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of Fryer Bacon.
Containing the wonderfull things
that he did in his Life: Also the manner
of his Death; With the Lives and Deaths
of the two Coniurers, Bungye
Very pleasant and delightfull to be read.1
Of the Parents and Birth of Fryer Bacon, and how he addicted himselfe to Learning.
HE was borne by most mens opinions in the West part of England, & was sonne to a wealthy Farmer, who put him to Schoole to the Parson of the Towne where hee was borne: not with intent that he should turne Fryer (as he did) but to get so much understanding, that he might manage the better that wealth hee was to leave him. But young Bacon tooke his Learning so fast, that the Priest could not teach him any more, which made him desire his Master that he would speake to his Father to put him to Oxford, that he might not lose that little learning that hee had gained: his Master was very willing so to doe: and one day meeting his Father, told him, that hee had received a great blessing from God, in that he had given him so wise and hopefull a child, as his sonne Roger Bacon was (for so was he named) and wished him withall to doe his duty, and to bring up so his Child, that hee might shew his thankfulnesse to God, which could not better be done then in making of him a Scholler; for he found by his sodaine taking of his learning, that hee was a childe likely to prove a very great Clerke: hereat old Bacon was not well pleased (for he desired to bring him up to Plough and to the Cart, as hee himselfe was brought) yet he for reverence sake to the Priest, showed not his anger, but kindly thanked him for his paines and counsell, yet desired him not to speake any more concerning that matter; for hee knew best what best pleased himselfe, and that he would doe: so broke they off their talke, and parted.
So soone as the old man came home, he called to his Sonne for his bookes, which when he had, he lock'd them up, and gave the Boy a Cart whip in the place of them, saying to him: Boy, I will have you no Priest, you shall not be better learned then I, you can tell now by the Almanack when it is best sowing Wheat, when Barley, Pease, and Beanes: and when the best libbing is, when to sell Graine and Cattell I will teach thee; for I have all Faires and Markets as perfit in my memory, as Sir Iohn our Priest has Masse without Booke: take mee this whip, I will teach thee the use of it, it will be more profitable to thee then this harsh Latin: make no reply, but follow my counsell, or else by the Masse thou shalt feele the smart hand of my anger. Young Bacon thought this but hard dealing, yet would he not reply, but within sixe or eight dayes he gave his Father the slip, and went to a Cloyster some twenty miles off, where he was entertained, and so continued his learning, and in small time came to be so famous, that he was sent for to the University of Oxford, where he long time studyed, and grew so excellent in the secrets of Art and Nature, that not England onely, but all Christendome admired him.
How the King sent for Fryer Bacon, and of the wonderful things he shewed the King and Queene.
The King being in Oxfordshire at a Noblemans house was very desirous to see this famous Fryer, for hee had heard many times of his wonderous things that hee had done by his Art: therefore he sent one for him to desire him to come to the Court. Fryer Bacon kindly thanked the King by the Messenger, and said, that he was at the Kings service, and would suddainely attend him: but Sir, saith he (to the Gentleman) I pray make you hast, or else I shall be two houres before you at the Court. For all your learning (answered the Gentleman) I can hardly beleeve this, for schollers, old-men and travellers, may lye by authority. To strengthen your beleefe (said Fryer Bacon) I could presently shew you the last Wench that you lay withall, but I will not at this time. One is as true as the other (said the Gentleman) and I would laugh to see either. You shall see them both within these foure houres, quoth the Fryer, and therefore make what haste you can. I will prevent that by my speede (said the Gentleman) and with that rid his way: but he rode out of his way, as it should seeme; for he had but five miles to ride, and yet was he better than three houres a riding them, so that Fryer Bacon by his Art was with the King before he came.
The King kindly welcomed him, and saide that hee long time had desired to see him: for hee had as yet not heard of his life. Fryer Bacon answered him, that fame had belyde him, and given him that report that his poore studies had never deserved, for he beleeved that Art had many Sonnes more excellent than himselfe was. The King commended him for his modesty, and told him, that nothing did become a wise man lesse than boasting: But yet withall he requested him now to be no niggard of his knowledge, but to shew his Queene and him some of his skill. I were worthy of neither Art or knowledge (quoth Fryer Bacon) should I deny your Majesty this small request: I pray seat your selves, and you shall see presently what my poore skill can performe. The King, Queene, and Nobles sate them all downe. They having so done, the Fryer waved his wand, and presently was heard such excellent Musicke that they were all amazed, for they all said they had never heard the like. This is, said the Fryer, to delight the sense of hearing. I will delight all your other senses ere you depart hence: so waving his wand againe, there was lowder musicke heard, and presently five dancers entred, the first like a Court-Laundresse, the second like a footman, the third like an Usurer, the fourth like a prodigall, the fift like a Foole: these did divers excellent changes, so that they gave content to all the beholders, and having done their Dance, they all vanished away in their order as they came in. Thus feasted he two of their senses. Then waved hee his wand againe, and there was another kinde of musicke heard, and whilest it was a playing there was sodainely before them a table richly covered with all sorts of delicates: Then desired he the King and Queene to taste of some certaine rare fruits that were on the Table, which they and the Nobles there present did, and were very highly pleased with the taste: they being satisfied, all vanished away on the sodaine. Then waved he his wand againe, and sodainly there was such a smel, as if all the rich perfumes in the whole world had bin there prepared in the best manner that Art could set them out: whilst hee feasted thus their smelling, hee waved his wand againe, and there came divers Nations in sundry habits (as Russians, Polanders, Indians, Armenians) all bringing sundry kinds of Furres, such as their Countries yielded: all which they presented to the King and Queene: these Furres were so soft these furres were so soft in the touch, that they highly pleased all those that handled them, then after some odde fantasticke dances (after their Countrey manner) they vanished away: then asked Fryer Bacon the Kings Majesty, if that hee desired any more of his skill? the King answered that hee was fully satisfied for that time, and that hee onely now thought of something that hee might bestow on him, that might partly satisfie the kindnesse that hee had received. Fryer Bacon said, that hee desired nothing so much as his Majesties love, and if that he might be assured of that, hee would thinke himselfe happy in it: for that (said the King) be thou ever sure sure of it, in token of which receive this Jewell, and withall gave him a costly Jewell from his necke. The Fryer did with great reverence thanke his Majestie, and said; as your Majesties vassall you shall ever finde me ready to doe you service, your time of neede shall finde it both beneficiall and delightfull. But amongst all these Gentlemen, I see not the man that your Grace did send for me by, sure he hath lost his way, or else met with some sport that detaines him so long. I promised to be here before him, and all this noble Assembly can witnesse I am as good as my word; I heare him comming: with that entered the Gentleman all beturfed (for he had rid through ditches, quagmires, plashes, and waters, that hee was in a most pittifull case) hee seeing the Fryer there looked full angerly, and bid a pox on all his Devils, for they had led him out of his way, and almost drowned him. Be not angry Sir (said Fryer Bacon) here is an old friend of yours that hath more cause; for shee hath tarried these three houres for you (with that hee pulled up by the Hangings, and behinde them stood a kitchin-maide with a basting-ladle in her hand) now am I as good as my word with you: for 3 promises to helpe you to your sweet-heart, how do you like this: So ill, answered the Gentleman, that I will be revenged of you. Threaten not (said Fryer Bacon) least I do you more shame, and doe you take heede how you give schollers the lye againe: but because I know not how well you are stored with money at this time, I will beare your wenches charges home; with that she vanished away: the King, Queene, and all the company laughed to see with what shame this Gentleman indureth the sight of greasie sweet-heart: but the Gentleman went away discontented. This done, Fryer Bacon tooke his leave of the King and Queene, and received from them divers gifts (as well as thankes) for his Art he shewed them.
How Fryer Bacon deceived his Man, that would fast for his conscience sake.
Fryer Bacon had one onely man to attend on him, and hee too was none of the wisest, for hee kept him in charity, more then for any service he had of him. This man of his (named Miles) never could indure to fast as other religious persons did, for alwayes hee had in one corner, or another, flesh, which hee would eate when his Maister eat bread only, or else did fast and abstaine from all things. Fryer Bacon seeing this, thought at one time or other to be even with him, which he did ane Fryday in this manner. Miles on the Thursday night had provided a great blacke-pudding for his Frydayes fast; this pudding put he in his pocket (thinking belike to heate it so, for his Maister had no fire on those dayes) on the next day, who was so demure as Miles, hee looked as though hee would not have eat anything: when his Maister offered him some bread, hee refused it, saying, his sinnes deserved a greater penance than one dayes fast in a whole weeke: his Maister commended him for it, and bid him take heed that he did not dissemble: for if he did, it would at last be knowne; then were I worse then a Turke said Miles; so went he forth as if he would have gone to pray privately, but it was for nothing but to prey upon his black pudding; that pulled he out, (for it was halfe roasted with the heate of his bum) and fell to it lustily; but he was deceived, for having put one end in his mouth, he couldn either get it out againe nor bite it off, so that hee stamped out for helpe: his Maister hearing him, came, and finding him in that manner, tooke hold of the other end of the pudding, and led him to the hall, and shewed him to all the Schollers, saying: See here my good friends and fellow Students what a devout man my servant Miles is, he loveth not to breake a fast day, witnesse this pudding that his conscience will not let him swallow: I will have him to be an example for you all, then tyed hee him to a window by the end of the pudding, where poore Miles stood like a Beare tyed by the nose to a stake, and indured many floutes and mockes: at night his Maister released him from his penance; Miles was glad of it, and did vow never to breake more fast dayes whilst that he lived.
