Sir Thomas More

Act I Scene i

Discontent in the City

Source: Chronicles; the incidents are only slightly altered, main­ly by adding specifics—giving names, professions, and the like to char­acters that were originally fairly anonymous.  The charac­ter of Doll Williamson (described in the stage heading as a lusty woman) is an addition, designed to help pull the separate inci­dents together.

Author: Anthony Munday, according to Oliphant.  John Jowett attributes this scene to Chettle.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Tilney was not happy with this scene.  He started by crossing out individual speeches, then cancelled the entire scene.  Finally he wrote: “Leave out … the insurrection wholly with the cause thereof and begin with Sir Thomas More at the Mayor’s session with a report afterwards of his good service done being sheriff of London upon a mutiny against the Lombards only by a short report and not otherwise at your own perils.”

Original Version

[London.  A city street.  Enter at one end JOHN LINCOLN with GEORGE BETTS and his brother RALPH (the clown) together.  At the other end enters FRANCIS DE BARD and DOLL WILLIAMSON, a lusty woman, he haling her by the arm.]

Doll: Whither wilt thou hale me?

Bard: Whither I please.  Thou art my prize and I plead purchase of thee.

Doll: Purchase of me?  Away, ye rascal!  I am an honest plain carpenter’s wife, and though I have no beauty to like a husband, yet whatsoever is mine scorns to stoop to a stranger.  Hand off, then, when I bid thee.

Bard: Go with me quietly, or I’ll compel thee.

Doll: Compel me, ye dog’s face?  Thou thinkst thou hast the goldsmith’s wife in hand, whom thou enticedst from her husband with all his plate, and when thou turndst her home to him again, madest him, like an ass, pay for his wife’s board.

Bard: So will I make thy husband too, if please me.

[Enter CAVELER with a pair of doves, WILLIAMSON the carpenter and SHERWIN the goldsmith following him.]

Doll: Here he comes himself—tell him so if thou darest.

Caveler: Follow me no further: I say thou shalt not have them.

Williamson: I bought them in Cheapside, and paid my money for them.

Sherwin: He did, sir, indeed, and you offer him wrong, both to take them from him, and not restore him his money neither.

Caveler: If he paid for them, let it suffice that I possess them.  Beef and brews may serve such hinds—are pigeons meat for a coarse carpenter?

Lincoln: It is hard when Englishmen’s patience must be thus jetted on by strangers and they not dare to revenge their own wrongs.

George Betts: Lincoln, lets beat them down, and bear no more of these abuses.

Lincoln: We may not, Betts, be patient and hear more.

Doll: How now, husband?  What, one stranger take thy food from thee, and another thy wife?  By’r Lady, flesh and blood, I think, can hardly brook that.

Lincoln: Will this gear never be otherwise?  Must these wrongs be thus endured?

George Betts: Let us step in, and help to revenge their injury.

Bard: What art thou that talkest of revenge?  My Lord Ambassador shall once more make your Mayor have a check, if he punish thee not for this saucy presumption.

Williamson: Indeed, my Lord Mayor, on the Ambassador’s complaint, sent me to Newgate one day, because, against my will, I took the wall of a stranger.  You may do anything; the goldsmith’s wife, and mine now, must be at your commandment.

George Betts: The more patient fools are ye both to suffer it.

Bard: Suffer it?  Mend it thou or he if ye can or dare.  I tell thee, fellow, and she were the Mayor of London’s wife, had I her once in my possession, I would keep her in spite of him that durst say nay.

George Betts: I tell thee, Lombard, these words should cost thy best cap, were I not curbed by duty and obedience.  The Mayor of London’s wife?  Oh God, shall it be thus?

Doll: Why, Betts, am not I as dear to my husband as my Lord Mayor’s wife to him, and [to WILLIAM­SON] wilt thou so neglectly suffer thine own shame?  [Addressing de BARD] Hands off, proud stranger, or him that bought me, if men’s milky hearts dare not strike a stranger, yet women will beat them down, ere they bear these abuses.

Bard: Mistress, I say you shall along with me.

Doll: Touch not Doll Williamson, lest she lay thee along on God’s dear earth.  [To CAVELER] And you, sir, that allow such coarse cates to carpenters, whilest pigeons which they pay for must serve your dainty appetite—deliver them back to my husband again or I’ll call so many women to mine assistance, as we’ll not leave one inch untorn of thee.  If our husbands must be bridled by law, and forced to bear your wrongs, their wives will be a little lawless, and soundly beat ye.

Caveler: Come away, de Bard, and let us go complain to my Lord Ambassador.

[Exeunt BARD and CAVELER.]

Doll: Aye, go, and send him among us, and we’ll give him his welcome too.  I am ashamed that free born Englishmen, having beaten strangers within their own bounds, should thus be braved and abused by them at home.

Sherwin: It is not our lack of courage in the cause, but the strict obedience that we are bound to.  I am the goldsmith whose wrongs you talked of, but how to redress yours or mine own is a matter beyond all our abilities.

Lincoln: Not so, not so, my good friends.  I though a mean man, a broker by profession and named John Lincoln, have long time winked at these vild enormities with mighty impatience, and, as these two brethren here (Bettses by name) can witness, with loss of mine own life would gladly remedy them.

George Betts: And he is in a good forwardness, I tell ye, if all hit right.

Doll: As how, I prithee?  Tell it to Doll Williamson.

Lincoln: You know the Spital Sermons begin the next week.  I have drawn a {bill} of our wrongs, and the strangers’ insolencies.

George: Which he means the preachers shall there openly publish in the pulpit.

Williamson: Oh, but that they would! I’faith, it would tickle our strangers thoroughly.

Doll: Ay, and if you men durst not undertake it before God we women {will.  Take}[1] an honest woman from her husband!  Why, it is intolerable!

Sherwin: But how find ye the preachers affected to {it?}[2]

Lincoln: Master Doctor Standish {will not meddle with such matter in his sermon, but Master Doctor Beale promised that he will undertake to}[3] {re}form it, and doubts not but happy success will {ensure redress of}[4] our wrongs.  You shall perceive there’s no hurt in the bill.  Here’s a copy of it; I pray you, hear it.

All: With all our hearts; for God’s sake read it.

Lincoln (reads): To you all, the worshipful lords and masters of this city, that will take compassion over the poor people your neighbors, and also of the great importable hurts, losses and hindrances, whereof proceedeth extreme poverty to all the King’s subjects, that inhabit within this City and suburbs of the same.  For so it is that aliens and strangers eat the bread from the fatherless children, and take the living from all the artificers, and the intercourse from all merchants, whereby poverty is so much increased, that every man bewaileth the misery of other, for craftsmen be brought to beggery, and merchants to neediness.  Wherefore, the premises considered, the redress must be of the commons, knit and united to one part.  And as the hurt and damage grieveth all men, so must all men see to their willing power for remedy, and not suffer the said aliens in their wealth, and the natural-born men of this region to come to confusion.

Doll: Before God, ‘tis excellent, and I'll maintain the suit to be honest.

Sherwin: Well say ‘tis read—what is your further meaning in the matter?

George Betts: What?  Marry, list to me.  No doubt but this will store us with friends enough, whose names we will closely keep in writing, and on May Day next in the morning we’ll go forth a-Maying, but make it the worst May Day for the strangers that ever they saw.  How say ye?  Do ye subscribe, or are ye faint-hearted revolters?

Doll: Hold thee, George Betts, there’s my hand and my heart.  By the Lord I’ll make a captain among ye, and do somewhat to be talk of for ever after.

Williamson: My masters, ere we part, let’s friendly go and drink together, and swear true secrecy upon our lives.

George Betts: There spake an angel; come, let us along then.

[Exeunt.]

Act I Scene ii

The Mayor’s Session

Source: Stapledon; the source is brief, but the scene merely dramatizes the incident without introducing extra material.  The incident of More and the thief who cuts a judge’s purse is a legendary development.

Author: Anthony Munday, according to Oliphant.  Jowett attributes this scene, with some misgivings, to Chettle.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Tilney seems to have had no problems with this scene; in fact, he would have started the play with it.

Original Version

[An Arras is drawn, and behind it (as in Sessions) sit the LORD MAYOR, Justice SURESBY, and other justices, Sheriff MORE and the other SHERIFF sitting by; SMART is the plaintiff, LIFTER the prisoner at the bar.]

Lord Mayor: Having dispatched our weightier businesses,

We may give ear to petty felonies.

Master Sheriff More, what is this fellow?

More: My lord, he stands indicted for a purse;

He hath been tried, the jury is together.

Lord Mayor: Who sent him in?

Suresby: That did I, my lord.

Had he had right, he had been hanged ere this,

The only captain of the cutpurse crew.

Lord Mayor: What is his name?

Suresby: As his profession is: Lifter, my lord,

One that can lift a purse right cunningly.

Lord Mayor: And is that he accuses him?

Suresby: The same, my lord, whom, by your honor’s leave

I must say somewhat to, because I find

In some respects he is well worthy blame.

Lord Mayor: Good Master Justice Suresby speak your mind;

We are well pleased to give you audience.

Suresby: Hear me, Smart, thou art a foolish fellow.

If Lifter be convicted by the law,

As I see not how the jury can acquit him,

I’ll stand to’t, thou art guilty of his death.

More: My Lord, that’s worth the hearing.

Lord Mayor: Listen then good Master More.

Suresby: I tell thee plain, it is a shame for thee

With such a sum to tempt necessity.

No less than ten pounds, sir, will serve your turn

To carry in your purse about with ye

To crack and brag in taverns of your money.

I promise ye, a man that goes abroad

With an intent of truth, meeting such a booty

May be provoked to that he never meant.

What makes so many pilferers and felons

But such fond baits that foolish people lay

To tempt the needy miserable wretch.

Ten pounds, odd money, this is a pretty sum

To bear about which were more safe at home.

[LORD MAYOR and MORE whisper.]

Fore God ‘twere well to fine ye as much more

To the relief of the poor prisoners

To teach ye be {more mindful of}[5] your own.

{In sooth I say ye were but} rightly served

{If ye had lost as much as twice ten pounds.}[6]

More (to the Lord Mayor): Good my lord, soothe a {little jest}[7] for once

Only to try conclusions in this case.

Lord Mayor (to More): Content, good Master More.  [To all] We’ll rise awhile

And till the jury can return their verdict

Walk in the garden.  How say ye, justices?

All: We like it well, my lord; we’ll follow ye.

[Exeunt LORD MAYOR and JUSTICES]

More: Nay, plaintiff, go you too; [Exit SMART] —and, officers,

Stand you aside, and leave the prisoner

To me awhile.—Lifter, come hither.

Lifter: What is your worship’s pleasure?

More: Sirrah, you know that you are known to me,

And I have often saved ye from this place,

Since first I came in office: thou seest beside,

That Justice Suresby is thy heavy friend,

For all the blame that he pretends to Smart,

For tempting thee with such a sum of money.

I tell thee what; devise me but a means

To pick or cut his purse, and, on my credit,

And as I am a Christian and a man,

I will procure thy pardon for that jest.

Lifter: Good Master Shrieve, seek not my overthrow.

You know, sir, I have many heavy friends,

And more indictments like to come upon me.

You are too deep for me to deal withal;

You are known to be one of the wisest men

That is in England: I pray ye, Master Sheriff,

Go not about to undermine my life.

More: Lifter, I am true subject to my king;

Thou much mistakest me: and, for thou shall not think

I mean by this to hurt thy life at all,

I will maintain the act when thou hast done it.

Thou knowest there are such matters in my hands,

As if I pleased to give them to the jury,

I should not need this way to circumvent thee.

All that I aim at is a merry jest:

Perform it, Lifter, and expect my best.

Lifter: I thank your worship: God preserve your life!

But Master Justice Suresby is gone in;

I know not how to come near where he is.

More: Let me alone for that; I’ll be thy setter;

I’ll send him hither to thee presently,

Under the color of thine own request,

Of private matters to acquaint him with.

Lifter: If ye do so, sir, then let me alone;

Forty to one but then his purse is gone.

More: Well said: but see that thou diminish not

One penny of the money, but give it me;

It is the cunning act that credits thee.

Lifter: I will, good Master Sheriff, I assure ye.

[Exit More]

I see the purpose of this gentleman

Is but to check the folly of the Justice,

For blaming others in a desperate case,

Wherein himself may fall as soon as any.

To save my life, it is a good adventure.

Silence there, ho! now doth the Justice enter.

[Enter Justice SURESBY.]

Suresby: Now, sirrah, now, what is your will with me?

Wilt thou discharge thy conscience like an honest man?

What sayst to me, sirrah?  Be brief, be brief.

Lifter: As brief, sir, as I can.

[aside] If ye stand fair, I will be brief anon.

Suresby: Speak out, and mumble not; what sayst thou, sirrah?

Lifter: Sir, I am charged, as God shall be my comfort,

With more than’s true.

Suresby: Sir, sir, ye are indeed, with more than’s true,

For you are flatly charged with felony;

You’re charged with more than truth, and that is theft;

More then a true man should be charged withal;

Thou art a varlet, that’s no more then true,

Trifle not with me; do not, do not, sirrah;

Confess but what thou knowest, I ask no more.

Lifter: There be, sir, there be, if’t shall please your worship—

Suresby: There be, varlet! what be there, tell me what there be.

Come off or on: there be!  What be there, knave?

Lifter: There be, sir, divers very cunning fellows,

That, while you stand and look them in the face,

Will have your purse.

Suresby: Th’art an honest knave;

Tell me what are they? where they may be caught?

Ay, those are they I look for.

Lifter: You talk of me, sir;

Alas, I am a puny!  There’s one indeed

Goes by my name, he puts down all purses;

{Faith, I could show you, sir, the very trick,

But that I fear you’d hold me too familiar.}[8]

[Suresby: Be] as familiar as thou wilt, my knave;

‘Tis this I long to know.

Lifter (aside): And you shall have your longing ere ye go.

This fellow, sir, perhaps will meet ye thus,

Or thus, or thus, and in kind compliment,

Pretend acquaintance, somewhat doubtfully;

And these embraces serve—[Action.]

Suresby (shrugging gladly): Ay, marry, Lifter, wherefore serve they?

Lifter: Only to feel

Whether you go full under sail or no,

Or that your lading be aboard your bark.

Suresby: In plainer English, Lifter, if my purse

Be stored or no?

Lifter: Ye have it, sir.

Suresby:   Excellent, excellent.

Lifter:   Then, sir, you cannot but for manners sake,

Walk on with him; for he will walk your way,

Alleging either you have much forgot him,

Or he mistakes you.

Suresby:   But in this time has he my purse or no?

Lifter:   Not yet, sir, fie! [aside] No, nor I have not yours.

[Enter LORD MAYOR, etc.]

But now we must forbear; my lords return.

Suresby: A murrain on’t!  Lifter, we’ll more anon.

Ay, thou sayst true, there are shrewd knaves indeed;

[He sits down.]

But let them gull me, widgeon me, rook me, fop me!

I’faith, i’faith, they are too short for me.

Knaves and fools meet when purses go;

Wise men look to their purses well enough.

More (aside): Lifter, is it done?

Lifter (aside): Done, Master Shrieve; and there it is.

More (aside): Then build upon my word, I’ll save thy life.

Recorder: Lifter, stand to the bar.  The jury have returned thee guilty; thou must die.  According to the custom, look to it, Master Shrieve.

Lord Mayor: Then, gentlemen, as you are wont to do,

Because as yet we have no burial place,

What charity your meaning’s to bestow

Toward burial of the prisoners now condemned,

Let it be given.  There is first for me.

Recorder: And there for me.

Another: And me.

Suresby: Body of me, my purse is gone!

More: Gone, sir!  What, here!  How can that be?

Lord Mayor: Against all reason, sitting on the bench?

Suresby: Lifter, I talked with you; you have not lifted me, ha?

Lifter: Suspect ye me, sir?  Oh, what a world is this!

More: But hear ye, Master Suresby, are ye sure

Ye had a purse about ye?

Suresby: Sure, Master Shrieve?  As sure as you are there,

And in it seven pounds, odd money, on my faith.

More: Seven pounds, odd money?  What, were you so mad,

Being a wise man and a magistrate,

To trust your purse with such a liberal sum?

Seven pounds, odd money—fore God, it is a shame

With such a sum to tempt necessity:

I promise ye, a man that goes abroad

With an intent of truth, meeting such a bootie,

May be provoked to that he never thought.

What makes so many pilferers and felons,

But these fond baits that foolish people lay

To tempt the needy miserable wretch?

Should he be taken now that has your purse,

I’d stand too’t, you are guilty of his death;

For, questionless, he would be cast by law.

‘Twere a good deed to fine ye as much more,

To the relief of the poor prisoners,

To teach ye lock your money up at home.

Suresby: Well, Master More, you are a merry man;

I find ye, sir, I find ye well enough.

More: Nay, ye shall see, sir, trusting thus your money,

And Lifter here in trial for like case,

But that the poor man is a prisoner,

It would be now suspected that he had it.

Thus may ye see what mischief often comes

By the fond carriage of such needless sums.

Lord Mayor: Believe me, Master Suresby, this is strange,

You, being a man so settled in assurance,

Will fall in that which you condemned in other.

More: Well, Master Suresby, there’s your purse again,

And all your money; fear nothing of More;

Wisdom still {keeps the mean and locks}[9] the door.

[Exeunt.]

Act I Scene iii

The Court and the Riots

Source: This scene is an invention, but the material for it comes from the Chronicles.

Author: Anthony Munday, according to Oliphant.

Revision: None.

Tilney: As this scene reports the various troubles in the city dealing with the foreigners, Tilney has crossed out several pas­sages, and substituted the word Lombard for stranger and French­man.

Original Version

[London.  A State Apartment.  Enter the Earls of SHREWSBURY and SURREY, Sir Thomas PALMER, and Sir Roger CHOMLEY.]

Shrewsbury: My lord of Surrey, and Sir Thomas Palmer,

Might I with patience tempt your grave advice,

I tell ye true, that in these dangerous times

I do not like this frowning vulgar brow:

My searching eye did never entertain

A more distracted countenance of grief

Then I have late observed

In the displeased commons of the city.

Surrey: ‘Tis strange that from his princely clemency,

So well a tempered mercy and a grace,

To all the aliens in this fruitful land,

That this high-crested insolence should spring

From them that breathe from his majestic bounty,

That, fattened with the traffic of our country,

Already leap into his subjects’ face.

Palmer: Yet Sherwin, hindered to commence his suite

Against De Bard by the ambassador,

By supplication made unto the king,

Who having first enticed away his wife,

And got his plate, near worth four hundred pound,

To grieve some wronged citizens that found

This vile disgrace oft cast into their teeth,

Of late sues Sherwin, and arrested him

For money for the boarding of his wife.

Surrey: The more knave Bard, that, using Sherwin’s goods,

Doth ask him interest for the occupation.

I like not that, my lord of Shrewsbury:

He’s ill bestead that lends a well-paced horse

Unto a man that will not find him meat.

Cholmley: My lord of Surrey will be pleasant still.

Palmer: I, being then employed by your honors

To stay the broil that fell about the same,

Where by persuasion I enforced the wrongs,

And urged the grief of the displeased city,

He answered me, and with a solemn oath,

That, if he had the Mayor of London’s wife,

He would keep her in despite of any English.

Surrey: ‘Tis good, Sir Thomas, then, for you and me;

Your wife is dead, and I a bachelor.

If no man can possess his wife alone,

I am glad, Sir Thomas Palmer, I have none.

Cholmley: If ‘a take my wife, ‘a shall find her meat.

Surrey: And reason good, Sir Roger Cholmley, too.

If these hot Frenchmen needsly will have sport,

They should in kindness yet defray the charge.

‘Tis hard when men possess our wives in quiet,

And yet leave us in, to discharge their diet.

Shrewsbury:   My lord, our caters shall not use the market

For our provision, but some stranger now

Will take the victuals from him he hath bought.

A carpenter, as I was late informed,

Who having bought a pair of doves in Cheape,

Immediately a Frenchman took them from him,

And beat the poor man for resisting him;

And when the fellow did complain his wrongs

He was severely punished for his labor.

Surrey: But if the English blood be once but up,

As I perceive their hearts already full,

I fear me much, before their spleens be cold,

Some of these saucy aliens for their pride

Will pay for’t soundly, whosesoe’er it lights.

This tide of rage that with the eddy strives

I fear me much, will drown too many lives.

Cholme. Now, afore God, your honors, pardon me,

Men of your place and greatness are to blame

I tell ye true, my lords, in that his majesty

Is not informed of this base abuse,

And daily wrongs are offered to his subjects.

For, if he were, I know his gracious wisdom

Would soon redress it.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

Shrewsbury: Sirrah, what news?

Cholmley: None good, I fear.

Messenger: My lord, ill news; and worse, I fear, will follow,

If speedily it be not looked unto.

The city is in an uproar, and the Mayor

Is threatened if he come out of his house.

A number poor artificers {are up

In arms and threaten to avenge their wrongs.}[10]

{Cholmley: ‘Twas to be}[11] feared what this would come unto.

This follows on the doctor’s publishing

The bill of wrongs in public at the Spital.

Shrewsbury: That Doctor Beale may chance beshrew himself

For reading of the bill.

Palmer: Let us go gather forces to the Mayor,

For quick suppressing this rebellious route.

Surrey: Now I bethink myself of Master More,

One of the sheriffs, a wise and learned gentleman,

And in especial favor with the people.

He, backed with other grave and sober men,

May by his gentle and persuasive speech

Perhaps prevail more then we can with power.

Shrewsbury: Believe me, but your honor well advises.

Let us make haste, or I do greatly fear

Some to their graves this morning’s work will bear.

[Exeunt.]

Original Version (with Tilney’s changes)

[London.  A State Apartment.  Enter the Earls of SHREWSBURY and SURREY, Sir Thomas PALMER, and Sir Roger CHOMLEY.]

[NOTE: This first speech is marked “Mend this” by Tilney.]

Shrewsbury: My lord of Surrey, and Sir Thomas Palmer,

Might I with patience tempt your grave advice,

I tell ye true, that in these dangerous times

I do not like this frowning vulgar brow:

My searching eye did never entertain

A more distracted countenance of grief

Then I have late observed

In the displeased commons of the city.

Surrey: ‘Tis strange that from his princely clemency,

So well a tempered mercy and a grace,

To all the aliens in this fruitful land,

That this high-crested insolence should spring

From them that breathe from his majestic bounty,

That, fattened with the traffic of our country,

Already leap into his subjects’ face.

