Faust. A knock? Come in! Who now will bother me?
Mephistopheles. 'Tis I.
Faust. Come in!
Mephistopheles. Full three times must it be.
Faust. Come in, then?
Mephistopheles. Fine! I like that! All is well!
I hope we'll bear with one another and agree!
For I, your every crotchet to dispel,
Am here all dressed up like a noble squire,
In scarlet, gold-betrimmed attire:
A little cloak of heavy silk brocade,
Here on my hat a tall cock's-feather too,
Here at my side a long and pointed blade;
And now, to make it brief, I counsel you
That you too likewise be arrayed,
That you, emancipated, free,
Experience what life may be.
Faust. I'll feel, whatever my attire,
The pain of life, earth's narrow way
I am too old to be content with play,
Too young to be without desire.
What can the world afford me now?
Thou shalt renounce! Renounce shalt thou!
That is the never-ending song
Which in the ears of all is ringing,
Which always, through our whole life long,
Hour after hour is hoarsely singing.
I but with horror waken with the sun,
I'd fain weep bitter tears, because I see
Another day that, in its course, for me
Will not fulfil one wish- not one,
Yea, that the foretaste of each joy possessed
With carping criticism half erases,
That checks creation in my stirring breast
With thousands of life's grinning faces.
I too, when darkness sinks down o'er me,
Must anxious stretch me on my bed;
There, too, no rest comes nigh my weary head,
For savage dreams will rise before me.
The god that dwells within my soul
Can stir to life my inmost deeps.
Full sway over all my powers he keeps,
But naught external can he ever control.
So Being like a load on me is pressed,
I long for death, existence I detest.
Mephistopheles. And yet Death never is a wholly welcome guest.
Faust. Ah, happy he around whose brow Death binds
The blood-stained wreath mid victory's blaze,
Whom in a maiden's arms Death finds
After a dance's maddening maze.
Oh, would that I, beneath the lofty Spirit's sway,
Enrapt, had rendered up my soul and sunk away!
Mephistopheles. And yet that night, those juices brown
A certain man did not drink down.
Faust. Spying is your delight, is that not so?
Mephistopheles. Omniscient am I not, yet many things I know.
Faust. Though, from the frightful frenzy reeling,
A sweet, familiar tone drew me away,
Though what remained of childlike feeling
Was duped by echoes of a happier day,
I now curse all that, round the soul, enfolds it
With dazzling lures and jugglery,
And, banned within this cave of sorrows, holds it
With blinding spells and flattery.
Cursed, before all, the high adherence
To some opinion that ensnares the mind!
Cursed be the blinding of appearance
That holds our senses thus confined!
Cursed be dissembling dream-obsessions,
The fraud of fame, a name's enduring life!
Cursed all that flatters as possessions,
As slave and plough, as child and wife!
Cursed too be Mammon, when with treasures
He stirs us on to deeds of might,
When he, for lazy, idle pleasures,
Lays down for us the cushions right!
Cursed be the grape's sweet juice deceiving!
Cursed Love's supreme, delicious thrall!
A curse on Hoping! on Believing!
And cursed be Patience most of all!
Chorus of Spirits (invisible).
Thou hast destroyed
The beautiful world,
With powerful fist;
'Tis smashed, downward hurled!
A demigod dashed it to bits!
The ruins on to the Void,
Over the beauty lost and gone!
Midst the sons of earth,
Build it again,
Build it aloft in thy breast!
And life's new quest
With clearer sense,
And songs of cheer
Anew shalt hear!
These are the little folk
Of those whom I evoke.
Hark how they to joy and deed
Sagely bid you to give heed!
Into life they would,
Far from solitude
There stagnate sap and sense,
Persuade and lure you hence.
Cease with your brooding grief to play
That, like a vulture, eats your life away.
The worst of company will let you find
That you're a man among mankind.
But yet I don't mean that I'll thrust
You midst the rabble men don't trust.
