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Faust; a Tragedy.  Johann Wolfgang Goethe
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Pedestrians of all descriptions stroll forth.

Mechanics' Apprentices.
Where are you going to carouse?

We're all going out to the Hunter's House.

The First.
We're going, ourselves, out to the Mill-House, brothers.

An Apprentice.
The Fountain-House I rather recommend.

'Tis not a pleasant road, my friend.

The second group.
What will you do, then?

A Third.
I go with the others.

Come up to Burgdorf, there you're sure to find good cheer,
The handsomest of girls and best of beer,
And rows, too, of the very first water.

You monstrous madcap, does your skin
Itch for the third time to try that inn?
I've had enough for my taste in that quarter.

No! I'm going back again to town for one.

Under those poplars we are sure to meet him.

First Girl.
But that for me is no great fun;
For you are always sure to get him,
He never dances with any but you.
Great good to me your luck will do!

He's not alone, I heard him say,
The curly-head would be with him to-day.

Stars! how the buxom wenches stride there!
Quick, brother! we must fasten alongside there.
Strong beer, good smart tobacco, and the waist
Of a right handsome gall, well rigg'd, now that's my taste.

Citizen's Daughter.
Do see those fine, young fellows yonder!
'Tis, I declare, a great disgrace;
When they might have the very best, I wonder,
After these galls they needs must race!

Second scholar [to the first].
Stop! not so fast! there come two more behind,
My eyes! but ain't they dressed up neatly?
One is my neighbor, or I'm blind;
I love the girl, she looks so sweetly.
Alone all quietly they go,
You'll find they'll take us, by and bye, in tow.

No, brother! I don't like these starched up ways.
Make haste! before the game slips through our fingers.
The hand that swings the broom o' Saturdays
On Sundays round thy neck most sweetly lingers.

No, I don't like at all this new-made burgomaster!
His insolence grows daily ever faster.
No good from him the town will get!
Will things grow better with him? Never!
We're under more constraint than ever,
And pay more tax than ever yet.

[Sings.] Good gentlemen, and you, fair ladies,
With such red cheeks and handsome dress,
Think what my melancholy trade is,
And see and pity my distress!
Help the poor harper, sisters, brothers!
Who loves to give, alone is gay.
This day, a holiday to others,
Make it for me a harvest day.

Another citizen.

Sundays and holidays, I like, of all things, a good prattle
Of war and fighting, and the whole array,
When back in Turkey, far away,
The peoples give each other battle.
One stands before the window, drinks his glass,
And sees the ships with flags glide slowly down the river;
Comes home at night, when out of sight they pass,
And sings with joy, "Oh, peace forever!"

Third citizen.
So I say, neighbor! let them have their way,
Crack skulls and in their crazy riot
Turn all things upside down they may,
But leave us here in peace and quiet.

Old Woman [to the citizen's daughter].
Heyday, brave prinking this! the fine young blood!
Who is not smitten that has met you?--
But not so proud! All very good!
And what you want I'll promise soon to get you.

Citizen's Daughter.
Come, Agatha! I dread in public sight
To prattle with such hags; don't stay, O, Luddy!
'Tis true she showed me, on St. Andrew's night,
My future sweetheart in the body.

The other.
She showed me mine, too, in a glass,
Right soldierlike, with daring comrades round him.
I look all round, I study all that pass,
But to this hour I have not found him.

Castles with lowering
Bulwarks and towers,
Maidens with towering
Passions and powers,
Both shall be ours!
Daring the venture,
Glorious the pay!

When the brass trumpet
Summons us loudly,
Joy-ward or death-ward,
On we march proudly.
That is a storming!

Life in its splendor!
Castles and maidens
Both must surrender.
Daring the venture,
Glorious the pay.
There go the soldiers
Marching away!


Spring's warm look has unfettered the fountains,
Brooks go tinkling with silvery feet;
Hope's bright blossoms the valley greet;
Weakly and sickly up the rough mountains
Pale old Winter has made his retreat.
Thence he launches, in sheer despite,
Sleet and hail in impotent showers,
O'er the green lawn as he takes his flight;
But the sun will suffer no white,
Everywhere waking the formative powers,
Living colors he yearns to spread;
Yet, as he finds it too early for flowers,
Gayly dressed people he takes instead.
Look from this height whereon we find us
Back to the town we have left behind us,
Where from the dark and narrow door
Forth a motley multitude pour.
They sun themselves gladly and all are gay,
They celebrate Christ's resurrection to-day.
For have not they themselves arisen?
From smoky huts and hovels and stables,
From labor's bonds and traffic's prison,
From the confinement of roofs and gables,
From many a cramping street and alley,
From churches full of the old world's night,
All have come out to the day's broad light.
See, only see! how the masses sally
Streaming and swarming through gardens and fields
How the broad stream that bathes the valley
Is everywhere cut with pleasure boats' keels,
And that last skiff, so heavily laden,
Almost to sinking, puts off in the stream;
Ribbons and jewels of youngster and maiden
From the far paths of the mountain gleam.
How it hums o'er the fields and clangs from the steeple!
This is the real heaven of the people,
Both great and little are merry and gay,
I am a man, too, I can be, to-day.

