[He contemplates the sign.]
How all things live and work, and ever blending,
Weave one vast whole from Being’s ample range!
How powers celestial, rising and descending,
Their golden buckets ceaseless interchange!
Their flight on rapture-breathing pinions winging,
From heaven to earth their genial influence bringing.
Through the wild sphere their chimes melodious ringing!
A wondrous show! but ah! a show alone!
Where shall I grasp thee, infinite nature, where?
Ye breasts, ye fountains of all life, whereon
Hang heaven and earth, from which the withered heart
For solace yearns, ye still impart
Your sweet and fostering tides-where are ye-where?
Ye gush, and must I languish in despair?
[He turns over the leaves of the book impatiently, and perceives the sign of the Earth-spirit.]
How all unlike the influence of this sign!
Earth-spirit, thou to me art nigher,
E’en now my strength is rising higher,
E’en now I glow as with new wine;
Courage I feel, abroad the world to dare,
The woe of earth, the bliss of earth to bear,
With storms to wrestle, brave the lightning’s glare,
And mid the crashing shipwreck not despair.
Clouds gather over me—
The moon conceals her light—
The lamp is quench’d—
Vapors are arising—Quiv’ring round my head
Flash the red beams—Down from the vaulted roof
A shuddering horror floats,
And seizes me!
I feel it, spirit, prayer-compell’d, ’tis thou
Art hovering near!
Ha! How my heart is riven now!
Each sense, with eager palpitation,
Is strain’d to catch some new sensation!
I feel my heart surrender’d unto thee!
Thou must! Thou must! Though life should be the fee!
[He seizes the book, and pronounces mysteriously the sign of the spirit. A ruddy flame flashes up; the spirit appears in the flame.]
Who calls me?
FAUST (turning aside)
Thou hast compell’d me to appear,
Long hast been sucking at my sphere,
Woe’s me! I cannot bear thy sight!
To see me thou dost breathe thine invocation,
My voice to hear, to gaze upon my brow;
Me doth thy strong entreaty bow—
Lo! I am here!—What cowering agitation
Grasps thee, the demigod! Where’s now the soul’s deep cry?
Where is the breast, which in its depths a world conceiv’d,
And bore and cherished? which, with ecstasy,
To rank itself with us, the spirits, heaved?
Where art thou, Faust? Whose voice heard I resound
Who toward me press’d with energy profound?
Art thou he? Thou,—who by my breath art blighted,
Who, in his spirit’s depths affrighted,
Trembles, a crush’d and writhing worm!