NIGHT

The street before GRETCHEN'S door.

  Valentine [a soldier, Gretchen's brother].
    When I've sat with a jovial crowd
    Where many a man has boasted loud
    And fellows then have praised to me
    The beauty of maidens noisily
    And drowned the praises with full cup,
    Upon my elbow well propped up
    Secure in my repose I've sat and so
    Heard all the braggadocio.
    I've stroked my whiskers, smiling, bland,
    And grasped the full cup in my hand
    And said: "Let each man have his way!
    But is there one in all the land
    Like my dear Gretchen, who can hold
    A candle to my sister? Say!"
    Hear! hear! clink-clink! about it went;
    Some cried: "He's right! She is of all
    Her sex the pride and ornament!"
    Then dumb sat all the boasters bold.
    And now!- I could tear out my hair
    And try to run straight up a wall!
    With stinging speeches, nose in air,
    Each scurvy knave may taunt and sneer!
    I'll sit like one accursed by debt
    And at each casual word I'll sweat!
    Though I would like to smash and maul them,
    Still, liars I could never call them.
      What's coming here? What sneaks in view?
    If I mistake not, there are two.
    If he is one, swift at his hide I'll drive!
    He shall not leave this spot alive!
                     FAUST. MEPHISTOPHELES.
  Faust. How from the window of yon sacristy
    Upward the glow of that eternal taper shimmers,
    And weak and weaker sideward glimmers,
    And darkness round it presses nigh!
    So in my bosom do night shadows gather.
  Mephistopheles. I'm like a sentimental tom-cat, rather,
    That stealthy sneaks by fire-escapes,
    Along the walls quite softly scrapes.
    I feel quite like myself in this, I must confess:
    A bit of thievish greed, a bit of rammishness.
    So even now, I feel, through every vein
    Is spooking glorious Walpurgis Night.
    Just two days hence it comes again.
    Then why one keeps awake, one knows aright!
  Faust. Meanwhile does not a treasure rise in air
    That I see glimmering back there?
  Mephistopheles. Ere long you can proceed with pleasure
    To raise the kettle and its treasure.
    Not long ago I took a squint,
    Saw splendid lion-dollars in't.
  Faust. But not a trinket, not a ring,
    To ornament my darling girl?
  Mephistopheles. I saw among them some such thing,
    A kind of necklace made of pearl.
  Faust. So it is well! I do not find it pleasant
    To go to her without a present.
  Mephistopheles. It should not really trouble you
    To have some pleasure gratis too.
    Now since the sky glows with a starry throng,
    A very masterpiece you'll hear.
    I'll sing to her a moral song,
    More surely to beguile her ear.
                                              He sings to his guitar.
                What dost before
                Thy lover's door,
                Katrin, before
                The world with light is laden?
                Let, let it be!
                He lets in thee
                As maid, but he
                Will let thee out no maiden.
                Maids, heed aright!
                Is it done quite?
                Ah, then good-night!
                Poor things, he will not linger!
                For your own sake,
                No robber take,
                When love he'd make,
                Save with the ring on finger!
  Valentine [steps forth]. Whom lure you here? God's-element!
    O you rat-catcher, cursed slinger!
    To the Devil first the instrument!
    To the Devil afterwards the singer!
  Mephistopheles. He's broken my guitar! There's no more use in it.
  Valentine. A skull's now going to be split!
  Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. Don't give way, Doctor! Quick! Don't
      tarry!
    Keep close by as I lead the way.
    Out with your duster, out, I say!
    Thrust hard at him and I will parry.
  Valentine. Then parry that!
  Mephistopheles. And why not, pray?
  Valentine. That too!
  Mephistopheles. Sure!
  Valentine. I believe the Devil's in the fray!
    What's this? My hand's already going lame.
  Mephistopheles [to FAUST]. Thrust home!
  Valentine [falls]. O woe!
  Mephistopheles. Now is the lubber tame!
    But quick away! We must at once be gone,
    For even now a murd'rous cry arises.
    With the police quite nicely I get on
    But fare but ill with the assizes
  Martha [at a window]. Out, neighbours, out!
  Gretchen [at a window]. Here, bring a light!
  Martha [as above]. They rail and scuffle, yell and fight.
  People. Already one is lying there! He's dead!
  Martha [coming out]. The murderers! Where have they run?
  Gretchen [coming out]. Who's lying here?
  People. Your mother's son!
  Gretchen. Almighty One! What misery!
  Valentine. I'm dying! That is quickly said
    And quicker still can be.
    Why, women, stand and howl and wail?
    Come here and listen to my tale!
                                            They all come around him.
    My Gretchen, see! Young are you still
    And shrewd enough by no means quite.
    You manage your affairs but ill.
    In confidence I tell you, what is more,
    Since once for all now you're a whore,
    So be one then outright!
  Gretchen. My brother! God! What words to me!
  Valentine. In this game let our Lord God be!
    Now what is done is done, alas!
    And as things can, so will they come to pass.
    With one you started secretly,
    And more of them there soon will be.
    When a dozen men have had you down,
    You're common then to all the town.
      When Shame at first is given birth,
    She is smuggled in upon this earth,
    And then the veil of night is thrown
    Around her cars and head;
    Yes, one would gladly murder her instead.
    But when both proud and great she's grown,
    By daylight then she goes forth openly,
    And yet has not become more fair to see.
    The loathsomer her face, straightway
    The more she seeks the light of day.
      I see the time already nearing
    When townsfolk, honest and God-fearing,
    As from an infectious body shrinking,
    Past you, you whore, will hurry slinking.
    In heart and body you'll despair
    If they but look you in the face!
    No more a golden chain you'll wear,
    No more beside the altar take your place!
    In fine lace collar to your pleasure
    You'll dance no more a happy measure.
    In some dark corner you will hide
    Among beggars and cripples, side by side.
    Even if God His pardon give,
    On earth you shall accursed live!
  Martha. Commend your soul to God! Can it then be
    You'll cap your other sins with blasphemy?
  Valentine. Could I but to your withered body limp,
    You shameless woman, coupling pimp!
    Then I indeed might hope to win
    Forgiveness plenty for each sin.
  Gretchen. My brother! Oh, what agony!
  Valentine. I tell you, let the weeping be!
    When you from honour went apart,
    You stabbed me to the very heart.
    Now through the slumber of the grave
    I go to God, a soldier brave.