I'm not one of the Great;
Still, if through life you'll go with me,
In that case I'll agree
With pleasure to accommodate
You, on the spot belong to you.
I'll be your comrade true
And if to your liking I behave,
I'll be your servant, be your slave!
Faust. And what in turn am I to do for you?
Mephistopheles. That is a long way off! Pray don't insist.
Faust. No, no! The Devil is an egoist
And not "for God's sake!" only will he do
What will another's needs assist.
Tell me your terms both plain and clear!
Such servants in the house bring danger near.
Mephistopheles. Here to your service I will bind me;
Beck when you will, I will not pause or rest;
But in return when yonder you will find me,
Then likewise shall you be at my behest.
Faust. The yonder is to me a trifling matter.
Should you this world to ruins shatter,
The other then may rise, its place to fill.
'Tis from this earth my pleasure springs,
And this sun shines upon my sufferings;
When once I separate me from these things,
Let happen then what can and will.
And furthermore I've no desire to hear
Whether in future too men hate and love,
And whether too in yonder sphere
There is an under or above.
Mephistopheles. In this mood you can dare to go my ways.
Commit yourself; you shall in these next days
Behold my arts and with great pleasure too.
What no man yet has seen, I'll give to you.
Faust. Poor devil! What have you to give?
Was any human spirit, struggling to ascend,
Such as your sort could ever comprehend?
Still, have you food on which no man can live?
Have you red gold that runs through, without rest,
Quicksilver-like, the hand it's in?
A game at which men never win?
A maiden who while on my breast
Will with my neighbour ogle and conspire?
The joys divine of honour, once possessed,
Which vanish like a meteor's fire?
Show me the fruit which, ere it's plucked, will rot,
And trees that every day grow green anew!
Mephistopheles. Such a commission frights me not;
Such treasures I can serve to you.
But, my good friend, the time approaches when we could
In peace and quiet feast on something good.
Faust. If ever I lay me on a bed of sloth in peace,
That instant let for me existence cease!
If ever with lying flattery you can rule me
So that contented with myself I stay,
If with enjoyment you can fool me,
Be that for me the final day!
That bet I offer!
Faust. Another hand-clasp! There!
If to the moment I shall ever say:
"Ah, linger on, thou art so fair!"
Then may you fetters on me lay,
Then will I perish, then and there!
Then may the death-bell toll, recalling
Then from your service you are free;
The clock may stop, the pointer falling,
And time itself be past for me!
Mephistopheles. Consider well, we'll not forget it.
Faust. Your perfect right to that I'll not deny.
My action was not rash, I'll not regret it.
As soon as I stagnate, a slave am I,
And whether yours or whose, why should I ask?
Mephistopheles. Then at a Doctor's-feast this very day
I'll act as servant and fulfil my task.
But one thing still: in case of life or death, I pray,
Give me a written line or two.
Faust. What, pedant! Something written do you ask of me?
Was neither man nor word of man yet known to you?
Is it not enough that this my spoken word
Disposes of my days for all eternity?
Does not the world rush on, in all its currents stirred,
And should a promise have a hold on me?
Yet to our hearts we've taken this conceit.
Who gladly would its hold undo?
Blest he whose bosom is with breachless faith replete,
No sacrifice will that man ever rue.
But any stamped and written parchment sheet
Is like a ghost that all men shrink to view.
The spoken word dies forthwith in the quill;
Leather and wax remain our masters still.
What, Evil Spirit, do you want of me?
Brass, marble, parchment, paper? Name it then!
Am I to write with graver, chisel, pen?
I offer you your choice quite free.
Mephistopheles. How can you talk so heatedly,
Exaggerate in such a way?
Just any little sheet will do, it's all the same.
With one wee drop of blood you sign your name.
Faust. If this will satisfy you, then I say:
Let us agree and put the farce to this odd use.
Mephistopheles. Blood is a quite peculiar juice.
Faust. Fear not! This league with you I shall not break!
The aim and goal of all my energy
Is to fulfil the promise I now make.
