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Mr. Faust
by Arthur Davison Ficke
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THE MODERN DRAMA SERIES EDITED BY EDWIN BJOeRKMAN

MR. FAUST

BY

ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE

NEW YORK MITCHELL KENNERLEY MCMXIII

COPYRIGHT 1913 BY MITCHELL KENNERLEY

THE.PLIMPTON.PRESS NORWOOD.MASS.U.S.A



CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION vii

LIST OF PLAYS BY ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE x

MR. FAUST 1



The author gratefully acknowledges his debt for permission to reprint one of the lyrics herein, which appeared originally in "Poetry."



INTRODUCTION

Through all the work of Arthur Davison Ficke runs a note of bigness that compels attention even when one feels that he is still groping both for form and thought. In "Mr. Faust" this note has assumed commanding proportions, while at the same time the uncertainty manifest in some of the earlier work has almost wholly disappeared. Intellectually as well as artistically, this play shows a surprising maturity. It impresses me, for one, as the expression of a well-rounded and very profound philosophy of life—and this philosophy stands in logical and sympathetic relationship to what the western world to-day regards as its most advanced thought. The evolutionary conception of life is the foundation of that philosophy, which, however, has little or nothing in common with the materialistic and dogmatic evolutionism of the last century. The work sprung from that philosophy is full of the new sense of mystery, which makes the men of to-day realize that the one attitude leading nowhere is that of denial. Faith and doubt walk hand in hand, each one being to the other check and goad alike. And with this new freedom to believe as well as to question, man becomes once more the centre of his known universe. But there he stands, humbly proud, not as the arrogant master of a "dead" world, but merely as the foremost servant of a life-principle which asserts itself in the grain of sand as in the brain of man.

Yet "Mr. Faust" is by no means a philosophical or moral tract. It is, first of all and throughout, a living, breathing work of art, instinct with beauty and faithful in its every line to the principle laid down by its author in the preface to one of his earlier volumes: "Poetical imagination must fail altogether if it descends from its natural sphere and assumes work which is properly that of economic or political experience. Nor can it usefully urge its own peculiar intuitions as things of practical validity."

Mr. Ficke was born in 1883 at Davenport, Iowa, and there he is still living, although I understand that he has since then been wandering in so many other regions, physical and spiritual, that he can hardly call it his home. He graduated from Harvard in 1904 and spent the next travelling in all sorts of strange and poetic places—Japan, India, the Greek mountains, the Aegean Islands. Returning to the United States, he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1908. While studying, he taught English for a year at the University of Iowa, lecturing on the history of the Arthurian Legends.

He was a mere boy when he began to write, turning from the first to the metrical form of expression and remaining faithful to it in most of his subsequent efforts. His poems and essays have been printed in almost all the leading magazines. So far he has published five volumes of verse: "From the Isles," a series of lyrics of the Aegean Sea; "The Happy Princess," a romantic narrative poem; "The Earth Passion," a series of poems which may be characterized as the effort of a star-gazer to find satisfaction in the things of the earth; "The Breaking of Bonds," a Shelleyan drama of social unrest, where he has tried to formulate a hope for our final emergence from the maelstrom of class-conflict; and "Twelve Japanese Painters," a group of poems expressive of the peculiar and alluring charm of the great Japanese painters and their world of remote beauty.

EDWIN BJOeRKMAN.



LIST OF PLAYS BY ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE

THE BREAKING OF BONDS, 1910 MR. FAUST, 1913



MR. FAUST

INSCRIPTION

Pale Goethe, Marlowe, Lessing—calm your fears! None plots to steal your laurel wreaths away. Approach; take tickets: you shall witness here The unromantic Faustus of to-day—

A Faustus whom no mystic choirs sustain, No wizard fiends blind with prodigious spell. The mortal earth shall serve him as domain Whether he mount to Heaven or sink to Hell.

Yet, mount or sink, your lights around him shine. And there shall flow, bubbling with woe or mirth, From these new bottles your familiar wine, As ancient as man's rule upon the earth.



MR. FAUST

THE FIRST ACT

The scene is the library of John Faust, a large handsome room panelled in dark oak and lined with rows of books in open book-shelves. On the right is a carved white stone fireplace, with deep chairs before it. In the far left corner of the room, on a pedestal, stands a stiff bust of George Washington. Near it hangs a wonderful Titian portrait, a thing of another world. The furniture looks as if it were, and probably is, plunder from the palace of some prince of the Renaissance.

A fire is burning in the fireplace; it, and several shaded lights, make a subdued brilliancy in the room. Before the fire sits John Faust. Brander and Oldham, both in evening dress, lounge comfortably in chairs near Faust. All three are smoking, and tall highball glasses stand within their reach.

BRANDER

You are a thorn to me, a thorn in the flesh. Contagiously you bring to me mistrust Of all my landmarks, when, as here to-night, Out of the midst of every pleasant gift The world can offer you, you raise your voice In scoffing irony against each face, Form, action, motive, that together make Your life, and ours.

FAUST

Dear man, I did not mean To send my poor jokes burrowing like a mole Beneath your prized foundations.

BRANDER

Not alone Your attitude to-night; you always seem As if withholding from all days and deeds Moving around you—from our life and yours— Your full assent.

FAUST

Dear Brander! Is it true I am as bad as that? Well, though I were, Why should it trouble you? If you find sport In this strange game, this fevered interplay, This hodge-podge crazy-quilt which we are pleased To call our life—why, like it! And say: Damned Be all who are not with me!

BRANDER

Are not you?

FAUST

I claim the criminal's privilege, and decline To answer.

OLDHAM

Faust, might I presume so far As to suggest that I should like a drink Before you two start breaking furniture Over this matter?

FAUST

Certainly; I beg Your pardon; I neglected you.

(He busies himself with the glasses)

No, no, We won't wage combat over this. You're right, Doubtless, as usual, Brander. I have not Your fortunate placidity of mind, And I get grumpy.

Come, fill up your glass; And let us drink to the glories of the world. Down with the cynic!

BRANDER

Down with him, indeed! And may he cease to trouble you. The world Is pretty glorious when a man is young, As we are, and so many splendid choices Lie all around him. There have never been Such opportunities as now are spread Before us. Men are doing mighty things To-day. A critic tells me that last night Wullf at the opera sang "La ci darem" With an artistic brilliancy of tone That never has been heard on any stage Anywhere in the world. You moped at home, Doubtless; but it was wonderful, on my word.

OLDHAM

Whom did you go with?

BRANDER

Midge.

OLDHAM

Ah, Midge again! I thought so....

BRANDER

Well, I don't know why I shouldn't.

OLDHAM

Those rosy-toned remarks gave you away. Perhaps 'twas not "Don Juan" that last night Was at its best, but Midge. Where did you sit?

BRANDER

Up in the gallery.

OLDHAM

The top one?

BRANDER

Yes.

OLDHAM

Once more, I thought so. You and Midge would look Nice in a box! Yes, I will pay for one If you will take it.

BRANDER

Oh, leave me alone!

FAUST

Who is this "Midge" you speak of?

OLDHAM

Midge, dear Faust, Is short for Margaret; which, you may guess, Describes a lady of the female sex; Said person being serviceably employed As maid-of-all-work for some ancient dame In Brander's own apartment house. She has, Beside what other virtues I know not, A most bewitching ankle and a taste For opera. And dear Brander's kindly heart Is so moved by the sight of these combined, He sometimes sneaks, by lonely alley-ways, With his fair Midge, and in the gallery High out of sight of all of us enjoys Her and the opera.

FAUST

I did not know You had a lady-love.

BRANDER

It's hardly that! But she's a mighty jolly little thing.

FAUST

What sort of girl is she?

BRANDER

A mighty nice one! Full of all kinds of happiness; but shy. I'd like to see some rounder try to speak To her on Broadway. She looks like a lady!

FAUST

That is too bad.

BRANDER

Oh, pshaw! Don't lecture me; I'm not a saint; in fact, few of us are.

FAUST

Unfortunately not. I least of all. And yet I wonder if.... However, I Do not presume to lecture you. Remember One thing, though, as my friend. Your Midge has deeps Not pleasant under her if you let go.

BRANDER

Oh, I will not let go!... Not yet, at least.

OLDHAM

Faust really means it, strange as it may seem. Of late he has turned moralist.

FAUST

Not quite: But just a little tired of pursuits That end regretfully.

OLDHAM

Well, don't pursue....

BRANDER

(Goes to the window and raises the shade)

See, what a night it is! The stars are out As if a bucketful of them had spilled Across the sky. And here we sit like owls, Blinking and staring at a little fire When heaven is burning! I'm afraid it's time For me to leave this owlish parliament; And I shall probably knock holes in half The windows of the town as I walk home Star-gazingly. And here it's after twelve! I might have guessed it from the fatal fact That we'd begun to talk philosophy: No sane man ever does, except in hours When by all rights he should be sound asleep. Good night to both of you. And don't stay up Talking till morning.

OLDHAM

Well, good night.

FAUST

Good night, Brander, I'm sorry you must go: come in Quite soon again, and I will try to be Less disagreeable than I was to-night.

[Brander goes out.

OLDHAM

I'll bet he takes an arc-light for a star!

FAUST

He is warm-hearted; I am fond of him. But Midge!... However, one can say no more....

OLDHAM

He's a good fellow; but he tires me Sometimes.

FAUST

Dear boy, I envy him.

OLDHAM

Of course, And so do I; but I would not exchange Heads for a kingdom.

FAUST

Are you so fond, then, Of what's in yours?

OLDHAM

No, but at least I have A certain faint perception of the gilded And quite preposterous crudeness of our days— The sordid sickness of his life, and ours; And that is something to be thankful for.

FAUST

Gratitude is a graceful gift.

OLDHAM

Come, come! What snake has bitten you, that to your lips A poisoned irony so bitter springs To-night?

