- As lately lifting up the leaves of worthy writers’ works,
- Wherein the noble acts and deeds of many hidden lurks,
- Our author he hath found the glass of glory shining bright,
- Wherein their lives are to be seen which honor did delight,
- To be a lantern unto those which daily do desire
- Apollo’s garland by desert in time for to aspire;
- Wherein the froward chances oft of fortune you shall see,
- Wherein the cheerful countenance of good successes be,
- Wherein true lovers findeth joy with hugy heaps of care,
- Wherein as well as famous facts, ignomious placed are,
- Wherein the just reward of both is manifestly shown,
- That virtue from the root of vice might openly be known.
- And doubting naught right courteous all, in your accustomed wont
- And gentle ears, our author he is prest to bide the brunt
- Of babblers’ tongues, to whom he thinks as frustrate all his toil,
- As pearls taste to filthy swine which in the mire doth moil.
- Well, what he hath done for your delight, he gave not me in charge:
- The actors come, who shall express the same to you at large.
Scene i Edit
- As to the weary wandering wights whom waltering waves environ,
- No greater joy of joys may be, then when from out the ocean
- They may behold the altitude of billows to abate,
- For to observe the longitude of seas in former rate,
- And having then the latitude of sea-room for to pass,
- Their joy is greater through the grief than erst before it was;
- So likewise I, Clamydes, Prince of Suavia, noble soil,
- Bringing my bark to Denmark here, to bide the bitter broil
- And beating blows of billows high, while raging storms did last,
- My griefs was greater then might be, but, tempests overpassed,
- Such gentle calms ensued hath as makes my joys more,
- Through terror of the former fear, than erst it was before.
- So that I sit in safety, as sea-man under shrouds
- When he perceives the storms be past, through vanishing of clouds;
- For why
- The doubtful care that drave me off, in danger to prevail,
- Is dashed through bearing lesser brain and keeping under sail,
- So that I have through travail long at last possessed the place
- Whereas my bark in harbor safe doth pleasures great embrace,
- And hath such license limited, as heart can seem to ask,
- To go and come, of custom free or any other task:
- I mean by Juliana she, that blaze of beauty’s breeding,
- And for her noble gifts of grace, all other dames exceeding;
- She hath from bondage set me free, and freed, yet still bound
- To her above all other dames that live upon the ground;
- For had not she been merciful, my ship had rushed on rocks,
- And so decayed amids the storms through force of clubbish knocks;
- But when she saw the danger great, where subject I did stand
- In bringing of my silly bark full-fraught from out my land,
- She like a meek and modest dame—what should I else say more?—
- Did me permit with full consent to land upon her shore,
- Upon true promise that I would, here faithful still remain,
- And that perform which she had vowed for those that should obtain
- Her princely person to possess, which thing to know I stay,
- And then adventurously for her, to pass upon my way.
- Lo where she comes! Ah peerless dame, my Juliana dear!
Enter Juliana with a white shield.
- My Clamydes! of troth, sir prince, to make you stay thus here
- I proffer too much injury, that’s doubtless on my part;
- But let it no occasion give to breed within your heart
- Mistrust that I should forge or feign with you my love in aught.
- No, lady, touching you in me doth lodge no such a thought,
- But thanks for your great courtesy, that would so friendly here
- In mids of misery receive a foreign stranger mere.
- But lady, say what is your will, that it I may perstand.
- Sir prince,
- Upon a vow who spouseth me must needsly take in hand
- The flying serpent for to slay, which in the forest is,
- That of Strange Marvels beareth name; which serpent doth not miss,
- By daily use from every coast that is adjacent there,
- To fetch a virgin maid, or wife, or else some lady fair,
- To feed his hungry paunch withal, if case he can them take;
- His nature, lo, it only is of women spoil to make:
- Which thing, no doubt, did daunt me much, and made me vow indeed,
- Who should espouse me for his wife should bring to me his head;
- Whereto my father willingly did give his like consent:
- Lo, Sir Clamydes, now you know what is my whole intent;
- And if you will, as I have said, for me this travail take,
- That I am yours with heart and mind, your full account do make.
- Ah lady,
- If case these travails should surmount the travails whereby came
- Unto the worthies of the world such noble bruit and fame,
- Yea, though the dangers should surpass stout Hercules his toil,
- Who, fearing naught the dogged fiend, stern Cerberus did foil;
- Take here my hand, if life and limb the living gods do lend,
- To purchase thee the dearest drop of blood my heart shall spend:
- And therefore, lady, link with me thy loyal heart for aye,
- For I am thine till fates untwine of vital life the stay,
- Protesting here, if gods assist, the serpent for to kill.
- Then shalt thou of all women win the heart and great good-will,
- And me possess for spoused wife, who in election am
- To have the crown of Denmark here as heir unto the same;
- For why no children hath my sire besides me but one other,
- And he, indeed, is heir before for that he is my brother,
- And Clyomon so hight his name; but where he doth remain,
- Unto my parents is unknown, for once he did obtain
- Their good-wills for to go abroad, a while to spend his days
- In purchasing through active deeds both honor, laud, and praise,
- Whereby he might deserve to have the order of a knight:
- But, this omitting, unto thee, Clamydes, here I plight
- My faith and troth, if what is said by me thou dost perform.
- If not,
- Be sure, O lady, with my life I never will return.
- Then as thou seem’st in thine attire a virgin’s knight to be,
- Take thou this shield likewise of white, and bear thy name by me—
- The White Knight of the Silver Shield—to elevate thy praise.
- O lady, as your pleasure is, I shall at all assays
- Endeavor my good-will to win, if Mars do send me might,
- Such honor as your grace with joy shall welcome home your knight.
- Then farewell, my dear Clamydes: the gods direct thy way,
- And grant that with the serpent’s head behold thy face I may!
- You shall not need to doubt thereof, O faithful dame so true!
- And humbly kissing here thy hand, I bid thy grace adieu.
- Ah happy time and blissful day, wherein by fate I find
- Such friendly favors as is food to feed both heart and mind!
- To Suavia soil I swiftly will prepare my footsteps right,
- There of my father to receive the order of a knight,
- And afterwards address myself, in hope of honor’s crown,
- Both tiger fell and monster fierce by dint for to drive down.
- The flying serpent soon shall feel how boldly I dare vaunt me;
- And if that Hydra’s head she had, yet dread should never daunt me;
- If murdering Minotaur a man might count this ugly beast,
- Yet for to win a lady such I do account it least
- Of travails toil to take in hand; and therefore, farewell care,
- For hope of honor sends me forth ‘mongst warlike wights to share.
Scene ii Edit
- Come on good fellow, follow me, that I may understand
- Of whence thou art, thus traveling here in a foreign land;
- Come, why dost thou not leave loitering there and follow after me?
- [within] Ah, I am in and’t shall please you!
- In! why, where art thou in?
- Well, I see thou art a merry companion, I shall like better of thy company:
- But, I pray thee, come away.
- [within] If I get out one of my legs, as fast as I may.
- Ha lo! ah my buttock! the very foundation thereof doth break;
- Ha lo! once again, I am as fast as though I had frozen here a week.
Here let him flip unto the stage backwards, as though he had pulled his leg out of the mire, one boot off, and then rise up to run in again.
- Why how now! whither runn’st thou? art thou foolish in thy mind?
- But to fetch one of my legs and’t shall please, that I have left in the mire behind.
- One of thy legs! why, look, man, both thy legs thou hast!
- It is but one of thy boots thou hast lost, thy labor thou dost wast.
- But one of my boots! Jesu, I had such a wrench with the fall,
- That, I assure, I did think one of my legs had gone withal.
- Well, let that pass, and tell me what thou art, and what is thy name,
- And from whence thou cam’st, and whither thy journey thou dost frame,
- That I have met thee by the way, thus traveling in this sort.
- What you have requested, and’t shall please, I am able to report,
- What I am by my nature each wight shall perceive
- That frequenteth my company by the learning I have:
- I am the son of Apollo, and from his high seat I came;
- But whither I go, it skills not, for Knowledge is my name,
- And whoso hath knowledge, what needs he to care
- Which way the wind blow, his way to prepare?
- And art thou Knowledge? Of troth, I am glad that I have met with thee.
