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It has been stated that Spies' work on the legend of Faustus was published in 1587. The book would appear to have spread very rapidly, though international communication was then very slow, as we find that it had, as early as 1589, furnished the subject of a ballad thus entered in the Stationers' Registers (Arber's transcript, vol. ii., p. 241 b) • Ultimo die ffebruarij 1589.

Allowed vnto him [Ric. Jones] for his Copie, A ballad of the life and deathe of Doctor Ffaustus the great Cungerer.

Allowed vnder the hand of the Bishop of London, and master warden Denhams hand beinge to the Copie-vjd.?

If this ballad be the same as the one still extant and printed in Dyce's edition of Marlowe, p. 136, sq., as is most probable, the question arises whether it was composed before or after the play. Dyce says : • As ballads were frequently founded on favourite dramas, it is most likely that the ditty just mentioned was derived from our author's play.' But the ballad differs from the play in not a few points. Faustus is there made to say

At Wittenburge, a town of Germany,
There was I born and bred of good degree ;

but in the play it is stated that Faustus was base parentswithin a town called Rhodes. ballad goes on to state :

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In learning, lo, my uncle brought up me,
And made me Doctor in Divinity ;
And when he dy'd, he left me all his wealth,
Whose cursed gold did hinder my soul's health.

The uncle' is entirely gratuitous, as the play speaks only of kinsmen who chiefly brought up' Faustus, and there is nothing in it of the 'cursed’ gold left by these kinsmen. The next stanzas, are in tolerable harmony with the plot of Marlowe's tragedy :

Then did I shun the holy Bible-book,
Nor on God's word would ever after look ;
But studied accursed conjuration,
Which was the cause of my utter damnation.
The Devil in friar's weeds appear'd to me,
And straight to my request he did agree,
That I might have all things at my desire :
I gave him soul and body for his hire.
Twice did I make my tender flesh to bleed,
Twice with my blood I wrote the devil's deed,
Twice wretchedly I soul and body sold,
To live in peace [al. pleasure] and do what things I would.
For four-and-twenty years this bond was made,
And at the length my soul was truly paid :
Time ran away, and yet I never thought

How dear my soul our Saviour Christ had bought. The last two lines are not however in agreement with Marlowe, in whose play Faustus' repentance is made to begin almost immediately after the conclusion of his bargain with the Devil. The following stanzas are again quite in accordance with the play :

The time I past away, with much delight,
'Mongst princes, peers, and many a worthy knight.
I wrought such wonders by my magic skill,
That all the world may talk of Faustus still,
The Devil he carried me up into the sky,
Where I did see how all the world did lie ;
I went about the world in eight days space,
And then return'd unto my native place.

What pleasure I did wish to please my mind,
He did perform, as bond and seal did bind ;
The secrets of the stars and planets told,
Of earth and sea, with wonders manifold.

When four-and twenty years was almost run,
I thought of all things that was past and done ;
How that the Devil would soon claim his right,
And carry me to everlasting night.
Then all too late I curst my wicked deed,
The dread whereof doth make my heart to bleed ;
All days and hours I mourned wondrous sore,

Repenting me of all things done before. The next stanzas suggest even more vivid reminiscences of the play:

I then did wish both sun and moon to stay,
All times and seasons never to decay ;
Then had my time near come to dated end,
Now I soul and body down to hell descend.
At last, when I had but one hour to come,
I turn'd my glass, for my last hour to run,
And call'd in learned men to comfort me;
But faith was gone, and none could comfort me.
By twelve o'clock my glass was almost out,
My grieved conscience then began to doubt,
I wisht the students stay in chamber by,
But, as they staid, they heard a dreadful cry.
Then present, lo, they came into the hall,
Whereas my brains were cast against the wall ;
Both arms and legs in pieces torn they see,
My bowels gone: this was an end of me.

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But, in spite of the coincidences we notice here, the ballad cannot be derived from the play. We should first notice that besides the discrepancies already pointed out there is a fundamental difference in the view taken of Faustus' character. In Marlowe, and in the German work of Spies, Faustus' motive * in selling himself to the Devil is a 'self-conceit' and thirst of knowledge :

A sound magician is a mighty god. In the ballad we hear of nothing but the desire of pleasure and licentiousness. And, secondly, we should also notice those features of Marlowe's play which are not mentioned in the ballad, e.g. the splendid episode of Helen of Greece and the longing after fair women, which would not have been omitted by the balladmonger had he known of it, as this feature was sure to tell upon the imagination of a popular audience. We are, therefore, inclined to assume that the ballad was founded upon mere oral relation of the legend, such as might be obtained some way or other, perhaps from one of the inmates of the German Steelyard’ in London.

But the fact remains that the legend had spread to England as early as February 1589, and there can be no doubt that Marlowe's play was composed about the same time. It was written for the ‘Lord Admirall his servants,' and the principal part performed by Alleyn, to whose acting we possess an allusion in Rowland's 'Knave of Clubs' (quoted by Dyce)

The gull gets on a surplice,
With a cross upon his breast ;
Like Alleyn playing Faustus,
In that manner was he drest.

We may also notice that in the inventory of Alleyn's theatrical apparel there is mentioned · Faustus Jerkin, his cloke ;' and among the stage-properties of the Lord Admiral's men we find : ‘j dragon in fostes' (Henslowe's Diary, ed. Collier, p. 273). But there is not in Henslowe's Diary any mention of a performance of Faustus prior to September 30, 1594 ; between then and October 1597 we find memoranda of no less than 23 performances-a respectable number, attesting the popularity of the play. This was not, however, due to the really fine and grand passages 1 of Marlowe's original composition, but to the outward accessories and the spectacular exhibition with which the play was gradually brought down to a low level of art. Henslowe did not care whether the plays performed at his theatres were really good and works of high art ; 'a good play' with him meant pretty much the same as "a good book' in these days of ours in a bookseller's dialect-a play or book that pays. He did not pretend to fashion the taste of the Town, but, taking it such as it was, he merely endeavoured to make the most of it for his own ends. When the play had grown somewhat stale, he employed “Thomas Dickers,' as he calls him in his Diary, i.e. the well-known dramatist Dekker, a rough and ready writer, to make 'adycyons to Fostus,' for which he paid Dekker on December 20, 1597, the

The Admiral's company were prohibited from acting in 1589. It is, therefore, probable that Marlowe produced his play either in 1588 or early in 1589. Qy : did the performance of Faustus, which was considered an atheistical' tragedy, contribute to this prohibition ?

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