Book of verse--Karl Marx

Marx-Engels |  Lenin  | Stalin |  Home Page

Some Chapters from

Scorpion and Felix

A Humoristic Novel
First Book

Chapter 10

Now follows">


Some Chapters from

Scorpion and Felix

A Humoristic Novel
First Book

Chapter 10

Now follows, as we promised in the previous chapter, the proof that the aforesaid sum of 25 talers is the personal property of the dear Lord.

They are without a master! Sublime thought, no mortal power owns them, yet the lofty power that sails above the clouds embraces the All, including therefore the aforesaid 25 talers; with its wings woven from day and night, from sun and stars, from towering mountains and endless sands, which resound as with harmonies and the rushing of the waterfall, it brushes where no mortal hand can reach, including therefore the aforesaid 25 talers, and--but I can say no more, my inmost being is stirred, I contemplate the All and myself and the aforesaid 25 talers, what substance in these three words, their standpoint is infinity, their tinkle is angelic music, they recall the Last Judgment and the state exchequer, for -- it was Grethe, the cook, whom Scorpion, stirred by the tales of his friend Felix, carried away by his flame-winged melody, overpowered by his vigorous youthful emotion, presses to his heart, sensing a fairy within her.

I conclude therefore that fairies wear beards, for Magdalene Grethe, not the repentant Magdalene, was decked out like a warrior jealous of his honour with whiskers and mustachios, the curls on the soft cheeks caressed the finely moulded chin which like a rock in lonely seas -- that men however behold from afar-jutted out of the flat skilly-plate of a face, enormous and proudly aware of its sublimity, cleaving the air, to stir the gods and overwhelm men.

The goddess of fantasy seemed to have dreamed of a bearded beauty and to have lost herself in the enchanted fields of her vast countenance; when she awoke, behold, it was Grethe herself who had dreamed, fearful dreams that she was the great whore of Babylon, the Revelation of St. John and the wrath of God, and that on the finely furrowed skin He had caused a prickly stubble-field to sprout, so that her beauty should not excite to sin, and that her youth should be protected, as the rose by its thorns, that the world should

to knowledge aspire
and not for her take fire.

Chapter 12

"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" said Richard III. "A husband, a husband, myself for a husband," said Grethe.

Chapter 16

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory."

Innocent, beautiful thought! Yet these associations of ideas led Grethe onward to the thought that the Word dwells in the thighs, just as in Shakespeare Thersites believes that Ajar wears his wit in his belly and his guts in his head, and being convinced -- Grethe, not Ajar -- and filled with understanding of how the Word had been made flesh, she saw in the thighs its symbolic expression, she beheld their glory and decided -- to wash them.

Chapter 19

But she had big blue eyes, and blue eyes are commonplace, like the water in the Spree.

There is a silly, sentimental innocence in their expression, an innocence which is sorry for itself, a watery innocence which evaporates at the approach of fire into grey steam, and nothing else lies behind these eyes, their entire world is blue and their soul a blue bag, but as for brown eyes-- theirs is the realm of the ideal, and the infinite, stimulating world of night slumbers in their depths, lightnings of the soul flash out of them, and in their glance is music like the songs of Mignon, a distant, mellow land of radiance where there dwells a rich god who luxuriates in his own depths and, absorbed in the universality of his being, pours forth infinity and suffers infinity. We are held as by a spell, we would clasp to our breast the melodious, profound, soulful being and suck the spirit from its eyes and make songs from their glances.

We love the world of rich animation which opens before us, we see in the background great sun-thoughts, we sense a demonic suffering, and before us delicate figures tread the measures of the round dance and wave to us and, like the Graces, shyly retire as soon as they are recognised.

Chapter 21

Philological Broodings

Felix tore himself from the embraces of his friend far from gently, for he did not suspect the latter's profound and emotional nature, and at that moment was preoccupied with the continuation of his-- digestion, to which we now address a final summons to set the coping-stone to its great work, since it is holding up our plot.

So Merten also thought to himself, for a strong blow, which Felix felt, had been delivered by his broad historic hand.

The name Merten recalls Charles Martel, and indeed Felix believed himself to have been caressed with a hammer, so agreeable was the electric shock which he received.

He opened his eyes wide, swayed on his feet and thought of his sins and the Last Judgment.

