Poet. Ay, give me back the joyous hours,
When I myself was ripening, too,
When song, the fount, flung up its showers
Of beauty ever fresh and new.
When a soft haze the world was veiling,
Each bud a miracle bespoke,
And from their stems a thousand flowers I broke,
Their fragrance through the vales exhaling.
I nothing and yet all possessed,
Yearning for truth and in illusion blest.
Give me the freedom of that hour,
The tear of joy, the pleasing pain,
Of hate and love the thrilling power,
Oh, give me back my youth again!
Merry Person. Youth, my good friend, thou
When ambushed foes are on thee springing,
When loveliest maidens witchingly
Their white arms round thy neck are flinging,
When the far garland meets thy glance,
High on the race-ground’s goal suspended,
When after many a mazy dance
In drink and song the night is ended.
But with a free and graceful soul
To strike the old familiar lyre,
And to a self-appointed goal
Sweep lightly o’er the trembling wire,
There lies, old gentlemen, to-day
Your task; fear not, no vulgar error blinds us.
Age does not make us childish, as they say,
But we are still true children when it finds us.
Manager. Come, words enough you two have
Now let us see some deeds at last;
While you toss compliments full-handed,
The time for useful work flies fast.
Why talk of being in the humor?
Who hesitates will never be.
If you are poets (so says rumor)
Now then command your poetry.
You know full well our need and pleasure,
We want strong drink in brimming measure;
Brew at it now without delay!
To-morrow will not do what is not done to-day.
Let not a day be lost in dallying,
But seize the possibility
Right by the forelock, courage rallying,
And forth with fearless spirit sallying,—
Once in the yoke and you are free.
Upon our German boards, you know it,
What any one would try, he may;
Then stint me not, I beg, to-day,
In scenery or machinery, Poet.
With great and lesser heavenly lights make free,
Spend starlight just as you desire;
No want of water, rocks or fire
Or birds or beasts to you shall be.
So, in this narrow wooden house’s bound,
Stride through the whole creation’s round,
And with considerate swiftness wander
From heaven, through this world, to the world down yonder.
[THE LORD. THE HEAVENLY HOSTS afterward MEPHISTOPHELES. The three archangels, RAPHAEL, GABRIEL, and MICHAEL, come forward.]
Raphael. The sun, in ancient wise, is
With brother-spheres, in rival song;
And, his appointed journey rounding,
With thunderous movement rolls along.
His look, new strength to angels lending,
No creature fathom can for aye;
The lofty works, past comprehending,
Stand lordly, as on time’s first day.