FOREST AND CAVERN

  Faust [alone]. Spirit sublime, thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
    For which I prayed. Thou hast not turned in vain
    Thy countenance to me in fire and flame.
    Thou gav'st me glorious nature as a royal realm,
    The power to feel and to enjoy her. Not
    Amazed, cold visits only thou allow'st;
    Thou grantest me to look in her deep breast
    Even as in the bosom of a friend.
    Thou leadest past a series of the living
    Before me, teaching me to know my brothers
    In silent covert and in air and water.
    And when the storm roars screeching through the forest,
    When giant fir tree plunges, sweeping down
    And crushing neighbouring branches, neighbouring trunks,
    And at its fall the hills, dull, hollow, thunder:
    Then leadest thou me to the cavern safe,
    Show'st me myself, and my own heart becomes
    Aware of deep mysterious miracles.
    And when before my gaze the stainless moon
    Soothing ascends on high: from rocky walls
    And from damp covert float and soar about me
    The silvery forms of a departed world
    And temper contemplation's austere joy.
      Oh, that for man naught perfect ever is,
    I now do feel. Together with this rapture
    That brings me near and nearer to the gods,
    Thou gav'st the comrade whom I now no more
    Can do without, though, cold and insolent,
    He lowers me in my own sight, transforms
    With but a word, a breath, thy gifts to nothing.
    Within my breast he fans with busy zeal
    A savage fire for that fair, lovely form.
    Thus from desire I reel on to enjoyment
    And in enjoyment languish for desire.
  Mephistopheles [appears]. Have you now led this life quite long
      enough?
    How can it long have any charm for you?
    'Tis well, indeed, for once to try the stuff,
    But then, in turn, away to something new!
  Faust. I wish that you had something else to do
    Than on a happy day to plague me like a pest.
  Mephistopheles. Now, now! I'll gladly let you rest!
    You do not dare to say this seriously.
    A comrade mad, ungracious, cross,
    Would truly be a trifling loss.
    The livelong day one's hands are full as they can be.
    What he would like for one to do or leave alone,
    His lordship's face will never let one see.
  Faust. So! That is just, the proper tone:
    You now want thanks for boring me.
  Mephistopheles. Without me how would you, Earth's wretched son,
    Have kept on living? What would you have done?
    Your hodge-podge of imagination- balderdash!
    At least I've cured you now and then of all that trash.
    In fact, if I had not been here at all,
    You'd long since sauntered off this earthly ball.
    Why here within the cavern's rocky rent
    Thus sit your life away so owl-like and alone?
    Why from the sodden moss and dripping stone
    Sip, like a toad, your nourishment?
    A fine sweet way to pass the time. I'll bet
    The Doctor's in your body yet.
  Faust. Can you conceive what new vitality
    This walking in the desert works in me?
    Yes, could you sense a force like this,
    You would be devil enough to grudge my bliss.
  Mephistopheles. It's more than earthly, such delight!
    To lie in night and dew on mountain height,
    Embracing earth and heaven blissfully,
    Puffing one's self and deeming one a deity;
    To burrow through earth's marrow, onward pressed
    By prescient impulse, feel within one's breast
    All six days' work, in haughty power enjoy and know
    I can't tell what, soon all creation overflow
    In rapturous love, lost to all sight the child of clay,
    And then the lofty intuition
                                                      With a gesture.
    Ending- I dare not say in what fruition!
  Faust. Shame on you!
  Mephistopheles. That's not to your liking, eh?
    You have the moral right to cry out "Shame!
    Before chaste ears one must not name
    What chaste hearts can't dispense with, just the same!
    In short, I grudge you not the pleasure of evasion,
    Of lying to yourself upon occasion;
    But you will not stick long to that, it's clear.
    Again you are already spent,
    And if this goes on longer, you'll be rent
    To shreds by madness or by agony and fear.
    Enough of this! Your darling sits at home apart
    And more and more she's feeling caged and sad.
    Your image never leaves her mind and heart,
    The all-consuming love she bears you is half mad.
    First came your passion like the furious current
    Of brooklets swollen high from melted snow.
    Into her heart you poured the torrent,
    And now again your brooklet's running low.
    I think, instead of sitting throned in forests wild
    It would become so great a lord
    To seek the poor, young, silly child
    And give her for her love some due reward.
    To her the time grows pitiably long.
    She stands beside the window, sees the clouds that stray
    Over the old town wall and far away.
    "Were I a little bird!" so goes her song,
    All day long and half the night long.
    She's mostly sad, at times is gay,
    At times is quite wept out, and then,
    It seems, is calm again,
    And is in love always.
  Faust. Serpent! Serpent!
  Mephistopheles [aside]. Good! I'll bet
    That I will get you yet!
  Faust. Infamous fiend! Off, get you hence!
    And do not name that lovely woman!
    Nor yet desire for her sweet body summon
    Again before my half-distracted sense!
  Mephistopheles. What would you then? She thinks that you have
      flown,
    And half and half you are, as you must own.
  Faust. I'm near to her, however far I were,
    I never can forget nor yet lose her;
    I envy even the Body of the Lord
    Whenever her sweet lips touch the Adored.
  Mephistopheles. Well said, my friend! Oft have envied you indeed
    The twin-pair that among the roses feed.
  Faust. Off, pander!
  Mephistopheles. Fine! You rail and it's a joke to me.
    The God who fashioned youth and maid
    At once perceived the noblest trade
    Was that He make them opportunity.
    Be off! That is a cause of woe!
    It's to your darling's chamber you're to go,
    Not to your death, indeed!
  Faust. How am I, in her arms, by Heaven blessed?
    Though I grow warm upon her breast,
    Do I not always feel her need?
    Am I not still the fugitive? unhoused and roaming?
    The monster without goal or rest
    That like a cataract from rock to rock roared foaming
    To the abyss, by greed and frenzy headlong pressed?
    She at one side, still with her childlike senses furled,
    Upon the alpine meadow in the cottage small,
    With all her homely joys and cares, her all,
    Within that little world;
    And I, the God-detested,
    Not enough had I
    That all the rocks I wrested
    And into pieces made them fly!
    Her did I have to undermine, her peace!
    Thou, Hell, didst have to have this sacrifice!
    Help, Devil, make it brief, this time of agony!
    What must be done, let it at once be so!
    Then may her fate plunge crushing down on me,
    And she with me to ruin go!
  Mephistopheles. How it seethes again and how again it glows!
    You fool, go and console your pretty dear!
    When such a brain as yours no outlet knows,
    It straightway fancies that the end is near.
    Long life to him who bravely dares!
    At other times you've been of quite a devilish mind.
    Naught more absurd in this world can I find
    Than is a devil who despairs.