Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes/Scene ii

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Scene ii[edit]

Enter Sir Clyomon, Knight of the golden Shield, son to the King of Denmark, booted. Subtle Shift, the Vice, within, also booted.[1]

Clyomon

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?

Subtle Shift

[within] Ah, I am in and’t shall please you!

Clyomon

In! why, where art thou in?

Subtle Shift

Faith, in a dirty ditch with a wanion[2], so berayed as it’s pity to see.

Clyomon

Well, I see thou art a merry companion, I shall like better of thy company:
But, I pray thee, come away.

Subtle Shift

[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.

Clyomon

Why how now! whither runn’st thou? art thou foolish in thy mind?

Subtle Shift

But to fetch one of my legs and’t shall please, that I have left in the mire behind.

Clyomon

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.

Subtle Shift

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.

Clyomon

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.

Subtle Shift

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?

Clyomon

And art thou Knowledge? Of troth, I am glad that I have met with thee.

Subtle Shift

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.

Clyomon

Of troth, then, for thy excellency, I will thee gladly entertain,
If in case that with me thou wilt promise to remain.

Subtle Shift

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.

Clyomon

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.

Subtle Shift

Declare your pleasure, sir, and whither I shall go, and then the case is plain.

Clyomon

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.

Subtle Shift

[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.

Clyomon

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.
[Exit Subtle Shift.[3]
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[4] 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[5] 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.

Subtle Shift

God’s ames, where are you, where are you? And you be a man, come away.

Clyomon

Why, what is the matter, Knowledge? To tell thy errand stay.

Subtle Shift

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.

Clyomon

Ah Knowledge, then come indeed, and good pastime thou shalt see!
For[6] I will take the honor from him that dubbed I may be:
Upon a courageous stomach, come, let us haste thither.

Subtle Shift

Lead you the way and I’ll follow; we’ll be both made knights togither.
[Exit Clyomon.
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.
[Exit.

Textual Notes[edit]

  1. sd] B; "Enter Sir Clyomon Knight of the Golden Sheeld, sonne to the King of Denmarke, with subtill Shift the Vice, booted." Q. The dialog necessitates the changes in stage directions.
  2. wanion] D B; woman Q
  3. sd]D B; Q has Subtle Shift exit at the end of his last speech.
  4. seems] Q; seem D B
  5. doth] Q; do D B
  6. For] Q; omitted D B

Explanatory Notes[edit]

the Vice: "The Vice"—equivalent in this stage-direction to "the buffoon"—was a prominent character in the early Moral Plays.—Dyce
booted: Sir Clyomon and Shift are "booted" (in their riding-boots) as they are going on a journey.—Bullen
wanion: With a wanion = with a curse, with a murrain.—Dyce, Bullen
berayed: befouled.
it skills not: It skills not = it matters not.
languishes: A corruption of languages.
say nay, and take it: A proverbial expression. "Faire de guedon guedon. To mince or simper it; to be nice, quaint, scrupulous of receiving what inwardly is longed for; to say nay and take it, as men say maids do."—Cotgrave. (Cf. Richard III, iii. 7:—“Play the maid’s part,—still answer nay, and take it.”)
towards: in preparation, at hand.
corps: Often used for the living body.—So in Byrd’s Psalms, Sonnets and Songs:—“Care for thy corps, but chiefly for soul’s sake, / Cut off excess, sustaining food is best.”—Bullen
bruit: report
ancients: ensigns
this: i.e. this wight (the speaker)?—Bullen
God's ames: Does it mean God's soul (Fr. ame)—Dyce. A corrupt oath.—Bullen
togither: So spelt for the rhyme—Dyce
than: A form of then, used here for the sake of the rhyme.—Dyce

Old Spelling[edit]

