Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Faust Part II
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved
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- Act V Scene I: Open Country
- Act V Scene II: In the Little Garden
- Act V Scene III: The Palace
- Act V Scene IV: Dead of Night
- Act V Scene V: Midnight
- Act V Scene VI: The Great Outer Court of the Palace
- Act V Scene VII: Mountain Gorges, Forest, Rock, Desert
Scene I: Open Country
The Wanderer Yes! Here are the dusky lindens,
Standing round, in mighty age.
And here am I, returning to them, 11045
After so long a pilgrimage!
It still appears the same old place:
Here’s the hut that sheltered me,
When the storm-uplifted wave,
Hurled me shore-wards from the sea! 11050
My hosts are those I would bless,
A brave, a hospitable pair,
Who if I meet them, I confess,
Must already be white haired.
Ah! They were pious people! 11055
Shall I call, or knock? – Greetings,
If, as open-hearted, you still
Enjoy good luck, in meetings!
Baucis (A little woman, very aged.)
Gentle stranger! Quietly, quietly!
Peace! Let my husband rest! 11060
Long sleep lends the elderly,
Little time to work, at best.
The Wanderer Tell me, Mother: are you that wife
To whom thanks should be given:
Who brought a young man back to life, 11065
When wife and husband worked as one?
Are you that Baucis who tirelessly
Restored my almost-vanished breath?
(Her husband appears.)
Are you that Philemon, who bravely
Saved my wealth from watery death? 11070
Your swiftly burning fire,
Your silvery sounding bell,
In chance, dread and dire,
Was the outcome that befell.
And now let me walk about, 11075
And view the boundless ocean:
Let me kneel, and be devout:
Mind troubled with emotion.
(He walks on, over the downs.)
Philemon (To Baucis.)
Hurry now, and lay the table,
Underneath the garden trees. 11080
Let him go: as in the fable,
He’ll not credit what he sees.
(He follows, and stands beside the Wanderer.)
Where wave on wave, foaming wildly,
Savagely mistreated you,
See a garden planted, widely, 11085
See the Paradisial view.
I was too old to seize the day,
Unfit to work as long ago:
And while my powers ebbed away,
The tide extended its wide flow. 11090
Clever Lords set their bold servants
Digging ditches, building dikes,
To gain the mastery of ocean,
Diminishing its natural rights.
See green meadow bordering meadow, 11095
Field and garden, wood and town. –
But it’s time to eat, so follow,
Sunset is approaching now.
See the sails, far away there,
Seeking port before the night. 11100
The birds fly homeward through the air:
Their harbour too heaves in sight.
So gaze then, at the whole horizon,
Where the blue sea used to flow,
Right and left there, to your vision, 11105
Densely peopled space below.
Scene II: In the Little Garden
(The three of them at table.)
Baucis (To the stranger.)
Are you dumb? And will you lift
Not a morsel to your mouth?
Philemon He wants to comprehend the gift:
Tell him, freely then: speak out. 11110
Baucis Well! It was a marvel, really!
It troubles me to this day:
Then its whole nature, surely,
Was peculiar, in its way.
Philemon Is the Emperor, then, at fault, 11115
Who granted him the land?
Didn’t a herald make his halt,
Crying out what was planned?
Not far away there, on the dunes,
The first bold step was made, 11120
Tents, huts! – And on the downs,
A palace, quickly raised.
Baucis For days, work rumbled on in vain,
Pick and shovel, blow on blow:
Where the night’s fires flamed, 11125
Next day a dam would follow.
Human blood was forced to flow,
At night, rose the sound of pain:
The seaward floating fiery glow
Was a canal, come dawn again. 11130
He’s a godless man: he’d steal
Our hut, and our few acres:
But like subjects we must kneel,
When we boast such neighbours.
Philemon Yet he’s offered us another 11135
Holding, on his new-won land!
Baucis Never trust what’s built on water,
On the heights maintain your stand.
Philemon Let’s make our way to the chapel,
To watch the last glow of light, 11140
Kneel, pray, and sound the bell,
And trust in God’s ancient might!
Scene III: The Palace
(Spacious pleasure-gardens: a broad straight canal. Faust in extreme old age, walking about, thoughtfully.)
Lynceus, the Warder (Through a speaking trumpet.)
The sun is fading, the last boats
Sail swiftly to the harbour here.
One large vessel gently floats, 11145
Down the canal: and draws near.
The bright flags flutter merrily,
The masts are trimmed, in time:
The boatmen all praise you gladly,
Fortune celebrates your prime. 11150
(The little bell on the dunes rings out.)
Accursed ringing! Wounding me
With shame: a treacherous blow:
My realm’s laid out there, endlessly,
But, at my back, this vexes so,
Proclaiming, with its jealous sound: 11155
My great estate is less than fine,
The old hut, all the trees around,
The crumbling chapel, are not mine.
And even if I wished to rest there,
A strange shadow makes me shudder, 11160
It’s a thorn in my eye, and deeper:
Oh! Would I were somewhere other!
The Warder (From above.)
The boat is sailing, brightly dressed,
Towards us, on the evening breeze!
