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Mr. Faust
by Arthur Davison Ficke
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OLD PLUMBER

Perhaps your mind is not just made for it. It takes a thinker, that it does. And I Did not get into it so easy, either. I read a lot of books before I saw The greatness of Philosophy. Now I wonder How I got on without it. Why, to-day I could not clean a sewer in peace of mind If I did not know that, when I got home, I could philosophize on Space and Time.

YOUNG PLUMBER

It must be wonderful to know these things.

[Brander and Midge enter together. They seem to find some difficulty in choosing their seats.

MIDGE

Are you quite sure that we can hear him here?

BRANDER

Yes; and besides, I do not wish to sit Too near the front. I'd rather not have come At all to-day. But you...

MIDGE

Oh, don't go back Now on your promise! I must hear him speak. I must, I must. I cannot tell you why; I do not know. But I have never seen A face that seemed to promise me so much— Things that I cannot utter, cannot think.

BRANDER

I never want to see his face again. I shall try not to listen.

CHILD

Mother, when Will the show start?

MERCHANT'S WIFE

Hush, very soon! Yes, see— There he is coming in.

CHILD

Oh, goody, goody!

[Faust enters the hall and mounts the platform. He busies himself for a moment adjusting the reading desk; then turns toward the audience, gripping the desk steadily, and waits a moment more for the stir to subside.

FAUST

I come before you with unwilling lips— Not led by eagerness, or wont of speech; Being not of those who easily proclaim Small miracles to move you. But the force Of grave necessity has bid me cast All thought save one aside, and in your midst, Utter strange words, with lips that must obey The soul that wills not silence.

For I come Announcing not the common verities Of learned books, or laboratory lore, Or ancient heresies; as speaks the fool, So speak I—from my heart. What I have seen, That shall you see, and with grim gladness hold Close in your hearts. Yes, all the world shall see it— I am a tower burning to light the world!

(He pauses a moment, meditatively)

OLD WOMAN (whispering)

He has a good opinion of himself.

FAUST

I have beheld the toil and pain of life, Its emptiness and defeat; I have beheld Hearts, weary with recurrence of the days That held no sweetness, turn in trust to where In high aerial spaces far from earth God in his heaven to all the weary ones Offers a refuge. And in such a mood Was I, too, led toward heaven by one whom now I know my foe—Satan. Toward God I turned, Seeking in Him fulfilment of all hopes That earth had thwarted. Then, in the hour of prayer And revelation, from my deepest breast Flashed lightnings. And I saw the Lord of Hosts High on a mountain, inaccessible To yearning men, who, mastered by a dream, Turn skyward from our dark and struggling earth. I saw the crafty Satan urging on The heavenward-yearning myriads, while the world Lay like a stagnant quagmire, to his sway Wholly abandoned, and man's mortal house Burned in fierce conflagration of corruption. And lo! the lightnings from my heart smote forth Across the heavens; and God dissolved like cloud, And through the cloud peered Satan's sinister face.

Friends: God is dead; your God and mine is dead. And Satan in his place—Satan who is The father of the gods—lures on your hearts Unto an idol in the untrodden skies, That, while ye dream oblivious in the void, The earth may crumble. Or if God there be, He is the God of dying hearts and spent— A deity of chaos, for whose ends One thing alone is mete—ruin of life, Of loathings and of longings that on earth Restlessly grapple with the powers of Hell. I know not if in regions yet unguessed Some gods may dwell, of nature fit to guide Us, the adventurers of an earthly fight. But I have seen with eyes that cannot lie That they reside not in this Devil's net— This heavenly trust, this labyrinth of peace, Which draws men on to nothingness....

And I cry With all the passion of my baffled soul— Cast down your God! Cast down your peace and trust In His far Will! It is a solace mete For slaves, not men. With bitter hand, destroy This idol of destruction! Smite all haunts Of faith and resignation and defeat And rest and peace and comfort. Heaven and earth Alike are poisoned: somnolence in heaven, Decay on earth is regnant. Every faith And law and nation must in wreck go down For us who see the death that taints their halls; And ruin shall walk reckless through the world, Destroying tombs where life is daily slain!

