Before the meeting with Margaret.

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

FAUST

Dost comprehend what bliss without alloy
From this wild wand'ring in the desert springs?—
Couldst thou but guess the new life-power it brings,
Thou wouldst be fiend enough to envy me my joy.

MEPHISTOPHELES

What super-earthly ecstasy! at night,
To lie in darkness on the dewy height,
Embracing heaven and earth in rapture high,
The soul dilating to a deity;
With prescient yearnings pierce the core of earth,
Feel in your labouring breast the six-days' birth,
Enjoy, in proud delight what no one knows,
While your love-rapture o'er creation flows,—
The earthly lost in beatific vision,
And then the lofty intuition—.
(With a gesture.)

I need not tell you how—to close!

FAUST

Fie on you!

MEPHISTOPHELES

This displeases you? "For shame!"
You are forsooth entitled to exclaim;
We to chaste ears it seems must not pronounce
What, nathless, the chaste heart cannot renounce.
Well, to be brief, the joy as fit occasions rise,
I grudge you not, of specious lies.
But long this mood thou'lt not retain.
Already thou'rt again outworn,
And should this last, thou wilt be torn
By frenzy or remorse and pain.
Enough of this! Thy true love dwells apart,
And all to her seems flat and tame;
Alone thine image fills her heart,
She loves thee with an all-devouring flame.
First came thy passion with o'erpowering rush,
Like mountain torrent, swollen by the melted snow;
Pull in her heart didst pour the sudden gush,
Now has thy brookiet ceased to flow.
Instead of sitting throned midst forests wild,
It would become so great a lord
To comfort the enamour'd child,
And the young monkey for her love reward.
To her the hours seem miserably long;
She from the window sees the clouds float by
As o'er the lofty city-walls they fly,
"If I a birdie were!" so runs her song,
Half through the night and all day long.
Cheerful sometimes, more oft at heart full sore;
Fairly outwept seem now her tears,
Anon she tranquil is, or so appears,
And love-sick evermore.

FAUST

Snake! Serpent vile!

MEPHISTOPHELES (aside)

Good! If I catch thee with my guile!

FAUST

Vile reprobate! go get thee hence;
Forbear the lovely girl to name!
Nor in my half-distracted sense,
Kindle anew the smouldering flame!

MEPHISTOPHELES

What wouldest thou! She thinks you've taken flight;
It seems, she's partly in the right.

FAUST

I'm near her still—and should I distant rove,
Her I can ne'er forget, ne'er lose her love;
And all things touch'd by those sweet lips of hers,
Even the very Host, my envy stirs.

MEPHISTOPHELES

'Tis well! I oft have envied you indeed,
The twin-pair that among the roses feed.

FAUST

Pander, avaunt!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Go to! I laugh, the while you rail,
The power which fashion'd youth and maid,
Well understood the noble trade;
So neither shall occasion fail.
But hence!—A mighty grief I trow!
Unto thy lov'd one's chamber thou
And not to death shouldst go.

FAUST

What is to me heaven's joy within her arms?
What though my life her bosom warms!—
Do I not ever feel her woe?
The outcast am I not, unhoused, unblest,
Inhuman monster, without aim or rest,
Who, like the greedy surge, from rock to rock,
Sweeps down the dread abyss with desperate shock?
While she, within her lowly cot, which graced
The Alpine slope, beside the waters wild,
Her homely cares in that small world embraced,
Secluded lived, a simple, artless child.
Was't not enough, in thy delirious whirl
To blast the stedfast rocks;
Her, and her peace as well,
Must I, God-hated one, to ruin hurl!
Dost claim this holocaust, remorseless Hell!
Fiend, help me to cut short the hours of dread!
Let what must happen, happen speedily!
Her direful doom fall crushing on my head,
And into ruin let her plunge with me!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Why how again it seethes and glows!
Away, thou fool! Her torment ease!
When such a head no issue sees,
It pictures straight the final close.
Long life to him who boldly dares!
“A devil's pluck thou'rt wont to show;
As for a devil who despairs,
Nothing I find so mawkish here below.

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