A high vaulted narrow Gothic chamber.
FAUST, restless, seated at his desk.
I HAVE, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
Magister, doctor styled, indeed,
Already these ten years I lead,
Up, down, across, and to and fro,
My pupils by the nose,--and learn,
That we in truth can nothing know!
That in my heart like fire doth burn.
'Tis true I've more cunning than all your dull tribe,
Magister and doctor, priest, parson, and scribe;
Scruple or doubt comes not to enthrall me,
Neither can devil nor hell now appal me--
Hence also my heart must all pleasure forego!
I may not pretend, aught rightly to know,
I may not pretend, through teaching, to find
A means to improve or convert mankind.
Then I have neither goods nor treasure,
No worldly honour, rank, or pleasure;
No dog in such fashion would longer live!
Therefore myself to magic I give,
In hope, through spirit-voice and might,
Secrets now veiled to bring to light,
That I no more, with aching brow,
Need speak of what I nothing know;
That I the force may recognise
That binds creation's inmost energies;
Her vital powers, her embryo seeds survey,
And fling the trade in empty words away.
O full-orb'd moon, did but thy rays
Their last upon mine anguish gaze!
Beside this desk, at dead of night,
Oft have I watched to hail thy light:
Then, pensive friend! o'er book and scroll,
With soothing power, thy radiance stole!
In thy dear light, ah, might I climb,
Freely, some mountain height sublime,
Round mountain caves with spirits ride,
In thy mild haze o'er meadows glide,
And, purged from knowledge-fumes, renew
My spirit, in thy healing dew!
Woe's me! still prison'd in the gloom
Of this abhorr'd and musty room!
Where heaven's dear light itself doth pass,
But dimly through the painted glass!
Hemmed in by book-heaps, piled around,
Worm-eaten, hid 'neath dust and mould,
Which to the high vault's topmost bound,
A smoke-stained paper doth enfold;
With boxes round thee piled, and glass,
And many a useless instrument,
With old ancestral lumber blent--
This is thy world! a world! alas!
And dost thou ask why heaves thy heart,
With tighten'd pressure in thy breast?
Why the dull ache will not depart,
By which thy life-pulse is oppress'd?
Instead of nature's living sphere,
Created for mankind of old,
Brute skeletons surround thee here,
And dead men's bones in smoke and mould.
Up! Forth into the distant land!
Is not this book of mystery
By Nostradamus' proper hand,
An all-sufficient guide? Thou'lt see
The courses of the stars unroll'd;
When nature doth her thoughts unfold
To thee, thy soul shall rise, and seek
Communion high with her to hold,
As spirit doth with spirit speak!
Vain by dull poring to divine
The meaning of each hallow'd sign.
Spirits! I feel you hov'ring near;
Make answer, if my voice ye hear!
(He opens the book and perceives the sign of the Macrocosmos.)
Ah! at this spectacle through every sense,
What sudden ecstasy of joy is flowing!
I feel new rapture, hallow'd and intense,
Through every nerve and vein with ardour glowing.
Was it a god who character'd this scroll,
The tumult in my spirit healing,
O'er my sad heart with rapture stealing,
And by a mystic impulse, to my soul,
The powers of nature all around revealing.
Am I a God? What light intense I
In these pure symbols do I see,
Nature exert her vital energy.
Now of the wise man's words I learn the sense;
"Unlock'd the spirit-world is lying,
Thy sense is shut, thy heart is dead!
Up scholar, lave, with zeal undying,
Thine earthly breast in the morning-red!"
(He contemplates the sign.)
How all things live and work, and ever blending,
Weave one vast whole from Being's amplc range!
How powers celestial, rising and descending,
Their golden buckets ceaseless interchange!
Their flight on rapture-breathing pinions winging,
From heaven to earth their genial influence bringing,
Through the wild sphere their chimes melodious ringing!
A wondrous show! but ah! a show alone!
Where shall I grasp thee, infinite nature, where?
Ye breasts, ye fountains of all life, whereon
Hang heaven and earth, from which the withered heart
For solace yearns, ye still impart
Your sweet and fostering tides--where are ye--where?
Ye gush, and must I languish in despair?
(He turns over the leaves of the book impatiently, and perceives
the sign of the Earth-spirit.)
How all unlike the influence of this sign I
Earth-spirit, thou to me art nigher,
E'en now my strength is rising higher,
E'en now I glow as with new wine;
Courage I feel, abroad the world to dare,
The woe of earth, the bliss of earth to bear,
With storms to wrestle, brave the lightning's glare,
And mid the crashing shipwreck not despair.
Clouds gather over me--
The moon conceals her light--
The lamp is quench'd--
Vapours are rising--
Quiv'ring round my head
Flash the red beams--
Down from the vaulted roof
A shuddering horror floats,
And seizes me!
I feel it, spirit, prayer-compell'd, 'tis thou
Art hovering near!
Ha! How my heart is riven now!
Each sense, with eager palpitation,
Is strain'd to catch some new sensation!
I feel my heart surrender'd unto thee!
Thou must! Thou must! Though life should be the fee!
(He seizes the book, and pronounces mysteriously the sign
of the spirit. A ruddy flame flashes up; the spirit appears in the
Who calls me?
FAUST (turning aside)
With might, Thou hast compelled me to appear, Long hast been
sucking at my sphere, And now--
Woe's me! I cannot bear the sight!
To see me thou dost breathe thine invocation,
My voice to hear, to gaze upon my brow;
Me doth thy strong entreaty bow--
Lo! I am here I--What cowering agitation
Grasps thee, the demigod! Where's now the soul's deep cry?
Where is the breast, which in its depths a world conceiv'd
And bore and cherished? which, with ecstasy,
To rank itself with us, the spirits, heaved?
Where art thou, Faust? whose voice I heard resound,
Who towards me press'd with energy profound?
Art thou he? Thou,--who by my breath art blighted,
Who, in his spirit's depths alfrighted,
Trembles, a crush'd and writhing worm!
Shall I yield, thing of flame, to thee?
Faust, and thine equal, I am he!
In the currents of life, in action's storm,
I float and I wave
With billowy motion!
Birth and the grave
A limitless ocean,
A constant weaving
With change still rife,
A restless heaving,
A glowing life--
Thus time's whirring loom unceasing I ply,
And weave the life-garment of deity.
Thou, restless spirit, dost from end to end
O'ersweep the world; how near I feel to thee!
Thou'rt like the spirit, thou dost comprehend,
Not me! (Vanishes.)
FAUST (deeply. moved)
I, God's own image!
And not rank with thee! (A knock.)
Oh death! I know it--'tis my famulus--
My fairest fortune now escapes!
That all these visionary shapes
A soulless groveller should banish thus!
(WAGNER in his dressing gown and night-cap, a lamp
in his hand. FAUST turns round reluctantly.)
Pardon! I heard you here declaim;
A Grecian tragedy you doubtless read?
Improvement in this art is now my aim,
For now-a-days it much avails. Indeed
An actor, oft I've heard it said, as teacher,
May give instruction to a preacher.
Ay, if your priest should be an actor too,
As not improbably may come to pass.
When in his study pent the whole year through,
Man views the world, as through an optic glass,
On a chance holiday, and scarcely then,
How by persuasion can he govern men?
If feeling prompt not, if it doth not flow
Fresh from the spirit's depths, with strong control
Swaying to rapture every listener's soul,
Idle your toil; the chase you may forego!
Brood o'er your task! Together glue,
Cook from another's feast your own ragout,
Still prosecute your paltry game,
And fan your ash-heaps into flame!
'Thus children's wonder you'll excite,
And apes', if such your appetite;
But that which issues from the heart alone,
Will bend tile hearts of others to your own.
The speaker in delivery will find
Success alone; I still am far behind.
A worthy object still pursue!
Be not a hollow tinkling fool!
Sound understnding, judememt true,
Find utterance without art or rule;
And when in earnest you are moved to speak,
Then is it needful cunning words to seek?