(Faust pauses)

BRANDER (rises suddenly from his place in the audience)

My friends, I came to listen, not to speak. But when such words as these from impious lips Fall lightly, I must rise here to refute Their poisonous message. Three days since, I stood With this man in the sacred halls of God, And witnessed in his heart the glory grow Of God's bright hope. Then suddenly from Hell, Or from his own deep, labyrinthine heart, Sprang fiends to snatch him back from heaven's clear gate And God's deliverance. And his bitter lips, By thirst so nearly quenched made bitterer yet, Cried blasphemies against the powers of heaven And all bright starry hopes that light our days With faith and glory. And the hand of God, Inscrutably withheld, smote him not dumb, But suffered him to go. Now in our sight He rises to proclaim his searing doubt, His hot destroying passion, and tears down Our fairest altars. I, who was his friend, Hereby renounce him; and in sober words Counsel all men to flee the company Of one who hates the great hopes of the world!

[As Brander sits down, there is some scattered applause in the audience. Faces are turned toward him. Midge sits motionless, her face buried in her hands.

FAUST

I scarce foresaw that my laborious task Should profit by the aid of willing hands So freely offered. Well, the Devil moves still Unchained on earth; and while he toils, your toil Is of small matter. You have ranged yourself With things fast dying; and our feet—the feet Of trampling hordes—shall pass above your head, As we shall pass over all creeds and laws, All stately chambers and respected homes And hearths and council-halls and sleek vile marts— We, the destroyers of destruction!

BUTCHER

Here! Don't you go shaking any fist at me!

GIRL

I think it's awful. Someone ought to stop him.

MERCHANT'S WIFE

The man is crazy!

OLD PLUMBER

Say! Would you destroy Space and Time, too?

YOUNG PLUMBER

Hooray for hell broke loose!

BUTCHER

Out with him! He's an anarchist!

BANKER

I'm not Religious; but I cannot stand for that.

YOUNG STUDENT

Oh, let him have a chance!

BUTCHER

Not if I know it! Damn such a man!

[Satan suddenly rises in his place with commanding gestures. The people stare at him, and after a moment are silent to hear him speak.

SATAN

My friends, I think we all— Or most of us—agree that talk like this Is a destructive influence, to be met With frowns, in justice to society. Such words disgrace humanity, affront Respectability, and fill with shame Our hearts for such a speaker. Yet the rogue Requires but rope to save the law the toil Of trial and execution. I bespeak, Therefore, your patience for this gentleman; Till he has time to wind the hempen knot Securely round his throat, let us sit by And hear him further.

FAUST

Thank you. You begin Well in my service.

SATAN

Aye, indeed, indeed! You don't suppose a mouse-trap baits itself? Friends, let us hear him.

RICH YOUNG MAN

That sounds sensible.

YOUNG PLUMBER

Let each dog have his day.

OLD PLUMBER

Sit down! Shut up!

YOUNG PLUMBER

Leave me alone!

SATAN

One moment more, I pray, Of your kind patience. Sir, ere you proceed, I have a word to give you. I have heard Tales of your cleverness in foiling twice The Devil who sought to lead you to resign Your will to his. Perhaps it was not well That you so spurned his euthanasia. By your own devious path, you come at last To where all facts are vain, all visions fade, And your old wager is a laughing-stock, So valueless your will, so vain your power To shape one end of hope. Life crumbles, falls, Around you; and your kind with horror see Your utter nakedness. But I have brought A little present for you: not so nice As two the Devil once offered in its place; Yet 'twill suffice. Men who would cheat the Devil Come, with a curious unanimity, To where the lump of lead becomes a boon Unto the soul rejecting easier sleep. The Devil claims his own in his own day.

(He approaches the platform, and offers to Faust a pistol)

YOUNG STUDENT

What is he saying?

CHILD

Are they going to shoot?

YOUNG PLUMBER

Bang yourself one! That's what it's for.

BUTCHER

Good riddance! There isn't room on earth for jokes like you!

