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La Damnation de Faust Libretto
English Translation

Hector Berlioz (1803–1869)
The Damnation of Faust

Part One


Scene I

The plains of Hungary.
Faust, alone, in the fields at sunrise.

The old winter has given way to spring;
Nature is young again;
The infinite dome of heaven
Rains down a thousand bright lights.
I feel the gentle morning breeze in the air;
From my ardent breast a pure breath is exhaled.
I hear about me the awaking of the birds,
The long rustling of the plants and waters …
Oh how sweet it is to live amid solitude,
Far from human struggle and far from the crowds!

Scene II

Peasants’ Dance

The shepherds leave their flocks;
They deck themselves out for the holiday;
Flowers of the fields and ribbons are their ornament;
Under the lime-trees, there they all are,
Dancing, leaping like madmen.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Landerida!
Follow then the dance.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Landerida!

What are these cries? What is this distant noise?

Tra la la la la la! Ha ha!

These are villagers, at sunrise,
Who dance, singing, on the green grass.
Of their pleasures I am jealous in my misery.

They pass by like a flash of lightning,
And their dresses flew in the air;
But soon they are less agile;
A blush came to their cheeks;
And one after the other in the round,
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Landerida!
All fell in turn.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Landerida!
Do not touch me so!
Peace! My wife is not here!
Let us seize the occasion!
He led her away suddenly,
And yet the dance went on.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Landerida!
The music and the dance.
Tra la la la la la! Ha ha!

Scene III

Another part of the plain
An army advances

But with warlike sound the countryside is filled.
Ah! The sons of the Danube make ready for battle.
With what proud and happy air
They carry their arms!
And what fire in their eyes!
Every heart trembles at their song of victory;
Mine alone remains cold, insensible to their glory.
Hungarian March

The troops pass by. Faust moves away.

Part Two

Scene IV

North Germany
Faust alone in his study

Without regret have I left the smiling countryside
Where tedium followed me;
Without pleasure I see again our lofty mountains;
I return to my old city with it.
Oh! I suffer! And the starless night
That has just stretched out afar its silence and its veils
Adds still to my dark sorrows.
O earth, for me alone you have no flowers!

Where in all the world will I find what my life lacks?
I sought in vain, all fled my bitter desire!
Come, I must end it! …
But I tremble … Why
Tremble before the abyss that opens before me?
O cup too long enraptured with my desires,
Come, come, noble glass, pour the poison
That must light
Or kill my reason.
(He lifts the cup to his lips. Bells sound.
Religious chanting from the neighbouring church.)

Easter Hymn

Christ is risen!

What do I hear?

Leaving the tomb’s
Dire stay,
To the celestial court
He fairer mounts.
To immortal glory
He strides.
His faithful disciples
Languish here below.
Alas! He leaves us here
Under the burning signs of misfortune.
O divine master, your happiness
Is the cause of our sadness.
O divine master, you leave us
Under the burning signs of misfortune.

O memories!
O my trembling soul!
On the wing of these songs will you fly to heaven!
Stumbling faith
Returns, bringing me back the peace of pious days,
My happy childhood,
The sweetness of praying,
The pure joy
Of wandering and dreaming
Through the green fields
At the infinite brightness
Of spring sunshine!
O kiss of celestial love
That filled my heart with sweet presentiments
And chased away every gloomy desire!

Christ is risen! …
But let us believe in his eternal word,
We shall follow him one day
To the celestial dwelling
To which his voice calls us.
Hosanna! Hosanna!

Alas! Sweet songs of heaven, why, in his dust,
Awaken the accursed man!
Hymns of prayer,
Why suddenly come to shake my intention?
Your sweet concords refresh my bosom.
Songs sweeter than the dawn
Still sound,
My tears have flowed, Heaven has won me back.

Scene V

(appearing suddenly)
O pure emotion!
Child of the holy church!
I admire you, doctor!
The pious peals
Of these silver bells
Have charmed
Your troubled ears.

Who are you, whose burning look
Penetrates like the flash of a dagger,
And who, like flame,
Burns and devours the soul?

