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Faust; a Tragedy.  Johann Wolfgang Goethe
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[On a low hearth stands a great kettle over the fire. In the smoke,
which rises from it, are seen various forms. A female monkey sits by
the kettle and skims it, and takes care that it does not run over. The
male monkey with the young ones sits close by, warming himself. Walls and
ceiling are adorned 'with the most singular witch-household stuff.]


Would that this vile witch-business were well over!
Dost promise me I shall recover
In this hodge-podge of craziness?
From an old hag do I advice require?
And will this filthy cooked-up mess
My youth by thirty years bring nigher?
Woe's me, if that's the best you know!
Already hope is from my bosom banished.
Has not a noble mind found long ago
Some balsam to restore a youth that's vanished?

My friend, again thou speakest a wise thought!
I know a natural way to make thee young,--none apter!
But in another book it must be sought,
And is a quite peculiar chapter.

I beg to know it.

Well! here's one that needs no pay,
No help of physic, nor enchanting.
Out to the fields without delay,
And take to hacking, digging, planting;
Run the same round from day to day,
A treadmill-life, contented, leading,
With simple fare both mind and body feeding,
Live with the beast as beast, nor count it robbery
Shouldst thou manure, thyself, the field thou reapest;
Follow this course and, trust to me,
For eighty years thy youth thou keepest!

I am not used to that, I ne'er could bring me to it,
To wield the spade, I could not do it.
The narrow life befits me not at all.

So must we on the witch, then, call.

But why just that old hag? Canst thou
Not brew thyself the needful liquor?

That were a pretty pastime now
I'd build about a thousand bridges quicker.
Science and art alone won't do,
The work will call for patience, too;
Costs a still spirit years of occupation:
Time, only, strengthens the fine fermentation.
To tell each thing that forms a part
Would sound to thee like wildest fable!
The devil indeed has taught the art;
To make it not the devil is able.
[Espying the animals.]
See, what a genteel breed we here parade!
This is the house-boy! that's the maid!
[To the animals.]
Where's the old lady gone a mousing?

The animals.
Out she went
By the chimney-vent!

How long does she spend in gadding and storming?

The animals.
While we are giving our paws a warming.

Mephistopheles [to Faust].
How do you find the dainty creatures?

Disgusting as I ever chanced to see!

No! a discourse like this to me,
I own, is one of life's most pleasant features;
[To the animals.]
Say, cursed dolls, that sweat, there, toiling!
What are you twirling with the spoon?

A common beggar-soup we're boiling.

You'll have a run of custom soon.

[Comes along and fawns on MEPHISTOPHELES].
O fling up the dice,
Make me rich in a trice,
Turn fortune's wheel over!
My lot is right bad,
If money I had,
My wits would recover.

The monkey'd be as merry as a cricket,
Would somebody give him a lottery-ticket!

[Meanwhile the young monkeys have been playing with a great
ball, which they roll backward and forward.]

The monkey.
'The world's the ball;
See't rise and fall,
Its roll you follow;
Like glass it rings:
Both, brittle things!
Within 'tis hollow.
There it shines clear,
And brighter here,--
I live--by 'Pollo!--
Dear son, I pray,
Keep hands away!
Thou shalt fall so!
'Tis made of clay,
Pots are, also.

What means the sieve?

The monkey [takes it down].
Wert thou a thief,
'Twould show the thief and shame him.
[Runs to his mate and makes her look through.]
Look through the sieve!
Discern'st thou the thief,
And darest not name him?

Mephistopheles [approaching the fire].
And what's this pot?

The monkeys.
The dunce! I'll be shot!
He knows not the pot,
He knows not the kettle!

Impertinence! Hush!

The monkey.
Here, take you the brush,
And sit on the settle!
[He forces MEPHISTOPHELES to sit down.]

[who all this time has been standing before a looking-glass,
now approaching and now receding from it].

