Thomas Dekker

THE SHOEMAKER'S HOLIDAY, or
THE GENTLE CRAFT

paid for 15 July 1599
performed "New Year's Day at night"
31 December 1599 (or 24 March 1600?)

full synopsis available, click here
Go to "Notes of Interest"
Go to "Plays to be Compared"

ASKEW

Rowland Lacy's aide in his plan to marry his middle-class lover, Rose Oatley.

CORNWALL

A nobleman who accompanies the King of England to Simon Eyre's Shrove Tuesday feast.

DODGER

The "parasite" of Sir Hugh Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln, and his informer about the whereabouts of his nephew, Rowland Lacy. It is Dodger who tells Sir Hugh about Rowland's continuing presence in London, thus stoking the Earl's anger and fuelling his desire to prevent the match between his nephew and his middle-class lover Rose Oatley. Nevertheless, Dodger's spying does not measure up to the cunning of the London shoemakers, who fool Sir Hugh as well as Rose's father, Sir Roger Oatley and thus enable the lovers' elopement and subsequent marriage.

FIRK

One of Simon Eyre's journeymen. He is a "crafty varlet" and cunning trickster who–by first sowing and then resolving chaos and confusion–enables the reunion of the play's romantic couples, Rowland Lacy and Rose Oatley and Rafe and Jane Damport. Together with his fellow shoemaker Roger Hodge, he pleads for Hans Meulter to be hired by their master without realizing that the Dutch shoemaker is in fact Rowland Lacy in disguise. Thus paving the way for the elopement of Rowland and Rose, he subsequently enables the lovers' marriage by sending Sir Lacy and Roger Oatley, who are trying to prevent the match, to the wrong church on the day of the wedding. In so doing, Firk also thwarts the marriage between the rich citizen Master Hammond and the seamstress Jane Damport, whom Hammon had falsely led to believe in the death of her lawful husband Rafe.

HAMMON

Master Hammon is a wealthy city gentleman. Having been rejected by Rose Oatley, the daughter of the Lord Mayor of London, he tries to win the heart of the seamstress Jane Damport, whose husband, the shoemaker Rafe, has been conscripted in the war in France, by leading her to believe that her husband has died in battle. The match is thwarted by Rafe, in the meantime returned from France, with the aid of Firk and the London shoemakers, who violently protest his marriage with Jane. When the loyal Rafe rejects Hammon's offer of buying Jane off him, Hammon generously gives the couple the money as a wedding gift.

HANS MEULTER

The pseudonym under which Rowland Lacy becomes one of Simon Eyre's journeymen so as to pursue and marry his middle-class lover, Rose Oatley.

HUGH LACY

Sir Hugh Lacy is the Earl of Lincoln and uncle of Rowland Lacy. He disapproves of his nephew's liaison with Rose Oatley, the daughter of the Lord Mayor of London. He hopes that the war in France, where Rowland is sent to fight, will put an end to the affair. Having learned from Dodger, his loyal parasite, that his nephew did not go to France after all, he tries to prevent the marriage between Rowland and Rose, but is fooled by Firk, one of Simon Eyre's journeymen, who sends him and Rose's father, Sir Roger Oatley to the wrong church. Finally, he has to accept his nephew's marriage with a citizen's daughter when the King of England himself vindicates the match during Simon Eyre's Shrove Tuesday breakfast.

JANE

A diligent seamstress and the faithful wife of the shoemaker Rafe Damport. Jane is separated from her husband when he is conscripted in the war against France, but receives from him as a parting gift a pair of shoes made specially for her. These play a crucial role in the couple's subsequent reunion. She agrees to marry the wealthy citizen Hammon after he has falsely led her to believe that her husband has died in battle. Thanks to the violent intervention of the London shoemakers under the leadership of the cunning Firk, she is reunited with her husband, who in the meantime has returned from France, on the day of her own wedding with Hammon.

KING of ENGLAND

Historically, this was Henry VI. He is the figure of authority controlling the play. He integrates and legitimates the shoemakers' rowdy subversions of the social hierarchy. His participation in Simon Eyre's Shrove Tuesday feast, while acknowledging the shoemaker's alternative power, also presents the occasion for his vindication of the secret marriage between Rowland Lacy and Rose Oatley.

LOVELL

He interrupts the introductory conversation between the antagonists Sir Hugh Lacy and Sir Roger Oatley to announce that Sir Hugh's nephew Rowland Lacy has been called up in the war against France and is to leave London without delay.

