David Bruce: Christopher Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS (1616 B-TEXT): A Retelling‚ Act 3 (Scenes 8-10)


— Chorus —

[Chorus 2]

The Chorus says this to you, the reader: “Learned Faustus, in order to find the secrets of astronomy, which are engraved in the book of Jove’s high firmament, scaled the top of Olympus mountain, where sitting in a burning bright chariot, drawn by the strength of yoked dragons’ necks, he viewed the clouds, the planets, and the stars, and the tropics, zones, and quarters of the sky, from the bright circle of the horned Moon, even to the height of the Primum Mobile.”

Unlike Dante, Faustus was unable to go past the Primum Mobile and view the Empyreal Heaven — the dwelling place of God.

The Chorus continued, “And whirling round with this circumference, within the concave compass of the pole, from east to west his dragons swiftly glide, and in eight days brought him home again.

“Not long did he stay within his quiet house to rest his bones after his weary toil, but new exploits haled him out again and he mounted then upon the back of a dragon, which parted with its wings the subtle, thin, and delicate air.

“He now has gone to test cosmography and see whether the maps of the cosmos are correct, and as I guess will first arrive at Rome to see Pope Adrian and the manner of his court and to take some part in and of holy Peter’s feast, the which this day is highly solemnized.”

Saint Peter’s feast day is June 29.

— 3.1 —

[Scene 8]

Faustus and Mephistophilis talked together.

Faustus recounted his travels:

“My good Mephistophilis, we have now passed with delight the stately German town of Trier, which is environed round with airy mountain tops, with walls of flint and with deep entrenched lake-like moats, and which is not to be won by any conquering Prince.

“From Paris next, exploring the realm of France, we saw the Main River fall into the Rhine River, whose banks are set with groves of fruitful vines.

“Then up to rich Campania and Naples, whose buildings are fair and gorgeous to the eye, and whose streets are straight and paved with the finest brick. There we saw learned Virgil’s golden tomb and the passage he cut an English mile in length through a huge mass of stone in one night’s space, with the use of magic.

“From thence to Venice, Padua, and the east, in one city of which a sumptuous temple stands that threatens the stars with her aspiring top, whose frame is paved with sundry colored stones, and which is roofed aloft with curious work in gold.

“Thus hitherto has Faustus spent his time.

“But tell me now, what resting place is this? Have you, as previously I commanded you to do, conducted me within the walls of Rome?”

“I have, my Faustus,” Mephistophilis said, “and for proof thereof, this is the goodly palace of Pope Adrian, and because we are no common guests, I choose his private chambers for our use.”

“I hope his Holiness will bid us welcome,” Faustus said.

“All’s one,” Mephistophilis said. “Whether he does or not, we’ll be bold with his venison.

“But now, my Faustus, so that you may perceive what Rome contains that will delight your eyes, know that this city stands upon seven hills that support the foundation of the city.

“Just through the midst runs the flowing Tiber River with winding banks that cut it into two parts over which two stately bridges lean that provide safe passage to each part of Rome.

“Upon the bridge called Ponto Angelo is erected a castle surpassingly strong, where you shall see such store of ordinance, as for example the large-caliber cannons forged of brass that match the number of the days contained within the compass of one complete year — there are 365 cannon. In addition, it has gates and it has a high obelisk that Julius Caesar brought from Africa.”

The Sistine Chapel was not among the delights of Rome that Mephistophilis enumerated.

Faustus said, “Now by the kingdoms of infernal rule, of Styx, of Acheron, and of the fiery lake of ever-burning Phlegethon, I swear that I long to see the monuments and layout of brightly resplendent Rome.”

Souls cross the Styx River to reach the Land of the Dead. The Acheron River is the river of woe in the Land of the Dead. The Phlegethon, which is often described as a river, is made of liquid fire. It also is in the Land of the Dead.

“Come, therefore,” Faustus said. “Let’s go.”

