|How strangely doth a single crimson line|| 4000|
|Around that lovely neck its coil entwine,|
|It shows no broader than a knifes blunt edge!|
Quite right. I see it also, and allege
|That she beneath her arm her head can bear,|
|Since Perseus cut it off.But you I swear|| 4005|
|Are craving for illusion still!|
|Come then, ascend yon little hill!|
|As on the Prater all is gay,|
|And if my senses are not gone,|
|I see a theatre,whats going on?|| 4010|
They are about to recommence;the play
|Will be the last of seven, and spick-span new|
|Tis usual here that number to present.|
|A dilettante did the piece invent,|
|And dilettanti will enact it too.|| 4015|
|Excuse me, gentlemen; to mes assignd|
|As dilettante to uplift the curtain.|
You on the Blocksberg Im rejoiced to find,
|That tis your most appropriate sphere is certain.|
OBERON AND TITANIAS GOLDEN WEDDING-FEAST
Vales, where mists still shift and play,
| To ancient hills succeeding,|
|These our scenes;so we, to-day,|
| May rest, brave sons of Mieding.|
That the marriage golden be,
| Must fifty years be ended;|| 4025|
|More dear this feast of gold to me,|
| Contention now suspended.|
Spirits, if present, grace the scene.
| And if with me united,|
|Then gratulate the king and queen,|| 4030|
| Their troth thus newly plighted!|
Puck draws near and wheels about,
| In mazy circles dancing!|
|Hundreds swell his joyous shout,|
| Behind him still advancing.|| 4035|
Ariel wakes his dainty air,
| His lyre celestial stringing.|
|Fools he lureth, and the fair,|
| With his celestial singing.|
Wedded ones, would ye agree,
| We court your imitation:|
|Would ye fondly love as we,|
| We counsel separation.|
If husband scold and wife retort,
| Then bear them far asunder;|| 4045|
|Her to the burning south transport,|
| And him the North Pole under.|
THE WHOLE ORCHESTRA (fortissimo)
Flies and midges all unite
| With frog and chirping cricket,|
|Our orchestra throughout the night,|| 4050|
| Resounding in the thicket!|
Yonder doth the bagpipe come!
| Its sack an airy bubble.|
|Schnick, schnick, schnack, with nasal hum,|
| Its notes it doth redouble.|| 4055|
Spiders foot and midges wing,
| A toad in form and feature;|
|Together verses it can string,|
| Though scarce a living creature.|
A LITTLE PAIR
Tiny step and lofty bound,
| Through dew and exhalation;|
|Ye trip it deftly on the ground,|
| But gain no elevation.|
Can I indeed believe my eyes?
| Ist not mere masquerading?|| 4065|
|What! Oberon in beauteous guise,|
| Among the groups parading!|
No claws, no tail to whisk about,
| To fright us at our revel;|
|Yet like the gods of Greece, no doubt,|| 4070|
| He toos a genuine devil.|
These that Im hitting off to-day
| Are sketches unpretending;|
|Towards Italy without delay,|
| My steps I think of bending.|| 4075|
Alas! ill-fortune leads me here,
| Where riot still grows louder;|
|And mong the witches gatherd here|
| But two alone wear powder!|
Your powder and your petticoat,
| Suit hags, theres no gainsaying;|
|Hence I sit fearless on my goat,|
| My naked charms displaying.|
Were too well-bred to squabble here,
| Or insult back to render;|| 4085|
|But may you wither soon, my dear,|
| Although so young and tender.|
LEADER OF THE BAND
Nose of fly and gnats proboscis,
| Throng not the naked beauty!|
|Frogs and crickets in the mosses,|| 4090|
| Keep time and do your duty!|
WEATHERCOCK (towards one side)
What charming company I view
| Together here collected!|
|Gay bachelors, a hopeful crew.|
| And brides so unaffected!|| 4095|
WEATHERCOCK (towards the other side)
Unless indeed the yawning ground
| Should open to receive them,|
|From this vile crew, with sudden bound,|
| To Hell Id jump and leave them.|
With small sharp shears, in insect guise
| Behold us at your revel!|
|That we may tender, filial-wise,|
| Our homage to the devil.|
Look now at yonder eager crew,
| How naively theyre jesting!|| 4105|
