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FAUST PART I SCENES I - III

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe



Faust Part I

(Scenes I to III)





A. S. Kline ã2003 All Rights Reserved

This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.



Scene I: Night



(In a high-vaulted Gothic chamber, Faust, in a chair at his desk, restless.)



Ah! Now I’ve done Philosophy,

I’ve finished Law and Medicine, 355

And sadly even Theology:

Taken fierce pains, from end to end.

Now here I am, a fool for sure!

No wiser than I was before:

Master, Doctor’s what they call me, 360

And I’ve been ten years, already,

Crosswise, arcing, to and fro,

Leading my students by the nose,

And see that we can know - nothing!

It almost sets my heart burning. 365

I’m cleverer than all these teachers,

Doctors, Masters, scribes, preachers:

I’m not plagued by doubt or scruple,

Scared by neither Hell nor Devil –

Instead all Joy is snatched away, 370

What’s worth knowing, I can’t say,

I can’t say what I should teach

To make men better or convert each.

And then I’ve neither goods nor gold,

No worldly honour, or splendour hold: 375

Not even a dog would play this part!

So I’ve given myself to Magic art,

To see if, through Spirit powers and lips,

I might have all secrets at my fingertips.

And no longer, with rancid sweat, so, 380

Still have to speak what I cannot know:

That I may understand whatever

Binds the world’s innermost core together,

See all its workings, and its seeds,

Deal no more in words’ empty reeds. 385

O, may you look, full moon that shines,

On my pain for this last time:

So many midnights from my desk,

I have seen you, keeping watch:

When over my books and paper, 390

Saddest friend, you appear!

Ah! If on the mountain height

I might stand in your sweet light,

Float with spirits in mountain caves,

Swim the meadows in twilight’ waves, 395

Free from the smoke of knowledge too,

Bathe in your health-giving dew!

Alas! In this prison must I stick?

This hollow darkened hole of brick,

Where even the lovely heavenly light 400

Shines through stained glass, dull not bright.

Hemmed in, by heaps of books,

Piled to the highest vault, and higher,

Worm eaten, decked with dust,

Surrounded by smoke-blackened paper, 405

Glass vials, boxes round me, hurled,

Stuffed with Instruments thrown together,

Packed with ancestral lumber –

This is my world! And what a world!

And need you ask why my heart 410

Makes such tremors in my breast?

Why all my life-energies are

Choked by some unknown distress?

Smoke and mildew hem me in,

Instead of living Nature, then, 415

Where God once created Men,

Bones of creatures, and dead limbs!

Fly! Upwards! Into Space, flung wide!

Isn’t this book, with secrets crammed,

From Nostradamus’ very hand, 420

Enough to be my guide?

When I know the starry road,

And Nature, you instruct me,

My soul’s power, you shall flow,

As spirits can with spirits be. 425

Useless, this dusty pondering here

To read the sacred characters:

Soar round me, Spirits, and be near:

If you hear me, then answer!



(He opens the Book, and sees the Symbol of the Macrocosm)



Ah! In a moment, what bliss flows 430

Through my senses from this Sign!

I feel life’s youthful, holy joy: it glows,

Fresh in every nerve and vein of mine.

This symbol now that calms my inward raging,

Perhaps a god deigned to write, 435

Filling my poor heart with delight,

And with its mysterious urging

Revealing, round me, Nature’s might?

Am I a god? All seems so clear to me!

It seems the deepest works of Nature 440

Lie open to my soul, with purest feature.

Now I understand what wise men see:

“The world of spirits is not closed:

Your senses are: your heart is dead!

Rise, unwearied, disciple: bathe instead 445

Your earthly breast in the morning’s glow!”



(He gazes at the Symbol.)



How each to the Whole its selfhood gives,

One in another works and lives!

How Heavenly forces fall and rise,

Golden vessels pass each other by! 450

Blessings from their wings disperse:

They penetrate from Heaven to Earth,

Sounding a harmony through the Universe!

Such a picture! Ah, alas! Merely a picture!

How then can I grasp you endless Nature? 455

Where are your breasts that pour out Life entire,

To which the Earth and Heavens cling so,

Where withered hearts would drink? You flow

You nourish, yet I languish so, in vain desire.



(He strikes the book indignantly, and catches sight of the Symbol

of the Earth-Spirit.)



How differently it works on me, this Sign! 460

You, the Spirit of Earth, are nearer:

Already, I feel my power is greater,

Already, I glow, as with fresh wine.

I feel the courage to engage the world,

Into the pain and joy of Earth be hurled, 465

And though the storm wind is unfurled,

Fearless, in the shipwreck’s teeth, be whirled.

There’s cloud above me –

The Moon hides its light –

The lamp flickers!

Now it dies! Crimson rays dart 470

Round my head – Horror

Flickers from the vault above,

And grips me tight!

I feel you float around me, 475

Spirit, I summon to appear, speak to me!

Ah! What tears now at the core of me!

All my senses reeling

With fresh feeling!

I feel you draw my whole heart towards you! 480

You must! You must! Though my Life’s lost, too!



(He grips the book and speaks the mysterious name of the Spirit. A crimson flame flashes, the Spirit appears in the flame.)


Spirit



Who calls me?



Faust (Looking away)



Terrible to gaze at!


Spirit



Mightily you have drawn me to you,

Long, from my sphere, snatched your food,

And now –


Faust



Ah!Endure you, I cannot! 485


Spirit



You beg me to show myself, you implore,

You wish to hear my voice, and see my face:

The mighty prayer of your soul weighs

With me, I am here! – What wretched terror

Grips you, the Superhuman! Where is your soul’s calling? 490

Where is the heart that made a world inside, enthralling:

Carried it, nourished it, swollen with joy, so tremulous,

That you too might be a Spirit, one of us?

Where are you, Faust, whose ringing voice

Drew towards me with all your force? 495

Are you he, who, breathing my breath,

Trembles in all your life’s depths,

A fearful, writhing worm?


Faust



Shall I fear you: you form of fire?

I am, I am Faust: I am your peer! 500


Spirit



In Life’s wave, in action’s storm,

Ifloat, up and down,

I blow, to and fro!

Birth and the tomb,

An eternal flow, 505

A woven changing,

A glow of Being.

Over Time’s quivering loom intent,
...


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