- I am Knowledge, and have as good skill in a woman as any man whatsoever he be,
- For this I am certain of, let me but lie with her all night,
- And I’ll tell you in the morning whether she is maid, wife, or sprite;
- And as for other matters, speaking of languishes or any other thing,
- I am able to serve, and’t shall please, and’t were great Alexander the King.
- Of troth, then, for thy excellency, I will thee gladly entertain,
- If in case that with me thou wilt promise to remain.
- Nay, and’t shall please ye, I am like to a woman, say nay, and take it:
- When a gentleman proffers entertainment, I were a fool to forsake it.
- Well, Knowledge, then sith thou art content my servant to be,
- And endued with noble qualities thy personage I see,
- Thou having perfect knowledge how thyself to behave,
- I will send thee of mine errand; but haste thither, I crave,
- For here I will stay thy coming again.
- Declare your pleasure, sir, and whither I shall go, and then the case is plain.
- Nay, of no great importance, but being here in Suavia
- And near unto the court, I would have thee to take thy way
- Thither with all speed, because I would hear
- If any shows or triumphs be towards, else would I not come there;
- For only upon feats of arms is all my delight.
- [aside] If I had known so much before, serve that serve will, I would have served no martial knight.—
- Well, sir, to accomplish your will, to the court I will hie,
- And what news is there stirring, bring word by and by.
- Do so, good Knowledge, and here in place thy coming I will stay,
- For nothing doth delight me more than to hear of martial play.
- Can food unto the hungry corps be cause of greater joy
- Than for the haughty heart to hear, which doth itself employ
- Through martial exercises much to win the bruit of fame,
- Where mates do meet which thereunto their fancies seems to frame:
- Can music more the pensive heart or daunted mind delight,
- Can comfort more the careful corps and over-palled sprite,
- Rejoice, then sound of trumpet doth each warlike wight allure,
- And drum and fife unto the fight doth noble hearts procure,
- To see in sunder shivered the lance that leads the way,
- And worthy knights unbeavered in field amidst the fray?
- To hear the rattling cannons roar, and hilts on helmets ring,
- To see the soldiers swarm on heaps, where valiant hearts doth bring
- The cowardly crew into the case of careful captives’ band,
- Where ancients brave displayed be and won by force of hand?
- What wight would not as well delight as this to hear and see,
- Betake himself in like affairs a fellow mate to be
- With Clyomon, to Denmark King the only son and heir,
- Who of the Golden Shield as now the knightly name doth bear
- In every land since that I foiled the worthy knight of fame,
- Sir Samuel, before the king and prince of martial game,
- Alexander called the Great; which when he did behold,
- He gave to me in recompense this shield of glittering gold,
- Requesting for to know my name, the which shall not be shown
- To any knight unless by force he make it to be known;
- For so I vowed to Denmark King, my father’s grace, when I
- First got his leave that I abroad my force and strength might try,
- And so I have myself behaved in city, town, and field,
- That never yet did fall reproach to the Knight of the Golden Shield.
Re-enter Subtle Shift, running.
- God’s ames, where are you, where are you? And you be a man, come away.
- Why, what is the matter, Knowledge? To tell thy errand stay.
- Stay! What talk you of staying? Why, then, all the sight will be past:
- Clamydes the king’s son shall be dubbed knight in all hast.
- Ah Knowledge, then come indeed, and good pastime thou shalt see!
- For I will take the honor from him that dubbed I may be:
- Upon a courageous stomach, come, let us haste thither.
- Lead you the way and I’ll follow; we’ll be both made knights togither.
- Ah sirrah, is my master so lusty or dares he be so bold?
- It is no marvel then, if he bear a shield of gold:
- But, by your patience, if he continue in this business, farewell master than,
- For, I promise you, I intend not very long to be his man,
- Although under the title of Knowledge my name I do feign,
- Subtle Shift I am called, that is most plain;
- And as it is my name, so it is my nature also
- To play the shifting knave wheresoever I go.
- Well, after him I will—but, soft now! If my master chance to be lost,
- And any man examine me, in telling his name I am as wise as a post:
- What a villain was I that, ere he went, could not ask it!
- Well, it’s no great matter, I am but half bound, I may serve whom I will yet.
Scene iii Edit
Enter the King of Suavia with the Herald before him, Clamydes, and three Lords.
King of Suavia
- Come, Clamydes, thou our son, thy father’s talk attend.
- Since thou art prest thy youthful days in prowess for to spend,
- And dost of us the order ask of knighthood for to have,
- We know thy deeds deserves the same, and that which thou dost crave
- Thou shalt possess: but first, my son, know thou thy father’s charge,
- And what to knighthood doth belong, thine honor to enlarge;
- Unto what end a knight is made that likewise thou mayst know,
- And bear the same in mind also, that honor thine may flow
- Amongst the worthies of the world to thy immortal fame.
- Know thou, therefore, Clamydes dear, to have a knightly name
- Is, first, above all other things, his God for to adore
- In truth, according to the laws prescribed to him before;
- Secondly, that he be true unto his lord and king;
- Thirdly, that he keep his faith and troth in every thing;
- And then before all other things that else we can commend,
- He be always ready prest his country to defend;
- The widow, poor, and fatherless, or innocent bearing blame,
- To see their cause redressed right a faithful knight must frame;
- In truth he always must be tried: this is the total charge,
- That will receive a knightly name his honor to enlarge.
- O father, this your gracious counsel given to me your only son,
- Shall not be in oblivion cast till vital race be run.
- What way doth win Dame Honor’s crown, those paths my steps shall trace,
- And those that to Reproach doth lead, which seeketh to deface
- True Honor in her regal seat, I shall detest for aye,
- And be as utter enemy to them both night and day.
- By flying force of flickering fame your grace shall understand
- Of my behavior, noble sire, in every foreign land;
- And if you hear by true report, I venture in the barge
- Of Wilfulness, contrary this your grace’s noble charge,
- Let Ignomy to my reproach, instead of Lady Fame,
- Sound through the earth and azure skies the strained blast of shame,
- Whereby within Oblivion’s tomb my deeds shall be detained,
- Where otherwise of Memory the mind I might have gained,
- So that the den of Darksomeness shall ever be my chest,
- Where worthy deeds prefer each wight with honor to be blessed.
Enter, behind, Clyomon and Subtle Shift.
King of Suavia
- Well, Clamydes, then kneel down, according as is right,
- That here thou mayst receive of me the order of a knight.
Here let him kneel down, Clyomon with Subtle Shift watching in place, and as the King doth go about to lay the mace of his head, let Clyomon take the blow, and so pass away presently.
- Now prepare yourself, or I’ll be either a knight or a knave.
- Content thyself, Knowledge, for I’ll quickly him deceive.
King of Suavia
- The noble order of a knight, Clamydes, unto thee
- We give through due desert, wherefore see that thou be,
- Both valiant, wise, and hardy—
- Away now quickly, lest we be take tardy.
King of Suavia
- Ah stout attempt of baron bold, that hath from this my son,
- The knighthood ta’en! My lords, pursue ere far he can he run.
- Ah Clamydes, how art thou bereft of honor here!
- Was like presumption ever seen, that one, a stranger mere,
- Should come in presence of a prince, and ‘tempt as he hath done,
- To take the knighthood thus away, from him who is his son?
- Ah father, how am I perplexed, till I revenged be,
- Upon the wretch which here hath ta’en the honor thus from me!
- Was ever any one deceived of knighthood so before?
King of Suavia
- Well Clamydes, my lords return; stay till we do know more.
Enter Shift, brought in by the two Lords who pursued Clyomon.
- O king, the knight is fled and gone, pursuit prevaileth nought;
- But here his slave we taken have to tell why this he wrought.
King of Suavia
- Ah cruel grudge that grieves my ghost! shall he escape me so?
- Shall he with honor from my son, without disturbance go?—
- Ah catiff thou, declare his name, and why he ventured here:
- Or death shall be thy guerdon sure, by all the gods I swear.
- Ah, and’t shall please you, I know neither him, his country nor name.
- What, what sir? are not you his servant? will you deny the same?
King of Suavia
- Nay, then you are a dissembling knave, I know very well.
- And’t shall please your grace, even the very troth I shall tell:
- I should have been his servant when we met togither,
- Which was not full three hours before we came hither.
