Job the German: A Mystery Play. – A Translation by Scott C. Jones

Scott C. Jones April 3, 2015 0

Scott C. Jones’s translation of Kurt Eggers’s Das Spiel von Job dem Deutschen. Ein Mysterium.

Scott C. Jones’s Introduction

Kurt Eggers’s Das Spiel von Job dem Deutschen. Ein Mysterium.

Direct links to sections of the play:
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64


Dedicated to Otto Laubinger, [p. 5]
the leader of German actors

BLANK [p. 6]

Characters: [p. 7]
The Lord of Glory,
The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
The evil enemy,
Job, the German,
His wife,
His sons,
The servant,
Poverty,
Pestilence,
Vice,
The choruses of the angels, the servants, and the bearers of the dead,
Entourage of Poverty, of Pestilence, and of Vice.

BLANK [p. 8]

[p. 9]

Prologue in God’s Reich.

Characters:
The Lord of Glory,
The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
The evil enemy,
Choirs of angels.

[p. 10]

The Prologue

The choirs of angels
Song of Praise.

Lord of the clouds,
Lord of the earth,
Lord of the seas and stars,
Lord of moons and suns!
The universe is the Mantle of your Greatness
Forever and ever.

Humans live, humans die,
Times come, times fade away,
The world has light and shadows.
The days which people call “existence”
Are flight and change:
To you flows the stream of time
Forever and ever.

The trees of the forest,
The fruit of the field,
The singing of the birds of the heavens,
The frolicking of the fish of the sea
The animals and flowers on earth:
The creation
Serves your holiness in humility
Forever and ever.

The pious praise you,
The evil fear you,
Darkness hides itself
Before your light.
Your will is deed,
Your breath is victory.
You are truth,
You are glory
Forever and ever.

Nazi Speech. Image by RV1864 via Flickr.

Nazi Speech. Image by RV1864 via Flickr.

The evil enemy [p. 11]

So say angels, so say fools,
So say the blind and the lame,
Who lost the power to fight
And came grovelling.

What good is the gratitude of the creature!
What glory, what eternity,
Humans live a short time,
Only brief is their rejoicing.

Then bleak hardship soon approaches
And squeezes the curse from his throat.
Reaper Death swings the scythe,
And to me belongs the soul!

Look at the troubles of that world,
Which writhes under us!
The one stands, the other falls,
No one finds a purpose.

Listen to the stammering, to the pleading,
Listen to the cries all around.
You only need to have a look at humans,
Then you will look into a flood of tears!

Go into the houses, into the living rooms,
Go into the cities, go to the country,
Go to the old men, to the young lads:
They know nothing of your Lord!

Need hardens, worry silences,
Sorrow does not sing you songs.
The human question ‘Why?’
Echoes without answer.

You speak well of victory
Because you have nothing to suffer.
The life of humans is a war, [p. 12]
A hating and an envying.

Just as one begins to pray
There is famine in his house,
The weakling! He is trampled to death,
And the praying is no more!

The archangel Michael

Human suffering serves maturity!
That humans should grasp the meaning
Was a struggle granted them.
Whoever complains about it
And despairs
Is not worthy to be a human!

The evil enemy

You see humans somewhat distortedly!
Though your heavenly perspective
Makes things appear to you
Other than they are.
Humans become blind
From weeping!

The archangel Michael

As the Spirit of Darkness you
See only the sadness of humans.
The bad alone
Appears to you to be the right.
The darker the nights,
The brighter the days.
The more bitter the plague,
The more pleasing the victory!
Above today
A tomorrow shines.
Behind the sorrows
Fortune already laughs! [p. 13]
Blessed be the human
Who believes!
Blessed be the human
Who knows!
Blessed be the human
Who sees!

The evil enemy

I will seek out a human for you
Who bears likeness to your image.
He shall curse your heavenly light
When he eats the dust of sorrow!
He shall stretch out empty hands
To get a favor:
With his crude beggar’s stick
He will smash your heavenly image!
The human is good
So long as his blood
Is content.
But the hours are coming
Of blows and wounds
Then he will become an animal!
Then his God will become
Scorn and mockery!

The Lord of Glory

You Spirit of Darkness,
Silence!
You herald of trouble,
Go down
To the humans of the earth
And you may be
Proven right
If you fell the life
Of one
Who belongs to me!
Tempt Job the German!

