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The dumbe knight.
1608

STC 17399, title page

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STC 17399, title page
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Creator: Gervase Markham
Title: The dumbe knight. A pleasant comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham.
Date: London : Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange, 1608.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC
Call number and opening: STC 17399,  title page & sigs. E4v-F1r
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Item Creator
Gervase Markham
Item Title
The dumbe knight. A pleasant comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham.
Item Date
London : Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange, 1608.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 17399, title page

STC 17399, signatures E4 verso & F1 recto

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STC 17399, signatures E4 verso & F1 recto
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Gervase Markham
Title: The dumbe knight. A pleasant comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham.
Date: London : Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange, 1608.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC
Call number and opening: STC 17399,  title page & sigs. E4v-F1r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
Gervase Markham
Item Title
The dumbe knight. A pleasant comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham.
Item Date
London : Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange, 1608.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 17399, sigs. E4v-F1r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: Gervase Markham
Title: The dumbe knight. A pleasant comedy, acted sundry times by the children of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Iaruis Markham.
Date: London : Printed by Nicholas Okes, for Iohn Bache, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Palace, neere to the Royall Exchange, 1608.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC
Call number and opening: STC 17399,  title page & sigs. E4v-F1r
View online bibliographic record

Gervase Markham and Lewis Machin’s play The Dumbe Knight, first printed in 1608, both refers to and quotes from Shakespeare’s popular poem Venus and Adonis on folio F1r.

The play comprises two main plots, the second of which concerns the orator Prate’s relationship with his wife, Lollia, who seeks greater wealth and status through an affair with Lord Alphonso. In this latter plot, Veloups and Drap, two of Prate’s clients, seek the orator out in his chamber but find his clerk, Precedent, reading a book he calls “maides Philosophy, or Venus and Adonis,” the “best book in the world” (image 2, fol. F1r) When they ask him to find Prate, Precedent distractedly responds to them in between reciting lines from the poem (ll. 229-34 in modern editions). His incoherence seems even funnier when he tells the visitors that Venus and Adonis is “[a] book that neuer an Orators clarke in this kingdome is but beholden vnto.” 

Precedent, excluding asides from Veloups, Drap and himself recites the following lines:

Fondling, said he, since I haue hem’d thee heere,
VVithin the circuit of this Iuory pale.

Ile be a parke, and thou shalt be my Deere:
...Feed where thou wilt, in montain or on dale,
...Graze on my lips, and when those mounts are drie,
Stray lower where the pleasant fountaines lie.

Other writers adopted these titillating lines about the deer park as well (without Precedent’s asides to Veloups and Drap). They also appear in a manuscript transcribed by Henry Colling and The Fair Maid of the Exchange.

Katherine Duncan-Jones suggests that, in Markham and Machin’s play, these allusions “have the double effect of paying tribute to Shakespeare’s poem while mocking the simplistic admiration of those who treat it as a sex manual or handbook for wooers” (496), as poor Precedent seems to do.

The Folgers purchased this volume at a Sotheby’s auction on March 20, 1919. Three other copies are held at the British Library, the Huntington Library, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University.  This edition is a reissue of an edition printed in the same year. It has a new title page which attributes the play to Markham and describes it as a “pleasant Comedy” rather than “A historicall comedy.” Only two copies of this earlier edition are known to survive; a single copy of this earlier edition with a variant title page also survives.

 

Written by Erin A. McCarthy

Sources

DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks. Ed. Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser. Created 2007. Accessed 22 January 2016. <http://deep.sas.upenn.edu>.

“The Dumb Knight.” A Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama, Meaghan Brown, Michael Poston, and Elizabeth Williamson, eds. Folger Shakespeare Library, http://emed.folger.edu, accessed May 25, 2017.

Katherine Duncan-Jones, “Much Ado with Red and White: The Earliest Readers of Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis (1593).” Review of English Studies 44 (1993): 479–501.

W. Carew Hazlitt, ed., A Select Collection of Old English Plays. 15 vols.  (London: Reeves and Turner, 1874–1876).

Hilton Kelliher, “Unrecorded Extracts from Shakespeare, Sidney and Dyer.” English Manuscript Studies, 1100-1700 2 (1990): 163–87.

 

Last updated May 26, 2017