I have but hurried through the world, I own.
I by the hair each pleasure seized;
Relinquished what no longer pleased,
That which escaped me I let go,
I’ve craved, accomplished, and then craved again;
Thus through my life I’ve storm’d—with might and main,
Grandly, with power, at first; but now indeed,
It goes more cautiously, with wiser heed.
I know enough of earth, enough of men;
The view beyond is barred from mortal ken;
Fool, who would yonder peer with blinking eyes,
And of his fellows dreams above the skies!
Firm let him stand, the prospect round him scan,
Not mute the world to the true-hearted man
Why need he wander through eternity?
What he can grasp, that only knoweth he.
So let him roam adown earth’s fleeting day;
If spirits haunt, let him pursue his way;
In joy or torment ever onward stride,
Though every moment still unsatisfied!
To him whom I have made mine own
All profitless the world hath grown:
Eternal gloom around him lies;
For him suns neither set nor rise;
With outward senses perfect, whole,
Dwell darknesses within his soul;
Though wealth he owneth, ne’ertheless
He nothing truly can possess.
Weal, woe, become mere phantasy;
He hungers ’mid satiety;
Be it joy, or be it sorrow,
He postpones it till the morrow;
Of the future thinking ever,
Prompt for present action never.
Forbear! Thou shalt not come near me!
I will not hear such folly. Hence!
Avaunt! This evil litany
The wisest even might bereave of sense.
Shall he come or go? He ponders;—
All resolve from him is taken;
On the beaten path he wanders,
Groping on, as if forsaken.
Deeper still himself he loses,
Everything his sight abuses,
Both himself and others hating,
Taking breath—and suffocating,
Without life—yet scarcely dying,
Not despairing—not relying.
Rolling on without remission:
Loathsome ought, and sad permission,
Now deliverance, now vexation,
Nail him to his place and wear him,
And at last for hell prepare him.
Unblessed spectres! Ye mankind have so
Treated a thousand times, their thoughts deranging;
E’en uneventful days to mar ye know,
Into a tangled web of torment changing!
’Tis hard, I know, from demons to get free,
The mighty spirit-bond by force untying;
Yet Care, I never will acknowledge thee,
Thy strong in-creeping, potency defying.
Feel it then now; as thou shalt find
When with a curse from thee I’ve wended:
Through their whole lives are mortals blind—
So be thou, Faust, ere life be ended!
[She breathes on him.]