Sir Thomas More
Act I, Scene 1
London. A street.
- Enter, at one end, John Lincoln, with the two Bettses
- together; at the other end, enters Francis de Barde and Doll
- a lusty woman, he haling her by the arm.
- Whether wilt thou hale me?
Barde2 - 3
- Whether I please; thou art my prize, and I plead purchase of
Doll4 - 7
- Purchase of me? Away, ye rascal! I am an honest plain
- carpenter’s wife, and though I have no beauty to like a
- husband, yet whatsoever is mine scorns to stoop to a
- stranger. Hand off, then, when I bid thee!
- Go with me quietly, or I’ll compel thee.
Doll9 - 13
- Compel me, ye dog’s face! Thou thinkst thou hast the
- goldsmith’s wife in hand, whom thou enticed’st from her
- husband with all his plate, and when thou turnd’st her home
- to him again, mad’st him, like an ass, pay for his wife’s
- So will I make thy husband too, if please me.
- Enter Caveler with a pair of doves; Williamson the
- carpenter, and Sherwin following him.
- Here he comes himself; tell him so, if thou dar’st.
- Follow me no further; I say thou shalt not have them.
- I bought them in Cheapside, and paid my money for them.
Sherwin18 - 19
- He did, sir, indeed; and you offer him wrong, both to take
- them from him, and not restore him his money neither.
Caveler20 - 22
- If he paid for them, let it suffice that I possess them.
- Beefs and brews may serve such hinds. Are pigeons meat for a
- coarse carpenter?
Lincoln23 - 24
- It is hard when Englishmen’s patience must be thus jetted on
- by strangers, and they not dare to revenge their own wrongs.
George25 - 26
- Lincoln, let’s beat them down, and bear no more of these
- We may not, Betts. Be patient, and hear more.
Doll28 - 30
- How now, husband! What, one stranger take they food from
- thee, and another thy wife! By our Lady, flesh and blood, I
- think, can hardly brook that.
Lincoln31 - 32
- Will this gear never be otherwise? Must these wrongs be thus
- Let us step in, and help to revenge their injury.
Barde34 - 36
- What art thou that talkest of revenge? My lord ambassador
- shall once more make your Major have a check, if he punish
- thee for this saucy presumption.
Williamson37 - 40
- Indeed, my lord Mayor, on the ambassador’s complaint, sent
- me to Newgate one day, because (against my will) I took the
- wall of a stranger. You may do any thing; the goldsmith’s
- wife and mine now must be at your commandment.
- The more patient fools are ye both, to suffer it.
Barde42 - 45
- Suffer it! Mend it thou or he, if ye can or dare. I tell
- thee, fellows, and she were the Mayor of London’s wife, had
- I her once in my possession, I would keep her in spite of
- him that durst say nay.
George46 - 48
- I tell thee, Lombard, these words should cost thy best cape,
- were I not curbed by duty and obedience. The Mayor of
- London’s wife! Oh God, shall it be thus?
Doll49 - 53
- Why, Betts, am not I as dear to my husband as my lord
- Mayor’s wife to him? And wilt thou so neglectly suffer thine
- own shame?—Hands off, proud stranger! Or, by him that bought
- me, if men’s milky hearts dare not strike a stranger, yet
- women beat them down, ere they bear these abuses.
- Mistress, I say you shall along with me.
Doll55 - 63
- Touch not Doll Williamson, least she lay thee along on God’s
- dear earth.
- To Caveler.
- And you, sir, that allow such coarse cates to carpenters,
- whilst pigeons, which they pay for, must serve your dainty
- appetite, deliver them back to my husband again, or I’ll
- call so many women to mine assistance as will not leave one
- inch untorn of thee. If our husbands must be bridled by law,
- and forced to bear your wrongs, their wives will be a little
- lawless, and soundly beat ye.
Caveler64 - 65
- Come away, De Barde, and let us go complain to my lord
- Exeunt Ambo.
Doll66 - 69
- Aye, go, and send him among us, and we’ll give him his
- welcome too. I am ashamed that freeborn Englishmen, having
- beaten strangers within their own homes, should thus be
- braved and abused by them at home.
Sherwin70 - 73
- It is not our lack of courage in the cause, but the strict
- obedience that we are bound to. I am the goldsmith whose
- wrongs you talked of; but how to redress yours or mine own
- is a matter beyond our abilities.
Lincoln74 - 78
- Not so, not so, my good friends. I, though a mean man, a
- broker by profession, and named John Lincoln, have long time
- winked at these wild enormities with mighty impatience, and,
- as these two brethren here (Betts by name) can witness, with
- loss of mine own life would gladly remedy them.
George79 - 80
- And he is in a good forwardness, I tell ye, if all hit
- As how, I prithee? Tell it to Doll Williamson.
Lincoln82 - 83
- You know the Spittle sermons begin the next week. I have
- drawn a bill of our wrongs and the strangers’ insolences.
George84 - 85
- Which he means the preachers shall there openly publish in
- the pulpit.
Williamson86 - 87
- Oh, but that they would! I’faith, it would tickle our
- strangers thoroughly.
Doll88 - 90
- Aye, and if you men durst not undertake it, before God, we
- women would. Take an honest woman from her husband! Why, it
- is intolerable.
- But how find ye the preachers affected to our proceeding?
Lincoln92 - 97
- Master Doctor Standish hath answered that it becomes not him
- to move any such thing in his sermon, and tells us we must
- move the Mayor and aldermen to reform it, and doubts not but
- happy success will ensue on statement of our wrongs. You
- shall perceive there’s no hurt in the bill. Here’s a couple
- of it; I pray ye, hear it.
- With all our hearts; for God’s sake, read it.
Lincoln99 - 115
- “To you all, the worshipful lords and masters of this city,
- that will take compassion over the poor people your
- neighbors, and also of the great importable hurts, losses,
- and hinderances, whereof proceedeth extreme poverty to all
- the king’s subjects that inhabit within this city and
- suburbs of the same. For so it is that aliens and strangers
- eat the bread from the fatherless children, and take the
- living from all the artificers and the intercourse from all
- the merchants, whereby poverty is so much increased, that
- every man bewaileth the misery of other; for craftsmen be
- brought to beggary, and merchants to neediness. Wherefore,
- the premises considered, the redress must be of the common
- knit and united to one part. And as the hurt and damage
- grieveth all men, so must all men see to their willing power
- for remedy, and not suffer the said aliens in their wealth,
- and the natural born men of this region to come to
Doll116 - 117
- Before God, ’tis excellent; and I’ll maintain the suit to be
Sherwin118 - 119
- Well, say ’tis read, what is your further meaning in the
George120 - 125
- What? Marry, list to me. No doubt but this will store us
- with friends enow, whose names we will closely keep in
- writing; and on May day next in the morning we’ll go forth a
- Maying, but make it the worst May day for the strangers that
- ever they saw. How say ye? Do ye subscribe, or are ye
- faint-hearted revolters?
Doll126 - 128
- Hold thee, George Betts, there’s my hand and my heart. By
- the Lord, I’ll make a captain among ye, and do somewhat to
- be talk of forever after.
Williamson129 - 130
- My masters, ere we part, let’s friendly go and drink
- together, and swear true secrecy upon our lives.
- There spake an angel. Come, let us along, then.