The Project Gutenberg eBook of Faustus

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Title: Faustus

Author: Friedrich Maximilian Klinger

Translator: George Borrow

Release date: May 14, 2008 [eBook #25468]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1864 W. Kent and Co. edition by David Price


Transcribed from the 1864 W. Kent and Co. edition by David Price, email



Translated from the German.

      “Speed thee, speed thee,
      Liberty lead thee,
Many this night shall hearken and heed thee.
      Far abroad,
Who shall appal thee!
Javal, or devil, or what else we call thee.”


p. iilondon:
robson and levey, printers, great new street,
fetter lane.


The publication of the present volume may at first sight appear to require some brief explanation from the Translator, inasmuch as the character of the incidents may justify such an expectation on the part of the reader.  It is therefore necessary to state, that although strange scenes of vice and crime are here exhibited, it is in the hope that they may serve as beacons, to guide the ignorant and unwary from the shoals on which they might otherwise be wrecked.

The work, when considered as a whole, is strictly moral.  The Catholic priest is not praised for burning his fellow-creature at an auto-da-fé, and for wallowing in licentiousness; nor is the Calvinist commended for his unrelenting malignity to all those whose tenets are different from his own, and for crying down the most innocent pleasures and relaxations which a bountiful and just God has been pleased to place within the reach of his earthly children.

The tyrant and the oppressor of mankind will here find himself depicted in his proper colours.

Neither will the champions of freedom pass the fiery ordeal with feet unseared; since a glorious p. ivspecimen of what they all are will be found among the following pages.  Ye who with ever-open mouths are constantly clamouring at whatever is established, whether it be beneficial to the human race or injurious, will here find the motives for your conduct pointed out and held up to contempt and execration.

But, above all, this work contains the following highly useful advice:

Let every one bear his lot with patience, and not seek, at the expense of his repose, to penetrate into those secrets which the spirit of man, while dressed in the garb of mortality, cannot and must not unveil.  Let every one bridle those emotions which the strange and frequently revolting phenomena of the moral world may cause to arise in his bosom, and beware of deciding upon them; for He alone who has power to check or permit them, can know how and why they happen, whither they tend, and what will be their ultimate consequence.  To the mind of man all is dark; he is an enigma to himself: let him live, therefore, in the hope of once seeing clearly; and happy indeed is he who in this manner passes his days.

The present translation, it should be added, has been executed with as much fidelity to the original as the difference of the two languages, and other considerations, would allow.



Ambitious Character of Faustus—His Discovery of Printing—Journey to Frankfort—The Devil, the White Nun, and Father Gebhardt of Mayence—Faustus offers his Bible to the Council of Frankfort—His first Interview with a Spirit—The Infernal Banquet—Speech of Satan—Allegorical Entertainments of Leviathan—Faustus’s Dialogue with the Devil



Leviathan meets Faustus at an Inn at Frankfort—Assembling of the Council, and Discussion on Faustus’s Bible—Corporation Squabbles—Leviathan and Faustus invited to a grand Civic Entertainment—Faustus presents his Bible to the City—His Introduction to the Mayoress—Knighthood of the Mayor—The Devil’s Revenge on the Corrupt Corporation—The Hermit of Homburg—A Lesson to Misanthropists—The Hermit and the lovely Pilgrim—His Hut burnt by Leviathan, and he perishes in the Flames—Faustus returns to his Wife and Family at Mayence—Espouses the Cause of a despairing Client, and corrupts the Judge—Dispute about the Nun Clara—Leviathan’s Revenge on the avaricious Judge—Faustus’s Adventure with Clara—Takes leave of his Family—Rescues a Youth from Drowning



The Devil and Faustus continue their Journey on the Banks of the Fulda—The oppressive Prince-Bishop—Faustus’s Interview with the Bishop—Clerical Luxury—Case of Dr. Robertus, the Protector of the People—Faustus espouses his Cause, and liberates the “Patriot”—The Devil and Faustus visit the Court of the Prince of ---.—The betrayed Minister and his Daughter—The Devil and Faustus imprisoned—The Fiend suffocates the Prince, and, with Faustus, resumes his Journey—The Wildgrave and burning Village—The infatuated Monk—School of Physiognomy—Faustus and the Virgin Student—The Devil’s Peep-show, and its Talismanic Influence—Portrait of the Fiend



France in the Reign of Louis XI.—Interview of the Devil and Faustus with Father Vesois—Loves of Madame de Monserau—Faustus and the French Widow—The Fatal Supper—Arrival of Faustus and the Devil at Paris—Execution of the Duke of Nemours—Faustus and the avaricious Father—Infanticide recommended—Horrible Death of the Miser, and Ruin of his Daughter—Trial of a humane Surgeon, and ungrateful Murderer—Anatomical Cruelties—Prisons of Paris—Bishop of Verdun’s Cages—Perillus, the Tyrant Phalaris, and the Brazen Bull—Atrocious Character of Louis XI.—The Hermit of Calabria—Faustus and the Devil visit England—Cruelties of Richard, Duke of Gloucester—The Devil’s Portraiture of the English Character—Arrival of Faustus and the Fiend at Milan—Murder of the Duke p. viiGaleas Sforza—Florence—Spanish Auto-da-Fé—Pope Alexander VI.—Combat of a Papal General with one of his Officers for a White Goat—Machinations of the Pope—Ancient and Modern Rome, and her Abominations—Cardinal Cæsar Borgia—Licentious Entertainments at the Vatican—The Pope and his Illegitimates—Cæsar Borgia and Michelotto—Stratagem to depose his Brother Francisco—Murder of the latter—Faustus and the lovely Lucretia—Vanity of Human Philosophy, and Sophistry of its Professors—Atrocious Plots and Excesses of Pope Alexander—His Sale of Indulgences—Amended Catalogue, with increased Prices—Murder of Alphonso of Arragon—Cæsar Borgia’s Letter to the Pope—Cardinal Orsini—Borgia’s Triumphal Entry into Rome—Marriage of Lucretia—Gross Festivities—The Devil’s Apostrophe thereon—Descent of the Pope into Hell, and Death of Cæsar Borgia



Faustus’s Consolation for his Crimes—Philosophy of Voltaire—Faustus’s portentous Dream—Apparition of his Father—Baseness and Ingratitude of Man—Flight of the Devil and Faustus to Mayence—Death of his Son, and Destruction of his Family—Retrospect of his criminal Career—Accursed Destiny of Faustus, and Triumph of the Devil—Descent of Faustus into Hell



Faustus, having long struggled with the shadows of Theology, the bubbles of Metaphysics, and the ignes-fatui of Morality, without being able to bring his mind to a firm conviction, at length cast himself into the dark fields of Magic, in the hope of forcing from Nature what she had so obstinately withheld from him.  His first attainment was the remarkable invention of Printing; but his second was horrible.  He discovered, almost fortuitously, the dreadful formula by which devils are called out of hell, and made subservient to the will of man.  But as yet he had not exerted his power, out of love to his immortal soul, for whose welfare p. 2every Christian is so anxious.  At this period he was in the full bloom of manhood.  Nature had favoured him in his person, and had given him a noble and expressive countenance.  Here was enough to bespeak his happiness in the world; but she superadded pride and untamable impetuosity of mind, which displayed itself in deep determination of purpose, and in the constant workings of a heated imagination, which was never satisfied with the present, but affected to discover the emptiness and insufficiency of the acquired object, even in the zest of its enjoyment.

Faustus soon lost the path by which moderation leads frail mortals to the abode of true happiness.  He soon felt the narrow limits of humanity, and endeavoured to burst their bonds.  By what he had learnt and believed in his youth, he entertained a high opinion of the capacity and moral worth of man; and, in comparing himself with others, he naturally laid the greatest part of the sum-total to his own account.  Here were fine materials for greatness and glory: but true greatness and true glory generally fly from him who is p. 3on the point of attaining them, just before he can separate their fine pure forms from the mist and vapour which delusion has shed round them.  It appeared to Faustus that, in his situation, the nearest and most convenient way to honour and reputation would be the sciences; yet scarcely had he tasted their enchantment when his soul became inflamed with an ardent passion after truth.  Every one who is acquainted with these sirens, and has heard their deceitful song, must know that, provided he does not make a mere trade of them, he must infallibly miss his aim, from the necessity of assuaging the burning thirst with which they inspire him.  Faustus, after he had for a long time groped about in the labyrinth, found that his earnings were doubt; displeasure at the short-sightedness of man; and discontent and murmuring against the Being who had formed him.  He might still have been comparatively happy had he had only these feelings to combat: but when the perusal of the sages and the poets awakened a thousand new wants in his soul, and his now winged and artificial imagination conjured p. 4up before his eyes the many intoxicating enjoyments which gold and reputation could only procure him, his blood ran like fire through his veins, and all his faculties were soon swallowed up by this sensation.

By the discovery of Printing, Faustus thought he had at length opened the door to riches, honour, and enjoyment.  He exerted himself to the utmost, in order to bring the art to perfection, and he now laid his discovery before mankind; but their lukewarmness quickly convinced him that, although the greatest inventor of his age, he and his family would soon perish with hunger unless his genius continually displayed itself in some new forms.  Hurled from the pinnacle of hope, oppressed by heavy debts,—which he had incurred by generosity and extravagant living, and by his becoming security for false friends,—he now surveyed the world through a gloomy medium.  His domestic ties, when he no longer knew how to support his family, became an intolerable burden.  He began to think that there was a malign influence in the distribution of men’s fortunes: or p. 5how did it happen that the noble and intellectual man was every where oppressed, neglected, and in misery; whilst the knave and the fool were rich, prosperous, and honoured in life?

In this melancholy state of mind Faustus wandered from Mayence to Frankfort, intending to sell one of his printed Latin Bibles to the magistracy, and then to return and buy with the produce food for his hungry children.  He had been able to accomplish nothing in his native city, because at that time the Archbishop was at war with the whole Chapter, and all Mayence found itself in the greatest confusion.  The cause was as follows: a Dominican monk had dreamt that he passed the night with his penitent, the lovely Clara, who was a white nun, and a niece of the Archbishop.  In the morning it was his turn to read mass; he did so, and, unabsolved from the night of sin, received the host in his profane hands.  At eve-tide, after a cup or two of Rhenish, he related his dream to a young novice.  The dream tickled the imagination of the novice: he told it with some additions to a monk; and in p. 6this manner the story, embellished with horrors and licentiousness, ran through the convent, until it came to the ears of the Prior himself.  This holy man, who hated Father Gebhardt on account of his intimacy with the most respectable houses, was shocked at the scandalousness of the affair, which he considered as a profanation of the holy sacrament; and, refusing to decide on such a weighty matter, he referred it to the Archbishop.  The Archbishop, wisely concluding that whatever sinful man wishes or thinks by day he dreams of by night, denounced the ban of the Church against the monk.  The Chapter, whose hatred to an Archbishop always increases the longer he lives, and gladly seizes every opportunity to annoy him, took Father Gerhardt under its protection, and opposed the ban on these grounds: “It is well known that the Devil tempted St. Anthony with the most licentious representations and voluptuous enticements; and if the Devil dared to act so with a saint, whose equal was not to be found in the calendar, what should prevent him from playing off his pranks with a Dominican?  We must therefore p. 7advise the monk to follow the example of the holy Anthony, and, like him, to oppose the temptations of the fiend with the weapons of prayer and fasting.  It is, however, much to be lamented, that Satan should have so little respect for the Archbishop as to make the instrument of his wiles assume the figure of one of his reverence’s family.”  The Chapter conducted itself in this case exactly in the same manner as hereditary princes do whose fathers live too long.  But what served more completely to confuse the case was a report from the nunnery.  The nuns had assembled in the refectory, and were busied in dressing up a Madonna for the next festival, hoping to surpass by its magnificence their rivals the black nuns, when suddenly the old porteress entered, told the licentious story, and added, that the Dominican, whose name she had forgot, would certainly be burnt alive, for that the Chapter had even then assembled for the purpose of trying him.  Whilst the porteress was relating the tale with its various circumstances, the faces of the young nuns were violently flushed, and Sin, who never loses an opportunity p. 8of corrupting innocent hearts, shot into their blood, and hastily pictured the dangerous scene to their imaginations.  Fury and consternation, in the mean time, deformed the features of the old ones.  The abbess trembled and leaned on her staff, while the spectacles fell from her face.  But when the porteress added, that it was the sister Clara whom the fiend had brought to the Dominican in his dream, a dreadful shriek filled the whole hall.  Clara alone remained tranquil, and when the uproar had ceased, she said, smiling: “Dear sisters, why do you shriek so fearfully?  I myself dreamt that I passed the night with Father Gebhardt, my confessor; and if it was the work of the fiend” (here she and all the rest made the sign of the cross), “why, we must give him the discipline.”  “The Father Gebhardt!” cried the porteress; “now, all ye saints and angels, that is the very person who dreamt of you; that is he whom they are about to burn.”  The porteress having thus expressed herself, this second version of the dream was immediately circulated through the city.  The Madonna was allowed to remain p. 9naked, for the sisters cared now very little if the black nuns bore away the palm.  The abbess did all in her power to spread the news abroad, the housekeeper followed her example, the porteress harangued an audience beneath the gateway, and Clara candidly replied to the yet more candid questions of her companions.  The last trumpet could not have diffused in Mayence more terror and confusion than did this extraordinary tale.

No sooner did the Dominican prior hear of this accident than he ran to the assembled Chapter, and gave, by his information, a new turn to the affair.  The Archbishop would willingly have suppressed the whole business; but it was now time for the Chapter to take it up, and all the canons were unanimously of opinion, that so strange a circumstance ought to be communicated to the Holy Father at Rome.  They now became infuriated, and nothing but the midday bell had power to separate them.  From that moment, all Mayence, clergy and laity, divided into two parties; and for many years nothing was heard, spoken, or dreamt of, but the Devil, the white nun, and Father p. 10Gebhardt.  The matter was argued from the pulpit of every sect: mountebanks, Capuchins, and dog-doctors, made it their theme; while the lawyers, after having taken the depositions of the nun and the father, and confronted them with each other, wrote folio volumes concerning the sinful and unsinful chances of the dream.  Was this a time for Faustus and his discoveries to succeed?

In Frankfort, which is at the present day the asylum of science, Faustus, however, hoped for better fortune.  He offered his Bible to the reverend Town Council for two hundred gold guilders; but, as a large sum had just been expended in purchasing five hogsheads of prime Rhenish for the council cellar, his demand came rather unseasonably.  He paid his court to the town-clerk, to the speaker, and to the senators,—from the proud patrician to the yet prouder head of the shoemaker guild.  He was promised by all favour, protection, and assistance.

At length he attached himself to the then presiding mayor, from whom he for a long time gained nothing; but, as if in recompense, the lady-mayoress p. 11kindled a violent passion in his susceptible heart.  One evening the mayor assured him that the council, on their next day of meeting, would come to a determination, by virtue of which the assembled members would most probably pay down the sum for the Bible.  Faustus replied, that his children might very possibly die of hunger before so enlightened an assembly had decided; and, maddened with despair, he now returned to his solitary apartment.  In this moment he suddenly recollected his magic formula.  The thought of running some bold risk, and of purchasing independence of man by an alliance with the Devil, rushed more vividly than ever through his brain.  Yet the idea terrified him.  With hasty steps, furious gestures, and fearful cries, he strode up and down the chamber, struggling with his rebellious spirit, which urged him to penetrate the surrounding darkness; still his soul shuddered and was unresolved.  The clock struck eleven from the neighbouring tower.  Black night hung about the earth.  The north-wind howled, and clouds obscured the face of the full p. 12moon.  Nature now appeared in a second chaos.  A night more suited to bewilder an excited imagination could not be conceived.  Yet was the beam of his mind balanced.  In one scale hung religion and its firm supporter—the hope of immortality; while thirst for independence and knowledge, pride, pleasure, malevolence, and bitterness filled the other.

At length Faustus, according to the custom of magic, drew the horrible circle which was for ever to remove him from the providential care of the Omnipotent, and from the sweet ties of humanity.  His eyes sparkled, his heart beat louder, and his yellow tresses stood erect on his head.  At this moment he thought he saw his aged father and his blooming wife and children wring their hands in despair, and fall down upon their knees to pray for him to that Being whom he was about to renounce.  “It is their misery, it is their situation, that maddens me,” he wildly shrieked, and stamped on the ground with his foot.  He now became enraged at the weakness of his heart, and advanced towards the circle; the storm rattled p. 13against the windows, the foundation of the house trembled: a noble angelic figure appeared before him, exclaiming, “Stay, Faustus!” and the following colloquy ensued:

Faustus.  Who art thou, that disturbest my daring work?

Figure.  I am the Genius of Man, and will save thee, if thou art to be saved.

Faustus.  What canst thou give me to assuage my thirst for knowledge, and my desire for freedom and enjoyment?

Figure.  Humility, resignation in suffering, content, and a proper estimation of thyself; above all, an easy death, and light in the world to come.

Faustus.  Begone, vision of my heated fancy!  I know thee by the cunning with which thou wouldst deceive the wretches whom thou hast made subservient to power.  Begone, and hover around the brows of the beggar, of the monk, of the debased slave, and of all those who have their hearts fettered by unnatural bonds; and who keep their senses locked up, in order to escape from the claws of despair.  The powers of my soul require p. 14room, and let Him who has given me it answer for its workings.

“Farewell, unhappy man,” sighed the Genius, and disappeared.

Faustus cried, “Am I to be frightened on the very brink of hell by nursery-tales?  But they shall not prevent me from piercing the darkness; I will know what the gloomy curtain conceals, which a tyrannical hand has drawn before our eyes.  And who is to blame, I repeat?  Was it I that formed myself so that trifling exertion exhausts my strength?  Did I plant in my bosom the seeds of passion?  Did I place there that impulse for aggrandisement which never lets me rest?  Did I fashion my soul, so that it will not submit, and will not bear contempt?  Perhaps I am like the earthen pot, which, formed by a strange hand, is broken into pieces, because it does not hit the fancy of the maker, and because it does not answer the use for which it appears to have been designed.  Alas! I am a mere vessel; yet wherefore then this struggle with my destiny, which would fetter my noblest resolves?  And was mind p. 15given for no purpose?  Surely not!  The bull trusts in his horns, and the stag in his swiftness to escape from the hunter; and is that which so eminently distinguishes man less his own?  Mind I possess; I employed it for the benefit of my fellow-men, and neglect was my reward; perhaps the devils will respect it more.”

Here he sprung furiously into the circle; while the lamentations of his wife, father, and children seemed to echo, in the deep tones of despair, “Lost! for ever lost!”

Satan, ruler of hell, had, by the hoarse sound of his trumpets, which echoed even to the glowing sides of the sun, announced to all the fallen spirits dispersed through the upper and lower world, that he intended on this day to give a great festival.  The spirits assembled at the mighty call.  Even his envoys at the papal stool, and at the different courts of Europe, forsook their posts; for the invitation led them to expect something great and important.

Already the monstrous vaults of hell resounded with the wild cries of the fiendish populace, while p. 16myriads seated themselves upon the scorched ground.  The princes then stepped forth, and commanded silence to the multitude, whilst Satan heard the intelligence brought by his envoys from the upper world.  The devils obeyed, and a death-like stillness prevailed amid the thick, misty darkness, interrupted only by the groans of the damned.  In the mean time the slaves of the fiends—shades who are neither worthy of happiness nor damnation—prepared the immeasurable tables for the banquet; and they deserved to be under the thraldom of such a task.  When they were yet in flesh and blood, and ate the fruits of the earth, they were of that equivocal kind, who seem the friends of all men and yet are the friends of none; whose tongues continually prattle of the noble precepts of virtue, which they feel not in their hearts; who only abstain from evil because it is accompanied by danger, and from doing good because it requires courage and self-denial; who traffic with religion, and, like avaricious Jews, lay out their capital at interest, for the purpose of securing a comfortable berth for their miserable souls; and p. 17who worship God from fear, and tremble before Him like slaves.

The devils, who, to say the truth, are no better masters than the Polish, Livonian, and Hungarian nobility, drove them about in hell at a furious rate.  Others were sweating in the infernal kitchen, and cooking the meal for their haughty lords—an unpleasant service for a soul which had once supported its own human body by eating and drinking.  For although the devils originally neither ate nor drank, yet they had learnt from men the custom of celebrating every solemnity by means of the glass and platter; and on such occasions they feast on souls.  The general of each legion (for hell is arranged on a military footing, and in this respect resembles every despotic government, or rather every despotic government in this respect resembles hell) chooses a certain number of damned souls, as food for his subalterns.  These are delivered over to the slaves, who stew, broil, and baste them with infernal sauce.  It frequently happens that these wretches have to stick their own wives, daughters, fathers, sons, p. 18or brothers upon the spits, and to keep up the purgatorial fire beneath them; a truly horrible and tragic employment, rendered yet more so, since their overseer, a capricious devil, like all understrappers of great lords, stands behind them with a whip in order to expedite the work.  On the present occasion two popes, a conqueror, a celebrated philosopher, and a recently canonised saint, were intended to feast the palates of Satan, his viziers, and his favourites.  Abundance of fresh victuals had just arrived for the common people.  The pope had a little time before set by the ears two armies of French, Italians, Spaniards, and Germans, in order to fish up in the tumult certain districts, to add to the patrimony of St. Peter.  They fought like heroes, and fell by thousands into the infernal regions.  What happiness would it be for the souls intended for these devilish repasts, if they were thereby to find an end to their torments!  But no sooner are they swallowed, digested, and returned piecemeal into the pools of hell than they are regenerated, and arise to become the patients of new suffering.

p. 19While these victims were writhing on the spits, the cellarers and butlers, slaves of the above-mentioned order, decked out the sideboards.  The flasks were filled with tears of hypocrites, of would-be saints, of pretenders to sensibility, and of persons who repent from weakness of soul; with tears which envy squeezes out on hearing of another’s prosperity; with tears of egotists who weep for joy because they themselves have escaped the misfortunes by which others are overwhelmed; and of sons who weep over the palls of their harsh and avaricious fathers.  The flasks on the supper-table were filled with the tears of priests, who, like actors, play a part in the pulpit, in order to move their auditors; and to give the liquor a sharper flavour, it was mingled with tears of courtesans, who walk the streets weeping for hunger, until some inexperienced youth barters his dollar with them for sin.  Reserved for Satan and his princes stood, on various sideboards, flasks of the noblest drink.  This was heady and foaming, being a mixture of the tears of monarchs, who weep for the misery of their subjects, whilst they issue p. 20commands only calculated to perpetuate it; of the tears of maidens who weep for the loss of their chastity with streaming eyes; and of the tears of favourites who have fallen into disgrace, and now weep because they can no longer rob and oppress under the protection of their masters.

No sooner had the slaves decked the table, and stationed themselves behind the chairs of their masters, than the grandees poured forth from the chambers of Satan.  The furies went foremost; the body-guards followed them, and were succeeded by the chamberlains.  Then came pages bearing lighted torches, woven out of the souls of monks who entrap wives, and press round the deathbed of husbands to force them to leave their property to the Church, without reflecting that their own illegitimate spawn must beg for bread through the land.  Then came Satan himself, closely followed by the remaining nobility of his court, according to their rank and favour.  The devils bowed their heads in reverence, the pages placed the torches upon the table of their sovereign; while Satan, with a triumphant air, p. 21mounted his high throne, and delivered the following speech:

“Princes, potentates, immortal spirits, welcome! thrice welcome!  Rapturous emotions glow through me when I cast my eyes along your squadrons of countless heroes.  We are yet what we were when, for the first time, we awoke in this pool from the stunning consequences of our fall, and for the first time assembled here.  Only one feeling still rules,—unanimity alone maintains her sway, and in this place only do all devote themselves to the same end.  He who has the happiness of commanding you may easily forget all other glory.  I own we have suffered, and still suffer, much, especially since the full exercise of our powers is restrained.  But in the feeling of the vengeance which we take on the sons of dust,—in the contemplation of their madness and crimes, by which they continually thwart the purposes of their being,—lies a recompense for our suffering.  Welcome, thrice welcome, all ye whom this sentiment inflames.

“Hear now the occasion of the festival which p. 22I intend this day to celebrate with you.  Faustus, a daring mortal, who, like us, is at war with the Eternal, and who, through the strength of his spirit, may at some future period be deemed worthy to dwell along with us here, has discovered the art of multiplying, on an easy principle, a thousand and a thousandfold, those things denominated books,—those dangerous toys of men,—those vehicles of delusion, of error, of lies, and of horror,—those sources of pride and of painful doubt.  Until now they have been too costly, and only in the hands of the rich, whom they filled with fancies, and from whom they chased that humility which God had for their happiness infused into their hearts.  Triumph!  Soon will the poison of knowledge and inquiry be communicated to all classes.  New cravings, new wants, will arise; and I doubt whether my enormous kingdom will be able to contain all those who will destroy themselves by this delicious poison.  But this were only a slight victory: my eye pierces deeper into that distant period, which is to us no more than an hour is to man.  Soon will cavillers p. 23and haters of the established Church spread about like the plague: pretended reformers of heaven and earth will arise, and their doctrines, from the facility of communication, will penetrate even into the hut of the beggar.  They will think to do good, and to purify the object of their hope from falsehood.  But, if men begin well, how long do they continue to act so!  Sin is not more inseparable from them than are ill consequences from their noblest pursuits.  The well-beloved people of God, whom he endeavoured to snatch from evil by the sacrifice of his only Son, will quarrel about tenets which no one understands, and will tear each other to pieces like wild-beasts.  Horrible atrocities, surpassing all the abominations perpetrated by men since they first sprung into existence, will desolate unhappy Europe.  My hopes appear to you too bold,—I read it in your doubting countenances; but listen to me whilst I explain.  Religious disagreements will give rise to these frenzies.  Then first will Fanaticism, the wild son of Hatred and Superstition, untie all the bonds of nature and humanity.  The father will murder the son, and p. 24the son the father; kings will joyfully dip their fingers in the blood of their subjects, and place the sword in the hands of bigots, in order that they may slaughter their brothers by thousands, because their opinions are different.  Then will the water of the rivers turn into streams of blood, and the shrieks of the murdered will shake hell to its very centre.  We shall see wretches come down to us stained with crimes for which we have had hitherto neither names nor punishments.  Already do I see them attack the papal chair, which keeps together the fragile fabric through treachery and deceit, whilst it undermines itself through crime and luxury.  The great props of the religion which we dread give way; and, if the sinking structure be not sustained by means of new miracles, it will disappear from the face of the earth, and we shall once more shine in the temples as worshiped divinities.  Where will the spirit of man stop, when he has once undertaken to illumine that which he formerly honoured as a mystery?  He will dance on the grave of the tyrant, at whose frown he the day before trembled.  He p. 25will break to pieces the altar on which he lately sacrificed, if he once endeavour to find the way to heaven by his own wisdom.  Will the Creator take home to himself a human being, who is not a million times more allied to us than to him?  Man abuses every thing, even the strength of his soul as well as of his body.  He abuses all that he sees, hears, feels, or thinks; and all with which he trifles, or with which he is seriously engaged.  Not content with deforming whatever he can seize with his hands, he soars upon the wings of imagination into worlds to him unknown, and arrays them in ideal deformity.  Even freedom, the noblest of his treasures, to obtain which he has shed rivers of blood, he readily sells for gold and pleasure, before he has tasted its sweets.  Incapable of good, he yet trembles at evil, he heaps horror upon horror to escape it, and then destroys his own handiwork.

“After the bloodshed of war, mankind, wearied with slaughter, will take a few moments’ repose, and then their venomous hatred will be displayed in petty and private bickerings.  Some, p. 26indeed, will every now and then raise piles of wood and fagot, and burn those alive who disagree with them in religion; others will attempt the solution of inexplicable riddles; and those born for darkness will dare to struggle for light; their imaginations will become inflamed, and their desires insatiable.  Truth, simplicity, and religion will be trodden under foot, for the sake of writing a book.  Yes, yes, book-writing will become a universal employment, by which fools and men of genius will alike seek fame and emolument; caring very little whether they confuse the heads of their fellow-creatures, and hurl firebrands into the hearts of the innocent.  The heaven, the earth, the secret strength of nature, the dark causes of her phenomena, the power which rules the stars and bowls the comets through space,—every thing visible and invisible,—they will wish to handle, measure, and dive into.  They will invent, for all that is incomprehensible, words and numbers; and heap system upon system, till they have brought deeper darkness upon the earth, through which doubt, like the fen-fire, will only shine to p. 27allure the wanderer into the morass.  Only then will they think to see clearly, and then I expect them.  After they have shovelled away religion, and are forced, out of the remains, to patch together a new and monstrous mixture of human wisdom and superstition, then I expect them.  And then open wide the gates of hell, that the race of man may enter.  The first step is already taken; the second is near.  But this must be preceded by a horrible revolution upon the face of the earth.  Soon will the inhabitants of the old world emigrate, for the purpose of discovering new, and to them unknown, regions of the globe.  They will there attack and slaughter millions, to possess themselves of that gold which the innocents value not.  They will fill this new world with all their crimes, and then return with materials for corrupting even the old one.  Thus will nations become our prey, whom till now innocence and ignorance have protected from us.  And thus shall we, by the assistance of the favourites of heaven, triumph.

“This, then, O potentates! is what I wished p. 28to communicate to you; and now rejoice with me over this mighty day, and enjoy in anticipation the victory which I, who know men, promise you.  Long live Faustus!”

With horrible uproar, which made the axis of the earth tremble, and the bones of the dead rattle in their coffins, the devils shouted, “Long live Faustus!”  “Long live the corrupter of the sons of dust!”  Hereupon the chief nobility of the kingdom were permitted to kiss the hand of his Satanic majesty.

The triumphant devils now sat down to table, and fell upon the prepared meal.  The goblets clattered, the souls were craunched between their iron teeth; and they drank the health of Satan, of Faustus, of the clergy, of the tyrants of the earth, and of future and living authors, amidst the clang of hellish artillery.  In order to render the banquet more magnificent, the masters of the revels went to the pools, drew out the burning souls, and chased them over the tables, to illumine the gloomy scene; while they ran behind the wretches with poisoned whips, forcing them to p. 29caper; and sparks ascended to the blackened roofs, crackling like wheat-sheaves ignited by lightning in an autumn storm.  That the devils might have music to their meat, others hastened to the pools, and poured molten metal amid the flames, so that the damned howled and cursed in grisly despair.  If priests now could, instead of their cold and fruitless sermons about penitence, give a specimen upon earth of these horrid cries, sinners would quickly turn a deaf ear to the voluptuous warblings of castrati, and join in some pious psalm: but, alas, hell is distant, and pleasure close at hand.  After the banquet a great stage was erected, and various plays were performed, founded on the heroic deeds of Satan; for example, the Fall of Man, the Betrayal of Judas Iscariot, &c.

The performance was then suddenly changed to an allegorical ballet.  The scene was a wild and dreary spot.  In a dark cavern sat Metaphysics, in the shape of an Egyptian mummy, whose eyes were fixed upon five glittering words, which flitted continually backwards and forwards, and at each change had a different import.  The p. 30mummy ceased not to follow them with its stony eyes; while in a corner stood a little roguish devil, who incessantly blew bubbles of air into its face.  Pride, the amanuensis of Metaphysics, gathered the bubbles up as they fell, pressed the air out, and kneaded them into hypotheses.  The mummy was clothed in an Egyptian waistcoat, embroidered with mystic characters.  Over this it wore a Grecian mantle, which ought to have concealed the characters, but was much too short and too narrow for that purpose.  Its legs, thighs, and body, were cased in long loose drawers, which did not, however, entirely conceal its nakedness.  A huge doctorial hat covered its bald head, which was marked with the scratches worn by its long nails in provoking deep reflection.  Its shoes were made after the European fashion, and sprinkled with the finest dust of the schools and universities.  After it had gazed a considerable time on the moving words, without being able to understand them, its attendant, Pride, gave the wink to Delusion, who was walking near.  He seized a wooden trumpet, and sounded a dance.  No p. 31sooner did the mummy hear the noise than it took Pride by the hand, and danced about with antic gambols; but its thin withered legs could not bear this long, and it soon sunk breathless into its former posture.

Then came forward Morality, a fine female form, hooded in a veil, which, chameleon-like, sported all colours.  She held Virtue and Vice by the hands, and danced a trio with them.  For music, a naked savage played upon an oaten pipe, a European philosopher scraped the fiddle, while an Asiatic beat the drum; and although these contradictory tones would have distracted an harmonious ear, yet the dancers did not once lose the step,—so well had they learnt their parts.  When the maiden gave Vice her hand, she coquetted and languished significantly before him; but when she gave it to Virtue, she moved along with the modest gait of a matron.  After the dance, she reposed upon a thin, transparent, and beautifully-painted cloud, which her admirers had woven out of various shreds and remnants.

