English Literature

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.jpg

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

FROM THE QUARTO OF 1604.


          Enter CHORUS.

     CHORUS. Not marching now in fields of Thrasymene,
     Where Mars did mate1 the Carthaginians;
     Nor sporting in the dalliance of love,
     In courts of kings where state is overturn'd;
     Nor in the pomp of proud audacious deeds,
     Intends our Muse to vaunt2 her3 heavenly verse:
     Only this, gentlemen,—we must perform
     The form of Faustus' fortunes, good or bad:
     To patient judgments we appeal our plaud,
     And speak for Faustus in his infancy.
     Now is he born, his parents base of stock,
     In Germany, within a town call'd Rhodes:
     Of riper years, to Wertenberg he went,
     Whereas4 his kinsmen chiefly brought him up.
     So soon he profits in divinity,
     The fruitful plot of scholarism grac'd,
     That shortly he was grac'd with doctor's name,
     Excelling all whose sweet delight disputes
     In heavenly matters of theology;
     Till swoln with cunning,5 of a self-conceit,
     His waxen wings did mount above his reach,
     And, melting, heavens conspir'd his overthrow;
     For, falling to a devilish exercise,
     And glutted now6 with learning's golden gifts,
     He surfeits upon cursed necromancy;
     Nothing so sweet as magic is to him,
     Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss:
     And this the man that in his study sits.
          [Exit.]

          FAUSTUS discovered in his study.7

     FAUSTUS. Settle thy studies, Faustus, and begin
     To sound the depth of that thou wilt profess:
     Having commenc'd, be a divine in shew,
     Yet level at the end of every art,
     And live and die in Aristotle's works.
     Sweet Analytics, 'tis thou8 hast ravish'd me!
     Bene disserere est finis logices.
     Is, to dispute well, logic's chiefest end?
     Affords this art no greater miracle?
     Then read no more; thou hast attain'd that9 end:
     A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit:
     Bid Economy10 farewell, and11 Galen come,
     Seeing, Ubi desinit philosophus, ibi incipit medicus:
     Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold,
     And be eterniz'd for some wondrous cure:
     Summum bonum medicinae sanitas,
     The end of physic is our body's health.
     Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain'd that end?
     Is not thy common talk found aphorisms?
     Are not thy bills hung up as monuments,
     Whereby whole cities have escap'd the plague,
     And thousand desperate maladies been eas'd?
     Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man.
     Couldst12 thou make men13 to live eternally,
     Or, being dead, raise them to life again,
     Then this profession were to be esteem'd.
     Physic, farewell!  Where is Justinian?

          [Reads.]
     Si una eademque res legatur14 duobus, alter rem,
     alter valorem rei, &c.

     A pretty case of paltry legacies!

          [Reads.]
     Exhoereditare filium non potest pater, nisi, &c.15

     Such is the subject of the institute,
     And universal body of the law:16
     This17 study fits a mercenary drudge,
     Who aims at nothing but external trash;
     Too servile18 and illiberal for me.
     When all is done, divinity is best:
     Jerome's Bible, Faustus; view it well.

          [Reads.]
     Stipendium peccati mors est.
                                   Ha!
                                        Stipendium, &c.

     The reward of sin is death:  that's hard.

          [Reads.]
     Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas;

     If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and
     there's no truth in us.  Why, then, belike we must sin, and so
     consequently die:
     Ay, we must die an everlasting death.
     What doctrine call you this, Che sera, sera,19
     What will be, shall be?  Divinity, adieu!
     These metaphysics of magicians,
     And necromantic books are heavenly;
     Lines, circles, scenes,20 letters, and characters;
     Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.
     O, what a world of profit and delight,
     Of power, of honour, of omnipotence,
     Is promis'd to the studious artizan!
     All things that move between the quiet poles
     Shall be at my command:  emperors and kings
     Are but obeyed in their several provinces,
     Nor can they raise the wind, or rend the clouds;
     But his dominion that exceeds in this,
     Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man;
     A sound magician is a mighty god:
     Here, Faustus, tire21 thy brains to gain a deity.

