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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Dr. Faustus's Frivolous Demands

Nowadays he could go to Waitrose, Tesco or the local market... 


"Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please?
I'll have all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates".


GOOD ANGEL. O, Faustus, lay that damned book aside,
And gaze not on it, lest it tempt thy soul,
And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head!
Read, read the Scriptures:--that is blasphemy.

EVIL ANGEL. Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art
Wherein all Nature's treasure is contain'd:
Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky,
Lord and commander of these elements.
[Exeunt Angels.]

FAUSTUS. How am I glutted with conceit of this!
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,
Resolve me of all ambiguities,
Perform what desperate enterprise I will?
I'll have them fly to India for gold,
Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
And search all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates...

The text of the play by Christopher Marlowe

See also The History of Doctor Faustus, Chapter xxxix - pages 127-128

From another translation  (MEDIÆVAL TALES):


How Dr. Faustus played a merry Jest with the Duke of Anhalt in his Court.

DR. FAUSTUS on a time went to the Duke of Anhalt, who welcomed him very courteously. This was in the month of January; where sitting at table, he perceived the duchess to be with child; and forbearing himself until the meat was taken from the table, and that they brought in the banquet­ing dishes, Dr. Faustus said to the duchess, “Gracious lady, I have always heard that women with child do always long for some dainties; I beseech therefore your grace, hide not your mind from me, but tell me what you desire to eat.”

She answered him: “Dr. Faustus, now truly I will not hide from you what my heart doth much desire; namely, that if it were now harvest, I would eat my fill of grapes and other dainty fruit.”

Dr. Faustus answered hereupon: “Gracious lady, this is a small thing for me to do, for I can do more than this.” Wherefore he took a plate and set it upon one of the case­ments of the window, holding it forth, where incontinent he had his dish full of all manner of fruit, as red and white grapes, pears, and apples, the which came from out of strange countries. All these he presented to the duchess, saying: “Madam, I pray you vouchsafe to taste of this dainty fruit, the which came from a far country, for there the summer is not yet ended.” The duchess thanked Faustus highly, and she fell to her fruit with full appetite.

The Duke of Anhalt notwithstanding could not withhold to ask Faustus with what reason there were such young fruits to be had at that time of the year?

Dr. Faustus told him: “May it please your grace to understand, that the year is divided into two circles of the whole world, that when with us it is winter, in the contrary circle it is notwithstanding summer; for in India and Saba there falleth or setteth a sun, so that it is so warm, that they have twice a year fruit; and, gracious lord, I have a swift spirit, the which can in a twinkling of an eye fulfil my desire in anything; wherefore I sent him into those countries, who hath brought this fruit as you see;” whereat the duke greatly admired"

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