MARGERY

Wife to Simon Eyre. She dreams of rising socially and puts on airs when she does. It is she who suggests to Rafe Damport, one of her husband's journeymen who has returned from the war in France, that his wife might have absconded.

RAFE DAMPORT

One of Simon Eyre's journeymen and the faithful husband of the seamstress Jane. He is separated from his wife when he is conscripted in the war in France, but presents her with a pair of shoes made especially for her as a parting gift. Subsequently, these shoes play a crucial role in the couple's reunion. Following his return to London, Rafe learns that Jane is about to marry the wealthy citizen Hammon when Hammon's servingman brings him this same pair of shoes as a model for her wedding shoes. With the aid of Firk and the London shoemakers, who violently protest her marriage to Hammon, he is reunited with his wife on the day of the ceremony and proves his loyalty by rejecting Hammon's offer to buy Jane from him.

ROGER HODGE

Simon Eyre's "brisk foreman." Together with his fellow shoemaker Firk, he urges his master to hire Hans Meulter without realizing that the Dutch shoemaker is Rowland Lacy in disguise. He thus unwittingly paves the way for the reunion and subsequent marriage of Rowland and his middle-class lover Rose Oatley. He also plays a crucial role in reuniting Rafe Damport and his lawful wife Jane, whose marriage to the wealthy citizen Hammon is violently protested and ultimately prevented by the London shoemakers.

ROGER OATLEY

Sir Roger Oatley is the Mayor of London and father of Rose Oatley. A staunch citizen who thinks that the nobility is idle, irresponsible and luxurious, he disapproves of his daughter's infatuation with the profligate aristocrat Rowland Lacy, nephew of the Earl of Lincoln, Sir Hugh Lacy. Hoping to marry his daughter to the citizen Master Hammon, he is infuriated when she rejects this profitable match, but realizes that she might have had motives beyond the chastity she has vowed when he learns that Rowland is still in town. He tries to prevent their marriage after the lovers have eloped but is fooled by Firk, who sends him and Sir Hugh to the wrong church on the day of the wedding. Finally, he has to accept his daughter's marriage with an aristocrat when the King of England himself vindicates the match.

ROSE

The daughter of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Roger Oatley. She is in love with Rowland Lacy, the nephew of Sir Hugh Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln. Her father, a staunch citizen, who thinks that the nobility is idle, irresponsible and luxurious, disapproves of his daughter's infatuation with an aristocrat, trying instead to marry her to the wealthy city gentleman Master Hammon. Rose, still in love with young Lacy, balks at this proposition and vows chastity. During a reception given by her father, where Simon Eyre's journeymen perform a morris dance, Rose discovers Rowland, disguised as the Dutch journeyman Hans Meulter, amongst the dancers. With the aid of her loyal maid Sybil and the cunning journeyman Firk, the two lovers are reunited and secretly married. Although undertaken against the will of Rose's father and Rowland's uncle, the match receives its vindication by the King of England himself during Eyre's Shrove Tuesday breakfast.

ROWLAND LACY

The nephew of Sir Hugh Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln. He is in love with Rose Oatley, the daughter of the Lord Mayor of London, a liaison of which his uncle, who deems Rose too low a match for his nephew, disapproves. Rowland pretends to heed his uncle's wish that he join the military campaign against France, but remains in London to marry his middle-class lover. Under the name of Hans Meulter, he is hired by Simon Eyre, and it is in this guise that he is discovered by Rose at a reception held by her father. With the aid of Rose's waiting woman Sibyl and the cunning journeyman Firk, the lovers elope and are secretly married. The match is finally vindicated by the King of England himself during Eyre's Shrove Tuesday breakfast.

SCOTT

Master Scott is a friend of Roger Oatley's, he becomes witness to Rose Oatley's rejection of Master Hammon and serves to summarize Simon Eyre's successful business venture in a conversation with his friend.

SERVINGMAN

Master Hammon's servant, who unwittingly reveals to Rafe Damport that his lawful wife Jane is about to marry again by bringing him the pair of shoes Rafe had made as a parting gift for Jane as the model for her wedding slippers.

SIBYL

Rose Oatley's loyal servant and go-between in her elopement and subsequent marriage with the young aristocrat Rowland Lacy.

SIMON EYRE

A shrewd and self-confident craftsman. He makes a meteoric rise from sheriff, alderman and finally Lord Mayor of London thanks to a clever business venture proposed to him by his journeyman Hans Meulter, the young aristocrat Rowland Lacy in disguise. He is an earthly and benevolent alternative power at the center of the play and benefactor of the members of his guild. Eyre also pulls the strings so that the play's star-crossed lovers, Rowland and Rose Oatley, can be united, promising to "bear them out" against the wrath of their families. He ultimately has the King of England himself vindicate the marriage between Rowland and Rose during a splendid Shrove Tuesday breakfast.

