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Mist. Mer. I thank your worship.
[Exit with Michael. Ralph. Dwarf, bear my shield; squire, elevate my lance: — And now farewell, you Knight of holy Bell. [Cit. Ay, ay, Ralph, all is paid.] Ralph. But yet, before I go, speak, worthy knight,
If aught you do of Bad adventures know, When errant knight may through his prowess win
Eternal fame, and free some gentle Souib
Host. Sirrah, go to Nick the barber, and bid him prepare himself, as I told you before, quickly.
Tap. I am gone, sir. [Exit. Host. Sir Knight, this wilderness affordeth none
But the great venture, where full many a knight
Hath tried his prowess, and come off with shame;
And where I would not have youi lose your life Against no man, but furious fiend of hell.
Ralph. Speak on, Sir Knight; tell what he is and where: For here I vow, upon my blazing badge, Never to blaze" a day in quietness, But bread and water will I only eat, And the green herb and rock shall be my couch, Till I have quelled that man, or beast, or fiend, That works such damage to all errant knights.
Host. Not far from hence, near to a craggy cliff,
At the north end of this distressed town,
A motley garment, to preserve his clothes
And ladies gent:*2 without his door doth hang
o shine 12 gentle, courteous
10 dwell is pointing upward
11 called 14 instrument
Next makes him wink, and underneath his ehin
Go but before me to this dismal cave,
This your request; I '11 bring you within sight
Ralph. Saint George, set on before! mareh squire and page. [Exeunt.
[Wife. George, dost think Ralph will confound the giant?
Cit. I hold my cap to a farthing he does: why, Nell, I saw him wrestle with the great Dutchman, and hurl him.
Wife. Faith, and that Dutchman was a goodly man, if all things were answerable1'' to his bigness. And yet they say there was a Scotchman higher than he, and that they two and a knight met, and saw one another for nothing. . . .]
Act III, Scene IV.
[Wife. Oh, Ralph's here, George!—God send thee good luck, Ralph!]
Host. Puissant knight, yonder his mansion is. Lo, where the spear and copper basin are! Behold that string, on which hangs many a tooth,
Drawn from the gentle jaw of wandering knights !>«
T dare not stay to sound; he will appear. [Exit. Ralph. Oh, faint not, heart! Susan, my lady dear,
The cobbler's maid in Milk-street, for whose sake
is broad rim (1. e.. a is Barbers were also barber's basin) surgeons and den
ia soap-balls tlsts. 17 in proportion
I take these arms, oh, let the thought of thee Carry thy knight through all adventurous deeds;
And, in the honour of thy beauteous self,
[Tim knocks upon the basin.
Bar. What fond>° unknowing wight is this, that dares So rudely knock at Barbarossa's cell, Where no man conies but leaves his fleece behind?
Ralph. I, traitorous caitiff, who am sent by fate
To punish all the sad enormities
This fond reproach: thy body will I bang;
[Takes down his pole And lo, upon that string thy teeth shall hang! Prepare thyself, for dead soon shalt thou be.
Ealph. Saint George for me! [They fight.
Bar. Gargantua21 for me!
[Wife. To him, Ralph, to him! hold up the giant; set out thy leg before, Ralph!
Cit. Falsify a blow, Ralph, falsify a blow! the giant lies open on the left side.
Wife. Bear't off, bear't off still! there, boy!-—Oh, Ralph's almost down, Ralph's almost down! ]
Ealph. Susan, inspire me! now have up again.
Wife. TTp, up, up, up, up! so, Ralph! down with him, down with him, Ralph!
Cit. Fetch him o'er the hip, boy!
[Ralph knocks down the Barber.
Wife. There, bov! kill, kill, kill, kill, kill. Ralph!
is foolish 21 A (riant In Rnhrlals'
w par for satire.
t'if. No, Ralph; get all out of him first.) Ralph. Presumptuous man, see to what desperate end
Thy treachery hath brought thee! The just gods,
Who never prosper those that do despise them,
By my stiff arm, a knight adventurous.
Bar. Go in, and free them all; thou hast the day.
Ralph. Go, squire and dwarf, search in this dreadful cave, And free the wretched prisoners from their bonds.
