Faust Part 1
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Part 4 out of 5
Holds and sustains he not
Thee, me, himself?
Lifts not the Heaven its dome above?
Doth not the firm-set earth beneath us lie?
And beaming tenderly with looks of love,
Climb not the everlasting stars on high?
Do we not gaze into each other's eyes?
Nature's impenetrable agencies,
Are they not thronging on thy heart and brain,
Viewless, or visible to mortal ken,
Around thee weaving their mysterious chain?
Fill thence thy heart, how large soe'er it be;
And in the feeling when thou utterly art blest,
Then call it, what thou wilt,--
Call it Bliss! Heart! Love! God!
I have no name for it!
'Tis feeling all;
Name is but sound and smoke
Shrouding the glow of heaven.
All this is doubtless good and fair;
Almost the same the parson says,
Only in slightly different phrase.
Beneath Heaven's sunshine, everywhere,
This is the utterance of the human heart;
Each in his language doth the like impart;
Then why not I in mine?
What thus I hear
Sounds plausible, yet I'm not reconciled;
There's something wrong about it; much I fear
That thou art not a Christian.
My sweet child!
Alas! it long bath sorely troubled me,
To see thee in such odious company.
The man who comes with thee, I hate,
Yea, in my spirit's inmost depths abhor;
As his loath'd visage, in my life before,
Naught to my heart e'er gave a pang so great.
Him fear not, my sweet love!
His presence chills my blood.
Towards all beside I have a kindly mood;
Yet, though I yearn to gaze on thee, I feel
At sight of him strange horror o'er me steal;
That he's a villain my conviction's strong.
May Heaven forgive me, if I do him wrong!
Yet such strange fellows in the world must be!
I would not live with such an one as he.
If for a moment he but enter here,
He looks around him with a mocking sneer,
And malice ill-conceal'd;
That he with naught on earth can sympathize is clear;
Upon his brow 'tis legibly revealed,
That to his heart no living soul is dear.
So blest I feel, within thine arms,
So warm and happy,--free from all alarms;
And still my heart doth close when he comes near.
Foreboding angel! check thy fear!
It so o'ermasters me, that when,
Or wheresoe'er, his step I hear,
I almost think, no more I love thee then.
Besides, when he is near, I ne'er could pray.
This eats into my heart; with thee
The same, my Henry, it must be.
This is antipathy!
I must away.
For one brief hour then may I never rest,
And heart to heart, and soul to soul be pressed?
Ah, if I slept alone! To-night
The bolt I fain would leave undrawn for thee;
But then my mother's sleep is light,
Were we surprised by her, ah me!
Upon the spot I should be dead.
Dear angel! there's no cause for dread.
Here is a little phial,--if she take
Mixed in her drink three drops, 'twill steep
Her nature in a deep and soothing sleep.
What Do I not for thy dear sake!
To her it will not harmful prove?
Should I advise it else, sweet love?
I know not, dearest, when thy face I see,
What doth my spirit to thy will constrain;
Already I have done so much for thee,
That scarcely more to do doth now remain.
The monkey! Is she gone?
Again hast played the spy?
Of all that pass'd I'm well apprized,
I heard the doctor catechised,
And trust he'll profit much thereby!
Fain would the girls inquire indeed
Touching their lover's faith and creed,
And whether pious in the good old way;
They think, if pliant there, us too he will obey.
Thou monster, does not see that this
Pure soul, possessed by ardent love,
Full of the living faith,
To her of bliss
The only pledge, must holy anguish prove,
Holding the man she loves, Fore-doomed to endless death!
Most sensual, supersensualist? The while
A damsel leads thee by the nose!
Of filth and fire abortion vile!
In physiognomy strange skill she shows;
She in my presence feels she knows not how;
My mask it seems a hidden sense reveals;
That I'm a genius she must needs allow,
That I'm the very devil perhaps she feels.
So then to-night--
What's that to you?
I've my amusement in it too!
AT THE WELL
MARGARET and BESSY, with pitchers
Of Barbara hast nothing heard?
I rarely go from home,--no, not a word
'Tis true: Sybilla told me so to-day!
That comes of being proud, methinks;
She played the fool at last,
That two she feedeth when she eats and drinks.
She's rightly served, in sooth,
How long she hung upon the youth!
What promenades, what jaunts there were,
To dancing booth and village fair!
The first she everywhere must shine,
He always treating her to pastry and to wine.
Of her good looks she was so vain,
So shameless too, that to retain
His presents, she did not disdain;
Sweet words and kisses came anon--
And then the virgin flower was gone.
Forsooth dost pity her?
At night, when at our wheels we sat,
Abroad our mothers ne'er would let us stir.
Then with her lover she must chat,
Or on the bench or in the dusky walk,
Thinking the hours too brief for their Sweet talk;
Her proud head she will have to bow,
And in white sheet do penance now!
But he will surely marry her?
He won't be such a fool! a gallant lad
Like him, can roam o'er land and sea,
Besides, he's off.
That is not fair!
If she should get him, 'twere almost as bad!
Her myrtle wreath the boys would tear;
And then we girls would plague her too,
For we chopp'd straw before her door would strew!
MARGARET (walking towards home)
How stoutly once I could inveigh,
If a poor maiden went astray;
Not words enough my tongue could find,
'Gainst others' sin to speak my mind!
