• Part I Scene II: In Front Of The City-Gate

    (Passers-by of all kinds appear.)

    Several Apprentices

    So, then, where are you away to?

    Others

    We’re away to the Hunting Lodge.

    The Former

    We’re off to saunter by the Mill.

    An Apprentice

    Off to the Riverside Inn, I’d guess.

    A Second Apprentice

    The way there’s not of the best.

    The Others

    What about you?

    A Third

    I’m with the others, still.

    A Fourth

    Come to the Castle, you’ll find there
    The prettiest girls, the finest beer,
    And the best place for a fight.


    A Fifth

    You quarrelsome fool, are you looking
    For a third good hiding?
    Not for me, that place, I hate its very sight.

    A Maidservant

    No, No! I’m going back to town.

    Another

    We’ll find him by those poplar trees for sure.

    The First

    Well that’s no joy for me, now:
    He’ll walk by your side, of course,
    He’ll dance with you on the green.
    Where’s the fun in that for me, then!


    The Other

    I’m sure he’s not alone, he said
    He’d bring along that Curly-head.

    A Student

    My how they strut those bold women!
    Brother, come on! We’ll follow them.
    Fierce tobacco, strong beer,
    And a girl in her finery, I prefer.


    A Citizen’s Daughter

    They are handsome boys there, I see!
    But it’s truly a disgrace:
    They could have the best of company,
    And run after a painted face!

    Second Student (to the first)

    Not so fast! Those two behind,
    They walk about so sweetly,
    One must be that neighbour of mine:
    I could fall for her completely.
    They pass by with demure paces,
    But in the end they’ll go with us.

    The First

    Brother, no! I shouldn’t bother, anyway.
    Quick! Before our quarry gets away.
    The hand that wields a broom on Saturday,
    Gives the best caress, on Sunday too, I say.

    Citizen

    No, the new mayor doesn’t suit me!
    Now he’s there he’s getting cocky.
    And what’s he done to help the town?
    Isn’t it getting worse each day?
    As always it’s us who must obey,
    And pay more money down.

    A Beggar (sings)

    Fine gentlemen, and lovely ladies,
    Rosy-cheeked and finely dressed,
    You could help me, for your aid is
    Needed: see, ease my distress!
    Don’t let me throw my song away,
    Only he who gives is happy.
    A day when all men celebrate,
    Will be a harvest day for me!

    Another Citizen

    On holidays there’s nothing I like better
    Than talking about war and war’s display,
    When in Turkey far away,
    People one another batter.
    You sit by the window: have a glass:
    See the bright boats glide down the river,
    Then you walk back home and bless
    Its peacefulness, and peace, forever.

    Third Citizen

    Neighbour, yes! I like that too:
    Let them go and break their heads,
    Make the mess they often do:
    So long as we’re safe in our beds.

    An Old Woman (to the citizen’s daughter)

    Ah! So pretty! Sweet young blood!
    Who wouldn’t gaze at you?
    Don’t be so proud! I’m very good!
    And what you want, I’ll bring you.

    The Citizen’s Daughter

    Agatha, come away! I must go carefully:
    No walking freely with such a witch as her:
    For on Saint Andrew’s Night she really
    Showed me who’ll be my future Lover.


    The Other

    She showed me mine in a crystal ball,
    A soldier, with lots of other brave men:
    I look around: among them all,
    Yet I can never find him.

    The Soldiers

    Castles with towering
    Ramparts and wall,
    Proud girls showing
    Disdain for us all,
    We want them to fall!
    The action is brave,
    And splendid the pay!
    So let the trumpet,
    Do our recruiting,
    Calling to joy
    Calling to ruin.
    It’s a storm, blowing!
    But it’s the life too!
    Girls and castles
    We must win you.
    The action is brave,
    Splendid the pay!
    And the soldiers
    Go marching away.

    (Faust and Wagner)

    Faust

    Rivers and streams are freed from ice
    By Spring’s sweet enlivening glance.
    Valleys, green with Hope’s happiness, dance:
    Old Winter, in his weakness, sighs,
    Withdrawing to the harsh mountains.
    From there, retreating, he sends down
    Impotent showers of hail that show
    In stripes across the quickening ground.
    But the sun allows nothing white below,
    Change and growth are everywhere,
    He enlivens all with his colours there,
    And lacking flowers of the fields outspread,
    He takes these gaudy people instead.
    Turn round, and from this mountain height,
    Look down, where the town’s in sight.
    That cavernous, dark gate,
    The colourful crowd penetrate,
    All will take the sun today,
    The Risen Lord they’ll celebrate,
    And feel they are resurrected,
    From low houses, dully made,
    From work, where they’re constricted,
    From the roofs’ and gables’ weight,
    From the crush of narrow streets,
    From the churches’ solemn night
    They’re all brought to the light.
    Look now: see! The crowds, their feet
    Crushing the gardens and meadows,
    While on the river a cheerful fleet
    Of little boats, everywhere it flows.
    And over-laden, ready to sink,
    The last barge takes to the stream.
    From far off on the mountain’s brink,
    All the bright clothing gleams.
    I hear the noise from the village risen,
    Here is the people’s true Heaven,
    High and low shout happily:
    Here I am Man: here, dare to be!