Palmer: Yet Sherwin, hindered to commence his suite

Against De Bard by the ambassador,

By supplication made unto the king,

Who having first enticed away his wife,

And got his plate, near worth four hundred pound,

To grieve some wronged citizens that found

This vile disgrace oft cast into their teeth,

Of late sues Sherwin, and arrested him

For money for the boarding of his wife.

Surrey: The more knave Bard, that, using Sherwin’s goods,

Doth ask him interest for the occupation.

I like not that, my lord of Shrewsbury:

He’s ill bestead that lends a well-paced horse

Unto a man that will not find him meat.

Cholmley: My lord of Surrey will be pleasant still.

Palmer: I, being then employed by your honors

To stay the broil that fell about the same,

Where by persuasion I enforced the wrongs,

And urged the grief of the displeased city,

He answered me, and with a solemn oath,

That, if he had the Mayor of London’s wife,

He would keep her in despite of any English man.

Surrey: ‘Tis good, Sir Thomas, then, for you and me;

Your wife is dead, and I a bachelor.

If no man can possess his wife alone,

I am glad, Sir Thomas Palmer, I have none.

Cholmley: If ‘a take my wife, ‘a shall find her meat.

Surrey: And reason good, Sir Roger Cholmley, too.

If these hot Frenchmen needsly will have sport,

They should in kindness yet defray the charge.

‘Tis hard when men possess our wives in quiet,

And yet leave us in, to discharge their diet.

Shrewsbury:   My lord, our caters shall not use the market

For our provision, but some stranger Lombard now

Will take the victuals from him he hath bought.

A carpenter, as I was late informed,

Who having bought a pair of doves in Cheape,

Immediately a Frenchman Lombard took them from him,

And beat the poor man for resisting him;

And when the fellow did complain his wrongs

He was severely punished for his labor.

Surrey: But if the English blood be once but up,

As I perceive their hearts already full,

I fear me much, before their spleens be cold,

Some of these saucy aliens for their pride

Will pay for’t soundly, whosesoe’er it lights.

This tide of rage that with the eddy strives

I fear me much, will drown too many lives.

Cholme. Now, afore God, your honors, pardon me,

Men of your place and greatness are to blame

I tell ye true, my lords, in that his majesty

Is not informed of this base abuse,

And daily wrongs are offered to his subjects.

For, if he were, I know his gracious wisdom

Would soon redress it.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

Shrewsbury: Sirrah, what news?

Cholmley: None good, I fear.

Messenger: My lord, ill news; and worse, I fear, will follow,

If speedily it be not looked unto.

The city is in an uproar, and the Mayor

Is threatened if he come out of his house.

A number poor artificers {are up

In arms and threaten to avenge their wrongs.}[12]

{Cholmley: ‘Twas to be}[13] feared what this would come unto.

This follows on the doctor’s publishing

The bill of wrongs in public at the Spital.

Shrewsbury: That Doctor Beale may chance beshrew himself

For reading of the bill.

Palmer: Let us go gather forces to the Mayor,

For quick suppressing this rebellious route.

Surrey: Now I bethink myself of Master More,

One of the sheriffs, a wise and learned gentleman,

And in especial favor with the people.

He, backed with other grave and sober men,

May by his gentle and persuasive speech

Perhaps prevail more then we can with power.

Shrewsbury: Believe me, but your honor well advises.

Let us make haste, or I do greatly fear

Some to their graves this morning’s work will bear.

[Exeunt.]

Act II Scene i

Riot scene

Source: Chronicles.  The author has played with the time scheme here, however, in that this episode apparently occurred after the intervention by Sir Thomas More.

Author: Anthony Munday, according to Oliphant.

Revision: This scene survives complete in two copies; the first in Anthony Munday’s hand, and the revision in Heywood’s hand (Addition IIA).  Heywood’s only part in this scene was the addition of speeches for the Clown (Ralph Betts), and apparently the only reason he copied out the scene was that there wasn’t enough room in the margins to put the Clown’s speeches there.

Tilney: As with all the additions to the play, there's no sign of Tilney’s presence here.  I suspect that when he hit this scene he went back to the beginning of the play and wrote the note there.

Original Version

[Enter LINCOLN, BETTS, WILLIAMSON, SHERWIN, and other, armed; DOLL in a shirt of mail, a headpiece, sword, and buckler; a crew attending.]

Doll: Peace there, I say!  Hear Captain Lincoln speak.

Keep silence, till we know his mind at large.

All: Agreed, agreed, speak then, brave Captain Lincoln.

Lincoln: Come, gallant bloods, you whose free souls do scorn

To bear th’ enforced wrongs of aliens,

Add rage to resolution, fire the houses

Of these audacious strangers.  This is St. Martin’s,

And yonder dwells Mewtas, a wealthy Piccard,

At the Green Gate,

De Bard, Peter Van Hollock, Adrian Martin,

With many more outlandish fugitives.

Shall these enjoy more privilege then we

In our own country?  Let’s then become their slaves.

Since justice keeps not them in greater awe,

We’ll be ourselves rough ministers at law.

Doll: Ay, for we may as well make bonfires on May Day as at midsummer; we’ll alter the day in the calendar, and set it down in flaming letters.

Sherwin: Stay!  No, that would much endanger the whole city,

Whereto I would not the least prejudice.

Doll: No, nor I neither; so may mine own house be burned for company.  I’ll tell ye what—we’ll drag the strangers out into Moorfields, and there bombast them till they stink again.

George: Let some of us enter the strangers’ houses,

And, if we find them there, then bring them forth.

[Exeunt some and SHERWIN]

Doll: If ye bring them forth before ye find them, I’ll never allow of that.

William: Now, lads, how shall we labor in our safety?

I hear the Mayor hath gathered men in arms

And that Shrieve More an hour ago received

Some of the Privy Council in at Ludgate.

Force now must make our peace, or else we fall;

‘Twill soon be known we are the principal!

Doll: And what of that?  If thou beest afraid, husband, go home again, and hide thy head; for by the Lord, I’ll have a little sport, now I am at it.

George: Let’s stand upon our guard, and, if they come,

Receive them as they were our enemies.

[Enter Sherwin and the rest.]

Lincoln: How now?  Have you found any?

Sherwin: Not one; th’are fled.

Lincoln: Then fire the houses, that the Mayor being busy,

About the quenching of them, we may ‘scape.

Burn down their kennels, let us, straight away,

Lest that this prove to us an ill May Day.

[Exeunt]

Revised Version

[Enter LINCOLN, GEORGE and RALPH Betts, WILLIAMSON, SHERWIN, and other, armed; DOLL in a shirt of mail, a headpiece, sword, and buckler; a crew attending.]

Ralph: Come, come; we’ll tickle their turnips, we’ll butter their boxes.  Shall strangers rule the roost?  Yes; but we’ll baste the roast.  Come, come, a-flaunt, a-flaunt!

George: Brother, give place, and hear John Lincoln speak.

Ralph: Ay, Lincoln my leader,

And Doll my true breeder,

With the rest of our crew,

Shall rantantarraran.

Do all they what they can.

Shall we be bobbed, braved?  No!

Shall we be held under?  No!

We are free born,

And do take scorn

To be used so.

Doll: Pease there, I say!  Hear Captain Lincoln speak.

Keep silence, till we know his mind at large.

Ralph: Then largely deliver; speak, bully; and he that presumes to interrupt thee in thy oration, this for him.

Lincoln: Then, gallant bloods, you whose free souls do scorn

To bear th’ enforced wrongs of aliens,

Add rage to resolution, fire the houses

Of these audacious strangers.  This is St. Martin’s,

And yonder dwells Mewtas, a wealthy Piccard,

At the Green Gate,

De Bard, Peter Van Hollock, Adrian Martin,

With many more outlandish fugitives.

Shall these enjoy more privilege then we

In our own country?  Let’s [then] become their slaves.

Since justice keeps not them in greater awe,

We’ll be ourselves rough ministers at law.

Ralph: Use no more swords,

Nor no more words,

But fire the houses;

Brave captain courageous,

Fire me their houses.

Doll: Ay, for we may as well make bonfires on May Day as at midsummer; we’ll alter the day in the calendar, and set it down in flaming letters.

Sherwin: Stay!  No, that would much endanger the whole city,

Whereto I would not the least prejudice.

Doll: No, nor I neither; so may mine own house be burned for company.  I’ll tell ye what—we’ll drag the strangers [out] into Moorfields, and there bombast them till they stink again.

Ralph: And that’s soon done; for they smell for fear already.

George: Let some of us enter the strangers’ houses,

And, if we find them there, then bring them forth.

Doll: But if ye bring them forth ere ye find them, I’ll ne’er allow of that.

Ralph: Now, Mars, for thy honor,

Dutch or French,

So it be a wench,

I’ll upon her.

{[Exeunt some and SHERWIN.]}

William: Now, lads, how shall we labor in our safety?

I hear the Mayor hath gathered men in arms

And that Shrieve More an hour ago received

Some of the Privy Council in at Ludgate.

Force now must make our peace, or else we fall;

‘Twill soon be known we are the principal!

Doll: And what of that?  If thou beest afraid, husband, go home again, and hide thy head; for by the Lord, I’ll have a little sport, now we are at it.

George: Let’s stand upon our guard, and, if they come,

Receive them as they were our enemies.

{[Enter SHERWIN and the rest.]}

Ralph: A purchase, a purchase!  We have found, we ha found—

Doll: What?

Ralph: Nothing; not a French Fleming nor a Fleming French to be found, but all fled in plain English.

Lincoln: How now?  Have you found any?

Sherwin: No, not one; they’re all fled.

Lincoln: Then fire the houses, that the Mayor being busy,

About the quenching of them, we may ‘scape.

Burn down their kennels, let us, straight away,

Lest this day prove to us an ill May Day.

Ralph: Fire, fire,

I’ll be the first;

If hanging come,

‘Tis welcome that’s the worst.

[Exeunt]

Act II Scene a

Prentice scene

Source: Holinshed’s account of an attack on Sir John Munday, taken in turn from Hall.

Author: Oliphant seems to give this scene to Anthony Munday, but it is hard to believe that it is not by Thomas Dekker, so closely does it resemble material in The Shoemaker’s Holiday.

Revision: This scene was eliminated entirely, and therefore never revised as such.

Tilney: Tilney made no preserved comments on this scene, though it would have been included in the headnote to the entire play.  I believe the scene had been cancelled before the play was sub­mitted to Tilney, however.

Original Version

[Cheapside.  Enter three or four Prentices of trades, with a pair of cudgels.]

Harry: Come, lay down the cudgels.  Ho, Robin, you met us well at Bunhill, to have you with us a-Maying this morning!

Robin: Faith, Harry, the head drawer at the Miter by the Great Conduit called me up, and we went to breakfast into St. Anne’s lane.  But come, who begins?  In good faith, I am clean out of practice.  When wast at Garret’s school, Harry?

Harry: Not this great while, never since I brake his usher’s head, when he played his scholar’s prize at the Star in Bread Street.  I use all to George Philpot’s at Dowgate; he’s the best backsword man in England.

Kit: Bate me an ace of that, quoth Bolton.

Harry: I’ll not bate ye a pin on’t, sir; for, by this cudgel, ‘tis true.