What do I see? What heavenly face
Doth, in this magic glass, enchant me!
O love, in mercy, now, thy swiftest pinions grant me!
And bear me to her field of space!
Ah, if I seek to approach what doth so haunt me,
If from this spot I dare to stir,
Dimly as through a mist I gaze on her!--
The loveliest vision of a woman!
Such lovely woman can there be?
Must I in these reposing limbs naught human.
But of all heavens the finest essence see?
Was such a thing on earth seen ever?

Why, when you see a God six days in hard work spend,
And then cry bravo at the end,
Of course you look for something clever.
Look now thy fill; I have for thee
Just such a jewel, and will lead thee to her;
And happy, whose good fortune it shall be,
To bear her home, a prospered wooer!

[FAUST keeps on looking into the mirror.
stretching himself out on the settle and playing with the brush,
continues speaking.]
Here sit I like a king upon his throne,
The sceptre in my hand,--I want the crown alone.

[who up to this time have been going through all sorts of queer antics
with each other, bring MEPHISTOPHELES a crown with a loud cry].
O do be so good,--
With sweat and with blood,
To take it and lime it;
[They go about clumsily with the crown and break it into two pieces,
with which they jump round.]
'Tis done now! We're free!
We speak and we see,
We hear and we rhyme it;

Faust [facing the mirror].
Woe's me! I've almost lost my wits.

Mephistopheles [pointing to the animals].
My head, too, I confess, is very near to spinning.

The animals.
And then if it hits
And every thing fits,
We've thoughts for our winning.

Faust [as before].
Up to my heart the flame is flying!
Let us begone--there's danger near!

Mephistopheles [in the former position].
Well, this, at least, there's no denying,
That we have undissembled poets here.

[The kettle, which the she-monkey has hitherto left unmatched, begins to
run over; a great flame breaks out, which roars up the chimney. The WITCH
comes riding down through the flame with a terrible outcry.]

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
The damned beast! The cursed sow!
Neglected the kettle, scorched the Frau!
The cursed crew!
And who are you?
And what d'ye do?
And what d'ye want?
And who sneaked in?
The fire-plague grim
Shall light on him
In every limb!

[She makes a dive at the kettle with the skimmer and spatters flames
at FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and the creatures. These last whimper.]

[inverting the brush which he holds in his hand, and striking
among the glasses and pots].

In two! In two!
There lies the brew!
There lies the glass!
This joke must pass;
For time-beat, ass!
To thy melody, 'twill do.
[While the WITCH starts back full of wrath and horror.]
Skeleton! Scarcecrow! Spectre! Know'st thou me,
Thy lord and master? What prevents my dashing
Right in among thy cursed company,
Thyself and all thy monkey spirits smashing?
Has the red waistcoat thy respect no more?
Has the cock's-feather, too, escaped attention?
Hast never seen this face before?
My name, perchance, wouldst have me mention?

The witch.
Pardon the rudeness, sir, in me!
But sure no cloven foot I see.
Nor find I your two ravens either.

I'll let thee off for this once so;
For a long while has passed, full well I know,
Since the last time we met together.
The culture, too, which licks the world to shape,
The devil himself cannot escape;
The phantom of the North men's thoughts have left behind them,
Horns, tail, and claws, where now d'ye find them?
And for the foot, with which dispense I nowise can,
'Twould with good circles hurt my standing;
And so I've worn, some years, like many a fine young man,
False calves to make me more commanding.

The witch [dancing].
O I shall lose my wits, I fear,
Do I, again, see Squire Satan here!

Woman, the name offends my ear!

The witch.
Why so? What has it done to you?

It has long since to fable-books been banished;
But men are none the better for it; true,
The wicked one, but not the wicked ones, has vanished.
Herr Baron callst thou me, then all is right and good;
I am a cavalier, like others. Doubt me?
Doubt for a moment of my noble blood?
See here the family arms I bear about me!
[He makes an indecent gesture.]

The witch [laughs immoderately].
Ha! ha! full well I know you, sir!
You are the same old rogue you always were!

