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Pater Profundus

Acrylic on board, 42 x 29.7 cm. 2021.

An abstract illustration of part of the final scene of Goethe's Faust, Part Two, in which the hermit Pater Profundus speaks about the divine power that underpins the natural forces surrounding him in the wilderness, and begs to be enlightened by the same power. I have translated the speech as follows:

As at my feet the stony brink

In deep abysses rests below,

As thousand streamlets rushing sink

Down in the seething torrent’s flow,

As is the tree trunk to the sky,

By its own growth held, ring by ring,

So it is that love most high,

Does form and nourish everything.

Round me blares a wild commotion,

Earth and woodland seems to spasm!

Yet the waters with devotion,

Fall abundant down the chasm,

Feeding plains below the steeps:

So the surging lightnings blaze,

To clear the atmosphere that keeps

Unto its bosom fumes and haze;

Love’s envoys these, they loud proclaim

What, all-creating, us does hold.

My inward core likewise inflame,

Wherein my vital spirits, cold

Behind dull senses twist and strain,

In chainbound tortures wince and smart:

O God! please pacify my brain,

Enlighten my impoverished heart!

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