Next appeared nude Poetry: she danced with p. 32Sensuality a characteristic dance, to which Imagination played the flute d’amour.

History then advanced upon the stage.  Before her went Fame, with a long brazen trumpet.  She herself was hung round with stories of murders, poisonings, perjuries, conspiracies, and other horrors.  Behind her panted, beneath a prodigious load of chronicles, diplomas, and documents, a strong nervous man, clothed in the German fashion.  She danced with Slavery, to the rustling of the stories with which she was hung.  Falsehood at length took the trumpet from the mouth of Fame, and tuned it to the dance; and Flattery led the figures.

Then appeared Medicine and Quackery, and were received with loud laughter: they danced a minuet, to which Death clinked the music with a purse of gold.

After them were seen Astrology, Cabala, Theosophy, and Mysticism.  They grasped each other by the hands, and whirled around in intricate figures; while Superstition, Delusion, and Fraud stood near, and blew the bagpipes.

p. 33These were followed by Jurisprudence, a sleek, rosy-faced dame, fed with fees, and hung about with commentaries—she coughed through a tedious solo; and Chicanery played the bass-viol.

Last of all entered Policy, in a triumphant car drawn by two mares, Weakness and Deceit.  On her right sat Theology, holding in one hand a sharp-pointed dagger, and in the other a blazing torch.  Policy herself wore a golden crown upon her head, and supported a sceptre over her right shoulder.  She descended from the car, and danced with Theology a pas-de-deux, to which Cunning, Ambition, and Tyranny played on soft tinkling instruments.  After she had finished the pas-de-deux, she made all the other figures a sign to begin a general dance.  They immediately obeyed, and sprang about in wild confusion.  All the before-mentioned musicians played on their instruments, and raised a din, only surpassed in loudness by the table-music of Satan.  Yet Contention soon insinuated herself among the unsuspicious dancers; and, animated by Zeal and Fury, they hastily snatched up weapons.  When Theology p. 34perceived that all embraced delightful Poetry, and that Morality wished to tear off her own veil, in order to cover her with it, she gave the latter a thrust with a poniard from behind, and singed the nude and tender Poetry with her flaming torch.  Both raised a dreadful shriek: Policy commanded silence, and Quackery hastened to bind up the wound of Morality, whilst Medicine cut a shred from her robe in payment.  Death stretched out his claw from under the mantle of thievish Medicine to seize Morality, but Policy gave him such a blow that he yelled aloud, and grinned most hideously.  Poetry was allowed to hop about, because she was naked, and had nothing to be despoiled of.  At length History took pity on her, and laid upon the burn a wet leaf from a sentimental romance.  Policy then tied them all behind her chariot, and drove away in triumph.

All hell expressed approbation of this last spectacle by reiterated clappings; and Satan embraced the devil Leviathan for having got up the entertainment, which flattered him exceedingly, it being one of his chief whims to be p. 35reckoned by the fiends as the inventor of the sciences.  He often said, in his pride, that he had begotten them in his intercourse with the daughters of earth, in order to divert men from the straightforward and noble feelings of their hearts; to remove from their eyes the mystic veil which constitutes their happiness; to make them acquainted with their state of restriction and weakness; and to fill them with painful doubt concerning their after destination.  “I taught them,” he would continue, “by their means, to reason, so that they might forget to practise virtue, and to worship.  We ourselves have defied Heaven with bold and open weapons, and I have at least shown them the way of skirmishing incessantly with the Eternal.”

The sensible reader will here pause, and admire the strict resemblance of all courts to each other: that is, how the great, through the service, toil, and sweat of the little, win the favour of their sovereigns, and bear away the rewards.  Leviathan gave himself out as the inventor of this allegorical ballet, and was on that account thanked p. 36and caressed, although the real author of it was the Bavarian Poet Laureate, who a short time before had died of hunger, and found his way to hell.  He prepared the ballet after the latest court-fashion, by the command of Prince Leviathan, who had at least talent enough to discover merit: the reason of his bitter allusions to the sciences was, probably, because they had so ill supported him; and perhaps Leviathan, who knew perfectly well what would please Satan, had given him a hint to that effect.  Be this as it may, the devil had the reward, and the thin shade of the Bavarian Laureate sat cowering behind a rock of the theatre, and observed with bitterest agony the marks of unmerited favour which Satan had lavished on Leviathan.

The half-intoxicated devils now became so clamorous as nearly to drown the howls of the damned; when suddenly the powerful voice of Faustus echoed from the upper world through hell.  He had at length surmounted every obstacle, and now summoned before him one of the first princes of the kingdom of darkness.

p. 37Satan started up in ecstasy: “It is Faustus who calls there.  No one else has the power; and no one else, if he had such power, would dare to knock so loudly against the iron portals.  Up! up! a man like him is worth a thousand of the scoundrels who come down hither every day by rote.”  Then, turning to the devil Leviathan, his favourite, he added, “I choose thee, the subtlest seducer, the deadliest hater of the human race, to ascend and purchase for me, by thy dangerous services, the soul of this desperado.  Only thou canst chain, satiate, and then, drive to despair, his craving heart and his proud and restless spirit.  Quick, quick! ascend! dispel the vapours of school-wisdom from his brain.  Consume with the fire of voluptuousness the noble feelings of his heart.  Disclose to him the treasures of nature, and hurry him into life, that he may the sooner grow tired of it.  Let him see evil arise from good, vice rewarded, justice and innocence trodden under foot, as is the custom of men.  Conduct him through the wild and terrible scenes of human life; let him mistake its aim, and lose among its p. 38horrors the guiding thread of virtue.  And when he stands separated from all natural and heavenly ties, in doubt concerning the noble destination of his race,—when even pleasure and enjoyment have left him, and the inward worm awakes,—then depict to him, with infernal bitterness, the consequences of his deeds and delusions, and unfold to him all their links, extending to remotest generations.  If despair should then seize him, hurl him down, and return in triumph to hell.”

Leviathan.  Wherefore, O Satan, dost thou impose this work upon me?  Thou knowest that I have long ago had enough of men, and of their playground,—the world.  What is to be made out of wretches who, as thou hast observed, have strength neither for good nor evil?  Gold, ambition, or pleasure, can quickly make rascals of them, who have for a short period pursued the phantom virtue; and if any one should move boldly at first along the path of vice, he will be driven back when half-way by the spectres of his crazy imagination.  If, indeed, it were a proud hot-headed Spaniard, a revengeful assassinating p. 39Italian, or even a wild lascivious Frenchman, whom you wanted me to catch—but a German, one of those thick-pated swine, who slavishly bend before rank, riches, and all the artificial distinctions of men, who believe that their lords and princes are made of superior materials to themselves, and have a right to dispose of them just as they please, either in fighting their own battles, or those of other sovereigns!  Hast thou heard from them for centuries a single word of rebellion against tyranny, or of shedding blood for the rights of man?  Not one of them has, as yet, come down to hell in glory; a proof that these people have no distinguished heads among them.  Those are to my mind who wish to clear up every thing, who fight with the adamantine shield of individuality, against which all prejudices, earthly or heavenly, are shivered.  Show me such a man who is willing to become great on earth at the expense of his soul, and I will immediately ascend.

Satan.  Shall devils, O Leviathan, be blinded by prejudice, like the sons of dust?  I tell thee, p. 40the man after our own heart is born under that district of heaven.  He is one of those who, endued by nature with hot and furious passions, rebel against all the old-established customs of society.  When such a spirit tears its way through these cobwebs, it resembles a flame, which, by its own fury, speedily consumes the materials which feed its lustre.  He is one of those visionary philosophers who strive to seize, through imagination, what is denied to cold understanding; and who, if they are unsuccessful, laugh at all knowledge, and make pleasure and enjoyment their gods.  Away, away, Leviathan! soon shall a fire break out in Germany which will spread through all Europe.  Already is the germ of that delusion springing up which shall endure for centuries.  What the German has once caught, he will not easily let go.

The commanding voice of Faustus now resounded for the second time.  Satan continued:

“Thou mayst know by this call that he is no trembler.  Hasten to him, for, if thou delayest, perhaps he may doubt the strength of his charms, and hell will lose the fruits of his temerity.  p. 41Truly, the fellow is such a genius, that I can almost overlook his origin.”

The devil Leviathan angrily replied: “I swear, by the hot and foul pool of the damned, that the rebel shall one day blaspheme, and curse this and the hour of his birth.”

He went away wrapt in a veil of smoke, and the fiends pursued him with loud huzzas.

Faustus stood within the magic circle, while his breast swelled with rage.  For the third time he repeated the dreadful formula, in a voice that resembled thunder.  The door suddenly flew open; a thick vapour hovered around the margin of the circle; he struck into it with his magic rod, and cried in triumph, “Unveil thyself, thou thing of darkness!”  The vapour dispersed, and Faustus saw a tall figure concealed beneath a red mantle.

Faustus.  Why this tedious disguise to one who wishes to see thee?  Discover thyself to him, who fears thee not in whatever shape thou mayst appear.

The Devil flung back his mantle, and stood in a daring and majestic attitude before the circle.  p. 42His fiery eyes sparkled from beneath their black brows, between which malice, hatred, fury, agony, and scorn had formed themselves in thick folds.  These furrows were sunk in a smooth, clear, high-arched forehead, which contrasted strangely with the fiendish marks between the eyes.  A finely-formed aquiline nose inclined towards a mouth which seemed to have been framed only for the enjoyment of immortal things.  He had the mien of a fallen angel, whose countenance was once illuminated by the Godhead, but which was now obscured by a gloomy veil.

Faustus (in surprise).  Is man, then, every where at home?  Who art thou?

Devil.  I am a prince of hell, and come because thy mighty call compels me.

Faustus.  A prince of hell under this mask; under the figure of a man!  I wished for a fiend, and not one of my own race.

Devil.  Perhaps, Faustus, we are most so when we resemble ye; at least, no mask suits us better.  Besides, is it not your custom to conceal what ye are, and to appear what ye are not?

p. 43Faustus.  Bitter enough, and yet true as bitter; for, if our outsides looked like our insides, we should not be very different from that which we imagine you to be; still, I expected to see thee more terrible, and even hoped that thy appearance would try the strength of my courage.

Devil.  Thus do ye always imagine things contrary to what they are.  Probably you expected a devil with horns and a cloven foot, as the cowardly age has depicted him.  But since you have ceased to worship the powers of nature, they have forsaken you, and you can no longer conceive any thing great.  If I were to stand before thee such as I really am,—my eyes threatening comets, my body a dark, hovering cloud, which shoots lightning from its gloom, in my hand the sword which I once brandished against the Avenger, and on my arm the ponderous shield which his thunder pierced,—thou wouldst become a heap of ashes in thy circle.

Faustus.  But then I should at least see something great.

Devil.  I might admire your courage; but p. 44you are never more ridiculous than in these would-be grand bursts of feeling, when you contrast the little you can embrace with the monstrous and great which are so high above you.  Thus may the worm measure the trampling elephant, and reckon his weight in the moment when it dies beneath his powerful foot.

Faustus.  Mocker! and what, then, is the spirit within me, which, if it once get fairly on the ladder, will mount from step to step into infinity?  What are its limits?

Devil.  The length of your own nose.  But, if you called me out of hell merely for this chit-chat, permit me to return for ever.  I have long known your inclination to prate about that which you do not understand.

Faustus.  Thy bitterness pleases me; it chimes in with my humour, and I should like to be better acquainted with thee.  What is thy name?

Devil.  Leviathan; which signifies all, for I can do all.

Faustus.  Hear the braggart!  Are devils, then, so boastful?

p. 45Devil.  ’Twas said merely to do honour to the shape in which thou seest me: but words are vain.  Set me to the proof.  What dost thou require?

Faustus.  Require?  What an indefinite word for a devil!  If thou art what thou seemest, anticipate desires, and gratify them ere they become wishes.

Devil.  The noble steed champs the bit in fury when curbed by a timid rider: how he then resembles the man who feels wings that could bear him into light, yet who is kept down in the dark abyss!  Faustus, thou art one of those fiery spirits who are not contented with the scanty meal of knowledge which Omniscience has set before them.  Great is thy strength, mighty is thy soul, and bold thy will; but the curse of finite reason lies upon thee, as it does upon all.  Faustus, thou art as great as man can be.

Faustus.  Masquerading fiend, return into hell; must thou, too, deceive us by flattery?

Devil.  Faustus, I am a spirit formed of flaming light; I saw the monstrous worlds arise out of nothing: thou art of dust, and of yesterday.  Do I flatter thee?

p. 46Faustus.  And yet must thou serve me if I command.

Devil.  For that I expect the approbation of hell, besides a reward; neither man nor devil will work for nothing.

Faustus.  What reward dost thou expect?

Devil.  To have that which animates thee; that which would make thee my equal if it had power.

Faustus.  I were well off then, truly; yet, adept as thou art, thou knowest little of men, if thou doubtest the strength of one who has set himself free from the bonds which nature has drawn so tightly round our hearts.  How gentle did they appear to me once, when the eye of my youth clothed men and the world in the pure colours of morning!  ’Tis gone; dark is my horizon; I stand on the gloomy verge of eternity, and have broken through the laws which keep the human race in harmony.

Devil.  What madness is this, Faustus?  Harmony! does she rule the confused dance of life?

p. 47Faustus.  Silence!  I feel it perhaps for the last time; and perhaps look back for the last time upon the pleasant, joyous days of youth.  How lamentable that man must awake from this dream of bliss; that the plant must shoot up, in order to wither away as a tree, or be felled!  Ha, demon, smile; I was once happy.  But let that be forgotten which can never be recalled.  Yes, we have only strength when we pursue wickedness.  But wherein am I great?  If I were so, should I want thee?  Go, cunning flatterer; thou wilt only make me feel my own littleness.

Devil.  He who is capable of feeling where the shoe pinches him, and has courage enough to tear away the cause of it, is at least great so far.  More I will not say, and woe to thee if I were to stimulate thee with words.

Faustus.  Observe me now, and tell me what my spirit requires, but what I dare not utter.

At these words Faustus pointed to himself, then towards the heavens, and moved his magic staff towards the east and the west.  He then continued, “Thou wast, when nothing was.”  He p. 48laid his hand upon his breast and forehead: “Here is darkness; let it be dispelled.”

Devil.  Desperate man! full well I know thy wish, and tremble, devil as I am, at thy boldness.

Faustus.  Wretched spirit! thou shalt not escape by this subterfuge.  In my burning thirst I would undertake to drink dry the deep sea, if I hoped to find at its bottom what I sought.  I am thine, or another’s: I yet stand where no devil can penetrate.  Faustus is yet his own master.

Devil.  Thou wast so a few minutes since.  But thy lot was cast when thou enteredst this circle.  Whoever has looked me in the face turns back in vain; and thus I leave thee.

Faustus.  Thou shalt speak, and remove the dark covering which conceals from me the world of spirits.  I will know the destination of man, and the cause of moral evil in the world; I will know wherefore virtue suffers, and vice is rewarded; I will know why we must purchase a moment’s enjoyment by years of agony and sorrow.  Thou shalt disclose to me the source of things, and the mysterious causes of the phenomena p. 49of the physical and moral world.  Thou shalt make Him, who has arranged all, comprehensible to me—yes! even if the vivid lightnings, which at this moment shoot from thy demon eyes, were to stretch me lifeless in this circle of damnation.  Dost thou think that I have summoned thee merely for pleasure and gold?  Any dastard may fill his belly, and satiate the desires of the flesh.  Thou tremblest!  Have I more courage than thyself?  What quaking devil has hell vomited out?  And thou callest thyself Leviathan, who canst do all!  Away, away! thou art no fiend, but a miserable thing like myself.

Devil.  Madman! thou hast not yet felt, as I have, the vindictiveness of the Avenger, the anticipation of which alone would make thee return to dust, even if thou didst bear in thy bosom the united strength of men from the first to the last sinner.  Urge me no farther.

Faustus.  I will, and am resolved.

Devil.  Thou inspirest me with reverence and pity.

Faustus.  Obedience is all I require.

p. 50Devil.  Go to war with him who has lighted up a torch within thee which will consume thee, if fear do not extinguish it.

Faustus.  I have done so, and in vain.  Obey!

Devil.  Insatiable man!  But know that a devil has his bounds too.  Since our fall, we have lost the idea of these sublime secrets, and forget even the language to express them.  The pure spirits of yonder world can alone sing and imagine them.

Faustus.  Dost thou think by this crafty excuse to cheat me of that which I desire?

Devil.  Fool!  I would wish for no better revenge upon thee than to be able to paint to thy soul, in the glittering colours of Paradise, all that thou hast lost, and then see thee writhe in despair.  Knew I more than I know, can the tongue formed of flesh make intelligible to the ear of flesh what lies beyond the bounds of sense, and the disembodied spirit only comprehends?

Faustus.  Then be a spirit, and speak!  Shake off this figure.

Devil.  Wilt thou then understand me?

p. 51Faustus.  Shake off this figure, and let me see thee as a spirit.

Devil.  Thy words are folly.  Now, then, see me: I shall exist, but not for thee; I shall speak, but thou wilt not catch my meaning.

Leviathan then melted into a thin clear flame, and disappeared.

Faustus.  Speak, and unfold the enigma.

As the soft west wind moves along the perfumed meadows and gently kisses the tender flowers, so did it murmur around the ears of Faustus.  Then the murmur changed to a loud continued tumult, which resembled the rolling of thunder, or the dash of a breaker against the coral reef, or its howl and bellow in the caves of the ocean.  Faustus crept close within his circle, and with difficulty supported himself.

Faustus.  Ah, if this be the language of spirits, my dream has vanished; I am deceived, and must gnash my teeth in darkness.  I have, then, exchanged my soul for the gratification of earthly lust! for that is all in which this intriguing devil can assist me.  That is all against which I p. 52risked eternity!  I thought to move among men enlightened as no one had ever yet been, and to dazzle them with my glory like the rising sun.  The sublime thought of living for ever as the greatest in their hearts is gone; and I am more wretched than I was.  Where art thou, trickster, that I may vent my fury upon thee?

Devil (in his former figure).  Here I am.  I spoke, and thou didst not understand the sense of my words.  Dost thou not feel that thou art born for darkness?  Thou canst not become that which thou must not.  Withdraw thy mind from impossibilities, and direct it to what is attainable.  Thou wishedst to hear the language of spirits; thou heardst it, and wert stunned and deafened by the sound.

Faustus.  Provoke but my wrath, and I will bruise thee to tears with my magic rod.  I will chain thee to the rim of my circle, and then stamp on thy neck.

Devil.  Do it, and hell will laugh at thy anger.  For every tear thou makest me shed, Despair shall one day wring a drop of blood from thy p. 53brow, and Revenge shall hold the scales to catch and weigh it.

Faustus.  How revolting to a noble creature like myself to hold converse with an outcast, who has only sense for wickedness, and will only assist in wickedness!

Devil.  How disgusting to be forced to listen to a man who reproaches the Devil because he is a devil, and does not boast of that shadow, Virtue, like one of you!

Faustus.  Vain boast.  If thou couldst but taste the moral value of man, by which he approaches the immortal, and which makes him worthy of immortality!

Devil.  I can prove that it does not exist.

Faustus.  Yes; I believe thou canst.  And so can any one of us who makes the measure of his own wickedness that of all mankind, and who makes that virtue contemptible which he has never felt in his breast.  We have had philosophers who in this matter have long had the start of the Devil.

Devil.  Better if thou hadst never read them; p. 54thy head would then have been more clear, and thy heart more sound.

Faustus.  Damnation!  Is the Devil always right?

Devil.  I will show you that which those philosophers only talk of.  I will blow away from your eyes the clouds which pride, vanity, and self-love have collected, and so charmingly coloured.

Faustus.  How wilt thou accomplish that?

Devil.  By conducting thee through the theatre of the world, and showing thee men in their nakedness.  Let us travel by water, by land, on foot, on horseback, on the rapid winds, and see the race of man.  Perhaps we may discover that for which so many thousand adventurers have broken their necks.

Faustus.  Agreed.  Let us go through the world; I must intoxicate myself by variety and enjoyment; and I have long wished for a broader sphere of observation than my own wild heart.  Let us go forth, and I will force the Devil to believe in human virtue.  He shall avow to me that man is the eye-apple of Him whom I now no more must name.

p. 55Devil.  Then will I return to hell a convicted liar, and give thee back the bond which thou wilt presently sign with thy blood.

Faustus.  But if I were to trust a devil, who might palm upon me his own fiendish performances for the works of men, how would the scoffer laugh?

Devil.  Such a monkish notion I should not have expected from one who has so long toyed with philosophy; but in this ye are all alike, fools and wise men.  If any thing goes wrong, pride and self-love will never permit you to lay the blame on yourselves.  Observe now those two words, Good and Evil, which you would fain stamp into ideas; for when you have words, you always think you have coined the empty sound into a thought.  You labour with your eyes closed, and when you open them it is but natural that the good should be your own work, and the evil that of the Devil.  Thus, then, must we poor devils ride about day and night, in order to turn to this or that piece of roguery the heart or the imagination of this or that scoundrel, who, if it had p. 56not been for us, would have remained an honest fellow.  Faustus! Faustus! man seeks abroad and in the clouds a thousand things which lie in his own bosom, or before his face.  No; during our tour I will add to nothing, except thou command me.  All that thou seest shall be the work of men; and thou wilt soon perceive that they do not require the Devil to incite them.

Faustus.  And is this all that thou canst afford me?

Devil.  I will lead you from step to step; when we have run through this course, another scene will immediately open.  Get first acquainted with that which surrounds thee, and then mount upwards.  The treasures of the earth are thine; thou mayst command my power: do but dream—do but wish.

Faustus.  That is something.

Devil.  Only something!  Discontented being, thou shalt be able to force Leviathan to further the projects which thou callest good and noble, and the consequences of them shall be thy earnings, and the reward of thy heart.

p. 57Faustus.  That were more, if the Devil did not say it.

Devil.  Who can boast that he has forced the fiend to do good?  However, let this thought inflate thy bosom.  Faustus, step out of the circle!

Faustus.  It is not yet time.

Devil.  Dost thou fear me?  I repeat, thou shalt spend the moments allotted to thee according to thy own pleasure: yes, Faustus, I will fill for thee the intoxicating cup of enjoyment, as it has never been filled for any other mortal.  Thy nerves shall wear away before thou hast emptied it.  Count the sands of the shore, and thence thou mayst guess the number of joys that I will strew before thee.

Thereupon he placed a casket of gold near the circle.  The figures of the mayoress and a train of lovely maidens then passed by.

Faustus.  Ha, devil, who has showed thee the way to my heart?

Devil.  Is not my name Leviathan?  I have weighed thee, and thy strength.  Dost thou respect these?

p. 58(He shook upon the ground, from a sack, a quantity of orders of knighthood, bishops’ hats, crosses of honour, and diplomas of nobility.)

“No, no; I know Faustus better: knowledge and pleasure are his gods.  Remain what you are; these things are vain and futile.  Thus, by different bribes may ye all be won; and for the sake of lust or advancement, ye would work bare your hands and your intellects.  But, whilst fools toil for them in the sweat of their brow, and in the exhaustion of their mind, do thou enjoy, without care or labour, what I shall serve up.  To-morrow, with thy consent, I will conduct thee to the mayoress.”

Faustus.  But how?

Devil.  Accept the conditions, and I will tell thee.  Come out of the circle; thou lookest still like a drunken man.

Faustus.  I would annihilate myself if it were not for one thought!

Devil.  Which is—

Faustus.  That I shall only thereby sooner fall into thy power.

p. 59Devil.  How rash and hasty are men!  Learn but to know me, and, if I cannot gratify thy wildest earthly desires, return to poverty, to contempt, and thy starving philosophy.  Step forth, I say.

Faustus.  The fury of a lion inflames me, and, if hell were to yawn beneath my foot, I would spring beyond the limits of humanity.

He sprang out of the circle, and cried,

“I am thy lord.”

Devil.  Yes; as long as thy time runs.  I lead a mighty man by the hand, and am proud to be his slave.


On the following morning the devil Leviathan came with all the pomp and retinue of a nobleman to the inn where Faustus sojourned.  He alighted from his richly caparisoned steed, and asked the host whether the famous Faustus sojourned there?

The host replied by a reverential bow, and ushered him into the house.  The Devil then advanced to Faustus, and said to him, in the presence of the host:

“Your renown, your great talents, and, above all, your mighty invention, have induced me to make a wide circuit in my journey in order to become acquainted with so remarkable a man, whom the world, in spite of its lukewarmness, knows how to value.  I came, likewise, to request your company in the tour of Europe, and shall be happy to accede to whatever stipulations you may p. 61choose to make, for I am perfectly aware that such a pleasure is above all price.”

Faustus played his part agreeably to that of the Devil; and the host hurried out in order to relate the adventure to his household.  The rumour was immediately spread, by a thousand channels, through all Frankfort; and the arrival of the distinguished stranger was soon known, from the sentinel at the city-gate to his most worshipful the mayor himself.  Away ran the magistrates, as if the Devil drove them, to the senate-house, leaving all the weighty affairs of state to remain unsettled whilst they consulted about this unexpected apparition.  The senior alderman, a patrician, who was particularly expert in deciphering the meaning of the signs which occasionally appeared in the political horizon, and had thereby obtained a powerful ascendency in the council, pressed his fat chin into furrows, and his narrow brow into wrinkles, and, with reflection in his little eyes, assured his sapient brethren that “This distinguished stranger was nothing else than a secret envoy of his imperial majesty, who p. 62was come into Germany to observe attentively the situation, the comparative strength, the disagreements, and the alliances, of the various states and princes; so that the high and mighty court, at the opening of the approaching Diet, might know how to comport itself.  And since the imperial court had always kept a watchful eye upon their republic, they must now endeavour to convince this distinguished visitor of the fiery zeal which they had always entertained for the high imperial house, and not let him depart without winning him over to the interest of the state.  That they must, in so doing, take as their pattern the prudent senate of Venice, who never failed to show the greatest friendship and honour towards him whom they intended to deceive.”

The subordinate members of the assembly affirmed that the alderman had spoken like the Doge of Venice himself; but the mayor, who bore the alderman a secret grudge, because the latter, like a true patrician, hated the democratic form of government, and was accustomed to say, whenever he was outvoted, “Ha, thus it goes when p. 63tradesmen and shopkeepers are made statesmen,” quickly took up the cudgels against him in these words:

“Truly laudable and excellent, most sapient masters, seems to me that which our most prudent and politic brother has now advanced, were it not for one single circumstance which unhappily spoils all.  I, indeed, do not make a boast of possessing the deep visual penetration of the alderman,—a penetration, my brethren, which can spy out a storm before it arises; nevertheless, whether it be from chance or reflection, I have long foreseen, and have long foretold, that which is now gathering around us.  You must all remember, that at each of our sittings I advised you not to treat this Faustus so contemptuously, but to purchase his Latin Bible for the small sum he demanded.  Even my wife, who is a mere woman, like all other women, has frequently said that, although we ourselves neither understood nor could use the book, we ought nevertheless to have it; and, on account of the beautiful letters in the title-page, and of the curious invention, to make a show of it, p. 64as we do of our golden bull, and attract strangers from all parts.  It was likewise fitting that a free and rich state like ours should protect the arts, and give them a helping hand.  But I know very well what was in your minds; ’twas envy—sheer envy.  You could not brook that my name should be rendered immortal.  You could not digest that posterity should read in the chronicle, ‘Sub consulatu . . . a Latin Bible was bought from Faustus of Mayence for two hundred gold guilders.’  Yes, yes; ’twas that stuck in your gizzards; but, as you have brewed, so may you drink: Faustus is a devilish wild fellow, and a very strange hand to deal with; I saw that proved yesterday.  And now that the imperial envoy has travelled hither merely on his account, merely on account of him whom we have treated worse than a poor cobbler, think ye not he will blow us up with the envoy out of revenge, and all our scrapings and grimaces will serve for nothing but to make us appear ridiculous before the citizens?  But he who has driven his cart into the mire may draw it out again.  I wash my hands of the whole p. 65business, and, like Pilate, am innocent of Israel’s blindness and destruction.”

Here followed a deep silence.  The bloody battle of Cannæ, which threatened Rome with ruin, did not terrify her senate more than did this eloquent philippic the enlightened magistracy of Frankfort.  Already the mayor triumphed in proud anticipation: he thought even that he had hurled the alderman entirely out of his saddle; when the latter, collecting his political wisdom and heroic strength, hastened to the assistance of the sinking state, and bellowing aloud, ad majora, undauntedly proposed “immediately to send an embassy from the council to the hotel, in order to welcome the distinguished guest, and to offer Faustus four hundred gold guilders for his Latin Bible, and thereby to appease him, and to make him favourable to the state.”

The mayor scoffed at the idea of giving four hundred gold guilders for a thing which the day before they might, in all probability, have had for one hundred; but his jeers and his scoffs availed nothing.  “Salus populi suprema lex,” cried the p. 66alderman; and, with the approbation of the council, he commanded the mayor to entertain Faustus and the envoy in the most sumptuous manner, at the expense of the state.

This circumstance consoled his worship, who willingly displayed his wealth, partly on account of his defeat by the alderman, while the concluding words, “at the expense of the state,” put him in good humour.  The junior alderman immediately set out with one of the four syndics, and the mayor sent to his house to order every thing proper for the festival.  The devil Leviathan was engaged with Faustus in a deep discourse when these ambassadors were announced.  They were instantly admitted.  They welcomed, with all humility, in the name of the senate, the distinguished guest, and gave him to understand that his noble person, as well as his important errand, were well known to them; assuring him at the same time, in set terms, of their zeal and devotion for the high imperial house.  The Devil, upon this, screwed up his features, turned to Faustus, took him by the hand, and assured the p. 67speakers that nothing had brought him to their town but the desire of removing from it this great man, whom he had no doubt they knew how to prize.  The ambassadors were now somewhat disturbed; however, they soon recollected themselves, and continued thus:

“It rejoiced them highly that they could give him on the spot a convincing proof of the respect which the magistracy entertained for so great a man, as they were authorised to tender to Faustus four hundred gold guilders for his Latin Bible, which they had long been anxious to possess, and preserve as a precious treasure.  The illustrious magistracy would also be most happy to enrol him, if it were agreeable, among the number of citizens, and thereby open to him the way to glory and emolument.”

This last stroke was added by their own political wisdom; a proof that they, as skilful negotiators, knew how to supply and fill up every vacuum which had been at first overlooked.

Faustus started up in a fury, stamped on the ground, and cried:

p. 68“Base, lying, deceitful pack!  How long did I not fawn upon you, from the proud patrician down to the shoemaker and the pepper-seller, around whose necks you hang the magisterial insignia, like halters around asses?  And did ye not permit me to wait at your dirty thresholds without deigning me a single look?  And now that you hear this noble personage sees that in me which you did not, you come and would pay me back in my own coin.  But see, here is gold; for which you would barter the Holy Roman Empire, provided you could find fools gross enough to buy the huge, monstrous carcass, without head, sense, or proportion.”

The Devil highly enjoyed the rage of Faustus and the downcast looks of the young senators; but they, who had never read Roman history, were not so high-spirited as to fling Faustus a declaration of war from beneath their closely-folded robes of office; on the contrary, they communicated the invitation to the mayor’s festival in as unconcerned a tone as if nothing had happened,—a new proof of their expertness in negotiation.  p. 69Had they, for example, replied to the insult, they would thereby have acknowledged that they felt the force of it; but when they let it fall flat upon the ground, as if it were nothing to any of them, it lost all its power, and assumed the colour of an unfair reproach.  Genius alone is capable in such critical moments of like discrimination.

At the word “mayor,” Faustus pricked up his ears, and the Devil gave him a significant side-glance.  Faustus thereupon took the Bible from the casket, handed it over to the senators, and said, with some degree of complaisance,

“That, upon due consideration, he was determined to make the city a present of his Bible, on condition that they showed the sentence which he marked under, and of which he wrote a German translation on the margin, to the assembled magistrates; and, in remembrance of him, caused it to be written in letters of gold on the wall of the council-chamber.”

The senators hastened back to their brethren, as delighted as envoys who, after a ruinous war, p. 70return with an advantageous peace.  They were received with great joy, and, the Bible being opened at the appointed place, they read—

And lo! the fools sat in council, and idiots clamoured in the judgment-chamber.”

