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Some of them scaling Boldly the highlands, Others are sailing, Circling the islands; Others are flying; Life-ward all hieing,— All for the distant Star of existent Rapture and Love!
He sleeps! Enough, ye fays! Yet, for the threshold's magic which controlled him, The Devil needs a rat's quick tooth. I use no lengthened invocation: Here rustles one that soon will work my liberation.
The lord of rats and eke of mice, Of flies and bed-bugs, frogs and lice, Summons thee hither to the door-sill, To gnaw it where, with just a morsel Of oil, he paints the spot for thee:— There com'st thou, hopping on to me!
To work, at once! The point which made me craven Is forward, on the ledge, engraven. Another bite makes free the door: So, dream thy dreams, O Faust, until we meet once more!
Am I again so foully cheated? Remains there naught of lofty spirit-sway, But that a dream the Devil counterfeited, And that a poodle ran away?
This life of earth, whatever my attire, Would pain me in its wonted fashion. Too old am I to play with passion; Too young, to be without desire. What from the world have I to gain?
Thou shalt abstain—renounce—refrain! Such is the everlasting song That in the ears of all men rings,— That unrelieved, our whole life long, Each hour, in passing, hoarsely sings.
In very terror I at morn awake, Upon the verge of bitter weeping, To see the day of disappointment break, To no one hope of mine—not one—its promise keeping:— That even each joy's presentiment With wilful cavil would diminish, With grinning masks of life prevent My mind its fairest work to finish!
Then, too, when night descends, how anxiously Upon my couch of sleep I lay me: There, also, comes no rest to me, But some wild dream is sent to fray me.
The God that in my breast is owned Can deeply stir the inner sources; The God, above my powers enthroned, He cannot change external forces.
So, by the burden of my days oppressed, Death is desired, and Life a thing unblest! O fortunate, for whom, when victory glances, The bloody laurels on the brow he bindeth!
Whom, after rapid, maddening dances, In clasping maiden-arms he findeth! O would that I, before that spirit-power, Ravished and rapt from life, had sunken!
Though some familiar tone, retrieving My thoughts from torment, led me on, And sweet, clear echoes came, deceiving A faith bequeathed from Childhood's dawn, Yet now I curse whate'er entices And snares the soul with visions vain; With dazzling cheats and dear devices Confines it in this cave of pain!
Cursed be, at once, the high ambition Wherewith the mind itself deludes! Cursed be the glare of apparition That on the finer sense intrudes!
Cursed be the lying dream's impression Of name, and fame, and laurelled brow! Cursed, all that flatters as possession, As wife and child, as knave and plow!
Cursed Mammon be, when he with treasures To restless action spurs our fate! Cursed when, for soft, indulgent leisures, He lays for us the pillows straight!
Cursed be the vine's transcendent nectar,— The highest favor Love lets fall! Cursed, also, Hope! And cursed be Patience most of all! Thou hast it destroyed, The beautiful world, With powerful fist: In ruin 'tis hurled, By the blow of a demigod shattered!
The scattered Fragments into the Void we carry, Deploring The beauty perished beyond restoring. Mightier For the children of men, Brightlier Build it again, In thine own bosom build it anew!
Bid the new career Commence, With clearer sense, And the new songs of cheer Be sung thereto! Hear them, to deeds and passion Counsel in shrewd old-fashion!
Into the world of strife, Out of this lonely life That of senses and sap has betrayed thee, They would persuade thee.
This nursing of the pain forego thee, That, like a vulture, feeds upon thy breast! The worst society thou find'st will show thee Thou art a man among the rest.
But 'tis not meant to thrust Thee into the mob thou hatest! I am not one of the greatest, Yet, wilt thou to me entrust Thy steps through life, I'll guide thee,— Will willingly walk beside thee,— Will serve thee at once and forever With best endeavor, And, if thou art satisfied, Will as servant, slave, with thee abide.
The Devil is an egotist, And is not apt, without a why or wherefore, "For God's sake," others to assist.
Speak thy conditions plain and clear! With such a servant danger comes, I fear. When thou hast dashed this world to pieces, The other, then, its place may fill.
Here, on this earth, my pleasures have their sources; Yon sun beholds my sorrows in his courses; And when from these my life itself divorces, Let happen all that can or will!
I'll hear no more: 'tis vain to ponder If there we cherish love or hate, Or, in the spheres we dream of yonder, A High and Low our souls await. Come, bind thyself by prompt indenture, And thou mine arts with joy shalt see: What no man ever saw, I'll give to thee.
