Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT I. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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ACT I. - 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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A Pleasing Landscape.
Faustreclining upon flowery turf, restless, seeking sleep.
Circle of spirits, hovering, flit around.—Graceful, tiny forms.
(Song, accompanied by Æolian harps.)
Ye round this head on airy wing careering,
Attend, in noble Elfin guise appearing;
Assuage the cruel strife that rends his heart,
The burning shaft remove of keen remorse,
From rankling horror cleanse his inmost part:
Four are the pauses of the nightly course;
Them, without rest, fill up with kindly art.
And first his head upon cool pillow lay,
Then bathe ye him in dew from Lethe’s stream;
His limbs, cramp-stiffen’d, will more freely play,
If sleep-refreshed he wait morn’s wak’ning beam.
Perform the noblest Elfin rite,
Restore ye him to the holy light!
(Singly, two or more, alternately and together.) Softly when warm gales are stealing
O’er the green-environ’d ground,
Twilight sheddeth all-concealing
Mists and balmy odors round:
Whispers low sweet peace to mortals,
Rocks the heart to childlike rest,
And of daylight shuts the portals
To these eyes, with care oppress’d.
Night hath now descended darkling,
Holy star is link’d to star;
Sovereign fires, or faintly sparkling,
Glitter near and shine afar;
Glitter here lake-mirror’d, yonder
Shine adown the clear night sky;
Sealing bliss of perfect slumber,
Reigns the moon’s full majesty.
Now the hours are cancell’d; sorrow,
Happiness, have pass’d away:
Whole thou shalt be on the morrow!
Feel it! Trust the new-born day!
Swell the hills, green grow the valleys,
In the dusk ere breaks the morn;
And in silvery wavelets dallies,
With the wind, the ripening corn.
Cherish hope, let naught appall thee!
Mark the East, with splendor dyed!
Slight the fetters that enthrall thee;
Fling the shell of sleep aside!
Gird thee for the high endeavor;
Shun the crowd’s ignoble ease!
Fails the noble spirit never,
Wise to think, and prompt to seize.
[A tremendous tumult announces the uprising of the sun.
Hark! the horal tempest nears!
Sounding but for spirit ears,
Lo! the new-born day appears;
Clang the rocky portals, climb
Phœbus’ wheels with thund’rous chime:
Breaks with tuneful noise the light!
Blare of trumpet, clarion sounding,
Eyesight dazing, ear astounding!
Hear not the unheard; take flight!
Into petal’d blossoms glide
Deeper, deeper, still to bide,
In the clefts, ’neath thickets! ye,
If it strike you, deaf will be.
Life’s pulses reawaken’d freshly bound,
The mild ethereal twilight fain to greet.
Thou, Earth, this night wast also constant found,
And, newly-quicken’d, breathing at my feet,
Beginnest now to gird me with delight:
A strong resolve dost rouse, with noble heat
Aye to press on to being’s sovereign height.
The world in glimmering dawn still folded lies;
With thousand-voiced life the woods resound;
Mist-wreaths the valley shroud; yet from the skies
Sinks heaven’s clear radiance to the depths profound;
And bough and branch from dewy chasms rise,
Where they had droop’d erewhile in slumber furl’d;
Earth is enamell’d with unnumber’d dyes,
Leaflet and flower with dewdrops are impearl’d;
Around me everywhere is paradise.
Gaze now aloft! Each mountain’s giant height
The solemn hour announces, herald-wise;
They early may enjoy the eternal light,
To us below which later finds its way.
Now are the Alpine slopes and valleys dight
With the clear radiance of the new-born day,
Which, downward, step by step, steals on apace.—
It blazes forth,—and, blinded by the ray,
With aching eyes, alas! I veil my face.
So when a hope, the heart hath long held fast,
Trustful, still striving towards its highest goal,
Fulfilment’s portals open finds at last;—
Sudden from those eternal depths doth roll
An overpowering flame;—we stand aghast!
The torch of life to kindle we were fain;—
A fire-sea,—what a fire!—doth round us close;
Love is it? Is it hate? with joy and pain,
In alternation vast, that round us glows?
So that to earth we turn our wistful gaze,
In childhood’s veil to shroud us once again!
So let the sun behind me pour its rays!
The cataract, through rocky cleft that roars,
I view, with growing rapture and amaze.
From fall to fall, with eddying shock, it pours,
In thousand torrents to the depths below,
Aloft in air up-tossing showers of spray.
But see, in splendor bursting from the storm,
Arches itself the many-colored bow,
An ever-changeful, yet continuous form,
Now drawn distinctly, melting now away,
Diffusing dewy coolness all around!
Man’s efforts there are glass’d, his toil and strife;
Reflect, more true the emblem will be found:
This bright reflected glory pictures life!
Imperial Palace. Throne-Room.
Council of State, in expectation of theEmperor.
Enter courtiers of every grade, splendidly attir’d. The Emperor ascends the throne; to the right theAstrologer.
I greet you, trusty friends and dear,
Assembled thus from far and wide!—
I see the wise man at my side,
But wherefore is the fool not here?
Entangled in thy mantle’s flow,
He tripped upon the stair below;
The mass of fat they bare away,
If dead or drunken—who can say?
Forthwith another comes apace,
With wondrous speed to take his place;
Costly, yet so grotesque his gear,
All start amaz’d as he draws near.
Crosswise the guards before his face,
Entrance to bar, their halberds hold—
Yet there he is, the fool so bold.
(Kneeling before the throne.)
What is accurs’d and gladly hail’d?
What is desir’d and chas’d away?
What is upbraid’d and assail’d?
What wins protection every day?
Whom darest thou not summon here?
Whose name doth plaudits still command?
What to thy throne now draweth near?
What from this place itself hath bann’d?
For this time thou thy words mayst spare!
This is no place for riddles, friend;
They are these gentlemen’s affair.—
Solve them! an ear I’ll gladly lend.
My old fool’s gone, far, far away, I fear;
Take thou his place, come, stand beside me here!
[Mephistophelesascends and places himself at theEmperor’sleft.
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
Here’s a new fool—for plague anew!
Whence cometh he?—How pass’d he through?
The old one fell—he squander’d hath.—
He was a tub—now ’tis a lath.—
So now, my friends, belov’d and leal,
Be welcome all, from near and far!
Ye meet ’neath an auspicious star;
For us above are written joy and weal.
But tell me wherefore, on this day,
When we all care would cast away,
And don the masker’s quaint array,
And naught desire but to enjoy,
Should we with state affairs ourselves annoy?
But if ye think it so must be indeed,
Why, well and good, let us forthwith proceed!
The highest virtue circles halo-wise
Our Cæsar’s brow; virtue, which from the throne,
He validly can exercise alone:
Justice!—What all men love and prize,
What all demand, desire, and sorely want,
It lies with him, this to the folk to grant.
But ah! what help can intellect command,
Goodness of heart, or willingness of hand,
When fever saps the state with deadly power,
And mischief breedeth mischief, hour by hour?
To him who downward from this height supreme
Views the wide realm, ’tis like a troubled dream,
Where the deform’d deformity o’ersways,
Where lawlessness, through law, the tyrant plays,
And error’s ample world itself displays.
One steals a woman, one a steer,
Lights from the altar, chalice, cross,
Boasts of his deed full many a year,
Unscath’d in body, without harm or loss.
Now to the hall accusers throng;
On cushion’d throne the judge presides;
Surging meanwhile in eddying tides,
Confusion waxes fierce and strong.
He may exult in crime and shame,
Who on accomplices depends;
Guilty! the verdict they proclaim,
When Innocence her cause defends.
So will the world succumb to ill,
And what is worthy perish quite;
How then may grow the sense which still
Instructs us to discern the right?
E’en the right-minded man, in time,
To briber and to flatterer yields;
The judge, who cannot punish crime,
Joins with the culprit whom he shields.—
I’ve painted black, yet fain had been
A veil to draw before the scene.
Measures must needs be taken; when
All injure or are injur’d, then
E’en Majesty becomes a prey.
In these wild days what tumults reign!
Each smitten is and smites again;
Deaf to command, will none obey.
The burgher, safe behind his wall,
Within his rocky nest, the knight,
Against us have conspir’d, and all
Firmly to hold their own unite.
Impatient is the hireling now,
With vehemence he claims his due;
And did we owe him naught, I trow,
Off he would run, nor bid adieu.
Who thwarts what fondly all expect,
He hath disturb’d a hornet’s nest;
The empire which they should protect,
It lieth plunder’d and oppress’d.
Their furious rage may none restrain;
Already half the world’s undone;
Abroad there still are kings who reign—
None thinks ’tis his concern, not one.
Who will depend upon allies!
For us their promis’d subsidies
Like conduit-water, will not flow.
Say, Sire, through your dominions vast
To whom hath now possession pass’d!
Some upstart, wheresoe’er we go,
Keeps house, and independent reigns;
We must look on, he holds his own;
So many rights away we’ve thrown,
That for ourselves no right remains.
