Part 3 out of 5
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?
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.
(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!
(pointing to the beasts)
And even my own head almost begins to reel.
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!
(in the same position)
It now at least must be confessed,
That poets sometimes are sincere.
(The caldron begins to boil over; a great flame arises,
which streams up the chimney. The WITCH comes down the
chimney with horrible cries.)
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.)
(twirling the whisk which he holds in his hand, and striking among
the glasses and pots)
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 aind 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?
Master, forgive this rude salute!
But I perceive no cloven foot.
And your two ravens, where are they?
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!
Woman, no more that name employ!
But why? what mischief hath it done?
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.)
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.
Now tell me, gentlemen, what you desire?
Of your known juice a goblet we require.
But for the very oldest let me ask;
Double its strength with years doth grow.
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.
If unprepar'd, however, this man drink,
He hath not, as you know, an hour to live.
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?
Where will these frantic gestures end?
This loathsome cheat, this senseless stuff
I've known and hated long enough.
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 says 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!
The hag doth as in fever rave.
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.
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.
Incomparable Sibyl cease, I pray!
Hand us thy 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 bath 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.)
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.)
Now forth at once! thou dar'st not rest.
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.
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.
Let me but gaze one moment in the glass!
Too lovely was that female form!
A model which all women shall surpass,
In flesh and blood ere long thou shalt survey.
As works the draught, thou presently shalt greet
A Helen in each woman thou dost meet.
FAUST (MARGARET passing by)
Fair lady, may I thus make free
To offer you my arm and company?
I am no lady, am not fair,
Can without escort home repair.
(She disengages herself and exit.)
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!
This girl must win for me! Dost hear?
She who but now passed.
She from confession coineth 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!
She's past fourteen.
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.
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.
What may occur just bear in mind!
A fortnight's space, at least, I need,
A fit occasion but to find.
With but Seven hours I could succeed;
Nor should I want the devil's wile,
So young a creature to beguile.
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.
No such incentives do I need.
But now, without offence 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.
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!
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.
And shall I see her ?--Have her?
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.
Can we go now?
'Tis yet too soon.
Some present for my love procure!
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.
EVENING. A SMALL AND NEAT ROOM
(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 lie so bold have been.
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.
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
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!
(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.
Quick! quick! below I see her there.
Away! I will return no more!
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.
I know not--shall I?
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!--
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 ball 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 hi the sea;
His eyes meanwhile were sinking,
And never again drank he.
(She opens the press to put away her clothes, and perceives the
How comes this lovely casket here? The press
I locked, of that I'm confident.
'Tis very wonderful! What's in it I can't guess;
Perhaps 'twas brought by some one in distress.
And left in pledge for loan my mother lent.
Here by a ribbon hangs a little key!
I have a mind to open it and see!
Heavens! only look! what have we here!
In all my days ne'er saw I such a sight!
Jewels! which any noble dame might wear,
For some high pageant richly dight!
This chain--how would it look on me!
These splendid gems, whose may they be?
(She puts them on and steps before the glass.)
Were but the ear-rings only mine!
Thus one has quite another air.
What hoots it to be young and fair?
It doubtless may be very flue;
But then, alas, none cares for you,
And praise sounds half like pity too.
Gold all doth lure,
Gold doth secure
All things. Alas, we poor!
FAUST walking thoughtfully up and down. To him
By all rejected love! By hellish fire I curse,
Would I knew aught to make my imprecation worse!
What aileth thee? what chafes thee now so sore?
A face like that I never saw before!
I'd yield me to the devil instantly,
Did it not happen that myself am he!
There must be some disorder in thy wit!
To rave thus like a madman, is it fit?
Think! only think! The gems for Gretchen brought,
Them hath a priest now made his own!--
A glimpse of them the mother caught,
And 'gan with secret fear to groan.
The woman's scent is keen enough;
Doth ever in the prayer-book snuff;
Smells every article to ascertain
Whether the thing is holy or profane,
And scented in the jewels rare,
That there was not much blessing there.
