A monologue from the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Faust. Trans. Bayard Taylor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898.
  • VALENTINE: When I have sat at some carouse,
    Where each to each his brag allows,
    And many a comrade praised me
    His pink of girls right lustily,
    With brimming glass that spilled the toast,
    And elbows planted as in boast:
    I sat in unconcerned repose,
    And heard the swagger as it rose.
    And stroking then my beard, I'd say,
    Smiling, the bumper in my hand:
    "Each well enough in her own way,
    But is there one in all the land
    Like sister Margaret, good as gold,--
    One that to her can a candle hold?"
    Cling! clang! "Here's to her!" went around
    The board: "He speaks the truth!" cried some;
    "In her the flower o' the sex is found!"
    And all the swaggerers were dumb.
    And now!--I could tear my hair with vexation,
    And dash out my brains in desperation!
    With turned-up nose each scamp may face me,
    And, like a bankrupt debtor sitting,
    A chance-dropped word may set me sweating!
    Yet, though I thresh them all together,
    I cannot call them liars.