On so-called parties in the state
There’s no reliance, now-a-days;
They may deal out or blame or praise,
Indifferent are love and hate.
The Ghibelline as well as Guelph
Retire, that they may live at ease!
Who helps his neighbor now? Himself
Each hath enough to do to please.
Barr’d are the golden gates; while each
Scrapes, snatches, gathers all within his reach—
Empty, meanwhile, our chest remains.
What worry must I, also, bear!
Our aim each day is still to spare—
And more each day we need; my pains,
Daily renew’d, are never o’er.
The cooks lack nothing;—deer, wild-boar,
Stags, hares, fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese,—
Tribute in kind, sure payment, these
Come fairly in, and none complains.
But now at last wine fails; and if of yore
Up-piled upon the cellar-floor,
Cask rose on cask, a goodly store,
From the best slopes and vintage; now
The swilling of our lords, I trow,
Unceasing, drains the very lees.
E’en the Town-council must give out
Its liquor;—bowls and cups they seize,
And ’neath the table lies the drunken rout.
Now must I pay, whate’er betides;
Me the Jew spares not; he provides
Anticipation-bonds which feed
Each year on that which must succeed;
The swine are never fatten’d now;
Pawn’d is the pillow or the bed,
And to the table comes fore-eaten bread.
(After some reflection toMephistopheles.) Say, fool, another grievance knowest thou?
I, nowise. On this circling pomp to gaze,
On thee and thine! There can reliance fail
Where majesty resistless sways,
And ready power makes foemen quail?
Where loyal will, through reason strong,
And prowess, manifold, unite,
What could together join for wrong,
For darkness, where such stars give light?
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
He is a knave—he comprehends—
He lies—while lying serves his ends—
Full well I know—what lurks behind—
What next?—Some scheme is in the wind!—
Where is not something wanting here on earth?
Here this,—there that: of gold is here the dearth.
It cannot from the floor be scrap’d, ’tis true;
But what lies deepest wisdom brings to view.
In mountain-veins, walls underground,
Is gold, both coin’d and uncoin’d, to be found.
And if ye ask me,—bring it forth who can?
Spirit and nature-power of gifted man.
Nature and spirit—Christians ne’er should hear
Such words, with peril fraught and fear.
These words doom atheists to the fire.
Nature is sin, spirit is devil; they,
Between them, doubt beget, their progeny,
Hermaphrodite, mis-shapen, dire.
Not so with us! Within our Cæsar’s land
Two orders have arisen, two alone,
Who worthily support his ancient throne:
Clergy and knights, who fearless stand,
Bulwarks ’gainst every storm, and they
Take church and state, as their appropriate pay.
Through lawless men, the vulgar herd
To opposition have of late been stirr’d;
The heretics these are, the wizards, who
The city ruin and the country too.
With thy bold jests, to this high sphere,
Such miscreants wilt smuggle in;
Hearts reprobate to you are dear;
They to the fool are near of kin.
Herein your learned men I recognize!
What you touch not, miles distant from you lies;
What you grasp not, is naught in sooth to you;
What you count not, cannot you deem be true;
What you weigh not, that hath for you no weight;
What you coin not, you’re sure is counterfeit.
Therewith our needs are not one whit the less.
What meanest thou with this thy Lent address?
I’m tired of this eternal If and How.
’Tis gold we lack; so good, procure it thou!
I’ll furnish more, ay, more than all you ask.
Though light it seem, not easy is the task.
There lies the gold, but to procure it thence,
That is the art: who knoweth to commence?
Only consider, in those days of terror,
When human floods swamp’d land and folk together,
How every one, how great soe’er his fear,
All that he treasur’d most, hid there or here;
So was it ’neath the mighty Roman’s sway,
So on till yesterday, ay, till to-day:
That all beneath the soil still buried lies—
The soil is Cæsar’s, his shall be the prize.
Now for a fool he speaketh not amiss;
Our Cæsar’s ancient right, in sooth, was this.
Satan for you spreads golden snares; ’tis clear,
Something not right or pious worketh here.
To us at court if welcome gifts he bring,
A little wrong is no such serious thing.
Shrewd is the fool, he bids what all desire;
The soldier, whence it comes, will not inquire.
You think yourselves, perchance, deceiv’d by me;
Ask the Astrologer! This man is he!
Circle round circle, hour and house, he knows.—
Then tell us how the heavenly aspect shows.
(Murmur of the Crowd.)
Two rascals—each to other known—
Phantast and fool—so near the throne—
The old old song,—now trite with age—
The fool still prompts—while speaks the sage.
(Speaks,Mephistophelesprompts.) The sun himself is purest gold; for pay
And favor serves the herald, Mercury;
Dame Venus hath bewitch’d you from above,
Early and late, she looks on you with love;
Chaste Luna’s humor varies hour by hour;
Mars, though he strike not, threats you with his power;
And Jupiter is still the fairest star;
Saturn is great, small to the eye and far;
As metal him we slightly venerate,
Little in worth, though ponderous in weight.
Now when with Sol fair Luna doth unite,
Silver with gold, cheerful the world and bright!
Then easy ’tis to gain whate’er one seeks;
Parks, gardens, palaces, and rosy cheeks;
These things procures this highly learned man.
He can accomplish what none other can.
Double, methinks, his accents ring,
And yet they no conviction bring.
Of what avail!—a worn-out tale—
I the false word—full oft have heard—
And as of yore—we’re hoax’d once more.
The grand discovery they misprize,
As, in amaze, they stand around;
One prates of gnomes and sorceries,
Another of the sable hound.
What matters it, though witlings rail,
Though one his suit ’gainst witchcraft press,
If his sole tingle none the less,
If his sure footing also fail?
Ye of all swaying Nature feel
The secret working, never-ending,
And, from her lowest depths up-tending,
E’en now her living trace doth steal.
If sudden cramps your limbs surprise,
If all uncanny seem the spot—
There dig and delve, but dally not!
There lies the fiddler, there the treasure lies!
Like lead it lies my foot about—
Cramp’d is my arm—’tis only gout—
Twitchings I have in my great toe—
Down all my back strange pains I know—
Such indications make it clear
That sumless treasuries are here.
To work—the time for flight is past.—
Put to the test your frothy lies!
These treasures bring before our eyes!
Sceptre and sword aside I’ll cast,
And with these royal hands, indeed,
If thou lie not, to work proceed.
Thee, if thou lie, I’ll send to hell!
Thither to find the way I know full well!—
Yet can I not enough declare,
What wealth unown’d lies waiting everywhere:
The countryman, who ploughs the land,
Gold-crocks upturneth with the mould;
Nitre he seeks in lime-walls old,
And findeth, in his meagre hand,
Scar’d, yet rejoic’d, rouleaus of gold.
How many a vault upblown must be,
Into what clefts, what shafts, must he,
Who doth of hidden treasure know,
Descend, to reach the world below!
In cellars vast, impervious made,
Goblets of gold he sees display’d,
Dishes and plates, row after row;
There beakers, rich with rubies, stand;
And would he use them, close at hand
Well stor’d the ancient moisture lies;
Yet—would ye him who knoweth, trust?—
The staves long since have turned to dust,
A tartar cask their place supplies!
Not gold alone and jewels rare,
Essence of noblest wines are there,
In night and horror veiled. The wise
Unwearied here pursues his quest.
To search by day, that were a jest;
’Tis darkness that doth harbor mysteries.
What can the dark avail? Look thou to that!
If aught have worth, it cometh to the light.
Who can detect the rogue at dead of night?
Black are the cows, and gray is every cat.
These pots of heavy gold, if they be there—
Come, drive thy plough, upturn them with thy share!
Take spade and hoe thyself;—dig on—
Great shalt thou be through peasant toil—
A herd of golden calves anon
Themselves shall tear from out the soil;
Then straight, with rapture newly born,
Thyself thou canst, thy sweetheart wilt adorn.
A sparkling gem, lustrous, of varied dye,
Beauty exalts as well as majesty.
To work, to work! How long wilt linger?
Relax, I pray, such vehement desire!
First let us see the motley, joyous, show!
A mind distraught conducts not to the goal.
First must we calmness win through self-control,
Through things above deserve what lies below.
Who seeks for goodness must himself be good;
Who seeks for joy must moderate his blood;
Who wine desires, the luscious grape must press;
Who craveth miracles, more faith possess.
So be the interval in gladness spent!
Ash-Wednesday cometh, to our hearts’ content.
Meanwhile we’ll solemnize, whate’er befall,
More merrily the joyous Carnival.
That merit and success are link’d together,
This to your fools occurreth never;
Could they appropriate the wise man’s stone,
That, not the wise man, they would prize alone.
[A spacious Hall, with adjoining apartments, arranged and decorated for a masquerade.
Think not we hold in Germany our revels;
Where dances reign of death, of fools and devils;
You doth a cheerful festival invite.
Our Cæsar, Romeward turning his campaign,
Hath—for his profit, and for your delight—
Cross’d the high Alps, and won a fair domain.