"My child," she cries, "ill-gotten good
Ensnares the soul, consumes the blood;
With them we'll deck our Lady's shrine,
She'll cheer our souls with bread divine!"
At this poor Gretchen 'gan to pout;
'Tis a gift-horse, at least, she thought,
And sure, he godless cannot be,
Who brought them here so cleverly.
Straight for a priest the mother sent,
Who, when he understood the jest,
With what he saw was well content.
"This shows a pious mind!" Quoth he:
"Self-conquest is true victory.
The Church bath a good stomach, she, with zest,
Whole countries hath swallow'd down,
And never yet a surfeit known.
The Church alone, be it confessed,
Daughters, can ill-got wealth digest."
It is a general custom, too.
Practised alike by king and jew.
With that, clasp, chain, and ring, he swept
As they were mushrooms; and the casket,
Without one word of thanks, he kept,
As if of nuts it were a basket.
Promised reward in heaven, then forth he hied--
And greatly they were edified.
In unquiet mood
Knows neither what she would or should;
The trinkets night and day thinks o'er,
On him who brought them, dwells still more.
The darling's sorrow grieves me, bring
Another set without delay!
The first, methinks, was no great thing.
All's to my gentleman child's play!
Plan all things to achieve my end!
Engage the attention of her friend!
No milk-and-water devil be,
And bring fresh jewels instantly!
Ay, sir! Most gladly I'll obey.
Your doting love-sick fool, with ease,
Merely his lady-love to please,
Sun, moon, and stars in sport would puff away.
THE NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE
God pardon my dear husband, he
Doth not in truth act well by me!
Forth in the world abroad to roam,
And leave me on the straw at home.
And yet his will I ne'er did thwart,
God knows, I lov'd him from my heart.
Perchance he's dead!--oh wretched state!--
Had I but a certificate!
My knees beneath me well-nigh sink!
Within my press I've found to-day,
Another case, of ebony.
And things--magnificent they are,
More costly than the first, by far.
You must not name it to your mother!
It would to shrift, just like the other.
Nay look at them! now only see!
MARTHA (dresses her up)
Thou happy creature!
Woe is me!
Them in the street I cannot wear,
Or in the church, or any where.
Come often over here to me,
The gems put on quite privately;
And then before the mirror walk an hour or so,
Thus we shall have our pleasure too.
Then suitable occasions we must seize,
As at a feast, to show them by degrees:
A chain at first, pearl ear-drops then,--your mother
Won't see them, or we'll coin some tale or other.
But, who, I wonder, could the caskets bring?
I fear there's something wrong about the thing!
MARTHA (peering through the blind)
'Tis a strange gentleman, I see.
I've ventur'd to intrude to-day.
Ladies, excuse the liberty, I pray.
(He steps back respectfully before MARGARET.)
After dame Martha Schwerdtlein I inquire!
'Tis I. Pray what have you to say to me?
MEPHISTOPHELES (aside to her)
I know you now,--and therefore will retire;
At present you've distinguished company.
Pardon the freedom, Madam, with your leave,
I will make free to call again at eve.
Why, child, of all strange notions, he
For some grand lady taketh thee!
I am, in truth, of humble blood--
The gentleman is far too good--
Nor gems nor trinkets are my own.
Oh 'tis not the mere ornaments alone;
Her glance and mien far more betray.
Rejoiced I am that I may stay.
Your business, Sir? I long to know
Would I could happier tidings show!
I trust mine errand you'll not let me rue;
Your husband's dead, and greeteth you.
Is dead? True heart! Oh misery!
My husband dead! Oh, I shall die!
Alas! good Martha! don't despair!
Now listen to the sad affair!
I for this cause should fear to love.
The loss my certain death would prove.
Joy still must sorrow, sorrow joy attend.
Proceed, and tell the story of his end!
At Padua, in St. Anthony's,
In holy ground his body lies;
Quiet and cool his place of rest,
With pious ceremonials blest.
And had you naught besides to bring?
