David Bruce: Christopher Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS (1616 B-TEXT): A Retelling — Cast of Characters, Prologue, Act 1 (Scenes 1-4)





Dr. John Faustus.

Wagner, his servant.

Valdes, magician.

Cornelius, magician.

Three Scholars.

Old Man.

The Good Angel.

The Bad Angel.




Robin (the Clown), hostler at an inn. A hostler takes care of horses.

Dick, hostler at an inn. Dick is Robin’s friend.


Horse Dealer.



Pope Adrian.

Raymond, King of Hungary.

Bruno, the rival Pope.

Cardinal of France.

Cardinal of Padua.

Archbishop of Rheims.

Charles V, Emperor of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor.

Martino, gentleman at Charles V’s court.

Frederick, gentleman at Charles V’s court.

Benvolio, gentleman at Charles V’s court. “Bene volio” means “I wish well” in Latin, but Benvolio is ill-tempered.

Duke of Saxony.

Duke of Vanholt.

Duchess of Vanholt.

Spirits presenting:

  • The Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Lechery).
  • Alexander the Great, and his Paramour.
  • Darius, King of Persia.
  • Helen of Troy.

Devils, Cupids, Bishops, Monks, Friars, Soldiers, Attendants, a Piper.


The B-Text is not divided into Acts and Scenes. Some editors divide it into Acts and Scenes; some editors divide it into Scenes only.


— Chorus —

[Chorus 1]

The Chorus says this to you the reader:

“This book is not about marching in the fields of Thrasimene, where Mars did ally himself to the warlike Carthaginians, resulting in their major victory over the Romans.

“This book is not about sporting in the frivolity and dalliance of love, in courts of Kings where government is overturned.

“This book is not about the pomp of proud audacious deeds.

“Our Muse — who inspires the playwright Christopher Marlowe — does not intend to show off her heavenly verse on such topics.

“Only this, gentles, is intended — we characters in this book must now perform the representation of Faustus’ fortunes, good or bad.

“And now to patient judgments we characters appeal, and I speak for all of us when I tell you about Faustus in his infancy and young days.

“He was born of parents base of stock in a town called Stadtroda in Germany.

“When he achieved riper years, he went to Wittenberg, home of the university of Martin Luther and of Hamlet. This is where his kinsmen chiefly brought Faustus up.

“He succeeded so much in his study of theology that quickly he was graced with the title of Doctor.

“He excelled all other scholars, and he sweetly disputed in the heavenly matters of theology; however, he became swollen with conceit and pride in his knowledge and cunning, and with his waxen wings he mounted above his reach.”

Faustus is like Icarus, for whom his father, Daedalus, created wings made of wax and feathers. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too near the Sun, but Icarus did not heed the warning. The Sun’s heat melted the wax in his wings, causing the feathers to fall out. Icarus plunged into the sea and drowned.

The Chorus continued:

“Melting his waxen wings, the heavens conspired Faustus’ overthrow. For, falling to a devilish exercise, and glutted now with learning’s golden gifts, Faustus surfeits upon cursed necromancy.

“Nothing is as sweet as magic is to him. He even prefers magic to his chiefest bliss: his salvation and eternal life in Paradise.”

What does it mean for the heavens to “conspire Faustus’ overthrow”?

If the heavens are the planets and stars, then in this age, which believes in astrology, the planets and stars gave Faustus some elements of his character, including a high intelligence. Our age would use the word “genetics” instead of “astrology” in describing how we acquire some of our characteristics. Possibly, Faustus’ environment gave him a tendency toward pride.

But whether you use the word “astrology” or the phrases “genetics and environment” or “nature and nurture,” you can have a belief in free will. At times in our lives, we have to make important decisions, and we make them of our free will.

This is true even if the word “heavens” refers to spirits. Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Mephistophilis are fallen Angels that can tempt and manipulate Faustus, but Faustus still uses his free will to decide whether to give in to temptation or to allow himself to be manipulated. As it happens, Faustus himself initiates his first contact with the devils.

