An ugly song! a song political!
A song offensive! Thank God, every morn
To rule the Roman empire, that you were not born!
I bless my stars at least that mine is not
Either a kaiser's or a chancellor's lot.
Yet 'mong ourselves should one still lord it o'er the rest;
That we elect a pope I now suggest.
Ye know, what quality ensures
A man's success, his rise secures.
Bear, lady nightingale above,
Ten thousand greetings to my love.
Ay, sing, sing on, praise her with all, thy might!!
My turn to laugh will come some day.
Me hath she jilted once, you the same trick she'll play.
Some gnome her lover be! where cross-roads meet,
With her to play the fool; or old he-goat,
From Blocksberg coming in swift gallop, bleat
A good night to her, from his hairy throat!
A proper lad of genuine flesh and blood,
Is for the damsel far too good;
The greeting she shall have from me,
To smash her window-panes will be!
Silence! Attend! to me give ear!
Confess, sirs, I know how to live:
Some love-sick folk are sitting here!
Hence, 'tis but fit, their hearts to cheer,
That I a good-night strain to them should give.
Hark! of the newest fashion is my song!
Strike boldly in the chorus, clear and strong!
Once in a cellar lived a rat,
He feasted there on butter,
Until his paunch became as fat
As that of Doctor Luther,
The cook laid poison for the guest,
Then was his heart with pangs oppress'd,
As if his frame love wasted.
He ran around, he ran abroad,
Of every puddle drinking.
The house with rage he scratcli'd and gnaw'd,
In vain,--he fast was Sinking;
Full many an anguish'd bound he gave,
Nothing the hapless brute could save,
As if his frame love wasttd.
By torture driven, in open day,
The kitchen he invaded,
Convulsed upon the hearth he lay,
With anguish sorely jaded;
The poisoner laugh'd, Ha! ha! quoth she,
His life is ebbing fast, I see,
As if his frame love wasted.
Let me alone! O'er a full glass you'll see,
As easily I'll worm their secret out,
As draw an infant's tooth. I've not a doubt
That my two gentlemen are nobly born,
They look dissatisfied and full of scorn.
To-day we pass'd him, but we did not stop!
When last we met him he had much to say
Touching his cousins, and to each he sent
Full many a greeting and kind compliment.
(With an inclination towards FROSCH.)
A king there was once reigning,
Who had a goodly flea,
Him loved he without feigning,
As his own son were he!
His tailor then he summon'd,
The tailor to him goes:
Now measure me the youngster
For jerkin and for hose!
In satin and in velvet,
Behold the yonker dressed;
Bedizen'd o'er with ribbons,
A cross upon his breast.
Prime minister they made him,
He wore a star of state;
And all his poor relations
Were courtiers, rich and great.
The gentlemen and ladies
At court were sore distressed;
The queen and all her maidens
Were bitten by the pest,
And yet they dared not scratch them,
Or chase the fleas away.
If we are bit, we catch them,
And crack without delay.
Grapes the vine-stock bears,
Horns the buck-goat wears!
Wine is sap, the vine is wood,
The wooden board yields wine as good.
With a deeper glance and true
The mysteries of nature view!
Have faith and here's a miracle!
Your stoppers draw and drink your fill!
A large caidron hangs over the fire on a low hearth; various figures
appear in the vapour rising from it. A FEMALE MONKEY sits
beside the caidron to skim it, and watch that it does not boil over.
The MALE MONKEY with the young ones is seated near,
warming himself. The walls and ceiling are adorned with the
strangest articles of witch-furniture.
This senseless, juggling witchcraft I detest!
Dost promise that in this foul nest
Of madness, I shall be restored?
Must I seek counsel from an ancient dame?
And can she, by these rites abhorred,
Take thirty winters from my frame?
Woe's me, if thou naught better canst suggest I
Hope has already fled my breast.
Has neither nature nor a noble mind
A balsam yet devis'd of any kind?
Good! A remedy
Without physician, gold, or sorcery:
Away forthwith, and to the fields repair,
Begin to delve, to cultivate the ground,
Thy senses and thyself confine
Within the very narrowest round,
Support thyself upon the simplest fare,
Live like a very brute the brutes among,
Neither esteem it robbery
The acre thou dost reap, thyself to dung;
This is the best method, credit me,
Again at eighty to grow hale and young.