With you, Sir Doctor, to go out walking
Is at all times honor and gain enough;
But to trust myself here alone would be shocking,
For I am a foe to all that is rough.
Fiddling and bowling and screams and laughter
To me are the hatefullest noises on earth;
They yell as if Satan himself were after,
And call it music and call it mirth.

[Peasants (under the linden). Dance and song.]

The shepherd prinked him for the dance,
With jacket gay and spangle's glance,
And all his finest quiddle.
And round the linden lass and lad
They wheeled and whirled and danced like mad.
Huzza! huzza!
Huzza! Ha, ha, ha!
And tweedle-dee went the fiddle.

And in he bounded through the whirl,
And with his elbow punched a girl,
Heigh diddle, diddle!
The buxom wench she turned round quick,
"Now that I call a scurvy trick!"
Huzza! huzza!
Huzza! ha, ha, ha!
Tweedle-dee, tweedle-dee went the fiddle.

And petticoats and coat-tails flew
As up and down they went, and through,
Across and down the middle.
They all grew red, they all grew warm,
And rested, panting, arm in arm,
Huzza! huzza!
Tweedle-dee went the fiddle!

"And don't be so familiar there!
How many a one, with speeches fair,
His trusting maid will diddle!"
But still he flattered her aside--
And from the linden sounded wide:
Huzza! huzza!
Huzza! huzza! ha! ha! ha!
And tweedle-dee the fiddle.

Old Peasant. Sir Doctor, this is kind of you,
That with us here you deign to talk,
And through the crowd of folk to-day
A man so highly larned, walk.
So take the fairest pitcher here,
Which we with freshest drink have filled,
I pledge it to you, praying aloud
That, while your thirst thereby is stilled,
So many days as the drops it contains
May fill out the life that to you remains.

Faust. I take the quickening draught and call
For heaven's best blessing on one and all.

[The people form a circle round him.]

Old Peasant. Your presence with us, this glad day,
We take it very kind, indeed!
In truth we've found you long ere this
In evil days a friend in need!
Full many a one stands living here,
Whom, at death's door already laid,
Your father snatched from fever's rage,
When, by his skill, the plague he stayed.
You, a young man, we daily saw
Go with him to the pest-house then,
And many a corpse was carried forth,
But you came out alive again.
With a charmed life you passed before us,
Helped by the Helper watching o'er us.

All. The well-tried man, and may he live,
Long years a helping hand to give!

Faust. Bow down to Him on high who sends
His heavenly help and helping friends!
[He goes on with WAGNER.]

Wagner. What feelings, O great man, thy heart must swell
Thus to receive a people's veneration!
O worthy all congratulation,
Whose gifts to such advantage tell.
The father to his son shows thee with exultation,
All run and crowd and ask, the circle closer draws,
The fiddle stops, the dancers pause,
Thou goest--the lines fall back for thee.
They fling their gay-decked caps on high;
A little more and they would bow the knee
As if the blessed Host came by.

Faust. A few steps further on, until we reach that stone;
There will we rest us from our wandering.
How oft in prayer and penance there alone,
Fasting, I sate, on holy mysteries pondering.
There, rich in hope, in faith still firm,
I've wept, sighed, wrung my hands and striven
This plague's removal to extort (poor worm!)
From the almighty Lord of Heaven.
The crowd's applause has now a scornful tone;
O couldst thou hear my conscience tell its story,
How little either sire or son
Has done to merit such a glory!
My father was a worthy man, confused
And darkened with his narrow lucubrations,
Who with a whimsical, though well-meant patience,
On Nature's holy circles mused.
Shut up in his black laboratory,
Experimenting without end,
'Midst his adepts, till he grew hoary,
He sought the opposing powers to blend.
Thus, a red lion, a bold suitor, married
The silver lily, in the lukewarm bath,
And, from one bride-bed to another harried,
The two were seen to fly before the flaming wrath.
If then, with colors gay and splendid,
The glass the youthful queen revealed,
Here was the physic, death the patients' sufferings ended,
And no one asked, who then was healed?
Thus, with electuaries so satanic,
Worse than the plague with all its panic,
We rioted through hill and vale;
Myself, with my own hands, the drug to thousands giving,
They passed away, and I am living
To hear men's thanks the murderers hail!

Wagner. Forbear! far other name that service merits!
Can a brave man do more or less
Than with nice conscientiousness
To exercise the calling he inherits?
If thou, as youth, thy father honorest,
To learn from him thou wilt desire;
If thou, as man, men with new light hast blest,
Then may thy son to loftier heights aspire.