The Chorus continued:

“Faustus is the man who now sits in his study.”


— 1.1 —

[Scene 1]

Faustus, alone in his study, surrounded by books, said to himself, “Make a decision about your studies, Faustus, and begin to sound the depth of that subject that you will profess. Having graduated from the university, be a theologian in outward appearance, yet aim at the purpose and end result of every discipline and live and die in Aristotle’s works.

“Sweet Analytics, it is you who have ravished me.”

Aristotle wrote two volumes on logic: Prior Analytics and Posterior Analytics.

Faustus opened a book and said, “Bene disserere est finis logicis.

The book was Dialecticae by Petrus Ramus, a reformer and logician who was killed during the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572 in Paris. The Latin means, “The end — the purpose — of logic is to dispute well.”

Faustus said, “Is to dispute well logic’s chiefest end? Affords this discipline no greater miracle? Then read no more; you have attained that end. You know how to dispute well. A greater subject befits Faustus’ intelligence. Bid on-kai-me-on farewell, and Galen come.”

On-kai-me-on” is a transliteration of Greek words meaning “being and non-being” or “existence and non-existence.” The words come from a book by the philosopher Georgias of Leontini (c. 483-376 B.C.E.).

Galen was a famous ancient physician and writer of influential books about medicine.

Faustus continued, “Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold and be eternally famous for some wondrous cure. Summum bonum medicinae sanitas. Let me translate: The end of medicine is our body’s health.”

Faustus’ translation into English of a Latin translation of Aristotle’s Greek Nicomachian Ethics was not entirely correct. The Latin mentions “health,” which can include mental health as well as bodily health. Faustus’ translation mentions only bodily health.

He continued, “Why, Faustus, haven’t you attained that end? Aren’t your prescriptions hung up as records of remarkable achievements, whereby whole cities have escaped the plague and a thousand desperate maladies have been cured? Yet are you still only Faustus and a man. If you could make men live eternally, or if the men were dead, if you could raise them to life again, then this profession of medicine would be one to be esteemed.

“Medicine, farewell. Where is Justinian?”

Justinian was a Byzantine Emperor who codified Roman law.

Finding the Justinian book, Faustus said, “Si una eademque res legatur duobus, alter rem, alter valorem rei, etc.

This means, “If one and the same thing is willed to two men, then one man will get the thing, and the other will get the value of the thing, etc.”

Faustus said, “A petty case of paltry legacies!”

He then said, “Exhereditari filium non potest pater nisi….”

This means, “The father may not disinherit the son, unless ….”

Faustus said, “Such is the subject of the institute and the universal body of the law.”

Much canon law was based on Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s codification of Roman law.

He continued, “This study befits a mercenary drudge, who aims at nothing but external trash.”

“External trash” is money and possessions.

He continued, “This is too servile and illiberal for me. When all is said and done, theology is best. Jerome’s Bible, Faustus, view it well.”

Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin; his translation is known as the Vulgate Bible.

Faustus said, “Stipendium peccati mors est.

This means, “The wages of sin is death.”

Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (1599 Geneva Bible).

Faustus had translated only part of the verse, leaving out the part about the gift of God.

He said, “Ha!” and then repeated the Latin words before saying, “The reward of sin is death? That’s hard.

Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas.”

The Latin passage is 1 John 1:8; Faustus did not read 1 John 1:9.

1 John 1:8-9 states this (1599 Geneva Bible):

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and truth is not in us.

9 If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Faustus had left out the part about God’s forgiveness.

Faustus continued, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. Why, then perhaps we must sin, and so consequently die. Aye, we must die an everlasting death.”

The sound “Aye” has two applicable meanings: 1) Yes, and 2) I.

Faustus said, “What doctrine do you call this? Che sera, sera. Let me translate: What will be, shall be.

“Theology, adieu. These metaphysics of magicians and necromantic books are heavenly.”

Necromancy is the discipline of communicating with the dead.

He continued, “Lines, circles, letters, and characters. Aye, these are those things that Faustus most desires.”

Lines, circles, letters, and characters are used in magic.

