Let the Thing Be

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Two men are prey to a nightmarish vision involving demons tormenting a woman and other grim figures

Mephistopheles. Let the thing be! ... Such to encounter is not good ... Medusas's tale to thee is known.
Faust. Forsooth, the eyes they are of one whom, dying, no hand with loving pressure closed; that is the breast whereon I once was lying—The body sweet, beside which I reposed!


(Facing p. 123.)

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Cleveland Museum of Art

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Description

Two men leaning on a rock are prey to a nightmarish vision involving demons tormenting a woman, silhouettes in hooded cloaks carrying torches, and reptiles and distorted figures crawling the ground.

The caption reads in French:

Meph. : Laisse cet objet, on ne se trouve jamais bien de le regarder … Tu as bien entendu raconter l’histoire de Méduse ?
Faust : Assurément ce sont là les yeux d’un mort, qu’une main amie n’a point fermés ; c’est là le sein que Marguerite m’a livré, c’est le corps charmant que j’ai possédé.

The caption in English was taken from the translation of Faust by Bayard Taylor. New York: Arden Book Company, n.d.

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