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Sir Thomas More: Act III, Scene 1

Sir Thomas More
Act III, Scene 1

Chelsea. A room in More’s house.

  1. A table being covered with a green carpet, a state cushion
  2. on it, and the purse and mace lying thereon.
  1. Enter Sir Thomas More.

More

1 - 22
  1. It is in heaven that I am thus and thus;
  2. And that which we profanely term our fortunes
  3. Is the provision of the power above,
  4. Fitted and shaped just to that strength of nature
  5. Which we are borne withal. Good God, good God,
  6. That I from such an humble bench of birth
  7. Should step as ’twere up to my country’s head,
  8. And give the law out there! I, in my father’s life,
  9. To take prerogative and tithe of knees
  10. From elder kinsmen, and him bind by my place
  11. To give the smooth and dexter way to me
  12. That owe it him by nature! Sure, these things,
  13. Not physicked by respect, might turn our blood
  14. To much corruption. But, More, the more thou hast,
  15. Either of honor, office, wealth, and calling,
  16. Which might excite thee to embrace and hub them,
  17. The more doe thou in serpents’ natures think them;
  18. Fear their gay skins with thought of their sharp state;
  19. And let this be thy maxim, to be great
  20. Is when the thread of hayday is once ’spon,
  21. A bottom great wound up great undone.
  22. Come on, sir. Are you ready?
  1. Enter Randall, attired like Sir Thomas More.

Randall

23 - 25
  1. Yes, my lord, I stand but on a few points; I shall have done
  2. Presently. Before God, I have practiced your lordship’s shift so
  3. Well, that I think I shall grow proud, my lord.

More

26 - 40
  1. ’Tis fit thou shouldst wax proud, or else thou’lt ne’er
  2. Be near allied to greatness. Observe me, sirrah.
  3. The learned clark Erasmus is arrived
  4. Within our English court. Last night I hear
  5. He feasted with our honored English poet,
  6. The Earl of Surrey; and I learned today
  7. The famous clark of Rotterdam will visit
  8. Sir Thomas More. Therefore, sir, take my seat;
  9. You are Lord Chancellor. Dress your behavior
  10. According to my carriage; but beware
  11. You talk not over much, for twill betray thee:
  12. Who prates not much seems wise; his wit few scan;
  13. While the tongue blabs tales of the imperfect man.
  14. I’ll see if great Erasmus can distinguish
  15. Merit and outward ceremony.

Randall

41 - 43
  1. If I do not serve a share for playing of your lordship well,
  2. let me be yeoman usher to your sumpter, and be banished from
  3. wearing of a gold chain forever.

More

44 - 46
  1. Well, sir, I’ll hide our motion. Act my part
  2. With a firm boldness, and thou winst my heart.
  3. Enter the Sheriff, with Faulkner a ruffian, and Officers.
  4. How now! What’s the matter?

Faulkner

47 - 50
  1. Tug me not, I’m no bear. ’Sblood, if all the dogs in Paris
  2. Garden hung at my tail, I’d shake ’em off with this, that
  3. I’ll appear before no king christened but my good Lord
  4. Chancellor.

First Sheriff

51
  1. We’ll christen you, sirrah. Bring him forward.

More

52
  1. How now! What tumults make you?

Faulkner

53
  1. The azured heavens protect my noble Lord Chancellor!

More

54
  1. What fellow’s this?

First Sheriff

55 - 56
  1. A ruffian, my lord, that hath set half the city in an
  2. uproar.

Faulkner

57
  1. My lord

First Sheriff

58 - 59
  1. There was a fray in Paternoster-row, and because they would
  2. not be parted, the street was choked up with carts.

Faulkner

60
  1. My noble lord, Paniar Allies throat was open.

More

61
  1. Sirrah, hold your peace.

Faulkner

62 - 63
  1. I’ll prove the street was not choked, but is as well as ever
  2. it was since it was a street.

First Sheriff

64
  1. This fellow was a principal broacher of the broil.

Faulkner

65 - 66
  1. ’Sblood, I broached none; it was broached and half run out,
  2. before I had a lick at it.

First Sheriff

67
  1. And would be brought before no justice but your honor.

Faulkner

68
  1. I am hailed, my noble lord.

