Faust. How goes it? Will it work? soon win the game?
Mephistopheles. Ah, bravo! Do I find you all aflame?
Gretchen will in a brief time be your own.
This evening you will see her all alone
At Neighbour Martha's; that's a woman made
For go-between and gypsy trade.
Faust. 'Tis well
Mephistopheles. Yet something's wanted from us too.
Faust. One service may demand another as its due.
Mephistopheles. We have in form only to attest
That her good spouse's outstretched limbs repose
In Padua, in consecrated soil at rest.
Faust. Most wise! We first must make the journey, I
Mephistopheles. Sancta Simplicitas! Of that there
is no need;
You don't know much, but still depose.
Faust. If that's your best, I tear your plan asunder.
Mephistopheles. O saintly man! Then you would be a saint
Is it the first time in your life
You've borne false witness? Well, I wonder!
Of God, the world, and what therein is rife,
Of man, what stirs within his heart and brain,
Have you no definition given with might and main?
With brazen brow and dauntless breast?
And if you'll only probe things truly,
You knew of them- you must confess it duly-
No more than of this Schwerdtlein's death and place of rest!
Faust. You are and you remain a liar, sophist too.
Mephistopheles. Yes, if one did not have a little deeper
Will you not presently cajole
Poor Gretchen- in all honour too- and swear
To her the love of all your soul?
Faust. Aye, swear it from my heart.
Mephistopheles. Fine, I declare!
Then there'll be talk of love, fidelity eternal,
Of one almighty force supernal-
Will that too issue from your heart alone?
Faust. Have done! It will!- And when I'm feeling,
When for the feeling, for my senses' reeling,
I seek for names and yet find none,
Then through the world with every sense sweep on,
Toward all the loftiest phrases, grasping, turn,
And this the glow from which I burn,
Endless, eternal, aye, eternal name,
Is that a devilish, lying game?
Mephistopheles. And yet I'm right!
Faust. Take heed! Mark this from me,
I beg of you, and spare my lungs:
He who maintains he's right- if his the gift of tongues-
Will have the last word certainly.
So come, this prating rouses my disgust;
I'll say you're right, especially since I must.
MARGARET on FAUST'S arm, MARTHA and MEPHISTOPHELES, walking
up and down.
Margaret. I feel the gentleman is only sparing me,
So condescends that I am all confused.
A traveller is so much used
To bear with things good-naturedly.
I know too well, my poor talk hardly can
Amuse you, an experienced man.
Faust. One glance from you, one word, more entertains
Than all the wisdom that this world contains.
He kisses her hand.
Don't incommode yourself! How can my hand be kissed by you?
It is so ugly and so rough!
What work is there that I've not had to do?
My mother's more than strict enough.
They pass on.
Martha. And you, sir, are you always on the go?
Mephistopheles. Alas, that business, duty, drive us so!
With how much pain one goes from many a place,
And even so, one simply must not stay.
Martha. In active years perhaps' tis well this way,
Thus freely round and round the world to race;
But then the evil times come on apace,
And as a bachelor to drag on to the grave alone,
That has been good for no one, you must own.
Mephistopheles. With dread I see it far away.
Martha. Then, worthy sir, consider while you may!
They pass on.
Margaret. Yes, out of sight is out of mind!
To you so easy is this courtesy;
But many friends you always find,
More sensible than I can be.
Faust. O dear one! Trust me, that which men call sense
Is oft but vanity and narrowness.
Margaret. But why? Tell me.
Faust. Ah, that simplicity, that innocence,
That neither its own sacred value knows!
That lowliness, humility, those gifts supreme
That loving Nature's bounteous hand bestows-
Margaret. Though you may think of me a moment only,
I'll have, ah, time enough to think of you and dream.
Faust. You are then often lonely?
Margaret. Yes, for our household is but small,
And yet one has to look to all.
We have no maid- must cook, sweep, sew, and knit,
And early run about and late;
And Mother is in all of it
Not that in spending she must feel confined;
We could branch out far more than many do.
My father left a pretty property behind,
A house outside the town, a little garden too.
Yet now I've pretty quiet days. My brother,
He is a soldier lad.
My little sister's dead.
A deal of trouble with the child did I go through;
Yet once more would I gladly undertake the bother,
I loved the child so much.
Faust. An angel, if like you.
Margaret. I brought it up and it was fond of me.
Father had died when it was born;
We gave our mother up for lost, so worn
And wretched, lying there, was she.
And she grew well so slowly, bit by bit,
She could not think of suckling it
Herself, the poor babe pitifully wee,
And so I brought it up, and quite alone,
With milk and water; so it became my own.
Upon my arm and in my lap it threw
Itself about, was friendly too, and grew.
Faust. You've surely felt the purest happiness.
Margaret. But also many weary hours, I must confess.
The wee thing's cradle stood at night
Beside my bed; it scarcely might
Just stir; I was awake;
Sometimes I had to give it drink, sometimes to take
It in with me, sometimes from bed arise
And dandle up and down the room to hush its cries;
And at the wash-tub stand at daylight's break,
Then to the marketing and to the hearth attend.
