Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Faust Part I: Scenes VII to XV

Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved

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Scene VII: A Street

(Faust. Margaret, passing by.)

Faust Lovely lady, may I offer you 2605

My arm, and my protection, too?

Faust Seeking to Seduce Marguerite

‘Faust Seeking to Seduce Marguerite’

Margaret Not lovely, nor the lady you detected,

I can go home, unprotected.

(She releases herself and exits.)

Faust By Heavens, the child is lovely!

I’ve never seen anything more so. 2610

She’s virtuous, yet innocently

Pert, and quick-tongued though.

Her rosy lips, her clear cheeks,

I’ll not forget them in many a week!

The way she cast down her eyes, 2615

Deep in my heart, imprinted, lies:

How curt in her speech she was,

Well that was quite charming, of course!

(Mephistopheles enters.)

Listen, you must get that girl for me!

Mephistopheles Which one?

Faust The girl who just went by. 2620

Mephistopheles That one, there? She’s come from the priest,

Absolved of all her sins, while I

Crept into a stall nearby:

She is such an innocent thing,

She’s no need to sit confessing: 2625

I’ve no power with such as those, I mean!

Faust Yet, she’s older than fourteen.

Mephistopheles Now you’re speaking like some Don Juan

Who wants every flower for himself alone,

Conceited enough to think there’s no honour, 2630

To be plucked except by him, nor favour:

But that’s never the case, you know.

Faust Master Moraliser is that so?

With me, best leave morality alone!

I’m telling you, short and sweet, 2635

If that young heart doesn’t beat

Within my arms, tonight - so be it,

At midnight, then our pact is done.

Mephistopheles Think, what a to and fro it will take!

I need at least fourteen days, to make 2640

Some kind of opportunity to meet her.

Faust If I’d seven hours at my call,

I’d not need the Devil at all,

To seduce such a creature.

Mephistopheles You’re almost talking like a Frenchman: 2645

But don’t let yourself get all annoyed:

What’s the use if she’s only part enjoyed?

Your happiness won’t be as prolonged,

As if you were to knead and fashion

That little doll, with every passion, 2650

Up and down, as yearning preaches,

And many a cunning rascal teaches.

Faust I’ve enough appetite without all that.

Mephistopheles Now, without complaint or jesting, what

I’m telling you is, with this lovely child, 2655

Once and for all, you mustn’t be wild.

She won’t be taken by storm, I said:

We’ll need to use cunning instead.

Faust Get me a part of the angels’ treasure!

Lead me to where she lies at leisure! 2660

Get me a scarf from her neck: aspire

To a garter, that’s my heart’s desire.

Mephistopheles So you can see how I will strain

To help you, and ease your pain,

We’ll not let an instant slip away, 2665

I’ll lead you to her room today.

Faust And shall I see her? And have her?

Mephistopheles No! She has to visit a neighbour.

Meanwhile, you can be alone there,

With every hope of future pleasure, 2670

Enjoy her breathing space, at leisure.

Faust Can we go?

Mephistopheles Her room’s not yet free.

Faust Look for a gift for her, from me!

(He exits.)

Mephistopheles A present? Good! He’s sure to work it!

I know many a lovely place, up here, 2675

And many an ancient buried treasure:

I must have a look around for a bit.

(He exits.)

Scene VIII: Evening, A small well-kept room

(Margaret, plaiting and fastening the braids of her hair.)

Margaret I’d give anything if I could say

Who that gentleman was, today!

He’s brave for certain, I could see, 2680

And from some noble family:

That his face readily told –

Or he wouldn’t have been so bold.

(She exits.)

(Mephistopheles and Faust appear.)

Mephistopheles Come in: but quietly, I mean!

Faust (After a moment’s silence.)

I’d ask you, now, to leave me be! 2685

Mephistopheles (Poking about.)

Not every girl keeps thing so clean.

(Mephistopheles exits.)

Faust Welcome, sweet twilight glow,

That weaves throughout this shrine!

Sweet love-pangs grip my heart so,

That on hope’s dew must live, and pine! 2690

How a breath of peace breathes around,

Its order, and contentment!

In this poverty, what wealth is found!

In this prison, what enchantment!

(He throws himself into a leather armchair near the bed.)

Accept me now, you, who with open arms 2695

Gathered joy and pain, in past days, where,

How often, ah, with all their childish charms

The little flock hung round their father’s chair!

There my beloved, perhaps, cheeks full, stands,

Grateful for all the gifts of Christmas fare, 2700

Kissing her grandfather’s withered hands.

