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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, with Miles his poore scholer with bookes
    vnder his arme, with them Burden, Mason,
    Clement, three doctors.
    175Bacon. Miles where are you?
    Miles. Hic sum dostissime & reuerendissime doctor.
    Bacon. Attulisti nos libros meos de Necromantia.
    Miles. Ecce quam bonum & quam iocundum, habitares libros
    in vnum.
    180Bacon. Now maisters of our Academicke state,
    That rule in Oxford Vizroies in your place,
    Whose heads containe Maps of the liberall arts,
    Spending your time in deapth of learned skill,
    Why flocke you thus to Bacons secret Cell,
    185A Frier newly stalde in Brazennose,
    Say whats your mind, that I may make replie.
    Burden. Bacon we hear, that long we haue suspect,
    That thou art read in Magicks mysterie,
    In Piromancie to diuine by flames,
    190To tell by Hadromaticke, ebbes and tides,
    By Aeromancie, to discouer doubts,
    To plaine out questions, as Apollo did.
    Bacon. Well maister Burden, what of all this?
    Miles. Marie sir he doth but fulfill by rehearsing of these
    195names the Fable of the Fox and the grapes, that which is aboue
    vs, pertains nothing to vs.
    Burden. I tell thee Bacon, Oxford makes report,
    Nay England, and the court of Henrie saies,
    Thart making of a brazen head by art,
    200Which shall vnfold strange doubts and Aphorismes,
    And read a lecture in Philosophie,
    And by the helpe of Diuels and ghastly fiends,
    Thou meanst ere many yeares or daies be past,
    To compasse England with a wall of brasse.
    205Bacon. And what of this?
    Miles. What of this maister, why he doth speak mystically,
    for he knowes if your skill faile to make a brazen head, yet mo-
    ther waters strong ale will fit his turne to make him haue a cop-
    per nose.
    210Clement. Bacon we come not greeuing at thy skill,
    But ioieng that our Academie yeelds
    A man supposde the woonder of the world,
    For if thy cunning worke these myracles,
    England and Europe shall admire thy fame,
    215And Oxford shall in characters of brasse,
    And statues, such as were built vp in Rome,
    Eternize Frier Bacon for his art.
    Mason. Then gentle Frier, tell vs thy intent.
    Bacon. Seeing you come as friends vnto the frier
    220Resolue you doctors, Bacon can by bookes,
    Make storming Boreas thunder from his caue,
    And dimme faire Luna to a darke Eclipse,
    The great arch-ruler, potentate of hell,
    Trembles, when Bacon bids him, or his fiends,
    225Bow to the force of his Pentageron.
    What art can worke, the frolicke frier knowes,
    And therefore will I turne my Magicke bookes,
    And straine out Nigromancie to the deepe,
    I haue contrivd and framde a head of brasse,
    230(I made Belcephon hammer out the stuffe)
    And that by art shall read Philosophie,
    And I will strengthen England by my skill,
    That if ten Caesars livd and raignd in Rome,
    With all the legions Europe doth containe,
    235They should not touch a grasse of English ground,
    The worke that Ninus reard at Babylon,
    The brazen walles framde by Semiramis,
    Carued out like to the portall of the sunne,
    Shall not be such as rings the English strond:
    240From Douer to the market place of Rie.
    Burden. Is this possible?
    Miles. Ile bring ye to or three witnesses.
    Burden. What be those?
    Miles. Marry sir three or foure as honest diuels, and good
    245companions as any be in hell.
    Mason. No doubt but magicke may doe much in this,
    For he that reades but Mathematicke rules,
    Shall finde conclusions that auaile to worke,
    Wonders that passe the common sense of men.
    250Burden. But Bacon roues a bow beyond his reach,
    And tels of more than magicke can performe:
    Thinking to get a fame by fooleries,
    Haue I not past as farre in state of schooles:
    And red of many secrets, yet to thinke,
    255That heads of Brasse can vtter any voice,
    Or more, to tell of deepe philosophie,
    This is a fable AEsop had forgot.
    Bacon. Burden, thou wrongst me in detracting thus,
    Bacon loues not to stuffe himselfe with lies:
    260But tell me fore these Doctors if thou dare,
    Of certaine questions I shall moue to thee.
    Burden. I will aske what thou can.