Faustus said, “Oh, what a world of profit and delight, of power, of honor, and of omnipotence is promised to the studious artisan of the occult arts! All things that move between the quiet poles shall be at my command. Emperors and Kings are obeyed only in their own provinces, but the dominion of an artisan who excels in the occult arts, stretches as far as does the mind of man. A sound magician is a demi-god. Here I will work and tire my brains to get a deity. I want god-like power.”

He called, “Wagner.”

Wagner, Faustus’ servant, entered the room.

Faustus ordered, “Wagner, commend me to my dearest friends, the German Valdes and Cornelius. Request them earnestly to come and visit me.”

“I will, sir,” Wagner said, and then he exited.

Faustus said, “Their conversation will be a greater help to me than all my labors, plod I never so fast.”

He was seeking a quick way to knowledge. Rather than finding out new knowledge for himself, he was asking for help from people who could teach him.

This can be a good thing, if the teachers are wise.

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel entered Faustus’ study.

The Good Angel said, “Oh, Faustus, lay that damned book of black magic aside, and don’t gaze on it lest it tempt your soul and heap God’s heavy wrath upon your head. Read, read the scriptures: That book is blasphemy.”

The Bad Angel said, “Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art wherein all nature’s treasure is contained. Be you on Earth as Jove is in the sky: Lord and Commander of these elements.”

Jove is the King of the pagan gods.

This society believed that the world was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water.

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel exited.

Faustus said, “How I am glutted with the idea of this! Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please, resolve me of all ambiguities by answering my questions, and perform whatever desperate enterprise I want them to perform?”

The word “desperate” means dangerous, but it includes the idea of despair. Christian despair is lack of belief in Christian salvation.

Faustus continued, “I’ll have them fly to India for gold, ransack the ocean for pearls from the orient, and search all corners of the newfound world of the Americas for pleasant fruits, and Princely delicacies.

“I’ll have them teach me strange philosophy and tell me the secrets of all foreign kings.

“I’ll have them wall all Germany with brass and make the swift Rhine River encircle fair Wittenberg.

“I’ll have them fill the universities with silk, wherewith the students shall be splendidly clad.

“I’ll levy soldiers with the money they bring me, and chase the Prince of Parma from our land, and reign as sole king of all the provinces.”

The Prince of Parma was the Spanish governor-general of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

Faustus continued, “Yes, I’ll make my servile spirits invent stranger engines for the brunt of war than was the fiery keel at Antwerp’s bridge.”

While besieging Antwerp, the Prince of Parma built a bridge across the Scheldt River. The defenders of Antwerp used a fireboat to destroy the bridge.

Faustus said, “Come, German Valdes and Cornelius, and make me blest with your sage conversation.”

Valdes and Cornelius entered Faustus’ study.

Faustus said, “Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius! Know that your words have won me over at last! I will practice magic and the concealed occult arts.

“Philosophy is odious and obscure. Both law and medicine are for petty wits.

“It is magic, magic that has ravished me.

“So then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt, and I, who have with subtle syllogisms confounded the pastors of the German Church and made the flowering pride — the best scholars — of Wittenberg swarm to my academic discussions, as the infernal spirits swarmed to the sweet musician Musaeus when he came to Hell, will be as cunning as the magician Cornelius Agrippa was, whose familiar spirit made all Europe honor him.”

Valdes replied, “Faustus, these books, your intelligence, and our experience shall make all nations canonize us. As dark-skinned Native Americans obey their Spanish lords, so shall the spirits we raise in bodily form be always serviceable to us three.

“They shall guard us when we please, in the forms of lions, or of German cavalrymen with their horsemen’s staves, or of Lapland giants trotting by our sides.

“Sometimes they shall have the form of women or unwedded maidens, encompassing more beauty in their airy brows than have the white breasts of Venus, the queen of love.

“From Venice they shall drag huge argosies — merchant ships — and from America they shall bring us the golden fleece that yearly stuffed King Philip II of Spain’s treasury, if learned Faustus will be resolute.”

