by Robert Greene

c. 1590

As it was plaid by her Maiesties seruants.

made by Robert Greene Maister of Arts.






King Henry The Third.

     Edward, Prince Of Wales, his Son.

     Ralph Simnell, The King’s Fool.

Lacy, Earl Of Lincoln.

Warren, Earl Of Sussex.

Ermsby, a Gentleman.

Friar Bacon.

     Miles, Friar Bacon’s Poor Scholar.

Friar Bungay.

Emperor of Germany.

King of Castile.

     Princess Elinor, Daughter to the King of Castile.

Jaques Vandermast, A German Magician.

Doctors of Oxford:




Lambert, a Gentleman.

     1st Scholar, Lambert's Son.

Serlsby, a Gentleman.

     2nd Scholar, Serlsby's Son.


     Margaret, the Keeper’s Daughter.

Thomas, a Clown.

Richard, a Clown.

Hostess of The Bell at Henley

Joan, a Country Wench.


A Post.

Spirit in the shape of Hercules.

A Devil.

Lords, Clowns, etc.


Near Framlingham.

Enter Prince Edward, malcontented, with Lacy, Warren, Ermsby and Ralph Simnell.

Lacy.  Why looks my lord like to a troubled sky

When Heaven's bright shine is shadowed with a fog?

Alate we ran the deer, and through the lawnds

Stripped with our nags the lofty frolic bucks

That scudded 'fore the teasers like the wind:

Ne'er was the deer of merry Fressingfield

So lustily pulled down by jolly mates,

Nor shared the farmers such fat venison,

So frankly dealt, this hundred years before;

Nor have

I seen my lord more frolic in the chase,

And now changed to a melancholy dump.

Warr.  After the prince got to the Keeper's lodge,

And had been jocund in the house awhile,

Tossing off ale and milk in country cans,

Whether it was the country's sweet content,

Or else the bonny damsel filled us drink

That seemed so stately in her stammel red,

Or that a qualm did cross his stomach then,

But straight he fell into his passiöns.

Erms.  Sirrah Ralph, what say you to your master,

Shall he thus all amort live malcontent?

Ralph.  Hearest thou, Ned? − Nay, look if he will

speak to me!

Pr. Edw.   What say'st thou to me, fool?

Ralph.  I prithee, tell me, Ned, art thou in love with

the Keeper's daughter?

Pr. Edw.   How if I be, what then?

Ralph.  Why, then, sirrah, I'll teach thee how to

deceive Love.

Pr. Edw.   How, Ralph?

Ralph.  Marry, Sirrah Ned, thou shall put on my cap

and my coat and my dagger, and I will put on thy

clothes and thy sword; and so thou shalt be my fool.

Pr. Edw.   And what of this?

Ralph.  Why, so thou shalt beguile Love; for Love is

such a proud scab, that he will never meddle with

fools nor children. Is not Ralph's counsel good, Ned?

Pr. Edw.   Tell me, Ned Lacy, didst thou mark the maid,

How lovely in her country weeds she looked?

A bonnier wench all Suffolk cannot yield: −

All Suffolk! nay, all England holds none such.

Ralph.   Sirrah Will Ermsby, Ned is deceived.

Erms.  Why, Ralph?

Ralph.  He says all England hath no such, and I

say, and I'll stand to it, there is one better in


Warren.  How provest thou that, Ralph?

Ralph.  Why, is not the abbot a learned man, and

hath read many books, and thinkest thou he hath not

more learning than thou to choose a bonny wench?

Yes, warrant I thee, by his whole grammar.

Erms.  A good reason, Ralph.

Pr. Edw.  I tell thee, Lacy, that her sparkling eyes

Do lighten forth sweet love's alluring fire;

And in her tresses she doth fold the looks

Of such as gaze upon her golden hair:

Her bashful white, mixed with the morning's red,

Luna doth boast upon her lovely cheeks;

Her front is beauty's table, where she paints

The glories of her gorgeous excellence.

Her teeth are shelves of precious margarites,

Richly enclosed with ruddy coral cleeves.

Tush, Lacy, she is beauty's over-match,

If thou survey'st her curious imagery.

Lacy.  I grant, my lord, the damsel is as fair

As simple Suffolk's homely towns can yield.

But in the court be quainter dames than she,

Whose faces are enriched with honour's taint,

Whose beauties stand upon the stage of fame,

And vaunt their trophies in the courts of love.

Pr. Edw.  Ah, Ned, but hadst thou watch'd her as myself,

And seen the secret beauties of the maid,

Their courtly coyness were but foolery.

Erms.  Why, how watched you her, my lord?

Pr. Edw.   Whenas she swept like Venus through the house,

And in her shape fast folded up my thoughts,

Into the milk-house went I with the maid,

And there amongst the cream-bowls she did shine

As Pallas 'mongst her princely huswifery:

She turned her smock over her lily arms,

And dived them into milk to run her cheese;

But whiter than the milk her crystal skin,

Checkèd with lines of azure, made her blush

That art or nature durst bring for compare.


If thou hadst seen, as I did note it well,

How beauty played the huswife, how this girl,

Like Lucrece, laid her fingers to the work,

Thou wouldst, with Tarquin, hazard Rome and all

To win the lovely maid of Fressingfield.

Ralph.  Sirrah, Ned, wouldst fain have her?

Pr. Edw.   Ay, Ralph.

Ralph.  Why, Ned, I have laid the plot in my head;

thou shalt have her already.

Pr. Edw.   I'll give thee a new coat, an learn me that.

Ralph.  Why, Sirrah Ned, we'll ride to Oxford to

Friar Bacon: O, he is a brave scholar, sirrah; they say

he is a brave necromancer, that he can make women

of devils, and he can juggle cats into costermongers.

Pr. Edw.   And how then, Ralph?

Ralph.  Marry, sirrah, thou shalt go to him: and

because thy father Harry shall not miss thee, he shall

turn me into thee; and I'll to the court, and I'll prince

it out; and he shall make thee either a silken purse

full of gold, or else a fine wrought smock.

Pr. Edw.   But how shall I have the maid?

Ralph.  Marry, sirrah, if thou be'st a silken purse full

of gold, then on Sundays she'll hang thee by her

side, and you must not say a word. Now, sir, when

she comes into a great prease of people, for fear of

the cutpurse, on a sudden she'll swap thee into her

plackerd; then, sirrah, being there, you may plead for


Erms.  Excellent policy!

Pr. Edw.    But how if I be a wrought smock?

Ralph.  Then she'll put thee into her chest and lay

thee into lavender, and upon some good day she'll

put thee on; and at night when you go to bed, then

being turned from a smock to a man, you may make

up the match.

Lacy.   Wonderfully wisely counselled, Ralph.

Pr. Edw.   Ralph shall have a new coat.

Ralph.  God thank you when I have it on my back,


Pr. Edw.   Lacy, the fool hath laid a perfect plot,

For why our country Margaret is so coy,

And stands so much upon her honest points,

That marriage or no market with the maid −

Ermsby, it must be necromantic spells

And charms of art that must enchain her love,

Or else shall Edward never win the girl.

Therefore, my wags, we'll horse us in the morn,

And post to Oxford to this jolly friar:

Bacon shall by his magic do this deed.

Warr.  Content, my lord; and that's a speedy way

To wean these headstrong puppies from the teat.

Pr. Edw.   I am unknown, not taken for the prince;

They only deem us frolic courtiers,

That revel thus among our liege's game:

Therefore I have devised a policy.

Lacy, thou know'st next Friday is Saint James',

And then the country flocks to Harleston fair;

Then will the Keeper's daughter frolic there,

And over-shine the troop of all the maids

That come to see and to be seen that day.

Haunt thee disguised among the country-swains,

Feign thou'rt a farmer's son, not far from thence,

Espy her loves, and who she liketh best;

Cote him, and court her to control the clown;

Say that the courtier 'tirèd all in green,

That helped her handsomely to run her cheese,

And filled her father's lodge with venison,

Commends him, and sends fairings to herself.

Buy something worthy of her parentage,

Not worth her beauty; for, Lacy, then the fair

Affords no jewèl fitting for the maid.

And when thou talk's of me, note if she blush:

O, then she loves; but if her cheeks wax pale,

Disdain it is. Lacy, send how she fares,

And spare no time nor cost to win her loves.

Lacy.  I will, my lord, so execute this charge

As if that Lacy were in love with her.

Pr. Edw.   Send letters speedily to Oxford of the news.

Ralph.  And, Sirrah Lacy, buy me a thousand

thousand million of fine bells.

Lacy.  What wilt thou do with them, Ralph?

Ralph.  Marry, every time that Ned sighs for the

Keeper's daughter, I'll tie a bell about him: and so

within three or four days I will send word to his

father Harry, that his son, and my master Ned, is

become Love's morris-dancer.

Pr. Edw.   Well, Lacy, look with care unto thy charge,

And I will haste to Oxford to the friar,

That he by art and thou by secret gifts

Mayst make me lord of merry Fressingfield.