    Wagner

    Doctor, to take a walk with you,
    Is an honour and a prize:
    Alone I’d have no business here, true,
    Since everything that’s coarse I despise.
    Shrieking, fiddlers, skittles flying,
    To me it’s all a hateful noise:
    They rush about possessed, crying,
    And call it singing: and call it joy.

    (Farm-workers under the lime tree. Dance and Song.)

    The shepherd for the dance, had on
    His gaudy jacket, wreath, and ribbon,
    Making a fine show,
    Under the linden-tree, already,
    Everyone was dancing madly.
    Hey! Hey!
    Hurrah! Hurray!
    So goes the fiddle-bow.

    In his haste, in a whirl,
    He stumbled against a girl,
    With his elbow flailing:
    Lively, she turned, and said:
    Mind out, you wooden-head!
    Hey! Hey!
    Hurrah! Hurray!
    Just watch where you’re sailing!

    Fast around the circle bright,
    They danced to left and right,
    Skirts and jackets flying.
    They grew red: they grew warm,
    They rested, panting, arm on arm
    Hey! Hey!
    Hurrah! Hurray!
    And hip, and elbow, lying.

    Don’t be so familiar then!
    That’s how many a lying man,
    Cheated his wife so!
    But he soon tempted her aside,
    And from the linden echoed wide:
    Hey! Hey!
    Hurrah! Hurray!
    So goes the fiddle-bow.

    An Old Farmer

    Doctor, it’s good of you today
    Not to shun the crowd,
    So that among the folk, at play,
    The learned man walks about.
    Then have some from the finest jug
    That we’ve filled with fresh ale first,
    I offer it now and wish it would,
    Not only quench your thirst:
    But the count of drops it holds
    May it exceed your hours, all told.

    Faust

    I’ll take some of your foaming drink,
    And offer you all, health and thanks.

    (The people gather round him in a circle.)

    The Old Farmer

    Truly, it’s a thing well done:
    You’re here on our day of happiness,
    Since in evil times now gone,
    You’ve eased our distress!
    Many a man stands here alive,
    Whom your father, at the last,
    Snatched from the fever’s rage,
    While the plague went past.
    And you, only a young man, went,
    Into every house of sickness, then,
    Though many a corpse was carried forth,
    You walked safely out again.
    Many a hard trial you withstood,
    A Helper helped by the Helper above.

    All

    Health to the man who’s proven true,
    Long may he help me and you!

    Faust

    To Him above bow down instead,
    Who teaches help, and sends his aid.

    (He walks off, with Wagner.)

    Wagner

    How it must feel, O man of genius,
    To be respected by the crowd!
    O happy he whose gifts endow
    Him with such advantages!
    The father shows you to his son, now
    Each one asks and pushes near,
    The fiddle halts, and the dancers there:
    You pass: in ranks they stop to see,
    And throw their caps high in the air:
    A little more and they’d bend the knee,
    As if what they worshipped was holy.

    Faust

    Climb these few steps to that stone,
    Here we’ll rest from our wandering.
    Here I’ve sat often, thoughtful and alone,
    Tormenting myself with prayer and fasting.
    Rich in hope, and firm of faith,
    Wringing my hands, with sighs even,
    Tears, to force the end of plague
    From the very God of Heaven.
    The crowd’s approval now’s like scorn.
    O if you could read within me
    How little the father and the son
    Deserve a fraction of their glory.
    My father was a gloomy, honourable man,
    Who pondered Nature and the heavenly spheres,
    Honestly, in his own fashion,
    With eccentric studies it appears:
    He, in his adepts’ company,
    Locked in his dark workshop, forever
    Tried with endless recipes,
    To make things opposite flow together.
    The fiery Lion, a daring suitor,
    Wed the Lily, in a lukewarm bath, there
    In a fiery flame, both of them were
    Strained from one bride-bed into another,
    Until the young Queen was descried,
    In a mix of colours, in the glass:
    There was the medicine: the patient died.
    And who recovered? No one asked.
    So we roamed, with our hellish pills,
    Among the valleys and the hills,
    Worse than the pestilence itself we were.
    I’ve poisoned a thousand: that’s quite clear:
    And now from the withered old must hear
    How men praise a shameless murderer.

    Wagner

    How can you grieve at that!
    Isn’t it enough for an honest man
    To exercise the skill he has,
    Carefully, precisely, as given?
    Honour your father as a youth,
    And receive his teaching in your soul,
    As a man, then, add to scientific truth,
    So your son can achieve a higher goal.


