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Sir Thomas More: Act I, Scene 1

Sir Thomas More
Act I, Scene 1

London. A street.

  1. Enter, at one end, John Lincoln, with the two Bettses
  2. together; at the other end, enters Francis de Barde and Doll
  3. a lusty woman, he haling her by the arm.

Doll

1
  1. Whether wilt thou hale me?

Barde

2 - 3
  1. Whether I please; thou art my prize, and I plead purchase of
  2. thee.

Doll

4 - 7
  1. Purchase of me? Away, ye rascal! I am an honest plain
  2. carpenter’s wife, and though I have no beauty to like a
  3. husband, yet whatsoever is mine scorns to stoop to a
  4. stranger. Hand off, then, when I bid thee!

Barde

8
  1. Go with me quietly, or I’ll compel thee.

Doll

9 - 13
  1. Compel me, ye dog’s face! Thou thinkst thou hast the
  2. goldsmith’s wife in hand, whom thou enticed’st from her
  3. husband with all his plate, and when thou turnd’st her home
  4. to him again, mad’st him, like an ass, pay for his wife’s
  5. board.

Barde

14
  1. So will I make thy husband too, if please me.
  1. Enter Caveler with a pair of doves; Williamson the
  2. carpenter, and Sherwin following him.

Doll

15
  1. Here he comes himself; tell him so, if thou dar’st.

Caveler

16
  1. Follow me no further; I say thou shalt not have them.

Williamson

17
  1. I bought them in Cheapside, and paid my money for them.

Sherwin

18 - 19
  1. He did, sir, indeed; and you offer him wrong, both to take
  2. them from him, and not restore him his money neither.

Caveler

20 - 22
  1. If he paid for them, let it suffice that I possess them.
  2. Beefs and brews may serve such hinds. Are pigeons meat for a
  3. coarse carpenter?

Lincoln

23 - 24
  1. It is hard when Englishmen’s patience must be thus jetted on
  2. by strangers, and they not dare to revenge their own wrongs.

George

25 - 26
  1. Lincoln, let’s beat them down, and bear no more of these
  2. abuses.

Lincoln

27
  1. We may not, Betts. Be patient, and hear more.

Doll

28 - 30
  1. How now, husband! What, one stranger take they food from
  2. thee, and another thy wife! By our Lady, flesh and blood, I
  3. think, can hardly brook that.

Lincoln

31 - 32
  1. Will this gear never be otherwise? Must these wrongs be thus
  2. endured?

George

33
  1. Let us step in, and help to revenge their injury.

Barde

34 - 36
  1. What art thou that talkest of revenge? My lord ambassador
  2. shall once more make your Major have a check, if he punish
  3. thee for this saucy presumption.

Williamson

37 - 40
  1. Indeed, my lord Mayor, on the ambassador’s complaint, sent
  2. me to Newgate one day, because (against my will) I took the
  3. wall of a stranger. You may do any thing; the goldsmith’s
  4. wife and mine now must be at your commandment.

George

41
  1. The more patient fools are ye both, to suffer it.

Barde

42 - 45
  1. Suffer it! Mend it thou or he, if ye can or dare. I tell
  2. thee, fellows, and she were the Mayor of London’s wife, had
  3. I her once in my possession, I would keep her in spite of
  4. him that durst say nay.

George

46 - 48
  1. I tell thee, Lombard, these words should cost thy best cape,
  2. were I not curbed by duty and obedience. The Mayor of
  3. London’s wife! Oh God, shall it be thus?

Doll

49 - 53
  1. Why, Betts, am not I as dear to my husband as my lord
  2. Mayor’s wife to him? And wilt thou so neglectly suffer thine
  3. own shame?—Hands off, proud stranger! Or, by him that bought
  4. me, if men’s milky hearts dare not strike a stranger, yet
  5. women beat them down, ere they bear these abuses.

Barde

54
  1. Mistress, I say you shall along with me.

Doll

55 - 63
  1. Touch not Doll Williamson, least she lay thee along on God’s
  2. dear earth.
  3. To Caveler.
  4. And you, sir, that allow such coarse cates to carpenters,
  5. whilst pigeons, which they pay for, must serve your dainty
  6. appetite, deliver them back to my husband again, or I’ll
  7. call so many women to mine assistance as will not leave one
  8. inch untorn of thee. If our husbands must be bridled by law,
  9. and forced to bear your wrongs, their wives will be a little
  10. lawless, and soundly beat ye.

