About the Faust
|DOCTOR FAUSTUS HIS LAST|
the Marriage of Two Lovers
A student in Wittemberg, a gallant gentleman of the nobility named N. Reuckauer, was with heart and eyes far gone in love with an equally noble and exceedingly beautiful gentlewoman. Of the many suitors (among them even a young knight) whom she turned down, this Reuckauer was privileged to occupy the least place of all. But he was a good friend of Doctor Faustus, having often sat with him at meat and at drink, so that when the acute affects of his love for the gentlewoman caused him to pine away and fall ill, Faustus soon learned of it. He asked his spirit Mephostophiles about the cause of this serious condition and, being told that it was the love affair, soon paid a visit to the nobleman, who was greatly astonished to learn the true nature of his illness. Doctor Faustus bade him be of good cheer and not to despair so, for he intended to help him win the affections of this lady so completely that she should never love another. And so it did indeed come to pass, for Doctor Faustus so disturbed the heart of the maiden with his sorcery that she would look upon no other man, nor heed any other suitor, although many gallant, wealthy noblemen were courting her.
Soon after his conversation with Reuckauer, Faustus commanded the young man to clothe himself sumptuously and prepare to accompany him to the maiden's house, for she was now in her garden with many other guests who were about to begin a dance, and there Reuckauer was to dance with her . Doctor Faustus gave him a ring, telling him to wear it on his finger during the dance with this lady, for just as soon as he might touch her with his ring finger she would fall in love with him and with no other. Faustus forbade Reuckauer to ask her hand in marriage, explaining that she would have to entreat him.
Now he took some distilled water and washed Reuckauer with it, so that his face presently became exceeding handsome. Reuckauer followed Faustus' instructions carefully, danced with the lady and, while dancing, touched her with his ring finger. Instantly, her whole heart and love were his, for the good maiden was pierced through with Cupid's arrow.
That night in her bed
she found no rest, so often did her thoughts turn to
Reuckauer. Early the next morning she sent for him, laid her heart and
love before him, and begged him to wed her. He gave his consent, for he
her ardently. Their wedding was celebrated anon, and Doctor Faustus
a handsome honorarium.
in Doctor Faustus' Garden
on Christmas Day
In the midst of winter at the Christmas season, several gentlewomen came to Wittemberg to visit their brothers and cousins, all young gentlemen students there who were well-acquainted with Doctor Faustus. He had been invited to their table on more than one occasion, and, desirous now of repaying such social debts, he did invite these lords to bring their ladies to his domicile for an evening draught of wine. To come to his house, they had to trudge through a deep snow which lay over the town, but Doctor Faustus had used his peculiar sorcery to prepare a splendid marvel in his garden for them, and when they arrived there they beheld no snow at all, but a lovely summer day with all manner of flora. The grass was covered all over with many blossoms. Beautiful vines were growing there, all hung with divers sorts of grapes. There were roses, too, white, red and pink, as well as many other sweet smelling flowers, and it was all a great delight to behold.
My Lord of Hardeck
Doctor Faustus, being on a journey to Eisleben and about halfway there, did see seven horse riding in the distance. He recognized their leader, for it was that Lord of Hardeck upon whose forehead (as we have reported) he had charmed a set of hart's horns while at the Emperor's court. The lord, who knew Faustus quite as well as Faustus knew him, called his men to a halt. When Faustus noticed this action he immediately retired toward a little hill.
The knight ordered a lively charge to intercept him, and also commanded the firing of a musket volley, but although they spurred their mounts hard to overtake Faustus, he achieved the higher ground first, and by the time the horses had topped the rise he was vanished from their sight. Here the knight again called a halt. They were looking about, trying to catch sight of Faustus, when they heard in the copse below a loud noise of horns, trumpets and military drums, all tooting and beating. Some hundred horse came charging in upon them, and the knight with his men took to their heels.
They at first sought to slip around the side of the hill home, but here they encountered a second great armed band all poised for the charge and barring their way. They turned about to dash away--and beheld a third troop of horsemen. They tried still another route, but again found themselves faced with men ready for battle. The same thing happened five times, just as often as they turned in a fresh direction. When the knight saw that he could nowhere escape but was threatened with a charge from every direction, he rode alone right into the main host, ignoring the danger to himself, and asked what might be the cause for his being surrounded and menaced on all quarters.
