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Faust; a Tragedy.  Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Chapter 14. WOODS AND CAVERN
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Faust [alone].
Spirit sublime, thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
For which I prayed. Thou didst not lift in vain
Thy face upon me in a flame of fire.
Gav'st me majestic nature for a realm,
The power to feel, enjoy her. Not alone
A freezing, formal visit didst thou grant;
Deep down into her breast invitedst me
To look, as if she were a bosom-friend.
The series of animated things
Thou bidst pass by me, teaching me to know
My brothers in the waters, woods, and air.
And when the storm-swept forest creaks and groans,
The giant pine-tree crashes, rending off
The neighboring boughs and limbs, and with deep roar
The thundering mountain echoes to its fall,
To a safe cavern then thou leadest me,
Showst me myself; and my own bosom's deep
Mysterious wonders open on my view.
And when before my sight the moon comes up
With soft effulgence; from the walls of rock,
From the damp thicket, slowly float around
The silvery shadows of a world gone by,
And temper meditation's sterner joy.
O! nothing perfect is vouchsafed to man:
I feel it now! Attendant on this bliss,
Which brings me ever nearer to the Gods,
Thou gav'st me the companion, whom I now
No more can spare, though cold and insolent;
He makes me hate, despise myself, and turns
Thy gifts to nothing with a word--a breath.
He kindles up a wild-fire in my breast,
Of restless longing for that lovely form.
Thus from desire I hurry to enjoyment,
And in enjoyment languish for desire.

Enter MEPHISTOPHELES.

Mephistopheles.
Will not this life have tired you by and bye?
I wonder it so long delights you?
'Tis well enough for once the thing to try;
Then off to where a new invites you!

Faust.
Would thou hadst something else to do,
That thus to spoil my joy thou burnest.

Mephistopheles.
Well! well! I'll leave thee, gladly too!--
Thou dar'st not tell me that in earnest!
'Twere no great loss, a fellow such as you,
So crazy, snappish, and uncivil.
One has, all day, his hands full, and more too;
To worm out from him what he'd have one do,
Or not do, puzzles e'en the very devil.

Faust.
Now, that I like! That's just the tone!
Wants thanks for boring me till I'm half dead!

Mephistopheles.
Poor son of earth, if left alone,
What sort of life wouldst thou have led?
How oft, by methods all my own,
I've chased the cobweb fancies from thy head!
And but for me, to parts unknown
Thou from this earth hadst long since fled.
What dost thou here through cave and crevice groping?
Why like a hornиd owl sit moping?
And why from dripping stone, damp moss, and rotten wood
Here, like a toad, suck in thy food?
Delicious pastime! Ah, I see,
Somewhat of Doctor sticks to thee.

Faust.
What new life-power it gives me, canst thou guess--
This conversation with the wilderness?
Ay, couldst thou dream how sweet the employment,
Thou wouldst be devil enough to grudge me my enjoyment.

Mephistopheles.
Ay, joy from super-earthly fountains!
By night and day to lie upon the mountains,
To clasp in ecstasy both earth and heaven,
Swelled to a deity by fancy's leaven,
Pierce, like a nervous thrill, earth's very marrow,
Feel the whole six days' work for thee too narrow,
To enjoy, I know not what, in blest elation,
Then with thy lavish love o'erflow the whole creation.
Below thy sight the mortal cast,
And to the glorious vision give at last--
[with a gesture]
I must not say what termination!

Faust.
Shame on thee!

Mephistopheles.
This displeases thee; well, surely,
Thou hast a right to say "for shame" demurely.
One must not mention that to chaste ears--never,
Which chaste hearts cannot do without, however.
And, in one word, I grudge you not the pleasure
Of lying to yourself in moderate measure;
But 'twill not hold out long, I know;
Already thou art fast recoiling,
And soon, at this rate, wilt be boiling
With madness or despair and woe.
Enough of this! Thy sweetheart sits there lonely,
And all to her is close and drear.
Her thoughts are on thy image only,
She holds thee, past all utterance, dear.
At first thy passion came bounding and rushing
Like a brooklet o'erflowing with melted snow and rain;
Into her heart thou hast poured it gushing:
And now thy brooklet's dry again.
Methinks, thy woodland throne resigning,
'Twould better suit so great a lord
The poor young monkey to reward
For all the love with which she's pining.
She finds the time dismally long;
Stands at the window, sees the clouds on high
Over the old town-wall go by.
"Were I a little bird!" so runneth her song
All the day, half the night long.
At times she'll be laughing, seldom smile,
At times wept-out she'll seem,
Then again tranquil, you'd deem,--
Lovesick all the while.

Faust.
Viper! Viper!

Mephistopheles [aside].
Ay! and the prey grows riper!

Faust.
Reprobate! take thee far behind me!
No more that lovely woman name!
Bid not desire for her sweet person flame
Through each half-maddened sense, again to blind me!

Mephistopheles.
What then's to do? She fancies thou hast flown,
And more than half she's right, I own.

Faust.
I'm near her, and, though far away, my word,
I'd not forget her, lose her; never fear it!
I envy e'en the body of the Lord,
Oft as those precious lips of hers draw near it.

Mephistopheles.
No doubt; and oft my envious thought reposes
On the twin-pair that feed among the roses.

Faust.
Out, pimp!

Mephistopheles.
Well done! Your jeers I find fair game for laughter.
The God, who made both lad and lass,
Unwilling for a bungling hand to pass,
Made opportunity right after.
But come! fine cause for lamentation!
Her chamber is your destination,
And not the grave, I guess.

Faust.
What are the joys of heaven while her fond arms enfold me?
O let her kindling bosom hold me!
Feel I not always her distress?
The houseless am I not? the unbefriended?
The monster without aim or rest?
That, like a cataract, from rock to rock descended
To the abyss, with maddening greed possest:
She, on its brink, with childlike thoughts and lowly,--
Perched on the little Alpine field her cot,--
This narrow world, so still and holy
Ensphering, like a heaven, her lot.
And I, God's hatred daring,
Could not be content
The rocks all headlong bearing,
By me to ruins rent,--
Her, yea her peace, must I o'erwhelm and bury!
This victim, hell, to thee was necessary!
Help me, thou fiend, the pang soon ending!
What must be, let it quickly be!
And let her fate upon my head descending,
Crush, at one blow, both her and me.

Mephistopheles.
Ha! how it seethes again and glows!
Go in and comfort her, thou dunce!
Where such a dolt no outlet sees or knows,
He thinks he's reached the end at once.
None but the brave deserve the fair!
Thou hast had devil enough to make a decent show of.
For all the world a devil in despair
Is just the insipidest thing I know of.