Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  | Date: 1808



HOLY ANCHORITES scattered up the mountain-side,

dwelling among the clefts.

Chorus and Echo.

Forests are swaying here,

Rocks weight them downward sheer,

Roots clutching rocks appear,

Trunk close by trunk is near.

Wave dashes after wave,

Shelter hath deepest cave.

Lions, soft-footed, dumb,

Friendly around us come,

Honouring the sacred place,

Refuge of love and grace.

Pater Ecstaticus [hovering up and down].

Endless ecstatic fire,

Glow of pure love’s desire,

Pangs of the yearning breast,

Rapture in God to rest.

Arrows, pierce through me here,

Lances, subdue me here,

Bludgeons, come, batter me,

Lightnings, come, shatter me,

That my mortality

Flee from reality,

Endless star shine above,

Core of eternal love.

Pater Profuiidus [Lower Region].

As chasms at my feet descending

Burden the chasms more profound,

As a thousand radiant streams are wending

To foaming cataracts’ awesome bound,

As, by its own strong impulse driven,

The tree mounts upward, straight and tall,

So to Almighty Love ’tis given

To fashion all, to cherish all.

All round me is a savage roaring

As if swayed wood and rocky steep;

Yet plunges, lovely in its pouring,

The wealth of water to the deep,

Summoned below, the vale to brighten,

The bolt that fell with sudden flare,

The atmosphere to cleanse and lighten

Which in its bosom poison bare,

Heralds of love are they, proclaiming

Creative powers that us enfold.

May they, my inner self inflaming,

Quicken my soul confused and cold,

Its blunted senses galled unceasing,

Bound fast in chains that cramp and smart.

O God! these thoughts of mine appeasing,

Illumine Thou my needy heart!

Pater Seraphicus [Middle Region].

What a morning cloudlet hovers

Through the pine trees’ tossing hair!

Do I guess what life it covers?

They are spirits young and fair.

Chorus of Blessed Boys.

Tell us, father, whither go we?

Tell us, kind one, who are we?

Happy are we all, that know we;

Sweet, oh, sweet it is to be.

Pater Seraphicus.

Boys! At midnight born, with only

Halfway opened sense and brain,

Straightway lost to parents lonely,

For the angels sweetest gain.

If ye feel that in this place is

One who loves, then hither fare;

But of earth’s rude ways no traces

Do ye happy spirits bear.

In mine eyes descend, pray choose them,

Organs meet for earthly sphere;

As your own eyes ye can use them,

Gaze upon this landscape here.

He receives them into himself.

Those are trees, and cliffs are yonder,

There a stream that downward leaps,

Rolling with the voice of thunder

Down its short way to the deeps.

Blessed Boys from within].

Grand the scene to which we’re waking,

But too full of gloom and woe;

We’re from fright and terror quaking,

Noble, kind one, let us go!

Pater Seraphicus.

On to higher spheres ascending,

Unawares grow endlessly,

As in fashion pure, unending,

God’s high presence strengthens thee.

That is spirits’ sustentation,

In free ether all effecting,

Endless loving’s revelation,

To beatitude perfecting.

Chorus of Blessed Boys [circling round the highest peaks].

Hand in hand clinging,

In a glad ring unite,

Soaring and singing,

Feeling a pure delight.

Godlike the yearning,

Confident be;

For whom we’re yearning,

Him shall ye see.

Angels [soaring in the higher atmosphere, bearing FAUST’S immortal


Lo! rescued is this noble one

From evil machination;

"Who e’er aspiring, struggles on,

For him there is salvation."

And if to him Celestial Love

Its favouring grace has given,

The Blessed Host comes from Above

And welcomes him to Heaven.

The Younger Angels.

Roses sainted women spended,

Penitent through mercy glorious,

Helped to make the fight victorious,

That the lofty work be ended,

That be won this spirit-treasure.

Demons shrank in sore displeasure,

Devils fled the roses’ flinging.

Not with wonted hell-pangs stinging,

Love-pangs brought them to disaster

Even the old Satan-Master

By sharp pain was penetrated.

Shout with you! It’s consummated!

The More Perfected Angels.

Still earthly rests remain

Which have oppressed us;

They’d not be pure of stain,

Though of asbestos.

When every element

Strong spirit-forces

Have borne away and blent,

No angel divorces

The natures two in one,

So close they weave them;

Eternal Love alone

Can ever cleave them.

The Younger Angels.

Mist-like round yonder height,

I’m just discovering

Where in approaching flight

Spirit-life’s hovering.

The clouds are growing clear,

I see a host draw near

Of Blessed Boys,

Freed from the stress of earth,

Circling, united!

They taste the joys

Of spring in their new birth,

Therein delighted.

Let him at once begin

Perfected joy to win,

With these united!

The Blessed Boys.

