OR OBERON AND TITANIA'S GOLDEN WEDDING-FEAST
Vales, where mists still shift and play,
To ancient hills succeeding,--
These our scenes ;--so we, to-day,
May rest, brave sons of Mieding.
That the marriage golden be,
Must fifty years be ended;
More dear this feast of gold to me,
Contention now suspended.
Spirits, if present, grace the scene,
And if with me united,
Then gratulate the king and queen,
Their troth thus newly plighted!
Puck draws near and wheels about,
In mazy circles dancing!
Hundreds swell his joyous shout,
Behind him still advancing.
Ariel wakes his dainty air,
His lyre celestial stringing.--
Fools he lureth, and the fair,
With his celestial singing.
Wedded ones, would ye agree,
We court your imitation:
Would ye fondly love as we,
We counsel separation.
If husband scold and wife retort,
Then bear them far asunder;
Her to the burning south transport,
And him the North Pole under.
THE WHOLE ORCHESTRA (fortissimo)
Flies and midges all unite
With frog and chirping cricket,
Our orchestra throughout the night,
Resounding in the thicket!
Yonder doth the bagpipe come!
Its sack an airy bubble.
Schnick, schnick, schnack, with nasal hum,
Its notes it doth redouble.
Spider's foot and midge's wing,
A toad in form and feature;
Together verses it can string,
Though scarce n living creature.
A LITTLE PAIR
Tiny step and lofty bound,
Through dew and exhalation;
Ye trip it deftly on the ground,
But gain no elevation.
Can I indeed believe my eyes?
Is't not mere masquerading?
What! Oberon in beauteous guisep
Among the groups parading!
No claws, no tail to whisk about,
To fright us at our revel;--
Yet like the gods of Greece, no doubt,
He too's a genuine devil.
These that I'm hitting off to-day
Are sketches unpretending;
Towards Italy without delay,
My steps I think of bending.
Alas! ill-fortune leads me here,
Where riot still grows louder;
And 'mong the witches gather'd here
But two alone wear powder!
Your powder and your petticoat,
Suit hags, there's no gainsaying;
Hence I sit fearless on my goat,
My naked charms displaying.
We're too well-bred to squabble here,
Or insult back to render;
But may you wither soon, my dear,
Although so young and tender.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Nose of fly and gnat's proboscis,
Throng not the naked beauty!
Frogs and crickets in the mosses,
Keep time and do your duty!
WEATHERCOCK (towards one side)
What charming company I view
Together here collected!
Gay bachelors, a hopeful crew.
And brides so unaffected!
WEATHERCOCK (towards the other side)
Unless indeed the yawning ground
Should open to receive them,
From this vile crew, with sudden bound,
To Hell I'd jump and leave them.
With small sharp shears, in insect guise
Behold us at your revel!
That we may tender, filial-wise,
Our homage to the devil.
Look now at yonder eager crew,
How naively they're jesting!
That they have tender hearts and true,
They stoutly keep protesting!
Oneself amid this witchery
How pleasantly one loses;
For witches easier are to me
To govern than the Muses!
CI-DEVANT GENIUS OF THE AGE
With proper folks when we appear,
No one can then surpass us!
Keep close, wide is the Blocksberg here
As Germany's Parnassus.
How name ye that stiff formal man,
Who strides with lofty paces?
He tracks the game where'er he can,
"He scents the Jesuits' traces."
Where waters troubled are or clear,
To fish I am delighted;
Thus pious gentlemen appear
With devils here united.
By pious people, it is true,
No medium is rejected;
Conventicles, and not a few,
On Blocksberg are erected.
Another chorus now succeeds,
Far off the drums are beating.
Be still! The bitterns 'mong the reeds
Their one note are repeating.
Each twirls about and never stops,
And as he can he fareth.
The crooked leaps, the clumsy hops,
Nor for appearance careth.
To take each other's life, I trow,
Would cordially delight them I
As Orpheus' lyre the beasts, so now
The bagpipe doth unite them.
My views, in spite of doubt and sneer,
I hold with stout persistence,
Inferring from the devils here,
The evil one's existence.
My every sense rules Phantasy
With sway quite too potential;
Sure I'm demented if the I
Alone is the essential.
This entity's a dreadful bore,
And cannot choose but vex me;
The ground beneath me ne'er before
Thus totter'd to perplex me.
Well pleased assembled here I view
Of spirits this profusion;
From devils, touching angels too,
I gather some conclusion.
The ignis fatuus they track out,
And think they're near the treasure,
Devil alliterates with doubt,
Here I abide with pleasure.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Frog and cricket in the mosses,--
Confound your gasconading!
Nose of fly and gnat's proboscis;--
Most tuneful serenading!
THE KNOWING ONES
Sans-souci, so this host we greet,
Their jovial humour showing;
There's now no walking on our feet,
So on our heads we're going.
THE AWKWARD ONES
In seasons past we snatch'd, 'tis true,
Some tit-bits by our cunning;
Our shoes, alas, are now danced through,
On our bare soles we're running.
From marshy bogs we sprang to light,
Yet here behold us dancing;
The gayest gallants of the night,
In glitt'ring rows advancing.
With rapid motion from on high,
I shot in starry splendour;
Now prostrate on the grass I lie ;--
Who aid will kindly render?
THE MASSIVE ONES
Room! wheel round! They're coming lo!
Down sink the bending grasses.
Though spirits, yet their limbs, we know,
Are huge substantial masses.
Don't stamp so heavily, I pray;
Like elephants you're treading!
And 'mong the elves be Puck to-day,
The stoutest at the wedding!
If nature boon, or subtle sprite,
Endow your soul with pinions;--
Then follow to yon rosy height,
Through ether's calm dominions!
Drifting cloud and misty wreathes
Are fihl'd with light elysian;
O'er reed and leaf the zephyr breathes--
So fades the fairy vision!