    Faust

    O happy the man who still can hope
    Though drowned in a sea of error!
    Man needs the things he doesn’t know,
    What he knows is useless, forever.
    But don’t let such despondency
    Spoil the deep goodness of the hour!
    In the evening glow, we see
    The houses gleaming, green-embowered.
    Mild it retreats, the day that’s left,
    It slips away to claim new being.
    Ah, that no wing from earth can lift
    Me, closer and closer to it, striving!
    I’d see, in eternal evening’s light,
    The silent Earth beneath my feet, forever,
    The heights on fire, each valley quiet
    While silver streams flow to a golden river.
    The wild peaks with their deep clefts,
    Would cease to bar my godlike way,
    Already the sea with its warm depths,
    Opens to my astonished gaze.
    At last the weary god sinks down to night:
    But in me a newer yearning wakes,
    I hasten on, drinking his endless light:
    The dark behind me: and ahead the day.
    Heaven above me: and the waves below,
    A lovely dream, although it vanishes.
    Ah! Wings of the mind, so weightless
    No bodily wings could ever be so.
    Yet it’s natural in every spirit, too,
    That feeling drives us, up and on,
    When over us, lost in the vault of blue,
    The lark sings his piercing song,
    When over the steep pine-filled peaks,
    The eagle widely soars,
    And across the plains and seas,
    The cranes seek their home shores.


    Wagner

    I’ve often had strange moments, I know,
    But I’ve never felt yearnings quite like those:
    The joys of woods and fields soon fade
    I wouldn’t ask the birds for wings: indeed,
    How differently the mind’s raptures lead
    Us on, from book to book, and page to page!
    Then winter nights are beautiful, and sweet,
    A blissful warmth steals through your limbs, too
    When you’ve unrolled some noble text, complete,
    Oh, how heaven’s light descends on you!

    Faust

    You only feel the one yearning at best,
    Oh, never seek to know the other!
    Two souls, alas, exist in my breast,
    One separated from another:
    One, with its crude love of life, just
    Clings to the world, tenaciously, grips tight,
    The other soars powerfully above the dust,
    Into the far ancestral height.
    Oh, let the spirits of the air,
    Between the heavens and Earth, weaving,
    Descend through the golden atmosphere,
    And lead me on to new and varied being!
    Yes, if a magic cloak were mine, that
    Would carry me off to foreign lands,
    Not for the costliest garment in my hands,
    For the mantle of a king, would I resign it!

    Wagner

    Don’t call to that familiar crowd,
    Streaming in misty circles, spreading,
    Preparing a thousand dangers now,
    On every side, for human beings.
    The North winds’ sharp teeth penetrate,
    Down here, and spit you with their fangs:
    Then the East’s drying winds are at the gate,
    To feed themselves on your lungs.
    If, from the South, the desert sends them,
    And fire on fire burns on your brow,
    The West brings a swarm to quench them,
    And you and field and meadow drown.
    They hear us, while they’re harming us,
    Hear us, while they are betraying:
    They make out they’re from heaven above,
    And lisp like angels when they’re lying.
    Let’s go on! The world has darkened,
    The air is cool: the mists descend!
    Man values his own house at night.
    What is it occupies your sight?
    What troubles you so, in the evening?

    Faust

    Through corn and stubble, see that black dog running?

    Wagner

    I saw him long ago: he seems a wretched thing.

    Faust

    Look at him closely! What do you make of him?

    Wagner

    A dog that, in the way they do,
    Sniffs around to find his master.

    Faust

    See how he winds in wide spirals too,
    Round us here, yet always coming nearer?
    And if I’m right, I see a swirl of fire
    Twisting about, behind his track.

    Wagner

    Perhaps your eyesight proves a liar,
    I only see a dog, that’s black.

    Faust

    It seems to me that with a subtle magic,
    He winds a fatal knot around our feet.

    Wagner

    I see his timid and uncertain antics,
    It’s strangers, not his master, whom he meets.

    Faust

    The circle narrows: now he’s here!

    Wagner

    You see a dog, there’s no spectre near!
    He barks uncertainly, lies down and crawls,
    Wags his tail. Dogs’ habits, after all.

    Faust

    Come on! Here, now! Here, to me!

    Wagner

    He’s a dogged hound, I agree.
    Stand still and he holds his ground:
    Talk to him, he dances round:
    What you’ve lost, he’ll bring to you:
    Retrieve a stick from the water, too.

    Faust

    You’re right: and I see nothing
    Like a Spirit there, it’s only training.

    Wagner

    A wise man finds agreeable,
    A dog that’s learnt its lesson well.
    Yes, he deserves all your favour,
    Among the students, the true scholar!

    (They enter the City gate.)

    Faust
    NEXT: Part I Scene III: The Study

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