Scene I: Night
Goethe’s Faust
 

(In a high-vaulted Gothic chamber, Faust, in a chair at his desk, restless.)
 
Ah! Now I’ve done Philosophy,
I’ve finished Law and Medicine,
And sadly even Theology:
Taken fierce pains, from end to end.
Now here I am, a fool for sure!
No wiser than I was before:

Master, Doctor’s what they call me,
And I’ve been ten years, already,
Crosswise, arcing, to and fro,
Leading my students by the nose,
And see that we can know – nothing!

It almost sets my heart burning.
I’m cleverer than all these teachers,
Doctors, Masters, scribes, preachers:
I’m not plagued by doubt or scruple,
Scared by neither Hell nor Devil –

Instead all Joy is snatched away,
What’s worth knowing, I can’t say,
I can’t say what I should teach
To make men better or convert each.
And then I’ve neither goods nor gold,

No worldly honour, or splendour hold:
Not even a dog would play this part!
So I’ve given myself to Magic art,
To see if, through Spirit powers and lips,
I might have all secrets at my fingertips.

And no longer, with rancid sweat, so,
Still have to speak what I cannot know:
That I may understand whatever
Binds the world’s innermost core together,
See all its workings, and its seeds,

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