Heaped, with boxes, sacks and chests, 11165
From its journey on the seas!
(A splendid boat, richly and brightly loaded with foreign goods.)
(Mephistopheles. The Three Mighty Warriors.)
Chorus Here we land,
Hail to our Lord,
Our patron dear! 11170
(They disembark: the goods are unloaded.)
Mephistopheles We’ve proven ourselves in every way,
Pleased, if we win our patron’s praise.
We took two ships when we sailed before
With twenty ships we dock, once more.
What we’ve achieved, each fine thing, 11175
You’ll see from the cargo that we bring.
The ocean’s freedom frees the mind
There all thought is left behind!
You only need a handy grip,
You catch a fish, or take a ship, 11180
And once you’re lord of all three,
The fourth one’s tackled easily:
The fifth one’s in an evil plight,
You have the might, and so the right.
You wonder what, and never how. 11185
I know a little of navigation:
War, trade, and piracy, allow,
As three in one, no separation.
The Three Mighty Warriors No thanks for us!
No thanks at all! 11190
As if we’ve brought
A stench, that’s all.
He pulls a
Nasty face again:
These royal goods 11195
Don’t please him then.
Mephistopheles Don’t expect more
Pay for it!
What you’ve had
Is what you get. 11200
The Warriors That was only
To pass the time:
We want an equal
Share in crime.
Mephistopheles Then first set out in 11205
Hall on hall,
The costly treasures,
One and all!
And coming to
The splendid show, 11210
He’ll think it all the
More, you know,
He won’t be mean,
With you, at least,
He’ll give the fleet, 11215
Feast on feast.
Tomorrow motley birds attend,
I want to take good care of them.
(The cargo is removed.)
This splendid fortune you embrace
With wrinkled brow, and gloomy face! 11220
Your noble wisdom has been crowned,
Sea’s reconciled with solid ground:
From the shore, on swifter track,
The sea wills out the ship, and back:
So speak, that here, from your spire, 11225
Your arms might grip the world entire.
From this place the trench was cut,
Here stood the first wooden hut:
A little ditch was traced from here,
Where now vessels’ wakes appear. 11230
Your servants’ toil, your thought so wise,
Have won the Earth and Ocean’s prize.
From here on –
Faust– that accursed here!
That always brings me wretched fear,
To you who are so clever, I say it, 11235
It gives my heart sting on sting,
It’s impossible for me to bear it.
I’m ashamed to even speak the thing.
The old ones up there should yield,
I want the limes as my retreat, 11240
The least tree in another’s field,
Detracts from my whole estate.
There, to stand and look around,
I’ll build a frame from bough to bough,
My gaze revealing, under the sun, 11245
A view of everything I’ve done,
Overseeing, as the eye falls on it,
A masterpiece of the human spirit,
Forging with intelligence,
A wider human residence. 11250
That’s the worst suffering can bring,
Being rich, to feel we lack something.
The bell’s chime, the lindens’ breeze,
Like tombs in churchyards stifle me.
The exercise of my all-conquering will 11255
Is shattered in the sand, here, and lies still.
How can I drive it from my nature!
The bell peals, and I’m an angry creature.
Mephistopheles It’s natural! Intense frustration
Drives a man to desperation. 11260
Who doubts it! That clang I fear
Falls cruelly on a noble ear.
And that wretched bing-bang-bong,
Through the clear evening sky, that gong,
Is joined to every chance event, 11265
From first bath to last interment.
As if between its bing and bong
Life’s a dream, and then is gone.
Faust Such obstinacy and opposition
Diminishes the noblest position, 11270
Until in endless pain, one must
Grow deeply weary of being just.
Mephistopheles Why bother yourself so much about them?
Shouldn’t you long ago have colonised them?
Faust Then go and push them aside for me! – 11275
You know the land, with my approval,
Set aside for the old folks removal.
Mephistopheles We’ll take them up, and set them down,
They’ll stand, once more: I’ll be bound:
When they’ve survived a little force, 11280
They’ll be reconciled to it, of course.
(He whistles shrilly.)
Come: perform your Lord’s command!
And tomorrow let the feast be planned.
The Three Warriors This old Lord received us badly,
A feast now is our right: believe me. 11285
Mephistopheles (To the audience.)
And here we see, as long ago Naboth’s vineyard still on show. (Kings I:21)
Scene IV: Dead of Night
Lynceus, the Warder (Singing on the watch-tower of the palace.)
For seeing, I’m born,
For watching, employed,
To the tower, I’m sworn, 11290
While the world, I enjoy.
I gaze at the far,
I stare at the near,
The moon and the star,
The forest and deer: 11295
The eternally lovely
Adornment, I view,
And as it delights me
I delight myself too.
You, fortunate eyes, 11300
All you’ve seen, there,
Let it be as it may,
Yet it was so fair!
I’m not positioned here, on high,
Just for my own enjoyment: 11305
What horror, meant to terrify,
Threatens from the firmament!
I see sparks of fire gushing
Through the lindens’ double night,
Fanned by the wind’s rushing, 11310
Ever stronger grows the light.
