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Faust; a Tragedy.  Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Chapter 5. AUERBACH'S CELLAR IN LEIPSIC
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Carousal of Jolly Companions.

Frosch.
Will nobody drink? Stop those grimaces!
I'll teach you how to be cutting your faces!
Laugh out! You're like wet straw to-day,
And blaze, at other times, like dry hay.

Brander.
'Tis all your fault; no food for fun you bring,
Not a nonsensical nor nasty thing.

Frosch [dashes a glass of wine over his bead].
There you have both!

Brander.
You hog twice o'er!

Frosch.
You wanted it, what would you more?

Siebel Out of the door with them that brawl!
Strike up a round; swill, shout there, one and all!
Wake up! Hurra!

Altmayer.
Woe's me, I'm lost! Bring cotton!
The rascal splits my ear-drum.

Siebel.
Only shout on!
When all the arches ring and yell,
Then does the base make felt its true ground-swell.

Frosch.
That's right, just throw him out, who undertakes to fret!
A! tara! lara da!

Altmayer.
A! tara! lara da!

Frosch.
Our whistles all are wet.
[Sings.]
The dear old holy Romish realm,
What holds it still together?

Brander.
A sorry song! Fie! a political song!
A tiresome song! Thank God each morning therefor,
That you have not the Romish realm to care for!
At least I count it a great gain that He
Kaiser nor chancellor has made of me.
E'en we can't do without a head, however;
To choose a pope let us endeavour.
You know what qualification throws
The casting vote and the true man shows.

Frosch [sings].
Lady Nightingale, upward soar,
Greet me my darling ten thousand times o'er.

Siebel.
No greetings to that girl! Who does so, I resent it!

Frosch.
A greeting and a kiss! And you will not prevent it!
[Sings.]
Draw the bolts! the night is clear.
Draw the bolts! Love watches near.
Close the bolts! the dawn is here.

Siebel.
Ay, sing away and praise and glorify your dear!
Soon I shall have my time for laughter.
The jade has jilted me, and will you too hereafter;
May Kobold, for a lover, be her luck!
At night may he upon the cross-way meet her;
Or, coming from the Blocksberg, some old buck
May, as he gallops by, a good-night bleat her!
A fellow fine of real flesh and blood
Is for the wench a deal too good.
She'll get from me but one love-token,
That is to have her window broken!

Brander [striking on the table].
Attend! attend! To me give ear!
I know what's life, ye gents, confess it:
We've lovesick people sitting near,
And it is proper they should hear
A good-night strain as well as I can dress it.
Give heed! And hear a bran-new song!
Join in the chorus loud and strong!
[He sings.]
A rat in the cellar had built his nest,
He daily grew sleeker and smoother,
He lined his paunch from larder and chest,
And was portly as Doctor Luther.
The cook had set him poison one day;
From that time forward he pined away
As if he had love in his body.

Chorus [flouting].
As if he had love in his body.

Brander.
He raced about with a terrible touse,
From all the puddles went swilling,
He gnawed and he scratched all over the house,
His pain there was no stilling;
He made full many a jump of distress,
And soon the poor beast got enough, I guess,
As if he had love in his body.

Chorus.
As if he had love in his body.

Brander.
With pain he ran, in open day,
Right up into the kitchen;
He fell on the hearth and there he lay
Gasping and moaning and twitchin'.
Then laughed the poisoner: "He! he! he!
He's piping on the last hole," said she,
"As if he had love in his body."

Chorus.
As if he had love in his body.

Siebel.
Just hear now how the ninnies giggle!
That's what I call a genuine art,
To make poor rats with poison wriggle!

Brander.
You take their case so much to heart?

Altmayer.
The bald pate and the butter-belly!
The sad tale makes him mild and tame;
He sees in the swollen rat, poor fellow!
His own true likeness set in a frame.

FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES.

Mephistopheles.
Now, first of all, 'tis necessary
To show you people making merry,
That you may see how lightly life can run.
Each day to this small folk's a feast of fun;
Not over-witty, self-contented,
Still round and round in circle-dance they whirl,
As with their tails young kittens twirl.
If with no headache they're tormented,
Nor dunned by landlord for his pay,
They're careless, unconcerned, and gay.

Brander.
They're fresh from travel, one might know it,
Their air and manner plainly show it;
They came here not an hour ago.

Frosch.
Thou verily art right! My Leipsic well I know!
Paris in small it is, and cultivates its people.

