The Tragical History Of Doctor Faustus "The Stars Move Still, Time Runs, The Clock Will Strike"

Christopher Marlowe

"The Stars Move Still, Time Runs, The Clock Will Strike"

Context: Dr. Faustus, a great and learned scholar, tired of various mundane studies, sells his soul to the Devil for the power to have the evil spirits of the other world at his command. Though his friends, and even a Good Angel, call upon him to repent and return to God's grace, Faustus refuses. For twenty-four years, the length of his compact with the Devil, Faustus deals grandiosely with the world, helped by Mephistopheles, the fiend given him as a servant by Satan. On his last night on earth Faustus is persuaded that for a few years of earthly vanities he has given up his soul and eternal felicity. Some of his scholar-friends visit him to help him pray, but he bids them depart, for their safety's sake. They retire to another room to pray for him, after he tells them that if he lives until morning he will join them, but that if he fails to join them his soul has gone to Hell. When his friends have left him, the clock strikes eleven, and Faustus, knowing he has but one hour left before Satan demands his due, cries out in terror:

Ah Faustus,
Now hast thou but one bare hower to live,
And then thou must be damnd perpetually:
Stand stil, you ever mooving spheres of heaven,
That time may cease, and midnight never come:
Faire Nature's eye, rise, rise againe, and make
Perpetuall day, or let this houre be but
A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
That Faustus may repent, and save his soul,
O lente, lente curite noctis equi:
The stars moove stil, time runs, the clocke wil strike,
The devil wil come, and Faustus must be damnd.
O I'll leap up to my God: who pulles me down?
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament.
One drop would save my soul, half a drop, ah my Christ.
Ah rend not my heart for naming of my Christ,
Yet will I call on him: O, spare me Lucifer!