[Enter Wagner.]


Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel-bough,
That sometime grew within this 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 Wagner.]

Terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus.


  1. In this context, "exhort" means to admonish or warn. The Chorus uses this word to communicate that Faustus' story is meant to be a warning to others who seek to pursue knowledge and doubt God.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. In using the word "entice," tempting or deviously attracting, the Chorus also blames the knowledge itself for Faustus' fall. In other words, Faustus was just as much tricked into selling his soul to the Devil as he is at fault for selling his soul to the Devil. While one might think that this play offers a straight forward moral about having faith in God, these final lines suggest the play holds more empathy for the damned.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. To "wonder at unlawful things" could be read as a condemnation of the pursuit of knowledge. In this way, the Chorus blames Faustus' fall on his pursuit of dangerous knowledge, knowledge that man was not meant to have.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. In Greek mythology, Apollo the god of light carries a laurel bough or wears a laurel crown. The laurel is a symbol of learning and wisdom. If the laurel crown is "burned" it metaphorically means that learning and wisdom have been burned.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. In Latin, this means "The hour ends the day, the author ends his work." This signature comes from the bottom of the final page in the 1604 print edition of this text. It was probably added by the printer to mark the text as coming from a certain print shop, much like a modern day logo.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff