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Sir Thomas More: Act V, Scene 4

Sir Thomas More
Act V, Scene 4

Tower Hill.

  1. Enter the Sheriffs of London and their Officers at one door,
  2. the Warders with their halberds at another.

Second Sheriff

1
  1. Officers, what time of day is’t?

First Officer

2
  1. Almost eight o’clock.

Second Sheriff

3
  1. We must make haste then, least we stay too long.

Second Warder of the Tower

4 - 6
  1. Good morrow, Master Sheriffs of London; Master Lieutenant
  2. Wills ye repair to the limits of the Tower,
  3. There to receive your prisoner.

First Sheriff

7
  1. Go back, and tell his worship we are ready.

Second Sheriff

8 - 9
  1. Go bid the officers make clear the way,
  2. There may be passage for the prisoner.
  1. Enter Lieutenant and his Guard, with More.

More

10 - 12
  1. Yet, God be thanked, here’s a fair day toward,
  2. To take our journey in. Master Lieutenant,
  3. It were fair walking on the Tower leads.

Lieutenant

13 - 14
  1. And so it might have liked my sovereign lord,
  2. I would to God you might have walked there still!
  1. He weeps.

More

15 - 19
  1. Sir, we are walking to a better place.
  2. Oh, sir, your kind and loving tears
  3. Are like sweet odors to embalm your friend!
  4. Thank your good lady; since I was your guest,
  5. She has made me a very wanton, in good sooth.

Lieutenant

20
  1. Oh, I had hoped we should not yet have parted!

More

21 - 26
  1. But I must leave ye for a little while;
  2. Within an hour or two you may look for me;
  3. But there will be so many come to see me,
  4. That I shall be so proud, I will not speak;
  5. And, sure, my memory is grown so ill,
  6. I fear I shall forget my head behind me.

Lieutenant

27 - 28
  1. God and his blessed angels be about ye!—
  2. Here, Master Sheriffs, receive your prisoner.

More

29 - 33
  1. Good morrow, Master Sheriffs of London, to ye both:
  2. I thank ye that ye will vouchsafe to meet me;
  3. I see by this you have not quite forgot
  4. That I was in times past, as you are now,
  5. A sheriff of London.

Second Sheriff

34
  1. Sir, then you know our duty doth require it.

More

35 - 40
  1. I know it well, sir, else I would have been glad
  2. You might have saved a labor at this time.
  3. To the Second Sheriff.
  4. Ah, Master Sheriff,
  5. You and I have been of old acquaintance!
  6. You were a patient auditor of mine,
  7. When I read the divinity lecture at St. Lawrence’s.

Second Sheriff

41 - 42
  1. Sir Thomas More, I have heard you oft,
  2. As many other did, to our great comfort.

More

43 - 46
  1. Pray God, you may so now, with all my heart!
  2. And, as I call to mind,
  3. When I studied the law in Lincoln’s Inn,
  4. I was of council with ye in a cause.

Second Sheriff

47
  1. I was about to say so, good Sir Thomas...
  1. They pass over the stage. Enter the Hangman.

More

48 - 68
  1. Oh, is this the place?
  2. I promise ye, it is a goodly scaffold:
  3. In sooth, I am come about a headless errand,
  4. For I have not much to say, now I am here.
  5. Well, let’s ascend, i’God’s name:
  6. In troth, methinks, your stair is somewhat weak;
  7. I prithee, honest friend, lend me thy hand
  8. To help me up; as for my coming down,
  9. Let me alone, I’ll look to that myself.
  10. As he is going up the stairs, enters the Earls of Surrey and
  11. Shrewsbury.
  12. My Lords of Surrey and Shrewsbury, give me your hands. Yet
  13. before we...ye see, though it pleaseth the king to raise me
  14. thus high, yet I am not proud, for the higher I mount, the
  15. better I can see my friends about me. I am now on a far
  16. voyage, and this strange wooden horse must bear me thither;
  17. yet I perceive by your looks you like my bargain so ill,
  18. that there’s not one of ye all dare enter with me. Truly,
  19. here’s a most sweet gallery;
  20. Walking.
  21. I like the air of it better than my garden at Chelsea. By
  22. your patience, good people, that have pressed thus into my
  23. bedchamber, if you’ll not trouble me, I’ll take a sound
  24. sleep here.

Shrewsbury

69 - 70
  1. My lord, ’twere good you’ld publish to the world
  2. Your great offense unto his majesty.

More

71 - 80
  1. My lord, I’ll bequeath this legacy to the hangman, and do it
  2. instantly.
  3. Gives the Hangman his gown.
  4. I confess, his majesty hath been ever good to me; and my
  5. offense to his highness makes me of a state pleader a stage
  6. player (though I am old, and have a bad voice), to act this
  7. last scene of my tragedy. I’ll send him (for my trespass) a
  8. reverend head, somewhat bald; for it is not requisite any
  9. head should stand covered to so high majesty. If that
  10. content him not, because I think my body will then do me
  11. small pleasure, let him but bury it, and take it.

Surrey

81 - 82
  1. My lord, my lord, hold conference with your soul;
  2. You see, my lord, the time of life is short.

More

83 - 85
  1. I see it, my good lord; I dispatched that business the last
  2. night. I come hither only to be let blood; my doctor here
  3. tells me it is good for the headache.

Hangman

86
  1. I beseech thee, my lord, forgive me!

More

87
  1. Forgive thee, honest fellow! Why?

Hangman

88
  1. For your death, my lord.

More

89 - 98
  1. O, my death? I had rather it were in thy power to forgive
  2. me, for thou hast the sharpest action against me; the law,
  3. my honest friend, lies in thy hands now. Here’s thy fee;
  4. Gives his purse.
  5. and, my good fellow, let my suit be dispatched presently;
  6. for ’tis all one pain, to die a lingering death, and to live
  7. in the continual mill of a lawsuit. But I can tell thee, my
  8. neck is so short, that, if thou shouldst behead an hundred
  9. noblemen like myself, thou wouldst ne’er get credit by it;
  10. therefore (look ye, sir), do it handsomely, or, of my word,
  11. thou shalt never deal with me hereafter.

Hangman

99
  1. I’ll take an order for that, my lord.

More

100 - 109
  1. One thing more; take heed thou cutst not off my beard. Oh, I
  2. forgot; execution passed upon that last night, and the body
  3. of it lies buried in the Tower. Stay; is’t not possible to
  4. make a scape from all this strong guard? It is.
  5. There is a thing within me, that will raise
  6. And elevate my better part ’bove sight
  7. Of these same weaker eyes; and, Master Sheriffs,
  8. For all this troop of steel that tends my death,
  9. I shall break from you, and fly up to heaven.
  10. Let’s seek the means for this.

Hangman

110
  1. My lord, I pray ye, put off your doublet.

More

111 - 113
  1. Speak not so coldly to me; I am hoarse already;
  2. I would be loathe, good fellow, to take more.
  3. Point me the block; I ne’er was here before.

Hangman

114
  1. To the east side, my lord.

More

115 - 120
  1.                            Then to the east
  2. We go to sigh; that o’er, to sleep in rest.
  3. Here More forsakes all mirth; good reason why;
  4. The fool of flesh must with her frail life die.
  5. No eye salute my trunk with a sad tear:
  6. Our birth to heaven should be thus, void of fear.
  1. Exit with Hangman, etc.

Surrey

121 - 124
  1. A very learned worthy gentleman
  2. Seals error with his blood. Come, we’ll to court.
  3. Let’s sadly hence to perfect unknown fates,
  4. Whilst he tends prograce to the state of states.
  1. Exit.
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