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MARLOWE, Christopher

The Jew of Malta


Albeit the world think Machiavel is dead,

Yet was his soul but flown beyond the Alps;

And, now the Guise is dead, is come from France,

To view this land, and frolic with his friends.

To some perhaps my name is odious;

But such as love me guard me from their tongues,

And let them know that I am Machiavel,

And weigh not men, and therefore not mens words.

Admired I am of those that hate me most.

Though some speak openly against my books,

Yet will they read me and thereby attain

To Peter's chair; and when they cast me off,

Are poisoned by my climbing followers.

I count religion but a childish toy

And hold there is no sin but ignorance.

Birds of the air will tell of murders past?

I am ashamed to hear such fooleries.

Many will talk of title to a crown.

What right had Caesar to the empire?

Might first made kings, and laws were then most sure

When, like the Draco's, they were writ in blood.

Hence comes it that a strong built citadel

Commands much more than letters can import:

Which maxim had but Phalaris observed,

He'd never bellowed in a brazen bull,

Of great ones envy: o'the poor petty wights

Let me be envied and not pitied!

But whither am I bound? I come not, I,

To read a lecture here in Britanie,

But to present the tragedy of a Jew

Who smiles to see how full his bags are crammed,

Which money was not got without my means.

I crave but this. Grace him as he deserves,

And let him not be entertained the worse

Because he favours me.

Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1

Nature, that fram'd us of four elements

Warring within our breasts for regiment,

Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.

Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend

The wondrous architecture of the world,

And measure every wandering planet's course,

Still climbing after knowledge infinite,

And always moving as the restless spheres,

Wills us to wear ourselves and never rest,

Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,

That perfect bliss and sole felicity,

The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.

Doctor Faustus

Scene III

[A Grove.]

Enter FAUSTUS to conjure


Now that the gloomy shadow of the earth

Longing to view Orion’s drizzling look,

Leaps from the antarctic world unto the sky,

And dims the welkin with her pitchy breath,

Faustus, begin thine incantations,

And try if devils will obey thy hest,

Seeing thou hast pray’d and sacrific’d to them.

Within this circle is Jehovah’s name,

Forward and backward anagrammatis’d,

The breviated names of holy saints,

Figures of every adjunct to the Heavens,

And characters of signs and erring stars,

By which the spirits are enforc’d to rise:

Then fear not, Faustus, but be resolute,

And try the uttermost magic can perform.

Sint mihi Dei Acherontis propitii! Valeat numen triplex Jehovae! Ignei, aerii, aquatani spiritus, salvete! Orientis princeps Belzebub, inferni ardentis monarcha, et Demogorgon, propitiamus vos, ut appareat et surgat Mephistophilis. Quid tu moraris? per Jehovam, Gehennam et consecratum aquam quam nunc spargo, signumque crucis quod nunc facio, et per vota nostra, ipse nunc surgat nobis dicatus Mephistophilis!


I charge thee to return and change thy shape;

Thou art too ugly to attend on me.

Go, and return an old Franciscan friar;

That holy shape becomes a devil best. ( Exit DEVIL)

I see there’s virtue in my heavenly words;

Who would not be proficient in this art?

How pliant is this Mephistophilis,

Full of obedience and humility!

Such is the force of magic and my spells.

[Now,] Faustus, thou art conjuror laureat,

Thou canst command great Mephistophilis:

Quin regis Mephistophilis fratris imagine.

Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS [like a Franciscan Friar]


Now, Faustus, what would’st thou have me to do?


I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live,

To do whatever Faustus shall command,

Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere,

Or the ocean to overwhelm the world.


I am a servant to great Lucifer,

And may not follow thee without his leave

No more than he commands must we perform.


Did not he charge thee to appear to me?


No, I came hither of mine own accord.


Did not my conjuring speeches raise thee? Speak.


That was the cause, but yet per accidens;

For when we hear one rack the name of God,

Abjure the Scriptures and his Saviour Christ,

We fly in hope to get his glorious soul;

Nor will we come, unless he use such means

Whereby he is in danger to be damn’d:

Therefore the shortest cut for conjuring

Is stoutly to abjure the Trinity,

And pray devoutly to the Prince of Hell.


So Faustus hath

Already done; and holds this principle,

There is no chief but only Belzebub,

To whom Faustus doth dedicate himself.

This word “damnation” terrifies not him,

For he confounds hell in Elysium;

His ghost be with the old philosophers!

But, leaving these vain trifles of men’s souls,

Tell me what is that Lucifer thy lord?


Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.


Was not that Lucifer an angel once?


Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov’d of God.


How comes it then that he is Prince of devils?


O, by aspiring pride and insolence;

For which God threw him from the face of Heaven.


And what are you that you live with Lucifer?


Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer,

Conspir’d against our God with Lucifer,

And are for ever damn’d with Lucifer.


Where are you damn’d?


In hell.


How comes it then that thou art out of hell?


Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.

Think’st thou that I who saw the face of God,

And tasted the eternal joys of Heaven,

Am not tormented with ten thousand hells,

In being depriv’d of everlasting bliss?

O Faustus! leave these frivolous demands,

Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.

Scene VIII

FAUSTUS: Ah, Faustus,
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damn’d perpetually!
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,

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!
O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d.

O, I’ll leap up to my God! – Who pulls me down? –
See, see, where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament!
One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah, my Christ! –
Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ!

Yet will I call on him: O, spare me, Lucifer! –
Where is it now? ’tis gone: and see, where God
Stretcheth out his arm, and bends his ireful brows!
Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,
And hide me from the heavy wrath of God!
No, no!
Then will I headlong run into the earth:
Earth, gape! O, no, it will not harbour me!
You stars that reign’d at my nativity,
Whose influence hath allotted death and hell,
Now draw up Faustus, like a foggy mist.
Into the entrails of yon labouring cloud[s],
That, when you vomit forth into the air,
My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths,
So that my soul may but ascend to heaven!
[ The clock strikes the half-hour. ]
Ah, half the hour is past! ’twill all be past anon
O God,
If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransom’d me,
Impose some end to my incessant pain;
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be sav’d!
O, no end is limited to damned souls!
Why wert thou not a creature wanting soul?
Or why is this immortal that thou hast?
Ah, Pythagoras’ metempsychosis, were that true,
This soul should fly from me, and I be chang’d
Unto some brutish beast! all beasts are happy,
For, when they die,
Their souls are soon dissolv’d in elements;
But mine must live still to be plagu’d in hell.
Curs’d be the parents that engender’d me!
No, Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
That hath depriv’d thee of the joys of heaven.
[ The clock strikes twelve. ]
O, it strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!
[ Thunder and lightning. ]
O soul, be chang’d into little water-drops,

And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found!
[ Enter DEVILS. ]
My God, my god, look not so fierce on me!
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while!
Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!
I’ll burn my books! – Ah, Mephistopheles!
( Exeunt DEVILS with FAUSTUS )


Scene XIV
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,

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