Now living matter falleth from above
Which I must use. It is the stuff whereof
Are demons made, and it is flowing free
Within the world of form. A man doth strive
To tear from out his being utterly
The spirit-substance he received from me.
My influence hath been till now quite good,
But now he is too near the mystic throng
Whom Benedictus through his wisdom's light
Hath lent the power enabling them to face
Awakening at the cosmic midnight hour.
O'er him hath Lucifer his influence lost,
So that Maria and Johannes could
Release themselves from out his sphere of light.
Henceforth to Strader I must closely cling; —
Once he is mine I'll catch the others too.
Johannes wore himself quite dull and blunt
Against my shadow; — now he knows me well.
Through Strader only can I get at him.
And in Maria's case it is the same;
Yet Strader will perhaps not recognize
The spirit-tangle, which to human eyes
Appears as nature, is in fact naught else
Than mine own personal spirit-property.
And so he may conceive that energy
And matter blindly struggle there where I,
Denying spirit, fashion spirit-things.
'Tis true the rest have talked to him a lot
About my being and about my realm;
And yet, methinks, I have not lost him quite.
He will forget that Benedictus sent
Him hither unto me, but half-awake,
That his belief may be dispelled that I
Am but a woven thought in human brains.
Yet I shall need some earthly help if I
Must bring him here before it is too late.
Now therefore I will call upon a soul
Who in his cleverness considers me
The fancied bogey for benighted fools.
He serves me on and off, when I have need.
(Ahriman goes off and returns with the soul of Fox, whose
figure is a sort of copy of his own. He removes a bandage from
Earth-knowledge he must leave here at the door.
For he must never understand the things
Which here he learns, since he is honest still;
No effort would he make, if he once knew
The purpose with which I now influence him.
He must be able later to forget.
Does thou know doctor Strader, who serves me?
The Soul of Fox:
He drifts about upon the star of Earth;
He would build learned prattle into life;
And yet each wind of life will knock him down.
He listens eagerly to mystic prigs,
And is already stifled by their fog;
He now doth try to blind poor Hilary,
Whose friend, however, keeps him well in hand,
Since all these braggart spirit-whisperings
Would otherwise his business quite destroy.
Such talk as this is not what I require.
I now have need of Strader. If this man
Can still have perfect faith in his own self,
Then Benedictus far too easily
Will make his wisdom known amongst mankind.
The friend of Hilary might be of use
To Lucifer; I must act otherwise —
Through Strader I must Benedictus harm.
For he and all his pupils can achieve
Nothing at all, hath he not Strader's aid.
Mine enemies of course still have their powers,
And after Strader's death he will be theirs.
But if while still on earth his soul can be
Deceived about itself, my gain will be
That Benedictus can no longer use
Him as the leader of his coach's team.
Now in fate's book I have already read
That Strader's span of life is nearly run.
But Benedictus can not yet see this.
My trusty knave, right crafty is thy wit;
Thou takest me for some dull foolish clown.
So well thou reasonest that men attend.
Go therefore and see Strader very soon,
Tell him that his machine is ill-contrived;
That 'tis not only unpropitious times
That check fulfilment of his promises;
But that his reasoning also is at fault.
The Soul of Fox:
For such a mission I am well equipped.
For some time past I have done nothing else
But think how I can unto Strader prove
How full of error his ambitions are.
When once a man hath formed a clever scheme
By dint of many nights of earnest thought
He will with ease believe that ill-success
Is due not to his thought but outward acts.
And Strader's case is surely pitiable;
Had such a man as he shunned mystic snobs,
And made fit use of his fine intellect,
His great endowments surely would have borne
Much fruit and profit for humanity.
Now see to it that thou art shrewdly armed.
This is thy task: Thou art to undermine
The confidence of Strader in himself.
No longer then will he desire to work
With Benedictus, who must henceforth rest
Upon himself and his own arguments.
But these are not so pleasing to mankind,
Who will be more opposed to them on earth
The more their inmost nature is disclosed.
The Soul of Fox:
I see already how I shall begin
To show to Strader where his thought hath failed.
There is a flaw within his new machine,
Though he cannot perceive it of himself.
A veil of mystic darkness hinders him.
But I, with my clear common sense, shall be
Of much more use to him than mystic dreams;
This for a long while bath been my desire;
Yet knew I not how to accomplish it.
At length a light is thrown athwart my path.
Now must I think of all the arguments
Which will make Strader realize the truth.
(Ahriman leads out Fox's soul and again blindfolds the
individual portraying the soul before he is allowed to depart.)
He will be of great service unto me.
The mystic light on earth doth burn me sore
I must work further there, but must not let
The mystics unto men my work reveal.
(Theodora's soul appears.)
Thou mayest Strader reach; but none the less
I shall be by his side; and since we were
United on the radiant path of souls,
We shall remain united wheresoe'er
He dwells on earth or in the spirit-realms.
If she indeed forsakes him not, the while
He still doth dwell on earth, I stand to lose
My battle; yet I shall not cease to hope
That he may yet forget her 'ere the end.