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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)

    [Scene 5] [Video Sc.5]
    Enter Rafe Simnell in Edward's apparel, Edward [disguised as Rafe], Warren [and] Ermsby, disguised.
    [Posing as Prince Edward] Where be these vagabond knaves, that they attend no better on their master?
    [As Rafe] If it please your honor, we are all ready at an inch.
    Sirrah, Ned, I'll have no more post horse to ride on. I'll have another fetch.
    I pray you, how is that, my lord?
    Marry, sir, I'll send to the Isle of Ely for four or five dozen of geese, and I'll have them tied six and six together with whipcord. Now upon their backs will I have a fair field bed with a canopy; and so when it is my pleasure, I'll flee into what 525place I please. This will be easy.
    Your honor hath said well, but shall we to Brazennose College before we pull off our boots?
    Warren, well motioned; we will to the friar
    Before we revel it within the town.--
    530Rafe, see you keep your countenance like a prince.
    Wherefore have I such a company of cutting knaves to wait upon me but to keep and defend my countenance against all mine enemies? [To the others] Have you not good swords and bucklers?
    Enter Bacon and Miles.
    Stay, who comes here?
    Some scholar, and we'll ask him where Friar Bacon is.
    Friar Bacon
    [To Miles] Why, thou errant dunce, shall I never make thee good scholar? Doth not all the town cry out and say Friar Bacon's 540subsizar is the greatest blockhead in all Oxford? Why, thou canst not speak one word of true Latin.
    No, sir? Yes; what is this else? Ego sum tuus homo: "I am your man." I warrant you, sir, as good Tully's phrase as any is in Oxford.
    545Friar Bacon
    Come on, sirrah, what part of speech is ego?
    Ego, that is "I". Marry, nomen substantivo.
    Friar Bacon
    How prove you that?
    Why, sir, let him prove himself and 'a will. "I" can be heard, felt, and understood.
    550Friar Bacon
    Oh, gross dunce!
    Here beat him.
    Come, let us break off this dispute between these two.-- [To Miles] Sirrah, where is Brazennose College?
    Not far from Coppersmiths' Hall.
    What, dost thou mock me?
    Not I, sir. But what would you at Brazennose?
    Marry, we would speak with Friar Bacon.
    Whose men be you?
    [Pointing to Rafe] Marry, scholar, here's our master.
    Sirrah, I am the master of these good fellows. Mayst thou not know me to be a lord by my reparel?
    Then here's good game for the hawk, for here's the master fool and a covey of coxcombs. One wise man, I think, would spring you all.
    Gog's wounds! Warren, kill him.
    [Bacon charms them by magic, so that they are powerless to draw their swords.]
    Why, Ned, I think the devil be in my sheath. I cannot get out my dagger.
    Nor I mine. 'Swounds, Ned, I think I am bewitched.
    A company of scabs. The proudest of you all draw 570your weapon, if he can.-- [To the audience] See how boldly I speak now my master is by.
    I strive in vain, but if my sword be shut,
    And conjured fast by magic in my sheath,
    Villain, here is my fist.
    575Strike him a box on the ear.
    Oh, I beseech you, conjure his hands, too, that he may not lift his arms to his head, for he is light-fingered!
    Ned, strike him. I'll warrant thee by mine honor.
    Friar Bacon
    What means the English prince to wrong my man?
    To whom speakest thou?
    Friar Bacon
    To thee.
    Who art thou?
    Friar Bacon
    Could you not judge when all your swords grew fast
    That Friar Bacon was not far from hence?
    585Edward, King Henry's son and prince of Wales,
    Thy fool disguised cannot conceal thyself.
    I know both Ermsby and the Sussex earl,
    Else Friar Bacon had but little skill.
    Thou comest in post from merryFressingfield,
    590Fast fancied to the Keeper's bonny lass,
    To crave some succor of the jolly friar;
    And Lacy, earl of Lincoln, hast thou left
    To treat fair Margaret to allow thy loves;
    But friends are men, and love can baffle lords.
    595The earl both woos and courts her for himself.
    Ned, this is strange. The friar knoweth all.
    Apollo could not utter more than this.
    I stand amazed to hear this jolly friar
    Tell even the very secrets of my thoughts.
    600But learne}d Bacon, since thou knowest the cause
    Why I did post so fast from Fressingfield,
    Help, friar, at a pinch, that I may have
    The love of lovely Margaret to myself;
    And, as I am true prince of Wales, I'll give
    605Living and lands to strength thy college state.
    Good friar, help the prince in this.
    Why, servant Ned, will not the friar do it? Were not my sword glued to my scabbard by conjuration, I would cut off his head and make him do it by force.
    In faith, my lord, your manhood and your sword is all alike: they are so fast conjured that we shall never see them.
    What, doctor, in a dump? Tush, help the prince,
    And thou shalt see how liberal he will prove.
    Friar Bacon
    [Aside] Crave not such actions greater dumps than these?--
    615[To Edward] I will, my lord, strain out my magic spells,
    For this day comes the earl to Fressingfield,
    And 'fore that night shuts in the day with dark
    They'll be betrothed each to other fast.