Black as it seemed, I blacken'd it still more,
And strove to make it blacker than before.
And did myself securely bless--
Now my own trespass doth appear!
Yet ah!--what urg'd me to transgress,
God knows, it was so sweet, so dear!
Enclosure between the City-wall and the Gate.
(In the niche of the wall a devotional image of the Mater
dolorosa, with flower-pots before it.)
(putting fresh flowers in the pots)
Ah, rich in sorrow, thou,
Stoop thy maternal brow,
And mark with pitying eye my misery!
The sword in thy pierced heart,
Thou dost with bitter smart,
Gaze upwards on thy Son's death agony.
To the dear God on high,
Ascends thy piteous sigh,
Pleading for his and thy sore misery.
Ah, who can know
The torturing woe,
The pangs that rack me to the bone?
How my poor heart, without relief,
Trembles and throbs, its yearning grief
Thou knowest, thou alone!
Ah, wheresoe'er I go,
With woe, with woe, with woe,
My anguish'd breast is aching!
When all alone I creep,
I weep, I weep, I weep,
Alas! my heart is breaking!
The flower-pots at my window
Were wet with tears of mine,
The while I pluck'd these blossoms,
At dawn to deck thy shrine!
When early in my chamber
Shone bright the rising morn,
I sat there on my pallet,
My heart with anguish torn.
Help! from disgrace and death deliver me!
Ah! rich in sorrow, thou,
Stoop thy maternal brow,
And mark with pitying eye my misery!
NIGHT. STREET BEFORE MARGARET'S DOOR
(a soldier, MARGARET'S brother)
When seated 'mong the jovial crowd,
Where merry comrades boasting loud
Each named with pride his favourite lass,
And in her honour drain'd his glass;
Upon my elbows I would lean,
With easy quiet view the scene,
Nor give my tongue the rein until
Each swaggering blade had talked his fill.
Then smiling I my beard would stroke,
The while, with brimming glass, I spoke;
"Each to his taste!--but to my mind,
Where in the country will you find,
A maid, as my dear Gretchen fair,
Who with my sister can compare?"
Cling! Clang! so rang the jovial sound!
Shouts of assent went circling round;
Pride of her sex is she!--cried some;
Then were the noisy boasters dumb.
And now I--I could tear out my hair,
Or dash my brains out in despair!--
Me every scurvy knave may twit,
With stinging jest and taunting sneer!
Like skulking debtor I must sit,
And sweat each casual word to hear!
And though I smash'd them one and all,--
Yet them I could not liars call.
Who comes this way? who's sneaking here?
If I mistake not, two draw near.
If he be one, have at him;--well I wot
Alive he shall not leave this spot!
How from yon sacristy, athwart the night,
Its beams the ever-burning taper throws,
While ever waning, fades the glimmering light,
As gathering darkness doth around it close!
So night-like gloom doth in my bosom reign.
I'm like a tom-cat in a thievish vein,
That up fire-ladders tall and steep,
And round the walls doth slyly creep;
Virtuous withal, I feel, with, I confess,
A touch of thievish joy and wantonness.
Thus through my limbs already burns
The glorious Walpurgis night!
After to-morrow it returns,
Then why one wakes, one knows aright!
Meanwhile, the treasure I see glimmering there,
Will it ascend into the open air?
Ere long thou wilt proceed with pleasure,
To raise the casket with its treasure;
I took a peep, therein are stored,
Of lion-dollars a rich hoard.
And not a trinket? not a ring?
Wherewith my lovely girl to deck?
I saw among them some such thing,
A string of pearls to grace her neck.
'Tis well! I'm always loath to go,
Without some gift my love to show.
Some pleasures gratis to enjoy,
Should surely cause you no annoy.
While bright with stars the heavens appear,
I'll sing a masterpiece of art:
A moral song shall charm her ear,
More surely to beguile her heart.
(Sings to the guitar.)'
Why lingering stay
At dawn of day
Before your lover's door?
Nor enter there,
Lest forth you fare,
A maiden never more.
Maiden take heed!
Reck well my rede!
Is't done, the deed?
Good night, you poor, poor thing!
The spoiler's lies, His arts despise,
Nor yield your prize,
Without the marriage ring!
VALENTINE (steps forward)
Whom are you luring here? I'll give it you!
Accursed rat-catchers, your strains I'll end!
First, to the devil the guitar I'll send!
Then to the devil with the singer too!
The poor guitar! 'tis done for now.
Your skull shall follow next, I trow!
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Doctor, stand fast! your strength collect!
Be prompt, and do as I direct.
Out with your whisk, keep close, I pray,
I'll parry I do you thrust away!
Then parry that!
The devil fights for you!
Why how is this? my hand's already lamed!
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
There! Now the lubber's tamed!
But quick, away! We must at once take wing;
A cry of murder strikes upon the ear;
With the police I know my course to steer,
But with the blood-ban 'tis another thing.
MARTHA (at the window)
MARGARET (at the window)
Quick, bring a light!
MARTHA (as above)
They rail and scuffle, scream and fight!
One lieth here already dead!
MARTHA (coming out)
Where are the murderers? are they fled?
MARGARET (coming out)
Who lieth here?
Thy mother's son.