          Enter WAGNER.22

     Wagner, commend me to my dearest friends,
     The German Valdes and Cornelius;
     Request them earnestly to visit me.

     WAGNER. I will, sir.
          [Exit.]

     FAUSTUS. Their conference will be a greater help to me
     Than all my labours, plod I ne'er so fast.

          Enter GOOD ANGEL and EVIL ANGEL.

     GOOD ANGEL. O, Faustus, lay that damned book aside,
     And gaze not on it, lest it tempt thy soul,
     And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head!
     Read, read the Scriptures:—that is blasphemy.

     EVIL ANGEL. Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art
     Wherein all Nature's treasure23 is contain'd:
     Be thou on earth as Jove24 is in the sky,
     Lord and commander of these elements.25
          [Exeunt Angels.]

     FAUSTUS. How am I glutted with conceit of this!
     Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,
     Resolve26 me of all ambiguities,
     Perform what desperate enterprise I will?
     I'll have them fly to India for gold,
     Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
     And search all corners of the new-found world
     For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;
     I'll have them read me strange philosophy,
     And tell the secrets of all foreign kings;
     I'll have them wall all Germany with brass,
     And make swift Rhine circle fair Wertenberg;
     I'll have them fill the public schools with silk,27
     Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad;
     I'll levy soldiers with the coin they bring,
     And chase the Prince of Parma from our land,
     And reign sole king of all the28 provinces;
     Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war,
     Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp's bridge,29
     I'll make my servile spirits to invent.

          Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS.

     Come, German Valdes, and Cornelius,
     And make me blest with your sage conference.
     Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,
     Know that your words have won me at the last
     To practice magic and concealed arts:
     Yet not your words only,30 but mine own fantasy,
     That will receive no object; for my head
     But ruminates on necromantic skill.
     Philosophy is odious and obscure;
     Both law and physic are for petty wits;
     Divinity is basest of the three,
     Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile:31
     'Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish'd me.
     Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;
     And I, that have with concise syllogisms32
     Gravell'd the pastors of the German church,
     And made the flowering pride of Wertenberg
     Swarm to my problems, as the infernal spirits
     On sweet Musaeus when he came to hell,
     Will be as cunning33 as Agrippa34 was,
     Whose shadow35 made all Europe honour him.

     VALDES. Faustus, these books, thy wit, and our experience,
     Shall make all nations to canonize us.
     As Indian Moors obey their Spanish lords,
     So shall the spirits36 of every element
     Be always serviceable to us three;
     Like lions shall they guard us when we please;
     Like Almain rutters37 with their horsemen's staves,
     Or Lapland giants, trotting by our sides;
     Sometimes like women, or unwedded maids,
     Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows
     Than have the38 white breasts of the queen of love:
     From39 Venice shall they drag huge argosies,
     And from America the golden fleece
     That yearly stuffs old Philip's treasury;
     If learned Faustus will be resolute.

     FAUSTUS. Valdes, as resolute am I in this
     As thou to live:  therefore object it not.

     CORNELIUS. The miracles that magic will perform
     Will make thee vow to study nothing else.
     He that is grounded in astrology,
     Enrich'd with tongues, well seen in40 minerals,
     Hath all the principles magic doth require:
     Then doubt not, Faustus, but to be renowm'd,41
     And more frequented for this mystery
     Than heretofore the Delphian oracle.
     The spirits tell me they can dry the sea,
     And fetch the treasure of all foreign wrecks,
     Ay, all the wealth that our forefathers hid
     Within the massy entrails of the earth:
     Then tell me, Faustus, what shall we three want?

     FAUSTUS. Nothing, Cornelius.  O, this cheers my soul!
     Come, shew me some demonstrations magical,
     That I may conjure in some lusty grove,
     And have these joys in full possession.

