OBERON AND TITANIA's GOLDEN WEDDING
Sons of Mieding, rest to-day!
Needless your machinery:
Misty vale and mountain gray,
That is all the scenery.
That the wedding golden be.
Must fifty years be rounded:
But the Golden give to me,
When the strife's compounded.
Spirits, if you're here, be seen—
Show yourselves, delighted!
Fairy king and fairy queen,
They are newly plighted.
Cometh Puck, and, light of limb,
Whisks and whirls in measure:
Come a hundred after him,
To share with him the pleasure.
Ariel's song is heavenly-pure,
His tones are sweet and rare ones:
Though ugly faces he allure,
Yet he allures the fair ones.
Spouses, who would fain agree,
Learn how we were mated!
If your pairs would loving be,
First be separated!
If her whims the wife control,
And the man berate her,
Take him to the Northern Pole,
And her to the Equator!
Snout of fly, mosquito-bill,
And kin of all conditions,
Frog in grass, and cricket-trill,—
These are the musicians!
See the bagpipe on our track!
'Tis the soap-blown bubble:
Hear the schnecke-schnicke-schnack
Through his nostrils double!
SPIRIT, JUST GROWING INTO FORM
Spider's foot and paunch of toad,
And little wings—we know 'em!
A little creature 'twill not be,
But yet, a little poem.
A LITTLE COUPLE
Little step and lofty leap
Through honey-dew and fragrance:
You'll never mount the airy steep
With all your tripping vagrance.
Is't but masquerading play?
See I with precision?
Oberon, the beauteous fay,
Meets, to-night, my vision!
Not a claw, no tail I see!
And yet, beyond a cavil,
Like "the Gods of Greece," must he
Also be a devil.
I only seize, with sketchy air,
Some outlines of the tourney;
Yet I betimes myself prepare
For my Italian journey.
My bad luck brings me here, alas!
How roars the orgy louder!
And of the witches in the mass,
But only two wear powder.
Powder becomes, like petticoat,
A gray and wrinkled noddy;
So I sit naked on my goat,
And show a strapping body.
We've too much tact and policy
To rate with gibes a scolder;
Yet, young and tender though you be,
I hope to see you moulder.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Fly-snout and mosquito-bill,
Don't swarm so round the Naked!
Frog in grass and cricket-trill,
Observe the time, and make it!
WEATHERCOCK (towards one side)
Society to one's desire!
Brides only, and the sweetest!
And bachelors of youth and fire.
And prospects the completest!
WEATHERCOCK (towards the other side)
And if the Earth don't open now
To swallow up each ranter,
Why, then will I myself, I vow,
Jump into hell instanter!
Us as little insects see!
With sharpest nippers flitting,
That our Papa Satan we
May honor as is fitting.
How, in crowds together massed,
They are jesting, shameless!
They will even say, at last,
That their hearts are blameless.
Among this witches' revelry
His way one gladly loses;
And, truly, it would easier be
Than to command the Muses.
CI-DEVANT GENIUS OF THE AGE
The proper folks one's talents laud:
Come on, and none shall pass us!
The Blocksberg has a summit broad,
Like Germany's Parnassus.
Say, who's the stiff and pompous man?
He walks with haughty paces:
He snuffles all he snuffle can:
"He scents the Jesuits' traces."
Both clear and muddy streams, for me
Are good to fish and sport in:
And thus the pious man you see
With even devils consorting.
Yes, for the pious, I suspect,
All instruments are fitting;
And on the Blocksberg they erect
Full many a place of meeting.
A newer chorus now succeeds!
I hear the distant drumming.
"Don't be disturbed! 'tis, in the reeds,
The bittern's changeless booming."
How each his legs in nimble trip
Lifts up, and makes a clearance!
The crooked jump, the heavy skip,
Nor care for the appearance.
The rabble by such hate are held,
To maim and slay delights them:
As Orpheus' lyre the brutes compelled,
The bagpipe here unites them.
I'll not be led by any lure
Of doubts or critic-cavils:
The Devil must be something, sure,—
Or how should there be devils?
This once, the fancy wrought in me
Is really too despotic:
Forsooth, if I am all I see,
I must be idiotic!