Oh yes! one grave and solemn prayer;
Let them for him three hundred masses sing!
But in my pockets, I have nothing there.
No trinket! no love-token did he send!
What every journeyman safe in his pouch will hoard
There for remembrance fondly stored,
And rather hungers, rather begs than spend!
Madam, in truth, it grieves me sore,
But he his gold not lavishly bath spent.
His failings too he deeply did repent,
Ay! and his evil plight bewail'd still more.
Alas! That men should thus be doomed to woe!
I for his soul will many a requiem pray.
A husband you deserve this very day;
A child so worthy to be loved.
That time bath not yet come for me.
If not a spouse, a gallant let it be.
Among heaven's choicest gifts, I place,
So sweet a darling to embrace.
Usage or not, it happens so.
Go on, I pray!
I stood by his bedside. Something less foul it was than dung;
'Twas straw half rotten; yet, he as a Christian died.
And sorely hath remorse his conscience wrung.
"Wretch that I was," quoth he, with parting breath,
"So to forsake my business and my wife!
Ah! the remembrance is my death,
Could I but have her pardon in this life! "--
Dear soul! I've long forgiven him, indeed!
"Though she, God knows, was more to blame than I."
He lied! What, on the brink of death to lie!
If I am skill'd the countenance to read,
He doubtless fabled as he parted hence.--
"No time had I to gape, or take my ease," he said,
"First to get children, and then get them bread;
And bread, too, in the very widest sense;
Nor could I eat in peace even my proper share."
What, all my truth, my love forgotten quite?
My weary drudgery by day and night!
Not so! He thought of you with tender care.
Quoth he: "Heaven knows how fervently I prayed,
For wife and children when from Malta bound;--
The prayer hath heaven with favour crowned;
We took a Turkish vessel which conveyed
Rich store of treasure for the Sultan's court;
It's own reward our gallant action brought;
The captur'd prize was shared among the crew
And of the treasure I received my due."
How? Where? The treasure hath he buried, pray?
Where the four winds have blown it, who can say?
In Naples as he stroll'd, a stranger there,--
A comely maid took pity on my friend;
And gave such tokens of her love and care,
That he retained them to his blessed end.
Scoundrel! to rob his children of their bread!
And all this misery, this bitter need,
Could not his course of recklessness impede!
Well, he bath paid the forfeit, and is dead.
Now were I in your place, my counsel hear;
My weeds I'd wear for one chaste year,
And for another lover meanwhile would look out.
Alas, I might search far and near,
Not quickly should I find another like my first!
There could not be a fonder fool than mine,
Only he loved too well abroad to roam;
Loved foreign women too, and foreign wine.
And loved besides the dice accurs'd.
All had gone swimmingly, no doubt,
Had he but given you at home,
On his side, just as wide a range.
Upon such terms, to you I swear,
Myself with you would gladly rings exchange!
The gentleman is surely pleas'd to jest!
Now to be off in time, were best!
She'd make the very devil marry her.
How fares it with your heart?
How mean you, Sir?
The sweet young innocent!
But ere you leave us, quickly tell!
I from a witness fain had heard,
Where, how, and when my husband died and was interr'd.
To forms I've always been attached indeed,
His death I fain would in the journals read.
Ay, madam, what two witnesses declare
Is held as valid everywhere;
A gallant friend I have, not far from here,
Who will for you before the judge appear.
I'll bring him straight.
I pray you do!
And this young lady, we shall find her too?
A noble youth, far travelled, he
Shows to the sex all courtesy.
I in his presence needs must blush for shame.
Not in the presence of a crowned king!
The garden, then, behind my house, we'll name,
There we'll await you both this evening.
How is it now? How speeds it? Is't in train?
Bravo! I find you all aflame!
Gretchen full soon your own you'll name.
This eve, at neighbour Martha's, her you'll meet again;
The woman seems expressly made
To drive the pimp and gipsy's trade.
But from us she something would request.
A favour claims return as this world goes.