But I meditated upon electric matter, upon galvanism, upon Franklin's learned letters to his geometrical lady-friend, and upon Merten, for I am intensely curious to learn what lies behind this name.

It is beyond doubt that the man himself is a direct descendant of Martel: I was assured of this by the sexton, although this period lacks all harmony.

The 1 changes to an n, and since Martel, as everyone familiar with history knows, is an Englishman and in English a is often pronounced like the German "eh", which appears as "e" in Merten, Merten may well be another form of Martel.

Since among the Germans of old names serve to express the character of their bearer, as may be seen from such bywords as Krug the Knight, Raupach the Hofrat, Hegel the Dwarf, it may be concluded that Merten is a rich and respectable man, although by trade he is a tailor and in this story the father of Scorpion.

This warrants a new hypothesis: partly because he is a tailor, partly because his son's name is Scorpion, it is highly probable that he is descended from Mars, the god of war, genitive Martis, Greek accusative Martin, Mertin, Merten, since the craft of the god of war, like that of the tailor, consists in cutting, for he cuts off arms and legs and hacks the happiness of the earth to pieces.

The scorpion, further, is a poisonous animal which kills with a glance, whose wounds are fatal, whose eyes discharge annihilating lightning, a fine allegory of war, whose gaze is lethal, whose consequences leave scars on the victim which bleed internally and are past healing.

As, however, Merten had in him little of the heathen, but was, on the contrary, of a most Christian turn of mind, it appears even more probable that he is a descendant of St. Martin. A slight displacement of the vowels gives us Mirtan; i in the speech of the common people is often pronounced a, as in "gib mer" instead of "gib mir", and in English, as has already been pointed out, a is often pronounced "eh", which with the passage of time can easily become e, especially with the growth of culture; and thus the name Merten evolves quite naturally and means a Christian tailor.

Although this derivation is quite probable and is grounded in profound reasoning, nevertheless we cannot refrain from mentioning another which does much to weaken our faith in St. Martin, whom it would only be possible to consider as a patron saint, since to the best of our knowledge he was never married and therefore could not have had any male descendant.

This doubt appears to be reinforced by the following fact. All members of the Merten family, like the Vicar of Wakefield, made a habit of marrying as early as possible, and so each generation adorned itself betimes in the Myrthen [myrtle] wreath, and this alone--unless one is to have recourse to miracles -- explains Merten's birth and his appearance in this story as Scorpion's father.

"Myrthen", of course, would have to lose the "h", as at the conclusion of a marriage the "Eh" is accentuated and so the "he" is dropped, so that "Myrthen" becomes "Myrten".

"Y" is a Greek "v", not a German letter at all. Since the Merten family, as we have established, was of sound German stock and at the same time a most Christian family of tailors, the foreign and heathen "y" of necessity changed into a German "i"; and because in this same family marriage is the dominant trait, while the vowel "i" is shrill and ascending in contrast to the mild gentleness of Merten marriages, it changed into an "eh" and later, in order that the bold alteration should not arouse remark, into "e", which being a short sound serves to indicate the resoluteness of spirit displayed in the solemnisation of marriage, so that in the German "Merten"; open to diverse interpretations, "Myrthen" attains the summit of perfection.

In accordance with this deduction we should have St. Martin's Christian tailor, the sterling courage of Martel, the quick resolution of the war god Mars linked with that marriage-proneness which reverberates in the two e's in "Merten", so that this hypothesis unites within itself ah previous ones and at the same time invalidates them.

A different opinion is advanced by the scholiast who with great diligence and unremitting pains wrote commentaries on the ancient historian from whom we have gleaned our story.

Although we cannot accept it, his opinion nevertheless merits a critical appraisal, since it originated in the mind of a man who combined immense learning with a great proficiency in smoking, so that his parchments were enveloped with holy tobacco fumes and thus in a Pythian ecstasy of incense filled with oracles.

He believes that "Merten" must come from the German "Mehren" [to multiply], which in its turn comes from "Meer" [sea], because the Merten marriages multiplied like the sand of the sea, and because in the concept of a tailor there is concealed the concept of a "Mehrer" [multiplier], since he makes men out of apes. It is on investigations as thorough and profound as these that he has founded his hypothesis.