They swallowed this bitter pill, because the presumptive shadow of imperial majesty, in the form of the demon, prevented them from spitting it out.  They comforted themselves with having been spared the four hundred gold guilders, and wished each other joy for having escaped so well out of this unpleasant affair.  The envoys received a vote of thanks, and it is to be regretted that their names are not handed down to posterity.  When at last they spoke of Faustus’s well-filled money-chest, the glitter of gold darted like lightning through the souls of all, and each secretly determined to make the man his friend, in order to get possession of it.  The alderman shouted, “We must make him a citizen, and give him a seat and voice in the council.  Policy demands that we should overstep law and custom, if the advantage of the State depends upon it.”

p. 71Faustus, in the mean time, strolled out with the Devil; but they found the people of the place modelled after so unsightly a pattern, with such ugly figures and fiat features, that the Devil owned he had never seen them equalled, except by the inhabitants of an English town called N---, when dressed in their Sunday’s best.  “Envy, malice, curiosity, and avarice,” said he, “are here and there the sole springs of action; and both places are governed by a pitiful mercantile spirit, which prevents them from being grandly wicked or nobly virtuous.  In short, Faustus, there is little to be done in either place by a man of spirit, and we will hurry away from hence as soon as you have brought the mayoress to the point you wish her.”

The clock sounded the hour of dinner; the Devil and Faustus, mounted upon noble horses, and attended by a numerous retinue, proceeded to the house of the mayor.  They entered the hall of assembly, where all the magistrates awaited them, and, on their appearance, bowed before them even to the dust.  The fat, bloated mayor, p. 72after a long speech, introduced them to the wives of the dignitaries of the corporation, whose figures, loaded with tawdry ornaments, seemed now to display a double portion of awkwardness and vulgarity.  They stared like a flock of geese, and could not satiate themselves with looking at the dress and physiognomy of Leviathan; but the mayoress, a native of Saxony, towered above them all, like an Oriad.  The expressive look of Faustus had attracted her attention, as well as his prepossessing figure, and his fine handsome face.  She blushed when he saluted her, and could find no other answer to his eloquent address than a few broken words, which the ears of Faustus caught like enchanting music.  The senators exerted their wits to the utmost in complimenting their guests, and all now sat down to the well-spread table.  After dinner the Devil led the mayor by the hand to a private apartment,—a circumstance which flattered him extraordinarily, but which was a dagger-blow to all the other guests, especially to the alderman.

The mayor, heated with wine, and intoxicated p. 73with the honour which the supposed imperial envoy showed him, in a bending attitude and with staring eyes awaited the communication.  The Devil assured him, in soft, silvery tones, how much he was flattered by the mayor’s hospitable reception, and how very desirous he was to prove himself thankful; adding, that he carried with him a number of letters of nobility, signed by the emperor’s own hand, and he would gladly bestow the first upon him, provided—

Joy, transport, and astonishment darted through the mayor’s soul; he stood before the Devil with wide-gaping mouth, and at length stammered out, “Provided how—what—oh!”  The Devil then murmured softly into his ear: “His friend Faustus was desperately in love with the beautiful mayoress, and that for his sake only he would do it; and if the mayoress would retire with Faustus for a few moments,—which would be entirely unobserved amid the noise and confusion of a festival,—he should deliver into her hand the patent of nobility.”

Thereupon the Devil hastened to Faustus, informed p. 74him of what had happened, and gave him the letter of nobility, with certainty of success.  Faustus doubted, and the Devil laughed at his doubts.

The mayor remained in his cabinet almost petrified.  The sudden glitter of such unexpected happiness was at once so clouded by an odious and detestable condition, that he determined upon rejecting it.  But all at once Ambition blew into his ear: “Ho! ho! Mr. Mayor; to be dubbed a nobleman at once, and in such an off-hand manner, as the saying is, and thereby to be placed on a footing with the proudest of thy foes, and to raise thy voice in the council like a trumpet, and appear among those there like a man whom, on account of his services, his imperial majesty will exalt above the heads of all!”

Another feeling softly whispered—

“Uh! uh! with my own knowledge and consent to be thus disgraced!  But then, again, who will know it? and what is there in the whole affair?  I receive a certain good in lieu of what has long ceased to have any charms for me.  p. 75The evil consists in the idea alone, and it will be a secret between me and my wife.  But, stating the case fairly, can I arrive at so high a distinction at a cheaper rate?  Will it not be a nail in the alderman’s coffin; and what will the citizens not say when they see that his imperial majesty knows how to value me?  Shall I not get every thing into my power, and revenge myself on those who have thwarted and contradicted me?  Ho! ho! Mr. Mayor; be no fool; seize fortune by the forelock.  Man is only what he appears in the eyes of the world, and no one asks the nobleman how he became so.  But there is my wife; she will set herself against my advancement, for I well know her Saxon prudery.”

At that very moment she entered the room, eager to learn from her husband what the magnificent stranger had confided to him in private.  He looked at her with a roguish leer, but still with some degree of bashfulness.

Mayor.  Well, my chick, suppose I were to make thee a noblewoman to-day?

Mayoress.  Then, duck, the wives of all the p. 76citizens and magistrates would swoon with envy, and the alderman’s lady would instantly die of that husky cough which has so long assailed her.

Mayor.  That she would, for certain; and I could crush her proud husband beneath my foot.  But hark, my chick: it only rests with you to bring all this about.

Mayoress.  Who ever heard of wives making their husbands noblemen, duck?

Mayor.  Who knows, my child, how many have been made so?  But be not terrified; you have driven that cursed Faustus out of his wits.  (The Mayoress blushed; he continued)  Only on his account will the envoy create me a nobleman, and Faustus is to deliver to thee the patent of nobility in private.  You understand me, I perceive.  Hem! What do you think of the plan?

Mayoress.  I was thinking, my treasure, that if these two gentlemen were to change their minds, we should certainly lose the patent.

Mayor.  Curse it! so we might.  Let us be quick, my mouse; such bargains are not met with every day.

p. 77The company had in the mean while dispersed themselves in the garden; and his worship, getting behind Faustus, whispered softly in his ear that “his wife would esteem it an honour to receive the patent of nobility from his hand; and he had only to step up a back staircase, which he would show him, to an apartment where he would find her.  That as for himself, he feared nothing from a man who had shown so much honour and conscience.”  He led him thereupon to the back staircase.  Faustus glided up immediately, and entered a chamber, where he found the mayoress: he flew to her, and created the mayor a knight of the Holy Roman Empire.  She then went and delivered to her spouse the letter of nobility; and they determined between them that it should be laid upon the supper-table in a covered golden dish, in order, by its unexpected appearance, to make the blow more painful to the guests.  The Devil, to whom the mayor confided the plan, highly approved of it; but Faustus murmured in the ear of Leviathan, “I command thee to play this rascal, who has prostituted his wife for ambition’s p. 78sake, a thorough knavish trick; and to revenge me, at the same time, on all these sheep-headed magistrates, who so long forced me to pay my court to them.”

They sat down to supper, and the glasses went quickly round; when all at once the Devil commanded the dish, which had so long excited the Curiosity of the surrounders, to be uncovered; then, holding up the letter of nobility, he delivered it to the mayor with these words: “Worthy sir, his majesty the emperor, my master, is pleased by this patent letter of nobility to create you, on account of your fidelity and services, a knight of the Holy Roman Empire.  I hope and trust that you will never grow lukewarm in your zeal for the high imperial house; and now, Sir Knight, I have the honour of first drinking your health.”

These words rolled like thunder in the ears of the guests.  The drunken became sober, and the sober drunk; the lips of the women turned blue with rage, and could scarcely stammer out a congratulation.  The alderman was seized with an apoplectic fit, and his wife was near dying of her p. 79husky cough.  Fear, in the mean time, obliged the rest to assume a joyous countenance; and they drank, with a loud huzza, the health of the new-made knight.  While the tumult was at the highest pitch, a thin vapour suddenly filled the hall; the glasses began to dance about upon the tables; and the roasted geese, turkeys, and fowls cackled, gobbled, and crowed.  The calves, sheep, and boars’ heads cried, bleated, and grunted, bounced across the table, and snapped at the fingers of the guests.  The wine issued in blue flames from out the flasks; and the patent of nobility caught fire, and was burnt to ashes in the hands of the trembling mayor.  The whole assembly now sat like so many ridiculous characters in a mad masquerade.  The mayor bore a stag’s head upon his shoulders; and the rest, men and women, adorned with grotesque masks, spoke, cackled, crowed, neighed, or bellowed, according to the kind of mask which had been allotted to each individual.  The alderman alone, in the dress of a harlequin, sat motionless; and Faustus avowed to the Devil that the ruse did p. 80great honour to his ingenuity.  After Faustus had satiated himself by gazing at the spectacle, he gave the Devil the wink, and they both flew out of the window; the latter personage, according to custom, leaving behind him the sulphurous stench.

By and by the whole illusion disappeared; and when the sapient magistrates re-assembled next morning in the council-chamber, they scarcely mentioned to each other what had taken place the night before.  They kept the whole matter a state secret, and only revealed it now and then to a chosen few.  All that the mayor got by this business was, that his adversary, the alderman, lost the use of his limbs, and never again took his seat in the council.

Faustus and Leviathan, in the mean time, passed over the city-walls; and when they were in the open field, the Devil despatched an attendant spirit to the hotel, in order to pay the reckoning, and to fetch away Faustus’s baggage.  Then turning to the young German, he asked him if he were contented with this first feat.

p. 81Faustus.  Hem! if the Devil wants praise, I am content to give it him.  But I should never have imagined that yon pompous scoundrel would have sold his wife for ambition’s sake.

Devil.  Let us proceed a little further, my Faustus, and I will soon convince thee that Ambition is the godhead which ye all worship; although you disguise it under all kind of glittering forms, in order to conceal its nakedness.  Till now you have studied man merely in books and philosophical treatises; or, in other words, you have been thrashing empty straw.  But the film will soon fall from your eyes.  We will shortly quit this dirty country of yours, where priestcraft, pedantry, and oppression reign unmolested and undisturbed.  I will usher you upon a stage where the passions have a freer scope, and where great energies are employed to great ends.

Faustus.  But I will force thee to believe in the moral worth of man before we quit my native land.  Not far from hence lives a prince, whom all Germany praises as a paragon of every virtue.  Let us seek him, and put him to the test.

p. 82Devil.  Agreed; such a man would please me for his rarity.

The spirit now returned with the baggage, and was sent forward to Mayence to bespeak a lodging in an hotel.  Faustus, for secret reasons which the Devil guessed, proposed spending the night with a hermit who dwelt in the hill of Homburg, and who was renowned through the whole neighbourhood for his piety.  They reached the hermitage about midnight, and knocked at the door.  The solitary opened it; and Faustus, who had dressed himself in the richest clothes which the Devil had provided for him, begged pardon for disturbing the repose of the holy man, and said that the night had surprised him and his companion while hunting, and had separated them from their attendants, and that they should be obliged by his giving them house-room for a few hours.  The hermit looked on the ground, and replied, with a deep sigh:

“He who lives for heaven seldom abandons himself to dangerous repose.  You have not disturbed me; and, if you wish to stay here till p. 83sunrise, you must take things as you find them.  Bread and water, with straw to lie on, is all I can afford you.”

Faustus.  Brother hermit, we have brought all that the stomach requires along with us.  We will only trouble you for a draught of water.

(The hermit took his pitcher and went to a fountain.)

Faustus.  Peace dwells in his heart as well as on his brow, and I may think myself happy that he is not acquainted with that which binds me to thee.  Faith and hope serve him instead of those things which I have damned myself for; at least it seems so.

Devil.  And only seems.  What if I were to prove that your heart is pure as gold in comparison with his?

Faustus.  Devil!

Devil.  Faustus, thou wert poor, ill-treated, and despised; thou didst see thyself in the dust; but, like an energetic being, thou hast sprung out of contempt at thy own risk.  Thou wert incapable of gratifying thy lusts by the murder of p. 84thy fellow-creatures, as this saint would if I led him into temptation.

Faustus.  I see all thy infernal craftiness.  If I were to command thee to put him to a fair trial, thou wouldst confuse the senses of the just man, so that he would commit acts which his heart abhorred.

Devil.  Ridiculous!  Why, then, do ye boast of your free-will, and thereby ascribe your deeds to your own hearts?  But ye are all saints while there is nothing to tempt ye.  No, Faustus; I will remain neuter, and merely offer delights to his senses; for the Devil has no need to creep into ye when you are already disposed for wickedness.

Faustus.  And if things do not turn out as you assert, think not that your assurance shall remain unpunished.

Devil.  Thou mayst then torment me a whole day by preaching of the virtues of men.  Let us see whether this will allure him.

A table, provided with dainty meats and delicious wines, now appeared in the middle of the hermitage.  The solitary entered, and silently p. 85placed the pitcher before Faustus, and then retired into a corner, without heeding the luxurious banquet.

Faustus.  Now, brother hermit, since the things are on the table, fall to without waiting to be asked twice.  You may eat of our fare without the least injury to your reputation.  I see your mouth begins to water.  Come, a glass to the honour of your patron saint.  What is his name?

Hermit.  St. George.

Faustus.  Here’s his health.

Devil.  Ho, ho, brother hermit! the renowned St. George of Cappadocia was a fellow after my own heart; and if you take him for a model, you cannot go wrong.  I am perfectly well acquainted with his history, and will relate it in a few words for your instruction.  He was the son of wretchedly poor people, and was born in a miserable hut in Cilicia.  As he grew up, he early perceived his own talents, and, by force of flattery, servility, and corruption, found his way into the houses of the great and opulent, who at length, out of gratitude for his services, procured him a p. 86commission in the army of the Greek emperor.  But when there he pilfered and plundered to so enormous an extent, that he was soon obliged to fly, to avoid being hanged.  Thereupon he joined himself to the sect of the Arians, and, by his quick parts, soon learnt to gabble the unintelligible jargon of theology and metaphysics.  About this time the Arian emperor, Constantine, kicked from the episcopal chair at Alexandria the good and most Catholic Athanasius; and your redoubtable Cappadocian was, by an Arian synod, appointed to the vacant see.  George was now completely in his element: he puffed, strutted, and filled his paunch.  But when he, by his injustice and cruelty, had driven his subjects to the verge of madness, they put him to death, and carried his body in triumph through the streets of Alexandria.  Thus did he become a martyr, and consequently a saint.

Hermit.  There is not a word of this in the legend.

Devil.  I believe ye, brother; and, for the sake of truth, the Devil only ought to have written it.

p. 87The hermit then crossed himself.

Faustus.  Do you call eating and drinking crimes?

Hermit.  They may tempt us to commit crimes.

Devil.  Your virtue must be very weak if it cannot resist temptation; for temptation and resistance should be the glory of a saint.

Hermit.  You are right so far; but every one is not a saint.

Faustus.  Are you happy, brother?

Hermit.  Solitude makes me happy; a good conscience makes me blessed.

Devil.  How do you obtain your food?

Hermit.  The peasants bring me wherewithal to support my existence.

Faustus.  And what do you give them in return?

Hermit.  I pray for them.

Faustus.  Are they bettered by your prayers?

Hermit.  They think so, and I hope so.

Devil.  Brother, you are a rogue.

Hermit.  The reproaches of the sinful world are what the just man ought to expect.

p. 88Devil.  Why do you not look upwards, and why do you blush?  But know, that I have the art of reading in a man’s face what is passing in his heart.

Hermit.  So much the worse for yourself.  You will have little enjoyment in company.

Devil.  Ho, ho! you know that?  (Looking at Faustus.)

Hermit.  It is a vile world in which we live, and woe for you if thousands did not hasten into solitude to avert by their prayers the anger of incensed Heaven from the heads of sinners.

Faustus.  Reverend brother, you own yourself that you are paid for your prayers; and, believe me, it is much easier to pray than work.

Devil.  Listen once more.  You have a twist of the mouth which tells me you are a hypocrite; and your eyes, which revolve in so narrow a circle, and which are generally cast downward, tell me that you are convinced they would betray the feelings of your heart, were you to raise them.

The hermit lifted his eyes towards the heavens, p. 89prayed with clasped hands, and said, “Thus does the righteous man reply to the scoffer.”

Faustus.  Enough.  Come, brother, and bear us company in our repast.

But the hermit remained inflexible.  Faustus looked scornfully on the Devil, who merely smiled and shook his head.  Suddenly the door opened, and a young female pilgrim rushed in almost breathless.  When she had recovered from her fear, she related how she had been pursued by a knight, from whom she had the good fortune to escape by reaching the cell of the pious hermit.  She was received in a friendly manner; and, unclasping her long mantle, she exhibited such beauty as would have made the victory over the flesh no easy matter for the holy Anthony himself.  She placed herself by the side of Leviathan, ate sparingly of the meal, and the Devil began to—

* * * * *

The hermit was at first shocked, and at last confused; and he had scarcely power to struggle with the temptation.  The pilgrim tore herself, ashamed p. 90and angry, from the arms of Leviathan, to seek protection by the side of the hermit, which he could not refuse her.

The Devil and Faustus now pretended to be intoxicated and overwhelmed with sleep; but before they took repose the Devil placed, in the presence of the hermit, a weighty purse of money under the straw, and deposited his own rich rings and those of Faustus in a casket, which the latter laid close beside him.  On the table they placed their swords and daggers, and then flung themselves down and soon snored.

The pilgrim softly approached the table, and poured out with her delicate and snow-white hands a goblet of foaming wine.  She just touched the rim with her rosy lips, and then offered it to the hermit.  He stood like one amazed; and in his confusion emptied it, and another besides, and greedily swallowed the luxurious morsels which the tempter, one after another, held up to his mouth.  She then led him out, and bursting into tears, entreated his pardon for having been forced to outrage his holy eyes.  She then looked mournful p. 91and inconsolable, pressed his hand warmly, and at last fell down on her knees before him.  At this instant the silvery moon beamed upon her bosom, over which the gentle night-wind moved her dark, dishevelled locks.  The hermit sank upon this dazzling bosom, without knowing whether he was dead or alive.  At length the pilgrim said, “That she would yield herself entirely to his wishes, if he would revenge her first on those daring reprobates, and take possession of their treasure, which would enable him and her to live happily to the end of their days.”

The hermit, at these words, recovered in some degree from his intoxication, and asked her, in a trembling voice, what she meant, and what she would have him do.

Amongst broken exclamations of rapture she murmured, “Their daggers lie on the table: do you murder the one; I will manage the other.  Then dress yourself in their clothes, and seize their treasure.  We will then set the hermitage on fire, and fly to France together.”

The horrible idea of murder made the hermit p. 92shudder.  He hesitated, was undecided, looked on the charms of the siren; he saw that he could make himself master of her and of the treasure without danger; and, all his virtue yielding, he forgot heaven and his oft-repeated vows.  The pilgrim dragged the reeling miscreant into the hut; each seized a dagger; and just as he was about to aim a blow at Faustus, the Devil burst into the fiendish scorn-laugh; and Faustus saw the hermit, with a lifted dagger, standing by his side.

Faustus.  Cursed monster, who, under the mask of religion, wouldst murder thy guest!

The hermit sunk trembling to the earth.  The pilgrim, a phantom of hell, appeared to him in a frightful form, and then vanished.

Faustus commanded Leviathan to set fire to the hut, and burn it to ashes, along with the hypocrite.  The Devil obeyed with joy.  The following morning the peasants shed many tears for the fate of the righteous man; and, having collected his bones, they preserved them as precious relics.

p. 93Faustus and the Devil arrived early the next day at Mayence, and alighted at the dwelling of the former.  His young wife fell with a cry of joy upon his neck, embraced him, and then burst into tears of sorrow.  The children clung sobbing to his knees, and greedily examined his pockets, to see whether he had brought them any thing.  His old gray-headed father next staggered towards him, and shook him mournfully by the hand.  The heart of Faustus was moved, and his eyes began to moisten, while he trembled, and looked angrily upon the Devil.  When he asked his wife why she wept, she wrung her hands, and replied, “Ah, Faustus, do you not perceive how the hungry ones examine your pockets for bread?  How can I see that without tears?  They have eaten nothing for a long time; we have been unfortunate, and all thy friends have forsaken us; but now I see thee again, it is to me as though I saw the countenance of an angel.  I and thy father have suffered more on thy account than on our own.  We have had such frightful dreams and visions; and when my eyes, weary with p. 94weeping, have closed for a few hours, I saw thee torn from us by force, and all was dark and horrible.”

Faustus.  Thy dream, love, is about to be partly fulfilled.  This gentleman here will reward thy husband for those talents which his ungrateful country overlooked or despised.  I have agreed to travel with him far and wide.

Old Faustus.  “My son, stay at home and support thyself honourably,” says Scripture.

Faustus.  And die of hunger, says Experience.

The wife began to weep yet more bitterly, and the children screamed for bread.  Faustus gave the Devil a sign, and he called to his servant, who presently afterwards brought into the room a heavy coffer.  Faustus unlocked it, and flung a large bag of gold upon the table; which being opened, and the yellow coin appearing, a lively flush of joy was instantly diffused over the melancholy countenances of the family.  He then took out magnificent clothes and jewels, which he delivered to his wife.  Her tears vanished, and vanity at once dried them up, as the sun-rays dry p. 95up the morning dew.  The Devil smiled, and Faustus muttered to himself, “O magic of gold and of vanity!  I may now go to the antipodes, and no other tears than those of hypocrisy will be shed.”  Then, aloud, “Well, wife, these are the fruits of my journey, reaped in advance.  Is not this better than staying at home with you and starving?”

But the wife heard him not; for she stood with her rich robes and jewels before the looking-glass to see how they became her.  The little girls frolicked around her, took up the clothes and ornaments she had laid aside, and aped the mother.  In the mean time a servant brought in a substantial breakfast, the children fell upon it, cried and shouted with joy; but the mother had, in the mean time, forgotten her hunger.

The old father took Faustus aside, and said, “If thou hast obtained all these things by honourable means, let us thank God, my son, and enjoy his bounty; but for some nights past I have had horrible dreams, although I hope they were merely caused by our necessities.”

p. 96This remark of the old man sank deep into the heart of Faustus; but the pleasure of seeing his children eat so heartily, and of observing with what love and thankfulness his eldest son and favourite looked at him; the thought of having relieved them from their misery; and, above all, an inward longing for pleasure,—considerably damped the impression.  The Devil added a large sum to the money in the bag, presented the young wife with a costly necklace, gave each of the children a trifle, and assured the family that he would bring back Faustus to them safe, sound, and wealthy at no very distant period.

Faustus, attended by the Devil, now went to see a friend, whom he found much dejected.  He asked him the cause of his unhappiness, and the other replied:

“This afternoon the law-suit which you have often heard me speak of is to be determined; and I am certain of losing it, although justice is on my side.  In short, Master Faustus, nothing remains for me to do but to beg, or drown myself in the deepest part of the Rhine.”

p. 97Faustus.  How can you be certain that you will lose your cause, if justice is for you, as you say it is?

Friend.  But the five hundred gold guilders which my opponent has given the Judge are against me; and if I cannot outbid him, I must fall to the ground.

Faustus.  Pooh! does it merely depend on that?  Come, lead me to the Judge.  I have a friend here who willingly assists people out of such difficulties.

They found the Judge to be a proud, inflated man, who would scarcely deign to honour a poor client with a look.  Faustus had long known him for what he was.  When they entered the room, the Judge, in an imperious tone, thus addressed Faustus’s friend, “Why do you come to trouble me?  Do you not know that tears never interrupt the course of justice?”

The unhappy friend looked humbly to the ground.

Faustus.  Mighty sir, you have spoken well: tears are like water; they merely spoil the eyes of p. 98those that shed them.  But do you know that my friend has right on his side?

Judge.  Master Faustus, I know you for a man who plays away his money at ducks-and-drakes, and who has a loose tongue.  Right and law are very different things: if he has the first for him, it is no reason that he should have the second.

Faustus.  You say that right and law are two different things: something like judge and justice, perhaps.

Judge.  Master Faustus, I have already said that I know you.

Faustus.  Perhaps we are mistaken in each other, most enlightened sir.  But it is mere waste of soap to attempt to wash a blackamoor white.  (He opened the door, and in stalked the Devil.)  Here is a gentleman who will lay before you a document, which I hope will give the cause of my friend a new aspect.

When the Judge saw the richly-dressed Leviathan, he assumed a more friendly countenance, and asked them all to be seated.

Faustus.  We can settle the whole business p. 99standing.  (To the Devil)  Produce the document which we have found.

The Devil counted out of his purse five hundred gold guilders; he then stopped and looked at the Judge.

Judge.  The document is by no means a bad one, gentlemen; but the adverse party has long ago given me one of equal weight.

The Devil continued counting till he had told out a thousand; he then stopped.

Judge.  In truth, I had overlooked this circumstance.  Such vouchers, however, are not to be withstood.

He then gathered up the gold and secured it in his coffer.

Faustus.  I hope now that right and law will go together.

Judge.  Master Faustus, you understand the art of appeasing the bitterest enemies.

Faustus, whom the servility of the Judge as much offended as his former rudeness, whispered to the Devil, in going away, “Do thou avenge justice on this wretch.”

p. 100Thereupon he left his friend, without waiting for his thanks, and went about with the Devil to discharge his debts.  He then paid visits to his other friends, showered gold upon them by handfuls, even on those who had forsaken him in his adversity; and he felt happy in being able to give unbridled scope to his generosity and greatness of soul.  The Devil, however, who saw deeper into things than Faustus, laughed within himself at the consequences.

They now went to the hotel, Faustus, recollecting the conduct of his wife, once again fell into an exceedingly ill humour.  He could not pardon her for having ceased to lament his departure the moment she had seen the gold and jewels.  Till now he had imagined that she loved him more than all the treasures of the earth; but what he had just observed forced him to believe the contrary, and his affection for her was turned to bitterness.  The Devil, who perceived where the shoe pinched, willingly allowed Faustus to torment himself with these gloomy thoughts, so that he might tear himself from that sweet tie by which p. 101nature still gently fettered him.  He foresaw, with secret rapture, the dreadful anguish which would one day arise in the bosom of the headstrong Faustus, when the future should disclose to him all the horrors which he was now about to perpetrate.

They dined in the public room, in company with some professors of law and divinity, who, to the great delight of the Devil, soon fell into a violent dispute concerning the nun Clara.  The flame of that controversy was still at its full height; party-spirit raged in all houses, and the present disputants talked so loudly, and said so many ridiculous things, that Faustus soon forgot his ill humour.  But when a doctor of theology asserted that it was possible for Satan to have carried his wickedness so far as to have brought the nun into certain circumstances by means of the dream, the Devil burst into a bellowing laugh; and Faustus immediately thought of a scheme by which he might revenge himself, in a signal manner, upon the Archbishop, who had paid so little attention to his discovery.  He hoped then to p. 102involve the thread of the theological and political war at Mayence in such confusion that no human power would be able to unravel it.  After dinner he asked the demon whether it would be possible for him, under the figure of the Dominican, to pass that night with the lovely Clara.  The Devil assured him that nothing was more easy; and, if he chose, the abbess herself should usher him into the nun’s cell.  Faustus, who had always considered the abbess to be a strict, pious, and conscientious woman, laughed in scorn at these last words of the Devil.

Devil.  Thy wife, O Faustus, set up a shriek of despair when thou didst tell her of thy intended departure; but when the glitter of gold and dress burst upon her view, the sorrows of her heart vanished at once.  I repeat, that the abbess herself shall introduce thee to the cell of the nun, and I will employ no supernatural means.  Thou thyself shalt see how the old gudgeon will swallow the hook.  Come, we will pay her a visit under the pious figures of two nuns.  I know the manners and ways of the nuns, ay, and of the monks p. 103too, of Germany, well enough to ape them.  I will represent the Abbess of the Black Nuns, and thou shalt be her friend, Sister Agatha.

At this moment Faustus’s friend came, full of joy, to inform him of the happy issue of the law-suit.  He was about to thank Faustus and the Devil upon his knees; but Faustus said, “Spare your thanks, and take care of my wife and family during my absence.”  He then whispered into the ear of the Devil, “It is time to think of the Judge.”

The Judge wished after dinner to gratify his beloved wife by counting the gold pieces in her presence.  He unlocked the coffer, and started back in a tremor at the sight of its contents: the gold pieces were changed into large rats, which sprang out, and fell furiously upon his face and hands.  The Judge, who had a great aversion to these animals, rushed out of the room; but they pursued him, fastening on his heels.  He hurried from the house, and ran through the streets; but still they were close behind him.  He fled into the fields; but they allowed him no rest, and p. 104at last forced the terrified wretch to seek shelter in the stone tower where the tolls are gathered, and which stands in the middle of the Rhine.  Here he thought himself safe from farther pursuit; but rats and mice hot from hell are not to be terrified by water: they swam through, fell upon him, and ate him up alive.  His wife, in her terror and astonishment, told the history of the transformation of the gold pieces by which her unfortunate husband had allowed himself to be dazzled; and from that time there has not been in the whole diocese of Mayence a single instance of a judge or a man in office taking a bribe.  The Devil could not have foreseen this, or he certainly would have let the scoundrel go unpunished.

Faustus and the Devil stood in their disguises before the gate of the convent of White Nuns.  The portress ran as fast as she could in order to inform the abbess of the unexpected visitors.  The abbess received them with conventual greetings, to which the Devil answered in a similar tone.  Sweetmeats and wines were then brought in, and p. 105while partaking of them the two abbesses talked together, of cloister affairs, and of the wicked world; and the Devil, with a deep sigh, turned the discourse to Clara’s accident.  Clara, who, on account of her rank, was the pet-lamb of the cloister, stood near the abbess, and laughed beneath her veil.  Faustus observed this, and, looking at her, really thought he had never seen a more charming rogue wear the sacred veil.  The Devil at length gave the conversation a serious turn, and led the abbess to conclude that he had something weighty to confide to her.

Abbess (to Clara).  You may go, my lamb, to the nuns in the garden, and divert yourself with them; I will send you out some sweetmeats, so that you may celebrate the coming of our venerable sister.

Clara bounded away.  After a few words, which the Devil uttered in a disturbed and thoughtful kind of tone, so that he might thereby arouse the curiosity of the abbess, he came to the point.

Devil.  Ah, dear sister, how much do I pity p. 106you!  It is true, and that ought in some degree to comfort you, that the whole city and the entire district are convinced of your holiness, your piety, and the strictness of your discipline.  In a word, you possess all the virtues requisite for a bride of heaven.  But, alas, the world will be the world still; and the Fiend often infuses evil thoughts into the minds of worldly men, so that through them he may disturb those saints who are thorns in his side.  No, no; the wicked Devil cannot bear that you should bring up your lambs in untainted purity.  I pity you, as I said before, and still more the little innocents who are at present confided to your care.  What will become of them when they lose you?

Abbess.  Kind sister, be of good cheer; though I am old, I am yet, thanks to Heaven, sound and hearty, and the little inconveniences which attend a uniform course of devotion and penitence prolong life rather than shorten it.  So, at least, the physician of the convent tells me when I complain to him.

The Devil looked at her attentively.

p. 107“Have you, then, had no anticipation of what is hanging over your head? no warning vision?  Has nothing occurred in the convent to make you look forward to the future with anxiety?  It is customary for pious souls to be informed by certain signs when any disaster menaces them.”

Abbess.  You frighten me so, that I tremble in my whole body.  But let me reflect;—yes, yes, I am very restless, and dream of raw heads and bloody bones; and some days ago—ah, yes!—that certainly was a sign and a warning—some few days ago I went with my lap-dog, which you see there, to walk in the garden.  I was alone; the nuns were at some distance, telling stories beneath the linden-trees.  All at once the gardener’s great mastiff sprung upon Piety, for that is the name of my pet.  I shuddered from head to foot, and crossed myself again and again; but that would avail nothing.  At last I struck at the hideous brute with my staff,—yes, I struck with all my strength the filthy hound who would thus profane the cloister; and I continued striking until the staff, which his reverence the Archbishop p. 108delivered to me upon my consecration as abbess, broke in two.  Was that a sign or a warning, think ye?

The Devil and Faustus pretended to be shocked.

Devil.  Ah, the very worst in the world.  All now is but too clear and manifest.  Did not I tell you how it would turn out, Sister Agatha?

Faustus made a humble bow of assent.

Abbess.  For Heaven’s sake, speak, or I shall run mad.

Devil.  Contain yourself, dear sister.  Help is to be found, and who knows but I bring it with me?  Remember that it was the staff which the Archbishop presented to you upon your being consecrated an abbess which you broke; and now listen to me attentively.  You know my cousin the prebend; well, he confided to me a very terrible affair.  He indeed made me solemnly promise not to tell you; but I know it is best to commit a little sin, if by its means we can prevent a great one and confound the projects of Satan.

Abbess.  You are perfectly right; and the p. 109Fathers of the Church hold that doctrine, as my confessor has often told me.

Devil.  Know, then, that the Archbishop has so far got the upper hand of the Chapter, that he has brought them to consent to your being deposed after the lapse of a few months, and his niece Clara being made abbess in your stead.