Ah! Within, the hut is burning,
Damp and mossy though it stand:
Swift help, in this direction turning,
Is needed, yet no aid’s to hand. 11315
Ah! The pious old couple,
So careful ever of the fire,
Made a prey to smoke, to stifle,
On this dreadful pyre!
The flame burns on: glowing red,
It’s now a blackened mossy pile: 11320
If only those good folk are rescued,
From those fires of hell, run wild!
A bright tongue of lightning heaves,
Through the branches, through the leaves: 11325
Breaking, snapping, catching swiftly,
Withered branches flicker, glow.
Why have I such powers to see!
Why are mine the eyes that know!
The little chapel now collapses, 11330
With the falling branches’ weight.
Already with bright snakelike flashes,
The treetops, gripped, meet their fate.
Glowing crimson, to their hollow
Roots, the trunks now burn with ease. – 11335
(A long pause. Chant.)
What used to please my eyes, below,
Has vanished with the centuries.
Faust (On the balcony, towards the downs.)
What whining song is that, above?
Too late its word and tone reach me.
The watchman wails: yes, I’m moved: 11340
Annoyed by this impatient deed.
But let the lime-trees be erased,
A horror now of half-burnt timber,
A watchtower can soon be raised,
To gaze around at boundless splendour. 11345
From there I’ll see my new creation,
One set aside for that old pair: at least,
They’ll feel benign consideration,
Enjoying their last days in peace.
Mephistopheles and the Three Warriors (Below.)
Here we come, and at the double: 11350
Pardon us! We’ve caused you trouble.
We knocked, and knocked on the door,
But it seemed locked for evermore:
We rattled it, and shook it too,
Until the planks broke in two: 11355
We called aloud, and threatened, then,
But there was no reply, again.
And as happens in such cases,
They heard nothing, hid their faces:
But we commenced without delay 11360
To drive the stubborn folk away.
That pair knew scant anxiety,
They died of terror, peacefully.
A stranger, who was hiding there,
And wished to fight, we tried to scare. 11365
But in the fast and furious bout,
From the coals that lay about,
The straw took fire. Now all three,
In that one pyre, burn merrily.
Faust Were you deaf to what I said? 11370
I wanted them moved, not dead.
This mindless, and savage blow,
Earns my curse: share it, and go!
Chorus The ancient proverb says of course:
Yield willingly to a greater force! 11375
While if you’re bold and opt for strife,
You’ll stake your house, and home – and life.
Faust (On the balcony.)
Stars hide their faces, and their glow,
The fire sinks, and flickers low:
A moist breeze fans the dying ember, 11380
Bringing smoke and vapour closer.
Quickly said, too quickly done, I fear! –
Now, what hovers like a shadow, here?
Scene V: Midnight
(Four Grey Women enter.)
The First I am called Want.
The Second I am called Guilt.
The Third I am called Care.
The Fourth Necessity, I. 11385
Three Together (Want, Guilt and Necessity)
The door is shut tight, and we cannot get in:
The owner is rich: he won’t have us within.
Want I shrink to a shadow.
Guilt To emptiest space.
Need The wealthy from me turn their pampered face.
Care Sisters, you can’t enter, daren’t enter there. 11390
But, through the keyhole now, always slips, Care.
Want You, my Grey Sisters, take your flight too.
Guilt Close by your side, I come following you.
Necessity Close at your heels is Necessity’s breath.
The Three The clouds there are moving, and cover the stars! 11395
Behind us, behind us! From far, oh, from far,
He’s coming, our Brother, he’s coming, he’s – Death.
Faust (In the Palace.)
I saw four: but only three went away:
I caught no meaning from the words they say.
It sounded as if I heard – ‘Necessity’s breath’, 11400
And then a gloomy rhyming word, like – ‘Death’.
It rang hollow, ghostly, subdued, to me.
Even now I’ve not won my liberty.
If I could banish Sorcery from my track,
Unlearn the magic-spells that draw me back, 11405
And stand before you, Nature, as mere Man,
It would be worth the pain of being Human.
So was I, a seeker in the darkness,
Cursing both self and world, in wickedness.
Now the air is filled with phantom shapes, 11410
It’s hard to see how anyone escapes.
Though day may smile on us with rational gleams,
The night entwines us in a web of dreams:
We come happily from the fields of youth,
A bird croaks: what? Misfortune: is our truth. 11415
Cloaked with superstitions, soon and late:
It’s wedded to us, warns us: shows our fate.
And so, alone, intimidated, we stand.
The door creaks, yet no one is at hand.
Is anyone there?
Care The answer must be, yes! 11420
Faust And you, who then are you?
Care I am your guest.
Faust Be gone!
Care I am here, in my proper place.
Faust (First angered, then composed, addressing himself.)
Take care: of magic spells show not a trace.
Care Though the ear choose not to hear,
In the heart I echo, clear: 11425
Savage power I exercise,
Transformed I am, to mortal eyes.
On the land, and on the ocean,
Evermore the dread companion,
Always found, and never sought, 11430
Praised, as well as cursed, in thought. –
Have you yourself not known Care?