WARNER

Master Warner appears on stage together with his brother-in-law Master Hammon during the hunt scene that serves as a thematic overture to Hammon's thwarted seduction of Rose Oatley.

Synopsis:

I.i Hugh Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and Roger Oatley, the Lord Mayor of London, discuss Lacy and Rose, who are in love. Oatley suggests that his daughter Rose is too low born to be a fit match for Lincoln's nephew Lacy. Lincoln correctly guesses that Oatley simply does not like Lacy and prefers not to have his daughter marry him. Lincoln is glad to agree with Oatley. The two apparently do not much like each other. He tells Oatley that Rose could do better than marry Lacy. Lacy, Lincoln says, is a spendthrift who once squandered all of his money on a trip through Germany and had to support himself for a time as a shoemaker. They learn that the King is presently set for France and war. Lacy is given command of an army (a high honor). The two old men are glad that this war will separate Lacy and Rose.

But Lacy has other plans. He turns over his command to his cousin Askew. The arrangement is to be temporary until Lacy can catch up with him at Dover or Normandy.

Simon Eyre, the madcap shoemaker of Tower Street, comes to the two captains and begs that his newly married journeyman Rafe be allowed to remain at home and out of the fighting. Lacy, though he would like to, does not have the authority to excuse a man from service. Dodger, Lincoln's parasite, comes in to hasten on Lacy. Eyre and his other two journeymen, Hodge and Firk, bid Rafe a fond farewell. Rafe kisses his dear Jane good-bye and gives her a special pair of shoes he made for her as a remembrance. The press marches across the stage, and Rafe joins the parade.

II.i Rose, making a garland, is unhappy that her father, Oatley, has all but imprisoned her in Old Ford (3 1/2 miles N.E. of St. Paul's beyond Stratford Bow). It is his way of ensuring she will not come into contact with Lacy. Sybil, her maid, comes in to tell her that she does not believe Lacy loves her in truth. Rose sends Sybil to London to seek him out before he goes to war and discover whether he loves her or not.

II.ii Lacy is disguised as a Dutch shoemaker, Hans Meulter (having learned the trade in Wittenberg). He hopes to gain employment at Eyre's shop and secretly court Rose.

II.iii Eyre wakes early and rouses his household. When Hans wanders by singing, Firk begs Eyre to hire him on. Hodge and Firk threaten to leave Eyre's service if Hans is not hired. Eyre agrees to take Hans on. Firk is greatly tickled by the Dutchman's accent.

II.iv Hammon and Warner cross the stage in chase of a deer near Old Ford House. A Boy tells them that the deer has jumped the pale.

II.v Sybil tells Rose that a deer jumped into Old Ford's barn and the servants killed it for their master's supper. Hammon and Warner enter. Hammon falls in love with Rose and Warner with Sybil. Oatley enters and is pleased with the prospect of Hammon for a son and decides to make Rose love him.

III.i Lacy/Hans is with a Dutch skipper of his acquaintance. He has a ship filled with many delicacies that the owner cannot pay the bill of lading on. Lacy/Hans sends Eyre 20 portagues to pay the bill of lading (since Eyre is the master and alone may transact such mercantile trade). Firk and Hodge are impressed by Lacy/Hans' abilities. They carry the money to Eyre, who says he will transact the purchase. This transaction is the making of Eyre's fortune. We also learn that Hodge is working a pair of shoes for Rose and Firk a pair for Sybil. Margery (Eyre's wife) is very happy at the prospect of their rising stature in the community. She does "feel honour creep upon me."

III.ii Lincoln learns from Dodger that Lacy did not go into France. Lincoln sends Dodger to find Lacy in London. He suspects that Lacy has stayed behind to win Rose and determines to stop the match at all cost.

III.iii Hammon presses his courting with Rose under the approving eye of Oatley. Rose swears she will not love Hammon. Hammon decides to go after another young woman he has admired in a milliner's shop in the Old Change, namely Jane. Oatley is perturbed at Rose. He discusses with his friend Scott the recent change for the better in old Simon Eyre's fortunes. Eyre may be elected sheriff that very day. Dodger enters looking for Lacy, whom Lincoln suspected had been secreted in Oatley's house. Oatley then realizes why Rose refused Hammon. He suspects that she is seeing Lacy secretly.

