History of Literature










Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




"Faust"


Illustrations by Eugene Delacroix and Harry Clarke




Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "Faust"  Illustrations by Harry Clarke

 

 


Faust

TRANSLATED BY ANNA SWANWICK

 

STUDY
 
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 love 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! now I know thee, sure enough!
    For such a base, half-hellish brood,
    The key of Solomon is good.
 
SPIRITS  (without)
 
    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 hath he
    Served us, when at liberty.
 
FAUST

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,
    Salamander!
    Rushingly together flow.
    Undine!
    Shimmer in the meteor’s gleam,
    Sylphide!
    Hither bring thine homely aid,
    Incubus! Incubus!
    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,
    Unspeakable, diffused
    Throughout the heavenly sphere,
    Shamefully abused,
    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!

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES
(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?
 
FAUST

This then the kernel of the brute!
A traveling scholar? Why I needs must smile.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Your learned reverence humbly I salute!
You’ve made me swelter in a pretty style.
 
FAUST

Thy name?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

          The question trifling seems from one,
Who it appears the Word doth rate so low;
Who, undeluded by mere outward show,
To Being’s depths would penetrate alone.

 

 

 

FAUST

With gentlemen like you indeed
The inward essence from the name we read,
As all too plainly it doth appear,
When Beelzebub, Destroyer, Liar, meets the ear.
Who then art thou?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Part of that power which still
Produceth good, whilst ever scheming ill.
 
FAUST

What hidden mystery in this riddle lies?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

The spirit I, which evermore denies!
And justly; for whate’er to light is brought
Deserves again to be reduced to naught;
Then better ’twere that naught should be.
Thus all the elements which ye
Destruction, Sin, or briefly, Evil, name,
As my peculiar element I claim.
 
FAUST

Thou nam’st thyself a part, and yet a whole I see.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

The modest truth I speak to thee.
Though folly’s microcosm, man, it seems,
Himself to be a perfect whole esteems:
Part of the part am I, which at the first was all,
A part of darkness, which gave birth to light,
Proud light, who now his mother would enthrall,
Contesting space and ancient rank with night.
Yet he succeedeth not, for struggle as he will,
To forms material he adhereth still;
From them he streameth, them he maketh fair,
And still the progress of his beams they check;
And so, I trust, when comes the final wreck,
Light will, ere long, the doom of matter share.
 
FAUST

Thy worthy avocation now I guess!
Wholesale annihilation won’t prevail,
So thou’rt beginning on a smaller scale.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

And, to say truth, as yet with small success.
Oppos’d to naught, this clumsy world,
The something—it subsisteth still;
Not yet is it to ruin hurl’d,
Despite the efforts of my will.
Tempests and earthquakes, fire and flood, I’ve tried;
Yet land and ocean still unchang’d abide!
And then of humankind and beasts, the accursed brood,—
Neither o’er them can I extend my sway.
What countless myriads have I swept away!
Yet ever circulates the fresh young blood.
It is enough to drive me to despair!
As in the earth, in water, and in air,
A thousand germs burst forth spontaneously;
In moisture, drought, heat, cold, they still appear!
Had I not flame selected as my sphere
Nothing apart had been reversed for me.
 

 

FAUST

So thou with thy cold devil’s fist
Still clench’d in malice impotent
Dost the creative power resist,
The active, the beneficent!
Henceforth some other task essay,
Of Chaos thou the wondrous son!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

We will consider what you say,
And talk about it more anon!
For this time have I leave to go?
 
FAUST

Why thou shouldst ask, I cannot see.
Since thee I now have learned to know,
At thy good pleasure, visit me.
Here is the window, here the door,
The chimney, too, may serve thy need.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I must confess, my stepping o’er
Thy threshold a slight hindrance doth impede;
The wizard-foot doth me retain.
 
FAUST

The pentagram thy peace doth mar?
To me, thou son of hell, explain,
How camest thou in, if this thine exit bar?
Could such a spirit aught ensnare?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Observe it well, it is not drawn with care,
One of the angles, that which points without,
Is, as thou seest, not quite closed.
 
FAUST

Chance hath the matter happily dispos’d!
So thou my captive art? No doubt!
By accident thou thus art caught!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

In sprang the dog, indeed, observing naught;
Things now assume another shape,
The devil’s in the house and can’t escape.
 
FAUST

Why through the window not withdraw?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

For ghosts and for the devil ’tis a law.
Where they stole in, there they must forth. We’re free
The first to choose; as to the second, slaves are we.
 
FAUST

E’en hell hath its peculiar laws, I see!
I’m glad of that! a pact may then be made,
The which you gentlemen will surely keep?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

What e’er therein is promised thou shalt reap,
No tittle shall remain unpaid.
But such arrangements time require;
We’ll speak of them when next we meet;
Most earnestly I now entreat,
This once permission to retire.
 
FAUST

Another moment prithee here remain,
Me with some happy word to pleasure.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Now let me go! ere long I’ll come again,
Then thou may’st question at thy leisure.
 
FAUST

’Twas not my purpose thee to lime;
The snare hast entered of thine own free will:
Let him who holds the devil, hold him still!
So soon he’ll catch him not a second time.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

If it so please thee, I’m at thy command;
Only on this condition, understand;
That worthily thy leisure to beguile,
I here may exercise my arts awhile.
 
FAUST

Thou’rt free to do so! Gladly I’ll attend;
But be thine art a pleasant one!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                My friend,
This hour enjoyment more intense,
Shall captivate each ravish’d sense,
Than thou could’st compass in the bound
Of the whole year’s unvarying round;
And what the dainty spirits sing,
The lovely images they bring.
Are no fantastic sorcery.
Rich odours shall regale your smell,
On choicest sweets your palate dwell,
Your feelings thrill with ecstasy.
No preparation do we need,
Here we together are. Proceed.
 

 

SPIRITS

    Hence overshadowing gloom,
    Vanish from sight!
    O’er us thine azure dome,
    Bend, beauteous light!
    Dark clouds that o’er us spread,
    Melt in thin air!
    Stars, your soft radiance shed,
    Tender and fair.
    Girt with celestial might,
    Winging their airy flight,
    Spirits are thronging.
    Follows their forms of light
    Infinite longing!
    Flutter their vestures bright
    O’er field and grove!
    Where in their leafy bower
    Lovers the livelong hour
    Vow deathless love.
    Soft bloometh bud and bower!
    Bloometh the grove!
    Grapes from the spreading vine
    Crown the full measure;
    Fountains of foaming wine
    Gush from the pressure.
    Still where the currents wind,
    Gems brightly gleam.
    Leaving the hills behind
    On rolls the stream;
    Now into ample seas,
    Spreadeth the flood;
    Laving the sunny leas,
    Mantled with wood.
    Rapture the feather’d throng,
    Gaily careering,
    Sip as they float along;
    Sunward they’re steering;
    On towards the isles of light
    Winging their way,
    That on the waters bright
    Dancingly play.
    Hark to the choral strain,
    Joyfully ringing!
    While on the grassy plain
    Dancers are springing;
    Climbing the steep hill’s side,
    Skimming the glassy tide,
    Wander they there;
    Others on pinions wide
    Wing the blue air;
    All lifeward tending, upward still wending,
    Towards yonder stars that gleam,
    Far, far above;
    Stars from whose tender beam
    Rains blissful love.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Well done, my dainty spirits! now he slumbers!
Ye have entranc’d him fairly with your numbers!
This minstrelsy of yours I must repay,—
Thou art not yet the man to hold the devil fast!—
With fairest shapes your spells around him cast,
And plunge him in a sea of dreams!
But that this charm be rent, the threshold passed,
Tooth of rat the way must clear.
I need not conjure long it seems,
One rustles hitherward, and soon my voice will hear.
The master of the rats and mice,
Of flies and frogs, of bugs and lice,
Commands thy presence; without fear
Come forth and gnaw the threshold here,
Where he with oil has smear’d it.—Thou
Com’st hopping forth already! Now
To work! The point that holds me bound
Is in the outer angle found.
Another bite—so-now ’tis done—
Now, Faustus, till we meet again, dream on.
 