King of Suavia
- Well, what is his name, and of what country, declare?
- That cannot I tell, and’t shall please you: you never saw servant in such care
- To know his master’s name, neither in town nor field,
- And what he was, he would [not] tell, but the Knight of the Golden Shield.
King of Suavia
- Well, Clamydes, mark my charge, what I to thee shall say,
- Prepare thyself for to pursue that traitor on his way,
- Which hath thine honor reft from thee, and, either by force of hand
- Or love, his name and native soil see that thou understand,
- That I may know for what intent, he bare this grudge to thee,
- Else see thou never dost return again to visit me;
- For this imports him for to be of valiant heart and mind,
- And therefore do pursue thy foe until thou dost him find,
- To know his name and what he is, or as I said before,
- Do never view thy father I in presence any more.
- Well, father, sith it is your charge, and precept given to me,
- And more for mine own honor’s sake, I frankly do agree
- To undertake the enterprise, his name to understand,
- Or never else to show my face again in Suavia land.
- Wherefore I humbly do desire the order to receive,
- Of knighthood, which my sole desire hath ever been to have:
- It is the name and mean whereby true honor is achived:
- Let me not, then, O father dear, thereof be now deprived,
- Sith that mine honor cowardly was stolen by caitiff he,
- And not by dint of dastard’s deed, O father, lost by me!
King of Suavia
- Well, Clamydes, then kneel down: here in our nobles’ sight,
- We give to thee that art our son the order of a knight;
- But, as thou wilt our favor win, accomplish my desire.
- Else never to your royal court, O father, I’ll retire.
King of Suavia
- Well, then, adieu, Clamydes dear: the gods thine aider be!
- But come, my lords, to have his hire, that caitiff bring with me.
- Alas and’t shall please you, I am Knowledge, and no evil did pretend!
- Set me at liberty; it was the knight that did offend.
- O father, sith that he is Knowledge, I beseech your grace set him free;
- For in these affairs he shall wait and tend on me,
- If he will protest to be true to me ever.
- Ah noble Clamydes, here’s my hand, I’ll deceive you never!
- Well, then, father, I beseech your grace grant that I may have him.
King of Suavia
- Well, Clamydes, I am content, sith thou, my son, dost crave him:
- Receive him therefore at my hands.—My lords, come, let’s depart.
All the Lords
- We ready are to wait on you, O king, with willing heart.
- Well, Knowledge, do prepare thyself, for here I do protest,
- My father’s precepts to fulfill, no day nor night to rest
- From toilsome travel till I have revenged my cause aright
- On him who of the Golden Shield now beareth name of knight;
- Who of mine honor hath me robbed in such a cowardly sort
- As for to be of noble heart it doth him not import.
- But, Knowledge, to me thy service run thou must with loyal heart profess.
- Use me that all other villains may take ensample by me, if I digress.
- Well, then, come follow speedily, that him pursue we may.
- Keep you before, and’t shall please you, for I mind not to stay.
- Ah sirrah Shift, thou wast driven to thy shifts now indeed!
- I dreamed before that untowardly I should speed;
- And yet it is better luck then I looked to have:
- But as the proverb saith, good fortune ever happeneth to the veriest knave:
- And yet I could not escape with my master, do what I can:
- Well by this bargain he hath loft his new serving-man.
- But if Clamydes overtake him now, what buffets will there be!
- Unless it be four miles off the fray, there will be no standing for me.
- Well after him I will; but howsoever my master speed,
- To shift for myself I am fully decreed.
Scene iv Edit
Enter King Alexander the Great, as valiantly set forth as may be, and as many [Lords and] Soldiers as can.
- After many invincible victories and conquests great achieved,
- I, Alexander, with sound of fame, in safety am arrived
- Upon my borders long wished-for of Macedonia soil,
- And all the world subject have through force of warlike toil.
- O Mars, I laud thy sacred name! and, for this safe return,
- To Pallas’ temple will I wend, and sacrifices burn
- To thee, Bellona, and the rest, that warlike wights do guide,
- Who for King Alexander did such good success provide.
- Who bows not now unto my beck? my force who doth not fear?
- Who doth not of my conquests great, throughout the world hear?
- What king as to his sovereign lord doth now not bow his knee?
- What prince doth reign upon the earth which yields not unto me
- Due homage for his regal mace? what country is at liberty?
- What dukedom, island, or province else, to me now are not tributary?
- What fort of force, or castle strong, have I not battered down?
- What prince is he that now by me his princely seat and crown
- Doth not acknowledge for to hold? not one the world throughout
- But of King Alexander’s power they all do stand in doubt:
- They fear as fowls that hovering fly from out the falcon’s way;
- As lamb the lion, so my power the stoutest do obey:
- In field who hath not felt my force where battering blows abound?
- King or keysar, who hath not fixed his knees to me on ground?
- And yet, Alexander, what art thou? thou art a mortal wight,
- For all that ever thou hast got or won by force in fight.
- Acknowledging thy state, O king, to be as thou hast said,
- The gods, no doubt, as they have been, will be thy shield and aid
- In all attempts thou tak’st in hand, if case no glory vain
- Thou seekest, but acknowledging thy victories and gain
- Through the providence of sacred gods to happen unto thee,
- For vain is trust that in himself man doth repose we see;
- And therefore lest these victories which thou, O king, hast got
- Should blind thine eyes with arrogancy, thy noble fame to blot,
- Let that victorious Prince his words of Macedon thy sire,
- T’acknowledge still thy state, O king, thy noble heart inspire;
- Who, after all his victories triumphantly obtained,
- Lest that the great felicity of that which he had gained,
- Should cause him to forget himself, a child he did provide,
- Which came unto his chamber-door, and every morning cried,
- “Philip, thou art a mortal man!” This practice of thy sire,
- Amidst all these thy victories, thy servant doth desire,
- O Alexander, that thou wilt emprint within thy mind,
- And then, no doubt, as father did, thou solace sweet shall find.
- My lords
- Your counsel doubtless I esteem, and with great thanks again
- I do requite your courtesy, rejecting—this is plain—
- All vain glory from my heart; and since the gods divine
- To us above all other kings this fortune doth assign,
- To have in our subjection the world for most part,
- We will at this our home-return, with fervent zeal of heart,
- In Pallas’ temple, to the gods such sacrifices make
- Of thankfulness for our success, as they in part shall take
- The same a gratulation sufficient from us sent:
- Come, therefore, let us homewards march t’ accomplish our intent.
All the Lords
- We ready are, most famous king, to follow thee with victory.
- Then sound your drums and trumpets both, that we may march triumphantly.
Scene v Edit
Enter Sir Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield.
- Now, Clyomon, a knight thou art, though some perhaps may say,
- Thou cowardly cam’st to Clamydes and stole his right away.
- No, no,
- It was no cowardly part, to come in presence of a king,
- And in the face of all his court to do so worthy a thing;
- Amidst the mates that martial be, and stern knights of his hall,
- To take the knighthood from their prince even maugre of them all,
- It gives a guerdon of good-will to make my glory glance;
- When warlike wights shall hear thereof, my fame they will advance:
- And where I was pretended late to Denmark King, my sire,
- His royal grace to see, homeward to retire,
- Now is my purpose altered by bruit of late report;
- And where fame resteth to be had, thither Clyomon will resort.
- For, as I understand by fame, that worthy prince of might,
- The conqueror of conquerors, who Alexander hight,
- Returning is to Macedon from many a bloody broil,
- And there to keep his royal court now after weary toil;
- Which makes the mind of Clyomon with joys to be clad,
- For there, I know, of martial mates is company to be had.
- Adieu, therefore, both Denmark King and Suavia Prince beside:
- To Alexander’s court I will; the gods my journey guide!
Enter Clamydes and Shift.
- Come, Knowledge, here he is.—Nay, stay, thou cowardly knight,
- That, like a dastard, cam’st to steal away my right.
- What, what? you rail, sir princox-prince, me coward for to call.
- And’t shall please you, he is a coward; he would have hired me, amidst your father’s hall,
- To have done it for him, being himself in such fear
- That scarcely he durst before your presence appear.
- Why, how now, Knowledge! what, forsake thy master so soon?
- Nay, master was, but not master is; with you I have done.
- Well for what intent camest thou my honor to steal away?
- That I took aught from thee, I utterly denay.
