Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I.—: The Antechamber of the Duke, furnished in magnificent modern style. - Goethe's Works, vol. 2 (Faust 1 & 2, Egmont, Natural Daughter, Sorrows of Young Werther)
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SCENE I.—: The Antechamber of the Duke, furnished in magnificent modern style. - 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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The Antechamber of the Duke,furnished in magnificent modern style.
Secretary. Secular Priest.
Tread silently into this deathly silence!
The palace is as quiet as the tomb.
The Duke is sleeping, and the servants all,
Touch’d by his grief, are bent in sympathy.
He sleeps! I bless’d him as I saw him lie
Wrapp’d in unconsciousness upon his pillow
Peacefully breathing. The excess of woe
Has yielded to the healing balm of Nature.
The moment that shall wake him, that I fear—
A man of grief before you will appear!
I am prepar’d to see him, doubt it not.
An hour or two ago the tidings came
That fair Eugenie had been thrown and kill’d.
You must confirm it: say that she was brought
Unto your chapel as the nearest place
That they could take her from the treacherous ground,
Where, boldly courting death, she forc’d her steed.
And in the meantime she is far away?
With breathless haste the speeding coursers fly.
To whom entrust you such a weighty task?
The prudent goodwife who is wholly ours.
To what far region have you sent the maid?
The port that lies most distant in this realm.
And will a foreign shore receive her next?
The favoring wind will bear her quickly hence.
And will they here forever think her dead?
The purport of thy fiction shall decide.
And so this error from the very first
Will sway the fortune of all coming time.
Her very grave is feign’d, and for her body
A mask shall cheat the eye. Her lovely image
Shall shatter in a thousand pieces. Horror
Shall sear my wretched hearer’s loving heart,
As though with fire, because of this misfortune.
All think her dead, she disappears forever
Within the ashes, gray, of nothingness.
Then each of us will quickly turn to life,
And in the tumult of the busy world
Forget that she too, though so far away,
Still breathes the air of life among the living.
Dost thou with utter boldness face the deed?
Will not remorse remain with bitter sting?
Thou askest such a question? We are firm.
An inward dissatisfaction oftentimes
Against our will accompanies an action.
What do I hear? art thou become repentant,
Or wilt thou only test me if I be
A worthy pupil in the arts thou teachest?
Never sufficiently do men reflect!
They should reflect before the deed’s begun.
’Tis not too late before the deed is done.
For me the door of forethought is shut fast.
The time for that was when I still delay’d
Within the Paradise of simple joys:
When, bounded by the garden’s cosy hedge,
I grafted trees that I myself had planted,
And fed my table from the narrow beds,
When still contentment in the little house
Supplied a sense of having wealth unbounded,
And when, according to my light, I spoke
Unto the congregation from my heart,
A friend with friends, a father with his children,
And gave my hand to aid the worthy man,
And stopp’d the bad man and the sin he did.
Oh, would that some beneficent spirit had then
Turn’d from my door thy hesitating steps,
Whereto thou, weary, thirsty from the chase,
Didst come to knock and with thy flattering ways,
Thy wily words, didst lay a spell upon me!
That beauteous day on which our friendship hung
Peace spread her wings and fled forever from me!
We brought thee many pleasures, did we not?
And many anxious wants which weight me down.
I felt my poverty to see the rich.
Anxiety oppress’d me, for I lack’d;
And in my need I ask’d for help from others.
You brought me aid: dearly I pay for it.
You took me as the comrade of your fortune.
You took me as the complice of your deeds—
Nay, rather should I say the slave, for such
You made the once free now abandon’d man.
You gave him pay forsooth, but yet denied
The sole reward which he had dared to ask.
Have faith that we shall load thee down ere long
With honors, benefices and estates.
But those are not the things that I expect.
And now what new demand hast thou conceiv’d?
You use me as a tool devoid of feelings
Thus once again. This noble child ye thrust
Forth from the living circle of her friends.
’Tis I must palliate, must hide the deed,
Yet you determine and I have no voice.
Henceforth I ask to join your secret conclave
Where frightful deeds are plann’d, where every man
Proud of his strength and genius bends the course
Of monstrous actions unavoidable.
That thou so closely art with us allied
Gives thee a new and potent claim upon us.
With weighty secrets shalt thou soon be trusted.
And so be patient and control thyself.
I am, and far more patient than you think.
Long since I saw the purport of your plans.
He only merits secret consecration
Who through presentiment anticipates.
What dost thou guess? What dost thou know?
Be spared until we meet at midnight’s hour.
Alas! this maiden’s melancholy fate
Has vanish’d like a brook in ocean’s tide,
When I consider how ye lift yourselves
In secret in a mighty party schism,
And hope, by treacherous wiles, to oust the King,
And foist yourselves as rulers on the land.
Not you alone, for others also strive
In rivalry with you to reach your goal.
And so ye undermine the throne and State.
Who shall be rescued from the impending fate?
Hush! Some one comes! Hide in this secret closet.
When it is time I’ll summon thee to enter.