David Bruce: Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1604 A-Text) — A Retelling — Act 2 (Scenes 5-7)


— 2.1 —

[Scene 5]

Faustus, alone in his study, was thinking about being damned. He said these words to himself:

“Now, Faustus, you must necessarily be damned, and you cannot be saved.”

He meant that he must be damned if he were to get what he wanted: the services of Mephastophilis for twenty-four years.

He continued, “What good is it, then, to think of God or Heaven? Away with such vain fancies, and despair. Despair in God, and trust in Belzebub.

“Now do not go backward. No, Faustus, be resolute. Why are you wavering? Oh, something sounds in my ears, saying, ‘Abjure this magic, and turn to God again!’

“Yes, and Faustus will turn to God again.

“To God? He does not love you. The god you serve is your own appetite and desire, wherein is fixed the love of Belzebub. To him I’ll build an altar and a church, and I’ll offer to him the lukewarm blood of newborn babies.”

The lukewarm blood of newborn babies? Faustus was serious about selling his soul.

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel entered the study.

“Sweet Faustus, leave that execrable art,” the Good Angel said.

Faustus said, “Contrition, prayer, repentance — what about them?”

“Oh, they are means to bring you to Heaven!” the Good Angel said.

“Rather, they are illusions, the fruits of lunacy that make foolish the men who trust them most,” the Evil Angel said.

“Sweet Faustus, think of Heaven and Heavenly things,” the Good Angel said.

“No, Faustus,” the Evil Angel said. “Think of honor and of wealth.”

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel exited.

“Think of wealth!” Faustus said. “Why, the governorship of Emden shall be mine.”

Emden was a prosperous German port.

Faustus continued, “When Mephastophilis shall stand by me, what god can hurt you, Faustus? You are safe. Have no more doubts.”

Part of Romans 8:31 states, “If God be on our side, who can be against us?” (1599 Geneva Bible).

Faustus continued, “Come, Mephastophilis, and bring glad tidings from great Lucifer.”

In Luke 2:10, an Angel tells shepherds the glad tidings that Christ has been born: “Then the Angel said unto them, Be not afraid: for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people” (1599 Geneva Bible).

Faustus continued, “Isn’t it midnight? Come, Mephastophilis. Veni, veni, Mephastophile!

An important hymn that dates back to the ninth century is “Veni, veni, Emmanuel”: “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

The word “Emmanuel” means “Messiah.”

Mephastophilis entered the study.

Faustus asked him, “Now tell me what does Lucifer, your lord, say?”

“That I shall wait on Faustus while he lives, as long as he will buy my service with his soul,” Mephastophilis replied.

“Already Faustus has hazarded that for you,” Faustus replied.

“But, Faustus, you must bequeath it solemnly, and write a deed of gift with your own blood, for great Lucifer craves that security. If you will not bequeath your soul in a deed of gift, I will go back to Hell.”

“Wait, Mephastophilis, and tell me, what good will my soul do your lord?”

Mephastophilis answered, “It will enlarge his kingdom.”

“Is that the reason why he tempts us thus?” Faustus asked.

Mephastophilis answered, “Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris.

The Latin means, “It is a solace to the wretched to have had companions in misery.”

This is true. No one wants to feel alone in misery; however, Mephastophilis’ words are misleading. Notice the phrase “to have had.” Hell lasts forever; it will never end.

“Do you who torture others feel any pain?” Faustus asked.

“As great as have the human souls of men,” Mephastophilis said. “But, tell me, Faustus, shall I have your soul? If you give it to me, I will be your slave, and wait on you, and give you more than you have intelligence to ask for.”

Mephastophilis would give Faustus more than Faustus has intelligence to ask for; in other words, he would give Faustus things that a man of intelligence would not ask for.

“Yes, Mephastophilis, I give my soul to you.”

“Then, Faustus, stab your arm courageously,” Mephastophilis said, “and bind your soul in a contract saying that at some certain — specific and unavoidable — day great Lucifer may claim it as his own, and then you will be as great as Lucifer.”

The word “then” in the clause “then you will be as great as Lucifer” is ambiguous.

Faustus understood it to mean “after signing his name in blood to a deed of gift of his soul to Lucifer.” After signing the document, he would have great power not available to God-fearing mortals; however, he would not have all the power of Lucifer, but rather the use of one of the subordinate devils: Mephastophilis.