- Didst not thou take the honor which my father to me gave?
- Of that thou hadest not, I could thee not deprave.
- Didst not thou take away my knighthood from me?
- No, for I had it before it was given unto thee;
- And having it before thee, what argument canst thou make
- That ever from thee the same I did take?
- That’s true; he received the blow before at you it came,
- And therefore he took it not from you, because you had not the same.
- Well, what hight thy name? let me that understand;
- And wherefore thou traveled’st here in my father’s land,
- So boldly to attempt in his court such a thing?
- The bolder the attempt is, more fame it doth bring:
- But what my name is desirest thou to know?
- Nay he hath stolen sheep I think, for he is ashamed his name for to show.
- What thy name is I would gladly perstand.
- Nay that shall never none know, unless by force of hand
- He vanquish me in fight, such a vow have I made;
- And therefore to combat with me thyself do persuade,
- If thou wilt know my name.
- Well, I accord to the same.
- Nay, then God be with you! if you be at that point I am gone;
- If you be of the fighter’s disposition, I’ll leave you alone.
- Why stay, Knowledge; although I fight, thou shalt not be molested.
- And’t shall please you, this fear hath made me beray myself with a proin-stone that was not digested.
- Well, Clamydes, stay thyself, and mark my sayings here:
- And do not think I speak this same for that thy force I fear,
- But that more honor may redound unto the victor’s part,
- Wilt thou here give thy hand to me, withouten fraud of heart,
- Upon the faith which to a knight doth rightly appertain,
- And by the loyalty of a knight I’ll swear to thee again
- For to observe my promise just; which is, if thou agree,
- The fifteenth day next following to meet, sir prince, with me,
- Before King Alexander’s grace, in Macedonia soil,
- Who all the world subject hath, through force of warlike toil;
- For he is chief of chivalry and king of martial mates,
- And to his royal court, thou know’st, repair all estates:
- Give me thy hand upon thy faith of promise not to fail,
- And here is mine to thee again, if Fortune’s froward gale,
- Resist me not, the day forespoke to meet, sir prince, with thee,
- Before that king to try our strengths: say if thou dost agree;
- For triple honor will it be to him that gets the victory
- Before so worthy a prince as he and nobles all so publicly,
- Where otherwise, if in this place we should attempt the same,
- Of the honor that were got thereby but small would be the fame.
- Well, sir knight, here is my hand, I’ll meet in place forespoke.
- And, by the loyalty of a knight, I’ll not my words revoke.
- Till then adieu; I’ll keep my day.
- And I, if fates do not gainsay.
- What, is he gone, and did take no leave of me?
- Jesu, so unmannerly a gentleman did any man see?
- But now, my lord, which way will you travel, declare.
- Sith I have fifteen days’ respite myself to prepare,
- My lady’s charge for to fulfill, behold, I do intend.
- Your lady! and’t shall please you, why, who is your lady? may a man be so bold as ask and not offend?
- Juliana, daughter to the King of Denmark, lo, is she,
- Whose knight I am, and from her hands this shield was given to me
- In sign and token of good-will; whose noble grace to gain,
- I have protested in her cause for to omit no pain
- Nor travail till I have subdued the flying serpent’s force,
- Which in the Forest of Marvels is, who taketh no remorse
- Of womenkind, but doth devour all such as are astray,
- So that no one dares go abroad nor wander forth the way;
- And sith I have yet fifteen days myself for to prepare
- To meet the Knight of the Golden Shield, my heart is void of care:
- I will unto the forest wend, sith it is in my way,
- And for my Juliana’s sake that cruel serpent slay.
- What, are you a madman? will you willfully be slain?
- If you go into that forest, you will never come out again.
- Why so, Knowledge? dost thou think the serpent I fear?
- No; but do you not know of Bryan Sans-foy, the champion, dwells there?
- A cowardly knight, Knowledge, is he, and dares fight with no man.
- Ah, a noble match! Couple him and me together than.
- Yea, but although he dares not fight, an enchanter he is,
- And whosoever comes in that forest to enchant he doth not miss.
- Tush, tush, I fear him not, Knowledge; and therefore come away.
- Well, seeing you are so willful, go you before, I’ll not stay.
- Ah sirrah, now I know all my master’s mind, the which I did not before:
- He adventureth for a lady—well, I say no more.
- But to escape the enchantments of Bryan Sans-foy,—
- That’s Bryan Without-faith,—I have devised a noble toy;
- For he and I am both of one consanguinity;
- The veriest cowardly villain that ever was born, that’s of a certainty,
- I’ll fight with no man; no more will Bryan, that’s plain,
- But by his enchantments he putteth many to great pain,
- And in a forest of strange marvels doth he keep,
- Altogether by enchantments to bring men asleep
- Till he have wrought his will of them. To Bryan straight will I,
- And of my master’s coming to the forest inform him privily:
- So shall I win his favor; and, Subtle Shift, in the end
- Thou shalt escape his enchantment, for he will be thy friend.
- Well, unknown to my master, for mine own safeguard, this will I do;
- And now, like a subtle shifting knave, after him I’ll go.
Scene vi Edit
Enter Bryan Sans-foy.
- Of Bryan Sans-foy who hath not heard? not for his valiant acts,
- But well I know throughout the world doth ring his cowardly facts.
- What tho, I pray? all are not born to be God Mars his men;
- To toy with dainty dames in courts should be no copesmates then:
- If all were given to chivalry, then Venus might go weep,
- For any court in venery that she were like to keep.
- But shall I frame, then, mine excuse by serving Venus she,
- When I am known throughout the world faint-hearted for to be?
- No, no, alas, it will not serve! for many a knight in love,
- Most valiant hearts no doubt they have, and knightly prowess prove
- To get their ladies’ loyal hearts; but I in Venus’ yoke
- Am forced for want of valiancy my freedom to provoke,
- Bearing the name and port of knight, enchantments for to use,
- Wherewith full many a worthy wight most cowardly I abuse;
- As witnesseth the number now which in my castle lie,
- Who, if they were at liberty, in arms I durst not try
- The feeblest there though he unarmed, so is my courage daunted
- Whenas I see the glittering arms whereby each knight is vaunted.
- But how I vanquish these same knights is wonderful to see;
- And knights that ventured for her love, whom do love, they be,
- That’s Juliana, daughter to the King of Denmark’s grace,
- Whose beauty is the cause that I do haunt or keep this place,
- For that no wight may her possess, unless by vow decreed
- He bring and do present to her the flying serpent’s head:
- Which many hath attempt to do, but none yet could him slay,
- Ne afterward hence back again for me could pass away,
- For that through my enchantments, lo, which here this forest keep,
- So soon as I did look on them, they straight were in a sleep;
- Then presently I them unarmed and to my castle brought,
- And there in prison they do lie, not knowing what was wrought.
- Lo, thus I range the woods to see who doth the serpent slay,
- That by enchantment I may take the head from him away,
- And it present unto the dame, as though I were her knight.
- Well, here comes one: I’ll shroud myself, for sure I will not fight.
Enter Subtle Shift.
- Gog’s blood, where might I meet with that cowardly knave, Bryan Sans-foy?
- I could tell him such a tale now as would make his heart leap for joy.
- Well, yonder I have espied one, whatsoever he be.
- [aside] Nay, Gog’s blood, I’ll be gone; he shall not fight with me:
- But by enchantment I’ll be even with him by and by.
- A[h], and’t shall please you, I’ll fight with no man; never come so nigh.
- Why, what art thou, declare; whither dost thou run?
- Even the cowardliest villain, and’t shall please you, that lives under the sun.
- What, of my fraternity? dost thou not know Bryan Sans-foy?
- What, Master Bryan! Jesu, how my heart doth leap for joy
- That I have met with you! who ever had better luck?
- But touch me not.
- A[h], lest you enchant me into the likeness of a buck!
- Tush, tush, I warrant thee: but what art thou, declare.
- Knowledge, and it shall please you; who hither doth repair
- To tell you good news.
- Good news! what are they, Knowledge, express.
- A knight hath slain the flying serpent.
- Tush, it is not so.
- It is most true that I do confess.
- Ah, what hight his name, Knowledge? let me that understand.
- Clamydes, the White Knight, son to the King of Suavia land,
- Who for Juliana, daughter to the King of Denmark’s grace,
- Did take the attempt in hand: now you know the whole case.