How Fryer Bacon saved a Gentleman that had given himselfe to the Devill.
In Oxfordshire there lived a Gentleman, that had through his riotous expences wasted a faire Inheritance that was left him by his father: After which hee grew so poore, that hee had not wherewith to buy himselfe so much bread as would maintaine his miserable life: the memory of his former state that hee had lived in, and the present want that he now sustained, made him to grow desperate and regardlesse both of his soule and bodies estate; which gave the Devill occasion to worke upon his weaknesse in this manner following.
On a time, hee being alone full of griefe and care, (griefe for his follies past, and care how to get a poore living for the remainder of his dayes) the Devill came to him and asked him what hee wanted (hee came not in a shape terrible, but like an old penny-father.) This Gentleman was amazed at his sodaine preference, but hearing him demand of his wants, hee tooke to him courage and said: I want all things. I want money to buy my apparell, money to buy mee meat, money to redeeme my Land, and money to pay my debts: Can, or will you helpe mee in this misery? I will, answered the Devill, on some conditions helpe you to money for to supply all these wants, and that sodainly. On any condition, said the Gentleman, helpe mee, and I sweare for to performe them: I take no oathes (answered the Devill) I must have bonds, if you will doe so, meet mee by the Woods side to morrow morning, and there I will have the money ready: I will, said the Gentleman (for hee poore man was glad of it on any conditions, as hee said before.) The next day hee went to the Wood where the Devill had promised to meet him: long had hee not beene there, but hee beheld the Devill comming, and after him two other like Servingmen with Bagges of money: this reioyced the poore Gentlemans heart to thinke that hee should once againe live like a man. The Devill comming to him said: sonne I will performe my promise unto you, if that you will seale to the conditions that I have here already drawne: willingly said the Gentleman, I will, I pray read them. The Devill read them to this effect; that he lent him so much money as he should have need of, to be imployed to these uses following: First, to redeeme his morgag'd Land; next to pay his debts: lastly, to buy him such necessaries as hee wanted: this to be lent on this condition, that so soone as he had paid all his debts, that he should be at the lenders disposing, and without any delay, freely to yield himselfe to him upon the first demand of the aforesaid lender. To this the Gentleman sealed, and had the money carried to his Chamber, with which money hee in short time received his Land,and bought such things as he needed, and likewise payed all his debts, so that there was not any man that could aske of him one penny.
Thus lived this Gentleman once againe in great credit, and grew so great a husband that hee increased his estate, and was richer then ever his father before him was: but long did this ioy of his not continue, for one day hee being in his Studie the Devill appeared unto him, and did tell him that now his Land was redeemed, and his debts paid, and therefore the time was come that hee must yeeld himselfe to his mercy, as hee was bound by bond. This troubled the Gentleman to heare, but more to thinke how that he must become a slave to a stranger that hee did not know (for hee knew not as yet that he was the Devill) but being urged to answer for himselfe (by the Devill) hee said that hee had not as yet paid all his debts, and therefore as yet hee was not liable to the bonds strait conditions. At this the Devill seemed angry and with a fearefull noyse transformed himselfe to an ugly shape, saying: Alas poore wretch, these are poore excuses that thou framest. I know them all to be false, and so will proove them to thy face to morrow morning, till when I leave thee to despaire: So with great noyse he went his way, leaving the Gentleman halfe dead with feare.
When hee was gone, the Gentleman reviving bethought himselfe in what a miserable state he was now in, then wished he that he had lived and died poorely, then cursed he all his ambitious thoughts, that led him first to desire againe that wealth which he had so vainly by his riot lost: then would hee curse his prodigall expences that were the originall of his misery: thus was he tormented a long time in his minde, at last he fully resolved to end his wretched life by some violent death, and to that end he went forth thinking to kill himselfe, which he had done, had it not beene for the Fryer:for as he was falling upon his sword, Fryer Bacon came by and called to him to hold, which he did. Fryer Bacon demanded of him the cause why he was so desparate that he would run headlong to hell? O sir, said he, the cause is so great, and the relation is so terrible to me, that I would intreat you not to trouble me anymore, but to leave me to my owne wil: his answer filled the Fryer with amazement & pitty both at once, which made him to urge him in this manner. Sir, should I leave you to his wilfull damnation, I were unfit ever hereafter to weare or touch any robe that belongeth unto the holy Order, whereof I am a Brother; you know (I doubt not) that there is given power to the Church to absolve penitent sinners, let not your wilfulnesse take away from you that benefit which you may receive by it: freely confesse (I pray) you unto me, and doubt not but I will give your troubled conscience ease: Father (said this Gentleman) I know all that you have spoken is truth, and I have many times received comfort from the mother Church, (I dare not say our, for I feare that shee will never receive me for a childe.) I have no part in her benediction, yet since you request so earnestly the cause, I will tell you, heare it and tremble. Know then that I have given myselfe to the devill for a little wealth, and he to morrow in this Wood must have mee: now have you my griefe, but I know not how to get comfort. This is strange (quoth Fryer Bacon) yet be of good comfort, penitentiall teares may doe much, which see you doe not spare: soone I will visit you at your house, and give you that comfort (I hope) that will beget you againe to goodnesse: the Gentleman with these words was somewhat comforted and returned home. At night Fryer Bacon came to him and found him full of teares for his haynous offence, for those teares he gave him hope of pardon, demanded further what conditions hee had made with the Devil: the gentleman told him, how that he had promised himselfe to him so soone as he had paid all his debts: which he now had done, for he owed not one peny to any man living. Well, said Fryer Bacon, continue thy sorrow for thy sinnes, and to morrow meete him without feare, and be thou content to stand to the next mans iudgement that shall come that way, whether thou doest belong to the devill or no: feare not, but do so, and be thou assured that I will be he that shall come by, and will give such iudgement on thy side, that thou shalt bee free from him: with that Fryer Bacon went home, and the Gentleman went to his prayers.
In the morning the Gentleman (after that he had blessed himselfe) went to the Wood where he found the devill ready for him, so soone as he came neere, the devill said: now deceiver are you come, now shalt thou see that I can and will prove that thou hast paid all thy debts, and therefore thy soule belongeth to me. Thou art a deceiver (said the gentleman) and gavest me money to cheat me of my soule, for else why wilt thou be thy own Iudge: let me have some other to iudge betweene us. Content said the Devil, take whom thou wilt: then I will have (said the gentleman) the next man that commeth this way: hereto the Devill agreed. No sooner were these words ended, but Fryer Bacon came by, to whom this Gentleman spake, and requested, that he would be iudge in a waighty matter betweene them two: the Fryer said, he was content, so both parties were agreed: the Devill said they were, and told Fryer Bacon how the case stood betweene them in this manner.
Know Fryer, that I seeing this prodigal like to starve for want of food, lent him money, not onely to buy him victuals, but also to redeeme his lands and pay his debts, conditionarily that so soone as his debts were paid, that hee should give himselfe freely to mee, to this here is his hand (shewing him the Bond) now my time is expired, for all his debts are paid which hee cannot denie. This case is plaine, if it be so that his debts are paid: his silence confirmes it said the Divell, therefore give him a iust sentence. I will said Frier Bacon: But first tell me (speaking to the Gentleman) didst thou never yet give the Devill any of his mony backe, nor requite him any wayes: never had hee any thing of me as yet (answered the Gentleman) then never let him have any thing of thee and thou art free: deceiver of mankind, said he (speaking to the Devill) it was thy bargaine, never to meddle with him so long as hee was indebted to any, now how canst thou demand of him any thing, when he is indebted for all that hee hath to thee, when hee payeth thee by thy money, then take him as thy due; till then thou hast nothing to doe with him: and so I charge thee to be gone. At this, the Devill vanished with great horror, but Fryer Bacon comforted the Gentleman, and sent him home with a quiet conscience, bidding him never to pay the Devils money backe as he tendred his owne safety: which he promised for to observe.
How Fryer Bacon made a Brasen head to speake, by the which hee would have walled England about with Brasse.
