A monologue from the
play by Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted
from Faust. Trans. Bayard Taylor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
MORE MONOLOGUES BY GOETHE
- MEPHISTOPHELES: Poor son of Earth, how couldst thou
- Have led thy life, bereft of me?
- I, for a time, at least, have worked thy cure;
- Thy fancy's rickets plague thee not at all:
- Had I not been, so hadst thou, sure,
- Walked thyself off this earthly ball.
- Why here to caverns, rocky hollows slinking,
- Sit'st thou, as 'twere an owl a-blinking?
- Why suck'st, from sodden moss and dripping stone,
- Toad-like, thy nourishment alone?
- A fine way, this, thy time to fill!
- A blessing drawn from supernatural fountains!
- In night and dew to lie upon the mountains;
- All Heaven and Earth in rapture penetrating;
- Thyself to Godhood haughtily inflating;
- To grub with yearning force through Earth's dark marrow,
- Compress the six days' work within thy bosom narrow,--
- To taste, I know not what, in haughty power,
- Thine own ecstatic life on all things shower,
- Thine earthly self behind thee cast,
- And then the lofty instinct, thus-- [With a gesture:]
- I daren't say how -- to pluck the final flower!
- Yes, thou findest that unpleasant!
- Thou hast the moral right to cry me "shame!" at
- One dares not that before chaste ears declare,
- Which chaste hearts, notwithstanding, cannot spare;
- And, once for all, I grudge thee not the pleasure
- Of lying to thyself in moderate measure.
- But such a course thou wilt not long endure;
- Already art thou o'er-excited,
- And, if it last, wilt soon be plighted
- To madness and to horror, sure.
- Enough of that! Thy love sits lonely yonder,
- By all things saddened and oppressed;
- Her thoughts and yearning seek thee, tenderer, fonder,--
- A mighty love is in her breast.
- First came thy passion's flood and poured around her
- As when from melted snow a streamlet overflows;
- Thou hast therewith so filled and drowned her,
- That now thy stream all shallow shows.
- Methinks, instead of in the forests lording,
- The noble Sir should find it good,
- The love of this young silly blood
- At once to set about rewarding.
- Her time is miserably long;
- She haunts her window, watching clouds that stray
- O'er the old city-wall, and far away.
- "Were I a little bird!" so runs her song,
- Day long, and half night long.
- Now she is lively, mostly sad,
- Now, wept beyond her tears;
- Then again quiet she appears,--
- Always love-mad!
- Thou fool, go in and comfort her!
- When such a head as thine no outlet knows,
- It thinks the end must soon occur.
- Hail him, who keeps a steadfast mind!
- Thou, else, dost well the devil-nature wear:
- Naught so insipid in the world I find
- As is a devil in despair.