In my earthly Reich [p. 14]
There is none equal to him
Among humans.
If you bring the best of them into your sling,
Then my work in this world shall be at an end,
Then the world shall fall into Satan’s hands,
Then you shall bring about
Its complete downfall!

But if the German withstands
The ruse
Then you are,
Satan,
Thenceforth
To be tolerated no more!
Then the crime is expiated
For which humanity is guilty!
Tempt Job the German!
Attempt to corrupt him
And you shall triumph
Or – die!

The evil enemy

Well now, the bet is on
Your image I will
Batter and hunt down
Claw and plague
Wear out and shred
Dismember and chew up
So that in the wide world
None like him may be found
A second time.
Job will be the German!
I will trample him
And knead him,
And he will pray to me,
As he once did to you! [p. 15]
Then he will belong to me,
And I will destroy
What you have built!
When I am Lord on earth,
Hell shall be there.
I will conquer Job!

The archangel Michael

Job, you German! The evil enemy
Wants to rob you of your faith,
Wants you to become entangled in his net,
Wants to crush your soul,
So that the good in the world
Collapses suddenly along with you.

Job, you German, all life
Is in your hands
And you shall one day save
An entire world from evil.
Job, be strong!

The choirs of angels

Job, be strong!
Job, be strong!

The evil enemy

“Be strong!! Be strong!!!”
Are you already so afraid for that little shrimp
That you issue him a warning?
The Lord in his glory
Makes me pity his confidence,
That he should set the construction of the entire world
On the shoulders of this German!
If he collapses,
Then the flames of hell
Will flare up [p. 16]
And flicker
And curl
Up to the door
Of your heaven!

The Lord of Glory

Silence!
Go down
To the earth!
It will be
Resolved
What henceforth
Belongs to me
And to you!
Away, Satan, from my presence!

The choirs of angels

Wonderful are the workings
Of the glory of God.
Inexplicable the machinations
Of the glory of God.
The pious praise him,
The evil fear him
In his glory.
Great is the Lord
Forever.

[p. 17]

II. The Homeland of Job the German.

Characters

The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
Job,
His wife,
His sons,
The servant,
The choruses of angels, the servants, and the bearers of the dead.

Job among his servants [p. 18]
Praise song of the homeland and of peace

Praised be the land for which peace
Is decreed by God’s grace.
Praised also be the man
Who can keep the peace.
Peace nourishes,
Strife destroys
God’s world.
Whoever holds the scepter
Also holds the sword
That defends against the enemy
From coming into the house of the pious
As a thief.
So God wills it.
Wherever my eyes gaze
Are fields and forests and meadows.
That is my land.
Fathers have acquired it at great expense,
Fathers have once died for that land.

Chorus of servants

For the homeland!
Whoever does not defend the homeland from the enemy,
That one is not worthy of the fathers’s native soil,
That one is not a son.
Lord, keep the peace
Here below.

Job

What calls the servant there? … What does he beckon … The
servant … what does he bring? Something good? Something bad?
Help, Lord, let everything turn out well!

The servant
(calls from afar)

Master, I bring news!

Job [p. 19]

Then bring good news!

The servant
(enters)

Master, it is not good news that I bring. The
enemy came over the border to murder and to
plunder. Master, there is war in the land! Fields
are already ravaged and people have been killed.
Master, it is war. Your wife sent me to get you
so that you can protect and defend yourself.

Job

The iron of the scythes and the plows must be
forged
into axes and swords, into spears and lances,
Because there is war in the land.
And when there is war, the work of peace rests.

The servant

Are you afraid, master?

Job

Fear is not what arouses my heart. But I bear responsibility
for it, and responsibility calls me to see the end
that follows from the beginning.

The servant

Your sons are glad about the war, master!

Job [p. 20]

And that is as it should be. A virtue that is no longer
Glad of war and courageous in battle is one that allows the
Homeland to become easily ruined.

The servant

But master, your wife is sad.

Job

That surprises you? She is a mother, seven times over,
And mothers have the most of all to lose in war. –

War-Song of Job’s Seven Sons
(spoken)

The land burns, the blood cries out,
The enemy is there.
Our life is young, our path is long,
The enemy is there.

