Everything suddenly changes hack to as it was in Scene 8. ADAM is KEPLER once more, his head resting on his desk. LUCIFER, his APPRENTICE, stands beside him and taps him on the shoulder. The morning is dawning grey.

The execution is postponed for now. -

ADAM rising
Where am I, and where are all my dreams?

They’ve flown with your intoxication, sir.

Are times so low that only drunkenness
Can rouse my aging breast to dreams of greatness?
What splendid visions rose before my eyes!
One must be blind to miss that heavenly spark
However it’s defaced with blood and grime,
The good and evil on such vast proportions
That both of them appeared miraculous.
It was the stamp of power that amazed me.
Why did I wake? So I should see this age
Of dwarfishness confirmed, this age which masks
Corruption with its smiles and lying manners.

You’re feeling flat - I know the state of mind,
It’s just the morning of the night before.

EVE stepping from the arbour
Be off with you - I see that my suspicions
Were well founded. You dare suggest to me
That I should kill my husband! You think that I,
Your so-called idol, should descend so low?

For heaven’s sake, collect yourself, my love;
Think of the scandal if we should be heard.

Were those two women also just a dream?
What am I saying? One woman, two forms,
Who changed abruptly as my fortune changed,
Like waves that pulse between the light and dark.

I see - for you the scandal is what matters!
The crime is less important if it’s hidden,
You irreproachable figure of a knight!
Oh fie on you, you mock a helpless woman
Till she casts aside the well-established virtues
Of maidenhood and prejudice, and then
You sneer and condescend, regarding her
A lowly instrument of your own vices.
I never want to see you again, now go!

This is too much. To make a song and dance
Of such a trivial matter is enough
To turn us into a common laughing stock.
We’ll meet again and smile, and even flirt
And never mention what has passed between us.
Good morning, madam!
He goes

      Miserable wretch! -
But here I am with all my sins and tears.
She goes

A dream, that’s all it was, and now it’s over.
But not quite everything. Ideas are stronger
Than fallen matter. One can be destroyed
By violence, the other is eternal.
And I can see my own ideas growing
Progressively purer, gaining nobility,
However slowly, till they fill the world.

The sun is rising. Time for your lecture, sir.
Your youthful audience has arrived, impatient
To glean your words of scientific wisdom.
He rings the bell attached to the tower of the observatory

Don’t mock me with this talk about my science,
It makes me blush to hear men praise me for it.

But don’t you teach a lot of clever students?

I don’t teach them, I only keep them busy
With words which they don’t understand. They have
No sense of what to do or not to do.
Ignorant people tend to gawp and think
We conjure up some spirit with fine words,
The whole thing is a trick and nothing more
To hide the clever work of charlatans.
A PUPIL hurries towards them and steps on to the balcony

It was generous of you to call me, sir,
Promising to quench my thirst for knowledge,
To let me peer into the heart of things
More deeply than you see fit to let others.

Indeed, your industry is so outstanding
The privilege is amply justified.

So here I am, heart shaking with desire
To pry into the laboratory of nature.
To grasp it all and to enjoy it better,
To feel that I’m securely in command
Of both material and spiritual realms.

You want too much. A mere speck in the world,
How could you see the splendour of the whole? -
You want dominion, knowledge, satisfaction -
You’d have to be a god to bear the weight
Of all this on your back and not collapse.
If you desired less you might attain it.

Whichever mystery you choose to solve,
Great scientist, I’m sure to gain by it,
Since I so keenly feel my ignorance.

Very well then, I see that you are worthy,
And I will lead you to the utmost altar
To see the truth as I myself conceive it.
We can’t be overheard by common students?
The truth is terrible and could be lethal
If the people were to hear about it now.
There’ll come a time - would it were here already -
When all this will be spoken in the streets,
But not until the people come of age. -
Now give me your hand, and swear not to betray
What you’re about to learn. - So, listen then. -

I’m all a-tremble with desire and fear.

Just what was it you said before, my boy?

I said I did not understand a thing.

ADAM carefully
Neither do I, nor anyone else, believe me.
Philosophy is just the poetry
Of those things that we can’t yet comprehend. -
It is the most amenable of studies
Since, in a nightmare world, it is content
To amuse itself in the most docile fashion.
It has countless other kindred disciplines
Which frown and draw their figures in the sand,
Which call a line a vortex, or proclaim
The circle a sacred shape. The gravity
And eloquence of it is farcical:
Enough to make you laugh once you see through it.
For all the time men go in fear and trembling,
Edging round those diagrams in the sand,
Dreadful snares await the foolhardy
Who overstep the mark and lose their way.
And there stands folly, ever vigilant,
Obstructive in the name of piety,
The guardian of whatever powers may be.

I see, I see. And will it always be so?

No, one day they will laugh at all of this.
The statesmen whom we now consider great,
The orthodox at whom we gawp in wonder,
Will then appear as mere comedians,
And genuine greatness will assume their place:
The simple man, the man of nature, he
Who only leaps when he perceives a ditch
Or takes a road once he can see it clear.
And science, which now often leads to madness
By virtue of its tangled threads, will then
Be understood by all though learned by none.

This then is that clear and simple language
The apostles must have spoken. - But even if
The rest is nothing but mere useless Lumber,
Don’t rob me of my faith in art, to know which
One must understand the principles.

Even in art the true perfection lies
In concealing art from the observer’s eyes.

Should we content ourselves, then with hard fact?
Idealization gives our work its soul.

You’re right: idealization gives it soul
And raises it to parity with nature
And validates its true creative life
Without which it would be dead artifice.
But do not think that by idealizing
You can outstrip the living force of Nature.
And as for rules and patterns, let them be.
If man is strong and God resides in him
He’ll be an orator, or carve, or sing,
He’ll weep with all his heart when he is low
And smile in his sleep after a bout of pleasure.
And if he breaks new ground he’ll reach his goal. -
New rules will spring directly from his art:
Abstraction forges principles, not wings,
Though it might well serve to fetter dwarfish souls.

What should I do then, master? Please advise me.
Have I sacrificed so many nights to science
To attain only this parity with fools?
Have I wasted all my time without reward?

No, for this alone gives you the right
To reject all its temptations and advances.
One who has never looked danger in the face
Is a coward if he retreats. But seasoned soldiers
May ignore a brawler yet remain courageous,
No shadow of suspicion attends courage. -
So take these yellow folios and parchments
And throw the mildewed things onto the fire.
They stop us standing on our own two feet,
Prevent us thinking for ourselves, transmit
The accumulated errors of the past
Like prejudices to the coming world.
To the fire with them! Now, out into fresh air.
Why should you learn the meaning of a song
Or the nature of a forest while your life
Diminishes behind these joyless walls
Of dust. You think your life is long enough
To spend your dying days in theory?
Together we will take leave of the school.
Your golden youth should lead you to the joys
Of songs and sunlight; as for me, lead on
My cynical guardian spirit, to the world
That is to be, providing it can grasp
Great men’s ideals, and let our hidden thoughts
Speak freely above the cursed dust of ruins.