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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 6] [Video Sc.6]
    Enter three doctors: Burden, Mason, [and] Clement.
    Now that we are gathered in the Regent House,
    It fits us talk about the king's repair,
    For he, trooped with all the western kings
    That lie alongst the Danzig seas by east,
    North by the clime of frosty Germany,
    830The Almain monarch, and the Saxon duke,
    Castile, and lovely Eleanor with him,
    Have in their jests resolved for Oxford town.
    We must lay plots of stately tragedies,
    Strange comic shows such as proud Roscius
    835Vaunted before the Roman emperors.
    To welcome all the western potentates.
    But more, the king by letters hath foretold
    That Frederick, the Almain Emperor,
    Hath brought with him a German of esteem
    840Whose surname is Don Jaques Vandermast,
    Skillful in magic and those secret arts.
    Then must we all make suit unto the friar,
    To Friar Bacon, that he vouch this task,
    And undertake to countervail in skill
    845The German, else there's none in Oxford can
    Match and dispute with learne}d Vandermast.
    Bacon, if he will hold the German play,
    Will teach him what an English friar can do.
    The devil, I think, dare not dispute with him.
    Indeed, Mas Doctor, he displeasured you,
    In that he brought your hostess with her spit
    From Henley posting unto Brazennose.
    A vengeance on the friar for his pains!
    But leaving that, let's hie to Bacon straight,
    855To see if he will take this task in hand.
    [A cry of voices.]
    Stay, what rumor is this? The town is up in a mutiny. What hurly-burly is this?
    Enter a Constable, with Rafe, Warren, [and] Ermsby [all three disguised as before]and Miles.
    Nay, masters, if you were ne'er so good, you shall before the doctors to answer your misdemeanor.
    What's the matter, fellow?
    Marry, sir, here's a company of rufflers that, drinking in the tavern, have made a great brawl and almost killed 865the vintner.
    Salve, Doctor Burden. This lubberly lurdan,
    Ill-shaped and ill-faced, disdained and disgraced,
    What he tells unto vobis, mentitur de nobis.
    Who is the master and chief of this crew?
    [Pointing to Rafe]Ecce asinum mundi, figura rotundi,
    Neat, sheat, and fine, as brisk as a cup of wine.
    [To Rafe] What are you?
    I am, father doctor, as a man would say, the bellwether of this company. These are my lords, and I the prince of Wales.
    Are you Edward, the king's son?
    Sirrah Miles, bring hither the tapster that drew the wine, and I warrant when they see how soundly I have broke his head, they'll say 'twas done by no less man than a prince.
    I cannot believe that this is the prince of Wales.
    And why so, sir?
    For they say the prince is a brave and a wise gentleman.
    Why, and thinkest thou, doctor, that he is not so?
    Dar'st thou detract and derogate from him,
    Being so lovely and so brave a youth?
    Whose face shining with many a sugared smile
    Bewrays that he is bred of princely race?
    And yet, master doctor, to speak like a proctor,
    And tell unto you, what is veriment and true,
    To cease of this quarrel, look but on his apparel,
    890Then mark but my tales, he is great prince of Wales,
    The chief of our gregis, and filius regis.
    Then 'ware what is done, for he is Henry's white son.
    Doctors, whose doting nightcaps are not capable of my ingenious dignity, know that I am Edward Plantagenet, 895whom if you displease will make a ship that shall hold all your colleges, and so carry away the Niniversity with a fair wind to the Bankside in Southwark.-- How say'st thou, Ned Warren, shall I not do it?
    Yes, my good lord, and if it please your lordship, 900I will gather up all your old pantofles, and with the cork make you a pinnace of five hundred ton that shall serve the turn marvelous well, my lord.
    And I, my lord, will have pioneers to undermine the town, that the very gardens and orchards be carried away for 905your summer walks.
    And I with scientia, and great diligentia,
    Will conjure and charm, to keep you from harm,
    That utrum horum mavis, your very great navis,
    Like Bartlet's ship, from Oxford do skip,
    910With colleges and schools, full loaden with fools.
    Quid dicis ad hoc, worshipful Domine Dawcock?
    Why, harebrained courtiers, are you drunk or mad
    To taunt us up with such scurrility?
    Deem you us men of base and light esteem
    915To bring us such a fop for Henry's son?--
    Call out the beadles and convey them hence,
    Straight to Bocardo. Let the roisters lie
    Close clapped in bolts until their wits be tame.
    Why, shall we to prison, my lord?
    What say'st, Miles? Shall I honor the prison with my presence?
    No, no! Out with your blades, and hamper these jades;
    Have a flirt and a crash, now play revel-dash,
    And teach these sacerdos, that the Bocardos,
    Like peasants and elves, are meet for themselves.
    To the prison with them, constable.
    Well, doctors, seeing I have sported me
    With laughing at these mad and merry wags,
    Know that Prince Edward is at Brazennose,
    [Pointing to Rafe]And this, attired like the prince of Wales,
    930Is Rafe, King Henry's only love}d fool;
    I, earl of Sussex, and this, Ermsby,
    One of the privy chamber to the king,
    Who, while the prince with Friar Bacon stays,
    Have reveled it in Oxford as you see.
    My lord, pardon us, we knew not what you were.
    But courtiers may make greater scapes than these.
    Will't please your honor dine with me today?
    I will, master doctor, and satisfy the vintner for his hurt. Only I must desire you to imagine him [pointing to Rafe] all this forenoon the 940prince of Wales.
    I will, sir.
    And upon that I will lead the way; only I will have Miles go before me because I have heard Henry say that wisdom must go before majesty.
    Exeunt omnes.