As I read this, I was as if dizzy with amazement, the tobacco oracle transported me, but soon cold, discriminating reason awakened and mustered the following counter-arguments.

I grant the aforesaid scholiast that the concept of a tailor can include that of a multiplier, but the concept of a multiplier should on no account be considered to embrace the concept of a diminisher since this would be a contradictio in terminis, which we may explain to the ladies as the equating of God with the Devil, tea-table talk with wit, and the ladies themselves with philosophers. But if "Merten" was derived from "Mehrer", then clearly the word would have lost, hence not gained, an "h", which has been shown to be in contradiction with the substance of its formal nature.

Thus "Merten" cannot possibly be derived from "Mehren", and its derivation from Meer is disproved by the fact that Merten families have never fallen into the water nor have they ever wavered, but they have been a pious family of tailors, which is in contradiction to the concept of a wild and stormy sea, from which reasons it becomes manifest that the aforesaid author, despite his infallibility, was mistaken and that ours is the only true deduction.

After this victory I am too fatigued to continue further and will relish the bliss of self-satisfaction, one moment of which, as Winkelmann declares, is worth more than all posterity's praise, though of this I am as convinced as was Pliny the Younger.

Chapter 22

"Quocumque adspicias, nihil est nisi pontus et aer,
Fluctibus hic tumidis, nubibus ille minax.
Inter utrumque fremunt immani turbine venti:
Nescit, cui domino pareat, unda maris.
Rector in incerto est: nec quid fugiatve petatve
Invenit: ambiguis ars stupet ipsa malis."

"Look where you may, there is nought to be seen but Scorpion
and Merten,
The former in torrents of tears, the latter beclouded with wrath.
Wild is the storm of words that rages between them unceasing,
Nor does the tossing sea know which of the two to obey.
I, the helmsman, can make no choice twixt writing and silence,
From the commotion art cowers in corners and holes."

Thus Ovid relates in his libri tristium the sad story which as the sequel comes after what went before. The task was clearly beyond him, but I continue the story as follows:----

Chapter 25

Ovid sat in Tomi, whither the god Augustus had hurled him in his anger, because he had more genius than sense.

There among the wild barbarians wilted the tender poet of love, whose ruin love itself had brought about. Deep in thought, he rested his head upon his right hand, and his longing eyes wandered toward distant Latium. The singer's heart was broken, and yet he could not abandon hope and his lyre could not be silent and in sweet songs of passionate melody it spoke his longing and his pain.

Around the old man's frail limbs the north wind whistled, so that he was seized with unfamiliar shudderings, for it was in the hot land of the South that his life had flowered, and it was there that his imagination had decked its rich hot-blooded frolics in robes of splendour, and when these children of genius became too bold, then about their shoulders Grace would gently cast her divine, enswathing garland of veils so that the gossamer folds spread wide and a rain of warm dew-drops fell.

"Soon to dust, poor poet!" and a tear rolled down the old man's cheek, when-Merten's powerful bass, incited against Scorpion, was heard--

Chapter 27

"Ignorance, limitless ignorance."

"Because (refers to an earlier chapter) his knees bent too much to a certain side!", but definition is lacking, definition, and who shall define, who shall determine, which is the right side and which the left?

Tell me, thou mortal, whence cometh the wind, or has God a nose in his face, and I will tell you which is right and left.

Nothing but relative concepts, to drink of wisdom is to gain only folly and frenzy!

Oh, vain is all our striving, our yearning is folly, until we have determined which is right and left, for he will place the goats on the left hand, and the sheep on the right.

If he turns round, if he faces in another direction, because in the night he had a dream, then according to our pitiful ideas the goats will be standing on the right and the pious on the left.

So define for me which is right and left, and the whole riddle of creation is solved, Acheronta movebo, I shall deduce for you exactly on which side your soul will come to stand, from which I shall further infer which step you are standing on now; for that primal relation would appear to be measurable with the help of the Lord's definition of where you stand, but your present position can be judged by the thickness of your skull. I am dizzy -- if a Mephistopheles appeared I should be Faust, for clearly each and every one of us is a Faust, as we do not know which is the right side and which the left; our life is therefore a circus, we run round, try to find sides, till we fall down on the sand and the gladiator, Life, slays us. We need a new saviour, for -- you rob me of slumber, tormenting thought, you rob me of my health, you are killing me -- we cannot distinguish the left side from the right, we do not know where they lie----

Chapter 28

"Clearly on the moon, on the moon lie the moonstones, falseness in the breast of women, sand in the sea and mountains o, the earth," answered a man who knocked on my door, without waiting for me to ask him in.

