How Faust wished to have stayed with Margaret.

from Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe fiction ~3 min read

FAUST

In misery! despairing! long wandering pitifully on the face of the earth and now imprisoned! This gentle hapless creature, immured in the dungeon as a malefactor and reserved for horrid tortures! That it should come to this! To this!—Perfidious, worthless spirit, and this thou hast concealed from me!—Stand! ay, stand! roll in malicious rage thy fiendish eyes! Stand and brave me with thine insupportable presence! Imprisoned! In hopeless misery! Delivered over to the power of evil spirits and the judgment of unpitying humanity I—And me, the while, thou wert lulling with tasteless dissipations, concealing from me her growing anguish, and leaving her to perish without help!

MEPHISTOPHELES

She is not the first.

FAUST

Hound! Execrable monster!—Back with him, oh thou infinite spirit! back with the reptile into his dog's shape, in which it was his wont to scamper before me at eventide, to roll before the feet of the harmless wanderer, and to fasten on his shoulders when he fell! Change him again into his favourite shape, that he may crouch on his belly before me in the dust, whilst I spurn him with my foot, the reprobate!—Not the first!—Woe! Woe! By no human soul is it conceivable, that more than one human creature has ever sunk into a depth of wretchedness like this, or that the first in her writhing death-agony should not have atoned in the sight of all-pardoning Heaven for the guilt of all the rest! The misery of this one pierces me to the very marrow, and harrows up my soul; thou art grinning calmly over the doom of thousands!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Now we are once again at our wit's end, just where the reason of you mortals snaps! Why dost thou seek our fellowship, if thou canst not go through with it? Wilt fly, and art not proof against dizziness? Did we force ourselves on thee, or thou on us?

FAUST

Cease thus to gnash thy ravenous fangs at me! I loathe thee!—Great and glorious spirit, thou who didst vouchsafe to reveal thyself unto me, thou who dost know my very heart and soul, why hast thou linked me with this base associate, who feeds on mischief and revels in destruction?

MEPHISTOPHELES

Hast done?

FAUST

Save her!—or woe to thee! The direst of curses on thee for thousands of years!

MEPHISTOPHELES

I cannot loose the bands of the avenger, nor withdraw his bolts.—Save her!—Who was it plunged her into perdition? I or thou?

(FAUST looks wildly around.)

MEPHISTOPHELES

Would'st grasp the thunder? Well for you, poor mortals, that 'tis not yours to wield! To smite to atoms the being however innocent, who obstructs his path, such is the tyrant's fashion of relieving himself in difficulties!

FAUST

Convey me thither! She shall be free!

MEPHISTOPHELES

And the danger to which thou dust expose thyself? Know, the guilt of blood, shed by thy hand, lies yet upon the town. Over the place where fell the murdered one, avenging spirits hover and watch for the returning murderer.

FAUST

This too from thee? The death and downfall of a world be on thee, monster I Conduct me thither, I say, and set her free!

MEPHISTOPHELES

“atoms the being however innocent, who obstructs his path, such is the tyrant's fashion of relieving himself in difficulties!

FAUST

Convey me thither! She shall be free!

MEPHISTOPHELES

And the danger to which thou dust expose thyself? Know, the guilt of blood, shed by thy hand, lies yet upon the town. Over the place where fell the murdered one, avenging spirits hover and watch for the returning murderer.

FAUST

This too from thee? The death and downfall of a world be on thee, monster I Conduct me thither, I say, and set her free!

MEPHISTOPHELES

I will conduct thee. And what I can do,—hear! Have I all power in heaven and upon earth? I'll cloud the senses of the warder,—do thou possess thyself of the keys and lead her forth with human hand! I will keep watch! The magic steeds are waiting, I bear thee off. Thus much is in my power.

FAUST

Tip and sway!

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, p. Part 1