« ZurückWeiter »
From the German
JOHN ANSTER, LL.D.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HENRY MORLEY
LL.D., PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AT
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
In the autumn of 1587, at the Fair of Frankfort-on-the-Main, then the headquarters of the German book trade, a bookseller named Johann Spies produced the first History of Johann Faust, the far-famed Magician and Black-Artist. It was entitled Historia von D. Johann Fausten, dem weit beschreyten Zauberer und Schwartzkünstler. The only complete copy of it now known is in the Imperial Library at Vienna. The unknown writer of this book seems to have been a clergyman of the Reformed Church, who caught the attention of the people by stringing together incidents of magic associated with the fabulous career of a man who had died some fifty years before, and whose name and fame survived him. The writer's desire was to warn against presumptuous sins; to attack, through Faust, the pride of intellect that sets God at defiance, and through stories of Faust's magic to pour, now and then, Protestant scorn upon the Pope.
The original Faustus traded upon superstition in the Reformation time. The date assigned to his death, 1538, was eight years before that of Luther. The earliest known mention of him—if it be of him-is by a liberal scholar of high reputation, Johann Trittenheim (Trithemius) Abbot of Spanheim, who met him at Gelnhausen in May, 1506. He knew him as a Georgius Sabellicus, who boasted that if all the works of Plato and Aristotle were burnt, he could restore them from his memory. He avoided meeting Trittenheim, by whom he was despised as a charlatan, but left his card for him. On his card he described himself as “Magister Georgius Sabellicus, Faustus junior, fons necromanticorum, magus secundus, chiromanticus, agromanticus, pyromanticus, in hydra arte secundus. The name of
Faustus junior," in this first record of an actual magician taking the name of Faustus, might point to the fame of a preceding conjuror who had borne the name of Faustus in the latter part of the fifteenth century, and who had laid foundations of a common fame associated with the name, although there is no other trace of his existence. It may have been his actual name, or he may have taken it as a Latin addition, meaning Fortunate. A fifteenth century Faustus may have been one man, Georgius Sabellicus another, and our Faustus (of whom, in that case, the first notice would be in 1525), a third. In 1513 Conrad Mudt, a friend of Melancthon, spoke of a braggart and fool who pretended to magic, whom he had found at Erfurth, calling himself "Georgius Faustus Hemitheus," (demigod) “of Heidelberg." An old Leipzig chronicle gives 1525 as the year in which Doctor Johann Faust rode before the eyes of many people out of Auerbach's cellar on a barrel of wine, with which he refreshed the students. The feat was celebrated by two pictures on the walls of the cellar, and under the picture of Faust and the students drinking were lines to this effect
ssime, thou, drink, and remember how Faustus lived for his pleasure,
Lane-footed, slow.coming Pain overtook him, Pain without measure. In a volume of notes from the conversation of Melancthon (Locorum