Truly for a doctor that is a frivolous question.
I am the Spirit of Life, and it is I that console.
I will give you everything, happiness, pleasure,
All that the most ardent desire can dream of.

Very well, pour demon, show me your wonders.

Indeed! I shall enchant your eyes and your ears.
Instead of shutting yourself away, sad as the worm
That gnaws your books,
Come, follow me to a new place.

I agree.

Let us go then to learn about life.
And leave the rubbish of philosophy.
(They go.)

Scene VI
Auerbach’s cellar in Leipzig

Drink again!
Some wine
Of the Rhine!

Here, Faust, is a time to spend in mad company.
Here wine and song make life delight.

Chorus of Drinkers

Oh how good it is when heaven thunders
To stay by a burning bowl
And fill oneself like a barrel
In a smoke-filled tavern!
I love wine and this fair liquid
That makes me forget trouble.
When my mother brought me into the world
I had a drunkard for godfather.
O how good it is when the heaven thunders …
Who knows some amusing tale?
Laughing, wine is better.
To you, Brander! He has forgotten!

I know one, and I made it up.

Come on then, quick!

Since you ask me,
I am going to sing it to you again.

Bravo! Bravo!

Brander’s Song

A certain rat, in a kitchen
Living, like a true friar,
Did so well that his appearance
Would have made fat Luther envy him.
But one fine day the poor devil,
poisoned, jumped out
As sad, as wretched
As if it had been on heat.

As if it had been on heat.

It ran backwards and forwards;
It scratched, sniffed, bit,
Ran through the whole house;
Anger added to its troubles
Until at the sight of the frenzy
That drained all its efforts,
Evil jokers could have said:
This rat is really on heat.

This rat is really on heat.

In the stove the poor animal
Thought it could hide;
But it was wrong, and worse,
In the end it was roasted,
The servant, wicked girl,
Laughed then at its misfortune.
Ah!, she said, how it roasts!
It really is on heat.

It really is on heat.
May it rest in peace. Amen.

A fugue for the Amen. A fugue, a chorale!
Let us improvise a masterpiece!

(aside to Faust)
Listen to this! We shall see, doctor,
Brutality in its very essence.

Fugue on the Theme of Brander’s Song

Brander and Drinkers
Amen, amen, amen …

By God, gentlemen, your fugue is very fine,
And to hear it
One would think one was in heaven.
Let me tell you:
The style is learned, truly religious;
One would not know better how to express
Pious sentiments
Than in finishing church prayers
Summed up in a single word.
Can I in my turn reply with a song
On a subject no less touching
Than yours?

Now then! But is he making fun of us?
What is this man?
Oh, how pale he is and how
red his hair.
No matter! Willingly! Another song! To you!

Song of Mephistopheles

A gentle flea
Lodged with a prince.
Like his own daughter
The good man loved it,
And, the story goes,
One day had his tailor
Make a court dress
For him.

The insect, full of joy
When he saw himself decked out
In gold, velvet, silk,
And decorated with a cross,
Invited from the country
His brothers and sisters,
Who, on the prince’s orders,
Were made great nobles.

But what was worse
Was that the courtiers
Without daring to say anything
Were scratching all day.

Cruel politics!
Ah, let us lament their fate,
And when one bites us,
Squash it immediately!

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Ha! Ha!
Yes, let us squash it immediately!

Enough! Let us leave this place where speech is vile,
Joy ignoble and gesture brutal!
Have you no other pleasures, a quieter place
To give me, you, my infernal guide?

Ah! This does not please you? Follow me!
(They leave. )

Scene VII
Woods and fields by the banks of the Elbe

Song of Mephistopheles

Here are roses
Blossoming in this night.
On this embalmed bed,
My beloved Faust,
In a luxurious sleep
In which more than one crimson kiss will come over you,
In which flowers will open their blossoms for your bed,
Your ear shall hear divine words.
Listen! Listen!
The spirits of the earth and of the air
Start, for your dream, their sweet concert.

Chorus of Gnomes and Sylphs
Faust’s Dream

Gnomes and Sylphs
Sleep, sleep, happy Faust;
Soon, yes, soon, under a veil
Of gold and of azure, happy Faust,
Your eyes will close.
Your star will shine brightly in the sky above,
Dreams of love will finally charm you.