Kit: I will cudgel that opinion out of ye.  Did you break an usher’s head, sir?

Harry: Ay, marry, did I, sir.

Kit: I am very glad on’t; you shall break mine too, and ye can.

Harry: Sirrah, I prithee, what art thou?

Kit: Why, I am a prentice as thou art; seest thou now?  He play with thee at blunt here in Cheapside, and when thou hast done, if thou beest angry, I’ll fight with thee at {sharpe} in Moorfields.  I have a sword to serve my turn in a favor [                              ]t, come July, to serve

 

[NOTE: The rest of this scene is lost]

Act II Scene ii

Guildhall scene

Source: Chronicles.  Four separate incidents are here conflated, not in order, to make one scene.

Author: As the original scene is lost, this would seem to make difficult the determination of the original author.  The Revels text editors point out that the opening cancelled lines (a fragment from the original version accidentally copied, apparently) that would have connected this scene to the suppressed Prentice scene show that C was copying from an altered version of the original (lost) page in Anthony Munday’s hand.  If I understand them cor­rectly, they believe that Chettle had a hand in the original version of this scene.

Revision: Addition IIB.  This scene survives only in a revised version in the hand of the bookkeeper (C).  Oliphant thinks that Munday wrote this revision.

Tilney: Tilney made no comments on this scene.

Fragment from the Original Version

[Enter at one door Sir Thomas MORE and LORD MAYOR, at another door SIR JOHN Munday hurt.]

Lord Mayor: What, Sir John Munday, are you hurt?

Sir John: A little knock, my lord.  There was even now

A sort of prentices playing at cudgels.

I did command them to their masters’ houses,

But one of them backed by the other crew

Wounded me in the forehead with his cudgel

And now I fear me they are gone to join

With Lincoln, Sherwin, and their dangerous train.

More: The captains of this insurrection [etc.]

[NOTE: This fragment of the original scene was copied accidentally into the revision.  Presumably other material from the revised scene is taken from the original.]

Revised Version

[Enter at one door Sir Thomas MORE and LORD MAYOR]

More: The captains of this insurrection

Have ta’en themselves to arms, and came but now

To both the Counters, where they have released

Sundry indebted prisoners, and from thence

I hear that they are gone into St. Martins,

Where they intend to offer violence

To the amazed Lombards.  Therefore, my lord,

If we expect the safety of the city,

‘Tis time that force or parley do encounter

With these displeased men.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

Lord Mayor: How now!  What news?

Messenger: My lord, the rebels have broke open Newgate,

From whence they have delivered many prisoners,

Both felons and notorious murderers,

That desperately cleave to their lawless train.

Mayor: Up with the drawbridge, gather some forces

To Cornhill and Cheapside—and, gentlemen,

If diligence be used one every side,

A quiet ebb will follow this rough tide.

[Enter SHREWSBURY, SURREY, PALMER, CHOLMLEY.]

Shrewsbury: Lord Mayor, his majesty, receiving notice

Of this most dangerous insurrection,

Hath sent my lord of Surry and myself,

Sir Thomas Palmer and our followers,

To add unto your forces our best means

For pacifying of this mutiny.

In Gods name, then, set on with happy speed!

The king laments if one true subject bleed.

Surrey: I hear they mean to fire the Lombards’ houses.

Oh power, what art thou in a madman’s eyes!

Thou makest the plodding idiot bloody wise.

More: My lords, I doubt not but we shall appease

With a calm breath this flux of discontent.

Palmer: To call them to a parley questionless

May fall out good.  ‘Tis well said, Master More.

More: Let’s to the simple men, for many sweat

Under this act, that knows not the law’s debt

Which hangs upon their lives; for silly men

Plod on they know not how, like a fool’s pen,

That, ending, shows not any sentence writ,

Linked but to common reason or slightest wit.

These follow for no harm; but yet incur,

Self penalty with those that raised this stir.

A God’s name on to calm our private foes

With breath of gravity, not dangerous blows!

[Exeunt.]

Act II Scene iii

Insurrection scene

Source: Chronicles.  Events have been run together here again, and More’s intervention was in fact unsuccessful.

Author: The original scene was probably written by Anthony Mun­day, though the first half of it is lost, which makes certainty difficult.  Jowett attributes it to Chettle.

Revision: Addition IIC + marginal addition to original.  The first half of the scene survives only in a revision by Shakespeare.  The second half had one short speech added by Heywood.  All of this material was integrated and revised by the bookkeep­er.

Tilney: Tilney made no comments on this scene, though it would be included in his condemnation at the beginning of the play (leave out the insurrection wholly).

Original Version

[NOTE: The beginning of this scene is lost; the only differences between the original and revised versions as given here are the inclusion of the fragment of More’s speech as given at the beginning, and the omission of Heywood’s added speech for Ralph Betts (the Clown).]

 

[More: …] To persist in it is present death, but if you yield yourselves, no doubt, what punishment you in simplicity have incurred, his highness in mercy will most graciously pardon.

All: We yield, and desire his highness mercy.

[They lay by their weapons.]

More: No doubt his majesty will grant it you.

But you must yield to go to several prisons,

Till that his highness’ will be further known.

All: Most willingly; whither you will have vs.

Shrewsbury: Lord Mayor, let them be sent to several prisons,

And there, in any case, be well entreated.

My lord of Surrey, please you to take horse,

And ride to Cheapside, where the aldermen

Are with their several companies in arms;

Will them to go unto their several wards,

Both for the stay of further mutiny,

And for the apprehending of such persons

As shall contend.

Surrey: I go, my noble lord.

[Exit Surrey.]

Shrewsbury: We’ll straight go tell his highness these good news.

Withal, Shrieve More, I’ll tell him how your breath

Hath ransomed many a subject from sad death.

[Exeunt Shrewsbury and Cholmley.]

Lord Mayor: Lincoln and Sherwin, you shall both to Newgate;

The rest unto the Counters.

Palmer: Go guard them hence; a little breath well spent

Cheats expectation in his fairest event.

Doll: Well, Sheriff More, thou hast done more with thy good words than all they could with their weapons; give me thy hand; keep thy promise now for the king’s pardon, or, by the Lord, I’ll call thee a plain cony-catcher.

Lincoln: Farewell, Shrieve More; and as we yield by thee,

So make our peace; then thou dealst honestly.

[They are led away.]

Lord Mayor: Master Shrieve More, you have preserved the city

From a most dangerous fierce commotion;

For, if this limb of riot here in St. Martins

Had joined with other branches of the city

That did begin to kindle, ‘twould have bred

Great rage; that rage much murder would have fed.

Palmer: Not steel, but eloquence hath wrought this good

You have redeemed us from much threatened blood.

More: My lord and brethren, what I here have spoke,

My countries love, and next the city’s care,

Enjoined me to; which since it thus prevails,

Think—God hath made weak More his instrument

To thwart sedition’s violent intent.

I think ‘twere best, my lord, some two hours hence

We meet at the Guildhall, and there determine

That thorough every ward the watch be clad

In armor, but especially provide

That at the city gates selected men,

Substantial citizens do ward tonight,

For fear of further mischief.

Lord Mayor: It shall be so.

[Enter Shrewsbury.]

But yond methink’s my lord of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury: My lord, his majesty sends loving thanks

To you, your brethren, and his faithful subjects,

Your careful citizens.  But, Master More, to you

A rougher, yet as kind a salutation;

Your name is yet too short; nay, you must kneel;

A knight’s creation is this knightly steel.

Rise up Sir Thomas More.

More: I thank his highness for thus honoring me.

Shrewsbury: This is but first taste of his princely favor;

For it hath pleased his high majesty,

Noting your wisdom and deserving merit,

To put this staff of honor in your hand,

For he hath chose you of his Privy Council.

More: My lord, for to deny my sovereign’s bounty

Were to drop precious stones into the heaps

Whence first they came, [from whence they’d never return;][14]

To urge my imperfections in excuse,

Were all as stale as custom: no, my lord,

My service is my kings; good reason why,

Since life or death hangs on our sovereign’s eye.

Lord Mayor: His majesty hath honored much the city

In this his princely choice.

More: My lord and brethren,

Though I depart for [court] my love shall rest

{With you, as heretofore, a faithful guest.}[15]

I now must sleep in court, sound sleeps forbear;

The chamberlain to state is public care:

Yet, in this rising of my private blood,

My studious thoughts shall tend the city’s good.

[Enter Crofts.]

Shrewsbury: How now, Crofts?  What news?

Crofts: My lord, his highness sends express command

That a record be entered of this riot,

And that the chief and capital offenders

Be thereon straight arraigned, for himself intends

To sit in person on the rest tomorrow

At Westminster.

Shrewsbury: Lord Mayor, you hear your charge.

Come, good Sir Thomas More, to court let’s hie;

You are th’ appeaser of this mutiny.

More: My lord, farewell: new days beget new tides;

Life whirls ‘bout fate, then to a grave it slides.

[Exeunt severally]

Revised Version

[Enter at one end Lincoln, Doll, Clown, George Betts, Sherwin, Williamson, and others; and at the other end a Sergeant-at-arms, More, the other Sheriff, Palmer, and Cholmley.]

Lincoln: Peace, hear me!  He that will not see a red herring at a Harry groat, butter at eleven pence a pound, meal at nine shillings a bushel, and beef at four nobles a stone, list to me.

[First Prentice[16]]: It will come to that pass, if strangers be suffered.  Mark him.

Lincoln: Our country is a great eating country; argo, they eat more in our country then they do in their own.

Ralph Betts[17]: By a halfpenny loaf a day, troy weight.

Lincoln: They bring in strange roots, which is merely to the undoing of poor prentices; for what’s a sorry parsnip to a good heart?

[Second Prentice]: Trash, trash; they breed sore eyes, and ‘tis enough to infect the city with the palsy.

Lincoln: Nay, it has infected it with the palsy; for these bastards of dung—as you know they grow in dung—have infected us, and it is our infection will make the city shake, which partly corns through the eating of parsnips.

Ralph Betts: True; and pumpions together.

Sergeant: What say ye to the mercy of the king?

Do ye refuse it?

Lincoln: You would have us upon th’hip, would you?  No, marry, do we not; we accept of the king’s mercy, but we will show no mercy upon the strangers.

Sergeant: You are the simplest things

That ever stood in such a question.

Lincoln: How say ye now, prentices simple!  Down with him!

All: Prentices simple!  Prentices simple!

[Enter the Lord Mayor, Surrey, Shrewsbury.]

Sheriff: Hold!  In the king’s name, hold!

Surrey: Friends, masters, countrymen—

Mayor: Peace, ho, peace!  I charge you, keep the peace!

Shrewsbury: My masters, countrymen—

[Sherwin OR Williamson:] The noble Earl of Shrewsbury, let’s hear him.

George Betts: We’ll hear the Earl of Surrey.

Lincoln: The Earl of Shrewsbury.

George Betts: We’ll hear both.

All: Both, both, both, both!

Lincoln: Peace, I say, peace!  Are you men of wisdom, or what are you?

Surrey: What you will have them; but not men of wisdom.

All: We’ll not hear my lord of Surrey!

All: No, no, no, no, no! Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury!

More: Whiles they are o’er the bank of their obedience,

Thus will they bear down all things.

Lincoln: Shrieve More speaks.  Shall we hear Shrieve More speak?

