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Sir Thomas More: Act IV, Scene 4

Sir Thomas More
Act IV, Scene 4

Chelsea. A room in More’s house.

  1. Enter Sir Thomas More, his Lady, Daughters, Master Roper,
  2. Gentlemen, and Servants, as in his house at Chelsea.

More

1 - 10
  1. Good morrow, good son Roper.
  2. Sit, good madame,
  3. Low stools.
  4. Upon an humble seat; the time so craves;
  5. Rest your good heart on earth, the roof of graves:
  6. You see the floor of greatness is uneven;
  7. The cricket and high throne alike near heaven.
  8. Now, daughters, you that like to branches spread,
  9. And give best shadow to a private house,
  10. Be comforted, my girls; your hopes stand fair:
  11. Virtue breeds gentry, she makes the best heir.

Both Daughters

11
  1. Good morrow to your honor.

More

12 - 13
  1.                            Nay, good night rather;
  2. Your honor’s crest-fain with your happy father.

Roper

14 - 21
  1. Oh, what formality, what square observance,
  2. Lives in a little room! Here public care
  3. Gags not the eyes of slumber; here fierce riot
  4. Ruffles not proudly in a coat of trust,
  5. Whilst, like a pawn at chess, he keeps in rank
  6. With kings and mighty fellows; yet indeed
  7. Those men that stand on tiptoe smile to see
  8. Him pawn his fortunes.

More

22 - 25
  1.                        True, son,—
  2. Nor does the wanton tongue here screw itself
  3. Into the ear, that like a vise drinks up
  4. The iron instrument.

Lady More

26
  1.                      We are here at peace.

More

27
  1. Then peace, good wife.

Lady More

28 - 30
  1. For, keeping still in compass, a strange point
  2. In times new navigation we have sailed
  3. Beyond our course.

More

31
  1.                    Have done.

Lady More

32
  1. We are exiled the court.

More

33 - 35
  1.                          Still thou harpest on that:
  2. ’Tis sin for to deserve that banishment;
  3. But he that ne’er knew court, courts sweet content.

Lady More

36
  1. Oh, but, dear husband

More

37 - 47
  1.                        I will not hear thee, wife;
  2. The winding labyrinth of thy strange discourse
  3. Will ne’er have end. Sit still; and, my good wife,
  4. Entreat thy tongue be still; or, credit me,
  5. Thou shalt not understand a word we speak;
  6. We’ll talk in Latin.
  7. Humida vallis raros patitur fulminis ictus,
  8. More rest enjoys the subject meanly bred
  9. Than he that bears the kingdom in his head.
  10. Great men are still musicians, else the world lies;
  11. They learn low strains after the notes that rise.

Roper

48 - 59
  1. Good sir, be still yourself, and but remember
  2. How in this general court of short-lived pleasure,
  3. The world, creation is the ample food
  4. That is digested in the maw of time:
  5. If man himself be subject to such ruin,
  6. How shall his garment, then, or the loose points
  7. That tie respect unto his awful place,
  8. Avoid destruction? Most honored father-in-law,
  9. The blood you have bequeathed these several hearts
  10. To nourish your posterity, stands firm;
  11. And, as with joy you led us first to rise,
  12. So with like hearts we’ll lock preferment’s eyes.

More

60 - 90
  1. Close them not, then, with tears. For that ostent
  2. Gives a wet signal of your discontent.
  3. If you will share my fortunes, comfort then;
  4. An hundred smiles for one sigh. What! We are men:
  5. Resign wet passion to these weaker eyes,
  6. Which proves their sex, but grants it ne’er more wise.
  7. Let’s now survey our state. Here sits my wife,
  8. And dear esteemed issue; yonder stand
  9. My loving servants. Now the difference
  10. Twixt those and these. Now you shall hear my speak
  11. Like More in melancholy. I conceive that nature
  12. Hath sundry metals, out of which she frames
  13. Us mortals, each in valuation
  14. Outprizing other. Of the finest stuff
  15. The finest features come. The rest of earth,
  16. Receive base fortune even before their birth;
  17. Hence slaves have their creation; and I think
  18. Nature provides content for the base mind;
  19. Under the whip, the burden, and the toil,
  20. Their low-wrought bodies drudge in patience;
  21. As for the prince in all his sweet-gorged maw,
  22. And his rank flesh, that sinfully renews
  23. The noon’s excess in the night’s dangerous surfeits.
  24. What means or misery from our birth doth flow
  25. Nature entitles to us; that we owe:
  26. But we, being subject to the rack of hate,
  27. Falling from happy life to bondage state,
  28. Having seen better days, now know the lack
  29. Of glory that once reared each high-fed back.
  30. But you, that in your age did ne’er view better,
  31. Challenged not fortune for your thriftless debter.

Catesby

91
  1. Sir, we have seen far better days than these.

More

92 - 105
  1. I was the patron of those days, and know
  2. Those were but painted days, only for show.
  3. Then grieve not you to fall with him that gave them:
  4. Generosis servis gloriosum mori.
  5. Dear Gough, thou art my learned secretary;
  6. You, Master Catesby, steward of my house;
  7. The rest like you have had fair time to grow
  8. In sun-shine of my fortunes. But I must tell ye,
  9. Corruption is fled hence with each man’s office;
  10. Bribes, that make open traffic twixt the soul
  11. And netherland of hell, deliver up
  12. Their guilty homage to the second lords.
  13. Then, living thus untainted, you are well:
  14. Truth is no pilot for the land of hell.
  1. Enter a Servant.