But Mephastophilis meant “then” to mean “after Lucifer claimed Faustus’ soul as his own.” After that happened, Faustus would be “as great as Lucifer” — as damned as Lucifer.

Faustus would have some of Lucifer’s powers for a few years, but then he would also be in the same situation as Lucifer — separated eternally from God.

Faustus stabbed his arm and said, “Look, Mephastophilis, for love of you, I cut my arm, and with my own blood I assure that my soul belongs to great Lucifer, the chief lord and regent of perpetual night! See here the blood that trickles from my arm, and let it be propitious for my wish.”

He collected some of his blood in a dish.

“But, Faustus,” Mephastophilis said, “you must write it in manner of a deed of gift.”

“Yes, so I will,” Faustus said, beginning to write a contract, using his own blood as ink.

He stopped and said, “But, Mephastophilis, my blood congeals, and I can write no more.”

Mephastophilis said, “I’ll fetch for you fire that will immediately dissolve your blood.”

He exited.

Such fire is not earthly fire, as no earthly fire will turn congealed blood to liquid form.

“What might the congealing of my blood portend?” Faustus asked. “Is it unwilling I should write this deed of gift? Why doesn’t it flow and stream, so that I may write afresh?”

He began to write, Faustus gives to you his soul.

Again, his blood congealed, and he said, “Ah, there it congealed! Why shouldn’t I write this? Isn’t your soul your own?”

Again he began to write, Faustus gives to you his soul.

Mephastophilis returned with a chafer of burning coals and said, “Here’s fire; come, Faustus, set the dish of your blood on it.”

Faustus did, and then he said, “So, now the blood begins to be liquid again. Now I will make an end immediately.”

He began to write.

Mephastophilis said to himself, “Oh, what won’t I do to obtain his soul!”

Faustus said, “Consummatum est. This deed of gift is ended.”

Consummatum est” were Jesus’ last words on the cross (in the Vulgate translation), uttered just before he died: “It is completed.” The giving of his life and blood was propitious for Humankind.

John 19:30 states, “Now when Jesus had received of the vinegar, he said, It is finished, and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (1599 Geneva Bible).

Faustus added, “And Faustus has bequeathed his soul to Lucifer. But what is this inscription on my arm? ‘Homo, fuge.’Where should I flee?”

Homo, fuge” means, “Man, flee.”

1 Timothy 6:11-12 states (1599 Geneva Bible):

11 “But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.”

12 “Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold of eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

Faustus continued, “If I flee to God, he’ll throw me down to Hell.”

Faustus was wrong. According to Christian theology, a man (or woman) can come to Christ in the final moment of his (or her) life and be forgiven. All it takes is sincere repentance.

According to Christian theology, God is not bound by such things as deeds of gifts of one’s soul. Indeed, it can be argued that not even the Bible binds God, and that people who believe that the Bible binds God are guilty of Biblidolatry — they make the Bible into an idol. “Bibliolatry” is a weaker name for this.

Faustus may have been thinking of predestination, a belief that some souls are damned from the beginning of time, regardless of how they use their free will. God, however, sees past, present, and future time. God may know from the beginning of time that a soul will be damned, but God can see that person making free-will choices that end up damning that person.

The deed of gift that Faustus just wrote and signed is not one that God is bound to respect. Sincere repentance would make the deed of gift void.

Faustus continued, “My senses are deceived; here’s nothing written — no, I plainly see it; here in this place is written ‘Homo, fuge.’ Yet Faustus shall not flee.”

Mephastophilis said to himself, “I’ll fetch him something to delight his mind.”

He exited and then returned with some devils that gave crowns and rich clothing to Faustus, danced, and then departed.

Faustus asked, “Tell me, Mephastophilis, what is the meaning of this show?”

“It has no meaning, Faustus, other than to delight your mind, and to show you what magic can perform.”

“But may I raise up spirits when I please?” Faustus asked.

“Yes, Faustus, and do greater things than that,” Mephastophilis replied.

“Then there’s enough reward for the sale of a thousand souls,” Faustus said.

He held up the deed of gift and said, “Here, Mephastophilis, receive this scroll, a deed of gift of body and of soul, but it is conditional — you must perform all articles prescribed between us both.”

“Faustus, I swear by Hell and Lucifer to fulfill all promises made between us!”

Faustus said, “Then hear me read them.”

He read the deed of gift out loud:

On these conditions following.

Firstly, that Faustus may be a spirit in form and substance.