Almighty God! I am undone!
I'm dying--'tis a soon-told tale,
And sooner done the deed.
Why, women, do ye howl and wail?
To my last words give heed! (All gather round him.)
My Gretchen, see! still young art thou,
Art not discreet enough, I trow,
Thou dost thy matters ill;
Let this in confidence be said:
Since thou the path of shame dost tread,
Tread it with right good will!
My brother! God! what can this mean?
Nor dare God's holy name profane!
What's done, alas, is done and past!
Matters will take their course at last;
By stealth thou dost begin with one,
Others will follow him anon;
And when a dozen thee have known,
Thou'lt common be to all the town.
When infamy is newly born,
In secret she is brought to light,
And the mysterious veil of night
O'er head and ears is drawn;
The loathsome birth men fain would slay;
But soon, full grown, she waxes bold,
And though not fairer to behold,
With brazen front insults the day:
The more abhorrent to the sight,
The more she courts the day's pure light.
The time already I discern,
When thee all honest folk will spurn,
And shun thy hated form to meet,
As when a corpse infects the street.
Thy heart will sink in blank despair,
When they shall look thee in the face!
A golden chain no more thou'lt wear!
Nor near the altar take in church thy place!
In fair lace collar simply dight
Thou'lt dance no more with spirits light!
In darksome corners thou wilt bide,
Where beggars vile and cripples hide,
And e'en though God thy crime forgive,
On earth, a thing accursed, thou'lt live!
Your parting soul to God commend!
Your dying breath in slander will you spend?
Could I but reach thy wither'd frame,
Thou wretched beldame, void of shame!
Full measure I might hope to win
Of pardon then for every sin.
I tell thee, from vain tears abstain!
'Twas thy dishonour pierced my heart,
Thy fall the fatal death-stab gave.
Through the death-sleep I now depart
To God, a soldier true and brave.
Service, Organ, and Anthem
MARGARET amongst a number of people
EVIL-SPIRIT behind MARGARET
How different, Gretchen, was it once with thee,
When thou, still full of innocence,
Here to the altar camest,
And from the small and well-conn'd book
Didst lisp thy prayer,
Half childish sport,
Half God in thy young heart!
What thoughts are thine?
What deed of shame
Lurks in thy sinful heart?
Is thy prayer utter'd for thy mother's soul,
Who into long, long torment slept through thee?
Whose blood is on thy threshold?
--And stirs there not already 'neath thy heart
Another quick'ning pulse, that even now
Tortures itself and thee
With its foreboding presence?
Oh could I free me from the thoughts
That hither, thither, crowd upon my brain,
Against my will!
Dies irae, dies illa,
Solvet saeclum in favilla.
(The organ sounds.)
Grim horror seizes thee!
The trumpet sounds!
The graves are shaken!
And thy heart
From ashy rest
For torturing flames
Trembles into life!
Would I were hence!
It is as if the organ
Choked my breath,
As if the choir
Melted my inmost heart!
Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet adparebit!
Nil inultunt remanebit.
I feel oppressed!
The pillars of the wall
The vaulted roof
Weighs down upon me I--air!
Wouldst hide thee? sin and shame
Remain not hidden!
Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus!
Cum vix justus sit securus.
The glorified their faces turn
Away from thee!
Shudder the pure to reach
Their hands to thee!
Quid sum miser tunc dicturus--
Neighbour! your smelling bottle!
(She swoons away.)
THE HARTZ MOUNTAINS. DISTRICT OF SCHIERKE
FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES
A broomstick dost thou not at least desire?
The roughest he-goat fain would I bestride,
By this road from our goal we're still far wide.
While fresh upon my legs, so long I naught require,
Except this knotty staff. Beside,
What boots it to abridge a pleasant way?
Along the labyrinth of these vales to creep,
Then scale these rocks, whence, in eternal spray,
Adown the cliffs the silvery fountains leap:
Such is the joy that seasons paths like these!
Spring weaves already in the birchen trees;
E'en the late pine-grove feels her quickening powers;
Should she not work within these limbs of ours?
Naught of this genial influence do I know!
Within me all is wintry. Frost and snow
I should prefer my dismal path to bound.
How sadly, yonder, with belated glow
Rises the ruddy moon's imperfect round,
Shedding so faint a light, at every tread
One's sure to stumble 'gainst a rock or tree!
An Ignis Fatuus I must call instead.
Yonder one burning merrily, I see.
Holla! my friend! may I request your light?
Why should you flare away so uselessly?
Be kind enough to show us up the height!
Through reverence, I hope I may subdue
The lightness of my nature; true,
Our course is but a zigzag one.
So men, forsooth, he thinks to imitate!
Now, in the devil's name, for once go straight!
Or out at once your flickering life I'll blow.
That you are master here it obvious quite;
To do your will, I'll cordially essay;
Only reflect! The hill is magic-mad to-night;
And if to show the path you choose a meteor's light,
You must not wonder should we go astray.
FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, IGNIS FATUUS
(in alternate song)
Through the dream and magic-sphere
As it seems, we now are speeding;
Honour win, us rightly leading,
That betimes we may appear
In yon wide and desert region!
Trees on trees, a stalwart legion,
Swiftly past us are retreating,
And the cliffs with lowly greeting;
Rocks long-snouted, row on row,
How they snort, and how they blow!
