Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

translated by George Madison Priest
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A STREET

[FAUST. MEPHISTOPHELES.]

Faust. How goes it? Will it work? soon win the game?
Mephistopheles. Ah, bravo! Do I find you all aflame?
Gretchen will in a brief time be your own.
This evening you will see her all alone
At Neighbour Martha's; that's a woman made
For go-between and gypsy trade.
Faust. 'Tis well
Mephistopheles. Yet something's wanted from us too.
Faust. One service may demand another as its due.
Mephistopheles. We have in form only to attest
That her good spouse's outstretched limbs repose
In Padua, in consecrated soil at rest.
Faust. Most wise! We first must make the journey, I suppose!
Mephistopheles. Sancta Simplicitas! Of that there is no need;
You don't know much, but still depose.
Faust. If that's your best, I tear your plan asunder.
Mephistopheles. O saintly man! Then you would be a saint indeed!
Is it the first time in your life
You've borne false witness? Well, I wonder!
Of God, the world, and what therein is rife,
Of man, what stirs within his heart and brain,
Have you no definition given with might and main?
With brazen brow and dauntless breast?
And if you'll only probe things truly,
You knew of them - you must confess it duly-
No more than of this Schwerdtlein's death and place of rest!
Faust. You are and you remain a liar, sophist too.
Mephistopheles. Yes, if one did not have a little deeper view.
Will you not presently cajole
Poor Gretchen - in all honour too - and swear
To her the love of all your soul?
Faust. Aye, swear it from my heart.
Mephistopheles. Fine, I declare!
Then there'll be talk of love, fidelity eternal,
Of one almighty force supernal-
Will that too issue from your heart alone?
Faust. Have done! It will! - And when I'm feeling,
When for the feeling, for my senses' reeling,
I seek for names and yet find none,
Then through the world with every sense sweep on,
Toward all the loftiest phrases, grasping, turn,
And this the glow from which I burn,
Endless, eternal, aye, eternal name,
Is that a devilish, lying game?
Mephistopheles. And yet I'm right!
Faust. Take heed! Mark this from me,
I beg of you, and spare my lungs:
He who maintains he's right - if his the gift of tongues-
Will have the last word certainly.
So come, this prating rouses my disgust;
I'll say you're right, especially since I must.

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