This racking fuss on every hand,
It gives me great vexation;
And, for the first time, here I stand
On insecure foundation.
With much delight I see the play,
And grant to these their merits,
Since from the devils I also may
Infer the better spirits.
The flame they follow, on and on,
And think they're near the treasure:
But Devil rhymes with Doubt alone,
So I am here with pleasure.
LEADER OF THE BAND
Frog in green, and cricket-trill.
Fly-snout and mosquito-bill,—
Each one's a fine musician!
Sans souci, we call the clan
Of merry creatures so, then;
Go a-foot no more we can,
And on our heads we go, then.
Once many a bit we sponged, but now,
God help us! that is done with:
Our shoes are all danced out, we trow,
We've but naked soles to run with.
From the marshes we appear,
Where we originated;
Yet in the ranks, at once, we're here
As glittering gallants rated.
Darting hither from the sky,
In star and fire light shooting,
Cross-wise now in grass I lie:
Who'll help me to my footing?
THE HEAVY FELLOWS
Room! and round about us, room!
Trodden are the grasses:
Spirits also, spirits come,
And they are bulky masses.
Enter not so stall-fed quite,
Like elephant-calves about one!
And the heaviest weight to-night
Be Puck, himself, the stout one!
If loving Nature at your back,
Or Mind, the wings uncloses,
Follow up my airy track
To the mount of roses!
Cloud and trailing mist o'erhead
Are now illuminated:
Air in leaves, and wind in reed,
And all is dissipated.
In misery! In despair! Long wretchedly astray on the face
of the earth, and now imprisoned! That gracious, ill-starred
creature shut in a dungeon as a criminal, and given
up to fearful torments! To this has it come! to this!—Treacherous,
contemptible spirit, and thou hast concealed it from
me!—Stand, then,—stand! Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in
thy head! Stand and defy me with thine intolerable presence!
Imprisoned! In irretrievable misery! Delivered up to evil
spirits, and to condemning, unfeeling Man! And thou hast
lulled me, meanwhile, with the most insipid dissipations, hast
concealed from me her increasing wretchedness, and suffered
her to go helplessly to ruin!
She is not the first.
Dog! Abominable monster! Transform him, thou Infinite
Spirit! transform the reptile again into his dog-shape? in which
it pleased him often at night to scamper on before me, to roll
himself at the feet of the unsuspecting wanderer, and hang
upon his shoulders when he fell! Transform him again into
his favorite likeness, that he may crawl upon his belly in the
dust before me,—that I may trample him, the outlawed, under
foot! Not the first! O woe! woe which no human soul can
grasp, that more than one being should sink into the depths
of this misery,—that the first, in its writhing death-agony
under the eyes of the Eternal Forgiver, did not expiate the
guilt of all others! The misery of this single one pierces to the
very marrow of my life; and thou art calmly grinning at the
fate of thousands!
Now we are already again at the end of our wits, where the
understanding of you men runs wild. Why didst thou enter
into fellowship with us, if thou canst not carry it out? Wilt fly,
and art not secure against dizziness? Did we thrust ourselves
upon thee, or thou thyself upon us?
Gnash not thus thy devouring teeth at me? It fills me with
horrible disgust. Mighty, glorious Spirit, who hast vouchsafed
to me Thine apparition, who knowest my heart and my soul,
why fetter me to the felon-comrade, who feeds on mischief and
gluts himself with ruin?
Hast thou done?
Rescue her, or woe to thee! The fearfullest curse be upon
thee for thousands of ages!
I cannot loosen the bonds of the Avenger, nor undo his bolts.
Rescue her? Who was it that plunged her into ruin? I, or thou?
(FAUST looks around wildly.)
Wilt thou grasp the thunder? Well that it has not been
given to you, miserable mortals! To crush to pieces the innocent
respondent—that is the tyrant-fashion of relieving one's
self in embarrassments.
Take me thither! She shall be free!
And the danger to which thou wilt expose thyself? Know
that the guilt of blood, from thy hand, still lies upon the town!
Avenging spirits hover over the spot where the victim fell, and
lie in wait for the returning murderer.