When was a human soul, in its supreme endeavor, E'er understood by such as thou? Yet, hast thou food which never satiates, now,— The restless, ruddy gold hast thou, That runs, quicksilver-like, one's fingers through,— A game whose winnings no man ever knew,— A maid that, even from my breast, Beckons my neighbor with her wanton glances, And Honor's godlike zest, The meteor that a moment dances,— Show me the fruits that, ere they're gathered, rot, And trees that daily with new leafage clothe them!
But still the time may reach us, good my friend. When peace we crave and more luxurious diet. There let, at once, my record end!
Canst thou with lying flattery rule me, Until, self-pleased, myself I see,— Canst thou with rich enjoyment fool me, Let that day be the last for me!
The bet I offer. When thus I hail the Moment flying: "Ah, still delay—thou art so fair! Then let the death-bell chime the token.
Then art thou from thy service free! The clock may stop, the hand be broken, Then Time be finished unto me!
But one thing more! Beyond all risk to bind thee, Give me a line or two, I pray. Hast never known a man, nor proved his word's intent? Is't not enough, that what I speak to-day Shall stand, with all my future days agreeing?
In all its tides sweeps not the world away, And shall a promise bind my being? Yet this delusion in our hearts we bear: Who would himself therefrom deliver?
Blest he, whose bosom Truth makes pure and fair! No sacrifice shall he repent of ever. Nathless a parchment, writ and stamped with care, A spectre is, which all to shun endeavor.
The word, alas! What wilt from me, Base Spirit, say? The terms with graver, quill, or chisel, stated? I freely leave the choice to thee.
Each leaf for such a pact is good; And to subscribe thy name thou'lt take a drop of blood. The promise that I make to thee Is just the sum of my endeavor.
I have myself inflated all too high; My proper place is thy estate: The Mighty Spirit deigns me no reply, And Nature shuts on me her gate. The thread of Thought at last is broken, And knowledge brings disgust unspoken.
Let us the sensual deeps explore, To quench the fervors of glowing passion! Let every marvel take form and fashion Through the impervious veil it wore!
Plunge we in Time's tumultuous dance, In the rush and roll of Circumstance! Then may delight and distress, And worry and success, Alternately follow, as best they can: Restless activity proves the man!
Whether you everywhere be trying, Or snatch a rapid bliss in flying, May it agree with you, what you get! Only fall to, and show no timid balking.
I take the wildering whirl, enjoyment's keenest pain, Enamored hate, exhilarant disdain. My bosom, of its thirst for knowledge sated, Shall not, henceforth, from any pang be wrested, And all of life for all mankind created Shall be within mine inmost being tested: The highest, lowest forms my soul shall borrow, Shall heap upon itself their bliss and sorrow, And thus, my own sole self to all their selves expanded, I too, at last, shall with them all be stranded!
Trust one of us, this Whole supernal Is made but for a God's delight! He dwells in splendor single and eternal, But us he thrusts in darkness, out of sight, And you he dowers with Day and Night.
One only fear still needs repeating: The art is long, the time is fleeting. Then let thyself be taught, say I! Go, league thyself with a poet, Give the rein to his imagination, Then wear the crown, and show it, Of the qualities of his creation,— The courage of the lion's breed, The wild stag's speed, The Italian's fiery blood, The North's firm fortitude!
Let him find for thee the secret tether That binds the Noble and Mean together. And teach thy pulses of youth and pleasure To love by rule, and hate by measure!
I'd like, myself, such a one to see: Sir Microcosm his name should be. Set wigs of million curls upon thy head, to raise thee, Wear shoes an ell in height,—the truth betrays thee, And thou remainest—what thou art.
We must arrange them now, more wisely, Before the joys of life shall pall. Why, Zounds! Both hands and feet are, truly— And head and virile forces—thine: Yet all that I indulge in newly, Is't thence less wholly mine?
If I've six stallions in my stall, Are not their forces also lent me? I speed along, completest man of all, As though my legs were four-and-twenty.
Take hold, then! I say to thee, a speculative wight Is like a beast on moorlands lean, That round and round some fiend misleads to evil plight, While all about lie pastures fresh and green.
Draw the latch! Shut the latch! 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!
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! 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. 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. Then laughed the murderess in her glee: "Ha!
