Faust

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Faust

an epic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • "Let's plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will - it's only action that can make a man."
  • "Part of that Power, not understood, which always wills the Bad, and always works the Good." (Mephistopheles, Proj. Gutenberg version)
  • "Long live who holds out undeterred! At other times you have the Devil's airs. In all the world there's nothing more absurd Than is a devil who despairs" (Mephistopheles)
  • "All that comes into being is worthy of destruction." (Mephistopheles)
  • "I've studied now Philosophy And Jurisprudence, Medicine And even, alas! Theology, From end to end, with labor keen; And here, poor fool! with all my lore I stand, no wiser than before;" (Faust Monologue, Trans. Bayard Taylor)
  • "Have, alas! Philosophy, Medicine, Jurisprudence too, And to my cost Theology, With ardent labour, studied through. And here I stand, with all my lore, Poor fool, no wiser than before." (Faust Monologue, Proj. Gutenberg version)
  • "That I may detect the inmost force Which binds the world, and guides its course;"
  • "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!"
  • "Why this is hell, nor am I out of it./ Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,/And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,/ Am not tormented with ten thousand hells/ In being deprived of everlasting bliss?" (Mephistopheles)
  • "Simple folks never sense the devil's presence, not even when his hands are on their throats." (Mephistopheles)
  • "So this is at the poodle's core!" (Faustus)
  • "And round we go, on crooked ways or straight, And well I know that ignorance is our fate, And this I hate." (Faustus)
  • "If feeling fails you, vain will be your course, And idle what you plan unless your art Springs from the soul with elemental force To hold its sway in every listening heart. Well, well, keep at it: ply the shears and paste, Concoct from feasts of other men your hashes, And should the thing be wanting fire or taste, Blow into flames your little heap of ashes: You’ll find some apes and children who’ll admire, If admiration is your chief desire; But what is uttered from the heart alone Will win the hearts of others to your own." (Faust)
  • "And if your mind on urgent truth is set, Need you go hunting for an epithet?" (Faust)
  • "Dawn softens night, the deepest shades are fled!" (Faust)
  • I like to see the Old Man not infrequently,/ And I forbear to break with Him or be uncivil;/ It's very pretty in so great a Lord as He/ To talk so like a man even with the Devil. (Mephistopheles)
  • I like to meet the Chief from time to time,/On pleasant terms I take good care to stay./How kind of such a dignitary to chat/Even with the Devil, in this most humane way!
  • In German, if one is polite, one lies. (Baccalaureus to Mephistopheles)