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jurious to the subject. It is time to give a few passages in illustration of this account. He thus opens his mind at the beginning:
"How am I glutted with conceit of this t
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please?
Resolve me of all ambiguities 1
Perform what desperate enterprise I will 1
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.
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 skill,
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,
And reign sole king of all the provinces:
Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war
Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp bridge,
I'll make my servile spirits to invent.
Enter Valdes and Cornelius.
Come, German Valdes, and Cornelius,
And make me blest with your sage conference.
Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,
Know that your words have won me at the last,
To practise magic and concealed arts.
Philosophy is odious and obscure;
Both Law and Physic are for petty wits;
Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish'd me.
Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;
And I, that have with subtile syllogisms
Gravell'd the pastors of the German church,
And made the flow'ring pride of Wittenberg
Swarm to my problems, as lh" infernal spirits
On sweet Musauis when he came to hell;
Will be as cunning as Agrippa was,
Whose shadow made all Europe honour him.
Valdes. These books, thy wit, and our experience
Shall make all nations to canonize us.
As Indian Moors obey their Spanish lords,
So shall the Spirits of every element
Be always serviceable to us three.
Like lions shall they guard us when we please;
Like Almain Rutters 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.
From Venice they shall drag whole argosies,
And from America the golden fleece,
That yearly stuffs old Philip's treasury*;
If learned Faustus will be resolute.
Faustus. As resolute am I in this
As thou to live, therefore object it not."
In his colloquy with the fallen angel, he shews the fixedness of his determination:—
Yet we afterwards find him faltering in his resolution, and struggling with the extremity of his fate.
"My heart is harden'd, I cannot repent:
Scarce can I name salvation, faith, or heaven:
Swords, poisons, halters, and envenom'd steel
Are laid before me to dispatch myself;
And long ere this I should have done the deed,
Had not sweet pleasure conquer'd deep despair.
Have I not made blind Homer sing to me
Of Alexander's love and (Emm's death?
And hath not he that built the walls of Thebes
With ravishing sounds of his melodious harp,
Made music with my Mephostophilis 1
Why should I die then or basely despair 7
I am resolv'd, Faustus shall not repent.
Come, Mephostophilis, let us dispute again,
And reason of divine astrology."
There is one passage more of this kind, which is so striking and beautiful, so like a rapturous and deeply passionate dream, that I cannot help quoting it here: it is the address to the Apparition of Helen.
"Enter Helen again, passing over between two Cupids.
Faustus. Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships, And burnt the topless tow'rs of Ilium 1 Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. Her lips suck forth my soul! See where it flies. Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for Heav'n is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
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 azure arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour.”
The ending of the play is terrible, and his last exclamations betray an anguish of mind and vehemence of passion, not to be contemplated without shuddering.
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damn'd perpetually.
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heav'n,
That time may cease, and midnight never come.
Fair nature's eye, rise, rise again, and make
Perpetual day; or let this hour be but a year,
A month, a week, a natural day,
That Faustus may repent, and save his soul.
(The Clock strikes Twelve.)
It strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell.
Oh soull be chang'd into small water-drops,
And fall into the ocean; ne'er be found.
(Thunder. Enter the Devils.)
Oh! mercy, Heav'n! Look not so fierce on me!
Adders and serpents, let me breathe awhile!—
Ugly hell, gape not! Come not, Lucifer!
I'll burn my books! Oh! Mephostophilis."
Perhaps the finest trait in the whole play, and that which softens and subdues the horror of it, is the interest taken by the two scholars in the fate of their master, and their unavailing attempts to dissuade him from his relentless career. The regard to learning is the ruling passion of this drama; and its indications are as mild and amiable in them as its ungoverned pursuit has been fatal to Faustus.
"Yet, for he was a scholar once admir'd
For wondrous knowledge in our German schools,
Well give his mangled limbs due burial;
And all the students, clothed in mourning black,
Shall wait upon his heavy funeral."
So the Chorus:
"Cut is the branch that might have grown full strait,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough,
That sometime grew within this learned man."
And still more affecting are his own conflicts of mind and agonizing doubts on this subject just before, when he exclaims to his friends; "Oh, gentlemen! Hear me with patience, and