We have on oath but duly to attest,
That her dead husband's limbs, outstretch'd, repose
In holy ground at Padua.
So I suppose we straight must journey there!
Sancta simplicitas! For that no need!
Without much knowledge we have but to swear.
If you have nothing better to suggest,
Against your plan I must at once protest.
Oh, holy man! methinks I have you there!
In all your life say, have you ne'er
False witness borne, until this hour?
Have you of God, the world, and all it doth contain,
Of man, and that which worketh in his heart and brain,
Not definitions given, in words of weight and power,
With front unblushing, and a dauntless breast?
Yet, if into the depth of things you go,
Touching these matters, it must be confess'd,
As much as of Herr Schwerdtlein's death you know!
Thou art and dost remain liar and sophist too.
Ay, if one did not take a somewhat deeper view!
To-morrow, in all honour, thou
Poor Gretchen wilt befool, and vow
Thy soul's deep love, in lover's fashion.
And from my heart.
All good and fair!
Then deathless constancy thou'lt swear;
Speak of one all o'ermastering passion,--
Will that too issue from the heart?
When passion sways me, and I seek to frame
Fit utterance for feeling, deep, intense,
And for my frenzy finding no fit name,
Sweep round the ample world with every sense,
Grasp at the loftiest words to speak my flame,
And call the glow, wherewith I burn,
Quenchless, eternal, yea, eterne--
Is that of sophistry a devilish play?
Yet am I right!
Mark this, my friend,
And spare my lungs; who would the right maintain,
And hath a tongue wherewith his point to gain,
Will gain it in the end.
But come, of gossip I am weary quite;
Because I've no resource, thou'rt in the right.
MARGARET on FAUST'S arm. MARTHA with
MEPHISTOPHELES walking up and down
I feel it, you but spare my ignorance,
The gentleman to shame me stoops thus low.
A traveller from complaisance,
Still makes the best of things; I know
Too well, my humble prattle never can
Have power to entertain so wise a man.
One glance, one word from thee doth charm me more,
Than the world's wisdom or the sage's lore.
(He kisses her hand.)
Nay! trouble not yourself! A hand so coarse,
So rude as mine, how can you kiss!
What constant work at home must I not do perforce!
My mother too exacting is.
(They pass on.)
Thus, sir, unceasing travel is your lot?
Traffic and duty urge us! With what pain
Are we compelled to leave full many a spot,
Where yet we dare not once remain!
In youth's wild years, with vigour crown'd,
'Tis not amiss thus through the world to sweep;
But ah, the evil days come round!
And to a lonely grave as bachelor to creep,
A pleasant thing has no one found.
The prospect fills me with dismay.
Therefore in time, dear sir, reflect, I pray.
(They pass on.)
Ay, out of sight is out of mind!
Politeness easy is to you;
Friends everywhere, and not a few,
Wiser than I am, you will find.
O dearest, trust me, what doth pass for sense
Full oft is self-conceit and blindness!
Simplicity and holy innocence,--
When will ye learn your hallow'ed worth to know!
Ah, when will meekness and humility,
Kind and all-bounteous nature's loftiest dower--
Only one little moment think of me!
To think of you I shall have many an hour.
You are perhaps much alone?
Yes, small our household is, I own,
Yet must I see to it. No maid we keep,
And I must cook, sew, knit, and Sweep,
Still early on my feet and late;
My mother is in all things, great and small,
Not that for thrift there is such pressing need;
Than others we might make more show indeed;
My father left behind a small estate,
A house and garden near the city-wall.
But fairly quiet now my days, I own;
As soldier is my brother gone;
My little sister's dead; the babe to rear
Occasion'd me some care and fond annoy;
But I would go through all again with joy,
The darling was to me so dear.
An angel, sweet, if it resembled thee!
I reared it up, and it grew fond of me.
After my father's death it saw the day;
We gave my mother up for lost, she lay
In such a wretched plight, and then at length
So very slowly she regain'd her strength.