- Ah happy news of gladsomeness unto my daunted mind!
- Now for to win my lady’s love good fortune is assigned;
- For though she be Clamydes’ right, won worthily indeed,
- Yet will I sure possess that dame by giving of the head.
- But, Knowledge, whereabout declare doth that Clamydes rest.
- Even hard by in the forest here, where he slew the beast,
- I left him, and to seek you did hie:
- But let us go further into the woods, you shall meet him by and by.
- Well, Knowledge, for thy pains take this as some reward;
- And if thou wilt abide with me, be sure I’ll thee regard
- Above all others of my men; besides I’ll give to thee
- A thing that from enchantments aye preserved shalt thou be.
- Then here is my hand, I’ll be your servant ever.
- And, seeing thou art a coward as well as I, I’ll forsake thee never.
- But come, let us go Clamydes to meet.
- Keep on your way and I’ll follow.
- I trust if he meet him, he’ll take him to his feet.
- Gog’s blood, was ever seen such a jolt-headed villain as he,
- To be so afraid of such a faint-heart knave as I am to see?
- Of the fraternity, quoth you? by’rlady, it’s a notable brood!
- Well, Shift, these chinks doeth thy heart some good;
- And I’ll close with Bryan till I have gotten the thing
- That he hath promised me, and then I’ll be with him to bring:
- Well, such shifting knaves as I am, the ambodexter must play,
- And for commodity serve every man, whatsoever the world say.
- Well, after Bryan I will, and close with him a while,
- But, as well as Clamydes, in the end I’ll him beguile.
Scene vii Edit
Enter Clamydes with the head [of the flying serpent] upon his sword.
- Ah happy day! my deadly foe submitted hath to death:
- Lo, here the hand, lo, here the sword that stopped the vital breath!
- Lo, here the head that shall possess my Juliana dear!
- The Knight of the Golden Shield his force what need I now to fear?
- Since I by force subdued have this serpent fierce of might,
- Who vanquished hath, as I have heard, full many a worthy knight,
- Which, for to win my lady’s love, their lives have ventured here.
- Besides, that cowardly Bryan, which the Faithless Shield doth bear,
- A number keeps, as I have heard, as captives in his hold,
- Whom he hath by enchantment got and not through courage bold:
- Shall such defamed dastards, dared by knights, thus bear their name?
- Shall such as are without all faith live to impair our fame?
- Shall valiant hearts by cowardly charm be kept in captives’ thrall?
- Shall knights live subject to a wretch which hath no heart at all?
- Nay, first, Clamydes, claim to thee fell Atropos her stroke,
- Ere thou dost see such worthy knights to bear the heavy yoke
- Of cowardly Bryan Without-faith: his charms let daunt not thee;
- And for his force thou need’st not fear, the gods thy shield will be.
- Well, to meet the Knight of the Golden Shield yet ten days’ space I have
- And to set free these worthy knights; but rest a while I crave:
- Here in this place near to this fort, for that I weary am
- With travail since from killing of the serpent late I came,
- Lo, here a while I mind to rest, and Bryan then subdue,
- And then to Alexander’s court, to keep my promise true.
Enter Bryan Sans-foy and [Subtle] Shift.
- Come, Knowledge, for here he lies, laid weary on the ground.
- Nay, I’ll not come in his sight, if you would give me a thousand pound,
- For he is the terriblest knight of any you have heard spoke;
- He’ll beat a hundred such as you and I am down at one stroke.
- Tush, fear thou naught at all: I have charmed him, and he is fast asleep,
- Lying near unto the castle here which I do keep;
- And ten days in this sleep I have charmed him to remain
- Before nature shall overcome it that he might wake again.
- In the mean season, lo, behold, the serpent’s head I’ll take away,
- His shield, and his apparel: this done, then will I convey
- His body into prison, with other his companions to lie,
- Whose strengths, ah Knowledge, I durst never attempt to try!
- Ah, handle him softly, or else you will cause him to awake!
- Tush, tush, not if all the noise in the world I were able to make:
- Till ten days be expired the charm will not leave him;
- And then, I am sure, he will marvel who did thus deceive him.
- So, now he is stripped, stay thou here for a season,
- And I’ll go fetch two of my servants to carry him into prison.
- Well, do so, Master Bryan, and for your coming I’ll stay.
- Gog’s blood, what a villain am I my master to betray!
- Nay, sure, I’ll awake him, if it be possible, ere they carry him to jail.—
- Master! what, master! awake, man! what, master!—Ah, it will not prevail!
- Am I not worthy to be hanged? was ever seen such a deceitful knave?
- What villainy was in me when unto Bryan understanding I gave
- Of my master’s being n this forest? but much I muse, indeed,
- What he means to do with my master’s apparel, his shield, and the head.
- Well, seeing it is through my villainy my master is at this drift,
- Yet, when he is in prison, Shift shall not be void of a shift
- To get him away; but if it ever come to his ear
- That I was the occasion of it, he’ll hang me, that’s clear.
- Well, here comes Bryan: I’ll cloak with him, if I may,
- To have the keeping of my master in prison night and day.
- Come, sirs, take up this body, and carry it in to the appointed place,
- And there let it lie, for as yet he shall sleep ten days’ space.
- How say you, Master Bryan, shall I of him have the guard?
- By my troth, policy thy good-will to reward;
- In hope of thy just service, content, I agree
- For to resign the keeping of this same knight unto thee:
- But give me thy hand that thou wilt deceive me never.
- Here’s my hand: charm, enchant, make a spider-catcher of me, if I be false to you ever.
- Well, then, come, follow after me, and the guard of him thou shalt have.
- A thousand thanks I give you: this is all the promotion I crave.
- Ah sirrah, little knows Bryan that Clamydes my master is;
- But to set him free from prison I intend not to miss:
- Yet still in my mind I can do no other but muse
- What practice with my master’s apparel and shield he will use.
- Well, seeing I have played the crafty knave with the one, I’ll play it with the other;
- Subtle Shift for advantage will deceive his own brother.
Scene viii Edit
Here let them make a noise as though they were Mariners; and after, Clyomon, knight of G[olden] S[hield], come in with one.
- [within] Ah, set me to shore sirs, in what country soever we be!
- [within] Well, hale out the cock-boat, seeing so sick we do him see:
- Strike sail, cast anchors, till we have rigged our ship again,
- For never were we in such storms before, that’s plain.
Enter Clyomon, Boatswain.
- Ah, boatswain, gramercies for thy setting me to shore!
- Truly, gentleman, we were never in the like tempests before.
- What country is this wherein now we be!
- Sure, the Isle of Strange Marshes, as our master told to me.
- How far is it from Macedonia canst thou declare?
- More than twenty days’ sailing, and if the weather were fair.
- Ah cruel hap of Fortune’s spite, which ‘signed this luck to me!—
- What palace, boatswain, is this same, canst thou declare, we see?
- There King Patranius keeps his court, so far as I do guess,
- And by this train of ladies here I sure can judge no less.
- Well, boatswain, there is for thy pains; and here upon the shore
- I’ll lie to rest my weary bones; of thee I crave no more.
Enter Neronis, daughter to Patranius, King of the Strange Marshes, two Lords, two Ladies.
- My lords,
- Come, will it please you walk abroad to take the pleasant air,
- According to our wonted use, in fields both fresh and fair?
- My ladies here, I know right well, will not gainsay the same.
- Nor we, sure, for to pleasure you, Neronis, noble dame.
- Yes, yes, men they love entreaty much before they will be won.
- No, princess, that hath women’s natures been since first the world begun.
- So you say.
- We boldly may,
- Under correction of your grace.
- Well, will it please you forth to trace?
- That, when we have of fragrant fields the dulcet fumes obtained,
- We may unto the sea-side go, whereas are to be gained
- More stranger sights among Neptune’s waves in seeing ships to sail,
- Which pass her by my father’s shore with merry western gale.
- We shall your highness lead the way to fields erst spoke before.
- Do so, and, as we do return, we’ll come hard by the shore.
- What greater grief can grow to gripe the heart of grieved wight
- That thus to see fell Fortune she to hold his state in spite?
- Ah cruel chance, ah luckless lot, to me poor wretch assigned!
