Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I.—: Park at the port. On one side a palace, on the other a church; in the background a row of trees through which the port is seen below. Eugenie, enveloped in a veil, seated on a bench in the background, with face turned to the sea. - 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:
SCENE I.—: Park at the port. On one side a palace, on the other a church; in the background a row of trees through which the port is seen below. Eugenie, enveloped in a veil, seated on a bench in the background, with face turned to the sea. - 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.
Park at the port. On one side a palace, on the other a church; in the background a row of trees through which the port is seen below.Eugenie,enveloped in a veil, seated on a bench in the background, with face turned to the sea.
Governess. Counsellor.In the foreground.
A wretched business unavoidably
Compels me from the Kingdom’s central heart,
The district of the capital, to seek
The limits of the solid land, this haven,
With strenuous care forever at my heels
And dubious distance ever beckoning on.
How would the counsel and the sympathy
Of some strong man reliable and noble
Shine on me as a blessed guiding star!
Forgive me, therefore, if I come to thee
And bring this charter which shall justify
The formidable purpose that I own!
For I have heard thy name in hearty praise
Once in the halls where righteous judgment sways
As worthy aid, but now as perfect judge.
(Who meantime thoughtfully contemplates the paper.) Not my desert but my endeavor won
Perchance my meed of praise. But strange it seems
That him whom thou hast righteous call’d and noble,
Thou should’st demand in aid, and mock his eyes
With such a paper which can only fill
His bosom with disgust and sheer abhorrence.
Of right, of judgment, let no word be spoken.
This deed is violence, is tyranny!
E’en if the treatment wise and skilful be!
A child of noble birth is given over
For death or life—I speak not too severely?—
Is given over to thy will alone.
All, be they officers, civilians, soldiers,
Are bidden to protect thee, and to do
To her whate’er thy word as law may say.
[Gives back the paper.
Here show thy wisdom as a righteous umpire.
Let not this paper bring complaint alone!
To me, the deeply blamed, oh, lend an ear!
Consider favorably my proposition!
Of noble blood the peerless maiden sprang.
With every gift, with every virtue grac’d
By Nature as inalienable right,
E’en though the law denies her other
And now has banish’d her. ’Tis I must lead her
Forth from the circle of her friends and hence
Go with her as her guardian to the islands.
To certain death she goes: where heated vapors
With slow insinuating poison work.
There must this flower of heaven quickly wither,
The color mantling on her cheek must fade!
The form must disappear which yearning eyes
Would ever wish to keep preserv’d from ill.
Before thou judgest, listen to the end.
The girl is innocent (what need of proof?)
Yet is the cause of evils numberless.
An angry God between two parties plac’d her
Like Discord’s apple, and they now contend,
Forever separated on the question.
The one would see her rais’d to highest station,
The other strives to push her from the ground.
Both were of stout resolve. A labyrinth
Of cunning, weird devices hedg’d her fate,
Plot cross’d with counterplot and end was none
Until impatient passion brought a crisis,
Precipitating moments big with doom.
Dissimulation then forgot its bounds,
And violence fraught with peril to the State
Broke forth in all its threatening fury.
And now to keep the guilty from their guilt,
And check them, a decree divine is made
That strikes my charge, the innocent occasion
Of all the coil, and crushes me with her.
The instrument I blame not, scarce can judge
Those powers that work with such high hand. Alas!
They also are the slaves of tyrant fate
And rarely act from free deliberation.
Solicitude and fear of greater evils
Ofttimes compel the monarch into deeds
Which are unjust and yet must needs be done.
Complete thy necessary task! Begone
Out of the narrow boundaries of my Eden.
’Tis that I seek, and thither turn my steps,
In hope to find relief. Thou’lt not repulse me!
I long have tried to draw entrancing pictures
Before the worthy maiden of the pure delights
Which might await her in the calm contentment
Within the circles of the burgher classes.
If she would but renounce her high ambition
And claim the safeguard of an honest husband.
Would turn her eyes from sweet forbidden regions
Where danger, banishment and death surround her
To look with favor on a simple home,
Then all were solv’d, my bitter task fulfill’d,
And I, rejoicing in my fatherland,
Releas’d from care could still see peaceful hours.
A web of wondrous circumstance thou showest.
I show it to a wise and resolute man.
A suitor to thy mind could win the maid?
She should be his and richlydower’d withal.
Who could so rashly make a grave decision?
With sudden purpose inclination acts.
To link one’s life with fate unknown were madness.
One glance at her is warrant of her worth.
The wife’s foes are the foes of husband also.
When she is wed comes reconciliation.
And will her husband know the maiden’s secret?
If he is trusty, trust will be bestow’d.
And will she freely sanction such alliance?
A dread alternative will weight her choice.
Is it fair to woo in such extremity?
He who would rescue must not reason fine.
Pray, what before all else dost thou demand?
That thy resolve shall be confirm’d at once.
And is the peril of thy fate so pressing?
The busy sailors yonder spur the voyage.
Hast thou advised her yet of such a step?
I hinted thus with quick significance.
And did she not, indignant, spurn the thought?
Her former fortune then was all too nigh.
The glorious fancies, will they ever fade?
The awful ocean puts them all to flight.
She hates to leave her fatherland forever?
She hates to leave it, and to me ’tis death.
Thou, noble sir, by happy fortune found,
Oh, let us not exchange uncertain words.
Thy heart is young and in it dwells that virtue
That needs bright faith and uncondition’d love
For the accomplishment of treasur’d deeds.
In sooth a splendid circle hems thee round
Of men like thee—I would not say of equals.
Oh, look around thee! Look into thy heart
And look into the hearts of all thy friends!
And if thou find’st an overflowing measure
Of love, and charity and strength and courage,
Then let the most deserving take this jewel
And find the blessing that shall be his portion.
I know, I feel thy dubious situation.
I cannot with myself discreetly balance,
As wisdom would demand, before I choose.
Let me converse with her.
[TheGovernessretires towardsEugenie. What must be done
’Tis fated will be done. In commonest things
Volition, choice determine much. The highest
That comes to us of good, who knows its source?