Accursed folk! How dare you venture thus? Had you not, long since, demonstration That ghosts can't stand on ordinary foundation? And now you even dance, like one of us!
THE FAIR ONE (dancing)
Why does he come, then, to our ball?
O, everywhere on him you fall! When others dance, he weighs the matter: If he can't every step bechatter, Then 'tis the same as were the step not made; But if you forwards go, his ire is most displayed. If you would whirl in regular gyration As he does in his dull old mill, He'd show, at any rate, good-will,— Especially if you heard and heeded his hortation.
You still are here? Nay, 'tis a thing unheard! Vanish, at once! We've said the enlightening word. The pack of devils by no rules is daunted: We are so wise, and yet is Tegel haunted. To clear the folly out, how have I swept and stirred! Twill ne'er be clean: why, 'tis a thing unheard!
THE FAIR ONE
Then cease to bore us at our ball!
I tell you, spirits, to your face, I give to spirit-despotism no place; My spirit cannot practise it at all.
(The dance continues)
Naught will succeed, I see, amid such revels; Yet something from a tour I always save, And hope, before my last step to the grave, To overcome the poets and the devils.
He now will seat him in the nearest puddle; The solace this, whereof he's most assured: And when upon his rump the leeches hang and fuddle, He'll be of spirits and of Spirit cured.
(To FAUST, who has left the dance:)
Wherefore forsakest thou the lovely maiden, That in the dance so sweetly sang?
Ah! in the midst of it there sprang A red mouse from her mouth—sufficient reason.
That's nothing! One must not so squeamish be; So the mouse was not gray, enough for thee. Who'd think of that in love's selected season?
Then saw I—.
Mephisto, seest thou there, Alone and far, a girl most pale and fair? She falters on, her way scarce knowing, As if with fettered feet that stay her going. I must confess, it seems to me As if my kindly Margaret were she.
Let the thing be! All thence have evil drawn: It is a magic shape, a lifeless eidolon. Such to encounter is not good: Their blank, set stare benumbs the human blood, And one is almost turned to stone. Medusa's tale to thee is known.
Forsooth, the eyes they are of one whom, dying, No hand with loving pressure closed; That is the breast whereon I once was lying,— The body sweet, beside which I reposed!
Tis magic all, thou fool, seduced so easily! Unto each man his love she seems to be.
The woe, the rapture, so ensnare me, That from her gaze I cannot tear me! And, strange! around her fairest throat A single scarlet band is gleaming, No broader than a knife-blade seeming!
Quite right! The mark I also note. Her head beneath her arm she'll sometimes carry; Twas Perseus lopped it, her old adversary. Thou crav'st the same illusion still! Come, let us mount this little hill; The Prater shows no livelier stir, And, if they've not bewitched my sense, I verily see a theatre. What's going on?
SERVIBILIS 'Twill shortly recommence: A new performance—'tis the last of seven. To give that number is the custom here: 'Twas by a Dilettante written, And Dilettanti in the parts appear. That now I vanish, pardon, I entreat you! As Dilettante I the curtain raise.
MEPHISTOPHELES When I upon the Blocksberg meet you, I find it good: for that's your proper place.
OBERON AND TITANIA's GOLDEN WEDDING
Sons of Mieding, rest to-day! Needless your machinery: Misty vale and mountain gray, That is all the scenery.
That the wedding golden be. Must fifty years be rounded: But the Golden give to me, When the strife's compounded.
Spirits, if you're here, be seen— Show yourselves, delighted! Fairy king and fairy queen, They are newly plighted.
Cometh Puck, and, light of limb, Whisks and whirls in measure: Come a hundred after him, To share with him the pleasure.
Ariel's song is heavenly-pure, His tones are sweet and rare ones: Though ugly faces he allure, Yet he allures the fair ones.
Spouses, who would fain agree, Learn how we were mated! If your pairs would loving be, First be separated!
If her whims the wife control, And the man berate her, Take him to the Northern Pole, And her to the Equator!
Snout of fly, mosquito-bill, And kin of all conditions, Frog in grass, and cricket-trill,— These are the musicians!
See the bagpipe on our track! 'Tis the soap-blown bubble: Hear the schnecke-schnicke-schnack Through his nostrils double!
SPIRIT, JUST GROWING INTO FORM
Spider's foot and paunch of toad, And little wings—we know 'em! A little creature 'twill not be, But yet, a little poem.
A LITTLE COUPLE
Little step and lofty leap Through honey-dew and fragrance: You'll never mount the airy steep With all your tripping vagrance.
Is't but masquerading play? See I with precision? Oberon, the beauteous fay, Meets, to-night, my vision!
Not a claw, no tail I see! And yet, beyond a cavil, Like "the Gods of Greece," must he Also be a devil.