“Jesu Maria!” cried the abbess, wrung her hands, and fell into a swoon.  The Devil made a sour face at her exclamation, and Faustus, laughing, rubbed her wrinkled brows.  After she had recovered herself, she shed a torrent of tears, and shrieked a thousand curses against the wickedness of the world.

Devil.  Do not despair, dear sister.  For a distant evil there is always a remedy.

Abbess.  And what do you advise me to do?  Wretch that I am!  O Heavens! what will become of me,—what will become of the nuns?

Devil.  I have already said that it is best to commit a slight sin if, by so doing, we prevent a great one, and you yourself have proved it by the authority of holy Fathers; but, dear sister, courage p. 110and understanding will be necessary, if you wish to obtain your purpose without danger to your own soul, by loading another person with the capital sin.

Abbess.  Ah, dear sister, and how is that to be contrived?

Devil.  I was once in our convent in almost a similar perplexity.  The good Sister Agatha here is my witness; and as she saw every thing, and assisted me, we may speak out before her.

Faustus bowed with humility.

Devil.  A nun who, by sinful wit, and yet more sinful beauty, had found favour among the great and powerful, was, by their assistance, on the point of rising above me.  Ah! I have felt how grievous are the thoughts of being forced to obey, after one has for a long time exercised boundless power.  Well, in the presence of Sister Agatha, I entered into a consultation with my relation the prebend: he is very knowing in affairs of conscience and crime, and understands to a hair’s-breadth what is damnable and what is not.  This wise man gave me a piece of advice which helped p. 111me out of my trouble, and for which I shall always have reason to bless him.  I admit that the expedient at first appeared to me sinful; but he assured me, and proved to me out of the casuists, that a little fasting and penance would do away with all that was culpable in it.

Abbess.  But the advice—the advice!

Devil.  I am ashamed to tell it you aloud.

Abbess.  Then whisper it into my ear.  What the Abbess of the Black Nuns could do without endangering her salvation, the Abbess of the White Nuns may do also.

Devil (softly into her ear).  He advised me to contrive so that this dangerous nun should commit the sin of * * *

Abbess (crossing herself).  Blessed Ursula!  Why, that is the work of the Devil, and leads directly to hell.

Devil.  Ay, very true, but only the person who commits it; and I was not advising you to do it.  Remember, dear sister, you are not to be punished for all the sins which your nuns may choose to commit.

p. 112Abbess.  But, in Heaven’s name, how did you manage this dangerous affair without being discovered?

Devil.  Oh, my situation was much more difficult than yours, for you are assisted by the report of the dream, which already fills the whole city.  Suppose, now, you were to let a man, dressed like the Dominican, slip into Clara’s cell, and the signs of the sinful deed were afterwards to appear, would not the whole world say that it was a trick of the arch foe of mankind?  Let Satan have the credit of it, and do you remain sitting in your chair, adorned with that dignity which Heaven has been pleased to grant you.  I have given you this advice out of friendship, and for your good; you are now at liberty to do as you please.  At all events, I will send you some one to-night to personate the Dominican, and he will only have to return if you are too scrupulous.

The abbess sat like one amazed, and in her confusion began to tell her Rosary: “Ave Maria.  It is certainly allying oneself to the Devil.  Blessed Ursula, illumine my darkness.”  She cast her p. 113eyes upon the image of the saint.  “It would certainly be a great scandal to the convent.  Ave Maria.  But then it would be placed to Satan’s account.  Perhaps, though, I might be damned for it.  Pater noster.  And am I now to become a servant in the cloister, and in my old days to be tormented by a superior, after I have so long tormented the nuns?  This little baggage has already afforded sufficient scandal to the whole town without this.  Alas, when I have no longer authority to box the nuns about, how will this and that malignant creature revenge herself upon me!  Ave Maria.  Well, I have made up my mind, and, for the good of the cloister, I will continue abbess the remainder of any days, cost what it will.”

The Devil applauded her, and the plan was soon arranged.  Upon going away the Devil said to Faustus:

“Now, what have I done else than ask the pride of this old beldame whether it is better to risk eternal damnation, or to give up that tyrannical power over the poor nuns, which the hand of Death will soon deprive her of?”

p. 114Whatever pleasure Faustus derived from the certainty that his desires would be gratified, he was nevertheless much displeased that the Devil should always be in the right.  That same evening the abbess herself introduced him, under the disguise of the Dominican, into Clara’s cell while the nuns were at vespers.  Clara herself soon appeared, and after she had commended herself to St. Ursula, she laid herself down.  Her imagination, which had once been directed to a certain object, often repeated to her in dreams her former vision; and she lay in just such a transport, when Faustus approached her, and embodied the apparition, upon which Clara awoke, and still believed herself merely in a dream.  The abbess in the mean time did penance in her cell, and made a vow to fast every week for the good of her soul.  But the consequences of this night were horrible to poor Clara.

* * * * *

The next morning Faustus took leave of his family.  Few tears were shed; but his old father, in a mournful tone, gave him wholesome advice.

p. 115As Faustus, with the Devil, rode over the bridge which leads across the Rhine, thinking of last night’s adventure, and making comments upon the abbess, he saw afar off a man in the water, who seemed upon the point of drowning, and only feebly struggled against approaching death.  He commanded Leviathan to save the man.  The Devil answered, with a significant look:

“Think well of what thou requirest; he is a youth, and perhaps it will be better for him and for thee that he ends his life here.”

Faustus.  Thou fiend, only ready for mischief, wouldst thou have me withstand the sacred feeling of nature?  Hasten and save him, I repeat.

Devil.  Canst thou not swim thyself?  No.  Well, the consequences be thy reward; thou wilt repent of this.

He rushed into the stream, and rescued the youth.  Faustus consoled himself with the idea of having, by this good act, atoned for the preceding night of sin; and Leviathan laughed at the consolation.


The Devil now led Faustus through a series of adventures which were to serve as a prelude to the most afflicting vicissitudes.  What Faustus had hitherto seen had embittered his heart; but the scenes which now opened upon him by degrees so wounded his spirit, that his mind was unable either to support or remedy them; and only one of the worldly great, or, what is nearly synonymous, a worker and designer of human misery, could have witnessed them unmoved.

The Devil and Faustus were riding in close conversation along the banks of the Fulda, when they saw beneath an oak-tree a countrywoman sitting with her children, appearing to be the lifeless image of agony and dumb despair.  Faustus, whom sorrow attracted as much as joy, went hurriedly up to her, and inquired the cause of her p. 117grief.  The woman gazed at him for some time, and it was not until his sympathising look had in some degree melted her frozen heart that she was able, amidst tears and sobbings, to explain herself in the following words:

“In the whole world there are no beings so wretched as myself and these poor children.  My husband was indebted to the Prince-Bishop for three years’ rent.  The first year he could not pay it, on account of the failure of his crops; during the second the Bishop’s wild-boars grubbed up all his seed from the ground; and during the third his whole hunting-train galloped over our fields and destroyed our harvest.  As my husband had often been threatened by the steward with a distress, he intended to have gone this morning to Frankfort, to sell a fat calf and his last pair of oxen, and with the amount to have paid his rent.  But just as he was setting out the Bishop’s clerk-of-the-kitchen came, and demanded the calf for his lordship’s table.  My husband pleaded his poverty, and told him how unjust it would be to take away his calf, which p. 118would fetch a high price at Frankfort.  The clerk-of-the-kitchen answered, that no peasant had a right to carry any thing out of his master’s domain.  The steward and his bailiffs then came, and instead of taking my husband’s part, he drove off the oxen; the clerk-of-the-kitchen took the calf; the bailiffs turned me and my children out of house and home; and while they were pillaging and carrying off our goods, my husband went into the barn and out his throat in despair.  The poor wretch lies under that sheet, and we sit here to watch the body, so that it may not be devoured by the wild-beasts, for the priest has refused to bury it.”

She tore away the white sheet which had concealed the body, and fell to the ground.  Faustus started at the horrible sight, while tears gushed from his eyes, and he cried, “Man, man, is this thy lot?”  Then looking up to heaven, “Oh! didst thou create this unfortunate man merely that a servant of thy religion might drive him to despair and suicide?”  He cast the cloth over the body, flung the woman some gold, and said, “I p. 119will go to the Bishop and tell him your melancholy story.  I am certain that he will bury your husband, give you back your goods, and punish the villains.”

This circumstance made so strong an impression upon Faustus, that he and the Devil reached the Bishop’s castle before he could collect himself.  They were received with great civility, and shown into a spacious hall, where his reverence was at table.  The Prince-Bishop was a man in his best years, but so enormously corpulent that fat seemed to have overwhelmed his nerves, his heart, and his very soul.  He was only animated while eating; all his sense lay in his palate, and he never knew vexation, except when he was disappointed of a dish which he had ordered.  His table was so well furnished, that Faustus, whom the Devil had often banqueted by means of his spirits, thought to himself that the Bishop surpassed the master of a thousand arts in his dinners.  In the middle of the table stood, amongst other dishes, a large calf’s-head,—a favourite morsel with the Bishop.  He was engaged, both body and soul, in p. 120the feast, and had not yet spoken a single word, when suddenly Faustus exclaimed:

“Gracious sir, do not take it ill of me if I spoil your appetite, but it is impossible for me to look on that calf’s-head without telling you of a shocking affair which has this day occurred in the neighbourhood of your palace.  I hope, from your humanity and Christian mildness, that you will cause those aggrieved to be recompensed, and take care in future that your officers do not again outrage humanity, as they have done in this affair.”

The Bishop raised his eyes in wonder, looked at Faustus, and emptied his glass.

Faustus related the story with warmth and feeling; none of those present, however, paid any attention to him, and the Bishop continued eating.  Faustus then said: “I think I am speaking to a Bishop, a shepherd of his flock, and am standing among teachers and preachers of religion and Christian charity?  My lord, am I right or not?”

The Bishop eyed him scornfully; then calling for the clerk-of-the-kitchen, he said: “What hubbub p. 121is this about a peasant who has been fool enough to cut his throat?”

The clerk-of-the-kitchen laughed, told the story as Faustus had done, and added: “I took away his calf because it would grace your lordship’s table, and was too good for the Frankfort burghers, to whom he wished to sell it.  The steward distrained his goods because he had always been a bad tenant, and for three years had not paid his rent.  Thus, my lord, does the case stand; and truly no peasant shall drive any thing good out of your demesne with my consent.”

Bishop.  Go; you are quite right.  (To Faustus)  What have you now to say? you see that he did his duty in taking the calf; or do you think that the Frankfort citizens ought to eat the fat calves of my land, and I the lean?

Faustus was about to speak.

Bishop.  Listen! eat, drink, and be silent.  You are the first person that has ever spoken of peasants and such rabble at my table.  Verily, if your dress did not declare you to be a gentleman, I should be inclined to think that you were p. 122sprung from beggars, since you speak so warmly in their favour.  Learn that the peasant who does not pay his rent does just as well in cutting his throat, as certain people would do in holding their tongues instead of spoiling my appetite with useless speeches.  Clerk-of-the-kitchen, that is a noble calf’s-head.

Clerk-of-the-kitchen.  It is the head of Hans Ruprecht’s calf.

Bishop.  So, so!  Send it me here, and reach me the pepper.  I will cut myself a slice.  And you, Mr. What’s-your-name, may as well take a piece with me.

The clerk-of-the-kitchen placed the pepper-castor before the Bishop.  Faustus whispered into the ear of the Devil; and at the moment the Bishop ran his knife into the calf’s-head, the Devil changed it to the head of Hans Ruprecht, which, wild, horrible, and bloody, now stared the Bishop in the face.  His reverence let fall his knife, and sank back in a feinting fit; while the whole company sat in lifeless horror and stupefaction.

Faustus.  My Lord Bishop, and ye most reverend p. 123gentlemen, learn from this to practise Christian charity as well as to preach it.

He hurried away with the Devil.

The sang-froid of the Bishop and his table-companions, and the brutal manner in which he spoke of the fate of the unfortunate suicide, sowed the first seeds of gloomy horror in the breast of Faustus.  He revolved in his mind his former experience, as well as what he had seen since he had roamed about with the Devil, and perceived, whichever way he turned, nothing but hard-heartedness, deceit, tyranny, and a willingness to commit crime for the sake of gold, preferment, or luxury.  He wished to seek for the cause of all this in man himself; but his own unquiet and doubtful spirit, and his imagination, which always avoided difficulties within its reach, began already in dark dissatisfaction to make the Creator of mankind, if not the author, yet, by his sufferance of all these horrors, at least the accomplice.  These impious ideas only required the aid of a few more horrible scenes to derange his understanding entirely; and the Devil inwardly rejoiced in being p. 124able to afford a future opportunity for that purpose.  Faustus hoped soon to cure himself of this sadness at the court of the renowned prince, and his companion willingly left him in this delusion.  About evening they arrived at a city, at the entrance of which they perceived a crowd of people assembled round a tower, in which culprits condemned to death were accustomed to pass the last night of their lives.  Faustus, observing that the people were looking up to the ironed windows with the deepest sorrow, asked the cause of this assemblage.  Whereupon a hundred voices gave him an answer.

“Dr. Robertus, our father, the friend of freedom, the protector of the people, the avenger of the oppressed, sits imprisoned in yonder tower.  The cruel tyrannical Minister, once his friend, has now condemned him to death; and to-morrow he is to be executed, because he dared to uphold our privileges.”

These words sunk deep into the soul of Faustus.  He conceived a high opinion of a man who, at the risk of his own life, had dared to stand forward p. 125as the avenger of his fellow-creatures.  As he himself had just been a witness of the consequences of oppression, he commanded the Devil to carry him to this doctor.  The Devil took him aside, and then flew up with him into the tower, and entered the cell of the avenger of the people.  Faustus saw before him a man whose daring and gloomy physiognomy was truly disgusting.  But the romantic imagination of Faustus pictured, at first sight, the form of a great man, from what he had heard and from what he saw before him.  The doctor did not seem much surprised at their sudden appearance.  Faustus approached him, and said:

“Doctor Robertus, I come to hear your story from your own mouth; not that I have any doubt, for your appearance confirms all that has been told me of you; I am now convinced that you fall a sacrifice to that tyranny which oppresses the race of man, and which I abhor as much as you do.  I come likewise to offer you my assistance, which, contrary to all appearances, can extricate you from this dreadful situation.”

p. 126The doctor looked coldly upon him, let his face sink into his hands, and replied:

“Yes, I fall a victim to power and tyranny; and, what is most grievous to me, through the means of a false friend, who sacrifices me more to his fear and envy than to his despotic principles.  I know not who ye are, and whether ye can save me; but I wish that men of your appearance should know Dr. Robertus, who is to bleed to-morrow in the cause of freedom.  From my earliest youth the noble spirit of independence, which man is bound to thank for every thing great that he is capable of, fired my breast; from my early youth the numerous examples of tyranny and oppression which I saw with my eyes, or read of in history, roused my soul and inflamed me to fury.  Often did I shed tears because I felt myself unable to avenge the sufferings of mankind.  To increase my misery, I read in the history of the Greeks and Romans what advancement man made in virtue when tyrants were put down, and he was left to follow the bent of his own nature.  Think not that I am one of those fools p. 127whose idea of freedom is that every one should do as he pleases.  Full well I know that the capacities of men are different, and that their situations in life must be different; but when I considered the laws which should secure to each individual his life and property, I found nothing but a wild chaos, which tyrannical power had artfully mixed up in order to make herself the sole and arbitrary mistress of the happiness and the existence of the subject.  After this discovery, the whole human race appeared to me as a flock of sheep, which a band of robbers had conspired to plunder and devour by means of laws enacted by themselves, and to which they themselves are not amenable: for where is the law that fetters the rulers of the earth?  Is it not madness that those very people who, by their situations, are most liable to the abuse of their passions, are subservient to no law, and acknowledge no tribunal which can call them to account?  Misery is near, and promised vengeance is far off; and that chimes-in but poorly with the feelings and nature of man.”  Faustus earnestly listened to all this, looked p. 128furious, and struck his forehead with his hand.  The Devil was quite enraptured with the orator, who continued:

“The wild indignation which I expressed at every new act of oppression does honour to my heart, and therefore I care very little though my enemies can reproach me for want of prudence; for what is termed prudence by the world is nothing else than blind submission, servility, flattery, and being unscrupulous how or in what manner a place is obtained; but an independent being like myself seeks for happiness by purer means.  I had the misfortune to be allied, by the bonds of friendship, to the present Minister from the time we were at school together.  He sought advancement, and he has the spirit which insures it; for, from his very infancy, he has endeavoured to obtain power and riches by principles entirely opposite to mine; and in proportion as I have attacked tyrannical forms of government, he has defended them.  We have disputed this delicate point privately and in public, and my honesty has always enabled me to defeat him; but as it was p. 129natural that I should have the oppressed part of mankind on my side, so was it yet more reasonable that he should succeed in winning over all those who derive advantage from enslaving their fellow-men.  As these are the very people who can open the door of happiness and fortune to their confederates, so was he soon distinguished and raised, step by step, to the rank of prime-minister of the kingdom; whilst I, neglected, despised, and unknown, remained stationary.  The proud despot exerted his utmost to bring me over to his party by bribery and promise of place; but I saw that he only wished to make me thereby more deeply feel his power, and that he felt nothing more was wanting to complete his triumph than to have a man of my principles acknowledge him as patron, and sanctify his arbitrary measures by coöperating with him.  True, therefore, to myself, I the more eagerly exposed and censured the crimes which he was daily committing.  You must be aware that if he had been capable of feeling what was great, this hostility would have inspired him with admiration for a man who took p. 130him to task with so much danger to himself; but it operated in a different manner.  The more I exposed him, the more his hatred against me increased; and when I, a month ago, published a paper in which I depicted him in his true colours, and the people thereupon assembled round his house, threatened his life, and shouted my name with enthusiasm, the wretch had the baseness to send the paper forthwith to the Prince, who had me tried and condemned to death.  Thus the laws of tyrants condemn me, but the rights of man acquit me.—I have now told you my history, and you shall hear nothing more from me.  I die without a murmur, and merely grieve that I cannot burst the chain which fetters my fellow-men.  If you can assist me, good; but know that death from the hand of my foe is more welcome to me than mercy.  Leave me now to myself; return to slavery, while I wing my course to everlasting freedom.”

Faustus was confounded at the magnanimity of the Doctor, and hurried away to reproach the minister with his injustice, and put him to shame.  p. 131The Devil, who saw deeper into matters, perceived that the Doctor was animated with quite a different spirit than that of freedom.  The minister gave them an immediate audience; when Faustus spoke to him with much warmth and boldness concerning the situation and opinions of the Doctor.  He represented to him how injurious it would be to his reputation to sacrifice a man, whom he once called friend, at the shrine of despotism.  He gave him to understand that every man would believe that revenge and fear had actuated him to get rid of so sharp-sighted an observer of his actions.  “If your proceedings be just,” he continued, “you have, then, nothing to fear from him; if, on the contrary, you are such a man as he declares you to be, his execution will only strengthen his assertion, and every honest man will call you a false friend and an oppressor of your fellow-citizens.”

Minister.  I do not know you, nor do I ask who you are.  The manner in which I bear your reproaches and your epithets will best prove my opinion of you.  Consider, now, whether you have p. 132a right to bestow them from mere hearsay, being yourself unacquainted with the affairs of this country.  I will conclude, however, that you speak from compassion, and therefore will give you an answer.  I was, and am still, the friend of Dr. Robertus; and I deplore the necessity which forces me to deliver up to justice a man whose talents might have made him useful to his country, had he not perverted them to her destruction.  I will not search for the cause of this in his breast, but will leave it to his own conscience.  For a long time I have tolerated his dangerous infatuation; but since he has inflamed the minds of the people for whose welfare I am answerable, and has placed himself at the head of a rebellion, he must die, as my own son must, were he guilty of the like offence.  The law has judged him, and not I; he knew this law, and knew what penalties rebellion draws down upon its sons.  I have nothing to say against the opinion of the people: when they are no longer misled, I believe they will consider me as their father.  If you please, you may stay among us; and whenever you can p. 133see any thing really calculated for the people’s good, be assured that I shall always pay attention to it.

After these words, which he spoke in a firm and unaltered tone, he retired, and left Faustus, who was unable at the moment to make any reply.  Upon going away, the latter said to the Devil, “Which of these two, now, shall I believe?”  The Devil shrugged his shoulders; for he generally appeared to be ignorant when concealing the truth would be profitable to himself and injurious to mankind.

Faustus.  But why should I ask thee?  I will obey the call of my own heart.  A man who is so nearly allied to me by his way of thinking shall not die.

If Faustus had been acquainted with some of our modern bawlers for freedom, he would not have been so mistaken in the Doctor; but such a being was a novelty at that period.

The next morning, when the execution was to take place, Faustus went into the grand square, attended by the Devil, and told him in going p. 134along what he was to do.  At the very moment the executioner was about to decapitate the Doctor, who had kneeled down, looking very ghastly, the latter disappeared.  The Devil carried him through the air beyond the frontiers; and there, delivering him a large sum of money, he abandoned him joyfully to his fate, for he saw pretty clearly how he would employ his gold and liberty.  The people raised a wild shout of joy at the disappearance of the Doctor, and believed that Providence had rescued their favourite.  Faustus also shouted, and rejoiced at the glorious action.

Faustus and the Devil now rode to the court of the Prince of ---. [134]  They soon reached the court of this prince, who was cried up through all Germany as a wise and virtuous ruler, whose only happiness consisted in the welfare of his subjects.  p. 135It is true that the subjects themselves did not always join in this cry; but the prince is not yet born who can give satisfaction to all men.

Faustus and the Devil, by means of their dress and equipage, soon found admittance at court.  Faustus regarded the Prince with the eyes of a man whose heart was already prepossessed in his favour; and to carry this prepossession even to conviction, nothing more was necessary than the noble exterior of the Prince himself.  He was, or appeared to be, frank and open; endeavoured to please and to win all hearts without appearing to do so; was familiar without laying aside his dignity, and possessed that prudent coldness which inspires respect, though we scarcely know why.  All this was blended with so much elegance, urbanity, and decorum, that it would have been difficult for the most acute eye to have distinguished the acquired, the artificial, and the assumed, from the plain and natural.  Faustus, who had as yet seen few of those men of the world whose natural characters are swallowed up by political prudence, formed an ideal one out of the p. 136above-mentioned materials; and after he had for some time visited the court, and believed that he had obtained a thorough knowledge of the head personage, the following conversation took place one evening between him and the Devil:

Faustus.  I have hitherto purposely said nothing to you of this Prince; but now, having, as I flatter myself, caught his character, I venture to affirm that report is no liar, and I hope to wring from thee an avowal that he is the man we have been seeking.

Devil.  I guessed, from your beginning, how you would end.  I suppose you verily believe that you have brought the Devil into a quandary; but of this anon.  Your prince shall be for the present a thoroughly honest fellow.  I will tell you nothing of the result of the observations I have made upon him; for, from what I have learnt at the minister’s, there is something going forward which will soon give you ocular demonstration of his worth; till then keep the idea you have formed of him in your bosom, and tell me what is your opinion of Count C., his favourite.

p. 137Faustus.  Curse it: he is the only person here whom I cannot comprehend.  He is the bosom friend of the Prince, and yet is as slippery as an eel, which always escapes through your fingers; and as smooth as a woman is towards her husband when she has resolved to deceive him.  But perhaps he is obliged to conceal the emotions of his soul, lest some of those spies who are always hanging round the favourites of princes should take advantage of him.

Devil.  His soul!  Dost think then, Faustus, that a man who so studiously endeavours to disguise himself has a breast that would bear the light?  Never trust him in whom art and subtlety have so far overcome animal nature, that even the signs of his instinct and his sensations are extinguished.  When that which works and ferments within you shows itself no more in your face, in your eyes, and in your actions, you are no longer what nature formed you; but are become the most dangerous brutes on the earth.

Faustus.  And is the Count such a being as you have described?

p. 138Devil.  The Count is a man who has travelled much and has made the tour of the courts of Europe, has smoothed down the rugged man, and has sacrificed the noble feelings of his heart at the cold shrine of reason; in short, one of those calculating heads who laugh at your ideal virtue, and act with men like the potters, who dash the work of their hands to pieces if it does not please their fancy.  He is one of those who think themselves justified, by their experience, to consider the entire race of men as a pack of wolves who will devour all who put confidence in them.  Nothing delights him more than to carry on an intricate state-plot; and he treats a maiden as he does a rose which he plucks from the stalk,—inhales the sweetness, and then very coolly treads it under foot.

Faustus.  Malicious devil! and can the man thou hast depicted to me be the bosom friend of the Prince of ---?

Devil.  Time will show what he is to him.  I tell thee there is something going forward.  Didst thou, by the by, observe the minister this evening?

p. 139Faustus.  He appeared sad and melancholy.

Devil.  He, now, is one of those whom you call honest men.  He is just, noble-minded, and attentive to the duties of his situation; but, like all of you, he has a foible to counterbalance his virtues; this is an unbounded tenderness for the other sex: and as he, out of principle, required the blessing of the priest to his pleasures, so did he, after the death of his first wife, make a fool of himself by marrying the woman whom you have seen.  Through a few hours’ enjoyment he destroyed the fabric of his fortune.  She took advantage of his doting fondness, and wasted in luxury, dress, and play, her, his, and his children’s property, and involved him in debts to an immense amount.  It is true she found in Baron H., whom you know, and who is sole master in the house, a powerful coadjutor.  When they were completely aground, and their desires had become more craving in proportion as the difficulty of gratifying them increased, the lady readily agreed to a plan which her minion proposed to her in private, and which was nothing else “than to sell the honour p. 140of her stepdaughter, under an equivocal promise of marriage, at as high a price as the favourite would buy it.”  The minister had not the slightest suspicion of all this; he only felt his lack of money, the weight of his debts, the full mass of his folly, and trembled in momentary expectation of the arrival of his son, whom the wife had driven from home in order that she might dissipate his property.  The poor youth had in the interval departed for the Turkish wars, and had been rewarded for his interference with a wooden arm.  I do not say that the favourite might not have had, at the commencement of this affair, serious views of marrying the daughter, for he was well aware of the father’s interest with the Prince; but during these last few days the scene has quite changed.  The Prince has proposed to him an alliance with one of the richest heiresses in the land; and he has determined, by one secret stroke, so entirely to overwhelm the minister and his whole house, that no one shall dare to cry for revenge or to complain of him.  They will all be silent, and the minister will be crushed beneath p. 141his foot, like the worm, whose sufferings are unheard.

Faustus.  But will not the Prince hear of this deed, and punish it?

Devil.  Thine own eyes shall be witnesses of the issue of the affair.

Faustus.  I command thee, under pain of my displeasure, to play none of thy tricks here.

Devil.  Those who by their crimes put the Devil himself to blush, have very little need of his assistance.  We begin now, O Faustus, to remove the covering from the hearts of men; and I own that I feel sincere joy in finding that the Germans are capable of something grand.  You, indeed, are merely the imitators of other nations, and lose thereby the glory of originality; but in hell that is not esteemed essential, and good-will in the cause of wickedness is all that is required.

Faustus passed his time gaily among the women of the court, corrupting all those who were to be obtained by money or a fine face; whilst the drama of the favourite was rapidly hastening to a conclusion.  He now revealed his finely-spun p. 142design to Baron H.  The latter was to be the instrument of it; and as the glitter of gold was no longer at hand to sharpen his palled passion for the minister’s wife, and as the tears of the unfortunate daughter, the misery of the father, and the expected arrival of the crippled son, began to bear heavily upon his tender conscience, he determined at once to free himself of all these burdens.  His reward consisted in the Count’s undertaking to persuade the Prince to send the Baron on an important mission to the imperial court.  In consideration of this, the Baron was to procure the wife of the minister to purloin secretly, from the cabinet of her husband, a certain parchment, considered to be one of the most important title-deeds of the princely house; and which the favourite was well aware would shortly be called for, on account of a certain law-suit with another illustrious family.  The Count then hoped to make it appear that the minister, for a sum of money, would have delivered it into the hands of the adversaries, if the favourite’s watchfulness had not detected his treachery.  The spouse of the minister, p. 143who thought that an old man who could no longer supply her with gold for her follies deserved no mercy, readily delivered the paper into the hands of the Baron, for whom she had the most doting fondness.

The minister was walking, in a melancholy manner, up and down his apartment.  The sense of approaching shame, and the certainty of deceived love, had removed from him even his daughter, who latterly had been his only consolation.  She was weeping in her chamber, and breaking a heart worthy of a better destiny.  The minister’s meditations were interrupted by his wife, who now came to reproach him, and thereby add to his misery.  Baron H. presently entered, and coolly demanded the commission, by virtue of which he was to act at the imperial court.  As he brought with him the Prince’s order for the same, the minister instantly went into his cabinet to fetch it.  In the mean time the lady, who now first heard of the Baron’s intended departure, began to rave at him in the agony of despair.  No sooner did the minister return with the Baron’s commission p. 144than a messenger brought him a note from the Prince, in which he was commanded instantly to bring the title-deed into court in order that it might be laid before the envoy of the adverse party.  The minister searched the cabinet, emptied all his drawers of their contents, and the cold sweat of death began to trickle down his face.  He questioned his secretaries and clerks, his wife also, and his daughter; but to no purpose.  At length he was obliged to resolve, fortified as he was by his innocence, to expose himself to the dreadful storm.  He hastened to the Prince, who was sitting alone with the Count, informed him of his misfortune, assured him of his innocence, and submitted to his destiny.  The Count allowed the Prince to give way to his first indignation at this unwelcome intelligence, when, advancing very coolly, he took the title-deed out of his own pocket, and delivered it to the Prince with a low bow.  He then suffered himself to be closely questioned as to the means by which the deed came into his possession; but not until the Prince had threatened him with his displeasure did he p. 145confess, with the greatest apparent reluctance, the process of the affair according to his concerted plan.  The minister was dumb; this evidence of his guilt so confused him, that not even the consciousness of his innocence could dispel the darkness which had come over him.  The Prince looked furiously upon him, and said: “I ought long since to have expected that you would endeavour to pay the debts of your waste and extravagance by betraying me.”  This last reproach in some degree restored the wretched man to his senses; he was about to speak, but the Prince commanded him to be silent, to resign his situation immediately, go home, and not leave his house till sentence should have been pronounced upon him.

The minister accordingly went home, while big tears rolled down his cheeks.  Despair forced from the daughter the secret of her shame, and from the wife the avowal of her crime.  The strength of his spirit gave way, his senses became confused, and that most frightful of all visitations, insanity, drew a gloomy veil over the remembrance of the past, and, by the ruin of his mind, p. 146healed his heart of the wounds which his nearest and dearest had inflicted upon it.

It was at this moment that the Devil led Faustus into the chamber of the minister, having previously informed him of every particular of the affair.  All the fibres of feeling were not yet entirely destroyed, and some few drops of paternal sensibility were yet falling from the eyes of the good old man upon the miserable daughter who was clasping his knees.  He smiled once more, played with her dishevelled locks, and smiled yet again.  Suddenly his son rushed in, and was about to precipitate himself into his embrace.  The father gave him a ghastly look; a wild shriek of madness, which thrilled through the nerves of every one present, burst from his heaving breast; and the poor sufferer became for ever an object of horror and painful compassion.

Faustus raged, and uttered the most frightful curses.  He instantly determined to inform the Prince of the whole proceeding, and to unmask the traitors.  The Devil smiled, and advised him to go softly to work if he wished thoroughly to know p. 147this Prince whom he boasted of as an impersonation of all human virtues.  Faustus hastened to court; and certain, as he imagined, of being able to cause the ruin of the favourite by this discovery, he coolly communicated every thing to the Prince.  When he came to the motive which urged the Count to this horrible action, namely, his wish to free himself from his engagements with the daughter of the minister, the countenance of the Prince brightened; he sent for the Count, and embracing him on his entrance, said:

“Happy is the Prince who finds a friend who, out of obedience and the fear of displeasing him, dares commit an action which the common rules of morality condemn.  The minister has always acted like a fool.  I am glad that we have thus got rid of him.  Thou wilt fill his situation much better.”

Faustus stood for a moment petrified with horror.  Noble warmth soon, however, began to fire his breast.  He depicted in frightful colours the present situation of the minister.  He then burst into fury and reproaches, and, without the p. 148least reserve or fear, spoke like an avenger of humanity when unmasking a cold-blooded, hypocritical tyrant.  He was turned out of the palace as a madman.  He returned home, and the Devil received him with a triumphant air.  Faustus said nothing, but gnashed his teeth, and, in his venomous wrath, rejoiced that he was entirely separated from the race of man.