“No,” Mephistophilis said. “Stay, my Faustus. I know you’d like to see the Pope and take some part in and of holy Peter’s feast, the which with high solemnity this day is held throughout Rome and Italy, in honor of the Pope’s triumphant victory.”

Pope Adrian had recently achieved a notable victory, capturing a rival Pope named Bruno.

“Sweet Mephistophilis, you please me,” Faustus said. “While I am here on Earth, let me be cloyed — satiated to excess — with all things that delight the heart of Man.

“My twenty-four years of liberty I’ll spend in pleasure and in dalliance so that Faustus’ name, while this bright frame stands, may be admired throughout the furthest land.”

Mephistophilis replied, “That is well said, Faustus. Come, then, stand by me and you shall see them come very soon.”

“Wait, my gentle Mephistophilis, and grant me my request, and then I will go,” Faustus said. “You know that within the compass of eight days, we viewed the face of Heaven, the face of Earth, and Hell.

“So high our dragons soared into the air that as I looked down the Earth appeared to me to be no bigger than my hand in quantity. There we viewed the kingdoms of the world, and whatever might please my eye, I there beheld.

“So then in this show let me be an actor, so that this proud Pope may see Faustus’ cunning.”

“Let it be so, my Faustus,” Mephistophilis replied, “but first stay and view their triumphs as they pass this way. You can then devise what will best content your mind and make you happy.

“You can use your art to cross the Pope, or dash the pride of this ceremonious occasion.

“You can make his monks and abbots stand like apes, and point like clowns at his triple-crown — the diadem of the papacy.

“You can beat the beads about the Friars’ heads, or clap huge horns upon the Cardinals’ heads, or do any other villainy you can think of.

“Whatever it is, I’ll perform it, Faustus.

“Pay attention, here they come.

“This day shall make you be marveled at in Rome.”

The Cardinals and Bishops, some bearing crosiers and some bearing pillars, entered.

Croziers resemble shepherds’ staffs.

Pillars are ornamental staffs.

Next the Monks and Friars, singing in their religious procession, entered. Then came Pope Adrian, and Raymond, King of Hungary, with Bruno the schismatic Pope led in chains.

Pope Adrian ordered, “Cast down our footstool.”

Raymond, King of Hungary, ordered, “Saxon Bruno, stoop while on your back his Holiness ascends Saint Peter’s chair and state pontifical.”

The state pontifical is the papal throne.

Bruno replied as he knelt, “Proud Lucifer, that state pontifical belongs to me. But thus I fall to Peter, not to you.”

Pope Adrian said, “To me and to Peter, you shall groveling lie and crouch before the papal dignity.”

He then ordered, “Sound the trumpets, for thus Saint Peter’s heir, from Bruno’s back, ascends Saint Peter’s chair.”

The trumpets sounded while Pope Adrian stepped on Bruno’s back and ascended the papal throne.

Pope Adrian said to Bruno, “Thus, as the gods creep on with feet of wool, long before with iron hands they punish men, so shall our sleeping vengeance now arise, and smite with death your hated enterprise.”

He then ordered, “Lord Cardinals of France and Padua, go without delay to our holy consistory, and read among the statutes decretal what by the holy council held at Trent, the sacred synod has decreed for him — Bruno — who assumes the papal government without election and without a true consent. Leave, and bring back this information to us speedily.”

The consistory is an ecclesiastical council. Statutes decretal are papal decrees. The Council of Trent had, among other things, condemned some Protestant ideas as heretical.

The first Cardinal replied, “We go, my Lord.”

The Lord Cardinals of France and Padua exited.

Pope Adrian said, “Lord Raymond.”

The two men talked together quietly.

“Go quickly, gentle Mephistophilis,” Faustus said. “Follow the two Cardinals to the consistory, and as they turn the pages of their superstitious books, strike them with sloth and drowsy idleness, and make them sleep so soundly that we can assume their shapes and parley with this Pope, this proud confronter of the Emperor, and in despite of all his Holiness restore this Bruno to his liberty, and bear him to the states of Germany.”