FAUST (accepts the pistol)

In such a spirit as you offer it, I do accept this token. In my hand At least it shall lie safe, nor be a god: I worship not the bullet.... But beware What mummer's part you play in this strange scene. For by the victory I have won of late, I am your master! And in grovelling dust Before me you shall cringe, though all the world Shun me, your conqueror. Vilest of slaves! Accept your servitude!

BUTCHER

Here! That's enough!

GIRL

You brute!

SATAN

Your slave. Command, and it shall be Fulfilled. A little snarling now and then Means naught.

YOUNG PLUMBER

I will not let an honest man, A worthy citizen, be spoken to Like that by a damn anarchist while I Can raise a hand!

BUTCHER

Nor I!

MERCHANT'S WIFE

Go after him!

FAUST

Silence! Let not your eager efforts prove You are the beast-herd he would bid you be!

YOUNG PLUMBER

What! Let us show him how to talk to us!

SATAN

See, on his forehead, see! Where the deep lines Meet—do you see the blackened cross that grows Each moment darker with the curse of God! He is branded, he is Cain!

FAUST

Down, slave! Fulfil Now my command, you who my bondsman are! Seal on these eyes—too blind to take the light— Darkness! And let me, turning from them, know They have not peered into my open heart. You are still my slave—though they are only fools.

YOUNG PLUMBER

Damn your infernal soul!

BUTCHER

Hit him a crack!

OLD WOMAN

Stop all your noise.

BUTCHER

Here, let me go, you fool!

[Suddenly aroused, some of the crowd surge forward toward the platform. From the back of the room someone hurls a chair, which strikes the great chandelier: the lights instantly go out, leaving the hall in total darkness. Confused cries, footsteps, blows.

CRIES

What're you about?... Let go!... Where are the lights?...

[Suddenly two wall-brackets are illuminated, disclosing part of the crowd massed on the platform. As they surge back, there remains on the platform, fallen and motionless, the figure of Faust. He raises his head slowly.

FAUST

Ah, Satan!... worthy serf to my command!... Go! I release you. For I would not die With such a slave— Nay, though I die alone....

[Suddenly the door bursts open, and in surge the maskers, in greater numbers and even wilder tumult than before. Dancing grotesquely, linked hand in hand, they zigzag through the hall, overturning chairs and singing at the top of their voices.

THE MASKERS

Oh, children, children, children dear, We cannot wait for any New Year. So let us celebrate now and here With rah, rah, rah and a bottle of beer!

CURTAIN



THE FIFTH ACT

_The scene is once more Faust's library. The dim slanting sunlight of late afternoon streams through the open windows, touching the gold of books and the brown of furniture with an enamel-like brilliancy.

Brander and Faust's butler stand just inside the door._

BUTLER

I am afraid you cannot see him now. The doctor is still here. I do not know If anyone may see him.

BRANDER

I will wait A moment, and perhaps may see the doctor As he goes out. Have things been bad to-day?

BUTLER

Yes, sir.

[The doctor enters from the door on the left. The butler goes out.

BRANDER

How is he?

DOCTOR

As one might expect. The fever's gone; but strength has gone with it: No one can tell how long his heart will stand The strain.

BRANDER

You see no hope?

DOCTOR

I only see That we are doing all we can for him. Beyond that, I can say no more than you.

BRANDER

You think I should not see him?

DOCTOR

Oh, no harm. You might have seen him when you came this morning If you had waited. You can see him here. He wanted to be in this room again, And I make no objection. Well, good-bye.

[The doctor goes out. Brander moves restlessly about the room. A moment later, the door on the left opens, and Faust, reclining in an invalid's chair, is wheeled into the room by the butler. He is clad in a long dressing-gown; he is very pale. The butler, after placing the chair before the fireplace, goes out. Brander remains doubtfully in the background; Faust does not observe his presence.

