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1610 - Jonson, Ben - Alchemist

Allusion to Adam Bell
Date 1610
Author Jonson, Ben
Title The Alchemist
Mentions Clim of the Clough

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-07-23. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-10-18.


Good deeds, sir Doctor Dogs'-Meat. 'Slight, I bring you
No cheating Clim-o'-the-Cloughs, or Claribels,
That look as big as five-and-fifty, and flush;
And spit out secrets like hot custard— [1]

Source notes

The above lines are spoken by the character Face; Act. I, scene ii, ll. 45-48.
The editor of the edition cited, Robert M. Adams, has this not very well informed note to the passage:
"Clim 'o the Clough was one of Robin Hood's playmates, Claribel a lewd and wicked knight in Spenser; unsavoury characters, in other words."[2] The character Clim of the Clough was not, of course, a member of Robin Hood's band. See next.

IRHB comments

This is probably only indirectly an allusion to the ballad character. As McKerrow's notes in his expertly edited Works of Thomas Nashe, a few allusions to Clim of the Clough from around 1600, including the present one, indicate that some then well-known performer had assumed the outlaw's name. McKerrow suggests a clown or fire-eater.[3] The allusions imply that he was probably both, but almost certainly a fire-eater.


Also see