FAUST  (awaking)

Am I once more deluded! must I deem
That thus the throng of spirits disappear?
The devil’s presence, was it but a dream?
Hath but a poodle scap’d and left me here?
 
STUDY
 
FAUST. MEPHISTOPHELES.
 
FAUST

A knock? Come in! Who now would break my rest?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

’Tis I!
 
FAUST

        Come in!

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Thrice be the words express’d.
 
FAUST

Then I repeat, Come in!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                ’Tis well,
I hope that we shall soon agree!
For now your fancies to expel,
Here, as a youth of high degree,
I come in gold-lac’d scarlet vest,
And stiff-silk mantle richly dress’d,
A cock’s gay feather for a plume,
A long and pointed rapier, too;
And briefly I would counsel you
To don at once the same costume,
And, free from trammels, speed away,
That what life is you may essay.
 
FAUST

In every garb I needs must feel oppress’d,
My heart to earth’s low cares a prey.
Too old the trifler’s part to play,
Too young to live by no desire possess’d.
What can the world to me afford?
Renounce! renouce! is still the word;
This is the everlasting song
In every ear that ceaseless rings,
And which, alas, our whole life long,
Hoarsely each passing moment sings.
But to new horror I awake each morn,
And I could weep hot tears, to see the sun
Dawn on another day, whose round forlorn
Accomplishes no wish of mine—not one.
Which still, with froward captiousness, impains
E’en the presentiment of every joy,
While low realities and paltry cares
The spirit’s fond imaginings destroy.
Then must I too, when falls the veil of night,
Stretch’d on my pallet languish in despair,
Appalling dreams my soul affright;
No rest vouchsafed me even there.
The god, who throned within my breast resides,
Deep in my soul can stir the springs;
With sovereign sway my energies he guides,
He cannot move external things;
And so existence is to me a weight.
Death fondly I desire, and life I hate.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

And yet, methinks, by most ’twill be confess’d
That Death is never quite a welcome guest.
 
FAUST

Happy the man around whose brow he binds
The bloodstain’d wreath in conquest’s dazzling hour;
Or whom, excited by the dance, he finds
Dissolv’d in bliss, in love’s delicious bower!
O that before the lofty spirit’s might,
Enraptured, I had rendered up my soul!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Yet did a certain man refrain one night,
Of its brown juice to drain the crystal bowl.
 
FAUST

To play the spy diverts you then?

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                I own,
Though not omniscient, much to me is known.
 
FAUST

If o’er my soul the tone familiar, stealing,
Drew me from harrowing thought’s bewild’ring maze,
Touching the ling’ring chords of childlike feeling,
With sweet harmonies of happier days:
So curse I all, around the soul that windeth
Its magic and alluring spell,
And with delusive flattery bindeth
Its victim to this dreary cell!
Curs’d before all things be the high opinion,
Wherewith the spirit girds itself around!
Of shows delusive curs’d be the dominion,
Within whose mocking sphere our sense is bound!
Accurs’d of dreams the treacherous wiles,
The cheat of glory, deathless fame!
Accurs’d what each as property beguiles,
Wife, child, slave, plough, whate’er its name!
Accurs’d be mammon, when with treasure
He doth to daring deeds incite:
Or when to steep the soul in pleasure,
He spreads the couch of soft delight!
Curs’d be the grape’s balsamic juice!
Accurs’d love’s dream, of joys the first!
Accurs’d be hope! accurs’d be faith!
And more than all, be patience curs’d!
 
CHORUS OF SPIRITS  (invisible)
 
    Woe! Woe!
    Thou hast destroy’d
    The beautiful world
    With violent blow;
    ’Tis shiver’d! ’tis shatter’d!
    The fragments abroad by a demigod scatter’d!
    Now we sweep
    The wrecks into nothingness!
    Fondly we weep
    The beauty that’s gone!
    Thou, ’mongst the sons of earth,
    Lofty and mighty one,
    Build it once more!
    In thine own bosom the lost world restore!
    Now with unclouded sense
    Enter a new career;
    Songs shall salute thine ear,
    Ne’er heard before!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

My little ones these spirits be.
Hark! with shrewd intelligence,
How they recommend to thee
Action, and the joys of sense!
In the busy world to dwell,
Fain they would allure thee hence:
For within this lonely cell,
Stagnate sap of life and sense.
 
Forbear to trifle longer with thy grief,
Which, vulture-like, consumes thee in this den.
The worst society is some relief,
Making thee feel thyself a man with men.
Nathless, it is not meant, I trow,
To thrust thee ’mid the vulgar throng.
I to the upper ranks do not belong;
Yet if, by me companion’d, thou
Thy steps through life forthwith wilt take,
Upon the spot myself I’ll make
Thy comrade;—
Should it suit thy need,
I am thy servant, am thy slave indeed!

 

 
FAUST

And how must I thy services repay?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Thereto thou lengthen’d repite hast!
 
FAUST

                No! No!
The devil is an egoist I know:
And, for Heaven’s sake, ’tis not his way
Kindness to any one to show.
Let the condition plainly be exprest!
Such a domestic is a dangerous guest.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I’ll pledge myself to be thy servant here,
Still at thy back alert and prompt to be;
But when together yonder we appear,
Then shalt thou do the same for me.
 
FAUST

But small concern I feel for yonder world;
Hast thou this system into ruin hurl’d,
Another may arise the void to fill.
This earth the fountain whence my pleasures flow,
This sun doth daily shine upon my woe,
And if this world I must forego,
Let happen then,—what can and will.
I to this theme will close mine ears,
If men hereafter hate and love,
And if there be in yonder spheres
A depth below or height above.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

In this mood thou mayst venture it. But make
The compact! I at once will undertake
To charm thee with mine arts. I’ll give thee more
Than mortal eye hath e’er beheld before.

 

 
FAUST

What, sorry Devil, hast thou to bestow?
Was ever mortal spirit, in its high endeavour,
Fathom’d by Being such as thou?
Yet food thou hast which satisfieth never,
Hast ruddy gold, that still doth flow
Like restless quicksilver away,
A game thou hast, at which none win who play,
A girl who would, with amorous eyen,
E’en from my breast, a neighbour snare,
Lofty ambition’s joy divine,
That, meteor-like, dissolves in air.
Show me the fruit that, ere ’tis pluck’d, doth rot,
And trees, whose verdure daily buds anew!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Such a commission scares me not,
I can provide such treasures, it is true;
But, my good friend, a season will come round,
When on what’s good we may regale in peace.
 
FAUST

If e’er upon my couch, stretched at my ease, I’m found,
Then may my life that instant cease!
Me canst thou cheat with glozing wile
Till self-reproach away I cast,—
Me with joy’s lure canst thou beguile;—
Let that day be for me the last!
Be this our wager!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Settled!
 
FAUST

                Sure and fast!
When to the moment I shall say,
“Linger awhile! so fair thou art!”
Then mayst thou fetter me straightway,
Then to the abyss will I depart!
Then may the solemn death-bell sound,
Then from thy service thou art free,
The index then may cease its round.
And time be never more for me!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I shall remember: pause, ere ’tis too late.
 
FAUST

Thereto a perfect right hast thou.
My strength I do not rashly overrate.
Slave am I here, at any rate,
If thine, or whose, it matters not, I trow.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

At thine inaugural feast I will this day
Attend, my duties to commence.—
But one thing!—Accidents may happen, hence
A line or two in writing grant, I pray.
 