Before the sacred feet bow’d down,
His right to reign he first hath sought,
And when he went to fetch his crown,
For us the fool’s cap hath he brought.
Now all of us are born anew;
And every world-experienc’d man
Draws it in comfort over head and ears;
A fool beneath it, he appears,
And plays the sage as best he can.
I see them, how they form in groups,
Now they pair off, now wavering sever;
Choir now with choir together troops,
Within, without, unwearied ever!
The world remaineth as of yore,
With fooleries, ten thousand score,
The one great fool, for ever more!
(Song, accompanied by mandolins.) That to us ye praise may render,
Deck’d are we in festive sort;
Girls of Florence, we the splendor
Follow of the German court.
Many a flower, we, Flora’s vassals,
In our dark brown tresses wear;
Silken threads and silken tassels,
Play their part and grace our hair.
For we hold ourselves deserving
All your praises, full and clear;
Since our flowers, their bloom preserving,
Blossom through the livelong year.
Cuttings divers-hued were taken,
And arrang’d with symmetry;
Piece by piece they mirth awaken,
Yet the whole attracts the eye.
Garden-girls and fair to look on,
Fittingly we play our part;
For the natural in woman,
Closely is allied to art.
Now from baskets richly laden,
Which, upon her head and arm,
Beareth every lovely maiden,
Let each choose what each doth charm!
Hasten ye, till bower and alley
Aspect of a garden bears!
Worthy are the crowds to dally
Round the sellers and their wares.
In this mart, your flowers unscreening,
Cheapen not, as them you show!
With brief words, but full of meaning,
What he hath, let each one know.
(With fruit.) I of blossoms envy none,
Quarrels studiously I shun;
They against my nature are:
Marrow of the land, in sooth
Pledge I am of peace and ruth,
To all regions near and far.
Be it my good fortune now
To adorn the loveliest brow.
(Golden.) Ceres’ gifts, sweet peace expressing,
Would enhance thy charms; be wise!
What is useful, rich in blessing,
As thy best adornment prize!
Colored flowers, from moss out-peering,
Mallow-like, a wondrous show—
Not in nature’s guise appearing,
Fashion ’tis that makes them blow.
Theophrastus would not venture
Names to give to flowers like these.
Yet, though some perchance may censure,
Many still I hope to please.
Who to wreathe her locks permits me
Straight shall win a heighten’d grace,
Or who near her heart admits me,
Finding on her breast a place.
Be your motley fancies moulded,
For the fashion of the day.
Nature never yet unfolded
Wonders half so strange as they:
Golden bells, green stalks, forth glancing
From rich locks, their charm enhancing.
Hide from mortal eyes.
Happy he who finds the prize!
When draws nigh once more the summer,
Rosebuds greet the bright new-comer.—
Who such happiness would miss?
Promise, then fulfilment,—this
Is the law in Flora’s reign,
Swayeth too sense, heart, and brain.
[The flower-girls tastefully arrange their wares under green, leafy arcades.
(Song, accompanied by Theorbos.)
[Amid alternate songs, accompanied by guitars and Theorbos, the two choruses proceed to arrange their wares, terrace-wise, and to offer them for sale.
[Girlish playfellows, young and beautiful, enter and join the groups; loud confidential chatting is heard. Fishers and bird-catchers with nets, fishing-rods, limed twigs, and other gear, enter and mingle with the maidens. Reciprocal attempts to win, to catch, to escape, and hold fast, give occasion to most agreeable dialogues.
(Enter, boisterous and uncouth.)
(Awkward and foolish.)
[Editor: illegible word]
Naught to-day shall mar my pleasure!
Frank I feel myself and free;
Cheerful songs and jovial leisure,
Both I hither bring with me;
Therefore drink I! Drink ye, drink!
Strike your glasses! Clink ye, clink!
You behind there, join the fun!
Strike your glasses; so, ’tis done!
Let my wife, shrill-tongued, assail me,
Sneering at my colored vest,
And, despite my vaunting, hail me
Fool, like masquerader dress’d;
Still I’ll drink! Come drink ye, drink!
Strike your glasses! Clink ye, clink!
Fools in motley, join the fun!
Strike your glasses; so, ’tis done!
Here I’m bless’d, whoever chooses
Me, as erring, to upbraid:
If to score mine host refuses,
Scores the hostess, scores the maid;
Always drink I! drink ye, drink!
Up my comrades! clink ye, clink!
Each to other! Join the fun!
To my thinking now ’tis done!
From this place there’s now no flying,
Here where pleasures are at hand:
Let me lie, where I am lying,
For I can no longer stand.
Brothers all, come drink ye, drink!
One more toast, now clink ye, clink!
Firmly sit on bench and board!
’Neath the table lie who’s floor’d!
[TheHeraldannounces various poets, the Poet of Nature, Court-singers, and Ritter-singers, tender as well as enthusiastic. In the throng of competitors of every kind none will allow the others to be heard. One sneaks past with a few words.
Know ye what would me to-day,
The poet, most rejoice and cheer?
If I dar’d to sing and say,
That which none would like to hear.
[Poets of Night and of the Sepulchre send apologies, inasmuch as they are engaged in a most interesting conversation with a newly-arisen Vampire, wherefrom a new kind of poetry may perhaps be developed; theHeraldmust admit the excuse, and meanwhile summons the Greek Mythology, which, though in modern masks, loses neither character nor charm.
Charm we bring to life, and grace;
In your gifts let both have place!
In receiving let the twain,
Preside! ’Tis sweet our wish to gain.
And when benefits you own
Chiefly be these graces shown!
I, the Eldest, am from yonder
Realm invited, here to spin.
Much to think of, much to ponder,
Lieth life’s frail thread within.
That it pliant be and tender,
Finest flax to choose be mine;
That it even be and slender,
Must the cunning finger twine.
If of festive dance and pleasure
Ye too wantonly partake,
Think upon this thread’s just measure;
O be cautious! It may break!
Know ye, to my guidance lately
They the fateful shears confide.
By our elder’s doings greatly
None, in sooth, were edified.
Spinnings, to no issue tending,
Forth she drew to air and light;
Threads of noblest promise rending,
Down she sent to realms of night.
While a novice still in reigning,
I too err’d, in bygone years;
But to-day, myself restraining,
In the sheath I plunge my shears.
Fain I am to wear the bridle,
Kindly I this place survey;
In these seasons, gay and idle,
Give your revelry full play!
Reason’s laws alone obeying,
Order was to me decreed.
Mine the will that, ever-swaying,
Never errs though over-speed.
Threads are coming; threads are going;
Each one in its course I guide,
None permit I overflowing,
From its skein to swerve aside.
Were I only once to slumber!—
For the world my spirit quakes;
Years we measure, hours we number,
And the hank the weaver takes.
How vers’d so e’er in lore of ancient fame,
Those who are coming now ye would not know;
Gazing upon these workers of much woe,
Them, as your welcome guests, ye would proclaim.
The Furies these,—none will believe us;—kind,
Graceful in figure, pretty, young and fair;
If their acquaintance ye would make, beware;
How serpent-like such doves can wound, ye’ll find.
Cunning they are, yet now, when every clown
Boastful, his failings shuns not to proclaim,
They too, desiring not angelic fame,
Own themselves plagues of country and of town.
What help for you? Since young we are and fair,
Ye in such flattering kittens will confide!
Has any here a sweetheart to his side,
Stealing, we gain his ear, until we dare
To tell him, face to face, she may be caught
Winking at this or that one; that ’tis plain,
She halts, is crooked-back’d, and dull of brain,
And, if to him betroth’d, is good for naught.
To vex the bride doth also tax our skill:
We tell what slighting things, some weeks agone,
Her lover said of her, to such an one.—
They’re reconcil’d, yet something rankles still.
That’s a mere jest! Let them be mated, then
I go to work, and e’en the fairest joy,
In every case, can through caprice destroy.
The hours are changeful, changeful too are men.
What was desir’d, once grasp’d, its charm hath lost;
Who firmly holds the madly longed-for prize,
Straight for some other blessing fondly sighs;
The sun he flieth, and would warm the frost.
How to arrange, I know, in such affairs;
And here Asmodi lead, my comrade true,
At the right time mischief abroad to strew;
And so destroy the human race in pairs.
Now may it please you, to retire behind;
For what now cometh is not of your kind.—
Ye see a mountain press the crowd among,
Its flanks with brilliant carpet proudly hung;
With lengthen’d tusks, and serpent-trunk below,
A mystery, but I the key will show.
Thron’d on his neck a gentle lady rides,
With a fine wand his onward course she guides.
Aloft the other stands, of stately height,
Girt with a splendor that o’erpowers the sight;
Beside him, chain’d, two noble dames draw near;
Sad is the one, the other blithe of cheer;
The one for freedom yearns, the other feels she’s free.
Let them declare in turn who they may be!