More

69 - 72
  1. No ear to choose for every trivial noise
  2. But mine, and in so full a time? Away!
  3. You wrong me, Master Sheriff. Dispose of him
  4. At your own pleasure; send the knave to Newgate.

Faulkner

73 - 74
  1. To Newgate! ’Sblood, Sir Thomas More, I appeal, I appeal
  2. from Newgate to any of the two worshipful Counters.

More

75
  1. Fellow, whose man are you, that are thus lusty?

Faulkner

76 - 77
  1. My name’s Jack Faulkner; I serve, next under God and my
  2. prince, Master Morris, secretary to my Lord of Winchester.

More

78 - 79
  1. A fellow of your hair is very fit
  2. To be a secretary’s follower!

Faulkner

80 - 84
  1. I hope so, my lord. The fray was between the Bishops’ men of
  2. Ely and Winchester; and I could not in honor but part them.
  3. I thought it stood not with my reputation and degree to come
  4. to my questions and answers before a city justice. I knew I
  5. should to the pot.

More

85
  1. Thou hast been there, it seems, too late already.

Faulkner

86 - 88
  1. I know your honor is wise and so forth; and I desire to be
  2. only cathecized or examined by you, my noble Lord
  3. Chancellor.

More

89
  1. Sirrah, sirrah, you are a busy dangerous ruffian.

Faulkner

90
  1. Ruffian!

More

91
  1. How long have you worn this hair?

Faulkner

92
  1. I have worn this hair ever since I was born.

More

93 - 94
  1. You know that’s not my question, but how long
  2. Hath this shag fleece hung dangling on they head?

Faulkner

95 - 96
  1. How long, my lord? Why, sometimes thus long, sometimes
  2. lower, as the Fates and humors please.

More

97 - 100
  1. So quick, sir, with me, ha? I see, good fellow,
  2. Thou lovest plain dealing. Sirrah, tell me now,
  3. When were you last at barber’s? How long time
  4. Have you upon your head worn this shag hair?

Faulkner

101 - 104
  1. My lord, Jack Faulkner tells no Aesop’s fables. Troth, I was
  2. not at barber’s this three years; I have not been cut not
  3. will not be cut, upon a foolish vow, which, as the Destinies
  4. shall direct, I am sworn to keep.

More

105
  1. When comes that vow out?

Faulkner

106
  1. Why, when the humors are purged, not this three years.

More

107 - 114
  1. Vows are recorded in the court of Heaven,
  2. For they are holy acts. Young man, I charge thee
  3. And do advise thee, start not from that vow:
  4. And, for I will be sure thou shalt not shear,
  5. Besides, because it is an odious sight
  6. To see a man thus hairy, thou shalt lie
  7. In Newgate till thy vow and thy three years
  8. Be full expired. Away with him!

Faulkner

115
  1.                                 My lord

More

116
  1. Cut off this fleece, and lie there but a month.

Faulkner

117
  1. I’ll not lose a hair to be Lord Chancellor of Europe.

More

118 - 120
  1. To Newgate, then. Sirrah, great sins are bred
  2. In all that body where there’s a foul head.
  3. Away with him.
  1. Exeunt all except Randall.
  1. Enter Surrey, Erasmus, and Attendants.

Surrey

121 - 127
  1. Now, great Erasmus, you approach the presence
  2. Of a most worthy learned gentleman:
  3. This little isle holds not a truer friend
  4. Unto the arts; nor doth his greatness add
  5. A feigned flourish to his worthy parts;
  6. He’s great in study; that’s the statist’s grace,
  7. That gains more reverence than the outward place.

Erasmus

128 - 133
  1. Report, my lord, hath crossed the narrow seas,
  2. And to the several parts of Christendom,
  3. Hath borne the fame of your Lord Chancellor:
  4. I long to see him, whom with loving thoughts
  5. I in my study oft have visited.
  6. Is that Sir Thomas More?

Surrey

134 - 141
  1.                          It is, Erasmus:
  2. Now shall you view the honorablest scholar,
  3. The most religious politician,
  4. The worthiest counsellor that tends our state.
  5. That study is the general watch of England;
  6. In it the prince’s safety, and the peace
  7. That shines upon our commonwealth, are forged
  8. By loyal industry.