How the dull fools enjoy the matter! To me it is a proper art Poison for such poor rats to scatter. 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.
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. 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.
You've verily hit the truth! Leipzig to me is dear: Paris in miniature, how it refines its people!
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. Is it permitted that we share your leisure? In place of cheering drink, which one seeks vainly here, Your company shall give us pleasure.
No doubt 'twas late when you from Rippach started? And supping there with Hans occasioned your delay? 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.
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.
We've just retraced our way from. Spain, The lovely land of wine, and song, and slumber. 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! 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!
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.
I fain would drink with you, my glass to Freedom clinking, If 'twere a better wine that here I see you drinking. Did I not fear the landlord might complain, I'd treat these worthy guests, with pleasure, To some from out our cellar's treasure.
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.
Our Fatherland can best the sparkling cup replenish. 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.
No—look me, Sirs, straight in the face! I see you have your fun at our expense. Speak out, and make your choice with speed! With what a vintage can I serve you?
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! As 'twere five hundred hogs, we feel So cannibalic jolly!
What mean you? You'll know us, to your detriment. Strike— The knave is outlawed! Cut him as you like! False word and form of air, Change place, and sense ensnare!
Be here—and there! 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.
Upon a low hearth stands a great caldron, under which a fire is burning. Various figures appear in the vapors which rise from the caldron.
An ape sits beside it, skims it, and watches lest it boil over. The he-ape, with the young ones, sits near and warms himself.
Ceiling and walls are covered with the most fantastic witch-implements. These crazy signs of witches' craft repel me! I shall recover, dost thou tell me, Through this insane, chaotic play?
From an old hag shall I demand assistance? And will her foul mess take away Full thirty years from my existence? Woe's me, canst thou naught better find!
Another baffled hope must be lamented: Has Nature, then, and has a noble mind Not any potent balsam yet invented?
Once more, my friend, thou talkest sensibly. There is, to make thee young, a simpler mode and apter; But in another book 'tis writ for thee, And is a most eccentric chapter.
Betake thyself to yonder field, There hoe and dig, as thy condition; Restrain thyself, thy sense and will Within a narrow sphere to flourish; With unmixed food thy body nourish; Live with the ox as ox, and think it not a theft That thou manur'st the acre which thou reapest;— That, trust me, is the best mode left, Whereby for eighty years thy youth thou keepest!
I am not used to that; I cannot stoop to try it— To take the spade in hand, and ply it. The narrow being suits me not at all.
That were a charming sport, I own: I'd build a thousand bridges meanwhile, I've a notion. Not Art and Science serve, alone; Patience must in the work be shown.
Long is the calm brain active in creation; Time, only, strengthens the fine fermentation. And all, belonging thereunto, Is rare and strange, howe'er you take it: The Devil taught the thing, 'tis true, And yet the Devil cannot make it.
Perceiving the Animals See, what a delicate race they be! That is the maid! To the Animals It seems the mistress has gone away?
O cast thou the dice! Make me rich in a trice, Let me win in good season! Things are badly controlled, And had I but gold, So had I my reason.
In the meantime the young apes have been playing with a large ball, which they now roll forward.
The world's the ball: Doth rise and fall, And roll incessant: Like glass doth ring, A hollow thing,— How soon will't spring, And drop, quiescent?
Here bright it gleams, Here brighter seems: I live at present! Dear son, I say, Keep thou away! Thy doom is spoken!
Wert thou the thief, I'd know him and shame him. Look through the sieve! Know'st thou the thief, And darest not name him?
The fool knows it not! He knows not the pot, He knows not the kettle! What do I see? What heavenly form revealed Shows through the glass from Magic's fair dominions!
O lend me, Love, the swiftest of thy pinions, And bear me to her beauteous field! Ah, if I leave this spot with fond designing, If I attempt to venture near, Dim, as through gathering mist, her charms appear!
Can woman, then, so lovely be? And must I find her body, there reclining, Of all the heavens the bright epitome? Can Earth with such a thing be mated?
Why, surely, if a God first plagues Himself six days, Then, self-contented, Bravo! This time, thine eyes be satiate!
I'll yet detect thy sweetheart and ensnare her, And blest is he, who has the lucky fate, Some day, as bridegroom, home to bear her.
FAUST gazes continually in the mirror. So sit I, like the King upon his throne: I hold the sceptre, here,—and lack the crown alone. O be thou so good With sweat and with blood The crown to belime!
