Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe





(with a bunch of keys and a lamp, before an iron door)

A shudder, long unfelt, comes o’er me;
Mankind’s collected woe o’erwhelms me, here.
She dwells within the dark, damp walls before me,
And all her crime was a delusion dear!
What! I delay to free her?
I dread, once again to see her?
On! my shrinking but lingers Death more near.

(He grasps the lock: the sound of singing is heard inside.)

   My mother, the harlot,

Who put me to death;

My father, the varlet,

Who eaten me hath!

Little sister, so good,

Laid my bones in the wood,

In the damp moss and clay:

Then was I a beautiful bird o’ the wood;

Fly away! Fly away!

Faust (unlocking)

She does not dream her lover listens near;
That he the rattling chain, the rustling straw, can hear.

(He enters.)

Margaret (hiding herself on the pallet)
Woe! woe! They come. O death of bitterness!

Faust (whispering)
Hush! hush! The hour is come that frees thee.

Margaret (throwing herself before him)
Art thou a man, then pity my distress!

Thy cries will wake the guards, and they will seize thee!
(He takes hold of the fetters to unlock them.)

Margaret (on her knees)

Who, headsman! unto thee such power
Over me could give?
Thou’rt come for me at midnight-hour:
Have mercy on me, let me live!
Is’t not soon enough when morning chime has run?

(She rises.)

And I am yet so young, so young!
And now Death comes, and ruin!
I, too, was fair, and that was my undoing.
My love was near, but now he’s far;
Torn lies the wreath, scattered the blossoms are.
Seize me not thus so violently!
Spare me! What have I done to thee?
Let me not vainly entreat thee!
I never chanced, in all my days, to meet thee!


Shall I outlive this misery?


Now am I wholly in thy might.
But let me suckle, first, my baby!
I blissed it all this livelong night;
They took ‘t away, to vex me, maybe,
And now they say I killed the child outright.
And never shall I be glad again.
They sing songs about me! ’tis bad of the folk to do it!
There’s an old story has the same refrain;
Who bade them so construe it?

Faust (falling upon his knees)

Here lieth one who loves thee ever,
The thraldom of thy woe to sever.

Margaret (flinging herself beside him)

O let us kneel, and call the Saints to hide us!
Under the steps beside us,
The threshold under,
Hell heaves in thunder!
The Evil One
With terrible wrath
Seeketh a path
His prey to discover!

Faust (aloud)

Margaret! Margaret!

Margaret (attentively listening)

That was the voice of my lover!

(She springs to her feet: the fetters fall off.)

Where is he? I heard him call me.
I am free! No one shall enthrall me.
To his neck will I fly,
On his bosom lie!
On the threshold he stood, and Margaret! calling,
Midst of Hell’s howling and noises appalling,
Midst of the wrathful, infernal derision,
I knew the sweet sound of the voice of the vision!


’Tis I!


’Tis thou! O, say it once again!

(Clasping him.)

’Tis he! ’tis he! Where now is all my pain?
The anguish of the dungeon, and the chain?
’Tis thou! Thou comest to save me,
And I am saved! —
Again the street I see
Where first I looked on thee;
And the garden, brightly blooming,
Where I and Martha wait thy coming.

Faust (struggling to leave)

Come! Come with me!


Delay, now!
So fain I stay, when thou delayest!

(Caressing him.)


Away, now!
If longer here thou stayest,
We shall be made to dearly rue it.


Kiss me! — canst no longer do it?
My friend, so short a time thou’rt missing,
And hast unlearned thy kissing?
Why is my heart so anxious, on thy breast?
Where once a heaven thy glances did create me,
A heaven thy loving words expressed,
And thou didst kiss, as thou wouldst suffocate me —
Kiss me!
Or I’ll kiss thee!

(She embraces him.)

Ah, woe! thy lips are chill,
And still.
How changed in fashion
Thy passion!
Who has done me this ill?

(She turns away from him.)


Come, follow me! My darling, be more bold:
I’ll clasp thee, soon, with warmth a thousand-fold;
But follow now! ’Tis all I beg of thee.

Margaret (turning to him)

And is it thou? Thou, surely, certainly?


