seems for ill;
Happy, I fear, himself he rates,
When decency he violates.
Silence were wrong in such a case;
Give me my staff, him forth to chase!
What threats us from without, he bodeth not.
Let him play out his pranks a little longer!
Room for his jest will fail him soon, I wot;
Strong as is law, necessity is stronger.
[EnterFauns, Satyrs, Gnomes, Nymphs,etc., attendants onPan,and announcing his approach.
(Tumult and Song.)
You and your mighty Pan I recognize!
Conjoin’d you’ve enter’d on a bold emprise.
Full well I know, what is not known to all,
And ope this narrow space, at duty’s call.—
O may a happy Fate attend!
Wonders most strange may happen now;
They know not where unto they tend;
Forward they have not look’d, I trow.
Bedizen’d people, glittering brood!
They’re coming rough, they’re coming rude;
With hasty run, with lofty bound,
Stalwart and strong they press around.
Their crisp locks bound
With oak-leaves round,—
In merry dance!
A fine and sharply pointed ear,
Forth from their clustering locks doth peer;
A stumpy nose, with breadth of face—
These forfeit not a lady’s grace:
If but his paw the Faun advance,
Not lightly will the fairest shun the dance.
The Satyr now comes hopping in,
With foot of goat, and withered shin;
These sinewy must be and thin.
In chamois-guise, on mountain height,
Around to gaze is his delight;
In freedom’s air, with freshness rife,
Child he despiseth, man and wife,
Who, ’mid the valley’s smoke and steam,
That they too live, contented dream;
On those pure heights, sequester’d, lone,
The upper world is his alone!
Tripping, here comes a tiny crew.
They like not keeping two and two;
In mossy dress, with lamplet clear,
Commingling swiftly, they career,
Where for himself his task each plies,
Swarming they glitter, emmet-wise;
And ever busy, move about,
With ceaseless bustle in and out.
We the “Good Folk” as kindred own,
As rock-chirurgists well we’re known;
Cupping the lofty hills, we drain,
With cunning, from each well-fill’d vein,
The metals, which aloft we pile,
Shouting, Good luck! Good luck! the while:
Kindness at bottom we intend;
Good men we evermore befriend.
Yet to the light we gold unseal,
That men therewith may pimp and steal;
Nor to the proud, who murder plann’d
Wholesale, shall fail the iron brand;
These three commands who hath transgress’d,
Will take small reckoning of the rest;
Nathless for that we’re not to blame:
Patient we are, be ye the same!
The wild men, such in sooth our name,
Upon the Hartzberg known to fame,
Naked, in ancient vigor strong,
Pell-mell we come, a giant throng;
With pine-stem grasp’d in dexter hand,
And round the loins a padded band,
Apron of leaf and bough, uncouth,—
Such guards the pope owns not, in sooth.
Chorus of Nymphs.
(They surround the greatPan.) He draweth near!
In mighty Pan
The All we scan
Of this world-sphere.
All ye of gayest mood advance,
And him surround, in sportive dance!
For since he earnest is and kind,
Joy everywhere he fain would find;
E’en ’neath the blue o’erarching sky,
He watcheth still, with wakeful eye;
Purling to him the brooklet flows,
And zephyrs lull him to repose;
And when he slumbers at mid-day,
Stirs not a leaf upon the spray;
Health-breathing plants, with balsams rare,
Pervade the still and silent air;
The nymph no more gay vigil keeps,
And where she standeth, there she sleeps.
But if, at unexpected hour,
His voice resounds with mighty power,
Like thunder, or the roaring sea,
Then knoweth none, where he may flee;
Panic the valiant host assails,
The hero in the tumult quails.
Then honor to whom honor’s due!
And hail to him, who leads us unto you!
(To the greatPan.)
(To theHerald.) Our self-possession now must be display’d,
And come what may, we must be undismayed;
Still hast thou shown a strong, courageous soul.
A dreadful incident will soon betide;
’Twill be by world and after-world denied;
Inscribe it truly in thy protocol!
(Grasping the staff whichPlutusholds in his hand.) The dwarfs conduct the mighty Pan
Softly the source of fire to scan;
It surges from the gulf profound,
Then downward plunges ’neath the ground;
While dark the mouth stands, gaping wide,
Once more uprolls the fiery tide.
The mighty Pan stands well-content,
Rejoicing in the wondrous sight,
While pearl-foam drizzles left and right.
How may he trust such element!
Bending, he stoops to look within.—
But now his beard hath fallen in!—
Who may he be, with shaven chin?
His hand conceals it from our eyes.—
Now doth a dire mishap arise;
His beard takes fire and backward flies;
Wreath, head and breast are all ablaze;
Joy is transformed to dire amaze.—
To quench the fire his followers run;
Free from the flames remaineth none;
Still as they strike from side to side,
New flames are kindled far and wide;
Envelop’d in the fiery shroud,
Burns now the masquerading crowd.
But what’s the tale that’s rumor’d here,
From mouth to mouth, from ear to ear!
O night, for aye with sorrow fraught,
To us what mischief hast thou brought!
The coming morn will tidings voice,
At which, in sooth, will none rejoice.
From every side they cry amain,
“The Emperor suffers grievous pain!”
O were some other tidings true!—
The Emperor burns, his escort too.
Accurs’d be they, for evermore,
Who him seduc’d, with noisy roar,
Abroad, begirt with pitchy bough,
To roam, for general overthrow!
O youth, O youth, and wilt thou never
To joy assign its fitting bound?
O Majesty, with reason never
Will thy omnipotence be crown’d?
The mimic forest hath caught fire;
Tongue-like the flame mounts high and higher;
Now on the wood-bound roof it plays,
And threats one universal blaze!
O’erflows our cup of suffering;
I know not, who may rescue bring;
Imperial pomp, so rich o’er night,
An ash-heap lies in morning’s light.
Long enough hath terror sway’d;
Hither now be help convey’d.
Strike, thou hallow’d staff, the ground,
Till earth tremble and resound!
Cooling vapors everywhere
Fill the wide and spacious air!
Moisture-teeming mist and cloud
Draw anear, and us o’ershroud;
Veil the fiery tumult, veil!
Curling, drizzling, breathing low,
Gracious cloudlets hither sail,
Shedding down the gentle rain!
To extinguish, to allay,
Ye, the assuagers, strive amain;
Into summer-lightning’s glow
Change our empty fiery play!—
Threaten spirits us to hurt,
Magic must its power assert.
[TheEmperor,his court, men and women;Faust, Mephistophelesdressed becomingly, in the usual fashion; both kneel.
The flaming juggler’s play dost pardon, Sire?
I of such sports full many should desire.—
I saw myself within a glowing sphere;
Almost it seem’d as if I Pluto were;
A rock abyss there lay, with fire aglow,
Gloomy as night; from many a gulf below,
Seething, a thousand savage flames ascend,
And in a fiery vault together blend;
Up to the highest dome their tongues were toss’d,
Which ever was, and evermore was lost.
In the far space, through spiral shafts of flame,
Peoples I saw, in lengthen’d lines who came;
In the wide circle forward press’d the crowd,
And as their wont hath been, in homage bow’d;
I seem’d, surrounded by my courtly train,
O’er thousand Salamanders king to reign.
Such art thou, Sire! For thee each element
To own as absolute is well content.
Obedient thou hast proven fire to be.
Where it is wildest, leap into the sea—
And scarce thy foot the pearl-strewn floor shall tread,
A glorious, billowy dome o’ervaults thy head;
Wavelets of tender green thou seest swelling,
With purple edge, to form thy beauteous dwelling,
Round thee, the central point; where thou dost wend,
At every step, thy palace homes attend;
The very walls, in life rejoicing, flow
With arrowy swiftness, surging to and fro;
Sea-marvels to the new and gentle light repair;
They dart along, to enter none may dare;
There sports, with scales of gold, the bright-hued snake,
Gapes the fell shark, his jaws thy laughter wake:
Howe’er thy court may round thee now delight,
Such throng as this, before ne’er met thy sight.
Nor long shalt sever’d be from the most fair;
The curious Nereids, to thy dwelling rare,
’Mid the eternal freshness, shall draw nigh;
The youngest, greedy like the fish, and shy;
The elder prudent. Thetis hears the news,
Nor to the second Peleus will refuse
Or hand or lip.—Olympos’ wide domain—
I leave to thee, thou o’er the air mayst reign;
Full early every one must mount that throne.
Earth, noblest Sire! already thou dost own.
Hither what happy Fate, with kindness fraught,
Thee from the thousand nights and one hath brought!
If thou, like Scheherazade, prolific art,
To thee my highest favor I’ll impart;
Be ever near when, as is oft the case,
Most irksome is our world of commonplace!
(Entering in haste.)
Your Highness, never thought I in my life
Tidings to give, with such good fortune rife
As these which, in thy presence, cheer
My raptur’d heart, absolv’d from fear;
All reckonings paid, from debt we’re eased:—
The usurer’s clutches are appeas’d—
From such hell-torment I am free!
In Heaven can none more cheerful be.
Paid in advance the soldiers’ due,
Now the whole army’s pledged anew.
Blood dances in the trooper’s veins;
Vinter and damsel reap their gains.
How freely now your breast doth heave!
The marks of care your visage leave!
How hastily you enter!
(Entering.) Sire, proceed
These men to question who have done the deed.
(To theChancellor.) To you it doth belong the case to state.
(Who advances slowly.)
In my old days I am with joy elate!
So hear and see this fortune-weighted scroll,
Which hath to happiness transform’d our dole:
“To all whom it concerneth, be it known:
Who owns this note a thousand crowns doth own.
To him assur’d, as certain pledge, there lies,
Beneath the Emperor’s land, a boundless prize;
It is decreed, this wealth without delay
To raise, therewith the promis’d sum to pay.”
Crime I suspect, some huge deceit!
The Emperor’s name who here doth counterfeit?
Unpunish’d still remains such breach of right?
Remember, Sire! Thyself but yesternight
Didst sign the note.—Thou stoodst as mighty Pan;
Then spake the Chancellor, whose words thus ran:
“This festive pleasure for thyself obtain,
Thy people’s weal, with a few pen-strokes gain!”
These mad’st thou clearly; thousand-fold last night
Have artists multiplied what thou didst write;
And that to each alike might fall the aid,
To stamp the series, we have not delay’d,
Ten, thirty, fifty, hundreds at a stroke.
You cannot guess, how it rejoic’d the folk:
Behold your town, mouldering half dead that lay,
How full of life and bounding joy to-day!
Long as thy name hath bless’d the world, till now
So gladly was it ne’er beheld, I trow.
The Alphabet is now redundant grown;
Each in this sign finds happiness alone.
My people take it for true gold, you say?
In camp, at court, it passes for full pay?
Much as I wonder, it I must allow.
To stay the flying leaves were hopeless now;
With speed of lightning all abroad they float:
The changers’ banks stand open; every note
Is honored there with silver and with gold;
Discount deducted, if the truth were told.
To butcher, baker, vintner, thence they fare;
With half the world is feasting their sole care;
The other half, new-vestur’d, bravely shows;
The mercer cuts away, the tailor sews.
In cellars still “The Emperor!” they toast,
While, amid clattering plates, they boil and roast.
Alone who treads the terraced promenade,
Sees there the fair one, splendidly array’d;
One eye the peacock’s fan conceals; the while
This note in view, she lures us with her smile,
And swifter than through eloquence or wit,
Love’s richest favor may be won by it.
One’s self with purse and scrip one need not tease.
Hid in the breast, a note is borne with ease,
And with the billet-doux is coupled there;
The priest conveys it in his book of prayer;
The soldier, that his limbs may be more free,
Quickly his girdle lightens. Pardon me,
Your Majesty, if the high work I seem,
Dwelling on these details, to disesteem.
This superfluity of wealth, that deep
Imprison’d in its soil thy land doth keep,
Lies all unus’d; wide-reaching thought profound
Is of such treasure but a sorry bound;
In loftiest flight, fancy still strives amain
To reach its limit, but still strives in vain—
Yet minds who dare behind the veil to press,
In the unbounded, boundless faith possess.
Such paper, in the place of pearls and gold,
Convenient is, we know how much we hold;
No need for change or barter, each at will
Of love and wine may henceforth drink his fill.
If coin is needed, stands the changer nigh,
If there it faileth, straight the shovel ply;
Goblet and chain at auction fetch their price;
The paper, forthwith cancell’d, in a trice
The sceptic shames, who us did erst deride;
The people, used to it, wish naught beside:
So henceforth, through the realm, there’s goodly store,
Of jewels, gold, and paper, evermore.
You this high aid have render’d to our state;
Great is the service, be the meed as great!
Our realm’s subsoil confide we to your care;
Best guardians of the treasure buried there.
Full well ye know the vast, well-guarded hoard,
And when men dig, so be it at your word!
Ally yourselves, ye masters of our treasure,
The honors of your place fulfil with pleasure,
There where together join’d in blest content,
The upper with the under world is blent!
Not the most distant strife shall us divide;
As colleague be the conjuror at my side.
If I at court each man with gifts endow,
Whereto he’ll use them, let each tell me now.
(Receiving.) Merry I’ll be, and taste life’s pleasant things.
(The same.) I for my sweetheart will buy chain and rings.
(Accepting.) Wine twice as good from this time forth I’ll drink.
(The same.) The dice already in my pocket clink.
(Thoughtfully.) My field and castle I from debt will free.
(The same.) I’ll lay my treasure in my treasury.
Courage I hoped, and joy, for new emprise—
But whoso knows you, straight will recognize;
I mark it well, though wealth be multiplied,
Just what ye were, the same will ye abide!
(Approaching.) Favors you scatter; grant me some, I pray!
What, living yet? Thou’lt drink them soon away.
These magic leaves! I comprehend not quite—
That I believe: them thou’lt not spend aright.
There, others drop—I know not what to do—
Take them! They’ve fallen to thy share. Adieu!
Five thousand crowns in hand! can it be true?
Thou two-legg’d paunch, art thou then risen anew?
As oft before, ne’er happily as now.
So great thy joy, it makes thee sweat, I trow.
Is this indeed worth money? art thou sure?
What throat and paunch desire it will procure.
Can I then field, and house, and cattle buy?
Of course! Bid only, thee it will not fail.
Castle with forest, chase, and fishpond?
Thee as your worship I should like to hail!
As land-owner I’ll rock myself ere eve!
In our fool’s wit who will not now believe?
Why drag me these dark corridors along?
Within hast not enough of sport?
Occasion ’mid the motley throng
For jest and lie, hast not at court?
Speak not of that; in days of old hast thou
Outworn it to the very soles. But now,
Thy shuffling is a mere pretext
How to evade my questions. Sore perplex’d,
I know not how to act, or what to do;
The marshal urges me, the steward too,
The Emperor wills it—hence it straight must be—
Wills Helena and Paris here to see;
Of man and womankind the true ideal,
He fain would view, in forms distinct and real.
Quick to the work! My word I may not break.
Such promise it was weak, nay, mad to make.
Comrade, thou hast not thought, I trow,
Whither these arts of thine must lead:
First we have made him rich, and now
Him to amuse we must proceed.
Thou think’st no sooner said than done;
Here before steeper steps we stand,
A foreign realm must here be won,
New debts wilt add to those of old.
With the same ease dost think I can command
Helen, as phantom-notes evoke for gold!
With wizard, witchery, or ghostly ghost,
Or goiter’d dwarf, I’m ready at my post,
But Devil’s darlings, though we mayn’t abuse them,
Yet cannot we as heroines produce them.
Still harping on the ancient lyre!
The father thou of hindrances;—with thee
We needs must fall into uncertainty;
For each expedient thou dost claim new hire!
With little muttering, I know, ’tis done;
Ere one looks round, thou’lt bring them to the spot.
The Heathen-folk I’m glad to let alone,
In their own hell is cast their lot;
Yet are there means—
Speak quickly, naught withhold!
Loth am I higher secrets to unfold.
In solitude, where reigns nor space nor time,
Are goddesses enthron’d from early prime;
’Tis hard to speak of beings so sublime—
The Mothers are they.
The Mothers! Mothers! strange it sounds, I trow!
And is so: Goddesses, to men unknown,
And by us nam’d unwillingly, I own.
Their home to reach, full deeply must thou mine.
That we have need of them, the fault is thine!
No way; to the untrodden none,
Not to be trodden, neither to be won
By prayer! Art ready for the great emprise?
No locks are there, no bolts thy way to bar;
By solitudes shalt thou be whirl’d afar:
Such void and solitude canst realize?
To spare such speeches, it were well!
They of the witches’ kitchen smell,
And of a time long past and gone.
To know the world have I not sought?
The empty learn’d, the empty taught?—
Spake I out plainly, as in reason bound,
Then doubly loud the paradox would sound;
By Fortune’s adverse buffets overborne,
To solitude I fled, to wilds forlorn,
And not in utter loneliness to live,
Myself at last did to the Devil give!
And hadst thou swum to ocean’s utmost verge,
And there the shoreless infinite beheld,
There hadst thou seen surge rolling upon surge,
Though dread of coming doom thy soul had quell’d,
Thou hadst seen something;—dolphins thou hadst seen.
Cleaving the silent sea’s pellucid green,
And flying cloud hadst seen, sun, moon and star;
Naught, in the everlasting void afar,
Wilt see, nor hear thy footfall’s sound,
Nor for thy tread find solid ground!
Thou speakest as of mystagogues the first,
True neophytes who gulled—only revers’d:
I to vacuity by thee am sent,
That art as well as strength I may augment;
Thou wouldest, like the cat, make use of me,
The chestnuts from the fire to snatch for thee.
We’ll fathom it! come on, nor look behind!
In this thy naught, the All I hope to find.
Before we part, thy bearing I commend;
I see, the Devil thou dost comprehend.
Here, take this key!
That little thing!
First hold it fast, not lightly valuing!
It waxes in my hand! It flashes, glows!
Soon shalt thou mark what virtue it bestows.
The key will scent the very place you need;
Follow, thee to the Mothers it will lead.
(Shuddering.) The Mothers! Like a blow it strikes mine ear!
What is this word, it troubles me to hear?
So narrow-minded, scar’d by each new word!
Wilt only hear, what hast already heard?
Inur’d to marvels, thee let naught astound;
Be not disturb’d, how strange soe’er the sound!
My weal I seek not in torpidity;
Humanity’s best part in awe doth lie:
Howe’er the world the sentiment disown,
Once seiz’d—we deeply feel the vast, the unknown.
Sink then! Arise! This also I might say:—
’Tis all the same. Escaping from the real,
Seek thou the boundless realm of the ideal.
Delight thyself in forms long pass’d away!
The train, like cloud-procession, glides along;
Swing thou the key, hold off the shadowy throng!
(Inspired.) Good! firmly grasping it, new strength is mine,
My breast expands! Now for the great design!
A glowing tripod teaches thee thou hast
The deep attain’d, the lowest deep, at last:
There, by its light the Mothers thou wilt see;
Some sit, while others, as the case may be,
Or stand, or walk: formation, transformation,
Of mind etern, eternal recreation!
While forms of being round them hover; thee
Behold they not, phantoms alone they see.
Take courage, for the danger is not slight.
Straight to the tripod press thou on, be brave,
And touch it with the key—
[Faust,with the key, assumes an attitude of determined authority.
(Observing him.) So, that is right!
It cleaves to thee, it follows like a slave;
Calmly dost mount, fortune doth thee upbear,
Back art thou with it, ere they are aware.
And hither hast thou brought it: by its might,
Hero mayst call, and heroine from night;
The first to venture in such enterprise;
’Tis done—with thee the bold achievement lies;
And then by spells, to sorcery allow’d,
To gods shall be transform’d the incensecloud.
And now what next?
Downward thy being strain.
Stamping descend, stamping thou’lt rise again.
[Fauststamps and sinks.
In his behoof if worketh but the key!
Whether he will return, I’m fain to see.
Emperorand Princes: The Court in movement.
You’re still our debtors for the spirit-show;
To work! The Emperor doth impatient grow.
His Highness even now hath question’d me;
Delay not, nor affront his Majesty!
My comrade’s for that very purpose gone;
How to commence he knows; he labors on,
Secluded in his study, calm and still,
With mind intensely strung; for who the prize,
Ideal beauty, would evoke at will,
Needs highest art, the magic of the wise.
To us it matters not what arts you need;
The Emperor wills that ye forthwith proceed.
One word, good sir! My visage now is clear—
It is not so when baleful summer’s here:
Then sprout a hundred freckles, brown and red,
Which, to my grief, the white skin overspread.
’Tis pity, face so fair to see,
In May like panther’s cub should mottled be!
Take spawn of frog, and tongue of toad, the twain
Under the fullest moon distil with care;
Lay on the mixture, when the moon doth wane—
The spring arrives, no blemishes are there.
To fawn upon you, how the crowds advance;
A remedy I ask! A frozen foot
Hinders me sorely when I walk or dance;
Awkward my movement e’en when I salute.
A single tread allow me with my foot!
Well, betwixt lovers that might come to pass—
A deeper meaning, child, my footprint has:
Like unto like, in sickness is the rede;
Foot healeth foot; with every limb ’tis so.
Draw near! Give heed! My tread return not.
Ah, woe! It burns! A hard tread that indeed,
Like horse’s hoof!
Receive thy cure as meed.
Now mayst thou dance at pleasure; and salute,
Beneath the festal board, thy lover’s foot.
(Pressing forward.) Make way for me, too grievous is my smart,
Seething, it rankles in my deepest heart:
Bliss in my looks he sought till yesterday—
With her he talks, and turns from me away!
The case is grave, but this my lore receive:
Thou to his side must stealthily make way;
Take thou this coal, a mark upon his sleeve,
His cloak, or shoulder make, as happen may—
His heart repentant will be thine once more;
The coal thou straight must swallow; after it,
No water near thy lip, no wine, permit—
This very night he’ll sigh before thy door.
It is not poison?
(Offended.) Honor where ’tis due!
You for such coal much ground must wander o’er;
It cometh from a pyre, that we of yore
More fiercely stirr’d than now we do.
I love; as still unripe they scorn my youth!
(Aside.) I know not whom to listen to, in sooth.
Not on the youngest set your happiness;
Those more in years your merits will confess.
[Others press up to him.
Others are coming! What a fearful rout!
Myself with truth I must at last help out—
The sorriest shift! Great is the need! Ah me!
O Mothers, Mothers! Only Faust set free.
The lights are burning dimly in the hall;
At once the court is moving, one and all;
Advancing in due order them I see,
Through long arcade and distant gallery;
Now in the old Baronial hall, the train
Assemble, them it scarcely can contain;
Its ample walls rare tapestries enrich,
While armor decks each corner, every niche;
Here magic-words, methinks, are needed not,
Ghosts, of their own accord, would haunt this spot.
Baronial Hall.(Dimly illuminated.)
Emperorand Court have entered.
Mine ancient usage, to announce the play,
The spirits’ secret working mars; in vain
The surging tumult to ourselves, to-day,
Would we, on reasonable grounds, explain.
Seats are arrang’d, ready is every chair;
The Emperor sits before the wall, and there,
On tapestry in comfort may behold
The battles of the glorious days of old.
All now are seated; prince and court around;
While crowded benches fill the hinder ground;
Your lovers too, in these dark hours, will find,
Beside their sweethearts, places to their mind.
So now we’re seated, ready for the play;
The phantoms may appear, without delay!
Now let the drama, ’tis the Sire’s command,
Begin forthwith its course! ye walls expand!
Naught hinders; magic yields what we require.
The curtains vanish, as uproll’d by fire;
The wall splits open, backward it doth wend;
An ample theatre appears to rise;
A mystic lustre gleams before our eyes;
And I to the proscenium ascend.
(Emerging from the prompter’s box.) I hope for general favor in your eyes,
The Devil’s rhetoric in prompting lies!
The time dost know, in which the stars proceed,
And, like a master, wilt my whispering read.
Through magic power, appears before our gaze,
Massive enough, a fane of ancient days;
Like Atlas, who of old the heavens upbare,
Columns, in goodly rows, are standing there;
They for their burden may suffice, when twain
A mighty edifice might well sustain.
That the antique—I cannot think it right;
It as unwieldy we should designate;
The rude is noble styled, the clumsy great!
Slim shafts I love, aspiring, infinite;
The pointed zenith lifts the soul on high;
Such building us doth mostly edify.
Receive with reverence stargranted hours!
By magic word enthrall’d be reason’s powers;
Here, on the other hand, let phantasy,
Noble and daring, roam more wildly free!
What boldly you desir’d, he with your eyes perceiv’d!
Impossible, and hence, by faith to be believ’d.
[Faustrises at the other side of the proscenium.
In priestly vesture, crown’d, a wondrous man,
Who now achieves, what trustful he began;
A tripod with him from the gulf ascends;
With the surrounding air the incense blends;
He arms himself, the lofty work to bless:
Henceforth we naught can augur but success.
In your name, Mothers, ye who on your throne
Dwell in the Infinite, for aye alone,
Yet sociably! Around your heads are rife
Life’s pictures, restless, yet devoid of life;
What was, there moveth, bright with lustrous sheen;
For deathless will abide what once hath been.
This ye dispense, beings of matchless might,
To day’s pavilion, to the vault of night:
Life in its gentle course doth some arrest;
Of others the bold magian goes in quest:
In rich profusion, fearless, he displays
The marvels upon which each longs to gaze.
Scarcely the glowing key the censer nears,
When o’er the scene a misty shroud appears;
It creepeth in, cloudlike it onward glides,
Expands, upcurls, contracts, unites, divides.