Through the stones and heather springing,
Brook and brooklet haste below;
Hark the rustling! Hark the singing!
Hearken to love's plaintive lays;
Voices of those heavenly days--
What we hope, and what we love!
Like a tale of olden time,
Echo's voice prolongs the chime.
To-whit! To-whoo! It sounds more near;
Plover, owl, and jay appear,
All awake, around, above?
Paunchy salamanders too
Peer, long-limbed, the bushes through!
And, like snakes, the roots of trees
Coil themselves from rock and sand,
Stretching many a wondrous band,
Us to frighten, us to seize;
From rude knots with life embued,
Polyp-fangs abroad they spread,
To snare the wanderer! 'Neath our tread,
Mice, in myriads, thousand-hued,
Through the heath and through the moss!
And the fire-flies' glittering throng,
Wildering escort, whirls along,
Here and there, our path across.
Tell me, stand we motionless,
Or still forward do we press?
All things round us whirl and fly;
Rocks and trees make strange grimaces,
Dazzling meteors change their places,
How they puff and multiply!
Now grasp my doublet--we at last
A central peak have reached, which shows,
If round a wondering glance we cast,
How in the mountain Mammon glows.
How through the chasms strangely gleams,
A lurid light, like dawn's red glow,
Pervading with its quivering beams,
The gorges of the gulf below!
Here vapours rise, there clouds float by,
Here through the mist the light doth shine;
Now, like a fount, it bursts on high,
Meanders now, a slender line;
Far reaching, with a hundred veins,
Here through the valley see it glide;
Here, where its force the gorge restrains,
At once it scatters, far and wide;
Anear, like showers of golden sand
Strewn broadcast, sputter sparks of light:
And mark yon rocky walls that stand
Ablaze, in all their towering height!
Doth not Sir Mammon for this fete
Grandly illume his palace! Thou
Art lucky to have seen it; now,
The boisterous guests, I feel, are coming straight.
How through the air the storm doth whirl!
Upon my neck it strikes with sudden shock.
Cling to these ancient ribs of granite rock,
Else to yon depths profound it you will hurl.
A murky vapour thickens night.
Hark! Through the woods the tempests roar!
The owlets flit in wild affright.
Hark! Splinter'd are the columns that upbore
The leafy palace, green for aye:
The shivered branches whirr and sigh,
Yawn the huge trunks with mighty groan.
The roots upriven, creak and moan!
In fearful and entangled fall,
One crashing ruin whelms them all,
While through the desolate abyss,
Sweeping the, wreck-strewn precipice,
The raging storm-blasts howl and hiss!
Aloft strange voices dost thou hear?
Distant now and now more near?
Hark! the mountain ridge along,
Streameth a raving magic-song!
WITCHES (in chorus)
Now to the Brocken the witches hie,
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green;
Thither the gathering legions fly,
And sitting aloft is Sir Urial seen:
O'er stick and o'er stone they go whirling along,
Witches and he-goats, a motley throng.
Alone old Baubo's coming now;
She rides upon a farrow sow.
Honour to her, to whom honour is due!
Forward, Dame Baubo! Honour to you!
A goodly sow and mother thereon,
The whole witch chorus follows anon.
Which way didst come?
There I peep'd in an owlet's nest.
With her broad eye she gazed in mine!
Drive to the devil, thou hellish pest!
Why ride so hard?
She has graz'd my side,
Look at the wounds, how deep and how wide!
WITCHES (in chorus)
The way is broad, the way is long;
What mad pursuit! What tumult wild!
Scratches the besom and sticks the prong;
Crush'd is the mother, and stifled the child.
WIZARDS (half chorus)
Like house-encumber'd Snail we creep;
While far ahead the women keep,
For when to the devil's house we speed,
By a thousand steps they take the lead.
THE OTHER HALF
Not so, precisely do we view it;----
They with a thousand steps may do it;
But let them hasten as they can,
With one long bound 'tis clear'd by man.
Come with us, come with us from Felsensee.
VOICES (from below)
Aloft to you we would mount with glee!
We wash, and free from all stain are we,
Yet barren evermore must be!
The wind is hushed, the stars grow pale,
The pensive moon her light doth veil;
And whirling on, the magic choir
Sputters forth sparks of drizzling fire.
VOICE (from below)
VOICE (from above)
What voice of woe
Calls from the cavern'd depths below?
VOICE (from below)
Take me with you! Oh take me too!
Three centuries I climb in vain,
And yet can ne'er the summit gain!
To be with my kindred I am fain.
Broom and pitch-fork, goat and prong,
Mounted on these we whirl along;
Who vainly strives to climb to-night,
Is evermore a luckless wight!
I hobble after, many a day;
Already the others are far away!
No rest at home can I obtain--
Here too my efforts are in vain!
CHORUS OF WITCHES
Salve gives the witches strength to rise;
A rag for a sail does well enough;
A goodly ship is every trough;
To-night who flies not, never flies.
And when the topmost peak we round,
Then alight ye on the ground;
The heath's wide regions cover ye
With your mad swarms of witchery!
(They let themselves down.)
They crowd and jostle, whirl and flutter!
They whisper, babble, twirl, and splutter!