Mephistophilis replied, “Faustus, I go.”

“Dispatch it quickly,” Faustus said. “Pope Adrian shall curse that Faustus came to Rome.”

Faustus and Mephistophilis exited.

“Pope Adrian, let me have some right of law,” Bruno said. “I was elected by the Emperor.”

“We will depose the Emperor for that deed, and curse — excommunicate — the people who submit to him,” Pope Adrian said. “Both he and you shall stand excommunicate, and interdict — debarred — from Church’s privilege, and all society of holy men.”

The main Church’s privilege that they would be debarred from was receiving the Holy Sacrament in the Mass.

Pope Adrian continued, “The Emperor grows too proud in his authority, lifting his lofty head above the clouds, and like a steeple overpeering the church. But we’ll pull down his haughty insolence, and as Pope Alexander III, our progenitor, trod on the neck of the German Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, adding this golden sentence to our praise, that Peter’s heirs should tread on Emperors, and walk upon the dreadful adder’s back, treading the lion and the dragon down, and fearless spurn the killing basilisk, so will we quell that haughty schismatic, and by authority apostolic depose him from his regal government.”

In 1165, Pope Alexander III had excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. Now, Pope Adrian was engaged in a power struggle with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Bruno said, “Pope Julius III swore to Princely Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to regard the Holy Roman Emperors as the lawful lords for him and the succeeding Popes of Rome.”

“Pope Julius III abused the Church’s rites, and therefore none of his decrees can stand,” Pope Adrian replied. “Isn’t all power on earth bestowed on us? And therefore even if we were to wish to err we cannot.”

He was referring to the doctrine of papal infallibility, but he had just said that Pope Julius III had made mistakes.

Pope Adrian continued, “Behold this silver belt to which are fixed seven golden keys fast sealed with seven seals, in token of our seven-fold power from Heaven: to bind or loose, lock fast, condemn, or judge, unseal, or seal, or whatsoever pleases us. So then he and you and all the world shall stoop, or be assured of our dreadful curse, which will alight as heavily as the pains of Hell.”

Faustus and Mephistophilis entered. They were wearing the clothing and had assumed the forms of the two Cardinals who had left to carry out Pope Adrian’s orders.

Mephistophilis said, “Now tell me, Faustus, aren’t we outfitted well?”

“Yes, Mephistophilis, and two such Cardinals have never served a holy Pope as we shall do,” Faustus said.

They intended to “serve” the Pope badly.

He continued, “But while the two real Cardinals sleep within the consistory, let us salute his reverend Fatherhood.”

Raymond, King of Hungary, saw them and said, “Behold, my Lord, the two Cardinals have returned.”

Pope Adrian said, “Welcome, grave Fathers, answer immediately: What have our holy council there decreed concerning Bruno and the Holy Roman Emperor, in quittance of their late conspiracy against our state and papal dignity?”

The disguised Faustus replied, “Most sacred patron of the Church of Rome, by full consent of all the synod of priests and prelates, it is thus decreed that Bruno and the German Emperor be regarded as Lollards and bold schismatics, and proud disturbers of the Church’s peace.”

Lollards are followers of the Protestant John Wycliff, some of whose ideas were condemned as heresies by Pope Gregory VII in 1377. Schismatics are people who cause a division in the church; for example, by setting up a rival Pope.

The disguised Faustus continued, “And if Bruno by his own assent, without being forced by the German peers, sought to wear the triple-crown, and by your death to climb up to Saint Peter’s chair, the statutes decretal have decreed thus:He shall be immediately condemned as guilty of heresy, and on a pile of faggots burnt to death.”

“It is enough,” Pope Adrian said. “Here, take Bruno into your custody, and bear him immediately to Ponto Angelo, and in the strongest tower enclose him fast. Tomorrow, sitting in our consistory with all our college of grave Cardinals, we will determine whether he shall live or die.