FAUST

I am revolving in my brain This serious question: whether 'tis not best That one turn humorist. The mind that seeks Holiness, finds it seldom; who pursues Beauty perhaps shall in a lengthened life Find it perfected only once or twice. But if one's quest were humor—what rich stores, What tropic jungles of it, lie to hand At every moment, everywhere one turns— What luscious meadows for the humorist!

OLDHAM

No—for the satirist! There is no humor In what you see and I see when we look On this crude world wherein our lives are spent— This sordid sphere where we are but spectators— This crass grim modern spectacle of lives Torn with consuming lust of one desire— Gold, gold, forever gold— Or do you find Humor in that?

FAUST

It might be found, perhaps: The joke's on someone!

OLDHAM

There's no joke in it! It is the waste, the pitiful waste of life! Men—slaves to gather gold—become then slaves Beneath its gathered weight. For this one hope, All finer longings perish at their birth. Men's eyes to-day envy no sage or seer Or conqueror except his triumphs be In this base sphere of commerce. The stars go out In factory smoke; the spirit wanes and pales In poisoned air of greed. It is an age Of traders and of tricksters; all the high And hounded malefactors of great wealth Differ from the masses, in their wealth, indeed; But in their malefaction, not at all. Your grocer and my butcher have at heart The selfsame aims as he to whom we pay Tribute for every pound of coal we burn. Their scope is narrower, but their act the same As his—against whose millions all the tongues Of little tricksters in each corner store Babble and rail and shriek!

FAUST

Almost you do Persuade me to turn humorist on the spot! Was ever, since Gargantua, such a vine Heavy with bursting clusters of the grape Of humor?

OLDHAM

Of corruption! You may laugh; But there's in all your laughter hardly more Mirth than in my upbraidings. Ah, I grow So weary of this low-horizoned scene, Our generation; I am always drawn In thought toward that great noon of human life When in the streets of Florence walked the powers And princes of the earth—Politian, Pico, Angelo, Leonardo, Botticelli— And a half-hundred more of starry-eyed Sons of the morning, in whose hearts the god Struggled unceasing. Ah, those lucent brains, Those bright imaginations, those keen souls, Arrowy toward each target where truth's gold Glimmered, or beauty's! Those were days indeed; We shall not look upon their like again.

FAUST

I am not sure.

OLDHAM

Then take my word for it!

FAUST

I am not sure; the lamentable fact To me seems otherwise. For I believe That this vile age of commerce and corruption Which you describe in very eloquent terms, Is still, upon the whole, the best that yet Has graced our earth. I think not more than you Am I in love with it; but, looking back, I fail to see a better, though I peer Into remote arboreal history.

OLDHAM

When I was six, my teachers taught me that. Why, one would think that you had never heard Of Greece or Italy!

FAUST

And what were they? Your Renaissance, despite its few bright gleams, Lies like a swamp of darkness, soaked in blood And agony: such tortures as we scarce Dream of to-day writhe through it; and the stench Of slaughtered cities and corrupted thrones— Yes, even the Papal throne—draw me not back With longing toward it. Rich that time might be If one were Michael Angelo; but how If one were peasant, or meek householder, When the Free Captains ravaged to and fro, And peoples were the merest pawns of kings Enslaved by mistresses? The more I look, The more evaporates that golden haze Which cloaks the past; the more I doubt if men Had ever in their breasts more lofty souls Than those we know. And I am glad to be A citizen of this material age.

OLDHAM

Congratulations!—tempered with surprise At finding you, beneath your lion's skin, So sweet an optimist—whose faith can find All's for the best; and the best, this great year Nineteen Thirteen.

FAUST

Hardly so strong as that.

OLDHAM

Yes, tell me that the golden age has come!

FAUST

I quarrel not with ages—but with man; Whose life such play and folly seems—for all Its sweat and agony—that laughter lies The sole escape from madness. I peruse The present and the past, only to find Mountains of human effort piled aloft Like the Egyptian Pyramids, and toward No end save folly....

All is foolishness! In Argolis, a woman, somewhat vain, Preferred a fop to her own rightful lord And ran away; and then for ten long years The might of Hellas on the Trojan plain Grappled in conflict such as had been mete To guard Olympus, and Scamander ran Red with heroic blood-drops. And they got The woman. And it all was foolishness!... That was your Golden Age. I hope you like it.

Foolishness!... Once a mariner set forth, With all the fires of heaven lit in his breast And godlike courage on his brow, to find New worlds beyond the unknown wastes of sea. He sailed; he found; he died in rusty chains: So that, to-day, the vermin of all climes May thither flock, and there renew the old Familiar toil toward utter foolishness....

Why all this labor unto vanity? Why all this straining toward an empty end?

OLDHAM

Ah, you forget what Beauty was to them! We are quite lost to that high touch to-day. Beauty hung over them, a star to draw Men's aspiration. That divides them quite From our debased modernity.

FAUST

Dear Oldham! My dear delightful visionary Oldham! What an adorer of the past you are!

OLDHAM

Yes, I adore it sacredly, and loathe To-day's whole content—except you! I loathe it So much that, if I had the dynamite, I'd blow it all—and you and me ourselves— Into a nebula of dust.... Ah, well, We hardly can decide these things to-night, Can we? I must be off, little as I like, To end our midnight talking.

FAUST

Oh, not yet!

OLDHAM

I must; this is not good for me: I fear To let myself dwell on these restless thoughts Which with a perilous longing sometimes make My actual days so bitter that despair Grips me in horror. And besides, I'm due To pick my brother up. I have, you see, The limousine to-night, and that entails Its obligations. Dear modernity! Whose Saviour is the limousine!... Good night!

FAUST

Good night. May all the Furies and the Gorgons Of Greece and Florence leave you in repose To dream to-night of white-limbed goddesses And painters like archangels!

OLDHAM

I deserve it! And yet I fear they will not be so kind.... Sleep is no friend to me these many nights. I do not know what wrong I can have done That so offends her she will none of me. One of these days, she will carry it too far....

[Oldham goes out. Faust turns out all but two of the lights; then seats himself wearily before the fire. The room is dark around his lighted figure.

FAUST

The play drags, and the players would begone, Out of this theatre of tinsel days And lights and tawdry glamour, out to face Even the blank of night, the icy stars, The vast abysses. What the gallery-gods Could give, they well have given; but deities Inscrutabler than they annul all gifts With one gift more—the restless mind that peers Past fame, friends, learning, fortune, to enquire: Whither? Whither? Whither? And no answer comes To the cold player's lips....

I see too much To make my peace with any ordered role And play it heartily. To-day's thin coin Pays not my labors; and to-morrow's hope Has never been authenticated to me By a fulfilling hour when I might say: "Lo, this is what I hoped!" The vision flies As I advance; while always far ahead Its glow makes dim the color of my days; And I loathe life because my hope is fairer, And know my hope a lie. Thus, Faust, my friend, You damn yourself ingeniously to hells Of rich variety....

The eyes of men Envy me as I pass them in the street— Me, whom sufficient fortune, moderate fame, Have made completely happy in their sight. Well, I am no barbarian: let them have The bliss of envying.... But I am sick With the hour's emptiness; and great desire Fills me for those high beauties which my dreams Yearn ever toward. I am weary; I would go Out to some golden sunset-lighted land Of silence.

I have been athirst of dreams! And all earth's common goals and gifts have been But fuel to flame. O strange and piteous heart! O credulous and visionary heart! Desirous of the infinite—from defeat Arising still to grope again for light And the high word of vision! And in vain! Till, not having found, its bitterness corrodes Inward—like one betrayed by his last god....

Strange, that my father was a worthy man! Perhaps 'tis his blood in me that withholds Unreasoning my hand from washing clear This scribbled slate with one quick tide of peace. Would more of him were in me! that like him I might spend eagerly a useful life In medicining miserable men Who were better dead—employ my force To aid a world within whose marrow dwells An evil none can cure, an agony Beyond our dearest aiding.

Ah, well, well! Such are the great men of this busy world, Whose ardor for the game is anodyne Against its buffets, and intoxicant To lend it reveller's meaning. Ardor given, All things are possible....

You, old marble-face, Who front me from the corner with that grave Virtuous Father-of-your-Country look, I pay you my respects; you are a light Of leading, as I see you now. Your soul Was never shaken by convulsive doubts Of life or man or liberty; you built Unsceptical of bricks, but such as lay To hand you took, nor did your purpose shake At prescient thought of how your edifice Might be turned pest-house some day. Undismayed By doubt, you rose, and in heroic mould Led—dauntless, patient, incorruptible— A riot over taxes. Not a star In all the vaults of heaven could trouble you With whisperings of more transcendent goals. O despicable, admirable man! How much I envy you—the devil take you!

[The bust of Washington and its pedestal move slightly; gradually they change and shape themselves into the figure of a well-dressed man, rather short and stocky, with a sociable, commonplace face. His head, however, is very peculiarly modelled; it reminds one, indescribably and faintly, of the fact that men sprang from beasts. The high position of the ears help this impression, as does also the astonishing animal brilliance of the eyes. Faust, passing his hand over his forehead, turns away.

FAUST

This is what comes of smoking far too much.

SATAN

Good evening, Mr. Faust.

FAUST

Well, I'll be damned!... And who, I beg, are you?

SATAN

I ask your pardon For thus appearing in a way unknown To strict convention. But I never set Great store by custom; and though nowadays I follow the proprieties, still I feel That one need not be slavish—

FAUST

Who are you? What are you talking of? How did you get here?

SATAN

I am, sir, Nicholas Satan, at your service.

FAUST

Nicholas Satan! Quite a name. Perhaps Some relative of the illustrious one?

SATAN

Himself.

FAUST Stop this cheap foolishness! Who are you? Or shall I ring for the police?