FAUST

Again these walls!—home to what barren dreams!— And home to me! O dreams and bitterness, How are you gilded by this setting light Of afternoon! Meseems I have not been Happy save here, where all unhappiness Of mine had source and root. That forest holds Now nothing grievous to my eyes that see What once they saw not. Sweetness like the light Of setting suns now lingers over it In my enchambering memory— Life, life With all its glow and wonder pours a flood On this strait room whence I have watched the world— Whence I must go with all my love and wonder As though no love and wonder I had won.

[Faust bends his head, sinking into a daze of thought. Brander doubtfully approaches him, and at last touches his shoulder.

BRANDER

I have been heavy-hearted; but that thus I find you, overwhelms me....

FAUST

Why thus sad Over milk so irrevocably spilled?

BRANDER

I cannot utter what is in my heart. It is as though I had with my own hand Stricken you down. And yet I did not dream Of what would follow.... O Faust, Faust, forgive me!

FAUST

Forgive you? Aye, and thank you! Greater things Hung imminent than you dreamed of. For you set Wild lightnings free in me that smote the dark Furled round me; and they grew and flashed and flamed Even as I fell. Aye, Brander, you who strove For my salvation should rejoice at last— Now, past all doubts and wanderings, I am saved!

BRANDER

Saved! Ah, impossible!

FAUST

Saved! And the light Of glory fills me, though my physical frame Totters on dissolution. I believe!... The night is over.

BRANDER

Faust! O dearest friend! My heart refuses now to grasp such joy. If it were possible! Can, can it be That God has bent once more, and with cool touch Dispelled the feverous mists? Oh, I could weep With happiness to dream it!

FAUST

Nay, my words Mean more than you interpret. I am saved— Not as you count salvation. Nay, I come To one last refuge, finding all others vain. The common joys, the peace of nescience, The trust in some far Will, the hope to flame A beacon in the darkness of men's dreams: Driven forth from these, one citadel still lifts Heaven-fronting: there I stand, delivered, free, Master again—that citadel, my soul. I have escaped from all the bondages; And now bow down to nothing. Joy or pain, Defeat or conquest, good or evil, now Lure me no more. I will put hope in nothing Save in that whole strange glistening mortal life That past me streams unto an end sublime Whereof you know not. All our ends are folly, And win not what they seek; yet there is joy In seeking; and one end there is that shows A brighter glow. I am the watcher set Upon the heights. In my impassioned sight All life is holy that strives unto life: Death only is damnation. I will be More happy than the happiest man, more strong Than is the strongest! I will climb on the neck Of this great monster, Life, and guide its course— For I am master—toward that end I see Hidden afar off.

BRANDER

You are sick and spent. I should not thus—

FAUST

Fear not; I do not wander. Or can you understand? No, no, you cannot. And yet some tenderness from days long past Stirs in me with a hope for you once more— Hear me for one last time.

[Faust touches a bell. The butler enters.

FAUST

Bring to me, please, That large black-covered manuscript I wrote Last night until the doctor took it from me. It is among the papers on my desk.

[The butler searches, finds the note-book and places it on the table beside Faust. The butler goes out. Faust sits turning over the pages of the manuscript.

FAUST

Here to posterity I bequeath my soul— Worthless, perhaps, as heritage, but the all I have to give to them I love so much. These pages shall cry kinship to the few Who, finding solace nowhere, yet shall find Solace in fierce destruction that assails The folly and the madness of mankind.

(He begins to read from the manuscript)

Satan recedes; but thou who seemest near— O unborn man, whose soul is of my soul, Whose glory is of my glory—all my love Floods out like light from the down-going sun Toward thee, the nursling of a lofty line. Thou art my faith—man the divine to come— Man whom I loathe for that which he is not— Man, even now half divine because of all That shall spring from him in the days to be. Thou, too, shalt fight with Satan, as I fought, Yea, in eternal battles till the end. Thou shalt go with him past the lure of lust, The lure of power, the lure of that great sleep Nirvana; past the yet more luring sleep Where dreams assuage the soul to be a dream. Thou shalt go with him, yet apart from him And all his works. He has no part in thee. He is the chaos seething at earth's core— Remnant of times when out of chaos sprang Life's upward impulse. He is the darkness spread Ere yet was light—the matter ere was form— The vast inertia that on motion's heels Clings viper-like. Of life and form and growth He is negator; and his ceaseless joy Is to impede and drag to chaos back The shoot that toward the light triumphant springs.

