Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Auerbach's Cellar In Leipzig

V

Auerbach’s Cellar in Leipzig

Carousal of Jolly Companions

Frosch

I no one laughing? no one drinking?
I’ll teach you how to grin, I’m thinking.
To-day you’re like wet straw, so tame;
And usually you’re all aflame.

Brander

Now that’s your fault; from you we nothing see,
No beastliness and no stupidity.

Frosch

(Pours a glass of wine over Brander’s head.)

There’s both together!

Brander

      Twice a swine!

Frosch

You wanted them: I’ve given you mine.

Siebel

Turn out who quarrels — out the door!
With open throat sing chorus, drink and roar!
Up! holla! ho!

Altmayer

Woe’s me, the fearful bellow!
Bring cotton, quick! He’s split my ears, that fellow.

Siebel

When the vault echoes to the song,
One first perceives the bass is deep and strong.

Frosch

Well said! and out with him that takes the least offence!

      Ah, tara, lara da!

Altmayer

      Ah, tara, lara, da!

Frosch

The throats are tuned, commence!

         (Sings.)

   The dear old holy Roman realm,
How does it hold together
?

Brander

A nasty song! Fie! a political song —
A most offensive song! Thank God, each morning, therefore,
That you have not the Roman realm to care for!
At least, I hold it so much gain for me,
That I nor Chancellor nor Kaiser be.
Yet also we must have a ruling head, I hope,
And so we’ll choose ourselves a Pope.
You know the quality that can
Decide the choice, and elevate the man.

Frosch

         (sings)

   Soar up, soar up, Dame Nightingale!
Ten thousand times my sweetheart hail!

Siebel

No, greet my sweetheart not! I tell you, I’ll resent it.

Frosch

My sweetheart greet and kiss! I dare you to prevent it!

         (Sings.)

   Draw the latch! the darkness makes:
Draw the latch! the lover wakes.
Shut the latch! the morning breaks

Siebel

Yes, sing away, sing on, and praise, and brag of her!
I’ll wait my proper time for laughter:
Me by the nose she led, and now she’ll lead you after.
Her paramour should be an ugly gnome,
Where four roads cross, in wanton play to meet her:
An old he-goat, from Blocksberg coming home,
Should his good-night in lustful gallop bleat her!
A fellow made of genuine flesh and blood
Is for the wench a deal too good.
Greet her? Not I: unless, when meeting,
To smash her windows be a greeting!

Brander (pounding on the table)

Attention! Hearken now to me!
Confess, Sirs, I know how to live.
Enamored persons here have we,
And I, as suits their quality,
Must something fresh for their advantage give.
Take heed! ’Tis of the latest cut, my strain,
And all strike in at each refrain!

(He sings.)

There was a rat in the cellar-nest,

Whom fat and butter made smoother:

He had a paunch beneath his vest

Like that of Doctor Luther.

The cook laid poison cunningly,

And then as sore oppressed was he

As if he had love in his bosom.

Chorus (shouting)

As if he had love in his bosom!

Brander

He ran around, he ran about,

His thirst in puddles laving;

He gnawed and scratched the house throughout.

But nothing cured his raving.

He whirled and jumped, with torment mad,

And soon enough the poor beast had,

As if he had love in his bosom.

Chorus

As if he had love in his bosom!

Brander

And driven at last, in open day,

He ran into the kitchen,

Fell on the hearth, and squirming lay,

In the last convulsion twitching.

Then laughed the murderess in her glee:

“Ha! ha! he’s at his last gasp,” said she,

“As if he had love in his bosom!”

Chorus

As if he had love in his bosom!

Siebel

How the dull fools enjoy the matter!
To me it is a proper art
Poison for such poor rats to scatter.

Brander

Perhaps you’ll warmly take their part?

Altmayer

The bald-pate pot-belly I have noted:
Misfortune tames him by degrees;
For in the rat by poison bloated
His own most natural form he sees.

Faust and Mephistopheles

Mephistopheles

Before all else, I bring thee hither
Where boon companions meet together,
To let thee see how smooth life runs away.
Here, for the folk, each day’s a holiday:
With little wit, and ease to suit them,
They whirl in narrow, circling trails,
Like kittens playing with their tails?
And if no headache persecute them,
So long the host may credit give,
They merrily and careless live.

Brander

The fact is easy to unravel,
Their air’s so odd, they’ve just returned from travel:
A single hour they’ve not been here.