Happy Faust,
Soon, under a veil
Of gold and of azure,
Your eyes will close.

Gnomes and Sylphs
With places of delight
The countryside is filled,
And our eyes see there
Flowers, woods, fields,
And dense foliage,
Where tender lovers’
Parade their thoughts.

Ah, a veil already covers my eyes.

In the sky above your star will shine brightly.

Gnomes and Sylphs
But further away long branches
Of vines are covered with buds,
Green vine-shoots,
Purple grapes.
Along the valley,
See these young lovers
Forget the moment
Under fresh foliage!
A beautiful girl follows them
Innocent and thoughtful;
On her eye
Gleams a furtive tear.

A beautiful girl follows them.
Faust, she will love you.


Mephistopheles, Gnomes and Sylphs
The lake extends its waters about the hills;
In the green countryside
It snakes in rivulets.

Gnomes and Sylphs
There with songs of pleasure
The bank resounds.
There endlessly the dance
Of other choirs delights us.
Some advance gaily
About the green slopes!
Braver they rush forward
Into the bosom of the bitter waves.

Margarita! O Margarita!

Mephistopheles, Gnomes and Sylphs
The lake extends its waters about the hills;
In the green countryside
It snakes in rivulets.

Gnomes and Sylphs
Everywhere the fearful bird,
Seeking shade and cool,
Flees in rapid flight
To the middle of the marshes.

The charm is working; he is ours!


Gnomes and Sylphs
All, to taste of life,
Seek in the heavens
A dear star
That lit itself for them.
Sleep, sleep, happy Faust, sleep, sleep!

Good, good, dear Spirits, I am pleased
with you.
Cradle, cradle his enchanted sleep!

Ballet of the Sylphs
(The spirits of the air hover
for a time around Faust
and disappear gradually.)

(waking suddenly)
What have I seen! What have I seen!
That heavenly image! What angel
In mortal guise!
Where can I find her? To what altar
Draw to her feet my praise!

Very well! You must follow me again
To this scented bower
Where your beloved rests.
For you alone this divine treasure!
Here is a happy band of students
Passing before her door;
Among these young fools, to the sound of their songs,
We shall find your beauty.
But contain your delights and follow my lessons.

Scene VIII

Finale: Chorus of Students and Soldiers
Marching towards the Town

Students and Soldiers
Towns encircled
By walls and ramparts,
Sweet girls,
With sly looks,
Certain victory
with you awaits me;
The pain is great,
The prize is greater.
To the sound of trumpets
The brave soldiers
Rush forward to feasts
Or to battles;
Girls and towns
May make difficulties;
Soon all surrender.

Students’ Song

Now night stretches over its starry veils;
Now is the time for drinking and for loving!
Short is life and pleasure fleeting.
Let us rejoice, then, let us rejoice!
Under the smiling moon
Let us go looking for girls through the town!
So that tomorrow, lucky Caesars, we may say:
I came, I saw, I conquered!
Let us rejoice then!

Soldiers’ Chorus and Students’ Song

Students and Soldiers
Towns encircled etc. …

Faust et Mephistopheles
Now night stretches etc.,

Part Three
Drums and trumpets sounding the retreat

Scene IX

Faust’s Air

(evening in Marguerite’s room)
Thanks, sweet twilight!
Oh! Welcome!
Reveal at last this unknown sanctuary,
Where a feeling comes over me as if it were
a beautiful dream,

The fresh caress of dawn.
It is a feeling of love, I hope.
Oh how I feel here
Care fly away!
How I love this silence, and how I breathe
pure air!
O young girl!
O my charming one!
O my too ideal beloved!
What feelings do I have at this fatal moment!
How I love to gaze at her maiden couch!
What pure air I breathe!
Lord! Lord!
After this long martyrdom
What happiness!
(Faust, walking slowly,
examines Marguerite’s room
with passionate curiosity)
Scene X

(hurring in)
I hear her!
Under these silk curtains

God, my heart is bursting for joy!

