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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

21) ... So fluch' ich allem, was die Seele ...

So fluch ich allem, was die Seele
Mit Lock- und Gaukelwerk umspannt,
Und sie in diese Trauerhöhle
Mit Blend- und Schmeichelkräften bannt!
Verflucht voraus die hohe Meinung

Womit der Geist sich selbst umfängt!
Verflucht das Blenden der Erscheinung,
Die sich an unsre Sinne drängt!
Verflucht, was uns in Träumen heuchelt
Des Ruhms, der Namensdauer Trug!
Verflucht, was als Besitz uns schmeichelt,

Als Weib und Kind, als Knecht und Pflug!
Verflucht sei Mammon, wenn mit Schätzen
Er uns zu kühnen Taten regt,
Wenn er zu müßigem Ergetzen
Die Polster uns zurechte legt!
Fluch sei dem Balsamsaft der Trauben!
Fluch jener höchsten Liebeshuld!
Fluch sei der Hoffnung! Fluch dem Glauben,
Und Fluch vor allen der Geduld!
I now curse all that, round the soul, enfolds it
With dazzling lures and jugglery,
And, banned within this cave of sorrows, holds it
With blinding spells and flattery.
Cursed, before all, the high adherence

To some opinion that ensnares the mind!
Cursed be the blinding of appearance
That holds our senses thus confined!
Cursed be dissembling dream-obsessions,
The fraud of fame, a name's enduring life!
Cursed all that flatters as possessions,

As slave and plough, as child and wife!
Cursed too be Mammon, when with treasures
He stirs us on to deeds of might,
When he, for lazy, idle pleasures,
Lays down for us the cushions right!
Cursed be the grape's sweet juice deceiving!
Cursed Love's supreme, delicious thrall!
A curse on Hoping! on Believing!
And cursed be Patience most of all!

There is not the slightest doubt that, if we meet in real life with a person, that is not content with anything, we try to get away as soon as possible. What actually calls for attention in these verses is the fact, that they express the most absolute contempt for those bourgeois values. Faust condemns the search for fame, the money, the family life; he condemns the valuation of reason. He condemns everything that could keep him in this world. It would be interesting to know, what other generations have thought about these verses and how a work, that expresses such kind of condemnation of the bourgeois life has become the role-model book of this bourgeois society. A desire not to get lulled by all these values can be seen in these verses, or said in another way a very radical conscience.