Your fine harangues, so polish'd in their kind,
Wherein the shreds of human thought ye twist,
Are unrefreshing as the empty wind,
Whistling through wither'd leaves and autumn mist!
Oh God! How long is art,
Our life how short! With earnest zeal
Still as I ply the critic's task, I feel
A strange oppression both of head and heart.
The very means how hardly are they won,
By which we to the fountains rise!
And haply, ere one half the course is run,
Check'd in his progress, the poor devil dies.
Parchment, is that the sacred fount whence roll
Waters, he thirsteth not who once hath quaffed?
Oh, if it gush not from thine inmost soul,
Thou has not won the life-restoring draught.
Your pardon! 'tis delightful to transport
Oneself into the spirit of the past,
To see in times before us how a wise man thought,
And what a glorious height we have achieved at last.
Ay truly! even to the loftiest star!
To us, my friend, the ages that are pass'd
A book with seven seals, close-fasten'd, are;
And what the spirit of the times men call,
Is merely their own spirit after all,
Wherein, distorted oft, the times are glass'd.
Then truly, 'tis a sight to grieve the soul!
At the first glance we fly it in dismay;
A very lumber-room, a rubbish-hole;
At best a sort of mock-heroic play,
With saws pragmatical, and maxims sage,
To suit the puppets and their mimic stage.
But then the world and man, his heart and brain!
Touching these things all men would something know.
Ay! what 'mong men as knowledge doth obtain!
Who on the child its true name dares bestow?
The few who somewhat of these things have known,
Who their full hearts unguardedly reveal'd,
Nor thoughts, nor feelings, from the mob conceal'd,
Have died on crosses, or in flames been thrown.--
Excuse me, friend, far now the night is spent,
For this time we must say adieu.
Still to watch on I had been well content,
Thus to converse so learnedly with you.
But as to-morrow will be Easter-day,
Some further questions grant, I pray;
With diligence to study still I fondly cling;
Already I know much, but would know everything.
How him alone all hope abandons never,
To empty trash who clings, with zeal untired,
With greed for treasure gropes, and, joy-inspir'd,
Exults if earth-worms second his endeavour.
And dare a voice of merely human birth,
E'en here, where shapes immortal throng'd, intrude?
Yet ah! thou poorest of the sons of earth,
For once, I e'en to thee feel gratitude.
Despair the power of sense did well-nigh blast,
And thou didst save me ere I sank dismay'd,
So giant-like the vision seem'd, so vast,
I felt myself shrink dwarf'd as I survey'd!
I, God's own image, from this toil of clay
Already freed, with eager joy who hail'd
The mirror of eternal truth unveil'd,
Mid light effulgent and celestial day:--
I, more than cherub, whose unfetter'd soul
With penetrative glance aspir'd to flow
Through nature's veins, and, still creating, know
The life of gods,--how am I punish'd now!
One thunder-word hath hurl'd me from the goal!
Spirit! I dare not lift me to thy sphere.
What though my power compell'd thee to appear,
My art was powerless to detain thee here.
In that great moment, rapture-fraught,
I felt myself so small, so great;
Fiercely didst thrust me from the realm of thought
Back on humanity's uncertain fate!
Who'll teach me now? What ought Ito forego?
Ought I that impulse to obey?
Alas! our every deed, as well as every woe,
Impedes the tenor of life's onward way!
E'en to the noblest by the soul conceiv'd,
Some feelings cling of baser quality;
And when the goods of this world are achiev'd,
Each nobler aim is termed a cheat, a lie.
Our aspirations, our soul's genuine life,
Grow torpid in the din of earthly strife.
Though youthful phantasy, while hope inspires,
Stretch o'er the infinite her wing sublime,
A narrow compass limits her desires,
When wreck'd our fortunes in the gulf of time.
In the deep heart of man care builds her nest,
O'er secret woes she broodeth there,
Sleepless she rocks herself and scareth joy and rest;
Still is she wont some new disguise to wear,
She may as house and court, as wife and child appear,
As dagger, poison, fire and flood;
Imagined evils chill thy blood,
And what thou ne'er shall lose, o'er that dost shed the tear.
I am not like the gods! Feel it I must;
I'm like the earth-worm, writhing in the dust,
Which, as on dust it feeds, its native fare,
Crushed 'neath the passer's tread, lies buried there.
Is it not dust, wherewith this lofty wall,
With hundred shelves, confines me round;
Rubbish, in thousand shapes, may I not call
What in this moth-world doth my being bound?
Here, what doth fail me, shall I find?
Read in a thousand tomes that, everywhere,
Self-torture is the lot of human-kind,
With but one mortal happy, here and there?
Thou hollow skull, that grin, what should it say,
But that thy brain, like mine, of old perplexed,
Still yearning for the truth, hath sought the light of day.
And in the twilight wandered, sorely vexed?
Ye instruments, forsooth, ye mock at me,--
With wheel, and cog, and ring, and cylinder;
To nature's portals ye should be the key;
Cunning your wards, and yet the bolts ye fail to stir.
Inscrutable in broadest light,
To be unveil'd by force she doth refuse,
What she reveals not to thy mental sight,
Thou wilt not wrest me from her with levers and with screws.
Old useless furnitures, yet stand ye here,
Because my sire ye served, now dead and gone.
Old scroll, the smoke of years dost wear,
So long as o'er this desk the sorry lamp hath shone.
Better my little means hath squandered quite away,
Than burden'd by that little here to sweat and groan!
Wouldst thou possess thy heritage, essay,
By use to render it thine own!
What we employ not, but impedes our way,
That which the hour creates, that can it use alone!
But wherefore to yon Spot is riveted my gaze?
Is yonder fiasket there a magnet to my sight?
Whence this mild radiance that around me plays,
As when, 'mid forest gloom, reigneth the moon's soft light?
Hail precious phial! Thee, with reverent awe,
Down from thine old receptacle I draw I
Science in thee I hail and human art.
Essence of deadliest powers, refin'd and sure,
Of soothing anodynes abstraction pure,
Now in thy master's need thy grace impart!
I gaze on thee, my pain is lull'd to rest;
I grasp thee, calm'd the tumult in my breast;
The flood-tide of my spirit ebbs away;
Onward I'm summon'd o'er a boundless main,
Calm at my feet expands the glassy plain,
To shores unknown allures a brighter day.
Lo, where a car of fire, on airy pinion,
Comes floating towards me I I'm prepar'd to fly
By a new track through ether's wide dominion,
To distant spheres of pure activity.
This life intense, this godlike ecstasy--
Worm that thou art such rapture canst thou earn?
Only resolve with courage stern and high,
Thy visage from the radiant sun to turn!
Dare with determin'd will to burst the portals
Past which in terror others fain would steal
Now is the time, through deeds,, to show that mortals
The calm sublimity of gods can feel;
To shudder not at yonder dark abyss,
Where phantasy creates her own self-torturing brood,
Right onward to the yawning gulf to press,
Around whose narrow jaws rolleth hell's fiery flood;
With glad resolve to take the fatal leap,
Though danger threaten thee, to sink in endless sleep!
Pure crystal goblet! forth I draw thee now,
From out thine antiquated case, where thou
Forgotten hast reposed for many a year!
Oft at my father's revels thou didst shine,
To glad the earnest guests was thine,
As each to other passed the generous cheer.
The gorgeous brede of figures, quaintly wrought,
Which he who quaff'd must first in rhyme expound,
Thcn drain the goblet at one draught profound,
Hath nights of boyhood to fond memory brought.
I to my neighbour shall not reach thee now,
Nor on thy rich device shall I my cunning show.
Here is a juice, makes drunk without delay;
Its dark brown flood thy crystal round doth fill;
Let this last draught, the product of my skill,
My own free choice, be quaff'd with resolute will,
A solemn festive greeting, to the coming day!
(He places the goblet to his mouth.)
(Tue ringing of bells, and choral voices.)
Chorus of ANGELS
Christ is arisen!