Profit from the moment,
Adieu, control yourself,
Or you lose her.
(He hides Faust behind the curtains.)
Fine. My wills-o’-the-wisp and I
Are going to sing you a fine wedding anthem.
(He goes.)

Oh, calm yourself, my soul!

Scene XI
(Marguerite enters carrying a lamp. Faust hides.)

How stifling the air is!
I am afraid like a child.
It is my dream of yesterday that had troubled me …
In my dream I saw him .. him … my future lover.
How handsome he was!
God! I was loved so passionately!
And how I loved him!
Shall we ever meet
In this life …

The King of Thule - Medieval Song

(she sings while plaiting her hair)
Once there was a king of Thule
Who was faithful until death,
Received, on his fair one’s death,
A carved cup of gold.
As it never left him,
In the happiest festivals
Always a light tear
Moistened his eyes.

This prince, at the end of his life,
Bequeathed his towns and his gold,
Except the dear cup
That he still kept in his hand.
He made his barons and peers
Sit at his table,
In the middle of the ancient hall
Of a castle bathed by the sea.

The drinker stands and goes
To an old gilded balcony;
He drinks, and suddenly his hand throws
The sacred vessel into the waves!
The vessel falls; the water bubbles,
Then is calm again.
The old man grows pale and shudders;
He will not drink again.

Once there was a king … of Thule
Until death .. he was faithful …

Scene XII


A street in front of Marguerite’s house

Spirits of inconstant flames,
Come! I have need of you.
Come! Come!
Capricious wills-o’-the-wisp, you mischievous lights
Are going to charm a child and bring her to us.
In the name of the Devil, dance!
And mark you well the cadence,
Minstrels of Hell, or I will quench you all!

Minuet of the Wills-o’-the-Wisp
(The wills-o’-the-wisp dance their strange dances
about Marguerite’s house.)

(making the gestures of a man playing the hurdygurdy)
Let us sing to this beauty a moral song
To bring her more surely to perdition.

Serenade of Mephistopheles

In front of the house
Of the one who adores you,
Little Louison,
What have you been doing since dawn?
At the sign of pleasure
In the fellow’s room
You can go in maiden
But not come out maiden.
In front of the house …

Mephistopheles and the Wills-o’-the-Wisp
What are you doing? Ha!

He stretches out his arms to you;
To him
You quickly run.
Good night, alas!
My little one, good night.
At the fatal moment
Put up great resistance,
Unless he first offers you
A wedding ring.

Mephistopheles and the Wills-o’-the-Wisp
He stretches out his arms to you …

Hush! Disappear!
(The wills-o’-the-wisp disappear.)
Let us see our love-birds cooing.

Scene XIII

Marguerite’s Room


(seeing Faust)
Great God!
What do I see! — Is it really him? Can I believe my eyes? …

Adored angel whose celestial image
Before I knew you, lit up my heart,
At last I see you, and the jealous mist
That hid from you my love has been driven away.
Marguerite, I love you.

You know my name?
I have often said yours:
Faust! …

That is my name;
It will be another, if it please you more.

In my dream I saw you as I see you again now.

In a dream! … You saw me?

I recognise your voice,
Your features, your sweet speech …

And you loved me?

I waited for you.

Adored Marguerite!

My tenderness was already
Destined for you.

Marguerite is mine!

My beloved, your noble sweet image,
before I knew you, lit up my heart!

Ah, adored angel, whose celestial image
Before I knew you, lit up my heart!

At last I see you, and the jealous mist
That hid from you my love has been driven away.

Marguerite, O tenderness!

I know not what drunkenness
Leads me into his arms.

Yield to the ardent drunkenness
That has led me to you.

Burning enchantress
Leads me into your arms.
What languor takes hold of my being!

True happiness you will have in my arms.
Come, come, come, come …

In my eyes tears
Blind me ..
I die ..
Blind me .. ah!
I die!

Scene XIV

Trio and Chorus

(entering abruptly)
Let us go, it is too late!

Who is this man?

A fool.

A friend.

His gaze
Rends my heart.

Doubtless I am disturbing you …

Who let you come in?

