QueenʼsMen Editions

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)

    2010[Scene 14] [Video Sc.14]
    Enter a devil to seek Miles.
    How restless are the ghosts of hellish spirits,
    When every charmer with his magic spells
    Calls us from nine-fold trenched Phlegeton,
    To scud and over-scour the earth in post
    2015Upon the speedy wings of swiftest winds!
    Now Bacon hath raised me from the darkest deep
    To search about the world for Miles his man--
    For Miles, and to torment his lazy bones
    For careless watching of his brazen head.
    2020See where he comes. Oh, he is mine.
    Enter Miles with a gown and a corner cap.
    A scholar, quoth you? Marry, sir, I would I had been made a bottle-maker when I was made a scholar, for I can get neither to 2025be a deacon, reader, nor schoolmaster; no, not the clerk of a parish. Some call me a dunce, another saith my head is as full of Latin as an egg's full of oatmeal. Thus I am tormented that the devil and Friar Bacon haunt me.-- Good Lord, here's one of my master's devils! I'll go speak to him.-- What, Master Plutus, 2030how cheer you?
    Dost thou know me?
    Know you, sir? Why, are not you one of my master's devils that were wont to come to my master Doctor Bacon at Brazennose?
    Yes, marry, am I.
    Good Lord, Master Plutus, I have seen you a thousand times at my master's, and yet I had never the manners to make you drink. But, sir, I am glad to see how conformable you are to the statute. [To the audience] I warrant you, he's as yeomanly a man as you shall see; 2040mark you, masters, here's a plain honest man, without welt or guard.-- [To the devil.] But I pray you, sir, do you come lately from hell?
    Ay, marry. How then?
    Faith, 'tis a place I have desired long to see. Have you not good tippling houses there? May not a man have a lusty fire there, 2045a pot of good ale, a pair of cards, a swingeing piece of chalk, and a brown toast that will clap a white waistcoat on a cup of good drink?
    All this you may have there.
    You are for me, friend, and I am for you. But I pray 2050you, may I not have an office there?
    Yes, a thousand. What wouldst thou be?
    By my troth, sir, in a place where I may profit myself. I know hell is a hot place, and men are marvelous dry, and much drink is spent there. I would be a tapster.
    Thou shalt.
    There's nothing lets me from going with you but that 'tis a long journey and I have never a horse.
    Thou shalt ride on my back.
    Now surely here's a courteous devil, that for to 2060pleasure his friend will not stick to make a jade of himself.-- But I pray you, goodman friend, let me move a question to you.
    What's that?
    I pray you, whether is your pace a trot or an amble?
    An amble.
    'Tis well. But take heed it be not a trot. But 'tis no matter; I'll prevent it. [He puts on spurs.]
    What dost?
    Marry, friend, I put on my spurs. For if I find your pace either a trot or else uneasy, I'll put you to a false gallop. I'll make 2070you feel the benefit of my spurs.
    Get up upon my back.
    Oh Lord, here's even a goodly marvel when a man rides to hell on the devil's back!
    Exeunt roaring.