Sweet girl, I feel your spirit, softly stray,

Through the wealth of order, all around me,

That with motherliness instructs, each day,

The tablecloth to lie smooth, at your say, 2705

And even the wrinkled sand beneath your feet.

O beloved hand, so goddess-like!

This house because of you is Heaven’s like.

And here!

(He lifts one of the bed curtains.)

What grips me with its bliss!

Here I could stand, slowly lingering. 2710

Here, Nature, in its gentlest dreaming,

Formed an earthly angel within this.

Here the child lay! Life, warm,

Filled her delicate breast,

And here, in pure and holy form, 2715

A heavenly image was expressed!

And I! What leads me here?

Why do I feel so deeply stirred?

What do I seek? Why such a heavy heart?

Poor Faust! I no longer know who you are. 2720

Is there a magic fragrance round me?

I urged myself on, to the deepest delight,

And feel myself melt in Love’s dreaming flight!

Are we the sport of every lightest breeze?

And if she appeared at this instant, 2725

How to atone for being so indiscreet?

The great man, alas, of little moment!

Would lie here, melting, at her feet.

Mephistopheles (Appearing.)

Quick! I see her coming, there.

Faust Away! Away! I’ll not return again. 2730

Mephistopheles Here’s a casket fairly loaded, then,

I’ve taken it from elsewhere.

Put it just here on the chest,

I swear it’ll dazzle her, when she sees:

I’ve put in some trinkets, and the rest, 2735

For you to win another, if you please.

Truly, a child’s a child, and play is play.

Faust I don’t know, shall I?

Mephistopheles Are you asking, pray?

Perhaps you’d like to keep the treasure, too?

Then I’d advise your Lustfulness, 2740

To spare the sweet hours of brightness,

And spare me a heap of trouble over you.

I hope that you’re not full of meanness!

I scratch my head: I rub my hands –

(He places the casket in the chest, and shuts it again.)

Now off we go, and go quickly! 2745

Through this you’ll bend the child, you see,

To your wish and will: as any fool understands:

Yet now you seem to me

As if you were heading for the lecture hall, and see

Standing there grey-faced, in front of you, 2750

Physics, and Metaphysics too!

Now, away!

(They exit.)

(Margaret with a lamp.)

Margaret It’s so close and sultry, here,

(She opens the window.)

And yet it’s not warm outside.

It troubles me so, I don’t know why – 2755

I wish that Mother were near.

A shudder ran through my whole body –

I’m such a foolish girl, so timid!

(She begins to sing, while undressing.)

‘There was a king in Thule, he

Was faithful, to the grave, 2760

To whom his dying lady

A golden goblet gave.

He valued nothing greater:

At every feast it shone:

His tears were brimming over, 2765

When he drank there-from.

When he himself was dying

No towns did he with-hold,

No wealth his heir denying,

Except the cup of gold. 2770

He gave a royal banquet,

His knights around him, all,

In his sea-girt turret,

In his ancestral hall.

There the old king stood, yet, 2775

Drinking life’s last glow:

Then threw the golden goblet

Into the waves below.

He saw it falling, drowning,

Sinking in the sea, 2780

Then, his eyelids closing,

Never again drank he.’

(She opens the chest in order to arrange her clothes, and sees the casket.)

How can this lovely casket be here? I’m sure

I locked the chest when I was here before.

It’s quite miraculous! What can it hold in store? 2785

Perhaps someone brought it as security,

And my mother’s granted a loan on it?

There’s a ribbon hanging from it, there’s a key,

I’m quite determined to open it.

What’s here? Heavens! What a show, 2790

More than I’ve ever seen in all my days!

A jewel box! A noble lady might glow

With all of these on high holidays!

How would this chain look? This display

Of splendour: who owns it, it’s so fine? 2795

(She puts the jewellery on and stands in front of the mirror.)

If only the earrings were mine!

At once one looks so different.

What makes us beautiful, young blood?

All that’s fine and good,

But it’s discounted, in the end, 2800

They praise us half in pity.

To gold they tend,

On gold depend,

All things! Oh, poverty!

Scene IX: Promenade

(Faust walking about pensively. Mephistopheles appears.)

Mephistopheles Scorned by all love! And by hellfire! What’s worse? 2805

I wish I knew: I could use it in a curse!

Faust What’s wrong? What’s pinching you so badly?

I never, in all my life, saw such a face!