We must save this angel.
Already all the neighbours, roused by our songs,
Are coming, pointing out the house to passers by;
Making fun of Marguerite and calling her mother.
The old woman is going to come …

What can we do?

We must go.


You will see tomorrow; consolation
Is very near to pain.

Yes, tomorrow, beloved!
In the next room
I already hear some noise.

Farewell then, fair night
Barely started!
Farewell, feast of love
That I promised myself!

Let us go. Day approaches.

I shall see you again,
Too fleeting hour
In which my soul was at last going to open to happiness.

Hey there, Mother Oppenheim, see what your daughter is doing!

The crowd is coming,
Let us hurry away!

The warning is timely;
There is a young man in your house,
And you will soon see your family grow.
Hey there!

Heaven! Heaven! Do you hear these shouts?
Before God, I am dead
If you are found here!

Come, someone is knocking at the door.

O fury!

O folly!

Farewell, farewell, through the garden
You can escape.

O my angel! Until tomorrow!

Until tomorrow! Until tomorrow!

O my Faust!
I give you my life.
Love has taken possession of my enchanted soul,
It draws me on, to lose you is to die.
O my Faust, beloved, I give you my life.
O my Faust!

I know at last the prize of life,
I have seen happiness, it calls me and I am going to
seize it.
Love has taken possession of my enraptured soul,
It will soon crown my consuming desire.

I can then lead you into life,
Proud spirit!
The moment approaches when I am going to seize you.
Without fulfilling your consuming desire.
Love, making you drunk, will double your folly.
I can then, as I will, lead you into life,
Proud spirit!
The moment approaches when I am going to seize you.

There is a young man in your house,
And you will soon see your family grow.
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

Part Four

Scene XV

Marguerite’s Room


Love’s burning flame
Consumes my life.
Ah, my soul’s peace
Has fled for ever.
His departure, his absence
Are death to me,
And far from his presence
All seems to me in mourning.
Now my poor head
Is soon in turmoil,
My feeble heart stops,
Then at once freezes over.
His gait that I admire,
His carriage so graceful,
His mouth sweetly smiling,
The charm of his eyes,
His enchanting voice
With which he knows how to set me afire,
The caress of his hand,
Alas! and his kiss,
The flame of love
Consume my life.
Ah, my soul’s peace
Has fled for ever.
I am at my window
Or outside all day -
To see him appear,
Or hasten his return.
My heart beats and throbs faster
When it senses his coming,
O that through my tenderness
I might bring him back!
O burning caresses!
How I should wish one day
To see my soul sigh
In his loving kisses!

To the sound of trumpets
The brave soldiers
Rush forward to feasts
Or to battles.

Soon the whole town will go to sleep.

The pain is great,
The prize is greater.

Trumpets, drums of the evening are heard already
With cries of joy,
As on the evening when love offered Faust to my eyes.

Now night stretches over its starry veils;
Let us go looking for girls through the town!

He comes not.

Scene XVI

Forests and caverns

Invocation to Nature

Great Nature, impenetrable and proud,
You alone grant a truce to my endless tedium.
On your all-powerful bosom I feel my wretchedness less,
I find again my strength, and think at last I live.
Yes, blow, hurricanes! Cry out, deep forests!
Crumble, rocks! Torrents, surge with your waves!
With your sovereign sounds my voice loves to join.
Forests, rocks, torrents, I adore you!
Worlds that sparkle
To you my desire leaps up
From a heart too vast and a soul changed
By a happiness that flees from it.

Scene XVII

Recitative and Chase

(climbing the rocks)
In the azure vault
Do you see, tell me, the star of constant love?
Its influence, my friend, would be very necessary,
For you dream here, when this poor child,
Marguerite …

Be silent!

Doubtless I must be silent,
You are no longer in love!
Yet dragged into a dungeon
And for parricide condemned to death …


I hear huntsmen in the woods.

Finish, what did you say?
Marguerite in prison?

A certain brown liquid, an innocent poison
That she had from you, to make her mother sleep
During your nightly amours,
Caused the trouble.
Nursing her wild dream,
Awaiting you each evening, she always used it.
She used it so much that the old woman died of it.
Now you understand.