Torches, lamps, with lurid sheen,
Through the turmoil gleam around;
These deceitful forms between,
Fetters hold me firmly bound.
Hence, vain laughter-loving brood!
I mistrust your senseless grin!
All my foes, with clamor rude,
Strive to-night to hem me in.
Friend like foeman would betray me,
But his mask I recognize;
There is one who fain would slay me,
Now, unmask’d, away he hies.
Ah, how gladly would I wander
Hence, and leave this lower sphere;
But destruction, threatening yonder,
Holds me ’twixt despair and fear.
Hail! Beloved sisters, hail!
If to-day and yesterday
Ye have lov’d this masking play,
Yet to-morrow, trite the tale,
Will your masks aside be thrown;
And if, ’neath the torches’ glare,
We no special joy have known,
Yet will we, in daylight fair,
Just according to our pleasure,
Now with others, now alone,
Wander forth o’er lawn and mead;
Work at will, or take our leisure,
Careless live, exempt from need;
And at last, we’ll aye succeed.
Everywhere, as welcome guest,
Step we in, with easy mind;
Confident that we the best
Somewhere, certainly, may find.
Fear and hope, in chains thus guiding,
Two of man’s chief foes, I bar
From the thronging crowds;—dividing,
Clear the way;—now sav’d ye are!
I this live colosse am leading,
Which, tower-laden, as ye gaze,
Unfatigued is onward speeding,
Step by step, up steepest ways.
But, with broad and rapid pinion,
From the battlement on high,
Gazing on her wide dominion,
Turneth that divinity.
Fame, around her, bright and glorious,
Shining on all sides one sees:
Victory her name,—victorious
Queen of all activities.
Bah! bah! The very time I’ve hit!
You all are wrong, no doubt of it!
Yet what I make my special aim
Is victory, yon stately dame.
She, with her snowy wings, esteems
Herself an eagle, and still deems
That wheresoe’er she bends her sight,
Peoples and land are hers, by right!
But, where a glorious deed is done,
My harness straight I buckle on;
Where high is low, and low is high,
The crooked straight, the straight awry—
Then only am I wholly sound:
So be it on this earthly round.
So take thou then, thou ragged hound,
From my good staff, a master-blow!
There crouch and wriggle, bending low!
The double dwarfish form, behold,
Itself to a vile ball hath roll’d!
The ball becomes an egg!—strange wonder!
It now dilates and bursts asunder:
Thence falleth a twin-pair to earth,
Adder and bat;—a hideous birth;
Forth in the dust one creeps, his brother
Doth darkling to the ceiling flee;
Outside they haste to join each other—
The third I am not fain to be!
Since on me, at festive masque,
Laid hath been the Herald’s task,
At the doors I watch with care,
Lest aught harmful, unaware,
Creep into this joyous space;
I nor waver, nor give place.
Yet I fear the spectral brood
Through the window may intrude;
And from trick and sorcery,
I know not how to keep you free.
First the dwarf awaken’d doubt,
Now streams in the spectral rout.
I would show you herald-wise,
What each figure signifies.
But what none can comprehend
I should strive to teach in vain.
All must help me to explain!—
Through the crowd behold ye it wend;
A splendid car is borne along
By a team of four; the throng
Is not parted, nor doth reign
Tumult round the stately wain;
Bright it glitters from afar;
Shineth many a motley star,
As from magic-lantern cast;
On it snorts with stormful blast.—
I needs must shudder! Clear the way!
Stay your wings, ye coursers, stay!
Own the bridle’s wonted sway!
Rein yourselves, as you I rein;
When I prompt you, rush amain!—
Honor we this festal ground.
See how press the folk around,
Ring in ring, with wondering eyes.—
Herald, as thy wont is, rise;
From you ere we flee afar,
Tell our name, our meaning show!
Since we allegories are,
’Tis thy duty us to know.
I cannot guess how I should name thee;
I to describe thee should prefer.
So, try it then!
We must proclaim thee,
Firstly to be both young and fair;
A half-grown boy;—yet women own
They fain would see thee fully grown;
A future wooer seemest thou to me,
A gay deceiver out and out to be.
Not badly spoken! Pray proceed!
The riddle’s cheerful meaning strive to read.
Thine eyes swart flash, thy jewell’d bandlet glowing
Starlike, amid thy night-like hair;
And what a graceful robe dost wear,
Down from thy shoulder to thy buskin flowing,
With purple hem and fringes rare!
Thee as a girl one might misprize;
Yet thou, for weal or woe, wouldst be,
E’en now, of worth in maidens’ eyes;
Thee they would teach the A B C.
And he whose stately figure gleams
Enthron’d upon his chariot wain?
A monarch, rich and mild, he seems;
Happy who may his grace obtain,
Henceforth they’ve naught for which to strive!
His glance discerns if aught’s amiss;
Greater his pleasure is to give,
Than to possess or wealth or bliss.
Suspend not here thy words, I pray,
Him thou more fully must portray.
The noble none can paint. Yet there
Glows the round visage, hale and fair,
Full mouth, and blooming cheeks, descried
Beneath the turban’s jewell’d pride;
What ease his mantle folds display!
What of his bearing can I say?
As ruler seems he known to me.
Plutus, the god of wealth is he.
Hither he comes in royal state;
Of him the emperor’s need is great.
Tell of thyself the what and how to me!
I am profusion, I am Poesie;
The bard am I, who to perfection tends
When freely he his inner wealth expends.
I too have riches beyond measure,
And match with Plutus’ wealth my treasure;
For him adorn and quicken dance and show,
And what he lacketh, that do I bestow.
Boasting to thee new charm imparts.
Now show us something of thine arts!
See me but snap my fingers, lo!
Around the car what splendors glow!
A string of pearls forth leapeth here;
Take golden clasps for neck and ear;
Combs too, and other precious things,
Crowns without flaw, and jewell’d rings!
Flamelets I scatter too, in play,
Awaiting where they kindle may.
How the good people snatch and seize!
Almost the donor’s self they squeeze.
As in a dream he gems doth rain,
In the wide space they snatch amain.
But—here new juggling meets mine eye:
What one doth grasp so eagerly,
Doth prove, in sooth, a sorry prize;
Away from him the treasure flies;
The pearls are loosen’d from their band;
Now beetles crawl within his hand;
He shakes them off, poor fool, instead,
Swarming, they buzz around his head;
Others, in place of solid things,
Catch butterflies, with lightsome wings.
Though vast his promises, the knave
To them but golden glitter gave!
Masks, I remark, thou canst announce full well;
Only to reach the essence ’neath the shell,
Is not the Herald’s courtly task;
A sharper vision that dost ask.
But I from every quarrel would be free.—
Master, I speech and question turn to thee.
The storm-blast didst thou not confide
To me, of this four-yoked car?
Lead I not well, as thou dost guide?
Where thou dost point, thence am I far?
Have I not known, on daring wing
For thee the victor’s palm to wring?
Full often as for thee I’ve fought,
Still have I conquer’d; and if now
The laurel decorates thy brow,
Have not my hand and skill the chaplet wrought?
If need there be, that I should witness bear,—
Soul of my soul, thee gladly I declare:
According to my will thou actest ever;
Art richer than myself denied.
To give thy service its due meed,
Before all crowns the laurel wreath I treasure.
This truthful word let all men hear:
My son art thou, thee doth my soul hold dear.
(To the crowd.)
Now of my hand the choicest dower,
I’ve scatter’d in this festive hour;
There glows on this or that one’s head
A flame, which I abroad have shed;
From one to other now it hies,
To this one cleaves, from that one flies,
Seldom aloft its flames aspire;
Sudden they gleam, with transient fire;
With many, ere they know the prize,
It mournfully burns out and dies.
(Clamor of Women.)
Avaunt, ye loathed women-kind!
With you I ne’er a welcome find.—
When rul’d the hearth your thrifty dame,
Then Avaritia was my name;
Then throve our household well throughout;
For much came in, and naught went out!
Great was my zeal for chest and bin—
And that, forsooth, you call a sin!
But in these later years, no more
The wife is thrifty as of yore;
She, like each tardy payer, owns
Far more desires than golden crowns;
This for her spouse much care begets;
Where’er he turneth, there are debts;
What she by spinning earns, she spends
On gay attire, and wanton friends;
Better she feasts, and drinketh too
More wine, with her vile suitor crew:
That rais’d for me of gold the price.
Now, male of sex, I’m Avarice!
Leader of the Women.
Dragon may still with dragon spare;
It’s cheat and lies at last, no more!
He comes to rouse the men; beware!
Full troublesome they were before.
(All together.) The scarecrow! Box his ears! Make haste!
To threat us does the juggler dare?
Us shall his foolish prating scare?
The dragons are but wood and paste;
Press in upon him, do not spare!
Now, by my staff! Keep quiet there!
Yet scarcely needed is my aid.
See, in the quickly opened space,
How the grim monsters move apace!
Their pinions’ double pair display’d!
The dragons shake themselves in ire,
Scale-proof, their jaws exhaling fire—
The crowd recedes; clear is the place.
[Plutusdescends from the chariot.
He steps below, a king confess’d!
He nods, the dragons move; the chest
They from the chariot, in a trice,
Have lower’d, with gold and avarice;
Before his feet it standeth now:
How done a marvel is, I trow.
(To theCharioteer.) Now from the burden that oppress’d thee here
Thou’rt frank and free; away to thine own sphere!
Here is it not; distorted, wild, grotesque,
Surrounds us here a motley arabesque.
There fly, where on thy genius thou canst wait,
Lord of thyself; where charm the good, the fair;
Where clear thy vision in the clear calm air;
To solitude—there thine own world create!
Myself as trusty envoy I approve;
Thee as my nearest relative I love.
Where thou dost dwell, is fulness; where I reign,
Within himself each feeleth glorious gain;
And ’mid life’s contradictions wavers he:
Shall he resign himself to thee, to me?
Thy votaries may idly rest, ’tis true;
Who follows me, hath always work to do.
My deeds are not accomplish’d in the shade,
I only breathe, and forthwith am betray’d.
Farewell! My bliss thou grudgest not to me;
But whisper low, and straight I’m back with thee.
[Exit as he came.
Now is the time the treasure to set free!
The locks I strike, thus with the Herald’s rod;
’Tis open’d now! In blazing caldrons, see,
It bubbles up, and shows like golden blood;
Next crowns, and chains, and rings, a precious dower:
It swells and fusing threats the jewels to devour.
(Alternate cry of the Crowd.)
Look here! look there! How flows the treasure,
To the chest’s brim in ample measure!—
Vessels of gold are melting, near
Up-surging, coin’d rouleaux appear,
And ducats leap as if impress’d—
O how the vision stirs my breast!—
My heart’s desire now meets mine eye!
They’re rolling on the floor, hard by.—
To you ’tis proffer’d; do not wait,
Stoop only, you are wealthy straight!—
While, quick as lightning, we anon,
The chest itself will seize upon.
Ye fools, what ails you? What your quest?
’Tis but a masquerading jest.
To-night no more desire ye may;
Think you that gold we give away,
And things of worth? For such as you,
And at such foolish masking too,
E’en counters were too much to pay.
Blockheads! a pleasing show, forsooth,
Ye take at once for solid truth.
What’s truth to you? Delusion vain
At every turn ye clutch amain.—
Thou, Plutus, hero of the masque,
This folk to chase, be now thy task!
Ready at hand thy staff I see;
For a brief moment lend it me!—
Quickly in fire and seething glare
I’ll dip it.—Now, ye masks, beware!
It sputters, crackles, flares outright;
Bravely the torch is now alight;
And pressing round, who comes too nigh,
Is forthwith scorch’d, relentlessly!—
Now then my circuit is begun.
(Cries and Tumult.)
O misery! We are undone.—
Escape, let each escape who can!
Back! further back! thou hindmost man!—
Hot in my face it sputter’d straight—
Of the red staff I felt the weight—
We all, alas! we all are lost!—
Back, back, thou masquerading host!—
Back, back, unthinking crowd!—Ah me,
Had I but wings, I hence would flee!—
Back is the circle driven now;
And no one has been sing’d, I trow.
The crowds give way,
Scared, with dismay.—
Yet, pledge of order and of law,
A ring invisible I draw.
Achiev’d thou hast a noble deed;
For thy sage might be thanks thy meed!
Yet needs there patience, noble friend;
Still many a tumult doth impend.
If it so please us, pleasantly,
We on this living ring may gaze around.
For women ever foremost will be found,
If aught allure the palate or the eye.
Not yet am I grown rusty quite!
A pretty face must always please;
And since it nothing costs to-night,
We’ll go a-wooing at our ease.
Yet as in this o’ercrowded sphere,
Words are not audible to every ear,
Deftly I’ll try,—and can but hope success—
In pantomime my meaning to express.
Hand, foot and gesture will not here suffice,
Hence I must strive to fashion some device:
Like moisten’d clay forthwith I’ll knead the gold;
This metal into all things we can mould.
The meagre fool, what doeth he?
Hath such a starveling humor? See,
He kneadeth all the gold to dough,
Beneath his hand ’tis pliant too;
Yet howsoe’er he squeeze and strain,
Misshapen it must still remain.
He to the women turns, but they
All scream, and fain would flee away,
With gestures of aversion. Still
Ready the rascal seems for ill;
Happy, I fear, himself he rates,
When decency he violates.
Silence were wrong in such a case;
Give me my staff, him forth to chase!
What threats us from without, he bodeth not.
Let him play out his pranks a little longer!
Room for his jest will fail him soon, I wot;
Strong as is law, necessity is stronger.
[EnterFauns, Satyrs, Gnomes, Nymphs,etc., attendants onPan,and announcing his approach.
(Tumult and Song.)
You and your mighty Pan I recognize!
Conjoin’d you’ve enter’d on a bold emprise.
Full well I know, what is not known to all,
And ope this narrow space, at duty’s call.—
O may a happy Fate attend!
Wonders most strange may happen now;
They know not where unto they tend;
Forward they have not look’d, I trow.
Bedizen’d people, glittering brood!
They’re coming rough, they’re coming rude;
With hasty run, with lofty bound,
Stalwart and strong they press around.
Their crisp locks bound
With oak-leaves round,—
In merry dance!
A fine and sharply pointed ear,
Forth from their clustering locks doth peer;
A stumpy nose, with breadth of face—
These forfeit not a lady’s grace:
If but his paw the Faun advance,
Not lightly will the fairest shun the dance.
The Satyr now comes hopping in,
With foot of goat, and withered shin;
These sinewy must be and thin.
In chamois-guise, on mountain height,
Around to gaze is his delight;
In freedom’s air, with freshness rife,
Child he despiseth, man and wife,
Who, ’mid the valley’s smoke and steam,
That they too live, contented dream;
On those pure heights, sequester’d, lone,
The upper world is his alone!
Tripping, here comes a tiny crew.
They like not keeping two and two;
In mossy dress, with lamplet clear,
Commingling swiftly, they career,
Where for himself his task each plies,
Swarming they glitter, emmet-wise;
And ever busy, move about,
With ceaseless bustle in and out.
We the “Good Folk” as kindred own,
As rock-chirurgists well we’re known;
Cupping the lofty hills, we drain,
With cunning, from each well-fill’d vein,
The metals, which aloft we pile,
Shouting, Good luck! Good luck! the while:
Kindness at bottom we intend;
Good men we evermore befriend.
Yet to the light we gold unseal,
That men therewith may pimp and steal;
Nor to the proud, who murder plann’d
Wholesale, shall fail the iron brand;
These three commands who hath transgress’d,
Will take small reckoning of the rest;
Nathless for that we’re not to blame:
Patient we are, be ye the same!
The wild men, such in sooth our name,
Upon the Hartzberg known to fame,
Naked, in ancient vigor strong,
Pell-mell we come, a giant throng;
With pine-stem grasp’d in dexter hand,
And round the loins a padded band,
Apron of leaf and bough, uncouth,—
Such guards the pope owns not, in sooth.
Chorus of Nymphs.
(They surround the greatPan.) He draweth near!
In mighty Pan
The All we scan
Of this world-sphere.
All ye of gayest mood advance,
And him surround, in sportive dance!
For since he earnest is and kind,
Joy everywhere he fain would find;
E’en ’neath the blue o’erarching sky,
He watcheth still, with wakeful eye;
Purling to him the brooklet flows,
And zephyrs lull him to repose;
And when he slumbers at mid-day,
Stirs not a leaf upon the spray;
Health-breathing plants, with balsams rare,
Pervade the still and silent air;
The nymph no more gay vigil keeps,
And where she standeth, there she sleeps.
But if, at unexpected hour,
His voice resounds with mighty power,
Like thunder, or the roaring sea,
Then knoweth none, where he may flee;
Panic the valiant host assails,
The hero in the tumult quails.
Then honor to whom honor’s due!
And hail to him, who leads us unto you!
(To the greatPan.)
(To theHerald.) Our self-possession now must be display’d,
And come what may, we must be undismayed;
Still hast thou shown a strong, courageous soul.
A dreadful incident will soon betide;
’Twill be by world and after-world denied;
Inscribe it truly in thy protocol!
(Grasping the staff whichPlutusholds in his hand.) The dwarfs conduct the mighty Pan
Softly the source of fire to scan;
It surges from the gulf profound,
Then downward plunges ’neath the ground;
While dark the mouth stands, gaping wide,
Once more uprolls the fiery tide.
The mighty Pan stands well-content,
Rejoicing in the wondrous sight,
While pearl-foam drizzles left and right.
How may he trust such element!
Bending, he stoops to look within.—
But now his beard hath fallen in!—
Who may he be, with shaven chin?
