AT THE WELL
GRETCHEN and LISBETH with jugs.
Lisbeth. Of our friend Babbie you've not heard?
Gretchen. I seldom go where people are- no, not a word.
Lisbeth. It's true, Sibylla told me so today!
So after all she's played the fool, I say.
That comes of all her airs!
Gretchen. How so?
Lisbeth. It stinks.
She's feeding two now when she eats and drinks.
Lisbeth. So now it's served her right, in truth.
How long she's hung upon that youth!
That was a promenading,
To village and to dance parading!
Had ever as the first to shine,
He always courted her with tarts and wine;
She fancied her beauty was something fine,
Was yet so lost to honour she had no shame
To take his presents as they came.
'Twas cuddling and kissing, on and on;
And now, you see, the floweret's gone!
Gretchen. The poor thing!
Lisbeth. What! You pity her? I don't!
When girls like us were spinning, mother's wont
At night was never to let us out,
But she! With her sweet love she'd stand about.
On the door-bench, in the hallway dim,
No hour became too long for her or for him.
Now she can knuckle under in full view
And in a sinner's shift do penance too.
Gretchen. He'll take her of course to be his wife.
Lisbeth. He'd be a fool! A lively lad
Has plenty elbow-room elsewhere.
Besides, he' gone.
Gretchen. That is not fair!
Lisbeth. If she gets him, she'll find her luck is bad.
The boys will dash her wreath on the floor,
And we will strew chaff before her door.
Gretchen [going home]. How could once so stoutly flay
When some poor maiden went astray!
How I could find no words enough
At others' sins to rail and scoff!
Black as it seemed, I made it blacker still,
But never black enough to suit my will;
I blessed myself! So proud I've been!
Now I'm myself laid bare to sin!
Yet- all that drove me, all I would,
God! was so dear! ah, was so good!