Secondly, that Mephastophilis shall be his servant, and be at his command.

Thirdly, that Mephastophilis shall do for him, and bring him whatsoever he desires.

Fourthly, that Mephastophilis shall be invisible in his chamber or house.

Lastly, that Mephastophilis shall appear to the said John Faustus, at all times, in whatsoever form or shape Faustus pleases.

I, John Faustus, of Wittenberg, Doctor, by this deed of gift, do give both body and soul to Lucifer Prince of the east, and his servant Mephastophilis; and furthermore grant unto them, that, after twenty-four years has expired and the above-written articles inviolate and fulfilled in full, full power to fetch or carry the said John Faustus, body and soul, flesh, blood, or goods, into their habitation wheresoever.

Signed by me, John Faustus.

“Answer, Faustus,” Mephastophilis said. “Do you deliver this as your deed of gift?”

“Yes, take it, and may the devil give you good on it!”

“Now, Faustus, ask me whatever you will.”

“First I will question you about Hell,” Faustus said. “Tell me, where is the place that men call Hell?”

“Under the Heavens,” Mephastophilis said.

“Yes, but whereabouts?” Faustus asked.

“Within the bowels of these elements, where we are tortured and remain forever. Hell has no limits, nor is it circumscribed in one place, for where we are is Hell, and where Hell is, there must we forever be, and, to conclude, when all the world dissolves, and every creature shall be purified, all places shall be Hell that are not Heaven.”

“Come, I think Hell’s a fable,” Faustus said.

“Continue to think so,” Mephastophilis said, “until your own experience changes your mind.”

“Why, do you think, then, that Faustus shall be damned?”

“Yes, of necessity, for here’s the scroll wherein you have given your soul to Lucifer.”

“Yes, and body, too, but what of that?” Faustus said. “Do you think that Faustus is so foolish as to imagine that, after this life, there is any pain? Tush, these are trifles and mere old wives’ tales.”

“But, Faustus, I am an instance to prove the contrary,” Mephastophilis said, “for I am damned, and I am now in Hell.”

“What!” Faustus said. “Now in Hell! If this is Hell, I’ll willingly be damned here. We are walking, disputing, etc.

“But, setting this aside, let me have a wife, the most beautiful maiden in Germany, for I am wanton and lascivious, and I cannot live without a wife.”

“A wife!” Mephastophilis said. “Please, Faustus, don’t talk about a wife.”

Marriage is a sacrament, and Mephastophilis did not want to talk about or observe sacraments.

“Sweet Mephastophilis, fetch me a wife, for I will have one.”

“Well, so you will have one? Sit there until I return. I’ll fetch you a wife in the devil’s name.”

Mephastophilis exited and returned with a devil dressed like a woman. Fireworks sounded.

“Tell me, Faustus, how do you like your wife?”

“A plague on her for a hot whore!” Faustus said.

Already, the contract Faustus and Mephastophilis had made was violated. Faustus had asked for a wife, whom Mephastophilis was supposed to give him, according to the contract, but Mephastophilis had brought him a devil dressed in women’s clothing.

“Tut, Faustus,” Mephastophilis said. “Marriage is only a ceremonial trifle. If you love and respect me, think no more about it. I’ll cull out the fairest courtesans for you, and bring them every morning to your bed. She whom your eye shall like, your heart shall have, be she as chaste as was Penelope, as wise as Saba, or as beautiful as was bright Lucifer before his fall.”

Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, who went to the Trojan War and spent twenty years away from home; during those twenty years, she stayed faithful to him.

Mephastophilis would ensure that even a woman as chaste as Penelope would sleep with Faustus. EitherMephastophilis would corrupt the woman, or Faustus would rape her.

Saba is known in the Bible as the Queen of Sheba. She appears in 1 Kings 10, and she showed her wisdom by recognizing Solomon’s wisdom.

Mephastophilis gave Faustus a book and said, “Here, take this book; peruse it thoroughly.”

He pointed to various places in the book as he said, “The uttering of these lines brings gold.

“The marking of this circle on the ground brings whirlwinds, tempests, thunder, and lightning.

“Pronounce this thrice devoutly to yourself, and men in armor shall appear to you, ready to execute your orders.”

“Thanks, Mephastophilis,” Faustus said, “yet I would much like to have a book wherein I might see all spells and incantations so that I might raise up spirits when I please.”

“Here they are in this book,” Mephastophilis said, turning to them.