FAUST

A writing, Pedant! dost demand from me?
Man, and man’s plighted word, are these unknown to thee?
Is’t not enough, that by the word I gave,
My doom for evermore is cast?
Doth not the world in all its currents rave,
And must a promise hold me fast?
Yet fixed is this delusion in our heart;
Who, of his own free will, therefrom would part?
How blest within whose breast truth reigneth pure!
No sacrifice will he repent when made!
A formal deed, with seal and signature,
A spectre this from which all shrink afraid.
The word its life resigneth in the pen,
Leather and wax usurp the mastery then.
Spirits of evil! what dost thou require?
Brass, marble, parchment, paper, dost desire?
Shall I with chisel, pen, or graver write?
Thy choice is free; to me ’tis all the same.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Wherefore thy passion so excite
And thus thine eloquence inflame?
A scrap is for our compact good.
Thou under-signest merely with a drop of blood.
 
FAUST

If this will satisfy thy mind,
Thy whim I’ll gratify, howe’er absurd.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Blood is a juice of very special kind.
 
FAUST

Be not afraid that I shall break my word!
The scope of all my energy
Is in exact accordance with my vow.
Vainly I have aspired too high;
I’m on a level but with such as thou;
Me the great spirit scorn’d, defied;
Nature from me herself doth hide;
Rent is the web of thought; my mind
Doth knowledge loathe of every kind.
In depths of sensual pleasure drown’d,
Let us our fiery passions still!
Enwrapp’d in magic’s veil profound,
Let wondrous charms our senses thrill!
Plunge we in time’s tempestuous flow,
Stem we the rolling surge of chance!
There may alternate weal and woe,
Success and failure, as they can,
Mingle and shift in changeful dance!
Excitement is the sphere for man.

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Nor goal, nor measure is prescrib’d to you,
If you desire to taste of every thing,
To snatch at joy while on the wing,
May your career amuse and profit too!
Only fall to and don’t be over coy!
 
FAUST

Hearken! The end I aim at is not joy;
I crave excitement, agonizing bliss,
Enamour’d hatred, quickening vexation.
Purg’d from the love of knowledge, my vocation,
The scope of all my powers henceforth be this,
To bare my breast to every pang,—to know
In my heart’s core all human weal and woe,
To grasp in thought the lofty and the deep,
Men’s various fortunes on my breast to heap,
And thus to theirs dilate my individual mind,
And share at length with them the shipwreck of mankind.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Oh, credit me, who still as ages roll,
Have chew’d this bitter fare from year to year,
No mortal, from the cradle to the bier,
Digests the ancient leaven! Know, this Whole
Doth for the Deity alone subsist!
He in eternal brightness doth exist,
Us unto darkness he hath brought, and here
Where day and night alternate, is your sphere.
 
FAUST

But ’tis my will!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Well spoken, I admit!
But one thing puzzles me, my friend;
Time’s short, art long; methinks ’twere fit
That you to friendly counsel should attend.
A poet choose as your ally!
Let him thought’s wide dominion sweep,
Each good and noble quality,
Upon your honoured brow to heap;
The lion’s magnanimity,
The fleetness of the hind,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northern’s steadfast mind.
Let him to you the mystery show
To blend high aims and cunning low;
And while youth’s passions are aflame
To fall in love by rule and plan!
I fain would meet with such a man;
Would him Sir Microcosmus name.
 
FAUST

What then am I, if I aspire in vain
The crown of our humanity to gain,
Towards which my every sense doth strain?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Thou’rt after all-just what thou art.
Put on thy head a wig with countless locks,
And to a cubit’s height upraise thy socks,
Still thou remainest ever, what thou art.
 
FAUST

I fell it, I have heap’d upon my brain
The gather’d treasure of man’s thought in vain;
And when at length from studious toil I rest,
No power, new-born, springs up within my breast;
A hair’s breadth is not added to my height,
I am no nearer to the infinite.

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Good sir, these things you view indeed,
Just as by other men they’re view’d;
We must more cleverly proceed,
Before life’s joys our grasp elude.
The devil! thou hast hands and feet,
And head and heart are also thine;
What I enjoy with relish sweet,
Is it on that account less mine?
If for six stallions I can pay,

 

 

 

 
Do I not own their strength and speed?
A proper man I dash away,
As their two dozen legs were mine indeed.
Up then, from idle pondering free,
And forth into the world with me!
I tell you what;—your speculative churl
Is like a beast which some ill spirit leads,
On barren wilderness, in ceaseless whirl,
While all around lie fair and verdant meads.
 
FAUST

But how shall we begin?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                We will go hence with speed,
A place of torment this indeed!
A precious life, thyself to bore,
And some few youngster evermore!
Leave that to neighbour Paunch!—withdraw,
Why wilt thou plague thyself with thrashing straw?
The very best that thou dost know
Thou dar’st not to the striplings show.
One in the passage now doth wait!
 
FAUST

I’m in no mood to see him now.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Poor lad! He must be tired, I trow;
He must not go disconsolate.
Hand me thy cap and gown; the mask
Is for my purpose quite first rate.  (He changes his dress.)
Now leave it to my wit! I ask
But quarter of an hour; meanwhile equip,
And make all ready for our pleasant trip!  (Exit FAUST.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (in FAUST’S long gown)

Mortal! the loftiest attributes of men,
Reason and Knowledge, only thus contemn,
Still let the Prince of lies, without control,
With shows, and mocking charms delude thy soul,
I have thee unconditionally then!
Fate hath endow’d him with an ardent mind,
Which unrestrain’d still presses on for ever,
And whose precipitate endeavour
Earth’s joys o’erleaping, leaveth them behind.
Him will I drag through life’s wild waste,
Through scenes of vapid dulness, where at last
Bewilder’d, he shall falter, and stick fast;
And, still to mock his greedy haste,
Viands and drink shall float his craving lips beyond—
Vainly he’ll seek refreshment, anguish-tost,
And were he not the devil’s by his bond,
Yet must his soul infallibly be lost!

 

 
A STUDENT enters
 
STUDENT

But recently I’ve quitted home,
Full of devotion am I come
A man to know and hear, whose name
With reverence is known to fame.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Your courtesy much flatters me!
A man like other men you see;
Pray have you yet applied elsewhere?
 
STUDENT

I would entreat your friendly care!
I’ve youthful blood and courage high;
Of gold I bring a fair supply;
To let me go my mother was not fain;
But here I longed true knowledge to attain.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

You’ve hit upon the very place.
 
STUDENT

And yet my steps I would retrace.
These walls, this melancholy room,
O’erpower me with a sense of gloom;
The space is narrow, nothing green,
No friendly tree is to be seen:
And in these halls, with benches filled, distraught,
Sight, hearing fail me, and the power of thought.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

It all depends on habit. Thus at first
The infant takes not kindly to the breast,
But before long, its eager thirst
Is fain to slake with hearty zest:
Thus at the breasts of wisdom day by day
With keener relish you’ll your thirst allay.
 
STUDENT

Upon her neck I fain would hang with joy;
To reach it, say, what means must I employ?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Explain, ere further time we lose,
What special faculty you choose?
 
STUDENT

Profoundly learned I would grow,
What heaven contains would comprehend,
O’er earth’s wide realm my gaze extend,
Nature and science I desire to know.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Your are upon the proper track, I find;
Take heed, let nothing dissipate your mind.
 