Faust. O blest! who hopes to find repose,
Up from this mighty sea of error diving!
Man cannot use what he already knows,
To use the unknown ever striving.
But let not such dark thoughts a shadow throw
O'er the bright joy this hour inspires!
See how the setting sun, with ruddy glow,
The green-embosomed hamlet fires!
He sinks and fades, the day is lived and gone,
He hastens forth new scenes of life to waken.
O for a wing to lift and bear me on,
And on, to where his last rays beckon!
Then should I see the world's calm breast
In everlasting sunset glowing,
The summits all on fire, each valley steeped in rest,
The silver brook to golden rivers flowing.
No savage mountain climbing to the skies
Should stay the godlike course with wild abysses;
And now the sea, with sheltering, warm recesses
Spreads out before the astonished eyes.
At last it seems as if the God were sinking;
But a new impulse fires the mind,
Onward I speed, his endless glory drinking,
The day before me and the night behind,
The heavens above my head and under me the ocean.
A lovely dream,--meanwhile he's gone from sight.
Ah! sure, no earthly wing, in swiftest flight,
May with the spirit's wings hold equal motion.
Yet has each soul an inborn feeling
Impelling it to mount and soar away,
When, lost in heaven's blue depths, the lark is pealing
High overhead her airy lay;
When o'er the mountain pine's black shadow,
With outspread wing the eagle sweeps,
And, steering on o'er lake and meadow,
The crane his homeward journey keeps.

Wagner. I've had myself full many a wayward hour,
But never yet felt such a passion's power.
One soon grows tired of field and wood and brook,
I envy not the fowl of heaven his pinions.
Far nobler joy to soar through thought's dominions
From page to page, from book to book!
Ah! winter nights, so dear to mind and soul!
Warm, blissful life through all the limbs is thrilling,
And when thy hands unfold a genuine ancient scroll,
It seems as if all heaven the room were filling.

One passion only has thy heart possessed;
The other, friend, O, learn it never!
Two souls, alas! are lodged in my wild breast,
Which evermore opposing ways endeavor,
The one lives only on the joys of time,
Still to the world with clamp-like organs clinging;
The other leaves this earthly dust and slime,
To fields of sainted sires up-springing.
O, are there spirits in the air,
That empire hold 'twixt earth's and heaven's dominions,
Down from your realm of golden haze repair,
Waft me to new, rich life, upon your rosy pinions!
Ay! were a magic mantle only mine,
To soar o'er earth's wide wildernesses,
I would not sell it for the costliest dresses,
Not for a royal robe the gift resign.

O, call them not, the well known powers of air,
That swarm through all the middle kingdom, weaving
Their fairy webs, with many a fatal snare
The feeble race of men deceiving.
First, the sharp spirit-tooth, from out the North,
And arrowy tongues and fangs come thickly flying;
Then from the East they greedily dart forth,
Sucking thy lungs, thy life-juice drying;
If from the South they come with fever thirst,
Upon thy head noon's fiery splendors heaping;
The Westwind brings a swarm, refreshing first,
Then all thy world with thee in stupor steeping.
They listen gladly, aye on mischief bent,
Gladly draw near, each weak point to espy,
They make believe that they from heaven are sent,
Whispering like angels, while they lie.
But let us go! The earth looks gray, my friend,
The air grows cool, the mists ascend!
At night we learn our homes to prize.--
Why dost thou stop and stare with all thy eyes?
What can so chain thy sight there, in the gloaming?

Seest thou that black dog through stalks and stubble roaming?

I saw him some time since, he seemed not strange to me.

Look sharply! What dost take the beast to be?

For some poor poodle who has lost his master,
And, dog-like, scents him o'er the ground.

Markst thou how, ever nearer, ever faster,
Towards us his spiral track wheels round and round?
And if my senses suffer no confusion,
Behind him trails a fiery glare.

'Tis probably an optical illusion;
I still see only a black poodle there.

He seems to me as he were tracing slyly
His magic rings our feet at last to snare.

To me he seems to dart around our steps so shyly,
As if he said: is one of them my master there?

The circle narrows, he is near!

Thou seest! a dog we have, no spectre, here!
He growls and stops, crawls on his belly, too,
And wags his tail,--as all dogs do.

Come here, sir! come, our comrade be!

He has a poodle's drollery.
Stand still, and he, too, waits to see;
Speak to him, and he jumps on thee;
Lose something, drop thy cane or sling it
Into the stream, he'll run and bring it.

I think you're right; I trace no spirit here,
'Tis all the fruit of training, that is clear.

A well-trained dog is a great treasure,
Wise men in such will oft take pleasure.
And he deserves your favor and a collar,
He, of the students the accomplished scholar.

[They go in through the town gate.]