“Now I would like to have a book wherein I might see all characters and planets of the Heavens, so that I might know their motions and positions.”

“Here they are, too,” Mephastophilis said, turning to them.

“Let me have one more book, and then I have done. I want to have a book wherein I might see all plants, herbs, and trees that grow upon the earth.”

“Here they are,” Mephastophilis said, turning to them.

“Oh, you are deceived,” Faustus said.

“Tut, I promise you that this one book holds all the knowledge that you have requested.”

Earlier, Valdes and Cornelius had thought that they would rule the world with Faustus, but Faustus has quite forgotten them.

— 2.2 —

[Scene 6]

Robin the hostler, who was holding a book in his hand, said to himself, “Oh, this is admirable! Here I have stolen one of Doctor Faustus’ conjuring books, and in faith, I mean to examine some circles for my own use. Now I will make all the maidens in our parish dance at my pleasure, stark naked, before me; and so by that means I shall see more than ever I felt or saw yet.”

The circles he meant were 1) conjurors’ circles, and 2) vaginas.

Rafe, another hostler, showed up, calling Robin: “Robin, please, come away; there’s a gentleman waiting to have his horse, and he would have his things rubbed and made clean. He keeps such a chafing with my mistress about it; and she has set me to find you; please, come away with me.”

To “have his things rubbed” meant 1) to have such things of his as a saddle polished, and 2) possibly, to have such things of his as a penis and scrotum massaged, something he presumably wanted the hostlers’ mistress — female boss — to do.

“Keep out, keep out,” Robin said, “or else you are blown up — you are dismembered, Rafe. Keep out, for I am setting about doing a roaring — dangerous — piece of work.”

“Come, what are you doing with that book?” Rafe said. “You cannot read.”

“Yes, I can read,” Robin said. “My master and mistress shall find that I can read, he for his forehead, she for her private study.”

Robin was planning to use the book to get his mistress — his female boss — to sleep with him. She was married, and because Robin would cuckold her husband, horns would grow on his forehead. Robin’s cuckolding of her husband would occur as he made a private study of her private parts.

He continued, “She’s born to bear with me, or else my art fails.”

According to Robin, she was born to bear his weight during sex, and to bear his children. In doing these things, she would also have to put up with him.

“Why, Robin, what book is that?” Rafe asked.

“What book is it?” Robin said. “Why, it is the most intolerable book for conjuring that ever was invented by any brimstone devil!”

“Intolerable” was a malapropism for “remarkable.”

“Can you conjure with it?” Rafe asked.

“I can do all these things easily with it,” Robin said. “First, I can make you drunk with the spiced wine known as hippocras at any tavern in Europe for nothing; that’s one of my conjuring works.”

“Our Master Parson says that’s nothing,” Rafe said.

Getting Rafe drunk is nothing to be proud of; in fact, it’s rather easy to do, especially when someone other than Rafe is paying for the alcohol.

“True, Rafe,” Robin said, “and what’s more, Rafe, if you have any mind to Nan Spit, our kitchen-maid, then turn her and wind her to your own use, as often as you will, and at midnight.”

Robin had no compunctions about using magic to get sex for him and his friends.

“Oh, splendid, Robin!” Rafe said. “Shall I have Nan Spit, and for my own use? On that condition I’ll feed your devil with horse-bread as long as he lives, free of cost.”

Horse-bread was made of inexpensive ingredients such as bran and beans. Horses and very poor people ate it.

“No more, sweet Rafe,” Robin said. “Let’s go and make clean our boots, which lie foul upon our hands, and then let’s go to our conjuring in the devil’s name.”

— 2.3 —

[Scene 7]

Faustus said, “When I behold the Heavens, then I repent, and I curse you, wicked Mephastophilis, because you have deprived me of those joys.”

Psalm 8:3-5 (1599 Geneva Bible) states this:

3 When I behold thine heavens, even the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained,

4 What is man, say I, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him?

5 For thou hast made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and worship.

The 1599 Geneva Bible includes this introductory note for Psalm 8:

The Prophet considering the excellent liberality and Fatherly providence of God toward man, whom he made as it were a god over all his works, doth not only give great thanks, but is astonished with the admiration of the same, as one nothing able to compass such great mercies.

“Why, Faustus, do you think that Heaven is such a glorious thing?” Mephastophilis said. “I tell you that it is not half as fair as you, or any man who breathes on earth.”

