David Bruce: Christopher Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS (1616 B-TEXT) — Act 2 (Scenes 5-7)


— 2.1 —

[Scene 5]

Faustus, alone in his study, was thinking about being damned. He said, “Now, Faustus, must you necessarily be damned? Can’t you be saved?”

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

“What good is it then to think about God or Heaven? Away with such vain fancies and despair! Despair in God and trust in Beelzebub.

“Do not go backward now, Faustus; be resolute.

“Why are you wavering? Oh, something sounds in my ear: Abjure this magic, turn to God again.

“Why, God doesn’t love you. The god you serve is your own appetite wherein is fixed the love of Beelzebub.”

If the “God” who doesn’t love him is the “god” who is his own appetite, then Faustus had spoken the truth. But if “God” meant the Christian God, then God did love him.

Faustus continued, “To him, I’ll build an altar and a church and offer him the lukewarm blood of newborn babes.”

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

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel entered his study.

The Bad Angel said, “Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art.”

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

Faustus said, “Contrition, prayer, repentance? What of these?”

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

The Bad Angel said, “Rather, they are illusions, fruits of lunacy, that make foolish whose who do use them most.”

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

“No, Faustus,” the Bad Angel said, “think of honor and of wealth.”

“Wealth?” Faustus said. “Why, the seigniory — the governorship — of Emden shall be mine.”

Emden was a prosperous German port.

Faustus continued, “When Mephistophilis shall stand by me, what power can hurt me? 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).

He continued, “Mephistophilis, come 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, Mephistophilis. Veni, veni, Mephistophile.”

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

The word “Emmanuel” means “Messiah.”

Mephistophilis entered Faustus’ study.

Faustus said, “Now tell me, what does Lucifer, your Lord, say?”

“That I shall wait on Faustus while he lives, if he will buy my service with his soul,” Mephistophilis answered.

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

“Hazard” was a gambling term. Faustus’ soul was his gambling stake.

Mephistophilis said, “But now you must bequeath it solemnly and ceremoniously, and write a deed of gift with your own blood, for Lucifer craves that security and assurance. If you will not do it, I must go back to Hell.”

“Stay, Mephistophilis, and tell me what good will my soul do your Lord,” Faustus said.

Mephistophilis replied, “Your soul will enlarge his Kingdom.”

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

Mephistophilis replied, “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, Mephistophilis’ words are misleading. Notice the phrase “to have had.” Hell lasts forever; it will never end.

Faustus asked, “Do you devils who torture others have any pain?”

Mephistophilis answered, “As great as have the human souls of men.”

He added, “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.”

Mephistophilis 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.

Faustus said, “Yes, Mephistophilis, I’ll give my soul to Lucifer.”

Mephistophilis said, “Then, Faustus, stab your arm courageously, and bind your soul so 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.

Faustus, however, would not have all the power of Lucifer, but rather the use of one of the subordinate devils: Mephistophilis.

But Mephistophilis 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 said, “Look, Mephistophilis. For love of you Faustus has cut his arm, and with his own proper blood he assures his soul to belong to great Lucifer, Chief Lord and Regent of perpetual night. View here this blood that trickles from my arm, and let it be propitious for my wish.”

“But, Faustus,” Mephistophilis said, “write it in the manner of a deed of gift.”

“Yes, so I do, but Mephistophilis, my blood congeals, and I can write no more,” Faustus said.

“I’ll fetch for you fire to dissolve it immediately,” Mephistophilis said.

He exited to get the fire.

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 said to himself. “Is it unwilling I should write this deed of gift? Why doesn’t it stream so that I may write afresh?”

He started writing: “Faustus gives to you his soul.”

He stopped and said, “Oh, there my blood congealed. Why shouldn’t I write this? Isn’t your soul your own?

“Then write again: Faustus gives to you his soul.”

Mephistophilis returned, carrying the chafer of fire.

He said, “See, Faustus, here is fire; set the dish of your blood on it.”

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

Mephistophilis said quietly to himself, “What won’t I do to obtain his soul!”

Faustus finished writing and then he said, “Consummatum est.

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, “This deed of gift is finished, and Faustus has bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.

“But what is this inscription on my arm? ‘Homo, fuge!’”

The Latin means, “Man, flee!”

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

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 said, “Whither should I flee? If I flee to Heaven, God will 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 — oh, yes, I see it plainly. Written here is ‘Homo, fuge,’ yet Faustus shall not flee.”

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

He wanted to distract Faustus from serious considerations. He would do that with something trivial.

He exited.

Some devils arrived who gave crowns and rich apparel to Faustus. They danced and then departed.