|That they have tender hearts and true,|
| They stoutly keep protesting!|
Oneself amid this witchery
| How pleasantly one loses;|
|For witches easier are to me|| 4110|
| To govern than the Muses!|
CI-DEVANT GENIUS OF THE AGE
With proper folks when we appear,
| No one can then surpass us!|
|Keep close, wide is the Blocksberg here|
| As Germanys Parnassus.|| 4115|
How name ye that stiff formal man,
| Who strides with lofty paces?|
|He tracks the game whereer he can,|
| He scents the Jesuits traces.|
Where waters troubled are or clear,
| To fish I am delighted;|
|Thus pious gentlemen appear|
| With devils here united.|
By pious people, it is true,
| No medium is rejected;|| 4125|
|Conventicles, and not a few,|
| On Blocksberg are erected.|
Another chorus now succeeds,
| Far off the drums are beating.|
|Be still! The bitterns mong the reeds|| 4130|
| Their one note are repeating.|
Each twirls about and never stops,
| And as he can he fareth.|
|The crooked leaps, the clumsy hops,|
| Nor for appearance careth.|| 4135|
To take each others life, I trow,
| Would cordially delight them!|
|As Orpheus lyre the beasts, so now|
| The bagpipe doth unite them.|
My views, in spite of doubt and sneer,
| I hold with stout persistence,|
|Inferring from the devils here,|
| The evil ones existence.|
My every sense rules Phantasy
| With sway quite too potential;|| 4145|
|Sure Im demented if the I|
| Alone is the essential.|
This entitys a dreadful bore,
| And cannot choose but vex me;|
|The ground beneath me neer before|| 4150|
| Thus totterd to perplex me.|
Well pleased assembled here I view
| Of spirits this profusion;|
|From devils, touching angels too,|
| I gather some conclusion.|| 4155|
The ignis fatuus they track out,
| And think theyre near the treasure.|
|Devil alliterates with doubt,|
| Here I abide with pleasure.|
LEADER OF THE BAND
Frog and cricket in the mosses,
| Confound your gasconading!|
|Nose of fly and gnats proboscis;|
| Most tuneful serenading!|
THE KNOWING ONES
Sans-souci, so this host we greet,
| Their jovial humour showing;|| 4165|
|Theres now no walking on our feet,|
| So on our heads were going.|
THE AWKWARD ONES
In seasons past we snatchd, tis true,
| Some tit-bits by our cunning;|
|Our shoes, alas, are now danced through,|| 4170|
| On our bare soles were running.|
From marshy bogs we sprang to light,
| Yet here behold us dancing;|
|The gayest gallants of the night,|
| In glittring rows advancing.|| 4175|
With rapid motion from on high,
| I shot in starry splendour;|
|Now prostrate on the grass I lie;|
| Who aid will kindly render?|
THE MASSIVE ONES
Room! wheel round! Theyre coming lo!
| Down sink the bending grasses.|
|Though spirits, yet their limbs, we know,|
| Are huge substantial masses.|
Dont stamp so heavily, I pray;
| Like elephants youre treading!|| 4185|
|And mong the elves be Puck to-day,|
| The stoutest at the wedding!|
If nature boon, or subtle sprite,
| Endow your soul with pinions;|
|Then follow to yon rosy height,|| 4190|
| Through ethers calm dominions!|
Drifting cloud and misty wreathes
| Are filld with light elysian;|
|Oer reed and leaf the zephyr breathes|
| So fades the fairy vision!|| 4195|
A GLOOMY DAY. A PLAIN
In misery! despairing! long wandering pitifully on the face of the earth and now imprisoned! This gentle hapless creature, immured in the dungeon as a malefactor and reserved for horrid tortures! That it should come to this! To this!Perfidious, worthless spirit, and this thou hast concealed from me!Stand! ay, stand! roll in malicious rage thy fiendish eyes! Stand and brave me with thine insupportable presence! Imprisoned! In hopeless misery! Delivered over to the power of evil spirits and the judgment of unpitying humanity!And me, the while, thou wert lulling with tasteless dissipations, concealing from me her growing anguish, and leaving her to perish without help!
