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Sir Thomas More: Act II, Scene 4

Sir Thomas More
Act II, Scene 4

St. Martin’s Gate.

  1. Enter Lincoln, Doll, Clown, George Betts, Williamson,
  2. others; and a Sergeant at Arms.

Lincoln

1 - 4
  1. Peace, hear me. He that will not see a red herring at a
  2. Harry groat, butter at eleven pence a pound, meal at nine
  3. shillings a bushel, and beef at four nobles a stone, list to
  4. me.

George

5 - 6
  1. It will come to that pass, if strangers be suffered. Mark
  2. him.

Lincoln

7 - 8
  1. Our country is a great eating country; ergo, they eat more
  2. in our country than they do in their own.

Clown

9
  1. By a halfpenny loaf a day, troy weight.

Lincoln

10 - 12
  1. They bring in strange roots, which is merely to the undoing
  2. of poor prentices; for what’s a sorry parsnip to a good
  3. heart?

Williamson

13 - 14
  1. Trash, trash; they breed sore eyes, and ’tis enough to
  2. infect the city with the palsey.

Lincoln

15 - 18
  1. Nay, it has infected it with the palsey; for these bastards
  2. of dung, as you know they grow in dung, have infected us,
  3. and it is our infection will make the city shake, which
  4. partly comes through the eating of parsnips.

Clown

19
  1. True; and pumpkins together.

Sergeant

20 - 21
  1. What say ye to the mercy of the king?
  2. Do ye refuse it?

Lincoln

22 - 24
  1. You would have us upon t’ hip, would you? No, marry, do we
  2. not; we accept of the king’s mercy, but we will show no
  3. mercy upon the strangers.

Sergeant

25 - 26
  1. You are the simplest things that ever stood
  2. In such a question.

Lincoln

27 - 28
  1. How say ye now, prentices? Prentices simple’! Down with
  2. him!

All

29
  1. Prentices simple! Prentices simple!
  1. Enter the Lord Mayor, Surrey, Shrewsbury, More.

Lord Mayor

30
  1. Hold! In the king’s name, hold!

Surrey

31
  1.                                 Friends, masters, countrymen

Lord Mayor

32
  1. Peace, how, peace! I charge you, keep the peace!

Shrewsbury

33
  1. My masters, countrymen

Williamson

34
  1. The noble Earl of Shrewsbury, let’s hear him.

George

35
  1. We’ll hear the Earl of Surrey.

Lincoln

36
  1. The Earl of Shrewsbury.

George

37
  1. We’ll hear both.

All

38
  1. Both, both, both, both!

Lincoln

39
  1. Peace, I say, peace! Are you men of wisdom, or what are you?

Surrey

40
  1. What you will have them; but not men of wisdom.

All

41 - 42
  1. We’ll not hear my lord of Surrey; no, no, no, no, no!
  2. Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury!

More

43 - 44
  1. Whiles they are o’er the bank of their obedience,
  2. Thus will they bear down all things.

Lincoln

45
  1. Sheriff More speaks; shall we hear Sheriff More speak?

Doll

46 - 48
  1. Let’s hear him. ’A keeps a plentyful shrievaltry, and ’a
  2. made my brother Arthur Watchins, Sergeant Safe’s yeoman.
  3. Let’s hear Sheriff More.

All

49
  1. Sheriff More, More, More, Sheriff More!

More

50 - 51
  1. Even by the rule you have among yourselves,
  2. Command still audience.

All

52
  1. Surrey, Surrey! More, More!

Lincoln

53
  1. Peace, peace, silence, peace!

George

54
  1. Peace, peace, silence, peace!

More

55 - 56
  1. You that have voice and credit with the number,
  2. Command them to a stillness.

Lincoln

57 - 58
  1. A plague on them, they will not hold their peace; the dual
  2. cannot rule them.

More

59 - 61
  1. Then what a rough and riotous charge have you,
  2. To lead those that the dual cannot rule?—
  3. Good masters, hear me speak.

Doll

62 - 63
  1. Aye, by th’ mass, will we, More. Th’ art a good housekeeper,
  2. and I thank thy good worship for my brother Arthur Watchins.

All

64
  1. Peace, peace.

More

65 - 73
  1. Look, what you do offend you cry upon,
  2. That is, the peace. Not one of you here present,
  3. Had there such fellows lived when you were babes,
  4. That could have topped the peace, as now you would,
  5. The peace wherein you have till now grown up
  6. Had been ta’en from you, and the bloody times
  7. Could not have brought you to the state of men.
  8. Alas, poor things, what is it you have got,
  9. Although we grant you get the thing you seek?

