Death, Dying, Grief and Mourning

            "Death is always the same,
                               but each man dies in his own way."

Carson McCullers, Clock Without Hands, 1960


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in Western Literature

An Anthology by  Adrienne Nater

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Death, Dying, Grief, and Mourning

in Western Literature


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Christopher Marlow, Dr. Faustus, 1588
End of Scene 14:

Modern Text Ed. Hilary Binda Tufts University

Death of Faustus

Death of Faustus:

Faustus, farewell. Exeunt Scholars.

The clock strikes eleven.


Ah Faustus,

Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,

And then thou must be damned perpetually.

Stand still you ever moving spheres of heaven,

That time may cease, and midnight never come.

Fair Nature’ eye, rise, rise again, and make

Perpetual day, or let this hour be but a year,

A month, a week, a natural day,

That Faustus may repent, and save his soul.

O lente, lente, currite noctis equi:

The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike.

The devil will come, and Faustus must be damned.

O, I’ll leap up to my God: who pulls me down?

See, see where Christ’s blood streames in the firmament;

One drop would save my soule, half a drop, ah, my Christ!

Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ,

Yet will I call on him. Oh spare me, Lucifer!

Where is it now? ‘Tis gone,

And see where God stretcheth out his arm,

And bends his ireful blows.

Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,

And hide me from the heavy wrath of God.

No, no, then will I headlong run into the earth;

Earth gape! O no, it will not harbour me.

You stars that reigned at my nativity,

Whose influence hath allotted death and hell,

Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist,

Into the entrails of yon laboring cloud,

That when you vomit forth into the air,

My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths,

So that my soul may ascend to heaven.

Ah, half the hour is past: The watch strikes the half hour

‘Twill all be past anon.

Oh God, if thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,

Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransomed me,

Impose some end to my incessant pain;

Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,

A hundred thousand, and at last be saved.

O, no end is limited to damned souls.

Why wert thou not a creature of wanting soul?

Or, why is this immortal that thou hast?

Ah, Pythagoras’ metempspsxeosis, were that true,

This soul should fly from me, and I be changed

Unto some brutish beast. All beasts are happy, for when they die,

Their souls are soon dissolved in elements,

But mine must live still to be plagued in hell.

Curst be the parents that engendered me.

No, Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer,

That hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven.     The clock striketh twelve.


O, it strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,

Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell.                 Thunder and lightening


O soul, be changed into little water drops,

And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found.

My God, my God, look not so fierce on me;        Enter Devils.


Adders, and serpents, let me breathe a while;

Ugly hell gape not, come not Lucifer.

I’ll burn my books! Ah, Mephistophilis.        Exeunt Devils with Faustus.

Enter Chorus.

Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,

And burned is Apollo’s laurel bough,

That sometime grew within the learned man.

Faustus is gone; regard his hellish fall,

Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise,

Only to wonder at unlawful things,

Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits,

To practice more than heavenly power permits.     Exit  


Terminat hora diem, terminat auctor opus.



Adrienne Nater, 2008

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