Mephistophilis returned and Faustus asked him, “What is the meaning of this show? Tell me, Mephistophilis.”

Mephistophilis replied, “Nothing, Faustus, other than to delight your mind, and let you see what magic can perform.”

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

“Yes, Faustus,” Mephistophilis replied, “and you may do greater things than these.”

Faustus gave Mephistophilis the deed of gift of his soul and said, “Then, Mephistophilis, receive this scroll, a deed of gift of body and of soul. But yet it is conditional — you must perform all covenants and articles between us both.”

Mephistophilis replied, “Faustus, I swear by Hell and Lucifer to effect all promises between us both.”

Faustus said, “Then hear me read it, Mephistophilis.”

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 Mephistophilis shall be his servant, and at his command.

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

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

Lastly, that Mephistophilis 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 Mephistophilis; 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, into their habitation wheresoever.

Signed by me, John Faustus.

Mephistophilis said, “Speak, Faustus, do you deliver this as your deed of gift of your soul?”

“Yes, take it,” Faustus said, “and may the devil give you good of it.”

“So, Faustus, now ask me whatever you will,” Mephistophilis said.

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

“Under the heavens,” Mephistophilis answered.

“Yes, so are all things else, but whereabouts is Hell?” Faustus said.

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

On the Day of Judgment, all souls shall be purified: They shall become purely good or purely evil.

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

“Continue always to think so, until experience changes your mind,” Mephistophilis replied.

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

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

“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? No, these are trifles, and mere old wives tales.”

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

“If this is Hell, I’ll willingly be damned,” Faustus said. “What! Sleeping, eating, walking, and disputing?

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

Marriage is a sacrament, and Mephistophilis did not want to talk about or observe sacraments, but he said, “Well, Faustus, you shall have a wife.”

He brought Faustus a female devil.

Faustus said, “What is this!”

“Now, Faustus, will you have a wife?” Mephistophilis said.

“Here’s a hot whore indeed,” Faustus said, looking at the female devil. “No, I’ll have no wife.”

Already, the contract Faustus and Mephistophilis had made was violated. Faustus had asked for a wife, the most beautiful maiden in Germany, whom Mephistophilis was supposed to give him, according to the contract, but Mephistophilis had brought him a female devil.

Mephistophilis said, “Marriage is only a ceremonial trifle, and if you love and respect me, think no more of it. I’ll cull out for you the most beautiful courtesans, and bring them every morning to your bed. She whom your eye shall like, your heart shall have, even if she is as chaste as was Penelope, as wise as was 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.

Mephistophilis would ensure that even a woman as chaste as Penelope would sleep with Faustus. Either Mephistophilis 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.

Mephistophilis gave Faustus a book and said, “Here, take this book, and peruse it well.”

Pointing to various places in it, he said, “The recitation of these lines brings gold. The inscribing of this circle on the ground brings thunder, whirlwinds, storm, and lightning. Pronounce this three times devoutly to yourself, and men in armor shall appear to you, ready to execute whatever you command.”

“Thanks, Mephistophilis, for this sweet book,” Faustus said. “This will I keep as chary — carefully — as I keep my life.”

Faustus may quite forget to take care of the book, as the Clown, whose name is Robin, quickly steals one of Faustus’ conjuring books. 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.

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

— 2.2 —

[Scene 6]

The Clown called to his friend, “Hey, Dick, look after the horses there until I come again. I have gotten one of Doctor Faustus’ conjuring books, and now we’ll have such knavery as beats everything.”

Dick walked over to the Clown and said, “Robin, you must come away and walk the horses.”

The Clown, hereafter referred to as Robin, and Dick were hostlers; they took care of the horses at an inn.

Robin said, “I walk the horses! I scorn doing that, indeed. I have other matters in hand; let the horses walk themselves if they will.”

He looked at the conjuring book and tried to read it out loud:

“A means a.

“T H E means the.

“O mean o.

“Deny orgon, gorgon.”

Apparently, he was trying to read the name of a demon: Demogorgon.

Robin said to Dick, “Keep further away from me, you illiterate and unlearned hostler.”

“By God’s fingernails, what have you got there: a book?” Dick said. “Why, you cannot understand even a word of it.”

“You shall quickly see whether I can,” Robin said.

Standing in a conjuror’s circle he had drawn, he said, “Keep out of the circle, I say, lest I send you into the hostelry with a vengeance.”

“That’s likely, indeed,” a disbelieving Dick said. “You had best leave your foolery, for if my master comes, he’ll conjure you, indeed.”