Fire and thunder!

So that
Her love for you led her …

Save her.
Save her, wretch!

Ah, I am the guilty one!
There you are!
Ridiculous humans!
No matter!
I am the master still to open this door;
But what have you done for me,
Since I have been serving you?

What do you demand?

From you?
Nothing but a signature
On this old parchment.
I will save Marguerite at once, if you swear
And sign your oath to serve me tomorrow.

Ah, what is tomorrow to me
When I suffer now?
Give it to me.
(He signs.)
Here is my name.
To the gloomy dwelling
Let us fly now,
O mad sorrow!
Marguerite, I come to you!

To me, Vortex! Giaour!
On these two black horses,
Quick as thought
Let us mount and gallop!
Justice is urgent.
(They leave.)


The Ride to the Abyss

Plains, mountains and valleys.
Faust and Mephistopheles galloping on two black horses.

In my heart sounds her desperate voice …
O poor deserted girl!

(kneeling before a wayside cross)
Holy Mary, pray for us
St Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Be careful with these children, these women praying
At the foot of this cross.
What does it matter! Forward!
St Margaret …
(cry of fear)
(The women and children scatter in fear.)

Gods! A hideous monster follows us, howling!

You are dreaming!

What a swarm of great night birds!
What terrible cries! …They strike me with their wings!

(holding his horse back)
The knell of offenders sounds already for her.
Are you afraid? Let us turn back!
(They stop.)

No, I hear it, let us hurry on!
(The horses redouble their speed.)

(spurring his horse on)
Hop! Hop! Hop!

Look, about us, this endless line
Of dancing skeletons!
With what dreadful laughter they greet us as we pass!

Hop! Think of saving her life,
And laugh at the dead!
Hop! Hop!

(more and more fearful and breathless)
Our horses shudder,
Their manes bristle,
They break their bits!
I see before us
the earth;
I hear thunder
Sounding under our feet!
It rains blood! …

(in a resounding voice)
Infernal cohorts!
Sound, sound your triumphant trumpets,
He is ours!
(They fall into an abyss.)

Horror! Ah!

I have conquered!

Scene XIX


The Damned and Demons
Ha! Irimiru Karabrao!
Has! Has! Has!

The Princes of Darkness
Are you for ever, Mephisto,
Master and conqueror of this soul so proud?

I am master of it for ever.
The Princes of Darkness
Faust has then freely
Signed the fatal act that delivers him up to our flames?

He signed freely.

The Damned and Demons
Has! Has!
(The demons carry Mephistopheles in triumph.)
Tradioun Marexil firtrudinxé burrudixé.
Fory my dinkorlitz.
O mérikariu O midara caraibo lakinda,
mérondor dinkorlitz.
Tradioun marexil,
Tradioun burrudix?
Trudinxé caraibo.
Fir omévixé mérondor.
Mit aysko, mérondor, mit aysko! Oh!
(The demons dance around Mephistopheles.)
Diff! Diff! mérondor, mérondor aysko!
Has! Has! Satan.
Has! Has! Belphégor,
Has! Has! Méphisto,
Has! Has! Kroïx!
Diff! Diff! Astaroth,
Diff! Diff! Belzébuth, Belphégor, Astaroth, Méphisto!
Sat, sat rayk irkimour.
Has! Has! Méphisto!
Has! Has! Irimiru karabrao!

Epilogue on Earth
The Damned and Demons
Hell is silent now.
The terrible boiling of these great lakes of flames,
The gnashing of teeth and the tormenters of souls
No more are heard; and in its depths
A mystery of horror is accomplished.
O terrors!

In Heaven

Celestial Spirits
Praise! Praise! Praise! Hosanna! Hosanna!
She has greatly loved, O Lord!

Marguerite’s Glorification

Celestial Spirits
Mount again to Heaven, simple soul
That love misled;
Come wear again your pristine beauty
That an error changed.
Come, the divine virgins,
Your sisters the Seraphim,
Will know how to dry your tears
That earthly sorrows wring from you still.
Keep hope
And smile at happiness.
Come, Margarita, come!