Fiction > Harvard Classics > Christopher Marlowe > Doctor Faustus
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Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593).  Doctor Faustus.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Scene I
 
 
FAUSTUS [discovered] in his Study
 
  Faust.  Settle my studies, Faustus, and begin
To sound the depth of that thou wilt profess; 1
Having commenc’d, be a divine in show,
Yet level 2 and at the end of every art,        5
And live and die in Aristotle’s works.
Sweet Analytics, 3 ’tis thou hast ravish’d me,
Bene disserere est finis logices. 4
Is to dispute well logic’s chiefest end?
Affords this art no greater miracle?        10
Then read no more, thou hast attain’d the end;
A greater subject fitteth Faustus’ wit.
Bid [Greek] 5 farewell; Galen come,
Seeing Ubi desinit Philosophus ibi incipit Medicus; 6
Be a physician, Faustus, heap up gold,        15
And be eternis’d for some wondrous cure.
Summum bonum medicinæ sanitas, 7
“The end of physic is our body’s health”
Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain’d that end!
Is not thy common talk sound Aphorisms? 8        20
Are not thy bills 9 hung up as monuments,
Whereby whole cities have escap’d the plague,
And thousand desperate maladies been eas’d?
Yet art thou still but Faustus and a man.
Couldst thou make men to live eternally,        25
Or, being dead, raise them to life again,
Then this profession were to be esteem’d.
Physic, farewell.—Where is Justinian?  [Reads.]
Si una eademque res legatur duobus, alter rem, alter valorem rei, &c. 10
A pretty case of paltry legacies!  [Reads.]        30
Ex hæreditare filium non potest pater nisi, &c. 11
Such is the subject of the Institute 12
And universal Body of the Law. 13
His 14 study fits a mercenary drudge,
Who aims at nothing but external trash;        35
Too servile and illiberal for me.
When all is done, divinity is best;
Jerome’s Bible, 15 Faustus, view it well.  [Reads.]
Stipendium peccati mors est. Ha! Stipendium, &c.
“The reward of sin is death.” That’s hard.  [Reads.]        40
Si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas.
“If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us.” Why then, belike we must sin and so consequently die.
Ay, we must die an everlasting death.
What doctrine call you this, Che sera sera,
“What will be shall be?” Divinity, adieu        45
These metaphysics of magicians
And necromantic books are heavenly;
Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters,
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.
O what a world of profit and delight,        50
Of power, of honour, of omnipotence
Is promised to the studious artisan!
All things that move between the quiet poles
Shall be at my command. Emperor and kings
Are but obeyed in their several provinces,        55
Nor can they raise the wind or rend the clouds;
But his dominion that exceeds 16 in this
Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man.
A sound magician is a mighty god:
Here, Faustus, try thy 17 brains to gain a deity.        60
Wagner!
 
Enter WAGNER
        Commend me to my dearest friends,
The German Valdes and Cornelius;
Request them earnestly to visit me.        65
  Wag.  I will, sir.  Exit.
  Faust.  Their conference will be a greater help to me
Than all my labours, plod I ne’er so fast.
 
Enter GOOD ANGEL and EVIL ANGEL
  G. Ang.  O Faustus! lay that damned book aside,        70
And gaze not upon it lest it tempt thy soul,
And heap God’s heavy wrath upon thy head.
Read, read the Scriptures: that is blasphemy.
  E. Ang.  Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art,
Wherein all Nature’s treasure is contain’d:        75
Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky,
Lord and commander of these elements.  [Exeunt Angels.]
  Faust.  How am I glutted with conceit 18 of this!
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,
Resolve me of all ambiguities,        80
Perform what desperate enterprise I will?
I’ll have them fly to India for gold,
Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
And search all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;        85
I’ll have them read me strange philosophy
And tell the secrets of all foreign kings;
I’ll have them wall all Germany with brass,
And make swift Rhine circle fair Wittenberg;
I’ll have them fill the public schools with silk, 19        90
Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad;
I’ll levy soldiers with the coin they bring,
And chase the Prince of Parma from our land, 20
And reign sole king of all the provinces;
Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war        95
Than was the fiery keel 21 at Antwerp’s bridge,
I’ll make my servile spirits to invent.
 
Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS 22
Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,
And make me blest with your sage conference.        100
Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,
Know that your words have won me at the last
To practise magic and concealed arts:
Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy
That will receive no object, for my head        105
But ruminates on necromantic skill.
Philosophy is odius and obscure,
Both law and physic are for petty wits;
Divinity is basest of the three,
Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile:        110
’Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me.
Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;
And I that have with concise syllogisms
Gravell’d the pastors of the German church,
And made the flowering pride of Wittenberg        115
Swarm to my problems, as the infernal spirits
On sweet Mus&aeig;us, 23 when he came to hell,
Will be as cunning as Agrippa was,
Whose shadows made all Europe honour him.
  Vald.  Faustus, these books, thy wit, and our experience        120
Shall make all nations to canònise us.
As Indian Moors 24 obey their Spanish lords,
So shall the subjects 25 of every element
Be always serviceable to us three;
Like lions shall they guard us when we please;        125
Like Almain rutters 26 with their horsemen’s staves
Or Lapland giants, trotting by our sides;
Sometimes like women or unwedded maids,
Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows
Than have the white breasts of the queen of love:        130
From Venice shall they drag huge argosies,
And from America the golden fleece
That yearly stuffs old Philip’s treasury;
If learned Faustus will be resolute.
  Faust.  Valdes, as resolute am I in this        135
As thou to live; therefore object is not.
  Corn.  The miracles that magic will perform
Will make thee vow to study nothing else.
He that is grounded in astrology,
Enrich’d with tongues, as well seen 27 in minerals,        140
Hath all the principles magic doth require.
Then doubt not, Faustus, but to be renown’d,
And more frequented for this mystery
Than heretofore the Delphian Oracle.
The spirits tell me they can dry the sea,        145
And fetch the treasure of all foreign wrecks,
Ay, all the wealth that our forefathers hid
Within the massy entrails of the earth;
Then tell me, Faustus, what shall we three want?
  Faust.  Nothing, Cornelius! O this cheers my soul!        150
Come show me some demonstrations magical,
That I may conjure in some lusty grove,
And have these joys in full possession.
  Vald.  Then haste thee to some solitary grove,
And bear wise Bacon’s 28 and Albanus’ 29 works,        155
The Hebrew Psalter and New Testament;
And whatsoever else is requisite
We will inform thee ere our conference cease.
  Corn.  Valdes, first let him know the words of art;
And then, all other ceremonies learn’d,        160
Faustus may try his cunning by himself.
  Vald.  First I’ll instruct thee in the rudiments,
And then wilt thou be perfecter than I.
  Faust.  Then come and dine with me, and after meat,
We’ll canvass every quiddity thereof;        165
For ere I sleep I’ll try what I can do:
This night I’ll conjure though I die therefore.  [Exeunt.
 
Note 1. Teach publicly. [back]
Note 2. Aim. [back]
Note 3. Logic. [back]
Note 4. “To argue well is the end of logic.” [back]
Note 5. This is Mr. Bullen’s emendation of Q1., Oncaymæon, a corruption of the Aristotelian phrase for “being and not being.” [back]
Note 6. “Where the philosopher leaves off, there the physician begins.” [back]
Note 7. This and the previous quotation are from Aristotle. [back]
Note 8. Medical maxims. [back]
Note 9. Announcements. [back]
Note 10. “If one and the same thing is bequeathed to two person, one gets the thing and the other the value of the thing.” [back]
Note 11. “A father cannot disinherit the son except,” etc. [back]
Note 12. Of Justinian, under whom the Roman law was codified. [back]
Note 13. Q1., Church. [back]
Note 14. Its. [back]
Note 15. The Vulgate. [back]
Note 16. Excels. [back]
Note 17. Q3., tire my. [back]
Note 18. Idea. [back]
Note 19. Qq., skill. [back]
Note 20. The Netherlands, over which Parma re-established the Spanish dominions. [back]
Note 21. A ship filled with explosives used to blow up a bridge built by Parma in 1585 at the siege of Antwerp. [back]
Note 22. The famous Cornelius Agrippa. German Valdes is not known. [back]
Note 23. Cf. Virgil, Æn. vi. 667; Dryden’s trans. vi. 905 ff. [back]
Note 24. American Indians. [back]
Note 25. Q3., spirits. [back]
Note 26. Troopers, Germ. Reiters. [back]
Note 27. Versed. [back]
Note 28. Roger Bacon. [back]
Note 29. Perhaps Pietro d’Abano, a medieval alchemist; perhaps a misprint for Albertus (Magnus), the great schoolman. [back]
 

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