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raggi m - Animals/Nature


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Faust Part II

(Act IV)

A. S. Kline ã2003 All Rights Reserved

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

Act IV

Scene I: High Mountains

(Fierce, jagged rocky peaks. A cloud approaches, pauses and settles on a projecting ledge. It parts.)

Faust (Steps out.)

Gazing at those deep solitudes beneath my feet,

I tread the mountain brink with deliberation, 10040

Leaving the cloud-vehicle that carried me,

Softly, through bright day, over land and ocean.

Slowly, not dispersing, now, it moves away.

With a rolling movement, travelling eastward,

And the eye follows in wondering admiration. 10045

Moving it divides, wave-like and changeable.

Yet it shapes itself – My eyes can’t deceive me! –

I see, reclining there, nobly, on sunlit pillows,

A godlike female form, though it’s immense!

An image of Juno, Leda, or Helen herself, 10050

Royally lovely, floating before my eyes.

Ah! It’s already melting! Formlessly huge

And towering it hangs in far icy eastern hills,

Reflecting deep meaning from fine fleeting days.

Yet a soft, delicate band of mist still clings 10055

To head and body, coolly caressing: and cheers me.

Now it lifts lightly, soars higher and higher, there,

Condensing. Does its enticing shape deceive me,

Like some long-forgotten joy of earliest youth?

The first riches of the heart’s depths flow again: 10060

I’d liken it to Aurora’s Love, light-winged:

The first, swiftly felt, scarcely understood glance,

That outshines every treasure when it’s held fast.

The lovely form rises, now, like spiritual beauty,

Not melting further, but lifting through the air, 10065

And carries, far-off, the best of what I am.

(A seven-league boot strides forward: another follows immediately. Mephistopheles steps out of them. The boots stride off quickly.)

Now that I call real onward striding!

But tell me why you’re all alone,

Climbing here among the horrors,

In these horrendous gulfs of stone? 10070

I know them well, but with another face,

In truth, the floor of Hell’s a similar place.


You’re never short of a foolish fantasy:

You’ve dusted that one off again I see.

Mephistopheles (Seriously)

When the Lord God – and I know why as well – 10075

Banished us from the air to deepest deeps,

There, where round and round the glow of Hell,

An eternal inward self-fuelled fire leaps,

We found we were too brightly illuminated,

Quite crowded, and uncomfortably situated. 10080

All the devils fell to fits of coughing,

The vents above them and beneath them puffing,

Hell swollen with the sulphur’s stench and acid,

Gave out its gas! The bubble was so massive,

That soon the level surface of the earth, 10085

Thick as it was, was forced to crack and burst.

So we all gained another mountain from it,

And what was ground, before, now is summit.

From this they deduced the truest law,

Turn lowest into highest, to be sure, 10090

Since we escaped from fiery prison there,

To excessive power in the freer air:

An open mystery, yet well concealed,

And only lately publicly revealed. (Ephesians 6:12)


To me the mountain masses are nobly dumb, 10095

I don’t ask why they are, or where they’re from.

When Nature in herself was grounded

The ball of Earth she neatly rounded,

Delighting in the mountains and the deep,

Setting rock on rock, and peak on peak, 10100

Sloping the hills conveniently downward,

Softening them to vales, gently bounded.

They grow green, and joyfully she ranges,

Without the need for any violent changes.


Yes, so you say! It’s clear as day to you: 10105

But he knows otherwise who saw it too.

I was there, while the void seethed below,

Enduring all that swollen, fiery tide:

When Moloch’s hammer forged cliffs, at a blow,

And flung the ruined mountains, far and wide. 10110

Those foreign boulders scattered through the land:

Who knows what forces left them high and dry?

Philosophers all have failed to understand,

The rocks are there, and we must let them stand,

We’ve damaged them, already, where they lie. 10115

Only the true believers, the people, know,

And nothing will shake their fond opinion,

They, since their wisdom ripened long ago,

Say it’s due to Satan’s wonderful dominion.

The traveller climbs, with faith’s crutch, over ridges, 10120

Across the Devil’s rocks, and Devil’s bridges.


Yet it’s still worth noting, since every feature,

Reveals what it is the Devil sees in Nature.


What’s that to me! Let Nature be what she is!

The Devil was there: that’s what I’d have you notice! 10125

We’re the folk, you see, who achieve great things:

The signs are tumult, force, and what nonsense brings! –

But shall I make myself understood at last: it’s best:

Did nothing at all of ours please you in the slightest?

You’ve looked down, from immeasurable heights, 10130

On the riches of the world, and its splendid sights. (Matthew 4)

Yet, hard as you may be to fire,

Didn’t you feel some deep desire?


I did! I saw a mighty plan.



Oh, that’s easily done. 10135

I’d find myself some capital city,

It’s core the citizens’ greedy plenty,

Crooked alleys and pointed gables,

Cabbage, turnips, onions, market tables:

Butcher’s stalls where flies all cluster: 10140

Round the fattened joints, pass muster:

Wherever you move, there you’ll find

Stench and activity, intertwined.

Then wide streets, and wider squares,

Measured, elegant thoroughfares: 10145

And, at their end, no gates to bar you:

Just boundless far-flung suburbs too.

There I love to see all the carriages go by,

The noisy rushing about from side to side,

The endless running to and fro, 10150

Of scattered ants in ceaseless flow.

And when I walk, and when I ride,

I’d be the central point implied,

A hundred thousand honouring me.


That could never content me though. 10155

A swelling crowd is fine to see,

All well-fed in their way, agreed,

Well-bred, well-taught, all the three –

Yet you’ve only made more rebels grow.


For myself, I’d deliberately create 10160

A pleasure house in a pleasant place.

Woods, hills, fields, meadows, open ground,

With splendid gardens all around.

Between green walls of velvet leaves,

Straight walks, where artful shadows please, 10165

Waterfalls, spanning the rocks, in pairs,

And all those kinds of water-jet affairs:

Rising nobly, while all round the dish,

A thousand little fountains hiss and piss.

Then I’d have a hut, snug and convenient, 10170

Where beautiful women might be content:

And pass the boundless time away

In the sweetest solitude, and play.

Women, I say: since, one and all,

I think of their loveliness in the plural. 10175


Sardanapalus! Modern and rural!


Then might one ask to know your yearning?

It’s something daring: I’ve no doubt.

Since the moon was near you in your journeying,

Might it be ...

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