Mephistopheles I’d pack myself off to the Devil, in disgrace,

If I weren’t a Devil myself already! 2810

Faust Is something troubling your brain?

It’s fitting that you’ve a raging pain.

Mephistopheles To think, the priest should get his hands on

Jewellery that was meant for Gretchen!

Her mother snatched it up, to see, 2815

And was gripped by secret anxiety.

That woman’s a marvellous sense of smell,

From nosing round in her prayer-book too well,

And sniffs things, ever and again,

To see if they’re holy or profane: 2820

And about the jewels, she felt, that’s clear,

There’s not much of a blessing here.

‘My child,’ she said, ‘ill-gotten goods

Snare the soul, and dissipate the blood.

We’ll dedicate it to the Virgin, 2825

She’ll repay us with manna from Heaven!’

Margaret, grimacing wryly, was quite put out:

Thinking: ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,

He’s not a godless man, nor one to fear,

He who left these fine things here.’ 2830

Her mother let the parson in:

He’d scarcely let the game begin

Before his eyes filled with enjoyment.

He said: ‘So we see aright, we sinners,

Who overcome themselves are winners. 2835

The Church has a healthy stomach, when,

It gobbles up lands, and don’t forget,

It’s never over-eaten yet.

The Church alone, dear lady, could

Always digest ill-gotten goods.’ 2840

Faust That’s a universal custom, too, my friend,

With all those who rule, and those who lend.

Mephistopheles Then he took the bangles, chains and rings,

As if they were merely trifling things,

Thanked her too, no less nor more 2845

Than if it were a sack of nuts, one wore.

Promised them their reward when they died,

And left them suitably edified.

Faust And Gretchen?

Mephistopheles Sits there, restlessly, still

Not knowing what she should do, or will, 2850

Thinks of the jewels night and day,

But more of him who placed them in her way.


The dear girl’s sadness brings me pain.

Find some jewels for her, again!

Those first were not so fine, I’d say. 2855

Mephistopheles Oh yes, to gentlemen it’s child’s play!

Faust Fix it: arrange it, as I want you to,

Attach yourself to her neighbour, too!

Don’t be a devil made of clay,

Get her fresh jewels straight away! 2860

Mephistopheles Yes, gracious sir, gladly, with all my heart.

(Faust exits.)

Such a lovesick fool would blow up the Sun,

High up in the air, with the Moon and Stars,

To provide his sweetheart with a diversion.

(He exits.)

Scene X: The Neighbour’s House

Martha (Alone.)

God forgive that man I love so well, 2865

He hasn’t done right by me at all!

Off into the world he’s gone,

And left me here, in the dust, alone.

Truly I did nothing to grieve him,

I gave him, God knows, fine loving. 2870

(She weeps.)

Perhaps, he’s even dead! – Yet, oh!

If I’d only his death certificate to show!

(Margaret enters.)

Margaret Martha!

Martha My little Gretchen, what’s happened?

Margaret My legs are giving way beneath me!

I’ve found another box of jewellery 2875

In the chest: it’s of ebony, fashioned,

Full of quite splendid things,

And richer than the first, I think.

Martha You’d better not tell your mother:

She’ll give it to the Church, like the other. 2880

Margaret Ah, See now! See what a show!

Martha (Dressing her with jewels.)

O you’re a lucky creature, though!

Margaret I can’t wear them in the street, alas,

Nor be seen like this, at Mass.

Martha Come often then, to me, as before: 2885

You can put them on, here, secretly:

Stand, for an hour, in front of the mirror,

We’ll take delight in them privately.

Then give us a holiday, an occasion,

When people can see a fraction of them. 2890

A chain first, then a pearl in the ear: your

Mother won’t know, say you’d them before.

Margaret Who could have left the second casket?

There’s something not proper about it!

(A knock.)

Good God! Is it my mother, then? 2895

Martha (Looking through the shutter.)

It’s a stranger, a gentleman – Come in!

(Mephistopheles enters.)

Mephistopheles Presents Himself in Martha’s Home

‘Mephistopheles Presents Himself in Martha’s Home’

Mephistopheles In introducing myself so freely,

I ask you ladies to excuse me.

(He steps back reverently on seeing Margaret.)

It’s Martha Schwerdtlein I seek!

Martha I’m she, what do you wish with me? 2900

Mephistopheles (Aside to her.)

I know you now: that’s enough for me:

You’ve a distinguished visitor there, I see.

Pardon the liberty I’ve taken, pray,

I’ll return this afternoon, if I may.