Siebel.
What do the strangers seem to thee?

Frosch.
Just let me go! When wine our friendship mellows,
Easy as drawing a child's tooth 'twill be
To worm their secrets out of these two fellows.
They're of a noble house, I dare to swear,
They have a proud and discontented air.

Brander.
They're mountebanks, I'll bet a dollar!

Altmayer.
Perhaps.

Frosch.
I'll smoke them, mark you that!

Mephistopheles [to Faust].
These people never smell the old rat,
E'en when he has them by the collar.

Faust.
Fair greeting to you, sirs!

Siebel.
The same, and thanks to boot.
[In a low tone, faking a side look at MEPHISTOPHELES.]
Why has the churl one halting foot?

Mephistopheles.
With your permission, shall we make one party?
Instead of a good drink, which get here no one can,
Good company must make us hearty.

Altmayer.
You seem a very fastidious man.

Frosch.
I think you spent some time at Rippach lately?
You supped with Mister Hans not long since, I dare say?

Mephistopheles.
We passed him on the road today!
Fine man! it grieved us parting with him, greatly.
He'd much to say to us about his cousins,
And sent to each, through us, his compliments by dozens.
[He bows to FROSCH.]

Altmayer [softly].
You've got it there! he takes!

Siebel.
The chap don't want for wit!

Frosch.
I'll have him next time, wait a bit!

Mephistopheles.
If I mistook not, didn't we hear
Some well-trained voices chorus singing?
'Faith, music must sound finely here.
From all these echoing arches ringing!

Frosch.
You are perhaps a connoisseur?

Mephistopheles.
O no! my powers are small, I'm but an amateur.

Altmayer.
Give us a song!

Mephistopheles.
As many's you desire.

Siebel.
But let it be a bran-new strain!

Mephistopheles.
No fear of that! We've just come back from Spain,
The lovely land of wine and song and lyre.
[Sings.]
There was a king, right stately,
Who had a great, big flea,--

Frosch.
Hear him! A flea! D'ye take there, boys? A flea!
I call that genteel company.

Mephistopheles [resumes].
There was a king, right stately,
Who had a great, big flea,
And loved him very greatly,
As if his own son were he.
He called the knight of stitches;
The tailor came straightway:
Ho! measure the youngster for breeches,
And make him a coat to-day!

Brander.
But don't forget to charge the knight of stitches,
The measure carefully to take,
And, as he loves his precious neck,
To leave no wrinkles in the breeches.

Mephistopheles.
In silk and velvet splendid
The creature now was drest,
To his coat were ribbons appended,
A cross was on his breast.
He had a great star on his collar,
Was a minister, in short;
And his relatives, greater and smaller,
Became great people at court.

The lords and ladies of honor
Fared worse than if they were hung,
The queen, she got them upon her,
And all were bitten and stung,
And did not dare to attack them,
Nor scratch, but let them stick.
We choke them and we crack them
The moment we feel one prick.

Chorus [loud].
We choke 'em and we crack 'em
The moment we feel one prick.

Frosch.
Bravo! Bravo! That was fine!

Siebel.
So shall each flea his life resign!

Brander.
Point your fingers and nip them fine!

Altmayer.
Hurra for Liberty! Hurra for Wine!

Mephistopheles.
I'd pledge the goddess, too, to show how high I set her,
Right gladly, if your wines were just a trifle better.

Siebel.
Don't say that thing again, you fretter!

Mephistopheles.
Did I not fear the landlord to affront;
I'd show these worthy guests this minute
What kind of stuff our stock has in it.

Siebel.
Just bring it on! I'll bear the brunt.

Frosch.
Give us a brimming glass, our praise shall then be ample,
But don't dole out too small a sample;
For if I'm to judge and criticize,
I need a good mouthful to make me wise.

Altmayer [softly].
They're from the Rhine, as near as I can make it.

Mephistopheles.
Bring us a gimlet here!

Brander.
What shall be done with that?
You've not the casks before the door, I take it?

Altmayer.
The landlord's tool-chest there is easily got at.

Mephistopheles [takes the gimlet] (to Frosch).
What will you have? It costs but speaking.

Frosch.
How do you mean? Have you so many kinds?

Mephistopheles.
Enough to suit all sorts of minds.

Altmayer.
Aha! old sot, your lips already licking!

Frosch.
Well, then! if I must choose, let Rhine-wine fill my beaker,
Our fatherland supplies the noblest liquor.