That, too, from thee? Murder and death of a world upon
thee, monster! Take me thither, I say, and liberate her!
I will convey thee there; and hear, what I can do! Have I
all the power in Heaven and on Earth? I will becloud the
jailer's senses: get possession of the key, and lead her forth with
human hand! I will keep watch: the magic steeds are ready,
I will carry you off. So much is in my power.
Up and away!
(FAUST and MEPHISTOPHELES speeding onward on black horses.)
What weave they there round the raven-stone?
I know not what they are brewing and doing.
Soaring up, sweeping down, bowing and bending!
They scatter, devote and doom!
(with a bunch of keys and a lamp, before an iron door)
A shudder, long unfelt, comes o'er me;
Mankind's collected woe o'erwhelms me, here.
She dwells within the dark, damp walls before me,
And all her crime was a delusion dear!
What! I delay to free her?
I dread, once again to see her?
On! my shrinking but lingers Death more near.
(He grasps the lock: the sound of singing is heard inside.)
My mother, the harlot,
Who put me to death;
My father, the varlet,
Who eaten me hath!
Little sister, so good,
Laid my bones in the wood,
In the damp moss and clay:
Then was I a beautiful bird o' the wood;
Fly away! Fly away!
She does not dream her lover listens near;
That he the rattling chain, the rustling straw, can hear.
MARGARET (hiding herself on the pallet)
Woe! woe! They come. O death of bitterness!
Hush! hush! The hour is come that frees thee.
MARGARET (throwing herself before him)
Art thou a man, then pity my distress!
Thy cries will wake the guards, and they will seize thee!
(He takes hold of the fetters to unlock them.)
MARGARET (on her knees)
Who, headsman! unto thee such power
Over me could give?
Thou'rt come for me at midnight-hour:
Have mercy on me, let me live!
Is't not soon enough when morning chime has run?
And I am yet so young, so young!
And now Death comes, and ruin!
I, too, was fair, and that was my undoing.
My love was near, but now he's far;
Torn lies the wreath, scattered the blossoms are.
Seize me not thus so violently!
Spare me! What have I done to thee?
Let me not vainly entreat thee!
I never chanced, in all my days, to meet thee!
Shall I outlive this misery?
Now am I wholly in thy might.
But let me suckle, first, my baby!
I blissed it all this livelong night;
They took 't away, to vex me, maybe,
And now they say I killed the child outright.
And never shall I be glad again.
They sing songs about me! 'tis bad of the folk to do it!
There's an old story has the same refrain;
Who bade them so construe it?
FAUST (falling upon his knees)
Here lieth one who loves thee ever,
The thraldom of thy woe to sever.
MARGARET (flinging herself beside him)
O let us kneel, and call the Saints to hide us!
Under the steps beside us,
The threshold under,
Hell heaves in thunder!
The Evil One
With terrible wrath
Seeketh a path
His prey to discover!
MARGARET (attentively listening)
That was the voice of my lover!
(She springs to her feet: the fetters fall off.)
Where is he? I heard him call me.
I am free! No one shall enthrall me.
To his neck will I fly,
On his bosom lie!
On the threshold he stood, and Margaret! calling,
Midst of Hell's howling and noises appalling,
Midst of the wrathful, infernal derision,
I knew the sweet sound of the voice of the vision!
'Tis thou! O, say it once again!
'Tis he! 'tis he! Where now is all my pain?
The anguish of the dungeon, and the chain?
'Tis thou! Thou comest to save me,
And I am saved!—
Again the street I see
Where first I looked on thee;
And the garden, brightly blooming,
Where I and Martha wait thy coming.
FAUST (struggling to leave)
Come! Come with me!
So fain I stay, when thou delayest!
If longer here thou stayest,
We shall be made to dearly rue it.
Kiss me!—canst no longer do it?
My friend, so short a time thou'rt missing,
And hast unlearned thy kissing?
Why is my heart so anxious, on thy breast?
Where once a heaven thy glances did create me,
A heaven thy loving words expressed,
And thou didst kiss, as thou wouldst suffocate me—
Or I'll kiss thee!
(She embraces him.)
