The devil is chatting with Wagner, Dr. Faust’s young assistant, who is in doubt about which career to follow. For jurisprudence – he says, I feel no special bent. The reply of the devil is extremely skeptical:
– I scarcely blame you for the sentiment.
– I know about this endeavor.
– We drag prerogatives and laws
– From place to place by slow degrees,
– Age handing age ancestral flaws,
– Like an inherited disease.
– Sense turns to nonsense, boon to plague.
– Woe to the grandson that you are!
– Our human birthright prior to the bar,
– On that, alas! the gentlemen are vague.