None would speak to him or say a word until at last Doctor Faustus came riding up to the knight (who was now restrained on all sides) and proposed that he surrender himself as a prisoner or taste the edge of the sword. The knight was convinced that he had encountered a natural army prepared for battle, and when Faustus now demanded their muskets and swords, then took their horses as well, it did not occur to him that it might be naught but sorcery. Presently, Doctor Faustus brought the men fresh, enchanted horses and new muskets and swords, saying to the knight (who no longer even knew him to be Faustus):
My Lord, the commander of this army hath bid me let you go this time--but upon a condition and probation. Will ye confess that ye did pursue a man who hath sought and received, and is henceforth shielded by, our commander's protection?
The knight had to
accept this condition. When they came back to his castle
again, his men rode the horses out to drink, but once in the water the
disappeared. The good fellows almost drowned, and had to ride back home
When the knight beheld his men coming in all muddy and wet, and when he
the cause of it all, he knew right away that it was Doctor Faustus'
even of the same sort as had been used to shame and mock him before.
since he had this time given Faustus his pledge, he would not break it.
for Faustus, he hitched the horses together, sold them and got some
in his pockets again. Thus did he heap coals upon the wrath of his
from Greece, How She Lived for a Time
With Doctor Faustus
Doctor Faustus would fain omit or neglect naught pleasant and good unto the flesh. One midnight towards the end of the twenty-second year of his pact, while lying awake, he took thought again of Helen of Greece, whom he had awakened for the students on Whitsunday in Shrovetide (which we reported) . Therefore, when morning came, he informed his spirit that he must present Helen to him, so that she might be his concubine.
This was done, and Helen was of the following description (Doctor Faustus had a portrait made of her) : Her body was fine and erect, well-proportioned, tall, snow-white and crystalline. She had a complexion which seemed tinted with rose, a laughing demeanor, gold-yellow hair which reached almost to the calves of her legs, and brilliant laughing eyes with a sweet, loving gaze. Her nose was somewhat long, her teeth white as alabaster. In summa, there was not a single flaw about her body. Doctor Faustus beheld her and she captured his heart. He fell to frolicking with her, she became his bedfellow, and he came to love her so well that he could scarcely bear a moment apart from her.
While fond Faustus was
living with Helen, she swelled up as were she with
child. Doctor Faustus was rapturously happy, for, in the twenty-third
of his pact, she bare him a son whom he called Justus Faustus. This
told him many I things out of the future history of numerous lands.
When Faustus lost his life, there was none who knew whither wife and
While He Was Captive in Turkey,
and How Doctor Faustus Informed
And Aided Him
A fine gentleman of the nobility, Johann Werner of Reuttpueffel from Bennlingen, who had gone to school with Faustus and was a learned man, had been married for six years to an extremely beautiful woman, Sabina of Kettheim, when he was one evening through guile and drink brought to take an oath to go along to Turkey and the Holy Land. He kept his pledge and promise, saw many things, endured much, and had been gone almost five years when there came to his wife certain report that he was dead. The lady mourned for three years, during which time she had many suitors, among them an excellent person of the nobility whose name we dare not mention, but whom she now accepted.
When the time was approaching for their marriage celebration, Doctor Faustus discovered it, and he asked his Mephostophiles whether this Lord of Reuttpueffel were still alive. The spirit answered yes, he be alive and in Egypt in the city of Lylopolts, where he lay captive, having attempted to visit the city of Al-Cairo. This grieved Doctor Faustus, for he loved his friend and had not been pleased that the lady was remarrying so soon. He knew her husband had loved her well. The time for the marriage consummation and the subsequent ceremony being at hand, Doctor Faustus gazed into a mirror wherein he could see all things and by which means he was also able to inform the Lord of Reuttpueflel that his wife was about to be wed, at which the latter was much astonished.
The hour of consummation arrived. The nobleman disrobed and went out to cast his water. It was then that Mephostophiles did use his art, for when the man came in and leapt into Sabina's bed to enjoy the fruits of love, when they hoisted their shirts and squeezed close together, it was all to no avail. The good lady, seeing that he did not want on and was hesitating, did reach out herself for the tool, wishing to help him, but she could achieve naught, and the night wore on in mere grasping, wiggling, and squeezing. This did cause the lady to grieve and to think on her previous husband whom she thought to be dead, for he had rightly known how to tousle her.
On the very same night,
Faustus had freed the nobleman and had brought him
asleep back to his castle. Now when the good lady beheld her young lord
fell at his feet and begged his forgiveness, indicating at the same
that the other had had naught and had been able to accomplish naught.