About midnight the Count caused the Devil and Faustus to be arrested, and cast into a frightful dungeon.  Faustus commanded the fiend to submit quietly, because he wished to see how far these hypocrites would carry their wickedness.  When in prison, the dreadful scene of the day flitted before his mind’s eye in colours of tenfold horror; and wild thoughts against Him who rules the destiny of man arose from the contemplation of it.  His soul became inflamed; and at length he exclaimed, with scornful laughter:

“Where is here the finger of the Godhead, and where is that Providence which presides over the path of the righteous?  I see the just man insane, and the wretch who drove him to madness p. 149rewarded; I disclosed to the tyrant, who affects virtue, the wickedness of his favourite, and he found him only so much the more worthy of his friendship and favour.  If this be the order and harmony of the moral world, then there is harmony and order in the brain of the poor lunatic, who is suffered to fall unprotected and unrevenged.”

He continued, while the Devil listened and laughed: “But allowing that man is obliged, by necessity, to do every thing he does, then must his deeds and his actions be ascribed to the Supreme Being, and they thereby cease to be punishable.  If nothing but what is good and perfect can flow from a Perfect Being, then are our deeds, horrible as they seem to us, good and perfect.  If they are wicked, and in reality what they seem to us, then ought that Being to be looked up to with horror and aversion.  Come, fiend, resolve my doubts, and tell me what causes the moral misery of man.”

Devil.  A truce to your doubts! no one clothed in flesh is permitted to untie that knot, and therefore p. 150a thousand fools will hang, drown, and destroy themselves.  Do not, O Faustus, forget the end which we proposed to ourselves at our first interview.  I promised to show thee men in their nakedness, in order to cure thee of the prejudices thou hadst imbibed from thy books, so that they might not disturb thee in the enjoyment of life.  But when thou hast rid thyself of all these human frailties, and hast discovered that the pretended guidance of the Eternal One whom thou hast renounced on my account, and before whose sight thou mayst commit, undeterred, the most horrible atrocities, is only a delusion, perhaps thy soul will then have sufficient strength to understand these horrible mysteries; and, if so, I will reveal them to thee.

Faustus.  Then, by the mysteries of evil which surround men from their birth to their grave, I shall yet be the greatest of my race; for, in summoning thee, I shall have threaded the labyrinth in which the rest must grope about to all eternity.

Devil.  It is well that the rest of men do not p. 151possess the magic art which has enabled thee to render me thy subject, else would hell soon be emptied; and thou wouldst see more devils walking upon the earth than there are saints in the Calendar.  Heigh ho!  I know what a troublesome life a devil has who is forced to put in execution all the designs of an honest heart and a sound head: what, then, would become of us, if every rascal and fool could call us out of hell!

This observation of the Devil’s was on the point of putting Faustus into a better humour; but his attention was almost immediately directed to another subject.  Six armed men, with dark lanterns, followed by two executioners with empty sacks, now entered the dungeon.  Faustus asked them what they wanted; and the leader answered, with great politeness: “We are merely come, sir, to request you and your honourable companion to creep into these sacks; for we are ordered to tie you up in them, and then fling you into the neighbouring stream.”  The Devil laughed aloud, and exclaimed: “See, Faustus, the Prince of --- wishes to cool in you that enthusiasm for virtue p. 152which you displayed so warmly before him to-day.”  Faustus looked furiously, and gave a sign: a fiendish roar instantly filled the arched vaults; the soldiers and executioners sunk trembling to the ground, and out flew the prisoners on the wings of the mighty wind.

Revenge now inflamed the breast of Faustus, and arrayed itself in the brilliant hues of a great and noble call.  The idea of avenging mankind on its oppressors rushed through his brain, and he determined to employ the power of the Devil in clearing the earth of hypocrites and villains.  He therefore exclaimed:

“Fly this moment to the palace, and strangle the wretch who makes a game of virtue.  Annihilate him who rewards the traitor, and knowingly treads upon the righteous man.  Avenge mankind on him, in my name.”

Devil.  Faustus, thou art forestalling the vengeance of the Avenger.

Faustus.  His vengeance sleeps, and the righteous man suffers; I will have him destroyed who wears only the mask of virtue.

p. 153Devil.  Bid me, then, breathe pestilence and death over the whole earth, so that the whole race of man may perish.  I tell thee, Faustus, thou art giving thyself useless trouble, and sending wretches down to hell in vain; for things will still go on as they did, or perhaps worse.

Faustus.  Crafty fiend, thou wouldst willingly save him in order that he might commit more crimes.  Princes like him do indeed deserve thy protection, for they render virtue contemptible by rewarding villany.  Die he shall, and, loaded with his last deed, sink trembling into damnation.

Devil.  Know, thou fool, that the Devil rejoices over the death of a sinner; and what I said was merely to secure myself from thy future reproaches, and that thou mightest have no excuse remaining.  The consequences of this deed be thine.

Faustus.  Yes, be they mine.  I will lay them in the scale against my sins.  Hasten, and be firm.  Be thou the arrow of my vengeance.  Seize the favourite and hurl him among the sands of burning Libya, so that he may perish by inches.

p. 154Devil.  Only private revenge, and spite in finding thyself deceived, drive thee to this.

Faustus.  Babbling fiend!  It is a solitary remnant of what you call my youthful prejudices which inspires me with angry thoughts at the sight of any atrocious act.  If I could have seen and tolerated the wickedness of men, should I have wanted thee?  Hasten and obey.

The Devil suffocated the Prince on his magnificent couch, then seized the trembling favourite and hurled him among the burning sands of Libya.  He then returned to Faustus, and cried, “The deed is done!”  They once more mounted the rapid winds, and sailed out of the country.

Faustus sat, melancholy, upon his horse; for, after they had passed the frontiers, the Devil had changed their method of travelling.  The history of the minister still gnawed his heart, and he was stung to the quick at being obliged to acknowledge that the Devil had as yet been right in respect to men; and the bitterness of his spirit increased in proportion as they displayed themselves to him in their true colours.  Yet the idea p. 155of having avenged the unfortunate minister upon the hypocrites cheered him in the midst of his gloomy sorrows.  Pride by degrees so inflated his heart, that he almost began to consider his alliance with the Devil as the act of a man who yields up his soul for the good of his race, and thereby surpasses all the heroes of antiquity, who merely sacrificed their temporal existence; nay more, for as they sacrificed themselves for the sake of glory, or for a recompense,—which he, on account of his engagement, could entertain no hopes of,—so at last he imagined that they were not worthy to stand for a moment in comparison with him.  Thus, place men in whatever situation you will, they soon begin to feel happy, provided their self-love has an opportunity of working; for self-love can even gild the yawning gulf of hell, as in the case of Faustus.  He forgot, in his pride, the motives of his alliance with the Devil, and his thirst for pleasure and enjoyment; and while he sat upon his horse, his imagination dubbed him the knight-errant of virtue and the champion of innocence.  The Devil rode by his side without p. 156once disturbing his meditations; for he only saw in each of these would-be noble feelings the sources of future torment and despair.  His hatred of Faustus, however, increased in proportion as the ideal prospects of the latter brightened and expanded; he enjoyed, in anticipation, the hour when all these airy visions would melt and disappear, and all these painted images of fancy would deck themselves in the livery of hell, and tear the rash one’s heart as the heart of mortal had never yet been torn.  After a long silence, Faustus suddenly exclaimed: “Tell me how it fares with the false favourite.”

Devil.  He pants upon the scorched sands, and stretches his parched tongue from out his burning jaws, that the air and dew may refresh and moisten it; but no cooling wind blows there, and for a millennium there will fall no refreshing drop from heaven.  His blood boils like molten metal in his veins, and the rays of the sun fall perpendicularly upon his bare head.  Already is a curse against the Almighty conceived in his inflamed brain, but his tongue is unable to stammer it p. 157forth.  He turns up the hot sand like a mole, in order that he may suck the damp earth; but thus he only digs his own grave.  Is thy revenge satisfied?

Faustus.  Revenge!  Why dost thou call the exercise of justice revenge?  Here am I shedding cold drops of sweat through my skin at what thou hast been telling me; but I saw him laugh when I described to him and his patron the sufferings of the noble father and the ruined daughter.

Devil.  Time, which slowly draws up the curtain, will at length disclose every thing.  If the villanies of a petty despot and his catamite horrify thee, what wilt thou think when thou seest men who have a thousand times more power, and consequently will, to commit evil?  We have, as yet, only removed the first skin of the monster: what will become of thee when we tear open his breast?  Soon would He, to whom vengeance properly belongs, empty the magazine of his thunder, were he to destroy all those who, according to thy opinion, do not deserve to live.

Faustus was about to reply, when he saw afar p. 158off a village in a blaze.  As every thing uncommon excited his curiosity, he spurred forward his horse, and the Devil followed at his heels.  He was soon met by a confused rout of knights and attendants, who had been vanquished by another party, which, however, did not pursue them.  When they came nearer to the village, they found the plain strewed with the bodies of men and horses.  They saw among the dead a miserable wretch, who, with both his hands, was endeavouring to force back his entrails, which were hanging out of his mangled belly.  He howled and cursed frightfully during this horrid operation.  Faustus asked him the cause of all this bloodshed.  The fellow screamed, “Get to the Devil, Mr. Curiosity; if you saw your inside outmost, as I see mine, you would have no wish to answer questions.  If you want to know why they have served me thus, inquire of that noble gentleman, my master, who lies there dead, and whom I have to thank for this treatment.”

They left him, and approached a knight who was wounded in the shoulder, and Faustus put p. 159the same question to him.  The knight answered: “A boor belonging to yon burning village killed, some time ago, a stag, the property of the mighty Wildgrave.  Thereupon the Wildgrave demanded the culprit of my master, in order that he might be tied upon the back of a stag and run to death, according to the German custom.  My master refused to give up the boor; but in order to punish him, seized every thing he possessed, and confiscated it to his own use.  The Wildgrave then sent a letter of defiance to my lord, in the name of Heaven, and with the permission of the emperor.  We were worsted in the battle, and the Wildgrave has set fire to the village, which he has surrounded with his horsemen, so that the inhabitants cannot escape; for he intends to fulfil the oath which he swore, viz. to roast all the peasants, like Michaelmas geese, for his hounds and wild-boars.”

Faustus (furiously).  Where is his castle?

Knight.  On yonder eminence; it is the strongest and most magnificent castle in the whole country.

p. 160Faustus rode to the top of a hill, and looked down upon the burning village, which lay beneath him in the valley.  Mothers with children in their arms, old men, youths, and maidens rushed out, cast themselves at the feet of the horsemen, and begged for mercy.  The Wildgrave shouted till the valley reëchoed, “Drive the rabble back; they shall perish in the flames!”  The peasants screamed out, again and again: “We are innocent! we are innocent!  He who offended you has escaped.  What have we and our children done?  Ah, spare but them!”  The horsemen whipped them up from the ground, and drove them into the fire.  The poor mothers flung down their babes, in the hope that they would pity them; but the hoofs of the horses trampled them to death.

Faustus cried deliriously: “Fly, Devil, and return not till thou hast consumed the tyrant’s castle, and all that is therein.  When he returns home, let him find retribution.”

The Devil laughed, shook his head, and flew away; whilst Faustus flung himself down beneath a tree, and gazed impatiently upon the castle.  p. 161When he beheld it in flames, the madman imagined that he had restored all things to their right order, and received the Devil on his return with the utmost joy.  The latter came back in triumph, and boasted of the ruin he had caused; and, pointing to the Wildgrave and his myrmidon, who were scampering towards the castle, he exclaimed: “The vapours of the hellish pool will not, one day, strike him with such horror, O Faustus, as this thy deed: his young and beloved wife was a few days ago delivered of her firstborn.”

Faustus.  Oh, save her and the new-born babe!

Devil.  It is too late.  The mother pressed the boy in her arms, and he was burnt to ashes upon her bosom.

This episode made Faustus shudder, and he exclaimed, “How ready is the Devil to destroy!”

Devil.  Not so ready as daring men are to decide and punish.  Had ye but our might, ye would long ago have shattered the vast globe, and reduced it to a chaos.  Are you not a proof of this yourself, since you so madly abuse the power p. 162which you have over me?  Go to; go to.  The man who does not bridle himself resembles the wheel which rolls down the steep: who can stop its course?  It springs from rock to rock till it is shivered.  Faustus, I would willingly have permitted the babe to grow up and commit sin; for I am now deprived both of him and his mother.  Yes, Faustus; she endeavoured to preserve him from the scorching flames with her arms, the flesh of which was already frightfully burnt.

Faustus.  Thou drivest it home to my very heart.  (Hiding his face in his mantle, already wet with his tears.)

The desire of avenging the virtuous and the innocent upon the wicked now began to cool in the heart of Faustus.  He however comforted his spirit, tormented by the last spectacle, with the thought of the mother and the suckling being preserved from hell.  Besides this, his hot blood, his eagerness for pleasure, his desire for change, and finally his doubts, did not permit any sensation to make a lasting impression upon his heart.  As he was attracted by every new object, his feelings, p. 163therefore, burnt like sky-rockets, which for a moment illumine the darkness of the night, and then suddenly disappear.  The rich meal and the delicious wines which he enjoyed in the next city where they arrived soon chased away his melancholy fancies; and as the grand fair was being held there at that time, Faustus and the Devil, after they had dined, went into the market-place to see the crowd.

They now found themselves in a strange city.  There lived in one of the convents a young monk, who had, by means of a heated imagination, succeeded in so powerfully convincing himself of the force of religious faith, that he believed he should be able to remove mountains, and to prove himself a new apostle in deeds and miracles, if once his soul received the true inspiration, and the Holy Spirit worked its way through him.  Besides this, he imbibed all the follies and quackeries which others had rejected,—a circumstance in which visionaries entirely differ from philosophers.  The young monk, like every theorist who is inspired with the importance of his subject, was a fiery p. 164orator; he thereby soon won over the minds of the simple, especially of the women, who were easily caught by any warm and impassioned appeal.  His imagination, however, quickly formed for him another magic wand; for as he, on account of his alliance with the highest of all beings, had a lofty opinion of man, he formed the design of physiognomically dissecting the masterpiece of creation, this favourite of heaven, and of allotting to him his interior qualities by means of his exterior appearance.  Men of his character so frequently deceive themselves, that it is impossible to say whether some remaining spark of understanding had whispered to him that this new delusion would give a fresh polish to the old one; and that more pious souls would come to him than ever, in order to be told so many wondrous things about their faces.  As he had only seen the four walls of his cell, his penitents, and people of his own cast, and as he was as ignorant in regard to mankind, the world, and true science, as men of sanguine imaginations usually are,—it may be concluded that fancy alone excited him to this p. 165scheme.  His words and his writings operated prodigiously upon the minds of all those who would much rather be confused than think clearly.  This is the case with the greater part of mankind; and, as the hours of life glide away very pleasantly when self-love is tickled, it was impossible that he should be without disciples, for he flattered every body.  Our monk did not confine his researches to man alone; for he descended to the more ignoble beasts of the earth, allotted to them their qualities by examining their faces and the structure of their bodies, and imagined that he had made a wonderful discovery when he proved—from the mighty claws, the teeth, and the aspect of the lion, and from the tender, light fabric of the hare—why the lion was not a hare, and the hare a lion.  He was strangely surprised that he had succeeded in pointing out so clearly the appropriate and unalterable signs of brute nature, and to be able to apply them to man,—although society has so much accustomed the latter to mask his features, that they are rarely to be seen in their primitive state.  Not satisfied with these triumphs, p. 166our monk descended even into the kingdoms of the dead—tore skulls from the graves, and the bones of animals from the muck-heaps; and showed his visitors why the dead were dead, and, from their bones, how it was impossible that they should be otherwise than dead.  In a word, he proved, clearly and unanswerably, that death never yet came without a cause.

The Devil was well aware of the general infatuation, and perceived that, while he and Faustus sat at dinner in the public room, some of the company, and even the innkeeper himself, were surveying them with the utmost attention; and were communicating to each other, in whispers, the result of their observations, and showing the profiles which they had secretly taken.  The fame of the wonderful monk had long since reached the ears of Faustus; but he had hitherto paid so little attention to it, that he now hardly knew what to make of these signs and whisperings.  When they arrived in the market-place, they were surprised by a new and extraordinary spectacle.  This resort was the true school for physiognomists.  Every p. 167one there could single out his man, lay his visage upon the balance, and weigh out the powers of his mind.  Some stood gazing at horses, asses, goats, swine, dogs, and sheep.  Others held between their fingers spiders, butterflies, grasshoppers, and other insects, and endeavoured to ascertain what their instinct might be from an attentive survey of their exterior.  Some were employed in judging, from the weight of jaw-bones or the sharpness of teeth, to what animals they belonged.  But when Faustus and the Devil advanced among them, each man desisted from his occupation, and began to cry out, “What a nose! what eyes! what a searching glance! what a soft and beautiful curve of the chin! what strength! what intuition! what penetration! what a cleanly-made figure! what a vigorous and majestic gait! what strength of limb! how uniform and harmonious is his whole frame!”  “I would give I know not what for the autographs of the gentlemen,” said a weaver, “in order that I might judge, by their handwriting, of the quickness of their thoughts.”  The Devil happening to knit his brows from impatience of p. 168this folly, one of the physiognomists instantly said, “The internal force of the lion, which the gentleman possesses, has been aroused by some external provocation, or some trifling thought.”

Faustus was laughing at all this, when suddenly a beautiful female looked down upon him from a window, and cried, in sweet amazement: “Holy Catherine! what a noble head! what soft and angelic pensiveness in the eyes! what a sweet and lovely physiognomy!”  These melodious words sunk into the heart of Faustus.  He looked up to the window: her eyes met his for a moment ere she drew herself back.  Faustus whispered to the Devil: “I will not quit this town till I have possessed that maiden: what voluptuousness beams in her eyes!”  They had scarcely entered a side street, when one of the physiognomists came up and asked them very civilly for “the physiognomy of their writing,” assuring them that no stranger had hitherto refused him this favour, and he hoped and trusted that they would not.  He thereupon pulled out his album, and offered it to Faustus, at the same time producing pen and ink.

p. 169Faustus.  Not so fast, my friend; one good turn deserves another.  Tell me, first, who the maiden is that I this moment saw at the window of yonder house, and whose countenance is so celestial.

Physiognomist.  Ah! she is an angel in every sense of the word.  Our illustrious master has often assured us, that her eyes are the very mirrors of chastity, her lovely mouth only formed to express the inspiration of a heart filled with heavenly ideas; that her brow is the polished shield of virtue, against which all temptations, all earthly sin, will be shivered; that her nose snuffs the odours of the fields of bliss; and that she is the most perfect cast of ideal beauty ever yet permitted to appear in the world.

Faustus.  Truly, you have depicted her to me with more than earthly colours; and now tell me her situation in life, and her name.

Physiognomist.  She is the daughter of a physician; but her father and mother being lately dead, she lives by herself on her own property.  Her name is Angelica.

p. 170They then wrote some nonsensical lines in his album, and the physiognomist departed, delighted with his treasure.

Faustus.  Now tell me, Devil, how this child of grace is to be come at.  I am just inclined to see this monk’s ideal beauty.

Devil.  By the high road to the human heart you will certainly meet her; for sooner or later all must fall in with it, however far their fancies may have caused them to stray from it.

Faustus.  What a delightful enjoyment it would be to fill so exalted an imagination as hers with images of pleasure!

Devil.  The monk has already had the start of you, and has so sharpened her feelings, and filled her little soul with so much vanity and self-conceit, and made her piety so carnal, that you have nothing else to do than give one audible tap at the gate of her heart, in order to be admitted.  Let us now see to what lengths such delusions will lead a young woman.

Faustus.  And let it be done quickly.

The Devil was perfectly willing to steal so p. 171pure a soul from heaven, and thereby to consummate more speedily the measure of Faustus’s sins.  He suddenly stood in the shape of an old man with a peep-show, and, giving Faustus the wink, he hurried away into the market-place.  He raised his voice, and invited the people to come and see his peep-show.  The populace flocked around him,—footmen and chambermaids, wives and widows, boys and graybeards.  The Devil showed them all kinds of scenes, which he accompanied with pious explanations and moral sayings.  Each person stepped back delighted from the peep-show, and charmed the bystanders with the recital of the wonders he had witnessed.  The beautiful Angelica now looked out of her window; and, hearing the Devil descant in so pious a tone, she felt an irresistible desire to see the wonders of his box, and to bestow alms upon the devout old showman.  The Devil was sent for.  Even he was struck by her wondrous beauty, her gentle manners, and her ingenuousness; but he became only so much the more desirous to confuse her senses and entrap her.  She placed her enthusiastic p. 172eye to the window of the box.  The Devil preluded with a few proverbs and wise saws, and unfolded to her view scenes of love, in which he led her fancy so adroitly from the spiritual to the carnal, that she was scarcely aware of the gradation.  If she were about to turn away her eyes with shame, the offensive object changed itself at once into a sublime image, which again attracted her attention.  Her cheeks glowed, and she believed herself gazing upon an unknown and enchanted world.  The artful Devil caused the figure of Faustus to appear in all these scenes.  She saw him pursuing a shadow which resembled her own, and undertaking for its sake the greatest actions, and exposing himself to dangers of every description.  When the Devil had completely chained her attention, and perceived that she was highly curious to know wherefore the figure of Faustus was thus associated with her own, he changed the scene, and represented the parties in situations not to be misconstrued.  Lightning does not so quickly glance through the darkness as did these scenes flit before the eyes of the innocent p. 173maiden; a moment is an age in comparison, and the poison was glowing in her breast before she was able to retreat.  She started back, and, with her hands before her eyes, rushed into her chamber, and sunk senseless into the arms of Faustus.  When she became aware of her fall, she hid her face and repulsed the miscreant.  He laid costly jewels at her feet; but she spurned them, and cried, “Tremble, thou wretch! the hand of the Avenger will one day fall heavily upon thee for this crime.”

The insensate Faustus rejoiced at his victory; and went, without the least feeling of repentance, to the Devil, who laughed at the affair, and yet more fiendishly when he thought of its terrific consequences.

Faustus found himself here in his element.  He flew from conquest to conquest, and made very little use of the power of the Devil, but a great deal of his gold, which has some influence even over devout minds.  Angelica became invisible, and all the endeavours of Faustus to see her once more were of no avail; but he soon p. 174forgot her in the tumult of his pleasures.  Reading by chance some of the manuscript publications of the monk, he was irritated by the self-conceit and ignorance of the author.  He proposed to the Devil to play him a trick, and with that intention they both went to the convent.  As they were exceedingly well dressed, and appeared to be persons of distinction, they were received by the young monk in the most cordial and friendly manner.  His eyes had scarcely met those of the Devil when he became so agitated by his physiognomy, that, forgetting all the forms of politeness, he shook him violently by the hand; and going to some distance, he looked at him first full in the face, and then in the profile.  He then cried out:

“Ha! who art thou, most mighty one?  Yes; you can do what you like; and what you wish you can also do: your physiognomy tells me this; therefore it is not necessary for me to know you.  Never have I been more perfectly convinced of the truth of my science than at this moment.  Who can behold such a human visage without p. 175interest, without admiration?  Who cannot perceive in that nose, original greatness; in that eye, penetration, strength, and expression?”

He felt his forehead, and then continued:

“Permit me, with my measure, to ascertain the height of your brow?  Yes; I see unshaken courage in that forehead, as clearly as I do steadfast friendship, fidelity, love of God and man, in those lips.  What a nobleness in the whole!  Thy face is the physiognomy of an extraordinary man, who thinks deeply, who holds fast to whatever he undertakes, works, flies, triumphs, finds few men in whom he will confide, but many who will rely on him.

“Ah! if a common mortal had such a brow, such a mouth, such a nose, or even such hair, what would become of physiognomy?

“Perhaps there is not a man existing whom thy countenance would not by turns attract and repel.  What infantine simplicity!  What heroic grandeur!  Few mortals can be so well known and so little known as yourself.

“Eagle, lion, destroyer, reformer of mankind, p. 176move on, move on, and reclaim men from their blindness; share with them the intellectual strength which nature has given thee; and announce thyself to all as I have just announced thee to thyself.”

Faustus craunched his teeth while the monk was saying all these noble things about the countenance of the Devil, who turning coolly to the physiognomist, said,

“And what is thy opinion of that gentleman?  Tell me what he is.”

Monk.  Great, bold, mighty, powerful, soft, and mild; but thou, his companion, art greater, bolder, mightier, more powerful, more soft, more mild.

Then looking at Faustus, he exclaimed:

“Mighty pupil of a mightier man, if thy spirit and thy heart could entirely catch his greatness, thou wouldst still be merely reflecting the rays of his glory.  But seat thyself, and let me take thy shadow.”

Faustus, more and more enraged to see how infinitely the monk rated him below the Devil, now burst forth:

p. 177“Shadows! yes, indeed, shadows only hast thou seen.  How darest thou thus judge and measure the human race?  Hast thou seen men?  Where, and how?  Thou hast merely seen their shadows, which thou adornest with the tinsel of thy crazed imagination, and givest them out as the true forms.  Tell me what kind of human beings thou hast seen.  Were they not sectaries, fanatics, visionaries, the very offscourings of human nature?  Were they not vain devotees, young wives who have cold husbands, and widows who have sleepless nights?  Were they not authors eager to have every mark and pimple on their insignificant features turned into a sign and prognostication of genius?  Were they not grandees, whose brilliant stations rendered their physiognomies imposing to thine eye?  Thou seest that I know thy customers, and have read thy book.”

Devil.  Bravo, Faustus!  Let me now put in a word, and tell his reverence a few mortifying truths.  Brother monk, thou hast formed in thy solitary cell a phantom of perfection, and wouldst p. 178fain thrust that into people’s heads, which, when there, poisons the brain, as the gangrene corrupts all the flesh around it.  There were men long ago who ventured to judge of the innermost of their fellow-creatures from the outside; but there was some difference between them and thee.  They had travelled over a considerable part of the earth; experience had made them gray; they had lived and conversed with men, visited all the lurking holes of vice and iniquity, roved from the palace to the cot, crept into the caves of savages, and thus knew what belonged to a well-organised man, and what he could do with his faculties.  But shalt thou—swollen with prejudices, pent up in a convent like a toad in the trunk of an oak—pretend to have a clear idea of that which even they barely understood?

The monk stood between the two speakers as between two volcanoes in eruption; he crossed his hands humbly upon his breast, and cried, “Have mercy!”

The Devil continued:

“Among the many impudent follies which I p. 179observed in thy book was an attempt to draw the Devil’s portrait.  It is now high time for him to appear to thee, in order that thou mayst correct the likeness.  Look at me; and for once thou shalt be able to say thou hast seen an object in its proper form.”

The Devil then appeared to him in the most frightful of infernal figures; but he rolled a thick mist before the eyes of Faustus, in order that he might not blast his sight.  The monk fell to the earth; and the Devil, resuming all his former comeliness, exclaimed:

“Now thou mayst paint the Devil in his proper colours, provided thou hast strength.  Thou wouldst often be thus overcome, if thou didst in reality see the innermost of those whom thou makest angels.”

Faustus.  Persist in thy folly; communicate it to others; and by thy extravagances render religion repulsive to reasonable people.  Thou canst not farther more efficaciously the interests of the enemy.  Farewell!

The monk had lost his senses through terror; p. 180but he still continued writing notwithstanding his madness; and his readers never once perceived his derangement, so much did his new books resemble his old ones.

Faustus was delighted with this adventure; but becoming weary of the town, he quitted it the next morning with the Devil, and took the road to France.


When Faustus and the Devil entered upon the fertile soil of France, it was groaning beneath the oppression of that cruel and cowardly tyrant Louis the Eleventh, who was the first that ever styled himself “the most Christian king.”  The Devil had determined not to give Faustus the slightest information beforehand concerning this prince.  He had resolved to drive him to despair, and then overwhelm him with the most frightful blow a mortal can receive who has rebelliously transgressed the bounds which a powerful hand has drawn around him.

The Devil had learnt from one of his spies that the most Christian king was meditating a masterpiece of state policy; or, in other words, was on the point of getting rid of his brother, the Duke de Berry, in order that a province which had been p. 182granted to him might revert to the crown.  The malicious fiend resolved to make Faustus a spectator of this horrid scene.  They rode through a wood of oaks contiguous to a castle, and saw among the trees a Benedictine monk, who seemed to be telling his rosary.  The Devil rejoiced inwardly at this sight; for he read upon the countenance of the monk that he was imploring the Mother of God to assist him in the great enterprise which his abbot had intrusted him with, and likewise to save him from all danger.  This monk was Faber Vesois, confessor of the king’s brother.  The Devil did not disturb him in his pious meditations, but went on to the castle with Faustus.  They were received with all the respect generally shown to persons of distinction who come to visit a prince.  The duke passed his days here in the company of his beloved Monserau, thinking of no harm, and expecting no misfortune.  His agreeable manners soon gained him the good-will of Faustus, who was delighted to see a scion of royalty think and act like a man; for he had been accustomed to see among the p. 183German princes nothing but pride, coldness, and that foolish ceremony which is only intended to make visitors appear contemptible in their own eyes.  Some days were very pleasantly spent in hunting and other amusements, and the prince gained more and more upon the heart of Faustus.  The only thing that displeased him in the prince was the weakness he displayed in regard to his confessor, the Benedictine.  He loaded him with so much tenderness, and submitted with so much complaisance to his will, and the monk always looked so studiously devout, that Faustus could not conceive how a man so frank himself could prize such a hypocrite.  The Devil, however, soon let him into the secret by informing him of the duke’s connexion with Monserau.  His love for this fair lady was equalled by his fear of hell; and, Madame de Monserau having a husband still living, he was not altogether easy in respect to his amours with her.  As he neither wished to renounce her nor expose himself to eternal punishment, he greedily caught at the baits which the monks hang out in order to make themselves p. 184masters of the minds of men; and when the dread of hell tormented him too much, he allayed his fears by receiving absolution for his sins; while he thought it impossible for him to be too grateful to a man who encouraged him to enjoy the present, and tranquillised him in respect to the future.  “Thou seest, O Faustus,” said the Devil, “what men have made of religion.  Its abuse has often been associated with crimes and horrors, but is nevertheless used by the wicked to cajole and appease their rebellious consciences.”

The conduct of the prince in this respect did him little honour in the opinion of Faustus, who had long ago parted with his own conscience, and this last remark of the Devil’s operated strongly upon his mind; however, he permitted things to go on in their own way, and chiefly thought of passing his time pleasantly.

They were one evening at table in excellent humour; the Devil was diverting the company with his pleasant stories, and Faustus was employed in saying soft things to a pretty French widow, who listened to him very complaisantly; p. 185when all of a sudden, Death, in his most frightful shape, came to disturb the festival.  The Benedictine caused a basket of extraordinarily large peaches, which he had just received as a present, to be brought in at dessert; and, selecting one of the finest, he offered it to the prince with a smiling and benignant air.  The prince divided it with his beloved, and both ate of the peach without the slightest suspicion.  They then rose from table; the monk gave his benediction to all, and hurried away.  The Devil was about to commence a new story, when Madame de Monserau uttered a loud shriek.  Her lovely features were distorted, her lips became blue, and the paleness of death covered her countenance.  The prince rushed to her assistance; but the terrible poison began likewise to operate upon him; he fell at her feet, and cried, “Listen, O Heaven: my brother, my cruel brother, has assassinated me by the hand of that monster.  He who caused his father to die of hunger in order to avoid being poisoned, has now bribed the minister of religion to poison me.”

Faustus ran out of the room to seize the confessor, p. 186but he had fled; a troop of horse were waiting for him in the forest, and accompanied him in his flight.  Faustus returned; but Death had seized his victims, and they had ceased to struggle with him.  Faustus and the fiend instantly quitted the place.

Devil.  Well, Faustus, what think you of the deed committed by the Benedictine in the name of the most Christian king?

Faustus.  I am almost inclined to believe that our bodies are animated by fiendish spirits, and that we are only their instruments.

Devil.  What a debasing employment for an immortal spirit to have to animate such an ill-contrived machine!  Although I am a haughty demon, yet, believe me, I would rather animate a swine that wallows in the mire than one of ye, who roll in all manner of vice, and yet have the confidence to call yourselves images of the Most High.

Faustus was silent; for the adventures he was every day compelled to witness forced him, against his inclination, to believe in the moral worthlessness p. 187of man.  They travelled forward, and found every where hideous monuments of the cruelty of Louis the Eleventh.  Faustus frequently made use of the Devil’s gold and treasure to stop the bleeding wounds which the hand of the tyrant had inflicted.

At length they arrived at Paris.  Upon entering the city they found every thing in commotion.  The people were rushing in crowds down one particular street; they followed the populace, and arrived in front of a scaffold covered with black cloth, and which communicated, by means of a door, with an adjoining building.  Faustus asked what was the cause of all this; and he was told “that the rich Duke of Nemours was just going to be executed.”  “And for what?”  “The king has commanded it: there is a report, indeed, that he had hostile designs against the royal house, and that he intended to murder the dauphin; but as he has only been tried in his dungeon by judges named by the king, we know nothing for certain.”