Fryer Bacon reading one day of the many conquests of England, bethought himselfe how hee might keepe it hereafter from the like conquests, and so make himselfe famous hereafter to all posterities: this (after great study) hee found could be no way so well done as one; which was to make a head of Brasse, and if he could make this head to speake (and heare it when it speakes) then might hee be able to wall all England about with Brasse. To this purpose hee got one Fryer Bungey to assist him, who was a great Scholler and a Magician, (but not to bee compared to Fryer Bacon) these two with great study and paines so framed a head of Brasse, that in the inward parts thereof there was all things (like as is in a naturall mans head): this being done: they were as farre from perfection of the worke as they were before, for they knew not how to give those parts that they had made motion, without which it was impossible that it should speake: many bookes they read, but yet could not finde out any hope of what they sought, so that at the last they concluded to raise a spirit, and to know of him that which they could not attaine to by their owne studies. To do this they prepared all things ready and went one Evening to a Wood thereby, and after many ceremonies used, they spake the words of coniuration, which the Devill straight obeyed and appeared unto them, asking what they would? Know, said Fryer Bacon, that wee have made an artificiall head of Brasse, which wee would have to speake, to the furtherance of which wee have raised thee, and being raised, wee will here keepe thee, unlesse thou tell to us the way and manner how to make this Head to speake. The Devill told him that he had not that power of himselfe: beginner of lyes (said Fryer Bacon) I know that thou dost dissemble, and therefore tell it us quickly, or else wee will here bind thee to remaine during our pleasures. At these threatnings the Devill consented to doe it, and told them, that with a continuall fume of the six hotest Simples it should have motion, and in one month space speake; the Time of the moneth or day hee knew not: also hee told them, that if they heard it not before it had done speaking, all their labour should be lost: they being satisfied, licensed the Spirit for to depart.
Then went these two learned Fryers home againe, and prepared the Simples ready, and made the fume, and with continuall watching attended when this Brasen head would speake: thus watched they for three weekes without any rest, so that they were so weary and sleepy, that they could not any longer refraine from rest: then called Fryer Bacon his man Miles, and told him, that it was not unknowne to him what paines Fryer Bungy and himselfe had taken for three weekes space, onely to make and to heare the Brasen-head speake, which if they did not, then had they lost all their labour, and all England had a great losse thereby: therefore hee intreated Miles that he would watch whilest that they sleep, and call them if the Head speake. Feare not, good Master (said Miles) I will not sleepe, but harken and attend upon the head, and if it doe chance to speake, I will call you: therefore I pray take you both your rests and let mee alone for watching this head. After Fryer Bacon had given him a great charge: The second time, Fryer Bungy and he went to sleepe, and left Miles alone to watch the Brasen head: Miles, to keepe him from sleeping, got a Tabor and Pipe, and being merry disposed, sung this Song to a Northern tune,
Of cam'st thou not from New-Castle.
To couple is a custome,
all things thereto agree:
Why should not I then love?
since love to all is free.
But Ile have one that's pretty,
her cheekes of scarlet die;
For to breed my delight,
when that I ligge her by.
Though vertue be a Dowry,
yet Ile chuse money store:
If my Love prove untrue,
with that I can get more.
The faire is oft unconstant,
the blacke is often proud.
Ile chuse a lovely browne,
come fidler scrape thy crowd.
Come fidler scrape thy crowd,
for Peggie the browne is she,
Must be my Bride, God guide
that Peggie and I agree.
With his owne Musicke, and such Songs as these spent he his time, and kept from sleeping, at last, after some noyse the Head spake these two words, Time is. Miles hearing it to speake no more: thought his Master would be angry if hee waked him for that, and therefore hee let them both sleepe, and began to mocke the Head in this manner: Thou Brazen-faced Head, hath my Master tooke all this paines about thee, and now dost thou requite him with two words, Time is: had hee watched with a Lawyer so long as he hath watched with thee, he would have given him more, and better words then thou hast yet, if thou can speake no wiser, they shall sleepe till doomes day for me: Time is: I know Time is, and that you shall heare good-man Brazen-face.
To the tune of Daintie come thou to me.
Time is for some to plant,
Time is for some to sowe;
Time is for some to graft
The horne as some doe know.
Time is for some to eate,
Time is for some to sleepe,
Time is for some to laugh,
Time is for some to weepe.
Time is for some to sing,
Time is for some to pray,
Time is for some to creepe,
That have drunke all the day.
Time is to cart a Bawd,
Time is to whip a Whore
Time is to hang a Theefe,
And time is for much more.
Doe you tell us Copper-nose, when Time is, I hope we Schollers know our Times, when to drinke drunke, when to kisse our Hostis, when to goe on her score, and when to pay it, that time comes seldome. After halfe an houre had passed, the Head did speake againe, two words, which were these: Time was. Miles respected these words as little as he did the former, and would not wake them, but still scoffed at the Brazen head, that it had learned no better words, and had such a Tutor as his Master: and in scorne of it sung this Song.
To the tune of a rich Merchantman.
Time was when thou a Kettle
wert fill'd with better matter:
But Fryer Bacon did thee spoyle,
when he thy sides did batter.
Time was when conscience dwelled
with men of occupation:
Time was when Lawyers did not thrive,
so well by mens vexation.
Time was when Kings and Beggars
of one poore stuffe had being:
Time was when office kept no Knaves:
that time it was worth seeing.
Time was a bowle of water,
did give the face reflection.
Time was when women knew no paint:
which now they call Complexion.
Time was: I know that Brazen-face, without your telling. I know Time was, and I know what things there was when time was, and if you speake no wiser, no Master shall be waked for mee. Thus Miles talked and sung till another halfe houre was gone, then the Brazen-head spake againe these words; Time is past: and therewith fell downe, and presently followed a terrible noyse, with strange flashes of fire, so that Miles was halfe dead with feare: At this noyse the two Fryers awaked, and wondred to see the whole roome so full of smoake, but that being banished they might perceive the Brazen-head broken and lying on the ground: at this sight they grieved, and called Miles to know how this came. Miles halfe dead with feare, said that it fell downe of it selfe, and that with the noyse and fire that followed he was almost frighted out of his wits: Fryer Bacon asked him if hee did not speake? yes (quoth Miles) it spake, but to no purpose. Ile have a Parret speake better in that time that you have beene teaching this Brazen head. Out on the villaine (said Fryer Bacon) thou hast undone us both, hadst thou but called us when it did speake, all England had bin walled round about with Brasse, to its glory and our eternall fames: what were the words it spake? very few (said Miles) and those were none of the wisest that I have heard neither: first he said Time is. Hadst thou call'd us then (said Fryer Bacon) wee had beene made for ever: then (said Miles) halfe an houre after it spake againe and said, Time was. And wouldst thou not call us then (said Bungy?) Alas (said Miles) I thought he would have told me some long Tale, and then I purposed to have called you: then halfe an houre after he cried Time is past, and made such a noyse, that hee hath waked you himselfe mee thinkes. At this Fryer Bacon was in such a rage, that hee would have beaten his man, but he was restrained by Bungey: but nevertheless for his punishment he with his Art struck him dumbe in one whole months space. Thus that great worke of these learned Fryers was overthrown (to their great griefes) by this simple fellow.
How Fryer Bacon by his Art tooke a Towne, when the King had lyen before it three months, without doing to it any hurt.
In those times when Fryer Bacon did all his strange tricks, the Kings of England had a great part of France, which they held a long time, till civil warres at home in this Land made them to lose it: it did chance that the King of England (for some cause beste knowne to himselfe) went into France with a great Armie, where after many victories, hee did besiege a strong Towne, and lay before it full three moneths, without doing to the Towne any great damage, but rather received the hurt himselfe. This did so vexe the King, that hee fought to take it in any way, either by policy or strength: To this intent hee made Proclamation that whosoever could deliver this Tone into his hand, hee should have for his paines ten thousand Crownes truely paid. This was proclaimed, but there was none found that would undertake it: At length the newes did come into England of this great reward that was promised. Fryer Bacon hearing of it, went into France, and being admitted to the Kings presence, hee thus spake unto him: Your Maiestie I am sure, hath not quite forgot your poore subiect Bacon, the love that you shewed to mee being last in your presence, hath drawne mee for to leave my Countrey, and my Studies, to doe your Maiestie service: I beseech your Grace, to command mee so farre as my poore Art or life may doe you pleasure. The King thanked him for his love, but told him, that hee had now more need of Armes then Art, and wanted brave Souldiers more then learned Schollers. Fryer Bacon answered, Your Grace saith well; but let me (under correction) tell you, that Art oftentimes doth those things that are impossible to Armes, which I will make good in some few examples. I will speake onely of things performed by Art and Nature, wherein shall be nothing Magicall: and first by the figuration of Art, there may be made Instruments of Navigatien without men to rowe in them, as great Ships to brooke the Sea, onely with one man to steere them, and they shall sayle farre more swiftly then if they were full of men. Also Chariots that shall move with an unspeakable force, without any living creature to stirre them. Likewise,, an Instrument may be made to flye withall, if one sit in the midst of the Instrument, & doe turne an Engine, by which the wings being Artificially composed, may beat ayre after the manner of a flying Bird. By an Instrument of three fingers high, and three fingers broad, a man may rid himselfe and others from all Imprisonment: yea, such an Instrument may easily be made, whereby a man may violently draw unto him a thousand men, will they, nill they, or any other thing. By Art also an Instrument may be made, wherewith men may walke in the bottome of the Sea or Rivers without bodily danger: this Alexander the Great used (as the Ethnick Phylosopher reporteth) to the end he might behold the Secrets of the Seas. But Physicall Figurations are farre more strange: for by that may be framed Perspects and Looking-glasses that one thing shall appeare to be many, as one man shall appeare to be a whole Army, and one Sunne or Moone shall seeme divers. Also perspects may be so framed, that things farre off shall seeme most night unto us: With one of these did Iulius Cæsar from the Sea coasts in France marke and observe the situation of the Castles in England. Bodies may also be so framed, that the greatest things shall appeare to be the least, the highest lowest, the most secret to bee the most manifest, and in such like sort the contrary. Thus did Socrates perceive, that the Dragon which did destroy the Citie and Countrey adioyning with his noysome breath, and contagious influence, did lurke in the dennes betweene the Mountaines: and thus may all things that are done in Cities or Armies be discovered by the enemies. Againe, in such wise may bodies bee framed, that venemous and infectious influences may be brought whether a man will: In this did Aristotle instruct Alexander; through which instruction the poyson of a Basiliske, being lift up upon the wall of a Citie, the poyson was convayed into the Citie, to the destruction thereof: Also Perspects may be made to deceive the sight, as to make a man beleeve that hee seeth great store of riches, when that there is not any. But it appertaineth to a higher power of Figuration, that beames should be brought and assembled by divers flexions and reflexions in any distance that we will, to burne any thing that is opposite unto it, as it is witnessed by those Perspects or Glasses that burne before and behinde: but the greatest and chiefest of all figurations and things figured, is to describe the heavenly bodies, according to their length and breadth in a corporall figure, wherein they may corporally move with a daily motion. These things are worth a kingdome to a wise man. These may suffice, my royall Lord, to shew what Art can doe: and these, with many things more as strange, I am able by art to performe. Then take no thought for winning this Towne; for by my art you shall (ere many dayes be past) have your desire.