To get devils to obey your will required payment: one’s soul. If Faustus were resolute and bargained away his soul, then he, Valdes, and Cornelius could benefit. Apparently, Valdes and Cornelius lacked this kind of resolution.

Faustus replied, “Valdes, I am as resolute in this as you are to live, so therefore make no objections.”

Cornelius said, “The miracles that magic will perform will make you vow to study nothing else. He who is grounded in astrology, enriched with the knowledge of various languages, and very knowledgeable about minerals, has all the principal knowledge that magic requires.

“So then don’t doubt, Faustus, that you will be renowned and more sought after on account of this mystery than was the Delphic oracle.”

An oracle is a priest or priestess who is able to foretell the future. The oracle at Delphi was renowned in ancient times.

Cornelius said, “The spirits tell me they can dry the sea, and fetch the treasure of all foreign shipwrecks — yes, and all the wealth that our forefathers hid within the massy entrails of the earth.

“So then tell me, Faustus, what shall we three lack?”

Faustus answered, “Nothing, Cornelius. Oh, this cheers my soul.”

He then said to Valdes and Cornelius, “Come, show me some magical demonstrations, so that I may conjure in some bushy grove, and have in full possession these joys we have discussed.”

Valdes said, “Then hasten to some solitary grove, and carry there wise Bacon’s and Albanus’ works, the Hebrew Psalter, and New Testament, and whatsoever else is necessary that we will inform you about before our conversation ends.”

Roger Bacon and Pietro d’Abano were reputed to be great magicians.

The Psalms and the beginning of John’s Gospel were used in conjuring.

Cornelius said, “Valdes, first let him know the words of art, and then after he has learned all other ceremonies Faustus may try and test his cunning by himself.”

Valdes said to Faustus, “First I’ll instruct you in the rudiments, and then you will be more perfect in magic than I am.”

This sounds as if Valdes did not know more than the rudiments.

“Then come and dine with me,” Faustus said, “and after we eat we’ll discuss every detail of conjuring, for before I sleep, I’ll see what I can do. This night I’ll conjure even if I die because of it.”

Yes, he could die because of his conjuring; he could die and be condemned to spend eternity in Hell.

— 1.2 —

[Scene 2]

Two scholars arrived at Faustus’ residence.

The first scholar said, “I wonder what’s become of Faustus, who was accustomed to make our schools ring with cries of ‘sic probo.’”

Sic probo” is Latin for “Thus I prove it.” Faustus used to engage in much debate in the university.

Wagner, Faustus’ servant, arrived. He was carrying wine.

The second scholar said, “That shall we soon know, since here comes Faustus’ servant.”

“Oh, sirrah!” the first scholar said. “Where’s your master?”

The word “sirrah” was used to address a man of lower social status than the speaker.

Wagner replied, “God in Heaven knows.”

Usually, this means, “Only God in Heaven knows.”

“Why, don’t you know where he is, then?” the second scholar asked.

“Yes, I do know, but my knowing where he is does not follow,” Wagner said.

He meant that from “God in Heaven knows,” it did not follow that he, Wagner, did know.

“Bah, sirrah,” the first scholar said. “Stop your jesting and tell us where he is.”

“That does not follow by force of argument, which you two scholars, being licentiates, aka degree holders, should stand upon,” Wagner said. “Therefore, acknowledge your error, and be attentive.

Wagner meant that since his knowing Faustus’ whereabouts had not been logically established, it did not logically follow that the first scholar could demand that Wagner tell him where Faustus is.

“Then you will not tell us?” the second scholar asked.

“You are deceived, for I will tell you,” Wagner replied. “Yet if you were not dunces, you would never ask me such a question. For isn’t Faustus corpus naturale? And is not that mobile? Then why should you ask me such a question?”

A “corpus naturale” is a “natural body,” and natural bodies are “mobile,” or capable of movement and change. As a natural body, Faustus was capable of moving and so could be anywhere, according to Wagner.

He continued, “But except that I am by nature calm, slow to anger, and prone to lechery — oops, I meant to say, love — it were not for you to come within forty foot of the place of execution, although I do not doubt but to see you both hanged the next court sessions.”