Now recognize a spirit masterpiece:
The clouds make music; wonders never cease;
The airy tones, one knows not how, float by:
Where’er they move, there all is melody;
The pillar’d shaft, the very triglyph rings;
Yea, I believe that the whole temple sings!
The mist subsides; steps forth, in measur’d time,
From the light veil, a youth in beauty’s prime.
Silent mine office here; his name I need not show;
Who doth the gentle Paris fail to know!
O! In his youthful strength what lustrous grace!
Fresh as a peach, and full of sap his face!
The finely chisell’d, sweetly swelling lip!
At such a beaker fain wert thou to sip?
Though handsome, quite unpolish’d is his mien.
A little more refin’d he might have been.
The shepherd youth, methinks, in him I trace;
Naught of the prince or of the courtier’s grace!
Half naked, fair the stripling seems to be;
But clad in armor him we first must see!
Gently he seats himself, with easy grace.
For you his lap were pleasant resting-place?
Lightly his arm he bendeth o’er his head.
That is not here allow’d. ’Tis under-bred!
You gentlemen are always hard to please.
Before the Emperor to loll at ease!
He only acts! He thinks himself alone.
The drama should be courtly near the throne.
Gently hath sleep o’ercome the gracious youth.
He snoreth now; ’tis nature, perfect truth.
(Enraptured.) What fragrance with the incense sweetly blends.
That to my inmost heart refreshment sends?
A breath the soul pervades with gracious power!
From him it comes.
Of growth it is the flower;
It like ambrosia from the youth distils,
And the whole atmosphere around him fills.
Such then she was! She will not break my rest!
Fair, doubtless; but she is not to my taste.
For me remains no further duty now,
As man of honor, this I must allow.
The fair one comes; and had I tongues of fire—
Beauty of old did many a song inspire—
Who sees her is enraptur’d; all too bless’d
Was he indeed by whom she was possess’d.
Have I still eyes? Is beauty’s very spring,
Full gushing, to mine inmost sense reveal’d?
Most blessed gain doth my dread journey bring.
How blank to me the world, its depths unseal’d!
What is it since my priesthood’s solemn hour!
Enduring, firmly-bas’d, a precious dower!
Vanish from me of life the breathing power,
If, e’en in thought, I e’er from thee decline!—
The gracious form that raptur’d once my sight,
That in the magic mirror wak’d delight,
Was a foam-image to such charms as thine!—
’Tis thou, to whom as tribute now I bring
My passion’s depth, of every power the spring,
Love, adoration, madness, heart and soul!
(From the prompter’s box.)
Collect yourself, and fall not from your rôle!
Tall and well-shap’d! Only too small the head.
Her foot! ’Tis clumsy if the truth were said.
Princesses of this kind I’ve seen; and she
From head to foot seems beautiful to me.
Softly she nears the sleeper, artful, shy.
How hateful near that form of purity!
He is illumin’d by her beauty’s sheen.
Endymion! Luna!—’Tis the pictur’d scene!
Quite right! The goddess downward seems to sink;
O’er him she bends, his balmy breath to drink;
A kiss!—The measure’s full!—O envied youth!
Before the crowd—too bold that is, in sooth!
A fearful favor to the boy!—
And let the phantom do whate’er it will.
She steals away, light-footed;—he awakes.
A backward glance, just as I thought, she takes!
He starts! ’Tis marvellous! he’s all amaze.
To her no marvel is what meets her gaze.
To him with coy reserve she turneth now.
She takes him into tutelage, it seems;
All men in such a case are fools, I trow;
Himself to be the first, he fondly dreams!
Let me admire! Majestically fair—
The courtezan! ’Tis vulgar, I declare!
Now in his place to be, full fain I were!
Who in such net would not be gladly caught?
From hand to hand the jewel hath been pass’d;
The very gilding is worn off at last.
From her tenth year she hath been good for naught.
Each takes the best that Fate to him hath sent:
With this fair ruin I were well content.
Her I behold, yet to confess am free,
Doubts may arise, if she the right one be.
What’s present doth into extremes betray;
Cling closely to the letter, that’s my way;
I to what’s written turn, and there I read:
How she all Troya’s graybeards charm’d indeed.
How perfectly this tallies here, I see—
I am not young, and yet she pleases me.
A boy no more! A man, heroic, brave,
He claspeth her, who scarce herself can save;
With stalwart arm aloft he raises her.
Thinks he to bear her off?
Rash fool! Beware!
Thou darest! Hearest not! Forbear I say!
Why thou thyself dost make the phantom-play!
Only one word! From what did her befall,
“The rape of Helena,” the piece I call.
The rape! Count I for nothing here? This key,
Do I not hold it still within my hand?
Through dreary wastes, through waves, it guided me,
Through solitudes, here to this solid land;
Here is firm footing, here the actual, where
Spirit with spirits to contend may dare,
And for itself a vast, twin-realm prepare.
Far as she was, how can she be more near?
Sav’d, she is doubly mine! I’ll dare it! Hear,
Ye Mothers, Mothers, hear, and grant my quest!
Who once hath known, without her cannot rest!
What dost thou? Faustus! Faustus!—Her with might,
He seizes; fades the phantom from the sight;
Towards the youth he turneth now the key,
He touches him!—Presto! alas! Woe’s me!
[Explosion,Faustlies upon the ground.
[The phantoms vanish in the air.
(TakingFaustupon his shoulders.) You have it now! With fools one’s self to burden,
May to the devil prove a sorry guerdon.
High-vaulted, Narrow Gothic Chamber.
(Stepping from behind a curtain. While he raises it and looks back,Faustis seen, stretched upon an old-fashioned bed.)
Lie there, ill-starr’d one! In love’s chain,
Full hard to loose, he captive lies!
Not soon his senses will regain
Whom Helena doth paralyze.
Above, around, on every side
I gaze, uninjur’d all remains:
Dimmer, methinks, appear the color’d panes,
The spiders’ webs are multiplied,
Yellow the paper, and the ink is dry;
Yet in its place each thing I find;
And here the very pen doth lie,
Wherewith himself Faust to the Devil sign’d,
Yea, quite dried up, and deeper in the bore,
The drop of blood, I lur’d from him of yore—
O’erjoy’d to own such specimen unique
Were he who objects rare is fain to seek;—
Here on its hook hangs still the old fur cloak,
Me it remindeth of that merry joke,
When to the boy I precepts gave, for truth,
Whereon, perchance, he’s feeding now, as youth.
The wish comes over me, with thee allied,
Envelop’d in thy worn and rugged folds,
Once more to swell with the professor’s pride!
How quite infallible himself he holds;
This feeling to obtain your savans know;
The devil parted with it long ago.
[He shakes the fur cloak which he has taken down; crickets, moths and chafers fly out.
Chorus of Insects.
We welcome thy coming,
O’erjoy’d I am my progeny to know!
We’re sure to reap in time, if we but sow.
I shake the old fur-mantle as before,
And here and there outflutters one or more.
Above, around, hasten, beloved elves,
In hundred thousand nooks to hide yourselves!
’Mid boxes there of bygone time,
Here in these age-embrowned scrolls,
In broken potsherds, foul with grime,
In yonder skulls’ now eyeless holes!
Amid such rotten, mouldering life,
Must foolish whims for aye be rife.
[Slips into the fur-mantle.
Come shroud my shoulders as of yore!
To-day I’m principal once more;
But useless ’tis, to bear the name:
Where are the folk to recognize my claim?
[He pulls the bell, which emits a shrill penetrating sound, at which the halls shake and the doors spring open.
(Tottering up the long dark passage.) What a clamor! What a quaking!
Stairs are rocking, walls are shaking:
Through the windows’ quivering sheen,
Are the stormful lightnings seen;
Springs the ceiling,—thence, below,
Lime and mortar rattling flow:
And, though bolted fast, the door
Is undone by magic power!
There, in Faust’s old fleece bedight,
Stands a giant,—dreadful sight!
At his glance, his beck, at me!
I could sink upon my knee.
Shall I fly, or shall I stay?
What will be my fate to-day!
Come hither, friend!—Your name is Nicodemus?
Most honor’d Sir, such is my name.—Oremus!
That we’ll omit.
O joy, me you do not forget.
I know it well: old, and a student yet;
My mossy friend, even a learned man
Still studies on, because naught else he can:
Thus a card-house each builds of medium height;
The greatest spirit fails to build it quite.
Your master, though, that title well may claim—
The noble Doctor Wagner, known to fame,
First in the learned world! ’Tis he, they say,
Who holds that world together; every day
Of wisdom he augments the store!
Who crave omniscience, evermore
In crowds upon his teaching wait;
He from the rostrum shines alone;
The keys doth like Saint Peter own,
And doth of Hell and Heaven ope the gate;
As before all he glows and sparkles,
No fame, no glory but grows dim,
Even the name of Faustus darkles!
Inventor there is none like him.
Pardon, most honor’d Sir, excuse me, pray—
If I presume your utterance to gainsay—
This bears not on the question any way;
A modest mind is his allotted share.
The disappearance, unexplain’d as yet,
Of the great man, his mind doth sorely fret;
Comfort from his return and health are still his prayer.
The chamber, as in Doctor Faustus’ day,
Maintains, untouch’d, its former state,
And for its ancient lord doth wait.
Venture therein I scarcely may.
What now the aspect of the stars?—
Awe-struck the very walls appear;
The door-posts quiver’d, sprang the bars—
Else you yourself could not have enter’d here.
Where then bestow’d himself hath he?
Lead me to him! bring him to me!
Alas! Too strict his prohibition
Scarce dare I, without his permission.
Months, on his mighty work intent,
Hath he, in strict seclusion spent.
Most dainty ’mong your men of books,
Like charcoal-burner now he looks,
With face begrim’d from ear to nose;
His eyes are blear’d, while fire he blows;
Thus for the crisis still he longs;
His music is the clang of tongs.
Admittance unto me deny?
To hasten his success, the man am I.
[ExitFamulus. Mephistophelesseats himself with a solemn air.
Scarce have I taken my post, when lo!
Stirs from behind a guest, whom well I know;
Of the most recent school, this time, is he,
And quite unbounded will his daring be.
(Storming along the passage.) Open find I door and gate!
If Lethe’s murky flood not yet hath pass’d,
Old Sir, through your bald pate, that sideways bends,
The scholar recognize, who hither wends,
Outgrown your academic rods at last.
The same I find you, as of yore;
But I am now the same no more.
Glad am I that I’ve rung you here.
I priz’d you then not slightingly;
In grub and chrysalis appear
The future brilliant butterfly.
A childish pleasure then you drew
From collar, lace, and curls.—A queue
You probably have never worn?—
Now to a crop I see you shorn.
All resolute and bold your air—
But from the absolute forbear!
We’re in the ancient place, mine ancient Sir,
But think upon time’s onward flow,
And words of double-meaning spare!
Quite otherwise we hearken now.
You fool’d the simple, honest youth;
It cost but little art in sooth,
To do what none to-day will dare.
If to the young the naked truth one speaks,
It pleases in no wise the yellow beaks;
But afterwards, when in their turn
On their own skin the painful truth they learn,
They think, forsooth, from their own head it came;
“The master was a fool,” they straight proclaim.
A rogue perchance!—For where’s the teacher found
Who to our face, direct, will Truth expound?
Children to edify, each knows the way,
To add or to subtract, now grave, now gay.
For learning there’s in very truth a time;
For teaching, I perceive, you now are prime.
While a few suns and many moons have wan’d,
A rich experience you have doubtless gain’d!
Experience! Froth and scum alone,
Not with the mind of equal birth!
Confess! what men have always known,
As knowledge now is nothing worth.
(After a pause.) I long have thought myself a fool;
Now shallow to myself I seem, and dull.
That pleases me! Like reason that doth sound;
The first old man of sense I yet have found!
I sought for hidden treasures, genuine gold—
And naught but hideous ashes forth I bore!
Confess that pate of yours, though bare and old,
Than yonder hollow skull is worth no more!
(Good-naturedly.) Thou know’st not, friend, how rude is thy reply.
In German to be courteous is to lie.
(Still moving his wheel-chair ever nearer to the proscenium, to the pit.)
Up here I am bereft of light and air;
I perhaps shall find a refuge with you there?
When at their worst, that men would something be,
When they are naught, presumptuous seems to me.
Man’s life is in the blood, and where, in sooth,
Pulses the blood so strongly as in youth?
That’s living blood, which with fresh vigor rife,
The newer life createth out of life.
There all is movement, something there is done;
Falleth the weak, the able presses on!
While half the world we ’neath our sway have brought,
What have ye done? Slept, nodded, dream’d and thought,
Plan after plan reject’d;—nothing won.
Age is, in sooth, a fever cold,
With frost of whims and peevish need:
When more than thirty years are told,
As good as dead one is indeed:
You it were best, methinks, betimes to slay.
The devil here has nothing more to say.
Save through my will, no devil dares to be.
(Aside.) The devil now prepares a fall for thee!
The noblest mission this of youth’s estate.
The world was not, till it I did create;
The radiant Sun I led from out the sea;
Her changeful course the Moon began with me;
The Day array’d herself my steps to meet,
The Earth grew green, and blossom’d me to greet;
At my command, upon you primal Night,
The starry hosts unveil’d their glorious light.
Who, beside me, the galling chains unbound,
Which cramping thought had cast your spirits round?
But I am free, as speaks my spirit-voice,
My inward light I follow, and rejoice;
Swift I advance, enraptur’d, void of fear,
Brightness before me, darkness in the rear.
Go, in thy pride, Original, thy way!—
True insight would, in truth, thy spirit grieve!
What wise or stupid thoughts can man conceive,
Unponder’d in the ages pass’d away?—
Yet we for him need no misgiving have;
Chang’d will he be, when a few years are past;
Howe’er absurdly may the must behave,
Nathless it yields a wine at last.—
(To the younger part of the audience, who do not applaud.)
Though to my words you’re somewhat cold,
Good children, me you don’t offend;
Reflect! The devil, he is old;
Grow old then, him to comprehend!
After the fashion of the middle ages; cumbrous, useless apparatus, for fantastic purposes.
(At the furnace.) Soundeth the bell, the fearful clang
Thrills through these sooty walls; no more
Upon fulfilment waits the pang
Of hope or fear;—suspense is o’er;
The darknesses begin to clear,
Within the inmost phial glows
Radiance, like living coal, that throws,
As from a splendid carbuncle, its rays;
Athwart the gloom its lightning plays,
A pure white lustre doth appear;
O may I never lose it more!—
My God! what rattles at the door?
(Entering.) Welcome! As friend I enter here.
Hail to the star that rules the hour!
On breath and utterance let a ban be laid!
Soon will be consummate a work of power.
(In a whisper.) What is it, then?
A man is being made.
A man? and pray what loving pair
Have in your smoke-hole their abode?
Nay! Heaven forbid! As nonsense we declare
The ancient procreative mode;
The tender point, life’s spring, the gentle strength
That took and gave, that from within hath press’d,
And seiz’d, intent itself to manifest
The nearest first, the more remote at length,—
This from its dignity is now dethron’d!
The brute indeed may take delight therein,
But man, by whom such mighty gifts are own’d,
Must have a purer, higher origin.
[He turns to the furnace.
It flashes, see!—Now may we trustful hold,
That if, of substances a hundred-fold,
Through mixture,—for on mixture it depends—
The human substance duly we compose,
And then in a retort enclose,
And cohobate; in still repose
The work is perfect’d, our labor ends.
[Again turning to the furnace.
It forms! More clear the substance shows!
Stronger, more strong, conviction grows!
What Nature’s mystery we once did style,
That now to test, our reason tries,
And what she organiz’d erewhile,
We now are fain to crystallize.
Who lives, doth much experience glean;
By naught in this world will he be surpris’d;
Already in my travel-years I’ve seen,
Full many a race of mortals crystallized.
(Still gazing intently on the phial.)
It mounts, it glows, and doth together run,
One moment, and the work is done!
As mad, a grand design at first is view’d;
But we henceforth may laugh at fate,
And so a brain, with thinking-power imbu’d,
Henceforth your living thinker will create.
[Surveying the phial with rapture.
The glass resounds, with gracious power possess’d;
It dims, grows clear; living it needs must be!
And now in form of beauty dress’d,
A dainty mannikin I see.
What more can we desire, what more mankind?
Unveil’d is now what hidden was of late;
Give ear unto this sound, and you will find,
A voice it will become, articulate.
(In the phial, toWagner.)
Now, Fatherkin, how goes it? ’Twas no jest!
Come let me to thy heart be fondly press’d—
Lest the glass break, less tight be thine embrace!
This is the property of things: the All
Scarcely suffices for the natural;
The artificial needs a bounded space.
But thou, Sir Cousin, Rogue, art thou too here?
At the right moment! Thee I thank. ’Tis clear
To us a happy fortune leadeth thee;
While I exist, still must I active be,
And to the work forthwith myself would gird;
Thou’rt skill’d the way to shorten.
Just one word!
I oft have been asham’d that knowledge fail’d,
When old and young with problems me assail’d.
For instance: no one yet could comprehend,
How soul and body so completely blend,
Together hold, as ne’er to part, while they
Torment each other through the livelong day.
Forbear! The problem solve for me,
Why man and wife so wretchedly agree?
Upon this point, my friend, thou’lt ne’er be clear;
The mannikin wants work, he’ll find it here.
What’s to be done?
(Pointing to a side door.)
Yonder thy gifts display!
(Still gazing into the phial.)
A very lovely boy, I needs must say!
[The side door opens;Faustis seen stretched upon a couch.
[The phial slips fromWagner’shands, hovers overFaust,and sheds a light upon him.
Girt with beauty!—Water clear
In the thick grove; fair women, who undress;
Most lovely creatures!—grows their loveliness:
But o’er the rest one shines without a peer,
As if from heroes, nay from gods she came;
In the transparent sheen her foot she laves;
The tender life-fire of her noble frame
She cools in yielding crystal of the waves.—
Of swiftly moving wings what sudden noise?
What plash, what plunge the liquid glass destroys?
The maidens fly, alarmed; alone, the queen,
With calm composure gazes on the scene:
With womanly and proud delight, she sees
The prince of swans press fondly to her knees,
Persistent, tame; familiar now he grows.—
But suddenly upfloats a misty shroud,
And with thick-woven veil doth overcloud
The loveliest of all lovely shows.
Why thou in sooth canst everything relate!
Small as thou art, as phantast thou art great.
I can see nothing—
I believe it. Thou,
Bred in the north, in the dark ages, how,
In whirl of priesthood and knight-errantry,
Have for such sights, thy vision free!
In darkness only thou’rt at home.
Ye brown, repulsive blocks of stone,
Arch-pointed, low, with mould o’ergrown!
Should he awake, new care were bred,
He on the spot would straight be dead.
Wood-fountains, swans, fair nymphs undress’d,
Such was his dream, presageful, rare;
In place like this how could he rest,
Which I, of easy mood, scarce bear!
Away with him!
I like your plan, proceed!
Command the warrior to the fight,
The maiden to the dancers lead!
They’re satisfied, and all is right.
E’en now a thought occurs, most bright;
’Tis classical Walpurgis-night—
Most fortunate! It suits his bent,
So bring him straightway to his element!
Of such I ne’er have heard, I frankly own.
Upon your ear indeed how should it fall?
Only romantic ghosts to you are known;
Your genuine ghost is also classical.
But whitherward to travel are we fain?
Your antique colleagues are against my grain.
North-westward, Satan, lies thy pleasure-ground;
But, this time, we to the south-east are bound.—
An ample vale Peneios floweth through,
’Mid bush and tree its curving shores it laves;
The plain extendeth to the mountain caves,
Above it lies Pharsalus, old and new.
Alas! Forbear! Forever be eschew’d
Those wars of tyranny and servitude!
I’m bored with them: for they, as soon as done,
Straight recommence; and no one calls to mind
That he in sooth is only play’d upon
By Asmodeus, who still lurks behind.
They battle, so ’tis said, for freedom’s rights—
More clearly seen, ’tis slave ’gainst slave who fights.
Leave we to men their nature, quarrel-prone!
Each must defend himself, as best he can,
From boyhood up; so he becomes a man.
The question here is, how to cure this one?
Hast thou a means, here let it tested be;
Canst thou do naught, then leave the task to me.
Full many a Brocken-piece I might essay,
But bolts of heathendom foreclose the way.
The Grecian folk were ne’er worth much, ’tis true,
Yet with the senses’ play they dazzle you;
To cheerful sins the human heart they lure,
While ours are reckon’d gloomy and obscure.
And now what next?
Of old thou wert not shy;
And if I name Thessalian witches,—why,
I something shall have said,—of that I’m sure.
(Lustfully.) Thessalian witches—well! the people they
Concerning whom I often have inquir’d.
Night after night, indeed, with them to stay,
That were an ordeal not to be desir’d;
But for a trial trip—
The mantle there
Reach hither, wrap it round the knight!
As heretofore, the rag will bear
Both him and thee; the way I’ll light.
(Alarmed.) And I?
At home thou wilt remain:
Thee most important work doth there detain;
The ancient scrolls unfolding, cull
Life’s elements, as taught by rule;
And each with other then combine with care;
Upon the What, more on the How, reflect!
Meanwhile as through a piece of world I fare,
I may the dot upon the “I” detect.
Then will the mighty aim accomplish’d be;
Such high reward deserves such striving;—wealth,
Honor and glory, lengthen’d life, sound health,
Knowledge withal and virtue—possibly.
Farewell! That grieves my heart full sore!
I fear indeed I ne’er shall see thee more.
Now to Peneios forth we wend!
We must not slight our cousin’s aid.
(To the spectators.)
At last, in sooth, we all depend
On creatures, we ourselves have made.
To this night’s ghastly fête, as oftentimes before,
I hither come, Erichtho, I, the gloomy one;
Not so atrocious, as the sorry poet-throng
Me in excess have slander’d. . . They no measure know
In censure and applause. . . O’erwhiten’d seems to me,
With waves of dusky tents, the valley, far and wide,
Night-phantom of that dire and most appalling night.
How often ’tis repeated! Will for evermore
Repeat itself for aye. . . empire none gladly yields
To others; none to him, by force who master’d it
And forceful reigns. For each, his inmost self to rule
How impotent soe’er, ruleth right joyously
His neighbor’s will, as prompts his own imperious mind. . . .
Nathless a great example here was battled through;
Here force ’gainst force more potent takes its stand,
Freedom’s fair chaplet breaks, with thousand blossoms rife,
The stubborn laurel bends around the victor’s brow.
Of greatness’ budding-day here Pompey dream’d; and there,
Watching the wavering balance, Cæsar wakeful lay!
Strength they shall measure. Knows the world who here prevail’d.
Brightly the watch-fires burn, diffusing ruddy flames;
Reflex of blood, once spill’d, does from the soil exhale,
And by the night’s most rare and wondrous splendor lur’d,
Hither the legions throng of Hellas’ mythic lore.
Round every fire dim shapes, phantoms of ancient days,
Flit wavering to and fro, or there recline at ease. . .
The moon, not fully orb’d, of clearest light serene,
Uprising, lustre mild diffuses all around.
Vanish the spectral tents, the fires are burning blue.
But lo! above my head, what sudden meteor sails!
It shines, and doth illume a ball corporeal.
I snuff the scent of life. Me it beseemeth not
The living to approach, to whom I noxious am;
That brings me ill-repute, and nothing profits me.
Already it sinks down. With caution I retire.
The Aerial Travellers above.
(Touching the ground.) Where is she?
That I cannot say,
But here perchance inquire for her you may.
Till breaks the dawn, with speed, do thou,
From fire to fire, still seeking, wend;
He nothing more need fear, I trow,
Who, to the Mothers, ventur’d to descend.
My part to play, I also claim;
And for our weal naught better know,
Than that, forthwith, from flame to flame,
Seeking his own adventures each should go.
Then us once more to re-unite,
Show, little friend, thy sounding light!
Thus shall it sound, thus glitter too!
[The glass rings, and emits a powerful light.
And now away to marvels new!
(Alone.) Where is she?—Now no further question make! . . .
If this were not the sod, her form that bare,
This not the wave that brake to welcome her,
Yet ’tis the air, that once her language spake!
Here! through a wonder, here on Grecian land!
I felt at once the soil whereon I stand:
As me, the sleeper, a new spirit fired,
An Antæus in heart, I rise inspir’d.
Assembled here objects most strange I find.
Searching, through this flame-labyrinth I’ll wind.
(Prying around.) As I these little fires still wander through,
I find myself a stranger everywhere;
Quite naked most, some shirted here and there:
The Sphinxes shameless, and the Griffins too,
And winged things, with tresses, hurrying past,
Before, behind, within mine eye are glass’d . . .
At heart indecent are we, truth to speak,
Yet all too life-like find I the Antique;
It by the modern mind must be controll’d,
And overgloss’d, in fashions manifold. . . .
A crew repulsive! Yet, a stranger guest,
In courteous phrase be my salute express’d. . . .
All hail! ye beauteous ladies, graybeards wise!
(Snarling.) Not Graybeards—Griffins! It the temper tries
To hear one’s self styled gray. In every word
Some echo of its origin is heard:
Grim, grievous, grizzl’d, grimy, graveyards, gray,
In etymology accord, and they
Still put us out of tune.
Yet all the same,
The “Gri” contents you in your honor’d name.
(As above.) Of course! For the alliance prov’d may be,
Oft blam’d indeed, but prais’d more frequently.
Let each one gripe at beauty, empire, gold,
Fortune still aids the Griper if he’s bold.
(Of the colossal kind.) Of gold ye speak. Thereof we much had stor’d,
And pil’d in rocks and caves our secret hoard;
The Arimaspians found it, bore it off—
So far away that now at us they scoff.
