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About this text

  • Title: Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (Modern)
  • Textual editor: Christopher Matusiak
  • Performance editor: Peter Cockett
  • General editor: Helen Ostovich
  • Coordinating editor: Janelle Jenstad

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Robert Greene
    Editor (Text): Christopher Matusiak
    Editor (Performance): Peter Cockett
    Peer Reviewed

    Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (Modern)

    1895[Scene 13] [Video Sc.13]
    Enter Margaret in nun's apparel, [the] Keeper, her Father, and their Friend.
    Margaret, be not so headstrong in these vows.
    Oh, bury not such beauty in a cell
    That England hath held famous for the hue!
    1900Thy father's hair, like to the silver blooms
    That beautify the shrubs of Africa,
    Shall fall before the dated time of death,
    Thus to forego his lovely Margaret.
    Ah, father, when the harmony of heaven
    1905Soundeth the measures of a lively faith,
    The vain illusions of this flattering world
    Seem odious to the thoughts of Margaret.
    I loved once. Lord Lacy was my love,
    And now I hate myself for that I loved,
    1910And doted more on him than on my God.
    For this I scourge myself with sharp repents.
    But now the touch of such aspiring sins
    Tells me all love is lust but love of heavens,
    That beauty used for love is vanity.
    1915The world contains naught but alluring baits,
    Pride, flattery, and inconstant thoughts.
    To shun the pricks of death I leave the world,
    And vow to meditate on heavenly bliss,
    To live in Framlingham a holy nun,
    1920Holy and pure in conscience and in deed,
    And for to wish all maids to learn of me
    To seek heaven's joy before earth's vanity.
    And will you then, Margaret, be shorn a nun, and so leave us all?
    Now, farewell world, the engine of all woe;
    Farewell to friends! And father! Welcome, Christ.
    Adieu to d ainty robes! This base attire
    Better befits an humble mind to God
    Than all the show of rich habiliments.
    1930Love, oh love, and with fond love, farewell!
    Sweet Lacy, whom I loved once so dear,
    Ever be well, but never in my thoughts
    Lest I offend to think on Lacy's love.
    But even to that, as to the rest, farewell!
    1935Enter Lacy, Warren, [and] Ermsby, booted and spurred.
    Come on, my wags, we're near the Keeper's lodge.
    Here have I oft walked in the watery meads,
    And chatted with my lovely Margaret.
    Sirrah Ned, is not this the Keeper?
    'Tis the same.
    The old lecher hath gotten holy mutton to him. A nun, my lord!
    Keeper, how farest thou? Holla, man, what cheer?
    How doth Peggy, thy daughter and my love?
    Ah, good my lord. Oh, woe is me for Peg!
    See where she stands, clad in her nun's attire,
    Ready for to be shorn in Framlingham.
    She leaves the world because she left your love.
    Oh, good my lord, persuade her if you can!
    Why, how now, Margaret; what, a malcontent?
    A nun? What holy father taught you this,
    To task yourself to such a tedious life
    As die a maid? 'Twere injury to me
    To smother up such beauty in a cell.
    Lord Lacy, thinking of thy former miss,
    How fond the prime of wanton years were spent
    In love. Oh, fie upon that fond conceit
    Whose hap and essence hangeth in the eye!
    I leave both love and love's content at once,
    1960Betaking me to Him that is true love,
    And leaving all the world for love of Him.
    Whence, Peggy, comes this metamorphosis?
    What, shorn a nun? And I have from the court
    Posted with coursers to convey thee hence
    1965To Windsor where our marriage shall be kept.
    Thy wedding robes are in the tailor's hands.
    Come, Peggy, leave these peremptory vows.
    Did not my lord resign his interest
    And make divorce 'twixt Margaret and him?
    'Twas but to try sweet Peggy's constancy.
    But will fair Margaret leave her love and lord?
    Is not heaven's joy before earth's fading bliss,
    And life above sweeter than life in love?
    Why then Margaret will be shorn a nun?
    Margaret hath made a vow which may not be revoked.
    We cannot stay, my lord, an if she be so strict.
    Our leisure grants us not to woo afresh.
    Choose you, fair damsel. Yet the choice is yours:
    Either a solemn nunnery or the court,
    1980God or Lord Lacy. Which contents you best?
    To be a nun, or else Lord Lacy's wife?
    A good motion.-- Peggy, your answer must be short.
    The flesh is frail. My lord doth know it well
    That when he comes with his enchanting face,
    1985Whate'er betide I cannot say him nay.
    [Removing her nun's apparel.] Off goes the habit of a maiden's heart,
    And seeing Fortune will, fair Framlingham
    And all the show of holy nuns, farewell!
    Lacy for me, if he will be my lord.
    Peggy, thy lord, thy love, thy husband!
    Trust me, by truth of knighthood, that the king
    Stays for to marry matchless Eleanor
    Until I bring thee richly to the court,
    That one day may both marry her and thee.--
    1995How say'st thou, Keeper? Art thou glad of this?
    As if the English king had given
    The park and deer of Fressingfield to me.
    I pray thee, my lord of Sussex, why art thou in a brown study?
    To see the nature of women, that be they never so near God, yet they love to die in a man's arms.
    What have you fit for breakfast? We have hied and posted all this night to Fressingfield.
    Butter and cheese and humbles of a deer,
    2005Such as poor keepers have within their lodge.
    And not a bottle of wine?
    We'll find one for my lord.
    Come, Sussex, let's in. We shall have more, for she speaks least to hold her promise sure.