Faust Part 1
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Part 1 out of 5
Prepared by David Reed email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Faust Part 1
by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, the greatest of German
men of letters, was born at Frank fort-on-the-Main, August 28,
1749. His father was a man of means and position, and he
personally supervised the early education of his son. The young
Goethe studied at the universities of Leipsic and Strasburg, and in
1772 entered upon the practise of law at Wetzlar. At the invitation
of Karl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, he went in 1775 to live in
Weimar, where he held a succession of political offices, becoming
the Duke's chief adviser. From 1786 to 1788 he traveled in Italy,
and from 179' to 1817 directed the ducal theater at Weimar. He
took part in the wars against France, 1792-3, and in the following
year began his friendship with Schiller, which lasted till the latter's
death in 1805. In 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius. From about
1794 he devoted himself chiefly to literature, and after a life of
extraordinary productiveness died at Weimar, March 22, 1832.
The most important of Goethe's works produced before he went to
Weimar were his tragedy "Gotz von Berlichingen" (1773), which
first brought him fame, and "The Sorrows of Young Werther," a
novel which obtained enormous popularity during the so-called
"Sturm und Drang" period. During the years at Weimar before he
knew Schiller he began "Wilhelm Meister," wrote the dramas,
"Iphigenie," "Egmont," and "Torquato Tasso," and his "Reinecke
Fuchs." To the period of his friendship with Schiller belong the
continuation of "Wilhelm Meister," the beautiful idyl of "Hermann
and Dorothea," and the "Roman Elegies." In the last period,
between Schiller's death in 1805 and his own, appeared "Faust,"
"Elective Affinities," his autobiographical "Dichtung und
Wahrheit" ("Poetry and Truth"), his "Italian Journey," much
scientific work, and a series of treatises on German Art.
Though the foregoing enumeration contains but a selection front
the titles of Goethe's best known writings, it suffices to show the
extraordinary fertility and versatility of his genius. Rarely has a
man of letters had so full and varied a life, or been capable of so
many-sided a development. His political and scientific activities,
though dwarfed in the eyes of our generation by his artistic
production, yet showed the adaptability of his talent in the most
diverse directions, and helped to give him that balance of temper
and breadth of vision in which he has been surpassed by no genius
of the ancient or modern world.
The greatest and most representative expression of Goethe's
powers is without doubt to be found in his drama of "Faust"; but
before dealing with Goethe's masterpiece, it is worth while to say
something of the history of the story on which it is founded--the
most famous instance of the old and widespread legend of the man
who sold his soul to the devil. The historical Dr. Faust seems to
have been a self-called philosopher who traveled about Germany
in the first half of the sixteenth century, making money by the
practise of magic, fortune-telling, and pretended cures. He died
mysteriously about 1540, and a legend soon sprang up that the
devil, by whose aid he wrought his wonders, had finally carried
him off. In 1587 a life of him appeared, in which are attributed to
him many marvelous exploits and in which he is held up as an
awful warning against the excessive desire for secular learning and
admiration for antique beauty which characterized the humanist
movement of the time. In this aspect the Faust legend is an
expression of early popular Protestantism, and of its antagonism to
the scientific and classical tendencies of the Renaissance.
While a succession of Faust books were appearing in Germany, the
original life was translated into English and dramatized by
Marlowe. English players brought Marlowe's work back to
Germany, where it was copied by German actors, degenerated into
spectacular farce, and finally into a puppet show. Through this
puppet show Goethe made acquaintance with the legend.
By the time that Goethe was twenty, the Faust legend had
fascinated his imagination; for three years before he went to
Weimar he had been working on scattered scenes and bits of
dialogue; and though he suspended actual composition on it during
three distinct periods, it was always to resume, and he closed his
labors upon it only with his life. Thus the period of time between
his first experiments and the final touches is more than sixty years.
During this period the plans for the structure and the signification
of the work inevitably underwent profound modifications, and
these have naturally affected the unity of the result; but, on the
other hand, this long companionship and persistent recurrence to
the task from youth to old age have made it in a unique way the
record of Goethe's personality in all its richness and diversity.
The drama was given to the public first as a fragment in 1790; then
the completed First Part appeared in 1808; and finally the Second
Part was published in 1833, the year after the author's death.
Writing in "Dichtung und Wahrheit" of the period about 1770,
when he was in Strasburg with. Herder, Goethe says, "The
significant puppet-play legend . . . echoed and buzzed in many
tones within me. I too had drifted about in all knowledge, and
early enough had been brought to feel the vanity of it. I too had
made all sorts of experiments in life, and had always come back
more unsatisfied and more tormented. I was now carrying these
things, like many others, about with me and delighting myself with
them in lonely hours, but without writing anything down." Without
going into the details of the experience which underlies these
words, we can see the be ginning of that sympathy with the hero of
the old story that was the basis of its fascination and that
accounted for Goethe's departure from the traditional catastrophe
of Faust's damnation.
Of the elements in the finished Faust that are derived from the
legend a rough idea may be obtained from the "Doctor Faustus" of
Marlowe, printed in the present volume. As early as 1674 a life of
Faust had contained the incident of the philosopher's falling in love
with a servant-girl; but the developed story of Gretchen is Goethe's
own. The other elements added to the plot can be noted by a
comparison with Marlowe.
It need hardly be said that Goethe's "Faust" does not derive its
greatness from its conformity to the traditional standards of what a
tragedy should be. He himself was accustomed to refer to it
cynically as a monstrosity, and yet he put himself into it as
intensely as Dante put himself into "The Divine Comedy." A
partial explanation of this apparent contradiction in the author's
attitude is to be found in what has been said of its manner of
composition. Goethe began it in his romantic youth, and availed
himself recklessly of the supernatural elements in the legend, with
the disregard of reason and plausibility characteristic of the
romantic mood. When he returned to it in the beginning of the new
century his artistic standards had changed, and the supernaturalism
could now be tolerated only by being made symbolic. Thus he
makes the career of Faust as a whole emblematic of the triumph of
the persistent striving for the ideal over the temptation to find
complete satisfaction in the sense, and prepares the reader for this
interpretation by prefixing the "Prologue in Heaven." The
elaboration of this symbolic element is responsible for such scenes
as the Walpurgis Night and the Intermezzo, scenes full of power
and infinitely suggestive, but destructive of the unity of the play as
a tragedy of human life. Yet there remains in this First Part even in
its final form much that is realistic in the best sense, the carousal
in Auerbach's cellar, the portrait of Martha, the Easter-morning
walk, the character and fate of Margaret. It is such elements as
these that have appealed to the larger reading public and that have
naturally been emphasized by performance on the stage, and by
virtue of these alone "Faust" may rank as a great drama; but it is
the result of Goethe's broodings on the mystery of human life,
shadowed forth in the symbolic parts and elaborated with still
greater complexity and still more far-reaching suggestiveness--and,
it must be added, with deepening obscurity--in the Second Part,
that have given the work its place with "Job," with the
"Prometheus Bound," with "The Divine Comedy," and with
YE wavering shapes, again ye do enfold me,
As erst upon my troubled sight ye stole;
Shall I this time attempt to clasp, to hold ye?
Still for the fond illusion yearns my soul?
Ye press around! Come then, your captive hold me,
As upward from the vapoury mist ye roll;
Within my breast youth's throbbing pulse is bounding,
Fann'd by the magic breath your march surrounding.
Shades fondly loved appear, your train attending,
And visions fair of many a blissful day;
First-love and friendship their fond accents blending,
Like to some ancient, half-expiring lay;
Sorrow revives, her wail of anguish sending
Back o'er life's devious labyrinthine way,
And names the dear ones, they whom Fate bereaving
Of life's fair hours, left me behind them grieving.
They hear me not my later cadence singing,
The souls to whom my earlier lays I sang;
Dispersed the throng, their severed flight now winging;
Mute are the voices that responsive rang.
For stranger crowds the Orphean lyre now stringing,
E'en their applause is to my heart a pang;
Of old who listened to my song, glad hearted,
If yet they live, now wander widely parted.
A yearning long unfelt, each impulse swaying,
To yon calm spirit-realm uplifts my soul;
In faltering cadence, as when Zephyr playing,
Fans the Aeolian harp, my numbers roll;
Tear follows tear, my steadfast heart obeying
The tender impulse, loses its control;
What I possess as from afar I see;
Those I have lost become realities to me.
PROLOGUE FOR THE THEATRE
MANAGER. DRAMATIC POET. MERRYMAN.
YE twain, in trouble and distress
True friends whom I so oft have found,
Say, for our scheme on German ground,
What prospect have we of success?
Fain would I please the public, win their thanks;
They live and let live, hence it is but meet.
The posts are now erected, and the planks,
And all look forward to a festal treat.
Their places taken, they, with eyebrows rais'd,
Sit patiently, and fain would be amaz'd.
I know the art to hit the public taste,
Yet ne'er of failure felt so keen a dread;
True, they are not accustomed to the best,
But then appalling the amount they've read..
How make our entertainment striking, new,
And yet significant and pleasing too?
For to be plain, I love to see the throng,
As to our booth the living tide progresses;
As wave on wave successive rolls along,
And through heaven's narrow portal forceful presses;
Still in broad daylight, ere the clock strikes four,
With blows their way towards the box they take;
And, as for bread in famine, at the baker's door,
For tickets are content their necks to break.
Such various minds the bard alone can sway,
My friend, oh work this miracle to-day!
Oh of the motley throng speak not before me,
At whose aspect the Spirit wings its flight!
Conceal the surging concourse, I implore thee,
Whose vortex draws us with resistless might.
No, to some peaceful heavenly nook restore me,
Where only for the bard blooms pure delight,
Where love and friendship yield their choicest blessing,
Our heart's true bliss, with god-like hand caressing.
What in the spirit's depths was there created,
What shyly there the lip shaped forth in sound;
A failure now, with words now fitly mated,
In the wild tumult of the hour is drown'd;
Full oft the poet's thought for years bath waited
Until at length with perfect form 'tis crowned;
What dazzles, for the moment born, must perish;
What genuine is posterity will cherish.
This cant about posterity I hate;
About posterity were I to prate,
Who then the living would amuse? For they
Will have diversion, ay, and 'tis their due.
A sprightly fellow's presence at your play,
Methinks should also count for something too;
Whose genial wit the audience still inspires,
Knows from their changeful mood no angry feeling;
A wider circle he desires,
To their heart's depths more surely thus appealing.
To work, then! Give a master-piece, my friend;
Bring Fancy with her choral trains before us,
Sense, reason, feeling, passion, but attend!
Let folly also swell the tragic chorus.
In chief, of incident enough prepare!
A show they want, they come to gape and stare.
Spin for their eyes abundant occupation,
SO that the multitude may wondering gaze,
You by sheer bulk have won your reputation,
By mass alone can you subdue the masses,
Each then selects in time what suits his bent.
Bring much, you something bring for various classes,
And from the house goes every one content.
You give a piece, abroad in pieces send it!
'Tis a ragout--success most needs attend it;
'Tis easy to serve up, as easy to invent.
A finish'd whole what boots it to present!
Full soon the public will in pieces rend it.
How mean such handicraft as this you cannot feel!
How it revolts the genuine artist's mind!
The sorry trash in which these coxcombs deal,
Is here approved on principle, I find.
Such a reproof disturbs me not a whit!
Who on efficient work is bent,
Must choose the fittest instrument.
Consider! 'tis soft wood you have to split;
Think too for whom you write, I pray!
One comes to while an hour away;
One from the festive board, a sated guest;
Others, more dreaded than the rest,
From journal-reading hurry to the play.
As to a masquerade, with absent minds, they press,
Sheer curiosity their footsteps winging;
Ladies display their persons and their dress,
Actors unpaid their service bringing.
What dreams beguile you on your poet's height?
What puts a full house in a merry mood?
More closely view your patrons of the night!
The half are cold, the half are rude.
One, the play over, craves a game of cards;
Another a wild night in wanton joy would spend.
Poor fools the muses' fair regards.
Why court for such a paltry end?
I tell you, give them more, still more, 'tis all I ask,
Thus you will ne'er stray widely from the goal;
Your audience seek to mystify, cajole;--
To satisfy them--that's a harder task.
What ails thee? art enraptured or distressed?
Depart! elsewhere another servant choose
What! shall the bard his godlike power abuse?
Man's loftiest right, kind nature's high bequest,
For your mean purpose basely sport away?
Whence comes his mastery o'er the human breast,
Whence o'er the elements his sway,
But from the harmony that, gushing from his soul,
Draws back into his heart the wondrous whole?
With careless hand when round her spindle, Nature
Winds the interminable thread of life;
When 'mid the clash of Being every creature
Mingles in harsh inextricable strife;
Who deals their course unvaried till it falleth,
In rhythmic flow to music's measur'd tone?
Each solitary note whose genius calleth,
To swell the mighty choir in unison?
Who in the raging storm sees passion low'ring?
Or flush of earnest thought in evening's glow?
Who every blossom in sweet spring-time flowering
Along the loved one's path would strow?
Who, Nature's green familiar leaves entwining,
Wreathe's glory's garland, won on every field?
Makes sure Olympus, heavenly powers combining?
Man's mighty spirit, in the bard reveal'd!
Come then, employ your lofty inspiration,
And carry on the poet's avocation,
Just as we carry on a love affair.
Two meet by chance, are pleased, they linger there,
Insensibly are link'd, they scarce know how;
Fortune seems now propitious, adverse now,
Then come alternate rapture and despair;
And 'tis a true romance ere one's aware.
Just such a drama let us now compose.
Plunge boldly into life--its depths disclose!
Each lives it, not to many is it known,
'Twill interest wheresoever seiz'd and shown;
Bright pictures, but obscure their meaning:
A ray of truth through error gleaming,
Thus you the best elixir brew,
To charm mankind, and edify them too.
Then youth's fair blossoms crowd to view your play,
And wait as on an oracle; while they,
The tender souls, who love the melting mood,
Suck from your work their melancholy food;
Now this one, and now that, you deeply stir,
Each sees the working of his heart laid bare.
Their tears, their laughter, you command with ease,
The lofty still they honour, the illusive love.
Your finish'd gentlemen you ne'er can please;
A growing mind alone will grateful prove.
Then give me back youth's golden prime,
When my own spirit too was growing,
When from my heart th' unbidden rhyme
Gush'd forth, a fount for ever flowing;
Then shadowy mist the world conceal'd,
And every bud sweet promise made,
Of wonders yet to be reveal'd,
As through the vales, with blooms inlaid,
Culling a thousand flowers I stray'd.
Naught had I, yet a rich profusion!
The thirst for truth, joy in each fond illusion.
Give me unquell'd those impulses to prove;--
Rapture so deep, its ecstasy was pain,
The power of hate, the energy of love,
Give me, oh give me back my youth again!
Youth, my good friend, you certainly require
When foes in battle round are pressing,
When a fair maid, her heart on fire,
Hangs on your neck with fond caressing,
When from afar, the victor's crown,
To reach the hard-won goal inciteth;
When from the whirling dance, to drown
Your sense, the night's carouse inviteth.
But the familiar chords among
Boldly to sweep, with graceful cunning,
While to its goal, the verse along
Its winding path is sweetly running;
This task is yours, old gentlemen, to-day;
Nor are you therefore less in reverence held;
Age does not make us childish, as folk say,
It finds us genuine children e'en in eld.
A truce to words, mere empty sound,
Let deeds at length appear, my friends!
While idle compliments you round,
You might achieve some useful ends.
Why talk of the poetic vein?
Who hesitates will never know it;
If bards ye are, as ye maintain,
Now let your inspiration show it.
To you is known what we require,
Strong drink to sip is our desire;
Come, brew me such without delay!
To-morrow sees undone, what happens not to-day
Still forward press, nor ever tire!
The possible, with steadfast trust,
Resolve should by the forelock grasp;
Then she will ne'er let go her clasp,
And labours on, because she must.
Therefore in bringing out your play,
Nor scenes nor mechanism spare!
Heaven's lamps employ, the greatest and the least,
Be lavish of the stellar lights,
Water, and fire, and rocky heights,
Spare not at all, nor birds, nor beast.
Thus let creation's ample sphere
Forthwith in this our narrow booth appear,
And with considerate speed, through fancy's spell,
Journey from heaven, thence through the world, to bell!
PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN
THE LORD. THE HEAVENLY HOSTS.
Time three Archangels come forward
THE Sun, in ancient guise, competing
With brother spheres in rival song,
With thunder-march, his orb completing,
Moves his predestin'd course along;
His aspect to the powers supernal
Gives strength, though fathom him none may;
Transcending thought, the works eternal
Are fair as on the primal day.
With speed, thought baffling, unabating,
Earth's splendour whirls in circling flight;
Its Eden-brightness alternating
With solemn, awe-inspiring night;
Ocean's broad waves in wild commotion,
Against the rocks' deep base are hurled;
And with the spheres, both rock and ocean
Eternally are swiftly whirled.
And tempests roar in emulation
From sea to land, from land to sea,
And raging form, without cessation,
A chain of wondrous agency,
Full in the thunder's path careering,
Flaring the swift destructions play;
But, Lord, Thy servants are revering
The mild procession of thy day.
Thine aspect to the powers supernal
Gives strength, though fathom thee none may;
And all thy works, sublime, eternal,
Are fair as on the primal day.
Since thou, O Lord, approachest us once more,
And how it fares with us, to ask art fain,
Since thou hast kindly welcom'd me of yore,
Thou see'st me also now among thy train.
Excuse me, fine harangues I cannot make,
Though all the circle look on me with scorn;
My pathos soon thy laughter would awake,
Hadst thou the laughing mood not long forsworn.
Of suns and worlds I nothing have to say,
I see alone mankind's self-torturing pains.
The little world-god still the self-same stamp retains,
And is as wondrous now as on the primal day.
Better he might have fared, poor wight,
Hadst thou not given him a gleam of heavenly light;
Reason, he names it, and doth so
Use it, than brutes more brutish still to grow.
With deference to your grace, he seems to me
Like any long-legged grasshopper to be,
Which ever flies, and flying springs,
And in the grass its ancient ditty sings.
Would he but always in the grass repose!
In every heap of dung he thrusts his nose.
Hast thou naught else to say? Is blame
In coming here, as ever, thy sole aim?
Does nothing on the earth to thee seem right?
No, Lord! I find things there, as ever, in sad plight.
Men, in their evil days, move my compassion;
Such sorry things to plague is nothing worth.
Know'st thou my servant, Faust?
He serves thee truly in a wondrous fashion.
Poor fool! His food and drink are not of earth.
An inward impulse hurries him afar,
Himself half conscious of his frenzied mood;
From heaven claimeth he the fairest star,
And from the earth craves every highest good,
And all that's near, and all that's far,
Fails to allay the tumult in his blood.
Though in perplexity he serves me now,
I soon will lead him where more light appears;
When buds the sapling, doth the gardener know
That flowers and fruit will deck the coming years.
What wilt thou wager? Him thou yet shall lose,
If leave to me thou wilt but give,
Gently to lead him as I choose!
So long as he on earth doth live,
So long 'tis not forbidden thee.
Man still must err, while he doth strive.
I thank you; for not willingly
I traffic with the dead, and still aver
That youth's plump blooming cheek I very much prefer.
I'm not at home to corpses; 'tis my way,
Like cats with captive mice to toy and play.
Enough! 'tis granted thee! Divert
This mortal spirit from his primal source;
Him, canst thou seize, thy power exert
And lead him on thy downward course,
Then stand abash'd, when thou perforce must own,
A good man in his darkest aberration,
Of the right path is conscious still.
'Tis done! Full soon thou'lt see my exultation;
As for my bet no fears I entertain.
And if my end I finally should gain,
Excuse my triumphing with all my soul.
Dust he shall eat, ay, and with relish take,
As did my cousin, the renowned snake.
Here too thou'rt free to act without control;
I ne'er have cherished hate for such as thee.
Of all the spirits who deny,
The scoffer is least wearisome to me.
Ever too prone is man activity to shirk,
In unconditioned rest he fain would live;
Hence this companion purposely I give,
Who stirs, excites, and must, as devil, work.
But ye, the genuine sons of heaven, rejoice!
In the full living beauty still rejoice!
May that which works and lives, the ever-growing,
In bonds of love enfold you, mercy-fraught,
And Seeming's changeful forms, around you flowing,
Do ye arrest, in ever-during thought!
(Heaven closes, the Archangels disperse.)
The ancient one I like sometimes to see,
And not to break with him am always civil;
'Tis courteous in so great a lord as he,
To speak so kindly even to the devil.
THE TRAGEDY OF FAUST
Characters in the Prologue for the Theatre
THE MANAGER. THE DRAMATIC POET. MERRYMAN.
Characters in the Prologue in Heaven
RAPHAEL, GABRIEL, MICHAEL, (The Heavenly Host).
Characters in the Tragedy
FAUST. MEPHISTOPHELES. WAGNER, a Student.
MARGARET. MARTHA, Margaret's Neighbour.
VALENTINE, Margaret's Brother. OLD PEASANT. A
STUDENT. ELIZABETH, an Acquaintance of Margaret's.
Faoscn, BRANDER, SIEBEL, ALTMAYER,
(Guests in Auerbach's Wine Cellar).
Witches; old and young; Wizards, Will-o'-the-Wisp, Witch Pedlar,
Protophantasmist, Servibilis, Monkeys, Spirits, Journeymen,
Country-folk, Citizens, Beggar, Old Fortune-teller, Shepherd,
Soldier, Students, &c.
In the Intermezzo
OBERON. TITANIA. ARIEL. PUCK, &C, &C.
A high vaulted narrow Gothic chamber.
FAUST, restless, seated at his desk.