[Exeunt Tim and George, who presently
[Cit. Cony, I can tell thee, the gentlemen like Ralph.
Wife. Ay, George, I see it well enough.— Gentlemen, I thank you all heartily for gracing my man Ralph; and I promise you, you shall see him oftener.]
Bar. Mercy, great knight! I do recant my ill,
And henceforth never gentle blood will spill.
Ealph. Depart, then, and amend.
Come, squire and dwarf; the sun grows toward his set,
And we have many more adventures yet.
[Cit. Now Ralph is in this humour, I know he would ha' beaten all the boys in the house, if they had been set on him.
Wife. Ay, George, but it is well as it is: I warrant you, the gentlemen do consider what it is to overthrow a giant.]
THE ELIZABETHAN AGE—PROSE
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY (1554-1566)
FROM THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE'S ARCADIA*
To My Dear Lady and Sinter, the Countess of Pern broke:
Here now have you^ most dear, and most worthy to be most dear, Lady, this idle work of mine, which, I fear, like the spider's web, will be thought fitter to be swept away than worn to any other purpose. For my part, in very truth, as the cruel fathers among the Greeks were wont to do to the babes they would not foster, I could well find in my heart to cast out in some desert of forgetfulness this child, which I am loath to father. But you desired me to do it; and your desire, to my heart, is an absolute commandment. Now it is done only for you, only to you. If you keep it to yourself, or to such friends as will weigh errors in the balance of goodwill, I hope, for the father's sake, it will be pardoned, perchance made much of, though in itself it have deformities; for, indeed, for severer eyes it is not, being but a trifle, and that triflingly handled. Your dear self can best witness the manner, being done in loose sheets of paper, most of it in your presence, the rest by sheets sent unto you as fast as they were done. In sum, a young head, not so well stayed' as I would it were, and shall be when God will, having many, many fancies begotten in it, if it had not been in some way delivered, would have
* Sidney did not mean to "walk Abroad" Into print with his hook. This will partly explain the loose style In which it Is written. But Elizabethan prose In general was mueh inferior to Elizabethan poetry. Scholars—the writer class—still clung to Latin, and even Bacon's vigorous English Is marred by I.atlnisms: men of action, like Raleigh, wrote In English, but naturally were little concerned for style; while the work of conscious stylists, like Lyly and Sidney, suffered from "Euphuism," that fashion of affectation and conceits that so weakened the prose of the age. (Eng. Lit., p. 128.) The brief selection given here lacks narrative interest, but will exemplify this curious style and also give a glimpse of that Arcadia which has been idealized in poetry and romance Into an Imaginary paradise of the simple, natural life.
grown a monster, and more sorry I might be that they came in than that they gat out. But his chief safety shall be the not walking abroad, and his chief protection the bearing the livery of your name, which, if my goodwill do not deceive me, is worthy to be a sanctuary for a greater offender. This say I because I know thy virtue so; and this say I because I know it may be ever so, or, to say better, because it will be ever so. Read it then, at your idle times, and the follies your good judgment will find in it blame not, but laugh at; and so, looking for no better stuff than, as in a haberdasher's shop, glasses or feathers, you will continue to love the writer, who doth exceedingly love you, and most, most heartily prays you may long live to be a principal ornament to the family of the Sidneys.
Your loving Brother,
From Book I
It was in the time that the earth begins to put on her new apparel against the approach of her lover, and that the sun running a most even course becomes an indifferent arbiter between the night and the day, when the hopeless shepherd Strephon was come to the sands which lie against the island of Cithera,t where, viewing the place with a heavy kind of delight, and sometimes casting his eyes to the isleward, he called his friendly rival the pastor3 Claius unto him; and, Betting first down in his darkened countenance a doleful copy of what lie would speak,$
"O my Claius," said he, "hither we are now come to pay the rent for which we are so called unto by overbusy remembrance; remembrance, restless remembrance, which claims not only this duty of us, but for it will have us
t As the native Isle of Aphrodite, this is a fitting place for Urania, the "heavenly," to depart to. It lies south of Greece, and Arcadia Is a
country of (ireece; but in Arcadian romances geography matters little. t A good example of the "conceits" which marked the prose and often the poetry of this period. See Ena. Lit., p. 120.