“My master conjure me?” Robin said. “I’ll tell you what, if my master comes here, I’ll clap as fair a pair of horns on his head as ever you saw in your life.”

“You don’t need to do that, for our female boss — his wife — has already done it,” Dick said.

A joke of the time was that a cuckolded husband — a husband with an unfaithful wife — had an invisible pair of horns growing on his forehead.

“Yes,” Robin said, “there are some of us here who have waded as deep into matters as other men, if they were disposed to talk.”

He was hinting that he himself was one of those men who slept with other men’s wives.

“May a plague take you!” Dick said. “I thought you didn’t sneak up and down after her for nothing. But please tell me, seriously, Robin, is that a conjuring book?”

“Do but speak what you would have me do, and I’ll do it,” Robin said. “If you would dance naked, take off your clothes, and I’ll conjure you around. Or if you would just go to the tavern with me, I’ll give you white wine, red wine, claret wine, sack, muscadine wine, malmsey, and whippincrust — all the alcohol your belly can hold, and we’ll not pay one penny for it.”

“Oh, splendid,” Dick said. “Please, let’s go and do it right now, for I am as dry as a dog.”

“Come on, then,” Robin said. “Let’s go.”

— 2.3 —

[Scene 7]

Faustus and Mephistophilis were in Faustus’ study.

Faustus said, “When I behold the heavens, then I repent and curse you, wicked Mephistophilis, 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.

“It was your own seeking, Faustus, so thank yourself,” Mephistophilis replied. “But do you think that Heaven is such a glorious thing? I tell you, Faustus, that it is not half as fair as you, or any man who breathes on Earth.”

Faustus asked, “How do you prove that?”

“It was made for man,” Mephistophilis answered, “and so then man’s more excellent.”

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

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

The Good Angel said, “Faustus, repent! God will yet pity you.”

The Bad Angel said, “You are a spirit; God cannot pity you.”

The Bad Angel was wrong when he called Faustus a spirit, and the Bad 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 Mephistophilis, such as being invisible. The word “spirit” as used by the Bad Angel and when applied to Mephistophilis 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 said, “Who buzzes in my ears that I am a spirit? Be I a devil, yet God may pity me. Yes, God will pity me if I repent.”

“Yes, but Faustus never shall repent,” the Bad Angel said.

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel exited.

“My heart is hardened,” Faustus said. “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 up 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 and perhaps unable 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 the person is unwilling or unable 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. Swords, poison, nooses, and steel swords anointed with poison are laid before me to dispatch myself, and long before this, I should have done the deed of suicide, had not sweet pleasure conquered deep despair.

“Haven’t I made blind Homer sing to me of 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 Mephistophilis?”

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 not repent.

“Come, Mephistophilis, let us dispute again and reason about divine astrology.

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

Mephistophilis replied, “As are the elements, such are the heavens, even from the Moon to the Empyreal orb.”

According to Mephistophilis, 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. Some people of the time believed that 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 Mephistophilis, 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.

Mephistophilis continued, “And, Faustus, they are mutually folded in each other’s spheres, and jointly move upon one axle-tree, 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 have they all one motion, both situ et tempore — in direction and time?”

Mephistophilis replied, “All move from east to west in twenty-four hours upon the poles of the world, but they differ in their motions 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 Mephistophilis to be his servant and at his command, but the contract was being violated. As Faustus’ servant, Mephistophilis 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.

Mephistophilis 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 Mephistophilis 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.”

Mephistophilis 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, “These are freshmen’s topics of discussion. But tell me, does every sphere have 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 Mephistophilis 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.

Mephistophilis 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?”

Mephistophilis replied, “Nine, the seven planets, the firmament, and the Empyreal Heaven.”

Faustus asked, “But is there not coelum igneum, et cristallinum — the sphere of fire, and the sphere of crystal?”

“No, Faustus,” Mephistophilis answered. “They are only fables.”

“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 fewer?” Faustus asked. “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.

Mephistophilis replied, “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?”

Mephistophilis replied, “I will not.”

“Sweet Mephistophilis, tell me,” Faustus requested.

“Don’t make me angry, Faustus,” Mephistophilis said.

“Villain, haven’t I bound you to tell me anything?” Faustus replied.

“Yes, anything that is not against our kingdom,” Mephistophilis said. “This is.”

Their agreement stated that Mephistophilis would serve Faustus. This would include telling Faustus anything that he wanted to know: There were no restrictions.

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

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

“Remember this,” Mephistophilis said.

He meant, Remember that you are going to Hell.

He exited.

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

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

“Too late,” the Bad Angel said.

