Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

At the Fountain

XVII

At the Fountain

Margaret and Lisbeth with pitchers.

Lisbeth

Hast nothing heard of Barbara?

Margaret

No, not a word. I go so little out.

Lisbeth

It’s true, Sibylla said, to-day.
She’s played the fool at last, there’s not a doubt.
Such taking-on of airs!

Margaret

      How so?

Lisbeth

         It stinks!
She’s feeding two, whene’er she eats and drinks.

Margaret

Ah!

Lisbeth

      And so, at last, it serves her rightly.
She clung to the fellow so long and tightly!
That was a promenading!
At village and dance parading!
As the first they must everywhere shine,
And he treated her always to pies and wine,
And she made a to-do with her face so fine;
So mean and shameless was her behavior,
She took all the presents the fellow gave her.
’Twas kissing and coddling, on and on!
So now, at the end, the flower is gone.

Margaret

The poor, poor thing!

Lisbeth

         Dost pity her, at that?
When one of us at spinning sat,
And mother, nights, ne’er let us out the door
She sported with her paramour.
On the door-bench, in the passage dark,
The length of the time they’d never mark.
So now her head no more she’ll lift,
But do church-penance in her sinner’s shift!

Margaret

He’ll surely take her for his wife.

Lisbeth

He’d be a fool! A brisk young blade
Has room, elsewhere, to ply his trade.
Besides, he’s gone.

Margaret

         That is not fair!

Lisbeth

If him she gets, why let her beware!
The boys shall dash her wreath on the floor,
And we’ll scatter chaff before her door!

         [Exit.

Margaret (returning home)

How scornfully I once reviled,
When some poor maiden was beguiled!
More speech than any tongue suffices
I craved, to censure others’ vices.
Black as it seemed, I blackened still,
And blacker yet was in my will;
And blessed myself, and boasted high —
And now — a living sin am I!
Yet — all that drove my heart thereto,
God! was so good, so dear, so true!

ornament

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 19:14