Martha (Aloud.)

To think, child: of all things: just fancy! 2905

The gentleman takes you for a lady.

Margaret I’m a poor young thing he’ll find:

Heavens! The gentleman’s far too kind:

The jewels and trinkets aren’t mine.

Mephistopheles Ah, it’s not just the jewellery, mind: 2910

The look: the manner: she has a way!

I’m pleased that I’m allowed to stay.

Martha What brings you here? I wish that you –

Mephistopheles I wish I brought you happier news! –

This news I hope you’ll forgive me repeating: 2915

Your husband’s dead, but sends a greeting.

Martha He’s dead? That true heart! Oh!

My man is dead! I’ll die, also!

Margaret Ah! Dear lady, don’t despair!

Mephistopheles Hear the mournful tale I bear! 2920

Margaret That’s why I’ll never love while I’ve breath,

Such a loss would grieve me to death.

Mephistopheles Joy must have sorrows: sorrow its joys, too.

Martha Tell me of his last hours: ah tell me!

Mephistopheles He’s buried in Padua, close to 2925

The blessed Saint Anthony,

In a consecrated space,

A cool eternal resting place.

Martha Have you brought nothing else, from him?

Mephistopheles Yes a request, it’s large and heavy: 2930

For you to sing a hundred masses for him!

Otherwise, no, my pocket’s empty.

Martha What? No piece of show? No jewellery?

What every workman has in his purse,

And keeps with him as his reserve, 2935

Rather than having to starve or beg!

Mephistopheles Madam, it’s a heavy grief to me:

But truly his money wasn’t wasted.

And then, he felt his errors greatly,

Yes, and bemoaned his bad luck lately. 2940

Margaret Ah! How unlucky all men are! I’ll

Be sure to offer many a prayer for him.

Mephistopheles You’re worthy of soon marrying:

You’re such a kindly child.

Margaret Oh, no! That wouldn’t do as yet. 2945

Mephistopheles If not a husband, a lover, while you wait.

It’s heaven’s greatest charm,

To have a dear one on one’s arm.

Margaret That’s not the custom of the country.

Mephistopheles Custom or not! It seems to be. 2950

Martha Go on with your tale!

Mephistopheles I stood beside his death-bed,

Hardly better than a rubbish-tip, poor man,

Of half-rotten straw: yet he died a Christian,

And found that he was even further in debt.

‘Alas,’ he cried, ‘I hate myself, with good reason, 2955

For leaving, as I did, my wife and my occupation!

Ah the memory of that is killing me,

Would in this life I might be forgiven, though!’

Martha (Weeping.)

The dear man! I forgave him long ago.

Mephistopheles ‘Although, God knows, she was more to blame than me.’ 2960

Martha The liar! What! At death’s door, lies he was telling!

Mephistopheles In his last wanderings, he was rambling,

If I’m any judge myself of the thing.

‘I had,’ he said, ‘no time to gaze in play:

First children, then bread for them each day, 2965

And I mean bread in the wider sense:

And couldn’t even eat my share in silence.’

Martha Did he forget the love, the loyalty,

My drudgery, night and day!

Mephistopheles Not at all, he thought of it deeply, in his way. 2970

He said: ‘As I was leaving Malta

I prayed hard for my wife and children:

And favour came to me from heaven,

Since our ship took a Turkish cutter,

Carrying the great Sultan’s treasure. 2975

There was a reward for bravery,

And I received, in due measure,

The generous share that fell to me.’

Martha What? And where? Has he buried it by chance?

Mephistopheles Who can tell: the four winds know the circumstance. 2980

A lovely girl there took him on,

As he, a stranger, roamed round Naples:

She gave him loyalty, and loved the man,

And he felt it so, till his last hour fell.

Martha He stole from his children, and his wife! 2985

The rogue! All the pain and misery he met,

Couldn’t keep him from that shameful life!

Mephistopheles Ah, but: now he’s died of it!

If I were truly in your place,

I’d mourn him quietly for a year, 2990

And look, meanwhile, for a dear new face.

Martha Ah, sweet God! I’ll not easily find another,

In all the world, such as my first one was!

There never was a dearer fool than mine.

Only he loved roaming too much, at last, 2995

And foreign women, and foreign wine,

And the rolling of those cursed dice.

Mephistopheles Well, that would have still been fine,

If, with you, he’d followed that line,

And noticed nothing, on your side. 3000

I swear that, with that same condition,

I’d swap rings with you, no question!

Martha O, the gentleman’s pleased to jest!