Mortal, all hail to thee,
Thou whom mortality,
Earth's sad reality,
Held as in prison.
What hum melodious, what clear silvery chime
Thus draws the goblet from my lips away?
Ye deep-ton'd bells, do ye with voice sublime,
Announce the solemn dawn of Easter-day?
Sweet choir! are ye the hymn of comfort singing,
Which once around the darkness of the grave,
From seraph-voices, in glad triumph ringing,
Of a new covenant assurance gave?
CHORUS OF WOMEN
We, his true-hearted,
With spices and myrrh,
Embalmed the departed,
And swathed him with care;
Here we conveyed Him,
Our Master, so dear;
Alas! Where we laid Him,
The Christ is not here.
CHORUS OF ANGELS
Christ is arisen!
Blessed the loving one,
Who from earth's trial throes,
Healing and strengthening woes,
Soars as from prison.
Wherefore, ye tones celestial, sweet and strong,
Come ye a dweller in the dust to seek?
Ring out your chimes believing crowds among,
The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak;
From faith her darling, miracle, hath sprung.
Aloft to yonder spheres I dare not soar,
Whence sound the tidings of great joy;
And yet, with this sweet strain familiar when a boy,
Back it recalleth me to life once more.
Then would celestial love, with holy kiss,
Come o'er me in the Sabbath's stilly hour,
While, fraught with solemn meaning and mysterious
Chim'd the deep-sounding bell, and prayer was bliss;
A yearning impulse, undefin'd yet dear,
Drove me to wander on through wood and field;
With heaving breast and many a burning tear,
I felt with holy joy a world reveal'd.
Gay sports and festive hours proclaini'd with joyous pealing,
This Easter hymn in days of old;
And fond remembrance now doth me, with childlike feeling,
Back from the last, the solemn step, withhold.
O still sound on, thou sweet celestial strain!
The tear-drop flows,--Earth, I am thine again!
CHORUS OF DISCIPLES
He whom we mourned as dead,
Living and glorious,
From the dark grave bath fled,
Over death victorious;
Almost creative bliss
Waits on his growing powers;
Ah! Him on earth we miss;
Sorrow and grief are ours.
Yearning he left his own,
Mid sore annoy;
Ah! we must needs bemoan.
Master, thy joy!
CHORUS OF ANGELS
Christ is arisen,
Redeem'd from decay.
The bonds which imprison
Your souls, rend away!
Praising the Lord with zeal,
By deeds that love reveal,
Like brethren true and leal
Sharing the daily meal,
To all that sorrow feel
Whisp'ring of heaven's weal,
Still is the master near,
Still is he here!
BEFORE THE GATE
Promenaders of all sorts pass out.
Why choose ye that direction, pray?
To the hunting-lodge we're on our way.
We towards the mill are strolling on.
A walk to Wasserhof were best.
The road is not a pleasant one.
What will you do?
I'll join the rest.
Let's up to Burghof, there you'll find good cheer,
The prettiest maidens and the best of beer,
And brawls of a prime sort.
You scapegrace! How;
Your skin still itching for a row?
Thither I will not go, I loathe the place.
No, no! I to the town my steps retrace.
Near yonder poplars he is sure to be.
And if he is, what matters it to me!
With you he'll walk, he'll dance with none but you,
And with your pleasures what have I to do?
To-day he will not be alone, he said
His friend would be with him, the curly-head.
Why how those buxom girls step on!
Come, brother, we will follow them anon.
Strong beer, a damsel smartly dress'd,
Stinging tobacco,--these I love the best.
Look at those handsome fellows there!
'Tis really shameful, I declare,
The very best society they shun,
After those servant girls forsooth, to run.
SECOND STUDENT (to the first)
Not quite so fast! for in our rear,
Two girls, well-dress'd, are drawing near;
Not far from us the one doth dwell,
And sooth to say, II like her well.
They walk demurely, yet you'll see,
That they will let us join them presently.
Not 1! restraints of all kinds I detest.
Quick! let us catch the wild-game ere it flies,
The hand on Saturday the mop that plies,
Will on the Sunday fondle you the best.
No, this new Burgomaster, I like him not, God knows,
Now, he's in office, daily more arrogant he grows;
And for the town, what doth he do for it?
Are not things worse from day to day?
To more restraints we must submit;
And taxes more than ever pay.
Kind gentleman and ladies fair,
So rosy-cheek'd and trimly dress'd,
Be pleas'd to listen to my prayer,
Relieve and pity the distress'd.
Let me not vainly sing my lay!
His heart's most glad whose hand is free.
Now when all men keep holiday,
Should be a harvest-day to me.
On holidays and Sundays naught know I more inviting
Than chatting about war and war's alarms,
When folk in Turkey, up in arms,
Far off, are 'gainst each other fighting.
We at the window stand, our glasses drain,
And watch adown the stream the painted vessels gliding,
Then joyful we at eve come home again,
And peaceful times we bless, peace long-abiding.
Ay, neighbour! So let matters stand for me!
There they may scatter one another's brains,
And wild confusion round them see--
So here at home in quiet all remains!
OLD WOMAN (to the BURGHERS' DAUGHTERS)
Heyday! How smart! The fresh young blood!
Who would not fall in love with you?
Not quite so proud! 'Tis well and good!
And what you wish, that I could help you to.
Come, Agatha! I care not to be seen
Walking in public with these witches. True,
My future lover, last St. Andrew's E'en,
In flesh and blood she brought before my view.
And mine she show'd me also in the glass,
A soldier's figure, with companions bold;
I look around, I seek him as I pass,
In vain, his form I nowhere can behold.
Fortress with turrets
And walls high in air,
Haughty and fair,
These be my prey!
Bold is the venture,
Costly the pay!
Hark how the trumpet
Thither doth call us,
Where either pleasure
Or death may befall us.
Hail to the tumult!
Life's in the field!
Damsel and fortress
To us must yield.
Bold is the venture,
Costly the pay!
Gaily the soldier
FAUST and WAGNER
Loosed from their fetters are streams and rills
Through the gracious spring-tide's all-quickening glow;
Hope's budding joy in the vale doth blow;
Old Winter back to the savage hills
Withdraweth his force, decrepid now.
Thence only impotent icy grains
Scatters he as he wings his flight,
Striping with sleet the verdant plains;
But the sun endureth no trace of white;
Everywhere growth and movement are rife,
All things investing with hues of life:
Though flowers are lacking, varied of dye,
Their colours the motly throng supply.
Turn thee around, and from this height,
Back to the town direct thy sight.
Forth from the hollow, gloomy gate,
Stream forth the masses, in bright array.
Gladly seek they the sun to-day;
The Lord's Resurrection they celebrate:
For they themselves have risen, with joy,
From tenement sordid, from cheerless room,
From bonds of toil, from care and annoy,
From gable and roof's o'er-hanging gloom,
From crowded alley and narrow street,
And from the churches' awe-breathing night,
All now have come forth into the light.
Look, only look, on nimble feet,
Through garden and field how spread the throng,
How o'er the river's ample sheet,
Many a gay wherry glides along;
And see, deep sinking in the tide,
Pushes the last boat now away.
E'en from yon far hill's path-worn side,
Flash the bright hues of garments gay.
Hark! Sounds of village mirth arise;
This is the people's paradise.
&th great and small send up a cheer;
Here am I man, I feel it here.
Sir Doctor, in a walk with you
There's honour and instruction too;
Yet here alone I care not to resort,
Because I coarseness hate of every Sort.
This fiddling, shouting, skittling, I detest;
I hate the tumult of the vulgar throng;
They roar as by the evil one possess'd,
And call it pleasure, call it song.
PEASANTS (under the linden-tree)
Dance and song
The shepherd for the dance was dress'd,
With ribbon, wreath, and coloured vest,
A gallant show displaying.
And round about the linden-trees,
They footed it right merrily. Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
So fiddle-bow was braying.