Faust I sped through the World that’s there:
Gripped by the hair every appetite,
And let go those that failed to delight, 11435
Let those fly that quite escaped me.
I’ve desired, achieved my course,
Desired again, and so, with force,
Stormed through life: first powerfully,
But wisely now: and thoughtfully. 11440
Earth’s sphere’s familiar enough to me,
The view beyond is barred eternally:
The fool who sets his sights up there,
Creates his own likeness in the air!
Let him stand, and look around him well: 11445
This world means something to the capable.
Why does he need to roam eternity!
Let him grasp what is firm reality.
So let him wander down his earthly day:
And if ghosts haunt him, go on his way, 11450
Find joy and suffering in striding on,
Dissatisfied with every hour that’s gone.
Care When of man I take possession,
Then his whole world is lessened:
Endless gloom meets his eyes, 11455
No more suns will set or rise,
Though intact, to outer sense,
He lives in the dark, intense,
Never knowing how to measure
Any portion of his treasure. 11460
Good and ill are merely chance,
He starves, food in his hands:
Be it joy or be it sorrow
He delays it till tomorrow,
Waiting for the future, ever, 11465
Finding his fulfilment, never.
Faust Be gone! And don’t come near me!
Such nonsense I’ll not understand.
Away, with your evil litany,
Sent to confuse the cleverest man! 11470
Care Shall he come, or shall he go?
All decision is denied him:
In the middle of the road,
He staggers, feeling round him.
He’s ever more deeply lost, 11475
Seeing everything star-crossed,
Wearies himself and all the rest,
Stifles as he holds his breath:
Lifeless, but not yet gone under,
Resists despair or surrender. 11480
So, with an incessant rolling,
A painful end, and hard going,
Now free, and now constrained,
In half sleep, poorly entertained,
Confine him in a little space: 11485
Prepare him for Hell’s other place.
Faust Unholy spectre! So you hand our race
To the ravages of a thousand devils:
Even transform our worthless days
To a wretched knot of entangling evils. 11490
It’s hard I know to free oneself from Demons,
The strong spirit-bonds are not lightly broken:
And yet, Care, I’ll not recognise you, nor even,
That creeping power of yours, by any token.
Care Feel it now, as on the wind, 11495
I, and my curse, depart, again.
Lifelong, all you men are blind,
Now, Faust, be so to the end!
(She breathes in his face, and departs.)
Faust (Now blind.)
The night seems deeper all around me,
Only within me is there gleaming light: 11500
I must finish what I’ve done, and hurry,
The master’s word alone declares what’s right.
Up from your beds, you slaves! Man on man!
Reveal the daring of my favoured plan.
Seize the tools: on with pick and spade! 11505
Let the end-result be now displayed.
Strict order, and swift industry
Then the finest prize we’ll see:
And so the greatest work may stand,
One mind equal to a thousand hands. 11510
Scene VI: The Great Outer Court of the Palace
Mephistopheles (In advance, as Overseer.)
Come on! Come on! In here, in here!
Quivering spirits of the dead,
All you patchwork semi-natures,
Sinew, bone, and tendon wed.
The Spirits of the Dead (Lemures, in Chorus.)
Swiftly now we are on hand 11515
With half an impression,
That it concerns a tract of land,
Of which we’ll gain possession.
Pointed stakes with us appear,
Chains to measure ground on: 11520
But why you’ve called us here
Is something we’ve forgotten.
Mephistopheles Artistic effort’s not the prize:
Carry it out in your own manner!
Lay the longest one of you lengthwise, 11525
Then pile the turf on him, you others.
Do as they once did for our fathers there,
Dig out a somewhat lengthened square!
Gone from a palace to a narrow place:
It’s still as stupid an end for man to face. 11530
The Spirits of the Dead (Digging with mocking gestures.)
When I was young and lived and loved,
I thought it was very sweet:
To happy sounds, and cheerful steps,
I lifted up my feet.
Now treacherous old age has clawed 11535
Me with his crutch, since when
I stumble at the grave’s wide door,
Why do they leave it open!
Faust (Comes from the Palace, groping his way past the doorposts.)
How the clattering of shovels cheers me!
It’s the crews still labouring on, 11540
Till earth is reconciled to man,
The waves accept their boundaries,
And ocean’s bound with iron bands.
And yet with all your walls and dams
You’re merely dancing to our tune: 11545
Since you prepare for our Neptune,
The Water-demon, one vast feast.
You’ll be lost in every way –
The elements are ours, today,
And ruin comes on running feet. 11550
Faust Any way you can
Bring crowds of labourers together,
Spurred by force or hope of pleasure,
By pay, enticement or press-gang!
Report to me on progress every day, 11555
The depth of earth and gravel dug away.
Reporting it to me the word they gave,
Was not quite gravel, it was more like – grave.
Faust A swamp lies there below the hill,
Infecting everything I’ve done: 11560
My last and greatest act of will
Succeeds when that foul pool is gone.
Let me make room for many a million,
Not wholly secure, but free to work on.
Green fertile fields, where men and herds 11565
May gain swift comfort from the new-made earth.
Quickly settled in those hills’ embrace,
Piled high by a brave, industrious race.
