Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

translated by George Madison Priest
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A STREET


[FAUST. MARGARET, passing by].

Faust. My fair young lady, may I make so free
As to lend you my arm and company?
Margaret. I'm not a lady, am not fair;
I can go home without your care.

[She frees herself and exits.]

Faust. By heaven, but this child is fair!
I've never seen her equal anywhere!
So virtuous, modest, through and through,
Yet with a bit of curtness too.
Her ruby lips, her cheek's clear bloom,
I'll not forget till the day of doom!
And then how she casts down her eyes,
Stamped deeply in my heart it lies!
How curt and short were her replies,
That fills me with sheer ecstasy!

[Mephistopheles appears.]

Faust. Hear, you must get that girl for me!
Mephistopheles. Well, which one, then?
Faust. She just went by.
Mephistopheles. That one? She was just coming from her priest,
Absolved from every sin, down to the least.
Hard by the chair I stole quite nigh.
She's innocent in deed and thought
And went to confession all for naught.
Over her I have no power.
Faust. She's over fourteen years old even so.
Mephistopheles. My word! You talk like gay Lothario
Who covets for himself each lovely flower
And fancies, puffed up, there's no honour, no,
Nor favour that he may not cull;
But yet that is not always possible.
Faust. Sir Master Worshipful, I beg you, pause
And leave me in peace with all your laws!
And this I say - few words are best-
Unless that sweet young maiden lays
Her head this night upon my breast,
At midnight we've gone different ways.
Mephistopheles. Consider well what can and can not be.
I'll need at least some fourteen days
But to scent out an opportunity.
Faust. Had I but seven hours' rest, no need
Of devil would I have, to lead
A little creature such as this astray.
Mephistopheles. You're talking almost like a Frenchman. Pray
Don't let yourself be vexed beyond due measure.
What good is it to reap immediate pleasure?
The joy's not near so great, I say,
As if you first prepare the ground
With every sort of idle folly,
Knead and make ready your pretty dolly,
As many Romance tales expound.
Faust. I've appetite without that too.
Mephistopheles. Now jests aside, no more ado.
With that good, lovely child, indeed,
I tell you once for all, we can't use speed.
There's nothing here to take by storm;
To strategy we must conform.
Faust. Get something that the angel owns for me!
Oh, lead me to her place of rest!
Get me a kerchief from her breast,
A garter to my ecstasy!
Mephistopheles. Now just to prove that I will be
Of helpful service in your agony,
We'll lose no moment in delay.
I'll lead you to her room this very day.
Faust. And shall I see her? have her?
Mephistopheles. No!
For she'll be at a neighbour's for a chat or so.
While she is gone, all by yourself you may
Enjoy her atmosphere till you are sated
And feast on all the hope of joys anticipated.
Faust. Can we go there?
Mephistopheles. It is too early yet.
Faust. Provide a gift for her and don't forget.

[Exit.]

Mephistopheles. Ah, gifts at once? That's good! He'll make a hit!
Full many a lovely place I know
And many a treasure buried long ago.
I must survey the ground a bit.

[Exit.]

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