Mephistopheles (To himself.)

I must fly from here, swift as a bird!

She might hold the Devil to his word. 3005

(To Gretchen.)

How does your heart feel? At rest?

Margaret What does the gentleman mean?

Mephistopheles (To himself.)

Sweet, innocent child!


Farewell, ladies!

Margaret Farewell!

Martha Oh, speak to me yet, a while!

I’d like a witness, as to where, how, and when

My darling man died and was buried: then, 3010

As I’ve always been a friend of tradition,

Put his death in the paper, a weekly edition.

Mephistopheles Yes, dear lady, two witnesses you need

To verify the truth, or so all agree:

I’ve a rather fine companion, 3015

He can be your second man.

I’ll bring him here.

Martha Oh yes, please do!

Mephistopheles That young lady will be here, too?

He’s a brave youth! Travelled, yes,

And with ladies he’s all politeness. 3020

Margaret I’d be shamed before the gentleman.

Mephistopheles Not before any king on earth, madam.

Martha Behind the house, then, in my garden,

Tonight: we’ll expect you gentlemen.

Scene XI: The Street

(Faust. Mephistopheles.)

Faust How goes it? Will it be? Will it soon be done? 3025

Mephistopheles Ah, bravo! Do I find you all on fire?

In double-quick time you’ll have your desire.

You’ll meet tonight, at her neighbour Martha’s home:

There’s a woman, who’s the thing,

For procuring and for gipsying! 3030

Faust All right!

Mephistopheles But, she needs something from us, too.

Faust One good turn deserves another, true.

Mephistopheles We only have to bear a valid witness,

That her husband’s outstretched members bless

A consecrated place in Padua. 3035

Faust Brilliant! We must first make the journey there!

Mephistopheles Sacred Simplicity! There’s no need to do that.

Just testify, without saying too much to her.

Faust If you can’t do better than that, your pact I’ll tear.

Mephistopheles O holy man! Now I see you there! 3040

Is it the first time in your life, come swear,

That you’ve ever born false witness?

Haven’t you shown skill in definition

Of God, the World, what’s in it, Men,

What moves them, in mind and breast? 3045

With impudent brow, and swollen chest?

And if you look at it more deeply, oh yes,

Did you know as much now - confess,

As you do about Herr Schwerdtlein’s death?

Faust You are, and you’ll remain, a Liar and a Sophist. 3050

Mephistopheles Yes when no one’s the wiser for it.

The coming morn, in all honour though,

Won’t you beguile poor Gretchen so:

And swear you love her with all your soul?

Faust From my heart.

Mephistopheles Well, and good! 3055

And will your eternal Truth and Love,

Your one all-powerful Force, above –

Flow from your heart, too, as it should?

Faust Stop! Stop! It will! If I but feel,

For that emotion, for that throng, 3060

Seek the name, that none reveal,

Roam, with senses, through the world.

Seize on every highest word,

And call the fire, that I’m tasting,

Endless, eternal, everlasting – 3065

Does that to some devil’s game of lies belong?

Mephistopheles Yet, I’m still right!

Faust Hear one thing more,

I beg you, and spare my breath – the one

Who wants to hold fast, and has a tongue,

He’ll hold for sure. 3070

Come, chattering fills me with disgust,

And then you’re right, especially since I must.

Scene XII: The Garden

(Margaret on Faust’s arm, Martha and Mephistopheles walking up and down.)

Margaret I know the gentleman flatters me,

Lowers himself, and shames me, too.

A traveller is used to being 3075

Content, out of courtesy, with any food.

I know too well, so learned a man,

Can’t feed himself on my poor bran.

Faust A glance, a word from you, feeds me more,

Than all the world’s wisest lore. 3080

(He kisses her hand.)

Margaret Don’t trouble yourself! How could you kiss it?

It’s such a nasty, rough thing!

What work haven’t I done with it!

My mother’s so exacting.

(They move on.)

Martha And you, sir, you’re always travelling? 3085

Mephistopheles Ah, work and duty are such a bother!

There’s many a place one’s sad at leaving,

And daren’t stay a moment longer!

Martha In youth it’s fine, up and down,

Flitting about, the whole world over: 3090

Then harsher days come round,

And lonely bachelors small joy discover,

In sliding towards their hole in the ground.

Mephistopheles I view the prospect with horror.

Martha Then take advice in time, dear sir. 3095

(They move on.)

Margaret Yes, out of sight is out of mind!

