Deeper and deeper night is round me sinking;
Only within me shines a radiant light.
I haste to realize, in act, my thinking;
The master’s word, that only giveth might.
Up, vassals, from your couch! my project bold,
Grandly completed, now let all behold!
Seize ye your tools; your spades, your shovels ply;
The work laid down, accomplish instantly!
Strict rule, swift diligence,—these twain
The richest recompense obtain.
Completion of the greatest work demands
One guiding spirit for a thousand hands.
This way! this way! Come on! come on!
Le Lemures, loose of tether,
Of tendon, sinew, and of bone,
Half natures, patched together!
LEMURES (in chorus)
At thy behest we’re here at hand;
Thy destined aim half guessing—
It is that we a spacious land
May win for our possessing.
Sharp-pointed stakes we bring with speed,
Long chains wherewith to measure.
But we’ve forgotten why indeed
To call us was thy pleasure.
No artist-toil we need today:
Sufficeth your own measure here:
At his full length the tallest let him lay!
Ye others round him straight the turf uprear;
As for our sires was done of yore,
An oblong square delve ye once more.
Out of the palace to the narrow home—
So at the last the sorry end must come!
LEMURES (digging, with mocking gestures)
In youth when I did live and love,
Methought, it was very sweet!
Where frolic rang and mirth was rife,
Thither still sped my feet.
Now with his crutch hath spiteful age
Dealt me a blow full sore:
I stumbled o’er a yawning grave,
Why open stood the door!
FAUST (comes forth from the palace, groping his way by the door posts)
How doth the clang of spades delight my soul!
For me my vassals toil, the while
Earth with itself they reconcile,
The waves within their bounds control,
And gird the sea with stedfast zone—
And yet for us dost work alone,
While thou for dam and bulwark carest;
Since thus for Neptune thou preparest,
The water-fiend, a mighty fete;
Before thee naught but ruin lies;
The elements are our allies;
Onward destruction strides elate.
As many as you may,
Bring crowds on crowds to labor here;
Them by reward and rigor cheer;
Persuade, entice, give ample pay!
Each day be tidings brought me at what rate
The moat extends which here we excavate.