Frosch

You’ve verily hit the truth! Leipzig to me is dear:
Paris in miniature, how it refines its people!

Siebel

Who are the strangers, should you guess?

Frosch

Let me alone! I’ll set them first to drinking,
And then, as one a child’s tooth draws, with cleverness,
I’ll worm their secret out, I’m thinking.
They’re of a noble house, that’s very clear:
Haughty and discontented they appear.

Brander

They’re mountebanks, upon a revel.

Altmayer

Perhaps.

Frosch

   Look out, I’ll smoke them now!

Mephistopheles (to Faust)

Not if he had them by the neck, I vow,
Would e’er these people scent the Devil!

Faust Fair greeting, gentlemen!

Siebel

         Our thanks: we give the same.

(Murmurs, inspecting Mephistopheles from the side.)

In one foot is the fellow lame?

Mephistopheles

Is it permitted that we share your leisure?
In place of cheering drink, which one seeks vainly here,
Your company shall give us pleasure.

Altmayer

A most fastidious person you appear.

Frosch

No doubt ’twas late when you from Rippach started?
And supping there with Hans occasioned your delay?

Mephistopheles

We passed, without a call, to-day.
At our last interview, before we parted
Much of his cousins did he speak, entreating
That we should give to each his kindly greeting.

(He bows to Frosch.)

Altmayer (aside)

You have it now! he understands.

Siebel

         A knave sharp-set!

Frosch

Just wait awhile: I’ll have him yet.

Mephistopheles

If I am right, we heard the sound
Of well-trained voices, singing chorus;
And truly, song must here rebound
Superbly from the arches o’er us.

Frosch

Are you, perhaps, a virtuoso?

Mephistopheles

O no! my wish is great, my power is only so-so.

Altmayer

Give us a song!

Mephistopheles

      If you desire, a number.

Siebel

So that it be a bran-new strain!

Mephistopheles

We’ve just retraced our way from. Spain,
The lovely land of wine, and song, and slumber.

(Sings.)

There was a king once reigning,

Who had a big black flea —

Frosch

Hear, hear! A flea! D’ye rightly take the jest?
I call a flea a tidy guest.

Mephistopheles (sings)

There was a king once reigning,

Who had a big black flea,

And loved him past explaining,

As his own son were he.

He called his man of stitches;

The tailor came straightway:

Here, measure the lad for breeches.

And measure his coat, I say!

Brander

But mind, allow the tailor no caprices:
Enjoin upon him, as his head is dear,
To most exactly measure, sew and shear,
So that the breeches have no creases!

Mephistopheles

In silk and velvet gleaming

He now was wholly drest —

Had a coat with ribbons streaming,

A cross upon his breast.

He had the first of stations,

A minister’s star and name;

And also all his relations

Great lords at court became.

And the lords and ladies of honor

Were plagued, awake and in bed;

The queen she got them upon her,

The maids were bitten and bled.

And they did not dare to brush them,

Or scratch them, day or night:

We crack them and we crush them,

At once, whene’er they bite.

Chorus (shouting)

We crack them and we crush them,

At once, whene’er they bite!

Frosch Bravo! bravo! that was fine.

Siebel

Every flea may it so befall!

Brander

Point your fingers and nip them all!

Altmayer

Hurrah for Freedom! Hurrah for wine!

Mephistopheles

I fain would drink with you, my glass to Freedom clinking,
If ’twere a better wine that here I see you drinking.

Siebel

Don’t let us hear that speech again!

Mephistopheles

Did I not fear the landlord might complain,
I’d treat these worthy guests, with pleasure,
To some from out our cellar’s treasure.

Siebel

Just treat, and let the landlord me arraign!

Frosch

And if the wine be good, our praises shall be ample.
But do not give too very small a sample;
For, if its quality I decide,
With a good mouthful I must be supplied.

Altmayer (aside)

They’re from the Rhine! I guessed as much, before.

Mephistopheles

Bring me a gimlet here!

Brander

         What shall therewith be done?

You’ve not the casks already at the door?

Altmayer

Yonder, within the landlord’s box of tools, there’s one!

Mephistopheles (takes the gimlet)

(To Frosch.)

Now, give me of your taste some intimation.

Frosch

How do you mean? Have you so many kinds?

Mephistopheles

The choice is free: make up your minds.

Altmayer (to Frosch)

Aha! you lick your chops, from sheer anticipation.

Frosch

Good! if I have the choice, so let the wine be Rhenish!
Our Fatherland can best the sparkling cup replenish.

