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Sir Thomas More: Act II, Scene 5

Sir Thomas More
Act II, Scene 5

Cheapside.

  1. Enter First Sheriff, and meet a Messenger.

First Sheriff

1
  1. Messenger, what news?

Third Messenger

2
  1.                       Is execution yet performed?

First Sheriff

3 - 4
  1. Not yet; the carts stand ready at the stairs,
  2. And they shall presently away to Tibourne.

Third Messenger

5 - 10
  1. Stay, Master Sheriff; it is the council’s pleasure,
  2. For more example in so bad a case,
  3. A gibbet be erected in Cheapside,
  4. Hard by the Standard; whether you must bring
  5. Lincoln and those that were the chief with him,
  6. Enter Officers.
  7. To suffer death, and that immediately.

First Sheriff

11 - 16
  1. It shall be done, sir.
  2. Exit Third Messenger.
  3.                        Officers, be speedy;
  4. Call for a gibbet, see it be erected;
  5. Others make haste to Newgate, bid them bring
  6. The prisoners hither, for they here must die:
  7. Away, I say, and see no time be slacked.

Officers

17
  1. We go, sir.
  1. Exit some severally; others set up the gibbet.

First Sheriff

18 - 27
  1. That’s well said, fellow; now you do your duty.
  2. God for his pity help these troublous times!
  3. The streets stopped up with gazing multitudes:
  4. Command our armed officers with halberds
  5. Make way for entrance of the prisoners;
  6. Let proclamation once again be made.
  7. That every householder, on pain of death,
  8. Keep in his prentices, and every man
  9. Stand with a weapon ready at his door,
  10. As he will answer to the contrary.

First Officer

28
  1. I’ll see it done, sir.
  1. Exit.
  1. Enter another Officer.

First Sheriff

29 - 31
  1. Bring them away to execution:
  2. The writ is come above two hours since:
  3. The city will be fined for this neglect.

Second Officer

32 - 34
  1. There’s such a press and multitude at Newgate,
  2. They cannot bring the carts onto the stairs,
  3. To take the prisoners in.

First Sheriff

35 - 36
  1.                           Then let them come on foot;
  2. We may not dally time with great command.

Second Officer

37 - 41
  1. Some of the bench, sir, think it very fit
  2. That stay be made, and give it out abroad
  3. The execution is deferred till morning,
  4. And, when the streets shall be a little cleared,
  5. To chain them up, and suddenly dispatch it.

First Sheriff

42 - 44
  1. Stay; in meantime me thinks they come along:
  2. See, they are coming. So, ’tis very well:
  3. The prisoners are brought in, well guarded.
  4. Bring Lincoln there the first unto the tree.

Clown

45
  1. I, for I cry lug, sir.

Lincoln

46 - 51
  1. I knew the first, sir, did belong to me:
  2. This the old proverb now complete doth make,
  3. That Lincoln should be hanged for London’s sake.
  4. He goes up.
  5. I’God’s name, let us to work. Fellow, dispatch:
  6. I was the foremost man in this rebellion,
  7. And I the foremost that must die for it.

Doll

52 - 53
  1. Bravely, John Lincoln, let thy death express,
  2. That, as thou liv’dst a man, thou diest no less.

Lincoln

54 - 72
  1. Doll Williamson, thine eyes shall witness it.
  2. Then to all you that come to view mine end
  3. I must confess, I had no ill intent,
  4. But against such as wronged us over much:
  5. And now I can perceive it was not fit
  6. That private men should carve out their redress,
  7. Which way they list; no, learn it now by me,—
  8. Obedience is the best in each degree:
  9. And asking mercy meekly of my king,
  10. I patiently submit me to the law;
  11. But God forgive them that were cause of it!
  12. And, as a Christian, truly from my heart
  13. I likewise crave they would forgive me too
  14. (As freely as I do forgive their wrong)
  15. That others by example of the same
  16. Henceforth be warned to attempt the like
  17. ’Gainst any alien that repaireth hither.
  18. Fare ye well, all. The next time that we meet,
  19. I trust in heaven we shall each other greet.
  1. He leaps off.

Doll

73 - 74
  1. Farewell, John Lincoln. Say all what they can,
  2. Thou liv’dst a good fellow, and diedst an honest man.

Clown

75 - 76
  1. Would I wear so fair on my journey! The first stretch is the
  2. worst, methinks.

First Sheriff

77
  1. Bring Williamson there forward.

Doll

78 - 79
  1. Good Master Sheriff, I have an earnest suit,
  2. And, as you are a man, deny’t me not.

First Sheriff

80 - 81
  1. Woman, what is it? Be it in my power,
  2. Thou shalt obtain it.

Doll

82 - 84
  1. Let me die next, sir; that is all I crave:
  2. You know not what a comfort you shall bring
  3. To my poor heart, to die before my husband.

First Sheriff

85
  1. Bring her to death; she shall have her desire.

Clown

86
  1. Sir, and I have a suit for you too.

