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FROM THE FAUST OF GOETHE.
PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN.
The LORD and the Host of Heaven.
Enter Three Archangels.
Amid the rival spheres of Heaven,
With thunder speed: the Angels even Draw strength from gazing on its glance,
Though none its meaning fathom may ;The world's unwithered countenance
Is bright as at creation's day.
As thou, O Lord, once more art kind enough
And swift and swift, with rapid lightness,
The adorned Earth spins silently, Alternating Elysian brightness
With deep and dreadful night; the sea Foams in broad billows from the deep
Up to the rocks; and rocks and ocean, Onward, with spheres which never sleep,
Are hurried in eternal motion.
From land to sea, from sea to land; And, raging, weave a chain of power
Which girds the earth as with a band. A flashing desolation there
Flames before the thunder's way; But thy servants, Lord, revere
The gentle changes of thy day.
CHORUS OF THE THREE.
The Angels draw strength from thy glance,
Though no one comprehend thee may:Thy world's unwithered countenance
Is bright as on creation’s day.*
RAPHAEL. The sun sounds, according to ancient custom, In the song of emulation of his brother-spheres, And its fore-written circle Fulfils with a step of thunder. Its countenance gives the Angels strength, Though no one can fathom it. The incredible high works Are excellent as at the first day.
Thy countenance gives the Angels strength,
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.
With reverence to your Lordship be it spoken, And, if I lose, then 'tis your turn to crow;
Pray come here when it suits you; for I never
The active spirit of man soon sleeps, and soon
He seeks unbroken quiet; therefore I
Have given him the Devil for a companion, I could myself almost give up the pleasure
Who may provoke him to some sort of work,
And must create for ever.- But ye, pure Of plaguing the poor things.
Children of God, enjoy eternal beauty ;
Let that which ever operates and lives
And seize with sweet and melancholy thoughts
The floating phantoms of its loveliness. The Doctor ?
[Heaven closcs ; the Archangels exeunt.
The Hartz Mountain, a desolate Country.
Would you not like a broomstick? As for me
I wish I had a good stout ram to ride ;
This knotted staff is help enough for me,
Is there in making short a pleasant way?
To creep along the labyrinths of the vales, Is nothing unto thee forbidden.—Man
And climb those rocks, where ever-babbling springs Must err till he has ceased to struggle.
Precipitate themselves in waterfalls,
In the true sport that seasons such a path.
Already Spring kindles the birchen spray, And that is all I ask; for willingly
And the hoar pines already feel her breath :
Shall she not work also within our limbs?
Nothing of such an influence do I feel. For I am like a cat-I like to play
My body is all wintry, and I wish A little with the mouse before I eat it.
The flowers upon our path were frost and snow.
But see, how melancholy rises now, Well, well, it is permitted thee. Draw thou
Dimly uplifting her belated beam, His spirit from its springs; as thou find'st power,
The blank unwelcome round of the red moon, Seize him and lead him on thy downward path;
And gives so bad a light, that every step And stand ashamed when failure teaches thee
Onestumbles'gainst some crag. With your permisThat a good man, even in his darkest longings,
I'll call an Ignis-fatuus to our aid:
[sion Is well aware of the right way.
I see one yonder burning jollily.
Halloo, my friend ! may I request that you
Would favour us with your bright company ?
Well and good. Why should you blaze away there to no purpose ? I am not in much doubt about my bet,
Pray be so good as light us up this way.
FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and IGNIS-FATUUs in allernate
The bounds of true and false, are past.
Lead us onward, far and fast,
To the wide, the desert waste.
Trees behind trees, row by row,
Their frowning foreheads as we go.
AyAnd strangely through the solid depth below A melancholy light, like the red dawn, Shoots from the lowest gorge of the abyss Of mountains, lighting hitherward; there, rise Pillars of smoke ; here, clouds float gently by ; Here the light burns soft as the enkindled air, Or the illumined dust of golden flowers ; And now it glides like tender colours spreading ; And now bursts forth in fountains from the
And now it winds one torrent of broad light,
Through the mossy sods and stones,
Cling tightly to the old ribs of the crag.
