David Bruce: Christopher Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS (1616 B-TEXT): A Retelling – Act 4 (Scenes 11-16)

CHAPTER 4 (1616 B-TEXT)

— 4.1 —

[Scene 11]

Martino and Frederick, two gentlemen who served the Roman Emperor Charles V, met each other. Some officers and gentlemen were present.

Martino said, “What ho, officers, gentlemen! Hurry to the presence chamber to attend the Emperor.”

He then said, “Good Frederick, see that the rooms are cleared immediately. His majesty is coming to the hall. Go back and see that the throne is in readiness.”

Frederick asked, “But where is Bruno, our elected pope, who on a Fury’s back came posthaste from Rome?”

A Fury is an avenging goddess from Hell.

He continued, “Won’t his grace — Bruno — accompany the Emperor?”

“Oh, yes,” Martino said, “and with him comes the German conjuror: the learned Faustus, fame of Wittenberg, the wonder of the world for the art of magic.

“Faustus intends to show great Charles V the race of all his brave progenitors — predecessors and ancestors — and bring into the presence of his majesty the royal shapes and warlike semblances of Alexander and his beauteous paramour.”

Frederick asked, “Where is Benvolio?”

Benvolio was another gentleman at the court.

“Fast asleep, I assure you,” Martino said. “Last night, he drank his fill with goblets of Rhenish wine so kindly to Bruno’s health that all this day the sluggard stays in bed.”

Frederick said, “Look! See, his window’s open. We’ll call to him.”

Martino called, “What ho, Benvolio!”

Benvolio appeared at a second-story window, still wearing his nightcap and buttoning his clothing.

Benvolio said, “What the devil is the matter with you two?”

“Speak softly, sir, lest the devil hear you,” Martino said, “for Doctor Faustus has recently arrived at the court, and at his heels a thousand Furies wait to accomplish whatsoever the Doctor wants.”

Benvolio replied, “So what?”

Martino said, “Come and leave your chamber first, and you shall see this conjuror perform such splendid exploits before Pope Bruno and royal Holy Roman Emperor Charles V as were never yet seen in Germany.”

“Hasn’t Pope Bruno enough of conjuring yet?” Benvolio said. “He was upon the devil’s back recently enough, and if he is so much in love with him, I wish he would ride on him back to Rome again.”

Frederick said, “Tell us, will you come and see this entertainment?”

“Not I,” Benvolio replied.

“Will you stand in your window and see it then?” Martino asked.

“Yes, if I don’t fall asleep in the meantime,” Benvolio replied.

“The Emperor is close at hand,” Martino said. “He has come to see what wonders black spells may perform.”

Benvolio said, “Well, you go and attend the Emperor.”

Frederick and Martino exited.

Benvolio said to himself, “I am content for this once to thrust my head out at a window, for they say that if a man has been drunk overnight, the devil cannot hurt him in the morning. If that is true, I have a charm in my head that shall control him as well as the conjuror can control him, I promise you.”

Trumpets sounded, and the German Emperor Charles V, Bruno, the Duke of Saxony, Faustus, the invisible Mephistophilis, Frederick, Martino, and some attendants arrived.

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V said to Faustus, “Wonder of men, renowned magician, thrice-learned Faustus, welcome to our court. This deed of yours in setting Bruno free from his and our professed enemy shall add more excellence to your art than if by powerful necromantic spells you could command the world’s obedience.

“Forever be beloved by me: Carolus.”

Carolus is medieval Latin for Charles.

He continued, “And And if this Bruno you have recently rescued should possess the triple-crown in peace and sit in Saint Peter’s chair, in spite of fortune, you shall be famous throughout all Italy, and honored by me, the German Emperor.”

Faustus replied, “These gracious words, most royal Carolus, shall make poor Faustus to his utmost power both love and serve the German Emperor and lay his life at holy Bruno’s feet. For proof whereof, if your Grace will be so pleased, I the Doctor stand prepared, by power of art, to cast my magic charms that shall pierce through the ebony gates of ever-burning Hell, and hail the stubborn Furies from their caves to do whatsoever your grace commands.”

When Faustus had made a gift of deed of his soul to Lucifer, he believed that he would be Emperor of the World, and that Holy Roman Emperor Charles V would not live except with his permission, but now Faustus was servile to Charles V.

Benvolio, standing at a second-floor window, said, “By God’s blood, he speaks terribly, but for all that, I do not greatly believe him; he looks as much like a conjuror as the Pope looks like a costermonger.”

A costermonger is a fruit seller.