Our swain amidst the circle press'd,
He push'd a maiden trimly dress'd,
And jogg'd her with his elbow;
The buxom damsel turn'd her head,
"Now that's a stupid trick!" she said, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchhesia! Heisa! He!
Don't be so rude, good fellow!
Swift in the circle they advanced,
They danced to right, to left they danced,
And all the skirts were swinging.
And they grew red, and they grew warm,
Panting, they rested arm in arm, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
To hip their elbow bringing.
Don't make so free! How many a maid
Has been betroth'd and then betray'd;
And has repented after!
Yet still he flatter'd her aside,
Andfrom the linden, far and wide, Juchhe! Juchhe!
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
Rang fiddle-bow and laughter.
Doctor, 'tis really kind of you,
To condescend to come this way,
A highly learned man like you,
To join our mirthful throng to-day.
Our fairest cup I offer you,
Which we with sparkling drink have crown'd,
And pledging you, I pray aloud,
That every drop within its round,
While it your present thirst allays,
May swell the number of your days.
I take the cup you kindly reach,
Thanks and prosperity to each!
(The crowd gather round in a circle.)
Ay, truly! 'tis well done, that you
Our festive meeting thus attend;
You, who in evil days of yore,
So often show'd yourself our friend I
Full many a one stands living here,
Who from the fever's deadly blast,
Your father rescu'd, when his skill
The fatal sickness stay'd at last.
A young man then, each house you sought,
Where reign'd the mortal pestilence.
Corpse after corpse was carried forth,
But still unscath'd you issued thence.
Sore then your trials and severe;
The Helper yonder aids the helper here.
Heaven bless the trusty friend, and long
To help the poor his life prolong!
To Him above in homage bend,
Who prompts the helper and Who help doth send.
(He proceeds with WAGNER.)
What feelings, great man, must thy breast inspire,
At homage paid thee by this crowd! Thrice blest
Who from the gifts by him possessed
Such benefit can draw! The sire
Thee to his boy with reverence shows;
They press around, inquire, advance,
Hush'd is the fiddle, check'd the dance.
Where thou dost pass they stand in rows,
And each aloft his bonnet throws,
But little fails and they to thee,
As though the Host came by, would bend the knee.
A few steps further, up to yonder stone!
Here rest we from our walk. In times long past,
Absorb'd in thought, here oft I sat alone,
And disciplin'd myself with prayer and fast.
Then rich in hope, with faith sincere,
With sighs, and hands in anguish press'd,
The end of that sore plague, with many a tear,
From heaven's dread Lord, I sought to wrest.
The crowd's applause assumes a scornful tone.
Oh, could'st thou in my inner being read,
How little either sire or son,
Of such renown deserves the meed!
My sire, of good repute, and sombre mood,
O'er nature's powers and every mystic zone,
With honest zeal, but methods of his own,
With toil fantastic loved to brood;
His time in dark aichemic cell,
With brother adepts he would spend,
And there antagonists compel,
Through numberless receipts to blend.
A ruddy lion there, a suitor bold,
In tepid bath was with the lily wed.
Thence both, while open flames around them roll'd,
Were tortur'd to another bridal bed.
Was then the youthful queen descried
With varied colours in the flask
This was our medicine; the patients died,
"Who were restored?" none cared to ask.
With our infernal mixture thus, ere long,
These hills and peaceful vales among,
We rag'd more fiercely than the pest;
Myself the deadly poison did to thousands give;
They pined away, I yet must live,
To hear the reckless murderers blest.
Why let this thought your soul o'ercast?
Can man do more than with nice skill,
With firm and conscientious will,
Practise the art transmitted from the past?
If thou thy sire dost honour in thy youth,
His lore thou gladly wilt receive;
In manhood, dost thou spread the bounds of truth,
Then may thy son a higher goal achieve.
How blest, in whom the fond desire
From error's sea to rise, hope still renews!
What a man knows not, that he doth require,
And what he knoweth, that he cannot use.
But let not moody thoughts their shadow throw
O'er the calm beauty of this hour serene!
In the rich sunset see how brightly glow
Yon cottage homes, girt round with verdant green!
Slow sinks the orb, the day is now no more;
Yonder he hastens to diffuse new life.
Oh for a pinion from the earth to soar,
And after, ever after him to strive!
Then should I see the world below,
Bathed in the deathless evening-beams,
The vales reposing, every height a-glow,
The silver brooklets meeting golden streams.
The savage mountain, with its cavern'd side,
Bars not my godlike progress. Lo, the ocean,
Its warm bays heaving with a tranquil motion,
To my rapt vision opes its ample tide!
But now at length the god appears to sink;
A new-born impulse wings my flight,
Onward I press, his quenchiess light to drink,
The day before me, and behind the night,
The pathless waves beneath, and over me the skies.
Fair dream, it vanish'd with the parting day!
Alas! that when on spirit-wing we rise,
No wing material lifts our mortal clay.
But 'tis our inborn impulse, deep and strong,
Upwards and onwards still to urge our flight,
When far above us pours its thrilling song
The sky-lark, lost in azure light,
When on extended wing amain
O'er pine-crown'd height the eagle soars,
And over moor and lake, the crane
Still striveth towards its native shores.
To strange conceits oft I myself must own,
But impulse such as this I ne'er have known:
Nor woods, nor fields, can long our thoughts engage,
Their wings I envy not the feather'd kind;
Far otherwise the pleasures of the mind,
Bear us from book to book, from page to page!
Then winter nights grow cheerful; keen delight
Warms every limb; and ah! when we unroll
Some old and precious parchment, at the sight
All heaven itself descends upon the soul.
Thy heart by one sole impulse is possess'd;
Unconscious of the other still remain!
Two souls, alas! are lodg'd within my breast,
Which struggle there for undivided reign:
One to the world, with obstinate desire,
And closely-cleaving organs, still adheres;
Above the mist, the other doth aspire,
With sacred vehemence, to purer spheres.
Oh, are there spirits in the air,
Who float 'twixt heaven and earth dominion wielding,
Stoop hither from your golden atmosphere,
Lead me to scenes, new life and fuller yielding!
A magic mantle did I but possess,
Abroad to waft me as on viewless wings,
I'd prize it far beyond the costliest dress,
Nor would I change it for the robe of kings.
Call not the spirits who on mischief wait!
Their troop familiar, streaming through the air,
From every quarter threaten man's estate,
And danger in a thousand forms prepare!
They drive impetuous from the frozen north,
With fangs sharp-piercing, and keen arrowy tongue
From the ungenial east they issue forth,
And prey, with parching breath, upon thy lungs;
If, waft'd on the desert's flaming wing,
They from the south heap fire upon the brain,
Refreshment from the west at first they bring,
Anon to drown thyself and field and plain.
In wait for mischief, they are prompt to hear;
With guileful purpose our behests obey;
Like ministers of grace they oft appear,
And lisp like angels, to betray.
But let us hence! Grey eve doth all things blend,
The air grows chill, the mists descend!
'Tis in the evening first our home we prize--
Why stand you thus, and gaze with wondering eyes?
What in the gloom thus moves you?
Yon black hound
See'st thou, through corn and stubble scampering round?
I've mark'd him long, naught strange in him I see!
Note him! What takest thou the brute to be?
But for a poodle, whom his instinct serves
His master's track to find once more.
Dost mark how round us, with wide spiral curves,
He wheels, each circle closer than before?
And, if I err not, he appears to me
A line of fire upon his track to leave.
Naught but a poodle black of hue I see;
'Tis some illusion doth your sight deceive.
Methinks a magic coil our feet around,
He for a future snare doth lightly spread.
The circle narrows, he's already near!
A dog dost see, no spectre have we here;
He growls, doubts, lays him on his belly, too,
And wags his tail--as dogs are wont to do.
Come hither, Sirrah! join our company!
A very poodle, he appears to be!
Thou standest still, for thee he'll wait;
Thou speak'st to him, he fawns upon thee straight;
Aught thou mayst lose, again he'll bring,
And for thy stick will into water spring.