They handle the crown awkwardly and break it into two pieces, with which they spring around. We speak and we see, We hear and we rhyme! If lucky our hits, And everything fits, 'Tis thoughts, and we're thinking!
The caldron, which the SHE-APE has up to this time neglected to watch, begins to boil over: there ensues a great flame , which blazes out the chimney.
To leave the kettle, and singe the Frau! What is that here? Who are you here? What want you thus? Who sneaks to us? The fire-pain Burn bone and brain!
The Animals whimper. In two! There lies the brew! There lies the glass! The joke will pass, As time, foul ass!
To the singing of thy crew. Abomination, thou! Know'st thou, at last, thy Lord and Master? What hinders me from smiting now Thee and thy monkey-sprites with fell disaster?
Hast for the scarlet coat no reverence? Dost recognize no more the tall cock's-feather? Have I concealed this countenance?
O pardon, Sir, the rough salute! Yet I perceive no cloven foot; And both your ravens, where are they now? This time, I'll let thee 'scape the debt; For since we two together met, 'Tis verily full many a day now.
Culture, which smooth the whole world licks, Also unto the Devil sticks. The days of that old Northern phantom now are over: Where canst thou horns and tail and claws discover?
And, as regards the foot, which I can't spare, in truth, 'Twould only make the people shun me; Therefore I've worn, like many a spindly youth, False calves these many years upon me.
It's long been written in the Book of Fable; Yet, therefore, no whit better men we see: The Evil One has left, the evil ones are stable.
Sir Baron call me thou, then is the matter good; A cavalier am I, like others in my bearing. Thou hast no doubt about my noble blood: See, here's the coat-of-arms that I am wearing!
Give us a goblet of the well-known juice! But, I must beg you, of the oldest brewage; The years a double strength produce. With all my heart!
Now, here's a bottle, Wherefrom, sometimes, I wet my throttle, Which, also, not the slightest, stinks; And willingly a glass I'll fill him.
Yet, if this man without due preparation drinks, As well thou know'st, within an hour 'twill kill him. He is a friend of mine, with whom it will agree, And he deserves thy kitchen's best potation: Come, draw thy circle, speak thine adjuration, And fill thy goblet full and free!
Finally she brings a great book, and stations in the circle the Apes, who are obliged to serve as reading-desk, and to hold the torches.
Now, what shall come of this? O, nonsense! That's a thing for laughter; Don't be so terribly severe! She juggles you as doctor now, that, after, The beverage may work the proper cheer.
See, thus it's done! Make ten of one, And two let be, Make even three, And rich thou 'It be. Cast o'er the four! From five and six The witch's tricks Make seven and eight, 'Tis finished straight!
And nine is one, And ten is none. This is the witch's once-one's-one! Thou'lt hear much more before we leave her. They prate and teach, and no one interferes; All from the fellowship of fools are shrinking.
Man usually believes, if only words he hears, That also with them goes material for thinking! The lofty skill Of Science, still From all men deeply hidden!
Who takes no thought, To him 'tis brought, 'Tis given unsought, unbidden! What nonsense she declaims before us! My head is nigh to split, I fear: It seems to me as if I hear A hundred thousand fools in chorus.
O Sibyl excellent, enough of adjuration! But hither bring us thy potation, And quickly fill the beaker to the brim!
This drink will bring my friend no injuries: He is a man of manifold degrees, And many draughts are known to him.
Down with it quickly! Drain it off! Thy wish be on Walpurgis Night expressed; What boon I have, shall then be given unto thee. Come, walk at once!
A rapid occupation Must start the needful perspiration, And through thy frame the liquor's potence fling. The noble indolence I'll teach thee then to treasure, And soon thou'lt be aware, with keenest thrills of pleasure, How Cupid stirs and leaps, on light and restless wing.
By Heaven, the girl is wondrous fair! Of all I've seen, beyond compare; So sweetly virtuous and pure, And yet a little pert, be sure! The lip so red, the cheek's clear dawn,.
I'll not forget while the world rolls on! How she cast down her timid eyes, Deep in my heart imprinted lies: How short and sharp of speech was she, Why, 'twas a real ecstasy!
She, there? She's coming from confession, Of every sin absolved; for I, Behind her chair, was listening nigh. So innocent is she, indeed, That to confess she had no need.
I have no power o'er souls so green. How now! You're talking like Jack Rake, Who every flower for himself would take, And fancies there are no favors more, Nor honors, save for him in store; Yet always doesn't the thing succeed.
