Faust, Goethe: VI, Witch’s Kitchen, lines 2353-61

Betake thyself to yonder field,
There hoe and dig, as thy condition;
Restrain thyself, thy sense and will
Within a narrow sphere to flourish;
With unmixed food thy body nourish;
Live with the ox as ox, and think it not a theft
That thou manur’st the acre which thou reapest; —
That, trust me, is the best mode left,
Whereby for eighty years thy youth thou keepest!

Commentary on VI, Witch’s Kitchen, lines 2353-61

  1. Ambrose Mnemopolous Post author

    Here, Faust asks Mephistopheles to cure him of his age, to which the Devil replies that no magic is needed. Curiously, the “spirit that negates” tells the truth, which Faust doesn’t want to hear, instead seeking a quick fix.

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Faust is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The Faust legend has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works.