Lacy.  God send your honour your heart's desire.



Friar Bacon's cell at Brasenose.

Enter Friar Bacon,
and Miles, his poor scholar with books
under his arm; Burden, Mason and Clement.

Bacon.  Miles, where are you?

Miles.  Hic sum, doctissime et reverendissime


Bacon.  Attulisti nos libros meos de necromantia?

Miles.  Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum

habitare libros in unum!

Bacon.  Now, masters of our academic state

That rule in Oxford, viceroys in your place,

Whose heads contain maps of the liberal arts,

Spending your time in depth of learnèd skill,

Why flock you thus to Bacon's secret cell,

A friar newly stalled in Brazen-nose?

Say what's your mind, that I may make reply.

Burd.  Bacon, we hear that long we have suspect,

That thou art read in magic's mystery;

In pyromancy, to divine by flames;

To tell, by hydromatic, ebbs and tides; 

By aeromancy to discover doubts,

To plain out questions, as Apollo did.

Bacon.  Well, Master Burden, what of all this?

Miles.  Marry, sir, he doth but fulfil, by rehearsing

of these names, the fable of the Fox and the Grapes;

that which is above us pertains nothing to us.

Burd.  I tell thee, Bacon, Oxford makes report,

Nay, England, and the court of Henry says,

Thou'rt making of a brazen head by art,

Which shall unfold strange doubts and aphorisms,

And read a lecture in philosophy;

And, by the help of devils and ghastly fiends,

Thou mean'st, ere many years or days be past,

To compass England with a wall of brass.

Bacon.  And what of this?

Miles.  What of this, master! Why, he doth speak

mystically; for he knows, if your skill fail to make a

brazen head, yet Mother Waters' strong ale will fit

his turn to make him have a copper nose.

Clem.  Bacon, we come not grieving at thy skill,

But joying that our ácadémy yields

A man supposed the wonder of the world.

For if thy cunning work these miracles,

England and Europe shall admire thy fame,

And Oxford shall in characters of brass,

And statues, such as were built up in Rome,

Etérnize Friar Bacon for his art.

Mason.  Then, gentle friar, tell us thy intent.

Bacon.  Seeing you come as friends unto the friar,

Resolve you, doctors, Bacon can by books

Make storming Boreas thunder from his cave,

And dim fair Luna to a dark eclipse.

The great arch-ruler, potentate of hell,

Trembles when Bacon bids him, or his fiends,

Bow to the force of his pentageron.

What art can work, the frolic friar knows;

And therefore will I turn my magic books,

And strain out necromancy to the deep.

I have contrived and framed a head of brass

(I made Belcephon hammer out the stuff),

And that by art shall read philosophy.

And I will strengthen England by my skill,

That if ten Caesars lived and reigned in Rome,

With all the legions Europe doth contain,

They should not touch a grass of English ground;

The work that Ninus reared at Babylon,

The brazen walls framed by Semiramis,

Carved out like to the portal of the sun,

Shall not be such as rings the English strand

From Dover to the market-place of Rye.

Burd.  Is this possible?

Miles.  I'll bring ye two or three witnesses.

Burd.  What be those?

Miles.  Marry, sir, three or four as honest devils and

good companions as any be in hell.

Mason.  No doubt but magic may do much in this;

For he that reads but mathematic rules

Shall find conclusions that avail to work

Wonders that pass the common sense of men.

Burd.  But Bacon roves a bow beyond his reach,

And tells of more than magic can perform,

Thinking to get a fame by fooleries.

Have I not passed as far in state of schools,

And read of many secrets ? Yet to think

That heads of brass can utter any voice,

Or more, to tell of deep philosophy,

This is a fable Æsop had forgot.

Bacon.  Burden, thou wrong'st me in detracting thus;

Bacon loves not to stuff himself with lies.

But tell me 'fore these doctors, if thou dare,

Of certain questions I shall move to thee.

Burd.  I will: ask what thou can.

Miles.  Marry, sir, he'll straight be on your pick-pack

to know whether the feminine or the masculine

gender be most worthy.

Bacon.  Were you not yesterday, Master Burden, at

Henley upon the Thames?

Burd.  I was: what then?

Bacon.  What book studied you thereon all night?

Burd.   I! None at all; I read not there a line.

Bacon.  Then, doctors, Friar Bacon's art knows naught.

Clem.  What say you to this, Master Burden? Doth

he not touch you?

Burd.   I pass not of his frivolous speeches.

Miles.  Nay, Master Burden, my master, ere he hath

done with you, will turn you from a doctor to a

dunce, and shake you so small that he will leave no

more learning in you than is in Balaam's ass.

Bacon.  Masters, for that learnèd Burden's skill is deep,

And sore he doubts of Bacon's cabalism,

I'll show you why he haunts to Henley oft.

Not, doctors, for to taste the fragrant air,

But there to spend the night in alchemy,

To multiply with secret spells of art;

Thus private steals he learning from us all.

To prove my sayings true, I'll show you straight

The book he keeps at Henley for himself.

Miles.  Nay, now my master goes to conjuration,

take heed.

Bacon.  Masters,

Stand still, fear not, I'll show you but his book.


Per omnes deos infernales, Belcephon!

Enter Hostess with a shoulder of mutton on a spit,

and a devil.

Miles.  Oh, master, cease your conjuration, or you

spoil all; for here’s a she-devil come with a shoulder

of mutton on a spit. You have marred the devil's

supper; but no doubt he thinks our college fare is

slender, and so hath sent you his cook with a

shoulder of mutton, to make it exceed.

Host.  O, where am I, or what's become of me?

Bacon.  What art thou?

Host.  Hostess at Henley, mistress of the Bell.

Bacon.  How cam'st thou here?

Woman.  As I was in the kitchen 'mongst the maids,

Spitting the meat 'gainst supper for my guess,

A motion moved me to look forth of door:

No sooner had I pried into the yard,

But straight a whirlwind hoisted me from thence,

And mounted me aloft unto the clouds.

As in a trance I thought nor fearèd naught,

Nor know I where or whither I was ta'en,

Nor where I am nor what these persons be.

Bacon.  No? Know you not Master Burden?

Woman.  O, yes, good sir, he is my daily guest. −

What, Master Burden! 'twas but yesternight

That you and I at Henley played at cards.

Burd.   I know not what we did. − A pox of all

conjuring friars!

Clem.  Now, jolly friar, tell us, is this the book

That Burden is so careful to look on?

Bacon.  It is. − But, Burden, tell me now,

Think'st thou that Bacon's necromantic skill

Cannot perform his head and wall of brass,

When he can fetch thine hostess in such post!

Miles.  I'll warrant you, master, if Master Burden

could conjure as well as you, he would have his

book every night from Henley to study on at Oxford.

Mason.  Burden,

What, are you mated by this frolic friar? −

Look how he droops; his guilty consciënce

Drives him to bash, and makes his hostess blush.

Bacon.  Well, mistress, for I will not have you missed,

You shall to Henley to cheer up your guests

Fore supper gin. − Burden, bid her adieu;

Say farewell to your hostess 'fore she goes. −

Sirrah, away, and set her safe at home.

Host.  Master Burden, when shall we see you at


Burd.  The devil take thee and Henley too.

[Exeunt Hostess and Devil.]

Miles.  Master, shall I make a good motion?

Bacon.  What's that?

Miles.  Marry, sir, now that my hostess is gone to

provide supper, conjure up another spirit, and send

Doctor Burden flying after.

Bacon.  Thus, rulers of our academic state,

You have seen the friar frame his art by proof;

And as the college callèd Brazen-nose

Is under him, and he the master there,

So surely shall this head of brass be framed,

And yield forth strange and uncouth aphorisms;

And hell and Hecatë shall fail the friar,

But I will circle England round with brass.

Miles.   So be it et nunc et semper; amen.



The Harleston Fair.

Enter Margaret and Joan;

Thomas, Richard and other Clowns;

and Lacy disguised in country apparel.

Thom.  By my troth, Margaret, here's a weather is

able to make a man call his father “whoreson”: if

this weather hold, we shall have hay good cheap,

and butter and cheese at Harleston will bear no price.

Marg.  Thomas, maids when they come to see the fair

Count not to make a cope for dearth of hay:

When we have turned our butter to the salt,

And set our cheese safely upon the racks,

Then let our fathers prize it as they please.

We country sluts of merry Fressingfield

Come to buy needless naughts to make us fine,

And look that young men should be frank this day,

And court us with such fairings as they can.

Phoebus is blithe, and frolic looks from Heaven,

As when he courted lovely Semele,

Swearing the pedlars shall have empty packs,

If that fair weather may make chapmen buy.

Lacy.  But, lovely Peggy, Semele is dead,

And therefore Phoebus from his palace pries,

And, seeing such a sweet and seemly saint,

Shows all his glories for to court yourself.