We’ll bring them straightway to confession.
Not on this night of jubilee!
Ere morning, all will squander’d be;
For this time we retain possession.
(Who has seated himself between the Sphinxes.) How soon, well-pleas’d, I grow familiar here!
I understand them, man by man.
Our spirit-tones into your ear
We breathe, embody them you can.
Until we know thee better, tell thy name.
Full many a title I ’mong men may claim.
Are Britons here? They travel far to trace
Renowned battlefields, and waterfalls,
Old musty classic sites, and ruin’d walls.
A worthy goal for them this very place;
Of me their ancient plays would testify;
I there was seen as Old Iniquity.
How came they upon that?
I know not.
That may be.
To read the starry volume hast thou power?
What sayest to the aspect of the hour?
(Looking up.) Star shooteth after star, bright the shorn moon doth shine,
And I’m content this cozy place within;
I warm myself against thy lion’s skin.
Aloft to climb were hurtful, I opine.
Propose some riddles, some charades!—Begin!
Thyself declare, a riddle that indeed.
Only essay thine inmost self to read:
“Needful to pious, as to bad men found;
Armor to those, ascetic fence to test,
Comrade to these, in every desperate quest.
And both alike to Zeus, a merry jest.”
(Snarling.) I like him not!
(Snarling more loudly.)
What wants he here?
The brute belongs not to this sphere!
(Brutally.) Thou thinkest, maybe, that the stranger’s nail,
To scratch with, like thy talons, can’t avail?
Let’s try, forthwith!
(Mildly.) Here thou mayst ever dwell;
But from our midst thyself wilt soon expel.
In thine own land art wont thyself to please.
If I mistake not, here thou’rt ill at ease.
Enticing art thou, when above descried;
But with the beast below, I’m horrified.
Thou false one, thou shalt bitterly repent:
These paws are sound: but as for thee,
With thy shrunk hoof thou’rt not content,
It seems, in our society.
What birds are those, on poplar bough
Swinging, the river banks along?
Beware! the noblest have ere now
Been master’d by the Sirens’ song!
(Mocking them in the same melody.)
Dainty novelties,—there ring
From the throat, and from the string
Tones that sweetly interweave.
Trills on me away are thrown;
Tickle they mine ear alone,
But untouch’d my heart they leave.
Speak not of hearts, for, I believe,
A leathern wallet in its place,
Shrivell’d, would better suit thy face.
(Entering.) The spectacle contents me;—wondrous creatures,
Ill-favor’d, yet with large and stalwart features.
E’en now, I augur an auspicious fate;
Whither doth me that earnest glance translate?
[Pointing to theSphinxes.
Once before such took Œdipus his stand;
[Pointing to theSirens.
Writhed before such Ulyss in hempen band?
[Pointing to theAnts.
By such the mightiest treasure was upstor’d.
[Pointing to theGriffins.
With true and faithful watch, these kept the hoard.
I feel new life my being penetrate;
Great are the forms, the memories are great!
Once thou such shapes had scouted, now
Thou seemest friendly to their kind;
E’en monsters welcome are, I trow,
To him who would the lov’d one find.
(To theSphinxes.) Ye women shapes, straight must ye answer me:
Hath one of you chanc’d Helena to see?
We reach not to her day; the last was slain
By Hercules; some tidings thou mayst gain
From Chiron, canst thou him detain.
Round on this ghostly night he doth career;
If he will answer thee, thy goal is near.
Thou, for certain, shalt not fail! . . .
Noble one, their guile beware!
As Ulysses to the mast,—
Thee let our good counsel bind.
Canst thou noble Chiron find,
Thy desire wilt gain at last.
(Peevishly.) What croaks, on pinions rushing by?
So swiftly they elude the eye,
In single file they hurrying fly;
The hunter they would tire, I ween.
Like storm of wintry tempest, these,
Scarce reach Alcides’ arrows keen—
They are the swift Stymphalides;
Their croaking too is kindly meant,
With foot of goose and vulture beak;
To mingle in our sphere they seek,
Their cousinship to prove intent.
(Scared.) There whiz some other forms of ill—
For fear of these you need not quake:
These are the heads of the Lernæan snake,
Shorn from the trunk, and think they’re something still.
But say what meaneth this distress?
This troubled air, this restlessness?
Where would you go? Be off, I say!
The group, that yonder meets mine eye,
Leads you to turn your neck awry.
Be not constrain’d! Begone! Away!
And greet full many a visage fair!
The Lamiæ, wantons sly, are there,
With forehead bold, and winning smile,
As they the Satyr-race beguile:
With them the goat’s foot all may dare.
You’ll stay, that I may find you here again.
Yea! mingle with the airy train!
From Egypt we the custom own,
That each a thousand years should keep her throne.
And to our place, if due respect ye pay,
We rule the lunar, rule the solar day.
Surrounded by waters andNymphs.
(Approaching the stream.)
Yes, I’m awake! Let them have sway,
These peerless shapes, as in their play
Follows mine eye, in eager quest.
How strange the feeling! What are these?
Dreams are they? Are they memories?
Already once wert thou so bless’d.
Athwart thick-woven copse and bush
Still waters glide;—they do not rush,
Scarcely they rustle as they flow:
From every side their currents bright
A hundred crystal springs unite,
And form a sloping bath below.
Young nymphs, whose limbs of graceful mould,
The gazer’s raptur’d eyes behold,
Are in the liquid mirror glass’d!
Bathing with joyance all-pervading,
Now boldly swimming, shyly wading,
With shout and water-fight at last.
Contented might I be with these,
Mine eye be charm’d with what it sees;
Yet to yon covert’s leafy screen
My yearning glance doth forward press,
The verdant wealth of whose recess
Shrouds from my gaze the lofty queen.
Most wonderful! Swans now draw near;
Forth from the bays their course they steer,
Oaring with majestic grace;
Floating, tenderly allied,
But with self-complacent pride,
Head and beak they move apace!
But one seems before the rest,
Joyfully the wave to breast,
Sailing swift, without a peer;
Swells his plumage, wave on wave,
That the answering flood doth lave;—
He the hallow’d spot doth near. . . .
Now the others swim together,
To and fro, with shining feather;
Soon in splendid strife, they scare
All the timid maids away;
That, from duty swerving, they
For themselves alone may care.
As it seems, the earth indeed
Echoes ’neath a hurrying steed.
Hither a rider swift doth scour—
Endow’d with spirit and with power—
Borne by a snow-white steed is he. . . .
I err not, him I seek is found—
Of Philyra the son renown’d!—
Halt! Chiron! Halt! I’d speak with thee. . . .
How now! what would’st thou?
Thy course arrest!
I pause not.
Take me with thee; grant my quest!
Mount! So I can inquire, as on we fare,
Whither art bound? Thou standest on the banks;
Prepar’d I am, thee through the stream to bear.
(Mounting.) Where’er thou wilt. Have evermore my thanks. . . .
The mighty man, the pedagogue of old
Whose fame it was, a hero-race to mould:
The noble Argonauts, with all their peers,
Who form’d the poet’s world, in bygone years—
That pass we over! Pallas’ self indeed
As Mentor is not honor’d; to my thought,
All, in the end, in their own way proceed,
As though, in sooth, they never had been taught.
The leech who names each plant, who knows
All roots, e’en that which deepest grows,
Wounds who assuageth, sickness who doth chase,
In mind and body’s strength I here embrace—
Were hero wounded on the field,
Counsel and aid I could impart;
But, in the end, to priests I yield,
And women-herbalists my healing art.
In thee the truly great man speaks,
To words of praise who stops his ears;
Who acts, while privacy he seeks,
As were he one of many peers.
Well skill’d thou seemest, to beguile
People and prince with glozing wile.
At least by thee ’twill be confess’d,—
The greatest of thy time hast seen, the best;
Hast with the noblest vied, in earnest strife,
And liv’d of demigods the arduous life!
But ’mong those figures of heroic mould,
In virtue whom pre-eminent didst hold?
In the high circle of the Argonauts,
Each valiant was in fashion of his own,
And, by the virtue which inspir’d his thoughts,
Where others fail’d, he could suffice alone;
The Dioscuri ever did prevail
Where youthful bloom and beauty turn’d the scale;
Resolve, prompt deeds for others’ welfare, these
The portion fair of the Boreades;
Reflective, wary, strong, in council wise,
So Jason lorded, dear to woman’s eyes.
Then Orpheus, tender, contemplative still;—
Smote he the lyre, all own’d his wondrous skill.
Lynceus, through rocks and shoals, who, keen of sight,
Guided the holy ship, by day and night.
In fellowship is danger fronted best,
Where one achieves, extoll’d by all the rest.
Of Hercules to me wilt naught impart?
Alas! wake not the longing in my heart. . . .
Never had Phœbus met my gaze,
Ares, or Hermes,—such their name;
When, as divine what all men praise
Before my raptured vision came!
A monarch born, in youth array’d
With glorious beauty; homage due
He to his elder brother paid,
And to the loveliest women too;
His second bears not Mother Earth,
Nor Hebe leads to heaven again;
Song strives in vain to tell his worth,
Tortur’d is marble too, in vain!
To give such form to mortal ken
The sculptor’s boasted power is weak.
The fairest hast portray’d of men,
Now of the loveliest woman speak!
What! Woman’s beauty! Empty phrase,
Too oft an image void of life;
The being only can I praise,
Joy-giving and with gladness rife.
For Beauty in herself is bless’d;
Grace makes resistless, where possess’d,
Like Helena, whom once I bare.
Her thou hast borne?
Yea! On this back.
Was I not ’mazed enough? Alack!
And now such seat must bless me!
By my hair
Me hath she grasp’d, as thou dost now.
I lose myself! Oh, tell me, how?
She is in truth my sole desire!
Her, whence and whither didst thou bear?
Easy to tell what you require.
Their little sister, then the robbers’ prey,
The Dioscuri had redeem’d; but they,—
The ravishers, not wont to be subdu’d,
Took courage, and with stormful rage pursu’d;
The brothers, with their sister, urg’d their way
Towards the marsh, that near Eleusis lay:
The brothers waded; plashing, over it I swam;
Then off she sprang, and fondly press’d
My mane, all dripping; self-possess’d,
She sooth’d and thank’d, with sweet reserve and coy!
How charming was she! Young, of eld the joy!
Just seven years old. . . .
The philologues, I see,
As they themselves deceiv’d, so have they thee.
Unique, in sooth, your mythologic dame:
After his pleasure her the poet shows;
Forever young, old age she never knows;
Her figure, love-inspiring, aye the same;
Ravish’d when young, courted when youth is flown—
Enough, no bonds of time the poets own.
So let her also by no time be bound!
At Pheræ by Achilles she was found
Beyond time’s limits—happiness how rare!
In spite of destiny, love triumph’d there;
And should I not, with powerful longing rife,
Draw forth that matchless figure into life,
The deathless being, born of gods the peer,
Tender as great, sublime yet ever dear?
Thou saw’st her once, whom I to-day have seen,
Charming as fair, fair as desir’d, I ween!
Enthrall’d is my whole being, heart and brain;
I cease to live, unless I her obtain!
Stranger! Thou art enraptur’d, as men deem;
Yet among spirits, brain-struck thou dost seem.
’Tis well this madness hath assail’d thee here,
Since, only for some moments, every year,
My wont it is to Manto to repair;
She, Æsculapius’ child, in silent prayer
Implores her sire, who honor thus would gain,
Now to illumine the physicians’ brain,
That from rash death-strokes they henceforth refrain—
To me the dearest of the Sibyl’s guild,
Not wildly mov’d, with helpful kindness fill’d;
After a brief delay, thy perfect cure,
Through power of simples, can her art secure.
But cured I would not be! My mind is strong!
Then were I abject like the vulgar throng!
Scorn not the healing of the noble fount.
We now are at the place; with speed, dismount.
Whither, upon this night, with horror fraught,
Me, through the pebbly stream, to land hast brought?
Here Rome and Hellas madly spurn’d in fight,
(Olympus left, Peneios to the right,)
The mightiest realm that e’er in sand was lost;
The monarch flies, triumphs the burgher host.
Look up! Here stands, significantly near,
The fane eternal, bath’d in moonlight clear.
Right! Open but thine eyes! I’m here!
(Awaking.) Welcome! Thou hast not fail’d, I see.
Still stands thy temple-home for thee!
Unwearied roam’st thou far and wide?
In quiet dost thou aye abide,
While I in ceaseless change delight?
I wait, time circles me.—This wight?
Him hath this ill-reputed night
Caught in its whirl, and hither brought.
Helen, with mind and sense distraught,
Helen, he for himself would win,
But how and where he knows not to begin;
Worthy is he thy healing art to prove.
Who the impossible desires, I love.
[Chironis already far away.
Enter, bold man, be joy thy meed!
This gloomy path to Proserpine doth lead.
She at Olympus’ hollow foot
Doth lurk for unallow’d salute.
In bygone time I Orpheus smuggled here;
Do thou fare better! Forward! Do not fear!
The Upper Peneios, as before.
Plunge into Peneios’ flood!
There beseems to swim rejoicing,
Song on song in chorus voicing,
For the unhallow’d people’s good.
Without water health is none!
In bright bands to the Ægean,
Speed we now with sounding pæan;
Every joy will then be won.
Back the foaming wave is rushing,
In its bed it flows no more;
Quakes the earth, the floods are gushing,
Bursting smokes the pebbly shore.
Let us fly! Come, every one!
Bodes this marvel good to none.
Hence! each noble, joyous guest,
Seaward to our gladsome fest,
Where the wavelets’ glittering band
Lightly swelling, lave the strand;
There where Luna, mirror’d true,
Moistens us with holy dew!
There is life’s unfetter’d motion—
Here an earthquake’s dire commotion!
Hence! Ye wise ones, fly apace!
Horror reigneth in this place.
(Bellowing and blustering in the depths.) Once more heave with might and main,
With the shoulders bravely strain:
So the upper world we gain,
Where to us must all things bend!
What a most unpleasant quaking,
Hideous storm-blast, awe-awaking!
What a heaving, what a throe,
Surging, swaying, to and fro!
Horror not to be endur’d!
But our post we’ll not forsake,
Though all Hell were loose to break.
Now uprears itself a dome,
Wonderful. With age long hoar,
He it is who built of yore
Delos’ isle amid the foam,
Heaving it from out the sea,
For her, a mother soon to be;
Striving, pressing, upward-tending,
Arms wide-stretching, back low-bending,
Atlas-like, amid the surf
Shale he raises, grass and turf,
Pebbles, gravel, loam and sand,
Tranquil cradle of our strand:
Crosswise, he a track did wrest
From the valley’s tranquil vest:
Caryatid, of giant mould,
He, with strength that ne’er grows old,
Bears, half buried, earth his zone,
A huge scaffolding of stone—
But his course must here be stay’d!
Sphinxes here their stand have made.
That have I wrought, myself alone,
This will mankind at last declare;
Had I not shaken, and upthrown,
How had the world been now so fair?
Into the pure ethereal blue,
Their crests how should you mountains raise,
Had I not heav’d them forth to view,
To charm the painter’s raptur’d gaze,
What time (my sires meanwhile surveying,
Chaos and Night), myself I bare
Stoutly, and, with the Titans playing,
Pelion and Ossa toss’d like balls in air?
Madly we rag’d, by youthful heat possess’d,
Till, fairly wearied out at last,
With malice, on Parnassus’ crest,
We, like twin-caps both mountains cast. . . .
There with the Muses’ hallowed choir,
Apollo finds a glad retreat;
For Zeus too, and his bolts of fire,
I rais’d aloft his glorious seat.
So now, have I, with direful strain,
Press’d from the depths to upper air,
And joyous dwellers call amain
New life henceforth with me to share.
Primeval had been deem’d, I trow,
What here hath struggled into birth,
Had we ourselves not witness’d how
It tore itself from out the earth.
Now upwards bushy groves themselves extend,
Rocks pressing upon rocks still forward tend;
Yet not for this shall any sphinx retreat:
Untroubled we retain our sacred seat.
Gold in leaflets, gold in flitters,
Through the crannies how it glitters;
Let none rob you of the prize—
Up! to seize it, Emmets, rise!
Chorus of Ants.
In with it; pile the golden heap!
Upon it we our claws will lay;
Bolts of the surest fashion, they
The greatest treasure safe will keep.
Eldest of the Pigmies.
Ants and Dactyls.
The Cranes of Ibycus.
[They disperse, croaking in the air.
(On the plain.) The Northern witches I could curb; with these,
Your foreign spirits, I am ill at ease.
The Blockberg is convenient when you roam:
Go where you may, you find yourself at home;
For us Dame Ilsa watches on her stone,
Heinrich is cheerful on his mountain-throne,
The Snorers grunt if Elend but appears,
Yet all is settled for a thousand years;
But here, stand still or walk, and who can know
Whether the ground upheaves not from below?
Through a smooth valley merrily I wind,
And all at once there rises from behind
A mountain,—scarce a mountain,—yet of height
To intercept the sphinxes from my sight. . . .
Adown the valley many a flame aspires;
Round some adventure quiver still the fires . . .
Dances, and round me hovers to entice,
An amorous crew, with many a coy device.
But soft:—Accustom’d to forbidden sweets,
One seeks to snatch them, wheresoe’er one meets!
(Standing still.) Accursed Fate! Dupes truly styl’d!
From Adam downward, fool’d, beguil’d!
We age—but who’s in wisdom school’d?
Wert not enough already fool’d?
We know how good for naught these creatures;
Pinch’d at the waist, with painted features;
No soundness in their bodies slim;—
Grasp where we may, rotten is every limb:
We know, we see, we handle it in life—
And yet we dance, if but the carrion fife!
(Stopping.) Hold! He considers, lingers, stands;
Meet him, lest he escape your hands!
(Advancing.) Push on! nor, like a simpleton,
Let web of doubt entangle thee!
For if of witches there were none,
The devil who would devil be!
Round this hero circle we!
Love for one within his breast,
Soon itself will manifest.
By this light’s uncertain gleam
Beauteous damosels ye seem,
So from blame shall you be free.
(Rushing in.) And I also! One with you,
Now admit me to your crew!
One too many, she I ween
Spoiler of our sport hath been.
Thee doth thy cousin dear salute,
Empusa with the Ass’s foot!
Thine but a horse’s hoof, yet thee,
Cousin, I greet most courteously!
Myself unknown I fancied here—
And yet, alas, near kinsfolk meet;
From Hartz to Hellas, far and near,
So runs the rede, you’ll cousins greet!
I with resolve can act, can take
Full many a shape; but for thy sake,
That I to thee do honor pay,
The Ass’s head I don to-day.
I see, with people of this sort,
Relationship doth much import;
Yet come what may, ’tis all the same;
The Ass’s head I must disclaim.
This hag avoid! She comes to scare
Whatever lovely seems and fair;
What lovely was and fair before,
When she draws near, is so no more.
These smooth slim cousins, short or tall,
Make me suspicious, one and all;
I fear, those rosy cheeks behind,
Some metamorphoses to find.
Come, take thy choice; we many are.
Catch hold! If reigns thy lucky star,
Thou of the lot mayst draw the best.
What means this hankering delay?
The wooer wretchedly dost play,
With haughty mien and lofty crest!
Amid our troop now see him glide;
Throw by degrees your masks aside,
And be your proper selves confess’d!
I’ve made my choice, the fairest, she . . .
Dry as a besom! Woe is me!
And this? . . . a fright, oh, wretched lot!
Deserv’st thou better? Think it not!
The little one I fain would clasp. . . .
A lizard glides from out my grasp,
And serpent-like her polish’d hair.
Anon a taller one I catch. . . .
A thyrsus-staff alone I snatch,
That for a head doth pine-cone wear.
Where will this end? . . . One plump and round,
With whom some solace may be found—
I’ll try my fortune once again!—
Right flabby, squashy; such a prize,
Your Oriental dearly buys. . . .
But ah! The puff-ball bursts in twain!
Quick as lightning, disunite!
Hover ye, in dusky flight,
Round the intruding witch’s son,
In uncertain, ghastly rings,
Flitter mice, on noiseless wings!
Too cheaply he’ll escape anon.
(Shaking himself.) I have not grown much wiser, that is clear.
The North’s absurd, absurd ’tis also here;
Ghosts here as there, a devilish crew,
Folk are insipid, poets too!
’Tis here a masquerade as there,
A sensual dance, as everywhere;
At beauty’s mask I clutch’d amain—
And seiz’d, what made me stand aghast. . . .
Yet to deceive myself I’m fain,
If only longer it would last!
[Losing his way among the rocks.
Where am I? Whither tend my pains?
Where was a path, there chaos reigns;
I by smooth roads have hither sped,
Rude bowlders now impede my tread;
I clamber up and down in vain—
My sphinxes, where shall I regain?
Ne’er had I dream’d so mad a thing:
Such mountain in a single night!
A bold witch-journey is this flight,
Their Blockberg with them here they bring!
(From the natural rock.)
Hither ascend! My mountain old
Its form primeval still doth hold—
My steep and rocky steps revere,
Extremest branch of Pindus—here,
Unshaken have I rear’d my head,
When over me Pompeius fled;
Yon phantom shape that cheats the eye
Away, when crows the cock, will fly:
Such fables oft arise, I see,
And disappear as suddenly.
Honor to thee, thou reverend head;
With lofty oak-strength garlanded,
Moonshine, however clear and bright,
Faileth to pierce thy rayless night!—
But, ’mong the bushes, comes this way
A light, that gleams with modest ray.
How fitly all things happen thus;
In truth! it is Homunculus!—
Whither away, thou tiny friend?
Flitting from place to place, I wend.
In the best sense full fain I am to be;
And long impatiently my glass to break;
Only, from what I’ve seen and see,
Courage I lack the step to take.
But now, in confidence to speak,
Of two philosophers the track I seek;
I hearken’d, their discourse I overheard;
And Nature—Nature—was their only word:
Apart from these I would not go,
Somewhat of earthly being they must know,
And doubtless I at last shall learn
Whither most wisely I myself may turn.
Thy course shape thou thyself. Be wise!
For where your ghosts find entrance, there
Welcome is your philosopher:
That you his art and favor may delight,
A dozen new ones he brings forth to light.
Unless thou errest, reason dormant lies;
Wilt thou exist, through thine own effort rise!
Such good advice should not neglected be.
So now away! Of this we more shall see.
(ToThales.) To yield is adverse to thy stubborn mind;
To bring conviction, needs there further proof?
The wave yields willingly to every wind,
But from the beetling crag still keeps aloof.
Through fiery vapor came this rock to birth.
Moisture hath gender’d all that lives on earth.
(Between them.) To walk beside you, suffer me!
I also greatly long to be.
Hast thou, O Thales, ever in one night,
Such mountain out of slime brought forth to light?
Never was Nature, with her living powers,
Measur’d by scale of days and nights and hours;
By law each shape she fashioneth, and hence,
E’en in the grand there is no violence.
Yet such was here! Plutonic savage fire,
Æolian vaporous force, explosive, dire,
Burst through the ancient crusts of level earth,
And a new mountain came forthwith to birth.
Why further press the case? at any rate,
’Tis there, and that is well. In such debate,
Leisure and precious time away one flings,
Your patient folk to keep in leading-strings.
Quickly with myrmidons the mountain teems,
The clefts to people: forth there streams
Of pigmies, ants and gnomes, a living tide,
And other tiny bustling things beside.
After the Great hast ne’er aspir’d,
But hermit-like hast liv’d retir’d;
To lordship if thyself canst bring,
Forthwith I’ll have thee crown’d as king.
What says my Thales?
Not with my consent;
With dwarfs we are with dwarfish deeds content:
While with the great the dwarf doth greatness win.
See there: of cranes the swarthy cloud,
They threaten the excited crowd,
And so would threat the king; with beak
Sharp-pointed and with talons fierce,
Down-swooping, they the pigmies pierce;
Fateful, their stormful ire they wreak;
A crime the herons doom’d to slaughter,
Brooding around their tranquil water;
But that death-shower of arrowy rain,
For bloody vengeance cries amain,
And doth with rage their kindred fill,
The pigmies’ guilty blood to spill.
Of what avail helm, spear and shield?
What helps the dwarf the heron’s plume?
How ant and dactyl shun their doom!
Wavers the host,—they fly, they yield.
(After a pause, solemnly.)
If I, till now, the powers subterrain praise,
I, in this hour, my prayers to heaven upraise. . . .
Thou thron’d aloft, eternal, aye the same,
Threefold in aspect, and threefold in name,
Amid my people’s woe I cry to thee,
Diana, Luna, Hecatè!
Deep pondering mind, expander of the breast,
Mighty within, though outwardly at rest,
Unclose the gulfs abyssmal of thy shade,
Be without spells thine ancient might display’d!
And greater, ever greater draweth near
The goddess’ throne, her full-orbed sphere,
Enormous, fearful to the gaze!
Its fire grows redder through the haze. . . .
No nearer! Threatening orb, I pray;—
Ourselves and land and sea thou’lt sweep away!
Was it then true that dames of Thessaly
Through sinful trust in magic, thee
Have downward from thy pathway sung,
From thee have powers most baleful wrung? . . .
The glittering shield, behold, it darkles!
Sudden it splits, and flares and sparkles!
What a hissing! what a rattling!
Thunder and storm-blast fiercely battling!—
Humbled I fall before thy throne—
Pardon! myself invok’d it, I alone.
[Throws himself on his face.
What hath this man not seen and heard!
I know not rightly how with us it far’d.
Like him I have not felt it. Ne’ertheless
The hours are out of tune, we must confess,
And Luna calmly as before,
In her own place aloft doth soar.