The King all this while heard him with admiration: but hearing him now say, that hee would undertake to win the Towne, hee burst out in these speeches: Most learned Bacon, doe what thou hast said, and I will give thee what thou most desirest, either wealth, or honour, choose which thou wilt, and I will be as ready to performe, as I have beene to promise.
Your Maiesties love is all that I seeke (said the Fryer) let mee have that, and I have honour enough, for wealth, I have content, the wise should seeke no more: but to the purpose. Let your Pioners raise up a mount so high (or rather higher) then the wall, and then shall you see some probability of that which I have promised.
This Mount in two dayes was raised: then Fryer Bacon went with the King to the Top of it, and did with a perspect shew to him the Towne, as plainely if hee had beene in it: at this the Kind did wonder, but Fryer Bacon told him, that hee should wonder more, ere next day noone: against which Time, he desired him to have his whole Army in readinesse for to scale the wall upon a signall given by him, from the Mount. This the King promised to doe, and so returned to his Tent full of Joy, that hee should gaine this strong Towne. In the morning Fryer Bacon went up to the Mount and set his Glasses, and other Instruments up: in the meane time the King ordered his Army, and stood in a readinesse for to give the assault when the signall was given, which was the waving of a Flagge: Ere nine of the clocke Fryer Bacon had burnt the State-house of the Towne, with other houses onely by his Mathematicall Glasses, which made the whole Towne in an uprore, for none did know how it came: whilest that they were quenching of the same, Fryer Bacon did wave his Flagge: upon which signall given, the King set upon the Towne, and tooke it with little or no resistance. Thus through the Art of this learned man the King got this strong Towne, which hee could not doe with all his men without Fryer Bacons helpe.
How Fryer Bacon over-came the German Coniurer Vandermast, and make a Spirit of his owne carry him into Germany.
The King of England after hee had taken in the Towne, shewed great mercy to the Inhabitants, giving some of them their lives freely, and others hee set at libertie for their Gold: the Towne hee kept as his owne, and swore the Chiefe citizens to be his true Subiects. Presently after the King of France sent an Ambassadour to the King of England, for to intreat a peace betweene them. This Ambassadour being come to the King, he feasted him (as it is the manner of Princes to doe) and with the best sports as he had them, welcomed him. The Ambassadour seeing the King of England so free in his Love, desired likewise to give him some taste of his good liking, and to that intent sent for one of his fellowes (being a Germane, and named Vandermast) a famous Coniurer, who being come,, hee told the King, that since his Grace had beene so bountifull in his love to him, he would shew him (by a servant of his) such wonderfull things, that his Grace had never seene the like before. The King demaunded of him, of what nature those things were that hee would doe? The Embassadour answered, that they were things done by the Art of Magicke. The King hearing of this, sent straight for Fryer Bacon, who presently came, and brought Fryer Bungey with him.
When the Banquet was done, Vandermast did aske the King, if hee desired to see any Spirit of any man deceased; and if that he did, hee would raise him in such manner and fashion as he was in when that hee lived. The King told him, that above all men hee desired to see Pompey the Great, who could abide no equal. Vandermast by his Art raised him, armed in such manner as hee was when hee was slaine at the Battell of Pharsalia: at this they were all highly contented. Fryer Bacon presently raised the ghost of Iulius Cæsar, who could abide no Superiour, and had slaine this Pompey at the Battell of Pharsalia: At the sight of him they were all amazed, but the King who sent for Bacon: and Vandermast said that there was some man of Art in that presence, whom hee desired to see. Fryer Bacon then shewed himselfe, saying; It was I Vandermast, that raised Cæsar, partly to give content to this royall presence, but chiefely for to conquer thy Pompey, as he did once before, at that great Battell of Pharsalia, which he now againe shall doe. Then presently began a fight betweene Cæsar and Pompey, which continued a good space, to the content of all, except Vandermast. At last, Pompey was overcome and slaine by Cæsar; then vanished they both away.
My Lord Embassadour (said the King) me thinks that my Englishman hath put downe your German: hath he no better cunning then this? Yes, answered Vandermast, your Grace shall see me put downe your Englishman, ere that you goe from hence: and therefore Fryer prepare they selfe with they best of Art to withstand me. Alas, said Fryer Bacon, it is a little thing will serve to resist thee in this kind. I have here one that is my inferior (shewing him Fryer Bungey) try thy Art with him; and if thou doe put him to the worst, then will I deale with thee, and not till then.
Fryer Bungey then began to shew his Art; and after some turning and looking on his Booke, he brought up among them the Hysperian Tree, which did beare golden Apples; these Apples were kept by a waking Dragon, that lay under the Tree: Hee having done this, bid Vandermast finde one that durst gather the fruit. Then Vandermast did raise the ghost of Hercules in his habit that he wore when that he was living, and with his Club on his shoulder: Here is one, said Vandermast, that shall gather fruit from this Tree: this is Hercules, that in his life time gathered of this Fruit, and made the Dragon couch: and now againe shall hee gather it in spight of all opposition: As Hercules was going to plucke the fruit, Fryer Bacon held up his wand, at which Hercules stayed and seemed fearefull. Vandermast bid him for to gather of the fruit, or else hee would torment him. Hercules was more fearefull, and said, I cannot, nor I dare not; for here great Bacon stands, whose charmes are farre more powerfull then thine, I must obey him Vandermast. Hereat Vandermast curst Hercules, and threatned him: but Fryer Bacon laughed, and bid him not to chafe himselfe ere that his iourney was ended; for seeing (said he) that Hercules will doe nothing at your command, I will have him doe you some service at mine: with that hee bid Hercules carry him home into Germany. The Devill obeyed him, and tooke Vandermast on his backe, and went away with him in all their sights. Hold Fryer, cried the Embassadour, I will not loose Vandermast for halfe my Land. Content your selfe my Lord, answered Fryer Bacon, I have but sent him home to see his wife, and ere long he may returne. The King of England thanked Fryer Bacon, and forced some gifts on him for his service that hee had done for him; for Fryer Bacon did so little respect money, that he never would take any of the King.
How Fryer Bacon through his wisdome saved the endangered lives of three Brethren.
The Peace being concluded betweene the King of England and the King of France; the King of England came againe into his Countrey of England, where he was received very ioyfully of all his Subiects: But in his absence had happened a discord betweene three Brethren, the like hath not beene often heard. This it was: A rich Gentleman of England dyed, and left behinde him three Sonnes. Now for some reason (which was best knowne to himselfe) he appointed none of them by name to be his heyre, but spake to them all after this manner: You are all my Sonnes, and I love you all as a Father should doe, all alike, not one better then the other: and cause I would alwayes doe rightly so neere as I can, I leave all my Lands and goods to him that loves me best: These were his last words that he spake, concerning any worldly affaires.
After he was dead and buried, there arose a great controversie betwixt them, who should inherit their Fathers Goods and Lands, every one pleading for himselfe, how that hee loved his Father best. All the cunning Lawyers of the Kingdome could say nothing to the purpose, concerning this case, so that they were inforced to begge of the King a grant for a combat: for they would not share the Lands and Goods amongst them, but every one desired all or else nothing. The King seeing no other way to end this controversie, granted a combat; the two eldest being to fight first, and the conqueror to fight with the youngest, and the surviver of them was to have the Land.
