Front Page Titles (by Subject) WALPURGIS-NIGHT'S DREAM; OR, OBERON AND TITANIA'S Golden Wedding Feast. INTERMEZZO. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
Return to Title Page for Goethe’s Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
WALPURGIS-NIGHT’S DREAM; OR, OBERON AND TITANIA’S Golden Wedding Feast. INTERMEZZO. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
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.