But vain his victories, though he lingers yet With slowly narrowing frontiers. Past his will, Slowly the sons of light transcend, remould Their day and destiny; slowly there is born Order from chaos, flowers from formless mud, Light from the darkness, Faust's from Satan's soul.

With laughing and with wonder and with triumph I take that life and clasp it to my breast— I, part of all, and all a part of me— Streaming a river flashing in the sun. I am drunk with the glory of that which tramps me down And passes and transcends me—and is mine!

I, one with thee, O child of Flame, behold Thy harvest—when the passion of the years Turns earthward, and in mastered order sets The house that is our dwelling. And therein, In the gold light of summer afternoons, With thee I too, careless and laughing, play Mid dreams and wonders that our will has made— Bathe in the beauty that our eyes have poured Upon the hills—and drink in thirsty draughts The happiness we have rained upon the earth.

I see, with ultimate unshaken vision! I see the earthly paradise; I see Men winged with wonder on the future throne Up infinite vistas where life's feet shall climb. Out of the dust, out of the plant and worm, Out of ourselves about whose feet still clings The reptile-slime of our creation—lo! Our children's children rise; and all my love Draws toward them and the light upon their brows. This is my faith; this is my happiness; This is my hope of heaven; this is my God.

BRANDER

The eternal God in heaven forgive you this!

FAUST

The Devil I can foil, but not my friends! Strange allies to his cause! Well, dusk was long My portion; now all gathering storms of hate Are less than naught to me. Six months ago, When here I stood that memorable night, My gloom was starless; now one fiery star Pierces it. And this broken frame of mine Cannot annul that much of victory— The solace born of passion to destroy That shall survive me if indeed I die. Alone my life was lived; if now I go, It is alone into a quiet grave Above whose mound the fairer future days Shall pass, and I not know them. Yet my night Takes foregleam from the vision of that dawn And I am solaced. And I leave my solace As heritage to the ever widening few Who after me shall triumph more than I In dawns of flaming.

BRANDER

O my friend, my friend, I would my tongue could cry as my heart cries— Turn back from darkness before the hour has struck! Even yet may mercy fold you. God is great And tender; and perhaps His love may clasp Even your aloofness, if at last your heart Calls in repentance to Him. O Faust, Faust, Sink your vain pride of spirit—kneel to Him— Beseech His mercy ere it is too late!

FAUST

I am no melancholy death-bed scene To claim your tears, dear Brander. Doubtless days Of infinite scope lie yet before me, since No oracle has foretold that I shall die. But if I die, then go I singing down, Not praying or repentant, to my grave. I would smite again the altar! I would smite The hearts bowed before it; all the world And the Beyond-world would I rend, having seen Serpents in their secret places.

BRANDER

Has no breath Of heavenly love touched this corrosive core Of hell-fire in you?

FAUST

There is none whose power Is half so mighty.

BRANDER

Through last night's long hours, Poor Midge, alone and comfortless, wept out Her heart, believing all that you had said. And when I spoke to her, she cried: "Go, go! I am lost where none can help me; all my dreams Shudder and perish, even as he has perished; Yet they shall live again—but he will die!" ... Thus darkness falls from you upon men's hearts. I know not if God's deep forgiving love To such as you is granted....

FAUST

Midge could tell A truer tale. Her eyes were full of light And wonder as she heard me.

BRANDER

And she now Weeps comfortless!

FAUST

And shall I then regret? Is her soul yours, that you appraise and know? Life stirs in her: and like the agonies Of all life's birth, it shakes her: yet one day She shall rise strong, sister to mighty winds, A new and holy wonder in her eyes. Tell her from me that I have not forgotten My promise in the church that I would come. But if I come not, let her come to me!— Let her come with me on my luminous road.

BRANDER

Pity her, and the hosts that with her stand Shelterless from the blasts of your wild hate.