Weak as she was, 'twas vain for her to try
Herself to suckle the poor babe, so I
Reared it on milk and water all alone;
And thus the child became as 'twere roy own;
Within my arms it stretched itself and grew,
And smiling, nestled in my bosom too.
Doubtless the purest happiness was thine.
But many weary hours, in sooth, were also mine.
At night its little cradle stood
Close to my bed; so was I wide awake
If it but stirred;
One while I was obliged to give it food,
Or to my arms the darling take;
From bed full oft must rise, whene'er its cry I heard,
And, dancing it, must pace the chamber to and fro;
Stand at the wash-tub early; forthwith go
To market, and then mind the cooking too--
To-morrow like to-day, the whole year through.
Ah, sir, thus living, it must be confess'd
One's spirits are not always of the best;
Yet it a relish gives to food and rest.
(They pass on.)
Poor women! we are badly off, I own;
A bachelor's conversion's hard, indeed!
Madam, with one like you it rests alone,
To tutor me a better course to lead.
Speak frankly, sir, none is there you have met?
Has your heart ne'er attach'd itself as yet?
One's own fire-side and a good wife are gold
And pearls of price, so says the proverb old.
I mean, has passion never stirred your breast?
I've everywhere been well received, I own.
Yet hath your heart no earnest preference known?
With ladies one should ne'er presume to jest.
Ah! you mistake!
I'm sorry I'm so blind!
But this I know--that you are very kind.
(They pass on.)
Me, little angel, didst thou recognise,
When in the garden first I came?
Did you not see it? I cast down my eyes.
Thou dost forgive my boldness, dost not blame
The liberty I took that day,
When thou from church didst lately wend thy way?
I was confused. So had it never been;
No one of me could any evil say.
Alas, thought I, he doubtless in thy mien,
Something unmaidenly or bold hath seen?
It seemed as if it struck him suddenly,
Here's just a girl with whom one may make free!
Yet I must own that then I scarcely knew
What in your favour here began at once to plead;
Yet I was angry with myself indeed,
That I more angry could not feel with you.
Just wait awhile!
(She gathers a star-flower and plucks off the leaves one after
A nosegay may that be?
No! It is but a game.
Go, you'll laugh at me!
(She plucks off the leaves and murmurs to herself.)
What murmurest thou?
MARGARET (half aloud)'
He loves me--loves me not.
Sweet angel, with thy face of heavenly bliss!
He loves me--not--he loves me--not--
(Plucking off the last leaf with fond joy.)
He loves me!
And this flower-language, darling, let it be,
A heavenly oracle! He loveth thee!
Know'st thou the meaning of, He loveth thee?
(He seizes both her hands.)
I tremble so!
Nay! Do not tremble, love!
Let this hand-pressure, let this glance reveal
Feelings, all power of speech above;
To give oneself up wholly and to feel
A joy that must eternal prove!
Eternal!--Yes, its end would be despair.
No end!--It cannot end!
(MARGARET presses his hand, extricates herself,
and runs away. He stands a moment in thought, and then follows
Yes, we'll presently away.
I would entreat you longer yet to stay;
But 'tis a wicked place, just here about;
It is as if the folk had nothing else to do,
Nothing to think of too,
But gaping watch their neighbours, who goes in and out;
And scandal's busy still, do whatsoe'er one may.
And our young couple?
They have flown up there.
The wanton butterflies!
He seems to take to her.
And she to him. 'Tis of the world the way!
(MARGARET runs in, hides behind the door, holds the tip of her
finger to her lip, and peeps through the crevice.)
Ah, little rogue, so thou
Think'st to provoke me! I have caught thee now!
(He kisses her.)
(embracing him, and returning the kiss)
Dearest of men! I love thee from my heart!
Ay, it is late, good sir.
Mayn't I attend you, then?
Oh no--my mother would--adieu, adieu!
And must I really then take leave of you? Farewell!
Ere long to meet again!
(Exeunt FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES.)
Good heavens! how all things far and near
Must fill his mind,--a man like this!
Abash'd before him I appear,
And say to all things only, yes.