Chorus of servants

The iron of the scythes becomes the sword
That plunges into the hearts of the enemies.
The enemy has come,
And with him travels Death
Which colors the scythe-swords red
With blood.
With the blood of enemies,
With our blood,
Death.

Sons and servants

We travel through the dark night
Into the dawn of the battle for freedom, [p. 21]
All of us.
Is there life left for us? Does Death come?
We don’t know.
The dawn
Is silent.
Our life is young, our path is long.
We fight for the glory
Of the homeland.

Job

I greet you, sons, you who will fight for the
Homeland, for the land that is your heritage.
Whoever does not fight will not possess it, that is the
Truth that our fathers taught us.

(sons and servants depart)

Job
(to his wife)

Wife, it is difficult for me and you
To thank God for the gift
Which he grants to us today.
Yet he knows what befits his servants
And wants them to obey and not complain.
The ultimate wisdom that we humans have
Is: to be content.
Therefore, we will not complain if the fields lie
fallow
And the weeds spread.
Someday the time will come when it will be uprooted!
We will pray for the life of our sons,
That they will withstand the enemy and not falter.

The wife [p. 22]

Job, my soul saw something terrible as I slept.
Four large fires and a small one burned in the land
That belongs to us. Immeasurable was the harm
it brought.
And seven strong oaks collapsed.
It was as if my heart were ripped from my chest
When I saw the oaks crash.
Portents circle around my heart
Like carrion around an offering.
Job, the Lord has sent a difficult time.

Job

Wife, whatever may become of us and our land,
We must stand firm. For the weakling
Is suddenly driven away by the whirlpool of ruin
Into the sea of despair, and miserable is his destruction.
Wife, be strong! And don’t listen to that gloomy
Portent
That circles around your heart like carrion
And stiffens your soul!
Who can say for sure that the evil enemy did not send you this
Temptation
To set the cursing of fate in your mouth
And to snatch you from the Reich of the Lord of
Glory
In which the soul dwells by faith.

The wife [p. 23]

Job, you speak like a man who is not afraid.
But I am a mother, and I fear for the life
Of my sons
Whom my body bore for the sake of our mutual love
And what the body of a mother once bore is eternally
Connected with it.

Job

I heed well the sorrows of your heart, my wife.
But repress the streaming of your tears when our sons
Come
To take with them their father’s blessing and their mother’s
kiss on the long path
Which is ordained for them by the commandment of blood.

(the seven sons come in)

Farewell song of the sons
(spoken)

Our heart is strong, our body armed.
From the farmer a warrior has been made.
The war compels him
To strangle and murder
Whoever is a warrior is one who takes pleasure in battle,
The warrior
Is the one for whom the sword
Is the best companion.
We campaign
And meet what befalls us
Today or tomorrow.
Why should we warriors
Worry about [p. 24]
Our fate!

Job

The Lord be with you, my sons,
When the hour of decision approaches.
The prayer of the warrior is: “God give me strength!
Strength to fight, strength to die, as you
Wish!
But do not let me fall as a coward,
As a traitor of my homeland!”
So go out, my sons,
And my prayer stands over you!

The sons

Thanks be to you for your blessing, father.

The wife

Come back, sons,
Come back!
My love goes with you
To deflect the enemy’s sword
From your hearts.
Come back!

The sons

Thanks be to you for your love, mother.

(The sons go out)

Our heart is strong, our body is armed.
From the farmer a warrior has been made.
War compels him
To strangle and to murder.

The wife [p. 25]

(after a brief pause)

My dream is coming true, Job!
The fires burn!
My God! The sons!

Job

The fires burn, wife!
But the oaks are still standing!
The last battle has not yet been fought.
The Lord has not yet abandoned us.

The wife

Whether he will abandon us, then?
Whether he is able to?
Whether he is permitted to?
Who is God, then,
If he does that?

Job

The Lord is just and wise,
He tests no one beyond his abilities.
Don’t question,
Don’t complain,
The Lord is just and wise!

The wife

I saw fires burning,
Four large and one small.
And I saw seven oaks falling,
Then it became night all around me.

(The seven sons are brought back, slain.)

