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FAUST, A DRAMA, BY GOETHE.

TRANSLATED BY LORD FRANCIS LEVESON GOWER.

We had hoped when we saw a translation of Faust announced, and announced too from the pen of a nobleman, that the English reader would at length have that highly-interesting and singular production laid open to his view, and be enabled to form a more correct notion of the original than the numerous selections and analyses of the work have hitherto helped him to. There are many reasons why ordinary authors could not undertake the translation of the whole of the drama: in the first place, it is exceedingly difficult; and, in the next, it is doubtful whether it would so well suit the public taste as to repay, in fame or in any other sort of reward, the man who should choose to attempt it, while the envy of some critics would be loosened upon him without ceremony or forbearance. But none of these reasons apply at all forcibly to the noble person who now appears as the author of the present translation. He has most satisfactorily shown, by what he has done, that, if he had chosen, he could have mastered all the difficulties in his way; he does not care, we will be sworn, two straws for all the critics in Christendom; and he cannot wish to make money, because, if he did, a tithe of the pains he has taken with Goethe might have procured him a place or a pension. For these reasons we can neither account for nor excuse his not having done more than he has done; and we think his apology—that he could not in some instances, and would not in others, give the whole of his author-savours more of laziness than of reason.

For the mere critic, this translation offers the most glorious field for exertion that could be presented. Here is at once an opportunity of cutting up almost all the living authors of England, many of those of France, and still more of Germany. Now might we point out how Goethe stole from our own ill-starred Marlowe, and then was unjustly accused of robbing Lessing; how Mad. de Stael knew nothing about the matter; how Sir Walter Scott stole pinches, and Lord Byron whole handfuls, from Goethe; how Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Southey, owe him more than they ever intend to pay; how an anonymous author in Blackwood's Magazine translated selections from Faust beautifully and powerfully; and how the late Mr. Shelley tried to do the same, but, missing both, plunged into a cloudy obscurity, which he had always the knack of mistaking for sublimity: but none of this will we do; we leave it for those of our brethren who rather desire to show their learning than to contribute to their friends' amusement. Wonder, reader, at our forbearance-lift up your hands and your eyes at our moderation; and, having composed your minds into a properly reverent notion of our importance, listen as if you had three cars, while we tell you that Lord Leveson Gower's translation is the best that has hitherto been seen in English, and probably the best that you or we are ever likely to see.

The drama opens with a scene in Faust's study. The following soliloquy will explain the favorable state of mind in which he is for temptation:

• With medicine and philosophy
I have no more to do;
And all thy maze, theology,

At length have waded through
And stand a scientific fool,

As wise as when I went to school.

'Tis true, with years of science ten,
A teacher of my fellow men,
Above, below, and round about,
I draw my scholars by the snout,
Myself consuming with the glow
Of all I vainly wish to know.
True, I am first of Learning's tribes,
Its doctors, masters, priests, and scribes;
And, unrestrain'd by fear or doubt,
I dare the devil and his rout.

And yet the fruit of Learning's tree
Has nought but bitterness for me;
Despairing, in my wintry mind,

To better or instruct mankind.

Then have I neither gold nor treasures,

The world's advancements, goods, nor pleasures.

No dog might such a life endure.

In magic then I seek my cure;

And

every mental power I turn

The secrets of the world to learn,
That I may need dispense no more
The solemn nothings of my store;
But, dealing less in words than deeds,
Explore the globe's primeval seeds.
Thou silver moon, whose friendly light
Has shed, through many a wintry night,
Unwonted rays on Learning's scrolls,
Her massy volumes, dusty rolls,
Would that beneath those rays my brow
Throbb'd with its last pulsation now!
And yet I feel the wild desire
To mount me on thy rolling fire,
With demons of the misty air

To wander in thy azure glare,

And bathe me in thy dewy deeps,

Where pain is hush'd and conscience sleeps.

I rave! Within this dungeon's gloom
Still must my spirit pant for room,
Where scarce the light of upper day
Through storied windows finds its way.

Hemm'd round with Learning's musty scrolls,

Her ponderous volumes, dusty rolls,

Which to the ceiling's vault arise,

Above the reach of studious eyes,

Where revelling worms peruse the store

Of wisdom's antiquated lore,

With glasses, tools of alchemy,

Cases and bottles, whole and crack'd,

Hereditary lumber, pack'd.

This is the world, the world, for me!

And ask I why my heaving heart
Is beating in its sullen madness?
And ask I why the secret smart

Has dried the spring of life and gladness?
'Tis that, instead of air and skies,
Of nature's animated plan,

Round me, in grinning ranks, arise

[He looks at the microcosm.

The bony forms of beast and man.
Wake then, my soul! thy wings expand:
This book by Nostradamus' hand,
Sigil and sign shall make thee fly
Uncheck'd, unwearied, through the sky,
Wake then, my soul! the signs of power
Point to the destined tide and hour.
Spirits, ye that hover near,
Speak and answer, if ye hear!
Ha! what rapture from the sight
Fills my veins with wild delight!
Sure some God the sign has traced.
In these features, plain and true,
Nature's secrets greet my view.
Working up the wond'rous whole,
How they mingle, twine, and roll!
How their million arms they ply!
Busy Nature's secret forces,
Running all their destined courses,
Ending all in harmony.

