Act 4, Scene II

Scene: A Hall in the King of Moldavia's Court.


Oh, here they come! how prettily the King of Cracovia's daughter is dressed!
Ay, Nell, it is the fashion of that country, I warrant ye.]
Welcome, Sir Knight, unto my father's court,
King of Moldavia; unto me Pompiona,
His daughter dear! But, sure, you do not like
Your entertainment, that will stay with us
No longer but a night.
Damsel right fair,
I am on many sad adventures bound,
That call me forth into the wilderness;
Besides, my horse's back is something galled,
Which will enforce me ride a sober pace.
But many thanks, fair lady, be to you
For using errant knight with courtesy!
But say, brave knight, what is your name and birth?
My name is Ralph; I am an Englishman
(As, true as steel, a hearty Englishman),
And prentice to a grocer in the Strand
By deed indent, of which I have one part:
But fortune calling me to follow arms
On me this only order I did take
Of Burning Pestle, which in all men's eyes
I bear, confounding ladies' enemies.
Oft have I heard of your brave countrymen,
And fertile soil and store of wholesome food;
My, father oft will tell me of a drink
In England found, and nipitato called,
Which driveth all the sorrow from your hearts.
Lady, 'tis true; you need not lay your lips
To better nipitato than there is.
And of a wild fowl he will often speak,
Which powdered-beef-and-mustard callèd is:
For there have been great wars 'twixt us and you;
But truly Ralph, it was not 'long of me.
Tell me then, Ralph, could you contented be
To wear a lady's favour in your shield?
I am a knight of a religious order,
And will not wear a favour of a lady
That trusts in Antichrist and false traditions.
Well said, Ralph! convert her, if thou canst.]
Besides, I have a lady of my own
In merry England, for whose virtuous sake
I took these arms; and Susan is her name,
A cobbler's maid in Milk Street; whom I vow
Ne'er to forsake whilst life and Pestle last.
Happy that cobbling dame, whoe'er she be,
That for her own, dear Ralph, hath gotten thee!
Unhappy I, that ne'er shall see the day
To see thee more, that bear'st my heart away!
Lady, farewell; I needs must take my leave.
Hard-hearted Ralph, that ladies dost deceive!
Hark thee, Ralph: there's money for thee [Gives money]; give something in the King of Cracovia's house; be not beholding to him.]
Lady, before I go, I must remember
Your father's officers, who truth to tell,
Have been about me very diligent:
Hold up thy snowy hand, thou princely maid!
There's twelve-pence for your father's chamberlain;
And another shilling for his cook,
For, by my troth, the goose was roasted well;
And twelve-pence for your father's horse-keeper,
For 'nointing my horse-back, and for his butter
There is another shilling; to the maid
That washed my boot-hose there's an English groat
And two-pence to the boy that wiped my boots;
And last, fair lady, there is for yourself
Three-pence, to buy you pins at Bumbo-fair.
Full many thanks; and I will keep them safe
Till all the heads be off, for thy sake, Ralph.
Advance, my squire and dwarf! I cannot stay.
Thou kill'st my heart in passing thus away.
I commend Ralph yet, that he will not stoop to a Cracovian; there's properer women in London than any are there, I-wis.]