Tomorrow too just like today, so without end.
Thus, sir, one's spirits are not always of the best,
But in return one relishes both food and rest.
They pass on.
Martha. Poor women have things hard, it's true;
A bachelor's not easy to convert.
Mephistopheles. It but depends upon the like of you,
For then my present ways I might desert.
Martha. Speak out, sir, is there none you've ever met?
Has your heart never bound itself as yet?
Mephistopheles. One's own good wife and hearth, we're told,
Are worth as much as pearls and gold.
Martha. I mean, if you have never felt a passion?
Mephistopheles. I've always been received in very courteous fashion.
Martha. I mean: has love in earnest never stirred your breast?
Mephistopheles. With ladies one should never dare to jest.
Martha. Ah, you don't understand me!
Mephistopheles. That distresses me!
And yet I understand- most kindly would you be.
They pass on.
Faust. Did you, O little angel, straightway recognize
Me when I came into the garden?
Margaret. Did you not see that I cast down my eyes?
Faust. That liberty I took, you'll pardon?
The daring impudence that day
When coming from the church you went your way?
Margaret. I was confused; to me it never had
Occurred; no one could say of me what's bad.
Ah, thought I, in your manner, then, has he
Seen something bold, unmaidenly?
It seemed to strike him right away
To have some dealings with this girl without delay.
Yet I confess I know not why my heart
Began at once to stir to take your part.
But with myself I was right vexed, it's true,
That I could not become more vexed toward you.
Faust. Sweet darling!
Margaret. Wait a bit!
She plucks a star-flower and picks off the petals,
one after the other.
Faust. What's that? A nosegay?
It's just a game.
Margaret. You will laugh at me, do go!
She pulls off the petals and murmurs.
Faust. What are you murmuring?
Margaret (half aloud). He loves me- loves me not!
Faust. Sweet, heavenly vision!
Margaret (goes on). Loves me- not- loves me- not-
Plucking off the last petal with lovely joy.
He loves me!
Faust. Yes, my child! and let this blossom's word
Be oracle of gods to you! He loves you!
You understand that word and what it means? He loves you!
He seizes both her hands.
Margaret. I'm all a-tremble!
Faust. Oh, shudder not! But let this look,
Let this hand-pressure say to you
What is unspeakable:
To give one's self up wholly and to feel
A rapture that must be eternal!
Eternal!- for its end would be despair.
No! no end! no end!
MARGARET presses his hands, frees herself, and runs away. He
stands a moment in thought and then follows her.
Martha (coming). The night comes on.
Mephistopheles. Yes, and we must away.
Martha. I'd ask you make a longer stay;
But it's a wicked place, here roundabout,
As if no one had naught to carry through
And naught to do
But gape at all the neighbours going in and out.
One's talked about, do all one may.
And our dear couple?
Mephistopheles. Up that walk I saw them whirr,
The wanton butterflies!
Martha. He seems to take to her.
Mephistopheles. And she to him. So runs the world away.
A GARDEN HOUSE
MARGARET runs in, hides behind the door, holds the tip of her
fingers to her lips, and peers through the crevice.
Margaret. He's coming!
Faust (enters). Rogue, it's thus you tease!
I've caught you!
He kisses her.
Margaret (embracing him and returning the kiss).
Best of men, I love you from my heart?
Faust (stamping). Who's there?
Mephistopheles. A friend!
Faust. A beast!
Mephistopheles. I think it's time to part.
Martha (enters). Yes, sir, it's late.
Faust. Mayn't I escort you, please?
Margaret. My mother would- Good-by!
Faust. Must I go then?
Margaret. But soon to meet again!
FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES exeunt.
Margaret. Dear God! The things that such a man
Can think of! Everything! I only can
Stand there before him shamed and quivering
And answer "Yes" to everything.
I am a poor unknowing child, and he-
I do not see what he can find in me.
FOREST AND CAVERN
Faust (alone). Spirit sublime, thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
For which I prayed. Thou hast not turned in vain
Thy countenance to me in fire and flame.
Thou gav'st me glorious nature as a royal realm,
The power to feel and to enjoy her. Not
Amazed, cold visits only thou allow'st;
Thou grantest me to look in her deep breast
Even as in the bosom of a friend.
Thou leadest past a series of the living
Before me, teaching me to know my brothers
In silent covert and in air and water.
And when the storm roars screeching through the forest,
When giant fir tree plunges, sweeping down
And crushing neighbouring branches, neighbouring trunks,
And at its fall the hills, dull, hollow, thunder:
Then leadest thou me to the cavern safe,
Show'st me myself, and my own heart becomes
Aware of deep mysterious miracles.
And when before my gaze the stainless moon
Soothing ascends on high: from rocky walls
And from damp covert float and soar about me
The silvery forms of a departed world
And temper contemplation's austere joy.
Oh, that for man naught perfect ever is,
I now do feel. Together with this rapture
That brings me near and nearer to the gods,
Thou gav'st the comrade whom I now no more
Can do without, though, cold and insolent,
He lowers me in my own sight, transforms
With but a word, a breath, thy gifts to nothing.
Within my breast he fans with busy zeal
A savage fire for that fair, lovely form.
Thus from desire I reel on to enjoyment
And in enjoyment languish for desire.
Mephistopheles (appears). Have you now led this life quite long enough?
How can it long have any charm for you?
'Tis well, indeed, for once to try the stuff,
But then, in turn, away to something new!
Faust. I wish that you had something else to do
Than on a happy day to plague me like a pest.
Mephistopheles. Now, now! I'll gladly let you rest!
You do not dare to say this seriously.
A comrade mad, ungracious, cross,
Would truly be a trifling loss.
The livelong day one's hands are full as they can be.
What he would like for one to do or leave alone,
His lordship's face will never let one see.
Faust. So! That is just, the proper tone:
You now want thanks for boring me.
Mephistopheles. Without me how would you, Earth's wretched son,
Have kept on living? What would you have done?
Your hodge-podge of imagination- balderdash!
At least I've cured you now and then of all that trash.
In fact, if I had not been here at all,
You'd long since sauntered off this earthly ball.
Why here within the cavern's rocky rent
Thus sit your life away so owl-like and alone?
Why from the sodden moss and dripping stone
Sip, like a toad, your nourishment?
A fine sweet way to pass the time. I'll bet
The Doctor's in your body yet.
Faust. Can you conceive what new vitality
This walking in the desert works in me?
Yes, could you sense a force like this,
You would be devil enough to grudge my bliss.
Mephistopheles. It's more than earthly, such delight!
To lie in night and dew on mountain height,
Embracing earth and heaven blissfully,
Puffing one's self and deeming one a deity;
To burrow through earth's marrow, onward pressed
By prescient impulse, feel within one's breast
All six days' work, in haughty power enjoy and know
I can't tell what, soon all creation overflow
In rapturous love, lost to all sight the child of clay,
And then the lofty intuition
With a gesture.
Ending- I dare not say in what fruition!
Faust. Shame on you!
Mephistopheles. That's not to your liking, eh?
You have the moral right to cry out "Shame!
Before chaste ears one must not name
What chaste hearts can't dispense with, just the same!
In short, I grudge you not the pleasure of evasion,
Of lying to yourself upon occasion;
But you will not stick long to that, it's clear.
Again you are already spent,
And if this goes on longer, you'll be rent
To shreds by madness or by agony and fear.
Enough of this! Your darling sits at home apart
And more and more she's feeling caged and sad.
Your image never leaves her mind and heart,
The all-consuming love she bears you is half mad.
First came your passion like the furious current
Of brooklets swollen high from melted snow.
Into her heart you poured the torrent,
And now again your brooklet's running low.
I think, instead of sitting throned in forests wild
It would become so great a lord
To seek the poor, young, silly child
And give her for her love some due reward.
To her the time grows pitiably long.
She stands beside the window, sees the clouds that stray
Over the old town wall and far away.
"Were I a little bird!" so goes her song,
All day long and half the night long.
She's mostly sad, at times is gay,
At times is quite wept out, and then,
It seems, is calm again,
And is in love always.
Faust. Serpent! Serpent!
Mephistopheles (aside). Good! I'll bet
That I will get you yet!
Faust. Infamous fiend! Off, get you hence!
And do not name that lovely woman!
Nor yet desire for her sweet body summon
Again before my half-distracted sense!
Mephistopheles. What would you then? She thinks that you have flown,
And half and half you are, as you must own.
Faust. I'm near to her, however far I were,
I never can forget nor yet lose her;
I envy even the Body of the Lord
Whenever her sweet lips touch the Adored.
Mephistopheles. Well said, my friend! Oft have envied you indeed
The twin-pair that among the roses feed.
Faust. Off, pander!
Mephistopheles. Fine! You rail and it's a joke to me.
The God who fashioned youth and maid
At once perceived the noblest trade
Was that He make them opportunity.
Be off! That is a cause of woe!
It's to your darling's chamber you're to go,
Not to your death, indeed!
Faust. How am I, in her arms, by Heaven blessed?
Though I grow warm upon her breast,
Do I not always feel her need?
Am I not still the fugitive? unhoused and roaming?
The monster without goal or rest
That like a cataract from rock to rock roared foaming
To the abyss, by greed and frenzy headlong pressed?
She at one side, still with her childlike senses furled,
Upon the alpine meadow in the cottage small,
With all her homely joys and cares, her all,
Within that little world;
And I, the God-detested,
Not enough had I
That all the rocks I wrested
And into pieces made them fly!
Her did I have to undermine, her peace!
Thou, Hell, didst have to have this sacrifice!
Help, Devil, make it brief, this time of agony!
What must be done, let it at once be so!
Then may her fate plunge crushing down on me,
And she with me to ruin go!
Mephistopheles. How it seethes again and how again it glows!
You fool, go and console your pretty dear!
When such a brain as yours no outlet knows,
It straightway fancies that the end is near.
Long life to him who bravely dares!
At other times you've been of quite a devilish mind.
Naught more absurd in this world can I find
Than is a devil who despairs.