“Say, rather,” exclaimed another of the bystanders, “that it is his property which costs him p. 188his life; for our sovereign, in order to make us a great and celebrated nation, cuts off the heads of all our wealthy men, and would serve us in the same manner if we were to find fault with his proceedings.”

The Devil left the horses at the nearest inn, and then led Faustus through the crowd.  They saw the duke, accompanied by his children, enter a chamber hung round with black, where a monk waited to receive his last confession.  The father had his eyes fixed upon his sons, and could not look to heaven.  After he had confessed himself, he laid his trembling hands upon the heads of the children, who were sobbing, and said, “May the blessing of an unhappy father, who falls a victim to tyranny and avarice, be your safeguard through life; but, alas, ye are the heirs of misfortune.  Your rights and pretensions will infallibly doom you to long sufferings; ye are born for misery, and I shall die in this conviction.”  He wished to say something more; but the guards silenced him, and hurried him out upon the scaffold.

The tyrannical king had given orders that the p. 189duke’s children should be placed under the scaffold, so that the blood of their father might drop through the boards upon their white robes.  The cries which the wretched parent uttered at the moment his darlings were torn from him struck terror to the hearts of all around.  Tristan alone, who was the executioner, and the king’s most intimate friend, looked on with perfect coolness, and felt the sharpness of the axe.  Faustus imagined that the groans of the unhappy parent would excite Heaven to avenge outraged humanity.  He lifted his tearful eyes towards the bright blue sky, which seemed to smile upon the horrid scene.  For a moment he felt himself strongly tempted to command the Devil to rescue the duke from the hands of the executioner; but his troubled and agitated mind was incapable of coming to any resolution.  The duke fell upon his knees; he heard the shrieks and lamentations of his children who were beneath the scaffold; his own infamous death no longer occupied his mind; he felt for the last time, and felt only for these unfortunates; big tears hung in his eyes, his lips p. 190trembled; the executioner gave the fatal blow, and the boiling blood of the father trickled down upon the trembling children.  Bathed with paternal gore, they were then led upon the scaffold.  They were shown the livid headless trunk, were made to kiss it, and then re-conducted to their prison, where they were chained up against the damp wall, so that whenever they took repose the whole weight of their bodies rested on the galling fetters.  To increase their misery, their teeth were torn out from time to time.

Faustus, overwhelmed by the frightful scene he had witnessed, returned shuddering to the inn, and commanded the Devil to annihilate the tyrant who thus made a sport of human suffering.

Devil.  I will not annihilate him, for that would be against the interest of hell; and why should the Devil put a stop to his cruelties when by some they are viewed with patience?  If I were to further the projects of thy blind rage, who would escape thy vengeance?

Faustus.  Should I not be performing a noble part, if, like unto another Hercules, I were to p. 191roam the world, and purge its thrones of such monsters?

Devil.  Short-sighted man, does not your own corrupt nature prove that you must have these kings?  And would not new monsters arise out of their ashes?  There would then be no end of murder; the people would be divided, and thousands would fall the victims of civil war.  You see here millions of bipeds like yourself, who suffer a man like themselves to despoil them of their property, to flay them alive, and to murder them at his pleasure.  Did not they witness the execution of this duke, who died innocent as any lamb?  Did they not gaze with pleasure, mingled with agony and grief, upon the tragic spectacle?  Does not that prove they deserve their lot, and are unworthy of a better?  Could they not crush the tyrant at a blow?  If they have the power of relieving themselves in their own hands, wherefore should we pity their sufferings?

Here the disputation ceased.

Faustus shortly afterwards became acquainted with a gentleman of sense and education, who had p. 192an excellent character for probity.  Faustus and the Devil pleased him so much, that he invited them to come and pass some days with him on his estate at a short distance from Paris, where he lived with his family, which consisted of his wife and his daughter, who was about sixteen years old, and lovely as an angel.  At the sight of this divine object Faustus was like one enchanted, and felt, for the first time, the sweet torments of delicate love.  He confided his sufferings to the Devil, who instantly offered to assist him, and laughed at the pretended delicacy of his sentiments.  Faustus owned that it was repugnant to his feelings to violate the laws of hospitality.  The Devil replied: “Well, Faustus, if you wish to have the gentleman’s consent, I will engage to procure it.  For what do you take him?”

Faustus.  For an honest man.

Devil.  It is a great pity, O Faustus, that you are so liable to deception.  And so you really believe him to be an honest man!  I admit that all Paris is of the same opinion.  What do you think he loves best in the world?

p. 193Faustus.  His daughter.

Devil.  I know something which he loves more.

Faustus.  And what is that?

Devil.  Gold; and you ought to have seen that long ago.  But since I have been obliged to open to thee the treasures of the earth, and thou hast had them at thy disposal, thou hast resembled the torrent which inundates the fields, caring very little where its waters flow, or where they are received.  How much hast thou lost at play with this gentleman?

Faustus.  Let them reckon who care more for the dross than I.

Devil.  He who tricked you can tell to a ducat.

Faustus.  Tricked!

Devil.  Yes, tricked you.  He saw how little you cared for money, and has made a noble harvest out of you.  Think not that the table of this miser would be so well provided, and that he would be so prodigal of the richest wines, and that thou wouldst see so many guests around him, provided thy gold did not work these miracles.  At every moment he trembles lest we should leave p. 194his house.  I see by thy astonishment that thou hast been a spendthrift all thy life, and that thou hast never felt this thirst for gold, which can extinguish all the desires of the heart, and even the most pressing wants of nature.  Follow me, but tread softly.

They descended a staircase, went through several subterranean passages, and came at last to an iron door.  The Devil then said to Faustus: “Look through the key-hole.”  Faustus perceived in a vault, illumined by the feeble light of a lamp, the gentleman seated by the side of a strong-box, in which were many sacks of money, which he was looking at with tenderness.  He then flung the money he had won from Faustus into another box, and wept because he saw there was not sufficient to fill it.  The Devil said softly to Faustus: “For the sum which is wanting to fill that box, he will sell thee his daughter.”

Faustus was incredulous.  The Devil waxed wroth, and said impatiently:

“I will show thee that gold has such irresistible power over the minds of men, that even p. 195at this moment some fathers and mothers belonging to the village are in the neighbouring wood selling for money their babes and sucklings to the emissaries of the king, although they are well aware that the poor little things are destined to be slaughtered, in order that the king may drink their blood, with the foolish hope of renovating and refreshing the corrupt tide which flows in his own veins.

Faustus (with a shudder).  Then the world is worse than hell, and I shall quit it without regret.  But I will be convinced with my own eyes before I credit any thing so horrible.

They now went into the wood, and concealed themselves among the bushes, where they perceived the emissaries of the king in conference with some men and women, and the priest of the parish.  Four little children were stretched upon the grass, one of them crying pitiably.  The mother lifted it up and gave it pap, in order to quiet it; whilst the others crept upon the ground, and played with the flowers.  The emissaries counted money into the hands of the husbands; p. 196the priest had his share, and the children were delivered up.  The echoes of the wood repeated for a long time the cries of the little wretches as they were carried away.  The mothers groaned; but the men said to them, “Here is gold; let us go to the public-house and buy wine, and drink to a fresh offspring.  It is better that the king should eat the brats now they are young than flay them when they are old, or tie them up in a sack and fling them into the Seine.  It would have been much better for us if we had been devoured as soon as we were born.”

The priest comforted them, and said:

“They had done a meritorious act, and one which was pleasing to the Mother of God, to whom the king was entirely devoted.”  He added, “that subjects were born for the king; and that, as he reigned upon earth as Heaven’s vicegerent, he had a right to dispose of them according to his pleasure, and that they were bound to revere the slightest of his fancies as a sacred law.”

The peasants then went to the public-house, p. 197where they spent half the blood-money in drink, and kept the rest to pay the king’s taxes.

The Devil now looked at Faustus with an air of mockery, and said, “Hast thou still doubts whether the gentleman will sell thee his daughter?  Thou at least wilt not eat her.”

Faustus.  I swear by the black hell which at this moment appears to me a paradise when compared with the earth, that I will henceforward give boundless scope to all my passions, and, by ravaging and destroying, believe that I am acting consistently to such a monster as man.  Fly, and purchase me his daughter: she is doomed to destruction, as is every thing that breathes.

This was exactly the disposition in which the Devil had long been desirous to see Faustus, in order that he might precipitate him to the end of his career, and thereby ease himself of a grievous burden, and cease to be the slave of a thing so contemptible as man was in his eyes.  That very evening he began to sound the father; and the next morning, whilst they walked together, he made proposals to him, and showed p. 198him gold and jewels, which the miser gazed at with rapture; but which, however, he would not take until he had made a parade of his virtue.  At every objection the old hypocrite started, the Devil augmented the sum; and at last he bade so high that the miser accepted it, after much ceremony, laughing secretly at the madman who flung away his gold so foolishly.  The contract was made, and the father led Faustus to his daughter; and as he could prove that her parent was a consenting party, she fell a willing victim.

The father in the mean time went with his gold and a lamp to the vault where he kept his treasure, and which was known to none of his family.  He was overjoyed in having obtained sufficient to fill his second strong-box.  From fear of being followed, he closed the door hastily behind him, forgetting that it went with a spring-lock, and that he had left the key on the outside.  The lamp was extinguished by the wind of the door, and he found himself suddenly involved in profound darkness.  The air of the vault was p. 199thick and damp, and he soon felt a difficulty in his respiration.  He now first perceived that he had not the key with him, and death-like anguish shot coldly through his heart.  He had still strength and instinct sufficient to find his box; he laid the gold in it, and staggered back to the door, where he considered whether he should cry out or not.  He was cruelly agitated by the alternative of discovering his secret, or of making this vault his tomb.  But his cries would have been to no purpose; for the cavern had no connexion with the inhabited part of the house, and he had always so well chosen his time, that no one had ever yet seen him when he crept to the worship of his idol.  After having for a long time struggled with himself, without coming to any resolution, the terrible images which assailed his imagination, joined to the thickness of the air, totally disordered his brain.  He sunk to the earth, and rolling himself to the spot where his box stood, he hugged it in his arms, and became raving mad.  He struggled with despair and death at the moment of the ruin of his p. 200daughter, whose innocence he had bartered for gold.  Some days after, when all the corners of the house had been closely searched, chance led a servant to the cavern; it was opened, and the unfortunate wretch was found lying, a blue and ghastly corpse, upon his dear-bought treasure.  The Devil informed Faustus upon their return to Paris of the issue of this affair, and Faustus believed that, on this occasion, Providence had justified itself.

The fiend having learnt that the Parliament were about to decide upon a case unexampled and disgraceful to humanity, he thought it advisable that Faustus should hear it.  The fact was this: a surgeon, returning late one night to Paris with his faithful servant, heard, not far from the highway, the groans and lamentations of a man.  His heart led him to the spot, where he found a murderer broken alive upon the wheel, who conjured him, in the name of God, to put an end to his existence.  The surgeon shuddered with horror and fright; but recovering himself, he thought whether it would not be possible for p. 201him to reset the bones of this wretch, and preserve his life.  He spoke a few words to his servant, took the murderer from the wheel, and laid him gently in the chaise.  He then carried him to his house, where he undertook his cure, which he at last accomplished.  He had been informed that the Parliament had offered a reward of one hundred louis-d’ors to any one who would discover the person who had taken the assassin from the wheel.  He told the murderer of this when he sent him away, and, giving him money, he advised him not to stay in Paris.  The very first thing which this monster did was to go to the Parliament and betray his benefactor, for the sake of the hundred louis-d’ors.  The cheeks of the judges, which so seldom change colour, became pallid at this denunciation; for he informed them with the greatest effrontery that he was the very assassin, who, having been broken alive upon the place where he had committed the murder, had been saved by the compassion of the surgeon.  The latter was sent for; and the Devil conducted Faustus into the hall of judgment exactly at the p. 202moment he appeared.  The attorney-general informed the surgeon of what he was accused; but the surgeon, being certain of his servant’s fidelity, stoutly denied the charge.  He was advised to confess, because a most convincing witness could be brought against him.  He bade them produce him.  A side-door opened, and the murderer stepped coolly into the court, and, looking the surgeon full in the face, undauntedly repeated his accusation, without forgetting a single circumstance.  The surgeon shrieked, “O monster! what can have urged thee to this horrible ingratitude?”

Murderer.  The hundred louis-d’ors, which you told me of when you sent me away.  Did you think that I was satisfied with merely recovering the use of my limbs?  I was broken alive on the wheel for a murder which I committed for ten crowns, and I was not fool enough to lose gaining a hundred louis without running any risk.

Surgeon.  Thou wretch! thy cries and groans touched my heart.  I took thee down from the wheel, comforted thee, and bound up thy wounds.  I fed thee with mine own hand, till thou couldst p. 203use thy shattered joints.  I gave thee money, which thou canst not yet have spent.  I discovered to thee, from regard to thy own safety, the reward which had been offered by the Parliament; and I swear to thee, by Heaven above, that if thou hadst told me of thy devilish intention, I would have sold my last rag, and have furnished thee with the sum, in order that so horrible a piece of ingratitude might remain for ever unknown to the world.  Gentlemen, judge between me and him; I confess myself guilty.

President.  You have grievously offended justice by endeavouring to preserve the life of him whom the law, for the common safety, had condemned to die; but for this once strict justice shall be silent, and humanity only shall sit in judgment.  The hundred louis-d’ors shall be yours, and the murderer shall be again broken upon the wheel.

Faustus, who during the whole of this strange trial had been snorting like a madman, gave now such a thundering huzza, that the whole gallery echoed.  The Devil, who observed that the last p. 204impression was about to destroy the first, soon led him to another scene.

Some surgeons, doctors of medicine, and naturalists had formed a secret society, for the purpose of inquiring into the mechanism of the human body, and the effect of the soul upon matter.  In order to satisfy their curiosity, they inveigled, under all sorts of pretences, poor men and women into a house at some distance from the city, the upper part of which was constructed in such a manner that it was impossible to discover from without what was going forward within.  Having tied their victims with strong cords down upon a long table, and having placed a gag in their mouths, they then removed their skin and their flesh, and laid bare their muscles, their nerves, their hearts, and their brains.  In order to come at what they sought, they fed the wretches with strengthening broths, and caused them to die slowly under the slashing of their knives and lancets.  The Devil knew that they intended this night to assemble, and said to Faustus, “Thou hast seen a surgeon, who, for the sake of humanity, p. 205or for love of his art, cured an assassin whom justice had broken on the wheel; I will now show thee physicians, who, in pursuit of secrets which they will not discover, skin their fellow-creatures alive.  Thou appearest incredulous!  Follow me, and I will convince thee.  We will represent two doctors.”

He led him to a solitary house.  They entered the laboratory, which the rays of the sun never penetrated.  Here they saw the surgeons dissecting a miserable being, whose flesh quivered beneath their fratricidal hands, and whose bosom heaved with the most painful agony.  They were so engaged with their object, that they never once perceived the Devil and Faustus.  The latter, feeling his nerves thrill with horror, rushed out, struck his forehead with his hand, and commanded the fiend to tear down the house upon their heads, and bury them and their deed beneath its ruins.

Devil.  Why this rage, O Faustus?  Dost thou not perceive that thou art acting, in respect to the moral world, in the same manner as they act in regard to the physical world?  They mangle the p. 206flesh of the living; and thou, by my destructive hand, exercisest thy fury upon the whole creation.

Faustus.  Outcast fiend! dost thou think my heart is made of stone?  Dost thou think that I can see unmoved the torments of yon poor flayed and butchered wretch?  But if I can neither dry his tears nor cure his wounds, I can avenge him, and put him out of pain.  Away! away! do as I have bid thee, or dread my wrath!

The Devil obeyed with pleasure.  He shook the house to its foundation, and down it toppled with a hideous noise, and overwhelmed the wicked doctors.  Faustus hurried to Paris, without attending to the look of wild exultation which the Devil cast upon him.

Faustus, having heard much talk of the prisons which the most Christian king had caused to be built for the purpose of receiving those whom he dreaded, had a strong desire to see the interior of them.  The Devil willingly undertook to satisfy his curiosity; and although the guards were forbidden, under pain of death, to permit any strangers to enter these habitations of horror, yet p. 207the golden arguments which the Devil used procured him and his companion a ready admittance.  They saw there cages of iron, in which it was impossible for a man to stand upright, or sit down, or place himself in any easy posture.  The wretches who were compelled to tenant these iron dwellings had their limbs galled by heavy chains.  The keeper said, confidentially, that when the king was in good health, he frequently walked in the gallery, in order to enjoy the song of his nightingales; for thus did he call these wretched victims.  Faustus asked some of the unfortunates the cause of their captivity; and he heard stories which pierced him to the heart.  At last, coming to a cage wherein was a venerable-looking old man, he put the same question to him, and the prisoner answered, in a plaintive tone:

“Whoever you are, let my sad story serve you as a warning never to assist a tyrant in his cruelties.  You behold in me the Bishop of Verdun, who first gave to the king the idea of these horrible cages, and was the very first to be shut up in one of them after they were completed.  p. 208Here have I, for fourteen years, done penance for my sins, praying daily to God to end my torments by death.”

Faustus.  Ha, ha!  Your excellence, then, like another Perillus, has found a Phalaris.  Do you know that story?  You shake your head.  Well, I will tell it you.

“This Perillus, who was neither a bishop nor a Christian, constructed a brazen bull, which he showed to the tyrant Phalaris as a masterpiece of invention, and assured him that it was constructed in such a manner, that, if his majesty would shut up a man in it, and then heat it red-hot by a fire laid beneath it, the shrieks of the tormented man would exactly resemble the bellowings of a bull, which would doubtless afford his majesty great pleasure.  ‘My dear Perillus,’ said the tyrant, ‘I am much indebted to you; but it is right that the artist should prove his own work.’  He then made Perillus creep into the beast’s belly; and when the fire was laid beneath it, he did in reality bellow like a bull.  Thus did Phalaris, a thousand years ago, play very much the same part with p. 209Perillus which the most Christian king has been playing with you, most reverend Bishop of Verdun.”

Bishop.  I wish I had heard this story twenty years ago; I should then have taken warning from it.

Faustus.  You see that history may sometimes be useful, even to a bishop.  I weep for the fate of your companions in misery; but I laugh at yours.

Faustus wished now to see this king, whose horrible deeds had so heated his imagination, that he could hardly represent him to himself under a human figure.  The Devil told him that it would be impossible for them in their present forms to enter the Castle of Plessis du Parc, where cowardice and fear kept the tyrant a prisoner.  He added, that no one, with the exception of some necessary domestics, the physician, the confessor, and one or two astrologers, could enter without a particular order.

Faustus.  Then let us assume other figures and dresses.

p. 210Devil.  Good; I will instantly remove two of his guards, and we will do their duty.  This is an excellent time to see the tyrant.  The fear of death is already avenging upon his cowardly spirit the thousands whom he has slaughtered.  Day and night he only thinks of putting off the moment which is to terminate his existence, and death seems to him more hideous every second.  I will make you a witness of his torments.

The Devil instantly put his project into execution, and they found themselves standing sentinels in the interior of the castle, where reigned the mournful silence of the tomb.  Thither had he, before whom millions trembled, banished himself, in order to escape from the vengeance of the relations of the murdered.  Although he could thus fly from the sight of his subjects, he could not escape the cutting remorse of his own heart, nor the pains of his emaciated body.  In vain did he implore Heaven to grant him health and repose; in vain did he attempt to bribe it by presents to saints, to priests, and to churches; in vain did he cover himself with p. 211relics from all parts of the world: that frightful sentence, thou shall die, seemed always ringing in his ears.  He scarcely ventured to move out of his chamber, lest he should find an assassin in one of those whom he might meet.  If anguish drove him into the free air, he went armed with lance and dagger, just as if he had strength to use either.  Four hundred guards watched day and night around the stronghold of the half-dead monster; three times every hour did their hoarse calls, echoing from post to post, break the solemn stillness, and remind the tyrant of the flight of time.  All around his castle gibbets were erected; and the hangman, Tristan, his only true friend, went about the country every day, and returned at night with fresh victims, in order, by their execution, to diminish the fears of the tyrant, who from time to time would walk in an apartment which was only separated from the torture-room by a thin partition.  There he listened to the groans and shrieks of the wretches on the rack, and found in the sufferings of others a slight alleviation p. 212of his own.  Wearing on his hat a leaden image of the Virgin,—his pretended protectress,—he drank the blood of murdered sucklings, and allowed himself to be tormented by his physician, whom he requited with ten thousand crowns a month.

This was the wretch whom Faustus saw; and his heart rejoiced when he contemplated the paleness of his cheeks, and the farrows which anguish and despair had made in his brow.  He was on the point of leaving this abode of monotonous horror, when the Devil whispered him to remain until the next day, and he would see a singular spectacle.  The king had heard that a hermit lived in Calabria, who was honoured as a saint through all Sicily.  This fool had, from his fourteenth to his fortieth year, dwelt upon a naked rock, where, exposed to the rains and tempests of heaven, he martyred his body by stripes and fasting, and refused his mind all cultivation.  But, the rays of sanctity concealing his stupidity, he soon saw the prince and the peasant at his feet.  Louis had requested the p. 213King of Sicily to send him this creature, because he hoped to be cured by him.  The hermit was now on the road; and as he brought with him the holy oil of Rheims, to anoint the tyrant’s body, the latter imagined that all his disorders would soon vanish, and he should become young again.  The happy day arrived: the Calabrian boor approached the castle; the king received him at the gate, fell at his feet, and asked him for life and health.  The Calabrian played his part in so ridiculous a manner, that Faustus could not avoid laughing aloud at the farce.  Tristan and his myrmidons were advancing to seize him, and he would doubtlessly have paid for laughing with his life, had not the Devil rescued him from their claws, and flown away with him.  When they arrived at Paris, Faustus said:

“Is it by this contemptible, superstitious, tottering object, that the bold sons of France allow themselves to be enslaved?  He is a mere skeleton in purple, who can scarcely cough out of his asthmatic throat the desire to live; yet p. 214they tremble before him, as if he were a giant, whose terrible arms could encircle the whole earth.  When the lion, enfeebled by age, lies languishing in his den, the most insignificant beasts of the forests are not afraid of him, but approach and mock the fallen tyrant.”

Devil.  It is this which chiefly distinguishes the king of men from the king of beasts.  The latter is only formidable as long as he can use his own strength; but the former, who binds the strength of his slaves to his will, is as powerful when lying on the bed of sickness, as when, in the vigour of health, he is at the head of his armies.  Are you not now convinced that men are only guided by folly, which dooms them to be slaves?  Break their chains to-day, and they would forge themselves others to-morrow.  Do what you can, they will always go on in the same eternal circle, and are condemned for ever to seize the shadow for the reality.

The Devil, having shown Faustus all that was remarkable in and about the capital of France, took him to Calais; and, crossing the Channel, p. 215they arrived in London at the very moment that hideous abortion, the Duke of Gloucester, made himself Protector of the kingdom, and was endeavouring to take away the crown from the children of his brother, the late king.  He had removed the father by means of poison, and had already persuaded the queen (who, upon the first discovery of his projects, had fled for refuge, with her children, to Westminster Sanctuary) to deliver up to him the youthful heir of the throne, together with his brother York.  Faustus was present when Doctor Shaw, by the command of the Protector, informed the astonished people from the pulpit, that the yet living mother of the duke and the deceased king had admitted various lovers; that the late king was the offspring of such adultery; and that no one of the royal line, except the Protector, could boast of a legitimate birth.  He saw those noblemen executed who would not accede to the execrable plot; and the Devil conducted him into the Tower at the very moment when Tyrrell and his assistant murdered the lawful king and his brother, p. 216and buried them beneath the threshold of the dungeon.  He was a witness of the base submission of the Parliament, and of the coronation of the frightful tyrant.  He witnessed the negotiation of the queen to support the murderer of her sons in his usurped throne, by giving him the hand of her eldest daughter, in order that she herself might still retain a shadow of sovereignty; although at the same time she had entered into a secret alliance with the Earl of Richmond, who was destined to be her avenger.  Faustus felt himself so enraged, that not all the charms of the blooming Englishwomen could keep him any longer in this cursed isle, which he quitted with hatred and disgust; for neither in Germany nor in France had he seen crimes committed with so much coolness and impunity.  When they were on the point of embarking, the Devil said to him:

“These people will groan for a time beneath the yoke of despotism; they will then sacrifice one of their kings upon the scaffold of freedom, in order that they may sell themselves to his successors p. 217for gold and titles.  In hell there is very little respect paid to these gloomy islanders, who would suck the marrow from all the carcasses in the universe, if they thought to find gold in the bones.  They boast of their morality, and despise all other nations; yet if you were to place what you call virtue in one scale, and vice, with twopence, in the other, they would forget their morality, and pocket the money.  They talk of their honour and integrity, but never enter into a treaty but with a firm resolution of breaking it as soon as a farthing is to be gained by so doing.  After death, they inhabit the most pestilential marsh of the kingdom of darkness, and their souls are scourged without mercy.  None of the other damned will have any communication with them.  If the inhabitants of the Continent could do without sugar and coffee, the sons of proud England would soon return to the state in which they were when Julius Cæsar, Canute of Denmark, or William the Conqueror, did them the honour to invade their island.”

p. 218Faustus.  For a devil, thou knowest history passably well.

Hereupon he led him to Milan, where they saw the Duke Galeas Sforza murdered on St. Stephen’s day in the cathedral; Faustus having previously heard the assassins loudly beseeching St. Stephen and St. Ambrose to inspire them with the courage necessary for so noble a deed.

In Florence, the seat of the Muses, they saw the nephew of the great Cosmo, the father of his country, murdered in the church of Santa Reparata, at the altar, just at the moment when the priest raised the host in his hands; for the Archbishop of Florence, Salviati, had informed the murderers that this was to be the signal.  He had been bribed to assist in this enterprise by the Pope, who was determined to annihilate the Medicis, in order to rule sole sovereign in Italy.

In the north of Europe they saw wild barbarians and drunken ruffians murdering and pillaging like the more civilised Europeans.  In Spain they found upon the throne deceit and hypocrisy wearing the mask of religion.  They p. 219saw, at an auto-da-fé, men and women immolated in the flames to the mild Deity of the Christians; and they heard the grand inquisitor, Torquemada, boast to Ferdinand and Isabella that, since the establishment of the holy tribunal, it had tried eighty thousand suspected persons, and had burnt six thousand convicted heretics.  When Faustus first saw the ladies and cavaliers assembled in the grand square, dressed in their richest habits, he imagined that he had come just in time for some joyous festival; but when he heard the condemned wretches howling and lamenting in the midst of a mob of monks who were at their devotions, he was convinced that religion, when misused, makes man the most execrable monster on the earth.  He, however, began to imagine that all these horrors were the necessary consequences of man’s nature, who is an animal that must either tear his fellow-creatures to pieces, or be torn to pieces by them.

The Devil, perceiving that Faustus was amazed and confounded by these scenes, said to him:

“Thou seest how the courts of Europe resemble p. 220each other in wickedness and crime.  Let us now go to Rome, and see whether the ecclesiastical government goes on better.”

The malicious Leviathan flattered himself that Alexander the Sixth, who wore at that time the triple crown, and held in his hands the keys of heaven and of hell, would give the finishing blow to the harassed spirit of Faustus, and would enable him to return below with his victim.  For a long time he had been weary of staying on the earth; for although he had in the course of many thousand years so often traversed it, he still saw merely the same beings and the same actions.  From this we may learn that there is something so annoying in uniformity, that even the wild horrors of Satan’s hall are to be preferred to it.

On the way to Rome they passed by two hostile armies encamped face to face.  The one was commanded by Malatesta of Rimini, the other by a papal general.  The crafty Alexander was now endeavouring, either by poisoning, secret assassination, or open war, to deprive all the p. 221Italian noblemen of their property, in order that he might convert their castles and domains into principalities for his illegitimates.  He began with the weakest, and had despatched this little army to eject Malatesta from his fief of Rimini.  Faustus and the Devil, riding along the road, perceived upon an eminence contiguous to the papal camp two men, magnificently dressed, engaged in a furious combat.  Moved by curiosity, Faustus advanced to the spot; the fiend followed him; and they perceived, by the rage of the antagonists, that nothing less than the death of one of them would end the struggle.  But what appeared to Faustus most extraordinary was a milk-white goat, adorned with ribbons of various colours, which a page seemed to hold as the prize of victory, as he stood, with the utmost coolness, near the two raging warriors.  Many cavaliers had assembled upon the height, and awaited the issue of the affair.  Faustus approached one of them, and asked, with his German simplicity, whether the gentlemen were fighting for that handsome goat.  He had observed that the two champions, whenever p. 222they paused to take breath, looked at the goat with much tenderness, and each seemed, according to knightly custom, to entreat it to assist him in his danger.  The Italian, turning to Faustus, coolly answered, “Yes, certainly; and I hope our general will punish with death the audacious knight who dared to remove from his tent the handsomest goat in the world, at the time he was gone to reconnoitre the enemy’s camp.”  Faustus stepped back, shook his head, and scarcely knew whether he was dreaming or awake.  The Devil let him remain for some time in this perplexity; he then took him aside, and whispered certain things in his ear, which made Faustus blush, and which will not bear repetition.  The duel in the mean time went on as hotly as ever, until the sword of the papal general found an opening in the knight’s mail, and laid him wallowing in blood upon the ground.  He yielded up his soul amidst curses and imprecations, and took, with his last look, a tender farewell of the pretty animal.  The general was congratulated by the surrounders, and the page delivered him the goat.  He called it p. 223“his dearest, his best-beloved,” and loaded it with the most tender caresses.

Faustus departed from the place of combat, and was hesitating between a desire to laugh and a feeling of disgust, when the Devil said to him:

“This duel has made thee acquainted with the papal general; but he who commands the hostile army does not deserve thy attention less.  The one has risked his life for love of a white goat; and the other has already poisoned and strangled with his own hand, in order that he might get possession of their property, two of his wives, sprung from the best families in Italy.  He is now on the point of marrying a third; and she will, in all probability, experience the same fate.  Both of these personages are otherwise very religious men,—attend processions, make vows to Heaven, and implore it for assistance.  For which side do you think it will now declare?”

Faustus gave the Devil a wild look, and left the malicious question unanswered; but the Devil, who wished to punish him for having formerly boasted of the moral worth of man, failed p. 224not to make some bitter jokes upon the amours of the papal general and the conjugal tenderness of Malatesta of Rimini.

The sight of Rome and its majestic ruins, over which the mighty spirit of the old Romans seemed yet to hover, filled Faustus with wonder; and, as he was well acquainted with the history of those lords of the ancient world, the remembrance of their heroic actions elevated his soul to a pitch of enthusiasm.  But the modern inhabitants of this celebrated city soon inspired him with very different sentiments.  By the Devil’s advice, they announced themselves as German noblemen, whom curiosity to see the magnificence of Rome had brought there.  But their retinue, their pomp, and their demeanour, caused a suspicion to be entertained that they were of more consequence than they pretended to be.  Friars and matrons, quacks and harlequins, flocked to them, as soon as the noise of their arrival had echoed through all the haunts of those who get their livelihood by administering to the crimes and the weaknesses of men.  They offered them p. 225their several female relations, and depicted their charms and various attractions with such fiery eloquence, that Faustus, besieged on every side, knew not which to prefer.  As these wretches uttered religious maxims in the same breath with the most stimulant descriptions of voluptuousness, Faustus imagined himself authorised in believing that they merely made use of religion to appease the cravings of passion, revolted by their shameful deeds and wickedness.

The next day after their arrival, Faustus and the Devil were invited to dinner by the Cardinal Cæsar Borgia, one of the many illegitimates of the Pope.  He received them in the most splendid manner, and promised to introduce them to his holiness.  They went on horseback, attended by a retinue of servants, to the Vatican, and Faustus and the Devil kissed the toe of the Pope: the German performed this act of devotion with all the fervour of a good Christian Catholic; but the Devil muttered to himself, “If Alexander knew who I am, I should, most probably, see him at my own feet.”  After the usual ceremonies were p. 226over, the Pope invited them into his private apartments, where he spoke to them very freely, and made them acquainted with his other illegitimates, the famous Lucretia; Francisco Borgia, Duke of Candia, &c.

The Pope found the society of the handsome and well-made Leviathan so much to his liking, that, from the first interview, he showed him particular favour, which grew at length, as we shall see, to the closest intimacy.  Faustus attached himself to Cardinal Borgia, who gave him such a glowing description of the pleasures and temptations of Rome, that he hardly knew whether he was in the Vatican or in the Temple of Venus.  The Cardinal made him more nearly acquainted with his sister, who was married to Alphonso of Arragon.  This siren displayed voluptuousness and sensuality in a form and face so attractive and charming, that Faustus stood before her like one enchanted.

