Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE V. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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SCENE V. - 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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Eugenie. Governess. Servantsbringing a magnificent dressing-case.
If I disturb thee, still I bring with me
What in thy eyes should give me absolution.
This from my father! This resplendent gift!
What content does a shrine like that portend?
Ho! tarry yet a moment!
[She hands them a purse.
Take this trifle
As foretaste of reward for service! richer follows!
No letter and no key! ’Tis passing strange!
Must such a treasure wait me unexplor’d?
O curiosity! O eager longing!
Suspectest thou what mean these gifts to me?
I doubt not thou thyself hast solv’d the riddle.
It signifies a coming elevation.
The finery of a princess is allow’d thee
Because the King will soon declare thy rank.
What makes thee think so?
Oh, I know it well!
The secrets of the great are never kept.
Well, if thou knowest, why should I dissemble?
Shall I restrain before thee without reason
My curiosity to see this gift? The key
Is here! I know my father did forbid it.
Yet what did he forbid? To tell the secret
Before the time. Yet thou already knowest
The weighty news: what more is there to tell
Than thou hast heard, and through thy love for me
Hast kept in guard beneath the seal of silence?
Why then delay? Come, let us open! come!
So that the glory of the gifts may charm us!
Nay! touch it not! Remember his forbiddance.
Who knows the reason of the Duke’s command?
He had a purpose for his prohibition,
That purpose now is render’d nugatory;
Thou knowest all. Thou lovest me, thou art
A faithful friend that can preserve a secret.
So let us push the bolt and close the chamber,
And let us quick together solve the mystery.
[She shuts the chamber door and runs to the casket.
(Restraining her.) The gold, the colors of the splendid fabrics,
The soft light of the pearls, the gleam of jewels,
Ah! let them all remain unseen! They tempt thee
Beyond control to seek the fatal goal!
Not they, but what they signify, attract me.
[She opens the box; mirrors adorn the cover.
What costly raiment, lying folded there
E’en as I touch it, shows before my eyes!
And do these mirrors not make swift demand
To image forth the maiden in her jewels?
Medea’s fiery garment seems to me
To lie unfolded in my nerveless hand!
What Melancholy weaves its mist around thee?
Think rather of delightful bridal feasts!
Come! reach the treasures to me one by one!
That underdress! how richly, sweetly gleam
The silver gauze, the sparkle of its hues.
(Throwing the garment overEugenie’sshoulders.) If e’er the rays of Favor’s sun should darken,
The cause would be such glory’s bright reflection.
A faithful heart deserves the rays of favor,
And if they fail it draws them back again.—
Now bring the gold-embroider’d overskirt,
And spread the train with all its wealth of lace.
The brilliancy of flowers has ting’d the gold
Spread in metallic hues with tasteful choice.
Am I not beautiful in this array?
Yet beauty unadorn’d is honor’d more
For its own splendor by the truly wise.
The truly wise may treasure simple beauty,
But most prefer the beauty that’s adorn’d.—
Now bring the tender twilight of the pearls,
The flashing glory of the splendid jewels.
Yet not the appearance but the genuine worth
Can satisfy the cravings of thy heart!
What is appearance having naught of substance,
And what would substance be without appearance?
And hast thou not enjoy’d within these walls
The long untroubled days of sunny youth,
Nor felt the secret bliss of holy rapture
When cradled with the hearts of those that love thee?
The tender bud rejoices in its calyx
So long as Winter’s frost besieges it;
But now the breath of Spring inspires its life,
It bursts in blossoms, full of light and fragrance!
But moderation gives a joy serene!
Provided that a moderate aim is set.
He who enjoys submits to limitations.
Thy arguments persuade me not, thus rob’d.
Oh, would that this apartment might expand
Until it reach’d the glory of the King’s.
That splendid carpets deck’d the polish’d floors,
That golden groins might overarch the vault!
And thus before the throne of royalty
With humble pride, among the haughty nobles
Reflecting back the smiling beams of grace,
I ’mid the circle of distinguish’d ones
Should stand the most distinguish’d at the pageant.
Oh, let me have the foretaste of this joy
When all the world shall wonder at my fortune.
Thou’lt be an object not of wonder only:
Envy will mark thee, hate will seek thy ruin.
Success must ever raise the coils of envy.
We learn to keep our guard when haters prowl.
Humiliation oft surprises pride.
Presence of mind will guard against surprise!
[Turning to the dressing-case.
Not yet have we examin’d everything.
For self alone I do not ask this fortune;
With others would I all my treasures share.
(Taking out a jewel box.)
Here written on this box the words: “For Gifts.”
Then pray select the things that please thee most.
Among these watches, boxes, take thy choice.
Yet hold! Be wary! Who can tell? Perchance
Yet costlier things lie hid within the case!
Would that a powerful talisman were here
To win thy cruel brother’s love to thee!
The pure affections of the ingenuous heart
May gradually soften his ill will.
Yet those who strive to make more black his grudge
Are pledg’d forever to oppose thy wishes.
If they till now have sought to block my fortune,
Yet since the grand decision has been made
They will each one conform without a murmur.
That which thou hopest is not yet accomplish’d.
Yet ’tis so safe that I can call it done.
[Returning to the case again.
See what is lying in that long flat box!
(Uncovering it.) The loveliest ribbons, fresh and newly chosen!
Ah, let not curious contemplation ruin
With dissipating tendency thy mind.
Oh, would it might be, that my earnest warning
Should make a moment’s impress on thy mind.
From the still circle thou wilt soon emerge
On wider fields where anxious cares will harass,
Where dangerous snares, where Death itself, perchance,
From murderous hands of enemies await thee.
Thou art unwell! How can my sure success
Appear to thee as frightful as a spectre?
[Gazing into the box.
What do I see? This roll! ’tis verily
The ribbon of the noblest princely order!
This also I must wear then! Come! make haste!
I wish to see its whole effect! ’Tis part
Of this superb array. It must be tried!
[The order is attached.
Now prate to me of death! now prate of danger!
What nobler grace than when a man can stand
In all the bravery of heroic garb
Amid his peers in presence of his King?
What gives more satisfaction to the eye
Than robes that tell of splendid lines of knights?
This raiment and its colors are they not
A symbol of the danger ever near?
The sash, significant of war, wherewith
A man with dauntless courage girds himself?
My friend, my love! Whatever ornament
Is emblematical of peril, that
Must, of necessity, be dangerous!
So give me then the sentiment of courage
To meet the dangers menacing my path,
Array’d, as now, in splendid princely garb.
Henceforth, irrevocable is my fortune.
(Aside.) The fate that calls thee is irrevocable.