And in the centre here, a Paradise,
Whose boundaries hold back the raging tide, 11570
And though it gnaws to enter in by force,
The common urge unites to halt its course.
Yes, I’ve surrendered to this thought’s insistence,
The last word Wisdom ever has to say:
He only earns his Freedom and Existence, 11575
Who’s forced to win them freshly every day.
Childhood, manhood, age’s vigorous years,
Surrounded by dangers, they’ll spend here.
I wish to gaze again on such a land,
Free earth: where a free race, in freedom, stand. 11580
Then, to the Moment I’d dare say:
‘Stay a while! You are so lovely!’
Through aeons, then, never to fade away
This path of mine through all that’s earthly. –
Anticipating, here, its deep enjoyment, 11585
Now I savour it, that highest moment.
(Faust sinks back, the spirits of the dead take him and lay him on the ground.)
Mephistopheles No bliss satisfied him, no enjoyment,
And so he tried to catch at shifting forms:
The last, the worst, the emptiest of moments,
He wished to hold at last in his arms. 11590
Though against me he tried to stand,
Time is master: age lies on the sand.
The clock stands still –
Chorus Stands still! As midnight: silent.
The hand moves.
Mephistopheles It falls, and all is spent.
Chorus It’s past.
Mephistopheles Past! A stupid word. 11595
Past, and pure nothing, complete monotony!
What use is this eternal creation!
Creating, to achieve annihilation!
‘There, it’s past!’ What’s to read in it? 11600
It’s just the same as if it never lived,
Yet chases round in circles, as if it did.
I’d prefer to have the everlasting void.
A Spirit of the Dead (Solo.)
Who’s built the house so badly,
With shovel and with spade? 11605
Spirits of the Dead (Chorus.)
For you dull guest, in hempen dress,
It was all too carefully made.
A Spirit of the Dead (Solo.)
Who’s decked the hall so badly?
Where now the table and chairs?
Spirits of the Dead (Chorus.)
Borrowed for a little while: 11610
There are many creditors.
Mephistopheles The body’s here: if the spirit tries to fly,
I’ll show it my blood-signed title swiftly:
Yet men have found so many methods, sadly,
To cheat the Devil of their souls, or try. 11615
We carry on the same old way,
New ones aren’t recommended:
I used to work alone: today
I have to use the help extended.
And everything goes badly too! 11620
Ancient right, traditional use,
One can’t rely on those much longer.
At the last breath, once, the soul was out,
I slipped by, and like the swiftest mouse,
Caught her! Held her fast, my claws were stronger. 11625
Now she lingers, won’t leave the gloomy place,
The foul corpse’s hideous house, until
The elements force her, in hatred still,
And drive her out at last, in disgrace.
And though the hour and minute plague me, 11630
‘When’, ‘how’ and ‘where’, still the tiresome query:
Old Death has lost his ancient power,
‘Whether’ is doubtful, never mind the hour:
Often, with lust, I saw the rigid frame
It was a sham: it stirred, and rose again. 11635
(He makes fantastic, whirling conjuring gestures.)
Now quick! Redouble your paces, too,
You gentlemen, straight or twisted-horned,
The old Devil’s grain and kernel born,
And bring Hell’s jaws along with you.
True Hell has many jaws! Yes, many! 11640
To swallow according to standing and worth:
However in this last game of all we’re ready
To be a little less considerate, henceforth.
(The fearful jaws of Hell open on the left.)
The tusks yawn wide: the jaws of the abyss,
Flow with raging flames, in fury, 11645
And in the boiling background hiss,
I see the eternal glow of the fiery city.
The crimson tide breaks against the teeth,
The damned in hope of help swim through:
But the vast hyena mangles them beneath, 11650
And sends them to new anguish in the brew.
There are many corners to discover,
So many horrors in such little room!
You’ve done quite well at frightening sinners,
But still they think it dream, deceit, untrue. 11655
(To the fat devils with short straight horns.)
Now, you fat-bellied rascals with fiery cheeks!
You’ve grown that way eating hellish sulphur:
Stumpy, short, with thick immoveable necks!
Watch below, for any glow of phosphor:
That’s the soul, Psyche with the wings, 11660
Pluck them off and she’s a nasty worm:
I’ll stamp her with my signature, first thing,
Then off with her to the whirling fiery storm!
Pass on towards the nether regions,
You barrels, since all that’s your duty: 11665
Whether she lives there, that’s the notion,
None know with any accuracy.
She’ll gladly lodge in the navel –
Lest she slip away from there, be careful.
(To the lean devils with long crooked horns.)
You, clowns, you giant flying creatures, 11670
Grasp at the air: grant yourselves no rest!
Your strong arms and sharp-clawed features,
Are sure to hold the fluttering fugitive fast.
She’s stuck there inside her ancient house,
And Spirit will always look for a way out. 11675
(Glory from above, on the right.)
The Heavenly Host Messengers follow
Heavenly kin, oh,
In leisurely flight:
Sin they forgive,
Dust they make live: 11680
The friendship they show
To Nature below,
Floating they’ll give,
As they slowly alight!
