Page images

shine!” The facts themselves will remain firm and immutable, as all other facts do, let people think or say of them as they choose, for a fact is an immortal thing, and opinion cannot injure it, far less destroy it.

I have one fact more to communicate, and I have done. This “ young salamander" has outlived his tenth year, the fated period, and in spite of the danger of crackers, sixpenny brass cannons, and all sorts of casualties, from his infancy upwards, is as likely to live as any of the boys at Harrow school, where he now is, and to be a much finer looking man than his father, and to have more understanding than his poor mother possessed. She is gone, and he also. No more will he profit by the care of the venerable Mrs. Young, and the nocturnal comforts of his tin leg-and-feet warmer, his own ingenious construction.



(Continued from page 147.)


Emperor and Court are entered. Herald. The secret working of the spirits makes my old task of announcing the play difficult ; in vain do we venture to explain the confused swaying to ourselves upon reasonable grounds. The seats and chairs are already prepared : the emperor is being seated just in front of the wall: he may comfortably contemplate upon the tapestry the battles of the great time. All-master and court are sitting here in a circle, and benches are thronged in the back-ground ; lovers also have in the dark spirit-hours found a lovely place by the side of lovers. And so since all have taken fitting place, we are ready,--the spirits may come. (Trumpets.)

Astrologer. Let the drama at once begin its course; the master commands it: ye walls, open yourselves. Nothing more hinders, for magic is here at hand ;-the tapestries vanish as if curled by fire, the wall splits and turns itself about; a deep theatre appears to arise, mysteriously a glittering to illumine us ; and I mount the proscenium.

Mephistopheles (looking out of the Prompter's boa). I hope for general favour from this place, prompting is the devil's art of speech. (To the Astrologer). You know the mode in which the stars move, and will excellently understand my whispering.

Astrologer. Through miraculous power, appears here, massive enough, an old temple. A sufficiency of pillars stand here in rows, like Atlas, who once bore the heavens; they might well be sufficient for the rocky burden, when two could sustain a large building.

Architect. That is antique! I cannot praise it; it should be called heavy and unwieldy. People call that which is rough-noble, clumsy

N. S.-VOL. I.

grand. I love narrow columns, striving, boundless; a pointed arched zenith exalts the mind; such an edifice edifies us most.

Astrologer. Receive with awe star-granted hours. Let the reason be bound by the magic word : on the other hand, let glorious daring fancy move freely far onward. Behold now with your eyes what you boldly desired ; it is impossible, and just on that account worthy of belief.

Faust (ascends on the other side of the proscenium). Astrologer. A man of wonders, crowned, in a sacerdotal garb, who now is accomplishing what he with confidence began! A tripod rises with him out of the hollow cleft ; already I smell the incense from the cup. He prepares himself to bless the high work, henceforth only the fortunate can occur.

Faust (grandly). In your name, ye mothers, who throne in the boundless, who eternally dwell in solitude, and yet sociably! Pictures of life, moving, without life, hover round your head. What once was, in all glittering and brightness, moves itself there ; for it wills to be eternal. And ye, ye all-mighty powers, distribute it to the tent of day and to the vault of night. The pious course of life takes some; the bold magician seeks out others : in rich profusion he allows each one to see the wonder-worthy, as each full of faith wished it.

Astrologer. Scarcely does the glowing key touch the vessel, when a vapoury fog covers immediately the space; it creeps in, it waves in the manner of clouds, rolled, interwoven, separated, paired. And now recognise a spirit masterpiece! As they walk they make music. An I know-not-how streams from the airy tones, whilst they move; all becomes melody. The columns, even the triglyph sounds : I believe the whole temple is singing. The vapour sinks: out of the light veil, a beautiful youth steps forward, keeping time to the music! Here my office is silent; I need not name him : who does not know the beautiful Paris ?

Lady. O what a brightness in his blooming youthful strength !
Second Lady. Fresh and full of juice like a peach !
Third. The finely drawn, sweetly swelling lips.
Fourth. You would like well to sip at such a cup.
Fifth. He is very pretty though not quite genteel.
Sixth. He might be a little more elegant.