SATAN

I am Satan. If I appeared with colored fire And lightnings round me, you would doubt no more. But like your narrow and near-sighted age, You know me not in my own natural shape. Now let this end! Here is my proof. You once Summoned me to your aid, and, when I came, Weakly rejected me. You were a boy In college, and a woman blackmailed you— A low, crude matter. I had settled it Swiftly, if you had let me. We alone, We three, on Harvard Bridge—night—and beneath, A practicable river: ah, it was A child's task! But you faltered.... You recall, Possibly.

FAUST

I recall.... So you are he. I did not know you.

SATAN

Let's forget the past. We meet now under happier auspices.

FAUST

Incredible.

SATAN

No, quite an honest fact Am I.

FAUST

I hardly can persuade myself Whether to laugh or pull a solemn face At seeing you. It is preposterous! I thought that you were dead—a myth—a wraith.

SATAN

Dead? That is rich!

FAUST

Well ... don't you think yourself A slight anachronism?

SATAN

My young friend, I am no laughing matter. With the times I, too, have changed, and am as up-to-date As the Ritz-Carlton.

FAUST

But your horns and tail And pitchfork? Not a vestige do I see Of your famed look! You have no frightful glance; I cannot even so far flatter you As to say special badness makes your face Great and distinguished. If you're Prince of Hell, How villanously have the poets lied!

SATAN

They have lied, always, horribly, of me! I am not half so black as they allege. You know, exaggeration is to them What whiskey is to most men. But time bursts Their bubbles—or at least we come to take Their work as merely art. Thus their description As art is not so bad; but if you seek For truth, it's outright libel.

FAUST

I admit It has a certain perfectness of evil Lacking in you.

SATAN

Surely to-day we know That nothing is so wholly good or bad As our forefathers thought: not black and white, But gray, predominates. Well, I am gray, Possibly. I was never black; and age Has made me stouter, and with gentle warmth Ripened my virtues; and, even though I say it, You will not find me a bad sort to meet If you will but be fair, and put aside Your ancient and poetic prejudice.

FAUST

Well spoken! And well met! Come, have a drink. You are the most diverting visitor I've had in many a day. Bourbon or Scotch?

SATAN

A very little Scotch. That's plenty, thanks. It's very seldom those who summon me Would give, not take. And did you send for me Only to have a drink?

FAUST

I sent for you?

SATAN

Did you not summon me?

FAUST

Why, no—

SATAN

Ah, well! It's my mistake; wires get crossed sometimes. I hope I've not intruded.

FAUST

Not at all. Delighted to have met you.

SATAN

I regret That I have bothered you. I have enjoyed, However, your kind hospitality. To make amends to you, before I go, I should be glad to do you any service Within my power.

FAUST

I thank you; but I think That there is nothing in your special line That I have need of.

SATAN

Are you really, then, A man contented?

FAUST

I would hardly go As far as that!... I only meant to say My needs, my troubles, are not of such kind As you could remedy.

SATAN

Now, there again You take the poets' word for me—those low And scurvy fellows who lump all their spleen And call the mess my portrait! But in fact, I am more versatile, more broad, more kind Than they conceive. I venture to believe That I could aid you.

FAUST

All the fiends in Hell Lack devilry enough.

SATAN

If you would speak The symptoms of your trouble, I at least Could give you friendly counsel for your needs.... Oh, I am deeply learned!

FAUST

And besides, A most accomplished mocker!... My complaint Is quite beyond your counsel. Why, I tell you, I have examined, tried, experienced The passions and the aims of mortal life With the grave thoroughness and good intent That mark a doctor of philosophy Writing his thesis. And my careful search Of life has brought me one great verity: I do not like it! No, I do not like Anything in it: birth, death, all that lies Between—I find inadequate, incomplete, Offensive. So you see me sitting here, Instead of talking politics in the streets, Or weeping at the opera, or agog At a cotillon. For the savor's gone From these, as parts of an unsavored whole. I simply have, with reason and sound thought, Convinced myself that only fools attain Their hope on earth—in a fools' paradise That does not interest me.... Now, could you treat This case, good Mr. Satan?

SATAN

In my day, I have relieved far sicker men than you, My dear friend Faust. And yet I would not say Even for a moment that your case is not A grave one: not so much the case itself, As what might spring from it. In such a mood, Men sometimes have done mad and foolish things With consequences sad to view. Some minds, Reaching your state, and finding life a bane, Decide within themselves that naught can be Worse than the present world, and then set out To revolutionize, rend, whirl, uproot The world's foundations. And the mess they make Is pitiful to contemplate! Such sweet And beautiful souls as I have seen go wrong Along this path: Shelley—he had your eyes; And Christ—but I'll not talk theology. Besides, his churches almost have made good His personal havoc....

FAUST

That is not my line.

SATAN

No, no, you keep your head! Now let me see.... A temporary sedative you require To bridge the dangerous moment. I suggest A little course that old Saint Anthony, Epicure though he was, would grant as rare And finely chosen: careless days and nights— Delicious gayeties—the Bacchic bowl— Exquisite company from whom some two Or three, with golden or with auburn hair, A man of taste might choose to solace him In sunlight or in starlight—while the lure Of subtle secrets in those yielding breasts Spice the preceding revelries....

FAUST

Go tell That tale to college boys, whose lonely dreams Have shaped Iseult of Ireland, Helen of Troy, As end of heart's desire—and, lacking these, Clasp chorus-Aphrodites. But I know That from the topmost peak of ecstasy Falls a straight precipice; half-times the foot Misses the peak—but never mortal step Has missed the gulf beyond it. And I see Where, in night's gorgeous dome, to-morrow waits With cold insistence. Me you cannot lure With this poor opiate. And I beg of you Not needlessly to tax your mental powers By now suggesting the delights of drink: I know them; and they give me headaches.

SATAN

Ah, How crude you think me!

FAUST

No, I think you human. We all are that sometimes.

SATAN

You have not grasped All that I meant. I know the calfish joys Of the young freshman, suddenly let loose With chorus-girls for nursemaids, are not yours. I mean far subtler things: I mean the play Of the wise soul that sees the abyss of life— Sees the grim measure of the mortal doom— And over that dark gulf in reckless mirth Dances on rainbows, with delightful arms And bosoms close to his. That is a mood That always thrills me with a sense of large And splendid courage. If I did not think That it would bore you, I should like to make My meaning clear by reading a few lines That I once wrote when I myself was in Your very mood— Or would you care to hear My little poem?

FAUST

What! Is even the Devil A poet nowadays?

SATAN

Indeed he is: And not a bad one. Once I would have scorned The poets; but we moderns so surpass The ancients here that I am proud to write Some verses now and then. For we have learned That poetry, like all the other arts, Is pure technique: the mere ideas are nothing, The form is everything. That ennobles us And makes us artists. And as artist, I Am not contemptible, as you may see From this slight sample. With your leave, I'll read.

(Satan produces an enormous scrap-book of magazine-clippings, turns over the pages and at last begins to read)

A WATTEAU MELODY

Oh, let me take your lily hand, And where the secret star-beams shine Draw near, to see and understand Pierrot and Columbine.

Around the fountains, in the dew, Where afternoon melts into night, With gracious mirth their gracious crew Entice the shy birds of delight.

Of motley dress and masked face, Of sparkling unrevealing eyes, They track in gentle aimless chase The moment as it flies.

Their delicate beribboned rout, Gallant and fair, of light intent, Weaves through the shadows in and out With infinite artful merriment.

* * * * *

Dear lady of the lily hand— Do then our stars so clearly shine That we, who do not understand, May mock Pierrot and Columbine?

Beyond this garden-grove I see The wise, the noble, and the brave In ultimate futility Go down into the grave.

And all they dreamed and all they sought, Crumbled and ashen grown, departs; And is as if they had not wrought These works with blood from out their hearts.

The nations fall, the faiths decay, The great philosophies go by— And life lies bare, some bitter day, A charnel that affronts the sky.

The wise, the noble, and the brave— They saw and solved—as we must see And solve—the universal grave, The ultimate futility.

* * * * *

Look—where beside the garden-pool A Venus rises in the grove, More suave, more debonair, more cool Than ever burned with Paphian love.

'Twas here the delicate ribboned rout Of gallants and the fair ones went Among the shadows in and out With infinite artful merriment.

Then let me take your lily hand, And let us tread, where star-beams shine, A dance; and be, and understand Pierrot and Columbine.

FAUST

Splendid! Delightful!

SATAN

You are flattering me. How did you like it, really?

FAUST

Well, as art I think it splendid; as philosophy, I hardly praise it. 'Tis a mood that comes And has its will of us in its own hours— Yes, irresistibly. But past the hour Wait graver judges. I decline to be, As you suggest delightfully, a fly On the spoiled beer of life. Nor do I lean Toward your ingenious blending of despair, Satiety, and child's-play.

SATAN

Those who take This attitude, however, swiftly grow The darlings of existence—souls that sip Of every flower the nectar, and are bound Unto no laws or standards, but move free, Viewing all things as relative.... And yet Your special temperament may not prefer Nectar. Those lines of sternness round your mouth Convince me you are right; another cure Better befits you. And a mighty one I set before you, which has ever served As lodestar for all high and glorious minds, All kings of earth, all potentates of thought, All great achievers. Power I offer you— The one chief prize that all men have desired And shall desire forever.

FAUST

Now you grow Rather more interesting. What do you mean? A crown and sceptre and a thousand slaves To serve me?

SATAN

Do not jest. I offer you The one sole reservoir where power to-day Lies stored in sleeping cataracts. At noon Come with me into Wall Street; take your stand; Buy, sell, as I direct you; and one hour Shall make you richer than you ever dreamed In madness of desire. For three days more Come there each noon again; at end of these, If you have done my bidding, you shall be Master of the finances of the world, Despot of nations, unto whom the kings And captains of the earth shall kneel to crave Crumbs from the table. Then let pen and sword Forget their quarrel for supremacy; Since you can buy them both, or starve them both, Or cast them to the wilderness! Such power I offer as would make the pulses beat Even of a skeleton!