First Sheriff

87
  1. What is it?

Clown

88 - 89
  1. That, as you have hanged Lincoln first, and will hang her
  2. next, so you will not hang me at all.

First Sheriff

90 - 91
  1. Nay, you set ope’ the Counter gates, and you must hang for
  2. the folly.

Clown

92
  1. Well, then, so much for it!

Doll

93 - 98
  1. Sir, your free bounty much contents my mind.
  2. Commend me to that good Sheriff Master More,
  3. And tell him, had’t not been for his persuasion,
  4. John Lincoln had not hung here as he does:
  5. We would first have locked us up in Leadenhall,
  6. And there been burnt to ashes with the roof.

First Sheriff

99 - 102
  1. Woman, what Master More did was a subject’s duty,
  2. And hath so pleased our gracious lord the king,
  3. That he is hence removed to higher place,
  4. And made of council to his majesty.

Doll

103 - 123
  1. Well is he worthy of it, by my troth,
  2. An honest, wise, well-spoken gentleman;
  3. Yet would I praise his honesty much more,
  4. If he had kept his word, and saved our lives:
  5. But let that pass; men are but men, and so
  6. Words are but words, and pays not what men owe.
  7. You, husband, since perhaps the world may say
  8. That through my means thou comest thus to thy end,
  9. Here I begin this cup of death to thee,
  10. Because thou shalt be sure to taste no worse
  11. Than I have taken that must go before thee.
  12. What though I be a woman? That’s no matter;
  13. I do owe God a death, and I must pay him.
  14. Husband, give me thy hand; be not dismayed;
  15. This chair being chaired, then all our debt is paid.
  16. Only two little babes we leave behind us,
  17. And all I can bequeath them at this time
  18. Is but the love of some good honest friend,
  19. To bring them up in charitable sort:
  20. What, masters! He goes upright that never halts,
  21. And they may live to mend their parents’ faults.

Williamson

124 - 125
  1. Why, well said, wife; i’faith, thou cheerest my heart:
  2. Give me thy hand; let’s kiss, and so let’s part.
  1. He kisses her on the ladder.

Doll

126 - 134
  1. The next kiss, Williamson, shall be in heaven.
  2. Now cheerily, lads! George Betts, a hand with thee;
  3. And thine too, Rafe, and thine, good honest Sherwin.
  4. Now let me tell the women of this town,
  5. No stranger yet brought Doll to lying down:
  6. So long as I an Englishman can see,
  7. Nor French nor Dutch shall get a kiss of me;
  8. And when that I am dead, for me yet say,
  9. I died in scorn to be a stranger’s prey.
  1. A great shout and noise, cry within Pardon, pardon, pardon,
  2. pardon! Room for the Earl of Surrey, room there, room!”
  1. Enter Surrey.

Surrey

135
  1. Save the man’s life, if it be possible.

First Sheriff

136
  1. It is too late, my lord; he’s dead already.

Surrey

137 - 141
  1. I tell ye, Master Sheriff, you are too forward,
  2. To make such haste with men unto their death;
  3. I think your pains will merit little thanks,
  4. Since that his highness is so merciful
  5. As not to spill the blood of any subject.

First Sheriff

142 - 144
  1. My noble lord, would we so much had known!
  2. The Councils’ warrant hastened our dispatch;
  3. It had not else been done so suddenly.

Surrey

145 - 152
  1. Sir Thomas More humbly upon his knee
  2. Did beg the lives of all, since on his word
  3. They did so gently yield. The king hath granted it,
  4. And made him Lord High Chancellor of England.
  5. According as he worthily deserves.
  6. Since Lincoln’s life cannot be had again,
  7. Then for the rest, from my dread sovereign’s lips,
  8. I here pronounce free pardon for them all.

All

153 - 154
  1. God save the king, God save the king!
  2. My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!
  1. Flinging up caps.

Doll

155 - 158
  1. And Doll desires it from her very heart,
  2. More’s name may live for this right noble part;
  3. And whensoere we talk of ill May day,
  4. Praise More, whose honest words our falls did stay.

Surrey

159 - 175
  1. In hope his highness’ clemency and mercy,
  2. Which in the arms of mild and meek compassion
  3. Would rather clip you, as the loving nurse
  4. Oft doth the wayward infant, then to leave you
  5. To the sharp rod of justice, so to draw you
  6. To shun such lewd assemblies as beget
  7. Unlawful riots and such traitorous acts,
  8. That, striking with the hand of private hate,
  9. Maim your dear country with a public wound:—
  10. Oh God, that Mercy, whose majestic brow
  11. Should be unwrinkled, and that awful Justice,
  12. Which looketh through a vail of sufferance
  13. Upon the frailty of the multitude,
  14. Should with the clamors of outrageous wrongs
  15. Be stirred and wakened thus to punishment!—
  16. But your deserved death he doth forgive:
  17. Who gives you life, pray all he long may live.

All

176 - 177
  1. God save the king! God save the king!
  2. My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!
  1. Exeunt.
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