Chorus of the bearers of the dead

The sons carried wounds
On the forehead and chest [p. 26]
When we found them slain
Under ten times seven slain enemies.
All of them carried
Wounds on forehead and chest
Except on the youngest son
Who was insidiously murdered.
Fortunate is the warrior
Who falls while fighting
As hero
For his homeland.
He is with God
In the Reich of light.
For the Lord loves the courageous
And hates the cowardly.
Honor be to the fallen heroes,
They are with God.

Job

Lord, why did you strike me
With this misfortune!
Lord, why did you not carry
The shield of righteousness?
See, my hands are guiltless
Of war.
Why did you allow
my sons to fall
In the battle for the right?
Why did you give the enemy
The power to conquer
The good?

The wife

The blood of my sons is my blood,
And it stands up and sues
The Lord of Glory
For the wrong in his rule,
For the arbitrary use of power. [p. 27]
For the murder of my sons!

Job

Wife, wife, you blaspheme against the Lord!

The wife

I do not blaspheme against him!
He blasphemes himself.
He ripped the heart of a mother,
The twitching, trembling heart,
From the breast
And threw it to the vultures as food.

The servant

Your wife is right, master.
If there is justice,
Why does it let the pious
Go to ruin through wrong?
Why, then, does
The wrong on earth testify
Against heaven?
He himself bends
The right by force!
Why?

Job

I know of no rejoinder to you, servant!

The wife

Not my sons alone,
The right on earth itself lies slain
After this war!
Why, then, can’t the Lord of Glory
Answer my question. [p. 28]
Why?

The servant

Your sons lay slain
By the arbitrary power of heaven.
There is no God,
It is all only delusion,
All only accident.
Pray to Accident, that it will predestine you
To the luck of opportunity.
Today here, tomorrow there,
Such is the mood of Accident.
Take advantage of the opportunity
Because it is fickle.

The wife

Job, it appears that the servant is not wrong
When he speaks that way.
The war was an accident.
And the sons were sacrificed to an accident!
Our sons!

Job

Woe is me, I have in mind to die seven deaths,
And fires burn in my chest,
Four large and one small.

The servant

There you have it, master, there, see!
The Lord of Glory
Cannot bridle
Your suffering.
He can only increase
The pain, [p. 29]
The anxiety, the desolation,
Your God.
And your seven sons
Have died for nothing!

Job’s outcry

Lord of Glory,
Topple the vault of heaven to the earth,
That your holy will may be
Revealed.
With your stars stone this blasphemer
Who has spoken the word “for nothing.”
Avenge, Lord, avenge the action of this servant,
Avenge this terrible word
That desecrates your omnipotence.
Lord, your glory
Knows no “for nothing.”
And your holiness
Knows nothing of it.
The death of the sons knows no “for nothing.”
Their death has meaning,
Even though you conceal it.
Let me adhere to it, Lord,
And fight against all temptation.
I believe, Lord!

The servant

Fool which you are,
Why do you bow
Your head?
Why do you keep silent
Before the violent crime of that God?

The archangel Michael [p. 30]

Praised be the Lord
Who gives strength!
Praised be the Lord
Who loves strength
In the weak!
Your faith held strong
As the hand
Of Satan
Grasped at it.
Job, stay strong;
And whatever may yet come,
Temptation and strokes of fate,
Are smaller than the love
Of the Lord of Glory.

Job, you German, your sons
Are saved
By faith and the meaning of fate.
Their souls are intertwined
With the love of God.

The choirs of angels
(speaking the funeral dirge)

Over a bridge glide
Shadows of spirits detached from the earth.
Through the wide spaces of the world
The Lord calls out to them as their master.

Above a struggle on earth
Stands the door to eternity.
And the souls’s shadows bring
The holiness of the soul to God.

Souls are fire-bearers, [p. 31]
Their light shines brightly on the earth.
Fighting, winning, suffering, sinning
Do not quench the fire of God.

Holy is the soul’s burning,
Holy is its time of battle,
Holy is its crossing over
Into the eternal Reich.

BLANK [p. 32]

[p. 33]

III. The Great Temptation.

Characters:

The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
Job,
His wife,
Poverty,
Pestilence,
Vice,
Entourage of Poverty, Pestilence and Vice,
The choirs of angels.

The wife [p. 34]

It has become desolate around us in our land,
Job. No laughter of merry virtue reaches us.
No song rings out from the fields at half-light.
And when night falls, then I become afraid!
The places stare at me like dead eyes which
were once full of life.

