Scene 6

[Enter Robin the Ostler with a book in his hand.]

ROBIN.
O, this is admirable! here I ha' stolen one of Doctor
Faustus' conjuring books, and, i'faith, I mean to search
some circles for my own use. Now will I make all the
maidens in our parish dance at my pleasure, stark naked
before me; and so by that means I shall see more than e'er(5)
I felt or saw yet.

[Enter Ralph, calling Robin.]

RALPH.
Robin, prithee, come away; there's a gentleman tarries
to have his horse, and he would have his things
rubbed and made clean: he keeps such a chafing with my
mistress about it; and she has sent me to look thee out;(10)
prithee, come away.
ROBIN.
Keep out, keep out, or else you are blown up; you are
dismembered, Ralph: keep out, for I am about a roaring
piece of work.
RALPH.
Come, what dost thou with that same book? Thou(15)
can'st not read.
ROBIN.
Yes, my master and mistress shall find that I can read,
he for his forehead, she for her private study; she's born
to bear with me, or else my art fails.
RALPH.
Why, Robin, what book is that?(20)
ROBIN.
What book! why, the most intolerable book for conjuring
that e'er was invented by any brimstone devil.
RALPH.
Can'st thou conjure with it?
ROBIN.
I can do all these things easily with it; first, I can
make thee drunk with ippocras at any tabern in(25)
Europe for nothing; that's one of my conjuring works.
RALPH.
Our Master Parson says that's nothing.
ROBIN.
True, Ralph; and more, Ralph, if thou hast any
mind to Nan Spit, our kitchenmaid, then turn her and
wind her to thy own use as often as thou wilt, and at(30)
midnight.
RALPH.
O brave, Robin! shall I have Nan Spit, and to mine
own use? On that condition I'd feed thy devil with
horsebread as long as he lives, of free cost.
ROBIN.
No more, sweet Ralph: let's go and make clean our(35)
boots, which lie foul upon our hands, and then to our
conjuring in the Devil's name.

[Exeunt.]

Footnotes

  1. " 'ippocras" is Robin's pronunciation of Hippocras, a spiced wine. Marlowe uses verbal mispronunciations like this to emphasize Robin and Ralph's lack of learning and low class status.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. "Chafing" means scolding. Ralph's lines position these two characters as servants who are at the beck and call of demanding masters. They are the low characters in the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Robin and Ralph are low characters that underscore the main action of the story. Like Faustus, Robin wishes to "see" and know more. But unlike Faustus, Robin's ambitions are very basic and physical: he wants to see naked women. Using this twin plot, Marlowe implicitly ridicules Faustus's quest for knowledge that he should not have. It is just as ridiculous as Robin's quest to see all of the town women naked.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Robin uses this statement to mock his masters. He will give his master's forehead horns when he teaches his mistress to "bear" his weight or bear him a child. This sexual innuendo suggests that Robin wants to use magic to cuckhold his boss; he wants to engage in earthly power and pleasure. This ridiculous sentiment underscores the equally ridiculous reasoning behind Faustus's decision.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor