History of Dr. Faustus (1)

History of Dr. Faustus (1)  (between 1840 and 1850) 




His wicked Life and horrid Death, and how he
sold himself to the devil, to have power for 24
years, to do what he pleased also many strange
things done by him with the assistance of


With an account how the devil came for him at
the end of 24 years, and tore him to pieces.







Dr. Faustus’ birth and education: with an account of his falling from the Scriptures.

DOCTOR JOHN FAUSTUS was born in Germany; his father was a poor labouring man, not able to bring up his son John: but he had a brother in the same country, who was a very rich man, but had never a child, and took a great fancy to his cousin, and he resolved to make a scholar of him; and in order thereunto, put him to the latin school, where he took his learning extraordinary well; afterwards he put him to the University to study divinity; but Faustus could in no ways fancy that employment; wherefore he betook himself to the studying of that which his inclination is most for, via. Necromancy and Conjuration, and in a little (illegible text) time, few or none could outstrip him in the art; He also studied Divinity: of which he was made Doctor; but within a short time fell into such deep fancies and cogitations, that he resolved to throw the scriptures from him, and betake himself wholly to the studying of necromacy and conjuration, charms and sooth-saying, witchcraft, and the like.


How Dr. Faustus conjured up the devil, makeing him appear at his own house

Faustus, whose mind was to study conjuration, the which he followed night and day; he took the wings of an eagle, and endeavoured to fly over the world, to see and know all the secrets of heaven and earth: so that in a short time, he attained power to command the devil to appear before him when he pleased. One day as Dr. Faustus was walking in a wood near to Wirtemberg, in Germany, he having a friend with him who was desirous to know of the Doctor’s art, he desired him to let him see if he could then and there bring Mephostophiles before him; all which the Doctor immediately did, and the devil upon the first call, made such a noise in the wood, as if heaven and earth would have come together; then the devil made such a roaring as if the wood had been full of wild beasts. The Doctor made a circle for the devil, the which circle the devil ran round, making a noise as if ten thousand waggons had been running upon paved stones. Afthis it thundered and lightened, as if the whole world had been on fire. Faustus and his friend amazed at this noise, and the devil’s long tarrying, thought to leave his circle; whereupon he made him such music, the like was never heard in the world: This so ravished Faustus that he began again to conjure Mephostophiles in the name of the prince of the devils, to appear in his own likeness; whereupon in an instant, hung over his head a mighty dragon. Faustus calls again after his former manner, after which there was a cry in the wood as if hell had opened, and all the tormennted souls had been there; Faustus in the mean while, asked the devil many questions, and commanding him to show many diabolical tricks.


How Mephostophiles came to Dr. Faustus's house and what happened between them.

Faustus commanding the spirit to meet him at his house by ten of the clock the next day. At the hour appointed he came into his chamber, asking Faustus what he would have; Faustus told him, it was his will and pleasure to conjure him to be obedient to him in all points of those (illegible text)ticles, viz

First, That the spirit should serve him in all things he asked, from that time till his death.
Secondly, Whatsoever he would have, he should bring him.
Thirdly, Whatsoever he desired to know, he should tell him.

The spirit answered him and said he had no such power of himself, until he had acquainted his prince that ruled over him: “ For” said he, “ we have rulers over us that send us out, and command us home when they please: and we can act no further than our power is, which we receive from Lucifer, who, you know, for his pride was thrust out of heaven. But saith the spirit, I am not to tell you any more except you make yourself over to us.”

Whereupon Faustus said, “ I will have my equest? but yet I will not be damned with you.” Then said the spirit, “You must not, nor shall not have your desire, and yet thou art mine and all the world connot save thee out of my hands.” Then said Faustus. “ Get thee hence, and I conjure thee, that thou come to me at night.” The spirit then vanished. Faustus then began to consider, how he might obtain his desire, and not give his soul to the devil.

And while Faustus were in these his devilish cogitations, night drew on, and this hellish spirit appeared to Faustus, acquainting him, that now he had got orders from his prince to be obedient to him, and to do for him whatsoever he desired, provided he would promise to be his, and withal to acquaint him first, what he would have of him? Faustus replied, that his desire was to become a spirit, and that Mephostophiles should be always at his command; that whatsoever he called for him, he shall appeal- invisible to all men, and that he should appear in what shape he pleased to which the spirit answered, that all his desires should he granted if he would sign those articles, he should wish or ask for: whereupon Dr. Faustus withdrew and stabbed his wrist receiving the blood in a small saucer, which cooled so last, as if it forwarned him of the hellish act he was going to commit; nevertheless he put it over embers to warm it, and wrote as follows.