MEPHISTOPHELES
[boring a hole in the rim of the table near the place
where FROSCH sits].
Get us a little wax right off to make the stoppers!

Altmayer.
Ah, these are jugglers' tricks, and whappers!

Mephistopheles [to Brander].
And you?

Brander.
Champaigne's the wine for me,
But then right sparkling it must be!

[MEPHISTOPHELES bores; meanwhile one of them has made
the wax-stoppers and stopped the holes.]

Brander.
Hankerings for foreign things will sometimes haunt you,
The good so far one often finds;
Your real German man can't bear the French, I grant you,
And yet will gladly drink their wines.

Siebel [while Mephistopheles approaches his seat].
I don't like sour, it sets my mouth awry,
Let mine have real sweetness in it!

Mephistopheles [bores].
Well, you shall have Tokay this minute.

Altmayer.
No, sirs, just look me in the eye!
I see through this, 'tis what the chaps call smoking.

Mephistopheles.
Come now! That would be serious joking,
To make so free with worthy men.
But quickly now! Speak out again!
With what description can I serve you?

Altmayer.
Wait not to ask; with any, then.

[After all the holes are bored and stopped.]

Mephistopheles [with singular gestures].
From the vine-stock grapes we pluck;
Horns grow on the buck;
Wine is juicy, the wooden table,
Like wooden vines, to give wine is able.
An eye for nature's depths receive!
Here is a miracle, only believe!
Now draw the plugs and drink your fill!

ALL
[drawing the stoppers, and catching each in his glass
the wine he had desired].
Sweet spring, that yields us what we will!

Mephistopheles.
Only be careful not a drop to spill!
[They drink repeatedly.]

All [sing].
We're happy all as cannibals,
Five hundred hogs together.

Mephistopheles.
Look at them now, they're happy as can be!

Faust.
To go would suit my inclination.

Mephistopheles.
But first give heed, their bestiality
Will make a glorious demonstration.

SIEBEL
[drinks carelessly; the wine is spilt upon the ground
and turns to flame].
Help! fire! Ho! Help! The flames of hell!

Mephistopheles [conjuring the flame].
Peace, friendly element, be still!
[To the Toper.]
This time 'twas but a drop of fire from purgatory.

Siebel.
What does this mean? Wait there, or you'll be sorry!
It seems you do not know us well.

Frosch.
Not twice, in this way, will it do to joke us!

Altmayer.
I vote, we give him leave himself here scarce to make.

Siebel.
What, sir! How dare you undertake
To carry on here your old hocus-pocus?

Mephistopheles.
Be still, old wine-cask!

Siebel.
Broomstick, you!
Insult to injury add? Confound you!

Brander.
Stop there! Or blows shall rain down round you!

ALTMAYER
[draws a stopper out of the table; fire flies at him].
I burn! I burn!

Siebel.
Foul sorcery! Shame!
Lay on! the rascal is fair game!

[They draw their knives and rush at MEPHISTOPHELES.]

Mephistopheles [with a serious mien].
Word and shape of air!
Change place, new meaning wear!
Be here--and there!

[They stand astounded and look at each other.]

Altmayer.
Where am I? What a charming land!

Frosch.
Vine hills! My eyes! Is't true?

Siebel.
And grapes, too, close at hand!

Brander.
Beneath this green see what a stem is growing!
See what a bunch of grapes is glowing!
[He seizes SIEBEL by the nose. The rest do the same to each
other and raise their knives.]

Mephistopheles [as above].
Loose, Error, from their eyes the band!
How Satan plays his tricks, you need not now be told of.
[He vanishes with FAUST, the companions start back from each
other.]

Siebel.
What ails me?

Altmayer.
How?

Frosch.
Was that thy nose, friend, I had hold of?

Brander [to Siebel].
And I have thine, too, in my hand!

Altmayer.
O what a shock! through all my limbs 'tis crawling!
Get me a chair, be quick, I'm falling!

Frosch.
No, say what was the real case?

Siebel.
O show me where the churl is hiding!
Alive he shall not leave the place!

Altmayer.
Out through the cellar-door I saw him riding--
Upon a cask--he went full chase.--
Heavy as lead my feet are growing.

[Turning towards the table.]

My! If the wine should yet be flowing.

Siebel.
'Twas all deception and moonshine.

Frosch.
Yet I was sure I did drink wine.

Brander.
But how about the bunches, brother?

Altmayer.
After such miracles, I'll doubt no other!