The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 9/From Faust—Second Part



When in spring the gentle rain
Breathes into the flower new birth,
When the green and happy plain
Smiles upon the sons of earth,
Haste to give what help we may,
Little elves of wondrous might!
Whether good or evil they,
Pity for them feels the sprite.


When the moist and balmly gale
Round the verdant meadow sighs,
Odours sweet in misty veil
At the twilight-hour arise.
Murmurings soft of calm repose
Rock the heart to childlike rest,
And the day's bright portals close
On the eyes with toil oppressed.

Night already reigns o'er all,
Strangely star is linked to star;
Planets mighty, sparklings small,
Glitter near and gleam afar.
Gleam above in clearer night,
Glitter in the glassy sea;
Pledging pure and calm delight,
Rules the moon in majesty.

Now each well-known hour is over,
Joy and grief have passed away;
Feel betimes! thou'lt then recover:
Trust the new-born eye of day.
Vales grow verdant, hillocks teem,
Shady nooks the bushes yield,
And with waving, silvery gleam,
Rocks the harvest in the field.

Wouldst thou wish for wish obtain,
Look upon yon glittering ray!
Lightly on thee lies the chain,
Cast the shell of sleep away!
Tarry not, but be thou bold,
When the many loiter still;
All with ease may be controlled
By the man of daring will.



Hark! the storm of hours draws near,
Loudly to the spirit-ear
Signs of coming day appear.
Rocky gates are wildly crashing,
Phœbus' wheels are onward dashing;

(A wonderful noise proclaims the approach of the sun.)

Light doth mighty sounds beget!

Pealing loud as rolling thunder,
Eye and ear it fills with wonder,
Though itself unconscious yet
Downward steals it, 'mongst the flowers
Seeking deeper, stiller bowers,
'Mongst the foliage, neath the rock;
Thou'lt be deafened by the shock!




[Hovering in the higher regions of air, and bearing the immortal part of Faust.]

The spirit-region's noble limb
Hath 'scaped the Archfiend's power;
For we have strength to rescue him
Who labours every hour.
And if he feels within his breast
A ray of love from heaven,
He's met by all the squadron blest
With welcome gladly given.


Yonder roses, from the holy
Hands of penitents so lowly,
Helped to render us victorious,
And to do the deed all-glorious;
For they gained us this soul-treasure.
Evil ones those roses banished,
Devils, when we met them, vanished.
Spirits felt love's pangs with pleasure,
Where hell's torments used to dwell;
E'en the hoary king of hell
Felt sharp torments through him run.
Shout for joy! the prize is won.


Strains of mortality
Long have oppressed us;
Pure could they ever be,
If of asbestos.
If mighty spirit strength
Elements ever
Knew how to seize at length,
Angels could never
Linked twofold natures move,
Where single-hearted;
By nought but deathless love
Can they be parted.


See where a spirit-race
Bursts on the sight!
Dimly their forms I trace
Round the far height.
Each cloud becometh clear,
While the bright troops appear
Of the blest boys,
From the Earth's burden free,
In a glad company
Drinking in joys,
Born of the world above,
Spring-time and bliss.
May they forerunners prove
Of a more perfect love,
Linked on to this!


Thus as a chrysalis
Gladly we gain him,
And as a pledge of bliss
Safely retain him;
When from the shell he's free
Whereby he's tainted,
Perfect and fair he'll be,
Holy and sainted.


(In the highest, purest cell.)

Wide is the prospect here,
Raised is the soul;
Women on high appear,
Seeking their goal.
'Mongst them the radiant one,
Queen of the skies,
In her bright starry crown
Greets my glad eyes.

(With ecstasy.)

Thou who art of earth the queen,
Let me, 'neath the blue
Heavenly canopy serene
Thy sweet mystery view!
Grant the gentle solemn force
Which our breast can move,
And direct our onward course
Toward thy perfect love.
Dauntless let our courage be,
At the bright behest;
Mild our ardour suddenly,
When thou biddest us rest.

Virgin, type of holiness,
Mother, honour-crowned,
Thou whom we as queen confess,
Godlike and renowned.
Round her, in gentle play,
Light clouds are stealing;
Penitents fair are they,
Who, humbly kneeling,
Sip in the ether sweet,
As they for grace entreat.

Thou, who art from passions free,
Kindly art inclined,
When the sons of frailty
Seek thee, meek in mind.
Borne by weakness' stream along,
Hard it is to save them;
Who can burst lust's chains so strong,
That, alas, enslave them?
Oh, how soon the foot may slip,
When the smooth ground pressing!
Oh, how false are eye and lip,
False a breath caressing!

MATER GLORIOSA hovers past.


To bright realms on high
In majesty soaring,
Oh, hark to our cry
Thy pity imploring,
Thou help to the cheerless,
In glory so peerless!

MAGNA PECCATRIX (St. Luke vii. 36).

By the love, which o'er the feet
Of the God-transfigured Son
Dropped the tears, like balsam sweet,
Spite of every scornful one;
By the box of ointment rare,
Whence the drops so fragrant fell;
By the locks, whose gentle care
Dried His holy members well—


By the well where Abram erst

Drove his flock to drink their fill;
By the bucket which the thirst
Of the Saviour served to still;
By the fountain, balm-exhaling,
That from yon bright region flows,
Ever clear and never failing,
As round every world it goes—

MARIA ÆGYPTIACA (Acta Sanctorum).

By the sacred spot immortal,
Where the Lord's remains they placed;
By the arm, that from the portal
Drove me back with warning haste;
By my forty years of lowly
Penance in a desert land;
By the farewell greetings holy
That I wrote upon the sand—


Thou who ne'er thy radiant face
From the greatest sinners hidest,
Thou who Thine atoning grace
Through eternity providest,
Let this soul, by virtue stirred,
Self-forgetful though when living,
That perceived not that it erred,
Feel thy mercy, sin forgiving!


(Once named Margaret, pressing near them.)

O radiance-spreading One,
Who equalled art by none,
In mercy view mine ecstasy!
For he whom erst I loved,
No more by sorrow proved,
Returns at length to me!


(Approaching as they hover round.)

He now in strength of limb
Far doth outweigh us,
And as we tended him,
So will repay us.
Early removed were we
Far from life's story;
Trained now himself, will he
Train us in glory.

THE PENITENT, once named Margaret.

Linked with the noble band of spirits,
Scarce can the new one feel or see
The radiant life he now inherits,
So like that holy band is he.
See how he bursts each bond material,
And parts the olden veil at length,—
In vesture clad in grace ethereal,
Comes in the glow of youthful strength.
Oh, let me guide his steps victorious,
While dazzled by the new-born light.


Come! raise thyself to spheres more glorious,
He'll follow when thou meetest his sight.


(Prostrated in adoration.)

Oh, repentant sinful ones,
On that bright face gaze ye,
And in grateful orisons,
Your blest fortune praise ye!
Be each virtue of the mind
To thy service given!
Virgin, mother, be thou kind!
Goddess, queen of heaven!


Each thing of mortal birth
Is but a type;
What was of feeble worth
Here becomes ripe.
What was a mystery
Here meets the eye;
The ever-womanly
Draws us on high.