Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

An Excerpt from Goethe's Faust, Part I

A Street

Enter FAUST and MARGARETE, who walks past him.

Faust: My lovely young lady, may I perhaps venture
to give you my arm and be your escort?
Margarete: I'm not a young lady, or lovely either,
and need no escort to get home.

Freeing her arm, she leaves.

Faust: By God, that girl is a real beauty!
I've never seen one quite like her.
She is all modesty and virtue,
yet there's a bit of pertness too.
As long as I live I won't forget
those glowing cheeks and ruby lips!
Even the way she lowered her eyes
is stamped forever on my heart;
as for the brusqueness of her manner,
that was especially delightful!

Enter Mephistopheles.

Faust: You must get me that girl, I tell you.
Mephistopheles: Which one?
Faust: The one that just went by.
Mephistopheles: What, her? She is returning from confession;
the priest absolved her of all sin --
I crept up close to the confessional.
She is an innocent, and so much so
that she had nothing to confess;
over that girl I have no power.
Faust: She's over fourteen, isn't she!
Mephistopheles: You're talking like Jack Reprobate;
he covets every pretty flower,
and fancies there's no honest favor
which can't be plucked if he but tries;
that isn't always so, however.
Faust: My dear professor Dogmatist,
you may spare me your moral lessons!
And let me tell you very bluntly,
unless that sweet young thing is lying
within my arms this very night,
at the stroke of twelve we part forever.
Mephistopheles: Consider practicalities!
I'll need at least a good two weeks
to ferret out an opportune occasion.
Faust: If I could have a simple girl like that
alone for seven hours, to seduce her
I would not need the devil's help.
Mephistopheles: You're almost talking like a Frenchman now,
but please don't think of this as mere frustration!
What good is pleasure when it's rushed?
It's much less satisfactory
than when in various ways before,
and with all sorts of fuss and bother,
you've shaped her up a bit and got her ready--
this can be learned from many foreign novels.
Faust: I don't need to whet my appetite.
Mephistopheles: No more of this tomfoolery!
I'm telling you once and for all
that with this pretty child it is no use to hurry.
You won't take anything by storm;
we must resort to strategy.
Faust: Get me some souvenir of her!
Bring me to where my angel sleeps!
Get me a kerchief from her breast,
a garter to excite my passion!
Mephistopheles: To prove to you that I am eager
to be of service when you suffer,
let us not waste another moment--
I'll take you to her room this very day.
Faust: And shall I see her, have her?
Mephistopheles: No!
She will be at a neighbor's house.
You can, while she's away, be there alone
and, in the aura that her presence sheds,
anticipate the taste of future joy.
Faust: Can we go now?
Mephistopheles: It's still too soon.
Faust: Then get a present for me to take her! [Exit
Mephistopheles: Presents right off? Good work! He'll have success!
I know some excellent locations
with lots of ancient buried treasure.
I'd better do a little looking. [Exit

"All children are born geniuses. 9,999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly, inadvertently, degeniused by grown-ups." -- Buckminster Fuller