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Sir Thomas More: Act IV, Scene 1

Sir Thomas More
Act IV, Scene 1

Whitehall. The council chamber.

  1. Enter the Earls of Shrewsbury, Surrey, Bishop of Rochester,
  2. and other Lords; severally, doing courtesy to each other.
  1. Clerk of the Council waiting bareheaded.

Surrey

1
  1. Good morrow to my Lord of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury

2 - 3
  1. The like unto the honored Earl of Surrey.
  2. Yond comes my Lord of Rochester.

Rochester

4
  1. Good morrow, my good lords.

Surrey

5
  1. Clerk of the Council, what time is’t of day?

Clerk

6
  1. Past eight of clock, my lord.

Shrewsbury

7 - 9
  1. I wonder that my good Lord Chancellor
  2. Doth stay so long, considering there’s matters
  3. Of high importance to be scanned upon.

Surrey

10 - 11
  1. Clerk of the Council, certify his lordship
  2. The lords expect him here.

Rochester

12 - 13
  1.                            It shall not need;
  2. Yond comes his lordship.
  1. Enter Sir Thomas More, with Purse and Mace borne before him.

More

14 - 23
  1. Good morrow to this fair assembly.
  2. Come, my good lords, let’s sit. Oh serious square!
  3. They sit.
  4. Upon this little board is daily scanned
  5. The health and preservation of the land;
  6. We the physicians that effect this good,
  7. Now by choice diet, anon by letting blood;
  8. Our toil and careful watching brings the king
  9. In league with slumbers, to which peace doth sing.
  10. Avoid the room there!—
  11. What business, lords, today?

Shrewsbury

24 - 26
  1.                              This, my good lord;
  2. About the entertainment of the Emperor
  3. ’Gainst the perfidious French into our pay.

Surrey

27 - 42
  1. My lords, as ’tis the custom in this place
  2. The youngest should speak first, so, if I chance
  3. In this case to speak youngly, pardon me.
  4. I will agree, France now hath her full strength,
  5. As having new recovered the pale blood
  6. Which war sluiced forth; and I consent to this,
  7. That the conjunction of our English forces
  8. With arms of Germany may soon bring
  9. This prize of conquest in. But, then, my lords,
  10. As in the moral hunting ’twixt the lion
  11. And other beasts, force joined with greed
  12. Frighted the weaker sharers from their parts;
  13. So, if the empire’s sovereign chance to put
  14. His plea of partnership into war’s court,
  15. Swords should decide the difference, and our blood
  16. In private tears lament his entertainment.

Shrewsbury

43 - 52
  1. To doubt the worst is still the wise man’s shield,
  2. That arms him safely. But the world knows this,
  3. The Emperor is a man of royal faith;
  4. His love unto our sovereign brings him down
  5. From his imperial seat, to march in pay
  6. Under our English flag, and wear the cross,
  7. Like some high order, on his manly breast;
  8. Thus serving, he’s not master of himself,
  9. But, like a colonel commanding other,
  10. Is by the general over-awed himself.

Rochester

53
  1. Yet, my good lord

Shrewsbury

54 - 60
  1.                    Let me conclude my speech.
  2. As subjects share no portion in the conquest
  3. Of their true sovereign, other than the merit
  4. That from the sovereign guerdons the true subject;
  5. So the good Emperor, in a friendly league
  6. Of amity with England, will not soil
  7. His honor with the theft of English spoil.

More

61 - 71
  1. There is no question but this entertainment
  2. Will be most honorable, most commodious.
  3. I have oft heard good captains wish to have
  4. Rich soldiers to attend them, such as would fight
  5. Both for their lives and livings; such a one
  6. Is the good Emperor. I would to God,
  7. We had ten thousand of such able men!
  8. Hah, then there would appear no court, no city,
  9. But, where the wars were, they would pay themselves.
  10. Then, to prevent in French wars England’s loss,
  11. Let German flags wave with our English cross.
  1. Enter Sir Thomas Palmer.

Palmer

72 - 75
  1. My lords, his majesty hath sent by me
  2. These articles enclosed, first to be viewed,
  3. And then to be subscribed to. I tender them
  4. In that due reverence which befits this place.
  1. With great reverence.

More

76 - 78
  1. Subscribe these articles! Stay, let us pause;
  2. Our conscience first shall parley with our laws.
  3. My Lord of Rochester, view you the paper.

Rochester

79 - 82
  1. Subscribe to these! Now, good Sir Thomas Palmer,
  2. Beseech the king that he will pardon me:
  3. My heart will check my hand whilst I do write;
  4. Subscribing so, I were an hypocrite.

Palmer

83
  1. Do you refuse it, then, my lord?

Rochester

84
  1.                                  I do, Sir Thomas.

Palmer

85 - 87
  1. Then here I summon you forthwith t’ appear
  2. Before his majesty, to answer there
  3. This capital contempt.

Rochester

88 - 89
  1.                        I rise and part,
  2. In lieu of this to tender him my heart.
  1. He riseth.

Palmer

90
  1. Wilt please your honor to subscribe, my lord?

More

91 - 94
  1. Sir, tell his highness, I entreat
  2. Some time for to bethink me of this task:
  3. In the meanwhile I do resign mine office
  4. Into my sovereign’s hands.

Palmer

95 - 99
  1.                            Then, my lord,
  2. Hear the prepared order from the king:
  3. On your refusal, you shall straight depart
  4. Unto your house at Chelsea, till you know
  5. Our sovereign’s further pleasure.

More

100 - 105
  1.                                   Most willingly I go.
  2. My lords, if you will visit me at Chelsea,
  3. We’ll go a-fishing, and with a cunning net,
  4. Not like weak film, we’ll catch none but the great:
  5. Farewell, my noble lords. Why, this is right:
  6. Good morrow to the sun, to state good night!
  1. Exit More.

Palmer

106
  1. Will you subscribe, my lords?

Surrey

107 - 108
  1.                               Instantly, good Sir Thomas,
  2. We’ll bring the writing unto our sovereign.
  1. They write.

Palmer

109 - 110
  1. My Lord of Rochester,
  2. You must with me, to answer this contempt.

Rochester

111 - 112
  1. This is the worst,
  2. Who’s freed from life is from all care exempt.
  1. Exit Rochester and Palmer.

Surrey

113 - 116
  1. Now let us hasten to our sovereign.
  2. Tis strange that my Lord Chancellor should refuse
  3. The duty that the law of God bequeaths
  4. Unto the king.

Shrewsbury

117 - 119
  1. Come, let us in. No doubt
  2. His mind will alter, and the bishop’s too:
  3. Error in learned heads hath much to do.
  1. Exeunt.
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