Walpurgis-Night
 

THE HARTZ MOUNTAINS. DISTRICT OF SCHIERKE
AND ELEND

FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES

MEPHISTOPHELES

A broomstick dost thou not at least desire?
The roughest he-goat fain would I bestride,
By this road from our goal we're still far wide.

FAUST

While fresh upon my legs, so long I naught require,
Except this knotty staff. Beside,
What boots it to abridge a pleasant way?
Along the labyrinth of these vales to creep,
Then scale these rocks, whence, in eternal spray,
Adown the cliffs the silvery fountains leap:
Such is the joy that seasons paths like these!
Spring weaves already in the birchen trees;
E'en the late pine-grove feels her quickening powers;
Should she not work within these limbs of ours?

MEPHISTOPHELES

Naught of this genial influence do I know!
Within me all is wintry. Frost and snow
I should prefer my dismal path to bound.
How sadly, yonder, with belated glow
Rises the ruddy moon's imperfect round,
Shedding so faint a light, at every tread
One's sure to stumble 'gainst a rock or tree!
An Ignis Fatuus I must call instead.
Yonder one burning merrily, I see.
Holla! my friend! may I request your light?
Why should ynu flare away so uselessly?
Be kind enough to show us up the height!

IGNIS FATUUS

Through reverence, I hope I may subdue
The lightness of my nature; true,
Our course is but a zigzag one.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Ho! ho!
So men, forsooth, he thinks to imitate!
Now, in the devil's name, for once go straight!
Or out at once your flickering life I'll blow.

IGNIS FAPUUS

That you are master here it obvious quite;
To do your will, I'll cordially essay;
Only reflect! The hill is magic-mad to-night;
And if to show the path you choose a meteor's light,
You must not wonder should we go astray.

FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, IGNIS FATUUS
(in alternate song)

Through the dream and magic-sphere1
As it seems, we now are speeding;
Honour win, us rightly leading,
That betimes we may appear
In yon wide and desert region!

Trees on trees, a stalwart legion,
Swiftly past us are retreating,
And the cliffs with lowly greeting;
Rocks long-snouted, row on row,
How they snort, and how they blow!

Through the stones and heather springing,
Brook and brookiet haste below;
Hark the rustling! Hark the singing!
Hearken to love's plaintive lays;
Voices of those heavenly days--
What we hope, and what we love!
Like a tale of olden time,
Echo's voice prolongs the chime.

To-whit! To-whoo! It sounds more near;
Plover, owl, and jay appear,
All awake, around, above?
Paunchy salamanders too
Peer, long-limbed, the bushes through!
And, like snakes, the roots of trees
Coil themselves from rock and sand,
Stretching many a wondrous band,
Us to frighten, us to seize;
From rude knots with life embued,
Polyp-fangs abroad they spread,
To snare the wanderer! 'Neath our tread,
Mice, in myriads, thousand-hued,
Through the heath and through the moss!
And the fire-flies' glittering throng,
Wildering escort, whirls along,
Here and there, our path across.

Tell me, stand we motionless,
Or still forward do we press?
All things round us whirl and fly;
Rocks and trees make strange grimaces,
Dazzling meteors change their places,
How they puff and multiply!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Now grasp my doublet--we at last
A central peak have reached, which shows,
If round a wondering glance we cast,
How in the mountain Mammon glows.

FAUST

How through the chasms strangely gleams,
A lurid light, like dawn's red glow,
Pervading with its quivering beams,
The gorges of the gulf below!
Here vapours rise, there clouds float by,
Here through the mist the light doth shine;
Now, like a fount, it bursts on high,
Meanders now, a slender line;
Far reaching, with a hundred veins,
Here through the valley see it glide;
Here, where its force the gorge restrains,
At once it scatters, far and wide;
Anear, like showers of golden sand
Strewn broadcast, sputter sparks of light:
And mark yon rocky walls that stand
Ablaze, in all their towering height!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Doth not Sir Mammon for this fte
Grandly illume his palace! Thou
Art lucky to have seen it; now,
The boisterous guests, I feel, are coming straight.

