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[ROBERT GREENE, the contemporary and friend of Pecle, and one of the most profligate and unfortunate of the Elizabethan dramatists, was born in Norwich, probably about 1560; Dyce, however, dating his birth ten years earlier. He was educated at Cambridge, where he took the degree of B.A. in 1578, and that of M. A. in 1583. He was also connected in some way with Oxford, he himself vaunting that he was a Master of Arts of both Universities. The interval between 1578 and 1583 he spent in travelling through Spain, Italy, and other parts of the continent. The following extract from his work, The Repentance of Robert Greene (1592), will give the reader an idea of the life he led while there, and after he returned home :

'For, being at the University of Cambridge, I lit amongst wags as lewd as myself, with whom I consumed the flower of my youth; who drew me to travel into Italy and Spain, in which places I saw and practised such villany as is abominable to declare. Thus, by their counsel, I sought to furnish myself with coin, which I procured by cunning sleights from my father and my friends; and my mother pampered me so long, and secretly helped me to the oil of angels, that I grew thereby prone to all mischief: so that, being then conversant with notable braggarts, boon companions, and ordinary spendthrifts, that practised sundry superficial studies, I became as a scion grafted into the same stock, whereby I did absolutely participate of their nature and qualities. At my return into England, I ruffled out in my silks in the habit of malcontent, and seemed so discontent, that no place would please me to abide in, nor no vocation cause me to stay myself in; but, after I had by degrees proceeded Master of Arts, I left the University and away to London, where, after I had continued some short time, and driven myself out of credit with sundry of my friends, I became an author of plays, and a penner of line-pamphlets, so that I soon grew famous in that quality, that who, for that trade, known so ordinary about London as Robin Greene? Young yet in years, though old in wickedness, I began to resolve that there was nothing bad that was profitable; whereupon I grew so rooted in all mischief, that I had as great a delight in wickedness as sundry have in godliness, and as much felicity I took in villany as others had in honesty.'

It is doubtful whether our author was the 'Robert Greene' mentioned as being one of the Queen's chaplains in 1576, although there is good reason for believing that he did enter the Church, and was presented to the vicarage of Lollesbury in Essex in 1584, resigning it, however, next year, probably because he found the clerical profession and a country life incompatible with his unholy tastes. That Greene was married is certain,-Dyce thinks in 1586,-and it is as certain, that although on his own authority his wife was a most amiable and loving woman, he ere long forsook her to indulge without restraint his passion for debauchery and every species of self-indulgence. After leaving his wife, he lived with a woman, the sister of an infamous character, well known then under the name of 'Cutting Ball,' and by her he had a son who died the year after his father. After leading one of the maddest lives on record, he died a miserable death on the 3d of September 1592, his last illness being caused by a surfeit of Rhenish wine and pickled herrings. On his deathbed he was deserted by all his former boon companions except his mistress, and was indebted to the wife of a poor shoemaker for the last bed on which he laid his miserable body-his dying injunction to his compassionate and admiring hostess being to crown his vain head after

death with a garland of bays. This request, it seems, the poor woman attended to. On his deathbed he wrote his Repentance, in which he expresses the greatest contrition for his misspent life, and beseeches all his old companions to take warning by his sad fate and repent ere it be too late. Appended to his Groat's Worth of Wit, which is to a great extent autobiographical, and which he finished on his deathbed, is a sad and tender letter to his wife, expressing great sorrow for his treatment of her, and imploring her forgiveness. He also left a note to her, beseeching her, 'by the love of our youth and my soul's rest,' to reimburse the shoemaker, whose wife had befriended him in his last and friendless days. Although Greene's character may have been made blacker than it really was by the enmity of Gabriel Harvey, the friend of Spenser, still there is no room for doubt that a sadder life and death could not possibly be imagined.

Greene wrote many prose stories, and pamphlets of various kinds, many of which are interesting, and all were highly popular and extensively read; but it is only with his dramatic works we are concerned here. Five dramas are still extant which were undoubtedly written by Greene: The History of Orlando Furioso, one of the Twelve Peers of France, not printed till 1594, but probably one of his earliest plays; The Honourable History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, first published in 1594, but written much earlier; The Scottish History of James the Fourth, slain at Flodden (1598); The Comical History of Alphonsus, King of Arragon (1599); and, along with Lodge, A Looking-Glass for London and England (1594). Another play, superior to any of the above, is by some authorities attributed to Greene, but the testimony as to its authorship is very slender; it is entitled George-a-Green, the Pinner of Wakefield (1599). As a dramatist, Greene occupies about the same rank as Peele, and was one of the first to introduce blank verse on the stage. His versification is not so smooth as that of Peele; but as it is more broken, it is less tedious. His dramas possess no very striking merit, although there is an occasional vigour of language, richness of fancy, originality of thought, and a distinctness and consistency in the portrayal of character. They are, however, much disfigured by bombast, affectation, and pedantry, his lowest boors and most ignorant dairy-maids being made to interlard their talk with classical allusions that would be pedantic even in an Oxford Don. The drama we have selected as a specimen is by many considered his best, and in it he has followed the wellknown prose tract, entitled The Famous History of Friar Bacon. The character of Margaret, the fair maid of Fressingfield, is, however, original; the humour of Miles is often genuine and pleasing.]





