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He seeks unbroken quiet; therefore I
[Heaven closes; the Archangels exeunt.
To talk so freely with the Devil himself.
SCENE.-The Hartz Mountain, a desolate Country.
Mep. Would you not like a broomstick? As for me,
For we are still far from th' appointed place.
Fau. This knotted staff is help enough for me, Whilst I feel fresh upon my legs. What good
Is there in making short a pleasant way?
To creep along the labyrinths of the vales,
And climb those rocks, where ever-babbling springs
Is the true sport that seasons such a path..
Mep. Nothing of such an influence do I feel.
The flowers upon our path were frost and snow.
Dimly uplifting her belated beam,
The blank unwelcome round of the red moon,
And gives so bad a light, that every step
One stumbles 'gainst some crag. With your permission, I'll call an Ignis-Fatuus to our aid:
I see one yonder burning jollily.
Halloo, my friend! may I request that you
Would favour us with your bright company?
Why should you blaze away there to no purpose?
Pray be so good as light us up this way.
Ignis-Fatuus. With reverence be it spoken, I will try
To overcome the lightness of my nature;
Our course, you know, is generally zigzag.
Mep. Ha, ha! your worship thinks you have to deal With men. Go strait on, in the Devil's name,
Or I shall puff your flickering life out.
I see you are the master of the house;
Only consider, that to-night this mountain
Shows you his way, though you should miss your own,
FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, and IGNIS-FATUUS, in alternate Chorus.
The limits of the sphere of dream,
But see, how swift advance and shift,
Through the mossy sods and stones
Finds a voice in this blithe strain,
Of old times, repeats again,
To whoo! to whoo! near, nearer now
The sound of song, the rushing throng!
Are the screech, the lapwing, and the jay,
All awake as if 'twere day?
See, with long legs and belly wide,
A salamander in the brake !
Every root is like a snake,
And along the loose hill side,
With strange contortions through the night,
Curls, to seize or to affright;
And, animated, strong, and many,
They dart forth polypus-antennæ,
To blister with their poison spume
The wanderer. Through the dazzling gloom
The dewy turf beneath our tread,
In troops each other's motions cross,
Through the heath and through the moss;
The fireflies flit, and swarm, and throng,
Tell me, shall we go or stay?
Shall we onward? Come along!
Everything around is swept
The sight, and wisps on every side
Mep. Now vigorously seize my skirt, and gain
One may observe with wonder from this point,
And strangely through the solid depth below
And near us, see, sparks spring out of the ground,
Rare, in faith!
A pleasure which you had not known before.
The children of the wind rage in the air!
With what fierce strokes they fall upon my neck!
Mep. Cling tightly to the old ribs of the crag. Beware! for if with them thou warrest
In their fierce flight towards the wilderness,
Their breath will sweep thee into dust, and drag
Á cloud thickens the night.
Hark! how the tempest crashes through the forest !
The owls fly out in strange affright;
The columns of the evergreen palaces
Are split and shattered;
The roots creak, and stretch, and groan;
And ruinously overthrown,
The trunks are crushed and shattered
By the fierce blast's unconquerable stress.
Over each other crack and crash they all
In terrible and intertangled fall;
And through the ruins of the shaken mountain
It is not the voice of the fountain,
Nor the wolf in his midnight prowl.
Dost thou not hear?
Strange accents are ringing
Aloft, afar, anear;
The witches are singing!
The torrent of a raging wizard song
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green,
'Twixt witches and incubi, what shall be done?
Upon a sow-swine, whose farrows were nine,
Honour her to whom honour is due,
Is worthy of glory, and worthy of honour!
Darkening the night, and outspeeding the wind—
Which way comest thou?
The owl was awake in the white moonshine;
I saw her at rest in her downy nest,
And she stared at me with her broad, bright eye.
And you may now as well, take your course on to Hell, Since you ride by so fast, on the headlong blast.
She dropt poison upon me as I past.
Here are the wounds
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
Come away! come along!
The way is wide, the way is long,
But what is that for a Bedlam throng?"
Stick with the prong, and scratch with the broom.
And the mother is clapping her hands.
SEMICHORUS OF WIZARDS I.
We glide in
Like snails when the women are all away;
A thousand steps must a woman take,
Come with us, come with us, from Felunsee.
With what joy would we fly, through the upper sky!
The wind is still, the stars are fled,
Stay, oh stay!
Out of the crannies of the rocks,
Oh, let me join your flocks!
I, three hundred years have striven
To catch your skirt and mount to Heaven,—
With company akin to me!
Some on a ram and some on a prong,
On poles and on broomsticks we flutter along;
A HALF-WITCH BELOW.
I have been tripping this many an hour;
CHORUS OF WITCHES.
Come onward away! aroint thee, aroint!
With a rag for a sail we can sweep through the sky,
We cling to the skirt, and we strike on the ground;
Mep. What thronging, dashing, raging, rustling; What whispering, babbling, hissing, bustling;