A scholar. Hence, beau-clerc. (See above, Clerical Titles .)
All the clerks, I mean the learned ones, in Christian kingdoms, Have their free voices.
Shakespeare: Henry VIII., ii. 2.
“I think there came prancing down the hill a couple of St. Nicholas's clerks.” —Rowley: Match at Midnight, 1633.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894