“I, John Faustus, approved doctor of divinity, with my own hand do acknowledge and testify myself to become a servant to Lucifer, Prince of Septenrional and Oriental, and to him I freely and voluntarily give both soul; in consideration for the space of twenty four years, if I be served in all things which I shall require, or which is reasonable by him to be allowed; at the expiration of which time from the date ensuing, I give to him all power to do with me at his pleasure; to rule to retch and carry me where he pleases body and soul; hereupon I defy God and Christ, and the host of angels and good spirit’s all living creatures that bear his shape, or on whom his image is imprinted; and to the better strengthening the validity of this covenant and firm agreement between us, I have writ it with my blood. and subscribe my name to it, calling all the powers and infernal potentates to witness it is my true intent and meaning.”



What happened to Faustus after the signing of the articles

When Faustus had made an end of his writing he called Mephostophiles to him, and delivered him the bond; whereupon the spirit told him if he did not repent of what he had done, he should enjoy all the pleasure his thoughts could form, and that he would immediately divert him, He caused a kennel of hounds to run down a hart in the hall, and vanished: then a bull danced before Faustus, also there was a lion and a bear, which fell to fighting before Faustus, and the lion destroyed the bear: after that came a dragon and destroyed the lion. And this, with abundance of more pastime, did the spirit present to the doctor’s view, concluding with all manner of music, with some hundreds of spirits, which came and danced before Faustus. After the music was over, and Faustus began to look about him, he saw ten sacks full of silver, which he went to dispose of, but could not, for none could handle it but himself, it was so hot. This pastime so pleased Faustus, that he gave Mephostophiles the will that he had made, and kept a copy of it in his own hands. The spirit and Faustus being agreed, they dwelt together, and the devil was in their house-keeping for there was never any thing given away to poor, which before Faustus made this contract was frequently done, but the case is now altered.


How Faustus served the Duke of Bavaria.

Faustus having sold his soul to the devil, it was reported among his neighbours, so that none would keep him company, but his spirit playing merry tricks for to please him. Not far from Faustus’s house lived the Duke of Bavaria, the Duke of Saxony, and the Bishop of Salisburgh, whose houses and cellars Mephostophiles used to visit, and to bring the best of every thing they had: one day the Duke of Bavaria invited most of the gentry of the country to dinner, for whose entertainment, there was abundance of provision got ready. The gentry being come, and ready to sit down to dinner, in an instant Mephostophiles came and took all away with him, leaving them full of admiration. If any time Faustus had a mind for wild fowl, the spirit would call whole flocks in at a window; also the spirit did teach Faustus to do the like so that no lock nor key could keep them out. The devil also taught Faustus to fly in the air and to act many things that are incredible, and too large for this small book to contain.


How Dr. Faustus dreamed of hell in his sleep and what he saw there.

After Faustus had a long conference with his spirit concerning the fall of Lucifer, and the state and condition of all the fallen angels, he, in a vision or dream, saw hell and all the devils and souls that were tormented there; he saw hell divided into several cells, or deep holes; and for every cell, or deep ward, there was a devil appointed to punish those that were under his custody. Having, seen this sight, he much marvelled, at it; and at that time Mephostophiles being with him, he asked him what sort of people they were that lay in the first dark pit; then Mephostophiles told him they were those who pretended themselves to be physicians, and who had poisoned many thousands to try practise; and now saith the spirit they have just the same administered to them, which they gave to others though not with the same effect, for they will never die here saith he. Over their heads was a shelf laden with gallipots full of poison. Having past them he came to a long entry exceeding dark where there was a mighty crowd, he asked him what those were? and the spirit told him they were pick-pockets; who loved to be in a crowd, when they were in the other world, and to content them they put them in a crowd there, amongst them were some padders on the high way, and those of that function. Walking farther he saw many thousands of vintners, and some millions of taylors, in so much that they could not feel where to get stowage for them; a great number of pastry cooks with peels on their heads. Walking farther, the spirit opening a great cellar door, from which arose a terrible noise, he asked what they were; the spirit told him they were witches, and those who had been pretended Saints in the other world; but how they did squabble, fight, and tear one an other! Not far from them lay the whore mongers and adulterers, who made such a hideous noise, that he was very much startled. Walking down a few steps he espied an incredible number almost hid with smoke; he asked what they were? the spirit told him they were millers and bakers; but good lack, what a noise was there among them! The millers crying to the bakers, and the bakers crying to the millers for help, but all was in vain, for there was none to help them. Passing on still farther, he saw thousands of shopkeepers, some of whom he knew, who were tormented for defrauding and cheating their customers. Having taken this prospect of Hell, the spirit Mephostophiles took him in his arms, and carried him home to his own house, when he awaking, he was amazed at what he saw in his dream. So being come to himself, he asked the spirit in what

place Hell was, and who made it? Mephostophiles answered, “Knowest thou, that before the fall of Lucifer, there was no hell, but upon his fall, was hell ordained. As for the substance of hell, we devils do not know; it is the wrath of God that makes hell so furious, and what we procured by our fall; but where hell is, or how it is governed, and whatsoever thou desirest to know, when thou comest there thou shalt be satisfied as far as we know ourselves


Containing some tricks of Dr. Faustus.