STUDENT

My heart and soul are in the chase!
Though to be sure I fain would seize,
On pleasant summer holidays,
A little liberty and careless ease.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Use well your time, so rapidly it flies;
Method will teach you time to win;
Hence, my young friend, I would advise,
With college logic to begin!
Then will your mind be so well braced,
In Spanish boots so tightly laced,
That on ’twill circumspectly creep,
Thought’s beaten track securely keep,
Nor will it, ignis-fatuus like,
Into the path of error strike.
Then many a day they’ll teach you how
The mind’s spontaneous acts, till now
As eating and as drinking free,
Require a process;—one! two! three!
In truth the subtle web of thought
Is like the weaver’s fabric wrought:
One treadle moves a thousand lines,
Swift dart the shuttles to and fro,
Unseen the threads together flow,
A thousand knots one stroke combines.
Then forward steps your sage to show,
And prove to you, it must be so;
The first being so, and so the second,
The third and fourth deduc’d we see;
And if there were no first and second,
Nor third nor fourth would ever be.
This, scholars of all countries prize,—
Yet ’mong themselves no weavers rise.—
He who would know and treat of aught alive,
Seeks first the living spirit thence to drive:
Then are the lifeless fragments in his hand,
There only fails, alas! the spirit-band.
This process, chemists name, in learned thesis,
Mocking themselves, Naturæ encheiresis.

 

 
STUDENT

Your words I cannot full comprehend.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

In a short time you will improve, my friend,
When of scholastic forms you learn the use;
And how by method all things to reduce.
 
STUDENT

So doth all this my brain confound,
As if a mill-wheel there were turning round.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

And next, before aught else you learn,
You must with zeal to metaphysics turn!
There see that you profoundly comprehend,
What doth the limit of man’s brain transcend;
For that which is or is not in the head
A sounding phrase will serve you in good stead.
But before all strive this half year
From one fix’d order ne’er to swerve!
Five lectures daily you must hear;
The hour still punctually observe!
Yourself with studious zeal prepare,
And closely in your manual look,
Hereby may you be quite aware
That all he utters standeth in the book;
Yet write away without cessation,
As at the Holy Ghost’s dictation!
 
STUDENT

This, Sir, a second time you need not say!
Your counsel I appreciate quite;
What we possess in black and white,
We can in peace and comfort bear away.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

A faculty I pray you name.
 
STUDENT

For jurisprudence, some distaste I own.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

To me this branch of science is well known,
And hence I cannot your repugnance blame.
Customs and laws in every place,
Like a disease, an heir-loom dread,
Still trail their curse from race to race,
And furtively abroad they spread.
To nonsense, reason’s self they turn;
Beneficence becomes a pest;
Woe unto thee, that thou’rt a grandson born!
As for the law born with us, unexpressed;—
That law, alas, none careth to discern.

 

 
STUDENT

You deepen my dislike. The youth
Whom you instruct, is blest in sooth!
To try theology I feel inclined.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I would not lead you willingly astray,
But as regards this science, you will find
So hard it is to shun the erring way,
And so much hidden poison lies therein,
Which scarce can you discern from medicine.
Here too it is the best, to listen but to one,
And by the master’s words to swear alone.
To sum up all—To words hold fast!
Then the safe gate securely pass’d,
You’ll reach the fane of certainty at last.
 
STUDENT

But then some meaning must the words convey.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Right! But o’er-anxious thought, you’ll find of no avail,
For there precisely where ideas fail,
A word comes opportunely into play
Most admirable weapons words are found,
On words a system we securely ground,
In words we can conveniently believe,
Nor of a single jot can we a word bereave.
 
STUDENT

Your pardon for my importunity;
Yet once more must I trouble you:
On medicine, I’ll thank you to supply
A pregnant utterance or two!
Three years! how brief the appointed tide!
The field, heaven knows, is all too wide!
If but a friendly hint be thrown,
’Tis easier then to feel one’s way.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (aside)

I’m weary of the dry pedantic tone,
And must again the genuine devil play.
 
(Aloud)

Of medicine the spirit’s caught with ease,
The great and little world you study through,
That things may then their course pursue,
As heaven may please.
In vain abroad you range through science’ ample space,
Each man learns only that which learn he can;
Who knows the moment to embrace,
He is your proper man.
In person you are tolerably made,
Nor in assurance will you be deficient:
Self-confidence acquire, be not afraid,
Others will then esteem you a proficient.
Learn chiefly with the sex to deal!
Their thousands ahs and ohs,
These the sage doctor knows,
He only from one point can heal.
Assume a decent tone of courteous ease,
You have them then to humour as you please.
First a diploma must belief infuse,
That you in your profession take the lead:
You then at once those easy freedoms use
For which another many a year must plead;
Learn how to feel with nice address
The dainty wrist;—and how to press,
With ardent furtive glance, the slender waist,
To feel how tightly it is laced.
 
STUDENT

There is some sense in that! one sees the how and why.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Grey is, young friend, all theory:
And green of life the golden tree.

 

 
STUDENT

I swear it seemeth like a dream to me.
May I some future time repeat my visit,
To hear on what your wisdom grounds your views?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Command my humble service when you choose.
 
STUDENT

Ere I retire, one boon I must solicit:
Here is my album, do not, Sir, deny
This token of your favour!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Willingly!  (He writes and returns the book.)
 
STUDENT  (reads)

ERITIS SICUT DEUS, SCIENTES BONUM ET MALUM  (He reverently closes the book and retires.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Let but this ancient proverb be your rule,
My cousin follow still, the wily snake,
And with your likeness to the gods, poor fool,
Ere long be sure your poor sick heart will quake!
 
FAUST  (enters)

Whither away?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

’Tis thine our course to steer.
The little world, and then the great we’ll view.
With what delight, what profit too,
Thou’lt revel through thy gay career!
 
FAUST

Despite my length of beard I need
The easy manners that insure success;
Th’ attempt I fear can ne’er succeed;
To mingle in the world I want address;
I still have an embarrass’d air, and then
I feel myself so small with other men.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Time, my good friend, will all that’s needful give;
Be only self-possessed, and thou hast learn’d to live.
 
FAUST

But how are we to start, I pray?
Steeds, servants, carriage, where are they?

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

We’ve but to spread this mantle wide,
’Twill serve whereon through air to ride,
No heavy baggage need you take,
When we our bold excursion make,
A little gas, which I will soon prepare,
Lifts us from earth; aloft through air,
Light laden we shall swiftly steer;—
I wish you joy of your new life-career.
 
AUERBACH’S CELLAR IN LEIPZIG
A Drinking Party
FROSCH

No drinking? Naught a laugh to raise?
None of your gloomy looks, I pray!
You, who so bright were wont to blaze,
Are dull as wetted straw to-day.
 
BRANDER

’Tis all your fault; your part you do not bear,
No beastliness, no folly.
 
FROSCH  (pours a glass of wine over his head)

                There,
You have them both!
 
BRANDER

                You double beast!
 
FROSCH

’Tis what you ask’d me for, at least!
 
SIEBEL

Whoever quarrels, turn him out!
With open throat drink, roar, and shout.
Hollo! Hollo! Ho!
 
ALTMAYER

Zounds, fellow, cease your deaf’ning cheers!
Bring cotton-wool! He splits my ears.
 
SIEBEL

’Tis when the roof rings back the tone,
Then first the full power of the bass is known.
 
FROSCH

Right! out with him who takes offence!
A! tara lara da!
 
ALTMAYER

A! tara lara da!
 
FROSCH

Our throats are tuned. Come let’s commence!
 
(Sings)

    The holy Roman empire now,
    How holds it still together?

 

 
BRANDER

An ugly song! a song political!
A song offensive! Thank God, every morn
To rule the Roman empire, that you were not born!
I bless my stars at least that mine is not
Either a kaiser’s or a chancellor’s lot.
Yet ’mong ourselves should one still lord it o’er the rest;
That we elect a pope I now suggest.
Ye know, what quality ensures
A man’s success, his rise secures.
 
FROSCH  (sings)

    Bear, lady nightingale above,
    Ten thousand greetings to my love.
 
SIEBEL

No greetings to a sweetheart! No love-songs shall there
be!
 
FROSCH

Love-greetings and love kisses! Thou shalt not hinder me!
 
(Sings)

    Undo the bolt! in silly night,
    Undo the bolt! the lover wakes.
    Shut to the bolt! when morning breaks.
 