Caveler

64 - 65
  1. Come away, De Barde, and let us go complain to my lord
  2. ambassador.
  1. Exeunt Ambo.

Doll

66 - 69
  1. Aye, go, and send him among us, and we’ll give him his
  2. welcome too. I am ashamed that freeborn Englishmen, having
  3. beaten strangers within their own homes, should thus be
  4. braved and abused by them at home.

Sherwin

70 - 73
  1. It is not our lack of courage in the cause, but the strict
  2. obedience that we are bound to. I am the goldsmith whose
  3. wrongs you talked of; but how to redress yours or mine own
  4. is a matter beyond our abilities.

Lincoln

74 - 78
  1. Not so, not so, my good friends. I, though a mean man, a
  2. broker by profession, and named John Lincoln, have long time
  3. winked at these wild enormities with mighty impatience, and,
  4. as these two brethren here (Betts by name) can witness, with
  5. loss of mine own life would gladly remedy them.

George

79 - 80
  1. And he is in a good forwardness, I tell ye, if all hit
  2. right.

Doll

81
  1. As how, I prithee? Tell it to Doll Williamson.

Lincoln

82 - 83
  1. You know the Spittle sermons begin the next week. I have
  2. drawn a bill of our wrongs and the strangers’ insolences.

George

84 - 85
  1. Which he means the preachers shall there openly publish in
  2. the pulpit.

Williamson

86 - 87
  1. Oh, but that they would! I’faith, it would tickle our
  2. strangers thoroughly.

Doll

88 - 90
  1. Aye, and if you men durst not undertake it, before God, we
  2. women would. Take an honest woman from her husband! Why, it
  3. is intolerable.

Sherwin

91
  1. But how find ye the preachers affected to our proceeding?

Lincoln

92 - 97
  1. Master Doctor Standish hath answered that it becomes not him
  2. to move any such thing in his sermon, and tells us we must
  3. move the Mayor and aldermen to reform it, and doubts not but
  4. happy success will ensue on statement of our wrongs. You
  5. shall perceive there’s no hurt in the bill. Here’s a couple
  6. of it; I pray ye, hear it.

All

98
  1. With all our hearts; for God’s sake, read it.

Lincoln

99 - 115
  1. Reads.
  2. To you all, the worshipful lords and masters of this city,
  3. that will take compassion over the poor people your
  4. neighbors, and also of the great importable hurts, losses,
  5. and hinderances, whereof proceedeth extreme poverty to all
  6. the king’s subjects that inhabit within this city and
  7. suburbs of the same. For so it is that aliens and strangers
  8. eat the bread from the fatherless children, and take the
  9. living from all the artificers and the intercourse from all
  10. the merchants, whereby poverty is so much increased, that
  11. every man bewaileth the misery of other; for craftsmen be
  12. brought to beggary, and merchants to neediness. Wherefore,
  13. the premises considered, the redress must be of the common
  14. knit and united to one part. And as the hurt and damage
  15. grieveth all men, so must all men see to their willing power
  16. for remedy, and not suffer the said aliens in their wealth,
  17. and the natural born men of this region to come to
  18. confusion.”

Doll

116 - 117
  1. Before God, ’tis excellent; and I’ll maintain the suit to be
  2. honest.

Sherwin

118 - 119
  1. Well, say ’tis read, what is your further meaning in the
  2. matter?

George

120 - 125
  1. What? Marry, list to me. No doubt but this will store us
  2. with friends enow, whose names we will closely keep in
  3. writing; and on May day next in the morning we’ll go forth a
  4. Maying, but make it the worst May day for the strangers that
  5. ever they saw. How say ye? Do ye subscribe, or are ye
  6. faint-hearted revolters?

Doll

126 - 128
  1. Hold thee, George Betts, there’s my hand and my heart. By
  2. the Lord, I’ll make a captain among ye, and do somewhat to
  3. be talk of forever after.

Williamson

129 - 130
  1. My masters, ere we part, let’s friendly go and drink
  2. together, and swear true secrecy upon our lives.

George

131
  1. There spake an angel. Come, let us along, then.
  1. Exeunt.
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