- Was ever seen such contraries by fraudulent goddess blind
- To any one, save only I, imparted for to be?
- T’amate the mind of any man, did ever Fortune she
- Show forth herself so cruel bent as thus to keep me back
- From pointed place by weather driven, my sorrows more to sack?
- Ah fatal hap! herein, alas, what further shall I say?
- Since I am forced for to break mine oath and pointed day
- Before King Alexander’s grace: Clamydes will be there,
- And I through Fortune’s cruel spite oppressed with sickness here;
- For now within two days it is that we should meet togither:
- Woe worth the wind and raging storms, alas, that brought me hither!
- Now will Clamydes me accuse a faithless knight to be,
- And eke report that cowardliness did daunt the heart of me:
- The worthy praise that I have won through fame shall be defaced,
- The name of the Knight of the Golden Shield, alas, shall be erased!
- Before that noble prince of might whereas Clamydes he
- Will show himself in combat-wise for to exclaim on me
- For breaking of my pointed day; and, Clyomon, to thy grief,
- Now art thou in a country strange, clean void of all relief,
- Oppressed with sickness through the rage of stormy blasts and cold:—
- Ah Death, come with thy direful mace! for longer to unfold
- My sorrows here it booteth not: yet, Clyomon, do stay;
- The ladies, lo, come towards thee that walked the other way.
Enter Neronis, two Lords, and two Ladies.
- Come, fair dames, sith that we have in fragrant fields obtained,
- Of dulcet flowers the pleasant smell, and that these knights disdained
- Not to bear us company, our walk more large to make,
- Here by the sea of surging waves our home-return we’ll take.—
- My lords, therefore, do keep your way.
- As it please your grace, we shall obey.
- But, behold, madam, what woeful wight here in our way before,
- As seemeth very sick to me, doth lie upon the shore.
- My lords, let’s know the cause of grief whereof he is oppressed,
- That, if he be a knight, it may by some means be redressed.—
- Fair sir, well met: why lie you here? what is your cause of grief?
- O lady, sickness by the sea hath me oppressed, in brief.
- Of truth, my lords, his countenance bewrays him for to be,
- In health, of valiant heart and mind and eke of high degree.
- It doth no less than so import, O princess, as you say.
- Of whence are you, or what’s your name, you wander forth this way?
- Of small valure, O lady fair, alas, my name it is!
- And for not telling of the same hath brought me unto this.
- Why, for what cause, sir knight, should you not once express your name?
- Because, O lady, I have vowed contrary to the same;
- But where I travel, lady fair, in city, town, or field,
- I am called and do bear by name the Knight of the Golden Shield.
- Are you that Knight of the Golden Shield, of whom such fame doth go?
- I am that selfsame knight, fair dame, as here my shield doth show.
- Ah worthy, then, of help indeed!—My lords, assist, I pray,
- And to my lodging in the court see that you him convey.
- For certainly within my mind his state is much deplored.—
- But do despair in naught, sir knight, for you shall be restored,
- If physic may your grief redress; for I, Neronis, lo,
- Daughter to Partanius King, for that which fame doth show
- Upon your acts, will be your friend, as after you shall prove.
- In doing so you shall have meed of mighty Jove above.
- O princess, if I ever be to health restored again,
- Your faithful servant, day and night, I vow here to remain.
- Well, my lords, come after me; do bring him, I require.
- We shall, O princess, willingly accomplish your desire.
Scene ix Edit
Enter Bryan Sans-foy having Clamydes his apparel on, his shield, and the serpent’s head.
- Ah sirrah,
- Now are the ten days full expired wherein Clamydes he
- Shall wake out of his charmed sleep, as shortly you shall see.
- But here I have what I desired, his shield, his coat, and head:
- To Denmark will I straight prepare, and there present with speed
- The same to Juliana’s grace, as in Clamydes’ name,
- Whereby I am assured I shall enjoy that noble dame;
- For why Clamydes he is safe for ever being free,
- And unto Knowledge is he left here guarded for to be.
- But no man knows of my pretence, ne whither I am gone;
- For secretly from castle I have stoln this night alone,
- In this order as you see, in the attire of a noble knight;
- But yet, poor Bryan, still thy heart holds courage in despite.
- Well, yet the old proverb to disprove I purpose to begin,
- Which always saith that cowardly hearts fair lades never win:
- Shall I not Juliana win, and who hath a cowardlier heart?
- Yet for to brag and boast it out, I’ll will none take my part;
- For I can look both grim and fierce as though I were of might,
- And yet three frogs out of a bush my heart did so affright
- That I fell dead almost therewith: well, cowardly as I am,
- Farewell, forest, for now I will, in Knight Clamydes’ name,
- To Denmark to present this head to Juliana bright,
- Who shall a cowardly dastard wed instead of a worthy knight.
Scene x Edit
Enter Shift with sword and target.
- Be your leave, I came up so early this morning that I cannot see my way;
- I am sure it’s scarce yet in the break of the day.
- But you muse, I am sure, wherefore these weapons I bring:
- Well, listen unto my tale, and you shall know every thing;
- Because I played the shifting knave to save myself from harm,
- And by my procurement my master was brought in this charm.
- The ten days are expired, and this morning he shall awake,
- And now, like a crafty knave, to the prison my way will I take
- With these same weapons, as though I would fight to set him free,
- Which will give occasion that he shall mistrust there was no deceit in me;
- And having the charge of him here under Bryan Sans-foy,
- I’ll open the prison-doors, and make as though I did employ
- To do it by force, through good-will and only for his sake;
- Then shall Clamydes, being at liberty, the weapons of me take,
- And set upon Bryan and all his men, now that they are asleep,
- And so be revenged for that he did him keep
- By charm: in this order so shall they both deceived be,
- And yet upon neither part mistrust towards me.
- Well, near to the prison I’ll draw to see if he be awake:
- Hark, hark, this same is he, that his lamentation doth make!
- [in prison] Ah fatal hap! where am I, wretch? in what distressed case!
- Bereft of tire, of head, and shield, not knowing in what place
- My body is! Ah heavenly gods, was e’er such strangeness seen?
- What, do I dream? or am I still within the forest green?
- Dream! no, no, alas, I dream not I! my senses all do fail,
- The strangeness of this cruel hap doth make my heart to quail.
- Clamydes, ah, by Fortune she what forward luck and fate
- Most cruelly assigned is unto thy noble state!
- Where should I be? or in what place hath destiny assigned
- My silly corpse for want of food and comfort to be pined?
- Ah, farewell hope of purchasing my lady! since is lost
- The serpent’s head, whereby I should possess that jewel most.
- Ah, farewell hope of honor eke! now shall I break my day
- Before King Alexander’s grace, whereon my faith doth stay.
- And shall I be found a faithless knight? fie on fell Fortune, she
- Which hath her wheel of forward chance thus whirled back on me!
- Ah, farewell King of Suavia land! ah, farewell Denmark dame!
- Farewell, thou Knight of the Golden Shield! to thee shall rest all fame;
- To me this direful destiny; to thee, I know, renown;
- To me this blast of Ignomy; to thee Dame Honor’s crown.
- Ah, hateful hap! what shall I say? I see the gods have ’signed
- Through cruelty my careful corps in prison to be pined;
- And naught, alas, amates me so, but that I know not where I am,
- Nor how into this doleful place my woeful body came!
- Alas, good Clamydes, in what an admiration is he,
- Not knowing in what place his body should be!
- [in prison] Who nameth poor Clamydes there? reply to him again.
- And’t shall please you, I am your servant Knowledge, which in a thousand woes for you remain.
- [in prison] Ah Knowledge, where am I, declare, and be brief.
- Where are you! faith, even in the castle of that false thief,
- Bryan Sans-foy, against whom to fight and set you free
- Look out at the window, behold, I have brought tools with me.
- [in prison] Ah Knowledge, then cowardly that caitiff did me charm?
- Yea, or else he could never have done you any harm:
- But be of good cheer; for such a shift I have made,
- That the keys of the prison I have got, yourself persuade,
- Wherewith this morning I am come to set you free,
- And, as they lie in their beds, you may murder Bryan and his men, and set all other at liberty.
- [in prison] Ah Knowledge, this hath me bound to be thy friend forever!
- A true servant, you may see, will deceive his master never.