     VALDES. Then haste thee to some solitary grove,
     And bear wise Bacon's and Albertus'42 works,
     The Hebrew Psalter, and New Testament;
     And whatsoever else is requisite
     We will inform thee ere our conference cease.

     CORNELIUS. Valdes, first let him know the words of art;
     And then, all other ceremonies learn'd,
     Faustus may try his cunning43 by himself.

     VALDES. First I'll instruct thee in the rudiments,
     And then wilt thou be perfecter than I.

     FAUSTUS. Then come and dine with me, and, after meat,
     We'll canvass every quiddity thereof;
     For, ere I sleep, I'll try what I can do:
     This night I'll conjure, though I die therefore.
          [Exeunt.]

          Enter two SCHOLARS.44

     FIRST SCHOLAR. I wonder what's become of Faustus, that was wont
     to make our schools ring with sic probo.

     SECOND SCHOLAR. That shall we know, for see, here comes his boy.

          Enter WAGNER.

     FIRST SCHOLAR. How now, sirrah! where's thy master?

     WAGNER. God in heaven knows.

     SECOND SCHOLAR. Why, dost not thou know?

     WAGNER. Yes, I know; but that follows not.

     FIRST SCHOLAR. Go to, sirrah! leave your jesting, and tell us
     where he is.

     WAGNER. That follows not necessary by force of argument, that you,
     being licentiates, should stand upon:45  therefore acknowledge
     your error, and be attentive.

     SECOND SCHOLAR. Why, didst thou not say thou knewest?

     WAGNER. Have you any witness on't?

     FIRST SCHOLAR. Yes, sirrah, I heard you.

     WAGNER. Ask my fellow if I be a thief.

     SECOND SCHOLAR. Well, you will not tell us?

     WAGNER. Yes, sir, I will tell you:  yet, if you were not dunces,
     you would never ask me such a question; for is not he corpus
     naturale? and is not that mobile? then wherefore should you
     ask me such a question?  But that I am by nature phlegmatic,
     slow to wrath, and prone to lechery (to love, I would say),
     it were not for you to come within forty foot of the place
     of execution, although I do not doubt to see you both hanged
     the next sessions.  Thus having triumphed over you, I will set
     my countenance like a precisian, and begin to speak thus:—
     Truly, my dear brethren, my master is within at dinner,
     with Valdes and Cornelius, as this wine, if it could speak,
     would46 inform your worships:  and so, the Lord bless you,
     preserve you, and keep you, my dear brethren, my dear brethren!47
          [Exit.]

     FIRST SCHOLAR. Nay, then, I fear he is fallen into that damned art
     for which they two are infamous through the world.

     SECOND SCHOLAR. Were he a stranger, and not allied to me, yet should
     I grieve for him. But, come, let us go and inform the Rector,
     and see if he by his grave counsel can reclaim him.

     FIRST SCHOLAR. O, but I fear me nothing can reclaim him!

     SECOND SCHOLAR. Yet let us try what we can do.
          [Exeunt.]

          Enter FAUSTUS to conjure.48

     FAUSTUS. Now that the gloomy shadow of the earth,
     Longing to view Orion's drizzling look,
     Leaps from th' antartic world unto the sky,
     And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath,
     Faustus, begin thine incantations,
     And try if devils will obey thy hest,
     Seeing thou hast pray'd and sacrific'd to them.
     Within this circle is Jehovah's name,
     Forward and backward anagrammatiz'd,49
     Th' abbreviated50 names of holy saints,
     Figures of every adjunct to the heavens,
     And characters of signs and erring51 stars,
     By which the spirits are enforc'd to rise:
     Then fear not, Faustus, but be resolute,
     And try the uttermost magic can perform.—
     Sint mihi dei Acherontis propitii!  Valeat numen triplex Jehovoe!
     Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete!  Orientis princeps
     Belzebub, inferni ardentis monarcha, et Demogorgon, propitiamus
     vos, ut appareat et surgat Mephistophilis, quod tumeraris:52
     per Jehovam, Gehennam, et consecratam aquam quam nunc spargo,
     signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et per vota nostra, ipse nunc
     surgat nobis dicatus53 Mephistophilis!