They glimmer, sparkle, stink and flare--
A true witch-element!
Stick close! else we shall severed be.
Where art thou?
FAUST (in the distance)
Already, whirl'd so far away!
The master then indeed I needs must play.
Give ground! Squire Voland comes!
Sweet folk, give ground!
Here, doctor, grasp me! With a single bound
Let us escape this ceaseless jar;
Even for me too mad these people are.
Hard by there shineth something with peculiar glare,
Yon brake allureth me; it is not far;
Come, come along with me! we'll slip in there.
Spirit of contradiction! Lead! I'll follow straight!
'Twas wisely done, however, to repair
On May-night to the Brocken, and when there
By our own choice ourselves to isolate!
Murk, of those flames the motley glare!
A merry club assembles there.
In a small circle one is not alone,
I'd rather be above, though, I must own!
Already fire and eddying smoke I view;
The impetuous millions to the devil ride;
Full many a riddle will be there untied.
Ay! and full many a riddle tied anew.
But let the great world rave and riot!
Here will we house ourselves in quiet.
A custom 'tis of ancient date,
Our lesser worlds within the great world to create!
Young witches there I see, naked and bare,
And old ones, veil'd more prudently.
For my sake only courteous be!
The trouble's small, the sport is rare.
Of instruments I hear the cursed din--
One must get used to it.
Come in! come in!
There's now no help for it. I'll step before
And introducing you as my good friend,
Confer on you one obligation more.
How say you now? 'Tis no such paltry room
Why only look, you scarce can see the end.
A hundred fires in rows disperse the gloom;
They dance, they talk, they cook, make love, and drink:
Where could we find aught better, do you think?
To introduce us, do you purpose here
As devil or as wizard to appear?
Though I am wont indeed to strict incognito,
Yet upon gala-days one must one's orders show.
No garter have I to distinguish me,
Nathless the cloven foot doth here give dignity.
Seest thou yonder snail? Crawling this way she hies:
With searching feelers, she, no doubt,
Hath me already scented out;
Here, even if I would, for me there's no disguise.
From fire to fire, we'll saunter at our leisure,
The gallant you, I'll cater for your pleasure.
(To a party seated round some expiring embers.)
Old gentleman, apart, why sit ye moping here?
Ye in the midst should be of all this jovial cheer,
Girt round with noise and youthful riot;
At home one surely has enough of quiet.
In nations put his trust, who may,
Whate'er for them one may have done;
For with the people, as with women, they
Honour your rising stars alone!
Now all too far they wander from the right;
I praise the good old ways, to them I hold,
Then was the genuine age of gold,
When we ourselves were foremost in men's sight.
Ne'er were we 'mong your dullards found,
And what we ought not, that to do were fair;
Yet now are all things turning round and round,
When on firm basis we would them maintain.
Who, as a rule, a treatise now would care
To read, of even moderate sense?
As for the rising generation, ne'er
Has youth displayed such arrogant pretence.
(suddenly appearing very old)
Since for the last time I the Brocken scale,
That folk are ripe for doomsday, now one sees;
And just because my cask begins to fail,
So the whole world is also on the lees.
Stop, gentlemen, nor pass me by,
Of wares I have a choice collection:
Pray honour them with your inspection.
Lose not this opportunity
Yet nothing in my booth you'll find
Without its counterpart on earth; there's naught,
Which to the world, and to mankind,
Hath not some direful mischief wrought.
No dagger here, which bath not flow'd with blood,
No chalice, whence, into some healthy frame
Hath not been poured hot poison's wasting flood.
No trinket, but bath wrought some woman's shame,
No weapon but bath cut some sacred tie,
Or from behind bath stabb'd an enemy.
Gossip! For wares like these the time's gone by,
What's done is past! what's past is done!
With novelties your booth supply;
Us novelties attract alone.
May this wild scene my senses spare!
This, may in truth be called a fair!
Upward the eddying concourse throng;
Thinking to push, thyself art push'd along.
Who's that, pray?
Mark her well! That's Lilith.
Adam's first wife. Of her rich locks beware!
That charm in which she's parallel'd by few;
When in its toils a youth she doth ensnare,
He will not soon escape, I promise you.
There sit a pair, the old one with the young;
Already they have bravely danced and sprung!
Here there is no repose to-day.
Another dance begins; we'll join it, come away!
(dancing with the young one)
Once a fair vision came to me;
Therein I saw an apple-tree,
Two beauteous apples charmed mine eyes;
I climb'd forthwith to reach the prize.
THE FAIR ONE.
Apples still fondly ye desire,
From paradise it bath been so.
Feelings of joy my breast inspire
That such too in my garden grow.
MEPHISTOPHELES (with the old one)
Once a weird vision came to me;
Therein I saw a rifted tree.
I had a . . . . .have ready here,
But as it was it pleased me too.
THE OLD ONE
I beg most humbly to salute
The gallant with the cloven foot!
Let him a . . . have ready here,
If he a . . . does not fear.
Accursed mob! How dare ye thus to meet?
Have I not shown and demonstrated too,
That ghosts stand not on ordinary feet?
Yet here ye dance, as other mortals do!
THE FAIR ONE (dancing)
Then at our ball, what doth he here?
Oh! He must everywhere appear.
He must adjudge, when others dance;
If on each step his say's not said,
So is that step as good as never made.