“How do you prove that?” Faustus asked.

“It was made for man; therefore, man is more excellent,” Mephastophilis said.

“If it were made for man, then it was made for me,” Faustus said. “I will renounce this magic and repent.”

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel appeared.

“Faustus, repent,” the Good Angel said. “Even now God will pity you.”

“You are a spirit,” the Evil Angel said. “God cannot pity you.”

The Evil Angel was wrong when he called Faustus a spirit, and the Evil Angel was wrong when he said, “God cannot pity you.” Faustus had asked to be a spirit in form and substance in his deed of gift, yet he was still a man. Apparently, he had wanted to at times have some of the powers of a spirit such as Mephastophilis, such as being invisible. The word “spirit” as used by the Bad Angel and when applied to Mephastophilis means “demon,” and Faustus was still a human being and not a demon. God wants all human beings to sincerely repent their sins before they die.

Faustus asked, “Who buzzes in my ears that I am a spirit? Even if I were a devil, yet God may pity me. Yes, God will pity me, if I repent.”

The Evil Angel agreed: “Yes, but Faustus never shall repent.”

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel exited.

Faustus said, “My heart’s so hardened, I cannot repent.”

In Exodus 7:3, God says, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my miracles, and my wonders in the land of Egypt” (1599 Geneva Bible).

This certainly sounds as if Pharaoh lacked free will and that God was controlling Pharaoh’s decisions. Is that true?

No. God is the Creator of all that exists, including the universe, the laws of physics, and the laws of psychology. We are born with free will, but our freely made decisions can over time make it extremely difficult to use our free will. A person who smokes a first cigarette has the freedom to keep on smoking or to give smoking; however, if the person freely decides to keep on smoking, the person will acquire a bad habit and an addiction that make it extremely hard to quit. We even say that people become slaves to their bad habits. True, they still have free will, but their bad habits are such that to act differently requires an effort of the will that they are unwilling to make.

What is true of smoking is true of sinning. A person can become so habituated to sinning that to act virtuously requires an effort of the will that they are unwilling to make.

A free person is a person who works to acquire good habits. Is it almost impossible for a free person who habitually exercises to exercise regularly? No, because they have doing that for years. Is it almost impossible for a free person who habitually acts virtuously to act virtuously? No, because they have doing that for years. Of course, a person who habitually exercises can sometimes take a day off, and a person who habitually acts virtuously can sometimes act sinfully.

Faustus has had enough time to go a long way toward forming the habit of always acting sinfully to satisfy his desires. The more time he spends acquiring this habit, the greater the effort of the will that will be needed to act otherwise. After twenty-four years of always satisfying his sinful desires, it may be almost impossible for him to sincerely repent.

Faustus continued, “Scarcely can I name salvation, faith, or Heaven, but fearful echoes thunder in my ears, ‘Faustus, you are damned!’ Then swords, and knives, poison, guns, hangmen’s nooses, and steel swords anointed with poison are laid before me to dispatch myself. And long before this I would have slain myself, had not sweet pleasure conquered deep despair.

“Haven’t I made blind Homer sing to me about Alexander’s love and Oenone’s death?”

Alexander is Paris, Prince of Troy, who ran away with Helen of Troy, thus starting the Trojan War. Before he ran away with Helen, his paramour was the nymph Oenone. When Paris was mortally wounded, he went to Oenone, who had the power to cure him. She refused, he died, and she then committed suicide.

Homer created the Iliad and the Odyssey, but he didn’t tell the story of Oenone’s death in those epics, and in hearing Homer sing about those topics, Faustus had experienced something that no one alive now has ever experienced.

Faustus continued, “And hasn’t he who built the walls of Thebes with the ravishing sound of his melodious harp made music with my Mephastophilis?”

Amphion was such a skilled harpist that when he played, stones rose of their own accord and built the walls of the city of Thebes.

Faustus continued, “Why should I die, then, or basely despair! I am resolved: Faustus shall never repent.

“Come, Mephastophilis, let us dispute again, and argue about divine astrology and astronomy.

“Tell me, are there many Heavens above the Moon? Are all celestial bodies only one globe, as is the substance of this centric Earth?

Mephastophilis replied, “As are the elements, such are the spheres, mutually folded in each other’s orb.”

According to Mephastophilis, or at least according to what he said, the planet Earth is composed of four elements. The element earth is at the center. Water covers the earth, with the continents and islands being bits of earth poking out of the water. Above the water is air. Above the air is a sphere of fire that separates the Earth from the Moon.