London: Printed for Edward White, and are to be sold at his shop, at the little North door of Paul's, at the sign of the Gun.


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Lacy. Why looks my lord like to a troubled
When heaven's bright shine is shadow'd with a
Alate we ran the deer, and through the lawnds.2
Stripp'd 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 pull'd down by jolly mates,
Nor shar'd 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 chang'd to a melancholy dump.

War. 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 fill'd us drink That seem'd so stately in her stammel red,s Or that a qualm did cross his stomach then, But straight he fell into his passions.

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Two Scholars, their Sons.
A Post



Lords, Clowns, &c.

ELINOR, Daughter to the King of Castile. MARGARET, the Keeper's Daughter.

JOAN, a Country Wench.

Hostess of the Bell at Henley.


Spirit in the shape of HERCULES.

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P. Edw. And what of this?

Ralph. Why, so thou shalt beguile Love; for Love is such a proud scab2 that he will never meddle with fools nor children. Is not Ralph's counsel good, Ned?

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

How lovely in her country-weeds she look'd?
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 Warwickshire.

1 all amort, and sometimes alamort; probably Fr. à la mort, to the death, lifeless, dejected-but sometimes used as if equivalent to all as if dead.'

scab-according to Halliwell-ape; used as a term of contempt.

War. 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.

P. Edw. I tell thee, Lacy, that her sparkling


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, mix'd 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,1
Richly enclos'd with ruddy coral cleeves.2
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 enrich'd with honour's taint,
Whose beauties stand upon the stage of fame,
And vaunt their trophies in the courts of love.
P. 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 watch'd you her, my lord? P. 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 turn'd her smock over her lily arms,
And div'd them into milk to run her cheese;
But whiter than the milk her crystal skin,
Checked 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 play'd 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?
P. Edw. Ay, Ralph.

Ralph. Why, Ned, I have laid the plot in my head; thou shalt have her already.

P. Edw. I'll give thee a new coat, an learn 5 me that.

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

P. Ed. 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.

P. 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.

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Now, sir, when she comes into a great press 1 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 yourself. Erms. Excellent policy!

P. 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. P. Edw. Ralph shall have a new coat. Ralph. God thank you when I have it on my back, Ned.


P. 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.

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

To wean these headstrong puppies from the teat.
P. Edw. I am unknown, not taken for the

They only deem us frolic courtiers,
That revel thus among our liege's game:
Therefore I have devis'd 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 disguis'd 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 help'd her handsomely to run her cheese,
And fill'd 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 jewel fitting of the maid.

And when thou talk'st of me, note if she blush:
Oh, 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.

P. Edw. Send letters speedily to Oxford of the

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2 plackerd or placket, sometimes means petticoat, and sometimes pocket, and is frequently used in an indecent sense; it probably comes from Fr. plaquer, to clap on. 3 For why-because.

4 Cote-to pass the side of another, to outstrip; here probably keep by his side;' Fr. cote, side; coytoer, to keep alongside of.

5 fairing a present bought at a fair; still used in Scotland.

6 A morris-dance was a Moorish dance, in which bells, rattles, &c., were introduced.

P. Edw. Well, Lacy, look with care unto thy I have contriv'd and fram'd a head of brass charge

And I will haste to Oxford to the friar,
That he by art, and thou by secret gifts
May'st make me lord of merry Fressingfield.
Lacy. God send your honour your heart's


Enter FRIAR BACON and MILES with books under his arm; BURDEN, MASON, and CLEMENT.

Bacon. Miles, where are you?

Miles. Hic sum, doctissime et reverendissime doctor.1

Bacon. Attulisti nos libros meos de necromantia ??

Miles. Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum habitare libros in unum !3

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 learned skill,
Why flock you thus to Bacon's secret cell,
A friar newly stall'd in Brazen-nose?
Say, what's your mind, that I may make reply.
Burd. Bacon, we hear that long we have

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 Water's strong ale will fit his turn to make him have a copper


Clem. Bacon, we come not grieving at thy skill, But joying that our académy yields

A man suppos'd 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.

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(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 Cæsars liv'd and reign'd in Rome,
With all the legions Europe doth contain,
They should not touch a grass of English ground;
The work that Ninus rear'd at Babylon,
The brazen walls fram'd by Semiramis,
Carv'd 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

And tells of more than magic can perform;
Thinking to get a fame by fooleries.
Have I not pass'd 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,2 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.

Doth he not touch you?
Clem. What say you to this, Master Burden?

Burd. I pass not of his frivolous speeches.

hath done with you, will turn you from a doctor Miles. Nay, Master Burden, my master, ere he 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 learn'd 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.

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