I only seize, with sketchy air, Some outlines of the tourney; Yet I betimes myself prepare For my Italian journey.
My bad luck brings me here, alas! How roars the orgy louder! And of the witches in the mass, But only two wear powder.
Powder becomes, like petticoat, A gray and wrinkled noddy; So I sit naked on my goat, And show a strapping body.
We've too much tact and policy To rate with gibes a scolder; Yet, young and tender though you be, I hope to see you moulder.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Fly-snout and mosquito-bill, Don't swarm so round the Naked! Frog in grass and cricket-trill, Observe the time, and make it!
WEATHERCOCK (towards one side)
Society to one's desire! Brides only, and the sweetest! And bachelors of youth and fire. And prospects the completest!
WEATHERCOCK (towards the other side)
And if the Earth don't open now To swallow up each ranter, Why, then will I myself, I vow, Jump into hell instanter!
Us as little insects see! With sharpest nippers flitting, That our Papa Satan we May honor as is fitting.
How, in crowds together massed, They are jesting, shameless! They will even say, at last, That their hearts are blameless.
Among this witches' revelry His way one gladly loses; And, truly, it would easier be Than to command the Muses.
CI-DEVANT GENIUS OF THE AGE
The proper folks one's talents laud: Come on, and none shall pass us! The Blocksberg has a summit broad, Like Germany's Parnassus.
Say, who's the stiff and pompous man? He walks with haughty paces: He snuffles all he snuffle can: "He scents the Jesuits' traces."
Both clear and muddy streams, for me Are good to fish and sport in: And thus the pious man you see With even devils consorting.
Yes, for the pious, I suspect, All instruments are fitting; And on the Blocksberg they erect Full many a place of meeting.
A newer chorus now succeeds! I hear the distant drumming. "Don't be disturbed! 'tis, in the reeds, The bittern's changeless booming."
How each his legs in nimble trip Lifts up, and makes a clearance! The crooked jump, the heavy skip, Nor care for the appearance.
The rabble by such hate are held, To maim and slay delights them: As Orpheus' lyre the brutes compelled, The bagpipe here unites them.
I'll not be led by any lure Of doubts or critic-cavils: The Devil must be something, sure,— Or how should there be devils?
This once, the fancy wrought in me Is really too despotic: Forsooth, if I am all I see, I must be idiotic!
This racking fuss on every hand, It gives me great vexation; And, for the first time, here I stand On insecure foundation.
With much delight I see the play, And grant to these their merits, Since from the devils I also may Infer the better spirits.
The flame they follow, on and on, And think they're near the treasure: But Devil rhymes with Doubt alone, So I am here with pleasure.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Frog in green, and cricket-trill. Such dilettants!—perdition! Fly-snout and mosquito-bill,— Each one's a fine musician!
Sans souci, we call the clan Of merry creatures so, then; Go a-foot no more we can, And on our heads we go, then.
Once many a bit we sponged, but now, God help us! that is done with: Our shoes are all danced out, we trow, We've but naked soles to run with.
From the marshes we appear, Where we originated; Yet in the ranks, at once, we're here As glittering gallants rated.
Darting hither from the sky, In star and fire light shooting, Cross-wise now in grass I lie: Who'll help me to my footing?
THE HEAVY FELLOWS
Room! and round about us, room! Trodden are the grasses: Spirits also, spirits come, And they are bulky masses.
Enter not so stall-fed quite, Like elephant-calves about one! And the heaviest weight to-night Be Puck, himself, the stout one!
If loving Nature at your back, Or Mind, the wings uncloses, Follow up my airy track To the mount of roses!
pianissimo Cloud and trailing mist o'erhead Are now illuminated: Air in leaves, and wind in reed, And all is dissipated.
In misery! In despair! Long wretchedly astray on the face of the earth, and now imprisoned! That gracious, ill-starred creature shut in a dungeon as a criminal, and given up to fearful torments! To this has it come! to this!—Treacherous, contemptible spirit, and thou hast concealed it from me!—Stand, then,—stand! Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in thy head! Stand and defy me with thine intolerable presence! Imprisoned! In irretrievable misery! Delivered up to evil spirits, and to condemning, unfeeling Man! And thou hast lulled me, meanwhile, with the most insipid dissipations, hast concealed from me her increasing wretchedness, and suffered her to go helplessly to ruin!
She is not the first.
Dog! Abominable monster! Transform him, thou Infinite Spirit! transform the reptile again into his dog-shape? in which it pleased him often at night to scamper on before me, to roll himself at the feet of the unsuspecting wanderer, and hang upon his shoulders when he fell! Transform him again into his favorite likeness, that he may crawl upon his belly in the dust before me,—that I may trample him, the outlawed, under foot! Not the first! O woe! woe which no human soul can grasp, that more than one being should sink into the depths of this misery,—that the first, in its writhing death-agony under the eyes of the Eternal Forgiver, did not expiate the guilt of all others! The misery of this single one pierces to the very marrow of my life; and thou art calmly grinning at the fate of thousands!
