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Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593). Doctor Faustus.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene XIII

[A room in Faustus’ House.]


Wag.I think my master shortly means to die,

For he hath given to me all his goods;

And yet, methinks, if that death were so near,

He would not banquet and carouse and swill

Amongst the students, as even now he doth,

Who are at supper with such belly-cheer

As Wagner ne’er beheld in all his life.

See where they come! Belike the feast is ended.

Enter FAUSTUS, with two or three SCHOLARS [and MEPHISTOPHILIS]

1st Schol.Master Doctor Faustus, since our conference about fair ladies, which was the beautifullest in all the world, we have determined with ourselves that Helen of Greece was the admirablest lady that ever lived: therefore, Master Doctor, if you will do us that favour, as to let us see that peerless dame of Greece, whom all the world admires for majesty, we should think ourselves much beholding unto you.


For that I know your friendship is unfeigned,

And Faustus’ custom is not to deny

The just requests of those that wish him well,

You shall behold that peerless dame of Greece,

No otherways for pomp and majesty

Than when Sir Paris cross’d the seas with her,

And brought the spoils to rich Dardania.

Be silent, then, for danger is in words.Music sounds, and HELEN passeth over the stage.

2nd Schol.Too simple is my wit to tell her praise,

Whom all the world admires for majesty.

3rd Schol.No marvel though the angry Greeks pursued

With ten years’ war the rape of such a queen,

Whose heavenly beauty passeth all compare.

1st Schol.Since we have seen the pride of Nature’s works,

And only paragon of excellence,

Let us depart; and for this glorious deed

Happy and blest be Faustus evermore.

Faustus. Gentlemen, farewell—the same I wish to you.Exeunt SCHOLARS [and WAGNER].

Enter an OLD MAN

Old Man.Ah, Doctor Faustus, that I might prevail

To guide thy steps unto the way of life,

By which sweet path thou may’st attain the goal

That shall conduct thee to celestial rest!

Break heart, drop blood, and mingle it with tears,

Tears falling from repentant heaviness

Of thy most vile and loathsome filthiness,

The stench whereof corrupts the inward soul

With such flagitious crimes of heinous sins

As no commiseration may expel,

But mercy, Faustus, of thy Saviour sweet,

Whose blood alone must wash away thy guilt.

Faust.Where art thou, Faustus? Wretch, what hast thou done?

Damn’d art thou, Faustus, damn’d; despair and die!

Hell calls for right, and with a roaring voice

Says “Faustus! come! thine hour is [almost] come!”

And Faustus [now] will come to do the right.MEPHISTOPHILIS gives him a dagger.

Old Man.Ah stay, good Faustus, stay thy desperate steps!

I see an angel hovers o’er thy head,

And, with a vial full of precious grace,

Offers to pour the same into thy soul:

Then call for mercy, and avoid despair.

Faust.Ah, my sweet friend, I feel

Thy words do comfort my distressed soul.

Leave me a while to ponder on my sins.

Old Man.I go, sweet Faustus, but with heavy cheer,

Fearing the ruin of thy hopeless soul.[Exit.]

Faust.Accursed Faustus, where is mercy now?

I do repent; and yet I do despair;

Hell strives with grace for conquest in my breast:

What shall I do to shun the snares of death?

Meph.Thou traitor, Faustus, I arrest thy soul

For disobedience to my sovereign lord;

Revolt, or I’ll in piecemeal tear thy flesh.

Faust.Sweet Mephistophilis, entreat thy lord

To pardon my unjust presumption.

And with my blood again I will confirm

My former vow I made to Lucifer.

Meph.Do it then quickly, with unfeigned heart,

Lest greater danger do attend thy drift.[FAUSTUS stabs his arm and writes on a paper with his blood.]

Faust.Torment, sweet friend, that base and crooked age,

That durst dissuade me from my Lucifer,

With greatest torments that our hell affords.

Meph.His faith is great, I cannot touch his soul;

But what I may afflict his body with

I will attempt, which is but little worth.

Faust.One thing, good servant, let me crave of thee,

To glut the longing of my heart’s desire,—

That I might have unto my paramour

That heavenly Helen, Which I saw of late,

Whose sweet embracings may extinguish clean

These thoughts that do dissuade me from my vow,

And keep mine oath I made to Lucifer.

Meph.Faustus, this or what else thou shalt desire

Shall be perform’d in twinkling of an eye.

Re-enter HELEN

Faust.Was this the face that launched a thousand ships

And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.[Kisses her.]

Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!—

Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.

Here will I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips,

And all is dross that is not Helena.Enter OLD MAN.

I will be Paris, and for love of thee,

Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack’d;

And I will combat with weak Menelaus,

And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;

Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,

And then return to Helen for a kiss.

Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air

Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;

Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter

When he appear’d to hapless Semele:

More lovely than the monarch of the sky

In wanton Arethusa’s azured arms:

And none but thou shalt be my paramour.Exeunt.

Old Man.Accursed Faustus, miserable man,

That from thy soul exclud’st the grace of Heaven,

And fly’st the throne of his tribunal seat!


Satan begins to sift me with his pride:

As in this furnace God shall try my faith,

My faith, vile hell, shall triumph over thee.

Ambitious fiends! see how the heavens smiles

At your repulse, and laughs your state to scorn!

Hence, hell! for hence I fly unto my God.Exeunt[on one side DEVILS, on the other, OLD MAN].