Dr. Faustus having attained the desire of his spirit, had now full power to act or do any thing whatever he pleased; upon a time the Emperor had a desire to see him, and likewise some of the Doctor’s tricks: whereupon he was requested by the Emperor, to do somewhat to make him merry; but the Doctor in the meanwhile looking around him he at last espied a great lord looking out at a window, and the Doctor calling his spirit to help him, he in an instant fastened a large pair of horns upon the Lord’s head, that he could not get his head in till Faustus took off the horns again which were soon taken off invisibly; The Lord whom Faustus served so, was extremely vexed, and resolved to be revenged on the Doctor, and to that end lay a mile out of town for Faustus’s passing by, he being that day to depart for the country; Faustus coming by a wood side, beheld that Lord mounted upon a mighty warlike horse, who run full drift against Faustus, who, by the assistance of his spirit, took him and all, and carried before the Emperor’s palace, and grafted a pair of horns on his head as big as an Ox’s; which he could never be rid of, but wore them to his dying day.


How Faustus eat a load of Hay.

Faustus upon a time having many doctors and masters of arts with him. went to walk in the fields, where they met with a load of hay; “How now good Fellow,” saith Faustus, “what shall I give thee to fill my belly with hay?” The Clown thought he had been a madman to talk of eating hay, told him he should fill his belly for one penny; to which the doctor agreed, and then fell to eating, and quickly devouring half of the load: at which the doctor’s companions laughed, to see how simply the poor country fellow looked, and to hear how heartily he prayed the doctor to forbear; so Faustus pitying the poor man, went away, and before the man got near his house, all the hay was in the cart, that the doctor had eaten, which made the country fellow very much admire.


How he struck a parcel of Students who were fighting together, blind; and how he served a parcel of Clowns who were singing and ranting at an inn.

Thirteen Students meeting with seven more, near Dr. Faustus’s house, fell to extremely first in words and at last to blows; the thirteen being too hard for the seven, and Dr. Faustus looking out at his window and seeing the fray and how much they were over matched, conjured them all blind, so that the one could not see the other, and in this manner they fought one another, which made all that saw them laugh: at length the people parted them, and led them to their chambers, they instantly received their sight—The doctor coming into an inn with some friends, was disturbed by the hallowing and bawling of a parcel of drunken Clowns, whereupon when their mouths were wide open, he so conjured them, that by no means they could shut them again; and after they had stared one upon another, without being able to speak, thinking they were bewitched, they dropped away in a confused fear, one by one, and never could be got to the house afterwards.


How Faustus helped a young man to a fair lady.

There was a gallant young gentleman who was in love with a fair lady, living at Wirtemberg, near the doctor’s house, this gentleman had long sought this lady in marriage, but could not attain his desire, and having placed his affections so much upon her, he was ready to pine away, and had certainly died with grief, had he not made his address to the doctor, to whom he opened the whole matter. Now no sooner had the gentleman told his cause to the doctor, but he told him that he need not be afraid, for his desire should be fulfilled, and that he should have her, whom he so much desired, and that this gentlewoman should have none but him, which was accordingly done, for the doctor so changed her mind, that she could think of nothing else but him whom before she hated; and Faustus’s desire was this; he gave him an enchanted ring which be ordered him to put into the lady’s hand, or to slip it on her finger, which he did: and no sooner had she got the ring than her heart burned with love to him; she instead of frowns, could do nothing but smile upon him, and not be at rest till she asked him if he thought he could love her, and make her his wife? he gladly answered with all his heart. So they were married the next day, and all by the help of Dr. Faustus.


How Faustus made seven women dance naked in the Market place.

Faustus walking in the market-place, saw seven women sitting all in a row, selling eggs, butter, &c. Of ever, one he bought something and departed: no sooner was he gone, but all the eggs and butter, were gone out of of their baskets and they knew not how: at last they were told, that Dr. Faustus had conjured their goods away; they thereupon ran speedily to the Doctor’s house, and so demanded satisfaction for the ware; he resolving to make himself and the town’s people merry by his conjuring art, made them return to their baskets naked as ever they were born: and having danced a while in the marketplace every one’s goods were conjured into their baskets again, and they set at liberty.