Thou'rt right indeed; no traces now I see
Whatever of a spirit's agency.
'Tis training.--nothing more.
A dog well taught
E'en by the wisest of us may be sought.
Ay, to your favour he's entitled too,
Apt scholar of the students, 'tis his due!
(They enter the gate of the town.)
FAUST (entering with the poodle)
Now field and meadow I've forsaken;
O'er them deep night her veil doth draw;
In us the better soul doth waken,
With feelings of foreboding awe,
All lawless promptings, deeds unholy,
Now slumber, and all wild desires;
The love of man doth sway us wholly,
And love to God the soul inspires.
Peace, poodle, peace! Scamper not thus; obey me!
Why at the threshold snuffest thou so?
Behind the stove now quietly lay thee,
My softest cushion to thee I'll throw.
As thou, without, didst please and amuse me
Running and frisking about on the hill,
So tendance now I will not refuse thee;
A welcome guest, if thou'lt be still.
Ah! when the friendly taper gloweth,
Once more within our narrow cell,
Then in the heart itself that knoweth,
A light the darkness doth dispel.
Reason her voice resumes; returneth
Hope's gracious bloom, with promise rife;
For streams of life the spirit yearneth,
Ah! for the very fount of life.
Poodle, snarl not! with the tone that arises.
Hallow'd and peaceful, my soul within,
Accords not thy growl, thy bestial din.
We find it not strange, that man despises
What he conceives not;
That he the good and fair misprizes--
Finding them often beyond his ken;
Will the dog snarl at them like men?
But ah! Despite my will, it stands confessed,
Contentment welleth up no longer in my breast.
Yet wherefore must the stream, alas, so soon be dry,
That we once more athirst should lie?
Full oft this sad experience hath been mine;
Nathless the want admits of compensation;
For things above the earth we learn to pine,
Our spirits yearn for revelation,
Which nowhere burns with purer beauty blent,
Than here in the New Testament.
To ope the ancient text an impulse strong
Impels me, and its sacred lore,
With honest purpose to explore,
And render into my loved German tongue.
(He opens a volume, and applies himself to it.)
'Tis writ, "In the beginning was the Word !"
I pause, perplex'd! Who now will help afford?
I cannot the mere Word so highly prize;
I must translate it otherwise,
If by the spirit guided as I read.
"In the beginning was the Sense !" Take heed,
The import of this primal sentence weigh,
Lest thy too hasty pen be led astray!
Is force creative then of Sense the dower?
"In the beginning was the Power !"
Thus should it stand: yet, while the line I trace.
A something warns me, once more to efface.
The spirit aids! from anxious scruples freed,
I write, "In the beginning was the Deed !"
Am I with thee my room to share,
Poodle, thy barking now forbear,
Forbear thy howling!
Comrade so noisy, ever growling,
I cannot suffer here to dwell.
One or the other, mark me well,
Forthwith must leave the cell.
I'm loath the guest-right to withhold;
The door's ajar, the passage clear;
But what must now mine eyes behold!
Are nature's laws suspended here?
Real is it, or a phantom show?
In length and breadth how doth my poodle grow!
He lifts himself with threat'ning mien,
In likeness of a dog no longer seen!
What spectre have I harbour'd thus!
Huge as a hippopotamus,
With fiery eye, terrific tooth!
Ah I now I know thee, sure enough!
For such a base, half-hellish brood,
The key of Solomon is good.
Captur'd there within is one!
Stay without and follow none!
Like a fox in iron snare,
Hell's old lynx is quaking there,
But take heed!
Hover round, above, below,
To and fro,
Then from durance is he freed!
Can ye aid him, spirits all,
Leave him not in mortal thrall!
Many a time and oft bath he
Served us, when at liberty.
The monster to confront, at first,
The spell of Four must be rehears'd;
Salamander shall kindle,
Writhe nymph of the wave,
In air sylph shall dwindle,
And Kobold shall slave.
Who doth ignore
The primal Four,
Nor knows aright
Their use and might,
O'er spirits will he
Ne'er master be!
Vanish in the fiery glow,
Rushingly together flow.
Shimmer in the meteor's gleam,
Hither bring thine homely aid,
Step forth! I do adjure thee thus!
None of the Four
Lurks in the beast:
He grins at me, untroubled as before;
I have not hurt him in the least.
A spell of fear
Thou now shalt hear.
Art thou, comrade fell,
Fugitive from hell?
See then this sign,
Before which incline
The murky troops of Hell!
With bristling hair now doth the creature swelL
Canst thou, reprobate,
Read the uncreate,
Throughout the heavenly sphere,
Transpierced with nail and spear!
Behind the stove, tam'd by my spells,
Like an elephant he swells;
Wholly now he fills the room,
He into mist will melt away.
Ascend not to the ceiling! Come,
Thyself at the master's feet now lay!
Thou seest that mine is no idle threat.
With holy fire I will scorch thee yet!
Wait not the might
That lies in the triple-glowing light!
Wait not the might
Of all my arts in fullest measure!
(As the mist sinks, comes forward from behind the stove, in the
dress of a travelling scholar)
Why all this uproar? What's the master's pleasure?
This then the kernel of the brute!
A travelling scholar? Why I needs must smile.
Your learned reverence humbly I salute!
You've made me swelter in a pretty style.
The question trifling seems from one,
Who it appears the Word doth rate so low;
Who, undeluded by mere outward show,
To Being's depths would penetrate alone.
With gentlemen like you indeed
The inward essence from the name we read,
As all too plainly it doth appear,
When Beelzebub, Destroyer, Liar, meets the ear.
Who then art thou?
Part of that power which still
Produceth good, whilst ever scheming ill.
What hidden mystery in this riddle lies?
The spirit I, which evermore denies!
And justly; for whate'er to light is brought
Deserves again to be reduced to naught;
Then better 'twere that naught should be.
Thus all the elements which ye
Destruction, Sin, or briefly, Evil, name,
As my peculiar element I claim.
Thou nam'st thyself a part, and yet a whole I see.
The modest truth I speak to thee.
Though folly's microcosm, man, it seems,
Himself to be a perfect whole esteems:
Part of the part am I, which at the first was all,
A part of darkness, which gave birth to light,
Proud light, who now his mother would enthrall,
Contesting space and ancient rank with night.
Yet he succeedeth not, for struggle as he will,
To forms material he adhereth still;
From them he streameth, them he maketh fair,
And still the progress of his beams they check;
And so, I trust, when comes the final wreck,
Light will, ere long, the doom of matter share.
Thy worthy avocation now I guess!
Wholesale annihilation won't prevail,
So thou'rt beginning on a smaller scale.
And, to say truth, as yet with small success.
Oppos'd to naught. this clumsy world,
The something--it subsisteth still;
Not yet is it to ruin hurl'd,
Despite the efforts of my will.
Tempests and earthquakes, fire and flood, I've tried;
Yet land and ocean still unchang'd abide!
And then of humankind and beasts, brood,--
Neither o'er them can I extend my sway.
What countless myriads have I swept away!
Yet ever circulates the fresh young blood.
It is enough to drive me to despair!
As in the earth, in water, and in air,
A thousand germs burst forth spontaneously;
In moisture, drought, heat, cold, they still appear!
Had I not flame selected as my sphere
Nothing apart had been reserved for me.
So thou with thy cold devil's fist
Still clench'd in malice impotent
Dost the creative power resist,
The active, the beneficent!
Henceforth some other task essay,
Of Chaos thou the wondrous son!
We will consider what you say,
And talk about it more anon!
For this time have I leave to go?
Why thou shouldst ask, I cannot see.
Since thee I now have learned to know,
At thy good pleasure, visit me.
Here is the window, here the door,
The chimney, too, may serve thy need.
I must confess, my stepping o'er
Thy threshold a slight hindrance doth impede;
The wizard-foot doth me retain.
The pentagram thy peace doth mar?