So the Earth is composed of parts that make up one whole. According to Mephastophilis, the same is true of the universe.

At the center of the universe is the Earth, but nine spheres surround it: the seven spheres of seven planets, the sphere of the firmament, and then the Empyreal Heaven. The firmament is where the constellations and fixed stars are embedded. (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are called “wandering stars” or “erring stars” because they wander in the sky; the word “planet” comes from a Greek term and means “wandering star.” One meaning of “err” is “wander.”) Furthest away from the Earth is Heaven.

The seven planets, in order of distance from the centric Earth, are the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Yes, this culture called the Sun a planet.

Mephastophilis said, “And, Faustus, all the spheres jointly move upon one axletree, whose terminus — boundary — is termed the world’s wide pole. Nor are the names of Saturn, Mars, or Jupiter feigned — they really are stars, but they are erring stars.”

Faustus asked, “But, tell me, have they all one motion, both situ et tempore — in direction and time?”

Mephastophilis said, “Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — the wandering stars — jointly move from east to west in twenty-four hours upon the poles of the world, but differ in their motion upon the poles of the zodiac.”

All the wandering stars move from the east to the west each day — think of the Sun. The wandering stars, however, have additional movements.

In his deed of gift, Faustus had required Mephastophilis to be his servant and at his command, but the contract was being violated. As Faustus’ servant, Mephastophilis should have given Faustus correct answers, but he was simply repeating the erroneous opinions of the time — things that any first-year student at a university would learn.

Mephastophilis did not even tell Faustus that the Earth is not the center of the solar system — or of the universe.

“Bah,” Faustus said. “These slender trifles Wagner can arrive to a conclusion about. Has Mephastophilis no greater skill and knowledge? Who doesn’t know about the double motion of the planets?

“The first motion is finished in a natural day; the planet travels from east to west.

“The second takes longer. Saturn completes its second motion in thirty years; Jupiter in twelve; Mars in four; the Sun, Venus, and Mercury in a year; the Moon in twenty-eight days.”

Mephastophilis did not bother to correct Faustus’ errors. Mars’ orbit (around the Sun, not the Earth, as Faustus thought) takes one year and eleven months (687 days), Venus’ orbit takes seven-and-a-half months (225 days), and Mercury’s orbit takes three months (88 days).

Faustus said, “Bah, these are freshmen’s suppositions. But tell me, has every sphere a dominion or intelligentia?”

The intelligentia is Angelic influence. According to one theory of the time, every sphere has an order of Angels as its dominion: Each order of Angels is associated with a Heavenly Sphere.

The following information about Angels is according to Dante’s Paradise:

The Seraphim are associated with the Primum Mobile (the First Mover, a sphere that Mephastophilis does not acknowledge), and the Cherubim are associated with the Fixed Stars. The third order of Angels in the first Triad is the Thrones, who are associated with Saturn and contemplation.

The second Triad of Angels sings “Hosanna” eternally. The Dominions are associated with Jupiter and justice. The Virtues are associated with Mars and courage. The Powers are associated with the Sun and wisdom.

The third Triad of Angels consists of the Principalities, who are associated with Venus and love; the Archangels, who are associated with Mercury and hope; and the Angels, who are associated with the Moon and faith.

All of the orders of Angels look toward God.

Mephastophilis had no desire to talk about orders of Angels who had not fallen, so he answered Faustus’ question very briefly: “Yes.”

Faustus asked, “How many Heavens or spheres are there?”

“Nine; there are the seven planets, the firmament, and the Empyreal Heaven.”

“Well, resolve this question for me: Why don’t we have conjunctions, oppositions, aspects, eclipses, all at consistent times, but in some years we have more and in some years less? Why don’t we have consistency in such astronomical positions and events?”

Two planets are in conjunction when they are very close together; they are in opposition when they are very far apart. Aspects are positions in between conjunction and opposition. These are things that astrologers concerned themselves about.

Mephastophilis answered, “Per inaequalem motum respectu totius.

The Latin means, “Through unequal motion in respect of the whole.” In other words, the Heavenly bodies don’t move at the same speed — some are faster, and some are slower.

Faustus said sarcastically, “I am answered well.”

He was not acquiring new knowledge: The answer was one that Wagner would know.