She is not the first.
Hound! Execrable monster!Back with him, oh thou infinite spirit! back with the reptile into his dogs shape, in which it was his wont to scamper before me at eventide, to roll before the feet of the harmless wanderer, and to fasten on his shoulders when he fell! Change him again into his favourite shape, that he may crouch on his belly before me in the dust, whilst I spurn him with my foot, the reprobate!Not the first!Woe! Woe! By no human soul is it conceivable, that more than one human creature has ever sunk into a depth of wretchedness like this, or that the first in her writhing death-agony should not have atoned in the sight of all-pardoning Heaven for the guilt of all the rest! The misery of this one pierces me to the very marrow, and harrows up my soul; thou art grinning calmly over the doom of thousands!
Now we are once again at our wits end, just where the reason of you mortals snaps! Why dost thou seek our fellowship, if thou canst not go through with it? Wilt fly, and art not proof against dizziness? Did we force ourselves on thee, or thou on us?
Cease thus to gnash thy ravenous fangs at me! I loathe thee!Great and glorious spirit, thou who didst vouchsafe to reveal thyself unto me, thou who dost know my very heart and soul, why hast thou linked me with this base associate, who feeds on mischief and revels in destruction?
Save her!or woe to thee! The direst of curses on thee for thousands of years!
I cannot loose the bands of the avenger, nor withdraw his bolts.Save her!Who was it plunged her into perdition? I or thou? (FAUST looks wildly around.)
Wouldst grasp the thunder? Well for you, poor mortals, that tis not yours to wield! To smite to atoms the being however innocent, who obstructs his path, such is the tyrants fashion of relieving himself in difficulties!
Convey me thither! She shall be free!
And the danger to which thou dost expose thyself? Know, the guilt of blood, shed by thy hand, lies yet upon the town. Over the place where fell the murdered one, avenging spirits hover and watch for the returning murderer.
This too from thee? The death and downfall of a world be on thee, monster! Conduct me thither, I say, and set her free!
I will conduct thee. And what I can do,hear! Have I all power in heaven and upon earth! Ill cloud the senses of the warder,do thou possess thyself of the keys and lead her forth with human hand! I will keep watch! The magic steeds are waiting, I bear thee off. Thus much is in my power.
Up and away!
NIGHT. OPEN COUNTRY
FAUST. MEPHISTOPHELES (Rushing along on black horses)
What weave they yonder round the Ravenstone?
I know not what they shape and brew.
Theyre soaring, swooping, bending, stooping.
A witches pack.
They charm, they strew.
FAUST (with a bunch of keys and a lamp before a small iron door)
A fear unwonted oer my spirit falls;
|Mans concentrated woe oerwhelms me here!|
|She dwells immurd within these dripping walls;|
|Her only trespass a delusion dear!|
|Thou lingerest at the fatal door,|| 4220|
|Thou dreadst to see her face once more?|
|On! While thou dalliest, draws her death-hour near. (He seizes the lock. Singing within.)|
| My mother, the harlot,|
| She took me and slew!|
| My father, the scoundrel,|| 4225|
| Hath eaten me too!|
| My sweet little sister|
| Hath all my bones laid,|
| Where soft breezes whisper|
| All in the cool shade!|| 4230|
|Then became I a wood-bird, and sang on the spray,|
|Fly away! little bird, fly away! fly away!|
FAUST (opening the lock)
Ah! she forebodes not that her lovers near,
|The clanking chains, the rustling straw, to hear. (He enters.)|
MARGARET (hiding her face in the bed of straw)
Woe! woe! they come! on bitter tis to die!
Hush! hush! be still! I come to set thee free!
MARGARET (throwing herself at his feet)
If thou art human, feel my misery!
Thou wilt awake the jailor with thy cry! (He grasps the chains to unlock them.)
MARGARET (on her knees)
Who, headsman, unto thee this power
|Oer me could give?|| 4240|
|Thou comst for me at midnight-hour.|
|Be merciful, and let me live!|
|Is morrows dawn not time enough? (She stands up.)|
|Im still so young, so young|
|And must so early die!|| 4245|
|Fair was I too, and that was my undoing.|
|My love is now afar, he then was nigh;|
|Torn lies the garland, the fair blossoms strewd.|
|Nay, seize me not with hand so rude!|
|Spare me! What harm have I eer done to thee?|| 4250|
|Oh let me not in vain implore!|
|I neer have seen thee in my life before!|
Can I endure this bitter agony?
I now am at thy mercy quite.
|Let me my babe but suckle once again!|| 4255|
|I fondled it the live-long night;|
|They took it from me but to give me pain,|
|And now, they say that I my child have slain.|
|Gladness I neer again shall know.|
|Then they sing songs about me,tis wicked of the throng|| 4260|
|An ancient ballad endeth so;|
|Who bade them thus apply the song?|
(throwing himself on the ground)
A lover at thy feet bends low,
|To loose the bonds of wretchedness and woe.|
MARGARET (throws herself beside him)
Oh, let us kneel and move the saints by prayer!
|Look! look! yon stairs below,|
|Under the threshold there,|
|Hells flames are all aglow!|
|Beneath the floor,|
|With hideous noise,|| 4270|
|The devils roar!|
That was my lovd ones voice! (She springs up, the chains fall off.)
|Where is he? I heard him calling me.|
|Free am I! Theres none shall hinder me.|| 4275|
|To his neck will I fly,|
|On his bosom will lie!|
|Gretchen, he called!On yon threshold he stood;|
|Amidst all the howling of hells fiery flood,|
|The scoff and the scorn of its devilish crew,|| 4280|
|The tones of his voice, sweet and loving, I knew.|
Tis thou! O say so once again! (embracing him.)
|Tis he! Tis he! wheres now the torturing pain?|
|Where are the fetters? where the dungeons gloom?|| 4285|
|Tis thou! To save me thou art come!|
|And I am savd!|
|Already now the street I see|
|Where the first time I caught a glimpse of thee.|
|There too the pleasant garden shade,|| 4290|
|Where I and Martha for thy coming stayd.|
FAUST (endeavouring to lead her away)
Come! come away!
Oh do not haste!
|I love to linger where thou stayest. (caressing him.)|
Ah haste! For if thou still delayest,
|Our lingering we shall both deplore.|
How, dearest? canst thou kiss no more!
|So short a time away from me, and yet,|
|To kiss thou couldst so soon forget!|
|Why on thy neck so anxious do I feel|| 4300|
|When formerly a perfect heaven of bliss|
|From thy dear looks and words would oer me steal?|
|As thou wouldst stifle me thou then didst kiss!|
|Or Ill kiss thee! (She embraces him.)|| 4305|
|Woe! woe! Thy lips are cold,|
|Thy love where hast thou left?|
|Who hath me of thy love bereft? (She turns away from him.)|
Come! Follow me, my dearest love, be bold!
|Ill cherish thee with ardour thousand-fold;|
|I but entreat thee now to follow me!|
MARGARET (turning towards him)
And art thou he? and art thou really he?
Tis I! O come!
Thou wilt strike off my chain,
|And thou wilt take me to thine arms again.|
|How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me?|
|And dost thou know, love, whom thou wouldst set free?|
Come! come! already night begins to wane.