Poor simple child, I cannot see,
What 'tis that he can find in me.
FOREST AND CAVERN
Spirit sublime! Thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
For which I prayed! Not vainly hast thou turn'd
To me thy countenance in flaming fire:
Gayest me glorious nature for my realm,
And also power to feel her and enjoy;
Not merely with a cold and wondering glance,
Thou dost permit me in her depths profound,
As in the bosom of a friend to gaze.
Before me thou dost lead her living tribes,
And dost in silent grove, in air and stream
Teach me to know my kindred. And when roars
The howling storm-blast through the groaning wood,
Wrenching the giant pine, which in its fall
Crashing sweeps down its neighbour trunks and boughs,
While hollow thunder from the hill resounds;
Then thou dost lead me to some shelter'd cave,
Dost there reveal me to myself, and show
Of my own bosom the mysterious depths.
And when with soothing beam, the moon's pale orb
Full in my view climbs up the pathless sky,
From crag and dewy grove, the silvery forms
Of by-gone ages hover, and assuage
The joy austere of contemplative thought.
Oh, that naught perfect is assign'd to man,
I feel, alas! With this exalted joy,
Which lifts me near and nearer to the gods,
Thou gav'st me this companion, unto whom
I needs must cling, though cold and insolent,
He still degrades me to myself, and turns
Thy glorious gifts to nothing, with a breath.
He in my bosom with malicious zeal
For that fair image fans a raging fire;
From craving to enjoyment thus I reel,
And in enjoyment languish for desire. (MEPHISTOPHELES
Of this lone life have you not had your fill?
How for so long can it have charms for you?
'Tis well enough to try it if you will;
But then away again to something new!
Would you could better occupy your leisure,
Than in disturbing thus my hours of joy.
Well! Well! I'll leave you to yourself with pleasure,
A serious tone you hardly dare employ.
To part from one so crazy, harsh, and cross,
Were not in truth a grievous loss.
The live-long day, for you I toil and fret;
Ne'er from his worship's face a hint I get,
What pleases him, or what to let alone.
Ay truly! that is just the proper tone!
He wearies me, and would with thanks be paid
Poor Son of Earth, without my aid,
How would thy weary days have flown?
Thee of thy foolish whims I've cured,
Thy vain imaginations banished,
And but for me, be well assured,
Thou from this sphere must soon have vanished.
In rocky hollows and in caverns drear,
Why like an owl sit moping here?
Wherefore from dripping stones and moss with ooze embued,
Dost suck, like any toad, thy food?
A rare, sweet pastime. Verily!
The doctor cleaveth still to thee.
Dost comprehend what bliss without alloy
From this wild wand'ring in the desert springs?--
Couldst thou but guess the new life-power it brings,
Thou wouldst be fiend enough to envy me my joy.
What super-earthly ecstasy! at night,
To lie in darkness on the dewy height,
Embracing heaven and earth in rapture high,
The soul dilating to a deity;
With prescient yearnings pierce the core of earth,
Feel in your labouring breast the six-days' birth,
Enjoy, in proud delight what no one knows,
While your love-rapture o'er creation flows,--
The earthly lost in beatific vision,
And then the lofty intuition--.
(With a gesture.)
I need not tell you how--to close!
Fie on you!
This displeases you? "For shame!"
You are forsooth entitled to exclaim;
We to chaste ears it seems must not pronounce
What, nathless, the chaste heart cannot renounce.
Well, to be brief, the joy as fit occasions rise,
I grudge you not, of specious lies.
But long this mood thou'lt not retain.
Already thou'rt again outworn,
And should this last, thou wilt be torn
By frenzy or remorse and pain.
Enough of this! Thy true love dwells apart,
And all to her seems flat and tame;
Alone thine image fills her heart,
She loves thee with an all-devouring flame.
First came thy passion with o'erpowering rush,
Like mountain torrent, swollen by the melted snow;
Pull in her heart didst pour the sudden gush,
Now has thy brookiet ceased to flow.
