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Of high displeasure that ensewen might,

XLIII Commaunded them their fury to refraine; And, if that either to that shield had But threw his gauntlet, as a sacred right,

pledge In equall lists they should the morrow His cause in combat the next day to try: next it fight.

So been they parted both, with harts on


To be aveng'd each on his enimy.

That night they pas in joy and jollity,

Feasting and courting both in bowre and "Ah, dearest Dame," quoth then the

hall; Paynim bold,

For Steward was excessive Gluttony, "Pardon the error of enraged wight, That of his plenty poured forth to all: Whome great griefe made forgett the Which doen, the Chamberlain, Slowth, did raines to hold

to rest them call. Of reasons rule, to see this recreaunt knight,

XLIV No knight, but treachour full of false despight

Now whenas darkesome night had all And shameful treason, who through guile displayd hath slayn

Her coleblacke curtein over brightest The prowest ? knight that ever field did

skye; fight,

The warlike youthes, on dayntie couches Even stout Sansfoy, (O who can then

layd, refrayn?)

Did chace away sweet sleepe from slugWhose shield he beares renverst, the more to heap disdayn.

To muse on meanes of hoped victory.
But whenas Morpheus had with leaden

gish eye,


silent pace.


Arrested all that courtly company,

Uprose Duessa from her resting place, "And, to augment the glorie of his

And to the Paynims lodging comes with guile, His dearest love, the faire Fidessa, loe! Is there possessed of the traytour vile;

XLV Who reapes the harvest sowen by his foe,

Whom broad awake she findes, in Sowen in bloodie field, and bought with

troublous fitt, woe!

Fore-casting how his foe he might anThat brothers hand shall dearely well re

noy; quight,

And him amoves with speaches seeming So be, 0 Queene! you equall favour

fitt: showe.”

“Ah deare Sansjoy, next dearest to SansHim litle answerd th' angry Elfin knight;

foy, He never meant with words, but swords, Cause of my new griefe, cause of my new to plead his right:

joy; 1 bravest * reversed

Joyous to see his ymage in mine eye,

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"O! but I feare the fickle freakes,"

(quoth shee) Of fortune false, and oddes of armes in

field.” “Why, dame," (quoth he) “what oddes

can ever bee, Where both doe fight alike, to win or

yield?” "Yea, but,” (quoth she) "he beares a


“But since faire Sunne hath sperst that

lowring clowd, And to my loathed life now shewes some

charmed shield, And eke enchaunted armes, that none can

perce; Ne none can wound the man that does

them wield.”


1 deceiver

“Charmd or enchaunted," answered he

then ferce, “I no whitt reck; ne you

the like need to reherce.


Returne from whence ye came, and rest

a while, Till morrow next that I the Elfe subdew, And with Sansfoyes dead dowry you en

dew.” “Ah me! that is a double death,” (she

said) “With proud foes sight my sorrow to re



"But, faire Fidessa, sithens ? fortunes

guile, Or enimies powre, hath now captived

Where ever yet I be, my secret aide
Shall follow you.” So, passing forth, she

you, 1 heed

* since

him obaid.



In the development of the drama through the mystery play and the morality it is possible to observe the gradual introduction of little realistic touches which foretell the coming liberation of the type from didacticism and allegory. In the English Nativity plays, for example, the shepherds with their homely dialogue are genuine products of the English soil, and in the Towneley cycle the extended episode of Mak and his sheep stealing is an excellent start in the direction of realistic comedy. It was natural that during the great age of the drama in the reign of Elizabeth the realism of everyday life should be prominently represented.

The Shoemakers' Holiday was written by Thomas Dekker in 1599. Stories of shoemakers had appeared in book form the previous year (The Gentle Craft, by Thomas Deloney) and Dekker made his play from various elements in these tales. The love story of Lacy and Rose, which runs as a romantic thread through the play, is structually the central feature of the plot. But no one can doubt that the real interest of the drama centers in the character of Simon Eyre, the exuberant shoemaker, and his band of jolly workmen. They make this lively and boisterous comedy what it is. Their good fellowship and humor, the healthy pride they have in their craft, and their sense of loyalty to each other are responsible for most of the play's unusual charm.

Thomas Dekker (c. 1570-c. 1641) was slightly younger than Shakespeare. Born and bred in London, he must have known well the artisan class portrayed in this play. He was the author of many plays, of which a dozen or more are extant. In addition, he was a prolific pamphleteer, writing numerous pieces of a fugitive character and temporary popularity. Most of his work was doubtless done under the urge of necessity and is characterized by an air of haste, but through nearly all of it there is a pervasive atmosphere of kindliness and good feeling that must have been part of the man.

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like eyes,

THOMAS DEKKER (1570?-1641?) So we, dear goddess, wonder of all eyes,

Your meanest vassals, through mistrust THE SHOEMAKERS' HOLIDAY

and fear

To sink into the bottom of disgrace TO ALL GOOD FELLOWS, PROFESSORS OF

By our imperfect pastimes, prostrate thus

On bended knees, our sails of hope do

KIND gentlemen and honest boon com Dreading the bitter storms of your dis-
panions, I present you here with a merry like.
conceited Comedy, called The Shoe Since then, unhappy men, our hap is such,
makers' Holiday, acted by my Lord Ad That to ourselves ourselves no help can
miral's Players this present Christmas bring,
before the Queen's most excellent But needs must perish, if your saint-like
Majesty, for the mirth and pleasant mat ears,
ter by Her Highness graciously accepted, Locking the temple where all mercy sits,
being indeed no way offensive. The argu Refuse the tribute of our begging tongues:
ment of the play I will set down in this Oh grant, bright mirror of true chastity,
Epistle: Sir Hugh Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, From those life-breathing stars, your sun-
had a young gentleman of his own name,
his near kinsman, that loved the Lord One gracious smile: for your celestial
Mayor's daughter of London; to prevent breath
and cross which love, the Earl caused his Must send us life, or sentence us to death.
kinsman to be sent Colonel of a company
into France: who resigned his place to

another gentleman his friend, and came THE KING.
disguised like a Dutch shoemaker to the THE EARL OF CORNWALL.
house of Simon Eyre in Tower Street, who Sir Hugh Lacy, Earl of Lincoln.
served the Mayor and his household with ROWLAND LACY,
shoes: the merriments that passed in otherwise Hans, His Nephews.
Eyre's house, his coming to be Mayor of ASKEW
London, Lacy's getting his love, and SIR ROGER OATELEY, Lord Mayor of
other accidents, with two merry Three London.
men's-songs. Take all in good worth that MASTER HAMMON
is well intended, for nothing is purposed MASTER WARNER Citizens of London.
but mirth; mirth lengtheneth long life, MASTER SCOTT
which, with all other blessings, I heartily Simon EYRE, a Shoemaker.
wish you. Farewell!

ROGER, commonly
called HODGE

EYRE's Journeymen.


As it was pronounced before the Queen's

LOVELL, a Courtier.
DODGER, Servant to the

As wretches in a storm, expecting day, LINCOLN.
With trembling hands and eyes cast up to A DUTCH SKIPPER.

A Boy.
Make prayers the anchor of their con Rose, Daughter of Sir ROGER.
quered hopes,

SYBIL, her Maid.

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