Politeness comes naturally to you:

But you’ll meet friends, often, who,

Are more sensible than me, you’ll find.

Faust Dearest, believe me, what men call sense, 3100

Is often just vanity and short-sightedness.

Margaret How so?

Faust Ah, that simplicity and innocence never know

Themselves, or their heavenly worth!

That humble meekness, the highest grace

That Nature bestows so lovingly – 3105

Margaret It’s only for a moment that you think of me,

I’ve plenty of time to dream about your face.

Faust You’re often alone, then?

Margaret Yes, our household’s a little one,

Yet it has to be cared for by someone. 3110

We have no servant: I sweep, knit, sew,

And cook, I’m working early and late:

And in everything my mother is so

Strict, and straight.

Not that she has to be quite so economical: 3115

We could be more generous than others:

My father left a little fortune for us:

A house and garden by the town-wall.

But now my days are spent quietly:

My brother is a soldier: I’d 3120

A younger sister who died.

The trouble I had with that child:

Yet I’d take it on again, the worry,

She was so dear to me.

Faust An angel, if like you.

Margaret I raised her, and she loved me too. 3125

After my father died, she was born,

We gave mother up for lost, so worn

And wretchedly she lay there then,

And slowly, day by day, grew well again.

She couldn’t think of feeding 3130

It herself: that poor little thing,

And so I nursed it all alone,

On milk and water, as if it were my own,

In my arms, in my lap,

It charmed me, tumbling, and grew fat. 3135

Faust You found your greatest happiness there, for sure.

Margaret But also truly many a weary hour.

The baby’s cradle stood at night

Beside my bed: and if it hardly stirred

I woke outright: 3140

Now I nursed it, now laid it beside me: heard

When it cried, and left my bed, and often

Danced it back and forth, in the room: and then,

At break of dawn stood at the washtub, again:

Then the market and the kitchen, oh, 3145

And every day just like tomorrow.

One sometimes lacks the courage, sir, and yet

One appreciates one’s food and rest.

(They move on.)

Martha Women have the worst of it: it’s true:

A bachelor is hard to change, you see. 3150

Mephistopheles That just depends on the likes of you,

The right teacher might improve me.

Martha Say, have you never found anyone, dear sir?

Has your heart never been captured, anywhere?

Mephistopheles The proverb says: A hearth of your own, 3155

And a good wife, are worth pearls and gold.

Martha I mean: have you never felt desire, even lightly?

Mephistopheles I’ve everywhere been treated most politely.

Martha I meant to say: were you never seriously smitten?

Mephistopheles With ladies, one should never dare to be flippant. 3160

Martha Ah, you won’t understand me!

Mephistopheles I am sorry! Yet you’ll find

I understand – that you are very kind.

(They move on.)

Faust And, Angel, did you recognise me again,

As soon as I appeared in the garden?

Margaret Didn’t you see my gaze drop then? 3165

Faust And you forgive the liberty I’ve taken,

The impertinence of it all,

Just as you were leaving the Cathedral?

Margaret I was flustered, such a thing’s never happened to me:

‘Ah’, I thought, ‘has he seen, in your behaviour, 3170

Something that’s impertinent or improper?

No one could ever say anything bad about me.

He seems to be walking suddenly, with you,

As though he dealt with a girl of easy virtue’.

I confess, I didn’t know what it was, though, 3175

That I began to feel, and to your advantage too,

But certainly I was angry with myself, oh,

That I could not be angrier with you.

Faust Sweet darling!

Margaret Wait a moment!

(She picks a Marguerite and pulls the petals off one by one.)

Faust What’s that for, a bouquet?

Margaret No, it’s a game.

Faust What?

Margaret No, you’ll laugh if I say! 3180

(She pulls off the petals, murmuring to herself.)

Faust What are you whispering?

Margaret (Half aloud.)

He loves me – he loves me not.

Faust You sweet face that Heaven forgot!

Margaret (Continuing.)

Loves me – Not – Loves me – Not

(She plucks the last petal with delight.)

He loves me!

Faust Yes, my child! Let this flower-speech

Be heaven’s speech to you. He loves you! 3185

Do you know what that means? He loves you!

(He grasps her hands.)

Margaret I’m trembling!

Faust Don’t tremble, let this look,

Let this clasping of hands tell you

What’s inexpressible: 3190

To give oneself wholly, and feel

A joy that must be eternal!

Eternal! – Its end would bring despair.

No, no end! No end!

(Margaret presses his hand, frees herself, and runs away. He stands a moment in thought: then follows her.)