Job

The day will come, wife, when the
Radiance which has suddenly subsided will give the eyes
new life! And new green will be upon the brown earth
which became fruitless when the fires burned.

The wife

Job, do you believe your own words? How can something
Dead give life to itself? We became
old people, Job, when the dead were brought,
and our powers rest along with them in their graves.

Job

Don’t speak so despondently, wife!
The one to whom God gave life, he also gave industry.
And the one to whom he allowed life, he also let engage in industry.
How, then, can our industry be buried
if our bodies live?

The wife

Forgive me, Job, that I cannot think as you
want me to.
I am a woman,
And all my reasoning has lapsed
Since the light has gone out
That once brightened my life. [p. 35]

(after a brief pause)

Look, Job, the beggar-woman who approaches us!
How old and ugly she is!
How nasty are the rags of her clothes,
How unkempt is her face,
How tangled is her hair,
And, oh, how utterly hopeless are her eyes!

Poverty

(approaches with her entourage)

Why are you staring at me,
You woman and you man?
What are you looking at?
Why do you despise
My robe?
Look, my hand
Once
Rummaged in gold
Like you
And my heart has also felt
What fortune,
What beauty,
And what happiness is.
But now that is all
In the past.
There is no going back
From poverty.
To be poor,
That is the worst!
To be poor,
That is the stupidest thing
On earth.
The poor
Will be
Pitilessly
Thrust away [p. 36]
From the rich and the great!
Homeless,
Without peace
They must move
Uphill, downhill
With the beggar’s staff
Before strange doors.
But they are unable
To stir the hearts
Of the great and the rich
And to soften them!

Job

What do you want, Poverty, before of our door?

The wife

Job! Job! Look at the eyes of this woman! They
have suddenly become full of poison and hatred. Job,
This woman has something evil in mind!

Poverty

Take off your overcoat,
You German!
Put on these rags,
You woman!
Your bitter hour has come,
Everything that you still have
Will be taken from you!
Field, farm, and house!
Into the night you must
Now go out
Into misery.
And all your travails
Shall be for nothing.
Your field to the enemy,
Your farm to the traitor, [p. 37]
Your house to the stranger!
So Poverty wills it.
Outcast,
Banished,
Despised,
Until you languish
At foreign borders.
So it shall be,
So Poverty wills it!

The wife

Job, Job! The woman has attacked me
With her claws
And won’t let me go.

The entourage of Poverty

Hurry!
Hurry!
Here is the beggar’s coat!
Here is the pauper’s stick!
Hurry!
Hurry!
Flee,
So that no one sees
Your shame!
You must hurry
Through every land,
Staying nowhere!
So Poverty wills it!

(after a brief pause, in which Poverty moves on with its entourage)

Job

Come, my wife! We must leave the farm of our
Fathers, the native soil which our sweat and blood [p. 38]
made fertile.

The Wife

Support me, Job. Your arm is my faith,
Your footstep my homeland.
Support me,
Protect me, Job!

Job and his wife walk further on.
An invisible chorus speaks.

Poverty’s song

We stride unquiet through the night
With heavy, anxious worries.
The question of tomorrow
Remains awake in our hearts.

Dusk blows us shivering on,
It is so cold and wet.
In the grey the heart can scarcely beat.
The grass is like the grave-clothes of the dead.

But our soul hates death,
It seeks the flames of life –
And behind us in the light of dawn
A world collapses.

(after a brief pause)

The wife

I can’t go on, Job! My feet are sore
and they hurt. Let me rest
somewhere.

(after a brief pause) [p. 39]

German Veteran, Berlin. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

German Veteran, Berlin. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Job

We must be brave, my wife! Since we have
borne the fortune of long years, we must also
take misfortune upon ourselves, which can
perhaps come to an end a day sooner.

The wife

That you can still believe that, Job!
My heart has long since despaired of salvation!

Job

When it is night,
You must believe in the morning.
When it is daytime,
You must think of evening,
That alone makes one strong.
Whoever despairs of the present
Has no future!

The wife

See there over the stones
The ghostly image that rises.
It is terrible and horrifying.
My heart trembles and wants to die
At the sight!

Job

How awful the image!
The face eaten away by sickness,
The body covered with leprosy!
Who goes there above the stones?