Mephistopheles I hear discords, all that nasty jingling, 11685
Coming from up there, with unwelcome day:
It’s always that childish, girlish bungling,
That pious taste loves to hear and play.
You know how we in despicable moments,
Considered the ruin of the human race: 11690
But the most shameful of compliments,
Is that their prayers are a worse disgrace.
These dandies come, the hypocrites:
They’ve snatched a heap of souls away,
Use our own weapons too to do it: 11695
They’re Devils in disguise, I’d say.
To lose this one is everlasting shame:
On to the grave, and renew your claim!
The Choir of Angels (Scattering roses)
Roses, you dazzling ones,
Balsam you’re sending us, 11700
Floating and trembling,
Branches inspiring us,
Buds sweetly firing us,
Hasten to bloom! 11705
Crimson and green, here
Carry the sleeper
To Paradise’ room.
Mephistopheles (To the devils.)
Why duck and dive? Is that Hell’s custom? 11710
Stand still, and let them do their scattering.
Every gawk in place, and face them!
They think with such a flowery smattering,
To cool the heat of devils’ chattering:
At your breath it melts and shrinks, again. 11715
Now blow, you blowers! – Enough, enough!
Your bubbling’s faded all that stuff. –
Not so fiercely! Close your mouths and noses!
Ah, now you’ve been too violent with the roses,
Where’s the moderation you should have learnt? 11720
They’re not just shrivelling: they’re burning, burnt!
They float about in flames, poisonous, bright:
Avoid them: close together, huddle tight! –
Your power’s waning! And your courage too!
The devils sniff the strange, seductive brew. 11725
The Choir of Angels Blossoms, of joyfulness,
Flames, of true happiness,
Love, they radiate,
Bliss, they now create,
As the heart may. 11730
Words that are truest,
Air of the clearest,
Gathering round us
Mephistopheles O, curses! O shower of shame that’s shed! 11735
Each Satan’s standing on his head,
The Fatties spin like tops, in curves,
And plunge arse-upwards into Hell.
Go find the hot baths you deserve!
While at my post I’ll stand here still. – 11740
(He beats at the hovering roses.)
Will-o’-the wisps, be gone! Though you burn bright,
Snatched at, in the end, you’re disgusting shite.
Why’d you keep fluttering here? Buzz off! –
They stick like tar and sulphur: filthy stuff.
The Choir of Angels What is not part of you, 11745
You need not share it:
What inwardly troubles you,
You need not bear it.
Should it close in, with force,
We will deflect its course. 11750
Only the loving, Love
Guides to its source!
Mephistopheles My head and heart are burnt: my liver’s burnt,
By a devilish element!
Sharper than the fires of Hell! – 11755
That’s what makes you cry, so, as well,
You, the unlucky in love! Disdained,
Heads turned to the beloved, strained.
Mine, too! What’s twisted it to one side?
Are they and I not sworn to eternal strife? 11760
I, once fiercely hostile to their very sight.
Has an alien force pierced me through and through?
I gladly gaze at them, loveliest of youths:
What holds me back from cursing at the light? –
And if I let myself be seduced, 11765
Who’ll play the fool in future?
These airy fellows that I hate, too,
How lovely to me now they all appear! –
You sweet children, tell me then:
Aren’t you part of Lucifer’s race? 11770
You’re so nice I’d like to kiss you, and again,
It feels as if this is your proper place.
It feels as comfortable, as natural to me,
As if we’d met a thousand times before:
So surreptitiously catlike, so lustfully: 11775
The loveliness with each glance quickens more.
Oh, come nearer: Oh, only glance at me!
The Angels We’re here already, why so cautiously?
We are close, and, if you can, then stay!
(The Angels come forward and occupy the whole space.)
Mephistopheles (Crowded into the proscenium.)
You scorn us, the spirits of the damned, 11780
Yet you’re of the true Sorcerers’ brand:
You lead both man and wife astray. –
What wretched luck, and dire!
Is this Love’s own element?
My whole body’s bathed in fire, 11785
I scarcely feel, my head’s so burnt. –
You float to and fro, sink down a while,
Move your sweet limbs with earthly guile:
True, a grave expression suits you well,
But I’d still like to see you smile a little! 11790
That would be an eternal delight to me.
Like the lovers’ mutual glance, you see:
A simper round the mouth, is how it’s done,
You, the tall lad, you could make me love you,
The priest’s pose doesn’t really suit you, 11795
So show a little lust, and look hereon!
You could be more modestly naked too,
That robe’s long hem, so demure in its rising –
They turn away – and seen from the rear view –
Those rascals now are really appetising! 11800
The Choir of Angels You, loving fires,
Brighter, now, fanned,
Heal the damned,
With Truth, the higher!
Let them be freed 11805
From evil indeed,
The eternal embrace.
Mephistopheles (Collecting himself.)
What’s happening to me! – Like Job, in fact
All boils, so I scare myself, and yet I’ve won 11810
As well, since now my inspection’s done,
And my trust in self and tribe’s well placed:
The Devil’s noble bits appear intact,
This love-bewitchment’s only on the surface:
The wretched flames already smother, 11815
And, as is right, I curse you all together!
