Street before MARGERY'S Door.
VALENTINE [soldier, MARGERY'S brother].
When at the mess I used to sit,
Where many a one will show his wit,
And heard my comrades one and all
The flower of the sex extol,
Drowning their praise with bumpers high,
Leaning upon my elbows, I
Would hear the braggadocios through,
And then, when it came my turn, too,
Would stroke my beard and, smiling, say,
A brimming bumper in my hand:
All very decent in their way!
But is there one, in all the land,
With my sweet Margy to compare,
A candle to hold to my sister fair?
Bravo! Kling! Klang! it echoed round!
One party cried: 'tis truth he speaks,
She is the jewel of the sex!
And the braggarts all in silence were bound.
And now!--one could pull out his hair with vexation,
And run up the walls for mortification!--
Every two-legged creature that goes in breeches
Can mock me with sneers and stinging speeches!
And I like a guilty debtor sitting,
For fear of each casual word am sweating!
And though I could smash them in my ire,
I dare not call a soul of them liar.
What's that comes yonder, sneaking along?
There are two of them there, if I see not wrong.
Is't he, I'll give him a dose that'll cure him,
He'll not leave the spot alive, I assure him!
How from yon window of the sacristy
The ever-burning lamp sends up its glimmer,
And round the edge grows ever dimmer,
Till in the gloom its flickerings die!
So in my bosom all is nightlike.
A starving tom-cat I feel quite like,
That o'er the fire ladders crawls
Then softly creeps, ground the walls.
My aim's quite virtuous ne'ertheless,
A bit of thievish lust, a bit of wantonness.
I feel it all my members haunting--
The glorious Walpurgis night.
One day--then comes the feast enchanting
That shall all pinings well requite.
Meanwhile can that the casket be, I wonder,
I see behind rise glittering yonder.
Yes, and thou soon shalt have the pleasure
Of lifting out the precious treasure.
I lately 'neath the lid did squint,
Has piles of lion-dollars in't.
But not a jewel? Not a ring?
To deck my mistress not a trinket?
I caught a glimpse of some such thing,
Sort of pearl bracelet I should think it.
That's well! I always like to bear
Some present when I visit my fair.
You should not murmur if your fate is,
To have a bit of pleasure gratis.
Now, as the stars fill heaven with their bright throng,
List a fine piece, artistic purely:
I sing her here a moral song,
To make a fool of her more surely.
[Sings to the guitar.]
What dost thou here,
At daybreak drear,
Before thy lover's chamber?
Give o'er, give o'er!
The maid his door
Lets in, no more
Goes out a maid--remember!
Take heed! take heed!
Once done, the deed
Ye'll rue with speed--
And then--good night--poor thing--a!
Though ne'er so fair
His speech, beware,
Until you bear
His ring upon your finger.
Valentine [comes forward].
Whom lur'ft thou here? what prey dost scent?
Rat-catching offspring of perdition!
To hell goes first the instrument!
To hell then follows the musician!
He 's broken the guitar! to music, then, good-bye, now.
A game of cracking skulls we'll try now!
Mephistopbeles [to Faust].
Never you flinch, Sir Doctor! Brisk!
Mind every word I say---be wary!
Stand close by me, out with your whisk!
Thrust home upon the churl! I'll parry.
Then parry that!
Be sure. Why not?
The devil's aid he's got!
But what is this? My hand's already lame.
Mephistopheles [to Faust].
Now is the lubber tame!
But come! We must be off. I hear a clatter;
And cries of murder, too, that fast increase.
I'm an old hand to manage the police,
But then the penal court's another matter.
Come out! Come out!
Margery [at the window].
Bring on a light!
Martha [as above].
They swear and scuffle, scream and fight.
There's one, has got's death-blow!
Martha [coming out].
Where are the murderers, have they flown?
Margery [coming out].
Who's lying here?
Thy mother's son.
Almighty God! What woe!
I'm dying! that is quickly said,
And even quicklier done.
Women! Why howl, as if half-dead?
Come, hear me, every one!
[All gather round him.]
My Margery, look! Young art thou still,
But managest thy matters ill,
Hast not learned out yet quite.
I say in confidence--think it o'er:
Thou art just once for all a whore;
Why, be one, then, outright.
My brother! God! What words to me!
In this game let our Lord God be!
That which is done, alas! is done.
And every thing its course will run.
With one you secretly begin,
Presently more of them come in,
And when a dozen share in thee,
Thou art the whole town's property.
When shame is born to this world of sorrow,
The birth is carefully hid from sight,
And the mysterious veil of night
To cover her head they borrow;
Yes, they would gladly stifle the wearer;
But as she grows and holds herself high,
She walks uncovered in day's broad eye,
Though she has not become a whit fairer.
The uglier her face to sight,
The more she courts the noonday light.
Already I the time can see
When all good souls shall shrink from thee,
Thou prostitute, when thou go'st by them,
As if a tainted corpse were nigh them.
Thy heart within thy breast shall quake then,
When they look thee in the face.
Shalt wear no gold chain more on thy neck then!
Shalt stand no more in the holy place!
No pleasure in point-lace collars take then,
Nor for the dance thy person deck then!
But into some dark corner gliding,
'Mong beggars and cripples wilt be hiding;
And even should God thy sin forgive,
Wilt be curs'd on earth while thou shalt live!
Your soul to the mercy of God surrender!
Will you add to your load the sin of slander?
Could I get at thy dried-up frame,
Vile bawd, so lost to all sense of shame!
Then might I hope, e'en this side Heaven,
Richly to find my sins forgiven.
My brother! This is hell to me!
I tell thee, let these weak tears be!
When thy last hold of honor broke,
Thou gav'st my heart the heaviest stroke.
I'm going home now through the grave
To God, a soldier and a brave.