Doll: Let’s hear him.  ‘A keeps a plentiful shrievalty, and ‘a made my brother Arthur Watchins Seargeant Safe’s yeoman.  Let’s hear Shrieve More.

All: Shrieve More, More, More, Shrieve More!

More: Even by the rule you hake among yourselves,

Command still audience.

All: Surrey, Surrey!

All: More, More!

Lincoln and George Betts: Peace, peace, silence, peace!

More: You that have voice and credit with the number,

Command them to a stillness.

Lincoln: A plague on them, they will not hold their peace;

The devil cannot rule them.

More: Then what a rough and riotous charge have you,

To lead those that the devil cannot rule.

Good masters, hear me speak.

Doll: Ay, by th’ mass will we, More.  Th’art a good housekeeper, and I thank thy good worship for my brother Arthur Watchins.

All: Peace, peace.

More: Look, what you do offend you cry upon,

That is, the peace; not one of you here present,

Had there such fellows lived when you were babes,

That could have topped the peace, as now you would—

The peace wherein you have till now grown up

Had been ta’en from you, and the bloody times

Could not have brought you to the state of men.

Alas, poor things, what is yet you have got,

Although we grant you get the thing you seek?

George Betts: Marry, the removing of the strangers, which cannot choose but much advantage the poor handicrafts of the city.

More: Grant them removed, and grant. that this your noise

Hath chid down all the majesty of England.

Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,

Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,

Plodding to th’ ports and coasts for transportation,

And that you sit as kings in your desires,

Authority quite silenced by your brawl,

And you in ruff of your opinions clothed,

What had you got?  I’ll tell you: you had taught

How insolence and strong hand should prevail,

How order should be quelled, and by pattern

Not on of you should live an aged man,

For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,

With selfsame hand, self reasons, and self right

Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes

Would feed on one another.

Doll: Before God, that’s as true as gospel.

[George Betts or Lincoln]: Nay, this a sound fellow, I tell you; let’s mark him.

More: Let me set up before your thoughts, good friends,

One supposition; which if you will mark,

You shall perceive how horrible a shape

Your innovation bears.  First, ‘tis a sin

Which oft th’ apostle did forewarn us of,

Urging obedience to authority;

And ‘twere no error, if I told you all,

You were in arms ‘gainst God.

All: Marry, God forbid that!                  i

More: Nay, certainly you are;

For to the king God hath his office lent

Of dread, of justice, power and command,

Hath bid him rule, and willed you to obey;

And, to add ampler majesty to this,

He hath not only lent the king his figure,

His throne and sword, but given him his own name,

Calls him a god on earth.  What do you, then,

Rising ‘gainst him that God himself installs

But rise ‘gainst God?  What do you to your souls

In doing this?  O, desperate as you are?

Wash your foul minds with tears, and those same hands,

That you like rebels lift against the peace,

Lift up for peace, and your unreverent knees

Make them your feet.  To kneel to be forgiven

Is safer wars than ever you can make

Whose discipline is riot.  In, in to your obedience.

Why even your hurly cannot proceed but by obedience.

What rebel captain,

As mutinies are incident, by his name

Can still the rout?  Who will obey a traitor?

Or how can well that proclamation sound

When there is no addition but a rebel

To qualify a rebel?  You’ll put down strangers,

Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,

And lead the majesty of law in lyam,

To slip him like a hound.  Say now the king

As he is clement, if th’ offender mourn,

Should so much come to short of your great trespass

As but to banish you, whither would you go?

What country, by the nature of your error,

Should give you harbor?  Go you to France or Flanders,

To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,

Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England,

Why, you must needs be strangers.  Would you be pleased

To find a nation of such barbarous temper,

That, breaking out in hideous violence,

Would not afford you an abode on earth,

Whet their detested knives against your throats,

Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God

Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements

Were not all appropriate to your comforts,

But chartered unto them?  What would you think

To be thus used? this is the strangers’ case;

And this your mountanish inhumanity.

All: Faith, ‘a says true; let’s do as we may be done by.

Lincoln: We’ll be ruled by you, Master More, if you’ll stand our friend to procure our pardon.

More: Submit you to these noble gentle men,

Entreat their mediation to the king,

Give up yourself to form, obey the magistrate,

And there’s no doubt but mercy may be found

If you so seek.

All: We yield, and desire his highness mercy.

[They lay by their weapons.]

More: No doubt his majesty will grant it you.

But you must yield to go to several prisons,

Till that his highness’ will be further known.

All: Most willingly; whither you will have vs.

Shrewsbury: Lord Mayor, let them be sent to several prisons,

And there, in any case, be well entreated.

My lord of Surrey, please you to take horse,

And ride to Cheapside, where the aldermen

Are with their several companies in arms;

Will them to go unto their several wards,

Both for the stay of further mutiny,

And for the apprehending of such persons

As shall contend.

Surrey: I go, my noble lord.

[Exit Surrey.]

Shrewsbury: We’ll straight go tell his highness these good news.

Withal, Shrieve More, I’ll tell him how your breath

Hath ransomed many a subject from sad death.

[Exeunt Shrewsbury and Cholmley.]

Lord Mayor: Lincoln and Sherwin, you shall both to Newgate;

The rest unto the Counters.

Palmer: Go guard them hence; a little breath well spent

Cheats expectation in his fairest event.

Doll: Well, Sheriff More, thou hast done more with thy good words than all they could with their weapons; give me thy hand; keep thy promise now for the king’s pardon, or, by the Lord, I’ll call thee a plain cony-catcher.

Lincoln: Farewell, Shrieve More; and as we yield by thee,

So make our peace; then thou dealst honestly.

Ralph Betts: Ay, and save us from the gallows, else a deals double honestly!

[They are led away.]

Lord Mayor: Master Shrieve More, you have preserved the city

From a most dangerous fierce commotion;

For, if this limb of riot here in St. Martins

Had joined with other branches of the city

That did begin to kindle, ‘twould have bred

Great rage; that rage much murder would have fed.

Palmer: Not steel, but eloquence hath wrought this good

You have redeemed us from much threatened blood.

More: My lord and brethren, what I here have spoke,

My countries love, and next the city’s care,

Enjoined me to; which since it thus prevails,

Think—God hath made weak More his instrument

To thwart sedition’s violent intent.

I think ‘twere best, my lord, some two hours hence

We meet at the Guildhall, and there determine

That thorough every ward the watch be clad

In armor, but especially provide

That at the city gates selected men,

Substantial citizens do ward tonight,

For fear of further mischief.

Lord Mayor: It shall be so.

[Enter Shrewsbury.]

But yond methink’s my lord of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury: My lord, his majesty sends loving thanks

To you, your brethren, and his faithful subjects,

Your careful citizens.  But, Master More, to you

A rougher, yet as kind a salutation;

Your name is yet too short; nay, you must kneel;

A knight’s creation is this knightly steel.

Rise up Sir Thomas More.

More: I thank his highness for thus honoring me.

Shrewsbury: This is but first taste of his princely favor;

For it hath pleased his high majesty,

Noting your wisdom and deserving merit,

To put this staff of honor in your hand,

For he hath chose you of his Privy Council.

More: My lord, for to deny my sovereign’s bounty

Were to drop precious stones into the heaps

Whence first they came, [from whence they’d never return;]

To urge my imperfections in excuse,

Were all as stale as custom: no, my lord,

My service is my kings; good reason why,

Since life or death hangs on our sovereign’s eye.

Lord Mayor: His majesty hath honored much the city

In this his princely choice.

More: My lord and brethren,

Though I depart for [court] my love shall rest

{With you, as heretofore, a faithful guest.}

I now must sleep in court, sound sleeps forbear;

The chamberlain to state is public care:

Yet, in this rising of my private blood,

My studious thoughts shall tend the city’s good.

[Enter Crofts.]

Shrewsbury: How now, Crofts?  What news?

Crofts: My lord, his highness sends express command

That a record be entered of this riot,

And that the chief and capital offenders

Be thereon straight arraigned, for himself intends

To sit in person on the rest tomorrow

At Westminster.

Shrewsbury: Lord Mayor, you hear your charge.

Come, good Sir Thomas More, to court let’s hie;

You are th’ appeaser of this mutiny.

More: My lord, farewell: new days beget new tides;

Life whirls ‘bout fate, then to a grave it slides.

[Exeunt severally]

Act II Scene iv

Reprieve scene

Source: Chronicles.  The events of 7 May 1517[?] have been ampli­fied, and the general pardon two weeks later made part of the same event to heighten the drama.

Author: Anthony Munday, according to Oliphant; Chettle, according to Jowett.

Revision: Marginal additions to the original in Munday’s hand.  Heywood has added some speeches to this scene, writing them in the margins.

Tilney: Tilney marked one section for deletion.

Original Version (without Heywood’s additions)

[Enter Master Sheriff, and meet a Messenger.]

Sheriff: Messenger, what news?

Messenger: Is execution yet performed?

Sheriff:  Not yet; the carts stand ready at the stairs,

And they shall presently away to Tyburn.

Messenger: Stay, Master Shrieve; it is the Council’s pleasure,

For more example in so bad a case,

A gibbet be erected in Cheapside,

Hard by the Standard; whither you must bring

Lincoln and those that were the chief with him,

To suffer death, and that immediately.

[Enter Officers.]

Sheriff: It shall be done, sir.

[Exit Messenger.]

Officers, be speedy;

Call for a gibbet, see it be erected;

Others make haste to Newgate, bid them bring

The prisoners hither, for they here must die.

Away, I say, and see no time be slacked.

Officers: We go, sir.

[Exeunt some severally; others set up the gibbet.]

Sheriff: That’s well said, fellows; now you do your duty.

God for his pity help these troublous times—

The street’s stopped up with gazing multitude!

Command our armed officers with halberds

Make way for entrance of the prisoners.

Let proclamation once again be made,

That every householder, on pained of death,

Keep in his prentices, and every man

Stand with a weapon ready at his door,

As he will answer to the contrary.

Officer: I’ll see it done, sir.

[Exit.  Enter another officer.]

Sheriff: Bring them away to execution;

The writ is come above two hours since.

The city will be fined for this neglect.

Officer: There’s such a press and multitude at Newgate,

They cannot bring the carts unto the stairs

To take the prisoners in.

Sheriff: Then let them come on foot;

We may not dally time with great command.

Officer: Some of the bench, sir, think it very fit

That stay be made, and give it out abroad

The execution is deferred till morning,

And, when the streets shall be a little cleared,

To chain them up, and suddenly dispatch it.

[The prisoners are brought in, well guarded.]

Sheriff: Stay; in meantime methinks they come along.

See, they are coming.  So, ‘tis very well.

Bring Lincoln there the first unto the tree.

Lincoln: I knew the first, sir, did belong to me.

This the old proverb now complete doth make,

That Lincoln should be hanged for London’s sake.

[He goes up]

A God’s name, let us to work.  Fellow, dispatch—

I was the foremost man in this rebellion,

And I the foremost that must die for it.

Doll: Bravely, John Lincoln, let thy death express,

That, as thou livedst a man, thou diedst no less.

Lincoln: Doll Williamson, thine eyes shall witness it.

Then to all you that come to view mine end

I must confess, I had no ill intent,

But against such as wronged us over much.

And now I can perceive it was not fit

That private men should carve out their redress,

Which way they list; no, learn it now by me,

Obedience is the best in each degree.