The day being come that was set for these combatants, they all came in armed for the fight. Fryer Bacon being there present, and seeing such three lustie young men like to perish, and that by their owne flesh and bloud, grieved very much, and went to the King, desiring his Maiestie that he would stay the fight, and he would finde a meanes without any bloodshed to end the matter: the King was very glad hereof, and caused the Combatants to be brought before him, to whom he said: Gentlemen, to save the bloud of you all, I have found a way, and yet the controversie shall be ended that is now amongst you: Are you contented to stand to his Judgement that I shall appoint? They all answered, that they were. Then were they bid to returne three dayes after. In that time Fryer Bacon had caused the Body of their deceased Father to be taken out of the ground, and brought to Court: the body he did cause to be bound to a Stake, naked from the middle upwards, and likewise prepared three Bowes and Shafts for the three Brethren: all these kept hee secretly.
The third day being come, came these three Brethren, to whom Fryer Bacon in the presence of the King, gave the three Bowes and Shafts, saying, Be not offended at what I have done, there is no other way but this to iudge your cause: See here is the body of your dead Father, shoot at him; for he that commeth neerest to his heart, shall have all the Lands and Goods.
The two eldest prepared themselves, and shot at him, and stucke their Arrowes in his Breast. Then bid they the yongest to shoot: but hee refused it, saying, I will rather loose all, then would that body that I so loved living: Had you ever had but halfe that love (in you) to him that I have, you would rather have had your owne bodies mangled, then to suffer his livelesse Corps thus to be used; nay, you doe not onely suffer it, but you are the actors of this act of shame: and speaking this, he wept.
Fryer Bacon seeing this, did give the Judgement on his side, for he loved his Father best, and therefore had all his Lands and Goods: the other two Brothers went away with shame for what they had done. This deed of Fryer Bacons was highly commended of all men; for hee did not onely give true Judgement, but also saved much blood that would have beene shed, had they beene suffered to have fought.
How Fryer Bacon served the Theeves that robbed him, and of the sport that his man Miles had with them.
It was reported about the Countrey, how that the King had given Fryer Bacon great store of Treasure. The report of this wealth made three Theeves plot to rob Fryer Bacons house, which they put in practise one Evening in this fashion. They knockt at the doore, and were let in by Miles: No sooner were they in, but they tooke hold of him, and led him into the house, and finding Fryer Bacon there, they told him that they came for some money, which they must and would have ere they departed from thence. Hee told them, that hee was but ill stored with money at that time, and therefore desired them to forbeare him till some other time. They answered him againe, that they knew that hee had enough, and therefore it was but folly to delay them, but straight let them have it by faire meanes, or else they would use that extreamitie to him that hee would bee loath to suffer. Hee seeing them so resolute, told them that they should have all that hee had, and gave to them one hundred pounds a man. Herewith they seemed content, and would have gone their wayes. Nay said Fryer Bacon, I pray Gentlemen at my request tarry a little, and heare some of my mans Musicke; you are hyred reasonable well already, I hope in courtesie you will not deny mee so small a request. That will wee not, (said they all.)
Miles thought now to have some sport with them, which hee had, and therefore plaid lustily on his Tabor and Pipe: so soone as they heard him play (against their wits) they fell a dauncing, and that after such a laborious manner, that they quickly wearied themselves (for they had all that while the bagges of money in their hands.) Yet had Fryer Bacon not revenge enough on them, but bid his man Miles leade them some larger measure as hee though fitting, which Miles did. Miles straight ledde them out of the house into the fields, they followed him, dauncing after a wilde Anticke manner: Then led hee them over a broad dike full of water, and they followed him still, but not so good a way as he went (for he went over the Bridge, but they by reason of their dauncing, could not keepe the Bridge, but fell off, and dauncing through the water) then led hee them through a way where a horse might very well have beene up to the belly; they followed him, and were so durtie, as though they had wallowed in the myre like Swine: Sometime gave hee them rest onely to laugh at them: then were they so sleepie when hee did not play, that they fell to the ground. Then on the sudden would hee play againe, and make them start up and follow him. thus kept hee them the better part of the night. At last hee in pitie left playing, and let them rest. They being asleepe on the bare ground, hee tooke their money from them, and gave them this Song for their farewell, To the tune of, O doe me no harme good man. [for a Renaissance version of the tune, see Lory Werths' MIDI files]
You roaring boyes, and sturdy Theeves,
you Pimpes, and Apple-squires:
Lament the case of these poore knaves,
and warme them by your fires.
They snorting lye like Hogs in stie,
but hardly are so warme:
If all that cheat, such hap should meet,
to true men 'twere no harme.
They money had, which made them glad,
their ioy did not indure:
Were all Theeves serv'd as these have beene,
I thinke there would be fewer.
When that they awake, their hearts will ake,
to thinke upon their losse;
And though the gallows they escape,
they goe by weeping crosse.
Your Trulls expect your comming home
with full and heavy purse:
When that they see tis nothing so,
oh how they'le rayle and curse.
For he that loves to keepe a whore,
must have a giving hand:
Which makes a many knaves be choakt,
for bidding true men stand.
They were scarce any thing the better for this Song, for they slept all that while: so Miles left them at their rest; but they had small cause to sleepe so soundly as they did, for they were more wetter then ere was Scold with ducking. Miles gave his Master his money againe, & told the story of their merry pilgrimage: he laughed at it, and wisht all men had the like power to serve all such knaves in the like kind. The theeves waking in the morning & missing their money, and seeing themselves in that plight, thought that they had beene served so by some divine power, for robbing a Church-man, and therefore they swore one to the other, never to meddle with any Church man againe.
How Vandermast, for the disgrace that he had received by Fryer Bacon, sent a Souldier to kill him; and how Fryer Bacon escaped killing, and turned the Souldier from an Atheist to be a good Christian.
Fryer Bacon sitting one day in his Study, looked over all the dangers that were to happen to him that moneth, there found he, that in the second weeke of the moneth, betweene Sunne rising and setting, there was a great danger to fall on him, which would without great care of prevention take away his life. This danger which he did foresee, was caused by the Germane Coniurer Vandermast, for he vowed a revenge for the disgrace that he had received. To execute the same, hee hyred a Walloon Souldier, and gave him one thousand crownes to do the same, fifty before hand, and fifty when hee had killed him.
Fryer Bacon, to save himselfe from this danger that was like to happen to him, would alwayes when that he read, hold a ball of Brasse in his hand, and under that ball would set a bason of Brasse, that if hee did chance to sleepe in his reading, the fall of the Ball out of his hand into the Bason, might wake him. being one day in his Study in this manner, and asleepe the Walloon Souldier was got in to him, and had drawne his sword to kill him: but as hee was ready for to strike, downe fell the Ball out of Fryer Bacons hand, and waked him. Hee seeing the Souldier stand there with a sword drawen, asked him what hee was? and wherefore hee came there in that manner? The Souldier boldly answered him thus: I am a Walloon, and a Souldier, and more then this, a villaine: I am come hither, because I was sent; I was sent, because I was hyred; I was hyred, because I durst do it; the think I should doe, is not done; the thing to be done, is to kill thee: thus have you heard what I am and why I came. Fryer Bacon wondered at this mans resolution; then asked hee of him, who set him on worke to be a murderer? Hee boldly told him, Vandermast the Germane Coniurer. Fryer Bacon then asked him what Religion he was of? He answered, Of that which many doe professe, the chiefe principles of which were these: to goe to an Ale-house, and to a Church with one devotion, to abstaine from evill for want of action, and to doe good against their wills. It is a good profession for a devill (said Fryer Bacon) Doest thou beleeve hell? I beleeve no such thing, answered the Souldier. Then will I shew thee the contrary, said the Fryer: and presently raysed the ghost of Iulian the Apostate, who came up with his body burning, and so full of wounds, that it almost did affright the Souldier out of his wits. Then Bacon did command this spirit to speake, and to shew what hee was, and wherefore hee was thus tormented? Then spake hee to it in this manner: I sometimes was a Romane Emperour; some count greatnesse and happinesse: I had a happinesse beyond my Empire, had I kept that, I had beene a happy man: would I had lost my Empire when I lost that, I was a christian, that was my happinesse; but my selfe-love and pride made me to fall from it; for which I now am punished with never ceasing torments, which I must still endure: the like which I enioy is now prepared for unbeleeving wretches like my selfe, so vanished he away.
All this while the Souldier stood quaking, and sweat as he had felt the torments himselfe: and falling downe on his knees desired Fryer Bacon to instruct him in a better course of life, then he had yet gone in. Fryer Bacon told him, that he should not want his helpe in any thing, which he performed, instructing him better: then gave he him money, and sent him to the warres of the holy land, where he was slaine.
How Fryer Bacon, deceived an old Usurer.