- So, the doors are open; now come and follow after me.
[Clamydes] enter out.
- Ah heavens, in what case myself do I see!
- But speak, Knowledge, canst thou tell how long have I been here?
- These ten days full, and sleeping still; this sentence is most clear.
- Alas, then this same is the day the which appointed was
- By the Knight of the Golden Shield to me that combat ours should pass
- Before King Alexander’s grace; and there I know he is!
- Ah cruel Fortune, why shouldst thou thus wrest my chance amiss,
- Knowing I do but honor seek, and thou dost me defame,
- In that contrary mine expect thou all things seeks to frame?
- The faith and loyalty of a knight thou causest me to break:
- Ah hateful dame, why shouldst thou thus thy fury on me wreak?
- Now will King Alexander judge the thing in me to be
- The which, since first I arms could bear, no wight did ever see.
- But, Knowledge, give from thee to me those weapons, that I may
- Upon that Bryan be revenged, which cowardly did betray
- Me of my things, and here from thrall all other knights set free
- Whom he by charm did bring in bale as erst he did by me.
- Come, into his lodging will I go, and challenge him and his.
- Do so, and to follow I will not miss.
- Ah sirrah, here was a shift according to my nature and condition!
- And a thousand shifts more I have to put myself out of suspicion;
- But it doth me good to think how that cowardly knave, Bryan Sans-foy,
- Shall be taken in the snare; my heart doth even leap for joy.
- Hark, hark! my master is amongst them; but let him shift as he can,
- For not, to deal with a dog, he shall have help of his man.
Re-enter, after a little fight within, Clamydes, three Knights.
- Come, come, sir knights; for so unfortunate was never none as I;
- That I should joy that is my joy the heavens themselves deny:
- That cowardly wretch that kept you here, and did me so deceive,
- Is fled away, and hath the shield the which my lady gave
- To me in token of her love, the serpent’s head like case,
- For which this mine adventure was, to win her noble grace.
- And sure that same th’ occasion was why we adventured hether.
- Well, sith I have you delivered, whenas you please, together,
- Each one into his native soil his journey do prepare;
- For though that I have broke my day, as erst I did declare,
- Through this most cowardly caitiff’s charms, in meeting of the knight
- Which of the Golden Shield bears name, to know else what he hight
- I will to Alexander’s court, and if that thence he be,
- Yet will I seek to find him out, lest he impute to me
- Some cause of cowardliness to be; and therefore, sir knights, depart;
- As to myself I wish to you with fervent zeal of heart:
- Yet, if that any one of you do meet this knight by way,
- What was the cause of this my let, let him perstand I pray.
All the Knights
- We shall not miss, O noble knight, t’accomplish this your will.
- Well, then, adieu, sir knights, each one; the gods protect you still!
- What, Knowledge, ho! where art thou, man? come forth, that hence we may.
- [within] Where am I! faith, breaking open of chests here within, for I’ll have the spoil of all away.
- Tush, tush,
- I pray thee come, that hence we may; no riches thou shalt lack.
[Re-enter] Shift with a bag, as it were, full of gold on his back.
- I come now with as much money as I am able to carry of my back;
- A[h], there was never poor ass so loaden! But how now! that cowardly Bryan have you slain?
- And your shield, the serpent’s head, and coat, have you again?
- Ah, no Knowledge!
- The knights that here were captives kept, they are by me at liberty,
- But that false Bryan this same night is fled away for certainty,
- And hath all things he took from me conveyed where none doth know.
- O the bones of me! how will you, then, do for the serpent’s head to Juliana to show?
- I have no other hope, alas, but only that her grace
- Will credit give unto my words, whenas I show my case,
- How they were lost: but first, ere I unto that dame return,
- I’ll seek the Knight of the Golden Shield whereas he doth sojourn,
- T’accomplish what my father willed; and therefore come away.
- Well, keep on before, for I mind not to stay.
- Ah sirrah, the craftier knave, the better luck! that’s plain:
- I have such a deal of substance here, where Bryan’s men are slain,
- That it passeth: O, that I had while for to stay!
- I could load a hundred carts full of kitchen-stuff away.
- Well, it’s not best to tarry too long behind, lest my master over-go,
- And then some knave, knowing of my money, a piece of cozenage show.
Scene xi Edit
- How can that tree but withered be,
- That wanteth sap to moist the root?
- How can that vine but waste and pine,
- Whose plants are trodden under foot?
- How can that spray but soon decay,
- That is with wild weeds overgrown?
- How can that wight in aught delight,
- Which shows and hath no good-will shown?
- Or else how can that heart, alas,
- But die, by whom each joy doth pass?
- Neronis, ah, I am the tree which wanteth sap to moist the root!
- Neronis, ah, I am the vine whose plants are trodden under foot!
- I am the spray which doth decay, and is with wild weeds overgrown;
- I am the wight without delight, which shows and hath no good-will shown:
- Mine is the heart by whom, alas, each pleasant joy doth pass!
- Mine is the heart which vades away as doth the flower or grass:
- In wanting sap to moist the root, is joys that made me glad;
- And plants being trodden under foot, is pleasures that were had:
- I am the spray which doth decay, whom cares have overgrown—
- But stay, Neronis; thou saist thou show’st and hath no good-will shown:
- Why, so I do; how can I tell? Neronis, force no cruelty;
- Thou seest thy knight endued is with all good gifts of courtesy:
- And doth Neronis love indeed? to whom love doth she yield?
- Even to that noble bruit of fame, the Knight of the Golden Shield.
- Ah woeful dame, thou know’st not thou of what degree he is!
- Of noble blood his gestures show, I am assured of this.
- Why, belike he is some runagate, that will not show his name:
- Ah, why should I this allegate? he is of noble fame.
- Why dost thou not express thy love to him, Neronis, then?
- Because shamefacedness and womanhood bid us not seek to men.
- Ah careful dame, lo, thus I stand, as ‘twere one in a trance,
- And lacketh boldness for to speak which should my words advance!
- The Knight of the Golden Shield it is to whom a thrall I am,
- Whom I to health restored have since that to court he came:
- And now he is prest to pass again upon his weary way
- Unto the court of Alexander; yet hath he broke his day,
- As he to me the whole expressed.—Ah sight that doth me grieve!
- Lo where he comes to pass away, of me to take his leave!
- Who hath more cause to praise the gods than I, whose state deplored,
- Through physic and Neronis’ help, to health am now restored?
- Whose fervent thrall I am become: yet urgent causes dooth
- Constrain me for to keep it close, and not to put in proof
- What I might do to win her love; as first my oath and vow
- In keeping of my name unknown, which she will not allow.
- If I should seem to break my mind, being a princess born,
- To yield her love to one unknown, I know she’ll think it scorn:
- Besides, here longer in this court, alas, I may not stay,
- Although that with Clamydes he I have not kept my day,
- Lest this he should suppose in me for cowardliness of heart:
- To seek him out elsewhere I will from out this land depart.
- Yet though unto Neronis she, I may not show my mind,
- A faithful heart when I am gone, with her I leave behind.
- Whose bounteousness I here have felt, but since I may not stay,
- I will to take my leave of her before I pass away.
- Lo where she walks.—O Princess well met: why are you here so sad?
- Good cause I have, since pleasures pass, the which should make me glad.
- What you should mean, O Princess dear, hereby I do not know.
- Then listen to my talk a while, sir knight, and I will show,
- If case you will re-answer me my question to absolve,
- The which propound within my mind doth oftentimes revolve.
- I will, O princess, answer you as aptly as I may.
- Well, then, sir knight, apply your ears, and listen what I say.
- A ship, that storms had tossed long amidst the mounting waves,
- Where harbor none was to be had, fell Fortune so depraves,
- Through ill success that ship of hope, that anchor’s hold doth fail,
- Yet at the last she’s driven to land, with broken mast and sail,
- And, through the force of furious wind, and billows’ bouncing blows,
- She is a simple shipwreck made, in every point, God knows.
- Now this same ship by chance being found, the finders take such pain,
- That fit to sail upon the seas, they rig her up again.
- And where she was through storms sore shaked, they make her whole and sound:
- Now answer me directly here upon this my propound,
- If this same ship thus rent and torn, being brought in former rate,
- Should not supply the finder’s turn to profit his estate
- In what she might.