Behold the pigmies’ seat! The mound
Is pointed now, before ’twas round.
Convulsion huge I felt; a rock
Down from the moon, with sudden shock,
Hath fallen; and both friend and foe
Were crush’d and slaughter’d at a blow!
Yet arts like these I needs must praise,
That, working with creative might,
Upwards and downwards, could upraise,
This mountain in a single night.
Peace! ’Twas but fancy. That vile brood,—
To swift destruction let them fare!
That thou wert not their king, is good.
Now to the sea’s glad feast repair!
Strange guests are honor’d and expected there.
(Clambering up the opposite side.)
Up rocky stairs and steep must I to-day,
Through ancient oaks’ gnarl’d roots make toilsome way.
Upon my Hartz the piny atmosphere
Savors of pitch, and that to me is dear,
’Tis next to brimstone . . . Here, among the Greeks,
E’en for a trace of it one vainly seeks.
Inquisitive I am, and must inquire
Wherewith they feed hell-torment and hell-fire.
In thine own land be prudently at home;
Thou hast not wit enough abroad to roam.
Towards home thou should’st not turn thy thought; while here
The honor of the sacred oaks revere.
The lost will aye in thought arise;
What we are used to, is our Paradise.
But say, what triple object do I trace,
By the dim light, in yonder cavern’s shade?
The Phorkyads! Go, venture to the place,
And speak to them, if thou art undismay’d!
And wherefore not? . . . I see it with amaze.
Proud as I am, e’en I must needs confess,
Their like I ne’er have seen; their ugliness
That of our hellish hags o’ersways!
Sins reprobated long,—will they
Waken henceforth the least dismay,
If men this threefold dread survey?
We would not suffer them to dwell
On threshold of our dreariest Hell;
Rooted in Beauty’s land of fame,
Here to be styl’d antique they claim. . . .
They stir themselves, to scent me they appear,
Like vampire-bats, their twitter meets mine ear.
Give me the eye, my sisters, forth to gaze,
So near our fane who boldly thus delays!
Most honor’d! To approach you give me leave,
That I your threefold blessing may receive.
As still unknown indeed I come to you,
Yet am, methinks, a distant cousin too.
Gods ancient and rever’d I’ve seen of yore,
Deeply have Ops and Rhea bow’d before;
Your own and Chaos’ sisters, yesternight,
Or night before, the Parcæ, met my sight;
Yet on your like I ne’er before have gaz’d.
Silent I am, delighted and amaz’d.
Intelligent this spirit seems to be.
That you no bard hath sung, surprises me.
And say, most worthy ones, how hath it been
That of your charms no pictur’d forms are seen?
Your shapes should sculpture labor to retain,
Not Juno, Pallas, Venus, and their train!
Immers’d in solitude and night profound,
Such thought no entrance to our mind hath found!
How should it, from the world retir’d, when ye,
Yourselves by none beheld, can no one see!
You in such regions rather should reside
Where art and splendor reign in equal pride,
Where from a marble block, with genius rife,
Steps forth each day a hero into life,
Silence! in us wake no longings new:
What would it profit us, if more we knew?
In night begot, to things of night allied,
Unto ourselves scarce known, unknown to all beside.
Not much, indeed, in such case can one say.
But each himself to others can convey:
One eye, one tooth suffices for you three;
So would it tally with mythology,
In two the being of the three to blend,
And your third semblance unto me to lend,
But for brief space.
One of the Phorkyads.
What think you, may we try?
We’ll venture—but without or tooth or eye.
With these the very best away you’ve ta’en;
Imperfect the stern image would remain!
One of the Phorkyads.
Press one eye close—full easily ’tis done;
Now of your canine teeth display but one—
Forthwith, in profile, perfect and complete,
Our sisterly resemblance we shall greet.
Much honor! Be it so!
So be it!
(As aPhorkyadin profile.)
Here stand I Chaos’ well-beloved son!
Daughters of Chaos we, by ancient right.
Me now they call, oh shame, hermaphrodite!
What beauty our new triad gives to view!
Of eyes, and eke of teeth, we now have two.
Now must I shroud myself from mortal sight,
In pool of hell the devils to affright.
Rocky bays of the Ægean Sea.
The moon pausing in the zenith.
(Reclined upon the cliffs around, fluting and singing.) Thou whom from thy realm supernal,
Downward drew, with rites nocturnal,
Weird Thessalian sorceresses,
With thy glance, all things that blesses,
Now illume the throng that presses
Through the waves with billowy motion,
Flooding all the rippling ocean
With the splendor of thy light!
Luna fair, thy vassals greet thee;
Be propitious, we entreat thee!
(As wonders of the sea.) Sing aloud, with shriller singing,
Let it, through broad ocean ringing,
Call its people, far and near!—
From the storm’s dread whirlpools hiding,
We in stillest depths were biding;
Gracious song allures us here.
See, we deck ourselves enraptur’d,
With the treasures we have captur’d,
Golden chain and clasp and gem,
Spangled zone and diadem;
All this fruitage is your prey;
Down to us these shipwreck’d treasures,
You have lur’d with your sweet measures,
You, the Dæmons of our bay!
Well we know, through sea-waves gliding,
In their crystal depths abiding,
Live the fishes, sorrow-free;
Yet blithe roamers, hither thronging,
We to-day to know are longing
That ye more than fishes be.
Ere your song hath hither brought us,
Of this question we’ve bethought us;
Sisters, Brothers, hasten we!
Briefest journey, doubt dispelling,
Yieldeth proof sufficing, telling
That we more than fishes be!
In a twinkling, straight away,
Sped to Samothrace have they.
Vanish’d with a favoring wind!
What their purpose? what to gain,
Where the high Cabiri reign?
Gods they are, the strangest, who,
Self-evolv’d, are ever new,
Yet to their own nature blind.
Kindly linger on thy height,
Gracious Luna, that the night
Tarry may, lest daylight breaking
Drive us hence, our haunts forsaking!
(On the shore, toHomunculus.)
Thee to old Nereus gladly would I lead;
Not distant are we from his cave indeed;
But sour he is and obstinate,
Moreover hath a stubborn pate!
The race entire of mortal kind
Is never to the grumbler’s mind.
But he the future can disclose,
Hence each to him due reverence shows,
And gives him honor at his post;
To many he hath rendered aid.
Let’s knock, that trial may be made!
At once my glass and flame it will not cost.
Men’s voices are they, that mine ear hath heard?
With anger straight mine inmost heart is stirr’d!
Forms—striving still, who high as gods would soar,
Yet to be like themselves, doom’d evermore.
Long years could I have dwelt in godlike rest,
But ever was impell’d to aid the best;
And when at last I saw the accomplish’d deed,
It was as though they ne’er had heard my rede.
Yet people trust in thee, thou Ocean Seer;
Wise art thou; chase us not! This flamelet here,
That man’s similitude doth wear, survey,
In everything thy counsel he’ll obey.
Counsel! What good to men hath counsel brought?
On stubborn ears fall prudent words in vain;
Oft as the deed dire punishment hath wrought,
Self-will’d as ever mortals aye remain.
How fatherly I Paris warn’d, or e’er
His lust another’s consort did ensnare!
On Hellas’ shore fearless he stood and bold;
What I in spirit saw, I there foretold:
The reeking winds, the upstreaming ruddy glow,
Rafters ablaze, murder and death below,
Troy’s day of doom—fast bound in deathless rhyme,
A terror and a portent for all time.
The scoffer mock’d the old man’s oracle;
He follow’d his own lust, and Ilion fell,
A giant corpse, slowly its death-pangs ceas’d,—
To Pindus’ eagles a right welcome feast.
Ulysses too—did I not oft presage
To him dark Circe’s wiles, the Cyclop’s rage,
His own delay, his comrades’ reckless vein,
And what not else? And hath it brought him gain?
Till, sorely batter’d, he full late, at last,
By favoring wave on friendly shore was cast.
Such conduct to the sage must needs give pain;
Yet still the good man trieth once again.
A grain of thanks that richly him repays.
Tons of ingratitude still overweighs.
I and this youngster no slight boon require.
Wisely to be is now his sole desire.
Spoil not for me my present mood, most rare!
Far other aims to-day engross my care;
My daughters I’ve invok’d to come to me,
The Dorides, the Graces of the sea.
Neither Olympos nor your region bears
Form so replete with grace, so lithe as theirs.
From Dragons of the sea, with loveliest motion,
They cast themselves upon the steeds of Ocean,
One with the element that round them plays,
The very foam would seem their forms to raise.
’Mid rainbow-hues of Venus’ pearly car,
Comes Galatea, beauty’s choicest star,
Who, since on us hath Cypris ceas’d to smile,
As goddess honored is on Paphos’ Isle;
And so for long the gracious one doth own,
As heiress, temple-town and chariot-throne.
Away! Harsh words, and hatred in the heart
Have in the Father’s raptur’d hour no part.
Away to Proteus! Ask that being strange
The secret of existence and of change.
[He retires towards the sea.
We by this step, it seems, have nothing won;
For if we light on Proteus, straight he’s gone,
And if he wait, he only says at last
Things that perplex, and make one stand aghast.
Yet, once for all, such counsel thou dost need;
So then to try him, onward let us speed!
(On the rocks above.)
To our peaceful revel speeding,
The Cabiri we are leading;
Where their power the hapless shieldeth,
Kindly sway there Neptune wieldeth.
There of them should seven be.
Where then are the other three?
(Repeated in full Chorus.)
Though they have won the fleece of gold,
We! ye! have the Cabiri.
These uncouth figures, I am fain
For earthen pots to take them,
Gainst them the wise ones strike amain
Their stubborn heads, and break them!
The very thing they most desire.
The rusty coin is valued higher.
(Unperceived.) This pleases me, the old in fable:
The stranger ’tis, the more respectable!
Where art thou, Proteus?
(Ventriloquizing, now near, now far away.) Here! and here!
I pardon the stale jest; appear,
And with a friend vain words forego!
From a false place dost speak, I know.
(As from a distance.) Farewell!
He’s close at hand. Now brightly flare,
He’s curious as a fish; where’er
He hide himself, that flame, be sure,
Hither forthwith will him allure.
Full light I’ll pour, yet care must take
Lest with the shock the glass should break.
(In the form of a gigantic porpoise.) What shines with radiancy so dear?
Good! If thou wish it, thou canst draw more near;
Let the slight trouble vex thee not. I pray,
Thyself upon two human feet display.
’Tis solely by our leave, and courtesy,
That what we now conceal, who wills may see.
(In a noble form.) Thy sophist’s tricks, it seems, dost still employ.
Thy figure to transform still gives thee joy.
[He has uncoveredHomunculus.
(Astonished.) A glittering dwarflein! Ne’er beheld before!
Fain to exist, he counsel doth implore.
He is, from him I heard it, come to earth
Only half-form’d, through some mysterious birth.
Fairly endow’d with qualities ideal,
The power he lacks, firmly to grasp the real,
Till now the glass alone to him gives weight;
But he at once would be incorporate.
A genuine virgin’s son art thou;
Born ere thou shouldest be, I trow!
(In a whisper.) Further it seemeth critical to me;
He an hermaphrodite appears to be.
The sooner ’twill succeed; where’er
He comes, he happily will fare.
With much reflection we may here dispense;
In the broad sea thy being must commence;
On a small scale one there begins,
Well pleas’d the smallest to devour;
Till, waxing step by step, one wins,
For loftier achievement, ampler power.
A tender air is wafted here;
Dear is to me the breeze, the fragrance dear!
Right, dearest youth! Farther away
Still more delightful ’twill be found;
Ineffable the airs that play
This narrow tongue of land around.
Thence, near enough, the train we see,
Now floating hither. Come with me!
I too will go with thee; proceed!
A threefold spirit-step, wondrous indeed!
Telchines of Rhodes.
(Upon hippocampi and sea-dragons, bearing Neptune’s trident.)
The trident we forg’d, wherewith Neptune assuages
Old Ocean’s wild waves, when most fiercely he rages:
His clouds when the Thunderer spreads o’er the skies,
To their rolling terrific then Neptune replies;
And when from on high the jagg’d lightning doth leap,
Then wave after wave dashes up from the deep;
And all that in anguish their joint rage o’erpower’d,
Long whirl’d to and fro, by the depth is devour’d;
To-day then the sceptre to us hath he lent.—
Now joyously float we, serene and content!
Thou loveliest Queen of yon o’ervaulting sphere,
The praise of thy brother with rapture dost hear:
To Rhodus’ blest island an ear thou dost lend,
Thence one deathless pæan to him doth ascend.
The day-course he opens and with fiery gaze,
When finish’d his journey, our troop he surveys;
The cities and hills, shore and wave, yield delight
To the glorious God, and are lovely and bright.
No mist hovers o’er us, and should one draw near,
A ray and a zephyr—the island is clear:
His form the high god beholds multiplied there,
As stripling, as giant, the Mighty, the Fair—
The power of the gods it was we who began
To portray in the form, not unworthy, of man.
Obey the noble inspiration,
And at its source begin creation,
Make ready for the great emprise!
By laws eternal still ascending,
Through myriad forms of being wending,
To be a man in time thou’lt rise.
In spirit come to boundless ocean:
Unfetter’d there in every motion,
At thine own pleasure thou shalt wend;
But let not higher rank allure thee;
Attaining manhood, I assure thee,
Then all with thee is at an end!
As it may happen; good it seems to me,
In one’s own day a stalwart man to be.
(ToThales.) One of your stamp, perchance! For they
Abide awhile, nor pass away;
Since ’mong the troops of spirits pale,
As pass the centuries, thy form I hail.
(On the rocks.)
(ApproachingThales.) Yonder ring, an airy vision
Nightly wanderer might maintain;
But with juster intuition,
Other views we entertain:
Doves they are, whose escort playeth
Round my daughter’s pearly car;
Wondrous art their movement swayeth,
Learn’d by them in days afar.
That I also hold for best,
Peace that yieldeth to the good,
If in warm and silent nest
Something holy still doth brood.
(On sea-bulls, sea-calves, and sea-rams.) In the rugged Cyprian caves,
Shelter’d from the shocks of Ocean,
From the earthquake’s dire commotion,
Fann’d by Zephyr’s viewless waves,
There, as in the days afar,
We, with conscious rapture, are
Guardians of Cythera’s car,
And through breathings of the night,
Through the rippling wavelets bright,
Viewless still to mortal sight,
We the loveliest daughter lead.
Us nor winged lion scares,
Nor eagle, as our task we ply,
Nor cross, nor crescent, though it flares
Aloft, emblazon’d in the sky;
To and fro, alternate swaying,
Each the other driving, slaying,
Fields and towns in ashes laying:
Thus with joyous speed,
Onward our loveliest mistress we lead.
Circling still, with gentle motion,
(Passing in chorus beforeNereus,mounted upon dolphins.)
Precious indeed the twofold gain:
To show compassion, and delight obtain!
Would ye enjoy your captur’d treasure!
Then mould each youth to be a man;
Powerless am I to do your pleasure;
Accord your prayer Zeus only can.
The waves, whose foam around you playeth,
All steadfastness in love ignore,
And if its spell no longer swayeth,
Then place them quietly ashore.
[Galateaapproaches in the shell chariot.
’Tis thou, my beloved one!
O Sire! what delight!
Linger, ye dolphins, enchain’d is my sight.
Gone already! They forsake me,
Speeding on with circling motion!
What to them the heart’s emotion!
Oh! that with them they would take me!
Yet such rapture yields one gaze,
The livelong year it well repays.
Hail! all hail! The cry renew!
Blooms my spirit, pierced through
By the Beautiful, the True! . . .
All from water sprang amain!
All things water doth sustain:
Ocean grant thy deathless reign!
Were no clouds by thee outspread,
No rich brooklets by thee fed,
On their course no rivers sped,
And no streamlets perfected,
What then were the world, what were ocean and plain?
’Tis thou, who the freshness of life dost maintain.
(Chorus of the collective circles.)
’Tis thou, from whom freshness of life pours amain!
Far distant now they wheel and turn,
And vainly glance for glance must yearn;
Circle in circle wide extending,
The countless throngs, in order blending,
Urge o’er the waves their glad career.
But Galatea’s pearly throne,
Behold I still, behold; alone
Now it glitters like a star
’Midst, the crowd; with radiance tender,
Shines through the press the lov’d one’s splendor;
Though so far, so very far,
Still it shimmers bright and clear,
Ever true and ever near!
But lo! what new mystery, fraught with surprise,
Reveals itself now, ’mid yon crowds, to our eyes?
What flames round the shell, round the feet of my child?
Now strongly it glitters, now sweetly, now mild,
As if by the pulses of love it were sway’d!
Homunculus is it, by Proteus betray’d . . .
A yearning majestic these symptoms disclose,
Presageful they tell of his passionate throes;
Against the bright throne he’ll be shatter’d! It glows,
It flashes, it sparkles, abroad now it flows!
What marvel illumines the billows, which dash
Against one another in glory? They flash,
They waver, they hitherward glitter, and bright
All forms are ablaze in the pathway of night;
And all things are gleaming, by fire girt around.
Prime source of creation, let Eros be crown’d!
Before the Palace of Menelaus in Sparta.
EnterHelena,with a chorus of captive Trojan women.Penthalis,leader of the chorus.
The much admir’d and much upbraided, Helena,
From yonder strand I come, where erst we disembark’d,
Still giddy from the roll of ocean’s billowy surge,
Which, through Poseidon’s favor and through Euros’ might,
On lofty crested backs hither hath wafted us,
From Phrygia’s open field, to our ancestral bays.
Yonder King Menelaus, glad of his return,
With his brave men of war, rejoices on the beach.
But oh, thou lofty mansion, bid me welcome home,
Thou, near the steep decline, which Tyndareus, my sire,
From Pallas’ hill returning, here hath builded up;
Which also was adorn’d beyond all Sparta’s homes,
What time with Clytemnestra, sister-like, I grew,
With Castor, Pollux, too, playing in joyous sport.
Wings of yon brazen portals, you I also hail!
Through you, ye guest-inviting, hospitable gates,
Hath Menelaus once, from many princes chosen,
Shone radiant on my sight, in nuptial sort array’d.
Expand to me once more, that I the king’s behest
May faithfully discharge, as doth the spouse beseem.
Let me within, and all henceforth behind remain,
That, charg’d with doom, till now darkly hath round me storm’d!
For since, by care untroubled, I these sites forsook,
Seeking Cythera’s fane, as sacred wont enjoin’d,
And by the spoiler there was seiz’d, the Phrygian,
Happen’d have many things, whereof men far and wide
Are fain to tell, but which not fain to hear is he
Of whom the tale, expanding, hath to fable grown.
Disparage not, O glorious dame,
Honor’d possession of highest estate!
For sole unto thee is the greatest boon given;
The fame of beauty that all overtowers!
The hero’s name before him resounds,
So strides he with pride;
Nathless at once the stubbornest yields
To beauty, the presence which all things subdues.
Enough! I with my spouse, ship-borne, have hither sped,
And to his city now by him before am sent.
But what the thought he harbors, that I cannot guess.
Come I as consort hither? Come I as a queen?
Come I as victim for the prince’s bitter pangs,
And for the evils dire, long suffer’d by the Greeks?
Conquer’d I am; but whether captive, know I not:
For the Immortal Powers fortune and fame for me
Have doom’d ambiguous; direful ministers that wait
On beauty’s form, who even on this threshold here,
With dark and threat’ning mien, stand bodeful at my side!
Already, ere we left the hollow ship, my spouse
Look’d seldom on me, spake no comfortable word;
As though he mischief brooded, facing me he sat.
But now, when to Eurotas’ deeply curving shores
Steering our course, scarce had our foremost vessel’s beak
The land saluted, spake he, as by God inspir’d:
“Here let my men of war, in order’d ranks, disbark;
I marshal them, drawn up upon the ocean strand;
But thou, pursue thy way, not swerving from the banks,
Laden with fruit, that bound Eurotas’ sacred stream,
Thy coursers guiding o’er the moist, enamell’d meads,
Until thou may’st arrive at that delightful plain,
Where Lacedæmon, once a broad fruit-bearing field,
By mountains stern surrounded lifteth now its walls.
Set thou thy foot within the tower-crown’d princely house,
Assemble thou the maids, whom I at parting left,
And with them summon too the wise old stewardess.
Bid her display to thee the treasures’ ample store,
As by thy sire bequeath’d, and which, in peace and war,
Increasing evermore, I have myself up-piled.
All standing shalt thou find in ancient order; for,
This is the prince’s privilege, that to his home,
When he returns at last, safe everything he finds,
Each in its proper place, as he hath left it there.
For nothing of himself the slave hath power to change.”
Oh, gladden now, with glorious wealth,
Ever increasing, thine eye and heart!
For beautiful chains, the adornment of crowns,
Are priding themselves, in haughty repose;
But step thou in, and challenge them all,
They arm themselves straight;
I joy to see beauty contend for the prize,
With gold, and with pearls, and with jewels of price.
Forthwith hath follow’d next this mandate of my lord:
“Now when in order thou all things hast duly seen,
As many tripods take, as needful thou may’st deem,
And vessels manifold, which he at hand requires,
Who duly would perform the sacrificial rite,
The caldrons, and the bowls, and shallow altar-plates;
Let purest water, too, from sacred fount be there,
In lofty pitchers; further, store of season’d wood,
Quick to accept the flame, hold thou in readiness;
A knife, of sharpest edge, let it not fail at last.
But I all other things to thy sole care resign.”
So spake he, urging me at once to part; but naught,
Breathing the breath of life, the orderer appoints,
That, to the Olympians’ honor, he to slaughter doom’d:
Suspicious seems it! yet, dismiss I further care;
To the high gods’ decree be everything referr’d,
Who evermore fulfil, what they in thought conceive;
It may, in sooth, by men, as evil or as good
Be counted, it by us, poor mortals, must be borne.
Full oft the ponderous axe on high the priest hath rais’d,
In consecration o’er the earth-bow’d victim’s neck.
Nor could achieve the rite, for he was hinder’d,
Or by approaching foe, or intervening God.
What now will happen, canst thou not guess;
Come what come may! Whate’er impends, me it behoves
To ascend, without delay, into the royal house,
Long miss’d, oft yearn’d for, well-nigh forfeited;
Before mine eyes once more it stands, I know not how.
My feet now bear me not so lightly as of yore,
When up the lofty steps I, as a child, have sprung.
(As leader of the Chorus.)
Forsake ye now of song the joy-surrounded path,
And toward the portal-wings turn ye forthwith your gaze!
What see I, sisters? Here, returneth not the queen?
With step of eager haste, comes she not back to us?—
What is it, mighty queen, that in the palace-halls,
Instead of friendly hail, could there encounter thee,
And shatter thus thy being? Thou conceal’st it not;
For I abhorrence see, impress’d upon thy brow,
And noble anger, that contendeth with surprise.
(Who has left the folded doors open, excited.) No vulgar fear beseems the daughter of high Zeus,
And her no lightly-fleeting terror-hand may touch;
But that dire horror which, from womb of ancient Night,
In time primeval rising, still in divers shapes,
Like lurid clouds, from out the mountain’s fiery gorge,
Whirls itself forth, may shake even the hero’s breast.
Thus have the Stygian gods, with horror fraught, to-day
Mine entrance to the house so mark’d, that fain I am,
Back from the oft-time trod, long-yearn’d-for threshold, now,
Like to a guest dismiss’d, departing, to retire.
Yet no, retreated have I hither to the light;
No further shall ye drive me, Powers, whoe’er ye be!
Some expiation I’ll devise, then purified,
The hearth flame welcome may the consort as the lord.
Leader of the Chorus.
Discover, noble queen, to us thy handmaidens,
Devotedly who serve thee, what hath come to pass!
What I have seen ye too, with your own eyes, shall see,
If ancient Night, within her wonder-teeming womb,
Hath not forthwith engulf’d, once more, her ghastly birth;
But yet, that ye may know, with words I’ll tell it you:—
What time the royal mansion’s gloomy inner court,
Upon my task intent, with solemn step I trod,
I wonder’d at the drear and silent corridors.
Fell on mine ear no sound of busy servitors,
No stir of rapid haste, officious, met my gaze;
Before me there appear’d no maid, no stewardess,
Who every stranger erst, with friendly greeting, hail’d.
But when I near’d at length the bosom of the hearth,
There saw I, by the light of dimly smouldering fire,
Crouch’d on the ground, a crone, close-veil’d, of stature huge,
Not like to one asleep, but as absorb’d in thought!
With accent of command I summon her to work,
The stewardess in her surmising, whom perchance
My spouse, departing hence, with foresight there had plac’d;
Yet, closely muffl’d up, still sits she, motionless;
At length, upon my threat, uplifts she her right arm,
As though from hearth and hall she motion’d me away.
Wrathful from her I turn, and forthwith hasten out,
Towards the steps, whereon aloft the Thalamos
Rises adorn’d, thereto the treasure-house hard by;
When, on a sudden, starts the wonder from the floor;
Barring with lordly mien my passage, she herself
In haggard height displays, with hollow eyes, blood-grim’d,
An aspect weird and strange, confounding eye and thought.
Yet speak I to the winds; for language all in vain
Creatively essays to body forth such shapes.
There see herself! The light she ventures to confront!
Here are we master, till the lord and monarch comes;
The ghastly brood of Night doth Phœbus, beauty’s friend,
Back to their caverns drive, or them he subjugates.
[Phorkyasstepping on the threshold, between the door-posts.