The deed being executed at this time was eating heartily. This execution was taking place in the dining room, where Faustus and his two guests were planning the execution of a deed of black magic. However, people convicted of using black magic could undergo another kind of execution. Wagner may have thought that the two scholars wanted to engage in black magic just like Valdes and Cornelius did.

Wagner continued, “Thus, having triumphed over you, I will set my countenance like a Precision — a Puritan — and begin to speak like one:

“Truly, my dear brethren, my master is within at dinner, with Valdes and Cornelius, as this wine I am holding, if it could speak, would inform your worships. And so may the Lord bless you, preserve you, and keep you, my dear brethren.”

Wagner exited to take the wine to Faustus and his two guests.

The first scholar said, “Oh, Faustus, then I fear that which I have long suspected: You have fallen into that damned art for which Valdes and Cornelius are infamous throughout the world.”

The second scholar said, “If Faustus were a stranger to me, and not allied to me through friendship, the danger to his soul would make me mourn.

“But come, let us go and inform the Rector — the head of the university. Perhaps the Rector’s grave counsel may reclaim Faustus.”

“I am afraid that nothing will reclaim him now,” the first scholar said.

“Yet let us see what we can do,” the second scholar said.

— 1.3 —

[Scene 3]

Thunder sounded. Lucifer and four devils, all of whom were invisible, arrived and spied on Faustus.

Faustus said, “Now the gloomy shadow of the night, longing to view the constellation Orion’s drizzling look, leaps from the Antarctic world to the sky and dims it with her pitchy breath.”

It was nighttime. According to Faustus, night was simply the time when the northern hemisphere was in the shadow of the Earth. The Sun would set in the West and go to the southern hemisphere (from the perspective of someone fairly high in the northern hemisphere), where it would shine and put the northern hemisphere in shadow.

The constellation Orion was associated with storms, and so Faustus called it “drizzling.”

He continued, “Faustus, begin your incantations and test whether devils will obey your commands, seeing that you have prayed and sacrificed to them.”

He was standing in a circle, which was thought to protect the magician from the evil spirits he called up.

Faustus continued, “Within this circle is Jehovah’s name, forward and backward anagrammatized. Also here are the abbreviated names of holy saints, figures of every adjunct to the Heavens, and characters of signs, and evening stars, by which the spirits are forced to rise.”

Magicians would take the name “Jehovah” and make anagrams of it. They would also use such things as the signs of the Zodiac in their conjurations.

Faustus continued, “So then don’t be afraid, Faustus, to be resolute and try the utmost that magic can perform.”

Thunder sounded.

Faustus conjured, “Sint mihi dei Acherontis propitii! Valeat numen triplex Jehovae! Ignei, aerii, aquatici spiritus, salvete! Orientis Princeps Beelzebub, inferni ardentis monarcha, et Demogorgon, propitiamus vos, ut appareat et surgat, Mephistophilis. Quod tu moraris? Per Jehovam, Gehennam, et consecratam aquam quam nunc spargo, signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et per vota nostra, ipse nunc surgat nobis dicatus Mephistophilis!

Translated, the Latin passage means this:

May the gods of Acheron be favorable to me! Farewell to the threefold spirit of Jehovah — the Trinity! Welcome, you spirits of fire, air, and water! Prince of the East; Beelzebub, monarch of burning Hell; and Demogorgon, we ask that Mephistophilis may appear and rise.

Why do you delay?

By Jehovah, Hell, and the holy water that I now sprinkle, and by the sign of the cross that now I make, and by our vows may Mephistophilis himself now rise, compelled to serve us.”

The Prince of the East is Lucifer; Beelzebub is a fallen Angel; Demogorgon is a deity of the underworld.

Faustus referred to only three of the four elements. Apparently one element is associated with each of the three demons he called upon. Lucifer is associated with air, and Beelzebub with fire, leaving water for Demogorgon. The fourth element — earth — may be associated with Mephistophilis.