I quickly pushed my papers to one side, said that I was very glad not to have made his acquaintance before, since I thus had the pleasure of making it now, that in his teaching there was great wisdom, that all my doubts were stilled by his words; but the only thing was that however fast I spoke, he spoke still faster, hissing sounds poured forth from between his teeth, and the whole man, as I perceived with a shudder on closer perusal and inspection, appeared a shrivelled lizard, nothing but a lizard, that had crawled out of crumbling masonry.

He was of stocky build, and his stature had much in common with that of my stove. His eyes might be called green rather than red, pinpoints rather than flashes of lightning, and he himself more goblin than man.

A genius! I recognised that quickly and with certainty, for his nose had sprung out of his skull like Pallas Athena from the head of Father Zeus, to which fact I also attributed its delicate scarlet glow indicating aethereal origin, while the head itself might be described as hairless, unless one wished to apply the term of headcovering to a thick layer of pomade which together with diverse products of the air and elements richly encrusted the primeval mountain.

Everything in him bespoke height and depth, but his facial structure seemed to betray a man of papers, for the cheeks were hollowed out like smooth basins and so well protected against the rain by the gigantic prominences of the cheek-bones that they could serve as containers for documents and governmental decrees.

In short, everything reveals that he was the god of love himself, if only it had not been himself that he resembled, and that his name has a sweet ring to it like love, if it did not sooner remind one of a juniper bush.

I prayed him to calm himself, for he claimed to be a hero, whereat I humbly interposed that the heroes had been of a somewhat finer build, that the heralds for their part had had voices of simpler, less contrived, more harmonious tone, and Hero, lastly, was beauty transfigured, a truly beautiful nature in which form and soul vied with each other, each claiming to be the sole source of her perfection, and that she was therefore unsuited for his love.

But he remonstrated that he had a pp-powerful bone-str-r-rructure, that he had a sh-sh-shadow as good as anybody else's and even better, because he cast more sh-sh-shadow than light about him, and so his s-s-spouse could cool herself in his shadow, prosper and become a sh-sh-shadow herself, that I was a c-c-coarse man and a gutter-genius and a blockhead into the bargain, that he was c-c-called Engelbert, which was a n-name with a b-b-better ring to it than S-S-Scorpion, that I had been mistaken in Ch-Ch-Chapter 19 because blue eyes were more beautiful than brown, and d-d-dove's eyes were the most s-s-spiritual, and that even if he himself was no dove he was at least deaf to reason, and besides he championed the right of primogeniture and possessed a washcloset.

"Sh-sh-she shall take my r-r-right hand in betrothal, and now let us have no more of your investigations into right and left, she lives directly opposite, neither to the right nor to the left." The door slammed, from my soul there emanated a heavenly apparition, the sweet tones of converse ceased, but through the keyhole came a ghostly whisper: "Klingholz, Klingholz!"

Chapter 29

I sat deep in thought, laid aside Locke, Fichte and Kant, and gave myself up to profound reflection to discover what a washcloset could have to do with the right of primogeniture, and suddenly it came to me like a flash, and in a melodious succession of thoughts one upon the other my vision was illuminated and a radiant form appeared before my eyes.

The right of primogeniture is the wash-closet of the aristocracy, for a washcloset only exists for the purpose of washing. But washing bleaches, and thus lends a pale sheen to that which is washed. So also does the right of primogeniture silver the eldest son of the house, it thus lends him a pale silvery sheen, while on the other members it stamps the pale romantic hue of penury.

He who bathes in rivers, hurls himself against the rushing element, fights its fury, and with strong arms wrestles against it; but he who sits in the washcloset, remains in seclusion, contemplating the corners of the walls.

The ordinary mortal, i.e., he who has no right of primogeniture, fights the storms of life, throws himself into the billowing sea and seizes pearls of Promethean rights from its depths, and before his eyes the inner form of the Idea appears in glory, and he creates with greater boldness, but he who is entitled to primogenital inheritance lets only drops fall on him, for fear he might strain a limb, and so seats himself in a washcloset.