Not farre from Fryer Bacon, dwelt an olde man that had great store of money which hee let out to use, and would never doe any good with it to the poore, though Fryer Bacon had often put him in minde of it, and wished him to do some good whilest he lived. Fryer Bacon seeing this, by his Art made an Iron pot, which seemed full of gold, this being done, hee went to this rich Usurer, and told him, that he had some gold which he had gathered in his time that he had lived; but it being much in quantity, hee feared that if it were knowne, it would be taken from him, because it as unfitting a man of his coat should have so much: Now he desired him that hee would let him have some four hundred pounds, which was not the sixt part of his gold, and he should keepe it for him. The Usurer was glad to heare of this, and told him that he should have it, and that he would keepe his gold as safe as he himselfe would: Fryer Bacon was glad to heare of this, and presently fetcht the pot: at the sight of which the Usurer laughed, and thought to himselfe, how all that gold was his owne, for hee had a determination to gull the Fryer, but he gulled himselfe. See heere is the gold (said Fryer Bacon) now let me have of you one hundred pounds, and keep you this gold till I pay it backe againe: Very willingly (said the Usurer) and told him one hundred pounds out, which Fryer Bacon tooke, and delivered him the pot, and so went his way. This mony did Fryer Bacon give to divers poore schollers, and other people, and bid them pray for old Good-gatherers soules health (so was this Usurer call'd) which these poore people did, and would give him thankes & prayers when they met him, which he did wonder at; for he never deserved the praiers of any man. At last this old Good-gatherer went to looke on this pot of gold, but instead of gold he found nothing but earth at which sight he would have died, had not his other gold hindred him, which hee was to leave behind him: so gathering up his spirits, hee went to Fryer Bacon, and told him he was abused & cheated; for which hee would have the law of him, unlesse he made him restitution. Fryer Bacon told him, that he had not cheated him, but bin his faithfull steward to the poore, which he could not chuse but know, either by their prayers, or their thanke: & as for the law he feared it not, but bid him doe his worst. The old man seeing Fryer Bacons resolution, went his way, and said, that hereafter he would be his owne steward.
How Miles, Fryer Bacons man, did coniure for meat, and got meat for himselfe and his Hoast.
Miles chanced one day upon some businesse, to goe some sixe miles from home, and being loth to part with some company that he had, he was belated, & could get but halfe way home that night: to save his purse hee went to ones house that was his Masters acquaintance: but when he came, the good man of the house was not at home, and the woman would not let him have lodging. Miles seeing such cold entertainment, wished that he had not troubled her, but being now there, he was loth to goe any further, and therefore with good words he perswaded her for to give him lodging that night. She told him that she would willingly do it, if her husband were at home, but he being now out of towne, it would bee to her discredit to lodge any man. You neede not to mistrust me (said Miles) for I have no thought to attempt your chastitie: locke me in any place where there is a bed, and I will not trouble you till to morrow that I rise. She thinking her husband would be angry if she should deny any of his friends so small a request, consented that he should lye there, if that he would be locked up: Miles was contented, and presently went to bed, and she locked him into the chamber where he lay.
Long had not he beene a bed, but he heard the doore open: with that he rose and peeped through a chinke of the partition, and saw an old man come in: this man set downe his Basket that he had on his arme, and gave the woman of the house three or foure sweet kisses, which made Miles his mouth runne with water to see it: then did hee undoe his Basket, and pulled out of it a fat Capon roasted, and Bread, with a bottle of good olde Sacke: this gave hee unto her, saying: Sweet heart, hearing thy Husband was out of towne, I thought good to visite thee, I am not come emptie handed, but have brought some thing to bee merrie withall: lay the cloth sweete Hony, and let us first to Banquet, and then to bed. She kindly thanked him, and presently did as he had her: they were not scarce set at the Table, but her husband returning backe, knockt at the doore. The woman hearing this, was amazed, and knew not what to doe with her old Lover: but looking on her apron-strings, she straite found (as women use to doe) a tricke to put her selfe free from this feare; for shee put her Lover under the bed, the Capon & Bread she put under a Tub, the bottle of Wine shee put behinde the Chest, & then she did open the doore, & with a dissembling kisse welcomed her husband home, asking him the reason why that he returned so quickly. He told her, that hee had forgot the money that hee should have caried with him, but on the morrow betimes he would be gone. Miles saw and heard all this; and having a desire to taste of the Capon & the Wine, called to the Goodman. He asked his wife who that was? She told him, an acquaintance of his, that intreated lodging there that night. He bid her open the doore, which she did, and let Miles out. Hee seeing Miles there, bid him welcome, and bade his wife to set them some meate on the table: she told him, that there was not any ready, but prayed him to keepe his stomacke till to morrow, and then she would provide them a good breakefast. Since it is so Miles (said the goodman) wee must rest contented and sleepe out our hunger. Nay stay, said Miles, if that you can eate, I can find you good meate; I am a Scholler and have some Art. I would faine see it (said the goodman). You shall, quoth Miles, and that presently. With that Miles pulled forth a booke out of his bosome, and began his Coniuration in this fashion:
From the fearefull Lake below,
From whence Spirits come and goe;
Straightway come one and attend
Fryer Bacons man, and friend.
Comes there none yet, quoth Miles? then I must use some other Charme.
Now the Owle is flowne abroad,
For I heare the croaking Toade,
And the Bat that shuns the day,
Through the darke doth make her way.
Now the ghosts of men doe rise,
And with fearefull hedious cryes,
Seeke revengement (from the good)
On their heads that spilt their blood,
Come some Spirit, quicke I say,
Night's the Devils Holy-day:
Where ere you be, in dennes, or lake,
In the Ivy, Ewe, or Brake;
Quickly come and me attend,
That am Bacons man and friend.
But I will have you take no shape,
Of a Beare, a Horse, or Ape:
Nor will I have you terrible,
And therefore come invisible.
Now he is come, (quoth Miles), and therefore tell mee what meat you will have mine Hoast? Any thing Miles (saith the Goodman) what thou wilt. Why then (sayd Miles) what say you to a Capon? I love it above all meat (said the Goodman.) Why then a Capon you shall have, and that a good one too. Bemo my spirit that I have raised to doe mee service, I charge thee, looke and search about the earth, and bring me hither straight the best of Capons ready rosted. Then stood hee still a little, as though hee had attended the comming of his spirit, and on the sudden said: It is well done my Bemo, hee hath brought me (mine Hoast) a fat Capon from the King of Tripolis owne Table, and bread with it. But where is it Miles (said the Hoast) I see neither Spirit nor Capon. Looke under the Tub (quoth Miles) and there you shall finde it. He presently did, and brought (to his wives griefe) the Capon and Bread out. Stay (quoth Miles) we doe yet want some drinke that is comfortable and good; I thinke (mine Hoast) a bottle of Malligo Sacke were not amisse, I will have it: Bemo, haste thee to Malligo, and fetch me from the Governours, a Bottle of his best Sacke. The poore woman thought that hee would have betrayed her and her lover, and therefore wished that hee had beene hanged, when that hee came first into her house. Hee having stood a little while, as before, saide: Well done, Bemo, looke behind the great Chest (mine Hoast:) Hee did so, and brought out the Bottle of Sacke. Now (quoth hee) Miles sit downe, and welcome to thine own Cheere: You may see Wife (quoth hee) what a man of Art can doe, get a fatte Capon, and a Bottle of good Wine in a quarter of an houre, and for nothing, which is best of all: Come (good wife) sit downe, and bee merry: for all this is payd for, I thanke Miles.
Shee sate, but could not eate a bit for anger, but wished that every bit they did eate might choake them: Her old Lover too that lay under the bed all this while, was ready to bepisse himselfe for feare, for hee still looked when that Miles would discover him. when they had eaten and dranke well, the goodman desired Miles that hee would let him see the Spirit that fetched them this good cheere: Miles seemed unwilling, telling him that it was against the Lawes of Art, to let an illiterate man see a Spirit: but yet for once hee would let him see it, and told him withall, that hee must open the doore, and soundly beat the Spirit, or else hee should bee troubled hereafter with it: and because hee should not feare it, hee would put it into the shape of some one of his neighbours. The Goodman told him, that hee need not to doubt his valour, hee would beat him soundly, and to that purpose hee tooke a good Cudgell in his hand, and did stand ready for him. Miles then went to the bed side, under which the old man lay, and began to Coniure him with these words,
Bemo quickly come, appeare,
Like an old man that dwels neere;
Quickly rise, and in his shape,
From this house make thy escape;
Quickly rise, or else I sweare,
Ile put thee in a worser feare.
The old man seeing no remedy, but that hee must needes come forth, put a good face on it, and rose from under the Bed: Behold my Spirit (quoth Miles) that brought mee all that you have had: Now be as good as your word, and swaddle him soundly. I protest (said the Goodman) your divell is as like Goodman Sumpe the Tooth-drawer, as a Pomewater is like an Apple. Is it possible that your Spirits can take other mens shapes? Ile teach this to keepe his owne shape; With that, hee did beate the old man soundly, so that Miles was fain to take him off, and put the old man out of Doore; so after some laughing, to bed that all went: but the woman could not sleepe for griefe, that her old Lover had had such a hard usage for her sake.
How Fryer Bacon did helpe a young man to his Sweetheart, which Fryer Bungey would have marryed to another; and of the mirth that was at the wedding.