Emperor Charles V said, “Now, Faustus, as you recently promised us, we would like to behold that famous conqueror Alexander the Great and his paramour, in their true shapes and majestic state, so that we may wonder at their excellence.”

“Your majesty shall see them very soon,” Faustus promised.

He ordered, “Mephistophilis, leave, and with a solemn sound of trumpets, present before this royal Emperor, great Alexander and his beauteous paramour.”

Mephistophilis replied, “Faustus, I will.”

Benvolio said, “Well, Master Doctor, if your devils don’t come back quickly, you will make me fall asleep quickly. By God’s wounds, I could eat my anger to think I have been such an ass all this while, to stand gaping after the devil’s governor, and can see nothing.”

By “the devil’s governor,” Benvolio meant Faustus. The devil’s governor is one who can command the devil.

Benvolio was speaking loudly enough for Faustus to hear him.

Faustus said quietly to himself about Benvolio, “I’ll make you feel something soon, if my art does not fail me.”

He then said to Emperor Charles V, “My Lord, I must forewarn your majesty that when my spirits present the royal shapes of Alexander the Great and his paramour, your grace will ask no questions of King Alexander, but in silence let the spirits come and go.”

Using the royal plural, Emperor Charles V said, “Be it as Faustus pleases; we are content.”

“Yes, yes,” Benvolio said, “and I am content, too. If you really do bring Alexander and his paramour before the Emperor, I’ll be Actaeon, and turn myself to a stag.”

Overhearing Benvolio, Faustus said quietly to himself, “And I’ll play Diana, and send you the horns very soon.”

Actaeon was an ancient hunter who accidentally saw the virgin goddess Diana bathing nude in a stream. She noticed him, and she punished him by turning him into a stag; he had the body of a male deer with horns, but he kept his human mind. His own dogs caught his scent and they ran him down and tore him to pieces.

Faustus was threatening to give the knight horns on his forehead. A common joke of the time was that unfaithful wives gave their husbands horns.

Trumpets sounded as the spirits arrived.

A spirit portraying Alexander the Great and another spirit portraying Darius, King of Persia, arrived. Alexander had defeated Darius in 333 B.C.E.

The two spirits met and performed a dumbshow (a short, silent play): Alexander threw down Darius, killed him, and took off his crown. As he started to leave, his paramour met him. He embraced her and set Darius’ crown upon her head. They then saluted Emperor Charles V.

Impressed by the dumbshow, Emperor Charles V left his throne and went to the spirits and wanted to embrace them, but Faustus quickly stopped him.

The trumpets stopped and music began.

“My gracious lord, you forget yourself,” Faustus said to Emperor Charles V. “These are only shadows; they are not substantial.”

“Oh, pardon me, my thoughts are so ravished with the sight of this renowned Emperor Alexander that in my arms I would have hugged him,” Emperor Charles V said. “But, Faustus, since I may not speak to them, to satisfy my longing thoughts fully, let me tell you this: I have heard it said that this fair lady, while she lived on earth, had on her neck a little wart or mole. How may I prove that saying to be true?”

Faustus replied, “Your Majesty may boldly go and see.”

Emperor Charles V went to the spirit portraying Alexander the Great’s paramour, looked, and said, “Faustus, I see it plainly, and in this sight you have better pleased me than if I had gained another monarchy.”

Faustus said to the spirits, “Away! Be gone!”

The spirits exited.

Faustus then said, “Look, look, my gracious lord, what strange beast is yonder that thrusts his head out the window.”

Emperor Charles V looked up and saw the sleeping Benvolio, who now had horns growing from his head, which was outside his window.

He said, “Oh, what a wondrous sight! Look, Duke of Saxony, two widely spreading horns are most strangely fastened upon the head of young Benvolio!”

The Duke of Saxony asked, “Is he asleep? Or dead?”

Faustus said, “He is sleeping, my lord, but he doesn’t dream that he has horns.”

“This entertainment is excellent,” Emperor Charles V said. “We’ll call and wake him. What ho, Benvolio!”

Benvolio woke up, and not realizing that the Emperor was the one calling him, said, “A plague upon you! Let me sleep a while.”

Emperor Charles V said, “I don’t blame you for sleeping so much, considering that you have such a head.”

“Look up, Benvolio,” the Duke of Saxony said. “It is the Emperor who is calling you.”

“The Emperor?” Benvolio said. “Where?”

He lifted his head and hit his horns on the windowsill and said, “Oh, by God’s wounds, my head!”

Emperor Charles V said, “No, don’t worry about your head because it is very well armed.”