    Miles. Marrie sir heele straight be on your pickpacke to
    knowe whether the feminine or the masculin gender be most
    Bacon. Were you not yesterday maister Burden at Henly
    vpon the Thembs?
    Burden. I was, what then?
    Bacon. What booke studied you there on all night?
    270Burden. I, none at all I red not there a line.
    Bacon. Then doctors, Frier Bacons art knowes nought.
    Clement. What say you to this maister Burden doth hee not
    touch you?
    Burden. I passe not of his friuolous speeches.
    275Miles. Nay maister Burden, my maister ere hee hath done
    with you, will turne you from a doctor to a dunce, and shake you
    so small, that he will leaue no more learning in you than is in Ba-
    laams Asse.
    Bacon. Maisters, for that learned Burdens skill is deepe,
    280And sore he doubts of Bacons Cabalisme:
    Ile shew you why he haunts to Henly oft,
    Not doctors for to tast the fragrant aire:
    But there to spend the night in Alcumie,
    To multiplie with secret spels of art.
    285Thus priuat steales he learning from vs all,
    To prooue my sayings true, Ile shew you straight,
    The booke he keepes at Henly for himselfe.
    Miles. Nay now my maister goes to coniuration, take heede.
    Bacon. Maisters stand still, feare not, Ile shewe you but his
    Heere he coniures.
    Per omnes deos infernales Belcephon.
    Enter a woman with a shoulder of mutton
    on a spit, and a Deuill.
    295Miles. Oh maister cease your coniuration, or you spoile all, for
    heeres a shee diuell come with a shoulder of mutton on a spit, you
    haue mard the diuels supper, but no doubt hee thinkes our Col-
    ledge fare is slender, and so hath sent you his cooke with a shoul-
    der of mutton to make it exceed.
    300Hostesse. Oh where am I, or whats become of me.
    Bacon. What art thou?
    Hostesse. Hostesse at Henly mistresse of the Bell.
    Bacon. How camest thou heere.
    Hostesse. As I was in the kitchen mongst the maydes,
    305Spitting the meate against supper for my guesse:
    A motion mooued me to looke forth of dore.
    No sooner had I pried into the yard,
    But straight a whirlewind hoisted me from thence,
    And mounted me aloft vnto the cloudes:
    310As in a trance I thought nor feared nought,
    Nor know I where or whether I was tane:
    Nor where I am, nor what these persons be.
    Bacon. No, know you not maister Burden.
    Hostesse. Oh yes good sir, he is my daily guest,
    315What maister Burden, twas but yesternight,
    That you and I at Henly plaid at cardes.
    Burden. I knowe not what we did, a poxe of all coniuring
    Clement. Now iolly Frier tell vs, is this the booke
    320that Burden is so carefull to looke on?
    Bacon. It is, but Burden tell me now,
    Thinkest thou that Bacons Nicromanticke skill,
    Cannot performe his head and wall of Brasse,
    When he can fetch thine hostesse in such post.
    325Miles. Ile warrant you maister, if maister Burden could con-
    iure as well as you, hee would haue his booke euerie night from
    Henly to study on at Oxford.
    Mason. Burden what are you mated by this frolicke Frier,
    Looke how he droops, his guiltie conscience
    330Driues him to bash and makes his hostesse blush.
    Bacon. Well mistres for I wil not haue you mist,
    You shall to Henly to cheere vp your guests
    Fore supper ginne, Burden bid her adew,
    Say farewell to your hostesse fore she goes,
    335Sirha away, and set her safe at home.
    Hostesse. Maister Burden, when shall we see you at Henly.
    Exeunt Hostesse and the Deuill.
    Burden. The deuill take thee and Henly too.
    Miles. Maister shall I make a good motion.
    340Bacon. Whats that?
    Miles. Marry sir nowe that my hostesse is gone to prouide
    supper, coniure vp an other spirite, and send doctor Burden fly-
    ing after.
    Bacon. Thus rulers of our Accademicke state,
    345You haue seene the Frier frame his art by proofe:
    And as the colledge called Brazennose,
    Is vnder him and he the maister there:
    So surely shall this head of brasse be framde,
    And yeeld forth strange and vncoth Aphorismes:
    350And Hell and Heccate shall faile the Frier,
    But I will circle England round with brasse.
    Miles. So be it, & nunc & semper, Amen.
    Exeunt omnes.