An Oxfordshire Gentleman had long time loved a faire Maide, called Millisant; this love of his was a kindely received of her, as it was freely given of him, so that there wanted nothing to the finishing of their loves, but the consent of her father, who would not grant that she should be his wife (though formerly he had beene a meanes to further the match) by reason there was a Knight that was a sutor to her, and did desire that he might have her to his wife: But this Knight could never get from her the least token of good will: So surely was her love fixed upon the Gentleman.
This Knight seeing himselfe thus despised, went to Fryer Bungey, and told him his minde, and did promise him a good piece of Money, if he could get her for him, either by his Art or Counsell.
Bungey (being covetous) told him, that there was no better way in his minde, than to get her with her Father to goe take the ayre in a coach; and if he could doe so, he would by his Art so direct the Horses, that they should come to an old Chappell, where he would attend, and there they might secretly be married.
The Knight rewarded him for his Counsell, and told him, that if it tooke effect, hee would be more bountifull unto him: and presently went to her Father, and told him of this. Hee liked well of it, and forced the poore Maide to ride with them. So soone as they were in the Coach, the Horses runne presently to the Chappell, where they found Fryer Bungey attending for them: At the sight of the Church and the Priest, the poore Maide knew that she was betraied, so that for griefe shee fell in a swound, to see which her Father and the Knight were very much grieved, and used their best skill for her recovery.
In this time, her best beloved Gentleman, did come to her Fathers to visite her, but finding her not there, and hearing that she was gone with her Father and the Knight, hee mistrusted some foule play, and in all hast went to Fryer Bacon, and desired of him some help to recover his Love againe, whom he feared was utterly lost.
Fryer Bacon (knowing him for a vertuous Gentleman) pittyed him, and to give his griefes some release, shewed him a Glasse, wherein any one might see any thing done (within fifty miles space) that they desired: So soone as he looked in the Glasse, hee saw his Love Milisant with her Father, and the Knight, ready to be marryed by Fryer Bungey: At the sight of this hee dryed out that he was undone, for now should hee lose his life in losing of his Love. Fryer bacon bids him take comfort, for he would prevent the marriage; so taking this Gentleman in his armes, hee set himselfe downe in an inchanted Chaire, and suddenly they were carryed through the ayre to the Chappell. Just as they came in, Fryer Bungey was ioyning their hands to marry them: but Fryer Bacon spoyled his speech, for he strucke them dumbe, so that he could not speake a word. Then raised he a myst in the Chappell, so that neither the Father could see his Daughter, nor the Daughter her Father, nor the Knight either of them. Then tooke he Milisant by the hand, and led her to the man that she most desired: they both wept for ioy, that they so happily once more had met, and kindly thanked Fryer Bacon.
It greatly pleased Fryer Bacon to see the passion of these two Lovers, and seeing them both contented, hee marryed them at the Chappell doore, whilest her Father, the Knight, and Fryer Bungey went groping within, and could not find the way out. Now when he had married them, he bid them get lodging at the next Village, and he would send his man with money: (for the gentleman was not stored, and hee had a great way to his house) they did as he bad them. That night hee sent his man Miles with money to them; but hee kept her Father, the Knight, and Fryer Bungey till the next day at noone in the Chappell, ere he released them.
The Gentleman and his new married wife made that night a great Supper for ioy of their marriage, and bid to it most of the Village: They wanted nothing but Musicke, for which they made great moane. this want, Fryer Bacon (though he was absent) supplied: For, after Supper there came such a Maske, that the like was never seene in that Village: For first, there was heard most sweet still Musicke, then wind Musicke: then came three Apes, and three Monkeys, each of them carrying a Torch: after them followed five Apes and Monkeyes more, all dressed in Anticke coats: these last five fell a dancing in such an odde manner, that they moved all the beholders to much laughter: so after divers Antick changes, they did reverence to the Bridegroome and Bride, and so departed in order as they came in. They all did marvell from whence these should come: but the Bridegroome knew that it was Fryer Bacons Art that gave them this grace to their Wedding. When all was done, to bed they went, and enioyed their wishes. The next day he went home to his owne house with his Bride; and for the cost hee had bestowed on them, most part of the Townes-folke brought them on their way.
Miles made one amongst them too; he for his Masters sake was so plyed with Cups, that he in three dayes was scarce sober: for his welcome, at his departure he gave them this Song: To the tune of, I have been a Fidler, &c.
And did not you heare of a mirth that befell,
the morrow after a Wedding day:
At carrying a Bride at home to dwell,
and away to Twiver, away, away?
The Quintin was set, and the garlands were made,
'tis pitty old custome should ever decay:
And woe be to him that was horst on a Iade,
for he carried no credit away, away.
We met a Consort of Fiddle-dedees,
we set them a cock-horse and made them to play,
The winning of Bullen, and Uspie-frees,2
and away to Twiver, away, away.
There was ne'r a Lad in all the Parish,
that would goe to the Plow that day:
But on his Fore-horse his Wench he carries,
and away to Twiver, away, away.
The Butler was quicke, and the Ale he did tap,
the Maidens did make the Chamber full gay:
The Serving-men gave me a Fudling Cap,
and I did caryed it away, away.
The Smith of the Towne his Liquor so tooke,
the he was perswaded the ground look'd blue,
And I dare boldly to sweare on a booke,
such Smiths as he is, there are but a few.
A Posset was made, and the women did sip,
and simpering said they could eat no more:
Full many a Maid was laid on the lip:
Ile say no more, but so give ore.
They kindly thanked Miles for his Song, and so sent him home with a Foxe at his Tayle.3 His Master asked him, Where he had beene so long? He told him, at the Wedding. I know it (said Fryer Bacon) that thou hast beene there, and I know also (thou beast) that thou hast been every day drunke. That is the worst that you can say by mee, Master, for still poore men must be drunke, if that they take a cup more then ordinary; but it is not so with the rich. Why how is it with the rich then? I will tell you (said Miles) in few words:
Lawyers they are sicke,
And Fryers ill at ease;
But poore men they are drunke,
And all is one disease.
Well sirrah (said Fryer Bacon) let mee not heare that you are infected any more with this disease, lest I give you some sawce to your sweet meat. Thus did Fryer Bacon helpe these poore Lovers, who in short time got the love of the old man, and lived in great ioy: Fryer Bungey his tongue was againe let loose, and all were friends.
How Vandermast, and Fryer Bungey met, and how they strived who should excell one another in their Coniurations; and of their deaths.
Vandermast thinking that Fryer Bacon had beene dead, came into england, and in Kent met with Fryer Bungey: he owing him no good will for Fryer Bacons sake, tooke his horse out of the Stable, and in stead of it, left a Spirit like unto it. Fryer Bungey in the morning rose, and mounting this Spirit (which he thought had been his Horse) rode on his iourney: but he riding thorow a water, was left in the middst of it by this Spirit; and being thus wet, hee returned to his Inne. At the Inne doore, Vandermast met him, and asked him, if that were swimming time of the yeare: Bungey told him, If that he had beene so well Horsed as he was, when Fryer Bacon sent him into Germany, hee might have escaped that washing. At this Vandermast bit his lippe, and said no more, but went in. Bungey that that he would be even with him, which was in this manner. Vandermast loved a Wench well, which was in the house, and sought many times to winne her with gold, love, or promises. Bungey knowing this, did shape a Spirit like this Wench, which he sent to Vandermast.
Vandermast appointed the Spirit (thinking it had beene the Wench) to come to his Chamber that night, and was very ioyfull that hee should enioy her now at the last: but his ioy turned into sorrow, and his wanton hopes into a bad nights lodging: For Fryer Bungey had by his Art spread such a Sheete on his bed, that no sooner was he laid with the Spirit on it, but was carryed through the ayre, and let fall into a deepe Pond. Where Vandermast had beene drowned, if hee had not had the Art of swimming: Hee got quickely out of the Pond, and shaked himselfe like a rough Water-Spaniell: but being out, hee was as much vexed as before, for he could not tell the way home, but was glad to keepe himselfe in heate with walking.
Next day he comming to his Inne, Fryer Bungey asked him how he did like his Wench? He said, So well, that hee wished him such another. Bungey told him, that his Order did forbid him the use of any; and therefore he might keepe them for his friends; Thus did they continually vexe each other, both in words and ill actions. Vandermast desiring to doe Fryer Bungey a mischiefe, did challenge him the field (not to fight at Sword and Dagger, single Rapier, or case of Ponyards, but at worser weapons farre, it was at that Diabolicall Art of Magicke) there to shew which of them was most cunning or had most power over the Devill: Bungey accepted of his challenge, and both provided themselves of things belonging to the Art, and to the field they went.
There they both spreed their Circles some hundred foote from one another: and after some other Ceremonies did Vandermast begin: Hee by his Charmes did rayse up a fiery Dragon, which did runne about Fryer Bungeys Circle, and did scorch him with his heate, so that he was almost ready to melt. Fryer Bungey tormented Vandermast, in another Element: For he raysed up the Sea-monster that Perseus killed when he did redeeme the faire Andromida. This Sea-monster did run about Vandermast, and such flouds of water hee did send out of his wide mouth, that Vandermast was almost drowned. Then did Fryer Bungey rayse a Spirit up like Saint George, who fought with the Dragon, and killed it: Vandermast (following his example) raysed up Perseus, who fought also with the Sea-monster, and killed it: So were they both released from their danger.