New knowledge would have been that the Sun is at the center of the solar system and that the planets have elliptical — not circular — orbits. That knowledge would have made the observed facts fit with the correct deduced theory.

Faustus then asked, “Tell me Who made the world?”

“I will not.”

“Sweet Mephastophilis, tell me.”

“Don’t try to persuade me,” Mephastophilis said, “for I will not tell you.”

Faustus said, “Villain, have I not bound you to tell me anything?”

“Yes,” Mephastophilis said, “anything that is not against our kingdom, but this is.”

The agreement stated that Mephastophilis would tell Faustus anything that he wanted to know; there were no restrictions.

Mephastophilis continued, “Think about Hell, Faustus, for you are damned.”

Faustus replied, “Think, Faustus, upon God Who made the world.”

“Remember this,” Mephastophilis said.

He meant, Remember that you are going to Hell.

He exited.

Faustus said, “Yes, go, accursed spirit, to ugly Hell! It is you who have damned distressed Faustus’ soul. Isn’t it too late for me to repent?”

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel entered.

“It is too late,” the Evil Angel said.

“It is never too late, if Faustus can repent,” the Good Angel said.

“If you repent, devils shall tear you in pieces,” the Evil Angel said.

“Repent, and they shall never scratch your skin,” the Good Angel said.

The Good Angel and the Evil Angel exited.

Faustus said, “Ah, Christ, my Savior, seek to save distressed Faustus’ soul!”

That help is available; to get it, one must sincerely repent one’s sins.

Lucifer, Belzebub, and Mephastophilis entered.

Lucifer said to Faustus, “Christ cannot save your soul, for He is just. There’s none but I who has interest in your soul.”

He meant that he had a business interest in Faustus’ soul; he and Faustus had made a business agreement concerning Faustus’ soul.

“Oh, who are you who looks so terrible?” Faustus asked.

“I am Lucifer, and this is my companion-Prince in Hell,” Lucifer said, pointing to Belzebub.

“Oh, Faustus, they have come to fetch away your soul!” Faustus said.

“We have come to tell you that you injure us,” Lucifer said. “You talk about Christ, contrary to your promise. You should not think about God; think of the devil, and of his dam, too.”

Lucifer was capable of punning. “Dam” meant 1) female, and 2) damn.

“I will not speak about Christ hereafter,” Faustus promised. “Pardon me in this, and Faustus vows never to look to Heaven, never to name God, or to pray to Him. He promises to burn His Scriptures, slay His ministers, and make my spirits pull His churches down.”

“Do so, and we will highly gratify you,” Lucifer said. “Faustus, we have come from Hell to show you some entertainment. Sit down, and you shall see all the Seven Deadly Sins appear in their own proper shapes.”

“That sight will be as pleasing to me as Paradise was to Adam, the first day of his creation,” Faustus replied.

“Don’t talk about Paradise or about creation, but pay attention to this show. Talk about the devil, and nothing else.”

He then ordered, “Come!”

The Seven Deadly Sins arrived.

Lucifer said, “Now, Faustus, ask them about their individual names and dispositions.”

Faustus asked, “What are you, the first?”

“I am Pride. I disdain to have any parents.”

Exodus 20:12 states, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be prolonged upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (1599 Geneva Bible).

By disdaining to have any parents, Pride need not honor them. Pride can also say that he is a self-made man.

Pride continued, “I am like Ovid’s flea; I can creep into every corner of a wench. Sometimes, like a wig, I sit upon her brow, or like a fan of feathers, I kiss her lips. Indeed, I do — what don’t I do?”

A Latin poem incorrectly ascribed to the Roman poet Ovid was about a flea that had free access to any part of a woman’s body.

Pride continued, “But, damn, what a scent is here! I’ll not speak another word, unless the ground is perfumed, and covered with cloth of arras.”

Cloth of arras is very fine fabric, so fine that it was used as a wall hanging, aka a tapestry. Only a very proud man would walk on such a fine fabric.

In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, the title character walks on very fine fabric that his wife lays down for him.

Faustus asked, “What are you, the second?”

“I am Covetousness, begotten of an old miser, in an old leather moneybag, and if I could have my wish, I would desire that this house and all the people in it were turned to gold so that I could lock you up in my good chest. Oh, my sweet gold!”

Faustus asked, “What are you, the third?”

“I am Wrath. I had neither father nor mother. I leapt out of a lion’s mouth when I was scarcely half an hour old, and ever since I have run up and down the world with this pair of rapiers, wounding myself when I had nobody to fight with.”