His hand conceals it from our eyes.—
Now doth a dire mishap arise;
His beard takes fire and backward flies;
Wreath, head and breast are all ablaze;
Joy is transformed to dire amaze.—
To quench the fire his followers run;
Free from the flames remaineth none;
Still as they strike from side to side,
New flames are kindled far and wide;
Envelop’d in the fiery shroud,
Burns now the masquerading crowd.
But what’s the tale that’s rumor’d here,
From mouth to mouth, from ear to ear!
O night, for aye with sorrow fraught,
To us what mischief hast thou brought!
The coming morn will tidings voice,
At which, in sooth, will none rejoice.
From every side they cry amain,
“The Emperor suffers grievous pain!”
O were some other tidings true!—
The Emperor burns, his escort too.
Accurs’d be they, for evermore,
Who him seduc’d, with noisy roar,
Abroad, begirt with pitchy bough,
To roam, for general overthrow!
O youth, O youth, and wilt thou never
To joy assign its fitting bound?
O Majesty, with reason never
Will thy omnipotence be crown’d?
The mimic forest hath caught fire;
Tongue-like the flame mounts high and higher;
Now on the wood-bound roof it plays,
And threats one universal blaze!
O’erflows our cup of suffering;
I know not, who may rescue bring;
Imperial pomp, so rich o’er night,
An ash-heap lies in morning’s light.
Long enough hath terror sway’d;
Hither now be help convey’d.
Strike, thou hallow’d staff, the ground,
Till earth tremble and resound!
Cooling vapors everywhere
Fill the wide and spacious air!
Moisture-teeming mist and cloud
Draw anear, and us o’ershroud;
Veil the fiery tumult, veil!
Curling, drizzling, breathing low,
Gracious cloudlets hither sail,
Shedding down the gentle rain!
To extinguish, to allay,
Ye, the assuagers, strive amain;
Into summer-lightning’s glow
Change our empty fiery play!—
Threaten spirits us to hurt,
Magic must its power assert.
[TheEmperor,his court, men and women;Faust, Mephistophelesdressed becomingly, in the usual fashion; both kneel.
The flaming juggler’s play dost pardon, Sire?
I of such sports full many should desire.—
I saw myself within a glowing sphere;
Almost it seem’d as if I Pluto were;
A rock abyss there lay, with fire aglow,
Gloomy as night; from many a gulf below,
Seething, a thousand savage flames ascend,
And in a fiery vault together blend;
Up to the highest dome their tongues were toss’d,
Which ever was, and evermore was lost.
In the far space, through spiral shafts of flame,
Peoples I saw, in lengthen’d lines who came;
In the wide circle forward press’d the crowd,
And as their wont hath been, in homage bow’d;
I seem’d, surrounded by my courtly train,
O’er thousand Salamanders king to reign.
Such art thou, Sire! For thee each element
To own as absolute is well content.
Obedient thou hast proven fire to be.
Where it is wildest, leap into the sea—
And scarce thy foot the pearl-strewn floor shall tread,
A glorious, billowy dome o’ervaults thy head;
Wavelets of tender green thou seest swelling,
With purple edge, to form thy beauteous dwelling,
Round thee, the central point; where thou dost wend,
At every step, thy palace homes attend;
The very walls, in life rejoicing, flow
With arrowy swiftness, surging to and fro;
Sea-marvels to the new and gentle light repair;
They dart along, to enter none may dare;
There sports, with scales of gold, the bright-hued snake,
Gapes the fell shark, his jaws thy laughter wake:
Howe’er thy court may round thee now delight,
Such throng as this, before ne’er met thy sight.
Nor long shalt sever’d be from the most fair;
The curious Nereids, to thy dwelling rare,
’Mid the eternal freshness, shall draw nigh;
The youngest, greedy like the fish, and shy;
The elder prudent. Thetis hears the news,
Nor to the second Peleus will refuse
Or hand or lip.—Olympos’ wide domain—
I leave to thee, thou o’er the air mayst reign;
Full early every one must mount that throne.
Earth, noblest Sire! already thou dost own.
Hither what happy Fate, with kindness fraught,
Thee from the thousand nights and one hath brought!
If thou, like Scheherazade, prolific art,
To thee my highest favor I’ll impart;
Be ever near when, as is oft the case,
Most irksome is our world of commonplace!
(Entering in haste.)
Your Highness, never thought I in my life
Tidings to give, with such good fortune rife
As these which, in thy presence, cheer
My raptur’d heart, absolv’d from fear;
All reckonings paid, from debt we’re eased:—
The usurer’s clutches are appeas’d—
From such hell-torment I am free!
In Heaven can none more cheerful be.
Paid in advance the soldiers’ due,
Now the whole army’s pledged anew.
Blood dances in the trooper’s veins;
Vinter and damsel reap their gains.
How freely now your breast doth heave!
The marks of care your visage leave!
How hastily you enter!
(Entering.) Sire, proceed
These men to question who have done the deed.
(To theChancellor.) To you it doth belong the case to state.
(Who advances slowly.)
In my old days I am with joy elate!
So hear and see this fortune-weighted scroll,
Which hath to happiness transform’d our dole:
“To all whom it concerneth, be it known:
Who owns this note a thousand crowns doth own.
To him assur’d, as certain pledge, there lies,
Beneath the Emperor’s land, a boundless prize;
It is decreed, this wealth without delay
To raise, therewith the promis’d sum to pay.”
Crime I suspect, some huge deceit!
The Emperor’s name who here doth counterfeit?
Unpunish’d still remains such breach of right?
Remember, Sire! Thyself but yesternight
Didst sign the note.—Thou stoodst as mighty Pan;
Then spake the Chancellor, whose words thus ran:
“This festive pleasure for thyself obtain,
Thy people’s weal, with a few pen-strokes gain!”
These mad’st thou clearly; thousand-fold last night
Have artists multiplied what thou didst write;
And that to each alike might fall the aid,
To stamp the series, we have not delay’d,
Ten, thirty, fifty, hundreds at a stroke.
You cannot guess, how it rejoic’d the folk:
Behold your town, mouldering half dead that lay,
How full of life and bounding joy to-day!
Long as thy name hath bless’d the world, till now
So gladly was it ne’er beheld, I trow.
The Alphabet is now redundant grown;
Each in this sign finds happiness alone.
My people take it for true gold, you say?
In camp, at court, it passes for full pay?
Much as I wonder, it I must allow.
To stay the flying leaves were hopeless now;
With speed of lightning all abroad they float:
The changers’ banks stand open; every note
Is honored there with silver and with gold;
Discount deducted, if the truth were told.
To butcher, baker, vintner, thence they fare;
With half the world is feasting their sole care;
The other half, new-vestur’d, bravely shows;
The mercer cuts away, the tailor sews.
In cellars still “The Emperor!” they toast,
While, amid clattering plates, they boil and roast.
Alone who treads the terraced promenade,
Sees there the fair one, splendidly array’d;
One eye the peacock’s fan conceals; the while
This note in view, she lures us with her smile,
And swifter than through eloquence or wit,
Love’s richest favor may be won by it.
One’s self with purse and scrip one need not tease.
Hid in the breast, a note is borne with ease,
And with the billet-doux is coupled there;
The priest conveys it in his book of prayer;
The soldier, that his limbs may be more free,
Quickly his girdle lightens. Pardon me,
Your Majesty, if the high work I seem,
Dwelling on these details, to disesteem.
This superfluity of wealth, that deep
Imprison’d in its soil thy land doth keep,
Lies all unus’d; wide-reaching thought profound
Is of such treasure but a sorry bound;
In loftiest flight, fancy still strives amain
To reach its limit, but still strives in vain—
Yet minds who dare behind the veil to press,
In the unbounded, boundless faith possess.
Such paper, in the place of pearls and gold,
Convenient is, we know how much we hold;
No need for change or barter, each at will
Of love and wine may henceforth drink his fill.
If coin is needed, stands the changer nigh,
If there it faileth, straight the shovel ply;
Goblet and chain at auction fetch their price;
The paper, forthwith cancell’d, in a trice
The sceptic shames, who us did erst deride;
The people, used to it, wish naught beside:
So henceforth, through the realm, there’s goodly store,
Of jewels, gold, and paper, evermore.
You this high aid have render’d to our state;
Great is the service, be the meed as great!
Our realm’s subsoil confide we to your care;
Best guardians of the treasure buried there.
Full well ye know the vast, well-guarded hoard,
And when men dig, so be it at your word!
Ally yourselves, ye masters of our treasure,
The honors of your place fulfil with pleasure,
There where together join’d in blest content,
The upper with the under world is blent!
Not the most distant strife shall us divide;
As colleague be the conjuror at my side.
If I at court each man with gifts endow,
Whereto he’ll use them, let each tell me now.
(Receiving.) Merry I’ll be, and taste life’s pleasant things.
(The same.) I for my sweetheart will buy chain and rings.
(Accepting.) Wine twice as good from this time forth I’ll drink.
(The same.) The dice already in my pocket clink.
(Thoughtfully.) My field and castle I from debt will free.