SIEBEL

Ay, sing, sing on, praise her with all thy might!
My turn to laugh will come some day.
Me hath she jilted once, you the same trick she’ll play.
Some gnome her lover be! where cross-roads meet,
With her to play the fool; or old he-goat,
From Blocksberg coming in swift gallop, bleat
A good night to her, from his hairy throat!
A proper lad of genuine flesh and blood,
Is for the damsel far too good;
The greeting she shall have from me,
To smash her window-panes will be!
 
BRANDER  (striking on the table)

Silence! Attend! to me give ear!
Confess, sirs, I know how to live:
Some love-sick folk are sitting here!
Hence, ’tis but fit, their hearts to cheer,
That I a good-night strain to them should give.
Hark! of the newest fashion is my song!
Strike boldly in the chorus, clear and strong!
 
(He sings)

        Once in a cellar lived a rat,
        He feasted there on butter,
        Until his paunch became as fat
        As that of Doctor Luther.
        The cook laid poison for the guest,
        Then was his heart with pangs oppress’d,
        As if his frame love wasted.
 
Chorus  (shouting)

        As if his frame love wasted.

 

 
BRANDER

        He ran around, he ran abroad,
        Of every puddle drinking.
        The house with rage he scratch’d and gnaw’d,
        In vain,—he fast was sinking;
        Full many an anguish’d bound he gave,
        Nothing the hapless brute could save,
        As if his frame love wasted.
 
CHORUS

        As if his frame love wasted.
 
BRANDER

        By torture driven, in open day,
        The kitchen he invaded,
        Convulsed upon the hearth he lay,
        With anguish sorely jaded;
        The poisoner laugh’d, Ha! ha! quoth she,
        His life is ebbing fast, I see,
        As if his frame love wasted.
 
CHORUS

        As if his frame love wasted.
 
SIEBEL

How the dull boors exulting shout!
Poison for the poor rats to strew
A fine exploit it is no doubt.
 
BRANDER

They, as it seems, stand well with you!
 
ALTMAYER

Old bald-pate! with the paunch profound!
The rat’s mishap hath tamed his nature;
For he his counterpart hath found
Depicted in the swollen creature.
 
FAUST AND MEPHISTOPHELES
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I now must introduce to you
Before aught else, this jovial crew,
To show how lightly life may glide away;
With tse folk here each day’s a holiday.
With little wit and much content,
Each on his own small round intent,
Like sportive kitten with its tail;
While no sick-headache they bewail,
And while their host will credit give,
Joyous and free from care they live.
 
BRANDER

They’re off a journey, that is clear,—
From their strange manners; they have scarce been here
An hour.

 

 
FROSCH

          You’re right! Leipzig’s the place for me!
’Tis quite a little Paris; people there
Acquire a certain easy finish’d air.
 
SIEBEL

What take you now these travellers to be?
 
FROSCH

Let me alone! O’er a full glass you’ll see,
As easily I’ll worm their secret out,
As draw an infant’s tooth. I’ve not a doubt
That my two gentlemen are nobly born,
They look dissatisfied and full of scorn.
 
BRANDER

They are but mountebanks, I’ll lay a bet!
 
ALTMAYER

Most like.
 
FROSCH

            Mark me, I’ll screw it from them yet!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to FAUST)

These fellows would not scent the devil out,
E’en though he had them by the very throat!
 
FAUST

Good-morrow, gentlemen!
 
SIEBEL

                Thanks for your fair salute.  (Aside, glancing at MEPHISTOPHELES.)
How! goes the fellow on a halting foot?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Is it permitted here with you to sit?
Then though good wine is not forthcoming here,
Good company at least our hearts will cheer.
 
ALTMAYER

A dainty gentleman, no doubt of it.
 
FROSCH

You’re doubtless recently from Rippach? Pray,
Did you with Master Hans there chance to sup?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

To-day we pass’d him, but we did not stop!
When last we met him he had much to say
Touching his cousins, and to each he sent
Full many a greeting and kind compliment.  (With an inclination towards FROSCH.)
 
Altmayer  (aside to FROSCH)

You have it there!
 
SIEBEL

                Faith! he’s a knowing one!
 
FROSCH

Have patience! I will show him up anon!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

We heard erewhile, unless I’m wrong,
Voices well trained in chorus pealing?
Certes, most choicely here must song
Re-echo from this vaulted ceiling!

 

 
FROSCH

That you’re an amateur one plainly sees!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Oh no, though strong the love, I cannot boast much skill.
 
ALTMAYER

Give us a song!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                As many as you will.
 
SIEBEL

But be it a brand new one, if you please!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

But recently returned from Spain are we,
The pleasant land of wine and minstrelsy.  (Sings)
    A king there was once reigning,
    Who had a goodly flea—
 
FROSCH

Hark! did you rightly catch the words? a flea!
An odd sort of a guest he needs must be.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (sings)

    A king there was once reigning,
    Who had a goodly flea,
    Him loved he without feigning,
    As his own son were he!
    His tailor then he summon’d,
    The tailor to him goes:
    Now measure me the youngster
    For jerkin and for hose!
 
BRANDER

Take proper heed, the tailor strictly charge,
The nicest measurement to take,
And as he loves his head, to make
The hose quite smooth and not too large!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

In satin and in velvet,
Behold the yonker dressed;
Bedizen’d o’er with ribbons,
A cross upon his breast.
Prime minister they made him,
He wore a star of state;
And all his poor relations
Were courtiers, rich and great.
 
The gentlemen and ladies
At court were sore distressed;
The queen and all her maidens
Were bitten by the pest,
And yet they dared not scratch them,
Or chase the fleas away.
If we are bit, we catch them,
And crack without delay.

 

 
CHORUS  (shouting)

If we are bit, &c.
 
FROSCH

Bravo! That’s the song for me!
 
SIEBEL

Such be the fate of every flea!
 
BRANDER

With clever finger catch and kill!
 
ALTMAYER

Hurrah for wine and freedom still!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Were but your wine a trifle better, friend,
A glass to freedom I would gladly drain,
 
SIEBEL

You’d better not repeat those words again!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

I am afraid the landlord to offend;
Else freely I would treat each worthy guest
From our own cellar to the very best.
 
SIEBEL

Out with it then! Your doings I’ll defend.
 
FROSCH

Give a good glass, and straight we’ll praise you, one and all.
Only let not your samples be too small;
For if my judgment you desire,
Certes, an ample mouthful I require.
 
Altmayer  (aside)

I guess they’re from the Rhenish land.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Fetch me a gimlet here!
 
BRANDER

                Say, what therewith to bore?
You cannot have the wine-casks at the door?
 
ALTMAYER

Our landlord’s tool-basket behind doth yonder stand.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (takes the gimlet)
(To FROSCH)
Now only say! what liquor will you take?
 
FROSCH

How mean you that? have you of every sort?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Each may his own selection make.
 
ALTMAYER  (to FROSCH)

Ha! Ha! You lick your lips already at the thought.
 
FROSCH

Good, If I have my choice, the Rhenish I propose;
For still the fairest gifts the fatherland bestows.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
(boring a hole in the edge of the table opposite to where Frosch is sitting)

Give me a little wax—and make some stoppers—quick!

 

 
ALTMAYER

Why, this is nothing but a juggler’s trick!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to BRANDER)

And you?
 
BRANDER

          Champagne’s the wine for me;
Right brisk, and sparkling let it be!  (MEPHISTOPHELES bores; one of the party has in the meantime prepared the wax-stoppers and stopped the holes.)
 
BRANDER

What foreign is one always can’t decline,
What’s good is often scatter’d far apart.
The French your genuine German hates with all his heart,
Yet has a relish for their wine.
 
SIEBEL
(as MEPHISTOPHELES approaches him)

I like not acid wine, I must allow,
Give ma a glass of genuine sweet!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (bores)

                Tokay
Shall, if you wish it, flow without delay.
 