    But come with me; we'll to my study straight,
    620And in a glass prospective I will show
    What's done this day in merryFressingfield.
    Gramercies, Bacon. I will quite thy pain.
    Friar Bacon
    But send your train, my lord, into the town;
    My scholar shall go bring them to their inn.
    625Meanwhile we'll see the knavery of the earl.
    Warren, leave me; and Ermsby, take the fool;
    Let him be master and go revel it
    Till I and Friar Bacon talk awhile.
    We will, my lord.
    Faith, Ned, and I'll lord it out 'til thou comest. I'll be prince of Wales over all the black pots in Oxford.
    Exeunt [all except Bacon and Edward].
    Bacon and Edward go into the study.
    Friar Bacon
    Now, frolic Edward, welcome to my cell.
    635Here tempers Friar Bacon many toys,
    And holds this place his consistory court
    Wherein the devils plead homage to his words.
    Within this glass prospective thou shalt see
    This day what's done in merry Fressingfield
    640'Twixt lovely Peggy and the Lincoln earl.
    Friar, thou gladst me. Now shall Edward try
    How Lacy meaneth to his sovereign lord.
    Friar Bacon
    Stand there, and look directly in the glass.
    Enter Margaret and Friar Bungay [visible through the glass, though Edward cannot hear them].
    645Friar Bacon
    What sees my lord?
    I see the Keeper's lovely lass appear,
    As brightsome as the paramour of Mars,
    Only attended by a jolly friar.
    Friar Bacon
    Sit still, and keep the crystal in your eye.
    But tell me, Friar Bungay, is it true
    That this fair courteous country swain,
    Who says his father is a farmer nigh,
    Can be Lord Lacy, earl of Lincolnshire?
    Friar Bungay
    Peggy, 'tis true, 'tis Lacy for my life,
    655Or else mine art and cunning both doth fail,
    Left by Prince Edward to procure his loves;
    For he in green that holp you run your cheese
    Is son to Henry, and the prince of Wales.
    Be what he will, his lure is but for lust.
    660But did Lord Lacy like poor Margaret,
    Or would he deign to wed a country lass,
    Friar, I would his humble handmaid be,
    And for great wealth quite him with courtesy.
    Friar Bungay
    Why, Margaret, dost thou love him?
    His personage, like the pride of vaunting Troy,
    Might well avouch to shadow Helen's scape;
    His wit is quick and ready in conceit,
    As Greece afforded in her chiefest prime.
    Courteous -- ah, friar! Full of pleasing smiles.
    670Trust me, I love too much to tell thee more.
    Suffice to me he is England's paramour.
    Friar Bungay
    Hath not each eye that viewed thy pleasing face
    Surnamèd thee fair maid of Fressingfield?
    Yes, Bungay, and would God the lovely earl
    675Had that in esse that so many sought.
    Friar Bungay
    Fear not. The friar will not be behind
    To show his cunning to entangle love.
    [To Bacon] I think the friar courts the bonny wench;
    Bacon, methinks he is a lusty churl!
    680Friar Bacon
    Now look, my lord.
    Enter Lacy [disguised as before].
    Gog's wounds, Bacon, here comes Lacy!
    Friar Bacon
    Sit still, my lord, and mark the comedy.
    Friar Bungay
    Here's Lacy. Margaret, step aside awhile.
    [They stand aside and watch Lacy.]
    Daphne, the damsel that caught Phoebus fast
    And locked him in the brightness of her looks,
    Was not so beauteous in Apollo's eyes
    As is fair Margaret to the Lincoln earl.
    Recant thee, Lacy! Thou art put in trust.
    690Edward, thy sovereign's son, hath chosen thee
    A secret friend to court her for himself,
    And darest thou wrong thy prince with treachery?
    Lacy, love makes no exception of a friend,
    Nor deems it of a prince but as a man.
    695Honor bids thee control him in his lust.
    His wooing is not for to wed the girl,
    But to entrap her and beguile the lass.
    Lacy, thou lovest. Then brook not such abuse,
    But wed her, and abide thy prince's frown;
    700For better die than see her live disgraced.
    Come, friar, I will shake him from his dumps.
    [She steps forward.]
    How cheer you, sir? A penny for your thought?
    You're early up. Pray God it be the near.
    What, come from Beccles in a morn so soon?
    Thus watchful are such men as live in love,
    Whose eyes brook broken slumbers for their sleep.
    I tell thee, Peggy, since last Harleston Fair
    My mind hath felt a heap of passions.
    A trusty man, that court it for your friend.
    710Woo you still for the courtier all in green?
    I marvel that he sues not for himself.
    Peggy, I pleaded first to get your grace for him,
    But when mine eyes surveyed your beauteous looks,
    Love, like a wag, straight dived into my heart,
    715And there did shrine the idea of yourself.
    Pity me, though I be a farmer's son,
    And measure not my riches but my love.
    You are very hasty, for to garden well
    Seeds must have time to sprout before they spring;
    720Love ought to creep as doth the dial's shade,
    For timely ripe is rotten too too soon.