Found, the philosopher's stone!

Chapter 30

Thus in our day, as is apparent from the two considerations just ,t forth, no epic can be composed.

In the first place, by engaging in profound speculations on the subject of the right and left side, we strip these poetical expressions of their poetical drapery as Apollo flayed Marsyas and turn them into an embodiment of doubt, like the mis-shapen baboon, who has eyes in order not to see and is an Argus in reverse; for the latter had a hundred eyes to find what was lost, while he, the wretched stormer of heaven, doubt itself, possesses a hundred eyes to make what has been seen unseen.

But the side, the situation, is among the main prerequisites of epic poetry, and as soon as there are no more sides, which has been shown to be the case with regard to us, epic poetry can only arise from its slumber of death when the blast of trumpets wakes Jericho.

Further, we have discovered the philosopher's stone, everybody unfortunately points to the stone and they---

Chapter 31

They were lying on the ground, Scorpion and Merten, for the supernatural apparition (refers to an earlier chapter) had so shattered their nerves that in the chaos of expansion, which, like the embryo, had not yet broken away from world relations to assume separate form, the cohesive power of their limbs had disintegrated, so that their noses hung down to their navels and their heads sank to the ground.

Merten shed thick blood containing much iron -- how much, I am unable to determine, the general state of chemistry is still unsatisfactory.

Organic chemistry in particular is every day becoming more involute through simplification, inasmuch as every day new elements are being discovered which have this in common with bishops that they bear the names of countries which belong to the unfaithful and are situated in partibus infidelium, names, moreover, which are as lengthy as the title of a member of numerous learned societies and of the German imperial princes, names which are free-thinkers among names, because they do not let themselves be bound to any language.

In general organic chemistry is a heretic in seeking to explain life by a dead process! Sinning against life, as if I were to derive love from algebra.

The whole clearly rests on the theory of process, which has not yet been properly elaborated, nor ever can be, because it is based on the card game, a game of pure chance, in which the ace plays a leading part.

The ace is, however, the foundation of all recent jurisprudence, for one evening Irnerius lost at cards, came straight from a ladies' party, finely dressed in a blue tail-coat, new shoes with long buckles, and a waistcoat of crimson silk, and sat down and wrote a dissertatio on the as, which then led him on to start teaching Roman law.

Now Roman law embraces everything, including the theory of process and including chemistry -- for it is the microcosm which has broken loose from the macrocosm, as Pacius has demonstrated.

The four books of the Institutions are the four elements, the seven books of the Pandects are the seven planets and the twelve books of the Coder are the twelve signs of the zodiac.

No spirit, however, penetrated the whole, it was merely Grethe, the cook, calling out that supper was ready.

In violent agitation Scorpion and Merten had kept their eyes closed and so had mistaken Grethe for a fairy. When they had recovered from their Spanish terror, which dated from the last defeat and the victory of Don Carlos, Merten flung himself upon Scorpion and rose up like an oak, for 0! Moses will say, let man consider the stars and not look down upon the ground; meanwhile Scorpion seized his father's hand and placed his body in a dangerous position, by setting it up on its two feet.

Chapter 35

"By God! Merten the tailor is good at helping out, but he also charges high prices!"

"Vere! beatus Martinus bonus est in auxilio, sed carus in negotio!" exclaimed Clovis after the battle of Poitiers when the priests of Tours told him that it was Merten who had tailored the riding-breeches in which he had ridden the mettlesome jade that secured him the victory, and demanded two hundred gold gulden for Merten's services.

But the truth of the whole matter is--

Chapter 36

They were sitting at table, Merten at the head, Scorpion on his right, on his left Felix the senior apprentice, and lower down the table, leaving a certain gap between the principes and the plebs, the subordinate members of the Merten body politic, usually termed apprentices.