I HAVE, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
Magister, doctor styled, indeed,
Already these ten years I lead,
Up, down, across, and to and fro,
My pupils by the nose,--and learn,
That we in truth can nothing know!
That in my heart like fire doth burn.
'Tis true I've more cunning than all your dull tribe,
Magister and doctor, priest, parson, and scribe;
Scruple or doubt comes not to enthrall me,
Neither can devil nor hell now appal me--
Hence also my heart must all pleasure forego!
I may not pretend, aught rightly to know,
I may not pretend, through teaching, to find
A means to improve or convert mankind.
Then I have neither goods nor treasure,
No worldly honour, rank, or pleasure;
No dog in such fashion would longer live!
Therefore myself to magic I give,
In hope, through spirit-voice and might,
Secrets now veiled to bring to light,
That I no more, with aching brow,
Need speak of what I nothing know;
That I the force may recognise
That binds creation's inmost energies;
Her vital powers, her embryo seeds survey,
And fling the trade in empty words away.
O full-orb'd moon, did but thy rays
Their last upon mine anguish gaze!
Beside this desk, at dead of night,
Oft have I watched to hail thy light:
Then, pensive friend! o'er book and scroll,
With soothing power, thy radiance stole!
In thy dear light, ah, might I climb,
Freely, some mountain height sublime,
Round mountain caves with spirits ride,
In thy mild haze o'er meadows glide,
And, purged from knowledge-fumes, renew
My spirit, in thy healing dew!
Woe's me! still prison'd in the gloom
Of this abhorr'd and musty room!
Where heaven's dear light itself doth pass,
But dimly through the painted glass!
Hemmed in by book-heaps, piled around,
Worm-eaten, hid 'neath dust and mould,
Which to the high vault's topmost bound,
A smoke-stained paper doth enfold;
With boxes round thee piled, and glass,
And many a useless instrument,
With old ancestral lumber blent--
This is thy world! a world! alas!
And dost thou ask why heaves thy heart,
With tighten'd pressure in thy breast?
Why the dull ache will not depart,
By which thy life-pulse is oppress'd?
Instead of nature's living sphere,
Created for mankind of old,
Brute skeletons surround thee here,
And dead men's bones in smoke and mould.
Up! Forth into the distant land!
Is not this book of mystery
By Nostradamus' proper hand,
An all-sufficient guide? Thou'lt see
The courses of the stars unroll'd;
When nature doth her thoughts unfold
To thee, thy soul shall rise, and seek
Communion high with her to hold,
As spirit doth with spirit speak!
Vain by dull poring to divine
The meaning of each hallow'd sign.
Spirits! I feel you hov'ring near;
Make answer, if my voice ye hear!
(He opens the book and perceives the sign of the Macrocosmos.)
Ah! at this spectacle through every sense,
What sudden ecstasy of joy is flowing!
I feel new rapture, hallow'd and intense,
Through every nerve and vein with ardour glowing.
Was it a god who character'd this scroll,
The tumult in my spirit healing,
O'er my sad heart with rapture stealing,
And by a mystic impulse, to my soul,
The powers of nature all around revealing.
Am I a God? What light intense!
In these pure symbols do I see,
Nature exert her vital energy.
Now of the wise man's words I learn the sense;
"Unlock'd the spirit-world is lying,
Thy sense is shut, thy heart is dead!
Up scholar, lave, with zeal undying,
Thine earthly breast in the morning-red!"
(He contemplates the sign.)
How all things live and work, and ever blending,
Weave one vast whole from Being's ample range!
How powers celestial, rising and descending,
Their golden buckets ceaseless interchange!
Their flight on rapture-breathing pinions winging,
From heaven to earth their genial influence bringing,
Through the wild sphere their chimes melodious ringing!
A wondrous show! but ah! a show alone!
Where shall I grasp thee, infinite nature, where?
Ye breasts, ye fountains of all life, whereon
Hang heaven and earth, from which the withered heart
For solace yearns, ye still impart
Your sweet and fostering tides--where are ye--where?
Ye gush, and must I languish in despair?
(He turns over the leaves of the book impatiently, and perceives
the sign of the Earth-spirit.)
How all unlike the influence of this sign!
Earth-spirit, thou to me art nigher,
E'en now my strength is rising higher,
E'en now I glow as with new wine;
Courage I feel, abroad the world to dare,
The woe of earth, the bliss of earth to bear,
With storms to wrestle, brave the lightning's glare,
And mid the crashing shipwreck not despair.
Clouds gather over me--
The moon conceals her light--
The lamp is quench'd--
Vapours are rising--
Quiv'ring round my head
Flash the red beams--
Down from the vaulted roof
A shuddering horror floats,
And seizes me!
I feel it, spirit, prayer-compell'd, 'tis thou
Art hovering near!
Ha! How my heart is riven now!
Each sense, with eager palpitation,
Is strain'd to catch some new sensation!
I feel my heart surrender'd unto thee!
Thou must! Thou must! Though life should be the fee!
(He seizes the book, and pronounces mysteriously the sign
of the spirit. A ruddy flame flashes up; the spirit appears in the
Who calls me?
FAUST (turning aside)
With might, thou hast compelled me to appear,
Long hast been sucking at my sphere,
Woe's me! I cannot bear the sight!
To see me thou dost breathe thine invocation,
My voice to hear, to gaze upon my brow;
Me doth thy strong entreaty bow--
Lo! I am here I--What cowering agitation
Grasps thee, the demigod! Where's now the soul's deep cry?
Where is the breast, which in its depths a world conceiv'd
And bore and cherished? which, with ecstasy,
To rank itself with us, the spirits, heaved?
Where art thou, Faust? whose voice I heard resound,
Who towards me press'd with energy profound?
Art thou he? Thou,--who by my breath art blighted,
Who, in his spirit's depths affrighted,
Trembles, a crush'd and writhing worm!
Shall I yield, thing of flame, to thee?
Faust, and thine equal, I am he!
In the currents of life, in action's storm,
I float and I wave
With billowy motion!
Birth and the grave
A limitless ocean,
A constant weaving
With change still rife,
A restless heaving,
A glowing life--
Thus time's whirring loom unceasing I ply,
And weave the life-garment of deity.
Thou, restless spirit, dost from end to end
O'ersweep the world; how near I feel to thee!
Thou'rt like the spirit, thou dost comprehend,
Not me! (Vanishes.)
FAUST (deeply moved)
I, God's own image!
And not rank with thee! (A knock.)
Oh death! I know it--'tis my famulus--
My fairest fortune now escapes!
That all these visionary shapes
A soulless groveller should banish thus!
(WAGNER in his dressing gown and night-cap, a lamp
in his hand. FAUST turns round reluctantly.)
Pardon! I heard you here declaim;
A Grecian tragedy you doubtless read?
Improvement in this art is now my aim,
For now-a-days it much avails. Indeed
An actor, oft I've heard it said, as teacher,
May give instruction to a preacher.
Ay, if your priest should be an actor too,
As not improbably may come to pass.
When in his study pent the whole year through,
Man views the world, as through an optic glass,
On a chance holiday, and scarcely then,
How by persuasion can he govern men?
If feeling prompt not, if it doth not flow
Fresh from the spirit's depths, with strong control
Swaying to rapture every listener's soul,
Idle your toil; the chase you may forego!
Brood o'er your task! Together glue,
Cook from another's feast your own ragout,
Still prosecute your paltry game,
And fan your ash-heaps into flame!
