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Lesson 17

Christopher Marlowe - Dr Faustus



The greatest ornament of the public theatre until Shakespeare was Chr. Marlowe (1564-93).
Marlowe was educated at Cambridge and he went to London in 1587, where he became an actor and dramatist . He was born only a few weeks before Shakespeare, but destined to have a working life very much shorter than his. Marlowe was stabbed to death in a' tavern brawl' in circumstances which we shall never fully understand.
Like all the University Wits, he had a wild reputationit was believed that he was an atheist, kept mistresses, fought the police. Yet this reputation may well have been the deliberate disguise of a man whose true nature was not at all wild. It is possible that Marlowe was a secret agent for the Queen's Government, and that the enemies who killed him were the country's enemies, but the mystery of his short life remains.

Marlowe's reputation as a dramatist rests on five playsTamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The jew of Malta, Edward II, and Dido, Queen of Carthage. In this handful of plays appears the first true voice of the Renaissance, of the period of new learning, new freedom, new enterprise, of the period of worship of Man rather than of God.

Marlowe sums up the New Age. The old restrictions of the Church and the limitations on knowledge have been destroyed; the world is opening up and the ships are sailing to new lands; wealth is being amassed; the great national aggressors are rising. But, above all, it is the spirit of human freedom, of limitless human power and enterprise that Marlowe's plays convey.

Fau.
Ah Faustus,
Now hast thou but one bare hower to liue,
And then thou must be damnd perpetually:
Stand stil you euer moouing spheres of heauen,
That time may cease, and midnight neuer come:
Faire Natures eie, rise, rise againe, and make
Perpetuall day, or let this houre be but a yeere,
A moneth, a weeke, a naturall day,
That Faustus may repent, and saue his soule,
O lente lente curite noctis equi:
The starres mooue stir, time runs, the clocke wil strike,
The diuel wil come, and Faustus must be damnd.
O Ile leape vp to my God: who pulles me downe?
See see where Christs blood streames in the firmament,
One drop would saue my soule, halfe a drop, ah my Christ,

The clocke striketh twelue.
O it strikes, it strikes, now body turne to ayre,
Or Lucifer wil beare thee quicke to hel: Thunder and lightning.

Oh soule, be changde into little water drops,
And fal into the Ocean, nere be found:
My God, my God, looke not so fierce on me: Enter diuels.

Adders, and Serpents, let me breathe a while:
Vgly hell gape not, come not Lucifer,
Ile burne my bookes, ah Mephastophilis. Exeunt
Enter Chorus
Cut is the branch that might haue growne ful straight,
And burned is Apolloes Laurel bough,
That sometime grew within this learned man:
Faustus is gone, regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise,
Onley to wonder at vnlawful things,
whose deepenesse doth intise such forward wits,
To practice more than heaunly power permits. Exit.
------------------------------------------------------------

Faustus
Ah Faustus,
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damned 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 damned.
O, I'll leap up to my God: who pulls me down?
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament;
One drop would save my soule, half a drop, ah, my Christ!
..
The clock striketh 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 changed into little water drops,
And fall into the ocean, ne'er be found.
My God, my God, look not so fierce on me; Enter Devils.

Adders, and serpents, let me breathe a while;
Ugly hell gape not, come not Lucifer;
I'll burn my books! Ah, Mephistophilis. Exeunt

Enter Chorus.
Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough,
That sometime grew within this learned man.
Faustus is gone; regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise,
Only to wonder at unlawful things,
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits,
To practice more than heavenly power permits. Exit.




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