Marg.  This is a fairing, gentle sir, indeed,

To soothe me up with such smooth flattery;

But learn of me, your scoff's too broad before. −

Well, Joan, our beauties must abide their jests;

We serve the turn in jolly Fressingfield.

Joan.  Margaret,

A farmer's daughter for a farmer's son:

I warrant you, the meanest of us both

Shall have a mate to lead us from the church.

[Lucy whispers Margaret in the ear.]

But, Thomas, what's the news? What, in a dump?

Give me your hand, we are near a pedlar's shop;

Out with your purse, we must have fairings now.

Thom.  Faith, Joan, and shall. I'll bestow a fairing on

you, and then we will to the tavern, and snap off a

pint of wine or two.

Marg.  Whence are you, sir! Of Suffolk? For your terms

Are finer than the common sort of men.

Lacy.  Faith, lovely girl, I am of Beccles by,

Your neighbour, not above six miles from hence,

A farmer's son, that never was so quaint

But that he could do courtesy to such dames.

But trust me, Margaret, I am sent in charge

From him that revelled in your father's house,

And filled his lodge with cheer and venison,

'Tirèd in green: he sent you this rich purse,

His token that he helped you run your cheese,

And in the milkhouse chatted with yourself.

Marg.  To me?

Lacy.  You forget yourself:

Women are often weak in memory.

Marg.  O, pardon, sir, I call to mind the man:

'Twere little manners to refuse his gift,

And yet I hope he sends it not for love;

For we have little leisure to debate of that.

Joan.  What, Margaret! blush not; maids must have their loves.

Thom.  Nay, by the mass, she looks pale as if she

were angry.

Rich.  Sirrah, are you of Beccles? I pray, how doth

Goodman Cob? My father bought a horse of him. –

I'll tell you, Margaret, ‘a were good to be a

gentleman's jade, for of all things the foul hilding

could not abide a dung-cart.

Marg.  [Aside]

How different is this farmer from the rest

That erst as yet hath pleased my wandering sight!

His words are witty, quickened with a smile,

His courtesy gentle, smelling of the court;

Facile and debonair in all his deeds;

Proportioned as was Paris, when, in grey,

He courted Œnon in the vale by Troy.

Great lords have come and pleaded for my love:

Who but the Keeper's lass of Fressingfield?

And yet methinks this farmer's jolly son

Passeth the proudest that hath pleased mine eye.

But, Peg, disclose not that thou art in love,

And show as yet no sign of love to him,

Although thou well wouldst wish him for thy love:

Keep that to thee till time doth serve thy turn,

To show the grief wherein thy heart doth burn. −

Come, Joan and Thomas, shall we to the fair? −

You, Beccles man, will not forsake us now?

Lacy.  Not whilst I may have such quaint girls as you.

Marg.  Well, if you chance to come by Fressingfield,

Make but a step into the Keeper's lodge,

And such poor fare as woodmen can afford,

Butter and cheese, cream and fat venison,

You shall have store, and welcome therewithal.

Lacy.  Gramercies, Peggy; look for me ere long.



The Court at Hampton-House.

Enter King Henry the Third, the Emperor,

the King of Castile, Elinor, and Vandermast.

K. Hen.  Great men of Europe, monarchs of the west,

Ringed with the walls of old Oceänus,

Whose lofty surges like the battlements

That compassed high-built Babel in with towers,

Welcome, my lords, welcome, brave western kings,

To England's shore, whose promontory-cleeves

Show Albion is another little world;

Welcome says English Henry to you all;

Chiefly unto the lovely Elinor,

Who dared for Edward's sake cut through the seas,

And venture as Agenor's damsel through the deep,

To get the love of Henry's wanton son.

K. of Cast.  England's rich monarch, brave Plantagenet,

The Pyren Mounts, swelling above the clouds,

That ward the wealthy Castile in with walls,

Could not detain the beauteous Elinor;

But hearing of the fame of Edward's youth,

She dared to brook Neptunus' haughty pride,

And bide the brunt of froward Æolus:

Then may fair England welcome her the more.

Elin.  After that English Henry by his lords

Had sent Prince Edward's lovely counterfeit,

A present to the Castile Elinor,

The comely portrait of so brave a man,

The virtuous fame discoursèd of his deeds,

Edward's courageous resolutiön,

Done at the Holy Land 'fore Damas' walls,

Led both mine eye and thoughts in equal links,

To like so of the English monarch's son,

That I attempted perils for his ease.

Emp.  Where is the prince, my lord?

K. Hen.  He posted down, not long since, from the court,

To Suffolk side, to merry Fremingham,

To sport himself amongst my fallow deer:

From thence, by packets sent to Hampton house,

We hear the prince is ridden, with his lords,

To Oxford, in the ácadémy there

To hear dispute amongst the learnèd men.

But we will send forth letters for my son,

To will him come from Oxford to the court.

Emp.  Nay, rather, Henry, let us, as we be,

Ride for to visit Oxford with our train.

Fain would I see your universities,

And what learn’d men your ácadémy yields.

From Hapsburg have I brought a learnèd clerk

To hold dispute with English orators −

This doctor, surnamed Jaques Vandermast,

A German born, passed into Padua,

To Florence and to fair Bolognia,

To Paris, Rheims, and stately Orleans,

And, talking there with men of art, put down

The chiefest of them all in aphorisms,

In magic, and the mathematic rules:

Now let us, Henry, try him in your schools.

K. Hen.  He shall, my lord; this motion likes me well.

We'll progress straight to Oxford with our trains,

And see what men our ácadémy brings. −

And, wonder Vandermast, welcome to me;

In Oxford shall thou find a jolly friar,

Called Friar Bacon, England's only flower:

Set him but nonplus in his magic spells,

And make him yield in mathematic rules,

And for thy glory I will bind thy brows,

Not with a poet's garland made of bays,

But with a coronet of choicest gold.

Whilst then we fit to Oxford with our troops,

Let's in and banquet in our English court.




Enter Ralph Simnell in Prince Edward’s apparel;

and Prince Edward, Warren, and Ermsby,


Ralph.  Where be these vagabond knaves, that they

attend no better on their master?

Pr. Edw.   If it please your honour, we are all ready

at an inch.

Ralph.  Sirrah Ned, I'll have no more post-horse to

ride on: I'll have another fetch.

Erms.  I pray you, how is that, my lord?

Ralph.  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 whip cord: 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 place I

please. This will be easy.

Warren.  Your honour hath said well; but shall we to

Brazen-nose College before we pull off our boots?

Erms.  Warren, well motioned; we will to the friar

Before we revel it within the town. –

Ralph, see you keep your countenance like a prince.

Ralph.  Wherefore have I such a company of cutting

knaves to wait upon me, but to keep and defend my

countenance against all mine enemies; have you not

good swords and bucklers?

Erms.  Stay, who comes here?

Warren.  Some scholar; and we'll ask him where

Friar Bacon is.

Enter Friar Bacon and Miles.

Bacon.  Why, thou arrant dunce, shall I never make

thee a good scholar? doth not all the town cry out

and say, Friar Bacon's subsizer is the greatest

blockhead in all Oxford? Why, thou canst not speak

one word of true Latin.

Miles.  No, sir? Yet, 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.

Bacon.  Come on, sirrah; what part of speech is


Miles.  Ego, that is “I”; marry, nomen substantivo.

Bacon.  How prove you that?

Miles.  Why, sir, let him prove himself an 'a will; I

can be heard, felt, and understood.

Bacon.  O gross dunce!

[Beats him.]

Pr. Edw.   Come, let us break off this dispute

between these two. − Sirrah, where is Brazen-nose


Miles.   Not far from Coppersmith's Hall.

Pr. Edw.   What, dost thou mock me?

Miles.  Not I, sir: but what would you at Brazen-


Erms.  Marry, we would speak with Friar Bacon.

Miles.  Whose men be you?

Erms.  Marry, scholar, here's our master.

Ralph.  Sirrah, I am the master of these good

fellows; mayst thou not know me to be a lord by my


Miles.  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.

Pr. Edw.  Gog's wounds! Warren, kill him.

Warr.  Why, Ned, I think the devil be in my sheath;

I cannot get out my dagger.

Erms.   Nor I mine! 'Swones, Ned, I think I am


Miles.  A company of scabs! The proudest of you all

draw your weapon, if he can. − [Aside] See how

boldly I speak, now my master is by.

Pr. Edw.  I strive in vain; but if my sword be shut

And conjured fast by magic in my sheath,

Villain, here is my fist.

[Strikes Miles a box on the ear.]

Miles.  Oh, I beseech you conjure his hands too, 

that he may not lift his arms to his head, for he is


Ralph.  Ned, strike him; I'll warrant thee by mine


Bacon.  What means the English prince to wrong my man?

Pr. Edw.   To whom speak'st thou?

Bacon.  To thee.

Pr. Edw.   Who art thou?

Bacon.  Could you not judge when all your swords grew fast,

That Friar Bacon was not far from hence?