Now we are already again at the end of our wits, where the understanding of you men runs wild. Why didst thou enter into fellowship with us, if thou canst not carry it out? Wilt fly, and art not secure against dizziness? Did we thrust ourselves upon thee, or thou thyself upon us?
Gnash not thus thy devouring teeth at me? It fills me with horrible disgust. Mighty, glorious Spirit, who hast vouchsafed to me Thine apparition, who knowest my heart and my soul, why fetter me to the felon-comrade, who feeds on mischief and gluts himself with ruin?
Hast thou done?
Rescue her, or woe to thee! The fearfullest curse be upon thee for thousands of ages!
I cannot loosen the bonds of the Avenger, nor undo his bolts. Rescue her? Who was it that plunged her into ruin? I, or thou?
(FAUST looks around wildly.)
Wilt thou grasp the thunder? Well that it has not been given to you, miserable mortals! To crush to pieces the innocent respondent—that is the tyrant-fashion of relieving one's self in embarrassments.
Take me thither! She shall be free!
And the danger to which thou wilt expose thyself? Know that the guilt of blood, from thy hand, still lies upon the town! Avenging spirits hover over the spot where the victim fell, and lie in wait for the returning murderer.
That, too, from thee? Murder and death of a world upon thee, monster! Take me thither, I say, and liberate her!
I will convey thee there; and hear, what I can do! Have I all the power in Heaven and on Earth? I will becloud the jailer's senses: get possession of the key, and lead her forth with human hand! I will keep watch: the magic steeds are ready, I will carry you off. So much is in my power.
Up and away!
(FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES speeding onward on black horses.)
What weave they there round the raven-stone?
I know not what they are brewing and doing.
Soaring up, sweeping down, bowing and bending!
They scatter, devote and doom!
(with a bunch of keys and a lamp, before an iron door)
A shudder, long unfelt, comes o'er me; Mankind's collected woe o'erwhelms me, here. She dwells within the dark, damp walls before me, And all her crime was a delusion dear! What! I delay to free her? I dread, once again to see her? On! my shrinking but lingers Death more near.
(He grasps the lock: the sound of singing is heard inside.)
My mother, the harlot, Who put me to death; My father, the varlet, Who eaten me hath! Little sister, so good, Laid my bones in the wood, In the damp moss and clay: Then was I a beautiful bird o' the wood; Fly away! Fly away!
She does not dream her lover listens near; That he the rattling chain, the rustling straw, can hear.
MARGARET (hiding herself on the pallet) Woe! woe! They come. O death of bitterness!
FAUST (whispering) Hush! hush! The hour is come that frees thee.
MARGARET (throwing herself before him) Art thou a man, then pity my distress!
FAUST Thy cries will wake the guards, and they will seize thee! (He takes hold of the fetters to unlock them.)
MARGARET (on her knees)
Who, headsman! unto thee such power Over me could give? Thou'rt come for me at midnight-hour: Have mercy on me, let me live! Is't not soon enough when morning chime has run?
And I am yet so young, so young! And now Death comes, and ruin! I, too, was fair, and that was my undoing. My love was near, but now he's far; Torn lies the wreath, scattered the blossoms are. Seize me not thus so violently! Spare me! What have I done to thee? Let me not vainly entreat thee! I never chanced, in all my days, to meet thee!
Shall I outlive this misery?
Now am I wholly in thy might. But let me suckle, first, my baby! I blissed it all this livelong night; They took 't away, to vex me, maybe, And now they say I killed the child outright. And never shall I be glad again. They sing songs about me! 'tis bad of the folk to do it! There's an old story has the same refrain; Who bade them so construe it?
FAUST (falling upon his knees)
Here lieth one who loves thee ever, The thraldom of thy woe to sever.
MARGARET (flinging herself beside him)
O let us kneel, and call the Saints to hide us! Under the steps beside us, The threshold under, Hell heaves in thunder! The Evil One With terrible wrath Seeketh a path His prey to discover!
MARGARET (attentively listening)
That was the voice of my lover!
(She springs to her feet: the fetters fall off.)
Where is he? I heard him call me. I am free! No one shall enthrall me. To his neck will I fly, On his bosom lie! On the threshold he stood, and Margaret! calling, Midst of Hell's howling and noises appalling, Midst of the wrathful, infernal derision, I knew the sweet sound of the voice of the vision!
'Tis thou! O, say it once again!