Instead of sitting throned midst forests wild,
It would become so great a lord
To comfort the enamour'd child,
And the young monkey for her love reward.
To her the hours seem miserably long;
She from the window sees the clouds float by
As o'er the lofty city-walls they fly,
"If I a birdie were!" so runs her song,
Half through the night and all day long.
Cheerful sometimes, more oft at heart full sore;
Fairly outwept seem now her tears,
Anon she tranquil is, or so appears,
And love-sick evermore.
Snake! Serpent vile!
Good! If I catch thee with my guile!
Vile reprobate! go get thee hence;
Forbear the lovely girl to name!
Nor in my half-distracted sense,
Kindle anew the smouldering flame!
What wouldest thou! She thinks you've taken flight;
It seems, she's partly in the right.
I'm near her still--and should I distant rove,
Her I can ne'er forget, ne'er lose her love;
And all things touch'd by those sweet lips of hers,
Even the very Host, my envy stirs.
'Tis well! I oft have envied you indeed,
The twin-pair that among the roses feed.
Go to! I laugh, the while you rail,
The power which fashion'd youth and maid,
Well understood the noble trade;
So neither shall occasion fail.
But hence!--A mighty grief I trow!
Unto thy lov'd one's chamber thou
And not to death shouldst go.
What is to me heaven's joy within her arms?
What though my life her bosom warms!--
Do I not ever feel her woe?
The outcast am I not, unhoused, unblest,
Inhuman monster, without aim or rest,
Who, like the greedy surge, from rock to rock,
Sweeps down the dread abyss with desperate shock?
While she, within her lowly cot, which graced
The Alpine slope, beside the waters wild,
Her homely cares in that small world embraced,
Secluded lived, a simple, artless child.
Was't not enough, in thy delirious whirl
To blast the stedfast rocks;
Her, and her peace as well,
Must I, God-hated one, to ruin hurl!
Dost claim this holocaust, remorseless Hell!
Fiend, help me to cut short the hours of dread!
Let what must happen, happen speedily!
Her direful doom fall crushing on my head,
And into ruin let her plunge with me!
Why how again it seethes and glows!
Away, thou fool! Her torment ease!
When such a head no issue sees,
It pictures straight the final close.
Long life to him who boldly dares!
A devil's pluck thou'rt wont to show;
As for a devil who despairs,
Nothing I find so mawkish here below.
(alone at her spinning wheel)
My peace is gone,
My heart is Sore,
I find it never,
Where him I have not,
Is the grave; and all
The world to me
Is turned to gall.
My wilder'd brain
My feeble senses
My peace is gone,
My heart is sore,
I find it never,
For him from the window
I gaze, at home;
For him and him only
Abroad I roam.
His lofty step,
His bearing high,
The smile of his lip,
The power of his eye,
His witching words,
Their tones of bliss,
His hand's fond pressure,
And ah--his kiss!
My peace is gone,
My heart is sore,
I find it never,
My bosom aches
To feel him near;
Ah, could I clasp
And fold him here!
Kiss him and kiss him
Again would I,
And on his kisses
I fain would die.
MARGARET and FAUST
Promise me, Henry!
What I can!
How thy religion fares, I fain would hear.
Thou art a good kind-hearted man,
Only that way not well-disposed, I fear.
Forbear, my child! Thou feelest thee I love;
My heart, my blood I'd give, my love to prove,
And none would of their faith or church bereave.
That's not enough, we must ourselves believe!
Ah, could I but thy soul inspire!
Thou honourest not the sacraments, alas!
I honour them.
But yet without desire;
'Tis long since thou hast been either to shrift or mass.
Dost thou believe in God?
My darling, who dares say,
Yes, I in God believe?
Question or priest or sage, and they
Seem, in the answer you receive,
To mock the questioner.
Then thou dost not believe?
Sweet one! my meaning do not misconceive!
Him who dare name?
And who proclaim,
Him I believe?
Who that can feel,
His heart can steel,
To say: I believe him not?