They being not contented with this triall of their skill, went further with their Coniurations and raised up two Spirits, each of them one. Bungey charged his Spirit for to assist him with his greatest power hee had, that by it hee might be able to overcome Vandermast. The Devill told him he would, if that he from his left arme would give him but three drops of bloud: But if that he did deny him that, then should Vandermast have power over him to doe what he would; the like told Vandermasts Devill to him: To this demand of the Spirits, they both agreed, thinking for to overcome each other; but the Devill overthrew them both.
They having given the Devill this bloud, as is before spoken of, they both fell againe to their Coniurations: first, Bungey did raise Achilles with his Greekes, who marched about Vandermast, and threatned him. Then Vandermast raysed Hector with his Trojans, who defended him from Achilles and the Greekes. Then began there a great battell betweene the Greekes and Trojans, which continued a good space: At last Hector was slaine, and the Trojans fled. Then did follow a great tempest, with thundring and lightning, so that the two Coniurers wished that they had beene away. But wishes were in vaine: for now the time was come, that the Devill would be paid for the knowledge that hee had lent them, hee would tarry no longer, but then tooke them in the height of their wickednesse, and bereft them of their lives.
When the Tempest was ended, (which did greatly affright the Townes thereby) the Townes-men found the bodies of these two men, (Vandermast and Bungey) breathelesse, and strangely burnt with fire. The one had Christian buriall, because of his Order sake: the other, because he was a stranger. Thus was the end of these two famous Characters.
How Miles would Conjure for Mony, and how he broke his legge for feare.
Miles one day finding his Masters Study open, stole out of it one of his Coniuring Bookes: with this Booke would Miles needes Coniure for some money: (for he saw that his Master had money enough, and he desired the like, which did make him bold to trouble one of his Masters Devils.) In a private place he thought it best to doe it: therefore hee went up to the top of the house, and there began to reade: Long had hee not read, but a Devill came to him in an ugly shape, and asked him what he would have? Miles being affrighted, could not speake, but stood quaking there like an Aspin-leafe: The Devill, seeing him so, (to increase his feare) raised a tempest, and hurled fire about; which made Miles leape from off the Leades, and with his fall broke his legge.
Fryer Bacon hearing this noyse, came forth, and found his man Miles on the ground, and the Devill hurling fire on the house top. first laid hee the Devill againe: then went hee to this man, and asked him how he got this broken legge? He told him that his Devill did it: for he had frighted him, and made him leape off from the house top. What didest thou there, (said his Master.) I went to Coniure, Sir, (said Miles) for money: but I have gotten nothing but a broken legge: and I now must begge for money to cure that, if you be not the more pittifull to me.
I have oftentimes given you warning not to meddle with my Bookes (said his Master) and yet you will still be doing: Take heede, you had best, how you deale with the Devill againe: for he that had power to breake your legge, will breake your necke, if you againe doe meddle with him: for this I doe forgive you: for your legge breaking hath paid for your sawcinesse: and though I gave you not a broken head, I will give you a playster, and so sent him to the Chirurgions.
How two young Gentlemen that came to Fryer Bacon, to know how their Fathers did, killed one another, how Fryer Bacon for griefe, did breake his rare Glasse, wherein he could see any thing that was done within fifty miles about him.
It is spoken of before now, that Fryer Bacon had a glasse, which was of that excellent nature, that any man might behold any thing that he desired to see, within the compasse of Fiftie miles round about him: With this Glasse he had pleasured divers kindes of people; for Fathers did oftentimes desire to see (thereby) how their Children did, and Children how their Parents did, one friend how another did; and one Enemy (sometimes) how his Enemies did; so that from farre they would come to see this wonderfull Glasse.
It happened one day, that there came to him two yong gentlemen, (that were Countreymen, and Neighbours Children) for to know of him by his Glasse, how their fathers did; He being no niggard of his cunning, let them see his Glasse, wherein they straight beheld their wishes, which they (through their owne follies) bought at their lives losses, as you shall heare.
The fathers of these two Gentlemen, (in their sons absence) were become great foes; this hatred betweene them was growne to that height, that whersoever they met, they had not onely words but blowes.
Just at that time, as it should seeme, that their Sonnes were looking to see how they were in health, they were met and had drawne, and were together by the eares.
Their Sonnes seeing this, (and having beene alwayes great friends) knew not what to say to one another, but beheld each other with angry lookes: At last, one of their fathers, as they might perceive in the Glasse, had a fall, & the other taking advantage, stood over him ready to strike him: The Sonne of him that was downe, could then containe himselfe no longer, but told the other young-man, that his father had received wrong. He answered againe, that it was faire. At last there grew such foule words betweene them, and their blowes were so heated, that they presently stabbed one another with their Daggers, and so fell downe dead.
Fryer Bacon seeing them fall, ranne to them, but it was too late; for they were breathlesse ere hee came. This made him to grieve exceedingly: He iudging that they had received the cause of their deaths by this his Glasse, tooke the Glasse in his hand, and uttered words to this effect.
Wretched Bacon, wretched in thy knowledge, in thy understanding wretched; for thy Art hath beene the ruine of these two Gentlemen. Had I beene busied in those holy things, the which mine Order tyes me to, I had not had that time that made this wicked Glasse: Wicked I well may call it, that is the causer of so vile an Act; would it were sensible, then should it feele my wrath, but being as it is, Ile ruine it for ruining of them: and with that he broke his rare and wonderfull Glasse, whose like the whole world had not. In this griefe of his, came there newes to him of the Deaths of Vandermast and Fryer Bungey. this did increase his griefe, and made him so sorrowfull, that in three dayes he would not eate any thing, but kept his Chamber.
How Fryer Bacon burnt his Books of Magicke, and gave himselfe to the study of Divinity onely, and how hee turned Anchorite.
In the time that Fryer Bacon kept his Chamber, hee fell into divers meditations: Sometimes into the Vanitie of Arts and Sciences: then would hee condemne himselfe for studying of those things that were so contrary to his Order, and soules health, and would say, that Magicke made a Man a Devill: Sometimes would he meditate on Divinity, then would he cry out upon himselfe, for neglecting the study of it, and for studying Magicke: sometimes would he meditate on the shortnesse of mans life, then would he condemne himselfe for spending a time so short, so ill as he had done his: So would he goe from one thing to another, and in all condemne his former studies.
And that the world should know how truely hee did repent his wicked life, hee caused to be made a great fire, and sending for many of his Friends, Schollers, and others, hee spake to them after this manner: My good Friends and fellow Students, it is not unknowne unto you, how that through my Art I have attained to that credit, that few men living ever had: Of the wonders that I have done all England can speake, both King and Commons: I have unlocked the secrets of Art and Nature, and let the world see those things, that have layed hid ever since the death of hermes, that rare and profound Philosopher: My studies have found the secrets of the Starres, the bookes that I have made of them, doe serve for Presidents to our greatest Doctors, so excellent hath my Iudgement beene therein.
I likewise have found out the secrets of Trees, Plants, and Stones, with their severall uses; yet all this knowledge of mine I esteeme so lightly, that I wish that I were ignorant, and knew nothing: for the knowledge of these things, (as I have truely found) serveth not to better a man in goodnesse, but onely to make him proud, and thinke too well of himselfe. What hath all my knowledge of Natures secrets gained mee? Onely this, the losse of a better knowledge, the losse of divine Studies, which makes the immortall part of man: (his Soule) blessed.
I have found, that my knowledge hath beene a heavie burthen, and hath kept downe my good thoughts: but I will remove the cause, which are these Bookes: which I doe purpose here before you all to burne. they all intreated him to spare the Bookes, because in them there were those things that after-ages might receive great benefit by. He would not hearken unto them, but threw them all into the fire, and in that flame burnt the greatest learning in the world.
Then did he dispose of all his goods, some part he gave to poore Schollers, and some he gave to other poore folkes: nothing left he for himselfe: then caused he to be made in the Church-wall a Cell, where he locked himselfe in, and there remained to his death. His time he spent in Prayer, Meditation, and such Divine exercises, and did seeke by all meanes to perswade men from the studie of Magicke.
Thus lived hee some two yeares space in that Cell, never comming forth; His meate and drinke he received in at a Window, and at that window he did discourse with those that came to him: his grave he digged with his owne nayles, and was laid there when he died. Thus was the Life and Death of this famous Fryer, who lived most part of his life a Magician, and dyed a true penitent Sinner, and an Anchorite.
F I N I S.
1. London : G. Purslowe for F. Grove, 1627. The copy is from the British Museum, in the Early English Books microform series. The work probably dates to about 1555. In this exemplar, the pages are unnumbered; the running title is "The Famous History // of Fryer Bacon." The copy is incomplete; missing passages are supplied from subsequent editions, mostly that of 1640.
2. op zijn Vriesch, "upsy Friese", "after the Friesian manner": to excess, especially in drinking. Presumably this is the name of a song or tune (and "Winning of Bullen" the name of another).
3. The traditional badge of a fool or jester.
This page is created by James Eason.