The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 363 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01.

Nature and spirit—­christians ne’er should hear
Such words, with peril fraught and fear. 
These words doom atheists to the fire. 
Nature is sin, spirit is devil; they,
Between them, doubt beget, their progeny,
Hermaphrodite, mis-shapen, dire. 
Not so with us!  Within our Caesar’s land
Two orders have arisen, two alone,
Who worthily support his ancient throne: 
Clergy and knights, who fearless stand,
Bulwarks ’gainst every storm, and they
Take church and state as their appropriate pay. 
Through lawless men, the vulgar herd
To opposition have of late been stirred;
The heretics these are, the wizards, who
The city ruin and the country too. 
With thy bold jests, to this high sphere,
Such miscreants wilt smuggle in;
Hearts reprobate to you are dear;
They to the fool are near of kin.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Herein your learned men I recognize! 
What you touch not, miles distant from you lies;
What you grasp not, is naught in sooth to you;
What you count not, cannot, you deem, be true;
What you weigh not, that hath for you no weight;
What you coin not, you’re sure is counterfeit.

EMPEROR

Therewith our needs are not one whit the less. 
What meanest thou with this thy Lent-address? 
I’m tired of this eternal If and How. 
’Tis gold we lack; so good, procure it thou!

MEPHISTOPHELES

I’ll furnish more, ay, more than all you ask. 
Though light it seems, not easy is the task. 
There lies the gold, but to procure it thence,
That is the art:  who knoweth to commence? 
Only consider, in those days of terror,
When human floods swamped land and folk together,
How every one, how great soe’er his fear,
All that he treasured most, hid there or here;
So was it ’neath the mighty Roman’s sway,
So on till yesterday, ay, till today: 
That all beneath the soil still buried lies—­
The soil is Caesar’s, his shall be the prize.

TREASURER

Now for a fool he speaketh not amiss;
Our Caesar’s ancient right, in sooth, was this.

CHANCELLOR

Satan for you spreads golden snares; ’tis clear,
Something not right or pious worketh here.

STEWARD

To us at court if welcome gifts he bring,
A little wrong is no such serious thing.

FIELD MARSHAL

Shrewd is the fool, he bids what all desire;
The soldier, whence it comes, will not inquire.

MEPHISTOPHELES

You think yourselves, perchance, deceived by me;
Ask the Astrologer!  This man is he! 
Circle round circle, hour and house, he knows.—­
Then tell us, how the heavenly aspect shows.

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Project Gutenberg
The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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