(The same.) I’ll lay my treasure in my treasury.
Courage I hoped, and joy, for new emprise—
But whoso knows you, straight will recognize;
I mark it well, though wealth be multiplied,
Just what ye were, the same will ye abide!
(Approaching.) Favors you scatter; grant me some, I pray!
What, living yet? Thou’lt drink them soon away.
These magic leaves! I comprehend not quite—
That I believe: them thou’lt not spend aright.
There, others drop—I know not what to do—
Take them! They’ve fallen to thy share. Adieu!
Five thousand crowns in hand! can it be true?
Thou two-legg’d paunch, art thou then risen anew?
As oft before, ne’er happily as now.
So great thy joy, it makes thee sweat, I trow.
Is this indeed worth money? art thou sure?
What throat and paunch desire it will procure.
Can I then field, and house, and cattle buy?
Of course! Bid only, thee it will not fail.
Castle with forest, chase, and fishpond?
Thee as your worship I should like to hail!
As land-owner I’ll rock myself ere eve!
In our fool’s wit who will not now believe?
Why drag me these dark corridors along?
Within hast not enough of sport?
Occasion ’mid the motley throng
For jest and lie, hast not at court?
Speak not of that; in days of old hast thou
Outworn it to the very soles. But now,
Thy shuffling is a mere pretext
How to evade my questions. Sore perplex’d,
I know not how to act, or what to do;
The marshal urges me, the steward too,
The Emperor wills it—hence it straight must be—
Wills Helena and Paris here to see;
Of man and womankind the true ideal,
He fain would view, in forms distinct and real.
Quick to the work! My word I may not break.
Such promise it was weak, nay, mad to make.
Comrade, thou hast not thought, I trow,
Whither these arts of thine must lead:
First we have made him rich, and now
Him to amuse we must proceed.
Thou think’st no sooner said than done;
Here before steeper steps we stand,
A foreign realm must here be won,
New debts wilt add to those of old.
With the same ease dost think I can command
Helen, as phantom-notes evoke for gold!
With wizard, witchery, or ghostly ghost,
Or goiter’d dwarf, I’m ready at my post,
But Devil’s darlings, though we mayn’t abuse them,
Yet cannot we as heroines produce them.
Still harping on the ancient lyre!
The father thou of hindrances;—with thee
We needs must fall into uncertainty;
For each expedient thou dost claim new hire!
With little muttering, I know, ’tis done;
Ere one looks round, thou’lt bring them to the spot.
The Heathen-folk I’m glad to let alone,
In their own hell is cast their lot;
Yet are there means—
Speak quickly, naught withhold!
Loth am I higher secrets to unfold.
In solitude, where reigns nor space nor time,
Are goddesses enthron’d from early prime;
’Tis hard to speak of beings so sublime—
The Mothers are they.
The Mothers! Mothers! strange it sounds, I trow!
And is so: Goddesses, to men unknown,
And by us nam’d unwillingly, I own.
Their home to reach, full deeply must thou mine.
That we have need of them, the fault is thine!
No way; to the untrodden none,
Not to be trodden, neither to be won
By prayer! Art ready for the great emprise?
No locks are there, no bolts thy way to bar;
By solitudes shalt thou be whirl’d afar:
Such void and solitude canst realize?
To spare such speeches, it were well!
They of the witches’ kitchen smell,
And of a time long past and gone.
To know the world have I not sought?
The empty learn’d, the empty taught?—
Spake I out plainly, as in reason bound,
Then doubly loud the paradox would sound;
By Fortune’s adverse buffets overborne,
To solitude I fled, to wilds forlorn,
And not in utter loneliness to live,
Myself at last did to the Devil give!
And hadst thou swum to ocean’s utmost verge,
And there the shoreless infinite beheld,
There hadst thou seen surge rolling upon surge,
Though dread of coming doom thy soul had quell’d,
Thou hadst seen something;—dolphins thou hadst seen.
Cleaving the silent sea’s pellucid green,
And flying cloud hadst seen, sun, moon and star;
Naught, in the everlasting void afar,
Wilt see, nor hear thy footfall’s sound,
Nor for thy tread find solid ground!
Thou speakest as of mystagogues the first,
True neophytes who gulled—only revers’d:
I to vacuity by thee am sent,
That art as well as strength I may augment;
Thou wouldest, like the cat, make use of me,
The chestnuts from the fire to snatch for thee.
We’ll fathom it! come on, nor look behind!
In this thy naught, the All I hope to find.
Before we part, thy bearing I commend;
I see, the Devil thou dost comprehend.
Here, take this key!
That little thing!
First hold it fast, not lightly valuing!
It waxes in my hand! It flashes, glows!
Soon shalt thou mark what virtue it bestows.
The key will scent the very place you need;
Follow, thee to the Mothers it will lead.
(Shuddering.) The Mothers! Like a blow it strikes mine ear!
What is this word, it troubles me to hear?
So narrow-minded, scar’d by each new word!
Wilt only hear, what hast already heard?
Inur’d to marvels, thee let naught astound;
Be not disturb’d, how strange soe’er the sound!
My weal I seek not in torpidity;
Humanity’s best part in awe doth lie:
Howe’er the world the sentiment disown,
Once seiz’d—we deeply feel the vast, the unknown.
Sink then! Arise! This also I might say:—
’Tis all the same. Escaping from the real,
Seek thou the boundless realm of the ideal.
Delight thyself in forms long pass’d away!
The train, like cloud-procession, glides along;
Swing thou the key, hold off the shadowy throng!
(Inspired.) Good! firmly grasping it, new strength is mine,
My breast expands! Now for the great design!
A glowing tripod teaches thee thou hast
The deep attain’d, the lowest deep, at last:
There, by its light the Mothers thou wilt see;
Some sit, while others, as the case may be,
Or stand, or walk: formation, transformation,
Of mind etern, eternal recreation!
While forms of being round them hover; thee
Behold they not, phantoms alone they see.
Take courage, for the danger is not slight.
Straight to the tripod press thou on, be brave,
And touch it with the key—
[Faust,with the key, assumes an attitude of determined authority.
(Observing him.) So, that is right!
It cleaves to thee, it follows like a slave;
Calmly dost mount, fortune doth thee upbear,
Back art thou with it, ere they are aware.
And hither hast thou brought it: by its might,
Hero mayst call, and heroine from night;
The first to venture in such enterprise;
’Tis done—with thee the bold achievement lies;
And then by spells, to sorcery allow’d,
To gods shall be transform’d the incensecloud.
And now what next?
Downward thy being strain.
Stamping descend, stamping thou’lt rise again.
[Fauststamps and sinks.
In his behoof if worketh but the key!
Whether he will return, I’m fain to see.
Emperorand Princes: The Court in movement.
You’re still our debtors for the spirit-show;
To work! The Emperor doth impatient grow.
His Highness even now hath question’d me;
Delay not, nor affront his Majesty!
My comrade’s for that very purpose gone;
How to commence he knows; he labors on,
Secluded in his study, calm and still,
With mind intensely strung; for who the prize,
Ideal beauty, would evoke at will,
Needs highest art, the magic of the wise.
To us it matters not what arts you need;
The Emperor wills that ye forthwith proceed.
One word, good sir! My visage now is clear—
It is not so when baleful summer’s here:
Then sprout a hundred freckles, brown and red,
Which, to my grief, the white skin overspread.
’Tis pity, face so fair to see,
In May like panther’s cub should mottled be!
Take spawn of frog, and tongue of toad, the twain
Under the fullest moon distil with care;
Lay on the mixture, when the moon doth wane—
The spring arrives, no blemishes are there.
To fawn upon you, how the crowds advance;
A remedy I ask! A frozen foot
Hinders me sorely when I walk or dance;
Awkward my movement e’en when I salute.
A single tread allow me with my foot!
Well, betwixt lovers that might come to pass—
A deeper meaning, child, my footprint has:
Like unto like, in sickness is the rede;
Foot healeth foot; with every limb ’tis so.
Draw near! Give heed! My tread return not.
Ah, woe! It burns! A hard tread that indeed,
Like horse’s hoof!
Receive thy cure as meed.
Now mayst thou dance at pleasure; and salute,
Beneath the festal board, thy lover’s foot.
(Pressing forward.) Make way for me, too grievous is my smart,
Seething, it rankles in my deepest heart:
Bliss in my looks he sought till yesterday—
With her he talks, and turns from me away!
The case is grave, but this my lore receive:
Thou to his side must stealthily make way;
Take thou this coal, a mark upon his sleeve,
His cloak, or shoulder make, as happen may—
His heart repentant will be thine once more;
The coal thou straight must swallow; after it,
No water near thy lip, no wine, permit—
This very night he’ll sigh before thy door.
It is not poison?
(Offended.) Honor where ’tis due!
You for such coal much ground must wander o’er;
It cometh from a pyre, that we of yore
More fiercely stirr’d than now we do.
I love; as still unripe they scorn my youth!
