A monologue from the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Faust. Trans. Bayard Taylor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898.
Thou wilt unloose my chain,
And in thy lap wilt take me once again.
How comes it that thou dost not shrink from me?–
Say, dost thou know, my friend, whom thou mak’st free?
My mother have I put to death;
I’ve drowned the baby born to thee.
Was it not given to thee and me?
Thee, too!–‘Tis thou! It scarcely true doth seem–
Give me thy hand! ‘Tis not a dream!
Thy dear, dear hand!–But, ah, ’tis wet!
Why, wipe it off! Methinks that yet
There’s blood thereon.
Ah, God! what hast thou done?
Nay, sheathe thy sword!
Thou must outlive us.
Now I’ll tell thee the graves to give us:
Thou must begin to-morrow
The work of sorrow!
The best place give to my mother,
Then close at her side my brother,
And me a little away,
But not too very far, I pray!
And here, on my right breast, my baby lay!
Nobody else will lie beside me!–
Ah, within thine arms to hide me,
That was a sweet and a gracious bliss,
But no more, no more can I attain it!
I would force myself on thee and constrain it,
And it seems thou repellest my kiss:
And yet ’tis thou, so good, so kind to see!
If the grave is there,
Death lying in wait, then come!
From here to eternal rest:
No further step–no, no!
Thou goest away! O Henry, if I could go!
But I dare not: there’s no hope any more.
Why should I fly? They’ll still my steps waylay!
It is so wretched, forced to beg my living,
And a bad conscience sharper misery giving!
It is so wretched, to be strange, forsaken,
And I’d still be followed and taken!
Be quick! Be quick!
Save thy perishing child!
Away! Follow the ridge
Up by the brook,
Over the bridge,
Into the wood,
To the left, where the plank is placed
In the pool!
Seize it in haste!
‘Tis trying to rise,
‘Tis struggling still!
Save it! Save it!
No–let me go! I’ll suffer no force!
Grasp me not so murderously!
I’ve done, else, all things for the love of thee.
Yes, the day comes,–the last day breaks for me!
My wedding day it was to be!
Tell no one thou has been with Margaret!
Woe for my garland! The chances
Are over–’tis all in vain!
We shall meet once again,
But not at the dances!
The crowd is thronging, no word is spoken:
The square below
And the streets overflow:
The death-bell tolls, the wand is broken.
I am seized, and bound, and delivered–
Shoved to the block–they give the sign!
Now over each neck has quivered
The blade that is quivering over mine.
Dumb lies the world like the grave!