'Thus children's wonder you'll excite,
And apes', if such your appetite;
But that which issues from the heart alone,
Will bend tile hearts of others to your own.
The speaker in delivery will find
Success alone; I still am far behind.
A worthy object still pursue!
Be not a hollow tinkling fool!
Sound understanding, judgment true,
Find utterance without art or rule;
And when in earnest you are moved to speak,
Then is it needful cunning words to seek?
Your fine harangues, so polish'd in their kind,
Wherein the shreds of human thought ye twist,
Are unrefreshing as the empty wind,
Whistling through wither'd leaves and autumn mist!
Oh God! How long is art,
Our life how short! With earnest zeal
Still as I ply the critic's task, I feel
A strange oppression both of head and heart.
The very means how hardly are they won,
By which we to the fountains rise!
And haply, ere one half the course is run,
Check'd in his progress, the poor devil dies.
Parchment, is that the sacred fount whence roll
Waters, he thirsteth not who once hath quaffed?
Oh, if it gush not from thine inmost soul,
Thou has not won the life-restoring draught.
Your pardon! 'tis delightful to transport
Oneself into the spirit of the past,
To see in times before us how a wise man thought,
And what a glorious height we have achieved at last.
Ay truly! even to the loftiest star!
To us, my friend, the ages that are pass'd
A book with seven seals, close-fasten'd, are;
And what the spirit of the times men call,
Is merely their own spirit after all,
Wherein, distorted oft, the times are glass'd.
Then truly, 'tis a sight to grieve the soul!
At the first glance we fly it in dismay;
A very lumber-room, a rubbish-hole;
At best a sort of mock-heroic play,
With saws pragmatical, and maxims sage,
To suit the puppets and their mimic stage.
But then the world and man, his heart and brain!
Touching these things all men would something know.
Ay! what 'mong men as knowledge doth obtain!
Who on the child its true name dares bestow?
The few who somewhat of these things have known,
Who their full hearts unguardedly reveal'd,
Nor thoughts, nor feelings, from the mob conceal'd,
Have died on crosses, or in flames been thrown.--
Excuse me, friend, far now the night is spent,
For this time we must say adieu.
Still to watch on I had been well content,
Thus to converse so learnedly with you.
But as to-morrow will be Easter-day,
Some further questions grant, I pray;
With diligence to study still I fondly cling;
Already I know much, but would know everything.
How him alone all hope abandons never,
To empty trash who clings, with zeal untired,
With greed for treasure gropes, and, joy-inspir'd,
Exults if earth-worms second his endeavour.
And dare a voice of merely human birth,
E'en here, where shapes immortal throng'd, intrude?
Yet ah! thou poorest of the sons of earth,
For once, I e'en to thee feel gratitude.
Despair the power of sense did well-nigh blast,
And thou didst save me ere I sank dismay'd,
So giant-like the vision seem'd, so vast,
I felt myself shrink dwarf'd as I survey'd!
I, God's own image, from this toil of clay
Already freed, with eager joy who hail'd
The mirror of eternal truth unveil'd,
Mid light effulgent and celestial day:--
I, more than cherub, whose unfetter'd soul
With penetrative glance aspir'd to flow
Through nature's veins, and, still creating, know
The life of gods,--how am I punish'd now!
One thunder-word hath hurl'd me from the goal!
Spirit! I dare not lift me to thy sphere.
What though my power compell'd thee to appear,
My art was powerless to detain thee here.
In that great moment, rapture-fraught,
I felt myself so small, so great;
Fiercely didst thrust me from the realm of thought
Back on humanity's uncertain fate!
Who'll teach me now? What ought Ito forego?
Ought I that impulse to obey?
Alas! our every deed, as well as every woe,
Impedes the tenor of life's onward way!
E'en to the noblest by the soul conceiv'd,
Some feelings cling of baser quality;
And when the goods of this world are achiev'd,
Each nobler aim is termed a cheat, a lie.
Our aspirations, our soul's genuine life,
Grow torpid in the din of earthly strife.
Though youthful phantasy, while hope inspires,
Stretch o'er the infinite her wing sublime,
A narrow compass limits her desires,
When wreck'd our fortunes in the gulf of time.
In the deep heart of man care builds her nest,
O'er secret woes she broodeth there,
Sleepless she rocks herself and scareth joy and rest;
Still is she wont some new disguise to wear,
She may as house and court, as wife and child appear,
As dagger, poison, fire and flood;
Imagined evils chill thy blood,
And what thou ne'er shall lose, o'er that dost shed the tear.
I am not like the gods! Feel it I must;
I'm like the earth-worm, writhing in the dust,
Which, as on dust it feeds, its native fare,
Crushed 'neath the passer's tread, lies buried there.
Is it not dust, wherewith this lofty wall,
With hundred shelves, confines me round;
Rubbish, in thousand shapes, may I not call
What in this moth-world doth my being bound?
Here, what doth fail me, shall I find?
Read in a thousand tomes that, everywhere,
Self-torture is the lot of human-kind,
With but one mortal happy, here and there?
Thou hollow skull, that grin, what should it say,
But that thy brain, like mine, of old perplexed,
Still yearning for the truth, hath sought the light of day.
And in the twilight wandered, sorely vexed?
Ye instruments, forsooth, ye mock at me,--
With wheel, and cog, and ring, and cylinder;
To nature's portals ye should be the key;
Cunning your wards, and yet the bolts ye fail to stir.
Inscrutable in broadest light,
To be unveil'd by force she doth refuse,
What she reveals not to thy mental sight,
Thou wilt not wrest me from her with levers and with screws.
Old useless furnitures, yet stand ye here,
Because my sire ye served, now dead and gone.
Old scroll, the smoke of years dost wear,
So long as o'er this desk the sorry lamp hath shone.
Better my little means hath squandered quite away,
Than burden'd by that little here to sweat and groan!
Wouldst thou possess thy heritage, essay,
By use to render it thine own!
What we employ not, but impedes our way,
That which the hour creates, that can it use alone!
But wherefore to yon Spot is riveted my gaze?
Is yonder flasket there a magnet to my sight?
Whence this mild radiance that around me plays,
As when, 'mid forest gloom, reigneth the moon's soft light?
Hail precious phial! Thee, with reverent awe,
Down from thine old receptacle I draw!
Science in thee I hail and human art.
Essence of deadliest powers, refin'd and sure,
Of soothing anodynes abstraction pure,
Now in thy master's need thy grace impart!
I gaze on thee, my pain is lull'd to rest;
I grasp thee, calm'd the tumult in my breast;
The flood-tide of my spirit ebbs away;
Onward I'm summon'd o'er a boundless main,
Calm at my feet expands the glassy plain,
To shores unknown allures a brighter day.
Lo, where a car of fire, on airy pinion,
Comes floating towards me I I'm prepar'd to fly
By a new track through ether's wide dominion,
To distant spheres of pure activity.
This life intense, this godlike ecstasy--
Worm that thou art such rapture canst thou earn?
Only resolve with courage stern and high,
Thy visage from the radiant sun to turn!
Dare with determin'd will to burst the portals
Past which in terror others fain would steal
Now is the time, through deeds, to show that mortals
The calm sublimity of gods can feel;
To shudder not at yonder dark abyss,
Where phantasy creates her own self-torturing brood,
Right onward to the yawning gulf to press,
Around whose narrow jaws rolleth hell's fiery flood;
With glad resolve to take the fatal leap,
Though danger threaten thee, to sink in endless sleep!
