Goethe's Faust

Scene IX


(FAUST, walking thoughtfully up and down. To him MEPHISTOPHELES.)


By all love ever rejected! By hell-fire hot and unsparing!

I wish I knew something worse, that I might use it for



What ails thee? What is't gripes thee, elf?

A face like thine beheld I never.


I would myself unto the Devil deliver,

If I were not a Devil myself!


Thy head is out of order, sadly:

It much becomes thee to be raving madly.


Just think, the pocket of a priest should get

The trinkets left for Margaret!

The mother saw them, and, instanter,

A secret dread began to haunt her.

Keen scent has she for tainted air;

She snuffs within her book of prayer,

And smells each article, to see

If sacred or profane it be;

So here she guessed, from every gem,

That not much blessing came with them.

"My child," she said, "ill-gotten good

Ensnares the soul, consumes the blood.

Before the Mother of God we'll lay it;

With heavenly manna she'll repay it!"

But Margaret thought, with sour grimace,

"A gift-horse is not out of place,

And, truly! godless cannot be

The one who brought such things to me."

A parson came, by the mother bidden:

He saw, at once, where the game was hidden,

And viewed it with a favor stealthy.

He spake: "That is the proper view,—

Who overcometh, winneth too.

The Holy Church has a stomach healthy:

Hath eaten many a land as forfeit,

And never yet complained of surfeit:

The Church alone, beyond all question,

Has for ill-gotten goods the right digestion."


A general practice is the same,

Which Jew and King may also claim.


Then bagged the spangles, chains, and rings,

As if but toadstools were the things,

And thanked no less, and thanked no more

Than if a sack of nuts he bore,—

Promised them fullest heavenly pay,

And deeply edified were they.


And Margaret?


Sits unrestful still,

And knows not what she should, or will;

Thinks on the jewels, day and night,

But more on him who gave her such delight.


The darling's sorrow gives me pain.

Get thou a set for her again!

The first was not a great display.


O yes, the gentleman finds it all child's-play!


Fix and arrange it to my will;

And on her neighbor try thy skill!

Don't be a Devil stiff as paste,

But get fresh jewels to her taste!


Yes, gracious Sir, in all obedience!

[Exit FAUST.

Such an enamored fool in air would blow

Sun, moon, and all the starry legions,

To give his sweetheart a diverting show.