Much have I liv’d through, although my tresses
Youthfully waver still round my temples;
Manifold horrors have mine eyes witness’d;
Warfare’s dire anguish, Ilion’s night,
When it fell;
Through the o’erclouded, dust overshadow’d,
Tumult of war, to gods have I hearken’d,
Fearfully shouting; hearken’d while discord’s
Brazen voices clang through the field
Ah, yet standing were Ilion’s
Ramparts; nathless the glowing flames
Shot from neighbor to neighbor roof,
Ever spreading from here and there,
With their tempest’s fiery blast,
Over the night-darken’d city.—
Flying, saw I through smoke and glare,
And the flash of the tongued flames,
Dreadful, threatening gods draw near;
Wondrous figures, of giant mould,
Onward striding through the weird
Gloom of fire-luminous vapor.
Saw I them, or did my mind,
Anguish-torn, itself body forth
Phantoms so terrible—nevermore
Can I tell; but that I this
Horrible shape with eyes behold,
This of a surety know I!
Yea, with my hands could clutch it even,
Did not fear, from the perilous
Venture, ever withhold me.
Trite is the word, yet high and true remains the sense:
That Shame and Beauty ne’er together, hand in hand,
Their onward way pursue, earth’s verdant path along.
Deep-rooted in these twain dwelleth an ancient grudge,
So that, where’er they happen on their way to meet,
Upon her hated rival turneth each her back;
Then onward speeds her course with greater vehemence,
Shame fill’d with sorrow, Beauty insolent of mood,
Till her at length embraces Orcus’ hollow night,
Unless old age erewhile her haughtiness hath tam’d.
You find I now, ye wantons, from a foreign shore,
With insolence o’erflowing, like the clamorous flight
Of cranes, with shrilly scream that high above our heads,
A long and moving cloud, croaking send down their noise,
Which the lone pilgrim lures, wending his silent way,
Aloft to turn his gaze; yet on their course they fare,
He also upon his: so will it be with us.
Who are ye then, that thus around the monarch’s house,
With Mænad rage, ye dare like drunken ones to rave?
Who are ye then that ye the house’s stewardess
Thus bay, like pack of hounds hoarsely that bay the moon?
Think ye, ’tis hid from me, the race whereof ye are?
Thou youthful, war-begotten, battle-nurtur’d brood,
Lewd and lascivious thou, seducers and seduc’d,
Unnerving both the soldier’s and the burgher’s strength!
Seeing your throng, to me a locust-swarm ye seem,
Which, settling down, conceals the young green harvest-field.
Wasters of others’ toil! ye dainty revellers,
Destroyers in its bloom of all prosperity!
Thou conquer’d merchandise, exchang’d and marketed!
Who in the mistress’ presence chides her handmaidens,
Audacious, doth o’erstep her household privilege;
For her alone beseems the praiseworthy to praise,
As also that to punish which doth merit blame.
Moreover with the service am I well content,
Which these have render’d me, what time proud Ilion’s strength
Beleaguer’d stood, and fell and sank; nor less indeed
When we, of our sea-voyage the dreary changeful woe
Endur’d, where commonly each thinks but of himself.
Here also I expect the like from this blithe train;
Not what the servant is, we ask, but how he serves.
Therefore be silent thou, and snarl at them no more!
If thou the monarch’s house till now hast guarded well
Filling the mistress’ place, that for thy praise shall count;
But now herself is come, therefore do thou retire,
Lest chastisement be thine, instead of wellearn’d meed!
The menial train to threat, a sacred right remains,
Which the illustrious spouse of heaven-favor’d lord
Through many a year doth earn of prudent governance.
Since that, now recogniz’d, thy ancient place as queen,
And mistress of the house, once more thou dost resume,
The long-time loosen’d reins grasp thou; be ruler here,
And in possession take the treasures, us with them!
Me before all protect, who am the elder-born,
From this young brood, who seem, thy swanlike beauty near,
But as a basely winged flock of cackling geese!
Leader of the Chorus.
How hideous beside beauty showeth hideousness!
How foolish by discretion’s side shows foolishness!
[Henceforth the choristers respond in turn, stepping forth singly from the Chorus.
Tell us of Father Erebus, tell us of Mother Night!
Speak thou of Scylla, speak of her, thy sister-born!
From thy ancestral tree springs many a monster forth.
To Orcus hence, away! Seek thou thy kindred there!
Who yonder dwell, in sooth, for thee are far too young.
Tiresias, the hoary, go, make love to him!
Orion’s nurse of old, was thy great-granddaughter.
Harpies, so I suspect, did rear thee up in filth.
Thy cherish’d meagreness, whereon dost nourish that?
’Tis not with blood, for which so keenly thou dost thirst.
For corpses dost thou hunger, loathsome corpse thyself!
Within thy shameless jaw the teeth of vampires gleam.
Thine I should stop were I to tell thee who thou art.
First do thou name thyself; the riddle then is solv’d.
Not wrathful, but in grief, step I between you now,
Forbidding such alternate quarrel’s angry noise;
For to the ruler naught more hurtful can befall,
Than, ’mong his trusty servants, sworn and secret strife;
The echo of his mandate then to him no more,
In swift accomplish’d deed responsively returns;
No, stormful and self-will’d, it rages him around,
The self-bewilder’d one, and chiding still in vain.
Nor this alone; ye have in rude unmanner’d wrath
Unblessed images of dreadful shapes evok’d,
Which so encompass me, that whirl’d I feel myself
To Orcus down, despite these my ancestral fields.
Is it remembrance? Was it frenzy seiz’d on me?
Was I all that? and am I? shall I henceforth be
The dread and phantom-shape of those townwasting ones?
The maidens quail: but thou, the eldest, thou dost stand,
Calm and unmov’d; speak, then, to me some word of sense!
Who of long years recalls the fortune manifold,
To him Heaven’s highest favor seems at last a dream.
But thou, so highly favor’d, past all bound or goal,
Saw’st, in thy life-course, none but love-in-flamed men,
Kindled by impulse rash to boldest enterprise.
Theseus by passion stirr’d full early seiz’d on thee,
A man of glorious form, and strong as Heracles.
Forceful he bore me off, a ten-year slender roe,
And in Aphidnus’ keep shut me, in Attica.
But thence full soon set free, by Castor, Pollux too,
In marriage wast thou sought by chosen heroband.
Yet hath Patroclus, he, Pelides’ other self,
My secret favor won, as willingly I own.
But thee thy father hath to Menelaus wed,
Bold rover of the sea, and house-sustainer too.
His daughter gave he, gave to him the kingdom’s sway;
And from our wedded union sprang Hermione.
But while he strove afar, for Crete, his heritage,
To thee, all lonely, came an all too beauteous guest.
Wherefore the time recall of that half-widowhood,
And what destruction dire to me therefrom hath grown!
That voyage unto me, a freeborn dame of Crete,
Hath also capture brought and weary servitude.
As stewardess forthwith, he did appoint thee here,
With much entrusted,—fort and treasure boldly won.
All which thou didst forsake, by Ilion’s tower-girt town
Allur’d, and by the joys, the exhaustless joys of love.
Remind me not of joys. No, an infinitude
Of all too bitter woe o’erwhelm’d my heart and brain.
Nathless ’tis said thou didst in twofold shape appear;
Seen within Ilion’s walls, and seen in Egypt too.
Confuse thou not my brain, distraught and desolate!
Here even, who I am in sooth I cannot tell.
’Tis also said, from out the hollow shadow-realm,
Achilles, passion-fir’d, hath join’d himself to thee,
Whom he hath lov’d of old, ’gainst all resolves of Fate.
As phantom I myself, to him a phantom bound;
A dream it was—thus e’en the very words declare.
I faint, and to myself a phantom I become.
[She sinks into the arms of the semi-chorus.
[Helenahas revived, and again stands in the midst.
Forth emerge from fleeting cloudlets, sun resplendent of this day,
If when veil’d thou could’st delight us, dazzling now thy splendor reigns.
As the world unfolds before thee, thou dost gaze with gracious look.
Though as hideous they revile me, well the beautiful I know.
Giddy from the void I issue, that in fainting round me clos’d,
Rest once more I fain would cherish, for soreweary are my limbs;
Yet the queen it still beseemeth, yea all mortals it beseems,
Self-controll’d, to man their spirits, whatsoe’er of ill may threat.
In thy greatness now thou standest, in thy beauty ’fore us there,
Tells thy glance that thou commandest; what command’st thou? speak it forth!
The delay your strife occasion’d, now prepare ye to retrieve:
Haste, a sacrifice to order, as the king commanded me!
In the palace all is ready: censer, tripod, sharpen’d axe,
For lustration and for incense; now the destin’d victim show!
That to me the king disclos’d not.
Spake it not? O doleful word!
What the sorrow that o’erpowers thee?
Queen, it is thyself art meant!
Oh, woe and wailing!
Thou wilt perish by the axe.
Dreadful—yet surmis’d! Me wretched!
Unavoidable it seems.
And to us, ah what will happen?
She a noble death will die;
But upon the lofty rafter, that upholds the gable-roof,
As in fowling-time the thrushes, ye shall struggle in a row.
[Helenaand the Chorus stand astounded and terrified, in striking, well-arranged groups.
Poor phantoms!—Stand ye there like figures petrified,
In deadly fear to part from day, which is not yours.
Mortals, who phantoms are together like as ye,
Not willingly renounce the sun’s resplendent beams;
Yet from their doom may none save them by force or prayer;
All know it, yet can few with pleasure welcome it!
Enough, ye all are lost. So to the work forthwith!
[She claps her hands; thereupon appear at the door masked dwarfish figures, who execute with alacrity the orders as they are delivered.
Approach, thou swarthy, round, misshapen, goblin train!
Roll yourselves hither! Mischief work ye here at will.
The altar, golden-horn’d, bear ye, and give it place;
And let the gleaming axe o’erlay the silver rim!
The water-vessels fill, wherewith to wash away
Of black polluting gore, the horror-breathing stain;
The costly carpet here outspread upon the dust,
That so the victim may in royal fashion kneel,
And wrapp’d within its folds, although with sever’d head,
Sepulchr’d straight may be, with honorable rites!
Leader of the Chorus.
The queen, absorb’d in thought, beside us stands apart;
Blenching the maidens droop, like meadowgrass when mown;
On me, the eldest, seems a sacred duty laid,
With thee to barter words, thou form of primal eld.
Experienc’d art thou, wise, well-minded seem’st to us,
Although this brainless troop, misjudging, thee revil’d:
Tell then, if thou dost know, of rescue possible.
’Tis easy said. Alone it resteth with the queen
Herself to save, and you her handmaidens with her.
Needful is prompt resolve, and of the quickest too!
Most revered among the Parcæ, wisest of the Sibyls thou,
Sheathed hold the golden scissors, light and life to us proclaim!
For our tender limbs already, feel we dangling, unrejoicing,
Swinging to and fro, that rather in the dance rejoic’d of yore,
Resting then on lover’s breast.
These tremblers leave ye; sorrow feel I, naught of fear;
Yet know’st thou rescue, straight be it with thanks receiv’d!
To sage, far-seeing minds, oft the impossible
As possible doth show. Speak on and tell thy thought!
Speak and tell us, tell us quickly; how may we escape the ghastly,
Odious nooses, that, with menace, like to ornaments the vilest,
Round our necks themselves are coiling? We, poor victims, feel beforehand,
Feel the stifling, feel the choking, if of all the gods, thou, Rhea,
Lofty mother, feel’st no pity!
Have ye patience, to my story’s course protracted
Still to hearken? Manifold its windings are.
Patience enough! For while we hearken still we live.
The man at home who tarries, noble wealth who guards,
And knoweth to cement his dwelling’s lofty walls,
As also to secure his roof ’gainst stress of rain,
With him shall all go well, through the long day of life:
But lightly who o’ersteps, with rash and flying foot,
His threshold’s sacred bounds, by guilty aim impell’d,
Shall find, on his return, the ancient place, indeed,
But alter’d everything, if not completely wreck’d.
Declare, whereto these trite and well-known proverbs here?
Thou should’st relate; stir not what needs must give offence!
True history it is, in no wise a reproof.
As pirate Menelaus steer’d from bay to bay;
Mainland and islands, all he ravag’d as a foe,
With spoil returning home, as it within lies stor’d.
He before Ilion’s walls hath wasted ten long years,
But on his homeward course how many know I not;
Meanwhile how fares it here where stands the lofty house
Of Tyndarus? How fares it with the region round?
Is then reproach in thee so thoroughly ingraft,
That, save to utter blame, thy lips thou canst not move?
Thus stood, for many years, forlorn the sloping ridge
That northwards to the height rises in Sparta’s rear,
Behind Taygetus, whence, still a merry brook,
Downward Eurotas rolls, and then, along our vale,
Broad-flowing among reeds, gives nurture to your swans.
There in the mountain-vale, behind, a stalwart race
Themselves establish’d, pressing from Cimmerian night,
And have uprear’d a fastness, inaccessible,
Whence land and folk around they harry, as they list.
This could they then achieve? Impossible it seems.
They ample time have had; haply, some twenty years.
Is one the lord? Are they a numerous robber-horde?
Not robbers are they, yet is one among them lord.
Of him I speak no blame, though once he sought me here;
He might have taken all, yet did content himself
With some few things—which he free-gifts, not tribute, nam’d.
And what his mien?
Nowise amiss! He pleases me.
A cheerful man he is, courageous, and wellbuilt,
With understanding dower’d, as few among the Greeks.
As barbarous we brand the race, but yet, methinks,
So savage none can be as heroes, not a few,
Who man-devouring pests at Ilion show’d themselves.
His greatness I respect; did trust myself to him.
His fortress! That should ye with your own eyes behold!
’Tis something different from clumsy masonwork
The which your fathers have aloft, at random, pil’d,
Cyclopean like the Cyclops, one unwieldy stone
On stone unwieldy hurling! There quite otherwise,
Upright and level, all is fix’d by square and rule.
Gaze on it from without; upward it strives toward heaven,
So straight, so well adjusted, mirror-smooth like steel;
To clamber there, in sooth, your very thought slides down.
Within are ample courts, broad spaces girt around
With solid mason-work, of divers kinds and use;
Pillars, pilasters, arches, archlets, balconies
Are there, and galleries, for peering out and in,
What are they?
Ajax upon his shield,
A coiled serpent bare, as ye yourselves have seen;
The seven chiefs at Thebes have figur’d emblems borne,
Each one upon his shield, significant and rich:
There moon and star were seen, on heaven’s nightly field,
There goddess, hero, ladder, weapons, torches too,
And what with violence still threatens goodly towns.
Devices of like sort beareth our hero-band,
In color’d splendor, heir’d from primal ancestors;
There lions you behold, eagles, claw too and beak,
Then horns of buffalo, wings, roses, peacocktails,
Bars also, gold and black and silver, blue and red.
Such symbols in their halls hang pendent, row on row,
In halls that know no bound, ample as is the world;
There might ye dance!
O tell us, be there dancers there?
The best; a youthful band, blooming and golden-hair’d;
Of youth they breathe! Of yore so only Paris breath’d,
What time he to the queen approach’d too near.
Quite from thy part! To me declare the final word.
That speakest thou; in earnest say distinctly yes!
Then with that fortress thee I’ll straightway compass.
That little word, and save thyself and us with thee!
How? Shall I harbor fear, lest Menelaus should
So ruthlessly transgress as rage to wreak on me?
Hast thou forgotten how he, thy Deiphobus,
Thy slaughter’d Paris’ brother, in unheard-of guise,
Hath mangl’d, he who strove thy stubborn widowhood
To bend, and gain’d his purpose! Nose and ears he lopp’d,
And mutilated sore; ’twas horror to behold!
That did he unto him; for my sake it was done.
And for his sake, be sure, the like he’ll do to thee.
Not to be shar’d is beauty; her who hath possess’d
Entire, destroyeth rather, cursing partnership.
[Trumpets in the distance; theChorusshudders.
As the shrill trumpets’ blare doth ear and entrails seize,
Reading asunder, so her talons jealousy
Fixes in that man’s breast, who never can forget
What once he own’d, now lost, by him possess’d no more.
Hear’st thou not the horns resounding? Seest thou not the gleam of arms?
Be thou welcome! To thee, lord and monarch! gladly give I reckoning.
But for us?
Ye know full surely: ’fore your eyes her death you see,
Your own death mark too within there; no, for you there is no help.
I have the course devis’d, which next I will pursue.
An adverse Demon art thou, that full well I feel;
And fear thou wilt convert even the good to ill.
Nathless to yonder keep I straight will follow thee.
The rest I know: but what in her deep breast the queen
As mystery conceals, let it remain to all
A secret unreveal’d! Now, ancient one, lead on!
Deepens all at once the darkness. Rayless now dissolves the vapor,
Gray and murky, brown as stone-work. Walls ascend, our glances meeting,
Our free glances meeting sheer. Court is it? deep moat? or cavern?
’Tis in every case appalling! Sisters, ah, we are imprison’d,
’Prison’d now as erst we were!
Inner Court of the Castle,
Surrounded with rich fantastic buildings of the middle ages.
Leader of the Chorus.
Foolish and overswift, true type of womankind,
Dependent on the moment, sport of every gust
Of bale or blessing! Yet not either can ye bear
With constant courage. One still fiercely contradicts
The others, crosswise she by others is gainsaid;
Only in joy and pain ye, with the self-same tone,
Or howl or laugh. Be still and hearken what the queen,
High-soul’d, may here decide both for herself and us.
Where art thou, Pythonissa? Whatsoe’er thy name,
From out the gloomy vaults step forth of this stern keep!
Perchance, art gone to seek this wondrous hero-lord,
To herald my approach, reception kind be-speaking!
So take my thanks and quickly lead me unto him!
My wanderings I would end, repose I wish alone.
Leader of the Chorus.
Vainly thou lookest, queen, round thee on every side;
The hateful form hath vanish’d, or perchance remain’d
In yonder mist, from forth whose bosom hitherward,
We came, I wist not how, swiftly without a step;
Perchance, indeed, in doubt this labyrinth she treads,
Where many castles strangely mingle into one,
Greeting august and high demanding from its lord.
But yonder see above, where move in busy throngs,
In corridors, at casements, and through portals wide,
A crowd of menials passing, swiftly here and there;
Distinguish’d welcome this portends of honor’d guest.
Expands now my heart! O, yonder, behold,
How modestly downward, with lingering step,
A fair youthful throng becomingly move
In march well-appointed! Say, by whose command
Now appeareth well-train’d, and so promptly array’d,
Of blooming boyhood, the glorious race?
What admire I the most? Is it their elegant gait,
Or the tresses that curl round their dazzling white brow,
Or the twin-blooming cheeks, with the hue of the peach,
And shaded like it with soft tender down?
Fain would I bite, but I shrink back in fear;
For in similar venture, replete was the mouth,
I shudder to tell it, with ashes!
[All that theChorushas indicated takes place by degrees.
(After pages and squires have descended in long procession,Faustappears above, on the steps, in knightly court costume of the middle ages; he descends slowly and with dignity.)
Leader of the Chorus.
(Attentively observing him.) If to this man the gods have not, as is their wont,
But for a season lent this wonder-worthy form,
And if his lofty grace, his love-inspiring mien,
Be not their transient gift, success will sure attend
On all he undertakes, be it in strife with men,
Or in the petty war, with fairest women wag’d.
To many others him, in sooth, I must prefer,
Others, the highly priz’d, on whom mine eyes have gaz’d.
With slow, majestic step, by reverence withheld,
The prince do I behold. Towards him turn, O queen!
(Advancing, a man in fetters at his side.) ’Stead of most solemn greeting, as beseemeth,
’Stead of most reverent welcome, bring I thee,
In chains fast manacled, this varlet, who
In duty failing, wrested mine from me.—
Here bend thy knee, before this noblest dame,
To make forthwith confession of thy guilt!—
This is, exalted potentate, the man,
Of rarest vision, from the lofty tower
Appointed round to gaze, the expanse of heaven,
Keenly to overlook, and breadth of earth,
If here or yonder aught present itself,
From the encircling hills, across the vale,
Towards this fortress moving; billowy herds,
Or warlike host perchance; those we defend,
These meet in fight. To-day, what negligence!
Thou comest hither, he proclaims it not;
August reception faileth, honor due
To guest so noble. Forfeited he hath
His guilty life, and in the blood of death,
Well-merited, should lie; but thou alone
May’st punish, or show mercy, at thy pleasure.
High as the honor thou accordest me,
As judge, as potentate, and were it but,
As I suspect, to try me—so will I
The judge’s foremost duty now fulfil,
To give the accus’d a hearing.—Therefore speak!
The ill, myself occasion’d, dare I not
Chastise. Ah, woe is me! What ruthless fate
Pursues me, everywhere the breasts of men
So to befool, that they nor spare themselves
Nor aught that claimeth reverence. Plundering now,
Seducing, fighting, harrying here and there,
Gods, heroes, demigods, yea demons too,
Perplex’d have led me, wandering to and fro;
Singly, the world I madden’d, doubly, more;
Now threefold, fourfold, bring I woe on woe!
This guiltless man discharge, let him go free,
No shame should light upon the god-befool’d.
Fill’d with amaze, O queen, I see at once
The unerring smiter, here the smitten one;
The bow I see, wherefrom hath sped the shaft
This man that wounded. Shaft doth follow shaft,
And me they smite. Them crosswise I perceive,
Feather’d, and whirring round through court and keep.
What am I now? Thou makest, all at once,
My trustiest, rebellious; insecure
My very walls; henceforth my hosts, I fear,
Will serve the conquering unconquer’d queen.
What now remaineth, save myself to yield,
And all I fancied mine, to thy sole sway?
Freely and truly, let me at thy feet,
Acknowledge thee as queen, who, coming here,
Hath won forthwith possession and a throne.
(With a chest, followed by men bearing other chests.)
Hence quickly with the burden boldly earn’d,
Not blam’d in sooth, but yet without reward.
Already all is hers, which in its depths
The castle hides; to offer special gifts
Is bootless. Hence! Treasure on treasure heap,
In order due; of splendor yet unseen
Set forth the exalted pomp; and let the vaults
Glitter like heaven new-born; from lifeless life
A paradise prepare; before her steps,
With eager haste, let carpet, rich in flowers,
Unroll on flowery carpet! Let her tread
Meet dainty footing, and the brightest sheen,
Blinding to all but gods, her glance arrest!
Slight is our lord’s behest; ’tis play,
(ToFaust.) With thee I fain would speak, therefore ascend,
And seat thee at my side! The vacant place
Invites its owner, and secures me mine.
First, kneeling, let my true allegiance be
Accepted, noble lady; let me kiss
The hand that now uplifts me to thy side!
Me as co-regent strengthen of thy realm,
No bound that knows; and for thyself obtain
Adorer, liegeman, warder, all in one!
Full many a wonder do I see and hear;
Amazement strikes me, much I have to ask.
Yet fain I am to know wherefore the speech
Of yonder man sounds strangely, strange and sweet:
Each tone appears accordant with the next,
And hath a word found welcome in the ear,
Another woos caressingly the first.
If thee our people’s utterance thus delights,
O then be sure, their song will ravish thee,
Appeasing to their depths both ear and mind.
Yet were it best this language to essay;
Alternate speech invites it, calls it forth.
How thus to speak so sweetly I would know.
’Tis easy, from the heart the words must flow;
And when with fond desire the bosom yearns,
We look around and ask—
Who with us burns?
The spirit looks nor forward nor behind,
The present only—
There our bliss we find.
Wealth is it, pledge and fortune; I demand,
Who granteth confirmation?
Who would now upbraid our princess
I feel myself so distant, yet so near,
And all too gladly say: Here am I! here!
I tremble: scarcely breathe, words die away:
A dream it is, vanish’d have place and day!
Outworn I feel, and yet as life were new,
With thee entwin’d, to thee the unknown one true.
Forbear to ponder thy strange destiny!
Being is duty, were it momently.
Bold interruption, she annoyingly intrudes!
Not e’en in peril brook I senseless violence.
Ill message hideous make the fairest messenger;
Most hideous thou who dost ill tidings gladly bring.
They shall not profit thee; ay, shatter thou the air
With empty breath. In sooth, no danger lurketh here,
And danger’s self would seem but idle threatening.
[Signals. Explosions from the towers, trumpets and cornets, martial music, a powerful army marches across the stage.
No, straight assembl’d thou shalt see
Our heroes’ close united band!
For woman’s grace none wins but he
Who knows to shield with forceful hand.
[To the leaders, who separate themselves from their columns and step forward.
[Faustdescends, the princes close a circle round him, in order better to hear his instructions and commands.
Our gifts to these are great and glorious:
To every one a goodly land,
Fertile and broad. March on victorious!
Here in the midst take we our stand.
Girt round by waves in sunlight dancing,
Half island, thee—whose hill-chains blend
With Europe’s mountains, widely branching—
Will they in rivalry defend.
Bless’d be this land, all lands transcending,
To every race, for evermore,
Which sees my queen the throne ascending,
As erst her birth it hail’d of yore.
When, ’mid Eurotas’ reedy whisper,
Forth from the shell she burst to light,
Her mighty mother, brothers, sister,
Were blinded by the dazzling sight.
This land, her choicest bloom that layeth
Before thee, waiting thy behest—
Though the wide earth thy sceptre swayeth,
Oh love thy fatherland the best!
What though the sun’s keen arrow coldly playeth,
Upon the mountain summits, jagg’d and bare,
Yet where the rock the verdure overlayeth,
The wild goat nibbling, crops its scanty fare;
The spring leaps forth, united plunge the fountains,
And meadow, gorge, and valley, all are green;
On broken pastures of a hundred mountains,
Spread far and wide, the woolly herds are seen;
With measur’d tread, cautious, in line divided,
By the steep edge, the horned cattle wend;
Yet for them all a shelter is provided,
O’er many a cave the vaulted rock doth bend!