FAUST

But not a soul Grown sceptical of life. Power? Power? For what? And over what? And toward what? Not a power Over myself or pain or loneliness Or ignorance or evil; not a strength To bid the near-world cease, and in its place Instate my visions beautiful and pale, Nearer the heart's desire. No, you would give Power to direct the miseries of men, But not to stay them: power to hold the world As some cold robber-baron from his rocks Once held his little valley: power to sit In ultimate seclusion, and look down On streets and mines and workshops with the sense That I was fountain of the miseries Dark in them all. I thank you; but I think I should derive small sport from such a game. You see, I am not Satan.

SATAN

Well, you are A subtle one, a shrewd one! On my word, I hardly had suspected you so deep. What time I have been wasting! Mr. Faust, At last I know you for a prince of men— A brilliant mind, a high intelligence, A spirit incorruptible. The trash, Baubles and claptrap which the foolish herd Snatch at, you scoff—and rightly. I will not With one more word of it insult your mind That admirably penetrates to deeps Where I, too, love to dwell. I put aside All trivialities, and frankly say That I can offer you one ultimate gift Fit even for you—a subtle paradise Such as not Hercules mid Western Isles Found in the Garden of Hesperides. It is a paradise of secret peace, A glorious land of amaranthine bloom; Where happiness, having fled the world, now dwells In shining gladness. Guarded, deep, sublime With lights and shadows, lies it: there have hearts The weariest and the greatest of mankind Found perfect refuge and abiding-place For time and for eternity. To few Its gates are open: it I promise you If you but trust me!

FAUST

But why should I trust you? If history speaks true, you have deceived All who, since Eve, have put their faith in you. Further, your paradise could hardly have Joys in it worth the grasping, to my taste. So pardon me if frankly I admit I doubt your promise.

SATAN

Ah, you are wholly wrong! I am quite honest with you, now having learned Your true capacity.

FAUST

Perhaps, perhaps. And yet I must decline.

SATAN

You doubt me still. But I will prove my utter honesty Beyond contention. In my deepest soul, I know this paradise will serve your need; And to make plain to you my fair intent, I offer you a bargain whose clear terms Must drive your doubts away. I am prepared To pledge myself to be your abject slave And servant for all time if you yourself Do not acknowledge that my paradise Delights you wholly!

FAUST

Well! That is an offer!

SATAN

What could be fairer? You yourself shall judge; And you risk nothing. Ah, your look still doubts! You have in mind those libellous poets' tales Of bonds inscribed in blood which I exact In payment, and destroy men's souls! My friend, Have I yet asked you for a bond of blood? And if I ever do, I give you leave To wring my neck unceremoniously.

FAUST

Well, for the life of me, I cannot read you! Yet let me ask: why such an eager will To serve a man into whose rooms you came By chance to-night? Why give yourself such pains To furnish him a paradise?

SATAN

There is No mystery in that. I would ally You to myself.

FAUST

Thanks, I decline.

SATAN

You fail To understand me. For I ask not this As promise of you.

FAUST

What, then, do you mean? What do you count on? Whence do you expect Pay for your trouble and your risk—a risk Not trivial, I warn you?

SATAN

Let me make The matter clear to you. I know quite well The risk is nothing, since my paradise Will utterly delight you. Granting this, You see my profit: you will stay with me Willingly there forever, to my ends An interested assistant. I will serve Forth on my tables such delicious fare That you will freely choose to be my guest Through time and through eternity. I say: Fie for a bond written in scrawly blood! A bond of choice is better. Could a saint Speak fairer to you? I risk everything, And you risk nothing but a little time; And time, as you are placed, seems not so dear That you need hoard it.

FAUST

But your ends are—what?

SATAN

How can it matter now—if seeing them You shall approve them?

FAUST

Are you serious?

SATAN

My jests have other aspect.

FAUST

I accept. Your game is to my taste. For thirty years Have I made search through all the lands of earth, The realms of learning, and the tangled groves Of fancy, for some region which my soul Might with entire approval view; but none Has been vouchsafed me. If the Devil can In this surpass the world's established powers, Then I am his disciple willingly.... But if you fail, friend Satan!—I shall tie You to a cart's tail and exhibit you Like a dead whale throughout the country—or Make you curator of an orphanage!

SATAN

I shall not fail.

OLDHAM (enters)

I beg your pardon, Faust; I thought you'd be alone. My brother left, Not waiting for me; and, as I passed by, I saw your lights, and thought I would look in Just for a moment. I had things to say That are perhaps much better left unsaid. Good-bye, my dear friend. I will not disturb you. Good night again.

FAUST

Wait, Oldham; do not go. I have a visitor whose name you know, But not, perhaps, his person. Let me have The pleasure of presenting you. This is The Devil—Mr. Oldham.

OLDHAM

You are mad! What jest is this?

SATAN

I am indeed the Devil. Look in my eyes intently.... Shall I tell you Your thought, two minutes since?... Or what you hold Clutched now against your side?... Or where you go When you go hence to-night?...

OLDHAM

No!... I believe you.... Although it is incredible!...

FAUST

You come Just at the proper moment for good-bye, For I am going with him on a journey, And do not know how soon I shall return. If I return at all.

OLDHAM

A journey? Where?

SATAN

To paradise.

FAUST

He offers paradise That will suffice my wish, and gives himself As pledge of his success.

SATAN

Come, we must haste, For it is very far.

FAUST

To paradise!...

OLDHAM

To paradise.... Take me with you!

FAUST

My friend, It is not possible. I do foresee Some perils to whose touch I would subject None save myself.

OLDHAM

And what care I for them! Faust—on my word, when I climbed up your stair This second time, it was to say good-bye To you forever, being quite resolved To end my choking loneliness and loathing With a quick shot to-night. Take me, or I Shall carry out my purpose. What care I Whither you go, or what the perils be? I would go with you into Hell!

SATAN

We go To paradise. What is this Hell you name?

CURTAIN



THE SECOND ACT

The scene is the stone-paved courtyard of a ruined temple. In the centre lies a square pool, with wide rows of steps leading down to the water, now overgrown with lotus plants. Around the court rise long colonnades of pillars with grotesquely carven bases and capitals of luxuriant design. Beyond these appear green masses of dense tropical foliage, in which an occasional brilliant flower shines.

Faust, Satan and Oldham, all wearing white tropical dress and sun-helmets, are seated on fragments of fallen columns in front of the pool. Luncheon is spread before them. Oldham is lighting a cigarette; Faust is just finishing his meal; Satan is leaning back, contemplating the surrounding jungle. Two dark-skinned servants, wearing white robes and turbans, are beginning to bear away the repast.

OLDHAM

One's blood beats fuller in these tropic lands. Last night, as we were dining, where the beach With its plumed palm-trees sloped to meet the sea, And the white foam along the glassy waves Played in the evening light—I half believe I could have written love-songs. But to whom— That were a problem!

FAUST

Yes, one's brain is lit With fire beneath this sun. At night, the glow Is magical; but at this height of day, When all the branches and the flowers and rocks And the far glimmering rivers shake and writhe In the fierce blaze, I feel a hideous touch Of madness in it.

SATAN

Keep you to the shade! This is the pinnacle, the very noon Of summer in these lands. One hour of sun Unshaded—and poor Oldham and poor I Might have a maniac or a corpse as guest.

OLDHAM

I am not sure that I would help you with him. I might be elsewhere occupied. Last night I entertained myself with imaging A project which, if I adopted it, Would preengage me.

SATAN

With a single guess, I'll tell you what it was.

OLDHAM

I give you twenty.

SATAN

You thought perhaps it would be nice to be The white bull we saw yesterday, and eat Without reproof from every vender's stall Throughout the whole bazar; and you intend Thus to disguise yourself, and try the sport.

OLDHAM

You hit it nearer than I thought you would! 'Twas something like that. I was wondering If, in this marvellous and lazy clime, It were not possible for one to take Twenty young beauties and a hundred slaves— Retire to some secluded isle of palms— And live without a thought, a wish, a hope, Drugged with the warmth, the languor and the light.

FAUST

Possible?—For a rabbit! Not for you.

SATAN

I am afraid you'd find it wearisome. Some like it; but not your kind.

FAUST

In this heat Even he grows crazy; and we, Satan, turn Unsympathetic creatures. Whew, this blaze Is getting worse! Can't we move on?

SATAN

We go No farther.

FAUST

Lovely residence!

SATAN

It is here That our long journey terminates, my friends. Upon this spot I trust, if all goes well, To give your long tried patience recompense.

FAUST

Recompense? I am sceptical of it! But we deserve this. None but idiots Would have come with you to this boiling land On a wild-goose chase; on each step of which One gets a fleeting panoramic view Of kinds of misery one did not guess Existed in the world. Those lepers, beggars, Cripples, fanatics, reptiles—all the swarms Of loathsome creatures we have passed—will haunt My dreams forever with new vivid masks Of nightmare. Recompense? There isn't any!

SATAN

Await the event. You shall have recompense.

OLDHAM

Satan, what is your meaning? What event Do you await here? You have been to us, Through our long journey, secretive and close Of all your purposes—from day to day Giving no hint of your to-morrow's plan Nor of our destination. Now, I think, Silence is not a virtue. Have we come In fact to our last halt?

SATAN

This is the spot Toward which our course unswervingly has aimed Since the first day. This vast and ruined shrine, Built in forgotten times to unknown gods, And now in timeless solitude enfolded, Has long been known to me. Here, in retreat From the world's noises, dwells a holy man, A wonder-worker of unfathomed power, Now long forgotten by the troubled world Except me only. 'Tis his aged hand Shall open to you those celestial gates We come to enter.