“Here, take along with you the triple-crown he falsely wore, and leave it in the Church’s treasury. Make haste and return back here again, my good lord Cardinals, and take with you our blessing apostolic.”

Mephistophilis said quietly to Faustus, “Never was a devil thus blessed before.”

Faustus said, “Leave, sweet Mephistophilis, be gone. The two Cardinals will be plagued for this very soon.”

Faustus and Mephistophilis exited.

“Go immediately,” Pope Adrian ordered, “and bring a banquet forth so that we may celebrate Saint Peter’s feast, and with Lord Raymond, King of Hungary, drink to our recent and happy victory.”

All exited.

— 3.2 —

[Scene 9]

Servants brought in the banquet and exited, and then Faustus and Mephistophilis entered in their own shapes.

Mephistophilis said, “Now, Faustus, come prepare yourself for mirth. The sleepy Cardinals are close at hand to censure Bruno, who is riding away from here and on a proud-paced steed as swiftly as thought flies over the Alps to fruitful Germany, there to salute the woeful Emperor.”

The Emperor was woeful because Bruno had been captured.

Faustus said, “The Pope will curse the two Cardinals for their sloth today — they slept while both Bruno and his triple-crown got away. But so that Faustus may now delight his mind, and by their folly make some merriment, sweet Mephistophilis, so charm me here that I may walk invisible to all, and do whatever I please, unseen by anyone.”

“Faustus, you shall be invisible and do whatever you want,” Mephistophilis said. “Kneel down while on your head I lay my hand, and charm you with this magic wand. Before kneeling put on this belt, and after I charm you, you will appear invisible to all who are here.”

Mephistophilis then said the charm:

The planets seven, the gloomy air,

Hell and the Furies’ forked hair,

Pluto’s blue fire, and Hecate’s tree,

With magic spells so encompass thee,

That no eye may thy body see.”

The Furies are avenging spirits of ancient Greece; they have snakes for hair.

Pluto is the ancient god of the Land of the Dead, a place where sulphur burns with a blue flame.

Hecate is the goddess of crossroads. Criminals were hung at crossroads, and a gallows was known as a Hecate-tree.

Mephistophilis then said, “So, Faustus, now for all these men’s holiness, do whatever you will; you shall not be seen.”

“Thanks, Mephistophilis,” Faustus said.

He then said, “Now, Friars, take heed, lest Faustus make your shaven crowns bleed.”

“Faustus, say no more,” Mephistophilis said. “See where the Cardinals come.”

Although Faustus could not be seen, yet he could be heard.

Pope Adrian and many Lords, including King Raymond of Hungary and the Archbishop of Rheims, entered.

The two Cardinals — the first Cardinal and the second Cardinal, whose forms Faustus and Mephistophilis had assumed — then entered, one of them carrying a book.

“Welcome, Lord Cardinals,” Pope Adrian said. “Come sit down. Lord Raymond, take your seat. Friars, wait on us and see that all things are in readiness, as best befits this ceremonious festival.”

The first Cardinal said, “May it first please your sacred Holiness to view the reverend synod sentence concerning Bruno and the Emperor?”

“Why do you need to ask this question?” Pope Adrian said. “Didn’t I tell you that tomorrow we would sit in the consistory and there determine Bruno’s punishment? You two Cardinals brought us word just now that it was decreed that Bruno and the cursed Holy Roman Emperor Charles V were by the holy council both condemned as loathed Lollards and base schismatics. Why, therefore, would you have me view that book?”

The first Cardinal said, “Your Grace is mistaken; we gave you and you gave us no such information.”

Raymond, King of Hungary, said, “Don’t deny it. We all are witnesses that Bruno here was recently handed over to you and his rich triple-crown was given to you to be set aside and put into the Church’s treasury.”

The two Cardinals said, “By holy Paul, we haven’t seen them.”

“By Peter, you shall die unless you bring them forth immediately,” Pope Adrian said.

He ordered, “Take them to prison, and load their limbs with fetters.”