Faustus and the Devil went one evening to the Vatican to see a play, which astonished the young German more than any thing he had yet seen at p. 227the papal court.  It was the Mandragola which was represented.  The noble Machiavel had composed this licentious and satirical piece, in order to lay before the eyes of the court of Rome a striking picture of the boundless corruption of the clergy, and to prove that to be the sole cause of the dissolute lives of the laity.  But he deceived himself in his honourable design: the Mandragola was applauded, not on account of its morality, which was not understood, but of its licentiousness.  Faustus heard the Pope and the cardinals, the nuns and the ladies, praising certain things which, in his opinion, the most dissolute of the Roman emperors would not have permitted upon their theatre.  But real scenes yet more abominable soon put an end to his astonishment; and he perceived that the actions of Alexander and his children infinitely surpassed all that which the annals of the human race had hitherto consigned to infamy and abhorrence.  Lucretia was pleased yet more by Faustus’s rich presents than his fine face and form.  By this intimate connexion with her, he discovered her p. 228incestuous intercourse with her two brothers, the Cardinal and Francisco; which she also extended to the Pope her father.  The only one whom she treated ill was Alphonso, who had the honour to be her spouse.  Faustus now guessed the cause of the implacable hatred which the Cardinal entertained against his brother Francisco: it arose from jealousy at his sister’s preferring the latter to himself; and he often swore to take vengeance upon his brother.

It was the custom of Faustus, after having the whole day wallowed in the shameful pleasures of the court and city, to pester the Devil’s ears with complaints of the wickedness of men.  He was shocked at their crimes, although he himself had neither strength nor desire to resist any of his inclinations.  He generally concluded his sermonising by asking, “How could such a monster ever have been elected Pope?”

The Devil, who perfectly knew how that event had been brought about (for one of the princes of hell had been at the election), would tell him how “Alexander bought up the votes of the p. 229cardinals by magnificent promises; and being called upon, after his installation, to fulfil them, he either banished or caused to be privately assassinated all those who had any claims upon him.”

Faustus.  I can easily conceive that the cardinals were sufficiently corrupt to make him Pope; but how the people can submit to his decrees is beyond my comprehension.

Devil.  The Romans are perfectly content with him.  He protects the populace, and ravages and pillages the great.  Can they wish for a better Pope than one who sanctifies their crimes by his own example; and who, besides the indulgences he distributes, shows by his actions that men have no reason to be terrified at any crime?

The Pope having, at a consistorial court, elevated his eldest illegitimate, Francisco, to the dignity of General of the Papal See, the Cardinal instantly formed the Christian resolution of putting his brother out of the way, and thereby opening a more extensive field to his own ambition.  p. 230Vanosa, his mother, had informed him that the Pope intended to raise a throne for Francisco upon the ruin of the Italian princes; and through him, as his eldest-born, execute all the projects which he had formed for the prosperity and aggrandisement of his family.  The Cardinal, who had always certain assassins in his pay, sent for his faithful Dom Michelotto, and thus addressed him:

“Brave and honest Michelotto, five years have already passed since the accession of my father to the papal chair, and I am not yet what I might have been, had I acted with less delicacy and more prudence.  He first made me an archbishop, and now I am become a cardinal; but what is that for a spirit which burns with a desire to distinguish itself, and which aspires to glory!  My revenues scarcely supply me with absolute necessaries, and it is impossible for me to reward, according to the wish of my heart, those friends who have rendered me essential services.  Art thou not, O Michelotto, a striking example of it thyself?  Have I been able to acquit myself p. 231towards thee in the manner which my obligations to thee demand?  But shall we always languish in this shameful inactivity; and shall we wait till fortune or chance do something for those who will do nothing for themselves?  Dost thou think that the monotonous life I lead in the conclave and in the church was intended for a spirit like mine?  Am I born for all these ridiculous and superstitious ceremonies?  If nature had not by foolish caprice brought my brother into the world before me, would not all those situations, all those honours, by which men are alone enabled to perform great actions, have fallen to my lot?  Does my brother know how to profit by the advantages which the Pope and blind Fortune fling in his way?  Let me once occupy his place, and my name shall soon resound through all Europe.  Nature stamped me for a hero, and him for a priest; therefore I must seek to repair the negligence of Fortune if I wish to fulfil my destiny.  Compare him and me, and who will say we are sprung from the same father?  But be he my brother—and it little matters; for the man who p. 232wishes to rise above the rest should forget tenderness and relationship—those puny bonds of nature—and should not hesitate to dip his hands in the sacrifice of any one whose existence may be an obstacle to his noble views.  It is thus that all great men act; it is thus that the founder of immortal Rome acted.  In order that Rome might arrive at the height of grandeur to which his genius wished to carry it, he did not hesitate to stab his brother; and, in order that Cæsar Borgia may attain immortality, his brother Francisco must bleed beneath thy knife, most courageous Michelotto.  Yes; for although it would be easy for me, in the darkness of the night, to assassinate him myself and remain unsuspected, I reserve for thee this deed, in order that thou mayst have a greater right to share with me my grandeur and my future fortunes.  To-morrow I shall go to Naples to assist, in quality of legate, at the coronation of the king.  Vanosa, my mother, who, between you and me, is weary of seeing her enterprising Cæsar a cardinal, gives this evening a supper to myself, my brother, and a few friends.  p. 233Francisco will go late at night to an assignation in which he and I mutually share; and I ill know Michelotto if ever he finds his way back to his palace.  My name is Cæsar, and I will be all or nothing.”

Michelotto grasped the cardinal’s hand, thanked him for his confidence, assured him of his fidelity, and went his way in order to get some of his companions to assist him in the affair.

Faustus and the Devil were also invited to the supper.  Gaiety reigned among the guests.  The good-natured Francisco loaded his brother with caresses, which, however, did not shake his resolution.  When they rose from table, Cæsar took leave of his mother, and said he must now go to the Pope and receive his orders for Naples.  The two brothers walked with each other a little way, followed by Faustus and the Devil.  Francisco soon took leave of his brother, having first told him where he was going.  The Cardinal, with a smiling air, wished him much pleasure: hurrying to the Vatican, he finished his business there, and then went to the rendezvous, where he found p. 234Michelotto and his ruffians, whom he directed how to proceed.  Faustus had not the slightest suspicion of what was going forward; but the Devil, who knew when the horrible drama was to conclude, transported him to the banks of the Tiber at the very moment Michelotto and his assistants flung into the stream the corpse of the murdered Francisco.  Faustus would have attacked the assassins, though he was still ignorant who their victim was; but the Devil prevented him, and said:

“Do not approach; keep thyself quiet, and let none of those people see thee; they swarm so at Rome and at the Vatican, that thou wouldst not be safe, even at my side, if they were to perceive that thou didst observe them.  The murdered man whom they flung into the water is Francisco Borgia, Duke of Candia; his murderer is his brother, and what thou seest now is only the prelude to actions which will astonish hell itself and make it tremble.”

He then discovered to him the whole of the plot, and repeated to him the Cardinal’s conversation p. 235with Michelotto.  Faustus replied, with more coolness than the Devil expected:

“Their deeds will not astonish me, however infamous they may be; for what else can we expect from a family where the father lives in incest with his daughter, and the brothers with their sister?  But henceforth I will never suffer any one to boast in my presence of the moral worth of man; for, in comparison with man, especially if he be a priest, the worst fiend is innocent as an angel.  Oh, why was I not born in happy Arabia, where I might have passed my solitary existence, with a palm-tree for my shelter, and with Nature for my god!”

The body of Francisco being found in the Tiber, his assassination was soon noised about Rome and through all Italy.  The Pope was so afflicted at the intelligence, that he abandoned himself to the most frightful despair, and remained three days without eating or drinking; but he did not forget to offer immense rewards for the discovery of the murderers.  His daughter, who guessed from whence the blow came, p. 236gave her mother intelligence of the severe intentions of the Pope; and Vanosa, at dead of night, went to the Vatican.  The Devil, who, in quality of favourite, had remained alone with his holiness whilst his affliction was at its height, hastened away upon the appearance of Vanosa; and having found Faustus, who was consoling the lovely Lucretia, he led him to the door of the Pope’s apartment, where they heard the following dialogue.

“A fratricide! a cardinal!—and thou, mother of them both, dost tell me this with as much coolness as if Cæsar had merely poisoned one of the Colonnas or Orsinis.  He has, in murdering his brother, destroyed his own fame, and has undermined the foundation of that monument of grandeur which I was about to raise.  But the monster shall not escape punishment; he shall feel my vengeance.”

Vanosa.  Rodrigo Borgia, thou hast shared the couch of my mother and myself, and wast the first that dishonoured Lucretia, my daughter and thine.  Who can number all those whom thou p. 237hast secretly poisoned and assassinated?  Yet thou art not less a pope.  Rome trembles before thee, and all Christianity adores thee.  Every thing depends upon the situation in which men are when they commit crimes.  I am the mother of both, Rodrigo, and I knew that Cæsar would murder Francisco.

Pope.  Thou wretch!

Vanosa.  Am I?  If I be, I have become so in thy school.  It was right that the timorous and gentle Francisco should give place to the fiery, the enterprising Cæsar, in order that the glittering hopes may be fulfilled which thou didst confide to me upon thy elevation to the papal chair.  Francisco was intended by nature to be a monk; my Cæsar to be a conqueror—and I call him so already in prophetic spirit.  He alone has power to annihilate the great and petty tyrants of Italy, and to win himself a crown.  Appoint him standard-bearer to the papal see, and he will make the Borgias kings of the Italian realms.  Is not this thy most ardent wish?  All thy poisonings and murders will have been to no more purpose p. 238if Cæsar remains a cardinal, than they would have been if yon feeble driveller had lived.  Only from Cæsar can I expect protection when thou art no more.  He loves his mother; but the other boy neglected me, and only flattered thee, from whom he expected his greatness.  Cæsar feels that a woman like me, who could bring forth a hero, can likewise point out to him the way to immortal deeds.  Brighten up, Rodrigo, and be wise; for know that the hand which dispatched thy favourite was directed by a daring spirit, who would not hesitate to take thy own life wert thou to remove the veil which has been flung over this deed of necessity.

Pope.  The solidity of thy arguments restores me to myself, and thy eloquence exalts my soul, although it makes me shudder.  Francisco is dead; Cæsar lives: let him live, and take his brother’s place, since fate will have it so.

He rang the bell, caused refreshments to be brought, and was in excellent spirits.

Francisco was forgotten, and the Pope thought of nothing else than to open to the daring Cæsar p. 239a wider field in which he might exercise his dangerous talents.  The latter, in the mean time, crowned the King of Naples, with hands yet reeking with fraternal blood.  He returned to Rome; and Faustus saw, with a malicious laugh, the cardinals and the ambassadors of Spain and Venice receive the fratricide, whom they knew for such, at the city-gate, and then conduct him in triumph to the Pope, who embraced him with great tenderness.  Vanosa laid aside her mourning, and celebrated the day of his return by a festival, at which appeared all the grandees of Rome.  Cæsar shortly afterwards changed his cardinal’s hat for a helmet, and was with much pomp and magnificence consecrated Gonfalonier, or Standard-bearer of the Holy See.

The Devil saw, with much pleasure, Faustus endeavouring, by the wildest excesses, to escape the pangs by which his heart was now torn.  He remarked how every new scene of horror he was doomed to witness galled his soul, and that he was becoming more and more convinced that all he saw or heard had its origin in the nature of p. 240man.  The Devil supported him in this idea by sophisms, which later philosophers have worked up into systems.  He ransacked the earth of its treasures, and showered gold and precious gems upon his victim; and Faustus, dishonouring the wives and daughters of Rome, believed that he could not sufficiently corrupt the human family, which, in his opinion, was doomed to misfortune and destruction.  The lessons he had learnt from Lucretia had long since poisoned his senses.  All the sweet ties of humanity, which had so long fettered his heart, were now totally destroyed.  He represented the world to himself as a stormy sea, on which the human race is cast, and is tossed here and there by the wind, which drives this man upon a rock, where he is dashed to pieces, and blows the other happily to his haven.  But what seemed to Faustus most incomprehensible was, that the shipwrecked mariner should be punished in an after-state for not having guided his vessel better; when the rudder which had been given him to shape his course by was so weak that any extraordinary billow could not fail to shatter it.

p. 241A new scene now presented itself.  Alexander had determined on taking the amusements of the chase at Ostia.  He was accompanied thither by a vast throng of cardinals, bishops, ladies, and nuns; the latter being summoned from their cloisters, and, by their beauty, rendering the cavalcade a glorious spectacle.  The Devil was constantly by the side of the Pope, and Faustus and Lucretia were inseparable.  Every one abandoned himself at Ostia to pleasure, and in the course of a few days excesses were committed there from which even Tiberius and Nero might have learnt something.  Faustus had now an excellent opportunity of examining man in his nakedness, as the Devil had expressively termed it; but what were all these scenes of wickedness when compared with the plans which the Pope formed with his bastards, by way of relaxation, in the presence of Faustus and the Devil?  It was here determined that Alphonso of Arragon, the husband of Lucretia, should be assassinated, in order that they might give the King of France a proof that they were willing to break entirely with the King of Naples, p. 242and to assist the former in his usurpation of the crown of Sicily.  Louis the Twelfth had already, with the approbation of Alexander, invaded Italy, and the Borgias thereby saw all their projects ripening.  Lucretia intrusted this bloody deed to the management of her brother, and already considered herself as a widow.  The plan of the ensuing campaign was then adjusted in a very expeditious manner; for it was merely to take possession of all the towns, castles, and domains of the noblemen of Italy, who were one and all of them to be murdered, together with their offspring and relations, in order that not a soul might remain alive who had the slightest claim upon the property, and who might therefore trouble the assassins with future conspiracies.  To support the army in the interim, the Pope and Cæsar dictated to Lucretia a list of rich cardinals and prelates, who were to be poisoned successively, and their goods to be taken possession of by the right of inheritance vested in the papal chair.

When this secret council was broken up, the members of it repaired to the grand hall, where p. 243supper awaited them.  The Pope was so contented with his schemes, and the certainty of their accomplishment, that he committed, in his joy, the most shameful extravagances, and by his example incited his guests to actions similar to what we have read of in the pages of Petronius Arbiter, and other writers of the same character.  He, nevertheless, did not entirely forget the cares of the state; for he suddenly asked those present how the revenues of the papal see might be increased, so as to support its numerous army during the approaching campaign.  After various projects, Ferrara of Modena, Bishop of Patria, Alexander’s worthy minister, by whom he caused the benefices of the Church to be disposed of to the highest bidder, proposed that indulgences should be sold through Europe, under the pretence of an approaching war with the Turks; adding, like a true papal financier, “that the foolish idea which men entertained, of being able to wash away their sins by means of gold, was the surest source from which the income of a pope arose.”

p. 244Lucretia, who lay on the lap of her father, and played with Faustus’s yellow looks, incidentally remarked, with a smile,

“The present list of indulgences contains such insipid, antiquated, and absurd crimes, that it is impossible to turn it to much account.  It was composed in stupid and barbarous times; and it is now highly necessary to make a new tariff of sin, for which Rome herself can furnish the most important articles.”

The company, hot with wine, and reeking from their abominations, eagerly caught up this sally of female wantonness; and the Pope commanded each one present to propose some particular sin, and to tax it; recommending them, above all, to choose those which were most in vogue, and which would consequently bring in the most wealth.

Borgia.  Holy father, leave this to the cardinals and prelates; they are better versed in crime than any other people.

Ferrara of Modena sat down to fulfil the office of secretary.

p. 245A Cardinal.  Absolution to each and every priest who commits fornication, let it be with whom it may; with permission to perform all the duties of the Church, and to receive and hold new benefices, provided he pay into the papal treasury nine gold ducats.

Pope.  Write down nine gold ducats, Bishop; and then let us drink absolution to those priests who shall pay the sum.

Each guest filled his glass, and exclaimed in chorus, “Absolutio! dispensatio!”

* * * * *

A Nun.  Ha; what means all this?  Will no one think of us?  Holy father, have we alone no claim to your paternal favour?  I entreat you to let us be taxed also, in order that we may sin in peace.

Pope.  Right, my daughter; and you shall not be dealt with more hardly than the priests.  Bishop, write down: Absolution for each nun who shall commit carnal sin, be it with whom it may, within or out of the circle of the cloister; with p. 246fall capacity of assuming any conventual dignity when called upon so to do: nine ducats.

Chorus.  Absolutio! dispensatio!

A Bishop.  Absolution and dispensation to each priest who publicly keeps a mistress: five ducats.

Lucretia then interposed: “Absolution for carnal knowledge, the enormity of which is indicated by fifteen ducats.”

Faustus, whom this scene had horribly mortified, on account of the triumph which it afforded the Devil over him, but who, nevertheless, wished to have a hit at Borgia, exclaimed, with a voice of thunder,

“Absolution to any parricide, matricide, or fratricide, for three ducats.”

Pope.  Ho, ho, friend; what are you aiming at now?  Will you tax murder lower than fornication?

Cæsar Borgia.  Holy father, he does not wish, by too high a penalty, to deter men from the commission of the crime.

Devil.  You are well aware, gentlemen, that the poor are incapable of receiving benefit from p. 247any of the above-named absolutions and dispensations.

Chorus (amidst shouts of laughter).  Damnation to him who has no money!

Cæsar Borgia.  Whoever commits theft, be it sacrilege or not, shall have his soul secured from damnation, upon depositing in the papal treasury three parts of what he has stolen.

Chorus.  Absolution to all thieves, sacrilegious or not, provided they share their booty with the Pope.

Pope.  Thou hast opened a rich mine, Cæsar.  Write that down, Bishop.

Faustus.  Absolution to any one who shall practise magic, or enter into an alliance with the Devil.  How high shall I tax that, father?

Pope.  My son, you will not, by this last article, enrich the papal treasury.  The fiend does not understand his own advantage; we call upon him in vain.

Faustus.  But provided that should so happen, how high, I repeat?

Pope.  For rarity’s sake, one hundred ducats.

p. 248Faustus.  Here they are; and now write me out an absolution, that I may be able to shake it in the face of the Devil, provided I ever sell myself to him.

Chorus.  Absolution to him who shall sell himself to the fiend.

A Nun.  Most reverend Bishop, since you are writing out the absolution for the magician, be so good as to furnish me with a paper likewise,—you know for what.  Here is my rosary; it is worth fifteen ducats; I shall have, therefore, something in bank until another absolution becomes necessary.

Ferrara wrote, and the Pope signed his name beneath.

Devil.  Does your holiness imagine that Satan will pay any regard to these scraps of paper?

The grand inquisitor snatched his hand out of the bosom of an abbess, and screamed, with stammering tongue:

“I smell heresy!  Who is the atheist? who has uttered that blasphemy?”

The Pope pressed his forefinger softly upon p. 249the mouth of the Devil, and said, “Cavalier, these are state secrets: handle them not; for if you do, I myself, with all my authority, shall not be able to protect you.”

Every male in the assembly now opened his purse, either from a wish to pay his court to the Pope, or to quiet his conscience.  The Bishop had so many applications, that he was soon obliged to call in other secretaries, to assist him in expediting absolutions.  Each applicant took away his particular license, and each sought and found an opportunity of using it during the remainder of the night.  Never were sins committed with more quiet minds.

Ferrara of Modena, the next day, caused this tariff to be fairly copied; he then sent it to the press, [249] and caused it to be secretly circulated throughout Christendom.

Cæsar Borgia did not forget the promise which he had made to his sister.  Alphonso of Arragon was dispatched on the steps of the Gonfalonier’s p. 250palace, at the moment he was about to enter, in order to be present at a play to which all the nobility of Rome had been invited, and which represented the victories of the great Cæsar, whom Borgia intended henceforward to imitate, if not excel.  This latter personage shortly after marched out of Rome with his army; and, within the space of a few months, the Devil purloined from the Pope’s pocket the following letter, which he gave Faustus to read:

Reverend Father,—

“I kiss the feet of your holiness.  Victory and fortune have followed my steps, and I drag them behind my car like slaves.  I hope now that Cæsar is worthy of his name; for I also can say, Veni, vidi, vici.  The Duke of Urbino has fallen into the snare which I laid for him.  By virtue of your holiness’ letter, I asked him for his artillery to fight your enemies with.  Dazzled by the marks of friendship and affection which I showed him, and which flattered his self-love, he sent to me a gentleman with his consent in writing.  Having thus a very decent pretence, I instantly despatched p. 251some thousands of men to Urbino, who, by my commands, took possession of that city and of the whole duchy.  The duke, unfortunately, escaped; but I revenged myself for his flight upon the powerful and dangerous family of Montefeltro, and annihilated their whole race.  Vitelozzo was fool enough to join me, with all his troops, near Camerino.  I deceived Cæsar di Varono by promising him honourable conditions if he would evacuate Camerino, and I attacked the city at the very moment he was engaged in signing the articles of capitulation.  I had hoped to have exterminated the whole family at once; but the father found means to elude me.  However, I strangled his wife, and cut the throats of his two sons; and I flatter myself that despair and grief will soon send the old fellow after them.  I left Camerino, and despatched Paul Orsino, Vitelozzo, and Oliverotto, to Sinegaglia, with orders to take the town by storm, so that they might prepare their future grave with their own hands.  When I saw them all in the net, I sent forward my trusty Michelotto and his associates, with directions to seize the fools p. 252when I should give the signal.  I then put myself upon the march, and Orsino, Vitelozzo, and Oliverotto came to meet me, and pay me their respects.  They had left all the troops behind them, according to my expectations.  I received them with caresses, and went with them into the city; and at the very moment my people fell upon their straggling soldiers, Michelotto and his comrades each seized his man.  Thus I made myself master of the domains and fortresses of those whom we deceived by pretending to assist them in subduing their enemies.  The following night I caused them to be slaughtered in their dungeons.  Michelotto, to whom I intrusted this business, told me, with much laughter, that all the mercy Vitelozzo prayed for was, that he might not be murdered until he had received, from your holiness, absolution for his sins.  Who now will tell me that it requires much art to make oneself master of the minds of men?  As soon as your holiness shall have put out of the way the Orsinis and the rest, I will send the Pagolas, the Duke of Gravina, and my other prisoners, to bear them company.  If p. 253Carraccioli, General of the Venetians, whose lovely wife I seized upon her journey, and who now sweetens my labour, should come to Rome with his complaint, send him Michelotto’s brother to be his physician.  I hear that he is a turbulent, hot-headed fellow, and therefore it will be as well to get rid of him.  The tumult of arms has not made me forget my sister’s widowhood: the envoy of the eldest son of the Duke of Este is already on the way to marry her, in his name.  We have now massacred the most dangerous of our foes; if we can win over or exterminate (which is almost the same thing) the houses of Este and Medici, who will then have the audacity to oppose the Borgias in Italy?  I kiss the feet of your holiness.

Cæsar Borgia, Gonfalonier.”

Faustus, after reading this letter, looked angrily upward; but the Devil, without giving him time to moralise, led him to the Vatican, where they found the Pope overjoyed at the success which had attended his weapons.  He had already ordered the remaining Orsinis, Alvianis, p. 254Santa Croces, and the other cardinals and archbishops, to be arrested, and awaited the event with impatience.  All Rome hastened to congratulate him.  Those who were marked out for destruction were seized in the Vatican, conducted into different prisons, and privately executed; whilst the myrmidons of the Pope plundered their palaces.  The Cardinal Orsini alone was sent to the Castle of Saint Angelo, and was permitted, for a few days, to be supplied with food from his mother’s kitchen; but the Pope, having heard that he possessed a pearl, very precious on account of its extraordinary size, retracted this favour.  The mother of the once mighty and flourishing Orsinis went to the Vatican, and offered the Pope the pearl and two thousand crowns if he would liberate her son; when he seized the pearl and the money with one hand, and with the other gave the sign for the cardinal’s execution.

When Cæsar Borgia learnt that the Pope had accomplished his design, he instantly commanded all his own prisoners to be assassinated; and, entering Rome in triumph, shared, with his holiness p. 255and the other illegitimates, the booty he had brought with him; and, in return, received his dividend of the confiscated property of the slaughtered cardinals and ecclesiastics.

The marriage of Lucretia was soon afterwards celebrated with more than Asiatic pomp, and the Romans contributed to render it as brilliant as possible.  The bells pealed from the churches; the artillery thundered from Saint Angelo; there were bull-fights; the most immoral and indecent comedies were performed; and the delighted populace shouted before the Vatican, “Long live Pope Alexander! long live Lucretia, Duchess of Este!”  Faustus huzzaed with the best of them, and said to the Devil: “If these acclamations ascend to heaven with the groans of the assassinated, which will the Eternal believe?”  The fiend bowed himself to the earth, and was silent.

In order to crown the festivities of the marriage, Alexander and his daughter commanded a spectacle which must for ever stand unparalleled in the annals of human infamy.  The Pope sat, with his daughter, upon a couch, in a vast illuminated p. 256hall.  Faustus, the Devil, and others who had been invited to this scene, stood around them.  Suddenly the doors opened, and in rushed fifty nude courtesans,—more beautiful than the houris in Mahomet’s paradise,—and performed, to the voluptuous sound of flutes and other instruments, a dance which decency forbids us to describe, although it was a Pope who designed the figure.  When the dance was ended, his Holiness gave the signal for a combat which we are still less permitted to depict,—he himself holding the prize of victory.  They proclaimed Faustus to be the conqueror.  Lucretia overwhelmed him with kisses, and crowned him with laurels; while the Pope delivered to him the prize,—a golden goblet, on which Lucretia had caused to be engraven the School of Pleasure.  Faustus gave it the very next day to a Venetian monk, in whose possession Aretino saw it a long time afterwards, and illustrated some of its incidents in his sonnets.

The Pope, on the day of his daughter’s marriage, had made an election of cardinals, choosing p. 257only the richest prelates for that dignity.  Cæsar Borgia, being in want of large sums of money for the next campaign, determined to send some of the newly-elected into the other world, at a festival which his father intended to give at one of his villas.  [The details of these marriage-festivities are omitted; inasmuch as the grossness of the spectacle renders it unfit for the general reader.  The conduct of Lucretia Borgia has been the subject of much obloquy, which her defenders maintain rests chiefly on inferences from her living in a flagitious court, where she witnessed the most profligate scenes.  It is asserted that some of the accusations have no better foundation than the epigrams of Pontano, and other Neapolitan poets, the natural enemies of her family.—Transl.]  The Pope went in a coach, with his daughter, the Devil, Faustus, Borgia, and the wife of the Venetian general.  Here, after witnessing a gross spectacle, Lucretia retired with Faustus; and Borgia went with the Venetian; and the Pope remained alone with the Devil.  His holiness now made to the fiend certain proposals, which so exasperated p. 258the Devil that he appeared under a form which no mortal eye had ever yet been able to sustain.  The Pope, who knew him immediately, uttered a cry of joy.

“Ah, ben venuto Signor Diavolo!  You could not have come to me at a more seasonable time than the present; I have long wished to see you, for I know perfectly well what a deal of use might be made of so powerful a spirit as yourself.  Ha, ha, ha! you please me now much better than you did before, you rogue, you!  Come, be my friend; assume your former figure, and I will make you a cardinal; for you only can raise me at once to the height which I wish to attain.  I entreat you to destroy my foes, procure me money, and drive the French out of Italy, since I have no further occasion for them.  This to you will merely be the work of a moment; and you may then ask me for any reward you please.  But by all means do not discover yourself to my son Cæsar: he is so great a wretch, that I verily believe he would poison me, his father, in order to become, by thy help, King of Italy and Pope at the same time.”

p. 259The Devil, who had at first been a little mortified that his frightful exterior had produced no greater effect, was now unable to refrain from laughing; for what he saw and heard surpassed every thing which had as yet come to the knowledge of hell.  But recovering himself, he said, with a serious air, “Pope Alexander, Satan once showed to the Son of the Eternal all the kingdoms of the world, and offered him them, if he would fall down and worship him.”

Pope.  I understand you.  He was a God, and wanted nothing; had he been a man, and a pope, he would have done what I will now do.

He fell upon his knees, and kissed the fiend’s feet.

The Devil stamped upon the floor, so that the whole villa trembled.  Faustus and Lucretia, Cæsar and the Venetian, saw through the door, which had been burst open by the shock, the Pope kneeling with clasped hands before the frightful figure of the Devil, who seized the trembling miscreant, strangled him, and gave his soul to an p. 260attendant spirit to be conveyed to hell.  Borgia fell to the ground in an agony of terror; and the horrible spectacle brought upon him an illness, which soon sent him after his father.  The body of the Pope, frightfully disfigured, was buried with much pomp; and his historians, who are not well acquainted with his tragic end, invented the story, which is partly founded on truth, that he and his son having drunk, by the cupbearer’s mistake, some poisoned wine which had been intended for the cardinals, were thus caught in their own net.

p. 261CHAPTER V.

The horrible death of the Pope, and the frightful figure of the Devil, whom Faustus had hitherto only seen majestic and comely, made so strong an impression upon him, that he hastened from the villa to Rome; and, having packed up his things, instantly departed, with perturbed mind and beating heart.  His spirit had become so weak from all that he had seen and heard, that he who once dared to defy the Eternal in thought scarcely ventured now to look Satan in the face, though he still had absolute dominion over him.  Hatred and contempt for men, cruel doubt, indifference to every thing which occurred around him, murmurings at the insufficiency of his moral and physical powers, were the rewards of his experience and the fruits of his life; yet he consoled himself with the idea that what he had witnessed p. 262authorised in him these gloomy sentiments, and confirmed him in the opinion, that there either existed on earth no connexion between man and his Creator, or that, if any did exist, such connexion ran so confusedly and equivocally through the labyrinth of life, that it was impossible for the eye of man to follow it.  He yet flattered himself with the delusion, that his crimes, when added to the vast mass of earthly wickedness, would be like a drop of water falling into the ocean.  The Devil willingly permitted him to repose in this dream, in order that the blow he intended for him might fall with greater violence.  Faustus resembled those men of the world who abandon themselves to their pleasures without thinking of the consequences; and at length, worn out and dejected, look morosely on the world, and judge of the human race according to their own sad experience, without reflecting that they have only trodden the worst paths of life, and seen the worst part of the creation.  In a word, he was on the point of becoming a philosopher of the species of Voltaire, who, whenever p. 263he found the bad, always held it forth to public view; and, with unexampled industry, always endeavoured to keep the good in the background.

Faustus was lying in a sweet morning slumber on the frontiers of Italy, when a portentous dream depicted itself to his soul in the liveliest colours; and this dream was followed by a frightful apparition.  He saw the Genius of Man, whom he had once before seen.  He saw him upon a vast and blooming island, surrounded by a stormy sea, wandering up and down, and looking very anxiously upon the raging billows.  The ocean was covered with innumerable barks, in which men, aged and young, children, women, and maidens, of all the nations of the world, were struggling against the tempest, in order to reach the island.  When they arrived there, their first care was to bring to land different building materials, which they flung together confusedly.  After an immense number had gained the shore, the Genius marked out, upon the most elevated part of the island, the plan of a vast edifice; and each of the crowd, young and old, weak or p. 264strong, took, according to his or her strength, a piece from the mass of materials, and, directed by those whom the Genius had chosen, carried it, and deposited it at the proper place.  All worked with pleasure, with courage, and without relaxation; and the fabric had already risen high above the ground, when they were suddenly attacked by numerous foes, who advanced out of a dark ambush in three columns.  At the head of each of these columns stood a general.  The first bore a glittering crown upon his head; on his brazen shield was written the word Power; and in his right hand he held a sceptre, which, like the rod of Mercury, had a snake and a scourge twisted round it.  Before him went a fierce hyena, holding in its jaws a book, on the back of which was written My Word.  His troops were armed with swords, spears, and other implements of destruction.  The second column was commanded by a majestic matron, whose noble figure was clothed in a sacerdotal robe.  On her right stood Superstition, a gloomy-eyed spectre, bearing in his hand a bow formed from the bones of the p. 265dead, and on his back a quiver filled with poisoned arrows.  On her left hovered a wild, fantastically clothed figure, called Fanaticism, bearing a blazing torch.  These two phantoms, with menacing gestures and frightful grimaces, led the noble matron in chains, like a prisoner.  Before them went Ambition, whose head was adorned with a triple crown; in his hand was an episcopal staff, and on his mailed breast shone the word Religion.  Fanaticism and Superstition waited, with the utmost impatience, until Religion should give them the signal to vent their fury, which they could scarcely restrain.  The army was a confused and howling rabble, and each soldier carried a dagger and a flaming torch.  The chief of the third column advanced with bold and haughty steps; he was clothed in the simple dress of the sages, and was called Philosophy.  He bore in his hand, as did all his followers, a golden cup, filled with foaming and intoxicating liquor.  These two last armies howled and screamed so frightfully, that even the bellowing of the waters and the roar of the tempest were no longer audible.

p. 266When the three columns arrived near the labourers, they united, by the directions of their generals, and attacked them furiously with their murderous weapons.  The most courageous of the workmen flung away their implements of labour, and drew their swords, which hung at their belts, in order to drive their foes back.  The others, in the mean time, endeavoured, with redoubled zeal, to complete the fabric they had begun.  The Genius protected his brave warriors and his industrious labourers with a huge glittering shield, which was handed to him from the sky; but he could not cover the whole of the countless multitude.  He saw with deep sorrow thousands of his people sink to the earth beneath the swords and poisoned darts of their adversaries.  Many allowed themselves to be ensnared by the invitations and allurements of those who offered them the enchanted cup to refresh themselves with; and, in their intoxication, they soon destroyed the laborious work of their hands.

