Chapter 2 - Faust Quote

Submitted by John Ralph on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 8:08am.
At the top of Chapter 2 stands a quotation from Goethe’s Faust, Part 1: 1112. The renderings I have found so far are mostly unsatisfactory in relation to Steiner’s reasons for placing this profound expression of the human experience of duality here.
 
The German is idiosyncratic, fitting a gallon of ingenuity into a pint-sized rhyme scheme. This is poetic genius where form is as significant as content. The latitude of expression available to a translator leaves little freedom in relation to the form.
 
Goethe’s German Dust is not the English word dust but probably derived from the German word duster meaning dark and gloomy. This understandable error is made by all the translations I have read. 
 
The universally missed subtlety is that the word Ahnen has a sound-alike relative, ahnen, which is a verb meaning presentiment or inkling, which is often used by Steiner in his Soul Calendar.  It appears to be a pun by Goethe that points to both past and future.  This pun masterfully reflects the overcoming of apparent separation, which is a major theme in PoF.
 
The original German text:
Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust,             (rhyme A)
Die eine will sich von der andern trennen;                         (rhyme B – weak emphasis)
Die eine hält, in derber Liebeslust,                          (rhyme A)
Sich an die Welt mit klammernden Organen;                     (rhyme B – strong emphasis)
Die andere hebt gewaltsam sich vom Dust              (rhyme A)
Zu den Gefilden hoher Ahnen.                                          (rhyme B - strong emphasis)
 
The translation of Faust by Bayard Taylor (1887) earns my highest respect. Taylor keeps to the original metres:
Two souls, alas! reside within my breast;
And each withdraws from and repels its brother.
One with tenacious organs holds in love
And clinging lust the world in its embraces;
The other strongly sweeps this dust above
Into the high ancestral spaces.
 
My somewhat free version (sorry for the intentional pun) lifts out the point in the pun of the final couplet, which indicates the origins of thinking and the resolution of the pulling apart of higher and lower:
Two souls reside within my breast, alas,
Each tears apart from the other it detests;
The one with lusty passion strenuous        
Clings to the world its organs grip best;
From gloom, the other one rises portentous          
To fields above where legacies rest.

Revised Michaelmas Day:

Two souls are dwelling in my breast, alas,
They tear apart from one another in detest;

The one with lusty passion strenuous

Clings to the world where its grip holds best;

The other rises from gloominess portentous

To fields above where legacies rest.

I can see for myself that it is an intellectual contrivance and less harmonious than Taylor’s masterpiece. But I believe it has merit for a frontispiece for Chapter 2. Constructive comments and feedback, please.