Mephistopheles

(boring a hole in the edge of the table, at the place where Frosch sits)

Get me a little wax, to make the stoppers, quick!

Altmayer

Ah! I perceive a juggler’s trick.

Mephistopheles (to Brander)

And you?

Brander

Champagne shall be my wine,
And let it sparkle fresh and fine!

Mephistopheles

(bores: in the meantime one has made the wax stoppers, and plugged the holes with them.)

Brander

What’s foreign one can’t always keep quite clear of,
For good things, oft, are not so near;
A German can’t endure the French to see or hear of,
Yet drinks their wines with hearty cheer.

Siebel

(as Mephistopheles approaches his seat)

For me, I grant, sour wine is out of place;
Fill up my glass with sweetest, will you?

Mephistopheles (boring)

Tokay shall flow at once, to fill you!

Altmayer

No — look me, Sirs, straight in the face!
I see you have your fun at our expense.

Mephistopheles

O no! with gentlemen of such pretence,
That were to venture far, indeed.
Speak out, and make your choice with speed! With what a vintage can I serve you?

Altmayer

With any — only satisfy our need.

(After the holes have been bored and plugged)

Mephistopheles (with singular gestures)

Grapes the vine-stem bears,

Horns the he-goat wears!

The grapes are juicy, the vines are wood,

The wooden table gives wine as good!

Into the depths of Nature peer —

Only believe there’s a miracle here!

Now draw the stoppers, and drink your fill!

All

(as they draw out the stoppers, and the wine which has been desired flows into the glass of each)

O beautiful fountain, that flows at will!

Mephistopheles

But have a care that you nothing spill!

(They drink repeatedly.)

All (sing)

As ’twere five hundred hogs, we feel

So cannibalic jolly!

Mephistopheles

See, now, the race is happy — it is free!

Faust

To leave them is my inclination.

Mephistopheles

Take notice, first! their bestiality
Will make a brilliant demonstration.

Siebel

(drinks carelessly: the wine spills upon the earth, and turns to flame)

Help! Fire! Help! Hell-fire is sent!

Mephistopheles (charming away the flame)

Be quiet, friendly element!

(To the revellers)

A bit of purgatory ’twas for this time, merely.

Siebel

What mean you? Wait! — you’ll pay for’t dearly!
You’ll know us, to your detriment.

Frosch

Don’t try that game a second time upon us!

Altmayer

I think we’d better send him packing quietly.

Siebel

What, Sir! you dare to make so free,
And play your hocus-pocus on us!

Mephistopheles

Be still, old wine-tub.

Siebel

Broomstick, you!
You face it out, impertinent and heady?

Brander

Just wait! a shower of blows is ready.

Altmayer

(draws a stopper out of the table: fire flies in his face.)

I burn! I burn!

Siebel

’Tis magic! Strike —
The knave is outlawed! Cut him as you like!
(They draw their knives, and rush upon Mephistopheles.)

Mephistopheles (with solemn gestures)

False word and form of air,

Change place, and sense ensnare!

Be here — and there!

(They stand amazed and look at each other.)

Altmayer

Where am I? What a lovely land!

Frosch

Vines? Can I trust my eyes?

Siebel

         And purple grapes at hand!

Brander

Here, over this green arbor bending,
See what a vine! what grapes depending!

(He takes Siebel by the nose: the others do the same reciprocally,
and raise their knives
.)

Mephistopheles (as above)

Loose, Error, from their eyes the band,
And how the Devil jests, be now enlightened!

(He disappears with Faust: the revellers start and separate.)

Siebel

What happened?

Altmayer

      How?

Frosch

         Was that your nose I tightened?

Brander (to Siebel)

And yours that still I have in hand?

Altmayer

It was a blow that went through every limb!
Give me a chair! I sink! my senses swim.

Frosch

But what has happened, tell me now?

Siebel

Where is he? If I catch the scoundrel hiding,
He shall not leave alive, I vow.

Altmayer

I saw him with these eyes upon a wine-cask riding
Out of the cellar-door, just now.
Still in my feet the fright like lead is weighing.

      (He turns towards the table.)

Why! If the fount of wine should still be playing?

Siebel

’Twas all deceit, and lying, false design!

Frosch

And yet it seemed as I were drinking wine.

Brander

But with the grapes how was it, pray?

Altmayer

Shall one believe no miracles, just say!

Witches' Kitchen

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/g/goethe/faust/act5.html

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