Acheron is a river in Hell.

Gehenna is a name for the destination of the wicked: Hell.

To gain the favor of the demons of Hell, Faustus rejected Jehovah.

The devil Mephistophilis arrived in the form of a dragon.

Seeing him, Faustus told him, “I order thee to return and change thy shape. Thou art too ugly to attend on me.”

He was using the words “thee,” “thy,” and “thou,” words that a master would use to refer to a servant. In other circumstances, they were used by intimate friends and by husbands and wives.

He continued, “Go and return in the form of an old Franciscan Friar. That holy shape becomes a devil best.”

Mephistophilis exited.

Faustus said, “I see there’s virtue in my heavenly words.”

By “virtue,” he meant “power,” not “moral virtue.”

He continued, “Who would not be proficient in this art? How pliant is this Mephistophilis! He is full of obedience and humility. Such is the force of magic and my spells.”

Mephistophilis returned in the form of a Franciscan Friar and asked, “Now, Faustus, what would thou have me do?”

He did not need Faustus to tell him his name.

Mephistophilis’ question is the same question that Saul (later Saint Paul) asked the risen Jesus in Acts 9:6: “He then both trembling and astonied, said, Lord, what wilt thou that I do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou shalt do” (1599 Geneva Bible).

Faustus replied, “I order thee to wait upon me while I live and do whatever Faustus shall command, whether it be to make the Moon drop from her sphere, or to make the ocean overwhelm the world.”

“I am a servant to great Lucifer,” Mephistophilis said, “and I may not follow thee without his permission. No more than he commands must we perform.”

Faustus had believed that he was Mephistophilis’ master, but Mephistophilis told him straight-out that he follows Lucifer’s orders.

Faustus asked, “Didn’t he order thee to appear to me?”

Mephistophilis replied, “No, I came here now of my own accord.”

“Didn’t my conjuring raise thee?” Faustus asked. “Answer me.”

“That was the cause,” Mephistophilis answered, “but yet per accidens.”

Yes, Mephistophilis had come to Faustus because of Faustus’ conjuring, but not for the reason that Faustus supposed. Faustus thought that Mephistophilis had been forced to come to him because of Faustus’ power as a conjuror, but as Mephistophilis will explain, he had come because he saw an opportunity to get Faustus’ soul.

Mephistophilis continued, “For when we hear one rack the name of God, abjure the scriptures and his Savior 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 damned. Therefore, the shortest cut for conjuring is stoutly to abjure all godliness and pray devoutly to the Prince of Hell.”

Faustus said, “So Faustus has already done, and Faustus holds this principle: There is no chief but only Beelzebub, to whom Faustus does dedicate himself. This word ‘damnation’ does not terrify me, for I confound Hell in Elysium. May my ghost be with the old philosophers.”

Faustus did not fear the damnation of Hell with all its tortures because he regarded the afterlife as being in Elysium, where the good pagans went and enjoyed lives much like the lives they had lived on Earth. At the end of Plato’sApology, Socrates, who has been condemned to die, says that he does not fear death because what follows death must be one of two things: 1) a long dreamless sleep, or 2) a life like this one, but one in which Socrates can seek out and converse with great people such as Homer, creator of the Iliad and the Odyssey, who have died before him. Faustus did not believe in the Christian Hell in which unrepentant sinners are tortured.

One meaning of “confound” is “smash.” Faustus was saying that he was smashing the idea of Hell as a place of torture, and that Hell is actually a rather nice place, as is Elysium. However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a then-current meaning of “confound” is this: “To mix up in idea, erroneously regard or treat as identical, fail to distinguish.” Faustus was failing to distinguish between the Christian Inferno and the pagan Elysium. In Dante’s Inferno, the good pagans go to Limbo, which is a place of sighs, not screams.

Faustus continued, “But leaving these vain trifles of men’s souls, tell me, what is that Lucifer, thy Lord?”

Faustus also deviated from Christian theology in believing that his soul was only a vain trifle.

Mephistophilis replied, “Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.”

Faustus asked, “Wasn’t Lucifer an Angel once?”