He's most annoyed, so soon as we advance;
If ye would circle in one narrow round,
As he in his old mill, then doubtless he
Your dancing would approve,--especially
If ye forthwith salute him with respect profound!
Still here! what arrogance! unheard of quite!
Vanish; we now have fill'd the world with light!
Laws are unheeded by the devil's host;
Wise as we are, yet Tegel hath its ghost!
How long at this conceit I've swept with all my might,
Lost is the labour: 'tis unheard of quite!
THE FAIR ONE
Cease here to teaze us any more, I pray.
Spirits, I plainly to your face declare:
No spiritual control myself will bear,
Since my own spirit can exert no sway.
(The dancing continues.)
To-night, I see, I shall in naught succeed;
But I'm prepar'd my travels to pursue,
And hope, before my final step indeed,
To triumph over bards and devils too.
Now in some puddle will he take his station,
Such is his mode of seeking consolation;
Where leeches, feasting on his rump, will drain
Spirits alike and spirit from his brain.
(To FAUST, who has left the dance.)
But why the charming damsel leave, I pray,
Who to you in the dance so sweetly sang?
Ah, in the very middle of her lay,
Out of her mouth a small red mouse there sprang.
Suppose there did! One must not be too nice.
'Twas well it was not grey, let that suffice.
Who 'mid his pleasures for a trifle cares?
Then saw I--
Mephisto, seest thou there
Standing far off, a lone child, pale and fair?
Slow from the spot her drooping form she tears,
And seems with shackled feet to move along;
I own, within me the delusion's strong,
That she the likeness of my Gretchen wears.
Gaze not upon her! 'Tis not good! Forbear!
'Tis lifeless, magical, a shape of air,
An idol. Such to meet with, bodes no good;
That rigid look of hers doth freeze man's blood,
And well-nigh petrifies his heart to stone:--
The story of Medusa thou hast known.
Ay, verily! a corpse's eyes are those,
Which there was no fond loving hand to close.
That is the bosom I so fondly press'd,
That my sweet Gretchen's form, so oft caress'd!
Deluded fool! 'Tis magic, I declare!
To each she doth his lov'd
one's image wear.
What bliss! what torture! vainly I essay
To turn me from that piteous look away.
How strangely doth a single crimson line
Around that lovely neck its coil entwine,
It shows no broader than a knife's blunt edge!
Quite right. I see it also, and allege
That she beneath her arm her head can bear,
Since Perseus cut it off.--But you I swear
Are craving for illusion still!
Come then, ascend yon little hill!
As on the Prater all is gay,
And if my senses are not gone,
I see a theatre,--what's going on?
They are about to recommence;--the play
Will be the last of seven, and spick-span new--'
'Tis usual here that number to present.
A dilettante did the piece invent,
And dilettanti will enact it too.
Excuse me, gentlemen; to me's assign'd
As dilettante to uplift the curtain.
You on the Blocksberg I'm rejoiced to find,
That 'tis your most appropriate sphere is certain.
OR OBERON AND TITANIA'S GOLDEN WEDDING-FEAST
Vales, where mists still shift and play,
To ancient hills succeeding,--
These our scenes;--so we, to-day,
May rest, brave sons of Mieding.
That the marriage golden be,
Must fifty years be ended;
More dear this feast of gold to me,
Contention now suspended.
Spirits, if present, grace the scene,
And if with me united,
Then gratulate the king and queen,
Their troth thus newly plighted!
Puck draws near and wheels about,
In mazy circles dancing!
Hundreds swell his joyous shout,
Behind him still advancing.
Ariel wakes his dainty air,
His lyre celestial stringing.--
Fools he lureth, and the fair,
With his celestial singing.
Wedded ones, would ye agree,
We court your imitation:
Would ye fondly love as we,
We counsel separation.
If husband scold and wife retort,
Then bear them far asunder;
Her to the burning south transport,
And him the North Pole under.
THE WHOLE ORCHESTRA (fortissimo)
Flies and midges all unite
With frog and chirping cricket,
Our orchestra throughout the night,
Resounding in the thicket!
Yonder doth the bagpipe come!
Its sack an airy bubble.
Schnick, schnick, schnack, with nasal hum,
Its notes it doth redouble.
Spider's foot and midge's wing,
A toad in form and feature;
Together verses it can string,
Though scarce n living creature.
A LITTLE PAIR
Tiny step and lofty bound,
Through dew and exhalation;
Ye trip it deftly on the ground,
But gain no elevation.
Can I indeed believe my eyes?
Is't not mere masquerading?
What! Oberon in beauteous step
Among the groups parading!
No claws, no tail to whisk about,
To fright us at our revel;--
Yet like the gods of Greece, no doubt,
He too's a genuine devil.
These that I'm hitting off to-day
Are sketches unpretending;
Towards Italy without delay,
My steps I think of bending.
Alas! ill-fortune leads me here,
Where riot still grows louder;
And 'mong the witches gather'd here
But two alone wear powder!
Your powder and your petticoat,
Suit hags, there's no gainsaying;
Hence I sit fearless on my goat,
My naked charms displaying.
We're too well-bred to squabble here,
Or insult back to render;
But may you wither soon, my dear,
Although so young and tender.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Nose of fly and gnat's proboscis,
Throng not the naked beauty!