FAUST

Ah, a wonder-worker! Perhaps he will perform the mango trick, Or the rope-climbing, or the boy-in-the-basket? The jugglers here have been below report One hears of them.

SATAN

Put by your idle sneers. He is a prophet and a saint whose like The world can offer not. Upon his face You shall behold such utter holiness, Such sublimate devotion as shall shake Your hearts' foundations.

FAUST

Well, I can endure The meeting if he can.

OLDHAM

Satan, you choose Sometimes strange company. You often speak Of friendship with such men of holiness As much surprises me.

SATAN

If you were but A little wiser, you would understand That I have taught them much, at various times, That is of profit to them.

FAUST

Pray teach me A little something also.

SATAN

No, you think You know too much already.... Furthermore, You do not trust me; and I will not teach One who keeps restlessly, the whole day long, His eyes upon me, as though fearful I Were waiting to spring on him unawares!

FAUST

Oh, you exaggerate.

OLDHAM

Look through yonder palms! Someone is coming.

SATAN He sees us! It is he!

[Through the colonnade along the far side of the courtyard, there enters the Holy One, an aged man of venerable and sublime appearance, clad in a simple white robe. In his hand is a large copper bowl, which he carries with some care.

SATAN

He brings a bowl of water from the spring— The very bowl I gave him!

OLDHAM

What a face! What light, what soundless calm!

FAUST

He is, indeed, One of the ancient prophets....

SATAN

Holy One! Satan salutes you!

THE HOLY ONE

Satan—come again After so long? A little longer—then No carcass of illusion here shall wait To greet you.

SATAN

In the greatness of the sea All waves find home....

THE HOLY ONE

Yea, verily; and the deep Lies not far off. I am drawn nearer it Since last you came: I see its floods more clear, It laves me daily.... But what brings you back To my deserted dwelling from the press Where you are ever going to and fro Upon the earth?

SATAN

I came to seek for you, Whose feet are on the path of blessedness.

THE HOLY ONE

Ah, has illusion rent itself in twain For your sight also?

SATAN

Ask me not. I come Not on my mission, but on theirs....

THE HOLY ONE

On theirs! And who are your companions?

SATAN

Friends, who seek What you have found.

THE HOLY ONE

They have not in their eyes Wholly the look of Seekers. Passion lurks Along their ruddy lips.... And yet, who knows?

FAUST

I offer you our greetings, reverend sir. A long way have we come to meet with you, By Satan led.

THE HOLY ONE

And what would you with me?

FAUST

Paradise! Paradise!

THE HOLY ONE

Too hotly spoken! Go, get you to the dancers of Tanjore.... Paradise!

OLDHAM

You belie us, Faust. Let me Have speech with him.

Most Holy One, we come, From lands far off, beyond remotest seas Of sunset. There, in midst of toil and stress And clamor, have we dwelt, till weariness Of all life's gifts impelled us to go forth To seek if anywhere a region lay Where happiness still dwelt. To you we turn As unto one upon whose face is set The seal of peace such as we dreamed not of.

SATAN

They seek the Way, the Way, most Holy One.

THE HOLY ONE

The Blessed Eightfold Way lies free to all. I cannot ope it to them. Peace, joy, bliss, Supernal glory is it to those souls Who have put by the follies of their birth And sought its refuge. But though now I stand With lighted heart upon its blissful path, I can stretch out no hand to grasp their hands And draw them toward it.

SATAN

Yet the Blessed One, In Gaya first enlightened, far and wide Taught men the Way....

THE HOLY ONE

Aye, verily.... Some mood Of evil in my heart has closed my mouth And darkened thus my eyesight. But 'tis gone.... Brethren, have comfort on my frugal stones. Ask me all ye desire.

SATAN

Most Holy One, These are my friends; I bring them in sore need Unto your wisdom. For methinks they stand Now at the cross-roads where the choice is made Of truth or vanity. I beg you, tell Unto their ears how, in your day, you came To that dark crossing.

THE HOLY ONE

I would do your will In this, and in all other services, My brethren.

You must know that in my youth I was a lusty noble of the realm Of Jeypore; and the falcon and the sword And the nautch-dancers and the palace-girls Were mine to love and master like a lord. Lordlike I lived; the caskets of the day And of the night I crowded with bright jewels Of love and joy and laughter. No desire Panted unslaked an instant at my doors— Nay, feasts were spread for it. And poor men gazed On me with envy, muttering from their dust: "Behold, the Heavens' darling."...

OLDHAM

Other lands Know the same tale.

THE HOLY ONE

Aye, aye, all lands. And then One night, alone in mine own garden walls, Beneath the piercing stars, I gathered my life Into my hands, and looked at it, and far Beyond it at all other mortal lives; And dust fell from mine eyelids....

For I saw Birth and desire, satiety and pain, Recurrent yearning that is never stilled, Agony, death, rebirth in other forms, And agony, and desire, and agony. But nowhere saw I happiness or peace Or rest from cravings that like vultures tear The fibres of the heart.

Then wandered I Forth from my palaces in utter pain, Seeing the world as dust and vanity, A desert of despair, a raging sea Of torment....

SATAN

Now why stops the Holy One?

THE HOLY ONE

It wearies me to speak, and to recall Those perished years.... Give me to drink.

OLDHAM

He speaks Out of familiar deeps. Seas sunder us, But the same stars have cast their ghostly rays Into our bosoms.

FAUST

And those cloudless eyes Have seen what we have seen!

THE HOLY ONE

I am refreshed.... Thus long ago, in my most desolate hour, I was refreshed by draughts from the deep springs Of light. Beneath a pipal tree I sat In lost despair; and thither to me came A pilgrim; and he glanced into mine eyes With sight that read the sickness of my soul, And sat beside me, and in measured words Like far-off song told me this parable:

The Buddha came to where the sea Curled silver-white upon the land, And murmurs of infinity Breathed on the sand.

And there lay shells like rosy foam Borne from the caverns of the deep, Frail playthings drifted from the home Of timeless, tideless sleep.

And on the sand a Fisher stood, Drying his nets that late had seen The silent caverns of the flood And all the wastes between.

The Fisher lingered in his place With countenance of mild surprise, And looked upon the Buddha's face With dumb, uncomprehending eyes.

And Buddha spake: "Thy nets are drawn, Thy boat rocks idle on the sea, Thy day turns westward, and is gone.... Come thou with me."

The Fisher marvelled: "I must toil With nets and shells among the caves, To win the sea's unwilling spoil From the harsh waves."

And Buddha answered: "Cast no more Thy nets upon the troubled sea, Nor gather shells along the shore. Come thou with me.

"Thou drawest shells and curious flowers From out the blue untrodden caves. Thou seest the passing of the hours. Thou hearest the clamor of the waves.

"Thou openest the shell where lies The pearl more white than driven spray— And trackless past thy vision flies Each passing day.

"But I will teach thee not to stir The shell nor flower in its sleep. For thou shalt roam the sepulchre That chasms all their native deep.

"And vain desire, like terror grown Deep in the chambers of thy breast, Shall be from thee forever flown, And thou shalt rest.

"No search for pearls shall blind thy thought, Nor waves, with clamorous harmonies. But in the silence where is naught Thou shalt behold the One that is.

"And where the days now speed like foam Across thy vision, there shall be For thee a vast eternal home— An Infinite Sea."

The Fisher looked on Buddha dumb— Looked deep into that tender gaze— Those eyes within whose depths had come And gone the sorrows of all days.

He looked uncomprehendingly, And wearily he shook his head; And turned once more to drag the sea, Knowing not what the Buddha said.

FAUST

The cup again! The Holy One is faint.

OLDHAM

He speaks a miracle!...

THE HOLY ONE

And then I knew That pilgrim as a saint, whose lips revealed The glory of the Buddha. I beheld My life one poisoned network of desire And fleshly longing and pain-sowing hope— The evil self seeking its happiness And shaping horror. And I cast away Myself, and cried: What am I but a dream, A wave within the sea, a passing cloud Upon the radiance of eternity? All yearning will I slay, and slay therewith The sorrow that succeeds it!...

So the lust Of life passed from me; so the narrow I Merged in the infinite, from hope set free— Heritor of Nirvana's holy calm, Wherein the voices of the heart's unrest Are stifled, and the soul expands to clasp Joy, nothingness, eternity and peace.

FAUST

Peace.... Peace.... Like bells from upland monasteries You speak the word that summons us. But where In peace is room for all once-towering hopes— Nay, even for the wrecked and prostrate monoliths That mark those fallen pylons?

THE HOLY ONE

Let the earth, Ravenous of her young, these too devour, And dust and nothingness engulf their shapes— Vain burdens, bitter monuments.

FAUST

And where Shall I find deeps wherein without a sound I can extinguish my wild will that leaps Flamelike to meet the stars?

THE HOLY ONE

In that deep sea Hid in thy breast. Seek thou that tide of calm, For it lies there awaiting.

FAUST

Can it be That life's whole burden may be cast aside And named as nothing, and its memory Perish forever? In the summer nights, Comes there no stealing ecstasy to stir The old forgotten longings?

THE HOLY ONE

In the night And in the day, one ecstasy abides Ceaselessly with the heart that has put off Desire—one ecstasy of final calm. All other voices seem harsh clamorings.

OLDHAM

Ah, Holy One, lead me thy way of peace! For I am weary of my heart's vain wars. My life is as a desert, where desire Corrodes me ceaselessly. Instruct my soul To follow thee home to the gulfs of rest! That, in renouncement of this bitter will, It find at last deliverance it has sought.

THE HOLY ONE

My son, thou hast spoken; thou shalt come in time To that abode. The Buddha's light shall guide Both thee and me, poor seekers. Bide with me; And what I know, that shalt thou freely know, And my peace shall be thy peace....

SATAN

Faust, the gates Admit one form already.

