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  • Title: Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (Quarto)
  • Editors: Christopher Hicklin, Christopher Matusiak

  • 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
    Editors: Christopher Hicklin, Christopher Matusiak
    Peer Reviewed

    Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (Quarto)

    Enter Frier Bacon drawing the courtaines with a white sticke,
    a booke in his hand, and a lampe lighted by him, and the
    brasen head and miles, whith weapons by him.
    Bacon. Miles where are you?
    1565Miles. Here sir.
    Bacon. How chaunce you tarry so long?
    Miles. Thinke you that the watching of the brazen head
    craues no furniture? I warrant you sir I haue so armed my selfe,
    that if all your deuills come I will not feare them an inch.
    1570Bacon. Miles thou knowest that I haue diued into hell,
    And sought the darkest pallaces of fiendes,
    That with my Magick spels great Belcephon,
    Hath left his lodge and kneeled at my cell,
    The rafters of the earth rent from the poles,
    1575And three-formd Luna hid her siluer looks,
    Trembling vpon her concaue contenent,
    When Bacon red vpon his Magick booke,
    With seuen yeares tossing nigromanticke charmes,
    Poring vpon darke Hecats principles,
    1580I haue framd out a monstrous head of brasse,
    That by the inchaunting forces of the deuil,
    Shall tell out strange and vncoth Aphorismes,
    And girt faire England with a wall of brasse,
    Bungay and I haue watcht these threescore dayes,
    1585And now our vitall spirites craue some rest,
    If Argos livd and had his hundred eyes,
    They could not ouerwatch Phobeters night,
    Now Miles in thee rests Frier Bacons weale,
    The honour and renowne of all his life,
    1590Hangs in the watching of this brazen-head,
    Therefore I charge thee by the immortall God
    That holds the soules of men within his fist,
    This night thou watch, for ere the morning star
    Sends out his glorious glister on the north,
    1595The head will speake, then Miles vpon thy life,
    Wake me for then by Magick art Ile worke,
    To end my seuen yeares taske with excellence,
    If that a winke but shut thy watchfull eye,
    Then farewell Bacons glory and his fame,
    1600Draw closse the courtaines Miles now for thy life,
    Be watchfull and Here he falleth asleepe.
    Miles. So, I thought you would talke your selfe a sleepe anon,
    and tis no meruaile, for Bungay on the dayes, and he on the
    nights, haue watcht Iust these ten and fifty dayes, now this is
    1605the night, and tis my taske and no more. Now Iesus blesse me
    what a goodly head it is, and a nose, you talke of nos autem glori-
    ficare, but heres a nose, that I warrant may be cald nos autem po-
    pelare for the people of the parish, well I am furnished with
    weapons, now sir I will set me downe by a post, and make it as
    1610good as a watch-man to wake me if I chaunce to slumber.
    I thought goodman head, I would call you out of your memento,
    Sit down and
    passion a God I haue almost broke my pate, Vp Miles to your
    taske, take your browne bill in your hand, heeres some of your
    maisters hobgoblins abroad. With this a great noise.
    1615The Head speakes.
    Head. Time is.
    Miles. Time is, Why maister Brazenhead haue you such a
    capitall nose, and answer you with sillables, Time is: is this all
    my maisters cunning, to spend seuen yeares studie about Time is:
    1620well sir, it may be we shall haue some better orations of it anon,
    well Ile watch you as narrowly as euer you were watcht, and Ile
    play with you as the Nightingale with the Slowworme, Ile set a
    pricke against my brest: now rest there Miles, Lord haue mercy
    vpon me, I haue almost kild my selfe: vp Miles list how they
    Head. Time was.
    Miles. Well frier Bacon, you spent your seuen yeares studie
    well that can make your Head speake but two wordes at once,
    Time was: yea marie, time was when my maister was a wise man,
    1630but that was before he began to make the Brasen-head, you shall
    lie while your arce ake and your Head speake no better: well I
    will watch and walke vp and downe, and be a Perepatetian and a
    Philosopher of Aristotles stampe, what a freshe noise, take thy
    pistols in hand Miles.
    1635Heere the Head speakes and a lightning flasheth forth,
    and a hand appeares that breaketh down the
    Head with a hammer.
    Head. Time is past.
    Miles. Maister maister, vp, hels broken loose, your Head
    1640speakes, and theres such a thunder and lightning, that I warrant
    all Oxford is vp in armes, out of your bed and take a browne bill
    in your hand, the latter day is come.
    Bacon. Miles I come, oh passing warily watcht,
    Bacon will make thee next himselfe in loue,
    1645When spake the Head?
    Miles. When spake the Head, did not you say that hee
    should tell strange principles of Philosophie, why sir it speaks but
    two wordes at a time.
    Bacon. Why villaine hath it spoken oft.
    1650Miles. Oft, I marie hath it thrice: but in all those three times
    it hath vttered but seuen wordes.
    Bacon. As how.
    Miles. Marrie sir, the first time he said, Time is, as if Fabius
    cumentator should haue pronounst a sentence, he said Time was,
    1655and the third time with thunder and lightning, as in great choller,
    he said Time is past.
    Bacon. Tis past indeed, a villaine time is past,
    My life, my fame, my glorie, all are past:
    Bacon, the turrets of thy hope are ruind downe,
    1660Thy seuen yeares studie lieth in the dust:
    Thy Brazen-head lies broken through a slaue
    That watcht, and would not when the Head did will,
    What said the Head first.
    Miles. Euen sir, Time is,
    1665Bacon. Villaine if thou hadst cald to Bacon then,
    If thou hadst watcht and wakte the sleepie frier,
    The Brazen-head had vttered Aphorismes,
    And England had been circled round with brasse,
    But proud Astmeroth ruler of the North,
    1670And Demegorgon maister of the fates,
    Grudge that a mortall man should worke so much,
    Hell trembled at my deepe commanding spels,
    Fiendes frownd to see a man their ouermatch,
    Bacon might bost more than a man might boast:
    1675But now the braues of Bacon hath an end,
    Europes conceit of Bacon hath an end:
    His seuen yeares practise sorteth to ill end:
    And villaine sith my glorie hath an end,
    I will appoint thee fatall to some end,
    1680Villaine auoid, get thee from Bacons sight:
    Vagrant go rome and range about the world,
    And perish as a vagabond on earth.
    Miles. Why then sir you forbid me your seruice.
    Bacon. My seruice villaine with a fatall curse,
    1685That direfull plagues and mischiefe fall on thee.
    Miles. Tis no matter I am against you with the old prouerb,
    The more the fox is curst the better he fares: God be with you
    sir, Ile take but a booke in my hand, a wide sleeued gowne on my
    backe, and a crowned cap on my head, and see if I can want pro-
    Bacon. Some fiend or ghost haunt on thy wearie steps,
    Vntill they doe transport thee quicke to hell,
    For Bacon shall haue neuer merrie day,
    To loose the fame and honour of his Head. Exit.