George

74 - 75
  1. Marry, the removing of the strangers, which cannot choose
  2. but much advantage the poor handicrafts of the city.

More

76 - 91
  1. Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
  2. Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
  3. Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
  4. Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
  5. Plodding tooth ports and costs for transportation,
  6. And that you sit as kings in your desires,
  7. Authority quite silent by your brawl,
  8. And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
  9. What had you got? I’ll tell you. You had taught
  10. How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
  11. How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
  12. Not one of you should live an aged man,
  13. For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
  14. With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
  15. Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
  16. Would feed on one another.

Doll

92
  1. Before God, that’s as true as the Gospel.

Lincoln

93
  1. Nay, this is a sound fellow, I tell you. Let’s mark him.

More

94 - 101
  1. Let me set up before your thoughts, good friends,
  2. On supposition; which if you will mark,
  3. You shall perceive how horrible a shape
  4. Your innovation bears. First, ’tis a sin
  5. Which oft the apostle did forewarn us of,
  6. Urging obedience to authority;
  7. And ’twere no error, if I told you all,
  8. You were in arms against your God himself.

All

102
  1. Marry, God forbid that!

More

103 - 144
  1. Nay, certainly you are;
  2. For to the king God hath his office lent
  3. Of dread, of justice, power and command,
  4. Hath bid him rule, and willed you to obey;
  5. And, to add ampler majesty to this,
  6. He hath not only lent the king his figure,
  7. His throne and sword, but given him his own name,
  8. Calls him a god on earth. What do you, then,
  9. Rising ’gainst him that God himself installs,
  10. But rise against God? What do you to your souls
  11. In doing this? O, desperate as you are,
  12. Wash your foul minds with tears, and those same hands,
  13. That you like rebels lift against the peace,
  14. Lift up for peace, and your unreverent knees,
  15. Make them your feet to kneel to be forgiven!
  16. Tell me but this. What rebel captain,
  17. As mutinies are incident, by his name
  18. Can still the rout? Who will obey a traitor?
  19. Or how can well that proclamation sound,
  20. When there is no addition but a rebel
  21. To qualify a rebel? You’ll put down strangers,
  22. Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,
  23. And lead the majesty of law in line,
  24. To slip him like a hound. Say now the king
  25. (As he is clement, if th’ offender mourn)
  26. Should so much come to short of your great trespass
  27. As but to banish you, whether would you go?
  28. What country, by the nature of your error,
  29. Should give you harbor? Go you to France or Flanders,
  30. To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
  31. Nay, any where that not adheres to England,—
  32. Why, you must needs be strangers. Would you be pleased
  33. To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
  34. That, breaking out in hideous violence,
  35. Would not afford you an abode on earth,
  36. Whet their detested knives against your throats,
  37. Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
  38. Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
  39. Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
  40. But chartered unto them, what would you think
  41. To be thus used? This is the strangers’ case;
  42. And this your mountanish inhumanity.

All

145
  1. Faith, ’a says true. Let’s do as we may be done to.

Lincoln

146 - 147
  1. We’ll be ruled by you, Master More, if you’ll stand our
  2. friend to procure our pardon.

More

148 - 156
  1. Submit you to these noble gentlemen,
  2. Entreat their mediation to the king,
  3. Give up yourself to form, obey the magistrate,
  4. And there’s no doubt but mercy may be found,
  5. If you so seek.
  6. To persist in it is present death. But, if you
  7. Yield yourselves, no doubt what punishment
  8. You in simplicity have incurred, his highness
  9. In mercy will most graciously pardon.

All

157
  1. We yield, and desire his highness’ mercy.
  1. They lay by their weapons.

More

158 - 160
  1. No doubt his majesty will grant it you:
  2. But you must yield to go to several prisons,
  3. Till that his highness’ will be further known.

All

161
  1. Most willingly; whether you will have us.

Shrewsbury

162 - 170
  1. Lord Mayor, let them be sent to several prisons,
  2. And there, in any case, be well intreated.
  3. My lord of Surrey, please you to take horse,
  4. And ride to Cheapside, where the aldermen
  5. Are with their several companies in arms;
  6. Will them to go unto their several wards,
  7. Both for the stay of further mutiny,
  8. And for the apprehending of such persons
  9. As shall contend.