forget ourselves. I pray you, when we were amid our flock, and that,3 of other shepherds, some were running alter their sheep, strayed beyond their bounds, some delighting their eyes with seeing them nibble upon the short and Bweet grass, some medicining their sick ewes, some setting a bell for an ensign of a sheepish squadron, some with more leisure inventing new games for exercising their bodies, and sporting their wits,—did remembrance grant us an holiday, either for pastime or devotion, nay, either for necessary food or natural rest, but that still it forced our thoughts to work upon this place, where we last—alas, that the word 'last' should so long last—did grace our eyes upon her ever-flourishing beauty; did it not still cry within us: 'Ah, you base-minded wretches! are your thoughts so deeply bemired in the trade of ordinary worldlings, as, for respect of gain some paltry wool may yield you, to let so much time pass without knowing perfectly her estate, especially in so troublesome a season; to le«ve that shore unsaluted from whence you may see to the island where she dwclleth; to leave those steps unkissed wherein Urania printed the farewell of all beauty?'
'' Well, then, remembrance commanded, we obeyed, and here we find that as our remembrance came ever clothed unto us in the form <«f this place, so this place gives new heat to the fever of our languishing remembrance. Yonder, my Claius, Urania alighted; the very horse methought bewailed to be so disburdened; and as for thee, poor Claius, when thou wentest to help her down, I saw reverence and desire so divide thee that thou didst at one instant both blush and quake, and instead of bearing her wert ready to fall down thyself. There she sate, vouchsafing* my cloak (then most gorgeous) under her; at yonder rising of the ground she turned herself, looking back toward her wonted abode, and because of her parting, bearing much sorrow in her eyes, the Iightsomeness whereof had yet so natural a cheerfulness as it made even sorrow seem to smile; at the turning she spake to us all, opening the cherry of her lips, and, Lord! how greedily mine ears did feed upon the sweet words she uttered! And here she laid her hand over thine eyes, when she saw the tears springing in them, as if she would conceal them from other' and yet herself feel some of thy sorrow. But woe is me! yonder, yonder did she put her foot into the boat, at that instant,
a when !> others
as it were, dividing her heavenly beauty between the earth and the sea. Hut when she was embarked did you not mark how the winds whistled, and the seas danced for joy, how the sails did swell with pride, and all because they had Urania? O Urania, blessed be thou, Urania, the sweetest fairness and fairest sweetness 1 ''
With that word his voice brake so with sobbing that he could say no farther; and Claius thus answered, "Alas, my Strephon," said he, "what needs this score to reckon up only our losses? What doubt is there but that the sight of this place doth call our thoughts to appear at the court of affection, held by that racking steward Remembrance? As well may sheep forget to fear when they spy wolves, as we can miss such fancies, when we see any place made happy by her treading. Who can choose that saw her but think where she stayed, where she walked, where she turned, where she spoke? But what is all this? Truly no more but, as this place served us to think of those things, so those things serve as places to call to memory more excellent matters. No, no, let us think with consideration, and consider with acknowledging, and acknowledge with admiration, and admire with love, and love with joy in the midst of all woes; let us in such sort think, I say, that our poor eyes were so enriched as to behold, and our low hearts so exalted as to love, a maid who is such, that as the greatest thing the world can show is her beauty, so the least thing that may be praised in her is her beauty. Certainly, as her eyelids are more pleasant to behold than two white kids climbing up a fair tree, and browsing on his tenderest branches, and yet are nothing compared to the day-shining stars contained in them; and as her breath is more sweet than a gentle southwest wind, which comes creeping over flowery fields and shadowed waters in the extreme heat of summer, and yet is nothing compared to the honey-flowing speech that breath doth carry,—no more all that our eyes can see of her—though when they have seen her, what else they shall ever see is but dry stubble after clover-grass—is to be matched with the flock of unspeakable virtues laid up delightfully in that best buildcd fold.