FAUST

How through the air the storm doth whirl!
Upon my neck it strikes with sudden shock.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Cling to these ancient ribs of granite rock,
Else to yon depths profound it you will hurl.
A murky vapour thickens night.
Hark! Through the woods the temp ests roar!
The owlets flit in wild affright.
Hark! Splinter'd are the columns that upbore
The leafy palace, green for aye:
The shivered branches whirr and sigh,
Yawn the huge trunks with mighty groan.
The roots upriven, creak and moan!
In fearful and entangled fall,
One crashing ruin wheims them all,
While through the desolate abyss,
Sweeping the, wreck-strewn precipice,
The raging storm-blasts howl and hiss!
Aloft strange voices dost thou hear?
Distant now and now more near?
Hark! the mountain ridge along,
Streameth a raving magic-song!

WITCHES (in chorus)

Now to the Brocken the witches hie,
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green;
Thither the gathering legions fly,
And sitting aloft is Sir Uriaii seen:
O'er stick and o'er stone they go whirling along,
Witches and he-goats, a motley throng.

VOICES

Alone old Baubo's coming now;
She rides upon a farrow sow.

CHORUS

Honour to her, to whom honour is due!
Forward, Dame Baubo! Honour to you!
A goodly sow and mother thereon,
The whole witch chorus follows anon.

VOICE

Which way didst come?

VOICE

O'er Ilsenstein!
There I peep'd in an owlet's nest.
With her broad eye she gazed in mine!

VOICE

Drive to the devil, thou hellish pest!
Why ride so hard?

VOICE

She has graz'd my side,
Look at the wounds, how deep and how wide!

WITCHES (in chorus)

The way is broad, the way is long;
What mad pursuit! What tumult wild!
Scratches the besom and sticks the prong;
Crush'd is the mother, and stifled the child.

WIZARDS (half chorus)

Like house-encumber'd Snail we creep;
While far ahead the women keep,
For when to the devil's house we speed,
By a thousand steps they take the lead.

THE OTHER HALF

Not so, precisely do we view it ;----
They with a thousand steps may do it;

But let them hasten as they can,
With one long bound 'tis clear'd by man.

VOICES (above)

Come with us, come with us from Felsensee.

VOICES (from below)

Aloft to you we would mount with glee!
We wash, and free from all stain are we,
Yet barren evermore must be!

BOTH CHORUSES

The wind is hushed, the stars grow pale,
The pensive moon her light doth veil;
And whirling on, the magic choir
Sputters forth sparks of drizzling fire.

VOICE (from below)

Stay! stay!

VOICE (from above)

What voice of woe
Calls from the cavern'd depths below?

VOICE (from below)

Take me with you! Oh take me too!
Three centuries I climb in vain,
And yet can ne'er the summit gain!
To be with my kindred I am fain.

BOTH CHORUSES

Broom and pitch-fork, goat and prong,
Mounted on these we whirl along;
Who vainly strives to climb to-night,
Is evermore a luckless wight!

DEMI-WITCH (below)

I hobble after, many a day;
Already the others are far away!

No rest at home can I obtain--
Here too my efforts are in vain!

CHORUS OF WITCHES

Salve gives the witches strength to rise;
A rag for a sail does well enough;
A goodly ship is every trough;
To-night who flies not, never flies.

BOTH CHORUSES

And when the topmost peak we round,
Then alight ye on the ground;
The heath's wide regions cover ye
With your mad swarms of witchery!
(They let themselves down.)

MEPHISTOPHELES

They crowd and jostle, whirl and flutter!
They whisper, babble, twirl, and splutter!
They glimmer, sparkle, stink and flare--
A true witch-element!
Beware!
Stick close! else we shall severed be.
Where art thou?

FAUST (in the distance)

Here!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Already, whirl'd so far away!
The master then indeed I needs must play.
Give ground! Squire Voland comes!
Sweet folk, give ground!
Here, doctor, grasp me! With a single bound
Let us escape this ceaseless jar;
Even for me too mad these people are.
Hard by there shineth something with peculiar glare,
Yon brake allureth me; it is not far;
Come, come along with me! we'll slip in there.