And asking mercy meekly of my king,

I patiently submit me to the law;

But God forgive them that were cause of it!

And, as a Christian, truly from my heart

I likewise crave they would forgive me too.

{Last, at this moment of my death I pray} {Shirley} OR

{As freely as I do forgive their wrong} {Hopkinson}

That others by example of the same

Henceforth be warned to attempt the like

‘Gainst any alien that repaireth hither.

Fare ye well, all; the next time that we meet,

I trust in heaven we shall each other greet.

[He leaps off.]

Doll: Farewell, lohn Lincoln: say all what they can,

Thou livedst a good fellow, and diedst an honest man.

Sheriff: Bring Williamson there forward.

Doll: Good Master Shrieve, I have an earnest suit,

And, as you are a man, deny’t me not.

Sheriff: Woman, what is it? be it in my power,

Thou shalt obtain it.

Doll: Let me die next, sir; that is all I crave;

You know not what a comfort you shall bring

To my poor heart, to die before my husband.

Sheriff: Bring her to death; she shall have her desire.

Doll: Sir, your free bounty much contents my mind.

Commend me to that good shrieve Master More,

And tell him, had’t not been for his persuasion,

John Lincoln had not hung here as he does;

We would first have locked up in Leadenhall,

And there been burnt to ashes with the roof.

Sheriff: Woman, what Master More did was a subject’s duty,

And hath so pleased our gracious lord the king,

That he is hence removed to higher place,

And made of council to his majesty.

Doll: Well is he worthy of it, by my troth,

An honest, wise, well spoken gentleman—

Yet would I praise his honesty much more,

If he had kept his word, and saved our lives.

But let that pass; men are but men, and so

Words are but words, and pays not what men owe.

Now, husband, since perhaps the world may say

That through my means thou comest thus to thy end,

Here I begin this cup of death to thee,

Because thou shalt be sure to taste no worse

Than I have taken that must go before thee.

What though I be a woman? that’s no matter.

I do owe God a death, and I must pay him.

Husband, give me thy hand; be not dismayed;

This char being charred, then all our debt is paid.

Only two little babes we leave behind us,

And all I can bequeath them at this time

Is but the love of some good honest friend,

To bring them up in charitable sort.

What, masters, he goes upright that never halts,

And they may live to mend their parents’ faults.

Williamson: Why, well said, wife; i’faith, thou cheerst my heart;

Give me thy hand, let’s kiss, and so let’s part.

[He kisses her on the ladder.]

Doll: The next kiss, Williamson, shall be in heaven.

Now cheerly, lads!  George Betts, a hand with thee,

And thine too, Rafe, and thine, good honest Sherwin.

Now let me tell the women of this town

No stranger yet brought Doll to lying down.

So long as I an Englishman can see,

Nor French nor Dutch shall get a kiss of me.

And when that I am dead, for me yet say,

I died in scorn to be a stranger’s prey.

[A great shout and noise.]

Voices within: Pardon, pardon, pardon, pardon!  Room for the Earl of Surrey, room there, room!

[Enter Surrey.]

Surrey: Save the man’s life, if it be possible.

Sheriff: It is too late, my lord; he’s dead already.

Surrey: I tell ye, Master Sheriff, you are too forward,

To make such haste with men unto their death.

I think your pains will merit little thanks,

Since that his highness is so merciful

As not to spill the blood of any subject.

Sheriff: My noble lord, would we so much had known!

The Council’s warrant hastened our dispatch;

It had not else been done so suddenly.

Surrey: Sir Thomas Moore humbly upon his knee

Did beg the lives of all, since on his word

They did so gently yield.  The king hath granted it,

And made him Lord High Chancellor of England,

According as he worthily deserves.

Since Lincoln’s life cannot be had again,

Then for the rest, from my dread sovereign’s lips,

I here pronounce free pardon for them all.

All: God save the king, God save the king!

My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!

[Flinging up caps.]

Doll: And Doll desires it from her very heart,

More’s name may live for this right noble part;

And whensoe’er we talk of ill May Day,

Praise More whose {word did sin and judgment stay.} {Shirley; “falls”}

Surrey: In hope his highness’ clemency and mercy,

Which in the arms of mild and meek compassion

Would rather clip you, as the loving nurse

Oft doth the wayward infant, then to leave you

To the sharp rod of justice, so to draw you

To shun such lewd assemblies as beget

Unlawful riots and such traitorous acts,

That, striking with the hand of private hate,

Maim your dear country with a public wound.

Oh God, that Mercy, whose majestic brow

Should be unwrinkled, and that awful Justice,

Which looketh through a veil of sufferance

Upon the frailty of the multitude,

Should with the clamors of outrageous wrongs

Be stirred and wakened thus to punishment!

But your deserved death he doth forgive;

Who gives you life, pray all he long may live.

All: God save the king, God save the king!

My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!

[Exeunt.]

Revised Version

[Enter Master Sheriff, and meet a Messenger.]

Sheriff: Messenger, what news?

Messenger: Is execution yet performed?

Sheriff:  Not yet; the carts stand ready at the stairs,

And they shall presently away to Tyburn.

Messenger: Stay, Master Shrieve; it is the Council’s pleasure,

For more example in so bad a case,

A gibbet be erected in Cheapside,

Hard by the Standard; whither you must bring

Lincoln and those that were the chief with him,

To suffer death, and that immediately.

[Enter Officers.]

Sheriff: It shall be done, sir.

[Exit Messenger.]

Officers, be speedy;

Call for a gibbet, see it be erected;

Others make haste to Newgate, bid them bring

The prisoners hither, for they here must die.

Away, I say, and see no time be slacked.

Officers: We go, sir.

[Exeunt some severally; others set up the gibbet.]

Sheriff: That’s well said, fellows; now you do your duty.

God for his pity help these troublous times—

The street’s stopped up with gazing multitude!

Command our armed officers with halberds

Make way for entrance of the prisoners.

Let proclamation once again be made,

That every householder, on pained of death,

Keep in his prentices, and every man

Stand with a weapon ready at his door,

As he will answer to the contrary.

Officer: I’ll see it done, sir.

[Exit.  Enter another officer.]

Sheriff: Bring them away to execution;

The writ is come above two hours since.

The city will be fined for this neglect.

Officer: There’s such a press and multitude at Newgate,

They cannot bring the carts unto the stairs

To take the prisoners in.

Sheriff: Then let them come on foot;

We may not dally time with great command.

Officer: Some of the bench, sir, think it very fit

That stay be made, and give it out abroad

The execution is deferred till morning,

And, when the streets shall be a little cleared,

To chain them up, and suddenly dispatch it.

[The prisoners are brought in, well guarded.]

Sheriff: Stay; in meantime methinks they come along.

See, they are coming.  So, ‘tis very well.

Bring Lincoln there the first unto the tree.

Ralph Betts: Ay, for I cry lag, sir.

Lincoln: I knew the first, sir, did belong to me.

This the old proverb now complete doth make,

That Lincoln should be hanged for London’s sake.

[He goes up]

A God’s name, let us to work.  Fellow, dispatch—

I was the foremost man in this rebellion,

And I the foremost that must die for it.

Doll: Bravely, John Lincoln, let thy death express,

That, as thou livedst a man, thou diedst no less.

Lincoln: Doll Williamson, thine eyes shall witness it.

Then to all you that come to view mine end

I must confess, I had no ill intent,

But against such as wronged us over much.

And now I can perceive it was not fit

That private men should carve out their redress,

Which way they list; no, learn it now by me,

Obedience is the best in each degree.

And asking mercy meekly of my king,

I patiently submit me to the law;

But God forgive them that were cause of it!

And, as a Christian, truly from my heart

I likewise crave they would forgive me too.

{Last, at this moment of my death I pray} {Shirley} OR

{As freely as I do forgive their wrong} {Hopkinson}

That others by example of the same

Henceforth be warned to attempt the like

‘Gainst any alien that repaireth hither.

Fare ye well, all; the next time that we meet,

I trust in heaven we shall each other greet.

[He leaps off.]

Doll: Farewell, lohn Lincoln: say all what they can,

Thou livedst a good fellow, and diedst an honest man.

Ralph Betts: Would I were so far on my journey!  The first stretch is the worst, methinks.

Sheriff: Bring Williamson there forward.

Doll: Good Master Shrieve, I have an earnest suit,

And, as you are a man, deny’t me not.

Sheriff: Woman, what is it? be it in my power,

Thou shalt obtain it.

Doll: Let me die next, sir; that is all I crave;

You know not what a comfort you shall bring

To my poor heart, to die before my husband.

Sheriff: Bring her to death; she shall have her desire.

Ralph Betts: Sir, and I have a suit to you too.

[Sheriff:] What is it?

[Ralph Betts:] That, as you have hanged Lincoln first, and will hang her next, so you will not hang me at all.

[Sheriff:] Nay, you set ope the Counter gates, and you must hang chiefly.

[Ralph Betts:] Well, then, so much for that!

Doll: Sir, your free bounty much contents my mind.

Commend me to that good shrieve Master More,

And tell him, had’t not been for his persuasion,

John Lincoln had not hung here as he does;

We would first have locked up in Leadenhall,

And there been burnt to ashes with the roof.

Sheriff: Woman, what Master More did was a subject’s duty,

And hath so pleased our gracious lord the king,

That he is hence removed to higher place,

And made of council to his majesty.

Doll: Well is he worthy of it, by my troth,

An honest, wise, well spoken gentleman—

Yet would I praise his honesty much more,

If he had kept his word, and saved our lives.

But let that pass; men are but men, and so

Words are but words, and pays not what men owe.

Now, husband, since perhaps the world may say

That through my means thou comest thus to thy end,

Here I begin this cup of death to thee,

Because thou shalt be sure to taste no worse

Than I have taken that must go before thee.

What though I be a woman? that’s no matter.

I do owe God a death, and I must pay him.

Husband, give me thy hand; be not dismayed;

This char being charred, then all our debt is paid.

Only two little babes we leave behind us,

And all I can bequeath them at this time

Is but the love of some good honest friend,

To bring them up in charitable sort.

What, masters, he goes upright that never halts,

And they may live to mend their parents’ faults.

Williamson: Why, well said, wife; i’faith, thou cheerst my heart;

Give me thy hand, let’s kiss, and so let’s part.

[He kisses her on the ladder.]

Doll: The next kiss, Williamson, shall be in heaven.

Now cheerly, lads!  George Betts, a hand with thee,

And thine too, Rafe, and thine, good honest Sherwin.

Now let me tell the women of this town

No stranger yet brought Doll to lying down.

So long as I an Englishman can see,

Nor French nor Dutch shall get a kiss of me.

And when that I am dead, for me yet say,

I died in scorn to be a stranger’s prey.

[A great shout and noise.]

Voices within: Pardon, pardon, pardon, pardon!  Room for the Earl of Surrey, room there, room!

[Enter Surrey.]

Surrey: Save the man’s life, if it be possible.

Sheriff: It is too late, my lord; he’s dead already.

Surrey: I tell ye, Master Sheriff, you are too forward,

To make such haste with men unto their death.

I think your pains will merit little thanks,

Since that his highness is so merciful

As not to spill the blood of any subject.

Sheriff: My noble lord, would we so much had known!

The Council’s warrant hastened our dispatch;

It had not else been done so suddenly.