Enter Sir Clyomon, Knight of the golden Sheeld, ſonne to the King of
Denmarke, with subtill Shift the Vice, booted.
Clyo. Come on good fellow follow me, that I may vnderſtand
Of whence thou art, thus trauelling here in a forraine land:
Come why doſt thou not leaue loytering there, and follow after me?
Shift. Ah I am in ant ſhall pleaſe you.
Clyo. In, why where art thou in?
Shift. Faith in a dirtie Ditch with a woman, ſo beraide, as it’s pittie to ſee.
Clyo. Well, I ſee thou art a merrie cõpanion, I ſhall like better of thy cõpany:
But, I pray thee, come away.
Shift. If I get out one of my legs, as faſt as I may
Ha lo, A my buttocke, the very foundation thereof doth breake,
Ha lo, once againe, I am as faſt, as though I had frozen here a weeke.
Here let him flip vnto the ſtage backwards, as though he had puld
his leg out of the mire, one boote off, and then riſe vp to
run in againe.
Clyo. Why how now, whither runſt thou, art thou fooliſh in thy mind?
Shi. But to fetch one of my legs ant ſhall pleaſe, that I haue left in the mire behind.
Clyo. One of thy legs, why looke man, both thy legs thou haſt,
It is but one of thy bootes thou haſt loſt, thy labour thou doeſt waſt.
Shift. But one of my bootes, Ieſu, I had ſuch a wrench with the fall,
That I aſſure, I did thinke one of my legs had gone withall.
Clyo. Well let that paſſe, and tell me what thou art, and what is thy name?
And from whence thou cam’ſt, and whither thy iourney thou doeſt frame,
That I haue met thee by the way, thus trauelling in this ſort?
Shift. What you haue requeſted, ant ſhall pleaſe, I am able to report,
What I am by my nature each wight ſhall perceiue
That frequenteth my company, by the learning I haue.
I am the ſonne of Appollo, and from his high ſeate I came,
But whither I go, it skils not, for knowledge is my name:
And who ſo hath knowledge, what needs he to care
Which way the wind blowe, his way to prepare.
Cly. And art thou knowledge, of troth I am glad that I haue met with thee.
Shift. I am knowledge, and haue as good skill in a woman as any man whatſoeuer he bee.
For this I am certaine of, let me but lie with her all night,
And Ile 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 ſerue, ant ſhall pleaſe, ant were great Alexander the King.
Clyo. Of troth, then for thy excellencie, I will thee gladly entertaine,
If in caſe that with me thou wilt promiſe to remaine.
Shift. Nay ant ſhall pleaſe ye, I am like to a woman, ſay nay, and take it,
When a gentleman profers entertainment, I were a foole to forſake it.
Clyo. Well knowledge, then ſith thou art content my ſeruant to bee,
And endued with noble qualities, thy perſonage I ſee,
Thou hauing perfect knowledge, how thy ſelfe to behaue:
I will ſend thee of mine arrant; but haſte thither I craue:
For here I will ſtay thy comming againe.
Shift. Declare your pleaſure ſir, and whither I ſhall go, and then the caſe is plaine.
Clyo. Nay of no great importance, but being here in Suauia
And neare vnto the Court, I would haue thee to take thy way
Thither with all ſpeed, becauſe I would heare
If any ſhews or triumphs be towards, elſe would I not come there,
For onely vpon feates of armes is all my delight.
Shift. If I had knowne ſo much before, ſerue that ſerue will, I would haue ſeru'd no martiall Knight.
Well ſir, to accompliſh your will, to the court I will hy,
And what news is there ſtirring, bring word by and by.
Exit.
Clyo. Do ſo good knowledge, and here in place thy comming I will ſtay:
For nothing doth delight me more, than to heare of martiall play.
Can foode vnto the hungrie corps, be cauſe of greater ioy,
Then for the haughtie heart to heare, which doth it ſelfe imploy,
Through martiall excerciſes much to winne the brute of Fame,
Where mates do meete which therevnto their fancies ſeemes to frame:
Can muſicke more the penſiue heart or daunted mind delight,
Can comfort more the carefull corps and ouer palled ſpright,
Reioyce, then ſound of Trumpet doth each warlike wight allure,
And Drum and Fyfe vnto the fight doth noble hearts procure,
To ſee in ſunder ſhiuered, the Lance that leades the way,
And worthy knights vnbeauered, in field amidſt the fray,
To heare the ratling Cannons roare, and Hylts on Helmets ring,
To ſee the ſouldiers ſwarm on heapes, where valiant hearts doth bring
The cowardly crew into the caſe of carefull Captiues band,
Where auncients braue diſplayed be, and wonne by force of hand.
What wight would not as well delight as this to heare and ſee,
Betake himſelfe in like affairs a fellow mate to bee,
With Clyomon, to Denmarke King the onely ſonne and heire,
Who of the Golden Sheeld as now, the knightly name doth beare
In euery land ſince that I foyld the worthy Knight of Fame,
Sir Samuel before the King, and Prince of martiall game.
Alexander cald the Great, which when he did behold,
He gaue to me in recompence, this Shield of glittering Gold:
Requeſting for to know my name, the which ſhall not be ſhowen
To any Knight, vnleſſe by force he make it to be knowen.
For ſo I vowed to Denmarke King, my fathers grace when I
Firſt got his leaue, that I abroad my force and ſtrength might try.
And ſo I haue my ſelfe behau'd, in City, Towne and field,
That neuer yet did fall reproach, to the Knight of the Golden Shield.
Enter Subtill Shift, running.
Shift. Gods ames, where are you, where are you? and you bee a man come away.
Clya. Why what is the matter knowledge? to tell thy arrand ſtay.
Shift. Stay, what talke you of ſtaying, why then all the ſight will be paſt,
Clamides the Kings ſonne ſhall be dubd Knight in all haſt.
Clyo. Ah knowledge, then come indeed, and good paſtime thou ſhalt ſee,
For I will take the honour from him, that dubbed I may bee.
Vpon a couragious ſtomacke, come let vs haſte thither.
Exit.
Shift. Leade you the way and ile follow, weele be both made knights togither.
Ah ſirrah, is my maſter ſo luſtie, or dares he be ſo bold?
It is no maruell then, if he beare a Sheeld of Gold.
But by your patience if he continue in this buſineſſe, farewell maiſter than,
For I promiſe you, I entend not very long to be his man:
Although vnder the title of knowledge my name I do faine,
Subtill Shift I am called, that is moſt plaine.
And as it is my name, ſo it is my nature alſo,
To play the ſhifting knaue whereſoeuer I go.
Well, after him I will, but, ſoft now, if my maiſter chance to be loſt
And any man examine me, in telling his name I am as wiſe as a poſt.
What a villaine was I, that ere he went, could not aske it?
Well, its no great matter, I am but halfe bound, I may ſerue whom I will yet.
Exit.