III.iv Margery tells Firk to run ahead to the Guildhall to see whether Eyre will be sheriff. She is already putting on airs. They come across Rafe, home and lame from the war in France. He asks about Jane, but Margery let her go after she became too high-and-mighty as a married woman and does not know where she is. Hodge says he's heard that she is still in London and promises to help find her for Rafe. Firk comes back with the happy news that Eyre is sheriff indeed. Eyre enters with his gold chain of office. He gives Margery a fine French hood, makes Hodge the master of his shop, and elevates Firk to senior journeyman over Lacy/Hans, and promises to repay Lacy/Hans for being the instigator of all his good fortune. Oatley has invited him to Old Ford for supper that evening. Eyre bids his shoemakers to prepare a Morris dance to entertain his host. The shop is closed for a holiday.

III.v Oatley is pleased that the new sheriff is such a madcap, pleasant fellow. He has Margery try to persuade Rose to marry Hammon but to no avail. The shoemakers present their Morris dance. Rose recognizes Lacy as Hans and drinks a toast to him. Sybil contrives to get Rose into London so she may meet her Hans/Lacy.

IV.i Jane is at her work as seamstress. Hammon enters and woos her. She tells him she is married to Rafe Damport. He produces a letter that names the English who died in France. Rafe is on the list. He extracts a promise from her in her grief that if she should ever marry again it would be to Hammon.

IV.ii Seven of the Aldermen, the shoemakers declare, are dead or very sick. Rafe suggests that Eyre will quickly become Lord Mayor. Sybil comes in and bids Lacy/Hans to come help her mistress Rose, lately arrived in London from Old Ford, with her new shoes.

IV.iii A servingman enters with a shoe from which Rafe is to fashion wedding shoes for his mistress. Rafe recognizes the shoe as the gift he gave to Jane when he went into France. He learns from the servingman that the lady is to marry Hammon the next morning at Faith's Church. Rafe and Firk plan to gather up a group of lusty shoemakers and gather at the church to prevent the wedding.

IV.iv Lacy, still as Hans, and Rose court. They plan to meet presently at Eyre's shop and run away together. When Oatley enters, Lacy becomes Hans immediately to avoid suspicion. He overhears that Lincoln, his uncle, is at Oatley's door. When Oatley goes to greet Lincoln, Lacy fears that their plans will be ruined. Rose promises to go with him to Eyre's shop at once.

IV.v Lincoln has come to see whether Oatley is harboring Lacy, but is satisfied that he is not. Sybil enters with news that Rose has run away with the shoemaker Hans. Lincoln is secretly glad that Oatley's daughter has had no more discretion than to choose a lowly shoemaker. Oatley disowns Rose on the spot. Sybil is secretly glad her plan to throw suspicion off the true identity of Hans has worked. Firk enters with shoes for Sybil. Oatley and Lincoln try to squeeze out the whereabouts of Hans, but Firk knows that he is safe behind the shield of his master Eyre, who is lately become the Lord Mayor. Firk decides to gull Oatley and Lincoln. He tells them that Hans and Rose will marry at Faith's Church tomorrow morning. Lincoln realizes now that Hans must be Lacy. Oatley agrees. They determine to stop the wedding.

V.i Lacy has told Eyre his true identity. Eyre says that he will help Lacy and Rose to marry and give them his protection in repayment for the goodness "Hans" has shown to him. He sends them with Margery, who will act as witness, to be married at the Savoy.

The King is coming the same day to view the building Eyre has had erected. Eyre declares every Shrove Tuesday the Shoemaker's Holiday. He proposes to keep a long-standing promise to feast all the tradesmen in the city at a great banquet that day.

V.ii Outside of Faith's Church the shoemakers, armed with cudgels, prepare to detain Hammon and Jane. Rafe says that on that very morning he delivered the shoes to Jane, who did not recognize him for his lameness and the beard he grew while in France. She saw in him something of Rafe and cried and gave him gold for the resemblance. By that Rafe knows she loves him still. The shoemakers halt the wedding party. When Jane learns that Rafe is there she runs to him. Hammon offers to buy her out of her marriage for 20. Rafe flouts him for trying to make him a bawd and would beat him but for his lameness. Hammon sees his error and gives the couple the 20 in recompense. He vows never to marry.

When Oatley and Lincoln enter, Firk bids Jane to put her mask back on. Oatley and Lincoln try to break up the couple and are surprised to find that they are not Rose and Lacy. Dodger enters with the news that Rose and Lacy have married at Savoy and have the protection of Eyre, the Lord Mayor. They say they will go to the King to have the marriage annulled.

