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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.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Admittance unto me deny? 
To hasten his success, the man am I.

[Exit FAMULUS.  MEPHISTOPHELES seats himself with a solemn air.]

Scarce have I ta’en my post, when lo! 
Stirs from behind a guest, whom well I know;
Of the most recent school, this time, is he,
And quite unbounded will his daring be.

BACCALAUREUS (storming along the passage)

 Open find I door and gate! 
 Hope at last springs up elate,
 That the living shall no more
 Corpse-like rot, as heretofore,
 And, while breathing living breath,
 Waste and moulder as in death.

 Here partition, screen, and wall
 Are sinking, bowing to their fall,
 And, unless we soon retreat,
 Wreck and ruin us will greet. 
 Me, though bold, nor soon afraid,
 To advance shall none persuade. 
 What shall I experience next? 
 Years ago, when sore perplexed,
 Came I not a freshman here,
 Full of anxious doubt and fear,
 On these gray-beards then relied,
 By their talk was edified?

 What from musty tomes they drew,
 They lied to me; the things they knew
 Believed they not; with falsehood rife,
 Themselves and me they robbed of life. 
 How?—­Yonder is the murky glare,
 There’s one still sitting in the Chair—­

 Drawing near I wonder more—­
 Just as him I left of yore,
 There he sits, in furry gown,
 Wrapped in shaggy fleece, the brown! 
 Then he clever seemed, indeed,
 Him as yet I could not read;
 Naught will it avail today;
 So have at him, straight-away!

If Lethe’s murky flood not yet hath passed,
Old Sir, through your bald pate, that sideways bends,
The scholar recognize, who hither wends,
Outgrown your academic rods at last. 
The same I find you, as of yore;
But I am now the same no more.

MEPHISTOPHELES

 Glad am I that I’ve rung you here. 
 I prized you then not slightingly;
 In grub and chrysalis appear
 The future brilliant butterfly. 
 A childish pleasure then you drew
 From collar, lace, and curls.—­A queue
 You probably have never worn?—­
 Now to a crop I see you shorn. 
 All resolute and bold your air—­
 But from the absolute forbear!

BACCALAUREUS

 We’re in the ancient place, mine ancient Sir,
 But think upon time’s onward flow,
 And words of double-meaning spare! 
 Quite otherwise we hearken now. 
 You fooled the simple, honest youth;
 It cost but little art in sooth,
 To do what none today will dare.

MEPHISTOPHELES

If to the young the naked truth one speaks,
It pleases in no wise the yellow beaks;
But afterward, when in their turn
On their own skin the painful truth they learn,
They think, forsooth, from their own head it came;
“The master was a fool,” they straight proclaim.

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