Edward, 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 com'st in post from merry Fressingfield,

Fast-fancied to the Keeper's bonny lass,

To crave some succour 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;

The earl both woos and courts her for himself.

Warren.  Ned, this is strange; the friar knoweth all.

Erms.  Apollo could not utter more than this.

Pr. Edw.   I stand amazed to hear this jolly friar

Tell even the very secrets of my thoughts. −

But, learnèd Bacon, since thou know'st 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

Living and lands to strength thy college-state.

War.  Good friar, help the prince in this.

Ralph.  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.

Miles.  In faith, my lord, your manhood and your

sword is all alike; they are so fast conjured that we

shall never see them.

Erms.  What, doctor, in a dump! tush, help the prince,

And thou shalt see how liberal he will prove.

Bacon.  Crave not such actions greater dumps than these?

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 betrothèd each to other fast.

But come with me; we'll to my study straight,

And in a glass prospective I will show

What's done this day in merry Fressingfield.

Pr. Edw.  Gramercies, Bacon; I will quite thy pain.

Bacon.  But send your train, my lord, into the town:

My scholar shall go bring them to their inn;

Meanwhile we'll see the knavery of the earl.

Pr. Edw.  Warren, leave me; − and, Ermsby, take the fool:

Let him be master, and go revel it,

Till I and Friar Bacon talk awhile.

Warren.  We will, my lord.

Ralph.  Faith, Ned, and I'll lord it out till thou comest:

I'll be Prince of Wales over all the black-pots in


[Exeunt Warren, Ermsby, Ralph Simnell and Miles.]

[Friar Bacon and Prince Edward go into the study.]


Bacon's Study.

Bacon.  Now, frolic Edward, welcome to my cell;

Here tempers Friar Bacon many toys,

And holds this place his cónsistory-court,

Wherein the devils plead homage to his words.

Within this glass prospective thou shalt see

This day what's done in merry Fressingfield

'Twixt lovely Peggy and the Lincoln Earl.

Pr. Edw.   Friar, thou glad'st me: now shall Edward try

How Lacy meaneth to his sovereign Lord.

Bacon.  Stand there and look directly in the glass.

Enter Margaret and Friar Bungay.

What sees my lord?

Pr. Edw.   I see the Keeper's lovely lass appear,

As brightsome as the paramour of Mars,

Only attended by a jolly friar.

Bacon.  Sit still, and keep the crystal in your eye.

Marg.  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?

Bung.  Peggy, 'tis true, 'tis Lacy for my life,

Or else mine art and cunning both do 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.

Marg.  Be what he will, his lure is but for lust.

But 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.

Bung.  Why, Margaret, dost thou love him?

Marg.  His personage, like the pride of vaunting Troy,

Might well avouch to shadow Helen's rape:

His wit is quick and ready in conceit,

As Greece afforded in her chiefest prime:

Courteous, ah friar, full of pleasing smiles!

Trust me, I love too much to tell thee more;

Suffice to me he's England's paramour.

Bung.  Hath not each eye that viewed thy pleasing face

Surnamèd thee Fair Maid of Fressingfield?

Marg.  Yes, Bungay; and would God the lovely earl

Had that in esse that so many sought.

Bung.  Fear not, the friar will not be behind

To show his cunning to entangle love.

Pr. Edw.   I think the friar courts the bonny wench:

Bacon, methinks he is a lusty churl.

Bacon.  Now look, my lord.

Enter Lacy disguised as before.

Pr. Edw.   Gog's wounds, Bacon, here comes Lacy!

Bacon.  Sit still, my lord, and mark the comedy.

Bung.  Here's Lacy, Margaret; step aside awhile.

[Retires with Margaret.]

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:

Edward, thy sovereign's son, hath chosen thee,

A secret friend, to court her for himself,

And dar'st thou wrong thy prince with treachery?

Lacy, love makes no exception of a friend,

Nor deems it of a prince but as a man.

Honour 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 lov'st, then brook not such abuse,

But wed her, and abide thy prince's frown;

For better die than see her live disgraced.

Marg.  Come, friar, I will shake him from his dumps. −

How cheer you, sir? A penny for your thought:

You 're early up, pray God it be the near.

What, come from Beccles in the morn so soon?

Lacy.  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 passiöns.

Marg.  A trusty man, that court it for your friend;

Woo you still for the courtier all in green?

I marvel that he sues not for himself.

Lacy.  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,

And there did shrine th' idea of yourself.

Pity me, though I be a farmer's son,

And measure not my riches, but my love.

Marg.  You are very hasty; for to garden well,

Seeds must have time to sprout before they spring:

Love ought to creep as doth the dial's shade,

For timely ripe is rotten too-too soon.

Bung.  [Coming 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?

Marg.  No, friar: what news?

Bung.  Hear you not how the pursuivants do post

With proclamations through each country-town?

Lacy.  For what, gentle friar? Tell the news.

Bung.  Dwell'st thou in Beccles, and hear'st not of these news?

Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln, is late fled

From Windsor court, disguisèd like a swain,

And lurks about the country here unknown.

Henry suspects him of some treachery,

And therefore doth proclaim in every way

That who can take the Lincoln Earl shall have,

Paid in th' Exchequer, twenty thousand crowns.

Lacy.  The Earl of Lincoln! Friar, thou art mad:

It was some other; thou mistak'st the man.

The Earl of Lincoln! Why, it cannot be.

Marg.  Yes, very well, my lord, for you are he:

The Keeper's daughter took you prisoner.

Lord Lacy, yield, I'll be your gaoler once.

Pr. Edw.   How familiar they be, Bacon!

Bacon.  Sit still, and mark the sequel of their loves.

Lacy.  Then am I double prisoner to thyself:

Peggy, I yield. But are these news in jest?

Marg.  In jest with you, but earnest unto me;

For why these wrongs do wring me at the heart.

Ah, how these earls and noblemen of birth

Flatter and feign to forge poor women's ill!

Lacy.  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.

Marg.  What love is there where wedding ends not love?

Lacy.  I mean, fair girl, to make thee Lacy's wife.

Marg.   I little think that earls will stoop so low.

Lacy.  Say shall I make thee countess ere I sleep?

Marg.  Handmaid unto the earl, so please himself:

A wife in name, but servant in obedience.

Lacy.   The Lincoln Countess, for it shall be so;

I'll plight the bands, and seal it with a kiss.

Pr. Edw.  Gog's wounds, Bacon, they kiss! I'll stab them.

Bacon.  O, hold your hands, my lord, it is the glass!

Pr. Edw.  Choler to see the traitors gree so well

Made me [to] think the shadows substances.

Bacon.  'Twere a long poniard, my lord, to reach between

Oxford and Fressingfield; but sit still and see more.

Bung.  Well, Lord of Lincoln, if your loves be knit,

And that your tongues and thoughts do both agree,

To 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.

Lacy.  Friar, content. − Peggy, how like you this?

Marg.  What likes my lord is pleasing unto me.

Bung.   Then hand-fast hand, and I will to my book.

Bacon.  What sees my lord now?

Pr. Edw.   Bacon, I see the lovers hand in hand,

The friar ready with his portace there

To wed them both: then am I quite undone.

Bacon, 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.

Bacon.  Fear not, my lord, I'll stop the jolly friar

For mumbling up his orisons this day.

[Bungay is mute, crying “Hud, hud.]

Lacy.  Why speak'st not, Bungay? Friar, to thy book.

Marg.  How look'st  thou, friar, as a man distraught?

Reft of thy senses, Bungay? Show by signs,

If thou be dumb, what passions holdeth thee.

Lacy.  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,

We'll 'twixt us both unite it up in heart.

Marg.  Else let me die, my lord, a miscreant.

Pr. Edw.   Why stands Friar Bungay so amazed?

Bacon.  I have struck him dumb, my lord; and if your honour please,

I'll fetch this Bungay straightway from Fressingfield,

And he shall dine with us in Oxford here.

Pr. Edw.   Bacon, do that, and thou contentest me.

Lacy.  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.

Marg.  Or else, my lord, we were passing unkind

To leave this friar so in his distress.

Enter a Devil, who carries off Bungay on his back.

O, help, my lord! A devil, a devil, my lord!

Look how he carries Bungay on his back!

Let's hence, for Bacon's spirits be abroad.

[Exit with Lacy.]

Pr. Edw.  Bacon, I laugh to see the jolly friar

Mounted upon the devil, and how the earl

Flees with his bonny lass for fear.

As soon as Bungay is at Brazen-nose,

And I have chatted with the merry friar,

I will in post hie me to Fressingfield,

And quite these wrongs on Lacy ere't be long.

Bacon. So be it my lord: but let us to our dinner;

For ere we have taken our repast awhile,

We shall have Bungay brought to Brazen-nose.



The Regent House at Oxford.

Enter Burden, Mason and Clement.