ALTMAYER

Come! look me in the face! no fooling now!
You are but making fun of us, I trow.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Ah! ah! that would indeed be making free
With such distinguished guests. Come, no delay;
What liquor can I serve you with, I pray?
 
ALTMAYER

Only be quick, it matters not to me.  (After the holes are bored and stopped.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (with strange gestures)

        Grapes the vine-stock bears,
        Horns the buck-goat wears!
        Wine is sap, the vine is wood,
        The wooden board yields wine as good.
        With a deeper glance and true
        The mysteries of nature view!
        Have faith and here’s a miracle!
        Your stoppers draw and drink your fill!
 
ALL  (as they draw the stoppers and the wine chosen by each runs into his glass)

Oh beauteous spring, which flows so far!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Spill not a single drop, of this beware!  (They drink repeatedly.)
 
ALL  (sing)

        Happy as cannibals are we,
        Or as five hundred swine.

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

They’re in their glory, mark their elevation!
 
FAUST

Let’s hence, nor here our stay prolong.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Attend, of brutishness ere long
You’ll see a glorious revelation.
 
SIEBEL
(drinks carelessly; the wine is spilt upon the ground, and turns to flame)

Help! fire! help! Hell is burning!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
(addressing the flames)

                Stop,
Kind element, be still, I say!  (To the Company.)
Of purgatorial fire as yet ’tis but a drop.
 
SIEBEL

What means the knave! For this you’ll dearly pay!
Us, it appears, you do not know.
 
FROSCH

Such tricks a second time he’d better show!

 

 

 

ALTMAYER

Methinks’twere well we pack’d him quietly away.
 
SIEBEL

What, sir! with us your hocus-pocus play!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Silence, old wine-cask!
 
SIEBEL

                How! add insult, too!
Vile broomstick!
 
BRANDER

                Hold, or blows shall rain on you!
 
Altmayer
(draws a stopper out of the table; fire springs out against him)

I burn! I burn!
 
SIEBEL

                ’Tis sorcery, I vow!
Strike home! The fellow is fair game, I trow!  (They draw their knives and attack MEPHISTOPHELES.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (with solemn gestures)

        Visionary scenes appear!
        Words delusive cheat the ear!
        Be ye there, and be ye here!  (They stand amazed and gaze at each other.)
 
ALTMAYER

Where am I? What a beauteous land!

 

 
FROSCH

Vineyards! unless my sight deceives?
 
SIEBEL

And clust’ring grapes too, close at hand!
 
BRANDER

And underneath the spreading leaves,
What stems there be! What grapes I see!  (He seizes SIEBEL by the nose. The others reciprocally do the same, and raise their knives.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (as above)

Delusion, from their eyes the bandage take!
Note how the devil loves a jest to break!  (He disappears with FAUST; the fellows draw back from one another.)
 
SIEBEL

What was it?
 
ALTMAYER

              How?
 
FROSCH

                Was that your nose?
 
BRANDER  (to SIEBEL)

And look, my hand doth thine enclose!
 
ALTMAYER

I felt a shock, it went through every limb!
A chair! I’m fainting! All things swim!
 
FROSCH

Say what has happened, what’s it all about?
 
SIEBEL

Where is the fellow? Could I scent him out,
His body from his soul I’d soon divide!
 
ALTMAYER

With my own eyes, upon a cask astride,
Forth through the cellar-door I saw him ride—
Heavy as lead my feet are growing.  (Turning to the table.)
I wonder is the wine still flowing!
 
SIEBEL

’Twas all delusion, cheat and lie.
 
FROSCH

’Twas wine I drank, most certainly.
 
BRANDER

But with the grapes how was it, pray?
 
ALTMAYER

That none may miracles believe, who now will say?

 

 
WITCHS’ KITCHEN

  A large caldron hangs over the fire on a low hearth; various figures appear in the vapour rising from it. A FEMALE MONKEY sits beside the caldron to skim it, and watch that it does not boil over. The MALE MONKEY
with the young ones is seated near, warming himself. The walls and ceiling are adorned with the strangest articles of witch-furniture.
 
FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES
 
FAUST

This senseless, juggling witchcraft I detest!
Dost promise that in this foul nest
Of madness, I shall be restored?
Must I seek counsel from an ancient dame?
And can she, by these rites abhorred,
Take thirty winters from my frame?
Woe’s me, if thou naught better canst suggest!
Hope has already fled my breast.
Has neither nature nor a noble mind
A balsam yet devis’d of any kind?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

My friend, you now speak sensibly. In truth,
Nature a method giveth to renew thy youth:
But in another book the lesson’s writ;—
It forms a curious chapter, I admit.
 
FAUST

I fain would know it.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Good! A remedy
Without physician, gold, or sorcery:
Away forthwith, and to the fields repair,
Begin to delve, to cultivate the ground,
Thy senses and thyself confine
Within the very narrowest round,
Support thyself upon the simplest fare,
Live like a very brute the brutes among,
Neither esteem it robbery
The acre thou dost reap, thyself to dung;
This is the best method, credit me,
Again at eighty to grow hale and young.
 
FAUST

I am not used to it, nor can myself degrade
So far, as in my hand to take the spade.
This narrow life would suit me not at all.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Then we the witch must summon after all.
 
FAUST

Will none but this old beldame do?
Canst not thyself the potion brew?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

A pretty play our leisure to beguile!
A thousand bridges I could build meanwhile.
Not science only and consummate art,
Patience must also bear her part.
A quiet spirit worketh whole years long;
Time only makes the subtle ferment strong.
And all things that belong thereto,
Are wondrous and exceeding rare!
The devil taught her, it is true;
But yet the draught the devil can’t prepare.  (Perceiving the beasts.)
Look yonder, what a dainty pair!
Here is the maid! the knave is there!
 
(To the beasts)

It seems your dame is not a home?
 
THE MONKEYS

        Gone to carouse,
        Out of the house,
        Thro’ the chimney and away!

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

How long is it her wont to roam?
 
THE MONKEYS

While we can warm our paws she’ll stay.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to FAUST)

What think you of the charming creatures?
 
FAUST

I loathe alike their form and features!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Nay, such discourse, be it confessed,
Is just the thing that pleases me the best.
 
(To the MONKEYS)

Tell me, ye whelps, accursed crew!
What stir ye in the broth about?
 
MONKEYS

Coarse beggar’s gruel here we stew.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Of customers you’ll have a rout.
 
THE HE-MONKEY  (approaching and fawning on MEPHISTOPHELES)

        Quick! quick! throw the dice,
        Make me rich in a trice,
        Oh give me the prize!
        Alas, for myself!
        Had I plenty of pelf,
        I then should be wise.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

How blest the ape would think himself, if he
Could only put into the lottery!  (In the meantime the young MONKEYS have been playing with a large globe, which they roll forwards)
 
THE HE-MONKEY

        The world behold;
        Unceasingly roll’d,
        It riseth and falleth ever;
        It ringeth like glass!
        How brittle, alas!
        ’Tis hollow, and resteth never.
        How bright the sphere,
        Still brighter here!
        Now living am I!
        Dear son, beware!
        Nor venture there!
        Thou too must die!
        It is of clay;
        ’Twill crumble away;
        There fragments lie.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Of what use is the sieve?
 
THE HE-MONKEY  (taking it down)

        The sieve would show,
        If thou wert a thief or no?  (He runs to the SHE-MONKEY, and makes her look through it.)
        Look through the sieve!
        Dost know him the thief,
        And dar’st thou not call him so?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (approaching the fire)

And then this pot?
 
THE MONKEYS

        The half-witted sot!
        He knows not the pot!
        He know not the kettle!

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

        Unmannerly beast!
        Be civil at least!
 
