Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
When Prince Edward returns from hunting in a downcast mood, Lacy remarks on his lord’s temper. It remains for Ralph, the court fool, to hit on the truth. The hunting party stopped for refreshments at the keeper’s lodge in Fressingfield Park, and Prince Edward fell in love with Margaret, the keeper’s daughter.
Plans are laid to win Margaret’s love for Edward, but the maid is modest and will keep her virtue for her husband. Ralph proposes that Edward dress in the jester’s motley and that Ralph dress as the prince. They will then go to Oxford and enlist the help of Friar Roger Bacon, since only magic will win over the girl. Lacy is to go to the fair at Harleston to spy on Margaret there and to press a suit on behalf of the prince.
At Oxford, Friar Bacon and his poor scholar Miles receive a deputation of learned doctors. Burden, their spokesman, asks about certain rumors they hear. It is said that Friar Bacon fashioned a great head of brass and with it he is going to raise a wall of brass around all of England. Bacon admits that he planned such a project. Burden doubts that even Friar Bacon can accomplish such a mighty deed.
To demonstrate his power, Friar Bacon has a devil bring a tavern host from Henley, a woman with whom Burden spent the previous day. Thus the doctors are convinced of Bacon’s powers. At Harleston, Lacy approaches Margaret. Although the earl is dressed as a farmer, his manners are so elegant that Margaret...
(The entire section is 1193 words.)
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