Mason.  Now that we are gathered in the Regent-house,

It fits us talk about the king's repair,

For he, troopèd with all the western kings,

That lie alongst the Dantzic seas by east,

North by the clime of frosty Germany,

The Almain monarch, and the Scocun duke,

Castile and lovely Elinor with him,

Have in their jests resolved for Oxford town.

Burd.  We must lay plots of stately tragedies,

Strange comic shows, such as proud Roscius

Vaunted before the Roman emperors,

To welcome all the western potentates.

Clem.  But more; the king by letters hath foretold

That Frederick, the Almain emperor,

Hath brought with him a German of esteem,

Whose surname is Don Jaques Vandermast,

Skilful in magic and those secret arts.

Mason.  Then must we all make suit unto the friar,

To Friar Bacon, that he vouch this task,

And undertake to countervail in skill

The German; else there's none in Oxford can

Match and dispute with learnèd Vandermast.

Burd.  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.

Clem.  Indeed, Mas Doctor, he [dis]pleasured you,

In that he brought your hostess with her spit,

From Henley, posting unto Brazen-nose.

Burd.  A vengeance on the friar for his pains!

But leaving that, let's hie to Bacon straight,

To see if he will take this task in hand.

Clem.  Stay, what rumour is this? The town is up in

a mutiny: what hurly-burly is this?

Enter a Constable, with Ralph Simnell, Warren,

Ermsby, all three disguised as before, and Miles.

Const.  Nay, masters, if you were ne'er so good,

you shall before the doctors to answer your


Burd.  What's the matter, fellow?

Const.  Marry, sir, here's a company of rufflers,

that, drinking in the tavern, have made a great brawl

and almost killed the vintner.

Miles.  Salve, Doctor Burden!

This lubberly lurden

Ill-shaped and ill-faced,

Disdained and disgraced,

What he tells unto vobis,

Mentitur de nobis.

Burd.  Who is the master and chief of this crew?

Miles.  Ecce asinum mundi,

Figura rotundi,

Neat, sheat, and fine,

As brisk as a cup of wine.

Burd.  What are you?

Ralph.  I am, father doctor, as a man would say, the

bell-wether of this company: these are my lords, and

I the Prince of Wales.

Clem.  Are you Edward, the king's son?

Ralph.  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.

Mason.   I cannot believe that this is the Prince of


War.  And why so, sir?

Mason.  For they say the prince is a brave and a

wise gentleman.

War.  Why, and think'st thou, doctor, that he is not so?

Dar'st thou detract and derogate from him,

Being so lovely and so brave a youth?

Erms.  Whose face, shining with many a sugared smile,

Bewrays that he is bred of princely race.

Miles.  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;

Then mark but my talis,

He is great Prince of Walis,

The chief of our gregis,

And filius regis:

Then ‘ware what is done,

For he is Henry's white son.

Ralph.  Doctors, whose doting night-caps are not

capable of my ingenious dignity, know that I am

Edward Plantagenet, whom 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 sayest thou, Ned

Warren, shall I not do it?

War.  Yes, my good lord; and, if it please your

lordship, I 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


Erms.  And I, my lord, will have pioners to

undermine the town, that the very gardens and

orchards be carried away for your summer-walks.

Miles.  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 Bartlett's ship,

From Oxford do skip

With colleges and schools,

Full-loaden with fools.

Quid dicis ad hoc,

Worshipful Domine Dawcock?

Clem.  Why, hare-brained courtiers, are you drunk or mad,

To taunt us up with such scurrility?

Deem you us men of base and light esteem,

To 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 clapt in bolts, until their wits be tame.

Erms.  Why, shall we to prison, my lord?

Ralph.  What sayest, Miles, shall I honour the prison

with my presence?

Miles.  No, no; out with your blades,

And hamper these jades;

Have a flurt and a crash,

Now play revel-dash,

And teach these sacerdos

That the Bocardos,

Like peasants and elves,

Are meet for themselves.

Mason.  To the prison with them, constable.

War.  Well, doctors, seeing I have sported me

With laughing at these mad and merry-wags,

Know that Prince Edward is at Brazen-nose,

And this, attirèd like the Prince of Wales,

Is Ralph, King Henry's only lovèd 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 revelled it in Oxford as you see.

Mason.  My lord, pardon us, we knew not what you were:

But courtiers may make greater scapes than these.

Wilt please your honour dine with me to-day?

War.  I will, Master Doctor, and satisfy the vintner

for his hurt; only I must desire you to imagine him

all this forenoon the Prince of Wales.

Mason.   I will, sir.

Ralph.  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.




Enter Prince Edward with his poniard in his hand,

Lacy, and Margaret.

Pr. Edw.   Lacy, thou canst not shroud thy traitorous thoughts,

Nor cover, as did Cassius, all thy wiles;

For Edward hath an eye that looks as far

As Lynceus from the shores of Græcia.

Did not I sit in Oxford by the friar,

And see thee court the maid of Fressingfield,

Sealing thy flattering fancies with a kiss?

Did not proud Bungay draw his portace forth,

And joining hand in hand had married you,

If Friar Bacon had not stroke him dumb,

And mounted him upon a spirit's back,

That we might chat at Oxford with the friar?

Traitor, what answer'st! Is not all this true?

Lacy.  Truth all, my lord; and thus I make reply.

At Harleston Fair, there courting for your grace,

Whenas mine eye surveyed her curious shape,

And drew the beauteous glory of her looks

To dive into the centre of my heart,

Love taught me that your honour did but jest,

That princes were in fancy but as men;

How that the lovely maid of Fressingfield

Was fitter to be Lacy's wedded wife

Than concubine unto the Prince of Wales.

Pr. Edw.   Injurious Lacy, did I love thee more

Than Alexander his Hephæstiön?

Did I unfold the passions of my love,

And lock them in the closet of thy thoughts?

Wert thou to Edward second to himself,

Sole friend, and partner of his secret loves?

And could a glance of fading beauty break

Th' enchainèd fetters of such private friends?

Base coward, false, and too effeminate

To be corrival with a prince in thoughts!

From Oxford have I posted since I dined,

To quite a traitor 'fore that Edward sleep.

Marg.  'Twas I, my lord, not Lacy, stept awry.

For oft he sued and courted for yourself,

And still wooed for the courtier all in green;

But I, whom fancy made but over-fond,

Pleaded myself with looks as if I loved.

I fed mine eye with gazing on his face,

And still bewitched loved Lacy with my looks;

My heart with sighs, mine eyes pleaded with tears,

My face held pity and content at once,

And more I could not cipher-out by signs,

But that I loved Lord Lacy with my heart.

Then, worthy Edward, measure with thy mind

If women's favours will not force men fall;

If beauty, and if darts of piercing love,

Are not offered to bury thoughts of friends.

Pr. Edw.   I tell thee, Peggy, I will have thy loves;

Edward or none shall conquer Margaret.

In frigates bottomed with rich Sethin planks,

Topt with the lofty firs of Lebanon,

Stemmed and incased with burnished ivory,

And over-laid with plates of Persian wealth,

Like Thetis shall thou wanton on the waves,

And draw the dolphins to thy lovely eyes,

To dance lavoltas in the purple streams:

Sirens, with harps and silver psalteries,

Shall wait with music at thy frigate's stem,

And entertain fair Margaret with their lays.

England and England's wealth shall wait on thee;

Britain shall bend unto her prince's love,

And do due homage to thine excellence,

If thou wilt be but Edward's Margaret.

Marg.  Pardon, my lord; if Jove's great royalty

Sent me such presents as to Danaë;

If Phœbus, 'tirèd in Latona's webs,

Came courting from the beauty of his lodge;

The dulcet tunes of frolic Mercury,

Nor all the wealth Heaven's treasury affords,

Should make me leave Lord Lacy or his love.

Pr. Edw.   I have learned at Oxford, then, this point of schools −

Abata causa, tollitur effectus:

Lacy, the cause that Margaret cannot love

Nor fix her liking on the English prince,

Take him away, and then th' effects will fail. −

Villain, prepare thyself; for I will bathe

My poniard in the bosom of an earl.

Lacy.  Rather than live, and miss fair Margaret's love,

Prince Edward, stop not at the fatal doom,

But stab it home: end both my loves and life.

Marg.  Brave Prince of Wales, honoured for royal deeds,

'Twere sin to stain fair Venus' courts with blood;

Love's conquests ends, my lord, in courtesy:

Spare Lacy, gentle Edward; let me die,

For so both you and he do cease your loves.

Pr. Edw.   Lacy shall die as a traitor to his lord.

Lacy.   I have deserved it, Edward; act it well.

Marg.  What hopes the prince to gain by Lacy's death?

Pr. Edw.   To end the loves 'twixt him and Margaret.

Marg.  Why, thinks King Henry's son that Margaret's love

Hangs in th' uncertain balance of proud time?

That death shall make a discord of our thoughts!

No, slay the earl, and, 'fore the morning sun

Shall vaunt him thrice over the lofty east,

Margaret will meet her Lacy in the heavens.