Frogs and crickets in the mosses,
Keep time and do your duty!
WEATHERCOCK (towards one side)
What charming company I view
Together here collected!
Gay bachelors, a hopeful crew.
And brides so unaffected!
WEATHERCOCK (towards the other side)
Unless indeed the yawning ground
Should open to receive them,
From this vile crew, with sudden bound,
To Hell I'd jump and leave them.
With small sharp shears, in insect guise
Behold us at your revel!
That we may tender, filial-wise,
Our homage to the devil.
Look now at yonder eager crew,
How naively they're jesting!
That they have tender hearts and true,
They stoutly keep protesting!
Oneself amid this witchery
How pleasantly one loses;
For witches easier are to me
To govern than the Muses!
CI-DEVANT GENIUS OF THE AGE
With proper folks when we appear,
No one can then surpass us!
Keep close, wide is the Blocksberg here
As Germany's Parnassus.
How name ye that stiff formal man,
Who strides with lofty paces?
He tracks the game where'er he can,
"He scents the Jesuits' traces."
Where waters troubled are or clear,
To fish I am delighted;
Thus pious gentlemen appear
With devils here united.
By pious people, it is true,
No medium is rejected;
Conventicles, and not a few,
On Blocksberg are erected.
Another chorus now succeeds,
Far off the drums are beating.
Be still! The bitterns 'mong the reeds
Their one note are repeating.
Each twirls about and never stops,
And as he can he fareth.
The crooked leaps, the clumsy hops,
Nor for appearance careth.
To take each other's life, I trow,
Would cordially delight them!
As Orpheus' lyre the beasts, so now
The bagpipe doth unite them.
My views, in spite of doubt and sneer,
I hold with stout persistence,
Inferring from the devils here,
The evil one's existence.
My every sense rules Phantasy
With sway quite too potential;
Sure I'm demented if the I
Alone is the essential.
This entity's a dreadful bore,
And cannot choose but vex me;
The ground beneath me ne'er before
Thus totter'd to perplex me.
Well pleased assembled here I view
Of spirits this profusion;
From devils, touching angels too,
I gather some conclusion.
The ignis fatuus they track out,
And think they're near the treasure,
Devil alliterates with doubt,
Here I abide with pleasure.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Frog and cricket in the mosses,--
Confound your gasconading!
Nose of fly and gnat's proboscis;--
Most tuneful serenading!
THE KNOWING ONES
Sans-souci, so this host we greet,
Their jovial humour showing;
There's now no walking on our feet,
So on our heads we're going.
THE AWKWARD ONES
In seasons past we snatch'd, 'tis true,
Some tit-bits by our cunning;
Our shoes, alas, are now danced through,
On our bare soles we're running.
From marshy bogs we sprang to light,
Yet here behold us dancing;
The gayest gallants of the night,
In glitt'ring rows advancing.
With rapid motion from on high,
I shot in starry splendour;
Now prostrate on the grass I lie;--
Who aid will kindly render?
THE MASSIVE ONES
Room! wheel round! They're coming lo!
Down sink the bending grasses.
Though spirits, yet their limbs, we know,
Are huge substantial masses.
Don't stamp so heavily, I pray;
Like elephants you're treading!
And 'mong the elves be Puck to-day,
The stoutest at the wedding!
If nature boon, or subtle sprite,
Endow your soul with pinions;--
Then follow to yon rosy height,
Through ether's calm dominions!
Drifting cloud and misty wreathes
Are fill'd with light elysian;
O'er reed and leaf the zephyr breathes--
So fades the fairy vision!
A GLOOMY DAY. A PLAIN
FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES
In misery! despairing! long wandering pitifully on the face of the
earth and now imprisoned! This gentle hapless creature, immured
in the dungeon as a malefactor and reserved for horrid tortures!
That it should come to this! To this!--Perfidious, worthless spirit,
and this thou hast concealed from me!--Stand! ay, stand! roll in
malicious rage thy fiendish eyes! Stand and brave me with thine
insupportable presence! Imprisoned! In hopeless misery! Delivered
over to the power of evil spirits and the judgment of unpitying
humanity I--And me, the while, thou wert lulling with tasteless
dissipations, concealing from me her growing anguish, and leaving
her to perish without help!
She is not the first.
Hound! Execrable monster!--Back with him, oh thou infinite
spirit! back with the reptile into his dog's shape, in which it was his
wont to scamper before me at eventide, to roll before the feet of
the harmless wanderer, and to fasten on his shoulders when he fell!
Change him again into his favourite shape, that he may crouch on
his belly before me in the dust, whilst I spurn him with my foot,
the reprobate!--Not the first!--Woe! Woe! By no human soul is it
conceivable, that more than one human creature has ever sunk into
a depth of wretchedness like this, or that the first in her writhing
death-agony should not have atoned in the sight of all-pardoning
Heaven for the guilt of all the rest! The misery of this one pierces
me to the very marrow, and harrows up my soul; thou art grinning
calmly over the doom of thousands!
Now we are once again at our wit's end, just where the reason of
you mortals snaps! Why dost thou seek our fellowship, if thou
canst not go through with it? Wilt fly, and art not proof against
dizziness? Did we force ourselves on thee, or thou on us?