To me, thou son of hell, explain,
How earnest thou in, if this thine exit bar?
Could such a spirit aught ensnare?
Observe it well, it is not drawn with care,
One of the angles, that which points without,
Is, as thou seest, not quite closed.
Chance hath the matter happily dispos'd!
So thou my captive art? No doubt!
By accident thou thus art caught!
In sprang the dog, indeed, observing naught;
Things now assume another shape,
The devil's in the house and can't escape.
Why through the window not withdraw?
For ghosts and f or the devil 'tis a law.
Where they stole in, there they must forth. We're free
The first to choose; as to the second, slaves are we.
E'en hell hath its peculiar laws, I see!
I'm glad of that! a pact may then be made,
The which you gentlemen will surely keep?
What e'er therein is promised thou shalt reap,
No tittle shall remain unpaid.
But such arrangements time require;
We'll speak of them when next we meet;
Most earnestly I now entreat,
This once permission to retire.
Another moment prithee here remain,
Me with some happy word to pleasure.
Now let me go! ere long I'll come again,
Then thou may'st question at thy leisure.
'Twas not toy purpose thee to lime;
The snare hast entered of thine own free will:
Let him who holds the devil, hold him still!
So soon he'll catch him not a second time.
If it so please thee, I'm at thy command;
Only on this condition, understand;
That worthily thy leisure to beguile,
I here may exercise my arts awhile.
Thou'rt free to do so! Gladly I'll attend;
But be thine art a pleasant one!
This hour enjoyment more intense,
Shall captivate each ravish'd sense,
Than thou could'st compass in the bound
Of the whole year's unvarying round;
And what the dainty spirits sing,
The lovely images they bring,
Are no fantastic sorcery.
Rich odours shall regale your smell,
On choicest sweets your palate dwell,
Your feelings thrill with ecstasy.
No preparation do we need,
Here we together are. Proceed.
Hence overshadowing gloom,
Vanish from sight!
O'er us thine azure dome,
Bend, beauteous light!
Dark clouds that o'er us spread,
Melt in thin air!
Stars, your soft radiance shed,
Tender and fair.
Girt with celestial might,
Winging their airy flight,
Spirits are thronging.
Follows their forms of light
Flutter their vestures bright
O'er field and grove!
Where in their leafy bower
Lovers the livelong hour
Vow deathless love.
Soft bloometh bud and bower!
Bloometh the grove!
Grapes from the spreading vine
Crown the full measure;
Fountains of foaming wine
Gush from the pressure.
Still where the currents wind,
Gems brightly gleam.
Leaving the hills behind
On rolls the stream;
Now into ample seas,
Spreadeth the flood;
Laying the sunny leas,
Mantled with wood.
Rapture the feather'd throng,
Sip as they float along;
Sunward they're steering;
On towards the isles of light
Winging their way,
That on the waters bright
Hark to the choral strain,
While on the grassy plain
Dancers are springing;
Climbing the steep hill's side,
Skimming the glassy tide,
Wander they there;
Others on pinions wide
Wing the blue air;
All lifeward tending, upward still wending,
Towards yonder stars that gleam,
Far, far above;
Stars from whose tender beam
Rains blissful love.
Well done, my dainty spirits! now he slumbers!
Ye have entranc'd him fairly with your numbers!
This minstrelsy of yours I must repay,--
Thou art not yet the man to hold the devil fast!--
With fairest shapes your spells around him cast,
And plunge him in a sea of dreams!
But that this charm be rent, the threshold passed,
Tooth of rat the way must clear.
I need not conjure long it seems,
One rustles hitherward, and soon my voice will hear.
The master of the rats and mice,
Of flies and frogs, of bugs and lice,
Commands thy presence; without fear
Come forth and gnaw the threshold here,
Where he with oil has smear'd it.--Thou
Com'st hopping forth already! Now
To work! The point that holds me bound
Is in the outer angle found.
Another bite--so--now 'tis done--
Now, Faustus, till we meet again, dream on.
Am I once more deluded! must I deem
That thus the throng of spirits disappear?
The devil's presence, was it but a dream?
Hath but a poodle scap'd and left me here?
A knock? Come in! Who now would break my rest?
Thrice be the words express'd.
Then I repeat, Come in!
I hope that we shall soon agree!
For now your fancies to expel,
Here, as a youth of high degree,
I come in gold-lac'd scarlet vest,
And stiff-silk mantle richly dress'd,
A cock's gay feather for a plume,
A long and pointed rapier, too;
And briefly I would counsel you
To don at once the same costume,
And, free from trammels, speed away,
That what life is you may essay.
In every garb I needs must feel oppress'd,
My heart to earth's low cares a prey.
Too old the trifler's part to play,
Too young to live by no desire possess'd.
What can the world to me afford?
Renounce! renounce! is still the word;
This is the everlasting song
In every ear that ceaseless rings,
And which, alas, our whole life long,
Hoarsely each passing moment sings.
But to new horror I awake each morn,
And I could weep hot tears, to see the sun
Dawn on another day, whose round forlorn
Accomplishes no wish of mine--not one.
Which still, with froward captiousness, impains
E'en the presentiment of every joy,
While low realities and paltry cares
The spirit's fond imaginings destroy.
Then must I too, when falls the veil of night,
Stretch'd on my pallet languish in despair,
Appalling dreams my soul aifright;
No rest vouchsafed me even there.
The god, who throned within my breast resides,
Deep in my soul can stir the springs;
With sovereign sway my energies he guides,
He cannot move external things;
And so existence is to me a weight.
Death fondly I desire, and life I hate.
And yet, methinks, by most 'twill be confess'd
That Death is never quite a welcome guest.
Happy the man around whose brow he binds
The bloodstain'd wreath in conquest's dazzling hour;
Or whom, excited by the dance, he finds
Dissolv'd in bliss, in love's delicious bower!
O that before the lofty spirit's might,
Enraptured, I had rendered up my soul!
Yet did a certain man refrain one night,
Of its brown juice to drain the crystal bowl.
To play the spy diverts you then?
Though not omniscient, much to me is known.
If o'er my soul the tone familiar, stealing,
Drew me from harrowing thought's bewild'ring maze,
Touching the ling'ring chords of childlike feeling,
With sweet harmonies of happier days:
So curse I all, around the soul that windeth
Its magic and alluring spell,
And with delusive flattery bindeth
Its victim to this dreary cell!
Curs'd before all things be the high opinion,
Wherewith the spirit girds itself around!
Of shows delusive curs'd be the dominion,
Within whose mocking sphere our sense is bound!
Accnrs'd of dreams the treacherous wiles,
The cheat of glory, deathless fame!
Accurs'd what each as property beguiles,
Wife, child, slave, plough, whate'er its name!
Accurs'd be mammon, when with treasure
He doth to daring deeds incite:
Or when to steep the soul in pleasure,
He spreads the couch of soft delight!
Curs'd be the grape's balsamic juice!
Accurs'd love'8 dream, of joys the first!
Accurs'd be hope! accurs'd be faith!
And more than all, be patience curs'd!
CHORUS OP SPIRITS (invisible)
Thou hast destroy'd
The beautiful world
With violent blow;
'Tis shiver'd! 'tis shatter'd!
The fragments abroad by a demigod scatter'd!
Now we sweep
The wrecks into nothingness!
Fondly we weep
The beauty that's gone!
Thou, 'mongst the Sons of earth,
Lofty and mighty one,
Build it once more!
In thine own bosom the lost world restore!
Now with unclouded sense
Enter a new career;
Songs shall salute thine ear,
Ne'er heard before!
My little ones these spirits be.
Hark! with shrewd intelligence,
How they recommend to thee
Action, and the joys of sense!
In the busy world to dwell,
Fain they would allure thee hence:
For within this lonely cell,
Stagnate sap of life and sense.
Forbear to trifle longer with thy grief,
Which, vulture-like, consumes thee in this den.
The worst society is some relief,
Making thee feel thyself a man with men.