Erasmus

142 - 148
  1.                    I doubt him not
  2. To be as near the life of excellence
  3. As you proclaim him, when his meanest servants
  4. Are of some weight. You saw, my lord, his porter
  5. Give entertainment to us at the gate
  6. In Latin good phrase; what’s the master, then,
  7. When such good parts shine in his meanest men?

Surrey

149 - 150
  1. His Lordship hath some weighty business;
  2. For, see, yet he takes no notice of us.

Erasmus

151 - 154
  1. I think ’twere best I did my duty to him
  2. In a short Latin speech.
  3. Qui in celiberima patria natus est ett gloriosa, plus habet negotii ut
  4. In lucem veniat quam qui

Randall

155 - 159
  1. I prithee, good Erasmus, be covered. I have forsworn
  2. speaking of Latin, else, as I am true counsellor, I’d tickle
  3. you with a speech. Nay, sit, Erasmus;—sit, good my Lord of
  4. Surrey. I’ll make my lady come to you anon, if she will, and
  5. give you entertainment.

Erasmus

160
  1. Is this Sir Thomas More?

Surrey

161 - 162
  1. Oh good Erasmus, you must conceive his vain:
  2. He’s ever furnished with these conceits.

Randall

163 - 166
  1. Yes, faith, my learned poet doth not lie for that matter. I
  2. am neither more nor less than merry Sir Thomas always. Wilt
  3. sup with me? By God, I love a parlous wise fellow that
  4. smells of a politician better than a long progress.
  1. Enter Sir Thomas More.

Surrey

167
  1. We are deluded; this is not his lordship.

Randall

168 - 169
  1. I pray you, Erasmus, how long will the Holland cheese in
  2. your country keep without maggots?

More

170 - 181
  1. Fool, painted barbarism, retire thyself
  2. Into thy first creation!
  3. Exit Randall.
  4.                          Thus you see,
  5. My loving learned friends, how far respect
  6. Waits often on the ceremonious train
  7. Of base illiterate wealth, whilst men of schools,
  8. Shrouded in poverty, are counted fools.
  9. Pardon, thou reverent German, I have mixed
  10. So slight a jest to the fair entertainment
  11. Of thy most worthy self; for know, Erasmus,
  12. Mirth wrinkles up my face, and I still crave,
  13. When that forsakes me I may hug my grave.

Erasmus

182 - 188
  1. Your honor’s merry humor is best physic
  2. Unto your able body; for we learn
  3. Where melancholy chokes the passages
  4. Of blood and breath, the erected spirit still
  5. Lengthens our days with sportful exercise:
  6. Study should be the saddest time of life.
  7. The rest a sport exempt from thought of strife.

More

189 - 190
  1. Erasmus preacheth gospel against physic,
  2. My noble poet.

Surrey

191 - 194
  1.                Oh, my Lord, you tax me
  2. In that word poet of much idleness:
  3. It is a study that makes poor our fate;
  4. Poets were ever thought unfit for state.

More

195 - 199
  1. O, give not up fair poesy, sweet lord,
  2. To such contempt! That I may speak my heart,
  3. It is the sweetest heraldry of art,
  4. That sets a difference ’tween the tough sharp holly
  5. And tender bay tree.

Surrey

200 - 202
  1.                      Yet, my lord,
  2. It is become the very logic number
  3. To all mechanic sciences.

More

203 - 216
  1.                           Why, I’ll show the reason:
  2. This is no age for poets; they should sing
  3. To the loud canon heroica facta;
  4. Qui faciunt reges heroica carmina laudant:
  5. And, as great subjects of their pen decay,
  6. Even so unphysicked they do melt away.
  7. Enter Master Morris.
  8. Come, will your lordship in?—My dear Erasmus
  9. I’ll hear you, Master Morris, presently.
  10. My lord, I make you master of my house:
  11. We’ll banquet here with fresh and staid delights,
  12. The Muses music here shall cheer our sprites;
  13. The cates must be but mean where scholars sit,
  14. For they’re made all with courses of neat wit.
  15. Exeunt Surrey, Erasmus, and Attendants.
  16. How now, Master Morris?

