FAUST (to MEPHISTOPHELES)
Tell me, to what doth all this tend?
Where will these frantic gestures end?
This loathsome cheat, this senseless stuff
I’ve known and hated long enough.
Mere mummery, a laugh to raise!
Pray don’t be so fastidious! She
But as a leech, her hocus-pocus plays,
That well with you her potion may agree.
[He compels FAUST to enter the circle.]
[The, WITCH, with great emphasis, begins to declaim from the book.]
This must thou ken:
Of one make ten,
Pass two, and then
Make square the three,
So rich thou’lt be.
Drop out the four!
From five and six,
Thus says the witch,
Make seven and eight.
So all is straight!
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
This is the witch’s one-time-one!
The hag doth as in fever rave.
To these will follow many a stave.
I know it well, so rings the book throughout;
Much time I’ve lost in puzzling o’er its pages,
For downright paradox, no doubt,
A mystery remains alike to fools and sages.
Ancient the art and modern too, my friend.
’Tis still the fashion as it used to be,
Error instead of truth abroad to send
By means of three and one, and one and three.
’Tis ever taught and babbled in the schools.
Who’d take the trouble to dispute with fools?
When words men hear, in sooth, they usually believe,
That there must needs therein be something to conceive.
THE WITCH (continues)
The lofty power
Of wisdom’s dower,
From all the world conceal’d!
Who thinketh not,
To him I wot,
Unsought it is reveal’d.
What nonsense doth the hag propound?
My brain it doth well-nigh confound.
A hundred thousand fools or more,
Methinks I hear in chorus roar.
Incomparable Sibyl cease, I pray!
Hand us thy liquor without more delay.
And to the very brim the goblet crown!
My friend he is, and need not be afraid;
Besides, he is a man of many a grade,
Who hath drunk deep already.
[The WITCH, with many ceremonies, pours the liquor into a cup; as FAUST lifts it to his mouth, a light flame arises.]
Gulp it down!
No hesitation! It will prove
A cordial, and your heart inspire!
What! with the devil hand and glove,
And yet shrink back afraid of fire?
[The WITCH dissolves the circle. FAUST steps out.]