Faustus asked Benvolio, “Why, how are you now, Sir Knight? What, hanged by the horns? This is most horrible! Pull your head in the window for shame; don’t let all the world wonder at you.”

Benvolio’s horns were so big that he couldn’t pull his head back through the window.

Feeling his head, Benvolio said, “By God’s wounds, Doctor Faustus, is this your villainy?”

Faustus replied, “Oh, don’t say so, sir. Remember what you said: Doctor Faustus has no skill, no art, no cunning, to present these lords or to bring before this royal Emperor the mighty monarch known as warlike Alexander. If Faustus does do it, you said that you are immediately resolved to do as bold Actaeon did and turn into a stag.”

He then said to Emperor Charles V, “And therefore, my lord, if it will please your majesty, I’ll raise a kennel of hounds that shall hunt him so as all his footmanship and skill in running shall scarcely prevail to keep his carcass from their bloody fangs.”

Faustus then began to summon demons that would assume the shape of hunting dogs: “Ho, Belimote, Argiron, Asterote.”

“Wait! Wait!” Benvolio said. “By God’s wounds, he’ll raise up a kennel of devils, I think, soon.”

He then entreated Emperor Charles V, “My good lord, entreat for me.”

The devils Faustus had raised attacked Benvolio.

“By God’s blood,” Benvolio said. “I am completely unable to endure these torments!”

Emperor Charles V said, “Good Master Doctor Faustus, let me entreat you to remove his horns. He has sufficiently done penance now.”

Faustus replied, “My gracious Lord, not so much for injury done to me as to delight your majesty with some mirth has Faustus justly requited this injurious knight, which being all I desire, I am content to remove his horns.”

He ordered, “Mephistophilis, transform him and remove his horns.

Mephistophilis did, and the devils exited.

Faustus said to Benvolio, “And hereafter, sir, make sure that you speak well of scholars.”

“Speak well of you?” Benvolio said. “By God’s blood, if scholars be such cuckold-makers as to clap horns on honest men’s heads in this fashion, I’ll never trust the smooth faces and small ruffs of scholars any more. But if I am not revenged for this, I wish that I might be turned into a gaping oyster and drink nothing but salt water.”

Scholars of the time wore a small ruff — a type of collar.

Emperor Charles V said, “Come, Faustus, while the Emperor lives, in recompense of this your high desert, you shall command the state of Germany, and live beloved by me, mighty Carolus.”

— 4.2 —

[Scene 12]

Benvolio, Martino, Frederick, and some soldiers assembled.

Martino said, “No, sweet Benvolio, let us sway your thoughts away from this attempt at getting revenge against the conjuror.”

“Go away,” Benvolio replied. “You don’t respect me if you urge me to do that. Shall I let pass so great an injury, when every servile low fellow jests at my wrongs, and in their rustic goings-on proudly say that Benvolio’s head was graced with horns today?

“Oh, may these eyelids never close again until with my sword I have slain that conjuror. If you will aid me in this enterprise, then draw your weapons and be resolute. If not, depart. Here Benvolio will die unless Faustus’ death repays my infamy.”

Frederick said, “We will stay with you, let happen what may, and kill that Doctor Faustus if he comes this way.”

Benvolio said, “Then, nobly born Frederick, hasten to the grove, and place our servants and our followers secretly hidden in an ambush there behind the trees.

“I know the conjuror is near by this time. I saw him kneel, and kiss the Emperor’s hand, and take his leave, laden with rich rewards.

“So then, soldiers, boldly fight. If Faustus dies, you can have the wealth; leave us the victory.”

“Come on, soldiers,” Frederick said. “Follow me into the grove. Whoever kills Faustus shall have gold and endless love.”

Frederick exited with the soldiers.

Benvolio said, “My head is lighter than it was by the horns, but yet my heart’s more ponderous than my head, and it pants until I see that conjuror dead.”

Martino asked, “Where shall we place ourselves, Benvolio?”

“Here we will stay to wait for the first assault,” Benvolio said. “Oh, if that damned Hell-hound were here now, you soon would see me get revenge for my foul disgrace.”

Frederick, who had hidden the soldiers, came back and said, “Hide! Hide! The conjuror is close at hand, and all alone comes walking in his gown. Be ready, then, and strike the peasant down.”

“Mine will be that honor then,” Benvolio said. “Now, sword, strike home. For the horns he gave me, I’ll have his head soon.”

Faustus arrived and walked close to the hidden Benvolio and his friends.

Martino said, “Look, look, he comes.”

“No words,” Benvolio said. “This blow ends all. May Hell take his soul; his body thus must fall.”