A cloud thickens the night.
The owls fly out in strange affright;
Are split and shattered ;
The airs hiss and howl-
Nor the wolf in his midnight prowl.
Dost thou not hear ?
Strange accents are ringing
The witches are singing !
Stay, oh stay!
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
Upon a sow-swine, whose farrows were nine,
A HALF WITCH BELOW.
Which way comest thou ?
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
Over Ilsenstein ;
Come onward, away! aroint thee, aroint !
And you may now as well take your course on to
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
She dropt poison upon me as I past.
What thronging, dashing, raging, rustling !
What whispering, babbling, hissing, bustling !
As Heaven and earth were overturning.
There is a true witch element about us ; The way is wide, the way is long,
Take hold on me, or we shall be divided : But what is that for a Bedlam throng ?
Where are you? Stick with the prong, and scratch with the broom.
FAUST (from a distance). The child in the cradle lies strangled at home,
people. Woman has a thousand steps to stray.
Take hold on me, doctor, and with one step
They are too mad for people of my sort.
Just there shines a peculiar kind of lightWhere a man but a single spring will make. Something attracts me in those bushes.-Come
This way; we shall slip down there in a minute. Come with us, come with us, from Felunsee.
'T'were a wise feat indeed to wander out
MEPHISTOPHELES. See yonder, round a many-coloured flame A merry-club is huddled all together : Even with such little people as sit there One would not be alone.
Would that I were Up yonder in the glow and whirling smoke Where the blind million rush impetuously To meet the evil ones ; there might I solve Many a riddle that torments me!
Now-a-days People assert their rights ;, they go too far ;
But, as for me, the good old times I praise. Then we were all in all ; 'twas something worth
One's while to be in place and wear a star; That was indeed the golden age on earth.
PARVENU *. We too are active, and we did and do What we ought not perhaps ; and yet we now Will seize, whilst all things are whirled round and
round, A spoke of Fortune's wheel, and keep our ground.
Yet Many a riddle there is tied anew Inextricably. Let the great world rage ! We will stay here safe in the quiet dwellings. 'Tis an old custom. Men have ever built Their own small world in the great world of all. I see young witches naked there, and old ones Wisely attired with greater decency. Be guided now by me, and you shall buy A pound of pleasure with a dram of trouble. I hear them tune their instruments—one must Get used to this damned scraping. Come, I'll
Who now can taste a treatise of deep sense
grown very old.)
Among them ; and what there you do and see, As a fresh compact 'twixt us two shall be.
How say you now? this space is wide enough-
Look here, Gentlemen ; do not hurry on so fast, And lose the chance of a good pennyworth. I have a pack full of the choicest wares Of every sort, and yet in all my bundle Is nothing like what may be found on earth ; Nothing that in a moment will make rich Men and the world with fine malicious mischief. There is no dagger drunk with blood ; no bowl From which consuming poison may be drained By innocent and healthy lips; no jewel, The price of an abandoned maiden's shame ; No sword which cuts the bond it cannot loose, Or stabs the wearer's enemy in the back; No
MEPHISTOPHELES. Gossip, you know little of these times. What has been, has been ; what is done, is past. They shape themselves into the innovations They breed, and innovation drags us with it. The torrent of the crowd sweeps over us ; You think to impel, and are yourself impelled.
In introducing us, do you assume The character of wizard or of devil ?
In truth, I generally go about
thing: I could not, if I would, mask myself here. Come now we'll go about from fire to fire : I'll be the pimp, and you shall be the lover. (To some old Women, who are sitting round a heap
of glimmering coals.
Mark her well. It is
So much as I had done for them! and nowWith women and the people 'tis the same,
Youth will stand foremost ever,-age may go To the dark grave unhonoured.
MEPHISTOPHELES. Lilith, the first wife of Adam. Beware of her fair hair, for she excels All women in the magic of her locks ; And when she winds them round a young man's
neck, She will not ever set him free again.
* A sort of fundholder.