Morris

217 - 218
  1. I am a suitor to your lordship in behalf of a servant of
  2. mine.

More

219 - 220
  1. The fellow with long hair? Good Master Morris,
  2. Come to me three years hence, and then I’ll hear you.

Morris

221 - 224
  1. I understand your honor. But the foolish knave has submitted
  2. himself to the mercy of a barber, and is without, ready to
  3. make a new vow before your lordship, hereafter to leave
  4. cavil.

More

225
  1. Nay, then, let’s talk with him; pray, call him in.
  1. Enter Faulkner and Officers.

Faulkner

226
  1. Bless your honor! A new man, my lord

More

227
  1. Why, sure, this is not he.

Faulkner

228 - 229
  1. And your lordship will, the barber shall give you a sample
  2. of my head. I am he in faith, my lord; I am ipse.

More

230 - 231
  1. Why, now thy face is like an honest man’s:
  2. Thou hast played well at this new cut, and won.

Faulkner

232
  1. No, my lord; lost all that ever God sent me.

More

233 - 235
  1. God sent thee into the world as thou art now,
  2. With a short hair. How quickly are three years
  3. Run out of Newgate!

Faulkner

236 - 237
  1. I think so, my lord; for there was but a hair’s length
  2. between my going thither and so long time.

More

238 - 241
  1. Because I see some grace in thee, go free.
  2. Discharge him, fellows. Farewell, Master Morris.
  3. Thy head is for thy shoulders now more fit;
  4. Thou hast less hair upon it, but more wit.
  1. Exit.

Morris

242
  1. Did not I tell thee always of these locks?

Faulkner

243 - 249
  1. And the locks were on again, all the goldsmiths in Cheapside
  2. should not pick them open. ’Sheart, if my hair stand not on
  3. end when I look for my face in a glass, I am a polecat.
  4. Here’s a lousy jest! But, if I notch not that rogue Tom
  5. Barber, that makes me look thus like a Brownist, hang me!
  6. I’ll be worse to the nittical knave than ten tooth-drawings.
  7. Here’s a head, with a pox!

Morris

250
  1. What ails thou? Art thou mad now?

Faulkner

251 - 254
  1. Mad now? Nails, if loss of hair cannot mad a man, what can?
  2. I am deposed, my crown is taken from me. More had been
  3. better a’ scoured Moreditch than a’ notched me thus. Does he
  4. begin sheepshearing with Jack Faulkner?

Morris

255
  1. Nay, and you feed this vein, sir, fare you well.

Faulkner

256 - 257
  1. Why, farewell, frost. I’ll go hang myself out for the
  2. poll-head. Make a Saracen of Jack?

Morris

258 - 259
  1. Thou desperate knave! For that I see the devil
  2. Wholly gets hold of thee

Faulkner

260
  1. The devil’s a damned rascal.

Morris

261 - 262
  1. I charge thee, wait on me no more; no more
  2. Call me thy master.

Faulkner

263
  1. Why, then, a word, Master Morris.

Morris

264
  1. I’ll hear no words, sir; fare you well.

Faulkner

265
  1. ’Sblood, farewell.

Morris

266
  1. Why dost thou follow me?

Faulkner

267 - 270
  1. Because I’m an ass. Do you set your shavers upon me, and
  2. then cast me off? Must I condole? Have the Fates played the
  3. fools? Am I their cut? Now the poor sconce is taken, must
  4. Jack march with bag and baggage?
  1. Weeps.

Morris

271
  1. You coxcomb!

Faulkner

272 - 273
  1. Nay, you ha’ poached me; you ha’ given me a hair; it’s here,
  2. hear.

Morris

274 - 275
  1. Away, you kind ass! Come, sir, dry your eyes:
  2. Keep you old place, and mend these fooleries.

Faulkner

276 - 280
  1. I care not to be turned off, and ’twere a ladder, so it be
  2. in my humor, or the Fates beckon to me. Nay, pray, sir, if
  3. the Destinies spin me a fine thread, Faulkner flies another
  4. pitch; and to avoid the headache hereafter, before I’ll be a
  5. hairmonger, I’ll be a whoremonger.
  1. Exeunt.
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