Lord of Reuttpueffel, noting that her account corresponded with what
Faustus had reported, did accept her back again. The other good fellow,
finally recovered his potency, rode hastily away, not wishing to be
again because of what had happened to him. Later, he lost his life in a
The husband, however, is still jealous; and the good lady must hear
him, even though he did not witness it, how she did after all lie with
who felt her and grasped her and, had he been able to cover her, would
done that, too.
What Doctor Faustus Bequeathed
His Servant Christoph Wagner
Now during this whole time, right into the twenty-fourth year of his pact, Doctor Faustus had been keeping a young apprentice, who studied there at the University in Wittemberg and who became acquainted with all the tricks, sorcery and arts of his master. The two were cut from the same piece of cloth. Wagner was a wicked, dissipated knave who had gone about begging in Wittemberg but had found no kindness with anyone until he had met Faustus, who took the stripling in as his famulus and even called him his son, letting him enjoy his ill-gotten gains. Neither troubled himself with the price of them.
When his twenty-four
years were all but run out, Faustus called unto himself
a notary together with several magisters who were his friends. In their
he bequeathed his famulus his house and garden, which were located on
Ring-Wall in Scherr Alley, not far from the Iron Gate and indeed right
the houses of Ganser and of Veitt Rottinger (since that time, it has
rebuilt, for it was so uncanny that none could dwell therein). He also
him 1,600 guilders lent out on usury, a farm worth 800 guilders, 600
in ready money, a gold chain worth 300 crowns, some silver plate given
by a man named Kraffter, as well as such other things as he had taken
from various courts--those of the Pope and of the Turk, for example.
these items together were worth many hundred guilders. There was not
much household stuff on hand, for he had not lived much at home, but at
and with students, in gluttony and drunkenness.
With His Son Concerning the Testament
The testament being drawn up, Faustus summoned his famulus, explained to him how he had made that person beneficiary of his estate who had been a trusty servant throughout his life and had never revealed any of his secrets, and how he would, in addition, like to grant this person one further request, if he would but name it. Wagner asked for Faust's cunning, but this fine father reminded his pretty son (who should have been named Christless Wagner) that he would, after all, inherit all his books, and that he must diligently guard them, not letting them become common knowledge, but taking his own profit from them by studying them well (this route to Hell).
As to my cunning (spake Faustus), thou canst win it if thou wilt but love my books, heed no man else, and follow in my footsteps. Hast thou none other request?--That thou be served by my spirit? This cannot be, for Mephostophiles oweth me no further debt, nor doth he bear affinity to any other man. But if thou art fain to have a spirit as servant I will help thee to another.
Three days later, Faustus again called his famulus unto him, asking whether he were still of a mind to possess a spirit, and, if so, in what form he would have him.
My Lord and Father, answered Wagner, in the form of an ape let him appear, for even in such a manner and form would I have him.
A spirit immediately came bounding into the parlor in the figure of an ape, and Doctor Faustus said:
Lo, now seest thou him,
but he will not obey thee until I be dead. At that
time my Mephostophiles will vanish forever, and thou shalt never see
more. Then, if thou wilt perform what is necessary--this being thine
decision--then canst thou summon thy spirit unto thee by calling upon
for this is his name. In return, I do beg of thee not to publish my
arts and adventures before the time of my death, but then to write all
matters down, organizing and transferring them into a Historia
compelling Urian to help thee by recalling unto thee whatever thou
not remember, for men will expect these things of thee.
in the Final Month of His Pact
days ran out like the sand in an hourglass, and when only one month
of the twenty-four years which he had contracted of the Devil (as ye
read) Doctor Faustus became fainthearted, depressed, deeply
like unto an imprisoned murderer and highwayman over whose head the
hath been pronounced and who now in the dungeon awaiteth punishment and
Filled with fear, he sobbed and held conversations with himself,
such speeches with many gestures of his hands. He did moan and sigh and
away from flesh. He kept himself close and could not abide to have the
that He Must Die at a Young
and a Lusty Age
Sorrow moved Doctor Faustus to set his grief in words, lest he forget it. Here followeth one such written complaint:
Alas, thou reckless, worthless heart! Thou hast seduced the flesh round about thee, and my fate is fire. The blessedness which once thou didst know is lost.
Alas, Reason and Free Will! What a heavy charge ye do level at these limbs, which may expect naught else than rape of their life!
Alas ye limbs, and thou yet whole body! It was ye who let Reason indict Soul, for I might have chosen succor for my soul by sacrificing thee, my body.
Alas, Love and Hate! Why abide ye both at once in my breast? Your company hath occasioned all mine anguish.
Alas, Mercy and Vengeance ! Ye have caused me to strive after glory and rewarded me with infamy.