FAUST

Spirit of contradiction! Lead! I'll follow straight!
'Twas wisely done, however, to repair
On May-night to the Brocken, and when there
By our own choice ourselves to isolate!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Murk, of those flames the motley glare!
A merry club assembles there.
In a small circle one is not alone,

FAUST

I'd rather be above, though, I must own!
Already fire and eddying smoke I vicw;
The impetuous millions to the devil ride;
Full many a riddle will be there untied.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Ay! and full many a riddle tied anew.
But let the great world rave and riot!
Here will we house ourselves in quiet.
A custom 'tis of ancient date,
Our lesser worlds within the great world to create!
Young witches there I see, naked and bare,
And old ones, veil'd more prudently.
For my sake only courteous be!
The trouble's small, the sport is rare.
Of instruments I hear the cursed din--
One must get used to it.
Come in! come in!
There's now no help for it. I'll step before
And introducing you as my good friend,
Confer on you one obligation more.
Hnw say you now? 'Tis no such psitry room
Why Only look, you scarce can see the end.
A hundred fires in rows disperse the gloom;
They dance, they talk, they cook, make love, and drink:
Where couid we find aught better, do you think?

FAUST

To introduce us, do you purpose here
As devil or as wizard to appear?

MEPHISTOPHELES

Though I am wont indeed to strict incognito,
Yet upon gala-days one must one's orders show.
No garter have I to distinguish me,
Nathiess the cloven foot doth here give dignity.
Seest thou yonder snail? Crawling this way she hies:
With searching feelers, she, no doubt,
Hath me already scented out;
Here, even if I would, for mc there's no disguise.
From fire to fire, we'll saunter at our leisure,
The gallant you, I'll cater for your pleasure.
(To a party seated round some expiring embers.)
Old gentleman, apart, why sit ye moping here?
Ye in the midst should be of all this jovial cheer,
Girt round with noise and youthful riot;
At home one surely has enough of quiet.

GENERAL

In nations put his trust, who may,
Whate'er for them one may have done;
For with the people, as with women, they
Honour your rising stars alone !

MINISTER

Now all too far they wander from the right;
I praise the good old ways, to them I hold,
Then was the genuine age of gold,
When we ourselves were foremost in men's sight.

PARVENU

Ne'er were we 'mong your dullards found,
And what we ought not, that to do were fair;

Yet now are all things turning round and round,
When on firm basis we would them maintain.

AUTHOR

Who, as a rule, a treatise now would care
To read, of even moderate sense?
As for the rising generation, ne'er
Has youth displayed such arrogant pretence.

MEPHISTOPHELES
(suddenly appearing very old)

Since for the last time I the Brocken scale,
That folk are ripe for doomsday, now one sees;
And just because my cask begins to fail,
So the whole world is also on the lees.

HUCKSTER-WITCH

Stop, gentlemen, nor pass me by,
Of wares I have a choice collection:
Pray honour them with your inspection.
Lose not this opportunity
Yet nothing in my booth you'll find
Without its counterpart on earth; there's naught,
Which to the world, and to mankind,
Hath not some direful mischief wrought.
No dagger here, which bath not flow'd with blood,
No chalice, whence, into some healthy frame
Hath not been poured hot poison's wasting flood.
No trinket, but bath wrought some woman's shame,
No weapon but bath cut some sacred tie,
Or from behind bath stabb'd an enemy.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Gossip! For wares like these the time's gone by,
What's done is past! what's past is done!
With novelties your booth supply;
Us novelties attract alone.

FAUST

May this wild scene my senses spare!
This, may in truth be called a fair!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Upward the eddying concourse throng;
Thinking to push, thyself art push'd along.

FAUST

Who's that, pray?

MEPHISTOPHELES

Mark her well! That's Lilith.

FAUST

Who?

MEPHISTOPHELES

Adam's first wife. Of her rich locks beware!
That charm in which she's parallel'd by few;
When in its toils a youth she doth ensnare,
He will not soon escape, I promise you.

FAUST

There sit a pair, the old one with the young;
Already they have bravely danced and sprung!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Here there is no repose to-day.
Another dance begins; we'll join it, come away!

FAUST
(dancing with the young one)

Once a fair vision came to me;
Therein I saw an apple-tree,
Two beauteous apples charmed mine eyes;
I climb'd forthwith to reach the prize.

