[She puts them on and steps before the glass.]
Were but the earrings only mine!
Thus one has quite another air.
What boots it to be young and fair?
It doubtless may be very fine;
But then, alas, none cares for you,
And praise sounds half like pity too.
Gold all doth lure,
Gold doth secure
All things. Alas, we poor!
FAUST walking thoughtfully up and down. To him MEPHISTOPHELES
By all rejected love! By hellish fire I curse,
Would I knew aught to make my imprecation worse!
What aileth thee? what chafes thee now so sore?
A face like that I never saw before!
I’d yield me to the devil instantly,
Did it not happen that myself am he!
There must be some disorder in thy wit!
To rave thus like a madman, is it fit?
Think! only think! The gems for Gretchen brought,
Them hath a priest now made his own!—
A glimpse of them the mother caught,
And ’gan with secret fear to groan.
The woman’s scent is keen enough;
Doth ever in the prayer-book snuff;
Smells every article to ascertain
Whether the thing is holy or profane,
And scented in the jewels rare,
That there was not much blessing there.
“My child,” she cries; “ill-gotten good
Ensnares the soul, consumes the blood;
With them we’ll deck our Lady shrine,
She’ll cheer our souls with bread divine!”
At this poor Gretchen ’gan to pout;
’Tis a gift-horse, at least, she thought,
And sure, he godless cannot be,
Who brought them here so cleverly.
Straight for a priest the mother sent,
Who, when he understood the jest,
With what he saw was well content.
“This shows a pious mind!” Quoth he:
“Self-conquest is true victory.
The Church hath a good stomach, she, with zest,
Whole countries hath swallow’d down,
And never yet a surfeit known.
The Church alone, be it confessed,
Daughters, can ill-got wealth digest.”
It is a general custom, too,
Practised alike by king and jew.
With that, clasp, chain, and ring, he swept
As they were mushrooms; and the casket,
Without one word of thanks, he kept,
As if of nuts it were a basket.
Promised reward in heaven, then forth he hied—
And greatly they were edified.