How Faustus served a Country Fellow who was driving Swine.

Dr. Faustus, as he was going to Wirtemberg overtook a Country Fellow driving an hundred Swine, who were very headstrong some running one way and, some another; so that the driver could not tell how to get them drove along: the doctor taking notice of it, so by his conjuring art, he made everyone of them dance upon their two hind legs, with a fiddle in one of their fore feet, and with the other fore foot they played upon the fiddle, and so they danced and fiddled all the way until they came into Wirtemberg market. The driver of them dancing all the way before them, which made the people wonder: after the Doctor had satisfied himself with the spirit he conjured all of the fiddles away, and the driver then offered them for sale, and quickly sold them all, and took the money; but before he was gone out of the house Faustus had conjured all the hogs out of the market-place, and sent them all home to the driver’s house. The man who bought them, seeing all the swine gone, stopped the man who sold them and would have his money, which he was forced to pay, and so returned home sorrowful, and not knowing what to do; but to his great surprise, found all the swine in their sties.


How Faustus begun to bethink himself of the near approach of his end.

Faustus having spun out his twenty-four years, within a month or two, began to consider what he should do to cheat the devil, but could not find any way to prevent his miserable end, which was now near, whereupon he thus cries out to himself, Oh! miserable wretch that I am, I have given myself to the devil, for a few years pleasure, and now I must pay full dear; I have had my desires; my filthy lusts I have satisfied, and I must be tormented for ever and ever.

A neighbour of his a very good old man hearing of his way of living, in compassion to his soul came to him, and with tears in his eyes, besought him to have more regard to his most precious soul, laying before him the promise of God’s grace and mercy, freely offered to repenting sinners, and spake so feelingly, that Faustus shed tears, and promised to him, that he would try to repent. This good man wars no sooner gone away, than Mephostophiles found him pensive and on his bed, now Mephostophiles mustering what had happened, began to reproach him with breach of covenant to his Lord Lucifer, and thereupon almost twisted his neck behind him, which made him cry out very lamentable; in the mean-time threatening to tear him to pieces, unless he renewed his obligation, which for fear, with much sorrow he did, in a manner the same as the former, which he confirmed by the latter.


How Dr. Faustus was warned of the Spirit to prepare for his end.

Faustus’s full time being come, the spirit appeared to him, and shewed him his writing, and told him that the next night, the devil would fetch him away, which made the Doctor’s heart to ache: but to divert himself, he sent for some Doctors and master bachelors of arts, and other students to take dinner with him, for whom he provided great store of varieties, with music and the like: but all would not keep up his spirits, for the hour drew near: whereupon his countenance changing the doctors and masters of arts enquired of him the reasons of his Melancholiness? to which Faustus answered, “ My friends, you have known me these many years and how I have practised all manner of wickedness I have been a great conjurer, which devilish art I obtained of the the devil; and also to obtain power to do whatever I pleased I sold myself to the devil for twenty four years time, which full time being out this night, makes me full of horror; I have called you my friends, to see this my dreadful end: and I pray let my miserable death be a warning to you all, how you study the devilish art of conjuring; for if once you begin it a thousand to one but it will lead you to the devil whither I am this night to go, whether I will or not.” They hearing of this sad story blame him for concealing it so long, telling him if h had; made them acquainted before that the thought it might have been prevented. He told them he had a desire several times to have disclosed this intrigue; but the devil told him, that if he did, he would presently fetch him away; he also told them, he had a desire to join with the godly, and to leave off that wicked course; but immediately the devil used to come and torment him, &c. “ But now, saith Faustus, it is but in vain for me to talk of what I did intend, for I have sold myself to the devil, body and soul is his.” No sooner had he spoken these words, but suddenly it fell a thundering and lightening, the like was never heard; whereupon Faustus went into the great hall, the doctors and masters staying in the next room, intending to hear his end. About twelve o’clock the house shook so terribly that they thought it would have been down upon them, and suddenly the house windows were broken to pieces, so that they trembled and wished themselves elsewhere whereupon a great clap of thunder, with a whirlwind the doors flew open, and a mighty rushing of wind entered with the hissing of serpents, shrieks and cries, upon which he lamentably cried out, Murder, and there was such roaring in the hall as if all the devils in hell had been there. When daylight appeared, they took the boldness to enter into the room, and found his brains beaten out against the wall, and the floor sprinkled with blood; but missing his body they went in search of it and found it on the dung-hill mangled and mashed to pieces. So ended this miserable wretch’s life, forsaking God, and all goodness, and given up to his implacable enemy which we hope may stand not only as a fearful, but lasting monument and warning to others


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.