(Aside.) I know not whom to listen to, in sooth.
Not on the youngest set your happiness;
Those more in years your merits will confess.
[Others press up to him.
Others are coming! What a fearful rout!
Myself with truth I must at last help out—
The sorriest shift! Great is the need! Ah me!
O Mothers, Mothers! Only Faust set free.
The lights are burning dimly in the hall;
At once the court is moving, one and all;
Advancing in due order them I see,
Through long arcade and distant gallery;
Now in the old Baronial hall, the train
Assemble, them it scarcely can contain;
Its ample walls rare tapestries enrich,
While armor decks each corner, every niche;
Here magic-words, methinks, are needed not,
Ghosts, of their own accord, would haunt this spot.
Baronial Hall.(Dimly illuminated.)
Emperorand Court have entered.
Mine ancient usage, to announce the play,
The spirits’ secret working mars; in vain
The surging tumult to ourselves, to-day,
Would we, on reasonable grounds, explain.
Seats are arrang’d, ready is every chair;
The Emperor sits before the wall, and there,
On tapestry in comfort may behold
The battles of the glorious days of old.
All now are seated; prince and court around;
While crowded benches fill the hinder ground;
Your lovers too, in these dark hours, will find,
Beside their sweethearts, places to their mind.
So now we’re seated, ready for the play;
The phantoms may appear, without delay!
Now let the drama, ’tis the Sire’s command,
Begin forthwith its course! ye walls expand!
Naught hinders; magic yields what we require.
The curtains vanish, as uproll’d by fire;
The wall splits open, backward it doth wend;
An ample theatre appears to rise;
A mystic lustre gleams before our eyes;
And I to the proscenium ascend.
(Emerging from the prompter’s box.) I hope for general favor in your eyes,
The Devil’s rhetoric in prompting lies!
The time dost know, in which the stars proceed,
And, like a master, wilt my whispering read.
Through magic power, appears before our gaze,
Massive enough, a fane of ancient days;
Like Atlas, who of old the heavens upbare,
Columns, in goodly rows, are standing there;
They for their burden may suffice, when twain
A mighty edifice might well sustain.
That the antique—I cannot think it right;
It as unwieldy we should designate;
The rude is noble styled, the clumsy great!
Slim shafts I love, aspiring, infinite;
The pointed zenith lifts the soul on high;
Such building us doth mostly edify.
Receive with reverence stargranted hours!
By magic word enthrall’d be reason’s powers;
Here, on the other hand, let phantasy,
Noble and daring, roam more wildly free!
What boldly you desir’d, he with your eyes perceiv’d!
Impossible, and hence, by faith to be believ’d.
[Faustrises at the other side of the proscenium.
In priestly vesture, crown’d, a wondrous man,
Who now achieves, what trustful he began;
A tripod with him from the gulf ascends;
With the surrounding air the incense blends;
He arms himself, the lofty work to bless:
Henceforth we naught can augur but success.
In your name, Mothers, ye who on your throne
Dwell in the Infinite, for aye alone,
Yet sociably! Around your heads are rife
Life’s pictures, restless, yet devoid of life;
What was, there moveth, bright with lustrous sheen;
For deathless will abide what once hath been.
This ye dispense, beings of matchless might,
To day’s pavilion, to the vault of night:
Life in its gentle course doth some arrest;
Of others the bold magian goes in quest:
In rich profusion, fearless, he displays
The marvels upon which each longs to gaze.
Scarcely the glowing key the censer nears,
When o’er the scene a misty shroud appears;
It creepeth in, cloudlike it onward glides,
Expands, upcurls, contracts, unites, divides.
Now recognize a spirit masterpiece:
The clouds make music; wonders never cease;
The airy tones, one knows not how, float by:
Where’er they move, there all is melody;
The pillar’d shaft, the very triglyph rings;
Yea, I believe that the whole temple sings!
The mist subsides; steps forth, in measur’d time,
From the light veil, a youth in beauty’s prime.
Silent mine office here; his name I need not show;
Who doth the gentle Paris fail to know!
O! In his youthful strength what lustrous grace!
Fresh as a peach, and full of sap his face!
The finely chisell’d, sweetly swelling lip!
At such a beaker fain wert thou to sip?
Though handsome, quite unpolish’d is his mien.
A little more refin’d he might have been.
The shepherd youth, methinks, in him I trace;
Naught of the prince or of the courtier’s grace!
Half naked, fair the stripling seems to be;
But clad in armor him we first must see!
Gently he seats himself, with easy grace.
For you his lap were pleasant resting-place?
Lightly his arm he bendeth o’er his head.
That is not here allow’d. ’Tis under-bred!
You gentlemen are always hard to please.
Before the Emperor to loll at ease!
He only acts! He thinks himself alone.
The drama should be courtly near the throne.
Gently hath sleep o’ercome the gracious youth.
He snoreth now; ’tis nature, perfect truth.
(Enraptured.) What fragrance with the incense sweetly blends.
That to my inmost heart refreshment sends?
A breath the soul pervades with gracious power!
From him it comes.
Of growth it is the flower;
It like ambrosia from the youth distils,
And the whole atmosphere around him fills.
Such then she was! She will not break my rest!
Fair, doubtless; but she is not to my taste.
For me remains no further duty now,
As man of honor, this I must allow.
The fair one comes; and had I tongues of fire—
Beauty of old did many a song inspire—
Who sees her is enraptur’d; all too bless’d
Was he indeed by whom she was possess’d.
Have I still eyes? Is beauty’s very spring,
Full gushing, to mine inmost sense reveal’d?
Most blessed gain doth my dread journey bring.
How blank to me the world, its depths unseal’d!
What is it since my priesthood’s solemn hour!
Enduring, firmly-bas’d, a precious dower!
Vanish from me of life the breathing power,
If, e’en in thought, I e’er from thee decline!—
The gracious form that raptur’d once my sight,
That in the magic mirror wak’d delight,
Was a foam-image to such charms as thine!—
’Tis thou, to whom as tribute now I bring
My passion’s depth, of every power the spring,
Love, adoration, madness, heart and soul!
(From the prompter’s box.)
Collect yourself, and fall not from your rôle!
Tall and well-shap’d! Only too small the head.
Her foot! ’Tis clumsy if the truth were said.
Princesses of this kind I’ve seen; and she
From head to foot seems beautiful to me.
Softly she nears the sleeper, artful, shy.
How hateful near that form of purity!
He is illumin’d by her beauty’s sheen.
Endymion! Luna!—’Tis the pictur’d scene!
Quite right! The goddess downward seems to sink;
O’er him she bends, his balmy breath to drink;
A kiss!—The measure’s full!—O envied youth!
Before the crowd—too bold that is, in sooth!
A fearful favor to the boy!—
And let the phantom do whate’er it will.
She steals away, light-footed;—he awakes.
A backward glance, just as I thought, she takes!
He starts! ’Tis marvellous! he’s all amaze.
To her no marvel is what meets her gaze.
To him with coy reserve she turneth now.
She takes him into tutelage, it seems;
All men in such a case are fools, I trow;
Himself to be the first, he fondly dreams!
Let me admire! Majestically fair—
The courtezan! ’Tis vulgar, I declare!
Now in his place to be, full fain I were!
Who in such net would not be gladly caught?
From hand to hand the jewel hath been pass’d;
The very gilding is worn off at last.
From her tenth year she hath been good for naught.
Each takes the best that Fate to him hath sent:
With this fair ruin I were well content.
Her I behold, yet to confess am free,
Doubts may arise, if she the right one be.
What’s present doth into extremes betray;
Cling closely to the letter, that’s my way;
I to what’s written turn, and there I read:
How she all Troya’s graybeards charm’d indeed.
How perfectly this tallies here, I see—
I am not young, and yet she pleases me.
A boy no more! A man, heroic, brave,
He claspeth her, who scarce herself can save;
With stalwart arm aloft he raises her.
Thinks he to bear her off?
Rash fool! Beware!
Thou darest! Hearest not! Forbear I say!
Why thou thyself dost make the phantom-play!
Only one word! From what did her befall,
“The rape of Helena,” the piece I call.
The rape! Count I for nothing here? This key,
Do I not hold it still within my hand?
Through dreary wastes, through waves, it guided me,
Through solitudes, here to this solid land;
Here is firm footing, here the actual, where
Spirit with spirits to contend may dare,
And for itself a vast, twin-realm prepare.
Far as she was, how can she be more near?
Sav’d, she is doubly mine! I’ll dare it! Hear,
Ye Mothers, Mothers, hear, and grant my quest!
Who once hath known, without her cannot rest!
What dost thou? Faustus! Faustus!—Her with might,
He seizes; fades the phantom from the sight;
Towards the youth he turneth now the key,
He touches him!—Presto! alas! Woe’s me!
[Explosion,Faustlies upon the ground.
[The phantoms vanish in the air.
(TakingFaustupon his shoulders.) You have it now! With fools one’s self to burden,
May to the devil prove a sorry guerdon.