Dedication One Wavering forms, you come again; once long ago you passed before my clouded sight. Should I now attempt to hold you fast? Does my heart still look for phantoms? You surge at me! Well, then you may rule as you rise about me out of mist and cloud. The airy magic in your path stirs youthful tremors in my breast. You bear the images of happy days, and friendly shadows rise to mind. With them, as in an almost muted tale, come youthful love and friendship. The pain is felt anew, and the lament sounds life's labyrinthine wayward course and tells of friends who went before me and whom fate deprived of joyous hours. They cannot hear the songs which follow, the souls to whom I sang my first, scattered is the genial crowd, the early echo, ah, has died away. Now my voice sings for the unknown many whose very praise intimidates my heart. The living whom my song once charmed are now dispersed throughout the world. And I am seized by long forgotten yearnings for the solemn, silent world of spirits; as on an aeolian harp my whispered song lingers now in vagrant tones. I shudder, and a tear draws other tears; my austere heart grows soft and gentle. What I possess appears far in the distance, and what is past has turned into reality. Prelude in the Theater Manager, Dramatic Poet, Comic Character. Manager You two who often stood by me in times of hardship and of gloom, what do you think our enterprise should bring to German lands and people? I want the crowd to be well satisfied, for, as you know, it lives and lets us live. The boards are nailed, the stage is set, and all the world looks for a lavish feast. There they sit, with eyebrows raised, and calmly wait to be astounded. I have my ways to keep the people well disposed, but never was I in a fix like this. It's true, they're not accustomed to the best, yet they have read an awful lot of things. How shall we plot a new and fresh approach and make things pleasant and significant? I'll grant, it pleases me to watch the crowds, as they stream and hustle to our tent and with mighty and repeated labors press onward through the narrow gate of grace; while the sun still shines--it's scarcely four o'clock-- they fight and scramble for the ticket window, and as if in famine begging at the baker's door, they almost break their necks to gain admission. The poet alone can work this miracle on such a diverse group. My friend, the time is now! Poet Oh, speak no more of motley crowds to me, their presence makes my spirit flee. Veil from my sight those waves and surges that suck us down into their raging pools. Take me rather to a quiet little cell where pure delight blooms only for the poet, where our inmost joy is blessed and fostered by love and friendship and the hand of God. Alas! What sprang from our deepest feelings, what our lips tried timidly to form, failing now and now perhaps succeeding, is devoured by a single brutish moment. 70 Often it must filter through the years before its final form appears perfected. What gleams like tinsel is but for the moment. What's true remains intact for future days. Comedian Oh, save me from such talk of future days! Suppose I were concerned with progeny, then who would cheer our present generation? It lusts for fun and should be gratified. A fine young fellow in the present tense is worth a lot when all is said and done. If he can charm and make the public feel at ease, he will not mind its chanGoethe, Johann Wolfgang von is the author of 'Faust, Part I' with ISBN 9780553213485 and ISBN 0553213482.