- Herein a-right
- I will, O princess, as I may, directly answer you.
- This ship thus found, I put the case it hath an owner now;
- Which owner shall sufficiently content the finder’s charge,
- And have again, to serve his use, his ship, his boat, or barge.
- The ship, then, cannot serve the turn of finder’s, this is plain,
- If case the owner do content or pay him for his pain;
- But otherwise if none lay claim, nor seem that ship to stay,
- Then is it requisite it should the finder’s pains repay
- For such endeavor, as it is to serve for his behoof.
- What owner truly that it hath, I have no certain proof.
- Then can I not define thereof, but thus I wish it were,
- That you would me accept to be that ship, O lady fair,
- And you the finder! then it should be needless for to move
- If I the ship of duty ought to serve at your behoove.
- Thou art the ship, O worthy knight, so shivered found by me.
- And owner have I none, dear dame, I yield me whole to thee:
- For as this ship, I must confess, that was a shipwreck made,
- Thou hast restored me unto health whom sickness caused to vade;
- For which I yield, O princess dear, at pleasure thine to be,
- If your grace, O noble dame, will so accept of me.
- Because I am to you unknown.
- Your fame importeth what you be.
- You may your pleasure say of me.
- What I have said due proof[s] do show.
- Well, lady dear, to thee I owe
- More service than of duty I am able to profess,
- For that thou didst preserve my life amidst my deep distress:
- But at this time I may not stay, O lady, here with thee:
- Thou know’st the cause; but this I vow, within threescore days to be,
- If destiny restrain me not, at court with thee again,
- Protesting whilst that life doth last thine faithful to remain.
- And is there, then, no remedy, but needs you will depart?
- No, princess, for a certainty; but here I leave my heart
- In gage with thee till my return, which, as I said, shall be.
- Well, sith no persuasion may prevail, this jewel take of me,
- And keep it always for my sake.
- Of it a dear account I’ll make:
- Yet let us part, dear dame, with joy,
- And to do the same I will myself employ.
- Well, now adieu till thy return: the gods thy journey guide!
- And happily in absence mine for thee, dear dame, provide!
- Ah Clyomon, let dolours die, drive daunts from out thy mind!
- Since in the sight of Fortune now such favor thou dost find
- As for to have the love of her, whom thou didst sooner judge
- Would have denied thy loyalty and ‘gainst thy good-will grudge,
- But that I may here keep my day, you sacred gods provide
- Most happy fate unto my state, and thus my journey guide,
- The which I ‘tempt to take in hand Clamydes for to meet,
- That the whole cause of my first let to him I may repeat:
- So shall I seem for to excuse myself in way of right,
- And not be counted of my foe, a false perjured knight.
Scene xii Edit
Enter Thrasellus, King of Norway, and two Lords.
- Where deep desire hath taken root, my lords, alas, you see
- How that persuasion booteth not, if contrary it be
- Unto the first expected hope, where fancy hath take place;
- And vain it is for to withdraw by counsel in that case
- The mind who with affection is to one only thing affected,
- The which may not till dint of death from thence be sure rejected.
- You know, my lords, through fame what force of love hath taken place
- Within my breast as touching now Neronis’ noble grace,
- Daughter to Patranius King, who doth the scepter sway
- And in the Isle of Marshes eke bear rule now at this day:
- Through love of daughter his my sorrows daily grow,
- And daily dolours do me daunt, for that, alas, I show
- Such friendship whereas favor none is to be found again;
- And yet from out my careful mind naught may her love restrain.
- I sent to crave her of the king; he answered me with nay:
- But shall I not provide by force to fetch her thence away?
- Yes, yes, my lords, and therefore let your aids be prest with mine,
- For I will sure Neronis have, or else my days I’ll pine;
- For King Patranius and his power I hold of small account:
- To win his daughter to my spouse amids his men I’ll mount.
- Most worthy prince, this rash attempt I hold not for the best,
- For sure Patranius’ power is great, and not to be suppressed;
- For why the isle environed is with sea on every side,
- And landing-place, lo, is there none whereas you may have tide
- To set your men from ship to shore, but by one only way,
- And in that place a garrison great he keepeth at this day;
- So that if you should bring your power, your travail were in vain:
- That is not certainly the way Neronis for to gain.
- But this your grace may do indeed, and so I count it best;
- To be in all points with a ship most like a merchant prest,
- And sail with such as you think best, all dressed in merchants’ guise,
- And for to get her to your ship some secret mean devise,
- By showing of strange merchandise, or other such like thing:
- Lo, this is best advice I can, Thrasellus, lord and king.
- And certainly, as you have said, my lord, it is the way:—
- Wherefore, O king, do prosecute the same without delay.
- Of truth, my lords, this your advice doth for our purpose frame:
- Come, therefore, let us hence depart, to put in ure the same
- With present speed, for merchant-wise myself will thither sail.
- This is the way, if any be, of purpose to prevail.
Scene xiii Edit
Enter Clyomon with a Knight, signifying one of those that Clamydes had delivered.
- Sir knight, of truth this fortune was most luckily assigned,
- That we should meet in travel thus, for thereby to my mind
- You have a castle of comfort brought, in that you have me told,
- Clamydes our appointed day no more then I did hold.
- No, certis, sir, he kept not day, the cause I have expressed,
- Through that enchanter Bryan’s charms he came full sore distressed;
- Yet fortune favored so his state that through his help all we,
- Which captives were through cowardly craft, from bondage were set free;
- And at our parting willed us, if any with you met,
- We should inform you with the truth what was his only let.
- Well, know you where he abideth now, sir knight, I crave of courtesy.
- No, questionless, I know not I, to say it of a certainty.
- Well, then, adieu, sir knight, with thanks; I let you on your way.
- Unto the gods I you commit; naught else I have to say.
- A[h] sirrah, now the hugy heaps of cares that lodged in my mind
- Are scaled from their nestling-place, and pleasures passage find,
- For that, as well as Clyomon, Clamydes broke his day;
- Upon which news my passage now in seeking him I’ll stay,
- And to Neronis back again my joyful journey make,
- Lest that she should in absence mine some cause of sorrow take:
- And now all dumps of deadly dole that daunted knightly breast,
- Adieu, since salve of solace sweet hath sorrows all suppressed.
- For that Clamydes cannot brag nor me accuse in ought,
- Unto the gods of destinies, that thus our fates have brought
- In equal balance to be weighed, due praises shall I send,
- That thus to weigh each cause aright, their eyes to earth did bend.
- Well, to keep my day with lady now I mind not to be slack,
- Wherefore unto Patranius’ court, I’ll dress my journey back:
- But stay, methinks I Rumor hear throughout this land to ring;
- I will attend his talk to know what tidings he doth bring.
Enter Rumor running.
- Ye rolling clouds, give Rumor room, both air and earth below,
- By sea and land, that every ear may understand and know
- What woeful hap is chanced now, within the Isle of late,
- Which of Strange Marshes beareth name, unto the noblest state.
- Neronis, daughter to the king, by the King of Norway he
- Within a ship of merchandise, conveyed away is she.
- The king with sorrow for her sake hath [un]to death resigned;
- And having left his queen with child to guide the realm behind,
- Mustantius, brother to the king, from her the crown would take;
- But till she be delivered the lords did order make,
- That they before King Alexander thither coming should appeal,
- And he, by whom they hold the crown, therein should rightly deal
- For either part: lo, this to tell I Rumor have in charge,
- And through all lands I do pretend to publish it at large.
- Ah, woeful Rumor ranging thus! what tidings do I hear?
- Hath that false King of Norway stoln my love and lady dear?
- Ah heart, ah hand, ah head, and mind, and every sense beside,
- To serve your master’s turn in need do every one provide!
- For till that I revenged be upon that wretched king,
- And have again my lady dear and her from Norway bring,
- I vow this body takes no rest. Ah Fortune, fickle dame,
- That canst make glad and so soon sad a knight of worthy fame.
- But what should I delay the time, now that my dear is gone?
- Availeth aught to ease my grief, to make this pensive moan?
- No, no;
- Wherefore come, courage to my heart, and, happy hands prepare!
- For of that wretched king I will wreak all my sorrow and care,
- And, maugre all the might he may be able for to make,
- By force of arms my lady I from him and his will take.