Nathiess, it is not meant, I trow,
To thrust thee 'mid the vulgar throng.
I to the upper ranks do not belong;
Yet if, by me companion'd, thou
Thy steps through life forthwith wilt take;
Upon the spot myself I'll make
Thy comrade ;-- Should it suit thy need,
I am thy servant, am thy slave indeed!
And how must I thy services repay?
Thereto thou lengthen'd respite hast!
The devil is an egoist I know:
And, for Heaven's sake, 'tis not his way
Kindness to any one to show.
Let the condition plainly be exprest!
Such a domestic is a dangerous guest.
I'll pledge myself to be thy servant here,
Still at thy back alert and prompt to be;
But when together yonder we appear,
Then shalt thou do the same for me.
But small concern I feel for yonder world;
Hast thou this system into ruin hurl'd,
Another may arise the void to fill.
This earth the fountain whence my pleasures flow,
This sun doth daily shine upon my woe,
And if this world- I must forego,
Let happen then,--what can and will.
I to this theme will close mine ears,
If men hereafter hate and love,
And if there be in yonder spheres
A depth below or height above.
In this mood thou mayst venture it. But make
The compact! I at once will undertake
To charm thee with mine arts. I'll give thee more
Than mortal eye hath e'er beheld before.
What, sorry Devil, hast thou to bestow?
Was ever mortal spirit, in its high endeavour,
Fathom'd by Being such as thou?
Yet food thou hast which satisfieth never,
Hast ruddy gold, that still doth flow
Like restless quicksilver away,
A game thou hast, at which none win who play,
A girl who would, with amorous eyen,
E'en from my breast, a neighbour snare,
Lofty ambition's joy divine,
That, meteor-like, dissolves in air.
Show me the fruit that, ere 'tis pluck'd, doth rot,
And trees, whose verdure daily buds anew!
Such a commission scares me not,
I can provide such treasures, it is true;
But, my good friend, a season will come round,
When on what's good we may regale in peace.
If e'er upon my couch, stretched at my ease, I'm found,
Then may my life that instant cease!
Me canst thou cheat with glozing wile
Till self-reproach away I cast,--
Me with joy's lure canst thou beguile
Let that day be for me the last!
Be this our wager!
Sure and fast!
When to the moment I shall say,
"Linger awhile! so fair thou art!"
Then mayst thou fetter me straightway,
Then to the abyss will I depart!
Then may the solemn death-bell sound,
Then from thy service thou art free,
The index then may cease its round,
And time be never more for me!
I shall remember: pause, ere 'tis too late.
Thereto a perfect right hast thou.
My strength I do not rashly overrate.
Slave am I here, at any rate,
If thine, or whose, it matters not, I trow.
At thine inaugural feast I will this day
Attend, my duties to commence.--
But one thing !--Accidents may happen, hence
A line or two in writing grant, I pray.
A writing, Pedant! dost demand from me?
Man, and man's plighted word, are these unknown to thee?
Is't not enough, that by the word I gave,
My doom for evermore is cast?
Doth not the world in all its currents rave,
And must a promise hold me fast?
Yet fixed is this delusion in our heart;
Who, of his own free will, therefrom would part?
How blest within whose breast truth reigneth pure!
No sacrifice will he repent when made!
A formal deed, with seal and signature,
A spectre this from which all shrink afraid.
The word its life resigneth in the pen,
Leather and wax usurp the mastery then.
Spirits of evil! what dost thou require?
Brass, marble, parchment, paper, dost desire?
Shall I with chisel, pen, or graver write?
Thy choice is free; to me 'tis all the same.
Wherefore thy passion so excite
And thus thine eloquence inflame?
A scrap is for our compact good.
Thou under-signest merely with a drop of blood.
If this will satisfy thy mlnd,
Thy whim I'll gratify, howe'er absurd.
Blood is a juice of very special kind.
Be not afraid that I shall break my word!
The scope of all my energy
Is in exact accordance with my vow.
Vainly I have aspired too high;
I'm on a level but with such as thou;
Me the great spirit scorn'd, defied;
Nature from me herself doth hide;
Rent is the web of thought; my mind
Doth knowledge loathe of every kind.
In depths of sensual pleasure drown'd,
Let us our fiery passions still!
Enwrapp'd in magic's veil profound,
Let wondrous charms our senses thrill!
Plunge we in time's tempestuous flow,
Stem we the rolling surge of chance!
There may alternate weal and woe,
Success and failure, as they can,
Mingle and shift in changeful dance!
Excitement is the sphere for man.
Nor goal, nor measure is prescrib'd to you,
If you desire to taste of every thing,
To snatch at joy while on the wing,
May your career amuse and profit too!
Only fall to and don't be over coy!
Hearken! The end I aim at is not joy;
I crave excitement, agonizing bliss,
Enamour'd hatred, quickening vexation.
Purg'd from the love of knowledge, my vocation,
The scope of all my powers henceforth be this,
To bare my breast to every pang,--to know
In my heart's core all human weal and woe,
To grasp in thought the lofty and the deep,
Men's various fortunes oti my breast to heap,
And thus to theirs dilate my individual mind,
And share at length with them the shipwreck of mankind.
Oh, credit me, who still as ages roll,
Have chew'd this bitter fare from year to year,
No mortal, from the cradle to the bier,
Digests the ancient leaven! Know, this Whole
Doth for the Deity alone subsist!
He in eternal brightness doth exist,
Us unto darkness he hath brought, and here
Where day and night alternate, is your sphere.
But 'tis my will
Well spoken, I admit!
But one thing puzzles me, my friend;
Time's short, art long; methinks 'twere fit
That you to friendly counsel should attend.
A poet choose as your ally!
Let him thought's wide dominion sweep,
Each good and noble quality,
Upon your honoured brow to heap;
The lion's magnanimity,
The fleetness of the hind,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northern's stedfast mind.
Let him to you the mystery show
To blend high aims and cunning low;
And while youth's passions are aflame
To fall in love by rule and plan!
I fain would meet with such a man;,
Would him Sir Microcosmus name.
What then am I, if I aspire in vain
The crown of our humanity to gain,
Towards which my every sense doth strain?
Thou'rt after all--just what thou art.
Put on thy head a wig with countless locks,
And to a cubit's height upraise thy socks,
Still thou remainest ever, what thou art.
I feel it, I have heap'd upon my brain
The gather'd treasure of man's thought in vain;
And when at length from studious toil I rest,
No power, new-born, springs up within my breast;
A hair's breadth is not added to my height,
I am no nearer to the infinite.
Good sir, these things you view indeed,
Just as by other men they're view'd;
We must more cleverly proceed,
Before life's joys our grasp elude.
The devil! thou hast hands and feet,
And head and heart are also thine;
What I enjoy with relish sweet,
Is it on that account less mine?
If for six stallions I can pay,
Do I not own their strength and speed?
A proper man I dash away,
As their two dozen legs were mine indeed.
Up then, from idle pondering free,
And forth into the world with me!
I tell you what ;--your speculative churl
Is like a beast which some ill spirit leads,
On barren wilderness, in ceaseless whirl,
While all around lie fair and verdant meads.
But how shall we begin?
We will go hence with speed,
A place of torment this indeed!
A precious life, thyself to bore,
And some few youngsters evermore!
Leave that to neighbour Paunch !--withdraw,
Why wilt thou plague thyself with thrashing straw?
The very best that thou dost know
Thou dar'st not to the striplings show.
One in the passage now doth wait!
I'm in no mood to see him now,
Poor lad! He must be tired, I trow;
He must not go disconsolate.
Hand me thy cap and gown; the mask
Is for my purpose quite first rate.
(He changes his dress.)
Now leave it to my wit! I ask
But quarter of an hour; meanwhile equip,
And make all ready for our pleasant trip!
MEPHISTOPHELES (in FAUST'S long gown)
Mortal! the loftiest attributes of men,
Reason and Knowledge, only thus contemn,
Still let the Prince of lies, without control,
With shows, and mocking charms delude thy soul,
I have thee unconditionally then!