Pan shields them there, and many a nymph appeareth,
In moist and bushy caverns dwelling free;
And yearning after higher spheres, upreareth
Its leafy branches tree close-press’d to tree—
Primeval woods! The giant oak there standing,
Links bough to bough, a stubborn, tortuous, maze;
The gentle maple, with sweet juice expanding,
Shoots clear aloft and with its burden plays—
And motherly for child and lambkin streameth,
’Mid silent shades, warm milk prepar’d for them;
Fruit close at hand, the plain’s ripe nurture, gleameth,
And honey droppeth from the hollow stem.
Pleasure is here a birthright; vying
In gladness cheek and lip are found,
Each in his station is undying,
Content and blooming health abound.
And thus to all his father’s strength unfoldeth
The gentle child, environ’d by sweet day.
Amaz’d we stand; each asks, as he beholdeth:
If gods they be, or men? so fair are they.
So when the part of hind Apollo playeth,
Like him the fairest shepherd-youth appears;
For there where Nature in clear circle swayeth,
Harmoniously are link’d her several spheres.
[Taking his seat besideHelena.
Thus happy Fate hath me, hath thee attended!
Behind us henceforth let the past be thrown!
From God supreme, oh feel thyself descended:
Thou to the primal world belong’st alone.
Thee shall no firm-built fortress capture;
Strong in eternal youth, expands
For us a sojourn, fraught with rapture,
Arcadia, near to Sparta’s lands.
Allur’d to this bless’d region, hither
Hast fled to brightest destiny:
Thrones change to bowers that never wither;
Arcadian be our bliss and free!
[The scene is entirely changed. Close arbors recline against a series of rocky caverns. A shady grove extends to the base of the encircling rocks.FaustandHelenaare not seen. TheChoruslies sleeping, scattered here and there.
How long these maids have slept, in sooth I cannot tell;
Or whether they have dream’d what I before mine eyes
Saw bright and clear, to me is equally unknown.
So wake I them. Amaz’d the younger folk shall be,
Ye too, ye bearded ones, who sit below and wait,
Hoping to see at length these miracles resolv’d.
Arise! Arise! And shake quickly your crisped locks!
Shake slumber from your eyes! Blink not, and list to me!
Only speak, relate, and tell us, what of wonderful hath chanc’d!
We more willingly shall hearken that which we cannot believe;
For we are aweary, weary, gazing on these rocks around.
Children, how, already weary, though you scarce have rubb’d your eyes?
Hearken then! Within these caverns, in these grottoes, in these bowers,
Shield and shelter have been given, as to lovertwain idyllic.
To our lord and to our lady—
How, within there?
From the world; and me, me only, they to secret service call’d.
Highly honor’d stood I near them, yet, as one in trust beseemeth,
Round I gaz’d on other objects, turning hither, turning thither,
Sought for roots, for barks and mosses, with their properties acquainted;
And they thus remain’d alone.
Thou would’st make believe that yonder, world-wide spaces lie within,
Wood and meadow, lake and brooklet; what strange fable spinnest thou!
Yea, in sooth, ye inexperienc’d, there lie regions undiscover’d:
Hall on hall, and court on court; in my musings these I track.
Suddenly a peal of laughter echoes through the cavern’d spaces;
In I gaze, a boy is springing from the bosom of the woman
To the man, from sire to mother: the caressing and the fonding,
All love’s foolish playfulnesses, mirthful cry and shout of rapture,
Alternating, deafen me.
Naked, without wings, a genius, like a faun, with nothing bestial,
On the solid ground he springeth; but the ground, with counteraction,
Up to ether sends him flying; with the second, third rebounding
Touches he the vaulted roof.
Anxiously the mother calleth: Spring amain, and at thy pleasure:
But beware, think not of flying, unto thee is flight denied.
And so warns the faithful father: In the earth the force elastic
Lies, aloft that sends thee bounding; let thy toe but touch the surface,
Like the son of earth, Antæus, straightway is thy strength renew’d.
And so o’er these rocky masses, on from dizzy ledge to ledge,
Leaps he ever, hither, thither, springing like a stricken ball.
But in cleft of rugged cavern suddenly from sight he vanish’d;
And now lost to us he seemeth, mother waileth, sire consoleth,
Anxiously I shrug my shoulders. But again, behold, what vision!
Lie there treasures hidden yonder? Raiment broider’d o’er with flowers
He becomingly hath donn’d;
Tassels from his arms are waving, ribbons flutter on his bosom,
In his hand the lyre all-golden, wholly like a tiny Phœbus,
Boldly to the edge he steppeth, to the precipice; we wonder,
And the parents, full of rapture, cast them on each other’s heart;
For around his brow what splendor! Who can tell what there is shining?
Gold-work is it, or the flaming of surpassing spirit-power?
Thus he moveth, with such gesture, e’en as boy himself announcing
Future master of all beauty, through whose limbs, whose every member,
Flow the melodies eternal: and so shall ye hearken to him,
And so shall ye gaze upon him, to your special wonderment.
[An exquisite, purely melodious lyre-music resounds from the cave. All become attentive, and appear soon to be inwardly moved; henceforth, to the pause indicated, there is a full musical accompaniment.
[She retires behind the rock.
Helena, Faust, Euphorionin the costume indicated above.
[Winding among theChorusand drawing them forth to dance.
(Dancing and singing, they move about in interweaving lines.)
(Entering quickly one by one.)
(Bearing a young maiden.)
[She flames up and flashes into the air.
(Shaking off the last flames.)
[He springs higher up the rock.
[He casts himself into the air; his garments support him for a moment; his head flames, a trail of light follows him.
[A beautiful youth falls at the parents’ feet, we imagine that in the dead we recognize a well-known form; yet suddenly the corporeal part vanishes; the aureole rises like a comet to heaven; dress, mantle and lyre remain lying on the ground.
(From the depths.)
[Full pause. The music ceases.
(ToFaust.) An ancient word, alas, approves itself in me:
That joy and beauty ne’er enduringly are link’d!
Rent is the bond of life, with it the bond of love;
Lamenting both, I say a sorrowful farewell,
And throw myself once more, once only, in thine arms.—
Persephoneia, take the boy, take also me!
[She embracesFaust,her corporeal part vanishes, her garment and veil remain in his arms.
Hold fast what doth of all alone remain to thee,
The garment, loose it not! Already hale
The demons at its skirts, and it would fain
Drag to the nether regions. Hold it fast!
The goddess is it not, whom thou hast lost,
Yet godlike ’tis. Avail thee of the high
Inestimable gift, and upward soar;
Thee o’er all common things ’twill swiftly bear
Through ether, long as there thou canst abide.
We meet again, far, far away from here.
[Helena’sgarments dissolve into clouds, they envelopFaust,raise him aloft, and pass with him from the scene.
(TakesEuphorion’sdress, mantle and lyre from the earth, steps into the proscenium; holding up the spoils, she says:)
[She sits down in the proscenium, at the foot of a pillar.
Now hasten, girls! At length we are from magic free,
From the soul-swaying spell of the Thessalian hag;
Free also from the blare confus’d of jangling tones,
The ear perplexing, and still worse the inner sense.
Away to Hades! Thither hath in haste the queen,
With earnest step, descended. Now, ye faithful maids,
Do ye, without delay, follow upon her track.
Her at the throne we find of the Inscrutable.
Royal ladies, certes, everywhere are content;
E’en in Hades places take they supreme,
Proud to be with their peers allied,
With Persephone in friendship knit;
We, meanwhile, far off in meadows
Deep of asphodel abiding,
With far-reaching poplars,
And unfruitful willows conjoin’d,
What amusement or joy have we!
Flitting, bat-like to twitter—
Whispering, undelightsome, and ghostlike!
Leader of the Chorus.
Who hath no name achiev’d, nor at the noble aims,
Belongs but to the elements; so hence, begone!
My vehement desire is with my queen to be;
Not merit ’tis alone, fidelity as well,
Secure in yonder spheres, the individual life.
A Portion of the Chorus.
We, amid the wavy-trembling of these thousand rustling branches.
Gently lure with dalliance charming from the root the vital currents,
Up into the boughs; with foliage, soon with lavish wealth of blossoms,
We adorn our tresses, floating in the breeze for airy growth.
Falls the fruit, forthwith assemble life-enjoying folk and cattle,
For the grasping, for the tasting, swiftly coming, onward pressing,
And, as ’fore the gods primeval, so all bend around us here.
Where these rocky walls are imag’d in the smooth, far-gleaming mirror,
Moving in the gentle wavelets, soothingly we onward glide,
Listen, hearken, to all music: birdie’s singing, reedy-fluting,
Is it Pan’s loud voice tremendous—voice responsive straight replies:
Whisper is it?—we too whisper; thunders it?—we roll our thunder
In o’erwhelming reprecussion, threefold, tenfold, echoing back.
A Third Portion.
Sisters, we, of spirit mobile, hasten with the brooklets onward;
For yon hill-slopes, richly mantl’d, charm us rising far away.
Ever downwards, ever deeper, in meandering course we water
Now the meadows, then the pastures, then the garden round the house;
There, across the landscape, slender cypress shafts our banks o’erpeering,
Telling of our crystal mirror, upwards into ether soar.
A Fourth Portion.
Roam ye others, at your pleasure; we will circle, we will rustle
Round the slopes so richly planted, on its prop where sprouts the vine.
By the vintager’s emotion, we throughout the livelong day,
See what doubtful issue waiteth on his busy loving care:
Now with hoe, and now with mattock, earth upheaping, pruning, binding,
Prayeth he to all Celestials, chiefly to the Sun-God prays.
Bacchus frets himself, the weakling, little for his faithful vassal,
Rests in arbors, leans in grottoes, toying with the youngest faun;
For his visions what he lacketh, dreaming half inebriate,
Stor’d in skins, in jars and vessels, ready for his use he finds,
Right and left in cool recesses treasur’d for eternal time.
But at length have the Celestials, hath now Helios ’fore them all,
Breathing, moistening, warming, glowing, fill’d the berries’ teeming horn:
Where the vintager in silence labor’d, there is sudden life,
Busy stir in every alley, rustles round from vine to vine;
Baskets creak, and pitchers clatter, and the loaded vine-troughs groan,
All towards the mighty wine-press, to the presser’s sturdy dance;
And so is the sacred fullness of the purely-nurtur’d berries
Rudely trodden; foaming, seething, now it mingles, foully squash’d;
And now splits the ear the cymbal, with the beaker’s brazen tones,
For himself hath Dionysos from his mysteries reveal’d;
Comes he with goat-footed satyrs, reeling nymphs goat-footed too,
And meanwhile unruly brayeth shrill, Silenus’ long-ear’d beast—
Naught is spar’d; all law and order cloven hoofs are treading down—
All the senses whirl distracted, hideously the ear is stunn’d;
Drunkards for their cups are groping, over-full are head and paunch;
Careful one is, there another, yet the tumult waxes loud:
Since the newer must to garner, they the old skins quickly drain.
[The curtain falls.Phorkyas,in the proscenium, rises to a gigantic height, descends from the cothurni, lays aside mask and veil, and reveals herself asMephistopheles,in order, so far as it may be necessary, to comment upon the piece by way of epilogue.
Strong jagged rocky summit. A cloud approaches, leans against the rock, and sinks down upon a projecting level. It divides.
(Steps forth.) On deepest solitudes down-gazing, far below my feet,
Full thoughtfully I tread this lofty mountain ridge,
My cloudy car forsaking, me which softly bare,
Through days of sunshine, hither over land and sea.
Slowly it melts from me, not scatter’d suddenly;
Towards the East the mass strives in its rolling march.
In admiration lost, the eye strives after it;
Moving it now divides, wavelike, and full of change;
Yet will it shape itself—mine eye deceives me not,
On sun-illumin’d pillows, gloriously reclines,
Of giant size indeed, a godlike female form;
I see it, like to Juno, Leda, Helena;
In majesty and love before mine eye it floats!
Ah, now it scatters; formless, broad, uptowering,
Rests in the East, and there, like ice-hills far away,
Mirrors of fleeting life the deep significance.
Yet round me hovers still, a mist-wreath, tender, light,
Surrounding breast and brow, cheering, caressing, cool.
Lightly it rises now, still lingering, high and higher,—
Together draws. Doth me a rapturing form delude,
As youth’s first fondly priz’d, long-yearn’d for, highest good?
Well up the earliest treasures of my deepest heart:
To me Aurora’s love, so light of wing, it shows,
The swift-experienc’d glance, the first, scarce understood,
Which, long and firmly held, each treasure overshone!
Like beauty of the soul rises the gracious form,
Dissolveth not, but upward into ether floats,
And with it, of my being draws the best away.
[A seven-league boot tramps down, another immediately follows.Mephistophelesdescends. The boots stride onward in haste.
That’s forward striding, I must own!
But tell me, what dost thou intend,
That ’mid such horrors dost descend,
Such wilderness of yawning stone?
Though not precisely here, I know it well;
This was in sooth the very floor of Hell.
Of foolish legends never fails thy store;
Such to give forth dost thou begin once more?
(Seriously.) When God the Lord—the reason well I know,—
Us from the air had bann’d to depths profound,
There, where of fire eterne the central glow
With lurid flames still circles round and round,
By the too brilliant light, we found that we
O’ercrowded were, and plac’d unpleasantly.
Forthwith to cough the devils all were fain;
From top to bottom straight they spat amain;
With sulphur-stench and acids thus inflated,
Hell, with foul gas, so hugely was dilated,
That earth’s smooth surface, by the fiery blast,
Thick as it was, cracking must burst at last.
That all things are revers’d we now discern;
What bottom was, is summit in its turn;
Also in this the proper lore they base,
To give the undermost the highest place;
For from the hot and slavish cave we fare
Into the lordship of the boundless air;
An open secret, long time well conceal’d,
And to the folk only of late reveal’d.
To me are mountain-masses grandly dumb;
I question neither whence nor why they come.
Herself when Nature in herself had founded,
This globe of earth she then hath purely rounded,
Took both in summit and in gorge delight,
Pil’d rock on rock, and mountain-height on height;
The hills she fashion’d next with gentle force,
And to the valleys slop’d their downward course:
Then growth and verdure came, and for her joy
She needs no mad convulsive freak employ.
Ay! so you say, sun-clear to you it lies;
But who was present there, knows otherwise.
I was at hand when, seething still below,
Swell’d the abyss, belching a fiery tide,
When Moloch’s hammer rocks, with thunderous blow
Welding, the fragments scatter’d far and wide.
’Neath massive foreign blocks still groans the land—
Such hurling-might say who can comprehend;
This your philosopher can’t understand;
There lies the rock, must lie, and there’s an end;
But to our shame doth all our thinking tend.
Your genuine common folk alone conceive,
And naught disturbs them in their creed;
Long since their wisdom ripen’d: they believe
A marvel ’tis, Satan receives his meed;
On crutch of faith my pilgrim hobbles on
To Devil’s bridges, to the Devil’s stone.
Noteworthy ’tis, Nature, as now I do,
To study from the Devil’s point of view.
Be Nature what she may, what do I care!
My honor’s touch’d: the Devil, sooth, was there!
We are the folk, the mighty to attain:
Convulsion, madness, force. ’Tis written plain!—
But now, at last, to make my meaning clear,
Did nothing please thee in our upper sphere?
In boundless space the world thou hast survey’d,
Its kingdoms and their glory, all display’d.
And yet, insatiate as thou art,
To thee did they no joy impart?
A project vast allur’d me on;
That I’ll do anon.
Some capital I’d choose; therein a store
Of burgher-feeding rubbish at its core;
With crooked alleys, gabl’d peaks,
Markets confin’d, kale, turnips, leeks,
And shambles where blue flies repair,
On well-fed joints to fatten—there,
At any moment shalt thou find
Stench and activity combin’d;
Wide squares, with spacious streets between,
Which arrogate a lordly mien;
And lastly, boundless to the eye,
Beyond the gate, the suburbs lie.
Of coaches too, th’ eternal roar,
Still rattling, behind, before,
Would charm me and the ceaseless flow
Of ant-swarms, running to and fro;
And let me walk, or let me ride,
Their central point I should abide,
By thousands honor’d and admir’d.
Such things I slightly estimate.
That men, it is to be desir’d,
Should multiply, should live at ease,
Be taught, develop’d if you please;—
More rebels thus you educate.
Then, in grand style, with conscious power, I’d rear
A pleasure-castle, some fair pleasance near:
Hill, valley, meadow, forest, glade,
Into a splendid garden made,
With velvet lawns and verdurous walls,
Straight paths, art-guided shadows, waterfalls,
From rock to rock constrain’d to wind,
And water-jets of every kind;
Majestic soaring there while at the sides,
With whiz and gush, threadlike the stream divides.
Then for the loveliest women I’d prepare
A tiny lodge, cosy and quiet; there
The countless hours, according to my mood
I’d spend, in that sweet social solitude—
Women, I say: since, once for all,
I in the plural think upon the Fair.
Modern and base! Sardanapal!
Might one but guess thy purpose? High,
Doubtless, and grandly bold! Since thou
By so much nearer to the moon didst fly,
Aptly thy choice might thither tend, I trow!
Not so. Upon this globe of ours
For grand achievement still there’s space;
Something astounding shall take place,
For daring toil I feel new powers.
Fame also to achieve thou’rt fain?
That thou hast been with heroines is plain.
Dominion and estate by me are sought.
The deed is everything, the fame is naught!
Yet poets shall arise, thy fame
To after ages to proclaim,
Through folly, folly to inflame.
That is beyond thy scope, I ween;
How knowest thou, what man desires?
Adverse thy nature, bitter, keen,
How knoweth it, what man requires?
Be thy will done, since yield I must.
Me with the circuit of thy whims entrust.
Mine eye was fix’d upon the open sea:
Aloft it tower’d, upheaving; then once more
Withdrew, and shook its waves exultingly,
To storm the wide expanse of level shore—
That anger’d me, since arrogance of mood,
In the free soul, that values every right,
Through the impetuous passion of the blood,
Harsh feeling genders, in its own despite.
I deem’d it chance; more keenly eyed the main:
The billow paus’d, and then roll’d back again,
And from its proudly conquer’d goal withdrew;
The hour returns, the sport it doth renew—
(Ad spectatores.) For me there’s nothing novel here, I own;
This for some hundred thousand years I’ve known.
On through a thousand channels it doth press,
Barren itself, and causing barrenness;
It waxes, swells, it rolls and spreads its reign
Over the waste and desolate domain.
There, power-inspir’d, wave upon wave sweeps on,
Triumphs awhile, retreats—and naught is done:
It to despair might drive me to survey
Of lawless elements the aimless sway!
To soar above itself then dar’d my soul;
Here would I strive, this force would I control!
And it is possible. Howe’er the tide
May rise, it fawneth round each hillock’s side;
However proudly it may domineer,
Each puny height its crest doth ’gainst it rear,
Each puny deep it forcefully allures.
So swiftly plan on plan my mind matures;
This glorious pleasure for thyself attain;
Back from the shore to bar the imperious main,
Narrow the limits of the watery deep,
Constrain it far into itself to sweep!
My purpose step by step I might lay bare:
That is my wish, to aid it boldly dare!
[Drums and martial music behind the spectators, from the distance, on the right hand.
How easy ’tis!—Hear’st thou the drums afar?
What, war again!—The prudent likes not war.
In peace or war the prudent doth obtain
From every circumstance his proper gain.
We watch, we mark each favoring moment; now,
The occasion smileth—Faustus, seize it thou!
Me, I entreat, this riddling nonsense spare.
And short and good, speak out;—thyself declare.
On my way hither I became aware
That the good emperor is vex’d with care;
Thou knowest him. The while we him amus’d,
And with the show of riches him abus’d,
Then the whole world to him was cheap, since he
While young attain’d to regal dignity;
This false resolve did then beguile his leisure,
That possible it is and right
Together these two interests to unite,
At once to govern, and to take one’s pleasure.
A grievous error! He who would command,
His highest bliss must in commanding find.
With lofty will his bosom must expand,
Yet what he willeth may not be divin’d;
To trusty ear he whispers his intent,
’Tis realiz’d,—all feel astonishment;
So holds he still the most exalted place,
The worthiest. Enjoyment doth debase!
Such is he not; on pleasure he was bent!
Meanwhile the realm by anarchy was rent,
Where high and low were rang’d against each other,
And brother still pursu’d and slaughter’d brother,
Castle ’gainst castle, town ’gainst town had feud,
Guild against noble too; in conflict rude,
Chapter and flock against their bishop rose;
Who on each other gaz’d, were foes;
Within the churches death and murder reign,
Merchant and traveller at the gates were slain;
All wax’d in daring, nor to small extent;
To live was self-defence.—So matters went.
They went, they limp’d, they fell, again they rose,
Were overturn’d, roll’d headlong—such the close.
And such condition no one dar’d to blame,
Authority each could and each would claim;
The smallest even proudly rear’d his crest.
At length too mad it grew e’en for the best.
The able, they forthwith arose with might,
And said: Who gives us peace is lord, by right;
The Emperor cannot, will not!—Let us choose
Another, in the realm who shall infuse
Fresh life, and safety unto each assign,
Who in a world its vigor that renews,
Together peace and justice shall combine!
That sounds like priestcraft.
Priests in sooth were there;
The well-fed paunch, that was their primal care;
They implicated were above the rest.
The tumult swell’d, the priests the tumult bless’d;
Our Emperor, whom we beguil’d, perchance
To his last battle hither doth advance.
I pity him—so frank, so kind of heart.
Let us look on. There’s hope ere life depart.
Him from this narrow vale let us deliver!
If rescu’d now, he rescu’d is forever.
How yet the die may fall, who may divine!
Vassals he’ll have, if Fortune on him shine.
[They ascend the middle range of hills and survey the disposition of the army in the valley. Drums and military music resound from below.
Well chosen the position is, I see;
We’ll join them, perfect then the victory.
What there may we expect? Deceit!
Illusive sorcery! A hollow cheat!
Cunning to win war’s lofty game!
Be constant to thy mighty aim,
The while thy goal dost bear in sight;
Secure we to the Emperor throne and land,
Then kneel, from him receiving as thy right,
The fief of the unbounded strand.
Already much for me hast done;
By thee be now a battle won!
No, do thou win it; forthwith here
As general-in-chief appear.
To my true honor it would tend,
There to command where naught I comprehend!
The general’s staff, let that provide,
So the field-marshal’s safe whate’er betide.
War’s want of council to its source I’ve trac’d;
War’s council I forthwith have bas’d
On mountain’s and on man’s primeval force:
Bless’d who together draws their joint resource.
What yonder bearing arms appears?
Hast thou arous’d the mountaineers?
No, but like Master Peter Squenze,
Of the whole mass the quintessence.
[The three mighty ones enter.
My fellows now are drawing near!
Divers the clothes, the arms, they wear,
Of different ages they appear;
With them not badly shalt thou fare.
There’s not a child but loves to see
Harness and arms of warlike knight;
And, allegoric as the rascals be,
They, for that reason, give the more delight.
(Young, lightly armed, in motley attire.) If one but looks into my eyes,
Straight let his jaws my clenched fist beware,
And if a coward from me flies,
Forthwith I seize him by the hair!
(Manly, well armed, in rich attire.) Such brawls are foolish, are invidious,
They forfeit what the occasion brings;
In taking only be assiduous;
Hereafter look to other things.
(In years, strongly armed, without attire.) Not much by such a course is won;
Through great possessions soon we run,
Borne by the stream of life away.
To take is good, ’tis better fast to hold;
Be still by the gray carle controll’d,
And none from thee takes aught away.
[They descend the mountain together.
On the Headland.
Drums and martial music from below. TheEmperor’stent is pitched.Emperor, General-in-Chief, Attendants.
Still duly weigh’d appears our course,
Back to this vale at hand that lies,
To lead when somewhat press’d our force;
Our choice of ground, I trust, is wise.
How it succeeds must soon be known,
Me this half flight, this yielding, grieves, I own.
On our right flank, my prince, now cast your eyes!
Such ground doth war’s ideal realize:
Not steep the hills, nor yet too easy to ascend,
The enemy ensnaring, while they ours befriend;
We, on the wavelike plain, are half conceal’d—
No cavalry durst venture on such field.
Save to commend naught now remains for me;
Here strength and courage can well tested be.
There, where the middle plain allures the sight,
Behold the phalanx, eager for the fight;
In the bright sunshine, gilded by its rays,
The lances glitter through the morning haze.
How darkly waves the mighty square below!
For bold emprise its thousands all aglow.
The mass’s strength thou thus canst comprehend;
To them I trust, the foemen’s strength to rend.
So fair a sight ne’er have I seen before:
Such host is worth its number, twice told o’er.
Of our left flank naught have I to relate.
Holding the stubborn cliffs, stout heroes wait;
Ablaze with arms, the rocky height ascends,
Which the close entrance to the pass defends.
Here, where the bloody onslaught none expect,
The hostile force will, I foresee, be wreck’d.
There march my lying kinsfolk, still who claim’d,
As me they uncle, cousin, brother, nam’d,
More and more license; till the sceptre’s strength,
Its honor from the throne, they stole at length;
The empire, through their feuds, distracted lies,
Now, leagu’d as rebels, they against me rise!
The many waver, sway’d from side to side;
Then headlong rush, borne onward by the tide.
A trusty man, abroad for tidings sent,
Hastes down the rocks; oh, happy be the event.
Self-seekers, caring for themselves alone,
To duty, honor, gratitude, are blind!
If full your measure, you ne’er call to mind,
Your neighbor’s house-fire may consume your own.