A pretty play our leisure to beguile!
A thousand bridges I could build meanwhile.
Not science only and consummate art,
Patience must also bear her part.
A quiet spirit worketh whole years long;
Time only makes the subtle ferment strong.
And all things that belong thereto,
Are wondrous and exceeding rare!
The devil taught her, it is true;
But yet the draught the devil can't prepare.
(Perceiving the beasts.)
Look yonder, what a dainty pair!
Here is the maid! the knave is there!
(To the beasts)
It seems your dame is not at home?
The world behold;
It riseth and falleth ever;
It ringeth like glass!
How brittle, alas!
'Tis hollow, and resteth never.
How bright the sphere,
Still brighter here!
Now living am I!
Dear son, beware!
Nor venture there!
Thou too must die!
It is of clay;
'Twill crumble away;
There fragnients lie.
(who all this time has been standing before a looking-glass,
now approaching, and now retiring from it)
What do I see? what form, whose charms transcend
The loveliness of earth, is mirror'd here!
O Love, to waft me to her sphere,
To me the swiftest of thy pinions lend!
Alas! If I remain not rooted to this place,
If to approach more near I'm fondly lur'd,
Her image fades, in veiling mist obscur'd
Model of beauty both in form and face!
Is't possible? Hath woman charms so rare?
In this recumbent form, supremely fair,
The essence must I see of heavenly grace?
Can aught so exquisite on earth be found?
The six days' labour of a god, my friend,
Who doth himself cry bravo, at the end,
By something clever doubtless should be crown'd.
For this time gaze your fill, and when you please
Junt such a prize for you I can provide;
How blest is he to whom kind fate decrees,
To take her to his home, a lovely bride!
(FAUST continues to gaze into the mirror. MEPHISTOPHELES
stretching himself on the settle and playing with the whisk,
continues to speak.)
Here sit I, like a king upon his throne;
My sceptre this ;--the crown I want alone.
Whom have we here?
Who's sneaking here?
Whence are ye come?
With what desire?
The plague of fire
Your bones consume!
(She dips the skimming-ladle into the caidron and
throws flames at FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and
the MONKEYS. The MONKEYS whimper.)
(twirling the whisk which he holds in his hand, and striking among
the glasses and pots)
There lies the glass!
There lies the slime!
'Tis but a jest;
I but keep time,
Thou hellish pest,
To thine own chime!
(While the WITCH steps back in rage aind astonishment.)
Dost know me! Skeleton! Vile scarecrow, thou!
Thy lord and master dost thou know?
What holds me, that I deal not now
Thee and thine apes a stunning blow ?
No more respect to my red vest dost pay?
Does my cock's feather no allegiance claim?
Have I my visage masked to-day?
Must I be forced myself to name?
This once I must admit your plea ;--
For truly I must own that we
Each other have not seen for many a day.
The culture, too, that shapes the world, at last
Hath e'en the devil in its sphere embraced;
The northern phantom from the scene hath pass'd,
Tail, talons, horns, are nowhere to be traced!
As for the foot, with which I can't dispense,
'Twould injure me in company, and hence,
Like many a youthful cavalier,
False calves I now have worn for many a year.
To fable-books it now doth appertain;
But people from the change have nothing won.
Rid of the evil one, the evil ones remain.
Lord Baron call thou me, so is the matter good;
Of other cavaliers the mien I wear.
Dost make no question of my gentle blood;
See here, this is the scutcheon that I bear!
(He makes an unseemly gesture.)
He's my good friend, with whom 'twill prosper well;
I grudge him not the choicest of thy store.
Now draw thy circle, speak thy spell,
And straight a bumper for him pour!
(The WITCH, with extraordinary gestures, describes a circle, and
places strange things within it. The glasses meanwhile begin to
ring, the caidron to sound, and to make music. Lastly, she brings a
great book; places the MONKEYS in the circle to serve her as a
desk, and to hold the torches. She beckons FAUST to approach.)
Mere mummery, a laugh to raise!
