Monday, July 18, 2011

Money Wisdom #13

LORD CHANCELLOR, entering slowly
That I should live to see this happy day !
See this momentous paper in my hand
That has turned ill to good throughout the land.
[he reads]
'Let it be known to all who would be told:
This note is worth a thousand crowns in gold,
Secured by the buried treasure to be found
In the Imperial lands beneath the ground.
Those riches, once recovered, shall be deemed
As full equivalent to be redeemed.'

EMPEROR
But this is folly, criminal deceit!
Who wrote my signature in counterfeit?
Was no one punished for this forgery?

TREASURER
Remember, Sire! You signed the note for me
Last night, when you appeared as the mighty Pan.
The Chancellor and I explained the plan:
'To crown the pleasure of this celebration,
A few strokes of the pen will save the nation.'
You signed your name and by mysterious skills
It was reprinted on a thousand bills.
We issued the whole series right away,
So all could share this benefit today;
Tens, thirties, fifties, hundreds are to hand,
And happiness has spread through all the land.
Your city once so ravaged with decay -
It teems with joy and life again today.
Although your name has long inspired devotion,
I never heard it praised with such emotion.
We need no further alphabet than this -
That sign alone fills every heart with bliss.

EMPEROR
And they accept these notes, as gold, you say?
The court, the army take them as full pay?
So be it, then - but it still puzzles me.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Faust - The Second Part of the Tragedy (1832)
Translated, with an Introduction and Notes, by John R. Williams (1999) p.193-194

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