Alas, Malice and Compassion! Was I created a man that I might suffer those torments which now I see before me?
Alas, alas, is there aught in the wide world that doth not conspire against this wretch?
Alas, of what help is
Alas, alas, wretched man, o thou poor accursed Faustus, now in the number of the damned! I must await the inestimable pains of a death far more miserable than any tortured creature hath yet endured.
Alas, alas, Reason, Willfulness, Recklessness, Free Will! O, what a cursed and inconstant life hast thou led! How unseeing, how careless wast thou! Now become thy parts, soul and body, unseeing and ever more unseen.
Alas, Worldly Pleasure! Into what wretchedness hast thou led me, darkening and blinding mine eyes!
Alas, my timid heart! Where were thine eyes?
And thou my poor soul! Where was thy knowledge?
All ye senses! Where were ye hid?
O, miserable travail! O sorrow and desperation forgotten of God!
Alas, grief over grief, and torment upon woe and affliction! Who will release me? Where am I to hide? Whither must I creep? Whither flee? Wherever I may be, there am I a prisoner.
The heart of Doctor
Faustus was so troubled that he could speak no more.
His twenty-four years were run out. As he lay awake in the night, his spirit came unto him to deliver up his writ, or contract, thus giving him due notice that the Devil would fetch his body in the following night, and allowing him to make any necessary preparations for that event. This occasioned such a renewed moaning and sobbing into the night that the spirit returned, consoling him and saying:
My Fauste, be not so faint of heart. Thou dost indeed lose thy body, but thy time of judgement is yet far distant. Why surely thou must die--even shouldst thou live for many hundreds of years. The Jews and the Turks must also die expecting the same perdition as thou--even emperors die thus, if they be not Christian. After all, thou knowest not yet what it be that awaiteth thee. Take courage, and despair not so utterly. Dost not remember how the Devil did promise thee a body and soul all of steel, insensitive to the pain which the others will feel in Hell?
This and such like comfort and consolation he gave him, but it was false and not in accord with the Holy Scriptures. Doctor Faustus, having none other expectation than that he must absolve his debt and contract with his skin, did on this same day (in which the spirit had announced that the Devil was about to fetch him) betake himself unto the trusted friends with whom he had spent many an hour, the magisters, baccalaureates and other students, entreating them now to go out to the little village of Rimlich with him, about a half mile removed from the town of Wittemberg, there to take a repast with him. They would not turn him away, but went along and ate a morning meal with many costly courses both of meat and of drink, served by the host at an inn.
Doctor Faustus joined in their merriment, but he was not merry in his heart. Afterward, he entreated all his guests to do him the great kindness of remaining to eat supper with him, too, and to stay the night here as well, for he had something important to tell them. Again they agreed, and they took the evening meal with him also.
It was finished, and a last cup had been passed. Doctor Faustus paid the host, and addressed the students, saying that he wished to inform them of some things. They gave him their attention, and Doctor Faustus said unto them:
M y dear, trusted, and very gracious Lords: I have called you unto me for this good and sufficient cause. For many years now, ye have known what manner of man I be, the arts and the sorcery I have used. All these things come from none other than from the Devil. I fell into such devilish desires through none other cause than these: bad company, mine own worthless flesh and blood, my stiff-necked, godless will, and all the soaring, devilish thoughts I allowed in my head. I gave myself up unto the Devil and contracted with him for a term of twenty-four years, setting my body and soul in forfeit. Now are these twenty-four years run out. I have only this night left. An hourglass standeth before mine eyes, and I watch for it to finish.
I know that the Devil will have his due. As I have consigned my body and soul unto him with my blood in return for certain other costly considerations, I have no doubt that he will this night fetch me. This is why, dear and well-beloved, gracious Lords, I have summoned you here just before the end to take one last cup with me, not concealing from you the manner of my departure. I entreat you now, my dear gracious Brothers and Lords, to bring my cordial and brotherly greetings to my friends and to those who do honor my memory, to bear no ill will toward me but, if ever I have offended you, to forgive me in your hearts. As regardeth my Historia and what I have wrought in those twenty-four years, all these things have been written down for you.
Now let this my hideous end be an example unto you so long as ye may live, and a remembrance to love God and to entreat Him to protect you from the guile and the deceit of the Devil, praying that the Dear Lord will not lead you into temptation. Cling ye unto Him, falling not away from Him as I damned godless mortal have done, despising and denying Baptism (Christ's own Sacrament), God, all the Heavenly Host and mankind--such a sweet God, who desireth not that one shall be lost. Shun bad company, which would lead you astray as it hath me, go earnestly and often to church, war and strive constantly against the Devil with a steadfast faith in Christ and always walking a godly path.
