I am the spirit that negates/that denies: Comparing Goethe’s Faust Translations – Kauffmann and Kline:


I am the spirit that negates.
And rightly so, for all that comes to be
Deserves to perish wretchedly;
‘Twere better nothing would begin.
Thus everything that your terms, sin,
Destruction, evil represent—
That is my proper element

– Kaufmann, Walter (1963). “Introduction”. Goethe’s Faust : part one and sections from part two (Anchor books ed. ed.). Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday. p. 47. ISBN 0-385-03114-9

Tony Kline:

I am the spirit, ever, that denies!
And rightly so: since everything created,
In turn deserves to be annihilated: 1340
Better if nothing came to be.
So all that you call Sin, you see,
Destruction, in short, what youve meant
By Evil is my true element.

Pasted from <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/German/FaustIScenesItoIII.htm>