He struck Faustus, who fell and groaned.

“Are you groaning, Master Doctor?” Frederick asked.

“May his heart break with groans,” Benvolio said. “Dear Frederick, watch. Thus will I end his griefs immediately.”

“Strike with a willing hand,” Martino said.

Benvolio struck Faustus.

Martino said about Faustus, “His head is off.”

“The devil’s dead,” Benvolio said. “The Furies now may laugh.”

Because the Furies were avenging goddesses from Hell, Benvolio thought that they would applaud his getting revenge on Faustus.

Looking at Faustus’ severed head, Frederick said, “Was this that stern aspect, that awful frown that made the grim monarch of infernal spirits tremble and quake at his commanding charms?”

Martino said, “Was this that damned head, whose heart conspired to make Benvolio feel shame before the Emperor?”

“Yes, that’s the head and here the body lies, justly rewarded for his villainies,” Benvolio said.

“Come, let’s devise how we may add more shame to the black scandal of his hated name,” Frederick said.

Benvolio said, “First, on his head, in repayment for the wrongs he did me, I’ll nail huge forked horns and let them hang within the window where he yoked me first, so that all the world may see my just revenge.”

He had been yoked with horns that were so big that his head could not get back through the window.

Martino asked, “What use shall we put his beard to?”

“We’ll sell it to a chimney-sweeper,” Benvolio said. “It will wear out ten birch brooms, I promise you.”

“What shall his eyes do?” Frederick asked.

“We’ll put out his eyes,” Benvolio said, “and they shall serve for buttons to his lips to keep his tongue from catching cold.”

“An excellent plan,” Martino said. “And now, sirs, having divided him, what shall the body do?”

Faustus stood up.

Benvolio said, “By God’s wounds, the devil’s alive again!”

“Give him his head, for God’s sake,” Frederick said.

“No, keep it,” Faustus said. “Faustus will have heads and hands, yes, and all your hearts to recompense this deed. Didn’t you know, traitors, that I was given a span of twenty-four years to breathe on Earth? And if you had cut my body with your swords, or hewed this flesh and bones into pieces as small as grains of sand, yet in a minute my spirit would return and I would breathe as a man made free from harm.

“But why do I delay my revenge?”

He shouted the names of demons: “Asteroth! Belimoth! Mephistophilis!”

Mephistophilis and the other devils arrived.

Faustus ordered, “Go put these traitors on your fiery backs, and mount aloft with them as high as Heaven. From thence pitch them headlong to the lowest Hell.

“Yet wait, for the world shall see their misery, and Hell shall afterward plague their treachery.

“Go, Belimoth, and take this caitiff Martino hence, and hurl him in some lake of mud and dirt.

“Asteroth, take this one — Frederick — and drag him through the woods among the pricking thorns and sharpest briars.

“Meanwhile, this traitor — Benvolio — will fly with my gentle Mephistophilis to some steep rock, from which Benvolio may roll down and the villain break his bones, just as he intended to dismember me.

“Fly hence, obey my orders immediately.”

Frederick pleaded, “Pity us, gentle Faustus; save our lives.”

Faustus said, “Away with you!”

Frederick said, “He must needs go whom the devil drives.”

The spirits exited, carrying the knights on their backs.

The soldiers who had been lying in ambush arrived.

The first soldier said, “Come, sirs, prepare yourselves in readiness. Make haste to help these noble gentlemen. I heard them talking with the conjuror.”

The second soldier said, “See where the conjuror comes! Let’s follow our orders at once, and kill the wretch.”

“What’s here?” Faustus said. “An ambush to betray my life! So then, Faustus, test your skill.

“Base peasants, come to a halt, for look, these trees move at my command, and stand as bulwarks between yourselves and me to shield me from your hated treachery. Yet to encounter this your weak attempt against my life, behold an army that comes instantly.”

Faustus struck the ground with a staff, and the ground opened and several devils came out. One devil was playing on a drum. Behind him came another devil bearing a battle flag, and several devils with weapons. Mephistophilis also showed up, carrying fireworks. The devils set upon the soldiers and drove them out.

— 4.3 —

[Scene 13]

Benvolio, Frederick, and Martino, their heads and faces bloody and besmeared with mud and dirt, and all having horns on their heads, were searching for each other.

Martino called, “What ho, Benvolio!”

Benvolio called, “Here I am! What ho, Frederick!”

Frederick called, “Oh, help me, gentle friend; where is Martino?”

Martino called, “Dear Frederick, here I am, half smothered in a lake of mud and dirt, through which the Furies dragged me by the heels.”