Knight. I think I can trace in him the shepherd ; nothing of the prince, and nothing of court manners.

Another. Hum! The youth half naked is pretty fair, yet we ought first to see him in armour.

Lady. He seats himself softly, agreeably.
Knight. You would be very comfortable on his lap.
Another Lady. He leans his arm so elegantly over his head.
Chamberlain. What rudeness ! that is impermissible !
Lady. You gentlemen always know how to find fault with every thing.
Chamberlain. To stretch himself in the emperor's presence !
Lady. He is only acting it! He believes himself quite alone.
Chamberlain. Here the play itself ought to be polite.
Lady. Sleep has softly overcome the beautiful one.
Chamberlain. He snores directly, it's natural-perfect.

Young Lady (delighted). What smell is there so mingled with the incense-odour that refreshes my inmost heart?

Older One. Truly! A breathing presses into my soul, it comes from him!

Eldest. It is the blossom of growth, prepared in the youth like ambrosia, and spread round about as atmosphere.

Helena (steps forward). Mephistopheles. That is she then! From her I should be safe : she is pretty indeed, yet not to my taste.

Astrologer. There is now nothing more for me to do; as a man of honour I acknowledge and confess this now. The beautiful one comes, and had I tongues of fire-! Much has been sung of beauty long ago :he, to whom she appears, becomes rapt out of himself; he to whom she belonged was too highly blessed.

Faust. Have I still eyes ? Does the spring of beauty, poured in a full stream, show itself deep in my sense ? My walk of terror brings the most blessed gain. How was the world insignificant, and unopened to me! What is it now, since my priestship? For the first time desirable, fixed, lasting !—May the breathing power of life vanish from me, if I ever wean myself away from thee! The beautiful form, which once delighted me, and in its magic mirroring blessed me, was only a frothy image of such beauty! Thou art the one to whom I dedicate the moving of all strength, the quintessence of passion, to thee I dedicate affection, love, adoration, madness.

Mephistopheles (out of the box). Collect yourself then; and do not fall out of your part!

Older Lady. She is tall, well shaped, only her head is too small.
Younger One. Only look at her feet ! how could they be larger ?

Diplomatist. I have seen princesses of this kind : she seems to me beautiful from head to foot.

Courtier. She approaches the sleeper, slily and gently.
Lady. How ugly she is beside that youthfully pure form!
Poet. He is irradiated by her beauty.
Lady. Endymion and Luna! As if painted I

Poet. Quite right! The goddess seems to sink down ; she bends over to drink in his breath. How enviable !-A kiss !—The measure is full !

Duenna. Before every body! That is too bad!
Faust. It is a fearful favour to the boy!
Mephistopheles. Silence! Hush! Let the spectre do as it pleases.
Courlier. She trips away lightly; he awakes.
Lady. She looks back! I should have thought that.
Courtier. He is astonished ! he wonders what has been done to him.
Lady. What she sees before her is no wonder to her.
Courtier. She turns herself round to him with grace.

Lady. I see she is already taking him into her tuition : in such a case all men are stupid; he seems to believe that he is the first.

Knight. Let her pass! How majestically elegant !
Lady. The hussy! That I call low!
Page. I should like to be in his place.
Courtier. Who would not be caught in such a net?

Lady. The jewel has gone through many hands; the gilding is pretty well worn off.

Another. She has been worth nothing from her tenth year.

Knight. Every one, when the occasion serves, takes the best he can get; I would keep to these beautiful leavings.

Scholar. I see her plainly; yet I freely confess my doubt whether she is the right one. The present misleads us to the exaggerated, I keep myself above all to what is written. There then I read, that she really pleased extraordinarily all the grey beards of Troy; and, as I think, that agrees pretty well: here I am not young, and yet she pleases me.

Astrologer. Boy is he no longer ! A bold hero, he embraces her who can scarce defend herself. With strong arm he lifts her up. Is he going to carry her off ?

Faust. Daring fool I Thou venturest! Thou hearest not ! Hold! that is too much. · Mephistopheles. Why, thou thyself art making the silly spirit-play.