Pray don't be so fastidious! She
But as a leech, her hocus-pocus plays,
That well with you her potion may agree.
(He compels FAUST to enter the circle.)
(The WITCH, with great emphasis, begins to declaim the book.)
This must thou ken:
Of one make ten,
Pass two, and then
Make square the three,
So rich thou'lt be.
Drop out the four!
From five and six,
Thus says the witch,
Make seven and eight.
So all is straight!
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
This is the witch's one-time-one!
To these will follow many a stave.
I know it well, so rings the book throughout;
Much time I've lost in puzzling o'er its pages,
For downright paradox, no doubt,
A mystery remains alike to fools and sages.
Ancient the art and modern too, my friend.
'Tis still the fashion as it used to be,
Error instead of truth abroad to send
By means of three and one, and one and three.
'Tis ever taught and babbled in the schools.
Who'd take the trouble to dispute with fools?
When words men hear, in sooth, they usually believe.
That there must needs therein be something to conceive.
Incomparable Sibyl cease, I pray!
Hand us thy liquor without more delay.
And to the very brim the goblet crown!
My friend he is, and need not be afraid;
Besides, he is a man of many a grade,
Who bath drunk deep already.
(The WITCH, with many ceremonies, pours the liquor into a cup;
as FAUST lifts it to his mouth, a light flame arises.)
Come, quick, and let thyself be led by me;
Thou must perspire, in order that the juice
Thy frame may penetrate through every part.
Then noble idleness I thee will teach to prize,
And soon with ecstasy thou'lt recognise
How Cupid stirs and gambols in thy heart.
By heaven! This girl is fair indeed!
No form like hers can I recall.
Virtue she hath, and modest heed,
Is piquant too, and sharp withal.
Her cheek's soft light, her rosy lips,
No length of time will e'er eclipse!
Her downward glance in passing by,
Deep in my heart is stamp'd for aye;
How curt and sharp her answer too,
To ecstasy the feeling grew!
She from confession coineth here,
From every sin absolved and free;
I crept near the confessor's chair.
All innocence her virgin soul,
For next to nothing went she there;
O'er such as she I've no control!
Sir Moralizer, prithee, pause;
Nor plague me with your tiresome laws!
To cut the matter short, my friend,
She must this very night be mine,--
And if to help me you decline,
Midnight shall see our compact end.
Like any Frenchman now you speak,
But do not fret, I pray; why seek
To hurry to enjoyment straight?
The pleasure is not half so great,
As when at first around, above,
With all the fooleries of love,
The puppet you can knead and mould
As in Italian story oft is told.
I would give something now to know,
Who yonder gentleman could be!
He had a gallant air, I trow,
And doubtless was of high degree:
That written on his brow was seen--
Nor else would lie so bold have been.
Welcome sweet twilight, calm and blest,
That in this hallow'd precinct reigns!
Fond yearning love, inspire my breast,
Feeding on hope's sweet dew thy blissful pains!
What stillness here environs me!
Content and order brood around.
What fulness in this poverty!
In this small cell what bliss profound!
(He throws himself on the leather arm-chair beside
Receive me thou, who hast in thine embrace,
Welcom'd in joy and grief the ages flown!
How oft the children of a by-gone race
Have cluster'd round this patriarchal throne!
Haply she, also, whom I hold so dear,
For Christmas gift, with grateful joy possess'd,
Hath with the full round cheek of childhood, here,
Her grandsire's wither'd hand devoutly press'd.
Maiden! I feel thy spirit haunt the place,
Breathing of order and abounding grace.
As with a mother's voice it prompteth thee,
The pure white cover o'er the board to spread,
To strew the crisping sand beneath thy tread.
Dear hand! so godlike in its ministry!
The hut becomes a paradise through thee!
(He raises the bed-curtain.)
How thrills my pulse with strange delight!
Here could I linger hours untold;
Thou, Nature, didst in vision bright,
The embryo angel here unfold.
Here lay the child, her bosom warm
With life; while steeped in slumber's dew,
To perfect grace, her godlike form,
With pure and hallow'd weavings grew!
And thou! ah here what seekest thou?
How quails mine inmost being now!
What wouldst thou here? what makes thy heart so sore?