FAUST

Ah, the gates Are pearl and silver.... Would that there were space Within them for such fevered heart as mine— That with the restlessness of stormy winds Beats on its barriers!

THE HOLY ONE

There is room for all Whose souls renounce the world and life and hope To gain that soundless silence.

OLDHAM

Faust, I feel, Transfused with light and glory, that deep peace Awaiting. There shall perish like a flame The passions which have seared my tortured soul All my life long. They die; and nothingness Like a cool flood sweeps over me. Ah, come Where never storm shall smite!

FAUST

I see the gates; I see the cool breast of the silvery flood Of refuge and oblivion.... Fare you well, Oldham, and light go with you! For I go, Alas, not with you....

OLDHAM

Faust, Faust, turn not back! I, who am casting all desires in dust, To one desire still cling: I long that joy Of such deliverance fill you as fills me On this first step of the sublime ascent.

FAUST

I see the light that waits you on the peak; And my heart follows you. But my stern soul Plucks me yet back with cold insistency I cannot master.... Go! If I could pray, My prayers should follow you. My visions shall; My love shall fold you. But I cannot come Where you shall go; I cannot cast aside All that I surely know—this pitiful And shattered mortal life, with its strange gleams And shadows—and embrace the icy void Where Being trembles on the final verge. To bid life cease—but linger as the moon Lingers in heaven—ah, that is horrible Beyond life's proper horrors!... Were my pain A single atom greater—were my soul A single breath more weary—I would come. But now I must confront the winds of heaven Still master of my destinies.... To the last, Not in such tomb-world can my spirit rest. No golden clouds that throng Nirvana's gates Shall tempt me there to enter and resign My right to strain beyond all gates that be.... But you I cannot counsel....

OLDHAM

Me the peace Already laps with wavelets of the flood.

FAUST

The flood is sundering us.

OLDHAM

Farewell, farewell, Beloved friend. I with the Holy One Henceforth am linked; and grief shall follow me In what should be your footsteps.

FAUST

Have no grief. In the vast deeps of life's salt bitter sea Perhaps awaits my anodyne, to heal Life's wounds....

OLDHAM

Farewell! I go to paradise.

[Oldham and the Holy One move slowly away together, pass through the colonnades, and disappear into the forest. Faust follows with his eyes their retreating figures.

SATAN

You do not know a paradise when you see it! Some day, when I have time, I'll start a school To give instruction to great minds like you— Debutant!

FAUST

Ah, I had forgotten you.... Two men are worth a thousand devils still.

SATAN

I overrated you. Now get you gone Before I call the savagery that sleeps Here in the jungle to annihilate you For your unparalleled stupidity.

FAUST

Stupidity or no, I have one word Still to say to you, my malicious friend: To heel!

SATAN

What!

FAUST

Aye, to heel, I say! Crouch down And follow me, my hound and servitor From this hour forth!

SATAN

You have grown very witty. Your wit, however, does not please me.

FAUST

Please you! There are few things that I desire less. To heel!

SATAN

What fiends possess you? Ah, I see! You are still thinking of that wager made, That jest of ours.

FAUST

I am still thinking of it.

SATAN

You do not mean that now you wish to claim That forfeit seriously?

FAUST

I mean quite that.

SATAN

What an amazing man you really are! For your own sake, I tried to offer you A splendid paradise; I brought you here At infinite cost and trouble; you have had An hour of insight and experience New and instructive to you; your best friend Has found eternal bliss: and now you turn, And just because your uttermost crazy whim Is not quite satisfied with what he grasped Thankfully, you revert, with sorry taste, To my old careless generous remarks. I do not think your friends at home would call it A sporting attitude.

FAUST

The jungle shakes— Do you not hear it?—with the stifled, choked Laughter of leopards, elephants, hyenas, Rhinoceroses, apes, pythons, and tigers, Who hear you and are overcome with mirth.... I also laugh with them.

SATAN

Magnanimous Your laughter sounds! True, you have beaten me, And I am at your mercy. By some whim, Trick, technicality, your mind rejects A noble paradise; and to my pledge You therefore are entitled. And I stand Ready to pay it.

FAUST

Ah, at last we have Acknowledgment of it! Frankness is good Even for the Devil, Satan.

SATAN

I have been Frank with you always. And, if to your taste, I will be franker still. Your stake is won; You have your triumph: but does it quite fill The chambers of your heart? Will it suffice In place of that bright paradise you dreamed Might be your gain as loser? Ah, my friend, In copper you have won, but lost in gold! And victory will not requite for that Your empty treasury.

FAUST

Not empty quite; You are too modest.

SATAN

Oh, if you choose, my pledge Shall be fulfilled, and I will be your dog— Snarling a little, sometimes—snapping at Your friends and furniture and lady-loves— But yet your dog. However, I can do Better for you than that....

FAUST

Enough! Enough!

SATAN

But hear me! You'll admit, a feather's weight, A hair's breadth only held you from the gates That Oldham entered. Almost they sufficed Your spirit; yes, a moth's wing could have blown You toward them! 'Twas so nearly I fulfilled All that I promised. Therefore when I speak, You will, for justice's sake, concede I am No absolute bungler, no coarse-palated Plebeian, as to paradises.

FAUST

No. I will admit that.

SATAN

Good! Now, I would make One final offer to you.

Faust, I know In other regions, beneath other skies, One haven more, the only one of earth That can be judged in glory to surpass This paradise you entered not. My faith Is absolute that it is to your need Utterly moulded. Like your heart itself, Its halls are structured, destinate for you As perfect refuge. And I say to you: Give me the leave, and I will lead you there For one supreme and ultimate trial of choice That has no doubtful outcome. And my pledge Shall still be valid! If this refuge gives Not all that you desire, you still may claim My service as your slave. Thus do you risk No atom, but have gain of one last chance To win the paradise you hunger for!

FAUST

A pleasing logic; but I do not trust The mind behind it.

SATAN

Trust it, or distrust— What matter?—when the issue is so plain!

FAUST

Away! Away!

SATAN

Well, if this hope is vain To urge you, let despair serve in its stead As roweled spur. For see where now you stand: The mock of destiny—the man who lost All joys of the bright many that the world Cherishes! Aye, and even lost his friend, His one deep lasting friend—and stood thereafter Fixed like a donkey.... Though I led you on From paradise to paradise, and none Sufficed you—that were surely better sport— Testing and trying with sublime contempt— Than finger-twirling! But not thus I lead. For now you shall, you shall have paradise!

FAUST

Deep in my soul, there is a sense that loathes Pacts with the Devil. Yet the sanctioned powers Established in the world have proved them void And ignorant of paradise.... Where lies it?

SATAN

Follow, and I will lead.

FAUST

A long path?

SATAN

Yes.

FAUST

On! But your bondage waits you at the end.

SATAN

Ah, jester, jester!... Come—give me your hand!

CURTAIN



THE THIRD ACT

_The scene is the nave of a great cathedral. Two rows of many-shafted columns stretch back to where, in the far background, rises the elaborate magnificence of the High Altar.

The nave is empty, except for an occasional figure moving at the far end of the long central aisle, and an occasional attendant in sacerdotal robes making ready the Altar.

Faust, entering from the right, and Satan, entering from the left, meet in the foreground. Satan is dressed in the dark robes of a priest._

FAUST

I care not for your masquerade attire; But let that pass.... Well, I have kept your hour. And this perhaps is not unfitting place To make confession that you weary me A little. In this running to and fro Over the earth, my inclination tires Of your companionship. I am resolved, If three days' time brings forth no new event, To end this, and reclaim you to obey My will.

SATAN

I am content; three days will serve.

FAUST

Good! Meanwhile, 'tis at least some recompense That we return from airy Eastern domes Glittering in blank sunlight, unto lands Where men erect their temples to the gods In forms whose light and shadow, stress and play Of arch and buttress, satisfies my blood Better than does barbaric loveliness. The dome that poises its clear perfect curves Rising above the palm-trees, with the look As of a winged bubble lightly resting On needless masonry—that symbolled form Of heavenly perfection never fills My heart as do these knotted buttresses And writhing ribs and vaults that strain in fight— And are victorious, as they raise to heaven The climbing spires of such an edifice.

SATAN

Quite right—but if you'll let me interrupt— There is a woman yonder who, I think, Is waiting for a chance to speak to you. She looks at you, and hesitates, and turns— As though a little fearful to approach So great a person.

FAUST

Where is she? I see. I wonder if I know her.

SATAN

She is coming.

[A young woman, hardly more than a girl, comes from between the pillars and approaches Faust. Satan withdraws a little as she approaches.

THE WOMAN

I did not want to interrupt your talk; But, Mr. Faust, I wished so much to speak To you. You do not know me?

FAUST

Why, it seems...

THE WOMAN

Of course you do not; why should you remember? But I have seen your face so many times When you perhaps not noticed me at all, That I feel half-acquainted. Mr. Brander Speaks of you, too, so much that I have grown To think I know you.

FAUST

Ah; yes, Brander....

THE WOMAN

Still I have not told you who I am, and you Do not yet know me. I am Mrs. Brander.

FAUST

What! Mrs. Brander! Ah, delighted ... yes....

THE WOMAN

You had not heard that we were married?

FAUST

No. Of course, I am astounded; it's delightful— And most surprising.

THE WOMAN

It was very sudden— While you were gone.

FAUST

I see. Yes, I'm surprised And charmed. It's strange, at first I could not bring You to my memory.

THE WOMAN

I don't believe That you can yet!

FAUST

Why....

THE WOMAN

I don't wonder at it. I used to whisk about and peer at you As you came in....

FAUST

Are you then ... then are you ... Midge?

MIDGE

Yes! exactly.

FAUST

This is very charming. Now I remember perfectly, of course, Dear Mrs. Brander! I shall hope to see Brander himself to-morrow. Give him, please, My warmest wishes.