I've puffed myself too high, I see;
Only within your ranks do I deserve to be.
The Mighty Spirit spurned me with a scoff,
And Nature turns herself away from me.
The thread of thought is broken off,
To me all learning's long been nauseous.
In depths of sensuality
Let us our glowing passions still!
In magic's veils impervious
Prepared at once be every marvel's thrill!
Come, let us plunge into Time's rushing dance,
Into the roll of Circumstance!
There may then pain and joyance,
Successes and annoyance,
Alternately follow as they can.
Only restlessly active is a man!
Mephistopheles. To you no goal is set, nor measure.
If you should like to nibble everything,
To snatch up something on the wing,
May all agree with you that gives you pleasure!
Fall to, I say, and don't be coy.
Faust. You hear indeed, I do not speak of joy.
Life's wildering whirl be mine, its painfulest enjoyment,
Enamoured hate, and quickening annoyment.
My bosom, of all thirst for knowledge cured,
Shall close itself henceforth against no woe;
Whatever to all mankind is assured,
I, in my inmost being, will enjoy and know,
Seize with my soul the highest and most deep;
Men's weal and woe upon my bosom heap;
And thus this self of mine to all their selves expanded,
Like them I too at last be stranded.
Mephistopheles. Oh, trust me who for many a thousand year
Have chewed this crust, it is so hard at best
That twixt the cradle and the bier
That ancient leaven no man can digest.
Trust one like me: this Whole is wrought
And fashioned only for a God's delight!
He dwells in an eternal light;
Us into darkness He has brought;
To you are suited only day and night.
Faust. Ah, but I will!
Mephistopheles. Well said and right!
And yet I fear there is but one thing wrong;
For life is short and art is long.
I'd think you'd let yourself be taught.
Associate you with a poet; then, in thought,
You leave the gentleman full sweep,
Upon your honoured head to heap
Each good and noble quality:
The lion's mood,
The stag's rapidity,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northman's hardihood.
The secret for it? Let him find
How magnanimity and cunning are combined,
How with a youth's hot impulse you may fall
In love according to a plan.
Might I myself know such a gentleman,
Him Mr. Microcosm I would call.
Faust. What am I if I strive in vain
To win the crown of all mankind which, though afar,
All senses struggle to obtain?
Mephistopheles. You at the end are- what you are.
Put on your head perukes with a million locks,
Put on your feet a pair of ell-high socks,
You after all will still be- what you are.
Faust. I feel that I have made each treasure
Of human mind my own in vain,
And when at last I sit me down at leisure,
No new-born power wells up within my brain.
I'm not a hair's-breadth more in height
Nor nearer to the infinite.
Mephistopheles. My good sir, you observe this matter
As men these matters always see;
But we must manage that much better
Before life's pleasures from us flee.
Your hands and feet too- what the devil!-
Your head and seed are yours alone!
Yet all with which I gaily revel,
Is it on that account the less my own?
If for six stallions I can pay,
Aren't all their powers added to my store?
I am a proper man and dash away
As if the legs I had were twenty-four!
Quick, then! Let all reflection be,
And straight into the world with me!
A chap who speculates- let this be said-
Is very like a beast on moorland dry,
That by some evil spirit round and round is led,
While fair, green pastures round about him lie.
Faust. But how shall we begin?
Mephistopheles. We'll just get out, so come!
Bah! what a place of martyrdom!
What kind of life is this you lead?
Boring the youngsters and yourself indeed!
Leave that to Master Paunch, your neighbour!
Why plague yourself by threshing straws?
The best that you can know with all your labour,
You dare not tell the striplings raw.
Right now I hear one in the passageway.
Faust. I cannot possibly see him today.
Mephistopheles. He's waited long the poor young chap;
Uncomforted, he must not go away.
Come, let me have your gown and cap;
I in that costume? What a precious fit!
He dresses himself up.
Now you can leave things to my wit!
I only need a quarter of an hour.
And then our lovely tour, meanwhile prepare for it!