FAUST

Who loves must hate, who hates must burn with love.... I hate the world; but like the breath of life, Sustaining me even yet a little while, Is my surpassing love for its great hopes. Aye, in the hour when I knew myself alone, My hate cried: Smite!—because of thy great love For one irradiant form that is to be. Now is my hate a lamp of tenderness— Now I destroy because I love beyond— I build, I triumph with bright domes that rise In laughing loveliness into the morning!

BRANDER

I love you and I pity you—and I go.

FAUST

We shall not meet again.

[Brander goes out.

FAUST

He will go down Not singing, no, not singing!...

(He once more takes up the manuscript, and turns to the last pages)

And now, when from my shoulders like a load Begins to slip the weariness of life, And a new vigor fills me—now it seems That death is hovering close. O Grisly One, Whom once I thought a not unwelcome guest To my cold troubled house, I am not glad To hear thy steps without. For in my halls Lights kindle, and the music sobs and sings In ecstasy of other guests than thee....

(He takes up his pen and turns to the end of the manuscript, as if to write)

Can this poor strength suffice me to complete These final words? Nay, better to leave unsaid The few last lines my vanity desires To tell and justify my end and fall Like flourish of bright trumpets. Let them sleep Unuttered; for the burden of my song Is voiced already in these labored leaves; And it is well, unfinished and unclosed Should stop this record, whose concluding words Of fairer hope, of sheerer miracle, Some greater hand than mine shall some day write And seal the chronicle—nay, never seal it!

[The butler enters.

BUTLER

There is a man waiting to see you, sir.

FAUST

Let him come in.

BUTLER

I beg your pardon, sir— Can I do nothing for you?

FAUST

Thank you, nothing.

[The butler goes out again, Satan enters. He is dressed in a long black cloak of foreign cut; for the first time, he has the look of sinister majesty appropriate to the Prince of Hell.

SATAN

Master, your slave is here!

FAUST

This fooling still?

SATAN

What little service would my conqueror wish?

FAUST

Peace from your childish talk. The game is done. Quite well you knew that, came I victor forth, I would not, for all treasure in the world, Have such an one as servant, who can serve No end that I desire.

SATAN

Aha! At last Light penetrates that cobwebbed cranium, And I can laugh in public! All these months, I several times have come perilously near Bursting with mirth at the rare spectacle.

FAUST

Pray you, laugh freely.

SATAN

Nay, my mirth is spent. My heart is moved even toward an enemy, When on his head defeat its torrent pours. I offer you my sympathy.

FAUST

My thanks Are in appropriate measure tendered you.

SATAN

Distrust me not, for lo, the game is done— There are no battles more, no testings more To set between us. From the heart of life Have forces risen—aye, from the people's breast!— To seal the measure of defeat; and now Why shall we quarrel further?

FAUST

Why, indeed?

SATAN

I hear that you are working on a book Recounting your adventures with the Devil. I hope 'tis finished: it had better be! You will not write large libraries, my friend, In what of life remains to you.

FAUST

It is Completed wholly.

SATAN

May I look at it?

FAUST

You may not.

SATAN

Ah, 'tis a surprise for me!

FAUST

Possibly.

SATAN

Well, you work late into dusk. Dusk falls about you; soon the night will come, And silence.... Has an oracle in your heart Whispered the tidings of that night? Or have The pages of the prophets told to you What waits within that darkness?

FAUST

There waits sleep. But I have lived, and do not fear life's last Inevitable word.

SATAN

My lips are sealed, Though I would fain prepare you for that first And awful moment when, beyond death's gates, You see and know—for now you do not know— What there awaits you. You have seen the grave; You know the dissolution and decay That folds the body as it mouldering lies After the racking of those final hours Where soul and body part. But have you guessed That—as the body rots without the soul— So the soul crumbles in a vile decay You cannot picture, when the body dies? Then falls the spirit limb from reeking limb. An agony beyond all mortal thought Shakes every atom of the spiritual frame— The throes of dissolution. Death, indeed, All men can bear; but this last spiritual death, This torture of the disembodied soul To force dissolving—ah, prepare yourself! It shall appall you!