The gap, which no human creature might occupy, was not filled by Banquo's ghost but by Merten's dog, which had every day to say grace at table, for Merten, who cultivated Humaniora, maintained that his Boniface -- that was the dog's name -- was one and the same person as St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, quoting in proof a passage in which the latter announces that he is a barking dog (see Epist. 105, p. 145, ed. Seraria). He therefore felt superstitious reverence for this dog, whose place at table was by far the most elegant; for his Boniface was seated upon a soft crimson rug of finest cassimere with a fringe of silken tassels, upholstered like a sumptuous couch, supported on cunningly interlocked springs, and as soon as the gathering broke up, the seat was carried to the seclusion of a remote alcove, which appears to be the same as that described by Boileau in his Lutrin as the provost's temple of repose.

Boniface was not in his place, the gap was not filled, and the colour drained from Merten's cheeks. "Where is Boniface?" he called from a deeply troubled heart, and the whole table was visibly moved. "Where is Boniface?" Merten asked again, and how he started in fear, how he trembled in every limb, how his hair stood on end, when he heard that Boniface was not there.

All leapt up to search for him, Merten's usual calm seemed to have completely deserted him, he rang the bell, Grethe entered, her heart fearing the worst, she thought----

"Hey, Grethe, where is Boniface?" and she was visibly relieved, and he then knocked over the lamp with his groping arms, so that all was veiled in darkness, and night fell, tempestuous and pregnant with disaster.

Chapter 37

David Hume maintained that this chapter was the locus communis of the preceding, and indeed maintained so before I had written it. His proof was as follows: since this chapter exists, the earlier chapter does not exist, but this chapter has ousted the earlier, from which it sprang, though not through the operation of cause and effect, for this he questioned. Yet every giant, and thus also every chapter of twenty lines, presupposes a dwarf, every genius a hidebound philistine, and every storm at sea -- mud, and as soon as the first disappear, the latter begin, sit down at the table, sprawling out their long legs arrogantly.

The first are too great for this world, and so they are thrown out. But the latter strike root in it and remain, as one may see from the facts, for champagne leaves a lingering repulsive aftertaste, Caesar the hero leaves behind him the play-acting Octavianus, Emperor Napoleon the bourgeois king Louis Philippe, the philosopher Rant the carpet-knight Krug, the poet Schiller the Hofrat Raupach, Leibniz's heaven Wolf's schoolroom, the dog Boniface this chapter.

Thus the bases are precipitated, while the spirit evaporates.

Chapter 38

That last sentence about the bases was an abstract concept, and therefore not a woman, for, as Adelung exclaims, an abstract concept and a woman, how different they are! However, I maintain the contrary and will duly prove it, only not in this chapter but in a book without any chapters at all which I intend to write as soon as I have accepted the Holy Trinity.

Chapter 39

If anyone desires to obtain a concrete, not abstract conception of the same -- I do not mean the Creek Helen nor the Roman Lucretia, but the Holy Trinity -- I cannot advise him better than to dream of N o t h i n g, as long as he does not fall asleep, but on the contrary to watch in the Lord and to examine this sentence, for in it there lies the concrete conception. If we ascend to its height, whole flights above our present position and floating over it like a cloud, we are confronted by the gigantic "Not", if we descend to its middle, we behold in fear the enormous "N o t h i n g", and if we sink down into its depth, then both are again harmoniously reconciled in the "Not" which in its upright, bold characters of flame springs to meet them.

"Not" -"N o t h i n g" -- "Not"

that is the concrete conception of the Trinity, but as for the abstract -- who shall fathom it, for

"Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" says the wise Solomon.

Chapter 40

"I do not know where he is, but this much is certain, a skull is a skull!" exclaimed Merten. Anxiously he stooped down to discover whose head his hand was touching in the dark, and then he started back as if in mortal terror, for the eyes --

Chapter 41

Yes, indeed! The eyes!

They are a magnet and attract iron, for which very reason we feel ourselves attracted to the ladies, but not to Heaven, for the ladies look at us out of two eyes, but Heaven out of only one.

Chapter 42

"I'll prove to him the opposite!" said an invisible voice to me, and as I looked round to see who spoke, I saw -- you will not believe it, but I assure you, I swear, that it is true -- I saw -- but you must not be angry, do not be afraid, for it is nothing to do either with your wife or with your digestion -- I saw myself, for I had offered myself as proof of the contrary.