THE FAIR ONE.

Apples still fondly ye desire,
From paradise it bath been so.
Feelings of joy my breast inspire
That such too in my garden grow.

MEPHISTOPHELES (with the old one)

Once a weird vision came to me;
Therein I saw a rifted tree.
I had a . . . . .have ready here,
But as it was it pleased me too.

THE OLD ONE

I beg most humbly to salute
The gallant with the cloven foot!
Let him a . . . have ready here,
If he a . . . does not fear.

PROCTOPHANTASMIST

Accursed mob! How dare ye thus to meet?
Have I not shown and demonstrated too,
That ghosts stand not on ordinary feet?
Yet here ye dance, as other mortals do!

THE FAIR ONE (dancing)

Then at our ball, what doth he here?

FAUST (dancing)

Oh! He must everywhere appear.
He must adjudge, when others dance;
If on each step his say's not said,
So is that step as good as never made.
He's most annoyed, so soon as we advance;
If ye would circle in one narrow round,
As he in his old mill, then doubtless he
Your dancing would approve,--especially
If ye forthwith salute him with respect profound!

PROCTOPHANTASMIST

Still here! what arrogance! unheard of quite!
Vanish; we now have fill'd the world with light!
Laws are unheeded by the devil's host;
Wise as we are, yet Tegel hath its ghost!
How long at this conceit I've swept with all my might,
Lost is the labour: 'tis unheard of quite!

THE FAIR ONE

Cease here to teaze us any more, I pray.

PROCTOPHANTASMIST

Spirits, I plainly to your face declare:
No spiritual control myself will bear,
Since my own spirit can exert no sway.
(The dancing continues.)

To-night, I see, I shall in naught succeed;
But I'm prepar'd my travels to pursue,
And hope, before my final step indeed,
To triumph over bards and devils too.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Now in some puddle will he take his station,
Such is his mode of seeking consolation;
Where leeches, feasting on his rump, will drain
Spirits alike and spirit from his brain.
(To FAUST, who has left the dance.)

But why the charming damsel leave, I pray,
Who to you in the dance so sweetly sang?

FAUST

Ah, in the very middle of her lay,
Out of her mouth a small red mouse there sprang.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Suppose there did! One must not be too nice.
'Twas well it was not grey, let that suffice.
Who 'mid his pleasures for a trifle cares?

FAUST

Then saw I--

MEPHISTOPHELES

What?

FAUST

Mephisto, seest thou there
Standing far off, a lone child, pale and fair?
Slow from the spot her drooping form she tears,
And seems with shackled feet to move along;
I own, within me the delusion's strong,
That she the likeness of my Gretchen wears.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Gaze not upon her! 'Tis not good! Forbear!
'Tis lifeless, magical, a shape of air,
An idol. Such to meet with, bodes no good;
That rigid look of hers doth freeze man's blood,
And well-nigh petrifies his heart to stone:--
The story of Medusa thou hast known.

FAUST

Ay, verily! a corpse's eyes are those,
Which there was no fond loving hand to close.
That is the bosom I so fondly press'd,
That my sweet Gretchen's form, so oft caress'd!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Deluded fool! 'Tis magic, I declare!
To each she doth his lov'd
one's image wear.

FAUST

What bliss! what torture! vainly I essay
To turn me from that piteous look away.
How strangely doth a single crimson line
Around that lovely neck its coil entwine,
It shows no broader than a knife's blunt edge!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Quite right. I see it also, and allege
That she beneath her arm her head can bear,
Since Perseus cut it off.--But you I swear
Are craving for illusion still!
Come then, ascend yon little hill!
As on the Prater all is gay,
And if my senses are not gone,
I see a theatre,--what's going on?

SERVIRILIS

They are about to recommence ;--the play
Will be the last of seven, and spick-span new--'
'Tis usual here that number to present.
A dilettante did the piece invent,
And dilettanti will enact it too.
Excuse me, gentlemen; to me's assign'd
As dilettante to uplift the curtain.

MEPHISTOPHELES

You on the Blocksberg I'm rejoiced to find,
That 'tis your most appropriate sphere is certain.