Finally, my last request is that ye go to bed and let nothing trouble you, but sleep on and take your rest even if a crashing and tumult be heard in this house. Be not afraid. No injury shall befall you. Arise not out of your beds. Should ye find my corpse, convey it unto the earth, for I die both as a bad and as a good Christian. Contrition is in my heart, and my mind doth constantly beg for Grace and for the salvation of my soul. O I know that the Devil will have this body--and welcome he is to it, would he but leave my soul in peace. Now I entreat you: betake yourselves to bed. A good night to you--unto me, an evil, wretched and a frightful one.
Faustus needed great resolve and courage to make this confession and to tell his tale without weakening, and becoming fearful and faint. As for the students, they were cast into great wonderment that a man could be so reckless as thus to imperil body and soul for no more profit than knavery, knowledge and sorcery. But, as they loved him well, they sought to console him thus: Alas dear Fauste, how have ye imperiled yourself! Why remained ye so long silent, revealing none of these things to us? Why, we should have brought learned Theologi who would have torn you out of the Devil's nets and saved you. But now it is too late and surely injurious to body and soul.
Doctor Faustus answered, saying: Such was not permitted me. Often was I amind to seek counsel and succor of godfearing men. Indeed, once an Old Man did charge me to follow his teachings, leave my sorcery and be converted. Then came the Devil, ready to put an end to me (even as he will this night do), saying that in the moment of my conversion--nay, even in the instant of such an intent on my part--all would be over with me.
Upon hearing these words, and understanding that the Devil would surely dispatch Faustus this night, the students urged him to call upon God, begging Him for forgiveness for Jesus Christ's sake, saying:
O God, be merciful unto me poor sinner, and enter not into judgement with me, for I cannot stand before Thee. Although I must forfeit my body unto the Devil, wilt Thou preserve my soul!
Faustus agreed to do this. He tried to pray, but he could not. As it was with Cain, who said his sins were greater than could be forgiven him, so was it with Faustus also, who was convinced that in making his written contract with the Devil he had gone too far. But the students and good lords prayed and wept for Faustus. They embraced one another and, leaving Faustus in his chambers, retired to bed, where none could rightly sleep, for they lay there awake, awaiting the end.
And it came to pass between twelve and one 0' clock in the night that a great blast of wind stormed against the house, blustering on all sides as if the inn and indeed the entire neighborhood would be torn down. The students fell into a great fear, got out of their beds and came together to comfort one another, but they did not stir out of their chamber. The innkeeper went running out of the house, however, and he found that there was no disturbance at all in any other place than his own. The students were lodged in a chamber close by the rooms of Doctor Faustus, and over the raging of the wind they heard a hideous music, as if snakes, adders and other serpents were in the house. Doctor Faustus' door creaked open. There then arose a crying out of Murther! and Help! but the voice was weak and hollow, soon dying out entirely.
When it was day the students, who had not slept this entire night, went into the chamber where Doctor Faustus had lain, but they found no Faustus there. The parlor was full of blood. Brain clave unto the walls where the Fiend had dashed him from one to the other. Here lay his eyes, here a few teeth. O it was a hideous spectaculum. Then began the students to bewail and beweep him, seeking him in many places. When they came out to the dung heap, here they found his corpse. It was monstrous to behold, for head and limbs were still twitching.
These students and magisters who were present at Faustus' death gained permission afterwards to bury him in the village. Subsequently, they retired to his domicile where they found the famulus Wagner already mourning his master. This little book, Doctor Faustus His Historia, was already all written out. Now as to what his famulus wrote, that will be a different, new book. On this same day the enchanted Helen and her son Justus Faustus were also gone.
So uncanny did it become in Faustus' house that none could dwell there. Doctor Faustus himself walked about at night, making revelations unto Wagner as regardeth many secret matters. Passers-by reported seeing his face peering out at the windows. Now this is the end of his quite veritable deeds, tale, Historia and sorcery. From it the students and clerks in particular should learn to fear God, to flee sorcery, conjuration of spirits, and other works of the Devil, not to invite the Devil into their houses, nor to yield unto him in any other way, as Doctor Faustus did, for we have before us here the frightful and horrible example of his pact and death to help us shun such acts and pray to God alone in all matters, love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength, defying the Devil with all his following, that we may through Christ be eternally blessed. These things we ask in the name of Christ Jesus our only Lord and Savior. Amen. Amen.