The Choir of Angels Pure incandescence!
Whom its flames bless,
Blissful with goodness,
Is their existence. 11820
Rise now, and praise!
Spirit can breathe here,
In purer waves!
(They rise, carrying away the immortal part of Faust.)
Mephistopheles (Looking round him.)
How then? – Where did they vanish to? 11825
You took me by surprise, you adolescents.
Now with what they’ve salvaged from the tomb,
As their own prize, they’ve flown off to heaven:
They’ve stolen a great, a unique treasure:
That noble soul, mortgaged to my pleasure, 11830
They’ve snatched it away, with cunning even.
But whom could I complain to, anyway?
Who’d grant me my well-earned right?
You’ve been swindled in your old age,
You’ve deserved it, this wretched slight. 11835
At great expense, shameful! And it’s gone:
I’ve mishandled it all disgracefully,
A common lust, an absurd passion,
Swayed the hardened devil foolishly.
And if Experience was in a mess, 11840
With all these childish, stupid things,
It was, in truth, no trivial Foolishness,
That took possession of him in the end.
Scene VII: Mountain Gorges, Forest, Rock, Desert
(Holy Hermits, divided in ascending planes, posted among the ravines.)
Chorus and Echo Forests, they wave around,
Over them, cliffs bear down, 11845
Roots cling to rocky ground,
Trunk upon trunk is bound,
Wave after wave sprays up,
Deep caves protecting us.
Lions prowl silently, 11850
Round us, still friendly,
Honouring sacred space,
Love’s holy hiding place.
Pater Ecstaticus (Hovering up and down.)
Eternal, fire of bliss,
Glow of love’s bond this is, 11855
Pain in the heart, seething,
Rapture divine, foaming.
Arrows, come, piercing me,
Spears, compelling me,
Clubs, you may shatter me, 11860
Lightning may flash through me!
So passes the nullity
Of all unreality,
And from the lasting star
Shines Love’s eternal core. 11865
Pater Profundis (At a lower level.)
As this rocky abyss at my feet,
Rests on a deeper abyss,
As a thousand glittering streams meet
In the foaming flood’s downward hiss,
As with its own strong impulse, above, 11870
The tree lifts skywards in the air:
Even so all-powerful love,
Creates all things, in its care.
Around me there’s a savage roar,
As if the rocks and forests sway, 11875
Yet full of love the waters pour,
Rushing bountifully away,
Sent to irrigate the valley here:
The lightning that flashed down,
Must purify the atmosphere, 11880
With poisonous vapours bound –
They are love’s messengers, they tell
Of what creates eternally around us.
May it inflame me inwardly, as well,
Since my spirit, cold and confounded, 11885
Torments itself, bound in the dull senses,
As sharp-toothed fetters’ agonising art.
Oh, God! Calm my thoughts, pacify us,
And bring light to my needy heart!
Pater Seraphicus (In the middle regions.)
What a mist of morning hovers 11890
Through the pine-trees’ swaying hair!
Can I guess what it might cover?
A crowd of spirits live there.
Choir of Sacred Young Boys Tell us, Father, where we wander,
Tell us, Kind One, who we are? 11895
We are happy: Being’s tender
To all who are, all who are.
Pater Seraphicus Young boys! Born at midnight’s hour,
Mind and spirit half-unveiled,
For your parents, a lost dower, 11900
For the angels, profit gained.
You can feel that one who loves
Is near to you, so come to me:
Yet of earthly ways and moves,
You bear no traces, happily. 11905
Rise into my eyes, those known
Organs of the earthly life,
You can use them as your own,
Gaze at all the spaces wide!
(He absorbs them into himself.)
Those are trees: those are cliffs, 11910
A stream of water, rushing round,
With gigantic leaps it lifts,
Shortening its journey down.
The Young Boys (From within him.)
That’s indeed a mighty vision,
But it’s gloomy here, you know, 11915
With fear and dread we’re all shaken.
Father, Kind one, let us go!
Pater Seraphicus Rise upwards to the highest sphere,
Grow unnoticed there forever,
While in pure eternal manner, 11920
God’s presence makes you stronger.
Such is the spirit’s libation,
Blending with the freest air:
Love’s eternal revelation,
Bliss is unfolded there. 11925
The Choir of Young Boys (Circling round the highest summit.)
Hands now entwining,
Joyfully circling round,
Soaring and singing
With sacred feeling’s sound!
In the divinely taught, 11930
Now you should trust:
He whom your worship sought
You’ll see at last.
The Angels (Soaring in the highest atmosphere, carrying the immortal part of Faust.)
He’s escaped, this noble member
Of the spirit world, from evil, 11935
Whoever strives, in his endeavour,
We can rescue from the devil.
And if he has Love within,
Granted from above,
The sacred crowd will meet him, 11940
With welcome, and with love.
The Younger Angels Every rose from the hands
Of those penitents, loving, holy,
Helped us win the victory,
The highest work, completed, stands, 11945
The treasure of this soul we’ve won.
Evil bowed to petals thrown,
Devils fled the blows we threw.