'' But, indeed, as we can better consider the sun's beauty by marking how he gilds these waters and mountains than by looking upon his own face, too glorious for our weak eyes; so it may be our conceits—not able to bear her sun-staining excellency—will better weigh it by her works upon some meaner subject employed. And, alas, who can better witness that than we, whose experience is grounded upon feeling? Hath not the only" love of her made us, being silly ignorant shepherds, raise up our thoughts above the ordinary level of the world, so as great clerks7 do not disdain our conference?8 Hath not the desire to seem worthy in her eyes made us, when others were sleeping, to sit viewing the course of the heavens; when others were running at base," to run over learned writings; when others mark their sheep, we to mark our selves? Hath not she thrown reason upon our desires, and, as it were, given eyes unto Cupid? Hath in any, but in her, love-fellowship maintained friendship between rivals, and beauty taught the beholders chastity?" . . .
[The shepherds rescue the shipwrecked Musidorus and undertake to lead him to the home of a hospitable man in their native country of Arcadia.]
So that the third day after, in the time that the morning did strow roses and violets in the heavenly floor against the coming of the sun, the nightingales, striving one with the other which could in most dainty variety recount their wrong-caused sorrow, made them put off their sleep; and, rising from under a tree, which that night had been their pavilion, they went on their journey, which by-and-by welcomed Musidorus' eyes with delightful prospects. There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees; humble valleys whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers; meadows enamelled with all sorts of eye-pleasing flowers; thickets which, being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so to, by the cheerful disposition of many well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep, feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs, with bleating oratory, craved the dam's comfort; here a shepherd's boy piping, as though lie should never be old; there a young shepherdess knitting, and withal singing: and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voice-music.
As for the houses of the country—for many houses came under their eye—they were all scattered, no two being one by the other, and yet not so far off as that it barred mutual succor; a show, as it were, of an aceompan able10 solitariness, and of a civil wildness.
"I pray you," said Musidorus. then first unsealing his long-silent lips, "what countries be
these we pass through, which are so diverse in show, the one wanting no store, the other having no store but of want."'
"The country," answered Claius, "where you were cast ashore, and now are passed through, is Laconia, not so poor by the barrenness of the soil—though in itself not passing fertile—as by a civil war, which being these two years within the bowels of that estate, between the gentlemen and the peasants— by them named Helots—hath in this sort, as it were, disfigured the face of nature and made it so unhospitablc as now you have found it; the towns neither of the one side nor the other willingly opening their gates to strangers, nor strangers willingly entering, for fear of being mistaken. But this country where now you set your foot, is Arcadia; and even hard by is the house of Kalander, whither we lead you. This country being thus decked with peace, and the child of peace, good husbandry, these houses you see so scattered are of men, as we two are, that live upon the commodity of their sheep, and therefore, in the division of the Arcadian estate, are termed shepherds—a happy people, wanting little because they desire not much.''
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
THE LAST FIOHT OF THE REVENOE.*
The Lord Thomas Howard, with six of her Majesty's ships, six victuallers of London, the bark Raleigh, and two or three pinnaces, riding at anchor near unto Flores, one of the westerly islands of the Azores, the last of August in the afternoon, had intelligence by one Captain Middleton, of the approach of the Spanish Armada.i Which Middleton, being in a very good sailer, had kept them company three days before, of good purpose both to dis
1 Armada = flect; armado = single warship.
° In the fall of 1AH1 a small fleet of English vessels lay at the Azores to Intercept the Spanish treasure-ships from the Indies. On the appearance or the Spanish war-vessels sent to convoy the treasure-ships, the English vessels took to flight, with the exception of the Rerenge, the Vice Admiral of tile fleet, commanded by Sir Richard Grenvllle. The story of the fight of the Hcn'iige was written by Kalelgb. a cousin of Grenville's, and published anonymously in 1501; It was included, eight years later, in Ilakluyt's Voyage*. Itaenn also celebrated the fight as "a defeat exceeding a victory." "memorable even beyond credit and to the hight of some herolcal fable." in which "the ship for the span of fifteen hours sat like a stag amongst hounds at the bay, and was sieged and fought with in turn by fifteen great ships of Spain." See also Kronde's essay on Knntann"* Forgotten Worthle*. and Tennyson's ballad. The Rercnge.