The second comes, descending heavily;
Tremble his limbs, a weary man is he.
As gain a rival emperor I hail;
That I am emperor, now first I feel!
But as a soldier did I don the mail;
For higher purpose now I’m clad in steel.
At every festival, how bright soe’er,
Though naught was wanting—danger fail’d me there.
When to the ring-sport at your call I went,
My heart beat high, I breath’d the tournament;
From war had ye not held me back, my name
For deeds heroic had been known to fame!
What self-reliance in my breast did reign,
When I stood mirror’d in the fire-domain;
The ruthless element press’d on elate,
’Twas but a show, and yet the show was great.
Fame, victory, my troubl’d dreams display’d—
I’ll now achieve, what basely I delay’d!
[Heralds are despatched to challenge the rival Emperor.
[Faustin armor, with half-closed visor. The three mighty ones, armed and clothed, as above.
We come, we hope uncensur’d—foresight here
May yet avail, though needless it appear.
Thoughtful, thou know’st, and wise the mountain-race,
Of rock and nature they the secrets trace;
Spirits, who long have left the level ground,
Are to their rocky heights more firmly bound:
Through labyrinthine clefts they labor, where
Rich fumes metallic fill the gaseous air;
Untir’d they separate, combine and test;
The hidden to make known is their sole quest;
With the light touch of spirit-might, they rear
Transparent figures, then in crystal clear
And its eternal silence, mirror’d true,
The doings of the upper world they view.
This I have heard, and think that it may be;
But, honest man, say: what is this to me?
The Norcian sorcerer, the Sabine, he
True, honorable servant is to thee;
What ghastly fate appall’d him, on the pyre!
Crackl’d the brushwood, rose the tongues of fire;
Dry fagots all around up-piled were seen,
Mingl’d with pitch, with brimstone-bars between,
Man’s, God’s, or devil’s aid had been in vain—
Your majesty then burst the fiery chain!
’Twas there, in Rome. Deeply to thee he’s bound,
And o’er thy path keeps watch with care profound;
Himself forgetting, from that moment he
Questions the stars, questions the depths for thee.
He bade us, at the swiftest, hither post,
To succor thee. Great powers the mountains boast:
There Nature works, omnipotently free—
The priest’s dull mind blames it as sorcery.
On festal day when guest on guest we greet,
Joyful themselves, who joyance come to meet,
Well pleas’d we see them enter, each and all,
And, man by man, contract the spacious hall;
Yet highest welcome is the brave man’s dower,
Who, as ally to aid us, comes with power,
When morning breaks, which doubtful issues wait,
While over it are pois’d the scales of Fate.
Nathless withhold awhile thy stalwart hand,
In this high moment, from the willing brand!
Honor the hour, when many thousands wend
To battle, for or ’gainst me to contend!
Man’s self is man! Who would be thron’d and crown’d,
Of the high honor must be worthy found.
Now may this phantom, that against us stands,
This self-styl’d emperor, ruler of our lands,
The army’s duke, lord of our feudal train,
By my own hand, be thrust to death’s domain!
Whate’er the need to end the glorious fight,
To peril thine own head cannot be right.
Is not the helm with crest and plumage deck’d?
The head, our zeal which fires, it doth protect.
Without the head what could the members do?
Let that but sleep, forthwith all slumber too;
If it be injur’d, all are straight unsound,
And all revive, if it with health be crown’d.
Promptly the arm its own strong right doth wield,
And to protect the skull uplifts the shield;
Its proper duty well the sword doth know,
Parries with strength, and then returns the blow;
The active foot shares in the common weal,
And on the slain foe’s neck doth plant the heel.
Such is mine anger: him I thus would treat,
Make his proud head a footstool for my feet!
What hath occurr’d doth with their wish accord,
Who firm and true for thee would draw the sword.
The foe approach; thy troops impatient stand;
The moment favors; straight the charge command!
To the command all claim I now resign.
To execute that duty, prince, be thine!
March then our right wing onward to the field!
The foemen’s left, who even now ascend,
Ere they complete their final step, shall yield
To their tried valor who the slope defend!
Permission grant that this blithe hero be
Enroll’d among thy ranks, immediately,
That with thy ranks incorporate, he may
Have for his powerful nature ample play.
[He points to the right.
(Steps forward.) His face to me who shows doth not escape,
Till both his jaws I’ve smash’d with sudden bang;
His back to me who turns, I strike his nape,—
Dangling adown his back, neck, head, and top-knot hang!
And if, with sword and club, thy men
Will strike, as on I rage before,
Man over man down-smitten, then
The foe shall welter in their gore!
Now let the centre phalanx follow slow,
And in full force with caution meet the foe!
Distress’d, they yield already on the right,
Their plan, by our attack, is shatter’d quite.
(Pointing to the middle one.) Let this one also thy command obey.
(Steps forward.) Unto the host’s heroic pride,
Shall thirst for booty be alli’d;
Upon this goal be all intent;
The rival emperor’s sumptuous tent.
Not long upon his throne he’ll boast indeed!
Myself to battle will this phalanx lead.
(Fawning upon him.) Although his wife I may not be,
A sweetheart dear is he to me.
For us what harvest now is ripe!
Woman is fierce when she doth gripe,
Is ruthless when she robs; press on,
All is allow’d—when we have won.
Upon our left, as was to be expected,
With furious charge, their right is now directed.
The defile’s rocky path they hope to gain;
To thwart their purpose man for man must strain.
(Beckons to the left.) Sire, I entreat, look also on this one;
If strength be stronger made, no harm is done.
(Steps forward.) For the left wing dismiss all care!
For where I am, safe is possession there:
Herein doth age approve itself, we’re told;
No lightning rendeth, what I hold!
(Coming down from above.)
Now to the background turn your gaze;
Forth from the jagg’d and rocky ways,
See how the armed warriors pour,
The narrow paths to straiten more,
With helm, shield, harness, sword and spear,
A wall they’re forming in our rear,
Waiting the sign to strike the blow.
(Aside, to the knowing ones.)
From whence they come, ask not to know.
No time I lost; where I appear’d.
The armor-halls around were clear’d,
Footmen and horsemen, stood they there,
As if yet lords of earth they were;
Knight, emperor, king, they were of yore,
Now are they empty snail-shells, nothing more,—
Full many a ghost, thus arm’d for strife,
The middle ages have brought back to life;
What devilkin therein may lurk,
For this time it may do its work.
Hark, in their anger, how they clatter,
And like tin plates, each other batter;
Torn banners too, flapping aloft one sees,
That wait impatiently to catch the breeze.
Reflect, an ancient race stands ready there,
And in this modern combat fain would share.
[Terrible flourish of trumpets from above; perceptible wavering in the hostile army.
Now dark the whole horizon shows,
Yet here and there presageful glows
A ruddy and portentous ray;
The weapons gleam, distain’d with blood;
The atmosphere, the rock, the wood,
The heavens, mingle in the fray.
Firmly the right flank holds its ground;
Among them towering there I see
Stout Hans, the nimble giant, he
His wonted strokes now deals around.
First on one lifted arm I gaz’d,
A dozen now I see uprais’d:
Not nature’s laws are working here!
Of mist-wreaths hast not heard, above
The coast of Sicily that rove?
There hovering in daylight clear,
Uplifted in the middle air,
Mirror’d in exhalations rare,
A wondrous show the vision takes.
There cities waver to and fro,
There gardens rise, now high, now low,
As form on form through ether breaks.
It looks suspicious! For I there
See all the lofty spear-tops glare;
And through our phalanx, on each lance
I see a nimble flamelet dance:
Too spectral seems to me the sight!
Pardon, my lord! The traces they
Of spirit-natures pass’d away,
A reflex of the mighty Pair,
By whom were sailors wont to swear:
Here they collect their final might.
To whom are we beholden, say,
That nature, for our weal to-day,
Her rarest powers should here unite?
To whom save him, that master high,
Thy fate who bears within his breast?
The strong threat of thine enemy
His soul hath stirr’d to deep unrest.
His gratitude will see thee sav’d,
Though death in the attempt he brav’d.
They cheer’d, with pomp around my march they press’d;
I now was something: That I fain would test,
So, without thought, it pleas’d me, then and there,
To grant to that white beard the cooling air.
Thus of the clergy I the sport have cross’d,
And have, in sooth, thereby their favor lost;
Now shall I, when so many years are pass’d,
Of that glad deed the fruitage reap at last?
Rich interest bears the generous deed.
Now heavenward be thy glance directed:
An omen he will send; give heed!
Straight it appears—as I expected.
An eagle hovers in the heavenly height;
A griffin, with wild threats, attends his flight.
Give heed! Auspicious seems the sign.
Your griffin is of fabl’d line;
How, self-forgetting, can he dare
Himself with genuine eagle to compare!
Forthwith, in widespread circles wending,
Around they wheel; now, through the sky,
Impetuous, they together fly,
Each other’s throat and plumage rending.
Mark how the sorry griffin, torn
And ruffl’d sore, his flight now steereth,
With drooping lion-tail, forlorn,
And ’mid the tree-tops disappeareth.
So be it, e’en as these portend!
With wonder fill’d, I wait the end.
(Towards the right.) Press’d by our onslaught, oft-repeated,
Our foes must yield, well nigh defeated,
Yet, waging still a dubious fight,
Onward they press toward their right,
And thus embarrass in the fray
The left flank of their chief array.
Our phalanx its firm point doth bring,
Like lightning ’gainst their dexter wing,
The foe, where weakest, they engage.
Now, as when storm-vex’d billows rage,
Wildly contend, with equal might,
Both armies in the double fight.
More glorious deed was never done,
Ours is the field, the victory’s won!
(On the left side, toFaust.)
Suspicious yonder it doth seem;
Our station hazardous I deem,
No stones they hurl against the foe,
Scal’d are the lower rocks, and lo!
Deserted those above appear;
The foe,—in solid mass, draw near;
With might and main still pressing on,
Perchance the passage they have won:
Of skill unholy such the end!
Your arts to futile issues tend!
Hither, my ravens twain are winging!
For us what message are they bringing?
We are, I fear, in evil plight.
What want these birds, mischance portending?
They come their swarthy sails extending,
Straight from the hot and rocky fight.
(To the ravens.) Close to mine ears now take your post.
Whom you protect, is never lost;
For shrewd your counsel is and right.
(To the Emperor.) Of pigeons thou hast heard, returning
Homeward, for nest and fledglings yearning,
Steering their flight from far-off lands.
But here a difference obtaineth:
Pigeons suffice while peace still reigneth,
But war the raven-post demands.
The message tells of sore distresses.
See yonder how the tumult presses
Our heroes’ rocky wall around!
The nearest heights are now ascended,
Win they the pass by ours defended,
In sorry plight we should be found.
So I deluded am at last!
Around me you have drawn your net;
I’ve shudder’d, since it held me fast!
Take courage! Naught is lost as yet;
Patience unties the hardest knot!
Still sharpest is the final stand.
My trusty messengers I’ve got;
Command me, that I may command.
(Who meanwhile has arrived.) With these thou hast thyself alli’d,
I long have griev’d to see them at thy side;
No stable good doth conjuring earn.
To change the battle now I can’t pretend;
They have begun it, they may end!
My staff I unto thee return.
It for some better hour retain,
Which Fate for us may have in store.
This fellow and his ravens twain,
His horrid comrades, I abhor!
The staff I can’t on thee bestow,
Thou seemest not the proper man;
Command, and save us from the foe!
Then happen may what happen can.
[Exit into the tent with theGeneral-in-Chief.
Him may the stupid staff defend!
To us small profit would it lend;
There was a kind of cross thereon.
What is to do?
Why, all is done!
Now haste, my cousins, swart and fleet,
To the great mountain lake; the Undines greet,
And for a seeming flood, entreat them fair!
The actual they indeed, through female art,
Hard to conceive, from semblance know to part;
That it the actual is, then each will swear.
The water-maidens must our raven-pair
Rightly have flatter’d and with cunning rare:
Yonder it drops already; see
From many a bare rock’s barren side,
Gushes the full, swift-flowing tide—
’Tis over with their victory.
Strange greeting give the rushing streams—
Perplex’d the boldest climber seems.
Already downward brook to brook is sweeping,
Doubl’d from many a gorge again they’re leaping;
A stately water-arch one stream doth throw;
Now o’er the rock’s broad level smoothly gliding,
Anon, with flash and roar, again dividing,
It plunges stepwise to the vale below.
To stem the flood what boots their brave endeavor?
Them from the mighty flood may none deliver.
Before the tumult wild myself must quail!
Nothing I see of all these watery lies;
They bring illusion but to human eyes;
With joy the wondrous change I hail.
Headlong the masses pour, a shining throng;
The fools imagine they will soon be drown’d,
And while they snort upon the solid ground,
Like swimmers laughably they move along.
Now reigns confusion all around.
[The ravens return.
To the high master you I will commend.
Yourselves, would ye as masters prove—attend;
Straight to the glowing smithy fare,
To the dwarf-folk, who tireless there
Strike sparks from metal and from stone—
With them, while chattering, desire
A shining, dazzling, bursting fire,
As to man’s highest fancy shown.
True, lightning-flashes gleaming from afar,
And, swift as vision, fall of loftiest star,
May happen every summer night;
But flashes amid tangl’d bushes found,
And stars that hiss upon the humid ground—
These are in sooth, no common sight:
So must ye, without much annoy,
Entreaties first, and then commands, employ.
[Exeunt the ravens. All happens as prescribed.
Thick darkness o’er the foe is spreading!
They in uncertainty are treading!
Deluding flashes everywhere;
Then blindness, from the sudden glare!—
All that has wondrously succeeded;
But now some terror-sound is needed.
The hollow weapons from the armories,
Feel themselves stronger in the open breeze;
They rattle there above, and clatter on—
A wonderful discordant tone.
Quite right. They can be rein’d no more;
As in the gracious times of yore,
The sound of knightly blows is rife;
Armlets and leg-protecting gear,
As Guelphs and Ghibellines appear,
Swift to renew the eternal strife:
Firm in transmitted hate, they close,
While far and wide resound their blows,
The rancor ending but with life.
At last, in every devil’s fête
Most potently works party hate,
Till the last horror closes all;
Discordant sounds of rout and panic,
Between whiles, piercing, shrill, Satanic,
Through the wide valley rise and fall.
[War tumult in the Orchestra, passing at last into cheerful military music.
The Rival Emperor’s Tent. Throne, Rich Surroundings.
So here the first we are, I see!
No raven flies so fast as we.
What treasure-heaps lie here and there!
Where to begin? To finish, where?
So full the space, I’m hard to please:
I know not what I first should seize!
This carpet is the thing for me,
My bed is apt too hard to be.
Here a steel club is hanging, such,
Long, as mine own, I’ve wish’d to clutch.
The mantle red, with golden seams—
I’ve seen its fellow in my dreams.
(Taking the weapon.)
With this full soon the work is done:
One strikes him dead, and passes on.
Much hast thou pack’d, yet, for thy pains,
Nothing of worth thy sack contains:
This plunder in its place may rest.
One among many, take this chest!
The host’s appointed pay they hold;
Within its belly is pure gold.
A murderous weight is this! I may
Nor lift, nor carry it away.
Duck quickly! Thou must bend! I’ll pack
The booty on thy stalwart back.
Alack! alack! ’Tis all in vain!
The load will break my back in twain.
[The chest falls, and springs open.
There lies of ruddy gold a heap;
Be quick, the prize away to sweep!
(Stoops down.) Now fling it in my lap with speed!
There’s plenty to supply our need.
Now there’s enough! Away then, pack!
The apron has a hole, alack!
Where thou dost stand, and where dost go,
The treasure lavishly dost sow.
(Of our Emperor.) Sacred this place! What do ye here?
Why pillage thus the Emperor’s gear?
Cheaply we sold our limbs, I trow!
Our share of spoil we gather now,
In hostile tents, the victors’ due;
And we—why we are soldiers too.
It suits not in our ranks to be
Soldier at once and thief. For he
To serve our Emperor who would claim,
Must bear an honest soldier’s name!
Such honesty we know, by you
’Tis Contribution styl’d! Ye, too,
Upon the self-same footing live:
The password of your trade is—Give!
Off with thy prey, right speedily!
For here no welcome guests are we.
Say, wherefore didst thou not bestow
Upon the rascal’s cheek a blow?
I know not; me my strength forsook;
So phantom-like to me their look!
Something there came to mar my sight.
It glimmer’d—I saw naught aright.
In sooth, I know not what to say.
So hot it was the livelong day!
Fearful, oppressive, close, as well;
While one man stood, another fell;
We grop’d, still striking at the foe;
Opponents fell at every blow—
Floated before our eyes a mist;
Then in our ear it buzz’d, humm’d, hiss’d.
So on it went—now are we here;
The manner of it is not clear!
[Enter theEmperor,with four Princes. TheHalberdiersretire.
Be with him as it may, the day is ours. Sore-batter’d,
Over the level plain the foe in flight are scatter’d.
Here stands the vacant throne; with tapestry hung round,
The traitor’s treasure too narrows the tented ground.
By our own guards defended, we wait with exultation,
And with imperial pomp, the envoys of each nation.
Here from all sides arrive glad tidings hour by hour:
The realm is pacified, and gladly owns our power.
Though in our fight perchance some magic arts were wrought,
Yet at the last, ourselves—we, only we, have fought.
To combatants, in sooth, chance still may work for good—
From Heaven falls a stone, on foemen it rains blood;
Strange sounds of wondrous power from rocky caves may flow,
Which lift our courage high, and strike with fear the foe.
Object of lasting scorn, prostrate the vanquish’d lies,
While to the favoring God the victor’s praises rise;
All blend with him, nor need that he should give the word—
“We praise Thee, Lord our God!” from million throats is heard.
Yet as the highest praise, my own breast I’ll explore,
Searching with pious glance, which rarely happ’d before.
A young and joyous prince, of time may waste the dower:
Him years will teach, at last, th’ importance of the hour.
Hence to ally myself with you, most worthy four,
For house, and court, and realm, will I delay no more.
Thine was, O Prince, the wise arrangement of the host,
And in the crisis thou heroic skill could’st boast;
Therefore work thou as may with times of peace accord.
Arch-Marshal name I thee; to thee I give the sword.
Thy host, within the realm till now employ’d alone,
Shall on the border guard thy person and thy throne.
Then be it ours, when crowds make glad on festive day
Thy large ancestral hall, thy banquet to array.
I’ll hold it at thy side, or bear it thee before,
Of highest majesty the escort evermore.
(To theSecond.) With valor who, like thee, doth courtesy unite,
Arch-Chamberlain shall be. The duties are not light.
Of all the house-retainers chief art thou; them I find
But sorry servants, still to household strife inclin’d:
In honor held, may they, from thy example, see
How they to prince, to court, to all, may gracious be.
The master’s lofty thought to further, bringeth grace:
Ever to aid the good, nor injure e’en the base,
Frank, without guile to be, and calm without disguise,
That thou should’st know me, Sire, this boon alone I prize.
Dare fancy to that feast press on with pinions bold—
Thou goest to the board, I reach the ewer of gold,
Thy rings I take, that while joy reigneth and delight,
Thy hand may be refresh’d, while gladdens me thy light.
Too earnest feel I now to think of joyous fest;
Yet be it so—a glad commencement still is best!
Arch-Steward thee I choose. Therefore henceforth to thee
The chase, the poultry-yard, the farm shall subject be.
Choice of my favorite dishes still for me prepare,
As them the month brings round, and dress’d with proper care.
Strict fasting be for me the duty that I boast,
Until before thee plac’d the dish to please thee most:
The kitchen-service shall with me co-operate,
The far to bring anear, seasons to ante-date.
Thee charm not viands rare, wherewith thy board is grac’d;
Simple and racy food, thereto inclines thy taste.
(To theFourth.) Since festivals perforce alone engage us now,
To Cupbearer transform’d, young hero, straight be thou!
Arch-Cupbearer, henceforth the duty shall be thine
To see our cellars stor’d richly with generous wine.
Be temperate thyself; be not misled through mirth,
Howe’er allurements tempt, to which the hour gives birth!
Your highness, youth itself, if trust therein be shown,
Stands, ere one looks around, to man’s full stature grown.
Myself I too transport to that great festive day:
The imperial sideboard then right nobly I’ll array;
Of gold and silver there shall splendid vessels shine,
Yet first the loveliest cup will I select as thine—
A clear Venetian glass, wherein joy lurking waits:
The flavor it improves, yet ne’er inebriates.
In such a wondrous cup too great our trust may be;
Thy moderation, Sire, still more protecteth thee.
What, in this solemn hour, I have conferr’d on you,
Receive with confidence, from valid lips and true;
Great is the Emperor’s word, and every gift makes sure,
For confirmation yet there needs his signature.
This duty to prepare, and royal writ thereto,
The fitting man appears, at the fit moment too.
If to the keystone trusts its weight the vaulted arch,
Securely built it then defies time’s onward march.
Thou seest four princes here. E’en now we have decided
How governance shall be for house and court provided.
What the whole realm concerns, be that with weight and power,
To you, ye princes five, entrusted from this hour.
In landed wealth ye shall all others far excel;
Hence, with their heritage who from our standard fell,
The bounds of your possessions I forthwith expand:
Ye faithful ones, be yours full many a goodly land,
Also the lofty right, should time the occasion send,
Through purchase, chance, exchange, their limits to extend;
To practise undisturb’d, this is secur’d to you,
What sovereign rights soe’er, as landlords, are your due;
As judges, be it yours to speak the final doom,—
From your high stations none will to appeal presume.
Then tribute, tax, and tithe, safe-conduct, toll, and fee,
Mine-salt, and coinage-dues, your property shall be.
That thus my gratitude may validly be shown,
In rank I you have rais’d next the Imperial throne.
In name of all be given our deepest thanks to thee!
Us mak’st thou strong and firm,—thy power shall strengthen’d be.
Yet higher dignities I to you five will give.
Still live I for my realm, and still rejoice to live;
Nathless of my great sires the chain withdraws my gaze,
From keen endeavor back, the coming doom to face:
I also, in His time, must bid my friends adieu;
The emperor to name shall then belong to you.
On the high altar rais’d, crown ye his sacred brow,
And peacefully shall end, what stormful was e’en now!
With pride in their deep breasts, with lowly gestures, stand
Princes, before thee bow’d, the foremost of the land.
So long as in our veins the faithful current plays,
The body we, which still thy lightest impulse sways!
And, to conclude, what we to-day have done, made sure,
Shall be henceforth for aye, by writ and signature;
Ye hold indeed as lords, possession, full and free,
Yet on these terms—that it partition’d ne’er shall be,
And howsoe’er increas’d, what ye from us receive
Ye to your eldest son shall undivided leave.
For our weal and the realm’s, to parchment will I straight,
With joyful mind, confide a statute of such weight;
The Chancery shall seal and document procure,
Then shall confirm it, Sire, thy sacred signature!
And so I you dismiss, that on this glorious day,
In solemn conclave met, deliberate ye may.
[The temporal lords retire. TheArchbishopremains, and speaks in a pathetic tone.
The chancellor is gone; the bishop doth remain,
His father’s heart for thee trembles with anxious pain:
Him a deep warning soul impels thine ear to seek.
What in this joyous hour is thy misgiving? Speak!
With what a bitter pang find I, in such an hour,
Thy consecrated head in league with Satan’s power!
Confirm’d upon thy throne, as it appeareth,—true;
But in despite of God, and Father Pontiff too!
Hearing of this, forthwith, will he pronounce thy doom;
With sacred fire thy realm, accurs’d, will he consume;
For he forgets not how, the day when thou wast crown’d,
E’en at that hour supreme, the sorcerer hast unbound;
To Christendom’s foul shame, on that accursed head,
From out thy diadem, mercy’s first beam was shed.
Now smite upon thy breast, and from thy guilty prey
Back to our holy church some little share repay.
The broad hill-space whereon thy tent did lately stand,
Where, thee to aid, themselves did evil spirits band,
There, where the Prince of Lies did late thine ears abuse,
Taught piously, that spot devote to pious use,—
With mountains and thick wood, so far as they extend,
With verdant slopes which yield rich pasture, without end;
Clear lakes, alive with fish, unnumber’d brooks that flow,
With swift and snakelike course, down to the vale below;
Then the broad vale itself, with meadow, hollow, plain—
Let thy repentance speak, and mercy thou’lt obtain!
For this, my grievous fault, terror so fills my mind,
By thine own measure be the bounds by thee assign’d.
First shall the space defil’d, by sin so desecrated,
To service of the Highest straight be consecrated!
Swift, to the spirit-eye, the massive walls aspire,
The morning sun’s first beam already gilds the choir;
Crosswise the structure grows, the nave, in length and height
Expanding, straightway fills believers with delight.
Through the wide portal now, they throng with ardent zeal,
While over hill and vale resounds the bells’ first peal—
From lofty towers they ring, which heavenward strive amain,
The penitent draws near, there to be born again.
On consecration day—that day soon may we see!—
The highest ornament shall then thy presence be.
And be my pious wish, through work so great made known,
The Lord our God to praise, and for my sin atone!
Enough! Already rais’d my spirit now I feel.
As chancellor, I claim both covenant and seal.
A deed which to the church shall all these rights secure—
Bring it, I will with joy affix my signature.
(Takes leave, but turns back again at the door.) Thou, as the work proceeds, to it must dedicate
The land’s collective dues—tribute, and tithe, and rate—
Forever. Ample wealth for due support we need,
And careful governance still heavy costs doth breed.
For swift erection too, on spot so waste, some gold,
From thy rich plunder, thou from us wilt not withhold.