He then told the two Cardinals, “False prelates, for this hateful treachery, may your souls be cursed to Hellish misery.”

Some attendants took away the two Cardinals.

The invisible Faustus said to himself, “So, they are safely out of the way. Now, Faustus, to the feast. The Pope has never had such a frolicsome guest, one so full of pranks.”

Pope Adrian said, “Lord Archbishop of Rheims, sit down with us.”

The Lord Archbishop of Rheims replied, “I thank your Holiness.”

The invisible Faustus said, “Fall to eating, and may the devil choke you if you eat sparingly.”

“Who’s that who spoke?” Pope Adrian said. “Friars, look around.”

He then said, “Lord Raymond, please fall to eating; I am beholden to the Bishop of Milan for this so rare a present.”

He lifted a plate holding a delicacy.

“I thank you, sir,” the invisible Faustus said as he snatched away the food.

“What!” Pope Adrian said. “Who snatched the food away from me? Villains, why don’t you speak?”

Calming down, he said, “My good Lord Archbishop, here’s a most dainty dish, which was sent me from a Cardinal in France.”

The invisible Faustus said, “I’ll have that, too.” He snatched away the food.

Pope Adrian said, “What heretics attend our Holiness that we receive such great indignity? Fetch me some wine.”

The invisible Faustus said, “Yes, please do, for Faustus is thirsty.”

“Lord Raymond, I drink to your grace,” Pope Adrian said.

The invisible Faustus snatched away the wine and said, “I pledge your grace,” and then he drank the wine.

“My wine gone, too?” Pope Adrian said. “You clumsy, stupid lubbers! Look around and find the man who is doing this villainy, or by our sanctitude you all shall die.”

He then said to his invited guests, “I ask my Lords to please have patience at this troublesome banquet.”

The Lord Archbishop of Rheims said, “May it please your holiness, I think some ghost has crept out of Purgatory, and now has come to your Holiness for his forgiveness of sins.”

“It may be so,” Pope Adrian said.

He ordered some attendants, “Go and command our priests to sing a dirge to allay the fury of this troublesome ghost.”

A dirge is a requiem mass — a mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.

Pope Adrian crossed himself.

“What!” the invisible Faustus said. “Must every mouthful of food be spiced with a cross?”

He hit Pope Adrian and said, “So, then, take that!”

Pope said, “Oh, I am slain; help me, my lords. Oh, come and help to bear my body away from here. Damned be this soul forever for this deed.”

Pope Adrian and his train of attendants exited.

Mephistophilis said, “Faustus, what will you do now, for I can tell you that you’ll be cursed with bell, book, and candle?”

Unperturbed, Faustus replied, “Bell, book, and candle. Candle, book, and bell. Forward and backward to curse Faustus to Hell.”

All of the Friars returned. One carried a bell, another a book (a Bible), and a third a candle. Previously, the Pope had instructed them to sing a dirge, which is sung for the repose of souls, but apparently the Pope was very angry at the invisible Faustus because the Friars sang a curse instead of a dirge.

The Pope had wanted to be merciful to the “ghost,” but Faustus’ actions had convinced the Pope to be not merciful.

“Come, brethren,” the first Friar said. “Let’s go about our business with good devotion.”

They sang:

Cursed be he who stole away his Holiness’ food from the table!

Maledicat Dominus!

Cursed be he who struck his Holiness a blow on the face!

Maledicat Dominus!

Cursed be he who struck Friar Sandelo a blow on the pate!

Maledicat Dominus!

Cursed be he who disturbs our holy ‘dirge’!

The invisible Faustus was interfering with the Friars’ singing.

The Friars continued singing:

Maledicat Dominus!

Cursed be he who took away his Holiness’ wine!

Maledicat Dominus!

Maledicat Dominus!” means “May the Lord curse him!”

Mephistophilis and the invisible Faustus beat the Friars and flung firecrackers among them, and the Friars all ran away.

