Goethe's pet dog, if he had one, must have grinned
During his master's talks with Eckermann;
Both so high-minded, the disciple prim.
Before the soup, a servant brings them in
A tome of topographical engravings
Or crate of tedious antiquities.
Goethe remembers Mozart as a child
But salon-pieces tinkle just ahead.
Goethe's mad science occupies their brains.
18th September, 1823 :
'All my poems are occasioned poems .. .
My boy, let none say that reality
Is lacking in poetic interest.'
How much of this the younger comprehends?
How much brings sentimentally up to date?
To follow, '48. And '71.
But Eckermann by then is dead. Likewise
The putative dog, unpenned his puncturing memoirs.
Eventually Weimar stood again,
But far more sinisterly, for the deluge
Let in by classicism holed by the romantic.
As in a dream, to Eckermann appeared
That ancient, brittle, blue frock-coated legend,
Its parts composed of the Collected Works.
'Mankind is strange: as soon as a lake is frozen
Over they flock to it in hundreds, but
Who thinks how deep it is, what's in its depths?'
'True, Excellency. And the themes of Faust,
Right well you balanced them.
And how to show The test-tube Homunculus upon a stage?'
For what naive knowledge did that Faust give up
His soul! A fallacious theory of optics.
Quite puzzling to conceive the need to flesh
The Faustian myth when history scarcely seemed
Set on the downward path; remote, dogs roasted
Alive in millions, even devoured with relish.
- 10th Muse
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