Wrath looked at you people who are reading this book and said, “I was born in Hell, and watch out, for some of you shall be my father.”

To be Wrath’s father, male readers would have to adopt Wrath.

Faustus asked, “What are you, the fourth?”

“I am Envy, begotten of a chimney-sweeper and an oyster-wife, and so I am dirty and stink. I cannot read, and therefore I wish that all books were burnt. I am lean with seeing others eat. Oh, that there would come a famine throughout the entire world, so that all others would die, and I alone would live! Then you would see how fat I would be. But must you sit, and I stand?”

Envy was envious that Faustus was sitting while Envy stood.

Envy continued, “Come down from your high perch, with a vengeance! May God get vengeance against you!”

“Go away, envious rascal!” Faustus said.

He then asked, “What are you, the fifth?”

“Who am I, sir? I am Gluttony. My parents are all dead, and the devil a penny — not a damn penny! — have they left me, but only a bare amount to pay my room and board, enough for thirty meals a day, and ten snacks — a small trifle tosatisfy the appetite. Oh, I come of a royal parentage! My grandfather was a gammon of bacon — a ham. My grandmother was a hogshead of claret wine. My godfathers were Peter Pickled-herring and Martin Martlemas-beef. Oh, but my godmother, she was a jolly gentlewoman, and well-beloved in every good town and city; her name was Mistress Margery March-beer.”

A gammon of bacon is a ham.

A hogshead is a barrel that holds sixty-three gallons.

Martlemas-beef comes from cattle that are slaughtered and salted around Martlemas, which is Saint Martin’s Day: November 11.

March-beer is strong beer that is made in March.

Gluttony continued, “Now, Faustus, you have heard all my ancestry; will you invite me to supper?”

“No, I’ll see you hanged first,” Faustus said. “You will eat up all my food.”

“Then may the devil choke you!” Gluttony said.

“Choke yourself, glutton!” Faustus said.

He then asked, “What are you, the sixth?”

“I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank, where I have lain ever since; and you have done me great injury to bring me from thence. Let me be carried thither again by Gluttony and Lechery. I’ll not speak another word for a king’s ransom.”

“What are you, Mistress Minx, the seventh and last?” Faustus asked.

“Who am I, sir? I am one who loves an inch of raw mutton better than an ell of fried stock-fish; and the first letter of my name begins with Lechery.”

“Mutton” was a term used to refer to prostitutes; “stock-fish” was a term used to refer to impotent men. Lechery preferred a little sex (an inch) to lots of non-sex (an ell, or forty-five inches).

Faustus said, “Go away, to Hell, to Hell!”

The Seven Deadly Sins exited.

Of course, Lucifer had not shown Faustus the Seven Christian Virtues that are opposed to the Seven Deadly Sins.

Humility is opposed to Pride.

Charity (Generosity) is opposed to Covetousness (Greed).

Patience is opposed to Wrath.

Gratitude is opposed to Envy.

Temperance is opposed to Gluttony.

Diligence is opposed to Sloth.

Chastity is opposed to Lust. Chastity includes ethical sex — sex engaged in by a husband and a wife.

Lucifer asked, “Now, Faustus, how do you like this?”

“Oh, this feeds my soul!” Faustus said.

This was the wrong kind of feeding: entertainment rather than education.

Lucifer said, “Tut, Faustus, in Hell is all manner of delight.”

“Oh, I wish that I could see Hell, and return again — how happy would I be then!” Faustus said.

“You shall,” Lucifer said. “I will send for you at midnight.”

He gave Faustus a book and said, “In the meantime take this book; read it thoroughly, and with the knowledge you learn you shall turn yourself into whatever shape you want.”

“Great thanks, mighty Lucifer,” Faustus said. “This will I keep as chary — carefully — as I keep my life.”

Faustus may quite forget to take care of the book. After all, Faustus had said that he would take care of the book as carefully as he took care of his own life, and he had recently bargained away all his remaining years of life except for twenty-four. Another meaning of “chary” is “sorrowful.” Unless Faustus sincerely repents, he will spend eternity feeling sorrow in Hell.

“Farewell, Faustus, and think about the devil,” Lucifer said.

“Farewell, great Lucifer,” Faustus said.

Lucifer and Belzebub exited.

“Come, Mephastophilis,” Faustus said.

Faustus and Mephastophilis exited.

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