— 3.3 —

[Scene 10]

Robin and Dick talked together. Dick was holding a cup.

Dick said, “Sirrah Robin, it would be best that we make sure your devil can answer the charge of stealing this cup, for the Vintner’s boy is following us hard at our heels.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Robin replied. “Let him come. If he follows us, I’ll so conjure him as he was never conjured in his life, I promise you. Let me see the cup.”

Dick gave Robin the cup and said, “Here it is.”

The Vintner arrived; not just the Vintner’s servant had been searching for the thieves.

Seeing the Vintner coming toward them, Dick said, “Yonder he comes. Now, Robin, now or never, show your cunning.”

“Oh, are you here?” the Vintner said. “I am glad I have found you; you are a couple of fine fellows. Please tell me where the cup is that you stole from the tavern.”

“What! What!” Robin said, pretending to be outraged. “We steal a cup? Take heed what you say; we don’t look like cup-stealers, I can tell you.”

“Never deny it, for I know you have it, and I’ll search you,” the Vintner said.

“Search me?” Robin said. “Go ahead and search me thoroughly.”

He secretly passed the cup to Dick and said quietly, “Hold the cup, Dick. “

Robin then said to the Vintner, “Come, come. Search me, search me.”

The Vintner searched Robin and did not find the cup, so he turned to Dick and said, “Come on, sirrah, let me search you now.”

“Yes, yes,” Dick said. “Do, do.”

He secretly passed the cup to Robin and said quietly, “Hold the cup, Robin.”

Dick said to the Vintner, “I don’t fear your searching me; we scorn to steal your cups, I can tell you.”

“Don’t try to outface me in this matter,” the Vintner said, “for I am sure the cup is between you two.”

“No, there you lie,” Robin said. “It is not in between us; it is beyond us both.”

He held the cup out to the side furthest from Dick and showed the Vintner the cup.

“A plague take you,” the Vintner said. “I thought it was your knavery to take it away. Come, give it back to me.”

“Yeah, sure,” Robin said sarcastically. “When will I give it to you, can you tell? How about never?

“Dick, make a circle for me, and stand close at my back, and don’t move for your life.

“Vintner, you shall have your cup ‘soon.’

“Say nothing, Dick.”

Robin then chanted some demons’ names: “‘O’ per se ‘o,’ Demogorgon! Belcher and Mephistophilis!”

Mephistophilis appeared and complained, “You Princely legions of infernal rule, how I am vexed by these villains’ charms! From Constantinople have their charms brought me now, only for the pleasure of these damned slaves.”

Mephistophilis and Faustus had been doing much more traveling, but Mephistophilis had come in response to Robin’s summons. As usual, he hoped to get a soul, but Mephistophilis was an important demon and Robin’s soul was not worth his time. Faustus, on the other hand, had — or used to have — great potential to do good, and gaining Faustus’ soul was worth twenty-four years of servitude.

Frightened, but not frightened enough not to grab his cup first, the Vintner ran away.

Robin said, “By Our Lady — Mary — sir, you have had a vexatious journey of it. Will it please you to take a shoulder of mutton to supper, and a sixpence in your purse, and go back again?”

“Yes, I ask you heartily to leave, sir,” Dick said, “for we called you but in jest, I promise you.”

Mephistophilis replied, “To purge the rashness of this cursed deed, first you will be turned to this ugly shape — for apish deeds, you will be transformed into an ape.”

“Oh, splendid!” Robin said. “An ape! Please, sir, let me have the carrying of him about to show some tricks.”

Mephistophilis replied, “And so you shall be transformed into a dog, and carry him upon your back. Go away! Be gone.”

“A dog? That’s excellent!” Robin said. “Let the maids look well after their porridge pots, for I’ll go into the kitchen right away. Come, Dick, come.”

Robin carried Dick away on his back.

Mephistophilis said, “Now with the flames of ever-burning fire, I’ll give myself wings and immediately fly at full speed to my Faustus, who is in the great Turk’s court in Constantinople.”

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