Unhappy Faust! I know thee now no more.
Do I a magic atmosphere inhale?
Erewhile, my passion would not brook delay!
Now in a pure love-dream I melt away.
Are we the sport of every passing gale?
Should she return and enter now,
How wouldst thou rue thy guilty flame!
Proud vaunter--thou wouldst hide thy brow,--
And at her feet sink down with shame.
Here is a casket, with a store
Of jewels, which I got elsewhere.
Just lay it in the press; make haste!
I swear to you, 'twill turn her brain;
Therein some trifles I have placed,
Wherewith another to obtain.
But child is child, and play is play.
Do you ask?
Perchance you would retain the treasure?
If such your wish, why then, I say,
Henceforth absolve me from my task,
Nor longer waste your hours of leisure.
I trust you're not by avarice led!
I rub my hands, I scratch my head,--
(He places the casket in the press and closes the lock,)
Now quick! Away!
That soon the sweet young creature may
The wish and purpose of your heart obey;
Yct stand you there
As would you to the lecture-room repair,
As if before you stood,
Arrayed in flesh and blood,
Physics and metaphysics weird and grey !--
Here 'tis so close, so sultry now,
(She opens the window.)
Yet out of doors 'tis not so warm.
I feel so strange, I know not how--
I wish my mother would come home.
Through me there runs a shuddering--
I'm but a foolish timid thing!
(While undressing herself she begins to sing.)
There was a king in Thule,
True even to the grave;
To whom his dying mistress
A golden beaker gave.
At every feast he drained it,
Naught was to him so dear,
And often as he drained it,
Gush'd from his eyes the tear.
When death came, unrepining
His cities o'er he told;
All to his heir resigning,
Except his cup of gold.
With many a knightly vassal
At a royal feast sat he,
In yon proud ball ancestral,
In his castle o'er the sea.
Up stood the jovial monarch,
And quaff'd his last life's glow,
Then hurled the hallow'd goblet
Into the flood below.
He saw it splashing, drinking,
And plunging hi the sea;
His eyes meanwhile were sinking,
And never again drank he.
(She opens the press to put away her clothes, and perceives the
How comes this lovely casket here? The press
I locked, of that I'm confident.
'Tis very wonderful! What's in it I can't guess;
Perhaps 'twas brought by some one in distress.
And left in pledge for loan my mother lent.
Here by a ribbon hangs a little key!
I have a mind to open it and see!
Heavens! only look! what have we here!
In all my days ne'er saw I such a sight!
Jewels! which any noble dame might wear,
For some high pageant richly dight!
This chain--how would it look on me!
These splendid gems, whose may they be?
(She puts them on and steps before the glass.)
Were but the ear-rings only mine!
Thus one has quite another air.
What hoots it to be young and fair?
It doubtless may be very flue;
But then, alas, none cares for you,
And praise sounds half like pity too.
Gold all doth lure,
Gold doth secure
All things. Alas, we poor!
Think! only think! The gems for Gretchen brought,
Them hath a priest now made his own !--
A glimpse of them the mother caught,
And 'gan with secret fear to groan.
The woman's scent is keen enough;
Doth ever in the prayer-book snuff;
Smells every article to ascertain
Whether the thing is holy or profane,
And scented in the jewels rare,
That there was not much blessing there.
"My child," she cries, "ill-gotten good
Ensnares the soul, consumes the blood;
With them we'll deck our Lady's shrine,
She'll cheer our souls with bread divine!"
At this poor Gretchen 'gan to pout;
'Tis a gift-horse, at least, she thought,
And sure, he godless cannot be,
Who brought them here so cleverly.
Straight for a priest the mother sent,
Who, when he understood the jest,
With what he saw was well content.
"This shows a pious mind!" Quoth he:
"Self-conquest is true victory.
The Church bath a good stomach, she, with zest,
Whole countries hath swallow'd down,
And never yet a surfeit known.
The Church alone, be it confessed,
Daughters, can ill-got wealth digest."
With that, clasp, chain, and ring, he swept
As they were mushrooms; and the casket,
Without one word of thanks, he kept,
As if of nuts it were a basket.
Promised reward in heaven, then forth he hied--
And greatly they were edified.