FAUST

If it comes, it comes.

SATAN

We have been foes; but now I speak as friend. This shall not come to you! 'Tis in my power To save you from this uttermost horror's grasp. For I have gift of perfect dreamless sleep; And those to whom I give shall after death Slumber unconscious while the awful change Attacks them; and oblivion shall be theirs Unbroken stretching from the final hour.

FAUST

That were a boon not easily despised.

SATAN

It shall be yours! My crushed and broken foe Shall never at my hand lack final rest Where nightmares cannot come. As honest foes We shall be quit. And for this priceless gift I ask but that you give me, as remembrance, That book which you have wrought concerning me.

FAUST

Why still so eager?

SATAN

Eager? I am not.

FAUST

Satan, my soul still sees, though death has drawn Its curtains round my body. You have sought With long endeavor to enslave my will To nothingness; now would you doom to dark My sublimated soul, my written word, My force immortal....

(He takes up the pen)

This, Satan, is your answer—

(He writes on the last sheet of the manuscript)

"With this last word I close my testament: 'Man, work thy will, and God shall come of thee.'"

SATAN

Poor thwarted fool, who would not take my lures, Being far too wise! Yet dustward now he turns, And where Faust stood shall nothingness survive!

FAUST

Approach me not: I have grown sanctified. Loathing the night and dreaming of the dawn, I claim some kinship with the Eternal Power Which in the dust, the daisy and the star Moves onward in its self-ordained sway— Life everlasting. Through my veins it sweeps, Bearing me onward; and as I am borne, I onward urge, till my short day be done And I fall spent; and over me the wave Sweeps on its way immortal; and my soul Partakes of that lost immortality.

SATAN

Dreamer, whose dreams shall soon be choked with dust!

FAUST (slowly rising)

I am that dreamer to whose mounting dreams No bounds are set, no region which my will May not reach out toward. And I will create— I, and the souls that after me shall come— By passion of desire a pillar of flame Above the wastes of life. If no God be, I will from my deep soul create a God Into the universe to fight for me!

(He sinks back)

SATAN

How strong a master! Why not slay me now? Put forth your strength, and try how great it be!

FAUST

Though dying, I am master. But you still Are jester, even at death-beds—knowing well I have no power to slay you. You retreat But perish not; the sphere of your domain Contracts, but it endures immortally. Have done with jesting: look me in the eyes! Acknowledge me, and all high heritors Who shall succeed me, your eternal foe, Your eternal victor in half-victories— But never your destroyer to the last.

SATAN

I thank all prophets for their prophecy! But I shall still remain?...

FAUST

You shall remain....

SATAN

I shall remain!...

[Faust and Satan sit silent, watching each other steadily. Faust closes his eyes, then suddenly raises himself in his chair.

FAUST

Ah, what a ghastly dream! Ghastly, for all its cold and lofty state. Nay, what have I to do with yearning thoughts Of immortality? I am young with life! I shall not die! Hope and the eager years Of labor rise before me as I press Clear of these shadows. I have dreamed dark dreams— One very dark of late—but now my blood Resurges in a not less passionate fire Than when, less wise, I stretched my hands to life, And all my hopes were winged. But that is past; And dreams are past: the day of deed is come. Aye, in the cities, on the hills of the world, I shall uplift the banner of high wars— I shall make mock of this strange dizziness— I shall live—and Death retreats from me afraid!

SATAN

What! Then I'll do his office!

FAUST

Spare your pains The tide of strength recedes, swift as it came.... Oldham! I cannot die! I cannot die!... And I am dying....

[Faust sinks back with closed eyes. The door opens softly and the butler enters, followed by Midge who carries an armful of flowers. She looks around the room, bewildered; then crosses quickly to Faust's chair.

SATAN

Madam, you come too late.

[Faust opens his eyes—and, lifting the manuscript, with feeble hand holds it out to her.

FAUST

No, not too late.... Touch me across the dusk—

[Midge, shaken and faltering, clasps the book to her. Doubtfully she touches his shoulder. Faust, slightly smiling, closes his eyes.

CURTAIN

THE END

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