THE HE-MONKEY

Take the whisk and sit down in the settle!  (He makes MEPHISTOPHELES sit down.)
 
FAUST
(who all this time has been standing before a looking-glass, now approaching, and now retiring from it)

What do I see? what form, whose charms transcend
The loveliness of earth, is mirror’d here!
O Love, to waft me to her sphere,
To me the swiftest of thy pinions lend!
Alas! If I remain not rooted to this place,
If to approach more near I’m fondly lur’d,
Her image fades, in veiling mist obscur’d!—
Model of beauty both in form and face!
Is’t possible? Hath woman charms so rare?
In this recumbent form, supremely fair,
The essence must I see of heavenly grace?
Can aught so exquisite on earth be found?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

The six days’ labour of a god, my friend,
Who doth himself cry bravo, at the end,
By something clever doubtless should be crown’d.
For this time gaze your fill, and when you please
Just such a prize for you I can provide;
How blest is he to whom kind fate decrees,
To take her to his home, a lovely bride!
(FAUST continues to gaze into the mirror. MEPHISTOPHELES stretching himself on the settle and playing with the whisk, continues to speak.)
Here sit I, like a king upon his throne;
My sceptre this;—the crown I want alone.
 
The Monkeys  (who have hitherto been making all sorts of strange gestures, bring MEPHISTOPHELES a crown, with loud cries)

        Oh, be so good,
        With sweat and with blood
        The crown to lime!  (They handle the crown awkwardly and break it in two pieces, with which they skip about.)
        ’Twas fate’s decree!
        We speak and see!
        We hear and rhyme.
 
FAUST  (before the mirror)

Woe’s me! well-nigh distraught I feel!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES
(pointing to the beasts)
And even my own head almost begins to reel.
 
THE MONKEYS

        If good luck attend,
        If fitly things blend,
        Our jargon with thought
        And with reason is fraught!
 
FAUST  (as above)

A flame is kindled in my breast!
Let us begone! nor linger here!
 
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (in the same position)

It now at least must be confessed,

 

 

That poets sometimes are sincere.  (The caldron which the SHE-MONKEY has neglected begins to boil over; a great flame arises, which streams up the chimney. The WITCH comes down the chimney with horrible cries.)
 
THE WITCH

Ough! ough! ough! ough!
Accursed brute! accursed sow!
The caldron dost neglect, for shame!
Accursed brute to scorch the dame!  (Perceiving FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES)
Whom have we here?
Who’s sneaking here?
Whence are ye come?
With what desire?
The plague of fire
Your bones consume!  (She dips the skimming-ladle into the caldron and throws flames at FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and the MONKEYS. The MONKEYS whimper.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (twirling the whisk which he holds in his hand, and striking among the glasses and pots)

        Dash! Smash!
        There lies the glass!
        There lies the slime!
        ’Tis but a jest;
        I but keep time,
        Thou hellish pest,
        To thine own chime!  (While the WITCH steps back in rage and astonishment.)
Dost know me! Skeleton! Vile scarecrow, thou!
Thy lord and master dost thou know?
What holds me, that I deal not now
Thee and thine apes a stunning blow?
No more respect to my red vest dost pay?
Does my cock’s feather no allegiance claim?
Have I my visage masked to-day?
Must I be forced myself to name?
 
THE WITCH

Master, forgive this rude salute!
But I perceive no cloven foot.
And your two ravens, where are they?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

This once I must admit your plea;—
For truly I must own that we
Each other have not seen for many a day.
The culture, too, that shapes the world, at last
Hath e’en the devil in its sphere embraced;
The northern phantom from the scene hath pass’d,
Tail, talons, horns, are nowhere to be traced!
As for the foot, with which I can’t dispense,
’Twould injure me in company, and hence,
Like many a youthful cavalier,
False calves I now have worn for many a year.
 
THE WITCH  (dancing)

I am beside myself with joy,
To see once more the gallant Satan here!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Woman, no more that name employ!
 
THE WITCH

But why! what mischief hath it done?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

To fable-books it now doth appertain;
But people from the change have nothing won.
Rid of the evil one, the evil ones remain.
Lord Baron call thou me, so is the matter good;
Of other cavaliers the mien I wear.
Dost make no question of my gentle blood;
See here, this is the scutcheon that I bear!  (He makes an unseemly gesture.)
 
THE WITCH  (laughing immoderately)

Ha! Ha! Just like yourself! You are, I ween,
The same mad wag that you have ever been!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to FAUST)

My friend, learn this to understand, I pray!
To deal with witches this is still the way.

 

 
THE WITCH

Now tell me, gentlemen, what you desire?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Of your known juice a goblet we require.
But for the very oldest let me ask;
Double its strength with years doth grow.
 
THE WITCH

Most willingly! And here I have a flask,
From which I’ve sipp’d myself ere now;
What’s more, it doth no longer stink;
To you a glass I joyfully will give.
(Aside.)
If unprepar’d, however, this man drink,
He hath not, as you know, an hour to live.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

He’s my good friend, with whom ’twill prosper well;
I grudge him not the choicest of thy store.
Now draw thy circle, speak thy spell,
And straight a bumper for him pour!  (The WITCH, with extraordinary gestures, describes a circle, and places strange things within it. The glasses meanwhile begin to ring, the caldron to sound, and to make music. Lastly, she brings a great book; places the MONKEYS in the circle to serve her as a desk, and to hold the torches. She beckons FAUST to approach.)
 
FAUST  (to MEPHISTOPHELES)

Tell me, to what doth all this tend?
Were will these frantic gestures end?
This loathsome cheat, this senseless stuff
I’ve known and hated long enough.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Mere mummery, a laugh to raise!
Pray don’t be so fastidious! She
But as a leech, her hocus-pocus plays,
That well with you her potion may agree.  (He compels FAUST to enter the circle.)  (The WITCH, with great emphasis, begins to declaim the book.)
 
        This must thou ken:
        Of one make ten,
        Pass two, and then
        Make square the three,
        So rich thou’lt be.
        Drop out the four!
        From five and six,
        Thus essays the witch,
        Make seven and eight.
        So all is straight!
        And nine is one,
        And ten is none,
        This is the witch’s one-time-one!
 
FAUST

The hag doth as in fever rave.

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

To these will follow many a stave.
I know it well, so rings the book throughout;
Much time I’ve lost in puzzling o’er its pages,
For downright paradox, no doubt,
A mystery remains alike to fools and sages,
Ancient the art and modern too, my friend.
’Tis still the fashion as it used to be,
Error instead of truth abroad to send
By means of three and one, and one and three.
’Tis ever taught and babbled in the schools.
Who’d take the trouble to dispute with fools?
When words men hear, in sooth, they usually believe,
That there must needs therein be something to conceive.
 
THE WITCH  (continues)

        The lofty power
        Of wisdom’s dower,
        From all the world conceal’d!
        Who thinketh not,
        To him I wot,
        Unsought it is reveal’d.
 
FAUST

What nonsense doth the hag propound?
My brain it doth well-nigh confound.
A hundred thousand fools or more,
Methinks I hear in chorus roar.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Incomparable Sibyl cease, I pray!
Hand us the liquor without more delay.
And to the very brim the goblet crown!
My friend he is, and need not be afraid;
Besides, he is a man of many a grade,
Who hath drunk deep already.  (The WITCH, with many ceremonies, pours the liquor into a cup; as FAUST lifts it to his mouth, a light flame arises.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Gulp it down!
No hesitation! It will prove
A cordial, and your heart inspire!
What! with the devil hand and glove,
And yet shrink back afraid of fire?  (The WITCH dissolves the circle. FAUST steps out.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Now forth at once! thou dar’st not rest.
Witch


And much, sir, may the liquor profit you!

 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to the WITCH)

And if to pleasure thee I aught can do,
Pray on Walpurgis mention thy request.
 