Most Worthy Pedagogue, take heed! Let not a word of moral law be spoken! I claim, I tell thee, all my right; And if that image of delight Rest not within mine arms to-night, At midnight is our compact broken.
But think, the chances of the case! I need, at least, a fortnight's space, To find an opportune occasion. Had I but seven hours for all, I should not on the Devil call, But win her by my own persuasion.
You almost like a Frenchman prate; Yet, pray, don't take it as annoyance! Why, all at once, exhaust the joyance? Your bliss is by no means so great As if you'd use, to get control, All sorts of tender rigmarole, And knead and shape her to your thought, As in Italian tales 'tis taught.
But now, leave jesting out of sight! I tell you, once for all, that speed With this fair girl will not succeed; By storm she cannot captured be; We must make use of strategy.
Get me something the angel keeps! Lead me thither where she sleeps! Get me a kerchief from her breast,— A garter that her knee has pressed!
That you may see how much I'd fain Further and satisfy your pain, We will no longer lose a minute; I'll find her room to-day, and take you in it.
Presents at once? That's good: he's certain to get at her! Full many a pleasant place I know, And treasures, buried long ago: I must, perforce, look up the matter.
I'd something give, could I but say Who was that gentleman, to-day. Surely a gallant man was he, And of a noble family; And much could I in his face behold,— And he wouldn't, else, have been so bold!
O welcome, twilight soft and sweet, That breathes throughout this hallowed shrine! Sweet pain of love, bind thou with fetters fleet The heart that on the dew of hope must pine!
How all around a sense impresses Of quiet, order, and content! This poverty what bounty blesses! What bliss within this narrow den is pent!
Receive me, thou, that in thine open arms Departed joy and pain wert wont to gather! How oft the children, with their ruddy charms, Hung here, around this throne, where sat the father!
Perchance my love, amid the childish band, Grateful for gifts the Holy Christmas gave her, Here meekly kissed the grandsire's withered hand.
I feel, O maid! O dearest hand, to thee 'tis given To change this hut into a lower heaven! And here! What sweetest thrill is in my blood! Here could I spend whole hours, delaying: Here Nature shaped, as if in sportive playing, The angel blossom from the bud.
Here lay the child, with Life's warm essence The tender bosom filled and fair, And here was wrought, through holier, purer presence, The form diviner beings wear!
And I? What drew me here with power? How deeply am I moved, this hour! What seek I? Why so full my heart, and sore? Miserable Faust! I know thee now no more.
Is there a magic vapor here? I came, with lust of instant pleasure, And lie dissolved in dreams of love's sweet leisure!
Are we the sport of every changeful atmosphere? And if, this moment, came she in to me, How would I for the fault atonement render!
How small the giant lout would be, Prone at her feet, relaxed and tender! Here is a casket, not unmeet, Which elsewhere I have just been earning.
Here, set it in the press, with haste! I swear, 'twill turn her head, to spy it: Some baubles I therein had placed, That you might win another by it.
True, child is child, and play is play. Now quick, away! The sweet young maiden to betray, So that by wish and will you bend her; And you look as though To the lecture-hall you were forced to go,— As if stood before you, gray and loath, Physics and Metaphysics both!
But away! And yet 'tis not so warm outside. I feel, I know not why, such fear! My body's chill and shuddering,— I'm but a silly, fearsome thing!
There was a King in Thule, Was faithful till the grave,— To whom his mistress, dying, A golden goblet gave. Naught was to him more precious; He drained it at every bout: His eyes with tears ran over, As oft as he drank thereout.
When came his time of dying, The towns in his land he told, Naught else to his heir denying Except the goblet of gold. He sat at the royal banquet With his knights of high degree, In the lofty hall of his fathers In the Castle by the Sea.
There stood the old carouser, And drank the last life-glow; And hurled the hallowed goblet Into the tide below.
He saw it plunging and filling, And sinking deep in the sea: Then fell his eyelids forever, And never more drank he!
She opens the press in order to arrange her clothes, and perceives the casket of jewels. How comes that lovely casket here to me? I locked the press, most certainly.
What can within it be? Perhaps 'twas brought by some one as a pawn, And mother gave a loan thereon? And here there hangs a key to fit: I have a mind to open it.
What is that? God in Heaven! Whence came Such things? Never beheld I aught so fair! Rich ornaments, such as a noble dame On highest holidays might wear!
