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FAUST FIRST PART - 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.