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     Literature Goethe: Faust V. Some verses

Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  V. Some verses

24) ... Werd' ich zum Augenblicke sagen ...

Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen:
Verweile doch! du bist so schön!
Dann magst du mich in Fesseln schlagen,
Dann will ich gern zugrunde gehn!
Dann mag die Totenglocke schallen,
Dann bist du deines Dienstes frei,
Die Uhr mag stehn, der Zeiger fallen,
Es sei die Zeit für mich vorbei!
If to the moment I shall ever say:
"Ah, linger on, thou art so fair!"
Then may you fetters on me lay,
Then will I perish, then and there!
Then may the death-bell toll, recalling
Then from your service you are free;
The clock may stop, the pointer falling,
And time itself be past for me!

With these words the contract between Mephistopheles and Faust is signed. These verses are very famous and because they sound so romantic, many people like them a lot. The desires of Faust go into every direction: he wants to know everything, he wants to live life to the max and he wants to experience, what mankind has experienced, he wants the most beautiful stars of the sky and the most profound pleasure of this world. He is sensible enough to know his limits, sensible enough to see the richness of what he has, but still he cannot accept that to him only part of everything is offered. About the ambiguity of this insatiable thirst we have already spoken. This insatiable thirst has much more strength than the full stomach of the little and greater bourgeois. The negation opens new ways. On the other hand he will never be happy. As long as he lives on earth, there will never be a moment so happy that he wants it to last forever.

It's difficult to say how much of the "faustic" principle a society actually needs. But if more people existed that want to change something, things would be more interesting. In the one end of the world people are dying of hunger, in another part people are too fat. It costs millions of Euros and Dollars to ensure education, but people spend three hours daily in front of the TV. Which vision of happiness do people have, who go by bus to a cathedral, a museum or a monument, take a photo and continue their trip nro. 4711 organised by Adventure Tours? Maybe none? In this case little of the faustic principle does any harm to anyone. It's difficult to explain the cattle-type-man what life is. Or did you ever try to teach Hamlet to a cow? A cow is a very stable structure.