How would the pearl-chain suit my hair? Ah, who may all this splendor own? Were but the ear-rings mine, alone!
One has at once another air. What helps one's beauty, youthful blood? One may possess them, well and good; But none the more do others care.
They praise us half in pity, sure: To gold still tends, On gold depends All, all! Alas, we poor! By all love ever rejected!
By hell-fire hot and unsparing! I wish I knew something worse, that I might use it for swearing! Just think, the pocket of a priest should get The trinkets left for Margaret!
The mother saw them, and, instanter, A secret dread began to haunt her. Keen scent has she for tainted air; She snuffs within her book of prayer, And smells each article, to see If sacred or profane it be; So here she guessed, from every gem, That not much blessing came with them.
Before the Mother of God we'll lay it; With heavenly manna she'll repay it! He spake: "That is the proper view,— Who overcometh, winneth too.
The Holy Church has a stomach healthy: Hath eaten many a land as forfeit, And never yet complained of surfeit: The Church alone, beyond all question, Has for ill-gotten goods the right digestion.
Then bagged the spangles, chains, and rings, As if but toadstools were the things, And thanked no less, and thanked no more Than if a sack of nuts he bore,— Promised them fullest heavenly pay, And deeply edified were they.
Sits unrestful still, And knows not what she should, or will; Thinks on the jewels, day and night, But more on him who gave her such delight.
The darling's sorrow gives me pain. Get thou a set for her again! The first was not a great display. Fix and arrange it to my will; And on her neighbor try thy skill!
Don't be a Devil stiff as paste, But get fresh jewels to her taste! Such an enamored fool in air would blow Sun, moon, and all the starry legions, To give his sweetheart a diverting show.
God forgive my husband, yet he Hasn't done his duty by me! Off in the world he went straightway,— Left me lie in the straw where I lay.
And, truly, I did naught to fret him: God knows I loved, and can't forget him! I scarce can stand, my knees are trembling!
I find a box, the first resembling, Within my press! Of ebony,— And things, all splendid to behold, And richer far than were the old.
But, ah! Yet thou canst often this way wander, And secretly the jewels don, Walk up and down an hour, before the mirror yonder,— We'll have our private joy thereon.
And then a chance will come, a holiday, When, piece by piece, can one the things abroad display, A chain at first, then other ornament: Thy mother will not see, and stories we'll invent.
Whoever could have brought me things so precious? That something's wrong, I feel suspicious. It is enough that you are she: You've a visitor of high degree.
Pardon the freedom I have ta'en,— Will after noon return again. I am a creature young and poor: The gentleman's too kind, I'm sure.
The jewels don't belong to me. Ah, not alone the jewelry! The look, the manner, both betray— Rejoiced am I that I may stay! I would I had a more cheerful strain!
Take not unkindly its repeating: Your husband's dead, and sends a greeting. In Padua buried, he is lying Beside the good Saint Antony, Within a grave well consecrated, For cool, eternal rest created.
Yes, one of weight, with many sighs: Three hundred masses buy, to save him from perdition! My hands are empty, otherwise.
Not a pocket-piece? What every journeyman within his wallet spares, And as a token with him bears, And rather starves or begs, than loses?
Madam, it is a grief to me; Yet, on my word, his cash was put to proper uses. Besides, his penitence was very sore, And he lamented his ill fortune all the more.
Alack, that men are so unfortunate! Surely for his soul's sake full many a prayer I'll proffer. If not a husband, then a beau for you!
It is the greatest heavenly blessing, To have a dear thing for one's caressing. I stood beside his bed of dying. He cried: "I find my conduct wholly hateful!
To leave my wife, my trade, in manner so ungrateful! Ah, the remembrance makes me die! Would of my wrong to her I might be shriven! In the last throes his senses wandered, If I such things but half can judge.
He said: "I had no time for play, for gaping freedom: First children, and then work for bread to feed 'em,— For bread, in the widest sense, to drudge, And could not even eat my share in peace and quiet!
Not so: the memory of it touched him quite. Said he: "When I from Malta went away My prayers for wife and little ones were zealous, And such a luck from Heaven befell us, We made a Turkish merchantman our prey, That to the Soldan bore a mighty treasure.
Then I received, as was most fit, Since bravery was paid in fullest measure, My well-apportioned share of it. Who knows, now, whither the four winds have blown it?