Pure crystal goblet! forth I draw thee now,
From out thine antiquated case, where thou
Forgotten hast reposed for many a year!
Oft at my father's revels thou didst shine,
To glad the earnest guests was thine,
As each to other passed the generous cheer.
The gorgeous brede of figures, quaintly wrought,
Which he who quaff'd must first in rhyme expound,
Then drain the goblet at one draught profound,
Hath nights of boyhood to fond memory brought.
I to my neighbour shall not reach thee now,
Nor on thy rich device shall I my cunning show.
Here is a juice, makes drunk without delay;
Its dark brown flood thy crystal round doth fill;
Let this last draught, the product of my skill,
My own free choice, be quaff'd with resolute will,
A solemn festive greeting, to the coming day!
(He places the goblet to his mouth.)
(Tue ringing of bells, and choral voices.)
Chorus of ANGELS
Christ is arisen!
Mortal, all hail to thee,
Thou whom mortality,
Earth's sad reality,
Held as in prison.
What hum melodious, what clear silvery chime
Thus draws the goblet from my lips away?
Ye deep-ton'd bells, do ye with voice sublime,
Announce the solemn dawn of Easter-day?
Sweet choir! are ye the hymn of comfort singing,
Which once around the darkness of the grave,
From seraph-voices, in glad triumph ringing,
Of a new covenant assurance gave?
CHORUS OF WOMEN
We, his true-hearted,
With spices and myrrh,
Embalmed the departed,
And swathed him with care;
Here we conveyed Him,
Our Master, so dear;
Alas! Where we laid Him,
The Christ is not here.
CHORUS OF ANGELS
Christ is arisen!
Blessed the loving one,
Who from earth's trial throes,
Healing and strengthening woes,
Soars as from prison.
Wherefore, ye tones celestial, sweet and strong,
Come ye a dweller in the dust to seek?
Ring out your chimes believing crowds among,
The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak;
From faith her darling, miracle, hath sprung.
Aloft to yonder spheres I dare not soar,
Whence sound the tidings of great joy;
And yet, with this sweet strain familiar when a boy,
Back it recalleth me to life once more.
Then would celestial love, with holy kiss,
Come o'er me in the Sabbath's stilly hour,
While, fraught with solemn meaning and mysterious
Chim'd the deep-sounding bell, and prayer was bliss;
A yearning impulse, undefin'd yet dear,
Drove me to wander on through wood and field;
With heaving breast and many a burning tear,
I felt with holy joy a world reveal'd.
Gay sports and festive hours proclaim'd with joyous pealing,
This Easter hymn in days of old;
And fond remembrance now doth me, with childlike feeling,
Back from the last, the solemn step, withhold.
O still sound on, thou sweet celestial strain!
The tear-drop flows,--Earth, I am thine again!
CHORUS OF DISCIPLES
He whom we mourned as dead,
Living and glorious,
From the dark grave bath fled,
O'er death victorious;
Almost creative bliss
Waits on his growing powers;
Ah! Him on earth we miss;
Sorrow and grief are ours.
Yearning he left his own,
Mid sore annoy;
Ah! we must needs bemoan.
Master, thy joy!
CHORUS OF ANGELS
Christ is arisen,
Redeem'd from decay.
The bonds which imprison
Your souls, rend away!
Praising the Lord with zeal,
By deeds that love reveal,
Like brethren true and leal
Sharing the daily meal,
To all that sorrow feel
Whisp'ring of heaven's weal,
Still is the master near,
Still is he here!
BEFORE THE GATE
Promenaders of all sorts pass out.
Why choose ye that direction, pray?
To the hunting-lodge we're on our way.
We towards the mill are strolling on.
A walk to Wasserhof were best.
The road is not a pleasant one.
What will you do?
I'll join the rest.
Let's up to Burghof, there you'll find good cheer,
The prettiest maidens and the best of beer,
And brawls of a prime sort.
You scapegrace! How;
Your skin still itching for a row?
Thither I will not go, I loathe the place.
No, no! I to the town my steps retrace.
Near yonder poplars he is sure to be.
And if he is, what matters it to me!
With you he'll walk, he'll dance with none but you,
And with your pleasures what have I to do?
To-day he will not be alone, he said
His friend would be with him, the curly-head.
Why how those buxom girls step on!
Come, brother, we will follow them anon.
Strong beer, a damsel smartly dress'd,
Stinging tobacco,--these I love the best.
Look at those handsome fellows there!
'Tis really shameful, I declare,
The very best society they shun,
After those servant girls forsooth, to run.
SECOND STUDENT (to the first)
Not quite so fast! for in our rear,
Two girls, well-dress'd, are drawing near;
Not far from us the one doth dwell,
And sooth to say, II like her well.
They walk demurely, yet you'll see,
That they will let us join them presently.
Not I! restraints of all kinds I detest.
Quick! let us catch the wild-game ere it flies,
The hand on Saturday the mop that plies,
Will on the Sunday fondle you the best.
No, this new Burgomaster, I like him not, God knows,
Now, he's in office, daily more arrogant he grows;
And for the town, what doth he do for it?
Are not things worse from day to day?
To more restraints we must submit;
And taxes more than ever pay.
Kind gentleman and ladies fair,
So rosy-cheek'd and trimly dress'd,
Be pleas'd to listen to my prayer,
Relieve and pity the distress'd.
Let me not vainly sing my lay!
His heart's most glad whose hand is free.
Now when all men keep holiday,
Should be a harvest-day to me.
On holidays and Sundays naught know I more inviting
Than chatting about war and war's alarms,
When folk in Turkey, up in arms,
Far off, are 'gainst each other fighting.
We at the window stand, our glasses drain,
And watch adown the stream the painted vessels gliding,
Then joyful we at eve come home again,
And peaceful times we bless, peace long-abiding.
Ay, neighbour! So let matters stand for me!
There they may scatter one another's brains,
And wild confusion round them see--
So here at home in quiet all remains!
OLD WOMAN (to the BURGHERS' DAUGHTERS)
Heyday! How smart! The fresh young blood!
Who would not fall in love with you?
Not quite so proud! 'Tis well and good!
And what you wish, that I could help you to.
Come, Agatha! I care not to be seen
Walking in public with these witches. True,
My future lover, last St. Andrew's E'en,
In flesh and blood she brought before my view.
And mine she show'd me also in the glass,
A soldier's figure, with companions bold;
I look around, I seek him as I pass,
In vain, his form I nowhere can behold.
Fortress with turrets
And walls high in air,
Haughty and fair,
These be my prey!
Bold is the venture,
Costly the pay!
Hark how the trumpet
Thither doth call us,
Where either pleasure
Or death may befall us.
Hail to the tumult!
Life's in the field!
Damsel and fortress
To us must yield.
Bold is the venture,
Costly the pay!
Gaily the soldier
FAUST and WAGNER
Loosed from their fetters are streams and rills
Through the gracious spring-tide's all-quickening glow;
Hope's budding joy in the vale doth blow;
Old Winter back to the savage hills
Withdraweth his force, decrepid now.
Thence only impotent icy grains
Scatters he as he wings his flight,
Striping with sleet the verdant plains;
But the sun endureth no trace of white;
Everywhere growth and movement are rife,
All things investing with hues of life:
Though flowers are lacking, varied of dye,
Their colours the motly throng supply.