The banquet of tradesmen begins when the pancake bell rings. Firk suggests they call Shrove Tuesday "St. Hugh's Holiday" in honor of the shoemaker's saint.

V.iii The King, having heard that the new Lord Mayor is a madcap fellow, sends a messenger to tell Eyre to be himself and not affect a gravity for the King's presence.

V.iv Eyre plans to have none but shoemakers attend upon the King when he comes. He has the house run with wine and meat in honor of the tradesmen. A greater banquet has never been seen. He promises Lacy and Rose to beg the King's pardon for Lacy's desertion from the war and their marriage.

V.v The King pardons Lacy and approves their marriage. Eyre tells the King that he is 56 years old and as young as a pup. Oatley and Lincoln enter. They accuse Lacy of treason. When they learn the King has already pardoned him, they seek his divorce from Rose. The King divorces them to please the old men, then remarries them to please the couple. When Oatley says his daughter is not of fit blood to marry noble Lacy his ruse is destroyed when the King knights Lacy on the spot, thereby making Rose a lady. Oatley and Lincoln have no choice but grudgingly to accept the match.

To honor Eyre, the King himself names Eyre's new building "Leaden Hall." Eyre requests and receives a royal patent allowing shoemakers the right to buy and sell in Leaden Hall every Monday and Friday. Finally Eyre requests that the King taste the banquet that he has laid out for the tradesmen. The King agrees to be Eyre's guest at the banquet and vows afterward to press again his fight with France.

Characterization:

This play is different from most of the genre of Romantic comedy (or chronicle history-for the quibble on the genre see Notes of Interest, infra) in that there are no truly wicked characters.

Simon Eyre is a lovable madcap. Even when he rises to great heights in London society he retains his joie de vivre, which is appreciated by Oatley (when Eyre is made sheriff) and by the King (when Eyre is Lord Mayor) and by his journeymen (at all times). Throughout the play he is a fine fellow and a good man, a good administrator who never forgets his roots.

Margery, his wife, is affected and becomes pompous with Eyre's elevation, but she is not detestable. Her only really objectionable act is throwing out Jane and seeming unconcerned about it when Rafe returns in search of her. Still, Margery has a good heart beneath her affectation and remembers to treat Rafe kindly when he returns, even though he is now in a lower social class.

Lacy's initial desertion from the army-as bad as it is-is well forgiven by his kindness towards the lovable Eyre and his pardon from the King, who rightly sees the desertion not as an act of cowardice but an act of love.

Rose is something of an ingenue and would be rather lifeless but that Sybil's spitfire nature gives Rose something to play off of and thereby set off and improve her character.

Jane is the long-suffering war bride. We are not ultimately persuaded by her acceptance of Hammon, but we can accept the action as a necessary plot device for the romantic ending.

Hammon is a bit of a rogue. He falls in love all too quickly with both Rose and Jane. His ungallant wooing of Jane after telling her that Rafe is dead is hardly a pardonable offense, but his attempt to buy Jane from Rafe for 20 (or any amount of money) is the action of a cad. He redeems himself at the end by giving over the 20 anyway to repay the injury and promising never to marry. He is not a villain, just a cad.

Warner is underdeveloped. His love for Sybil is dropped before ever being explored.

The shoemakers Hodge and Firk are probably the most likable characters next to Eyre:

  • Hodge is the very backbone of craftsman camaraderie, a stout and likable fellow as well as a resolute friend.
  • Firk holds all the same ennobling qualities as Hodge but is more the jokester. His gulling of Oatley and Lincoln is not the action of other Renaissance "gulling" characters. It is neither mean spirited nor a work of confidence tricking. He does it to throw off Hans' enemies and allow his friend to marry. At the same time he has a jolly good laugh on the gentry. His off-color remarks are likewise good natured (and a type of true-to-life humor of the working classes that can be witnessed even today).

Oatley and Lincoln come closest to being unlikable. Indeed, they are the antagonists. But even they are not the dark characters of other Renaissance plays. There is no Machiavellian tendency here-just a healthy dislike for one another that manifests in their disapproval of their children's marriage. They are reasonable men, however, who are overridden by the King's command. In this they rather resemble Egeus in A Midsummer Night's Dream-not really bad, but certainly a burr in the lovers' saddle.

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Notes of Interest:

The play's title page indicates that it was presented "on New-years day at night last" by the Men of the "Lord high Admirall" and was published in 1600.