'Tis he! 'tis he! Where now is all my pain? The anguish of the dungeon, and the chain? 'Tis thou! Thou comest to save me, And I am saved!— Again the street I see Where first I looked on thee; And the garden, brightly blooming, Where I and Martha wait thy coming.
FAUST (struggling to leave)
Come! Come with me!
Delay, now! So fain I stay, when thou delayest!
Away, now! If longer here thou stayest, We shall be made to dearly rue it.
Kiss me!—canst no longer do it? My friend, so short a time thou'rt missing, And hast unlearned thy kissing? Why is my heart so anxious, on thy breast? Where once a heaven thy glances did create me, A heaven thy loving words expressed, And thou didst kiss, as thou wouldst suffocate me— Kiss me! Or I'll kiss thee!
(She embraces him.)
Ah, woe! thy lips are chill, And still. How changed in fashion Thy passion! Who has done me this ill?
(She turns away from him.)
Come, follow me! My darling, be more bold: I'll clasp thee, soon, with warmth a thousand-fold; But follow now! 'Tis all I beg of thee.
MARGARET (turning to him)
And is it thou? Thou, surely, certainly?
'Tis I! Come on!
Thou wilt unloose my chain, And in thy lap wilt take me once again. How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me?— Say, dost thou know, my friend, whom thou mak'st free?
Come! come! The night already vanisheth.
My mother have I put to death; I've drowned the baby born to thee. Was it not given to thee and me? Thee, too!—'Tis thou! It scarcely true doth seem— Give me thy hand! 'Tis not a dream! Thy dear, dear hand!—But, ah, 'tis wet! Why, wipe it off! Methinks that yet There's blood thereon. Ah, God! what hast thou done? Nay, sheathe thy sword at last! Do not affray me!
O, let the past be past! Thy words will slay me!
No, no! Thou must outlive us. Now I'll tell thee the graves to give us: Thou must begin to-morrow The work of sorrow! The best place give to my mother, Then close at her side my brother, And me a little away, But not too very far, I pray! And here, on my right breast, my baby lay! Nobody else will lie beside me!— Ah, within thine arms to hide me, That was a sweet and a gracious bliss, But no more, no more can I attain it! I would force myself on thee and constrain it, And it seems thou repellest my kiss: And yet 'tis thou, so good, so kind to see!
If thou feel'st it is I, then come with me!
If the grave is there, Death lying in wait, then come! From here to eternal rest: No further step—no, no! Thou goest away! O Henry, if I could go!
Thou canst! Just will it! Open stands the door.
I dare not go: there's no hope any more. Why should I fly? They'll still my steps waylay! It is so wretched, forced to beg my living, And a bad conscience sharper misery giving! It is so wretched, to be strange, forsaken, And I'd still be followed and taken!
I'll stay with thee.
Be quick! Be quick! Save thy perishing child! Away! Follow the ridge Up by the brook,
Over the bridge, Into the wood, To the left, where the plank is placed In the pool! Seize it in haste! 'Tis trying to rise, 'Tis struggling still! Save it! Save it!
Recall thy wandering will! One step, and thou art free at last!
If the mountain we had only passed! There sits my mother upon a stone,— I feel an icy shiver! There sits my mother upon a stone, And her head is wagging ever. She beckons, she nods not, her heavy head falls o'er; She slept so long that she wakes no more. She slept, while we were caressing: Ah, those were the days of blessing!
Here words and prayers are nothing worth; I'll venture, then, to bear thee forth.
No—let me go! I'll suffer no force! Grasp me not so murderously! I've done, else, all things for the love of thee.
The day dawns: Dearest! Dearest!
Day? Yes, the day comes,—the last day breaks for me! My wedding-day it was to be! Tell no one thou has been with Margaret! Woe for my garland! The chances Are over—'tis all in vain! We shall meet once again, But not at the dances! The crowd is thronging, no word is spoken: The square below And the streets overflow: The death-bell tolls, the wand is broken. I am seized, and bound, and delivered— Shoved to the block—they give the sign! Now over each neck has quivered The blade that is quivering over mine. Dumb lies the world like the grave!
O had I ne'er been born!
MEPHISTOPHELES (appears outside)
Off! or you're lost ere morn. Useless talking, delaying and praying! My horses are neighing: The morning twilight is near.
What rises up from the threshold here? He! he! suffer him not! What does he want in this holy spot? He seeks me!
Thou shalt live.
Judgment of God! myself to thee I give.
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Come! or I'll leave her in the lurch, and thee!
Thine am I, Father! rescue me! Ye angels, holy cohorts, guard me, Camp around, and from evil ward me! Henry! I shudder to think of thee.
She is judged!
VOICE (from above)
She is saved!
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Hither to me!
(He disappears with FAUST.)
VOICE (from within, dying away)