Astrologer. Only a word! After all that has been done, I will call the piece « The Rape of Helen."

Faust. Pshah-rape! Am I for nothing in this place ! Is this key not in my hand! It led me through the horror, and the waving, and the billows of solitudes, to a firm place here. Here I take my footing! Here are they realities; here dare a spirit strive with spirits, and prepare for itself the vast double kingdom. Far as she was, how can she be nearer! I will save her, and she will be doubly mine. It shall be dared! Ye mothers, mothers, ye must grant it. Whoever knows her, cannot do without her.

Astrologer. What dost thou, Faust! Faust! with violence he seizes on her: already the shape becomes troubled. He turns the key towards the youth, and touches him !-Woe to us, woe! Presto, in a twinkling !

(Explosion, Faust lies on the ground. The spirits vanish in smoke.) Mephistopheles (who takes Faust on his shoulder). There you have it now! to burden himself with fools, brings at last even the devil into trouble. (Darkness, Tumult.)


ACT II.-SCENE I. High vaulted, narrow Gothic Chamber, formerly Faust's, unaltered. Mephistopheles steps forth from behind a curtain, whilst he raises it

and looks back, one sees Faust stretched on an old-fashioned bed. Here lie, thou ill-starred one! led away in chains of love difficult to loose. He whom Helen has paralysed comes not easily to his senses (looks round him). If I look up, about, or over here, it is all unchanged, uninjured; the painted windows are, I think, dimmer; the cobwebs are multiplied; the ink is dried, the paper is become yellow, yet everything has remained in its place; even the pen with which Faust signed himself over to the devil, lies still here. Yes, deeper in the tube is dried the drop of blood which I enticed from him. I should wish the greatest collector luck in having such a unique specimen. The old fur coat too, hangs on the old hook, and reminds me of that stuff which I formerly taught the boy, on which, perhaps. as a youth, he still feeds. Truly the desire is coming on me, united with thee, thou rough, warm covering, again to puff myself up as teacher, as people think themselves so completely right. Learned men know how to obtain this feeling, the devil has long lost it. (He shakes the fur coat, which he has taken down, crickets, chafers, and other insects fly out.)

Chorus of Insects.
O welcome, O welcome,
Thou patron of old;
We buzz and we hover,
And know thee at once.
In silence, and singly,
Thou plantedst us erst,
In thousands around thee,
Father, we dance.
The rogue in the bosom
Conceals himself deep,
In the fur coat the licekins *

Reveal themselves soon. Mephistopheles. How overpoweringly the young creation delights me! Let one but sow, one will reap in time. I will shake the old fur again, and here and there still one is fluttering out. Up! around! In a hundred thousand corners, hasten ye dear ones, to hide yourselves. There where the old bones stand, here in the embrowned parchments, in the dusty fragments of old pots, in the eyeholes of those skulls; in such a rubbish and mouldering life, there must always be ennui.t (He slips into the gown.) Come, cover my shoulders once again! to day am I again principal; yet it is no use to call myself so,—where are the people to recognise me! (He pulls the bell, which makes a harsh, piercing sound, at which the halls shake, and the doors fly open.)

Servitor (tottering up the long, dark passage). What a sound I what a horror! The steps shake, the walls tremble. Through the varied trembling of the windows I see the electric atmosphere. The floor cracks; and from above, mortar and rubbish trickle down. And the door, which was fast bolted, is undone by magic power. There ! how fearful! A giant stands in Faust's old fur! I could sink on my knees at his looks-at his beckoning. Shall I fly ? shall I stay? Ah! what will be my fate.

Mephistopheles (beckoning). Come here, my friend ! your name is Nicodemus.

Servitor. Most noble sir! such is my name --Oremus.
Mephistopheles. That we may omit.
Servitor. How glad I am that you know me.
Mephistopheles. I know you well, in years and yet a student, thou be-

* I have here taken the liberty to copy the German diminutive in imitation of pipkin, catkin, &c.

+ The German word 'Grillen,' means both crickets and ennui. This pun I found it impossible to render into English,

« PreviousContinue »