A wond'rous show, and yet 'tis nothing more:
Where can I journey to your secret springs,
Eternal Nature? onward still I

press,

Follow thy windings still, yet sigh for more.

[He shuts the volume unwillingly, and inspects the sign of the Spirit of the Earth.

The signs are at their work again, and now

The Spirit of the Earth is hovering nearer;
Clouds are gathering round my sight,
And the pale moon hides her light,
And the lamp its blaze.

Now I tremble, faint, and glow,
But the frenzy may not last.
Ere the maddening hour be past,
Spirit, thou thy form must show.
Spirit. Who calls me?

Faust.

Vision of affright!

Spirit. With a spell of might and fear

Faust.

Thou hast drawn me from my sphere,
And now

Away! I loath the sight.
Spirit Yet 'tis the sight thou hast panted to see,
My visage to scan, and my accents to hear;
Thy spell was too strong, it availed not to flee;
I come, and you shun me, and tremble with fear!

O where is the manly might of soul,

That could the aerial world control?

Art thou the man, thou trembling thing,
That call'd me on my weary wing,

Yet shuns my form to see?

Faust. Yes, I am Faust, a powerful name,
Thy more than equal, child of flame.
I wander and range

Spirit.

Through existence's change,
Above and below,

Through the tide and the flow,

I shoot and I sparkle, and never am still.

Faust. Say, thou ever-roving spirit,

What relation can I bear to thee?

Spirit. To some other form, in another station,
Thou mayest bear relation :

Not to me.'

[Vanishes.

Faust goes out to walk; and the inspiring effect of the air, and the honest mirth of the people, who are celebrating the festival of Easter, compose his disturbed thoughts:

'Faust. The smile of spring on stream and plain

Has freed them from their icy chain.
Sick with the perfume of the breeze,
From buds of rain-bespangled trees,
Back to his mountains' chill retreat,
Old Winter drags his palsied feet;
But, as he flies, with hail and sleet,
Pursues the ineffectual strife,
To nip the struggling germs of life.
No longer of his mantle white
May vernal suns endure the sight;
But nature's face must glitter sheen
With colours bright and youthful green.
Yet flowers are none the scene to grace-
Man's gay attire supplies their place.
Turn round, and, from this hillock's height,
Back to the town direct thy sight.
See, from the jaws of yonder gate,
How thick the insects congregate;
They celebrate, in guise so gay,
Our Saviour's resurrection day.
From lowly roof, and stifling cell,
Where labour's murky children dwell-
From chambers close, and garrets high,
From many an alley's dismal sty,
And from the venerable night,
Shed by the churches' shadowy height,
They wander forth, and court the light.
See how the myriads buzz and throng,
The garden and the field along;
See, on the stream, how thick they float,
The steadier barge and heeling boat.
How yonder skiff, o'erladen, laves
Its gunwale in the rippling waves.
Yon distant mountain-path no less
Is gleaming with the tints of dress.

I hail, in yonder rout and coil,

The short-lived heaven of those who toil;
I almost shout, like them, for glee,

And am the man I seem to be.'

A black poodle, which is no other than the devil, crosses the path,

and, having attracted Faust's attention by his gambols, returns with him, and takes up his place in his study:

• Faust.

While gloomy night o'erspreads the plain,

I leave the shadowy waste behind,
Where darkness rouses not in vain
The better genius of the mind;
Each impulse wild its rest is taking,
Each passion slumbers in its den,
Nought but the love of God is waking,
And love as pure for fellow men.
Rest thee, poodle. Why runnest thou so,
On the threshold wandering to and fro?
Lay thee down the stove beneath,

Stop thy whining, and still thy breath.

Poor dog, thou hast merrily cheer'd my way
With thy wanton springs and thy frolicsome play:
Be welcome then here as an innocent guest,
Still thy whining, and take thy rest.

Ah! when again within our cell

We bid the lamp of midnight glow,
The inward light is trimm'd as well

In hearts that learn themselves to know:
While reason's voice adorns its theme,

And hope blooms brighter than at first,
The soul springs onward to the stream
Which flows to quench our mortal thirst.
Howl not, poodle! thy fiendish cries

Disturb the bosom's celestial tone,
Which accords but ill with thy yelling moan.
But aught that is hid from human eyes,
Human folly, will oft condemn,

They will murmur at all that is fair and good,
If its fairness be hard to be understood.
Would the critical hound but imitate them?
But already, will I what I may,

Joy's brief star has quench'd its fickle ray.
Why must the stream so soon be dried,

Ere my thirst be satisfied?

How oft such fortune has been mine:

And yet by each blessing the world denies

We are taught the things of heaven to prize,

And for revelation's light to pine.

And nowhere brighter it was sent

Than in our Saviour's Testament.
Great is my wish to labour o'er
My version of its holy lore;

And, with a Christian's good design,

To make it German line by line."

This occupation is, as may be conceived, not very palatable to the devil. Faust at length conjures him, so that he is obliged to quit his beastly shape, and put on that of humanity: he then appears like a travelling student, and the following dialogue ensues :

Faust. Is this the kernel of this goodly fruit?

It makes me smile to see the termination.
Meph. Your learned reverence humbly I salute:
Faith, you have put me in a perspiration.

Faust. Thy name?

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