Lacy.  If aught betides to lovely Margaret

That wrongs or wrings her honour from content,

Europe's rich wealth nor England's monarchy

Should not allure Lacy to over-live.

Then, Edward, short my life, and end her loves.

Marg.  Rid me, and keep a friend worth many loves.

Lacy.  Nay, Edward, keep a love worth many friends.

Marg.  And if thy mind be such as fame hath blazed,

Then, princely Edward, let us both abide

The fatal resolution of thy rage.

Banish thou fancy, and embrace revenge,

And in one tomb knit both our carcases,

Whose hearts were linkèd in one perfect love.

Pr. Edw.   [Aside]

Edward, art thou that famous Prince of Wales,

Who at Damasco beat the Saracens,

And brought'st home triumph on thy lance's point?

And shall thy plumes be pulled by Venus down?

Is't princely to dissever lovers' leagues,

To part such friends as glory in their loves?

Leave, Ned, and make a virtue of this fault,

And further Peg and Lacy in their loves:

So in subduing fancy's passiön,

Conquering thyself, thou gett'st the richest spoil. −

Lacy, rise up.  Fair Peggy, here 's my hand:

The Prince of Wales hath conquered all his thoughts,

And all his loves he yields unto the earl.

Lacy, enjoy the maid of Fressingfield;

Make her thy Lincoln Countess at the church,

And Ned, as he is true Plantagenet,

Will give her to thee frankly for thy wife.

Lacy.  Humbly I take her of my sovereign,

As if that Edward gave me England's right,

And riched me with the Albion diadem.

Marg.  And doth the English prince mean true?

Will he vouchsafe to cease his former loves,

And yield the title of a country maid

Unto Lord Lacy?

Pr. Edw.    I will, fair Peggy, as I am true lord.

Marg.  Then, lordly sir, whose conquest is as great,

In conquering love, as Caesar's victories,

Margaret, as mild and humble in her thoughts

As was Aspasia unto Cyrus self,

Yields thanks, and, next Lord Lacy, doth enshrine

Edward the second secret in her heart.

Pr. Edw.  Gramercy, Peggy: − Now that vows are past,

And that your loves are not to be revolt,

Once, Lacy, friends again. Come, we will post

To Oxford; for this day the king is there,

And brings for Edward Castile Elinor. −

Peggy, I must go see and view my wife:

I pray God I like her as I loved thee.

Beside, Lord Lincoln, we shall hear dispute

'Twixt Friar Bacan and learned Vandermast. −

Peggy, we’ll leave you for a week or two.

Marg.  As it please Lord Lacy; but love's foolish looks

Think footsteps miles and minutes to be hours.

Lacy.  I'll hasten, Peggy, to make short return. −

But please your honour go unto the lodge,

We shall have butter, cheese, and venison;

And yesterday I brought for Margaret

A lusty bottle of neat claret-wine:

Thus we can feast and entertain your grace.

Pr. Edw.  'Tis cheer, Lord Lacy, for an emperor,

If he respect the person and the place.

Come, let us in; for I will all this night

Ride post until I come to Bacon's cell.




Enter King Henry, the Emperor, the King of Castile,

Elinor, Vandermast, and Bungay.

Emp.  Trust me, Plantagenet, the Oxford schools

Are richly seated near the river-side:

The mountains full of fat and fallow deer,

The battling pastures lade with kine and flocks,

The town gorgeous with high-built colleges,

And scholars seemly in their grave attire,

Learnèd in searching principles of art. −

What is thy judgment, Jaques Vandermast?

Vand.  That lordly are the buildings of the town,

Spacious the rooms, and full of pleasant walks;

But for the doctors, how that they be learnèd,

It may be meanly, for aught I can hear.

Bung.  I tell thee, German, Hapsburg holds none such,

None read so deep as Oxenford contains;

There are within our academic state

Men that may lecture it in Germany

To all the doctors of your Belgic schools.

K. Hen.  Stand to him, Bungay, charm this Vandermast,

And I will use thee as a royal king.

Vand.  Wherein dar'st thou dispute with me?

Bung.  In what a doctor and a friar can.

Vand.  Before rich Europe's worthies put thou forth

The doubtful question unto Vandermast.

Bung.  Let it be this, − Whether the spirits of

pyromancy or geomancy be most predominant in


Vand.  I say, of pyromancy.

Bung.  And I, of geomancy.

Vand.  The cabalists that write of magic spells,

As Hermes, Melchie, and Pythagoras,

Affirm that, 'mongst the quadruplicity

Of elemental essence, terra is but thought

To be a punctum squarèd to the rest;

And that the compass of ascending elements

Exceed in bigness as they do in height;

Judging the concave circle of the sun

To hold the rest in his circumference,

If, then, as Hermes says, the fire be greatest,

Purest, and only giveth shape to spirits,

Then must these demonès that haunt that place

Be every way superior to the rest.

Bung.  I reason not of elemental shapes,

Nor tell I of the concave latitudes,

Noting their essence nor their quality,

But of the spirits that pyromancy calls,

And of the vigour of the geomantic fiends.

I tell thee, German, magic haunts the grounds,

And those strange necromantic spells,

That work such shows and wondering in the world,

Are acted by those geomantic spirits

That Hermes calleth terræ filii.

The fiery spirits are but transparent shades,

That lightly pass as heralds to bear news;

But earthly fiends, closed in the lowest deep,

Dissever mountains, if they be but charged,

Being more gross and massy in their power.

Vand.  Rather these earthly geomantic spirits

Are dull and like the place where they remain;

For when proud Lucifer fell from the heavens,

The spirits and angels that did sin with him,

Retained their local essence as their faults,

All subject under Luna's continent.

They which offended less hung in the fire,

And second faults did rest within the air;

But Lucifer and his proud-hearted fiends

Were thrown into the centre of the earth,

Having less understanding than the rest,

As having greater sin and lesser grace.

Therefore such gross and earthly spirits do serve

For jugglers, witches, and vild sorcerers;

Whereas the pyromantic genii

Are mighty, swift, and of far-reaching power.

But grant that geomancy hath most force;

Bungay, to please these mighty potentates,

Prove by some instance what thy art can do.

Bung.  I will.

Emp.  Now, English Harry, here begins the game;

We shall see sport between these learnèd men.

Vand.  What wilt thou do?

Bung.  Show thee the tree, leaved with refinèd gold,

Whereon the fearful dragon held his seat,

That watched the garden called Hesperidès,

Subdued and won by conquering Hercules.

Here Bungay conjures, and the tree appears

with the dragon shooting fire.

Vand.  Well done!

K. Hen.  What say you, royal lordings, to my friar?

Hath he not done a point of cunning skill?

Vand.  Each scholar in the necromantic spells

Can do as much as Bungay hath performed!

But as Alcmena's bastard razed this tree,

So will I raise him up as when he lived,

And cause him pull the dragon from his seat,

And tear the branches piecemeal from the root. −

Hercules! Prodi, prodi, Hercules!

Hercules appears in his lion’s skin.

Herc.  Quis me vult?

Vand.  Jove's bastard son, thou Libyan Hercules,

Pull off the sprigs from off th' Hesperian tree,

As once thou didst to win the golden fruit.

Herc.  Fiat.

[Begins to break down the branches.]

Vand.  Now, Bungay, if thou canst by magic charm

The fiend, appearing like great Hercules,

From pulling down the branches of the tree,

Then art thou worthy to be counted learnèd.

Bung.  I cannot.

Vand.  Cease, Hercules, until I give thee charge. −

Mighty commander of this English isle,

Henry, come from the stout Plantagenets,

Bungay is learned enough to be a friar;

But to compare with Jaques Vandermast,

Oxford and Cambridge must go seek their cells

To find a man to match him in his art.

I have given non-plus to the Paduans,

To them of Sien, Florence, and Bologna,

Rheïms, Louvain, and fair Rotterdam,

Frankfort, Lutrech, and Orleans:

And now must Henry, if he do me right,

Crown me with laurel, as they all have done.

Enter Bacon.                          

Bacon.  All hail to this royal company,

That sit to hear and see this strange dispute! −

Bungay, how stands't thou as a man amazed.

What, hath the German acted more than thou?

Vand.  What art thou that questions thus?

Bacon.  Men call me Bacon.

Vand.  Lordly thou look'st, as if that thou wert learned;

Thy countenance as if science held her seat

Between the circled arches of thy brows.

K. Hen.  Now, monarchs, hath the German found his match.

Emp.  Bestir thee, Jaques, take not now the foil,

Lest thou dost lose what foretime thou didst gain.

Vand.  Bacon, wilt thou dispute?

Bacon.  No,

Unless he were more learned than Vandermast:

For yet, tell me, what hast thou done?

Vand.  Raised Hercules to ruinate that tree

That Bungay mounted by his magic spells.

Bacon.  Set Hercules to work.

Vand.  Now, Hercules, I charge thee to thy task;

Pull off the golden branches from the root.