Pestilence [p. 40]

(appears with her entourage)

I am Pestilence, beggar!
I touch
What is beautiful.
My breath
Wilts the flowers
And kills humans and animals.
Woe to you,
Who called me.
Whoever sees me,
Calamity and suffering
Befalls him.
I breathe over the body
Of man, child, and woman
And transform
And ruin
Flesh and blood,
Marrow and bone
To ugliness
And aching pain.
Job, you German, you beggar!
Pestilence,
Pestilence touches you.
By Pestilence,
By Pestilence you are subjugated,
You man, you woman!
May your body
Be full of ulcers and wounds,
Be scraped and scratched.
A loathing to humans,
A loathing to animals,
A loathing to creation.
Pestilence is upon you,
German!

Job and his crying wife:

Woe to us! Our strength!
Woe to us! It slackens! [p. 41]
Pestilence has seized us!
Who will receive us?
Who will hide us?
Pestilence,
Pestilence strangles us!
O that the earth would open a grave
And pull us down into itself!

The crying wife

Job, look at my body! How covered it is
with ugliness! Job, take your staff and kill
me!
Strike my head against the rocks, so that I
may be saved from my suffering.

Job

Wife, what are you asking of me!

The wife

Is it an accident, is it a stroke of fate, Job?
Answer me!

Job

God is not compelled
By arguing and questioning.
Humans must bear
What they receive.

The wife

How can a human believe in the goodness of heaven
Which robs him of everything?

Job [p. 42]

Wellness and health
Are not everything!
The true essence of humans
Lies in the soul,
Rests in the breast.
And nothing in the world
Can destroy that
Except the sin of humans
Alone.

The entourage of Pestilence

You windbag, you dreamer, you fool!
You want to fathom the riddle of fate
With a single word.
You want to find the solution of all solutions
With a single word!

Vice, entering with its entourage

Pestilence speaks rightly!

Job

Who are you, then? And where do you come from?

The wife

Her form is seductive.
See, Job, in good times I also used to be able to make my hips
sway like that!

Job

Her eyes are impudent and her mouth is vulgar!

Vice [p. 43]

Where do I come from?
And who am I?
Where people want to cover their misery,
{Where people want to cover their misery,}
There I am.
I let people forget for hours
That they feed on dirt and rocks.
I hang a red cloth in front of the light,
Then they don’t see their misery.
The one embraces me,
The other curses me,
But when they are worried,
They all draw near
To refresh themselves —
At first for hours,
Later for seconds.
Sons and fathers,
Daughters and mothers
Come to me
To sleep,
To sleep
And to forget!

The wife

Se<e>, Job, this woman speaks a message that is
appropriate for people who are in misery as we are.

Job

So tell us your name, woman!

Vice

All humans
Know me.
All humans [p. 44]
Call me
By another name.
The one calls me rapture,
The other calls me wine,
The third calls me happiness!
To the child
I am sin.
To the old man
I am bittersweet memory.
The one draws near
Quietly and hesitantly.
The other rushes at me
In his wild, youthful vigor.
The wise one
Separates his soul from me
But not his body.
The pious his body
But not his longing.
I am Sensuality.
I am Groaning.
I have a thousand and one forms.
At one time I am young, at another I am old.
At one time I am woman,
At another I am man.
At one time I am lowly,
At another I am great.
Whoever merely thinks of me,
To that one I draw near.
By now everyone has seen me
With them
At some time or another!

Job

What is that riddle supposed to mean, woman! Say who you are!

The wife

Job, surely it is a goddess who speaks this way? Can she
save?

Vice [p. 45]

Indeed, I can save
From evil
But only for a time,
Not for eternity!
Follow me
To drunkenness,
Until sobriety arouses you
To new drunkenness.
Those who wish me ill
and resent me
Call me “vice.”

Pestilence and Vice together

We are sisters in spirit!
Most times we are met
In every land
Hand in hand.
One of us goes ahead,
The other follows behind.
First comes the door,
Then the chamber.
And once we are inside
Then we begin
Our work
Which Poverty devised
And put into motion before us.
We are sisters in spirit.

Pestilence

Why do you stand here and wait?
The one whom I first degenerate,
That one follows my sister!

