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As thou, O Lord, once more art kind enough
To interest thyself in our affairs,
And ask, “How goes it with you
And as indulgently at other times
Thou tookedst not my visits in ill part,
Thou seest me here once more among thy household.
Though I should scandalize this company,
You will excuse me if I do not talk
In the high style which they think fashionable :
My pathos certainly would make you laugh too,
Had you not long since given over laughing.
Nothing know I to say of suns and worlds ;
I observe only how men plague themselves ;-
The little god o' the world keeps the same stamp,
As wonderful as on creation's day :-
A little better would he live, hadst thou
Not given him a glimpse of Heaven's light
Which he calls reason, and employs it only
To live more beastily than any
With reverence to your Lordship be it spoken,
He's like one of those long-legged grasshoppers
Who flits and jumps about, and sings for ever
Thy countenance gives the Angels strength,
Though none can comprehend thee:
And all thy lofty works
Are excellent as at the first day.
Such is the literal translation of this astonishing Chorus; it is impossible to represent in another language the melody of the versification; even the volatile strength and delicacy of the ideas escape in the crucible of translation, and the reader is surprised to find a caput mortuum.--Author's Note.
The same old song i' the grass. There let him lie, Burying his nose in every heap of dung.
Have you no more to say ? Do you come here
Always to scold, and cavil, and complain?
Seems nothing ever right to you on earth ?
No, Lord; I find all there, as ever, bad at best.
Even I am sorry for man's days of sorrow;
I could myself almost give up the pleasure
Of plaguing the poor things.
Knowest thou Faust?
In truth He serves you in a fashion quite his own, And the fool's meat and drink are not of earth. His aspirations bear him on so far That he is half aware of his own folly, For he demands from Heaven its fairest star, And from the earth the highest joy it bears ; Yet all things far, and all things near, are vain To calm the deep emotions of his breast.
Though he now serves me in a cloud of error,
I will soon lead him forth to the clear day.
When trees look green, full well the gardener knows
That fruits and blooms will deck the coming year.
What will you bet?—now I am sure of winning-
Only observe you give me full permission
To lead him softly on my path.
As long As he shall live upon the earth, so long Is nothing unto thee forbidden.—Man Must err till he has ceased to struggle.
And that is all I ask; for willingly
I never make acquaintance with the dead.
The full fresh cheeks of youth are food for me,
And if a corpse knocks, I am not at home.
For I am like a cat_I like to play
A little with the mouse before I eat it.
Well, well, it is permitted thee. Draw thou
His spirit from its springs; as thou find'st power,
Seize him and lead him on thy downward path ;
And stand ashamed when failure teaches thee
That a good man, even in his darkest longings,
Is well aware of the right way.
Well and good.
I am not in much doubt about my bet,
And, if I lose, then 'tis your turn to crow;
Enjoy your triumph then with a full breast.
Ay; dust shall he devour, and that with pleasure,
Like my old paramour, the famous Snake.
Pray come here when it suits you; for I never
Had much dislike for people of your sort.
And, among all the Spirits who rebelled,
The knave was ever the least tedious to me.
The active spirit of man soon sleeps, and soon
He seeks unbroken quiet; therefore I
Have given him the Devil for a companion,
Who may provoke him to some sort of work,
And must create for ever.—But ye, pure
Children of God, enjoy eternal beauty ;-
Let that which ever operates and lives
Clasp you within the limits of its love;
And seize with sweet and melancholy thoughts
The floating phantoms of its loveliness.
[Heaven closes ; the Archangels exeunt.
From time to time I visit the old fellow,
And I take care to keep on good terms with him.
Civil enough is this same God Almighty,
To talk so freely with the Devil himself.
The Hartz Mountain, a desolate Country.
As for me
Would you not like a broomstick ?
I wish I had a good stout ram to ride ;
For we are still far from th' appointed place.
This knotted staff is help enough for me,
Whilst I feel fresh upon my legs. What good
Is there in making short a pleasant way?
To creep along the labyrinths of the vales,
And climb those rocks, where ever-babbling springs
Precipitate themselves in waterfalls,
In the true sport that seasons such a path.
Already Spring kindles the birchen spray,
And the hoar pines already feel her breath :
Shall she not work also within our limbs ?
Nothing of such an influence do I feel.
My body is all wintry, and I wish
The flowers upon our path were frost and snow.
But see, how melancholy rises now,
Dimly uplifting her belated beam,
The blank unwelcome round of the red moon,
And gives so bad a light, that every step
One stumbles 'gainst some crag. With your permission
I'll call an Ignis-fatuus to our aid :
I see one yonder burning jollily.
Halloo, my friend ! may I request that you
Would favour us with your bright company ?
there to no purpose ? Pray be so good as light us up this way.
With reverence be it spoken, I will try
To overcome the lightness of my nature ;
Our course, you know, is generally zig-zag.
Ha, ha ! your worship thinks you have to deal
With men. Go straight
in the Devil's name, Or I shall puff your flickering life out.