Cease thus to gnash thy ravenous fangs at me! I loathe thee!--Great
and glorious spirit, thou who didst vouchsafe to reveal thyself unto
me, thou who dost know my very heart and soul, why hast thou
linked me with this base associate, who feeds on mischief and
revels in destruction?
Save her!--or woe to thee! The direst of curses on thee for
thousands of years!
I cannot loose the bands of the avenger, nor withdraw his
bolts.--Save her!--Who was it plunged her into perdition? I or
(FAUST looks wildly around.)
Would'st grasp the thunder? Well for you, poor mortals, that 'tis
not yours to wield! To smite to atoms the being however innocent,
who obstructs his path, such is the tyrant's fashion of relieving
himself in difficulties!
Convey me thither! She shall be free!
And the danger to which thou dust expose thyself? Know, the guilt
of blood, shed by thy hand, lies yet upon the town. Over the place
where fell the murdered one, avenging spirits hover and watch for
the returning murderer.
This too from thee? The death and downfall of a world be on thee,
monster I Conduct me thither, I say, and set
I will conduct thee. And what I can do,--hear! Have I all power in
heaven and upon earth? I'll cloud the senses of the warder,--do
thou possess thyself of the keys and lead her forth with human
hand! I will keep watch! The magic steeds are waiting, I bear thee
off. Thus much is in my power.
Tip and sway!
NIGHT. OPEN COUNTRY
(Rushing along on black horses)
What weave they yonder round the Ravenstone?
I know not what they shape and brew.
They're soaring, swooping, betiding, stooping.
A witches' pack.
They charm, they strew.
(with a bunch of keys and a lamp before a small iron door)
A fear unwonted o'er my spirit falls;
Man's concentrated woe o'erwhelms me here!
She dwells immur'd within these dripping walls;
Her only trespass a delusion dear!
Thou lingerest at the fatal door,
Thou dread'st to see her face once more?
On! While thou dalliest, draws her death-hour near.
(He seizes the lock. Singing within.)
My mother, the harlot,
She took me and slew!
My father, the scoundrel,
Hath eaten me too!
My sweet little sister
Hath all my bones laid,
Where soft breezes whisper
All in the cool shade!
Then became I a wood-bird, and sang on the spray,
Fly away! little bird, fly away! fly away!
FAUST (opening the lock)
Ah! she forebodes not that her lover's near,
The clanking chains, the rustling straw, to hear.
(hiding her face in the bed of straw)
Woe! woe! they come! oh bitter 'tis to die!
Hush! hush! be still! I come to set thee free!
(throwing herself at his feet)
If thou art human, feel my misery!
Thou wilt awake the jailor with thy cry!
(He grasps the chains to unlock them.)
MARGARET (on her knees)
Who, headsman, unto thee this power
O'er me could give?
Thou com'st for me at midnight-hour.
Be merciful, and let me live!
Is morrow's dawn not time enough?
(She stands up.)
I'm still so young, so young--
And must so early die!
Fair was I too, and that was my undoing.
My love is now afar, he then was nigh;
Torn lies the garland, the fair blossoms strew'd.
Nay, seize me not with hand so rude!
Spare me! What harm have I e'er done to thee?
Oh let me not in vain implore!
I ne'er have seen thee in my life before!
Can I endure this bitter agony?
I now am at thy mercy quite.
Let me my babe but suckle once again!
I fondled it the live-long night;
They took it from me but to give me pain,
And now, they say that I my child have slain.
Gladness I ne'er again shall know.
Then they sing songs about me,--'tis wicked of the throng--
An ancient ballad endeth so;
Who bade them thus apply the song?
(throwing himself on the ground)
A lover at thy feet bends low,
To loose the bonds of wretchedness and woe.
(throws herself beside him)
Oh, let us kneel and move the saints by prayer!
Look! look! yon stairs below,
Under the threshold there,
Hell's flames are all aglow!
Beneath the floor,
With hideous noise,
The devils roar!
That was my lov'd one's voice!
(She springs up, the chains fall off.)
Where is he? I heard him calling me.
Free am I! There's none shall hinder me.
To his neck will I fly,
On his bosom will lie!
Gretchen, he called!--
On yon threshold he stood;
Amidst all the howling of hell's fiery flood,
The scoff and the scorn of its devilish crew,
The tones of his voice, sweet and loving, I knew.
'Tis thou! O say so once again!
'Tis he! 'Tis he! where's now the torturing pain?
Where are the fetters? where the dungeon's gloom?
'Tis thou! To save me thou art come!
And I am sav'd!--
Already now the street I see
Where the first time I caught a glimpse of thee.
There too the pleasant garden shade,
Where I and Martha for thy coming stay'd.
(endeavouring to lead her away,)
Come! come away!
Oh do not haste!
I love to linger where thou stayest. (caressing him.)
Ah haste! For if thou still delayest,
Our lingering we shall both deplore.
How, dearest? canst thou kiss no more!
So short a time away from me, and yet,
To kiss thou couldst so soon forget!
Why on thy neck so anxious do I feel--
When formerly a perfect heaven of bliss
From thy dear looks and words would o'er me steal?
As thou wouldst stifle me thou then didst kiss!--
Or I'll kiss thee! (She embraces him.)
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