A fair young damsel took him in her care, As he in Naples wandered round, unfriended; And she much love, much faith to him did bear, So that he felt it till his days were ended.
The villain! From his children thieving! Even all the misery on him cast Could not prevent his shameful way of living!
But see! He's dead therefrom, at last. Were I in your place, do not doubt me, I'd mourn him decently a year, And for another keep, meanwhile, my eyes about me.
Ah, God! There never was a sweeter fool than mine, Only he loved to roam and leave me, And foreign wenches and foreign wine, And the damned throw of dice, indeed.
Well, well! That might have done, however, If he had only been as clever, And treated your slips with as little heed. I swear, with this condition, too, I would, myself, change rings with you.
Yes, my good dame, a pair of witnesses Always the truth establishes. I have a friend of high condition, Who'll also add his deposition. I'll bring him here.
And this young lady will be present, too? A gallant youth! Ah, bravo! Do I find you burning? Well, Margaret soon will still your yearning: At Neighbor Martha's you'll this evening meet.
A fitter woman ne'er was made To ply the pimp and gypsy trade! We've but to make a deposition valid That now her husband's limbs, outstretched and pallid, At Padua rest, in consecrated soil.
Sancta simplicitas! Now, there you are! O holy man! Is it the first time in your life you're driven To bear false witness in a case?
Of God, the world and all that in it has a place, Of Man, and all that moves the being of his race, Have you not terms and definitions given With brazen forehead, daring breast?
And, if you'll probe the thing profoundly, Knew you so much—and you'll confess it roundly! Yes, knew I not more deeply thy desire.
For wilt thou not, no lover fairer, Poor Margaret flatter, and ensnare her, And all thy soul's devotion swear her? It will!
I feel, the gentleman allows for me, Demeans himself, and shames me by it; A traveller is so used to be Kindly content with any diet.
I know too well that my poor gossip can Ne'er entertain such an experienced man. Don't incommode yourself! How could you ever kiss it!
It is so ugly, rough to see! What work I do,—how hard and steady is it! Mother is much too close with me.
Alas, that trade and duty us so harry! With what a pang one leaves so many a spot, And dares not even now and then to tarry!
In young, wild years it suits your ways, This round and round the world in freedom sweeping; But then come on the evil days, And so, as bachelor, into his grave a-creeping, None ever found a thing to praise.
Yes, out of sight is out of mind! Your courtesy an easy grace is; But you have friends in other places, And sensibler than I, you'll find.
Ah, that simplicity and innocence ne'er know Themselves, their holy value, and their spell! That meekness, lowliness, the highest graces Which Nature portions out so lovingly—.
So you but think a moment's space on me, All times I'll have to think on you, all places! Yes, for our household small has grown, Yet must be cared for, you will own.
We have no maid: I do the knitting, sewing, sweeping, The cooking, early work and late, in fact; And mother, in her notions of housekeeping, Is so exact!
Not that she needs so much to keep expenses down: We, more than others, might take comfort, rather: A nice estate was left us by my father, A house, a little garden near the town.
But now my days have less of noise and hurry; My brother is a soldier, My little sister's dead. True, with the child a troubled life I led, Yet I would take again, and willing, all the worry, So very dear was she.
I brought it up, and it was fond of me. Father had died before it saw the light, And mother's case seemed hopeless quite, So weak and miserable she lay; And she recovered, then, so slowly, day by day.
She could not think, herself, of giving The poor wee thing its natural living; And so I nursed it all alone With milk and water: 'twas my own.
Lulled in my lap with many a song, It smiled, and tumbled, and grew strong. But surely, also, many a weary hour.
I kept the baby's cradle near My bed at night: if 't even stirred, I'd guess it, And waking, hear. And I must nurse it, warm beside me press it, And oft, to quiet it, my bed forsake, And dandling back and forth the restless creature take, Then at the wash-tub stand, at morning's break; And then the marketing and kitchen-tending, Day after day, the same thing, never-ending.
One's spirits, Sir, are thus not always good, But then one learns to relish rest and food. Yes, the poor women are bad off, 'tis true: A stubborn bachelor there's no converting.
Speak plainly, Sir, have you no one detected? Has not your heart been anywhere subjected? And thou forgiv'st my freedom, and the blame To my impertinence befitting, As the Cathedral thou wert quitting?
I was confused, the like ne'er happened me; No one could ever speak to my discredit. Ah, thought I, in my conduct has he read it— Something immodest or unseemly free?
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