Ay, madam, what two witnesses declare
Is held as valid everywhere;
A gallant friend I have, not far from here,
Who will for you before the judge appear.
I’ll bring him straight.
I pray you do!
And this young lady, we shall find her too?
A noble youth, far traveled, he
Shows to the sex all courtesy.
I in his presence needs must blush for shame.
Not in the presence of a crowned king!
The garden, then, behind my house, we’ll name,
There we’ll await you both this evening.
How is it now? How speeds it? Is’t in train?
Bravo! I find you all aflame!
Gretchen full soon your own you’ll name.
This eve, at neighbor Martha’s, her you’ll meet again;
The woman seems expressly made
To drive the pimp and gipsy’s trade.
But from us she something would request.
A favor claims return, as this world goes.
We have on oath but duly to attest
That her dead husband’s limbs, outstretch’d, repose
In holy ground at Padua.
So I suppose we straight must journey there!
Sancta simplicitas! For that no need! Without much knowledge we have but to swear.
If you have nothing better to suggest,
Against your plan I must at once protest.
Oh, holy man! methinks I have you there!
In all your life, say, have you ne’er
False witness borne, until this hour?
Have you of God, the world, and all it doth contain,
Of man, and that which worketh in his heart and brain,
Not definitions given, in words of weight and power,
With front unblushing, and a dauntless breast?
Yet, if into the depth of things you go,
Touching these matters, it must be confess’d,
As much as of Herr Schwerdtlein’s death you know!