* * * * *
ACT THE SECOND
HIGH-VAULTED, NARROW GOTHIC CHAMBER,
FORMERLY FAUST’S, UNALTERED
MEPHISTOPHELES (stepping from behind a curtain. While he raises it and looks back, FAUST is seen, stretched upon an old-fashioned bed)
Lie there, ill-starred one! In love’s chain,
Full hard to loose, he captive lies!
Not soon his senses will regain
Whom Helena doth paralyze.
Above, around, on every side
I gaze, uninjured all remains:
Dimmer, methinks, appear the color’d panes,
The spiders’ webs are multiplied,
Yellow the paper, and the ink is dry;
Yet in its place each thing I find;
And here the very pen doth lie,
Wherewith himself Faust to the Devil signed,
Yea, quite dried up, and deeper in the bore,
The drop of blood, I lured from him of yore—
O’erjoyed to own such specimen unique
Were he who objects rare is fain to seek—;
Here on its hook hangs still the old fur cloak,
Me it remindeth of that merry joke,
When to the boy I precepts gave, for truth,
Whereon, perchance, he’s feeding now, as youth.
The wish comes over me, with thee allied,
Enveloped in thy worn and rugged folds,
Once more to swell with the professor’s pride!
How quite infallible himself he holds;
This feeling to obtain your savants know;
The devil parted with it long ago.
[He shakes the fur cloak which he has taken down; crickets, moths, and chafers fly out.]
CHORUS OF INSECTS
We welcome thy coming,
Our patron of yore!
We’re dancing and humming,
And know thee once more.
Us singly, in silence,
Hast planted, and lo!
By thousands, oh Father,
We dance to and fro.
The rogue hides discreetly
The bosom within;
We looseskins fly rather
Forth from the fur skin.
O’erjoyed I am my progeny to know!
We’re sure to reap in time, if we but sow.
I shake the old fur-mantle as before,
And here and there out flutters one or more.—
Above, around, hasten, beloved elves,
In hundred thousand nooks to hide yourselves!
’Mid boxes there of by-gone time,
Here in these age-embrowned scrolls,
In broken potsherds, foul with grime,
In yonder skulls’ now eyeless holes!
Amid such rotten, mouldering life,
Must foolish whims for aye be rife.
[Slips into the fur mantle.]
Come shroud my shoulders as of yore!
Today I’m principal once more;
But useless ’tis, to bear the name:
Where are the folk to recognize my claim?
[He pulls the bell, which emits a shrill penetrating sound, at which the halls shake and the doors spring open.]
FAMULUS (tottering up the long dark passage)