Turn thee around, and from this height,
Back to the town direct thy sight.
Forth from the hollow, gloomy gate,
Stream forth the masses, in bright array.
Gladly seek they the sun to-day;
The Lord's Resurrection they celebrate:
For they themselves have risen, with joy,
From tenement sordid, from cheerless room,
From bonds of toil, from care and annoy,
From gable and roof's o'er-hanging gloom,
From crowded alley and narrow street,
And from the churches' awe-breathing night,
All now have come forth into the light.
Look, only look, on nimble feet,
Through garden and field how spread the throng,
How o'er the river's ample sheet,
Many a gay wherry glides along;
And see, deep sinking in the tide,
Pushes the last boat now away.
E'en from yon far hill's path-worn side,
Flash the bright hues of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village mirth arise;
This is the people's paradise.
Both great and small send up a cheer;
Here am I man, I feel it here.
Sir Doctor, in a walk with you
There's honour and instruction too;
Yet here alone I care not to resort,
Because I coarseness hate of every sort.
This fiddling, shouting, skittling, I detest;
I hate the tumult of the vulgar throng;
They roar as by the evil one possess'd,
And call it pleasure, call it song.
PEASANTS (under the linden-tree)
Dance and song
The shepherd for the dance was dress'd,
With ribbon, wreath, and coloured vest,
A gallant show displaying.
And round about the linden-trees,
They footed it right merrily. Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
So fiddle-bow was braying.
Our swain amidst the circle press'd,
He push'd a maiden trimly dress'd,
And jogg'd her with his elbow;
The buxom damsel turn'd her head,
"Now that's a stupid trick!" she said, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchhesia! Heisa! He!
Don't be so rude, good fellow!
Swift in the circle they advanced,
They danced to right, to left they danced,
And all the skirts were swinging.
And they grew red, and they grew warm,
Panting, they rested arm in arm, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
To hip their elbow bringing.
Don't make so free! How many a maid
Has been betroth'd and then betray'd;
And has repented after!
Yet still he flatter'd her aside,
And from the linden, far and wide, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
Rang fiddle-bow and laughter.
Doctor, 'tis really kind of you,
To condescend to come this way,
A highly learned man like you,
To join our mirthful throng to-day.
Our fairest cup I offer you,
Which we with sparkling drink have crown'd,
And pledging you, I pray aloud,
That every drop within its round,
While it your present thirst allays,
May swell the number of your days.
I take the cup you kindly reach,
Thanks and prosperity to each!
(The crowd gather round in a circle.)
Ay, truly! 'tis well done, that you
Our festive meeting thus attend;
You, who in evil days of yore,
So often show'd yourself our friend!
Full many a one stands living here,
Who from the fever's deadly blast,
Your father rescu'd, when his skill
The fatal sickness stay'd at last.
A young man then, each house you sought,
Where reign'd the mortal pestilence.
Corpse after corpse was carried forth,
But still unscath'd you issued thence.
Sore then your trials and severe;
The Helper yonder aids the helper here.
Heaven bless the trusty friend, and long
To help the poor his life prolong!
To Him above in homage bend,
Who prompts the helper and Who help doth send.
(He proceeds with WAGNER.)
What feelings, great man, must thy breast inspire,
At homage paid thee by this crowd! Thrice blest
Who from the gifts by him possessed
Such benefit can draw! The sire
Thee to his boy with reverence shows;
They press around, inquire, advance,
Hush'd is the fiddle, check'd the dance.
Where thou dost pass they stand in rows,
And each aloft his bonnet throws,
But little fails and they to thee,
As though the Host came by, would bend the knee.
A few steps further, up to yonder stone!
Here rest we from our walk. In times long past,
Absorb'd in thought, here oft I sat alone,
And disciplin'd myself with prayer and fast.
Then rich in hope, with faith sincere,
With sighs, and hands in anguish press'd,
The end of that sore plague, with many a tear,
From heaven's dread Lord, I sought to wrest.
The crowd's applause assumes a scornful tone.
Oh, could'st thou in my inner being read,
How little either sire or son,
Of such renown deserves the meed!
My sire, of good repute, and sombre mood,
O'er nature's powers and every mystic zone,
With honest zeal, but methods of his own,
With toil fantastic loved to brood;
His time in dark alchemic cell,
With brother adepts he would spend,
And there antagonists compel,
Through numberless receipts to blend.
A ruddy lion there, a suitor bold,
In tepid bath was with the lily wed.
Thence both, while open flames around them roll'd,
Were tortur'd to another bridal bed.
Was then the youthful queen descried
With varied colours in the flask
This was our medicine; the patients died,
"Who were restored?" none cared to ask.
With our infernal mixture thus, ere long,
These hills and peaceful vales among,
We rag'd more fiercely than the pest;
Myself the deadly poison did to thousands give;
They pined away, I yet must live,
To hear the reckless murderers blest.
Why let this thought your soul o'ercast?
Can man do more than with nice skill,
With firm and conscientious will,
Practise the art transmitted from the past?
If thou thy sire dost honour in thy youth,
His lore thou gladly wilt receive;
In manhood, dost thou spread the bounds of truth,
Then may thy son a higher goal achieve.
How blest, in whom the fond desire
From error's sea to rise, hope still renews!
What a man knows not, that he doth require,
And what he knoweth, that he cannot use.
But let not moody thoughts their shadow throw
O'er the calm beauty of this hour serene!
In the rich sunset see how brightly glow
Yon cottage homes, girt round with verdant green!
Slow sinks the orb, the day is now no more;
Yonder he hastens to diffuse new life.
Oh for a pinion from the earth to soar,
And after, ever after him to strive!
Then should I see the world below,
Bathed in the deathless evening-beams,
The vales reposing, every height a-glow,
The silver brooklets meeting golden streams.
The savage mountain, with its cavern'd side,
Bars not my godlike progress. Lo, the ocean,
Its warm bays heaving with a tranquil motion,
To my rapt vision opes its ample tide!
But now at length the god appears to sink;
A new-born impulse wings my flight,
Onward I press, his quenchless light to drink,
The day before me, and behind the night,
The pathless waves beneath, and over me the skies.
Fair dream, it vanish'd with the parting day!
Alas! that when on spirit-wing we rise,
No wing material lifts our mortal clay.
But 'tis our inborn impulse, deep and strong,
Upwards and onwards still to urge our flight,
When far above us pours its thrilling song
The sky-lark, lost in azure light,
When on extended wing amain
O'er pine-crown'd height the eagle soars,
And over moor and lake, the crane
Still striveth towards its native shores.
To strange conceits oft I myself must own,
But impulse such as this I ne'er have known:
Nor woods, nor fields, can long our thoughts engage,
Their wings I envy not the feather'd kind;
Far otherwise the pleasures of the mind,
Bear us from book to book, from page to page!
Then winter nights grow cheerful; keen delight
Warms every limb; and ah! when we unroll
Some old and precious parchment, at the sight
All heaven itself descends upon the soul.
Thy heart by one sole impulse is possess'd;
Unconscious of the other still remain!
Two souls, alas! are lodg'd within my breast,
Which struggle there for undivided reign:
One to the world, with obstinate desire,
And closely-cleaving organs, still adheres;
Above the mist, the other doth aspire,
With sacred vehemence, to purer spheres.