Martha (Coming forward.)

Night is falling.

Mephistopheles Yes, and we must away. 3195

Martha I’d ask you to remain here longer,

But this is quite a wicked place.

It’s as if they had nothing to do yonder,

And no work they should be doing

But watching their neighbours’ to-ing and fro-ing, 3200

And whatever one does, insults are hurled.

And our couple, now?

Mephistopheles Flown up the passage, there.

Wilful little birds!

Martha He seems keen on her.

Mephistopheles And she on him. It’s the way of the world.

Scene XIII: An Arbour in the Garden

(Margaret comes in, hides behind the door of the garden-house, holds her fingers to her lips, and peeps through the gaps.)

Margaret He’s coming.

Faust (Appearing.)

Ah, rascal, you tease me so! I’ve got you! 3205

(He kisses her.)

Margaret (Clasping him, and returning the kiss.)

Dearest man! With all my heart I love you!

(Mephistopheles knocks.)

Faust (Stamping his foot in frustration.)

Who’s there?

Mephistopheles A dear friend!

Faust A creature!

Mephistopheles It’s time to go.

Martha (Appearing.)

Yes, sir, it’s late!

Faust May I keep company with you, though?

Margaret My mother would tell me, – Farewell!

Faust Must I go, then?


Martha Goodbye, now!

Margaret And soon to meet again! 3210

(Faust and Mephistopheles exit.)

Margaret Dear God! That one man, by thinking,

Knows everything, oh, everything!

I stand in front of him, ashamed

And just say yes to all he says.

I’m such a poor, ignorant child, and he - 3215

I can’t understand what he sees in me.

Scene XIV: Forest and Cavern

(Faust, alone.)

Faust Sublime spirit, you gave me all, all,

I asked for. Not in vain have you

Revealed your face to me in flame.

You gave me Nature’s realm of splendour, 3220

With the power to feel it, and enjoy.

Not merely as a cold, awed stranger,

But allowing me to look deep inside,

Like seeing into the heart of a friend.

You lead the ranks of living creatures 3225

Before me, showing me my brothers

In the silent woods, the air, the water.

And when the storm roars in the forest,

When giant firs fell their neighbours,

Crushing nearby branches in their fall, 3230

Filling the hills with hollow thunder,

You lead me to the safety of a cave,

Show me my own self, and reveal

Your deep, secret wonders in my heart.

And when the pure Moon, to my eyes, 3235

Rises, calming me, the silvery visions

Of former times, drift all around me,

From high cliffs, and moist thickets,

Tempering thought’s austere delight.

Oh, I know now that nothing can be 3240

Perfect for Mankind. You gave me,

With this joy, that brings me nearer,

Nearer to the gods, a companion,

Whom I can no longer do without,

Though he is impudent, and chilling,

Degrades me in my own eyes, and with 3245

A word, a breath, makes your gifts nothing.

He fans a wild fire in my heart,

Always alive to that lovely form.

So I rush from desire to enjoyment,

And in enjoyment pine to feel desire. 3250

(Mephistopheles enters.)

Mephistopheles Haven’t you had enough of this life yet?

How can you be happy all this time?

It’s fine for a man to try it for a bit,

But then you need a newer clime!

Faust I wish you’d something else to do, 3255

Than plague me on a good day.

Mephistopheles Now, now! I’d gladly ignore you,

You don’t really mean it anyway.

You’d be little loss to me,

A rude, mad, sour companion. 3260

One’s hands are full all day, and see,

What pleases you, or what to let be,

No one can tell from your expression.

Faust So that’s the tone he takes!

I’m to thank him, for boring me. 3265

Mephistopheles Poor Son of Earth, how could you make

Your way through life without me?

I’ve cured you for a while at least

Of your twitches of imagination,

If I weren’t here, you’d certainly 3270

Have walked right off this earthly station.

In rocky hollows, in a hole,

Why sit around here, like an owl?

From soaking moss and dripping stone,

Sucking your nourishment, like a toad? 3275

Spend your time sweeter, better!

Your body’s still stuck there with the Doctor.

Faust Do you understand the new power of being

That a walk in the wilderness can bring?

But then, if you were able to guess, 3280

You’re devil enough to begrudge my happiness.

Mephistopheles An other-worldly pleasure.

Night and day, mountains for leisure.

