Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

translated by George Madison Priest
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BRIGHTLY LIGHTED HALLS



[EMPEROR and PRINCES.]

[The Court moving about.]

Chamberlain [to MEPHISTOPHELES].
The spirit-scene you promised still is owing.
To work! Impatient is our master growing.
Steward. A moment since His Grace inquired of me.
Delay not! Don't disgrace His Majesty!
Mephistopheles. Upon that errand has my comrade gone;
He surely knows what's to be done.
He works secludedly and still,
And all his powers he perforce engages.
Who'd raise that treasure, Beauty, at his will,
Requires the highest art, Magic of Sages!
Steward. The kind of arts you need, that is all one;
It is the Emperor's will that it be done.
A Blonde [to MEPHISTOPHELES].
One word, sir! See my face without a spot,
But thus in tiresome summer it is not!
Then brownish-red there sprout a hundred freckles
Which vex my lily skin with ugly speckles.
A cure!
Mephistopheles. You radiant darling, what a pity,
Spotted in May-time like a panther-kitty.
Take frog-spawn, toads' tongues, cohobate them,
And carefully, at full moon, distillate them.
When the moon's waning, spread the mixture on,
And when the spring has come, the spots are gone.
A Brunette. To fawn around you, see the crowd advancing!
I beg a remedy! A chilblained foot
Hinders me much in walking and in dancing
And makes me awkward even when I salute.
Mephistopheles. Pray let me tread upon it with my foot.
Brunette. Well, I suppose that happens between lovers.
Mephistopheles. In my tread, child, a greater meaning hovers.
Like unto like, whatever pain one undergo!
Foot healeth foot, so is it with each member.
Come here! Give heed! Don't you tread me, remember!
Brunette [Screaming]. Oh, how that stings! you did tread hard!
Oh! Oh!
'Twas like a horse's hoof.
Mephistopheles. With this cure you can go.
Dance to your heart's content, now you are able,
Or foot it with your sweetheart 'neath the table.
Lady [pressing forward]. Let me go through! Too painful are my sorrows;
Deep in my heart this anguish burns and burrows.
Till yesterday his bliss hung on my glances
But now he turns his back; only her talk entrances.
Mephistopheles. That's serious, but listen carefully.
Press up to him quite softly, take
This bit of charcoal, and then on him make
A mark on sleeve or cloak or shoulder as may be;
Remorse will pierce him to the very core.
The coal, however, you must straightway swallow,
Nor let a drop of wine or water follow;
Tonight you'll have him sighing at your door.
Lady. It is not poison, is it?
Mephistopheles [indignant]. Respect where it is due!
For such a coal you'd travel many a mile;
It comes here from a funeral pile
Such as whose flames we once more fiercely blew.
Page. I am in love, they do not take me seriously.
Mephistopheles [aside]. Whom I am now to listen to, I do not see.

[To the PAGE.]

Let not the youngest maid your fancy fetter;
Those on in years know how to prize you better.

[Others crowd up.]

Still more and more? It is a brawl, in sooth!
I'll help myself at last with naked truth,
The worst of aids! Great is my misery.-
O Mothers, Mothers! Do let Faust go free!

[Gazing around him.]

The lights are burning dimly in the hall,
At once the Court starts forward, one and all.
I see them file according to their grades
Through distant galleries and long arcades.
Now they're assembling in that ample space,
The old Knight's Hall; yet hardly all find place.
The spacious walls with tapestries are rich,
While armour decorates each nook and niche.
Here is no need, methinks, of magic incantation,
Ghosts will come here without an invitation.

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