Surrey

171
  1.                   I go, my noble lord.
  1. Exit Surrey.

Shrewsbury

172 - 174
  1. We’ll straight go tell his highness these good news;
  2. Withal, Sheriff More, I’ll tell him how your breath
  3. Hath ransomed many a subject from sad death.
  1. Exit.

Lord Mayor

175 - 176
  1. Lincoln and Sherwin, you shall both to Newgate;
  2. The rest unto the Counters.

Palmer

177 - 178
  1. Go guard them hence. A little breath well spent
  2. Cheats expectation in his fairest event.

Doll

179 - 182
  1. Well, Sheriff More, thou hast done more with thy good words
  2. than all they could with their weapons. Give me thy hand,
  3. keep thy promise now for the king’s pardon, or, by the Lord,
  4. I’ll call thee a plain coney-catcher.

Lincoln

183 - 184
  1. Farewell, Sheriff More; and as we yield by thee,
  2. So make our peace; then thou dealst honestly.

Clown

185 - 186
  1. Aye, and save us from the gallows, else ’a devil’s double
  2. honestly!
  1. They are led away.

Lord Mayor

187 - 194
  1. Master Sheriff More, you have preserved the city
  2. From a most dangerous fierce commotion;
  3. For, if this limb of riot here in St. Martin’s
  4. Had joined with other branches of the city
  5. That did begin to kindle, ’twould have bred
  6. Great rage; that rage much murder would have fed.
  7. Not steel, but eloquence hath wrought this good:
  8. You have redeemed us from much threatened blood.

More

195 - 206
  1. My lord and brethren, what I here have spoke,
  2. My country’s love, and next the city’s care,
  3. Enjoined me to; which since it thus prevails,
  4. Think, God hath made weak More his instrument
  5. To thwart sedition’s violent intent.
  6. I think ’twere best, my lord, some two hours hence
  7. We meet at the Guildhall, and there determine
  8. That thorough every ward the watch be clad
  9. In armor, but especially proud
  10. That at the city gates selected men,
  11. Substantial citizens, do ward tonight,
  12. For fear of further mischief.

Lord Mayor

207 - 208
  1.                               It shall be so:
  2. But yond me thinks my lord of Shrewsbury.
  1. Enter Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury

209 - 214
  1. My lord, his majesty sends loving thanks
  2. To you, your brethren, and his faithful subjects,
  3. Your careful citizens. But, Master More, to you
  4. A rougher, yet as kind, a salutation:
  5. A knights creation is this knightly steel.
  6. Rise up, Sir Thomas More.

More

215
  1. I thank his highness for thus honoring me.

Shrewsbury

216 - 220
  1. This is but first taste of his princely favor:
  2. For it hath pleased his high majesty
  3. (Noting your wisdom and deserving merit)
  4. To put this staff of honor in your hand,
  5. For he hath chose you of his Privy Council.

More

221 - 227
  1. My lord, for to deny my sovereign’s bounty
  2. Were to drop precious stones into the heaps
  3. Whence they first came;
  4. To urge my imperfections in excuse,
  5. Were all as stale as custom. No, my lord,
  6. My service is my kings; good reason why,—
  7. Since life or death hangs on our sovereign’s eye.

Lord Mayor

228 - 229
  1. His majesty hath honored much the city
  2. In this his princely choice.

More

230 - 236
  1.                              My lord and brethren,
  2. Though I depart for court my love shall rest
  3. With you, as heretofore, a faithful guest.
  4. I now must sleep in court, sound sleeps forbear;
  5. The chamberlain to state is public care:
  6. Yet, in this rising of my private blood,
  7. My studious thoughts shall tend the city’s good.
  1. Enter Crofts.

Shrewsbury

237
  1. How now, Crofts! What news?

Crofts

238 - 243
  1. My lord, his highness sends express command
  2. That a record be entered of this riot,
  3. And that the chief and capital offenders
  4. Be thereon straight arraigned, for himself intends
  5. To sit in person on the rest tomorrow
  6. At Westminster.

Shrewsbury

244 - 246
  1.                 Lord Mayor, you hear your charge.
  2. Come, good Sir Thomas More, to court let’s hie;
  3. You are th’ appeaser of this mutiny.

More

247 - 248
  1. My lord, farewell. New days begets new tides;
  2. Life whirls bout fate, then to a grave it slides.
  1. Exeunt severally.
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