          Enter MEPHISTOPHILIS.

     I charge thee to return, and change thy shape;
     Thou art too ugly to attend on me:
     Go, and return an old Franciscan friar;
     That holy shape becomes a devil best.
          [Exit MEPHISTOPHILIS.]

     I see there's virtue in my heavenly words:
     Who would not be proficient in this art?
     How pliant is this Mephistophilis,
     Full of obedience and humility!
     Such is the force of magic and my spells:
     No, Faustus, thou art conjuror laureat,
     That canst command great Mephistophilis:
     Quin regis Mephistophilis fratris imagine.

          Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS like a Franciscan friar.54

     MEPHIST. Now, Faustus, what wouldst thou have me do?

     FAUSTUS. I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live,
     To do whatever Faustus shall command,
     Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere,
     Or the ocean to overwhelm the world.

     MEPHIST. I am a servant to great Lucifer,
     And may not follow thee without his leave:
     No more than he commands must we perform.

     FAUSTUS. Did not he charge thee to appear to me?

     MEPHIST. No, I came hither55 of mine own accord.

     FAUSTUS. Did not my conjuring speeches raise thee? speak.

     MEPHIST. That was the cause, but yet per accidens;56
     For, when we hear one rack the name of God,
     Abjure the Scriptures and his Saviour Christ,
     We fly, in hope to get his glorious soul;
     Nor will we come, unless he use such means
     Whereby he is in danger to be damn'd.
     Therefore the shortest cut for conjuring
     Is stoutly to abjure the Trinity,
     And pray devoutly to the prince of hell.

     FAUSTUS. So Faustus hath
     Already done; and holds this principle,
     There is no chief but only Belzebub;
     To whom Faustus doth dedicate himself.
     This word "damnation" terrifies not him,
     For he confounds hell in Elysium:
     His ghost be with the old philosophers!
     But, leaving these vain trifles of men's souls,
     Tell me what is that Lucifer thy lord?

     MEPHIST. Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.

     FAUSTUS. Was not that Lucifer an angel once?

     MEPHIST. Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov'd of God.

     FAUSTUS. How comes it, then, that he is prince of devils?

     MEPHIST. O, by aspiring pride and insolence;
     For which God threw him from the face of heaven.

     FAUSTUS. And what are you that live with Lucifer?

     MEPHIST. Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer,
     Conspir'd against our God with Lucifer,
     And are for ever damn'd with Lucifer.

     FAUSTUS. Where are you damn'd?

     MEPHIST. In hell.

     FAUSTUS. How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?

     MEPHIST. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it:57
     Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
     And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
     Am not tormented with ten thousand hells,
     In being depriv'd of everlasting bliss?
     O, Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
     Which strike a terror to my fainting soul!

     FAUSTUS. What, is great Mephistophilis so passionate
     For being deprived of the joys of heaven?
     Learn thou of Faustus manly fortitude,
     And scorn those joys thou never shalt possess.
     Go bear these58 tidings to great Lucifer:
     Seeing Faustus hath incurr'd eternal death
     By desperate thoughts against Jove's59 deity,
     Say, he surrenders up to him his soul,
     So he will spare him four and twenty60 years,
     Letting him live in all voluptuousness;
     Having thee ever to attend on me,
     To give me whatsoever I shall ask,
     To tell me whatsoever I demand,
     To slay mine enemies, and aid my friends,
     And always be obedient to my will.
     Go and return to mighty Lucifer,
     And meet me in my study at midnight,
     And then resolve61 me of thy master's mind.

     MEPHIST. I will, Faustus.
          [Exit.]
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