Glad we’re receiving now

Him as a chrysalis,

Thereby achieving now

Pledge of angelic bliss.

Loosen all earthly flakes

That cling around him;

Fair and great now he wakes,

Divine life has crowned him.

Doctor Marianus [in the highest, purest cell].

Here is the outlook free,

The soul uplifting.

Women I yonder see,

Heavenward drifting,

And glorious, midway seen,

Star-crowned, yet tender,

Heaven’s own lofty Queen!

It is Her splendour.


Highest mistress of the world,

Let me, of Thy pleasure,

See Thy mystery unfurled

In the vaulted azure.

Look with grace on what doth move

Human hearts to greet Thee

And with holy bliss of love

Bears them up to meet Thee.

All invincible we feel

When supreme Thou willest,

Swiftly tempered is our zeal

When its glow Thou stillest.

Virgin, pure in fairest sense,

Mother sweet, supernal,

Chosen Queen of our defence,

Peer of gods eternal!

Little clouds circle

Around Her splendour:

Penitent women,

Of natures tender,

Ether respiring,

At Her knees pleading,

Her mercy needing.

O Thou of immaculate ray,

From Thee ’tis not taken

That those lightly led astray

Come with trust unshaken.

Rapt away, to weakness prone,

It is hard to save them.

Who by their own strength alone

Rend the lusts that slave them?

Whose foot does not slip awhile

On steep, slippery places?

Whom befool not glance and smile,

Flattery’s breath and phrases?

The MATER GLORIOSA soars into view.

Chorus of Penitent Women.

To heights art soaring

Of realms eternal,

Hear our imploring,

Matchless, Maternal,

Of grace supernal!

Magna Peccatrix (St. Luke, 7-36).

By the love that ever glowing

For Thy Son, the Heaven-born,

Shed warm tears to balsam flowing

Spite of Pharisaic scorn;

By the box whose ointment precious

Dropped its perfume rare and sweet;

By the locks whose gentle meshes

Dried the Saviour’s holy feet-

Mulier Samaritana (St. John, 4).

By the well to which were driven

Abram’s herds in days of yore;

By the pitcher once ’twas given

Our dear Saviour to restore,

By the spring, rich and supernal,

Whence flow waters far and wide,

Overflowing, bright, eternal,

Pouring through the worlds their tide-

Maria Aegyptiaca (Acta Sanctorum).

By the sacred place where mortals

Our dear Master’s body laid;

By the arm which at the portals

Warningly my entrance stayed;

By the forty years’ repentance

Truly passed in desert-land;

By the blessed farewell sentence

That I wrote upon the sand-

All Three.

Thou who women greatly sinning

Grantest to come nigh to Thee,

By sincere repentance winning

Bliss through all eternity,

Grant to this good soul Thy blessing,

Who but once herself forgot,

Who knew not she was transgressing,

Pardon meet refuse Thou not!

Una Paenitentium [formerly named GRETCHEN, drawing closer].

Bend, oh bend now,

Matchless, attend Thou,

Thy radiance spend now,

Look on my bliss in charity.

My early lover,

His troubles over,

Comes back to me.

Blessed Boys [hovering in a circle].

Mighty of limb, he towers

Already above us;

Soon for this care of ours

Richly he’ll love us.

Early were we removed,

Life did not reach us;

But he has learned and loved

And he will teach us.

The One Penitent [formerly named GRETCHEN].

Girt by the noble choir of Heaven,

Himself the new-come scarcely knows,

Scarce feels the fresh life newly given

Ere like the holy throng he grows;

See! how each earthly bond he’s riven,

From that old vesture freed at length,

Now in ethereal garb of Heaven

Appears his pristine, youthful strength,

Oh, grant that I may now instruct him,

Since blinds him still the new-born day.

Mater Gloriosa. Come, rise to higher spheres! Conduct him!

If he feels thee, he’ll go thy way.

Doctor Marianus [prostrate, adoring].

Penitents, look up, elate,

Where ye see salvation;

Grateful, to you blessed fate

Grow through re-creation.

May each better sense be keen

In Thy service precious;

O Thou Virgin, Mother, Queen,

Goddess, be Thou gracious!

Chorus Mysticus.

All earth comprises

Is symbol alone;

What there ne’er suffices

As fact here is known;

All past the humanly

Wrought here in love;

The Eternal-Womanly

Draws us above.


Related Resources

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Download Options

Title: Faust

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Faust

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Mountain Gorges," Faust, trans. George Madison Priest Original Sources, accessed March 25, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LI88NKXUW36D1R7.

MLA: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. "Mountain Gorges." Faust, translted by George Madison Priest, Original Sources. 25 Mar. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LI88NKXUW36D1R7.

Harvard: Goethe, JW, 'Mountain Gorges' in Faust, trans. . Original Sources, retrieved 25 March 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LI88NKXUW36D1R7.