On so-called parties in the state
There’s no reliance, now-a-days;
They may deal out or blame or praise,
Indifferent are love and hate.
The Ghibelline as well as Guelph
Retire, that they may live at ease!
Who helps his neighbor now? Himself
Each hath enough to do to please.
Barred are the golden gates; while each
Scrapes, snatches, gathers all within his reach—
Empty, meanwhile, our chest remains.
What worry must I, also, bear!
Our aim each day is still to spare—
And more each day we need; my pains,
Daily renewed, are never o’er.
The cooks lack nothing;—deer, wild-boar,
Stags, hares, fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese,—
Tribute in kind, sure payment, these
Come fairly in, and none complains.
But now at last wine fails; and if of yore
Up-piled upon the cellar-floor,
Cask rose on cask, a goodly store,
From the best slopes and vintage; now
The swilling of our lords, I trow,
Unceasing, drains the very lees.
E’en the Town-council must give out
Its liquor;—bowls and cups they seize;
And ’neath the table lies the drunken rout.
Now must I pay, whate’er betides;
Me the Jew spares not; he provides
Anticipation-bonds which feed
Each year on that which must succeed;
The swine are never fattened now;
Pawned is the pillow or the bed,
And to the table comes fore-eaten bread.
EMPEROR (after some reflection, to MEPHISTOPHELES)
Say, fool, another grievance knowest thou?
I, nowise. On this circling pomp to gaze,
On thee and thine! There can reliance fail
Where majesty resistless sways,
And ready power makes foemen quail?
Where loyal will, through reason strong,
And prowess, manifold, unite,
What could together join for wrong,
For darkness, where such stars give light?
Murmur of the Crowd
He is a knave—he comprehends—
He lies—while lying serves his ends—
Full well I know—what lurks behind—
What next?—Some scheme is in the wind!—
Where is not something wanting here on earth?
Here this,—there that: of gold is here the dearth.
It cannot from the floor be scrap’d, ’tis true;
But what lies deepest wisdom brings to view.
In mountain-veins, walls underground,
Is gold, both coined and uncoined, to be found.
And if ye ask me,—bring it forth who can?
Spirit-and nature-power of gifted man.