Nay! Heaven forbid! As nonsense we declare
The ancient procreative mode;
The tender point, life’s spring, the gentle strength
That took and gave, that from within hath pressed,
And seized, intent itself to manifest,
The nearest first, the more remote at length,—
This from its dignity is now dethron’d!
The brute indeed may take delight therein,
But man, by whom such mighty gifts are own’d,
Must have a purer, higher origin.
(He turns to the furnace)
It flashes, see!—Now may we trustful hold,
That if, of substances a hundred-fold,
Through mixture,—for on mixture it depends—
The human substance duly we compose,
And then in a retort enclose,
And cohobate; in still repose
The work is perfected, our labor ends.
(Again turning to the furnace)
It forms! More clear the substance shows!
Stronger, more strong, conviction grows!
What Nature’s mystery we once did style,
That now to test, our reason tries,
And what she organized erewhile,
We now are fain to crystallize.
Who lives, doth much experience glean;
By naught in this world will he be surprised;
Already in my travel-years I’ve seen
Full many a race of mortals crystallized.
WAGNER (still gazing intently on the phial)
It mounts, it glows, and doth together run,
One moment, and the work is done!
As mad, a grand design at first is view’d;
But we henceforth may laugh at fate,
And so a brain, with thinking-power embued,
Henceforth your living thinker will create.
(Surveying the phial with rapture)
The glass resounds, with gracious power possessed;
It dims, grows clear; living it needs must be!
And now in form of beauty dressed,
A dainty mannikin I see.
What more can we desire, what more mankind?
Unveiled is now what hidden was of late;
Give ear unto this sound, and you will find,
A voice it will become, articulate.—
HOMUNCULUS (in the phial, to WAGNER)
Now, Fatherkin, how goes it? ’Twas no jest!
Come, let me to thy heart be fondly pressed—
Lest the glass break, less tight be thine embrace
This is the property of things: the All
Scarcely suffices for the natural;
The artificial needs a bounded space.
But thou, Sir Cousin, Rogue, art thou too here?
At the right moment! Thee I thank. ’Tis clear
To us a happy fortune leadeth thee;
While I exist, still must I active be,
And to the work forthwith myself would gird;
Thou’rt skill’d the way to shorten.
Just one word!
I oft have been ashamed that knowledge failed,
When old and young with problems me assailed.
For instance: no one yet could comprehend,
How soul and body so completely blend,
Together hold, as ne’er to part, while they
Torment each other through the live-long day.