The play deals with historical characters. Simon Eyre really was the shoemaker who became Lord Mayor of London under the reign of Henry VI. It might, therefore, be considered a history or chronicle play in the tradition of Greene's Friar Bacon & Friar Bungay, but its focus is more upon the love relationships of Lacy and Rose and Rafe and Jane. Eyre's plot is less concerned with his historical significance than with his madcap personality and dealings with his journeymen. It is therefore not too far fetched to consider this not as a chronicle history but rather a Romantic comedy.

The play is not exactly a City Comedy either. Although it takes place in and around London and deals with common people (for the most part), it departs from the standard City Comedy on at least two points:

  • First, and most importantly, it is not set in a contemporary London but is instead historical. The action takes place some 150 years before the play's first performance. The allusions therefore to Mephistopheles, Tamburlaine, and Madge Mumblecrust are anachronistic.
  • Second, the appearance of the King violates the spirit of City Comedy, which was to present everyday city people engaged in dramatic action of a plebeian nature.
  • It is therefore probably more properly understood as a 'Citizen Comedy.'
The Rafe subplot is a proper foil for the Lacy plot:
  • Lacy would be a husband but for the interference of parental figures.
  • Rafe would be a husband but for the interference of the war.
  • Oatley separates Lacy from Rose.
  • The war separates Rafe from Jane (aided by Margery's dismissal of Jane).
  • Oatley and Lincoln attempt to prevent Lacy's marriage but manage to interrupt Rafe and Jane's reunion instead.
  • Hammon, who is ultimately rejected by both, woos both Lacy's love and Rafe's wife.

Dekker seems to be a student of contemporary theatre. He refers to "Madge Mumblecrust" (from Ralph Roister Doister) in II.iii. He refers to Mephistopheles (from Doctor Faustus) and to Tamburlaine in V.iv. In short, he has studied the theatre and seems to prefer Marlowe. All three allusions, in addition, are spoken by Simon Eyre, so it is likely that we are to see the master shoemaker as an ardent playgoer-an interest usually attributed to an apprentice slack in his duties (see Quicksilver in Eastward Hoe!). A roarer is usually an ape of players and no real threat (see Pistol in 1 & 2 Henry IV and Henry V). But Eyre is none of these things-he is a lover of life. Theatre, Dekker seems to suggest, is one of the best celebrations of life.

Like Jonson, Dekker cannot here resist a discussion of the new sensation, tobacco. Hodge and Margery discuss the drinking of a pipe of tobacco at III.iv. Like Jonsonian references, the last word on the subject is that it is a filthy activity. Also like Jonson, it is difficult to decipher what the author himself thinks about the subject.

In Eyre's first entrance, we see the shoemaker pleading for Rafe's release from service. Lacy, although sympathetic, is the wrong authority and cannot grant the suit. By the end of the play Eyre is not only elevated from shoemaker to Lord Mayor, he has also learned how and to whom to present a suit. We find him in his last appearance successfully entreating the King not only to excuse Lacy's desertion but also to approve Lacy and Rose's marriage, grant a patent for the shoemakers's market days in Leaden Hall, and accept an invitation to a banquet. Eyre learns much.

Eyre's favorite expression seems to be "Prince I am none, yet am I princely born!" The exclamation, in some form, issues from Eyre at least four times during the course of the play.

Jane's shoe is a sema. As with other such recognition devices (Odysseus' scar, Cinderella's glass slipper) it succeeds in bringing about a happy resolution.

Plays to be compared:

Udall's Ralph Roister Doister, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Tamburlaine (for allusions to these plays here);

City Comedies in general (to perceive the difference between those plays and this in genre);

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (for line echo at III.iii ll.34-5);

Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (for the reference in both plays to the Swan Tavern (here at III.ii l.10)) and Everyman in His Humour as well as Volpone (for the discussions of the use of tobacco, seen here at III.v ll.57-61);

Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (for the reference to "Jeronimo" at II.i l.46);

Chapman's The Gentleman Usher and Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters (for the use of the gold chain as a sign of status-seen here at III.v s.d. 145);

Shakespeare's Henry V (for the possible anachronistic use in this play-the use of the Crispin/Crispian speech (patron saint of leather workers) at Agincourt may have suggested the appropriateness of HV in this play to Dekker. Also the mention of "tennis balls" to the King at V.v l.25 would have a more "madcap" effect if Shakespeare's HV is the King addressed (cf. the Dauphin's gift of tennis balls in HV).

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