Clasping heaven and earth, blissfully,

Inflating yourself, becoming a deity. 3285

With expectant urge burrowing through earth’s core,

Feeling all that six days’ work, in yours,

To taste who knows what, in power’s pride,

Overflowing, almost, with the joy of life,

Vanishing, the Earthly Son, 3290

And into some deep Intuition –

(With a gesture.)

I can’t say how – passing inside.

Faust Fie, on you!

Mephistopheles Ah, you don’t like it from me!

You’ve the right, to say ‘fie’ to me, politely.

Before chaste ears men daren’t speak aloud, 3295

That which chaste hearts can’t do without:

Short and sweet, I begrudge the pleasure you get

From occasionally lying to yourself, about it.

But you won’t hold out for long, I’m sure.

You’re already over-driven, 3300

Sooner or later you’ll be given

To madness, or to fear and horror.

Enough! Your lover sits inside,

All is dull, oppressive to her,

She can’t get you out of her mind, 3305

Her deep love overwhelms her.

First your love’s flood round her flowed,

As a stream pours from melted snow:

You’ve so filled her heart, and now,

Your stream again is shallow. 3310

Instead of enthroning yourself in the wood,

Let the great gentleman do some good,

To that poor little ape of flesh and blood,

And reward her, I think, for her love.

Her days seem pitifully long: 3315

She sits at the window, cloud drifting

Over the old City wall, sees it lifting.

‘Would I were a little bird!’ runs her song,

All day long, and all night long.

Sometimes lively, mostly not, 3320

Sometimes crying out, in tears,

Then quiet again, it appears,

And always in love.

Faust You snake! You snake, you!

Mephistopheles A touch! That caught you! 3325

Faust Wretch! Be gone from my presence:

Don’t name that lovely girl to me!

Don’t bring desire for that sweet body

Before every half-maddened sense!

Mephistopheles Well, what then? She thinks you’ve flown away, 3330

And, half and half, you already have, I’d say.

Faust I’m near her, and were I still far,

I can’t lose her or forget her,

I even envy the body of our Lord,

When her lips touch it at the altar. 3335

Mephistopheles Quite so, my friend! My envy often closes

On that pair of twins that feed among the roses.

Faust Away from me, procurer!

Mephistopheles Fine, you curse and I must smile.

The god who made both man and woman,

He likewise knew the noblest profession, 3340

So made the opportunity as well.

Go on, it’s a crying shame!

Since you’re bound, all the same

For your lover’s room, not death.

Faust Where is the heavenly joy in her arms? 3345

Let me warm myself with her charms!

Do I not always feel her absent breath?

Am I not the fugitive? The homeless one?

The creature without aim or rest,

A torrent in the rocks, still thundering down, 3350

Foaming eagerly into the abyss?

And she beside it, with vague childlike mind,

In a hut there, on a little Alpine field,

So, her first homely life you’d find,

Hidden there in that little world. 3355

And I, the god-forsaken,

Was not great enough,

To grasp the cliffs, and take them,

And crush them into dust!

I still must undermine her peaceful life! 3360

You, Hell, must have your sacrifice.

Help, Devil, curtail the anxious moment brewing.

What must be, let it be, and swiftly!

Let her fate also fall on me,

And she and I rush to ruin! 3365

Mephistopheles Again it glows: again it seethes!

Go in and comfort her, you fool!

When a brain, like yours, no exit sees,

It calls it the end of all things, too.

Praise him who keeps his courage fresh! 3370

Or you’ll soon get quite be-devilled, there.

I find nothing in the world so tasteless,

As a Devil, in despair.

Scene XV: Gretchen’s Room

(Gretchen alone at the spinning wheel.)

Gretchen at her Spinning Wheel

‘Gretchen at her Spinning Wheel’

Gretchen ‘My peace is gone,

My heart is sore: 3375

I’ll find it, never,

Oh, nevermore.

When he’s not here,

My grave is near,

The world is all, 3380

A bitter gall.

My poor head

Feels crazed to me.

My poor brain

Seems dazed to me. 3385

My peace is gone,

My heart is sore:

I’ll find it, never,

Oh, nevermore.

Only to see him 3390

I look out.

Only to meet him,

I leave the house.

His proud steps,

His noble figure, 3395

His smiling lips,

His eyes: their power.

And all his speech

Like magic is,

His fingers’ touch, 3400

And, oh, his kiss!

My peace is gone,

My heart is sore:

I’ll find it, never,

Oh, nevermore. 3405

My heart aches

To be with him,

Oh if I could

Cling to him,

And kiss him, 3410

The way I wish,

So I might die,

At his kiss!