“Yes, Faustus,” Mephistophilis said, “and he was most dearly loved by God.”

Faustus asked, “How comes it then that he is Prince of Devils?”

“Oh, by aspiring pride and insolence,” Mephistophilis said, “for which God threw him from the face of Heaven.”

Isaiah 14:12-15 (1599 Geneva Bible) tells us this about Lucifer:

12 How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? and cut down to the ground, which didst cast lots upon the nations?

13 Yet thou saidest in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, and exalt my throne above beside the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the North.

14 I will ascend above the height of the clouds, and I will be like the most high.

15 But thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the side of the pit.

Faustus is another being with “aspiring pride and insolence.”

“And what are you that live with Lucifer?” Faustus asked.

“Unhappy spirits that live with Lucifer, conspired against our God with Lucifer, and are forever damned with Lucifer,” Mephistophilis replied.

“Where are you damned?”

“In Hell.”

“How comes it then that thou are out of Hell?”

“Why, this is Hell, nor am I out of it,” Mephistophilis replied. “Do you think that I who saw the face of God and tasted the eternal joys of Heaven am not tormented with ten thousand Hells in being deprived of everlasting bliss?”

Saint John Chrysostom had written “si decem mille gehennas quis dixerit, nihil tale est quale ab illa beata visione excidere.”

The Latin means that knowing that one will never enjoy the everlasting bliss of the presence of God is worse than suffering ten thousand Hells.

Mephistophilis pleaded, “Oh, Faustus, stop asking these frivolous questions, which strike a terror to my fainting soul.”

Such questions are not frivolous; frivolous questions do not strike terror in one’s fainting soul.

Faustus said, “Is great Mephistophilis so passionate and deeply emotional because of being deprived of the joys of Heaven? Learn from Faustus’ manly fortitude, and scorn those joys thou never shall possess.

“Go bear these tidings to great Lucifer, seeing that Faustus has incurred eternal death by desperate thoughts against Jove’s deity. Say that Faustus surrenders up to Lucifer his soul, provided that he will spare him for twenty-four years, letting him live in all voluptuousness, having thee always to attend on me, to give me whatsoever I shall ask, to tell me whatsoever I ask, to slay my enemies and to aid my friends, and always to be obedient to my will.”

Faustus was calling God “Jove” — a name for the pagan god Jupiter, king of the gods. “Jove’s deity” means “Jupiter’s divine nature.”

He continued, “Go and speak to mighty Lucifer, and meet me in my study at midnight, and then tell me what thy master answers.”

“I will, Faustus,” Mephistophilis said.

He exited.

“Had I as many souls as there are stars, I’d give them all for Mephistophilis,” Faustus said. “By use of him, I’ll be the great Emperor of the World, and make a bridge through the moving air to cross the ocean. With a band of men I’ll join the hills that bind the African shore and join that country to Spain, closing the Strait of Gibraltar, and make both pay tribute to my crown. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V shall not live except but by my permission, nor shall any potentate of Germany.”

The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was also Emperor of Germany.

Faustus concluded, “Now that I have obtained what I desired, I’ll live in contemplation of this art until Mephistophilis returns again.”

— 1.4 —

[Scene 4]

Wagner, Faustus’ servant, saw the Clown, who had a beard, and said, “Come here, sirrah boy.”

“Boy?” the Clown said. “Oh, what an insult to my person. By God’s wounds! I say ‘Boy’ in your face! You have seen many boys with beards, I am sure.”

“Sirrah, have you no comings in?” Wagner asked.

By “comings in,” he meant “income.”

“Yes, and goings out, too,” the Clown said, “as you may see, sir.”

He thrust his hand through a hole in his ragged clothing.

“Alas, poor slave,” Wagner said. “See how poverty jests in his nakedness. I know the villain’s out of service — out of work — and so hungry that I know he would give his soul to the devil for a shoulder of mutton, even if it were blood raw.”

“That’s not so, neither,” the Clown said. “I must have the mutton well roasted, and a good sauce to go with it, if I pay so expensive a price, I can tell you.”