Witch

Here is a song, sung o’er, sometimes you’ll see,
That ’twill a singular effect produce.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (to FAUST)

Come, quick, and let thyself be led by me;
Thou must perspire, in order that the juice
Thy frame may penetrate through every part.
Then noble idleness I thee will teach to prize,
And soon with ecstasy thou’lt recognise
How Cupid stirs and gambols in thy heart.
 
FAUST

Let me but gaze one moment in the glass!
Too lovely was that female form!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Nay! nay!
A model which all women shall surpass,
In flesh and blood ere long thou shalt survey.
(Aside.)
As works that draught, thou presently shalt greet
A Helen in each woman thou dost meet.
 
A STREET
FAUST (MARGARET passing by)

FAUST

Fair lady, may I thus make free
To offer you my arm and company?
 
MARGARET

I am no lady, am not fair,
Can without escort home repair.  (She disengages herself and exit.)
 
FAUST

By heaven! This girl is fair indeed!
No form like hers can I recall.
Virtue she hath, and modest heed,
Is piquant too, and sharp withal.
Her cheek’s soft light, her rosy lips,
No length of time will e’er eclipse!
Her downward glance in passing by,
Deep in my heart is stamp’d for aye;
How curt and sharp her answer too,
To ecstasy the feeling grew!  (MEPHISTOPHELES enters.)

 

 
FAUST

This girl must win for me! Dost hear?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Which?
 
FAUST

        She who but now passed.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                What! She?
She from confession cometh here,
From every sin absolved and free;
I crept near the confessor’s chair.
All innocence her virgin soul,
For next to nothing went she there;
O’er such as she I’ve no control!
 
FAUST

She’s past fourteen.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                You really talk
Like any gay Lothario,
Who every floweret from its stalk
Would pluck, and deems nor grace, nor truth,
Secure against his arts, forsooth!
This ne’er the less won’t always do.
 
FAUST

Sir Moralizer, prithee, pause;
Nor plague me with your tiresome laws!
To cut the matter short, my friend,
She must this very night be mine,—
And if to help me you decline,
Midnight shall see our compact end.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

What may occur just bear in mind!
A fortnight’s space, at least, I need,
A fit occasion but to find.
 
FAUST

With but seven hours I could succeed;
Nor should I want the devil’s wile,
So young a creature to beguile.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Like any Frenchman now you speak,
But do not fret, I pray; why seek
To hurry to enjoyment straight?
The pleasure is not half so great,
As when at first around, above,
With all the fooleries of love,
The puppet you can knead and mould
As in Italian story oft is told.
 
FAUST

No such incentives do I need.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

But now, without offense or jest!
You cannot quickly, I protest,
In winning this sweet child succeed.
By storm we cannot take the fort,
To stratagem we must resort.
 
FAUST

Conduct me to her place of rest!
Some token of the angel bring!
A kerchief from her snowy breast,
A garter bring me,—any thing!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

That I my anxious zeal may prove,
Your pangs to sooth and aid your love,
A single moment will we not delay,
Will lead you to her room this very day.
 
FAUST

And shall I see her?—Have her?

 

 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                No!
She to a neighbour’s house will go;
But in her atmosphere alone,
The tedious hours meanwhile you may employ,
In blissful dreams of future joy.
 
FAUST

Can we go now?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                ’Tis yet too soon.
 
FAUST

Some present for my love procure!  (Exit.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Presents so soon! ’tis well! success is sure!
Full many a goodly place I know,
And treasures buried long ago;
I must a bit o’erlook them now.  (Exit.)
 
EVENING. A SMALL AND NEAT ROOM
MARGARET
(braiding and binding up her hair)

I would give something now to know,
Who yonder gentleman could be!
He had a gallant air, I trow,
And doubtless was of high degree:
That written on his brow was seen—
Nor else would he so bold have been.  (Exit.)
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

Come in! tread softly! be discreet!
 
FAUST  (after a pause)

Begone and leave me, I entreat!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES  (looking round)

Not every maiden is so neat  (Exit.)

 

 
FAUST  (gazing round)

Welcome sweet twilight, calm and blest,
That in this hallow’d precinct reigns!
Fond yearning love, inspire my breast,
Feeding on hope’s sweet dew thy blissful pains!
What stillness here environs me!
Content and order brood around.
What fulness in this poverty!
In this small cell what bliss profound!  (He throws himself on the leather arm-chair beside the bed)
Receive me thou, who hast in thine embrace,
Welcom’d in joy and grief the ages flown!
How oft the children of a by-gone race
Have cluster’d round this patriarchal throne!
Haply she, also, whom I hold so dear,
For Christmas gift, with grateful joy possess’d,
Hath with the full round cheek of childhood, here,
Her grandsire’s wither’d hand devoutly press’d.
Maiden! I feel thy spirit haunt the place,
Breathing of order and abounding grace.
As with a mother’s voice it prompteth thee,
The pure white cover o’er the board to spread,
To strew the crisping sand beneath thy tread.
Dear hand! so godlike in its ministry!
The hut becomes a paradise through thee!
And here—  (He raises the bed-curtain.)
How thrills my pulse with strange delight!
Here could I linger hours untold;
Thou, Nature, didst in vision bright,
The embryo angel here unfold.
Here lay the child, her bosom warm
With life; while steeped in slumber’s dew,
To perfect grace, her godlike form,
With pure and hallow’d weavings grew!
 
And thou! ah here what seekest thou?
How quails mine inmost being now!
What wouldst thou here? what makes thy heart so sore?
Unhappy Faust! I know thee now no more.
 
Do I a magic atmosphere inhale?
Erewhile, my passion would not brook delay!
Now in a pure love-dream I melt away.
Are we the sport of every passing gale?
 
Should she return and enter now,
How wouldst thou rue thy guilty flame!
Proud vaunter—thou wouldst hide thy brow,—
And at her feet sink down with shame.
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

    Quick! quick! below I see her there.
 
FAUST

    Away! I will return no more!
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

    Here is a casket, with a store
    Of jewels, which I got elsewhere
    Just lay it in the press; make haste!
    I swear to you, ’twill turn her brain;
    Therein some trifles I have placed,
    Wherewith another to obtain.
    But child is child, and play is play.
 
FAUST

    I know not—shall I?
 
MEPHISTOPHELES

                Do you ask?
Perchance you would retain the treasure?
If such your wish, why then, I say,
Henceforth absolve me from my task,
Nor longer waste your hours of leisure.
I trust you’re not by avarice led!
I rub my hands, I scratch my head,—  (He places the casket in the press and closes the lock.)
Now quick! Away!
That soon the sweet young creature may
The wish and purpose of your heart obey;
Yet stand you there
As would you to the lecture-room repair,
As if before you stood,
Arrayed in flesh and blood,
Physics and metaphysics weird and grey!—
Away!  (Exeunt.)

 

 
MARGARET  (with a lamp)

        Here ’tis so close, so sultry now,  (She opens the window.)
Yet out of doors ’tis not so warm.
I feel so strange, I know not how—
I wish my mother would come home.
Through me there runs a shuddering—
I’m but a foolish timid thing!  (While undressing herself she begins to sing.)
    There was a king in Thule,
    True even to the grave;
    To whom his dying mistress
    A golden beaker gave.
 
    At every feast he drained it,
    Naught was to him so dear,
    And often as he drained it,
    Gush’d from his eyes the tear.
 
    When death came, unrepining
    His cities o’er he told;
    All to his heir resigning,
    Except his cup of gold.
 
    With many a knightly vassal
    At a royal feast sat he,
    In yon proud hall ancestral,
    In his castle o’er the sea.
 
    Up stood the jovial monarch,
    And quaff’d his last life’s glow,
    Then hurled the hallow’d goblet
    Into the flood below.
 
    He saw it splashing, drinking,
    And plunging in the sea;

 

 

 
     
         
 

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