Servant to More

106 - 108
  1. My lord, there are new lighted at the gate
  2. The Earls of Surrey and of Shrewsbury,
  3. And they expect you in the inner court.

More

109
  1. Entreat their lordships come into the hall.
  1. Exit Servant.

Lady More

110
  1. Oh, God, what news with them?

More

111 - 112
  1.                               Why, how now, wife!
  2. They are but come to visit their old friend.

Lady More

113
  1. Oh, God, I fear, I fear!

More

114 - 117
  1. What shouldst thou fear, fond woman?
  2. Justum, si fractus illabatur orbis, inpavidum ferient ruinae.
  3. Here let me live estranged from great men’s looks;
  4. They are like golden flies on leaden hooks.
  1. Enter the Earls, Downes with his mace, and Attendants.

Shrewsbury

118
  1. Good morrow, good Sir Thomas.
  1. Kind salutations.

Surrey

119
  1. Good day, good madame.

More

120 - 123
  1.                        Welcome, my good lords.
  2. What ails your lordships look so melancholy?
  3. Oh, I know; you live in court, and the court diet
  4. Is only friend to physic.

Surrey

124 - 136
  1.                           Oh, Sir Thomas,
  2. Our words are now the King’s, and our sad looks
  3. The interest of your love! We are sent to you
  4. From our mild sovereign, once more to demand
  5. If you’ll subscribe unto those articles
  6. He sent ye th’ other day. Be well advised;
  7. For, on mine honor, lord, grave Doctor Fisher,
  8. Bishop of Rochester, at the self same instant
  9. Attached with you, is sent unto the Tower
  10. For the like obstinacy. His majesty
  11. Hath only sent you prisoner to your house;
  12. But, if you now refuse for to subscribe,
  13. A stricter course will follow.

Lady More

137
  1. Oh, dear husband!
  1. Kneeling and weeping.

Both Daughters

138
  1.                   Dear father!

More

139 - 142
  1.              See, my lords,
  2. This partner and these subjects to my flesh
  3. Prove rebels to my conscience! But, my good lords,
  4. If I refuse, must I unto the Tower?

Shrewsbury

143 - 144
  1. You must, my lord; here is an officer
  2. Ready for to arrest you of high treason.

Lady More and Daughters

145
  1. Oh, God, oh, God!

Roper

146
  1.                   Be patient, good madam.

More

147 - 154
  1. Aye, Downs, is’t thou? I once did save thy life,
  2. When else by cruel riotous assault
  3. Thou hadst been torn in pieces. Thou art reserved
  4. To be my summoner to yond spiritual court.
  5. Give me thy hand; good fellow, smooth thy face:
  6. The diet that thou drinkst is spic’d with mace,
  7. And I could ne’er abide it; ’twill not digest,
  8. ’Twill lie too heavily, man, on my weak breast.

Shrewsbury

155 - 156
  1. Be brief, my lord, for we are limited
  2. Unto an hour.

More

157 - 158
  1.               Unto an hour! ’Tis well:
  2. The bell soon shall toll my knell.

Lady More

159 - 160
  1. Dear loving husband, if you respect not me,
  2. Yet think upon your daughters.
  1. Kneeling.

More

161 - 162
  1. Wife, stand up; I have bethought me,
  2. And I’ll now satisfy the king’s good pleasure.
  1. Pointing to himself.

Both Daughters

163
  1. Oh, happy alteration!

Shrewsbury

164
  1. Come, then, subscribe, my lord.

Surrey

165 - 166
  1.                                 I am right glad
  2. Of this your fair conversion.

More

167 - 173
  1.                               Oh, pardon me!
  2. I will subscribe to go unto the Tower
  3. With all submissive willingness, and thereto add
  4. My bones to strengthen the foundation
  5. Of Julius Caesar’s palace. Now, my lord,
  6. I’ll satisfy the king, even with my blood;
  7. Now will I wrong your patience. Friend, do thine office.

Downes

174 - 175
  1. Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, I arrest you in
  2. the King’s name of high treason.

More

176 - 187
  1. Gramercies, friend.
  2. To a great prison, to discharge the strife
  3. Commenc’d ’twixt conscience and my frailer life,
  4. More now must march. Chelsea, adieu, adieu!
  5. Strange farewell! Thou shalt ne’er more see More true,
  6. For I shall ne’er see thee more. Servants, farewell.
  7. Wife, mar not thine indifferent face; be wise:
  8. More’s widow’s husband, he must make thee rise.
  9. Daughterswhat’s here, what’s here?
  10. Mine eye had almost parted with a tear.
  11. Dear son, possess my virtue, that I ne’er gave.
  12. Grave More thus lightly walks to a quick grave.

Roper

188
  1. Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.

More

189 - 190
  1. You that way in; mind you my course in prayer:
  2. By water I to prison, to heaven through air.
  1. Exeunt.
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