Instead of Hell’s hurts anew,
They felt spirits’ loving pain: 11950
Pierced with agony again
The old devil-master too was gone.
Shout with joy! All is done.
The More Perfect Angels Carrying earthly remains
Is hard to endure, 11955
Though they survive the flames,
They are still the impure.
Once a great spirit’s strength
So tightly fits
All the four elements, 11960
No angel splits
That double nature wed,
The inwardly binding:
To Eternal Love instead
Is left the unwinding. 11965
The Younger Angels Misted on rocky heights
Now we are feeling,
Nearing our clearer sight
These clouds are vanishing 11970
A crowd I see, moving,
Of sacred young men,
Freed from their earthly gloom,
Delighting again, 11975
In the spring’s brighter bloom,
In higher air.
Let them together then,
Lead him on: risen,
Perfect, and there! 11980
The Young Boys Joyfully we receive
Him as a chrysalis:
So that we now achieve
A pledge of our bliss.
Let all the threads be lost 11985
That now surround him!
He is already blessed,
Divine Love has found him.
Doctor Marianus (The transformed Faust: in the highest purest cell.)
Here is the freest view,
Of spirit borne skywards. 11990
There women moving too
Drifting on upwards.
The splendour I see within
Garlands of stars,
There, all the Heavens’ Queen 11995
Shines from afar.
Highest Queen of all the world!
Let me, in the blue,
With all heaven’s web unfurled,
Know your mystery too. 12000
Approve the tender, serious,
Stir of the human heart,
And in love’s sacred bliss,
Raise it higher, through your art.
Our courage is unconquerable 12005
When you command on high:
But our glow is gentler, still,
When you are satisfied.
Virgin, pure, of loveliest mind,
Mother, in all nobility, 12010
Peer to everything divine,
Queen of our reality.
Such light cloud fragments
Wind all around her,
They are the penitents, 12015
Women so tender,
All around her knees,
Breathing the air, free,
Desiring her mercy.
You are the Virginal Mother, 12020
It’s not surprising
Those seduced by another
Towards you are rising.
Taken in weakness now,
They are all harder to save: 12025
Who can resist the power
Of desires that enslave?
How quickly the feet may slip
On smooth, sloping ground!
Who’s un-tempted by glance and lip, 12030
Or by flattering sounds?
(The Mater Gloriosa soars into space.)
Choir of Female Penitents You soar, on high, now,
Towards the eternal realm,
Hear our pleading, though,
You, the peerless one, 12035
Oh, merciful one!
Magna Peccatrix (The sinful woman who anointed Christ’s feet, See Luke vii:36)
By the love that at the feet there
Of your son, divine, transfigured,
Let the tears like balsam flow there,
Despite the Pharisees’ derision: 12040
By the vessel, that so richly
Spread its fragrance on the ground,
By the locks of hair that softly
Dried the holy feet, shed round –
The Woman of Samaria (The woman at the well, See John iv)
By the well, where once before 12045
Abraham’s flocks were driven,
By the jar, that cooled the Saviour,
That to sacred lips was given:
By the pure and flowing fountain,
That poured out its clear water, 12050
Overflowing, bright and certain,
Through all the worlds, forever.
Mary of Egypt (Acta Sanctorum)
By the consecrated place
Where the Lord’s body lay:
By the warning arm, against my face, 12055
That thrust me far from the doorway:
By my forty years’ repentance,
Faithful, in that desert land:
By the blissful final sentence
That I wrote there on the sand – 12060
All Three Since you offer your presence
To the worst sinner,
The prize of penitence
Soars upwards forever,
Begrudge not this true soul, 12065
Who, this once, transgressed,
Not knowing she might fall,
A Penitent, Formerly Named Gretchen (Stealing closer.)
Oh, bow down,
You peerless one, 12070
You radiant one,
Your face, in mercy, towards my bane!
My true beloved,
No longer clouded,
Returns to me again. 12075
The Sacred Young Boys (Nearing, hovering in circles.)
With mighty limbs, already
He is beyond us there,
Returning to us, so richly,
The rewards of our care.
We were taken early 12080
Out of life’s chorus:
Yet he’s learned, so he
Will gently teach us.
The Penitent, Formerly Named Gretchen Changed to himself, he’s scarce aware
Of the spirits’ noble choir all around, 12085
He hardly knows his new life, there,
Already he’s so like the sacred crowd.
See, how he’s thrown off every bond
Of his old earthbound integument,
And his first youth now’s re-found, 12090
It shines through his ethereal garment.
Allow me to teach him, here,
The new light still blinds him so.
The Mater Gloriosa Come! Rise towards the higher spheres!
Gaining awareness of you, he will follow. 12095
Doctor Marianus (Bowing, in adoration.)
Gaze towards that saving gaze,
All you, the penitent and tender,
To all those blissful ways,
Give thanks, and follow after.
Let every finer sense, unseen, 12100
Be offered to her service,
Virgin, Mother now, and Queen,
Goddess, grant your mercies!
The Mystic Choir All of the transient,
Is parable, only: 12105
Here, grows to reality:
Here, is done:
Woman, eternal, 12110
Beckons us on.