Surrey: Sir Thomas More humbly upon his knee

Did beg the lives of all, since on his word

They did so gently yield.  The king hath granted it,

And made him Lord High Chancellor of England,

According as he worthily deserves.

Since Lincoln’s life cannot be had again,

Then for the rest, from my dread sovereign’s lips,

I here pronounce free pardon for them all.

All: God save the king, God save the king!

My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!

[Flinging up caps.]

Doll: And Doll desires it from her very heart,

More’s name may live for this right noble part;

And whensoe’er we talk of ill May Day,

Praise More whose {word did sin and judgment stay.} {Shirley; “falls”}

Surrey: In hope his highness’ clemency and mercy,

Which in the arms of mild and meek compassion

Would rather clip you, as the loving nurse

Oft doth the wayward infant, then to leave you

To the sharp rod of justice, so to draw you

To shun such lewd assemblies as beget

Unlawful riots and such traitorous acts,

That, striking with the hand of private hate,

Maim your dear country with a public wound.

Oh God, that Mercy, whose majestic brow

Should be unwrinkled, and that awful Justice,

Which looketh through a veil of sufferance

Upon the frailty of the multitude,

Should with the clamors of outrageous wrongs

Be stirred and wakened thus to punishment!

But your deserved death he doth forgive;

Who gives you life, pray all he long may live.

All: God save the king, God save the king!

My good Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of Surrey!

[Exeunt.]

 

Act III Scene i

Erasmus scene

Source: The story of the joke played on Erasmus is original; the Faulkner incident comes from Foxe’s Acts and Monuments; the ori­ginal incident is told of Thomas Lord Cromwell.

Author: Fragments from the beginning and end of the original scene or scenes survive; these may have been by Anthony Munday.  Jowett attributes them to Chettle.  These are part of the original manuscript in Munday’s hand, marked for omission and partially pasted over with the revised material.

Revision: Additions III and IV.  The Erasmus and Faulkner material were originally sepa­rate, and may have been in two different scenes.  The reviser has worked the material over extensively, interlocking the two inci­dents and radically rewriting the Faulkner material as well.  The revised material is mostly in the bookkeeper’s hand; it looks like Dekker’s work, and the last portion is in his hand.  The opening lines for this scene were written later and pasted in place; they are in the bookkeeper's hand, but may have been writ­ten by Shakespeare.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original Version (Fragment 1)

[A table being covered with a green carpet, a state cushion on it, and the Purse and Mace lying thereon, enter Sir Thomas More, and his man Randall with him, attired like him.]

More: Come on, sir, are you ready?

Randall: Yes, my lord, I stand but upon a few points; I shall have done presently.  Is it your honor’s pleasure that I should grow proud now?

More: Ay, I must have thee proud, or else thou’lt ne’er

Be near allied to greatness.  Observe me, sir.

The learned clerk Erasmus is arrived

Within our English court; this day, I hear,

He feasteth with an English honored poet,

The Earle of Surrey; and I know this night

The famous clerk of Rotterdam will visit

Sir Thomas More.  Therefore, sir, act my part,

There take my place, furnished with purse and mace:

I’ll see if great Erasmus can distinguish

Merit and outward ceremony.  Observe me,

Sirra: I’ll be thy glass, dress thy behavior

According to my carriage; but beware

Thou talk not overmuch, for twill betray thee:

Who prates not oft seems wise; his wit few scan,

Whilst the tongue blabs tales of th’ imperfect man.

Randall: I conceive your lordship, and have learned your shift

So well that I must needs be apprehensive.

[The waits plays within]

More: This music tells us that the earl is come

With learned Erasmus.  Now, my Lord Chancellor—

Act like a formal player our grave part.

Randall: I pray ye my Lord, let me command ye to leave me, if I do it now in cue, let your Lordship banish me from the wearing of a gold chain forever.

More: They come now, set thy countenance, act thy part

With a firm boldness, and thou winnest my heart. [exit]

[Music, enter Surrey, Erasmus and attendants.]

Surrey: Now great Erasmus, you approach the presence

Of a most learned worthy gentleman.

This little isle holds not a truer friend

Unto the arts, nor doth his greatness add

A feigned flourish to his worthy merit.

He’s great in study, that’s the statist’s grace,

That gains more reverence than the outward place.

Erasmus: Report my lord hath crossed the narrow seas,

And to the several parts of Christendom

Hath borne the fame of your Lord Chancellor.

I longed to see him, whom with loving thoughts

I in my study oft have visited.

Is yond Sir Thomas?

Surrey: It is, Erasmus.

Now do you view the honorablest scholar,

The most religious politician,

The worthiest counselor that tends our state.

That study is the general watch of England,

In it, the prince’s safety and the peace,

That shines upon our common weal, are forged

Upon the golden anvil of his brain,

Who cures the realm, such care attends the great,

That mind and body must together sweat.

Erasmus: His Lordship hath some weighty business sure,

For see, as yet he takes no notice of us.

I think ‘twere best I do my duty to him

In a short Latin speech.

Surrey: It will do well.

He’s the best linguist that we have in England.

Erasmus: Cum tua virtus, amplissime doctissimeque vir.

[   ]as perven[    ] ? [    ] tu [      ] visui  [     ] divin

 

[The rest of this scene is lost]

Original Version (Fragment 2)

[The beginning of this scene is lost]

[More:]

Methinks this strange and ruffianlike disguise

Fits not the follower of a secretary.

Faulkner: My lord, I wear my hair upon a vow.

Shrewsbury: But for no penance of your sins I fear.

Surrey: No, he’s no hair-cloth man, though he wear hair.

More: Faulkner, how long ist since you cut your locks?

Faulkner: Three years, my lord.

More: How long wilt be before your vow expire?

Faulkner: As many years as since my hair was cut.

More: Sure, vows are holy things, if they be made

To good intent; and, sir, you shall not say,

You were compelled by me to break a vow.

But till the expiration of the same,

Because I will not have ye walk the streets

For every man to stand and wonder at,

I will commit ye prisoner unto Newgate.

Except meantime your conscience give you leave

To dispense with the long vow that you have made.

Away with him!

Surrey: A cell most meet for such a votary.

Faulkner: Well, sir, and I may perhaps be bailed ere’t be long, and yet wear my hair—

[They lead him out.]

More: And, Master Sheriff of London,

Here in his highness’ name we give you charge

Continual watch be kept throughout the city,

For the suppressing of these mutinies;

And, if hereafter any that belong

Either to my Lord of Winchester or Ely

Do come into your city with a weapon,

Or above two of either faction

Shall be seen walking in the streets together,

Or meet in tavern or in ordinary,

They be committed presently to prison.

Surrey: And cause to be proclaimed about the city,

That no man whatsoever, that belongs

Either to my Lord of Winchester or Ely,

Do walk without the livery of his lord,

Either in cloak or any other garment,

That notice may be taken of the offenders.

[Enter Master Morris, and exit Sheriff and the rest.]

Morris: God save your honor, my Lord Chancellor!

More: Welcome, Master Morris; what news, sir?

Morris: I come most humbly to entreat your honor

In the behalf of a poor man of mine.

More: What! the votary that will not cut his hair,

Until the expiration of his vow?

Morris: My lord, being sorry for his rude behavior,

He hath cut his hair, and doth conform himself

To honest decency in his attire.

More: Where is the fellow?  I am glad to hear it.

Morris: Here, my good lord.

More: You mock me surely; this is not the man.

Faulkner: Yes indeed, my Lord, I am he.

More: Thou art not sure.

The other was an ugly filthy knave

Thou, a good featured and well-favored man.

Why see what monsters you will make yourselves,

By cherishing a loathsome excrement,

T’abuse the goodly image of a man,

Whom God did frame so excellent a creature.

Well, be a peaceable and civil man,

I do discharge thee.

Faulkner: I humbly thank your honor.

Morris: And myself

Shall rest most thankful for this gracious favor.

More: Wilt please your honors now to keep your way;

I fear the lords are hindered by our stay. [Exeunt Lords.]

Morris: See sir what your Ruffian tricks come to,

You think the eye of wisdom does not see,

Into the brainsick follies of vain heads,

But with your swaggering, you can bear’t away.

Faulkner: Sir, I confess I have been much misgoverned,

And led by idle spleens, which I now see

Are like themselves, mere sottish vanity.

When in the jail I better called to mind

The grave rebukes of my Lord Chancellor,

And looked into myself with more respect

Than my rash heat before would let me see,

I caused a barber presently be sent f[or,]

And moved your worship then to sp[eak] for me.

But when I fall into like f[olly again,]

Cashier me [ (the rest of this line and the one following are missing.)  Exeunt.]

Revised Version

[Westminster.  The Chancery State Rooms.  A table being covered with a green carpet, a state cushion on it, and the purse and mace lying thereon, enter Sir Thomas More.]

More: It is in Heaven that I am thus and thus,

And that which we profanely term our fortunes

Is the provision of the power above,

Fitted and shaped just to that strength of nature

Which we are borne [withal].  Good God, good God,

That I from such an humble bench of birth

Should step as ‘twere up to my country’s head,

And give the law out there!  Ay, in my father’s life,

To take prerogative and tithe of knees

From elder kinsmen, and him bind by my place

To give the smooth and dexter way to me

That owe it him by nature!  Sure, these things,

Not physicked by respect, might turn our blood

To much corruption.  But, More, the more thou hast,

Either of honor, office, wealth, and calling,

Which might accite thee to embrace and hug them,

The more do thou in serpents’ natures think them;

Fear their gay skins with thought of their sharp state;

And let this be thy maxim, to be great

Is, when the thread of hazard is once spun,

A bottom great wound up, greatly undone.

[Enter his man [Randall] attired like him.]

Come on, sir: are you ready?

Randall: Yes, my lord, I stand but on a few points; I shall have done presently.  Before God, I have practiced your lordship’s shift so well that I think I shall grow proud, my lord.

More: ‘Tis fit thou shouldst wax prows, or else thou’lt ne’er

Be near allied to greatness.   Observe me, sirrah.

The learned clerk Erasmus is arrived

Within our English court.  Last night I hear

He feasted with our honored English poet,

The Earl of Surrey; and I learned today

The famous clerk of Rotterdam will visit

Sir Thomas More.  Therefore, sir, take my seat—

You are Lord Chancellor.  Dress your behavior

According to my carriage; but beware

You talk not overmuch, for ‘twill betray thee.

Who prates not much seems wise; his wit few scan,

While the tongue blabs tales of the imperfect man.

I’ll see if great Erasmus can distinguish

Merit and outward ceremony.

Randall: If I do not deserve a share for playing of your lordship well, let me be yeoman usher to your sumpter, and be banished from wearing of a gold chain forever.

More: Well, sir, I’ll hide our motion.  Act my part

With a firm boldness, and thou winst my heart.

[Enter the Sheriff, with Faulkner, a ruffian, and Officers.]

How now!  What’s the matter?

Faulkner: Tug me not, I’m no bear.  ‘Sblood, if all the dogs in Paris Garden hung at my tail, I’d shake ‘em of with this—that I’ll appear before no king christened but my good Lord Chancellor.

Sheriff: We’ll christen you, sirrah.  Bring him forward.

More: How now!  What tumults make you?

Faulkner: The azured heavens protect my noble Lord Chancellor!

More: What fellow’s this?

Sheriff: A ruffian, my lord, that hath set half the city in an uproar.

