Page images

promised entire service and obedience, according as he had received permission from his master; adding, that he was enjoined to carry back word of the Doctor's intentions. 6. Yet I must first hear, Faustus, what was your object in again summoning me into your presence ?" Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus gave him a mysterious, but at the same time very dangerous answer, as concerned his soul: for he told him plainly that he desired to become either a complete demon, or to enter into league with demons; in addition to which he mentioned the articles which here follow:

First, That he might freely assume a diabolical shape whenever he judged proper. Secondly, That his demon should bind himself to perform everything that the Doctor thought fit and expedient. Thirdly, That he should ever be faithful and obedient to him. Fourthly, That he was to hold himself ready to appear at the Doctor's house at the slightest notice, and in such shape as should prove most convenient and agreeable. Fifthly, That he should perform his household duties invisibly, or only appear to the Doctor, as he judged best. In respect to these several articles and conditions, the demon promised unconditional submission, except that he wished to add some slight clauses, when every difficulty in the way of the negotiation would be removed. It will be right to touch upon the leading points in these clauses.

Imprimis: Let Doctor Faustus swear, promise, and sign, that he holds the said service and obedience from the devil, upon a lease of years, to have and to hold. Secondly, That the Doctor, for further assurance of the same, shall sign and witness it with his own hand and blood. Thirdly, That he shall declare all Christians to be his natural enemies. Fourthly, He must forswear the Christian faith. Fifthly, That he must watch and pray, that no one may prevail upon him to return to it. Before the signing and execution of these conditions, a certain number of years to be mentioned, at the expiration of which the demon was to return to fetch the Doctor away. Now, should he choose to accede to these conditions, there was nothing which heart could desire upon earth that should not be his; and he vould also be at liberty to assume an invisible or diabolic shape whenever he pleased.

Doctor Faustus exulted greatly on hearing these terms, so much that he paid not the least heed to the safety of his immortal soul, while the wily demon took advantage of his eager: ness to impress upon him the necessity of stoutly maintaining these several articles to the rigor of the letter. For the Doctor imagined, like many other children of this world, that the devil was probably not quite so black and ill-favored as he is described, nor his place of residence so uncomfortable as we suppose.



After having executed the proposed deed, the Doctor summoned his familiar demon to his presence, ordering him to appear as a minor friar, with hood and skellet, and also to give some token by which to announce his approach. He next inquired of him what was his name ; to which the spirit replied, “ My name is Mephistopheles." They then proceeded to business, when this audacious and godless man confirmed his abandonment of the true faith and the true God - even the Creator who had fashioned him from his birth. He entered into this devilish league, the sole causes of which were his towering pride and ambition, discontented with all he had already seen and known, and aspiring, like the giants heathen fable, to heap mountain upon mountain until they should mount to the skies. Yes, even like his master, that bad angel who would have set himself above the Lord — a boldness and arrogance which drove him with shameful flight from his heavenly abode, showing how those who will climb the highest shall be sure to incur the heaviest fall. headstrong ambition impelled Faustus to meet all the demon's wishes, executed in contracts duly signed and sealed, all which terrific deeds, along with other writings, were discovered in his house after his death. These last are what are here described in this history, as a timely warning to all good and prudent Christians, in order that they may be deterred from affording the devil any advantage, or in any way sporting with their lives and souls; a madness which brought those of Doctor Faustus into such bitter jeopardy and devilish servitude, never to have an end.

After each of the parties had become bound in their mutual contract, Faustus, taking a sharp knife, opened a vein in his left hand, of which it has been asserted, there was afterwards read, branded upon it, these words : “ Homo Fuge, Shun him,


O man, and do that which is right.” In this way the Doctor let himself bleed into one of his crucibles, which he then placed as an experiment upon a hot coal fire, and finally wrote therefrom the following testimonial ; To wit;

“I, Johannes Faustus, D.D. et M.D., hereby acknowledge with my own hand, for the further assurance of this deed, that in consideration of the manifold services and instructions of every kind, not to be obtained from any living mortal, I accept for my familiar and faithful demon, the demon hight Mephistopheles, late Chargé d'Affaires to the infernal Prince of the Orient, but now subject to all my demands. Item, On the other hand, I do hereby hire and bind myself to him, after the expiration of four and twenty years from the date of this deed, that he may deal with me as he shall judge best: W govern, to handle, and to misguide in all that appertains to my life and soul, my good and my blood, renouncing all Christian communion upon earth, and all hope of celestial inheritance. Amen.

“ As additional confirmation of the same, I consent to sign this contract with my own hand, as witness below, in my own blood, being at this present time of sound mind and understanding, rightly to will and to bequeath, etc.


“JOHANNES FAUSTUS, D.D. et M.D., " Doctor of Divinity, and of Medicine, etc., experienced in

all the Elements and Arts."


HIS EXHIBITION. At the third dialogue, Doctor Faustus' demon announced his approach in a somewhat humorous style, in the following manner. He first went roaming through the whole house, like a man on fire, so that the beams and flames darted from him like arrows. And he was followed by a monkish procession, singing hymns, though no one could imagine what kind of & song it was they sung. But Faustus being greatly amused with this sort of exhibition, desired that the demon would not enter into the chamber until he had seen an end of the whole of this scene.

Then forthwith was heard a battle-rout of swords and spears, as if at some mighty siege, so that it seemed as if the whole house was on the point of being assaulted and carried by storm. Next came riding by a splendid scene of

VOL. XII, 22

hunters and of hounds, all eager for the chase; the horns blew, and a deer started forth, which was pursued until it sought refuge in the Doctor's room.

Then there rushed in after, a lion and a dragon, to dispute the prey, which presently commenced a fierce and bloody strife. The lion appeared full of irresistible strength and spirit, and yet he was at last overcome and slain by the other. Doctor Faustus' page afterwards said, that he had only seen a linkworm creeping over his book, quite jet black, and it crawled along the walls of the chamber, until at last chamber and all disappeared. Next were seen a beautiful peacock and peahen, as it were wreathed in one ; and first they separated and then they folded again together. Soon a great horned beast ran tilting at the Doctor, threatening to throw him aloft, but fell down and vanished just as it had reached his feet, and he was crying out stoutly for Mephistopheles. Indeed, it alarmed him not a little ; but next a large ape ran up and presented his paw to the Doctor ; it then sprang over his head and danced out of the room, at which he laughed heartily. Then followed a strong fog, which enveloped the whole room, so that he could hardly see. When this vanished, he found lying on the floor two huge bags, one full of silver and the other of gold. An organ now began to play, followed by a harpsichord, a lute, a violin, a harp, a bass viol, horns, drums, trumpets, with a variety of other instruments, all modulated and adapted to celestial voices, so much so that Doctor Faustus began to think that he was in Paradise. This music continued above an hour, and produced such an effect upon the Doctor's spirits, that he rather exulted than felt uneasy at the step he had just taken.

All these illusions, we may remark, were got up by the devil in order to confirm Doctor Faustus in his purpose, to harden and to lead him to fancy that he had not so much to dread as to enjoy in the infernal society into which he had entered. This exhibition being closed, Mephistopheles hastened into the Doctor's apartment, in semblance of a pious monk ; and Faustus said with a smile, “ You have indeed treated me to some right strange and merry scenes. These are what I like, and they have pleased me well. Only continue such mad work as this, my Mephistopheles, and count upon me rather as a friend than a master." Mephistopheles replied, “ Oh, there was nothing to admire here; I shall serve you in more important matters by-and-by, I hope, than these, provided you only observe your part of the engage mont; sights which will excite your utmost astonishment." The Doctor answered by presenting him with a copy of the contract; while Mephistopheles, on his side, insisted that Faustus should preserve another copy by him, to prevent all chance of litigation or mistake.


All good Christians may easily conjecture what was the situation of the Doctor, deserted by the Lord and all the heavenly host, after having delivered his blood-signed contract into the demon's hands, a contract which no bonest pious householder would put his name to, being more like the act of a fiend than of a mortal.

Doctor Faustus now resided in the house which had been his uncle's, and which the latter had bequeathed to him. There too he had taken into his service a young student as his secretary and attendant, a knowing rogue of the name of Christoffel Wagenar, who liked the sort of sport he saw, too easily imbibing his master's example, who promised to make him an expert fellow. And this was no difficult task, as, like most young people, he was well inclined to avail himself of such lessons as his master taught. Excepting this hopeful youth and his familiar demon, Faustus would have no boarders in his house. Mephistopheles still attended upon his master in the shape of a monk, and he was accustomed always to summon him as he sat in his study, which he constantly kept closed.

The Doctor next began to indulge in very luxurious living, feasting upon rarities, and eating and drinking only of the best. For when he wished to have the best wine, he sent his familiar to the cellars of the most distinguished personages of the place, as those of a certain prince, of the Duke of Beijiren, and of the Bishop of Salzburg, whereby they were all considerably diminished. By the same method he obtained the most costly meats, cooked by the same magical arts, as his demon could convey them with the swiftness of a bird, and dart as quickly through an open window.

Thus all the houses and palacos of the neighboring counts and princes, and all their best furnished tables, were laid under contribution; insomuch that the Doctor and his secretary appeared in elegant apparel, the clothes and silks having been ordered upon commission by his demon, who visited the shops

« PreviousContinue »