MIDGE

We shall hope to see you In our apartment soon. It's very tiny And in a quite unfashionable street; But it looks out across a bit of park To westward, as I've always hoped it would. Some days the sunset lights are lovely there. You must come look at them.

FAUST

Thank you—indeed I shall be very glad to!

MIDGE

And I know— How shall I say it?—that you'll think me strange, And that I cannot ever be your friend As Mr. Brander is. I know so little—

FAUST

Dear Mrs. Brander!

MIDGE

But I am so eager That you should give me just a little trial— I want so much to know you, and so much He should not lose you....

FAUST

Why, you make me feel Quite like a monster!

MIDGE

Then you'll come?

FAUST

I'll come!

MIDGE

Good-bye—and don't forget me.

[Midge gives him her hand, and moves away smiling.

FAUST Well, of all Impossible, grotesque, outrageous tricks That Brander could have played upon himself! Married—the fool, the fool!—And yet she is Curiously sweet and fresh, that kitchen-maid.

SATAN

Are you quite through?

FAUST Quite, thank you.... It is strange.... But I forget; you are not interested. What is it you would say now?

SATAN

I have things Graver to speak of than admiring ladies Or Gothic architecture. Here, to-day, Unto your doubting eyes there shall be made A revelation of profounder scope Than aught that life has brought you.

FAUST

The hour strikes Tardily; I am wearier than I was When on this trial we entered.

SATAN

You have looked Askance at me these many days, perplexed To reconcile the fountains of my will With my strange acts, and with the dark report That you have heard concerning me. Dear friend, Be you not angry, now I say to you In full confession, that from day to day I have deceived you: I have hid my face Even from my friend: I have with doubtful mask In alien guises tempted you, to try Your metal. But the hour of trial is past; The event is sure; and now I ope my heart And show to you what few of living men Have guessed—my final secret.

FAUST

Play no tricks. Before me, Satan; try no mumming game. If you speak truth, let riddles cloak it not.

SATAN

Listen, and be truth's judge. I am not such As men esteem me; and my spirit's springs Rise not from buried and infernal realms, But like your own, out of the fount of God They have their being. I, though lowliest far, Yet am a servant of the House of God— Deputed to mine office by His hand, And on His mission.

FAUST

You are trifling with me.

SATAN

I speak the gospel of the living God.

FAUST

Are you not Lord of Evil? God doubtless asks That service of you?

SATAN

God is infinite, Likewise His wisdom. His omniscience wills That I go forth among the haunts of men And offer evil to their touch. Thereby, Some spurn me—and the force whereby they spurn Lifts them up nearer to His arms. Some take The sin I offer, fall from grace, go down— And lost in fathomless gulfs of wickedness, Cry out with utter yearning to His love That it may save them, and repentant turn Their prodigal faces toward His doors again, Never to wander more. But some few souls, Who neither spurn temptation nor repent After their fall—these unregenerate It is mine office wholly to destroy And cleanse the universe for the praise of God. Thus does all evil serve His mighty throne, And all return to Him.

FAUST

I have no power To take the measure of the words you speak. Why tell me such things?

SATAN

I would tell you all And show to you at last your destiny. The vanities of the world, the woes and sins, Are but the acid by whose fiery touch I sort the gold from out the transient brass And purify and fine it that it be Worthy God's altar. My beloved friend, Such was your trial; thus have I tempted you With things averse to God, with forms and faiths Outcast and separate from Him. You have seen The whole world's vanities; you have come to know That in this world's illusion is no power Whose love is refuge: even the living death Of cold Nirvana frights you. Thus at last, Knowing that you are powerless, and the world Bare of salvation for your feebleness, You stand on this great threshold; and your eyes That see despair and loneliness shall raise Their sight to heaven; and peace shall fold you round; And God, who is our Father, shall be yours.

FAUST

This is not truth! My fevered eyes are weak To look into this glowing maze of fire With vision. All the ramparts of the world Reel round me. I have scoffed God all my days, Believing pain—your province of the world— Proof of His non-existence. And you come Crying His glory, testifying His faith, Exhorting me to seek Him.... I am lost Where naught is known to me.

SATAN

He is your hope, Your sole salvation in a universe Where never other form shall comfort you— A waif except for Him. So have all souls— The holy and the pure—from age to age, Learned, homesick for His home. Their frustrate hopes, Their burdens heavier than by mortal strength Can be sustained, their impotence, bow down Each spirit: and it cries: "O God, support My helplessness; unto Thy perfect will Do I resign my vain and evil hopes, My burdens; and Thy Will Be Done Forever." Thus, with arms folded on despairing breast, With head bowed to the inscrutable decree, They seek Him: and a sudden glory fills The humbled bosom; all His stars and thrones Shine down upon it; all His majesty Enters that lowly door, lifts up, sustains The sundered soul; and His beneficence With more than father-love enfolds the heart Joined to His own forever. From His light Reflected radiance pours; to the dark sight Comes glimpse of the high justice of God's will; And all roads lead to Heaven, and all hearts lie Within His love, and all's well with the world.

[_Deep organ music begins to roll through the arches of the cathedral. Candles are lighted one by one on the High Altar. Worshippers begin to enter the nave: they pass down the long central aisle and gather in groups at the far end, near the Altar. Faust stands leaning against a pillar, silent and lost in meditation.

Brander enters among the worshippers. He passes the spot where Faust is standing, glances at him and stops, astonished._

BRANDER

You have come back! I had not heard of it. Where have you been these many months? I long To talk with you.

FAUST

Yes, come and see me soon. It's a long story.... I congratulate you Upon your marriage....

BRANDER

Then you know....

FAUST

She came And spoke to me a little while ago.

BRANDER

It must seem strange to you beyond my power Ever to quite unravel. But for me All things are clear; and to my blinded sight Morning has come—in this thing, as in all The doubts that once enslaved me.

FAUST

Do you mean...

BRANDER

Come here aside before the service starts. I owe it you to tell you. I have changed In your long absence....

FAUST

These are curious words. I do not understand.

BRANDER

To understand, You must hear all. You know my life—how vain Its occupations, how absorbed I moved In this day's folly and to-morrow's lure— How petty trifles made my whole small round Of being—selfish trifles, nothing worth, Stained with a cruelty that I would forget. That night we talked together—you and I And Oldham—in your rooms, I wandered home Sorely distressed. For you had stirred in me A gnawing doubt whether the whole of life Was not mere child's play.

FAUST

I am sorry if—

BRANDER

It was the kindest act man ever did In all my life! I peered into my heart: I saw myself Judas to innocence, Betraying lightly with a careless kiss A mortal body and immortal soul; I saw no thing in all my days to claim A sane man's approbation; one by one Each glittering bauble that I late had loved Crumbled to dust beneath the parching fire Of reason.... And that night, I walked in Hell.

FAUST

Poor Brander! And my mocking did all this?

BRANDER

Thank God for it! That night I saw my joys Like some rank thicket of bright vanities Masking a precipice. A sense of sin And loathing overcame me, and the power Of utter terror filled me. I beheld The evil riot of gross earthy things That had o'ergrown me. Like a burden lay That sense upon me, and it pressed me down To a despondence deep beyond all words, Beyond all thought. And no escape I saw Except the bullet....

FAUST

What a faith we pin Upon that bullet!

BRANDER

Thus the doubtful days Passed like a nightmare. Till, one Sabbath morn, As restlessly I paced, some random mood Led me to enter this cathedral's doors At hour of service. As I knelt, with lips Unknown to prayer, the mighty music rolled Over my heart like an all-purging flood, And a voice chanted: "He that loveth life Shall lose it; he that hateth this world's life Shall keep the life eternal." And a voice Shortly thereafter sang, in angel tones: "Come, let our feet return unto the Lord; For He hath torn, and He will heal us." And My soul cried: "Yield thy burdens to the Lord, Upon His love cast thine unworthy self, And bid His Will Be Done."

And then my soul Melted as in the warmth of His embrace. My guilt was gone like night before the sun: Light blinded me; an infinite love and joy Lifted me up, a child again, from earth Into such regions as my mortal speech Can never utter. And from that hour forth, God has been with me.... Now you know my tale.

FAUST

You teach me more of marvels than I guessed Was yet unlearned by me.

BRANDER

No words can teach These marvels to a heart that has not known God's glories.

FAUST Then this mystery of the heart Is what men mean when of the faith of God They speak? I thought 'twas dogma, service, prayer; But this is life, is vision.

BRANDER

Aye, and more! Now do I walk in meadows of calm light; The love of God is over me; I faint Almost beneath its sweetness and wild joy. My whole heart's toil is how to merit it Even a little.

SATAN (raising his hand to bless)

By the grace of God You shall be worthy servant, O my son.

FAUST

This, then, is what God's vision-seers behold— This revelation veiled unto mine eyes— This love unfelt by me—this light of dawn Beyond our darkened night.... I was too far Estranged from Him, of too unworthy will, Bowed by too sore a burden....

[The music of the organ rolls forth once more; and, at the far end of the nave, the choir takes up the music.

VOICES SINGING

From the waters of Zion, From the fountains of peace, Pour the floods on whose bosom Thy seeking shall cease.

There the winds of His garments Shall lull thee to rest. There the night of His watching Shall enter thy breast.

Thou shalt sleep, and awaken; On His morrow, to be As a star in His heavens, A wave in His sea.

FAUST

With old, profound, unutterable grief My spirit speaks in me: as, many a time In childhood, at the hour of evening dusk, When all the room was still and shadowy, I, at my mother's knee, wept out my heart And knew not why I wept. And I am drawn Out of myself upon the music's tide, With nameless sorrowing, with childlike pain— As though in careless play-hours of the day I had done hurt to someone that I loved. Ah, I am homesick; and in all the world There is no knee at which I can weep out My loneliness. There is no breast of peace And silence and forgiveness for this child In any dusk-strewn chamber....

BRANDER

There is God!