They met and Frederick looked at Benvolio.

Frederick said, “Martino, look! Benvolio has horns again!”

“Oh, misery!” Martino said. “How are you now, Benvolio?”

Benvolio saw the horns on his friends’ heads and said, “Defend me, Heaven. Shall I be haunted still?”

Martino said, “No, don’t be afraid, man; we have no power to kill.”

He meant that they weren’t devils and would not harm him.

Benvolio looked at Frederick’s horns and Martino’s horns and said, “My friends transformed thus! Oh, hellish spite! Your heads are all set with horns.”

Frederick said, “You hit it right, but it is your own head you mean. Feel on your head.”

Benvolio felt the horns on his head and said, “By God’s wounds, horns again!”

Frederick and Martino looked at each other and saw horns, and then each man felt his own head.

Martino said to Benvolio, “Don’t chafe, man; we are all in the same boat.”

Benvolio said, “What devil attends this damned magician, who, in spite of all that we can do, doubles the wrongs he does us?”

“What may we do so that we may hide our shames?” Frederick asked.

“If we should follow him to work revenge, he’d join asses’ long ears to these huge horns,” Benvolio said, “and make us laughingstocks to all the world.”

“What shall we do then, dear Benvolio?” Martino asked.

“I have a castle nearby, adjoining these woods,” Benvolio said. “Thither we’ll go and live obscure lives until time shall alter our brutish shapes. Since black disgrace has thus eclipsed our fame and reputations, we will rather die with grief than live with shame.”

— 4.4 —

[Scene 14]

Faustus and a Horse Dealer were bargaining about a horse that Faustus had for sale. Mephistophilis, invisible, was present.

The Horse Dealer said, “I beseech your worship to accept these forty dollars as payment for your horse.”

“Friend, you cannot buy so good a horse for so small a price,” Faustus said. “I have no great need to sell him, but if you like him enough to pay ten dollars more for him, take him, because I see you have a good mind to have him.”

“I beseech you, sir, accept this,” the Horse Dealer said. “I am a very poor man, and I have lost very much recently by trading in horse flesh, and this bargain will set me up again.”

“Well, I will not haggle with you,” Faustus said. “Give me the money.”

The Horse Dealer gave him forty dollars.

Faustus continued, “Now, sirrah, I must tell you that you may ride him over hedge and ditch without sparing him, but listen carefully — no matter what, don’t ride him into the water.”

“What, sir, not into the water?” the Horse Dealer asked. “Why, will he not drink of all waters?”

“Drink of all waters” means “go anywhere.”

Faustus replied, “Yes, he will drink of all waters, but don’t ride him into the water. Ride him over hedge and ditch, or wherever you will, but not into the water. Go tell the Hostler to deliver him to you and remember what I told you.”

“I promise you I will, sir,” the Horse Dealer said.

He then said quietly to himself, “Oh, joyful day, now am I a made man forever.”

The Horse Dealer exited.

Faustus said to himself, “What are you, Faustus, but a man condemned to die? Your fatal time — your day of death and damnation — draws to a final end. Despair drives distrust into my thoughts. I will allay these passions with a quiet sleep. Tush, Christ called the thief upon the cross. So then rest yourself, Faustus, quiet in mind.”

Faustus was comforting himself with a Biblical story of a man who was saved from damnation at the end of his life: Jesus was crucified between two thieves, one of whom asked to be remembered when Jesus came into his kingdom.

Luke 23:39-43 states (1599 Geneva Bible):

39 And one of the evildoers, which were hanged, railed on him, saying, If thou be that Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answered, and rebuked him, saying, Fearest thou not God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 We are indeed righteously here: for we receive things worthy of that we have done: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43 Then Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

Faustus sat in a chair to go to sleep.

The Horse Dealer, wet, came back and said, “Oh, what a cheating Doctor is this! Riding my horse into the water because I thought some hidden mystery had been in the horse, I found that I had nothing under me but a little straw, and I had much trouble to escape drowning. Well, I’ll go rouse him, and make him give me my forty dollars again.

“Ho, sirrah Doctor, you cheating scab! Master Doctor, awaken and rise and give me my money again, for your horse is turned into a bundle of hay, Master Doctor.”

The Horse Dealer grabbed Faustus’ leg and pulled on it to wake Faustus up. He pulled off the leg.

“Alas, I am ruined,” the Horse Dealer said. “What shall I do? I have pulled off his leg!”

Faustus shouted, “Oh, help! Help! The villain has murdered me!”

“Murder or no murder, now he has only one leg,” the Horse Dealer said. “I’ll out-run him, and throw his leg into some ditch or other.”