    Friar Bungay[Stepping forward]
    Deus hic. Room for a merry friar.
    What, youth of Beccles, with the Keeper's lass?
    'Tis well. But tell me, hear you any news?
    No, friar. What news?
    Friar Bungay
    Hear you not how the pursuivants do post
    With proclamations through each country town?
    For what, gentle friar? Tell the news.
    Friar Bungay
    Dwell'st thou in Beccles and hear'st not of these news?
    730Lacy, the earl of Lincoln is late fled
    From Windsor court disguised like a swain,
    And lurks about the country here unknown.
    Henry suspects him of some treachery,
    And therefore doth proclaim in every way
    735That who can take the Lincoln earl shall have
    Paid in the Exchequer twenty thousand crowns.
    The earl of Lincoln? Friar, thou art mad.
    It was some other; thou mistakest the man.
    The earl of Lincoln? Why, it cannot be.
    Yes, very well, my lord, for you are he.
    The Keeper's daughter took you prisoner.
    Lord Lacy, yield. I'll be your jailer once.
    How familiar they be, Bacon!
    Friar Bacon
    Sit still and mark the sequel of their loves.
    Then am I double prisoner to thyself.
    Peggy, I yield. But are these news in jest?
    In jest with you, but earnest unto me,
    For why these wrongs do wring me at the heart.
    Ah, how these earls and noble men of birth
    750Flatter and feign to forge poor women's ill!
    Believe me, lass, I am the Lincoln earl.
    I not deny but tirèd thus in rags
    I lived disguised to win fair Peggy's love.
    What love is there where wedding ends not love?
    I meant, fair girl, to make thee Lacy's wife.
    I little think that earls will stoop so low.
    Say, shall I make thee countess ere I sleep?
    Handmaid unto the earl, so please himself;
    A wife in name but servant in obedience.
    The Lincoln countess, for it shall be so.
    I'll plight the bands and seal it with a kiss. [They kiss.]
    Gog's wounds, Bacon, they kiss! I'll stab them! [Edward threatens to stab the prospective glass.]
    Friar Bacon
    Oh, hold your hands, my lord, it is the glass!
    Choler, to see the traitors gree so well
    765Made me think the shadows substances.
    Friar Bacon
    'Twere a long poniard, my lord, to reach between
    Oxford and Fressingfield. But sit still and see more.
    Friar Bungay
    Well, lord of Lincoln, if your loves be knit,
    And that your tongues and thoughts do both agree,
    770To avoid ensuing jars, I'll hamper up the match.
    I'll take my portace forth and wed you here.
    Then, go to bed and seal up your desires.
    Friar, content. Peggy, how like you this?
    What likes my lord is pleasing unto me.
    775Friar Bungay
    Then handfast hand, and I will to my book.
    Friar Bacon
    [To Edward] What sees my lord now?
    Bacon, I see the lovers hand in hand,
    The friar ready with his portace there
    To wed them both; then am I quite undone.
    780Bacon, help now, if e'er thy magic served!
    Help, Bacon, stop the marriage now,
    If devils or necromancy may suffice
    And I will give thee forty thousand crowns!
    Friar Bacon
    Fear not, my lord, I'll stop the jolly friar
    785For mumbling up his orisons this day. [Bacon puts a spell on Bungay.]
    Why speak'st not, Bungay? Friar, to thy book.
    Bungay is mute, crying "Hud, hud!"
    How lookest thou, friar, as a man distraught?
    Reft of thy senses, Bungay? Show by signs,
    790If thou be dumb, what passions holdeth thee.
    He's dumb indeed. Bacon hath with his devils
    Enchanted him, or else some strange disease
    Or apoplexy hath possessed his lungs.
    But, Peggy, what he cannot with his book,
    795We'll 'twixt us both unite it up in heart.
    Else let me die, my lord, a miscreant.
    Why stands Friar Bungay so amazed?
    Friar Bacon
    I have struck him dumb, my lord, and if your honor please,
    I'll fetch this Bungay straightway from Fressingfield,
    800And he shall dine with us in Oxford here.
    Bacon, do that and thou contentest me.
    Of courtesy, Margaret, let us lead the friar
    Unto thy father's lodge, to comfort him
    With broths, to bring him from this hapless trance.
    Or else, my lord, we were passing unkind
    To leave the friar so in his distress.
    Enter a devil [who carries Bungay away on his back].
    Oh help, my lord, a devil! A devil, my lord!
    Look how he carries Bungay on his back!
    810Let's hence, for Bacon's spirits be abroad.
    Exeunt [Margaret and Lacy].
    Bacon, I laugh to see the jolly friar
    Mounted upon the devil, and how the earl
    Flees with his bonny lass for fear.
    815As soon as Bungay is at Brazennose
    And I have chatted with the merry friar,
    I will in post hie me to Fressingfield
    And quite these wrongs on Lacy ere it be long.
    Friar Bacon
    So be it, my lord. But let us to our dinner,
    820For ere we have taken our repast awhile,
    We shall have Bungay brought to Brazennose.