FAUST

O God, can Thine arms fold me? Can my weight Of loneliness and failure and despair With the day's fruitage, find a child's release In Thy great tenderness? I am a child; And life's vast terrors gather round my soul; And I am frightened. I am weary, Lord! It darkens; and the storms creep on with night; The shadows come; the wanderer would turn home.

[Faust falls to his knees; he bows his head. Again the organ throbs, the choir sings.

VOICES SINGING

To His peace shalt thou yield thee; In His love shalt thou sleep; All the rills of thy valleys Shall merge in His deep.

To His hands shalt thou offer All hope thou hast known. His hope and His glory Shall compass thine own.

And the vain stars of longing Shall fade in His sun; And the vain hand shall stay; And His Will Shall Be Done.

SATAN

Let us beside our brother kneel in prayer Beseeching mercy.

[Satan and Brander kneel beside Faust.

BRANDER

Brother in the Lord, Let us together from devoted hearts Repeat: "Thy Will Be Done."

[Faust continues to kneel in silence. The music ceases.

BRANDER

Faust, let us pray: "Father, we do beseech Thee for Thy light"...

SATAN

Brother, pray thus: "Thy Will Be Done"...

FAUST (rising)

What will?...

BRANDER

Faust!

FAUST

Lost is my way among eternal shadows. Darkened is every light; and clouds are rolled With blackening curtain over all the stars Within my heaven. But I stand upright Now to the end, no traitor to that dawn I cannot image.

SATAN

What do you mean?

FAUST

Begone, Judas!...

Ah, Brander, would that I could yield Myself to Him who has received your burdens! But to me seems it as another sleep, Like that Nirvana which I put aside In other gardens of temptation. Sleep— Sleep that should have no waking—happy sleep— An anodyne for which my spirit yearns But dare not take—a yielding to some Will, Whose Will, we know not, nor do greatly care So long it be not our will....

Thus may yield The weary; I am weary, but not yet To such last slumber. Thus may yield the base; I am not base. Thus may those spirits yield Who, poisoned by some madness in their blood, Despise life's being; but not yet will I So utterly despise it. Though in gulfs Of yet unsounded ruin I should die At the end miserably, I still shall seek In life itself my refuge: not in God That stands apart from life, on heights of peace. All my desires, my visions, my dreams, my unrest, My loathing and my longing will I clutch And cry: "With all its bitterness on my head, My Will be done, not Thy Will!"

BRANDER

Blasphemy! Ah, Faust, what madness!...

FAUST

With calm sight, I speak No blasphemy, but truth. Shall I buy peace So easily? Toss my burdens to God's Will— Into the fathomless void of that unknown? Such were the last, the great apostacy.... I go into a darkness past your thought— Into an emptiness you know not of— A night profounder that it late has held Marsh-lights of promise. My last altar lies Smoking in ruins; and I stand alone Of all the universe. But my Will be done! My errant tortured Will, my bitter Will, My Will, my Will!

BRANDER

Flee, ere the awful wrath Of God smite down these walls, these poisoned stones, That hear your words! Flee, ere the heavens rain forth Lightnings to blast us for these horrors!

FAUST

Nay! In this dim hour of desolation's reign Upon my soul, I summon to my soul All powers that good or evil may consign To the most lonely man in all the world; I lift my voice, burdened with all the weight Of loathing and of longing, and I cry: My curse upon Thee, lure of dying hearts! May lightnings smite Thy altars back to earth!

BRANDER

Father, forgive! He knows not what he does....

CURTAIN



THE FOURTH ACT

_The scene is a public lecture-hall. To the left rises a platform, on which stands a reading-desk. To the right are rows of chairs arranged as for an audience. In the front row of these sit four old men, patiently and silently waiting. One is reading a newspaper.

Suddenly there bursts into the hall a rout of wildly gay and dancing maskers: Harlequin, Columbine, a Pig, Pantaloon, an enormously tall Ghost, Clowns, a Skeleton, Ballet-girls, Oriental Princesses, Monks, Courtiers, Turks and Jew Pedlers. The first few attempt to draw back on seeing the chairs and the four old men; but they are pushed on by those behind. Once in, they all circle about in a crazy dance, singing over and over the same verse._

THE MASKERS

Oh, children, children, New Year's Day Is more than half a year away. And we might get most awful dry If we should wait for the Fourth of July. So let us celebrate now and here With rah, rah, rah and a bottle of beer!

[One of the maskers, who is dressed as a clown, raises his hands, ineffectually trying to hush the rest.

CLOWN (shouting)

Stop! Stop! I want to teach another verse To you before we go back to the others.

[Loud laughter. The song continues.

THE SKELETON (shouting)

Isn't one bad enough?

CLOWN

A poor thing—but It is mine own.

THE PIG

So much the worse for you!

ONE OF THE OLD MEN (rising)

Gentlemen! There's to be a lecture here.

CLOWN

Is that all? Well, I'll give it you myself.

A MONK

Not if we see you first!

THE PIG

My God! Let's run!

SKELETON

Back! Or the others will drink all the punch!

[The mob of maskers turbulently surges out again, leaving the hall quiet and empty except for the four old men.

AN OLD MAN

They are a noisy lot.

SECOND OLD MAN

Yes.

THE FIRST OLD MAN

There must be Party upstairs?

SECOND OLD MAN

Yes, I suppose there is.

FIRST OLD MAN

They begin early.

THIRD OLD MAN

Early? Yes, or late. This is the end of last night's party, which Began at twelve, and likely'll last till noon. I know, for I'm the janitor.

FIRST OLD MAN

Well! Well!

[Two men enter, look around and take seats in the chairs set for the audience. One carries a small black surgical case; the other has a green bag under his arm.

DOCTOR

We seem to be a little early—or Have we made some mistake?

LAWYER

No, ten's the hour. But I was anxious that we should be prompt, And so have rather overdone our haste.

DOCTOR

It doesn't matter; we can wait a bit. How curiously impatient, though, you are To hear this talk! I personally have doubts Whether it's worth our trouble.

LAWYER

Well, I know The man, however slightly; you do not, And so can hardly share my expectation. But he has been, throughout these many years, So secretive, so self-contained, so deep In matters that I could not guess, that now, When he at last promises to proclaim Some strange discovery, I half believe It will be worth our coming.

[Two women enter together. The younger one is leading a child by the hand. The older, a gaunt, spinsterly-looking figure, peers about with a near-sighted glance.

MERCHANT'S WIFE

Take that seat. And now be quiet.

CHILD

Mother, will he have The Devil with him?

MERCHANT'S WIFE

I don't know. The child Has been completely crazy since I told her That I would bring her with me.

OLD WOMAN

I am just A little curious myself. I learned When I was young all that they thought was known About the Devil; and if this Mr. Faust Has really made some new discovery About him, it seems well that even the young Should be informed of it.

[A number of detached men and women enter and take seats silently. They are followed by two plumbers in overalls, carrying the tools of their trade still with them.

YOUNG PLUMBER

Whew, but the boss will skin us for this trick!

OLD PLUMBER

Go, if you like. But I intend to stay. I have not been, through seventeen long years, Philosopher myself, now to let slip A chance of hearing such a talk as this.

YOUNG PLUMBER

Oh, I won't go.

OLD PLUMBER

You'd better not. They say That all the rumors wholly underrate The real importance of his talk to-day. I've been informed, on good authority, That he will have the Devil on the platform And publicly enchain him to a cart For all of us to see.

[The two plumbers have taken their seats. A man behind them leans forward now and interrupts them.

BUTCHER

What's that? A cart? He means to drive the Devil as a horse?

OLD PLUMBER

Quite probably, quite probably.

BUTCHER

Well, that Will be outrageous, in these troubled times Of strikes and lock-outs. Without any doubt, If he goes trying to harness up the Devil, It will precipitate a teamsters' strike. Using non-union horses always does.

YOUNG PLUMBER

Do you think that? Why, that would be a shame, When times are bad already.

CHILD

Mother, Mother! Will there be moving pictures?

MERCHANT'S WIFE

I don't know. Don't talk so loud.

[Two prosperous-looking men enter. One is elderly, the other young.

BANKER

Do not apologize Now that you've brought me. As I said at first, I am prepared to see a mountebank Perform his pretty tricks of eloquence To set the crowd agape. Why, once a week The Ethical Society hires one To work the same performance—quite the same Each time. Unearth a few forgotten doubts, Or dig your elbow into some new dogma, And you will see the mob fawn at your feet, Believing you the greatest mind since Plato.

RICH YOUNG MAN

I'm sure he isn't that kind.

BANKER

We shall see! And afterwards, the drinks shall be on you.

[A gawky young man who has flour in his hair, and a vivacious and pertly dressed girl enter together.

GIRL

I go to all the lectures that I can. I do think culture is the grandest thing; And one acquires it so easily Nowadays that one shouldn't let it slip.

BAKER

I'd go to lectures, too, if I could go Always with you.

GIRL

Well, now, perhaps I'll try To educate you!

BAKER

Oh, I wish you would!

[Satan enters, dressed as an artisan. He takes a seat in the far corner, out of sight of the platform. Two young men enter. Both have books under their arms.

YOUNG STUDENT

His is the subtlest mind I ever knew. The gulfs through which he whirled bewildered me When he would talk. So I am quite prepared For a great treat to-day.

YOUNGER STUDENT

Oh, I forgot My note-book. Can you tear a sheet from yours?

SATAN (to a man beside him who rises, apparently tired of waiting)

What, going? Well, I wouldn't, if I were you. You ought to hear this: I have had a hand In getting him to speak; and I am sure There will be something doing.

THE MAN

Well, I'll stay, Since you, of the committee, vouch for it.

[More people enter and take their seats.

YOUNG PLUMBER (to his companion)

What do you get by being philosopher? I don't see how you do it. I could never Think about nothing all the time, like you.

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