He ran away.

Faustus shouted, “Stop him! Stop him! Stop him!”

Then he laughed and said, “Faustus has his leg again, and the Horse Dealer has a bundle of hay for his forty dollars.”

Wagner, Faustus’ servant, entered Faustus’ study.

“Hello, Wagner,” Faustus said. “What is the news with you?”

“If it pleases you, the Duke of Vanholt does earnestly entreat your company, and has sent some of his men to attend you with all the provisions needed for your journey.”

Faustus said, “The Duke of Vanholt’s an honorable gentleman, and one to whom I must not be sparing with my magical conjuring.

“Let’s go.”

— 4.5 —

[Scene 15]

Robin, Dick, the Horse Dealer, and a Carter — a man who transported goods by cart, talked together.

“Come, my masters, I’ll bring you to the best beer in Europe,” the Carter said.

He called, “What ho, Hostess! Where be these whores?”

The Hostess of the tavern appeared and asked, “How are you now? What do you lack? What can I bring you? My old guests, welcome.”

Robin said quietly to Dick, “Sirrah Dick, do you know why I stand so mute?”

“No, Robin, why do you?”

“I am eighteen pence in debt here at the tavern, but say nothing,” Robin said. “Let’s see if she has forgotten me.”

“Who’s this, who stands so solemnly by himself?” the Hostess asked, looking at Robin. Recognizing him, she said, “My old guest!”

“Oh, Hostess, how do you do?” Robin said. “I hope my tab stands still.”

He meant that he hoped his credit was still good, but the Hostess took his words as meaning that he still owed her.

“Yes, there’s no doubt of that,” the Hostess said, “for I think you are in no haste to pay off your tab and wipe it out.”

Dick said, “Why, Hostess, I say, fetch us some beer.”

The Hostess said, “You shall have it immediately.”

She called to an employee, “Look up into the hall there, ho!”

Then she exited.

“Come, sirs,” Dick said. “What shall we do now until my Hostess comes back?”

“Indeed, sir,” the Carter said, “I’ll tell you the most splendid tale about how a conjuror served me. You know of Doctor Faustus?”

“Yes, may a plague take him,” the Horse Dealer said. “Here’s some of us have reason to know him. Did he conjure you, too?”

“I’ll tell you how he served me,” the Carter said. “As I was going to Wittenberg the other day, with a load of hay, he met me and asked me what he should give me for as much hay as he could eat. Now, sir, I, thinking that a little would serve his turn, bade him eat as much as he would for three farthings. So he immediately gave me my money and fell to eating, and as I am a Cursen man, he never stopped eating until he had eaten up all my load of hay.”

“Cursen” was a dialectical form of “Christian,” but the word “cursed” is relevant here.

“Oh, monstrous!” the others said. “Eat a whole load of hay!”

“Yes, yes, that may be the truth,” Robin said, “for I have heard of someone who has eaten a load of logs.”

A log is a Hebrew measure that is mentioned in the Tyndale Bible: It is about three-quarters of a pint. Wine and ale were often served in wooden vessels.

The Horse Dealer said, “Now, sirs, you shall hear how villainously he served me. I went to him yesterday to buy a horse from him, and he would by no means sell him for under forty dollars. So, sir, because I knew the horse for sale to be such a horse as would run over hedge and ditch and never tire, I gave him his money. So when I had my horse, Doctor Faustus bade me ride him night and day, and spare him at no time. But, said he, no matter what, don’t ride him into the water. Now, sir, thinking the horse had some quality that Doctor Faustus would not have me know of, what did I do but ride him into a great river, and when I came just in the midst of the river my horse vanished away, and I sat straddling a bundle of hay.”

“Oh, brave Doctor!” the others said.

“But you shall hear how bravely I served him for it,” the Horse Dealer said. “I went to his house, and there I found him asleep. I kept a hallowing and whooping in his ears, but all I could do could not wake him. I, seeing that, took him by the leg and never stopped pulling until I had pulled his leg quite off, and now it is at home in my inn.”

“And has the Doctor only one leg then?” Robin said. “That’s excellent, for one of his devils turned me into the likeness of an ape’s face.”

“Bring some more drink, Hostess,” the Carter called.

“Listen,” Robin said. “We’ll go into another room and drink a while, and then we’ll go and seek out the Doctor.”

— 4.6 —

[Scene 16]

The Duke of Vanholt, his pregnant Duchess, Faustus, and the invisible Mephistophilis stood together.

The Duke of Vanholt said, “Thanks, Master Doctor, for these pleasant sights. I don’t know how I can sufficiently recompense your great deserts in erecting that enchanted castle in the air, the sight of which so delighted me, as nothing in the world could please me more.”

Faustus replied, “I think myself, my good lord, highly recompensed, in that it pleases your grace to think only well of that which Faustus has performed.”

He then said to the pregnant Duchess of Vanholt, “But, gracious lady, it may be that you have taken no pleasure in those sights. Therefore, I ask you to tell me what is the thing you most desire to have? If it is in the world, it shall be yours. I have heard that great-bellied women long for things that are rare and dainty.”

“True, Master Doctor,” the Duchess of Vanholt said, “and since I find you so kind, I will make known to you what my heart desires to have. If it were now summer instead of January, a dead time of the winter, I would request no better food than a dish of ripe grapes.”

“This is only a small matter,” Faustus said.

He ordered, “Go, Mephistophilis. Away.”

The invisible Mephistophilis exited.

Faustus then said, “Madam, I will do more than this for your contentment and happiness.”

The invisible Mephistophilis returned with the grapes.

Faustus gave the grapes to the Duchess and said, “Here, now taste these. They should be good for they come from a far country, I can tell you.”

The Duke of Vanholt said, “This makes me wonder more than all the rest of the wonders you have performed. At this time of the year, when every tree is barren of its fruit, from whence have you gotten these ripe grapes?”

“If it pleases your grace,” Faustus replied, “the year is divided into two circles over the whole world, so that when it is winter with us, in the contrary circle it is likewise summer with them, as in India, Saba, and such countries that lie far east, where they have fruit twice a year, from whence, by means of a swift spirit that I have, I had these grapes brought, as you see.”

India and Saba (now called Yemen) are in the northern hemisphere, but as usual Mephistophilis did not correct Faustus.

“And trust me,” the Duchess of Vanholt said, “they are the sweetest grapes that I ever tasted.”

Robin, Dick, the Horse Dealer, and the Carter — all of them drunk — knocked loudly at the gate.

“What rude disturbers have we at the gate?” the Duke of Vanholt asked.

He ordered a servant, “Go, pacify their fury. Open the gate, and then ask them what they want.”

Robin, Dick, the Horse Dealer, and the Carter knocked again and called out that they wanted to talk with Faustus.

A servant opened the gate and said, “Why, how are you now, masters? What a disturbance you are making! What is the reason you disturb the Duke?”

Dick said, “We have no reason for it; therefore, a fig for him.”

He made a fig in his hand: his thumb thrust between two fingers. This is an obscene gesture.

The servant said, “Saucy varlets, do you dare to be so bold?”

“I hope, sir,” the Horse Dealer said, “that we have wit enough to be more bold than welcome.”

They were not welcome, and so they were definitely more bold than they were welcome.

“It appears so,” the servant said. “Please be bold elsewhere, and don’t trouble the Duke.”

“What do they want?” the Duke of Vanholt asked.

“They all cry out to speak with Doctor Faustus,” the servant replied.

“Yes,” the Carter said, “and we will speak with him.”

“Will you, sir?” the Duke of Vanholt said.

He then ordered, “Commit the rascals.”

He meant to commit the rascals to prison, but Dick made a reply, using the word “commit” with another meaning: “commit sex.”

“Commit with us!” Dick said. “He would be as well off to commit with his father as commit with us.”

Faustus said to the Duke, “I beseech your grace to let them come in. They are good subjects for merriment.”

“Do as you will, Faustus,” the Duke of Vanholt said. “I give you permission.”

“I thank your grace,” Faustus replied.

Robin, Dick, the Carter, and the Horse Dealer walked through the gate.

Faustus greeted them: “Why, how are you now, my good friends? Indeed, you are too outrageous, but come near. I have procured your pardons. The Duke will not punish you.”

He charmed them and made them think that they were still in the Hostess’ tavern, and he made them not recognize the Duke and Duchess although they still recognized him, and then he said, “Welcome to you all.”

Robin said, “No, sir, we will be welcome for our money, and we will pay for what we take. What ho! Give us half a dozen beers here, and be hanged.”

“Listen,” Faustus said, “can you tell me where you are?”

“Yes, indeed I can,” the Carter said. “We are under Heaven.”

The underside of the cover over the stage in Marlowe’s day was called Heaven; the underside was painted like the sky.

The servant asked, “Yes, but, Sir Sauce-box, do you know in what place?”

They were behaving wildly inappropriately in the Duke and Duchess’ home.

“Yes, yes,” the Horse Dealer said. “The house is good enough to drink in. By God’s wounds, fill our glasses with some beer, or we’ll break all the barrels in the house, and dash out all your brains with your bottles.”

He was treating Faustus like he would treat a bartender.

“Don’t be so furious,” Faustus said. “Come, you shall have beer.”

He then said to the Duke, “My lord, I ask you to give me permission to continue with this joke for awhile. I’ll stake my reputation that this will entertain your grace.”

“With all my heart, kind Doctor, please yourself,” the Duke of Vanholt said. “Our servants are and our court is at your command.”

“I humbly thank your grace,” Faustus said.

He ordered the servant, “Fetch some beer.”

“Yes, indeed,” the Horse Dealer said. “There spoke a Doctor indeed, and indeed I’ll drink a health to your wooden leg for that word.”

The Horse Dealer had pulled off Faustus’ leg, and so he thought that it must have been replaced with a wooden leg.

“My wooden leg?” Faustus asked. “What do you mean by that?”

The Carter laughed and said, “Do you hear him, Dick? He has forgotten his leg.”

“Yes, yes,” the Horse Dealer said. “He does not stand much upon that.”

“No, indeed,” Faustus said. “I do not stand much upon a wooden leg.”

“Good Lord, that flesh and blood should be so frail with your worship,” the Carter said.

He meant this: Good Lord, that you could forget such a thing as that your leg was pulled off, and Good Lord, that your leg could be pulled off.

The Carter continued, “Don’t you remember a Horse Dealer you sold a horse to?”

“Yes, I remember I sold one a horse,” Faustus said.

“And do you remember that you told him he should not ride into the water?” the Carter asked.

“Yes, I do very well remember that,” Faustus replied.

“And do you remember nothing of your leg?” the Carter asked.

“No, indeed,” Faustus said.

“Then I ask you to please remember your courtesy and your curtsey,” the Carter said.

“I thank you, sir,” Faustus replied.

“It is not worth so much,” the Carter said.

The male curtsey was a bow with a bent knee — something it would be difficult for a man with a wooden leg to perform.

The Carter then requested, “Please, tell me one thing.”

“What’s that?” Faustus replied.

“Are both your legs bedfellows together every night?” the Carter asked.

Since he believed that one of Faustus’ legs was wooden, he did not believe that it would be in bed with the flesh-and-blood leg.

Faustus replied, “Would you make a Colossus of me, you who ask me such questions?”

The Colossal of Rhodes was a huge statue. Some people believed that it straddled the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes, a Greek island. To do that, its feet would have to be very far apart.

“No, truly, sir, I would make nothing of you, but I would like to know that,” the Carter said.

As they talked, the Hostess entered, carrying beer. She was also charmed.

Faustus said, “Then I assure you my legs certainly are bedfellows.”

“I thank you,” the Carter said. “I am fully satisfied.”

He clearly did not believe Faustus, who asked, “But for what reason did you ask me that?”

“For no reason, sir,” the Carter said, “but I think you should have a wooden bedfellow of one of them.”

“Why, do you hear, sir?” the Horse Dealer said to Faustus. “Didn’t I pull off one of your legs when you were asleep?”

“But I have it again now I am awake,” Faustus said.

He pulled up both pants legs and said, “Look here, sir.”

The Carter, Horse Dealer, Robin, and Dick all cried, “Oh, horrible! Did the Doctor have three legs?”

The Carter complained, “Do you remember, sir, how you cheated me and ate up my load of —”

Faustus charmed him so that he could speak no more.

Dick complained, “Do you remember how you made me wear an ape’s —”

Faustus charmed him so that he could speak no more.

The Horse Dealer complained, “You whoreson conjuring scab, do you remember how you cheated me with a ho—”

Faustus charmed him so that he could speak no more.

Robin complained, “Have you forgotten me? Do you think to carry it away with your ‘hey-presto’ and ‘abracadabra’? Do you remember the dog’s fa—”

Faustus charmed him so that he could speak no more.

The Carter, the Horse Dealer, Robin, and Dick exited.

The Hostess said, “Who pays for the ale? Listen, Master Doctor, now you have sent away my guests, I ask who shall pay me for my a—”

Faustus charmed her so that she could speak no more.

The Hostess exited.

The Duchess said to her husband, “My Lord, we are much beholden to this learned man.”

“So we are, madam,” the Duke of Vanholt said. “We will recompense him with all the love and kindness that we may. His artful entertainment drives all sad thoughts away.”

When he had made his bargain with Lucifer, Faustus had wanted to be the Emperor of the World. Now he was merely a court entertainer.

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