“Sirrah, will you be my servant and wait on me?” Wagner asked. “If you do, I will make you go like qui mihi discipulus.

Qui mihi discipulus” is Latin for “one who is my pupil.”

“What, in verse?” the Clown asked.

“No, slave,” Wagner said, “in beaten silk, and stavesacre.”

Silk is an expensive fabric. “Beaten silk” is embroidered silk: Expensive metals such as gold and silver could be beaten with a hammer into silk clothing to form a metal embroidery. Of course, such clothing would be only for the very wealthy. As you may expect, Wagner was obliquely saying that he would beat the Clown if the Clown were his apprentice.

Stavesacre is a lotion made from certain kinds of seeds; it is used to kill vermin such as lice. Wagner was saying that the Clown was infested with lice; he also was obliquely saying that he would beat the Clown. A stave is a staff that can be used to give aches, so it is a stave-ache-er.

“Stavesacre?” the Clown said. “That’s good to kill vermin. So then probably if I serve you I shall be lousy.”

Two meanings of “lousy” are “inferior” and “infested with lice.”

“Why, so you shall be, whether or not you serve me,” Wagner said. “For, sirrah, if you do not immediately bind yourself to me for seven years, I’ll turn all the lice about you into familiar spirits, and make them tear you into pieces.”

Witches, who could be male or female, had familiar spirits that would obey their commands.

“No, sir, you may save yourself the trouble,” the Clown said, “for lice are as familiar with me as if they paid for their meat and drink, I can tell you.”

The lice were already biting him and drinking his blood; it was as if they had bought a meal and a waiter had served them the Clown.

“Well, sirrah, leave your jesting, and take these guilders,” Wagner said.

The guilders were coins paid to a new apprentice to seal the bargain.

“Yes, indeed, sir, and I thank you, too,” the Clown said.

“So, now you are to be at an hour’s warning, whenever and wherever the devil shall fetch you,” Wagner said.

Part of Revelation 18:10 states that “in one hour is thy judgment come” (1599 Geneva Bible).

“Here, take your guilders,” the Clown said. “I’ll have nothing to do with them.”

“I won’t take them,” Wagner said. “You are pressed — drafted — into service as my servant. Prepare yourself to accept this, for I will immediately raise up two devils to carry you away.”

He called the spirits: “Banio! Belcher!”

“Belcher? If Belcher comes here, I’ll belch him,” the Clown said. “I am not afraid of a devil.”

The two devils appeared.

Although the Clown may not be afraid of a devil, his actions and reactions showed that he is definitely afraid of two devils.

“How about now, sir?” Wagner asked. “Will you serve me now?”

“Yes, good Wagner,” the Clown said. “Take away the devil then.”

“Spirits, away!” Wagner ordered.

The two devils exited.

“Now, sirrah, follow me,” Wagner said to the Clown.

“I will, sir, but listen, master,” the Clown said. “Will you teach me this conjuring occupation?”

“Yes, sirrah,” Wagner said. “I’ll teach you to turn yourself into a dog, or a cat, or a mouse, or a rat, or anything.”

“A dog, or a cat, or a mouse, or a rat?” the Clown said. “Oh, brave, splendid Wagner!”

“Villain, call me Master Wagner, and see that you walk attentively, and let your right eye be always diametrally fixed upon my left heel, so that you may quasi vestigias nostras insistere.”

The Latin words — some of which were incorrect; vestigias nostras ought to be vestigiis nostris — mean “as if to tread in our footsteps.” Wagner was putting on airs, using the majestic plural to refer to his footsteps.

“Well, sir, I promise that I will do as you say.”

They exited, with the Clown following Wagner.

The Clown had agreed to serve Wagner as an apprentice in return for some lessons in magic and some guilders. He would never get the beaten silk that had been promised to him, although he would probably get the stavesacre, especially in the form of stave-ache-er. His agreement, however, had a time limit: seven years. At that time, he would again be free. In this sense, he had made a better bargain than Faustus would make.

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