Goethe's Faust






In misery! In despair! Long wretchedly astray on the face

of the earth, and now imprisoned! That gracious, ill-starred

creature shut in a dungeon as a criminal, and given

up to fearful torments! To this has it come! to this!—Treacherous,

contemptible spirit, and thou hast concealed it from

me!—Stand, then,—stand! Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in

thy head! Stand and defy me with thine intolerable presence!

Imprisoned! In irretrievable misery! Delivered up to evil

spirits, and to condemning, unfeeling Man! And thou hast

lulled me, meanwhile, with the most insipid dissipations, hast

concealed from me her increasing wretchedness, and suffered

her to go helplessly to ruin!

Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in thy head


She is not the first.


Dog! Abominable monster! Transform him, thou Infinite

Spirit! transform the reptile again into his dog-shape? in which

it pleased him often at night to scamper on before me, to roll

himself at the feet of the unsuspecting wanderer, and hang

upon his shoulders when he fell! Transform him again into

his favorite likeness, that he may crawl upon his belly in the

dust before me,—that I may trample him, the outlawed, under

foot! Not the first! O woe! woe which no human soul can

grasp, that more than one being should sink into the depths

of this misery,—that the first, in its writhing death-agony

under the eyes of the Eternal Forgiver, did not expiate the

guilt of all others! The misery of this single one pierces to the

very marrow of my life; and thou art calmly grinning at the

fate of thousands!


Now we are already again at the end of our wits, where the

understanding of you men runs wild. Why didst thou enter

into fellowship with us, if thou canst not carry it out? Wilt fly,

and art not secure against dizziness? Did we thrust ourselves

upon thee, or thou thyself upon us?


Gnash not thus thy devouring teeth at me? It fills me with

horrible disgust. Mighty, glorious Spirit, who hast vouchsafed

to me Thine apparition, who knowest my heart and my soul,

why fetter me to the felon-comrade, who feeds on mischief and

gluts himself with ruin?


Hast thou done?


Rescue her, or woe to thee! The fearfullest curse be upon

thee for thousands of ages!


I cannot loosen the bonds of the Avenger, nor undo his bolts.

Rescue her? Who was it that plunged her into ruin? I, or thou?

(FAUST looks around wildly.)

Wilt thou grasp the thunder? Well that it has not been

given to you, miserable mortals! To crush to pieces the innocent

respondent—that is the tyrant-fashion of relieving one's

self in embarrassments.


Take me thither! She shall be free!


And the danger to which thou wilt expose thyself? Know

that the guilt of blood, from thy hand, still lies upon the town!

Avenging spirits hover over the spot where the victim fell, and

lie in wait for the returning murderer.


That, too, from thee? Murder and death of a world upon

thee, monster! Take me thither, I say, and liberate her!


I will convey thee there; and hear, what I can do! Have I

all the power in Heaven and on Earth? I will becloud the

jailer's senses: get possession of the key, and lead her forth with

human hand! I will keep watch: the magic steeds are ready,

I will carry you off. So much is in my power.


Up and away!