Ah, woe! thy lips are chill,
How changed in fashion
Who has done me this ill?
(She turns away from him.)
Come, follow me! My darling, be more bold:
I'll clasp thee, soon, with warmth a thousand-fold;
But follow now! 'Tis all I beg of thee.
MARGARET (turning to him)
And is it thou? Thou, surely, certainly?
'Tis I! Come on!
Thou wilt unloose my chain,
Come! come! The night already vanisheth.
My mother have I put to death;
I've drowned the baby born to thee.
Was it not given to thee and me?
Thee, too!—'Tis thou! It scarcely true doth seem—
Give me thy hand! 'Tis not a dream!
Thy dear, dear hand!—But, ah, 'tis wet!
Why, wipe it off! Methinks that yet
There's blood thereon.
Ah, God! what hast thou done?
Nay, sheathe thy sword at last!
Do not affray me!
O, let the past be past!
Thy words will slay me!
No, no! Thou must outlive us.
Now I'll tell thee the graves to give us:
Thou must begin to-morrow
The work of sorrow!
The best place give to my mother,
Then close at her side my brother,
And me a little away,
But not too very far, I pray!
And here, on my right breast, my baby lay!
Nobody else will lie beside me!—
Ah, within thine arms to hide me,
That was a sweet and a gracious bliss,
But no more, no more can I attain it!
I would force myself on thee and constrain it,
And it seems thou repellest my kiss:
And yet 'tis thou, so good, so kind to see!
If thou feel'st it is I, then come with me!
If the grave is there,
Death lying in wait, then come!
From here to eternal rest:
No further step—no, no!
Thou goest away! O Henry, if I could go!
Thou canst! Just will it! Open stands the door.
I dare not go: there's no hope any more.
Why should I fly? They'll still my steps waylay!
It is so wretched, forced to beg my living,
And a bad conscience sharper misery giving!
It is so wretched, to be strange, forsaken,
And I'd still be followed and taken!
I'll stay with thee.
Be quick! Be quick!
Save thy perishing child!
Away! Follow the ridge
Up by the brook,
Over the bridge,
Into the wood,
To the left, where the plank is placed
In the pool!
Seize it in haste!
'Tis trying to rise,
'Tis struggling still!
Save it! Save it!
Recall thy wandering will!
One step, and thou art free at last!
If the mountain we had only passed!
There sits my mother upon a stone,—
I feel an icy shiver!
There sits my mother upon a stone,
And her head is wagging ever.
She beckons, she nods not, her heavy head falls o'er;
She slept so long that she wakes no more.
She slept, while we were caressing:
Ah, those were the days of blessing!
Here words and prayers are nothing worth;
I'll venture, then, to bear thee forth.
No—let me go! I'll suffer no force!
Grasp me not so murderously!
I've done, else, all things for the love of thee.
The day dawns: Dearest! Dearest!
Day? Yes, the day comes,—the last day breaks for me!
My wedding-day it was to be!
Tell no one thou has been with Margaret!
Woe for my garland! The chances
Are over—'tis all in vain!
We shall meet once again,
But not at the dances!
The crowd is thronging, no word is spoken:
The square below
And the streets overflow:
The death-bell tolls, the wand is broken.
I am seized, and bound, and delivered—
Shoved to the block—they give the sign!
Now over each neck has quivered
The blade that is quivering over mine.
Dumb lies the world like the grave!
O had I ne'er been born!
MEPHISTOPHELES (appears outside)
Off! or you're lost ere morn.
Useless talking, delaying and praying!
My horses are neighing:
The morning twilight is near.
What rises up from the threshold here?
He! he! suffer him not!
What does he want in this holy spot?
He seeks me!
Thou shalt live.
Judgment of God! myself to thee I give.
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Come! or I'll leave her in the lurch, and thee!
Thine am I, Father! rescue me!
Ye angels, holy cohorts, guard me,
Camp around, and from evil ward me!
Henry! I shudder to think of thee.
She is judged!
VOICE (from above)
She is saved!
MEPHISTOPHELES (to FAUST)
Hither to me!
(He disappears with FAUST.)
VOICE (from within, dying away)