“Never too late, if Faustus will repent,” the Good Angel said.

“If you repent, devils will tear you in pieces,” the Bad Angel said.

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

The Good Angel and the Bad Angel exited.

“Oh, Christ my Savior, my Savior, help to save distressed Faustus’ soul,” Faustus prayed.

That help is available: To get it, one must sincerely repent one’s sins.

Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Mephistophilis entered Faustus’ study.

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

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

Faustus said, “Oh, what are you who looks so terribly?”

“I am Lucifer.”

He motioned toward Beelzebub and added, “And this is my companion Prince in Hell.”

“Oh, Faustus, they have come to fetch your soul,” Faustus cried.

“We have come to tell you that you injure us,” Beelzebub said.

Lucifer said, “You call on Christ contrary to your promise.”

The contract that Faustus had written did not say this was forbidden.

Beelzebub said, “You should not think about God.”

Lucifer said, “Think about the devil.”

“And his dam, too,” Beelzebub said.

Beelzebub was capable of punning. “Dam” meant 1) mother, and 2) damn.

Faustus promised not to think about God: “Nor will Faustus henceforth. Pardon him for this, and Faustus vows never to look to Heaven.”

Lucifer said, “Show that you are an obedient servant, and we will highly reward you for it.”

Beelzebub said, “Faustus, we have come from Hell in person to show you some entertainment. Sit down and you shall see the Seven Deadly Sins appear to you in their own proper shapes and likeness.”

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

“Don’t talk about Paradise or creation,” Lucifer said, “but watch the show.”

He ordered, “Go, Mephistophilis, fetch them in.”

The Seven Deadly Sins entered.

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

Faustus replied, “That shall I soon.”

He then 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. Next, like a necklace, I hang about her neck. Then, like a fan of feathers, I kiss her, and then turning myself to a wrought smock I do whatever I wish.”

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 bah, what a smell is here? I’ll not speak a word more for a King’s ransom, 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 said, “You are a proud knave indeed.”

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

“I am Covetousness, begotten of an old churl in a leather bag, and if I might now obtain my wish, this house, you yourself, and everything else would turn to gold, so that I might lock you safe into my chest. Oh, my sweet gold!”

Faustus asked, “And what are you, the third?”

“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 all books to be burned. I am lean with seeing others eat. Oh, I wish that there would come a famine over all the world, so that all might die, and I live alone — then you would see how fat I’d be. But must you sit, and I stand? Come down off that chair with a vengeance.”

Envy was envious that Faustus was sitting while Envy stood.

“Leave, envious wretch,” Faustus ordered.

He then asked, “But what are you, the fourth?”

“I am Wrath. I had neither father nor mother; I leapt out of a lion’s mouth when I was scarcely an hour old, and ever since I have run up and down the world with this pair of rapiers, wounding myself when I could get no one 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, “And what are you, the fifth?”

“I am Gluttony; my parents are all dead, and not a damned penny have they left me but only a bare amount to pay my room and board — that buys me thirty meals a day, and ten snacks: a small trifle to satisfy the appetite. I come from a royal pedigree: My father was a gammon of bacon, and my mother was a hogshead of claret wine. My godfathers were these: Peter Pickled-herring and Martin Martlemas-beef. But my godmother — she was an ancient gentlewoman. Her name was 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 said, “Now, Faustus, you have heard all my ancestry; will you invite me to supper?”

“Not I,” Faustus said.

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

“Choke yourself, glutton,” Faustus said.

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

“Hey-ho, I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank. Hey-ho, I’ll not speak a word more for a King’s ransom.”

“Hey-ho” was a sigh.

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

“Who, I, sir? I am one who loves an inch of raw mutton better than an ell of fried stockfish, 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).

“Go away to Hell!” Lucifer ordered. “Go away! Onward, piper!”

The Seven Deadly Sins exited. One of them played a pipe as they marched out.

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.

“Oh, how this sight delights my soul,” Faustus said.

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

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

“Oh, I wish I might see Hell, and return again safely,” Faustus said. “How happy would I be then!”

Dante saw Hell and returned safely; he sincerely repented his sins and enjoys eternal happiness in Paradise.

“Faustus, you shall,” Lucifer said. “At midnight I will send for you. Meanwhile, peruse this book, and view it thoroughly, and you shall turn yourself into whatever shape you will.”

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

As before, 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 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.

“Now, Faustus, farewell,” Lucifer said.

“Farewell, great Lucifer,” Faustus said. “Come, Mephistophilis.”

Faustus and Mephistophilis exited in one direction; Lucifer and Beelzebub exited in another direction.

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