The thought -- "Ha! I am a doppelgänger! " -- came over me in a flash, and Hoffmann's Elixirs of the Devil--

Chapter 43

-- Lay on the table before me just as I was pondering why the Wandering Jew is a native of Berlin and not a Spaniard; but it coincides, I see, with the counter-evidence I have to provide, therefore we will, for the sake of precision -- do neither, but instead content ourselves with the remark that Heaven lies in the ladies' eyes but not the ladies' eyes in Heaven, whence it emerges that it is not so much the eyes that attract us but rather Heaven, for we do not see the eyes but only Heaven within them. If it were the eyes that attracted us and not Heaven, then we should feel ourselves attracted to Heaven and not to the ladies, for Heaven has not one eye, as stated above, but no eye at all, yet Heaven itself is nothing but a look of infinite love from the Codhead, indeed the mild, melodious eye of the spirit of light, and an eye cannot have an eye.

Thus the final result of our inquiry is that the reason why we feel ourselves attracted to the ladies and not to Heaven is that in Heaven we do not see the ladies' eyes, whereas in the ladies' eyes we do see Heaven; that we therefore feel ourselves attracted to the eyes so to speak because they are not eyes, and because wandering Ahasuerus is a native of Berlin, for he is old and ailing and has seen many lands and eyes, yet he still does not feel himself attracted to Heaven but very much so to the ladies, and there are only two magnets, a Heaven without eyes and an eye without Heaven.

The one lies above us and draws us aloft, the other beneath us and draws us down into the depths. And Ahasuerus is drawn mightily downwards, for would he otherwise wander eternally through the lands of the Earth? And would he wander eternally through the lands of the Earth if he were not a native of Berlin and used to sands!

Chapter 44

Second Fragment from Halto's Letter-Case

We came to a country-house, it was a beautiful, dark-blue night. Your arm was in mine and you wanted to break free, but I would not release you, my hand held you captive as you held my heart, and you let it be so.

I murmured words of longing, my utterance was the most sublime and the most beautiful that mortal man can speak, for I said nothing whatever, I was withdrawn into myself, I saw a realm rise up in which the air hung so light and yet so heavy, and in that ether there stood a divine image, beauty personified, as once in the deep dreams of fantasy I had sensed but not known her, she was radiant with spiritual fire, she smiled, and you were the image.

I marvelled at myself, for I had become great through my love, as a giant; I beheld a boundless sea, but no tides swelled it any more, for it had attained depth and eternity, its surface was crystal and in its dark abyss were set quivering golden stars, they sang love-songs, they sent forth radiant fire and the sea itself was aglow!

If only this path had been life!

I kissed your sweet, soft hand, I spoke of love and of you. Above our heads floated a fine mist, its heart broke and it shed a great tear which fell between us, we felt the tear and were silent --

Chapter 47

"It is either Boniface or a pair of trousers!" cried Merten. "Light, I say, light!" and there was light. "By God, it is no pair of trousers, but Boniface, stretched out here in this dark corner, and his eyes are burning with a sinister fire, but what do I see? He is bleeding!" and without another word he flung himself down. The apprentices looked first at the dog and then at their master. At length he leapt violently to his feet. "You asses, what are you gaping for? Do you not see that the holy Boniface is hurt? I will institute strict inquiries, and woe, thrice woe, to the guilty. But quick, carry him to his seat, summon the doctor, bring vinegar and lukewarm water, and do not forget to summon the schoolmaster Vitus! His words have powerful influence over Boniface!" Thus followed the curt commands. They rushed out of the door in all directions, Merten took a closer look at Boniface, in whose eyes a milder gleam had still not yet appeared, and shook his head many times.

"I fear misfortune, a great misfortune! Call a priest!"

Chapter 48

As still not one of his helpers had appeared, Merten sprang to his feet several times in desperation.

"Poor Boniface! But wait! What if in the meantime I dared to administer the treatment myself! You are all in a fever, the blood is streaming from your mouth, you refuse your food, I see violent convulsions shake your belly, I understand you, Boniface, I understand you!" and then Grethe came in with lukewarm water and vinegar.

"Grethe! How many days is it since Boniface last had a motion? Did I not instruct you to administer to him a lavement at least once every week? But I see that in future I shall have to take over such weighty matters myself! Bring oil, salt, bran, honey and a clyster!

"Poor Boniface! You are constipated with your holy thoughts and reflections, since you can no longer relieve yourself in speech and writing!

"O admirable victim of profundity! O pious constipation!"