Herc.  I dare not. See'st thou not great Bacon here,

Whose frown doth act more than thy magic can?

Vand.  By all the thrones, and dominatiöns,

Virtues, powers, and mighty hierarchies,

I charge thee to obey to Vandermast.

Herc.  Bacon, that bridles headstrong Belcephon,

And rules Asmenoth, guider of the north,

Binds me from yielding unto Vandermast.

K. Hen.  How now, Vandermast, have you met with

your match?

Vand.  Never before was't known to Vandermast

That men held devils in such obedient awe.

Bacon doth more than art, or else I fail.


Emp.  Why, Vandermast, art thou overcome? −

Bacon, dispute with him, and try his skill.

Bacon.  I come not, monarchs, for to hold dispute

With such a novice as is Vandermast;

I come to have your royalties to dine

With Friar Bacon here in Brazen-nose.

And, for this German troubles but the place,

And holds this audience with a long suspense,

I'll send him to his ácadémy hence. −

Thou Hercules, whom Vandermast did raise,

Transport the German unto Hapsburg straight,

That he may learn by travail, 'gainst the spring,

More secret dooms and aphorisms of art. −

Vanish the tree, and thou away with him!

[Exit Hercules with Vandermast and the tree.]

Emp.  Why, Bacon, whither dost thou send him?

Bacon.  To Hapsburg: there your highness at return

Shall find the German in his study safe.

K. Hen.  Bacon, thou hast honoured England with thy skill,

And made fair Oxford famous by thine art.

I will be English Henry to thyself.

But tell me, shall we dine with thee to-day?

Bacon.  With me, my lord; and while I fit my cheer,

See where Prince Edward comes to welcome you,

Gracious as is the morning-star of Heaven.


Enter Prince Edward, Lacy, Warren, Ermsby.

Emp.  Is this Prince Edward, Henry's royal son?

How martial is the figure of his face!

Yet lovely and beset with amorets.

K. Hen.  Ned, where hast thou been?

Pr. Edw.   At Framingham, my lord, to try your bucks

If they could scape the teasers or the toil.

But hearing of these lordly potentates,

Landed, and progressed up to Oxford town,

I posted to give entertain to them:

Chief to the Almain monarch; next to him,

And joint with him, Castile and Saxony

Are welcome as they may be to the English court.

Thus for the men: but see, Venus appears,

Or one that overmatcheth Venus in her shape!

Sweet Elinor, beauty's high-swelling pride,

Rich nature's glory and her wealth at once,

Fair of all fairs, welcome to Albion;

Welcome to me, and welcome to thine own,

If that thou deign'st the welcome from myself.

Elin.  Martial Plantagenet, Henry's high-minded son,

The mark that Elinor did count her aim,

I liked thee 'fore I saw thee; now I love,

And so as in so short a time I may;

Yet so as time shall never break that so,

And therefore so accept of Elinor.

K. of Cast.  Fear not, my lord, this couple will agree,

If love may creep into their wanton eyes. −

And therefore, Edward, I accept thee here,

Without suspence, as my adopted son.

K. Hen.  Let me that joy in these consorting greets,

And glory in these honours done to Ned,

Yield thanks for all these favours to my son,

And rest a true Plantagenet to all.

Enter Miles with a cloth and trenchers and salt.

Miles.  Salvete, omnes reges,

That govern your greges

In Saxony and Spain,

In England and in Almain!

For all this frolic rabble

Must I cover the table

With trenchers, salt, and cloth;

And then look for your broth.

Emp.  What pleasant fellow is this?

K. Hen.  'Tis, my lord, Doctor Bacon's poor scholar.

Miles.  [Aside] My master hath made me sewer of

these great lords; and, God knows, I am as

serviceable at a table as a sow is under an apple-tree:

tis no matter; their cheer shall not be great, and

therefore what skills where the salt stand, before or



K. of Cast.  These scholars know more skill in axioms,

How to use quips and sleights of sophistry,

Than for to cover courtly for a king.

Re-enter Miles with a mess of pottage and broth;

And, after him, Bacon.

Miles.  Spill, sir? Why, do you think I never carried

twopenny chop before in my life? −

By your leave, nobile decus,

For here comes Doctor Bacon's pecus,

Being in his full age

To carry a mess of pottage.

Bacon.  Lordings, admire not if your cheer be this,

For we must keep our academic fare;

No riot where philosophy doth reign:

And therefore, Henry, place these potentates,

And bid them fall unto their frugal cates.

Emp.  Presumptuous friar! What, scoff 'st thou at a king?

What, dost thou taunt us with thy peasants' fare,

And give us cates fit for country swains? −

Henry, proceeds this jest of thy consent,

To twit us with a pittance of such price?

Tell me, and Frederick will not grieve thee long.

K. Hen.  By Henry's honour, and the royal faith

The English monarch beareth to his friend,

I knew not of the friar's feeble fare,

Nor am I pleased he entertains you thus.

Bacon.  Content thee, Frederick, for I showed these cates

To let thee see how scholars use to feed;

How little meat refines our English wits. −

Miles, take away, and let it be thy dinner.

Miles.  Marry, sir, I will.

This day shall be a festival-day with me;

For I shall exceed in the highest degree.


Bacon.  I tell thee, monarch, all the German peers

Could not afford thy entertainment such,

So royal and so full of majesty,

As Bacon will present to Frederick.

The basest waiter that attends thy cups

Shall be in honours greater than thyself; −

And for thy cates, rich Alexandria drugs,

Fetched by carvels from Egypt's richest streights,

Found in the wealthy strand of Africa,

Shall royalize the table of my king.

Wines richer than th' Egyptian courtesan

Quaffed to Augustus' kingly countermatch,

Shall be caroused in English Henry's feast;

Candy shall yield the richest of her canes;

Persia, down her Volga by canoes,

Send down the secrets of her spicery;

The Afric dates, mirabolans of Spain,

Conserves and suckets from Tiberias,

Cates from Judaea, choicer than the lamp

That firèd Rome with sparks of gluttony,

Shall beautify the board for Frederick:

And therefore grudge not at a friar's feast.




Enter Lambert and Serlsby with the Keeper.

Lamb.  Come, frolic Keeper of our liege's game,

Whose table spread hath ever venison

And jacks of wine to welcome passengers,

Know I'm in love with jolly Margaret,

That overshines our damsels as the moon

Darkeneth the brightest sparkles of the night.

In Laxfield here my land and living lies:

I'll make thy daughter jointer of it all,

So thou consent to give her to my wife;

And I can spend five-hundred marks a year.

Serl.  I am the lands-lord, Keeper, of thy holds,

By copy all thy living lies in me;

Laxfield did never see me raise my due:

I will enfeoff fair Margaret in all,

So she will take her to a lusty squire.

Keep.  Now, courteous gentles, if the Keeper's girl

Hath pleased the liking fancy of you both,

And with her beauty hath subdued your thoughts,

'Tis doubtful to decide the question.

It joys me that such men of great esteem

Should lay their liking on this base estate,

And that her state should grow so fortunate

To be a wife to meaner men than you:

But sith such squires will stoop to keeper's fee,

I will, t' avoid displeasure of you both,

Call Margaret forth, and she shall make her choice.

Lamb.  Content, Keeper; send her unto us.

[Exit Keeper.]

Why, Serlsby, is thy wife so lately dead,

Are all thy loves so lightly passèd over,

As thou canst wed before the year be out?

Serl.  I live not, Lambert, to content the dead,

Nor was I wedded but for life to her:

The grave ends and begins a married state.

Enter Margaret.

Lamb.   Peggy, the lovely flower of all towns,

Suffolk's fair Helen, and rich England's star,

Whose beauty, tempered with her huswifery,

Makes England talk of merry Fressingfield!

Serl.  I cannot trick it up with poësies,

Nor paint my passions with comparisons;

Nor tell a tale of Phoebus and his loves.

But this believe me, − Laxfield here is mine,

Of ancient rent seven-hundred pounds a-year,

And if thou canst but love a country squire,

I will enfeoff thee, Margaret, in all.

I cannot flatter; try me, if thou please.

Marg.  Brave neighbouring squires, the stay of Suffolk's clime,

A keeper's daughter is too base in gree

To match with men accompted of such worth.

But might I not displease, I would reply.

Lamb.  Say, Peggy; naught shall make us discontent.

Marg.  Then, gentles, note that love hath little stay,

Nor can the flames that Venus sets on fire

Be kindled but by fancy's motiön.

Then pardon, gentles, if a maid's reply

Be doubtful, while I have debated with myself,

Who, or of whom, love shall constrain me like.

Serl.  Let it be me; and trust me, Margaret,

The meads environed with the silver streams,

Whose battling pastures fatneth all my flocks,

Yielding forth fleeces stapled with such wool

As Lemnster cannot yield more finer stuff,

And forty kine with fair and burnished heads,

With strouting dugs that paggle to the ground,

Shall serve thy dairy, if thou wed with me.

