Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes/Scene xi

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Scene xi[edit]

Enter Neronis.

Neronis

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[1] 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!

Enter Clyomon.

Clyomon

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[2] take my leave of her before I pass away.
Lo where she walks.—O Princess well met: why are you here so sad?

Neronis

Good cause I have, since pleasures pass, the which should make me glad.

Clyomon

What you should mean, O Princess dear, hereby I do not know.

Neronis

Then listen to my talk a while, sir knight, and I will show,
If case you will re-answer me my question to absolve,[3]
The which propound within my mind doth oftentimes revolve.

Clyomon

I will, O princess, answer you as aptly as I may.

Neronis

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[4] to profit his estate
In what she might.

Clyomon

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[5] 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.

Neronis

What owner truly that it hath, I have no certain proof.

Clyomon

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.

Neronis

Thou art the ship, O worthy knight, so shivered found by me.

Clyomon

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.

Neronis

If case I will, what have you shown?

Clyomon

Because I am to you unknown.

Neronis

Your fame importeth what you be.

Clyomon

You may your pleasure say of me.

Neronis

What I have said due proof[s] do show.

Clyomon

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.

Neronis

And is there, then, no remedy, but needs you will depart?

Clyomon

No, princess, for a certainty; but here I leave my heart
In gage with thee till my return, which, as I said, shall be.

Neronis

Well, sith no persuasion may prevail, this jewel take of me,
And keep it always for my sake.
[Gives jewel.]

Clyomon

Of it a dear account I’ll make:
Yet let us part, dear dame, with joy,[6]
And to do the same I will myself employ.

Neronis

Well, now adieu till thy return: the gods thy journey guide!

Clyomon

And happily in absence mine for thee, dear dame, provide!
[Exit Neronis.
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.
[Exit.

Textual Notes[edit]

  1. hath] Q; hast D B
  2. Qy. “go”?—P. A. Daniel
  3. absolve] D B; obsolve Q
  4. turn] D B; true Q. Compare sixth line of the next speech.—Dyce
  5. finder’s] finders Q; finder D B
  6. Of it…with joy] One line in Q

Explanatory Notes[edit]

Neronis: Perhaps Neronis should be represented reading from a book. Lines 1-10 would in that case be the poem which she reads. After closing the book she proceeds to apply the verses to her own fortunes.—Cf. Lord Vaux’s poem in the Paradise of Dainty Devices, “How can the tree but waste and wither away,” &c.
vades: decays, withers.
force: Does it mean regard, or urge?—Dyce. If there is no corruption, “force” must have the (not unusual) meaning—regard, take heed of. But qy. “forge” (i.e. imagine)?—Bullen
bruit of fame: report of fame,—person celebrated by fame.—Dyce
allegate: allege
Because: Qy. “’Cause”?—Dyce.
came: Here Q has “cam”: but in [scene vii] and [scene x] it has “came” as the rhyme to “am.”—Dyce
prest: ready, intent
break: open, disclose.—Dyce
propound: proposition—Dyce. Dr. Nicholson takes “propound” as = propounded.—But cf. l. 72 [“Now answer me directly here upon this my propound”.]—Bullen.
depraves: deprives
If case I will, what have you shown?: This line and the next are obscure. “What have you shown?” means (I suppose) “How have you given proof of your love?” Clyomon parries the question—“[I have been unable to give proof] because my vow forbids me to disclose my name and rank. You are a king’s daughter and I am a nameless wandering knight.” (But the text is perhaps corrupt.)—Bullen
let: hindrance.