Moreover, we shall want—this I cannot disguise—
Timber, and lime, and slate, and such far-off supplies;
Taught from the pulpit, these the willing people bears:
The church still blesses him, who for her service cares.
Heavy and sore the sin whose burden I bewail!
Those odious sorcerers have wrought me grievous bale!
(Returning once more with profound obeisance.) Pardon, O Sire, thou hast to that unworthy man
The realm’s seashore convey’d; yet him shall smite the ban,
Unless with tithe and dues, with rent and taxes, thou,
Repentant, also there our holy church endow.
(With ill-humor.) The land is not yet there; broad in the sea it lies.
For him the time will come who potent is and wise.
For us still may your word in its full powers remain.
(Alone.) So may I sign away the realm o’er which I reign!
(A very aged woman.)
[The husband steps forth.
[He walks forward upon the downs.
[He follows the wanderer. Standing beside him.
In the Garden. The Three at Table.
(To the stranger.) Art thou dumb? No morsel raising
To thy famish’d lips?
He of wonders so amazing
Fain would hear; inform him thou.
There was wrought a wonder truly,
Yet no rest it leaves to me;
Naught in the affair was duly
Done, as honest things should be!
Who as sinful can pronounce it?
’Twas the emperor gave the shore;—
Did the trumpet not announce it
As the herald pass’d our door?
Footing firm they first have planted
Near these downs. Tents, huts, appear’d;
O’er the green, the eye, enchanted,
Saw ere long a palace rear’d.
Shovel, axe, no labor sparing,
Vainly pli’d the men by day;
Where the fires at night shone flaring,
Stood a dam, in morning’s ray.
Still from human victims bleeding,
Wailing sounds were nightly borne;
Seaward sped the flames, receding;
A canal appear’d at morn!
Godless is he, naught respecting;
Covets he our grove, our cot;
Though our neighbor, us subjecting,
Him to serve will be our lot.
Yet he bids, our claims adjusting,
Homestead fair in his new land.
Earth, from water sav’d, mistrusting,
On thine own height take thy stand.
Let us, to the chapel wending,
Watch the sun’s last rays subside;
Let us ring, and prayerful bending,
In our fathers’ God confide!
[Spacious ornamental garden; broad, straight canal.Faustin extreme old age, walking about, meditating.
(Through a speaking-trumpet.) The sun sinks down, the ships belated
Rejoicing to the haven steer.
A stately galley, deeply freighted,
On the canal, now draweth near;
Her chequer’d flag the breeze caresses,
The masts unbending bear the sails;
Thee now the grateful seaman blesses,
Thee at this moment Fortune hails.
[The bell rings on the downs.
(Starting.) Accursed bell! Its clamor sending,
Like spiteful shot it wounds mine ear!
Before me lies my realm unending;
Vexation dogs me in the rear;
For I, these envious chimes still hearing,
Must at my narrow bounds repine;
The linden grove, brown hut thence peering,
The moldering church, these are not mine.
Refreshment seek I, there repairing?
Another’s shadow chills my heart,
A thorn, nor foot nor vision sparing,—
O far from hence could I depart!
(As above.) How, wafted by the evening gales,
Blithely the painted galley sails;
On its swift course, how richly stor’d!
Chest, coffer, sack, are heap’d aboard.
A Splendid Galley.
Richly and brilliantly laden with the produce of foreign climes.
Mephistopheles. The Three Mighty Comrades.
[They disembark. The goods are taken ashore.Mephis. So have we prov’d our worth—content
If we our patron’s praises earn:
With but two ships abroad we went,
With twenty we to port return.
By our rich lading all may see
The great successes we have wrought.
Free ocean makes the spirit free:
There claims compunction ne’er a thought!
A rapid grip there needs alone;
A fish, a ship, on both we seize.
Of three if we the lordship own,
Straightway we hook a fourth with ease,
Then is the fifth in sorry plight—
Who hath the power, has still the right;
The What is ask’d for, not the How.
Else know I not the seaman’s art:
War, commerce, piracy, I trow,
A trinity, we may not part.
The Three Mighty Comrades.
The Three Mighty Comrades.
[The cargo is removed.
(ToFaust.) With gloomy look, with earnest brow
Thy fortune high receivest thou.
Thy lofty wisdom has been crown’d;
Their limits shore and sea have found;
Forth from the shore, in swift career,
O’er the glad waves, thy vessels steer;
Speak only from thy pride of place,
Thine arm the whole world doth embrace.
Here it began; on this spot stood
The first rude cabin form’d of wood;
A little ditch was sunk of yore
Where plashes now the busy oar.
Thy lofty thought, thy people’s hand,
Have won the prize from sea and land.
From here too—
That accursed here!
It weighs upon me! Lend thine ear;—
To thine experience I must tell,
With thrust on thrust, what wounds my heart;
To bear it is impossible—
Nor can I, without shame, impart:
The old folk there above must yield;
Would that my seat those lindens were;
Those few trees not mine own, that field,
Possession of the world impair.
There I, wide view o’er all to take,
From bough to bough would scaffolds raise;
Would, for the prospect, vistas make,
On all that I have done to gaze;
To see at once before me brought
The masterwork of human thought,
Where wisdom hath achiev’d the plan,
And won broad dwelling-place for man.—
Thus are we tortur’d;—in our weal,
That which we lack, we sorely feel!
The chime, the scent of linden bloom,
Surround me like a vaulted tomb.
The will that nothing could withstand,
Is broken here upon the sand:
How from the vexing thought be safe?
The bell is pealing, and I chafe!
Such spiteful chance, ’tis natural,
Must thy existence fill with gall.
Who doubts it! To each noble ear,
This clanging odious must appear;
This cursed ding-dong, booming loud,
The cheerful evening sky doth shroud;
With each event of life it blends,
From birth to burial it attends,
Until this mortal life doth seem,
Twixt ding and dong, a vanish’d dream!
Resistance, stubborn selfishness,
Can trouble lordliest success,
Till, in deep angry pain one must
Grow tired at last of being first!
Why let thyself be troubl’d here?
Is colonizing not thy sphere?
Then go, to move them be thy care!
Thou knowest well the homestead fair,
I’ve chosen for the aged pair—
We’ll bear them off, and on new ground
Set them, ere one can look around.
The violence outliv’d and past,
Shall a fair home atone at last.
[He whistles shrilly.
Come! straight fulfil the lord’s behest;
The fleet to-morrow he will feast.
The old lord us did ill requite;
A sumptuous feast is ours by right.
(To the spectators.) What happ’d of old, here happens too:
Still Naboth’s vineyard meets the view.
[1 Kings xvi.
(On the watch-tower, singing.) Keen vision my birth-dower,
[Long pause. Song.
(On the balcony, towards the downs.)
From above what plaintive whimper?
Word and tone are here too late!
Wails my warder; me, in spirit
Grieves this deed precipitate!
Though in ruin unexpected
Charr’d now lie the lindens old,
Soon a height will be erected,
Whence the boundless to behold.
I the home shall see, enfolding
In its walls, that ancient pair,
Who, my gracious care beholding,
Shall their lives end joyful there.
Hither we come full speed. We crave
Your pardon! Things have not gone right!
Full many a knock and kick we gave,
They open’d not, in our despite;
Then rattl’d we and kick’d the more,
And prostrate lay the rotten door;
We call’d aloud with threat severe,
Yet sooth we found no listening ear.
And as in such case still befalls,
They heard not, would not hear our calls;
Forthwith thy mandate we obey’d,
And straight for thee a clearance made.
The pair—their sufferings were light,
Fainting they sank, and died of fright.
A stranger, harbor’d there, made show
Of force, full soon was he laid low;
In the brief space of this wild fray,
From coals, that strewn around us lay,
The straw caught fire; ’tis blazing free,
As funeral death-pyre for the three.
To my commandments deaf were ye!
Exchange I wish’d, not robbery.
For this your wild and ruthless part;—
I curse it! Share it and depart!
The ancient saw still rings to-day:
Force with a willing mind obey;
If boldly thou canst stand the test,
Stake house, court, life, and all the rest!
The stars their glance and radiance veil;
Smoulders the sinking fire, a gale
Fans it with moisture-laden wings,
Vapor to me and smoke it brings.
Rash mandate—rashly too obey’d!—
What hither sweeps like spectral shade?
Midnight.Four gray women enter.
My name, it is Want.
And mine, it is Blame.
My name, it is Care.
Need, that is my name.
(Together.) The door is fastbolted, we cannot get in;
The owner is wealthy, we may not within.
There fade I to shadow.
There cease I to be.
His visage the pamper’d still turneth from me.
Ye sisters, ye cannot, ye dare not go in;
But Care through the keyhole an entrance may win.
Sisters, gray sisters, away let us glide!
I bind myself to thee, quite close to thy side.
And Need at your heels doth with yours blend her breath.*
Fast gather the clouds, they eclipse star on star.
Behind there, behind, from afar, from afar,
There comes he, our brother, there cometh he—Death.
(In the palace.) Four saw I come, but only three went hence.
Of their discourse I could not catch the sense;
There fell upon mine ear a sound like breath,
Thereon a gloomy rhyme-word follow’d—Death;
Hollow the sound, with spectral horror fraught!
Not yet have I, in sooth, my freedom wrought;
Could I my pathway but from magic free,
And quite unlearn the spells of sorcery,
Stood I, oh, nature, man alone ’fore thee,
Then were it worth the trouble man to be!
Such was I once, ere I in darkness sought,
And curses dire, through words with error fraught,
Upon myself and on the world have brought;
So teems the air with falsehood’s juggling brood,
That no one knows how them he may elude!
If but one day shines clear, in reason’s light—
In spectral dream envelops us the night;
From the fresh fields, as homeward we advance—
There croaks a bird: what croaks he? some mischance!
Ensnar’d by superstition, soon and late;
As sign and portent, it on us doth wait—
By fear unmann’d, we take our stand alone;
The portal creaks, and no one enters,—none.
Is some one here?
The question prompteth, yes!
What art thou then?
Here, once for all, am I.
My proper place is this.
(First angry, then appeased. Aside.) Take heed, and speak no word of sorcery.
I have but hurried through the world, I own.
I by the hair each pleasure seiz’d;
Relinquish’d what no longer pleas’d,
That which escap’d me I let go,
I’ve crav’d, accomplish’d, and then crav’d again;
Thus through my life I’ve storm’d—with might and main,
Grandly, with power, at first; but now, indeed,
It goes more cautiously, with wiser heed.
I know enough of earth, enough of men;
The view beyond is barr’d from mortal ken;
Fool, who would yonder peer with blinking eyes,
And of his fellows dream above the skies!
Firm let him stand, the prospect round him scan,
Not mute the world to the true-hearted man.
Why need he wander through eternity?
What he can grasp, that only knoweth he.
So let him roam adown earth’s fleeting day;
If spirits haunt, let him pursue his way;
In joy or torment ever onward stride,
Though every moment still unsatisfied!
Forbear! Thou shalt not come near me!
I will not hear such folly. Hence!
Avaunt! This evil litany
The wisest even might bereave of sense.
Unblessed spectres! Ye mankind have so
Treated a thousand times, their thoughts deranging;
E’en uneventful days to mar ye know,
Into a tangl’d web of torment changing!
’Tis hard, I know, from demons to get free,
The mighty spirit-bond by force untying;
Yet Care, I never will acknowledge thee,
Thy strong increeping, potency defying.
[She breathes on him.
(Blind.) Deeper and deeper night is round me sinking;
Only within me shines a radiant light.
I haste to realize, in act, my thinking;
The master’s word, that only giveth might.
Up, vassals, from your couch! my project bold,
Grandly completed, now let all behold!
Seize ye your tools; your spades, your shovels ply;
The work laid down, accomplish instantly!
Strict rule, swift diligence,—these twain
The richest recompense obtain.
Completion of the greatest work demands
One guiding spirit for a thousand hands.
Great Fore-Court of the Palace.
(An overseer leading the way.)
No artist-toil we need to-day;
Sufficeth your own measure here:
At his full length the tallest let him lay!
Ye others round him straight the turf uprear;
As for our sires was done of yore,
An oblong square delve ye once more.
Out of the palace to the narrow home—
So at the last the sorry end must come!
(Digging, with mocking gestures.)
(Comes forth from the palace, groping his way by the door-posts.)
How doth the clang of spades delight my soul!
For me my vassals toil, the while
Earth with itself they reconcile,
The waves within their bounds control,
And gird the sea with steadfast zone—
(Aside.) And yet for us dost work alone,
While thou for dam and bulwark carest;
Since thus for Neptune thou prepares,
The water-fiend, a mighty fête;
Before thee naught but ruin lies;
The elements are our allies;
Onward destruction strides elate.
As many as you may,
Bring crowds on crowds to labor here;
Them by reward and rigor cheer;
Persuade, entice, give ample pay!
Each day be tidings brought me at what rate
The moat extends which here we excavate.
(Half aloud.) They speak, as if to me they gave
Report, not of a moat—but of a grave.*
A marsh along the mountain chain
Infecteth what’s already won;
Also the noisome pool to drain—
My last best triumph then were won:
To many millions space I thus should give,
Though not secure, yet free to toil and live;
Green fields and fertile; men, with cattle blent,
Upon the newest earth would dwell content,
Settled forthwith upon the firm-bas’d hill,
Uplifted by a valiant people’s skill;
Within, a land like Paradise; outside,
E’en to the brink, roars the impetuous tide,
And as it gnaws, striving to enter there,
All haste, combin’d, the damage to repair.
Yea, to this thought I cling, with virtue rife,
Wisdom’s last fruit, profoundly true:
Freedom alone he earns as well as life,
Who day by day must conquer them anew.
So girt by danger, childhood bravely here,
Youth, manhood, age, shall dwell from year to year;
Such busy crowds I fain would see,
Upon free soil stand with a people free;
Then to the moment might I say:
Linger awhile, so fair thou art!
Nor can the traces of my earthly day
Through ages from the world depart!
In the presentiment of such high bliss,
The highest moment I enjoy—’tis this.
[Faustsinks back, theLemureslay hold of him and lay him upon the ground.
Him could no pleasure sate, no joys appease,
So woo’d he ever changeful phantasies;
The last worst empty moment to retain,
E’en to the last, the sorry wretch was fain.
Me who so stoutly did withstand—
Time conquers,—lies the old man on the sand!
The clock stands still—
Stands still, no sound is heard;
The index falls—
It falls, ’tis finish’d now.
Yes, it is past!
Past, ’tis a stupid word.
Past and pure nothingness are one, I trow.
Of what avail creation’s ceaseless play?
Created things forthwith to sweep away?
“There, now ’tis past.”—’Tis past, what may it mean?
It is as good as if it ne’er had been,
And yet as if it Being did possess,
Still in a circle it doth ceaseless press:
I should prefer the Eternal—Emptiness.
(Solo.) Who hath the house so badly built,
With shovel and with spade?
(In chorus.) For thee, sad guest, in hempen vest,
’Tis all too deftly made.
(Solo.) Who furnish’d hath so ill the place?
Chair, table, where are they?
(In chorus.) Short was the let; there came apace
New claimants, day by day.
There lies the body, would the spirit flee,
I’d show him speedily the blood-sign’d scroll—
Yet they’ve so many methods, woe is me,
To cheat the devil now of many a soul!
On the old way one is not sure;
Upon the new we’re not commended;
Else had I done it unattended;
Assistants must I now procure.
In all things we’re in evil plight!
Transmitted usage, ancient right—
In these the time for confidence is past.
With the last breath once sped the soul away;
And like the nimblest mouse, I watch’d my prey;
Snap! Lock’d within my claws I held it fast;
Now she delays, nor will the dismal cell,
The loathsome body, leave, though reft of life,
The elements, in ceaseless strife,
Her, in the end, disgracefully expel.
For days and hours I’ve plagu’d myself ere now;—
Abides the sorry question;—when? where? how?
Old death has lost his power, once swift and strong;
If dead or no? in doubt we tarry long;
On rigid members oft I’ve lustful gaz’d;
’Twas but a feint, it stirr’d, once more itself uprais’d!
[Fantastic gestures of conjuration.
Come swiftly on! Double your speed; no pause!
Lords of the straight, lords of the crooked horn!
Chips of the ancient block, true devils born,
Hither bring ye forthwith Hell’s murky jaws.
Hell, to be sure, full many jaws may claim;
Which gape as rank enjoins, and dignity;
But we however in this final game,
Not so particular henceforth will be.
[The ghastly jaws of Hell open on the left.
Clatter the corner-teeth; the fire-stream whirling,
The vault’s abyss doth overflow,
And through the background-smoke upcurling
The town of flame I see in endless glow;
Up to the very teeth the ruddy billow dashes;
The damn’d, salvation hoping, swim amain,
Them in his jaws the huge hyena crashes,
Then they retrace their path of fiery pain.
In nooks fresh horrors lurk to scare the sight,
In narrowest space supremest agony:
Full well ye do, thus sinners to affright,
They hold it but for dream, deceit and lie.
(To the stout devils, with short straight horns.)
Now, paunchy slaves, with cheeks that hotly burn,
On hellish brimstone richly fed, ye glow,
Clumsy and short, with necks that never turn—
For gleam like phosphor-light, watch here below:
It is the soul, Psyche, with soaring wing;
The wings pluck off, so ’tis a sorry worm.
First with my seal I’ll stamp the ugly thing,
Then off with it to fiery-whirling storm!
Mark ye the lower regions duly,
Ye bladders! ’tis your duty so!
If there she likes to harbor,—truly,
We cannot accurately know;
She in the navel loves to bide:
Take heed, lest from you thence away she glide!
(To the lean devils, with long crooked horns.)
Buffoons, ye fuglemen, a giant crew,
Grasp in the air, still clutch without repose,
With outstretch’d arms, claws sharp and pliant too,
The fluttering, fleeing creature to enclose!
In her old home she rests uneasily,
Genius aspires, it fain would soar on high.
[Glory from above, on the right.
The Heavenly Host.
Discordant tones I hear, an odious noise
Comes with unwelcome daylight from above:
A mawkish whimper, fit for girls and boys,
Such as a canting taste doth still approve.
Ye know how we, in hours with curses fraught,
Plann’d the destruction of the human race:
The most atrocious product of our thought
In their devotion finds a fitting place.
They come, the fools, in hypocritic guise!
Full many a soul from us they’ve snatch’d away—
With our own weapons warring ’gainst us, they
Are devils also, only in disguise.
Here your defeat eternal shame would bring;
On to the grave, and to the margin cling!
Chorus of Angels.
(To the Satans.) Why duck and shrink? Is this hell’s wonted way?
Stand firm, and let them scatter to and fro.
Back to his place each fool! Imagine they,
Forsooth, with such a pretty flowery show,
To cover the hot devils, as with snow?
They’ll shrink and shrivel where your breathings play.
Blow now, ye Blowers! Hold! not quite so fast!
Pales the whole bevy ’neath your fiery blast.
Not quite so fiercely! Mouth and nostril close!
Your breathing now too strongly blows.
O that ye never the just mean will learn!
That shrivels not alone, ’twill scorch and burn.
Floating they come, with poisonous flames and clear;
Stand firm against them, press together here!—
Force is extinguish’d, courage all is spent;
A strange alluring glow the devils scene.
[Striking aside the hovering roses.
Off, will-o’-the-wisp! How bright soe’er thy ray,
Captur’d, thou’rt but an odious, pulpy thing;
Why flutterest? Wilt vanish, straight away!—
Like pitch and brimstone to my neck dost cling?
I’m all aflame, head, heart and liver burn—
An over-devilish element,
Than hellish fire more sharp by far!
Hence ye so mightily lament,
Unhappy lovers, who, when scorn’d ye are,
After your sweethearts still your necks must turn.
Thus too with me, what draws my head aside?
Them have I not to deadly war defi’d?
My fiercest hate their aspect wak’d of yore;
Hath something alien pierc’d me through and through?
These gracious youths, them am I fain to view!—
What now restrains me that I curse no more?
And if befool’d I now should be,
Who may henceforth “the fool” be styl’d?—
The rascals, whom I hate, for me
Too lovely are, I fairly am beguil’d!
Sweet children, tell me, to the race
Belong ye not of Lucifer?
So fair ye seem, you I would fain embrace!
At the right moment ye appear;
So pleasant ’tis, so natural, as though
I you had seen a thousand times before,
So lustfully alluring now ye show.
With every look your beauty charms me more!
O nearer come! O grant me but one glance!
We come, why dost thou shrink as we advance?
So, if thou canst, abide; go not away.
[The angels hover round, and occupy the entire space.
(Who is pressed into the proscenium.) As spirits damn’d we’re blam’d by you—
Yourselves are yet the sorcerers true,
For man and maid ye lead astray.—
A curs’d adventure this I trow!
Is this love’s element? My frame
In fire is plung’d, I scarcely now
Feel on my neck the scorching flame!—
Ye hover to and fro; with pinions furl’d
Float downward, after fashion of the world
Move your sweet limbs; in sooth that earnest style
Becomes you; yet, for once, I fain would see you smile;
That were for me a rapture unsurpass’d,—
A glance, I mean, like that which lovers cast:
A slight turn of the mouth, so is it done.—
Thee, tall and stately youth, most dearly thee I prize;
But ill beseemeth thee that priestly guise,
Give me one loving glance, I crave but one!
Ye might, with decency, less cloth’d appear,
O’er modest in such lengthen’d drapery.—
They wheel around, to see them in the rear!
All too enticing are the rogues for me!
Chorus of Angels.
(Collecting himself.) How is’t with me? The man entire, like Job,
Must loathe himself, cleft through with boil on boil,—
Yet triumphs too, after the first recoil,
If he his inward nature fairly probe,
And in himself confides and in his kin:
Sav’d are the noble devil parts within.
This love attack he casts upon the skin,—
Burnt out already are the cursed flames,
And, one and all, I curse you, as the occasion claims!
Chorus of Angels.
[They rise, bearing with them the immortal part ofFaust.
(Looking around.) How is it? Whither are they gone?
Me have ye cozen’d, young things though ye be!
They with their booty now are heavenward flown.
Therefore they nibbl’d at this grave! From me
A great rare prize they’ve captur’d: the high soul,
That pledg’d itself to me with written scroll,—
This have they filch’d away, right cunningly!
From whom shall I now seek redress?
Who can secure my well-earn’d right?
In thine old days thou’rt cheated! Yet confess,
Thou hast deserv’d it, art in sorry plight;
Mismanag’d have I in disgraceful sort,
Vast outlay shamefully away have thrown;
The devil’s sense, though season’d well, the sport
Of common lust!—a love absurd I own.
And if the shrewd old devil chose
Himself to busy with this childish freak,
Not small the foolishness, the truth to speak,
Which him hath thus o’ermaster’d at the close.
Mountain Defiles, Forest, Rock, Wilderness.
Holy anchorites, dispersed up the hill, stationed among the clefts.
(Floating up and down.)
As the rock-chasm, sheer descending,
On chasm resteth more profound,
As thousand sparkling streamlets blending,
Foam in the torrent’s headlong bound;
As soars, the realm of air invading,
The stem, impell’d by inward strain;
So love, almighty, all-pervading,
Doth all things mould, doth all sustain.
A roaring that the heart appalleth
Sounds as if shook the wood-crown’d steep;
Yet, lovely in its plashing, falleth
The wealth of water to the deep,
Refreshment to the valley bearing;
The atmosphere, with poison fraught,
The lightning cleareth, wildly flaring,
Whose deadly flash dire ruin brought—
Love’s heralds these, His purpose telling
Who, ever-working, us surrounds.
Come, holy fire, within me dwelling,
Where, tortur’d in the senses’ bounds,
Fetters of pain my soul enclosing,
Hold it immur’d in rayless gloom!
O God, my troubl’d thoughts composing,
My needy heart do thou illume!
Through the pine trees’ waving tresses,
What bright cloud floats high and higher?
What it shrouds my spirit guesses!
Soars from earth and youthful choir.
Chorus of Blessed Boys.
Whither, father, are we hieing?
Tell us, kind one, who are we?
Happy are we, upward flying;
Unto all ’tis bliss to be!
Boys, ere soul or sense could waken,
Ye were born at midnight hour;
From your parents straightway taken,
For the angels a sweet dower.
You a loving one embraces,
This ye feel: then hither fare!
But of earth’s rude paths no traces,
Blessed ones, your spirits bear.
In the organ now descending
Of my worldly, earth-born, eyes;
Use them, thus thy need befriending—
View the sphere that round you lies:
[He takes them into himself.
There are trees; there rocks upsoaring;
Headlong there the flood doth leap;
Cleaves the torrent, loudly roaring,
Shorter passage to the deep.
(From within.) Grand the scene, but fear awaking:—
Desolate the spot and drear,
Us with dread and horror shaking.
Hold us not, kind father, here!
Rise to higher spheres, and higher!
Unobserv’d your growth, yet sure,
As God’s presence doth inspire
Strength, by laws eternal, pure.
This the spirit’s nurture, stealing
Through the ether’s depths profound:
Love eternal, self-revealing,
Sheds beatitude around.
Chorus of Blessed Boys.
(Circling round the highest summit.)
(Hovering in the higher atmosphere, bearing the immortal part ofFaust.)
The Younger Angels.
Roses, from fair hands descending,
Holy, penitent and pure,
Our high mission gladly ending,
Help’d our conquest to secure,
Making ours this spirit-treasure.
Demons shrank, in sore displeasure,
Devils fled, as we assail’d them,
Hell’s accustom’d torture fail’d them,
They by pangs of love were riven;
The old Satan-master even,
Pierced was by sharp annoyance.
Conquer’d have we! shout with joyance!
The More Perfect Angels.
The Younger Angels.