Lamb.  Let pass the country wealth, as flocks and kine,

And lands that wave with Ceres' golden sheaves,

Filling my barns with plenty of the fields;

But, Peggy, if thou wed thyself to me,

Thou shalt have garments of embroidered silk,

Lawns, and rich net-works for thy head-attire:

Costly shall be thy fair habiliments,

If thou wilt be but Lambert's loving wife.

Marg.  Content you, gentles, you have proffered fair,

And more than fits a country maid's degree:

But give me leave to counsel me a time,

For fancy blooms not at the first assault;

Give me but ten days' respite, and I will reply,

Which or to whom myself affectionates.

Serl.  Lambert, I tell thee, thou'rt importunate;

Such beauty fits not such a base esquire:

It is for Serlsby to have Margaret.

Lamb.  Think'st thou with wealth to overreach me?

Serlsby, I scorn to brook thy country braves.

I dare thee, coward, to maintain this wrong,

At dint of rapier, single in the field.

Serl.  I'll answer, Lambert, what I have avouched. −

Margaret, farewell; another time shall serve.


Lamb.   I'll follow. − Peggy, farewell to thyself;

Listen how well I'll answer for thy love.


Marg.  How fortune tempers lucky haps with frowns,

And wrongs me with the sweets of my delight!

Love is my bliss, and love is now my bale.

Shall I be Helen in my froward fates,

As I am Helen in my matchless hue,

And set rich Suffolk with my face afire?

If lovely Lacy were but with his Peggy,

The cloudy darkness of his bitter frown

Would check the pride of these aspiring squires.

Before the term of ten days be expired,

Whenas they look for answer of their loves,

My lord will come to merry Fressingfield,

And end their fancies and their follies both:

Till when, Peggy, be blithe and of good cheer.

Enter a Post with a letter and a bag of gold.

Post.  Fair lovely damsel, which way leads this path?

How might I post me unto Fressingfield?

Which footpath leadeth to the Keeper's lodge?

Marg.  Your way is ready, and this path is right.

Myself do dwell hereby in Fressingfield;

And if the Keeper be the man you seek,

I am his daughter: may I know the cause?

Post.  Lovely, and once belovèd of my lord;

No marvel if his eye was lodged so low,

When brighter beauty is not in the heavens. −

The Lincoln Earl hath sent you letters here,

And, with them, just an hundred pounds in gold.

[Gives letter and bag.]

Sweet, bonny wench, read them, and make reply.

Marg.  The scrolls that Jove sent Danaë,

Wrapt in rich closures of fine burnished gold,

Were not more welcome than these lines to me,

Tell me, whilst that I do unrip the seals,

Lives Lacy well? How fares my lovely lord?

Post.  Well, if that wealth may make men to live well.

Marg.  [Reads] The blooms of the almond-tree grow

in a night, and vanish in a morn; the flies hemera,

fair Peggy, take life with the sun, and die with the

dew; fancy that slippeth in with a gaze, goeth out

with a wink; and too timely loves have ever the

shortest length. I write this as thy grief, and my

folly, who at Fressingfeld loved that which time hath

taught me to be but mean dainties: eyes are

dissemblers, and fancy is but queasy; therefore

know, Margaret, I have chosen a Spanish lady to be

my wife, chief waiting-woman to the Princess

Elinor; a lady fair, and no less fair than thyself,

honourable and wealthy. In that I forsake thee, I

leave thee to thine own liking; and for thy dowry I

have sent thee an hundred pounds; and ever assure

thee of my favour, which shall avail thee and thine



Not thine, nor his own,

Edward Lacy.

Fond Atè, doomer of bad-boding fates,

That wrapp'st proud fortune in thy snaky locks,

Didst thou enchant my birth-day with such stars

As lightened mischief from their infancy?

If heavens had vowed, if stars had made decree,

To show on me their froward influence,

If Lacy had but loved, heavens, hell, and all,

Could not have wronged the patience of my mind.

Post.  It grieves me, damsel; but the earl is forced

To love the lady by the king's command.

Marg.  The wealth combined within the English shelves,

Europe's commander, nor the English king,

Should not have moved the love of Peggy from her lord.

Post.  What answer shall I return to my lord?

Marg.  First, for thou cam'st from Lacy whom I loved, −

Ah, give me leave to sigh at very thought! −

Take thou, my friend, the hundred pounds he sent;

For Margaret's resolution craves no dower:

The world shall be to her as vanity;

Wealth, trash; love, hate; pleasure, despair:

For I will straight to stately Fremingham,

And in the abbey there be shorn a nun,

And yield my loves and liberty to God.

Fellow, I give thee this, not for the news,

For those be hateful unto Margaret,

But for thou'rt Lacy's man, once Margaret's love.

Post.  What I have heard, what passions I have seen,

I'll make report of them unto the earl.

Marg.  Say that she joys his fancies be at rest,

And prays that his misfortune may be hers.



Friar Bacon's cell.

Friar Bacon draws the curtains

and is discovered in his cell, lying on a bed,

with a white stick in one hand,

a book in the other, and a lamp lighted beside him;

and the Brazen Head,

and Miles with weapons by him.

Bacon.  Miles, where are you?

Miles.  Here, sir.

Bacon.  How chance you tarry so long?

Miles.  Think you that the watching of the Brazen

Head craves no furniture? I warrant you, sir, I have

so armed myself that if all your devils come, I will

not fear them an inch.

Bacon.  Miles,

Thou know’st that I have divèd into hell,

And sought the darkest palaces of fiends;

That with my magic spells great Belcephon

Hath left his lodge and kneelèd at my cell;

The rafters of the earth rent from the poles,

And three-formed Luna hid her silver looks,

Trembling upon her concave continent,

When Bacon read upon his magic book.

With seven years' tossing necromantic charms,

Poring upon dark Hecat's principles,

I have framed out a monstrous head of brass,

That, by th' enchanting forces of the devil,

Shall tell out strange and uncouth aphorisms,

And girt fair England with a wall of brass.

Bungay and I have watched these threescore days,

And now our vital spirits crave some rest.

If Argus lived, and had his hundred eyes,

They could not over-watch Phobetor's night.

Now, Miles, in thee rests Friar Bacon's weal:

The honour and renown of all his life

Hangs in the watching of this Brazen Head;

Therefore I charge thee by th' immortal God,

That holds the souls of men within His fist,

This night thou watch; for ere the morning-star

Sends out his glorious glister on the north,

The head will speak: then, Miles, upon thy life,

Wake me; for then by magic art I'll work

To end my seven years' task with excellence.

If that a wink but shut thy watchful eye,

Then farewell Bacon's glory and his fame!

Draw close the curtains, Miles: now, for thy life,

Be watchful, and −

[Falls asleep.]

Miles.  So; I thought you would talk yourself asleep

anon; and 'tis no marvel, for Bungay on the days,

and he on the nights, have watched just these ten and

fifty days: now this is the night, and 'tis my task, and

no more. Now, Jesus bless me, what a goodly Head

it is! and a nose! you talk of nos autem glorificare;

but here’s a nose that I warrant may be called nos

autem populare for the people of the parish. Well, I

am furnished with weapons; now, sir, I will set me

down by a post, and make it as good as a watchman

to wake me, if I chance to slumber.  I thought,

Goodman Head, I would call you out of your


[Miles drifts off; his head hits the post, waking him.]

Passion o' God, I have almost broke my pate!

[A great noise.]

Up, Miles, to your task; take your brown-bill in your

hand; here's some of your master's hobgoblins


The Head.  Time is.

Miles.  Time is! Why, Master Brazen-head, have

you such a capital nose, and answer you with

syllables, “Time is”? Is this all my master's cunning,

to spend seven years' study about “Time is”? Well,

sir, it may be we shall have some better orations of it

anon: well, I'll watch you as narrowly as ever you

were watched, and I'll play with you as the

nightingale with the slow-worm; I'll set a prick

against my breast. Now rest there, Miles.

[Miles falls asleep, but is wakened by the prick.]

Lord have mercy upon me, I have almost killed myself!

[A great noise.]

Up, Miles; list how they rumble.


The Head.  Time was.

Miles.  Well, Friar Bacon, you have spent your

seven years' study well, that can make your head

speak but two words at once, “Time was.” Yea,

marry, time was when my master was a wise man,

but that was before he began to make the Brazen

Head. You shall lie while your arse ache an your

Head speak no better. Well, I will watch, and 

walk up and down, and be a peripatetian and 

a philosopher of Aristotle's stamp.

[A great noise.]

What, a fresh noise? Take thy pistols in hand, Miles.

The Head.  Time is past.

[A lightning flashes forth, and a hand appears

that breaks down the Head with a hammer.]

Miles.  Master, master, up! Hell's broken loose; your

Head speaks; and there's such a thunder and

lightning, that I warrant all Oxford is up in arms.

Out of your bed, and take a brown-bill in your hand;

the latter day is come.

[Bacon rises and comes forward.]