Mephistopheles [to Faust].
I pray you, carefully attend,
This is the way to deal with witches, friend.

The witch.
Now, gentles, what shall I produce?

A right good glassful of the well-known juice!
And pray you, let it be the oldest;
Age makes it doubly strong for use.

The witch.
Right gladly! Here I have a bottle,
From which, at times, I wet my throttle;
Which now, not in the slightest, stinks;
A glass to you I don't mind giving;
But if this man, without preparing, drinks,
He has not, well you know, another hour for living.


'Tis a good friend of mine, whom it shall straight cheer up;
Thy kitchen's best to give him don't delay thee.
Thy ring--thy spell, now, quick, I pray thee,
And give him then a good full cup.

[The WITCH, with strange gestures, draws a circle, and places singular
things in it; mean-while the glasses begin to ring, the kettle to sound
and make music. Finally, she brings a great book and places the monkeys in
the circle, whom she uses as a reading-desk and to hold the torches. She
beckons FAUST to come to her.]

Faust [to Mephistopheles].
Hold! what will come of this? These creatures,
These frantic gestures and distorted features,
And all the crazy, juggling fluff,
I've known and loathed it long enough!

Pugh! that is only done to smoke us;
Don't be so serious, my man!
She must, as Doctor, play her hocus-pocus
To make the dose work better, that's the plan.
[He constrains FAUST to step into the circle.]

[beginning with great emphasis to declaim out of the book]

Remember then!
Of One make Ten,
The Two let be,
Make even Three,
There's wealth for thee.
The Four pass o'er!
Of Five and Six,
(The witch so speaks,)
Make Seven and Eight,
The thing is straight:
And Nine is One
And Ten is none--
This is the witch's one-time-one!

The old hag talks like one delirious.

There's much more still, no less mysterious,
I know it well, the whole book sounds just so!
I've lost full many a year in poring o'er it,
For perfect contradiction, you must know,
A mystery stands, and fools and wise men bow before it,
The art is old and new, my son.
Men, in all times, by craft and terror,
With One and Three, and Three and One,
For truth have propagated error.
They've gone on gabbling so a thousand years;
Who on the fools would waste a minute?
Man generally thinks, if words he only hears,
Articulated noise must have some meaning in it.

The witch [goes on].
Deep wisdom's power
Has, to this hour,
From all the world been hidden!
Whoso thinks not,
To him 'tis brought,
To him it comes unbidden.

What nonsense is she talking here?
My heart is on the point of cracking.
In one great choir I seem to hear
A hundred thousand ninnies clacking.

Enough, enough, rare Sibyl, sing us
These runes no more, thy beverage bring us,
And quickly fill the goblet to the brim;
This drink may by my friend be safely taken:
Full many grades the man can reckon,
Many good swigs have entered him.

[The WITCH, with many ceremonies, pours the drink into a cup;
as she puts it to FAUST'S lips, there rises a light flame.]

Down with it! Gulp it down! 'Twill prove
All that thy heart's wild wants desire.
Thou, with the devil, hand and glove,
And yet wilt be afraid of fire?

[The WITCH breaks the circle; FAUST steps out.]

Now briskly forth! No rest for thee!

The witch.
Much comfort may the drink afford you!

Mephistopheles [to the witch].
And any favor you may ask of me,
I'll gladly on Walpurgis' night accord you.

The witch.
Here is a song, which if you sometimes sing,
'Twill stir up in your heart a special fire.

Mephistopheles [to Faust].
Only make haste; and even shouldst thou tire,
Still follow me; one must perspire,
That it may set his nerves all quivering.
I'll teach thee by and bye to prize a noble leisure,
And soon, too, shalt thou feel with hearty pleasure,
How busy Cupid stirs, and shakes his nimble wing.

But first one look in yonder glass, I pray thee!
Such beauty I no more may find!

Nay! in the flesh thine eyes shall soon display thee
The model of all woman-kind.
Soon will, when once this drink shall heat thee,
In every girl a Helen meet thee!