Fate hath endow'd him with an ardent mind,
Which unrestrain'd still presses on for ever,
And whose precipitate endeavour
Earth's joys o'erleaping, leaveth them behind.
Him will I drag through life's wild waste,
Through scenes of vapid dulness, where at last
Bewilder'd, he shall falter, and stick fast;
And, still to mock his greedy haste,
Viands and drink shall float his craving lips beyond--
Vainly he'll seek refreshment, anguish-tost,
And were he not the devil's by his bond,
Yet must his soul infallibly be lost!
A STUDENT enters
But recently I've quitted home,
Full of devotion am I come
A man to know and hear, whose name
With reverence is known to fame.
Your courtesy much flatters me!
A man like other men you see;
Pray have you yet applied elsewhere?
I would entreat your friendly care!
I've youthful blood and courage high;
Of gold I bring a fair supply;
To let me go my mother was not fain;
But here I longed true knowledge to attain.
You've hit upon the very place.
And yet my steps I would retrace.
These walls, this melancholy room,
O'erpower me with a sense of gloom;
The space is narrow, nothing green,
No friendly tree is to be seen:
And in these halls, with benches filled, distraught,
Sight, hearing fail me, and the power of thought.
It all depends on habit. Thus at first
The infant takes not kindly to the breast,
But before long, its eager thirst
Is fain to slake with hearty zest:
Thus at the breasts of wisdom day by day
With keener relish you'll your thirst allay.
Upon her neck I fain would hang with joy;
To reach it, say, what means must I employ?
Explain, ere further time we lose,
What special faculty you choose?
Profoundly learned I would grow,
What heaven contains would comprehend,
O'er earth's wide realm my gaze extend,
Nature and science I desire to know.
You are upon the proper track, I find;
Take heed, let nothing dissipate your mind.
My heart and soul are in the chase!
Though to be sure I fain would seize,
On pleasant summer holidays,
A little liberty and careless ease.
Use well your time, so rapidly it flies;
Method will teach you time to win;
Hence, my young friend, I would advise,
With college logic to begin!
Then will your mind be so well braced,
In Spanish boots so tightly laced,
That on 'twill circumspectly creep,
Thought's beaten track securely keep,
Nor will it, ignis-fatuus like,
Into the path of error strike.
Then many a day they'll teach you how
The mind's spontaneous acts, till now
As eating and as drinking free,
Require a process ;--one! two! three!
In truth the subtle web of thought
Is like the weaver's fabric wrought:
One treadle moves a thousand lines,
Swift dart the shuttles to and fro,
Unseen the threads together flow,
A thousand knots one stroke combines.
Then forward steps your sage to show,
And prove to you, it must be so;
The first being so, and so the second,
The third and fourth deduc'd we see;
And if there were no first and second,
Nor third nor fourth would ever be.
This, scholars of all countries prize,--
Yet 'mong themselves no weavers rise.--
He who would know and treat of aught alive,
Seeks first the living spirit thence to drive:
Then are the lifeless fragments in his hand,
There only fails, alas the spirit-band.
This process, chemists name, in learned thesis,
Mocking themselves, Naturer encheiresis.
Your words I cannot fully comprehend.
In a short time you will improve, my friend,
When of scholastic forms you learn the use;
And how by method all things to reduce.
So doth all this my brain confound,
As if a mill-wheel there were turning round.
And next, before aught else you learn,
You must with zeal to metaphysics turn!
There see that you profoundly comprehend,
What doth the limit of man's brain transcend;
For that which is or is not in the head
A sounding phrase will serve you in good stead.
But before all strive this half year
From one fix'd order ne'er to swerve!
Five lectures daily you must hear;
The hour still punctually observe!
Yourself with studious zeal prepare,
And closely in your manual look,
Hereby may you be quite aware
That all he utters standeth in the book;
Yet write away without cessation,
As at the Holy Ghost's dictation!
This, Sir, a second time you need not say I
Your counsel I appreciate quite;
What we possess in black and white,
We can in peace and comfort bear away.
A faculty I pray you name.
For jurisprudence, Some distaste I own.
To me this branch of science is well known,
And hence I cannot your repugnance blame.
Customs and laws in every place,
Like a disease, an heir-loom dread,
Still trail their curse from race to race,
And furtively abroad they spread.
To nonsense, reason's self they turn;
Beneficence becomes a pest;
Woe unto thee, that thou'rt a grandson born!
As for the law born with us, unexpressed ;--
That law, alas, none careth to discern.
You deepen my dislike. The youth
Whom you instruct, is blest in sooth!
To try theology 1 feel inclined.
I would not lead you willingly astray,
But as regards this science, you will find
So hard it is to shun the erring way,
And so much hidden poison lies therein,
Which scarce can you discern from medicine.
Here too it is the best, to listen but to one,
And by the master's words to swear alone.
To sum up all--To words hold fast!
Then the safe gate securely pass'd,
You'll reach the lane of certainty at last.
But then some. meaning must the words convey.
Right! But o'er-anxious thought, you'll find of no avail,
For there precisely where ideas fail,
A word comes opportunely into play
Most admirable weapons words are found,
On words a system we securely ground,
In words we can conveniently believe,
Nor of a single jot can we a word bereave.
Your pardon for my importunity;
Yet once more must I trouble you:
On medicine, I'll thank you to supply
A pregnant utterance or two!
Three years! how brief the appointed tide!
The field, heaven knows, is all too wide!
If but a friendly hint be thrown,
'Tis easier then to feel one's way.
I'm weary of the dry pedantic tone,
And must again the genuine devil play.
Of medicine the spirit's caught with ease,
The great and little world you study through,
That things may then their course pursue,
As heaven may please.
In vain abroad you range through science' ample space,
Each man learns only that which learn he can;
Who knows the moment to embrace,
He is your proper man.
In person you are tolerably made,
Nor in assurance will you be deficient:
Self-confidence acquire, be not afraid,
Others will then esteem you a proficient.
Learn chiefly with the sex to deal!
Their thousands ahs and ohs,
These the sage doctor knows,
He only from one point can heal.
Assume a decent tone of courteous ease,
You have them then to humour as you please.
First a diploma must belief infuse,
That you in your profession take the lead:
You then at once those easy freedoms use
For which another many a year must plead;
Learn how to feel with nice address
The dainty wrist ;--and how to press,
With ardent furtive glance, the slender waist,
To feel how tightly it is laced.
There is some sense in that! one sees the how and why.
Grey is, young friend, all theory:
And green of life the golden tree.
I swear it seemeth like a dream to me.
May I some future time repeat my visit,
To hear on what your wisdom grounds your views?
Command my humble service when you choose.
Ere I retire, one boon I must solicit:
Here is my album, do not, Sir, deny
This token of your favour!
(He writes and returns the book.)
ERITIS SICUT DEUS, SCIENTES BONUM ET MALUM
(He reverently closes the book and retires.)
Let but this ancient proverb be your rule,
My cousin follow still, the wily snake,
And with your likeness to the gods, poor fool,
Ere long be sure your poor sick heart will quake!
'Tis thine our course to steer.
The little world, and then the great we'll view.
With what delight, what profit too,
Thou'lt revel through thy gay career!
Despite my length of beard I need
The easy manners that insure success;
Th' attempt I fear can ne'er succeed;
To mingle in the world I want address;
I still have an embarrass'd air, and then
I feel myself so small with other men.
Time, my good friend, will all that's needful give;
Be only self-possessed, and thou hast learn'd to live.
But how are we to start, I pray?
Steeds, servants, carriage, where are they?
We've but to spread this mantle wide,
'Twill serve whereon through air to ride,
No heavy baggage need you take,
When we our bold excursion make,
A little gas, which I will soon prepare,
Lifts us from earth; aloft through air,
Light laden, we shall swiftly steer;--
I wish you joy of your new life-career.
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In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
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