I sent my mother to her grave,
|I drownd my child beneath the wave.|
|Was it not given to thee and methee too?|
|Tis thou thyself! I scarce believe it yet.|
|Give me thy hand! It is no dream! Tis true!|
|Thine own dear hand!But how is this? Tis wet?|| 4325|
|Quick, wipe it off! Meseems that yet|
|Theres blood thereon.|
|Ah God! what hast thou done?|
|Put up thy sword,|
|I beg of thee!|| 4330|
Oh, dearest, let the past forgotten be!
|Death is in every word.|
No, thou must linger here in sorrow!
|The graves I will describe to thee,|
|And thou to them must see|| 4335|
|The best place give to my mother,|
|Close at her side my brother,|
|Me at some distance lay|
|But not too far away!|| 4340|
|And the little one place on my right breast,|
|Nobody else will near me lie!|
|To nestle beside thee so lovingly,|
|That was a rapture, gracious and sweet!|
|A rapture I never again shall prove;|| 4345|
|Methinks I would force myself on thee, love,|
|And thou dost spurn me, and back retreat|
|Yet tis thyself, thy fond kind looks I see.|
If thou dost feel tis I, then come with me!
What, there? without?
Yes, forth in the free air.
Ay, if the graves without,If death lurk there!
|Hence to the everlasting resting-place,|
|And not one step beyond!Thourt leaving me?|
|Oh Henry! would that I could go with thee!|| 4355|
Thou canst! But will it! Open stands the door.
I dare not go! Ive naught to hope for more.
|What boots it to escape? They lurk for me!|
|Tis wretched to beg, as I must do,|
|And with an evil conscience thereto!|| 4360|
|Tis wretched, in foreign lands to stray;|
|And me they will catch, do what I may!|
With thee will I abide.
| Save thy poor child!|| 4365|
| Keep to the path|
| The brook along,|
| Over the bridge|
| To the wood beyond,|
| To the left, where the plank is,|| 4370|
| In the pond.|
| Seize it at once!|
| It fain would rise,|
| It struggles still!|
| Save it. Oh save!|| 4375|
Dear Gretchen, more collected be!
|One little step, and thou art free!|
Were we but only past the hill!
|There sits my mother upon a stone|
|My brain, alas, is cold with dread!|| 4380|
|There sits my mother upon a stone,|
|And to and fro she shakes her head;|
|She winks not, she nods not, her head it droops sore;|
|She slept so long, she waked no more;|
|She slept, that we might taste of bliss:|| 4385|
|Ah! those were happy times, I wis!|
Since here avails nor argument nor prayer,
|Thee hence by force I needs must bear.|
Loose me! I will not suffer violence!
|With murderous hand hold not so fast!|| 4390|
|I have done all to please thee in the past!|
Day dawns! My love! My love!
Yes! day draws near.
|The day of judgment too will soon appear!|
|It should have been my bridal! No one tell,|| 4395|
|That thy poor Gretchen thou hast known too well.|
|Woe to my garland!|
|Its bloom is oer!|
|Though not at the dance|
|We shall meet once more.|| 4400|
|The crowd doth gather, in silence it rolls;|
|The squares, the streets,|
|Scarce hold the throng.|
|The staff is broken,the death-bell tolls,|
|They bind and seize me! Im hurried along,|| 4405|
|To the seat of blood already Im bound!|
|Quivers each neck as the naked steel|
|Quivers on mine the blow to deal|
|The silence of the grave now broods around!|
Would I had neer been born!
MEPHISTOPHELES (appears without)
Up! or youre lost.
|Vain hesitation! Babbling, quaking!|
|My steeds are shivering,|
|Morn is breaking.|
What from the floor ascendeth like a ghost?
|Tis he! Tis he! Him from my presence chase!|
|What would he in this holy place?|
|It is for me he cometh!|
Thou shalt live!
Judgment of God! To thee my soul I give!
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Come, come! With her Ill else abandon thee!
Father, Im thine! Do thou deliver me!
|Ye angels! Ye angelic hosts! descend,|
|Encamp around to guard me and defend!|
|Henry! I shudder now to look on thee!|| 4425|
She now is judged!
VOICES (from above)
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Come thou with me! (Vanishes with FAUST.)
VOICE (from within, dying away)