Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dreary Day

XXIII

Dreary Day

A Field

Faust, Mephistopheles

Faust

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!

Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in thy head
Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in thy head

Mephistopheles

She is not the first.

Faust

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!

Mephistopheles

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?

Faust

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?

Mephistopheles

Hast thou done?

Faust

Rescue her, or woe to thee! The fearfullest curse be upon thee for thousands of ages!

Mephistopheles

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.

Faust

Take me thither! She shall be free!

Mephistopheles

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.

Faust

That, too, from thee? Murder and death of a world upon thee, monster! Take me thither, I say, and liberate her!

Mephistopheles

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.

Faust

Up and away!

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