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Goethe - Faust Part 1

Identifier

010831

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Johann Wolfgang Goethe – from Selected Poetry From Faust

Well that’s Philosophy I’ve read
And law and medicine, and I fear
Theology too, from A to Z;
Hard studies all, that have cost me dear.

And so I sit, poor silly man,
No wiser now than when I began.
They call me Professor and Doctor, forsooth
For misleading many an innocent youth
These last ten years now, I suppose,
Pulling them to and fro by the nose;
And I see all our search for knowledge is vain,
And this burns my heart with bitter pain.

I’ve more sense, to be sure, than the learned fools,
The masters and pastors, the scribes from the schools;
No scruples to plague me, no irksome doubt,
No hellfire or devil to worry about –
Yet I take no pleasure in anything now;
For I know I know nothing, I wonder how
I can still keep up the pretence of teaching
Or bettering mankind with my empty preaching.

Can I even boast any worldly success?
What fame or riches do I possess?
No dog would put up with such an existence!
And so I am seeking magic’s assistance,
Calling on spirits and their might
To show me many a secret sight,
To relieve me of the wretched task
Of telling things I ought to rather ask,
To grant me a vision of Nature’s forces
That bind the world, all its seeds and sources
And innermost life – all this I shall see,
And stop peddling in words that mean nothing to me.

The source of the experience

Goethe

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