’Tis I! Come on!


      Thou wilt unloose my chain,

And in thy lap wilt take me once again.
How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me? —
Say, dost thou know, my friend, whom thou mak’st free?


Come! come! The night already vanisheth.


My mother have I put to death;
I’ve drowned the baby born to thee.
Was it not given to thee and me?
Thee, too! —’Tis thou! It scarcely true doth seem —
Give me thy hand! ’Tis not a dream!
Thy dear, dear hand! — But, ah, ’tis wet!
Why, wipe it off! Methinks that yet
There’s blood thereon.
Ah, God! what hast thou done?
Nay, sheathe thy sword at last!
Do not affray me!


O, let the past be past!
Thy words will slay me!


No, no! Thou must outlive us.
Now I’ll tell thee the graves to give us:
Thou must begin to-morrow
The work of sorrow!
The best place give to my mother,
Then close at her side my brother,
And me a little away,
But not too very far, I pray!
And here, on my right breast, my baby lay!
Nobody else will lie beside me! —
Ah, within thine arms to hide me,
That was a sweet and a gracious bliss,
But no more, no more can I attain it!
I would force myself on thee and constrain it,
And it seems thou repellest my kiss:
And yet ’tis thou, so good, so kind to see!


If thou feel’st it is I, then come with me!


Out yonder?


To freedom.


If the grave is there,
Death lying in wait, then come!
From here to eternal rest:
No further step — no, no!
Thou goest away! O Henry, if I could go!


Thou canst! Just will it! Open stands the door.


I dare not go: there’s no hope any more.
Why should I fly? They’ll still my steps waylay!
It is so wretched, forced to beg my living,
And a bad conscience sharper misery giving!
It is so wretched, to be strange, forsaken,
And I’d still be followed and taken!


I’ll stay with thee.


Be quick! Be quick!
Save thy perishing child!
Away! Follow the ridge
Up by the brook,

If the grave is there, Death lying in wait, then come!
If the grave is there, Death lying in wait, then come!

Over the bridge,
Into the wood,
To the left, where the plank is placed
In the pool!
Seize it in haste!
’Tis trying to rise,
’Tis struggling still!
Save it! Save it!


Recall thy wandering will!
One step, and thou art free at last!


If the mountain we had only passed!
There sits my mother upon a stone —
I feel an icy shiver!
There sits my mother upon a stone,
And her head is wagging ever.
She beckons, she nods not, her heavy head falls o’er;
She slept so long that she wakes no more.
She slept, while we were caressing:
Ah, those were the days of blessing!


Here words and prayers are nothing worth;
I’ll venture, then, to bear thee forth.


No — let me go! I’ll suffer no force!
Grasp me not so murderously!
I’ve done, else, all things for the love of thee.


The day dawns: Dearest! Dearest!


Day? Yes, the day comes — the last day breaks for me!
My wedding-day it was to be!
Tell no one thou has been with Margaret!
Woe for my garland! The chances
Are over —’tis all in vain!
We shall meet once again,
But not at the dances!
The crowd is thronging, no word is spoken:
The square below
And the streets overflow:
The death-bell tolls, the wand is broken.
I am seized, and bound, and delivered —
Shoved to the block — they give the sign!
Now over each neck has quivered
The blade that is quivering over mine.
Dumb lies the world like the grave!


O had I ne’er been born!

Mephistopheles (appears outside)

Off! or you’re lost ere morn.
Useless talking, delaying and praying!
My horses are neighing:
The morning twilight is near.


What rises up from the threshold here?
He! he! suffer him not!
What does he want in this holy spot?
He seeks me!


      Thou shalt live.


Judgment of God! myself to thee I give.

Mephistopheles (to Faust)

Come! or I’ll leave her in the lurch, and thee!


Thine am I, Father! rescue me!
Ye angels, holy cohorts, guard me,
Camp around, and from evil ward me!
Henry! I shudder to think of thee.


She is judged!

Voice (from above)

      She is saved!

Mephistopheles (to Faust)

         Hither to me!

(He disappears with Faust.)

Voice (from within, dying away)

Henry! Henry!


This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005


Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:08