Vice

Job, you German, follow me,
I’ll show you
The anaesthesia, [p. 46]
The forgetting.
Without pain,
Without feeling
You will live
Day by day.
Until one small hour,
One tiny second
Reveals death to you.
For hidden
Is the abyss
Towards which
All humans stride.
I will guide
You to it.
And without worry,
Without thinking about tomorrow,
That life will
Be yours!

Job

The word from your mouth
Is itself abyss,
To engulf me
In the dance of death
And to kill me.
You want to completely
Captivate,
Overwhelm,
And suffocate me.
You want to separate me
From God.
I should not invoke
God.
You can kill my body,
But not my soul
Which speaks:
Lord, I believe! [p. 47]

The archangel Michael

German, you wrestler,
You hell-conquerer,
You are strong!
The brood of hell
And Satan’s fury
Will be shattered
In court!
The Lord of Glory
Will lead you to freedom!

BLANK [p. 48]

[p. 49]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

IV. Job’s Battle and Conquest.

Characters:

The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
Job,
His wife,
The choirs of angels.

The wife [p. 50]

You have driven away the spectres, Job, that
wanted to entice us to desert the Lord of
Glory.
Vice hurried off when you called the name of
God.
But Poverty remained, and Pestilence, too.
Why, then, didn’t the name of God, our Lord, drive
them away, also?

Job

If by calling on the name
of the Lord of Glory
All trouble, all suffering
Vanished from the world,
Then human strength
Would be no more.
Humanity must
Vanquish Poverty
By wrestling.

The wife

What good will wrestling do you now, Job?

Job

I still don’t know, and I don’t yet see a purpose,
No gleam in the night,
But my heart tells me to hope,
And my soul sees
The heavens opened.
My hope precedes
The deed.

The wife

Why, then, does Pestilence paralyze your strength?

Job [p. 51]

I am not able to say
Why humans on earth
Are struck
With plagues.
Perhaps Pestilence
And its torment
Is a retreat
In the midst of human haste
And the burden
Of Pestilence
Provides leisure
For penance,
For contemplation,
And the recovery
Of inner strength!

The wife

Did your sense of reason teach you that?

Job

Wife, reason
Scatters
Like the sand
At the sea
When the storm
Passes over it!

The wife

Is it the heart that teaches you to believe like that?

Job

Wife, the heart
Shatters
When pain
Kindles sorrow
Overnight [p. 52]
And no answer,
No word of salvation,
No magical word,
Is given
Either here or there.
Wife!
Yet faith
Brings
The yearning
Fugitives
Like a reliable ship
Through rock and reef
Across
To the island of salvation!
This is faith:
Heart and reason
Joined together
In common cause.

The wife

You are so strong, Job, and I feel my weakness!

Job

Lean on my shoulder, wife. I will lead
you
While our feet can still go.
My power shall be your strength.

The wife

It is so dark, Job!

Job [p. 53]

When the stars go out
And the sun is drowned
In the sea,
Then darkness
Falls
Round us
Like a black cloth
Over the world.
And the curse
Of darkness
Stops
Our breath.
Wife!
Then out of the expanse of heaven comes
A godlike gliding
A light
That speaks
To humans:
Fear not!

The wife

Do all humans see the light? Do they all
hear the light’s word?

Job

The light shines upon
All humans alike.
The light speaks to
All humans alike.
Grace
Radiates to all
Through the darkness.
To all
Who have fallen
Into misery and trouble [S. 54]
The way into freedom beckons!
The way into freedom
Is full of trouble.
It leads from the earth
Through anxious straits
And painful passages
Into the light!
Into the light!
Yet on the steps along the way
Stands the enemy.
And his call
Rings through the darkness
Like truth.
But clarity,
Purity,
Grace
Teaches us to divide
Between false and true,
Teaches us to avoid
Danger.
And death
Calls to no avail.

The wife

Hold me, Job, so that I don’t sink into that
sea called unbelief.
Job, I am tired, and I want to sleep.

Job

A wondrous weariness surrounds me, too.
Lean your head on my chest, and let us
sleep, my wife!

The choirs of angels

Blessed be the German,
Who conquers [p. 55]
The ruse of the enemy.
Blessed be the German,
Who finds
The way of freedom.
Blessed be the German,
Who fights and wins.
He will be free!