Oh, are there spirits in the air,
Who float 'twixt heaven and earth dominion wielding,
Stoop hither from your golden atmosphere,
Lead me to scenes, new life and fuller yielding!
A magic mantle did I but possess,
Abroad to waft me as on viewless wings,
I'd prize it far beyond the costliest dress,
Nor would I change it for the robe of kings.
Call not the spirits who on mischief wait!
Their troop familiar, streaming through the air,
From every quarter threaten man's estate,
And danger in a thousand forms prepare!
They drive impetuous from the frozen north,
With fangs sharp-piercing, and keen arrowy tongue
From the ungenial east they issue forth,
And prey, with parching breath, upon thy lungs;
If, waft'd on the desert's flaming wing,
They from the south heap fire upon the brain,
Refreshment from the west at first they bring,
Anon to drown thyself and field and plain.
In wait for mischief, they are prompt to hear;
With guileful purpose our behests obey;
Like ministers of grace they oft appear,
And lisp like angels, to betray.
But let us hence! Grey eve doth all things blend,
The air grows chill, the mists descend!
'Tis in the evening first our home we prize--
Why stand you thus, and gaze with wondering eyes?
What in the gloom thus moves you?
Yon black hound
See'st thou, through corn and stubble scampering round?
I've mark'd him long, naught strange in him I see!
Note him! What takest thou the brute to be?
But for a poodle, whom his instinct serves
His master's track to find once more.
Dost mark how round us, with wide spiral curves,
He wheels, each circle closer than before?
And, if I err not, he appears to me
A line of fire upon his track to leave.
Naught but a poodle black of hue I see;
'Tis some illusion doth your sight deceive.
Methinks a magic coil our feet around,
He for a future snare doth lightly spread.
The circle narrows, he's already near!
A dog dost see, no spectre have we here;
He growls, doubts, lays him on his belly, too,
And wags his tail--as dogs are wont to do.
Come hither, Sirrah! join our company!
A very poodle, he appears to be!
Thou standest still, for thee he'll wait;
Thou speak'st to him, he fawns upon thee straight;
Aught thou mayst lose, again he'll bring,
And for thy stick will into water spring.
Thou'rt right indeed; no traces now I see
Whatever of a spirit's agency.
'Tis training.--nothing more.
A dog well taught
E'en by the wisest of us may be sought.
Ay, to your favour he's entitled too,
Apt scholar of the students, 'tis his due!
(They enter the gate of the town.)
FAUST (entering with the poodle)
Now field and meadow I've forsaken;
O'er them deep night her veil doth draw;
In us the better soul doth waken,
With feelings of foreboding awe,
All lawless promptings, deeds unholy,
Now slumber, and all wild desires;
The love of man doth sway us wholly,
And love to God the soul inspires.
Peace, poodle, peace! Scamper not thus; obey me!
Why at the threshold snuffest thou so?
Behind the stove now quietly lay thee,
My softest cushion to thee I'll throw.
As thou, without, didst please and amuse me
Running and frisking about on the hill,
So tendance now I will not refuse thee;
A welcome guest, if thou'lt be still.
Ah! when the friendly taper gloweth,
Once more within our narrow cell,
Then in the heart itself that knoweth,
A light the darkness doth dispel.
Reason her voice resumes; returneth
Hope's gracious bloom, with promise rife;
For streams of life the spirit yearneth,
Ah! for the very fount of life.
Poodle, snarl not! with the tone that arises.
Hallow'd and peaceful, my soul within,
Accords not thy growl, thy bestial din.
We find it not strange, that man despises
What he conceives not;
That he the good and fair misprizes--
Finding them often beyond his ken;
Will the dog snarl at them like men?
But ah! Despite my will, it stands confessed,
Contentment welleth up no longer in my breast.
Yet wherefore must the stream, alas, so soon be dry,
That we once more athirst should lie?
Full oft this sad experience hath been mine;
Nathless the want admits of compensation;
For things above the earth we learn to pine,
Our spirits yearn for revelation,
Which nowhere burns with purer beauty blent,
Than here in the New Testament.
To ope the ancient text an impulse strong
Impels me, and its sacred lore,
With honest purpose to explore,
And render into my loved German tongue.
(He opens a volume, and applies himself to it.)
'Tis writ, "In the beginning was the Word!"
I pause, perplex'd! Who now will help afford?
I cannot the mere Word so highly prize;
I must translate it otherwise,
If by the spirit guided as I read.
"In the beginning was the Sense!" Take heed,
The import of this primal sentence weigh,
Lest thy too hasty pen be led astray!
Is force creative then of Sense the dower?
"In the beginning was the Power!"
Thus should it stand: yet, while the line I trace.
A something warns me, once more to efface.
The spirit aids! from anxious scruples freed,
I write, "In the beginning was the Deed!"
Am I with thee my room to share,
Poodle, thy barking now forbear,
Forbear thy howling!
Comrade so noisy, ever growling,
I cannot suffer here to dwell.
One or the other, mark me well,
Forthwith must leave the cell.
I'm loath the guest-right to withhold;
The door's ajar, the passage clear;
But what must now mine eyes behold!
Are nature's laws suspended here?
Real is it, or a phantom show?
In length and breadth how doth my poodle grow!
He lifts himself with threat'ning mien,
In likeness of a dog no longer seen!
What spectre have I harbour'd thus!
Huge as a hippopotamus,
With fiery eye, terrific tooth!
Ah I now I know thee, sure enough!
For such a base, half-hellish brood,
The key of Solomon is good.
Captur'd there within is one!
Stay without and follow none!
Like a fox in iron snare,
Hell's old lynx is quaking there,
But take heed!
Hover round, above, below,
To and fro,
Then from durance is he freed!
Can ye aid him, spirits all,
Leave him not in mortal thrall!
Many a time and oft bath he
Served us, when at liberty.
The monster to confront, at first,
The spell of Four must be rehears'd;
Salamander shall kindle,
Writhe nymph of the wave,
In air sylph shall dwindle,
And Kobold shall slave.
Who doth ignore
The primal Four,
Nor knows aright
Their use and might,
O'er spirits will he
Ne'er master be!
Vanish in the fiery glow,
Rushingly together flow.
Shimmer in the meteor's gleam,
Hither bring thine homely aid,
Step forth! I do adjure thee thus!
None of the Four
Lurks in the beast:
He grins at me, untroubled as before;
I have not hurt him in the least.
A spell of fear
Thou now shalt hear.
Art thou, comrade fell,
Fugitive from hell?
See then this sign,
Before which incline
The murky troops of Hell!
With bristling hair now doth the creature swell.
Canst thou, reprobate,
Read the uncreate,
Throughout the heavenly sphere,
Transpierced with nail and spear!
Behind the stove, tam'd by my spells,
Like an elephant he swells;
Wholly now he fills the room,
He into mist will melt away.
Ascend not to the ceiling! Come,
Thyself at the master's feet now lay!
Thou seest that mine is no idle threat.
With holy fire I will scorch thee yet!
Wait not the might
That lies in the triple-glowing light!
Wait not the might
Of all my arts in fullest measure!
(As the mist sinks, comes forward from behind the stove, in the
dress of a travelling scholar)
Why all this uproar? What's the master's pleasure?
This then the kernel of the brute!
A travelling scholar? Why I needs must smile.
Your learned reverence humbly I salute!
You've made me swelter in a pretty style.
The question trifling seems from one,
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