Gretchen-Frage: Faust’s Romantic sermon.

MargaretSay, as regards religion, how you feel.3415

I know that you are a dear, good man,

Yet, for you, it seems, it has no appeal.

FaustLeave that alone, child! You feel I’m kind to you:

For Love I’d give my blood, my life too.

I’ll rob no man of his church and faith.3420

MargaretThat’s not right, we must have faith.

FaustMust we?

MargaretAh, if in this I was only fluent!

You don’t respect the Holy Sacrament.

FaustI respect it.

MargaretWithout wanting it, though. You’ve passed

So many years without confession, or mass.3425

Do you believe in God?

FaustMy darling, who dare say:

‘I believe in God’?

Choose priest to ask, or sage,

The answer would seem a joke, would it not,

Played on whoever asks?

MargaretSo, you don’t believe?3430

FaustSweetest being, don’t misunderstand me!

Who dares name the nameless?

Or who dares to confess:

‘I believe in him’?

Yet who, in feeling,3435


Says: ‘I don’t believe’?

The all-clasping,

The all-upholding,

Does it not clasp, uphold,3440

You: me, itself?

Don’t the heavens arch above us?

Doesn’t earth lie here under our feet?

And don’t the eternal stars, rising,

Look down on us in friendship?3445

Are not my eyes reflected in yours?

And don’t all things press

On your head and heart,

And weave, in eternal mystery,

Visibly: invisibly, around you?3450

Fill your heart from it: it is so vast,

And when you are blessed by the deepest feeling,

Call it then what you wish,

Joy! Heart! Love! God!

I have no name3455

For it! Feeling is all:

Names are sound and smoke,

Veiling Heaven’s bright glow.

MargaretThat’s all well and good, I know,

The priest says much the same,3460

Only, in slightly different words.

FaustIt’s what all hearts, say, everywhere

Under the heavenly day,

Each in its own speech:

And why not I in mine?

Translation by K.S. Kline