Those who bore torches made their way with their daggers, and hurled the torches into the p. 267unfinished edifice, when the flames, rearing up, threatened to reduce it to ashes.  The Genius looked mournfully upon the slain, and on those who had been intoxicated by the deceitful beverage; but he encouraged the rest, and inspired them, by his firmness and his dignity, with strength and patience.  They extinguished the flames; replaced what the others had overturned; and laboured, amid death and destruction, with so much zeal, that, in spite of the fury and malignity of their foes, they raised at length a vast and sublime temple.  The Genius then healed the wounded, comforted the weary, praised the bold warriors, and conducted them all, amid songs of triumph, into the temple.  The foes stood confounded at the enormous work; and, after they had in vain attempted to shatter its solidity, they retreated, with rage in their hearts.  Faustus now found himself upon the island.  The field around the majestic building was covered with dead bodies of all ages and of both sexes; and those who had tasted of the enchanted cup walked coolly among the corpses, disputed with each other, p. 268and laughed at and criticised the structure of the temple.  Faustus went past them, and as he approached the edifice he read over the entrance the following words: “Mortal, if thou hast bravely struggled, and hast remained faithful, enter, and learn to know thy noble destiny.”

At these words he felt his heart leap with joy, and he hoped to be now able to penetrate the obscurity which had so long tormented him.  With bold and daring pace he ran up the lofty steps, and caught a glimpse of the interior of the edifice, which seemed filled with the roseate colours of morning.  He heard the soft voice of the Genius, and was about to enter; but the gate of brass closed before him with a harsh sound, and he recoiled in terror.  His desire to penetrate into the secrets of the temple was increased by the impossibility.  All of a sudden he felt wings, and rising high into the air, he precipitated himself furiously against the brazen gate, was hurled back, and started out of his sleep just as he was on the point of touching the ground.  He opened his eyes in dismay.  A ghastly figure, p. 269wrapped in a winding-sheet, drew back the curtains of his bed.  He recognised the features of his old father, who, gazing upon him for a moment, said, in a lamentable voice:

“Faustus! Faustus! never yet did father beget a more unfortunate son; and in this feeling I have just died.  For ever—ah! for ever!—must the gulf of damnation lie between thee and me.”

The portentous dream and this horrible apparition filled the soul of Faustus with affright.  He sprang from his bed, and opened the window to inhale the fresh air.  Before him lay the enormous Alps, whose tops were just gilded by the rising sun.  He surveyed them for some time, and at last fell into a profound reverie.  He trembled as he thought of his nocturnal vision, and was endeavouring to explain to himself its most prominent passages, when, falling anew into his cruel doubts, he exclaimed:

“Whence came those monsters who attacked the industrious labourers?  By whom were they authorised to disturb and destroy them while engaged in their noble occupation?  Who permitted p. 270it?  Was he who permitted it unable, or did he not wish, to hinder it?  And why did the Supreme Genius protect and save only a part of them who were assailed by those cannibals?  Were some predestined to perish, in order that the others might triumph and taste repose?  Who, then, will dare to tell me that I am not one of those who are born with destruction for their lot?  What evil had those unfortunates committed, and why should those be esteemed criminal who, pressed by a burning thirst, endeavoured to quench it by tasting the enchanted cup?”

Faustus wandered for a long time in a maze of doubt; but, remembering the apparition of his father, it brought back to his mind his long-forgotten family.  He instantly determined to return to them; to become again a member of society; to resume his business; and to get rid of his infernal companion.  He pursued his journey towards home like many others, who, mistaking the ardour of insensate youth for genius, enter upon the career of the world with high pretensions, and, having quickly exhausted the little fire p. 271which their souls possess, soon find themselves a burden to their kindred and their friends, at the very place from whence they started.  Faustus brooded over all this, while he rode silently and moodily by the side of the Devil.

The latter left him to his reflections, laughed inwardly at his resolution, and shortened the time with the sweet idea of soon being able to breathe the pleasant vapours of hell.  He determined to have a bitter laugh at Satan, who had represented to him as a man of superior strength of mind this Faustus, whom he now saw completely dejected even before he knew the horrors of his fate.  He compared his present downcast and timid looks with the haughty and bold glances he had cast upon him when he first made him appear before his magic circle.  His hatred against him increased, and he rejoiced in his black soul when he saw Worms lie before them in the plain.

They rode towards the celebrated city; and when they were about half a mile distant from it, they perceived a gibbet, to which was suspended a tall, slender youth.  Faustus lifted up his eyes p. 272and gazed upon him.  The evening wind blew freshly among his long hair, which half-concealed his face, and swung his body to and fro.  Faustus burst into tears at this spectacle, and cried, with trembling voice:

“Poor youth! hanging at the cursed tree before thou hadst reached the flower of life!  What sin hast thou committed, which induced the tribunal of men to cut thee off so soon?”

Devil (in a solemn and impressive tone).  Faustus, this is thy work.

Faustus.  My work!

Devil.  Thy work.  Look at him closer.  He is thy eldest son.

Faustus looked up, recognised him, and sunk from his horse.

Devil.  Cry and groan!  The hour approaches in which I must remove the thick veil from before thine eyes, and blow away, with a single breath, the labyrinth in which thou hast so long wandered.  I will fling light upon the moral world, and show thee how thou hast outraged it by each of thy actions.  I, a devil, will show thee what p. 273are the consequences when a worm like thyself dares to stop the wheel of so exact and so enormous a machine.  Dost thou remember the youth whom I, at our departure from Mayence, saved from drowning by thy command?  I gave thee warning, but thou wouldst obey the rash impulse of thy heart.  If thou hadst permitted that miscreant to perish, thy son would not now be rotting on yon gibbet.  He on whose account thou didst change the order of things, insinuated himself, shortly after thy departure, into the society of thy young wife.  The glitter of the gold which we had left her in such abundance, attracted him much more than her youth and beauty.  It was no difficult thing for him to win the affections of her who had been forsaken by thee; and in a short time he gained such influence over her, that she delivered up herself and all she possessed to his will and control.  Thy old father endeavoured to oppose his shameless sway; but the young man insulted him and beat him: the poor old man sought an asylum in the workhouse, where he died, a few days ago, of grief for thee and thy family.  p. 274Thy son, having taken his grandfather’s part, and threatened the life of his mother’s seducer, was by him turned out of the house also.  The boy wandered among the woods and wildernesses till he was half famished.  Arriving at length in this city, and being ashamed to beg, he stole a few pence from the poor-box in a church, in order to assuage his hunger; but he committed this theft so artlessly, that several people perceived him, and the most worshipful magistrate, in consideration of his youth, sentenced him only to be hanged: he was accordingly hanged; although he protested, with tears, that for the last four days he had swallowed nothing but grass.  Thy daughter is at Frankfort, where she subsists upon the earnings of vice; thy second son is in the profligate service of an infamous prelate.  The young man whom thou didst save from death robbed thy wife not long ago of her last stiver; thy friend whom we preserved from beggary refused thy old father the slightest assistance, and spurned thy children from his door when they came to him for bread.  And I will now show thee p. 275thy family, in order that thou mayest see to what a state thou hast reduced them.  I will then bring thee here again, and hold reckoning with thee; for I am no longer thy slave—thou art mine.  The worm of despair begins to gnaw within thee; thou art no longer fit to live, and hell only is fit to receive thee.

The Devil seized the wretched man, flew with him to Mayence, and showed him his wife and two youngest children sitting at the gate of the Franciscan convent in expectation of the remnant of the monks’ supper.  When the mother beheld Faustus, she screamed, “O Heaven!  Faustus! your father—” then, covering her eyes with her hands, she fell into a swoon.  The children ran to him, clung about him, and cried for bread.

Faustus.  Devil, decide upon my fate: let it be more frightful than the heart of man can support or conceive, but supply these unfortunate creatures with bread, and rescue them from misery and hunger.

Devil.  I have plundered for thee the earth of its treasures; thou hast sacrificed them to thy p. 276infamous pleasures, without once thinking of these wretches.  Feel now thy folly; thou hast spun the web of their destiny, and thy hungry, beggarly, miserable brood will transmit to their remotest posterity the misery of which thou art the cause.  Thou didst beget children—wherefore hast thou not been a father to them?  Wherefore hast thou sought happiness where mortal never yet found it?  Look at them once more.  In hell thou shalt see them again; and they will there curse thee for the inheritance which thou didst entail upon them.

He tore him from his miserable family at the moment the wife was about to embrace his knees, and to ask his pardon.  Faustus wished to comfort her; but the Devil grasped him, and placed him once more beneath the gibbet at Worms.

Night sunk dark upon the earth.  Faustus stood gazing on the remains of his unfortunate son; madness glowed in his brain, and he cried, in the wild tone of despair:

“Devil, let me bury this poor victim; take then my life, and bear me to hell, where I shall p. 277never again see men in flesh and bone.  I have learnt to know them; I am disgusted with them, with their destination, with the world, and with life.  Since one good action brings on my head such inexpressible evils, I have reason to believe that the wicked only have a right to happiness.  If such be the order of things in this world, hurl me at once into hell.  Its darkness is a thousand times preferable to the light of day.

Devil.  Not so fast, Faustus.  In the first place, I take away from thee thy mighty magic rod, and confine thee in the narrow circle which I draw around thee.  Here shalt thou listen to me, and howl and tremble.  I will unfold to thee the consequences of thy deeds, and will assassinate thee through downright despair.

“Fool! thou sayest thou hast learnt to know man!  Where?  How and when hast thou attained this knowledge?  Hast thou ever sounded his nature?  Hast thou separated from him that which he has acquired, and which is foreign to him?  Hast thou distinguished that which proceeds from his heart, from that which is merely p. 278the affect of an imagination corrupted by artifice?  Hast thou compared the wants and the desires resulting from his nature, with those which he owes to civilisation?  Hast thou considered man in his proper shape, where each of his movements bears the stamp of his inward disposition?  Thou hast taken the mask of society for his natural figure; and thou hast only known that man whom his titles, his rank, his riches, his power, and his acquirements have corruptedThou hast only known him who has sacrificed his nature to thy own idol,—to vanity.  Thou hast merely frequented palaces and courts, where men spurn away the unfortunate, and laugh at the complaints of the oppressed, whilst they are dissipating in revel-rout and roar that which they have robbed them of.  Thou hast seen the sovereigns of the world; thou hast seen tyrants surrounded by their parasites and their infamous courtesans; and thou hast seen priests who make use of religion as an instrument of oppression.  Such are the men thou hast seen, and not him who groans under the heavy yoke, and comforts himself with the hope of p. 279futurity.  Thou hast passed by with disdain the hut of the poor and simple man, who does not even know your artificial wants by name, who gains his bread by the sweat of his brow, shares it faithfully with his wife and children, and rejoices, at the last moment of his life, in having completed his long and laborious task.  If thou hadst opened his door, thou wouldst not indeed have found a vain ideal of heroic and over-refined virtue, which is only the offspring of your vices and your crimes; but thou wouldst have seen a man who, in meekness and resigned magnanimity, shows more force of soul, than do your renowned heroes in their blood-stained fields of battle, or your ministers in their perfidious cabinets.  If it were not for these, and for your priests, and above all for your false philosophers, the gates of hell would soon be closed.  Canst thou say that thou knowest man, when thou hast only sought for him in the paths of vice and crime?  Dost thou know thyself?  I will make your wounds yet deeper, and pour poison into them.  But if I had a thousand human tongues, and were to keep thee here p. 280confined for as many years, I should still be unable to enumerate to thee all the frightful consequences of thy actions and thy temerity.  Know now the result of thy life, and remember, that I have scarcely fulfilled one of thy insensate desires without having forewarned thee to check it.  It is by thy command that I have interrupted the course of things, and committed crimes which I myself could scarcely have imagined; so that, devil as I am, I am not so bad as thyself.

“Dost thou remember the nun Clara, and the voluptuous night which thou didst pass with her?  But how canst thou have forgotten her?  Listen now to the consequences.  A short time after thy departure, the Bishop, who was her friend and protector, died; and she, having become a mother, was condemned, as an object of public horror, to be starved with her child in a dark dungeon.  In her ravenous hunger she fell upon the newly-born, ate of thy flesh and her own, and prolonged her existence as long as there was a bone for her to gnaw.  In what had she sinned?—she who did not comprehend her crime; she who did not know, p. 281or even suspect, the author of her ignominy and her frightful death.  Feel now the result of one single moment of pleasure, and tremble!  Hast thou not strengthened the delusion which condemned her?  Must not hell now bear the reproach of thy crime?  Those people condemned the child as the spawn of Satan, and murdered the mother under the idea that she had been possessed by him; and through this thy deed thou hast bewildered their minds, and those of their posterity.

“Thou wast not more fortunate with the Prince Bishop.  He caused, it is true, Hans Ruprecht to be buried, and provided for his family.  He likewise, by the trick I played him, lost his fat, and became the most mild and merciful of princes; but he so relaxed the band of social order by his over-indulgence, that his subjects soon became a horde of drunkards, sluggards, ruffians, and highwaymen.  The present Bishop is obliged to be their executioner, and to disperse and destroy a hundred families, in order that the rest, terrified by their example, may again become p. 282humanised, and submit to the laws.  The furies themselves could not do half the injury to these people which those now do to whom the Bishop has been obliged to intrust the sword of justice and the power of vengeance.

“Doctor Robertus, the renowned champion of freedom, the man after thine own heart, was from his earliest youth an enemy to the Minister, whom he hated on account of his talents.  Envy and jealousy caused his independence of spirit; and if he had been in the situation of the other, he would have adopted with pleasure the most cruel principles of despotism, for which his wild and ferocious heart was only formed.  The honest man was the Minister; Robertus was a monster, who would have set the whole world in a blaze, and has done it partly, in order to satisfy his boundless ambition.  Thou didst oblige me to rescue him, and to furnish him with a large sum of money.  He made such good use of his freedom, his gold, and the enthusiasm which his miraculous escape had caused among the people, that he soon succeeded in stirring up a dreadful rebellion.  He p. 283armed the peasants; they murdered the nobility, and desolated the whole land.  The noble Minister fell a victim to his revenge; and Robertus, the friend of liberty, the champion of the oppressed, is the author of the calamitous war of the peasants, which by degrees will spread over the whole of Germany, and will ravage it.  Murders, assassinations, robberies, and sacrilege are now committed with impunity; and thy noble hero stands at the head of a furious rabble, and threatens to make Germany the cemetery of the human race.  Satan himself could not have laboured more effectually for the destruction of mankind, than thou didst when I was forced by thee to rescue this madman from the stroke of justice.

“Let us now return to the court of the German prince, where thou so audaciously didst make thyself the avenger of virtue and oppressed innocence.  That prince and his favourite affected virtues which they did not possess; but their actions contributed to the good of the people, because both had sense enough to perceive that the happiness of the people constitutes that of the p. 284prince.  Does the thirsty traveller know, or does he care, if the spring of which he drinks gushes out of a mountain filled with poison, provided he cools his hot blood without receiving any harm?  That hypocrite displeased thee because he did not answer to thy preconceived high opinion, which thou, for certain reasons, didst wish to thrust upon me; and I was compelled to strangle him by thy orders.  His infant son was destined to succeed him in the government.  His tutors harassed and oppressed the people, once happy under the dominion of his father; they corrupted the heart and the mind of the future regent, who having enervated his body through early pleasure, they rule him now he is come of age, and are his and his people’s tyrants.  Hadst thou not compelled me to murder the father, he would have brought up his son in his own maxims; he would have developed his faculties, and have made him a man fit to govern a nation.  The numerous subjects who are now groaning beneath iron-handed oppression, and whose misery is all to be imputed to thee, would then have been the happiest in Germany.  p. 285Let their tears, their despair, and the horrors of an approaching insurrection, reward thee for having rashly exercised the duty of a judge.

“Madman! in obedience to thy command, I burnt the castle of the fierce Wildgrave, with all its inhabitants, with his wife and his infant.  What crime had they committed?  It was a moment of delight to me.  If the infant was consumed on the breast of the mother, it was thy work.  If the Wildgrave attacked a neighbouring nobleman as the cause of the conflagration, set fire to his house, and ignominiously whipped him, it was thy work.  Thousands have already fallen beneath their reciprocal vengeance, and tranquillity will not be restored to that part of Germany until the hostile families shall be completely exhausted and annihilated.  And thus, poor worm, hast thou avenged the innocent; thou, who all thy life hast been wallowing in the grossest sensuality; thou, who didst pull me out of hell merely to satiate thy lusts.  Groan and weep; but I will overwhelm thee with fresh horrors.

“By thy order I infused the poison of lust p. 286into the heart of the innocent Angelica, she who was the ornament of her sex and of the world.  Thou didst enjoy her in the wild intoxication of thy senses, and she scarcely knew what had happened to her.  Shudder at the consequences!  I, who find pleasure in evil and destruction, think with pity and compassion on her end.  She fled from her native place, and a feeling of shame forced her to conceal the state in which she found herself, and to which thou hadst reduced her.  Alone, in solitude, and without help, amid agonising throes and deadly pains, she became a mother.  The child died as soon as it saw the light of day.  She, the wretched victim of thy momentary pleasure, was cast into prison, and publicly executed as an infanticide.  Thou shouldst have seen her in the last moments of her life; thou shouldst have seen her pure blood spouting high into the air, when the sword of the executioner separated her lovely neck.”

Faustus gave a loud groan.  Despair was raging in his heart.

Devil.  The daughter of the miser in France, p. 287whom thou didst seduce, and in whose bosom thou didst cause slumbering desire to awake, became shortly afterwards the mistress of the youthful king.  She ruled him entirely, and in order that he might not disturb her in her intercourse with another lover, she urged him to the disastrous expedition into Italy, and brought misfortunes upon France which many future reigns will not be able to heal.  The flower of the French nobility, and the heroes of the kingdom, are rotting on the sun-scorched plains of Italy; and the king has returned home overwhelmed with shame and ignominy.  Thus, wherever thou hast wandered, thou hast scattered around thee the seeds of misery, which have sprung up, and will bear fruit to all eternity.

“Thou didst not pay attention to the look I gave thee when I tore down the house upon the cruel physicians at Paris.  I had previously told thee that, by my destructive hand, thou didst mangle the moral world worse than they did the flesh of their fellow-creatures.  Thou didst pay no attention to that look—hear now the cause of p. 288it.  Those wretches deserve to perish beneath the ruins of their laboratory; but what evil had the poor people committed who lodged in the lower part of the house, and who were totally ignorant of what was going forward above their heads?  Why should an innocent, happy family be crushed along with those monsters?  To satisfy thy blind vengeance, I was forced to bury them beneath stones and falling timbers.  Judge and avenger at the same time, thou hadst not thought of this.  Consider now all the consequences of thy delirium and thy folly; cast thine eyes along the whole chain, extending to the remotest posterity, and then sink beneath the terrible survey.  Did I not once tell thee that man is much more rash in his decisions and in his vengeance, than the Devil is in the accomplishment of wickedness?”

Faustus opened his haggard eyes, and looked towards heaven.

Devil.  It is deaf to thee.  Be proud of having lived a moment when thy atrocity was so great that it almost made the deeds of the devils themselves forgotten.  I speak of that moment p. 289when thou didst command me to withdraw the veil which concealed the Eternal from thy sight.  The angel whose charge it was to register thy sins averted his face, and struck thy name from the Book of Life.

Faustus (springing up).  Cursed be thou; cursed be myself; cursed be the hour of my birth; cursed be he who begot me; cursed be the breast which I sucked!

Devil.  O the delightful moment!  Precious reward of my toils!  Hell rejoices at thy curses, and expects a yet more frightful one from thee.  Fool! wast thou not born free?  Didst thou not bear in thy breast, like all who live in flesh, the instinct of good as well as of evil?  Why didst thou transgress, with so much temerity, the bounds which had been prescribed to thee?  Why didst thou endeavour to try thy strength with and against Him who is not to be reached?  Did not God create you in such a manner, that you were as much elevated above the devils as above the beasts of the earth?  Did he not grant you the perceptive faculty of good and evil?  Were p. 290not your will and choice free?  We wretches are without choice, without will; we are the slaves of evil and of imperious necessity; constrained and condemned to all eternity to wish nothing but evil, we are the instruments of revenge and punishment upon you.  Ye are kings of the creation, free beings, masters of your destiny, which ye fix yourselves; masters of the future, which only depends upon your actions.  It is on account of these prerogatives that we detest you, and rejoice when, by your follies, your impatience, and your crimes, you cease to be masters of yourselves.  It is only in resignation, Faustus, that present or future happiness consists.  Hadst thou remained what thou wast, and had not doubt, pride, vanity, and voluptuousness torn thee out of the happy and limited sphere for which thou wast born, thou mightst have followed an honourable employment, and have supported thy wife and children; and thy family, which is now sunk into the refuse of humanity, would have been blooming and prosperous; lamented by them, thou wouldst have died calmly on thy bed, and thy example would p. 291have guided thy posterity along the thorny path of life.

Faustus.  Ah, the greatest torment of the damned is, no doubt, to hear the devil preach penitence.

Devil.  It is pleasant enough that you force us to moralise; but, wretch, if the voice of truth and of penitence were to echo down from heaven, you would close your ears to it.

Faustus.  Destroy me at once, and do not kill me by thy prattling, which tears my heart without convincing my spirit.  Pour out thy venom, and do not distil it upon me drop by drop.  I am not to blame if, having sown the seeds of good, bad has arisen from them.  A good action has caused the ignominious death of my son, and a good action has precipitated my family into the most profound misery.

Devil.  Why dost thou boast to me of thy good deed?  How does it deserve that name?  I suppose because thou didst give me a command, which, by the by, did not cost thee much.  To have made the action meritorious, thou shouldst p. 292have cast thyself into the water, and have saved the young man at the risk of thine own life.  I brought him to the shore, and disappeared; he would have known thee, and, moved by gratitude, would probably have become the protector, instead of the destroyer, of thy family.

Faustus.  Thou canst torment me, Devil; but thou canst not, from stupidity, or thou wilt not, from wickedness, dispel my doubts.  Never have they torn my heart more venomously than at this moment, when I consider the miseries of my existence and of my after-destination.  Is human life any thing else than a tissue of crimes, torments, pains, hypocrisy, contradictions, and false virtues?  What are free agency, choice, will, and that so much vaunted faculty of distinguishing good from evil, if the passions drown the feeble voice of reason, as the roar of the sea drowns the voice of the pilot whose vessel is about to be dashed against the rocks?  Is it possible for man to destroy and root out of his breast the germ of evil which has been designedly introduced there?  I hate, more bitterly than ever, the world, my p. 293fellow-creatures, and myself.  Destined to suffer, why was I born with the desire of being happy?  Born for darkness, why was I filled with the desire of seeing light?  Why had the slave the thirst for freedom?  Why had the worm the wish to fly?  Why had I a boundless imagination, the teeming mother of bold desires, daring wishes and thoughts?  Tear from my uncertain and doubtful soul the flesh which envelops it; destroy in it all remembrance of its ever having animated a human body: I wish to become henceforward one of you, and only to live in the desire of evil.  Ah, Devil, this is not so pleasant to thy ears as the hissing, howling song of despair which thou didst expect.  But loosen the enchantment which fetters me in this circle; and let me perform my last sad duty.  I will not attempt to escape from thee; if I could, I would not, for the pain of hell cannot be greater than that which I now feel.

Devil.  Faustus, I am pleased with thy courage, and I would sooner hear what thou hast said than the wild shriek of despair.  Be proud that the force of thy spirit has carried thee even to madness p. 294and blasphemy, for which the pain of hell awaits thee.  Step out of thy circle; bury that wretched youth; thy part will then be played here, and thou must begin another, which will never end.

Faustus climbed the gibbet, and cut the rope from the neck of his son.  He then bore him into a neighbouring field which the plough had lately turned up, and scratching a grave with his hands, he buried the body of the unfortunate youth.  He then returned to the Devil, and said, in a wild tone:

“The measure of my wretchedness is full; break now the vase which can hold nothing more; but I have yet courage to struggle with thee for my life.  I will not perish like the slave who yields without resistance to the might of his master.  Appear to me under whatever form thou wilt, and I will grapple with thee.  For freedom, for independence, I once drew thee out of hell; on its verge I will yet assert my right to both; on the verge of the frightful gulf I will use my strength, and remember that I once saw thee p. 295tremble before my magic circle, when I threatened to scourge thee with my rod.  The tears which thou seest in my eyes ore tears of indignation, of hate, and of disgust.  Not the fiend, but my own heart, triumphs over me.

Devil.  Insipid braggart!  With this form I tear off the mask which belied my courage.  Vengeance is at hand, and Leviathan is himself once more!

He stood in gigantic stature before him.  His eyes glowed like full-laden thunder-clouds, which reflect the rays of the descending sun.  The noise of his breath was like the rushing of the tempest-blast.  The earth groaned beneath his iron feet.  The storm rustled in his hair, which waved round his head like the tail from the threatening comet.  Faustus lay before him like a worm; for the horrible sight had deprived him of his senses and his strength.  The Devil uttered a contemptuous laugh, which hissed over the surface of the earth; and seizing the trembling being, he tore him to pieces, as a capricious boy would tear an insect.  He strewed the bloody members with fury and p. 296disgust about the field, and plunged with the soul into the depths of hell.

The devils were assembled round Satan, who was consulting with his princes concerning the punishments which should be inflicted upon Pope Alexander the Sixth.  His crimes, and the last moments of his life, had been unparalleled, so that even the worst devils found themselves at a loss to allot him a punishment suitable to his deserts.  The Pope stood before his judges, who treated him as contemptuously as a tribunal of princes treats an accused person who has nothing else to recommend him than his being a man.  All of a sudden Leviathan rushed triumphantly into the midst, held the soul of Faustus on high, and then hurled it with violence upon the table, saying:

“There you have Faustus!”

He was received with so loud a bellow of joy, that the damned trembled in their pools: “Welcome, Prince Leviathan!  There is Faustus!  There is Faustus!”

Satan.  Welcome, prince of hell.  Welcome, Faustus; we have heard enough of you here.

p. 297Leviathan.  There he is, Satan; see him yourself.  He has plagued me not a little, but he has been a good recruit for us, and I hope that thou art contented with my long sojourn upon earth.  But I entreat thee, for many centuries to come, to send me no more on such errands; for I am quite weary of the human race.  I must, however, acknowledge that this fellow did not badly support the last hour of his life, hard as it was; but that arose, I suppose, from his having applied himself in his youth to that philosophy which thou hast taught mankind.

Satan.  I thank thee, Prince Leviathan; and I promise thee that thou shalt long continue with me among the sweet vapours of this place, and scourge the shades of the great princes of the earth for thy pastime.  Hem! a fine fellow, and seems to have had quite enough of men and things.  Despair, audacity, hate, rancour, agony, and pride, have torn deep furrows in his soul.  He looks even at us and hell without trembling.  Faustus, art thou become dumb of a sudden?

Faustus.  Not from fear, I assure thee.  I have p. 298been bold to one much mightier than thyself, and therefore am I here.

Satan.  Hey! carry the saucy hound to the pool of the damned; and after being soused therein, let him be well scourged by a legion of my most active pages, in order that he may become a little acquainted with the rules of these regions.

A devil dragged Faustus to the pool; the legion swarmed after him.

Leviathan (perceiving the Pope).  Ah! welcome, Pope Alexander.  I hope you no longer feel any desire to make a Ganymede of the Devil.

Pope (sighing).  No, alas!

Satan.  Ha, ha, ha!  This is now a good specimen of the men who at present ravage the earth; but let them once get to the new world, and they will make it a theatre of crimes which will put the old one to shame.

Pope.  Would that I could be there too!

Satan.  A wish truly worthy of a pope; but console thyself,—thy countrymen will murder millions of men for their gold.

Pope.  What will men not do for gold?

p. 299Faustus came back with his fiendish attendants.

Satan.  Well, Faustus, how do you like your bath, and those that rubbed you dry?

Faustus.  Maddening and intolerable thought, that the noble and ethereal part of man must expiate the sins of a body formed of clay!

The devils laughed till the vaults reëchoed.

Satan.  Bravo, Faustus!  I am convinced, from thy words and behaviour, that thou art too good for a man.  I am, besides, much indebted to thee for having invented Printing, that art which is so singularly useful to us.

Pope.  What, a printer!  He gave himself out at my court for a gentleman, and won my daughter Lucretia!

Faustus.  Silence, proud Spaniard.  I paid her richly; and thou wouldst have prostituted thyself to me for a like sum, if I had been one of thine own stamp.  My noble invention will sow more good, and will be more profitable to the human race, than all the popes from St. Peter down to thyself.

p. 300Satan.  Thou art mistaken, Faustus.  In the first place, men will rob thee of the honour of having invented this art.

Faustus.  That is worse than damnation.

Satan.  Observe now this man: he stands before me, the ruler here, and holds everlasting torments as nothing when compared with the loss of his fame and glory, those chimeras of his overheated brain.  In the second place, Faustus, the shades will descend by hundreds of thousands, will fall upon thee, and overwhelm thee with curses, for having converted the little stream which poisoned the human mind into a monstrous flood.  I, who am the ruler here, and shall gain by it, am therefore thy debtor; and if thou wilt curse the Eternal, who either could not or would not make thee better, thou shalt escape the torments of this place, and I will make thee a prince of my dark kingdom.

Pope.  Let me be the first to curse, O Satan; as a pope, I have an undoubted right to the precedence.

Satan.  Observe these men, ye devils, and see p. 301how they outdo ye.  No, Pope; thou didst it when thy lips kissed the feet of my Leviathan.  Choose, Faustus.

Faustus stepped forward; raging despair was engraven in frightful characters on his shadowy face.  He—!  Who can express what he said?

The devils trembled at his words, and were astonished at his audacity.  Since hell first existed, no such stillness had reigned in the dark, frightful kingdom, the abode of eternal misery.  Faustus broke it, and required Satan to fulfil his promise.

Satan.  Fool! how canst thou imagine that I, ruler of hell, will keep my word, as there is no example of a prince of earth ever having kept his word when he got nothing by so doing?  If thou canst forget that thou art a man, forget not that thou standest before the Devil.  My fiendish subjects turned pale at thy temerity; thy horrid words made my firm and imperishable throne tremble; and I thought for a moment that I had risked too much.  Away! thy presence makes me uneasy; and thou art a proof that man can do more than the Devil can bear.  Drag him, ye fiends, into p. 302the most frightful corner; let him there languish in solitude, and madden at the recollection of his deeds, and of this moment, which he can never atone for.  Let no shade approach him.  Go, thou accursed one, and hover alone and abandoned in that land where neither hope, comfort, nor sleep are found.  Those doubts which have tormented thee in life shall for ever gnaw thy soul, and no one shall explain to thee that mystery, the pursuit of which has brought thee here.  This is the most painful punishment of all to a philosopher like thee.  Drag him away, I repeat; torture him.  Seize that Pope, and plunge him into the hottest pool; for their equals are not to be found in hell.

After their departure, Satan said to himself, smiling:

“When men wish to represent any thing abominable, they paint the Devil: let us, therefore, in revenge, when we wish to represent any thing infamous, depict man; and philosophers, popes, priests, conquerors, ministers, and authors, shall serve us as models.”


[134]  It is not out of fear that I refrain from giving the names of the German princes who appear in this work, but because, having discovered the secret springs of their actions, I should too often have to contradict their lying, flattering, ignorant historians; and men who willingly allow themselves to be deceived, might perhaps doubt the truth of my assertions.  Hercules himself could not clear away all the ordure which these historians have heaped up.—Original.

[249] See Taxæ Cancellariæ Apostolicæ, &c., printed at Rome and Paris.