BLANK [p. 56]

[p. 57]

V. The Epilogue in God’s Reich.

Characters:

The Lord of Glory,
The archangel Michael, patron of the Germans,
The soul of Job the German,
The evil enemy,
The choirs of angels.

The Lord of Glory [p. 58]

I saw the German’s suffering,
I saw the German’s fighting,
I saw the German’s winning.
Enough!
Where in my earthly Reich is
Someone equal to the German
At enduring and believing?

The archangel Michael

He has won
In a thousand hardships,
The German!
The evil enemy
Wanted to kill him.
Yet his ruse
Has been smashed
By the German.
He used the plagues
To smite him.
He robbed his possessions
And injected poison
Into the blood
Of the German!
Yet he believed
And won!
Blessed be the German
Who out of the fire of hell
Found the way into freedom!

The evil enemy

Your game was rigged.
You lied to me
To cheat me of the prize.
Yet I did not take everything from the German. [p. 59]
He still has his eyesight,
And I did not take his wife from him.
I still have many a temptation
For him.

The archangel Michael

And if you should have a thousand more torments,
The German would still
Withstand them.
You have lost.
Through the German
The world is born anew.

The evil enemy

I won’t quit! I’ll kill him!

The Lord of Glory

Your time is up,
You yourself must die!
The abyss is already prepared
Which will devour you.
The world is free from you.
The German smashed you.

The evil enemy

An ancient saying
An ancient curse
Proclaimed
That one day my power
Would come to an end
Through a strong man of the world
Whose faithfulness would fell me.

The archangel Michael [p. 60]

So die
And come to ruin
By the German’s sword.

The choirs of angels

The enemy’s power has been broken
By the German.
Praised be the Lord
Who gives strength.
Praised be the Lord
Who loves strength
In the strong.
Praised be the war,
Praised be the victory
Of the German!

The Lord of Glory

Lead the soul of the German
Before my throne,
So that it may receive
Its reward!

The soul of Job the German is led before the Lord
of Glories

Job’s soul

My eyes see
Heaven’s meadows,
Wondrously beautiful.
A marvelous dream
Transfigures my misery.
A mere dream leads my suffering
To glory. [p. 61]
A dream!

The archangel Michael

German, your soul stands
Before the majesty of God.
Bend,
Bow down
Before God, the Lord!

Job’s soul

I bend,
I bow down
Before God, the Lord.

The Lord of Glory

German!
I bless you
For your faith.
German, I praise you
For your strength.
Forever and ever
May your works
Endure.
German!
May your land
Be the fount of the world,
Which enlivens and sustains
All nations.
Take off the servant’s garment!
My hand
Will crown you
And propitiate
All boils, all wounds,
Which you received in the battle.
And the earth
Will [p. 62]
Be given to you,
So that you will lead it
And rule
According to my will!

Job’s soul

Lord, I am not worthy
Of the grace
Which befalls me!

The choirs of angels

Praise the Lord of Glory,
For imperishable
Is his grace.
Praise the Lord,
For lavish
Is his goodness.
Praise the Lord of Glory
Forever.

Entry of the German people.

Lord of Glory

When you return to the earth,
Your longing
Shall be fulfilled!
I take poverty
From you.
All your possessions
I give you.
The souls of your sons
I will summon
To live anew.
The glory of the earth I will give
To your descendants
From now on your people are
The people of my revelation.
The holiest possessions of humans [p. 63]
Shall be handed over to them
For safekeeping.
So go from me in peace,
German! Return to your inheritance,
From misery into happiness.
My spirit will surround you
And will stay with you
Until the end of all worlds.
You came as servant, and you go as master,
You German!
Enter into your Reich
As king!

The choirs of angels

As victor
The German enters
Into his Reich.
As king he will rule
Over the world.
God’s clothes
Are his glory.
The enemy is dead,
Poverty at an end.
The German is free!
Forever free!

Final chorus

(Job, the wife, the servants)
(The sons meet him with outstretched arms)
(The chorus of temptations withdraws)
(The light shines on Job):

We Germans are free,
Because grace was ours,
Great are we Germans,
Because blessing always awaits
The just.
The wicked could do [p. 64]
Nothing evil to us.
The ruse of hell
Is ruined.
On bright paths
The love of the Lord
Shines upon us.
The one whom love surrounds
Lives.
And even if the world hates him,
He lives!!

The End.