Thou art and dost remain liar and sophist too.
Ay, if one did not take a somewhat deeper view!
Tomorrow, in all honor, thou
Poor Gretchen wilt befool, and vow
Thy soul’s deep love, in lover’s fashion.
And from my heart.
All good and fair!
Then deathless constancy thou’lt swear;
Speak of one all o’ermastering passion—
Will that too issue from the heart?
When passion sways me, and I seek to frame
Fit utterance for feeling, deep, intense,
And for my frenzy finding no fit name,
Sweep round the ample world with every sense,
Grasp at the loftiest words to speak my flame,
And call the glow, wherewith I burn,
Quenchless, eternal, yea, eterne—
Is that of sophistry a devilish play?
Yet am I right!
Mark this, my friend,
And spare my lungs; who would the right maintain,
And hath a tongue wherewith his point to gain,
Will gain it in the end.
But come, of gossip I am weary quite;
Because I’ve no resource, thou’rt in the right.
MARGARET on FAUST’s arm. MARTHA with MEPHISTOPHELES walking up and down.
I feel it, you but spare my ignorance,
The gentleman to blame me stoops thus low.
[Illustration: FAUST AND MARGARET From the Painting by Carl Becker]
A traveler from complaisance
Still makes the best of things; I know
Too well, my humble prattle never can
Have power to entertain so wise a man.
One glance, one word from thee doth charm me more
Than the world’s wisdom or the sage’s lore.
[He kisses her hand.]
Nay! trouble not yourself! A hand so coarse,
So rude as mine, how can you kiss!
What constant work at home must I not do perforce!
My mother too exacting is.
[They pass on.]
Thus, sir, unceasing travel is your lot?
Traffic and duty urge us! With what pain
Are we compelled to leave full many a spot,
Where yet we dare not once remain!
In youth’s wild years, with vigor crown’d,
’Tis not amiss thus through the world to sweep;
But ah, the evil days come round!
And to a lonely grave as bachelor to creep
A pleasant thing has no one found.