Faulkner: My lord—

Sheriff: There was a fray in Paternoster-row, and because they would not be parted, the street was choked up with carts.

Faulkner: My noble lord, Panyer Alley’s throat was open.

More: Sirrah, hold your peace.

Faulkner: I’ll prove the street was not choked, but is as well as ever it was since it was a street.

Sheriff: This fellow was a principal broacher of the broil.

Faulkner: ‘Sblood, I broached none; it was broached and half run out, before I had a lick at it.

Sheriff: And would be brought before no justice but your honor.

Faulkner: I am haled, my noble lord.

More: No ear to choose for every trivial noise

But mine, and in so full a time?  Away!

You wrong me, Master Shrieve; dispose of him

At your own pleasure; send the knave to Newgate.

Faulkner: To Newgate!  ‘Sblood, Sir Thomas More, I appeal, I appeal!  From Newgate to any of the two worshipful Counters.

More: Fellow, whose man are you, that are thus lusty?

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

More: A fellow of your hair is very fit

To be a secretary’s follower.

Faulkner: I hope so, my lord.  The fray was between the Bishop’s men of Ely and Winchester; and I could not in honor but part them.  I thought it stood not with my reputation and degree to come to my questions and answers before a city justice; I knew I should to the pot.

More: Thou hast been there, it seems, too late already.

Faulkner: I know your honor is wise and so forth; and I desire to be only catechized or examined by you, my noble Lord Chancellor.

More: Sirrah, sirrah, you are a busy dangerous ruffian.

Faulkner: Ruffian!

More: How long have you worn this hair?

Faulkner: I have worn this hair ever since I was born.

More: You know that’s not my question, but how long

Hath this shag fleece hung dangling on thy head?

Faulkner: How long, my lord?  Why, sometimes thus long, sometimes lowered, as the fates and humors please.

More: So quick, sir, with me, ha?  I see good fellow,

Thou lovest plain dealing.  Sirrah, tell me now,

When were you last at barber’s?  How long time

Have you upon your head worn this shag hair?

Faulkner: My lord, Jack Faulkner tells no Aesop’s fables.  Troth, I was not at barber’s this three years; I have not been cut nor will not be cut, upon a foolish vow, which, as the destinies shall direct, I am sworn to keep.

More: When comes that vow out?

Faulkner: Why, when the humors are purged, not this three years.

More: Vows are recorded in the court of Heaven,

For they are holy acts.  Young man, I charge thee

And do advise thee, start not from that vow.

And, for I will be sure thou shalt not shrive, {Revels emendation}

Besides, because it is an odious sight

To see a man thus hairy, thou shalt lie

In Newgate till thy vow and thy three years

Be full expired.  Away with him!

Faulkner:   My lord—

More: Cut off this fleece, and lie there but a month.

Faulkner: I’ll not lose a hair to be Lord Chancellor of Europe.

More: To Newgate, then.  Sirrah, great sins are bred

In all that body where there’s a foul head.

Away with him.

[Exeunt {all except Randall}.]

[Enter Surrey, Erasmus, and Attendants.]

Surrey: Now, great Erasmus, you approach the presence

Of a most worthy learned gentleman.

This little isle holds not a truer friend

Unto the arts; nor doth his greatness add

A feigned flourish to his worthy parts;

He’s great in study; that’s the statist’s grace

That gains more reverence then the outward place.

Erasmus.   Report, my lord, hath crossed the narrow seas,

And to the several parts of Christendom

Hath borne the fame of your Lord Chancellor.

I long to see him, whom with loving thoughts

I in my study oft have visited.

Is that Sir Thomas More?

Surrey: It is, Erasmus.

Now shall you view the honorablest scholar,

The most religious politician,

The worthiest counselor that tends our state.

That study is the general watch of England;

In it the prince’s safety, and the peace

That shines upon our commonwealth, are forged

By loyal industry.

Erasmus: I doubt him not

To be as near the life of excellence

As you proclaim him, when his meanest servants

Are of some weight.  You saw, my lord, his porter

Give entertainment to us at the gate

In Latin good phrase.  What’s the master then,

When such good parts shine in his meanest men?

Surrey: His Lordship hath some weighty business,

For see, as yet he takes no notice of us.

Erasmus: I think ‘twere best I did my duty to him

In a short Latin speech.—

Qui in celeberrima patria natus est et gloriosa plus habet negotii ut in lucem veniat quam qui—

Randall: I pray thee, good Erasmus, be covered.  I have forsworn speaking of Latin, else as I am true councilor, I’d tickle you with a speech.  Nay, sit Erasmus, sit good my Lord of Surrey.  I’ll make my lady come to you anon, if she will, and give you entertainment.

Erasmus: Is this Sir Thomas More?

Surrey: Oh good Erasmus,

You must conceive his vein; he’s ever furnished

With these conceits.

Randall: Yes, faith, my learned poet doth not lie for that matter.  I am neither more nor less then merry Sir Thomas always.  Wilt sup with me?  By God, I love a parlous wise fellow that smells of a politician better then a long progress.

[Enter Sir Thomas More.]

Surrey: We are deluded; this is not his lordship.

Randall: I pray you, Erasmus, how long will the Holland cheese in your country keep without maggots?

More: Fool, painted barbarism, retire thyself,

Into thy first creation!  [Exit Randall] Thus you see,

My loving learned friends, how far respect

Waits often on the ceremonious train

Of base illiterate wealth, whilst men of schools,

Shrouded in poverty, are counted fools.

Pardon, thou reverend German, I have mixed

So slight a jest to the fair entertainment

Of thy most worthy self.  For know, Erasmus,

Mirth wrinkles up my face, and I still crave,

When that forsakes me I may hug my grave.

Erasmus: Your honor’s merry humor is best physic

Unto your able body, for we learn

Where melancholy chokes the passages

Of blood and breath, the erected spirit still

Lengthens our days with sportful exercise.

Study should be the saddest time of life,

The rest a sport exempt from thought of strife.

More: Erasmus preacheth gospel against physic.

My noble poet—

Surrey: O my lord, you tax me

In that word poet of much idleness.

It is a study that makes poor our fate—

Poets were ever thought unfit for state.

More: O give not up fair poesy, sweet lord,

To such contempt.  That I may speak my heart,

It is the sweetest heraldry of art

That sets a difference ‘tween the tough sharp holly

And tender bay tree.

Surrey: Yet, my lord,

It is become the very lag number

To all mechanic sciences.

More: Why, I’ll show the reason.

This is no age for poets; they should sing

To the loud cannon heroica facta:

Qui faciunt reges heroica carmina laudant;

And as great subjects of their pen decay,

Even so unphysicked they do melt away.

[Enter Master Morris.]

Come, will your lordship in?  My dear Erasmus—

I’ll hear you, Master Morris, presently—

My lord, I make you master of my house;

We’ll banquet here with fresh and staid delights,

The muses’ music here shall cheer our sprites;

The cates must be but mean where scholars sit,

For th’are made all with courses of neat wit.

[Exeunt Surrey, Erasmus, and Attendants.]

How now, Master Morris?

Morris: I am a suitor to your lordship in behalf of a servant of mine.

More: The fellow with long hair?  Good Master Morris,

Come to me three years hence, and then I’ll hear you.

Morris: I understand your honor, but the foolish knave has submitted himself to the mercy of a barber, and is without, ready to make a new vow before your lordship, hereafter to live civil.

More: Nay then, let’s talk with him.  Pray call him in.

[Enter Faulkner and Officers.]

Faulkner: Bless your honor, a new man, my lord.

More: Why, sure this not he.

Faulkner: And your lordship will, the barber shall give you a sample of my head.  I am he in faith, my lord, I am ipse.

More: Why, now thy face is like an honest man’s.

Thou hast played well at this new cut, and won.

Faulkner: No, my lord; lost all that ever God sent me.

More: God sent thee into the world as thou art now,

With a short hair.  How quickly are three years

Run out in Newgate!

Faulkner: I think so, my lord; for there was but a hair’s length between my going thither and so long time.

More: Because I see some grace in thee, go free.

Discharge him, fellows.  Farewell, Master Morris.

Thy head is for thy shoulders now more fit;

Thou hast less hair upon it, but more wit.

[Exit.]

Morris: Did not I tell thee always of these locks?

Faulkner:    And the locks were on again, all the goldsmiths in Cheapside should not pick them open.  ‘S heart, if my hair stand not an-end when I look for my face in a glass, I am a polecat.  Here’s a lousy jest!  But if I notch not that rogue Tom barber, that makes me look thus like a Brownist, hang me!  I’ll be worse to the nittical knave then ten tooth drawings.  Here’s a head with a pox.

Morris: What ailst thou?  Art thou mad now?

Faulkner: Mad now!  ‘Nails, if loss of hair cannot mad a man, what can?  I am deposed, my crown is taken from me.  More had been better a’ scoured Moreditch than a’ notched me thus.  Does he begin sheep-shearing with Jack Faulkner?

Morris: Nay, and you feed this vein, sir, fare you well.

Faulkner: Why, farewell, frost.  I’ll go hang myself out for the poll head.  Make a Sar’cen of Jack?

Morris: Thou desperate knave!  For that I see that the devil

Wholly gets hold of thee—

Faulkner:   The devil’s a damned rascal.

Morris: I charge thee, wait on me no more; no more

Call me thy Master.

Faulkner:   Why, then, a word, Master Morris.

Morris: I’ll hear no words, sir; fare you well.

Faulkner: ‘Sblood, farewell?

Morris: Why dost thou follow me?

Faulkner: Because I’m an ass.  Do you set your shavers upon me, and then cast me off?  Must I condole?  Have the fates played the fools—am I their cut?  Now the poor sconce is taken, must Jack march with bag and baggage? [Weeps.]

Morris: You coxcomb!

Faulkner: Nay, you ha’ poached me; you ha’ given me a hair; it’s here, here.

Morris: Away, you kind ass.  Come, sir, dry your eyes.

Keep your old place, and mend these fooleries.

Faulkner: I care not to be turned off, and ‘twere a ladder, so it be in my humor, or the fates beckon to me.  Nay pray sir, if the destinies spin me a fine thread, Faulkner flies another pitch.  And to avoid the headache hereafter, before I’ll be a hairmonger, I’ll be a whoremonger.

[Exeunt]

Act III Scene ii

Banquet scene

Source: The sources of the play within the play are various in­terludes; other than that the scene is original, though suggested by a reference of Harpsfield’s to More’s acting ability.

Author: Oliphant tentatively identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand B, which I assume is Heywood.

Revision: An opening (Addition V) is provided by the bookkeeper; for at least a portion of it there is an existing draft by Heywood.  Heywood also provides a closing sequence (Addition VI) for the scene to link it to the next scene.  The bookkeeper provided some stage directions.

Tilney: Nothing.

Added Opening

[Chelsea.  Ante-chamber in More’s House.  Enter a Messenger to More.]

Messenger: My honorable lord, the Mayor of London,

Accompanied with his lady and her train,

Are coming hither, and are hard at hand,

To feast with you: a sergeant’s come before,

To tell your lordship of their near approach.

More: Why, this is cheerful news.  Friends go and come:

Reverend Erasmus, whose delicious words

Express the very soul and life of wit,

Newly took sad leave of me, with tears

Troubled the silver channel of the Thames,

Which, glad of such a burden, proudly swelled,

And on her bosom bore him toward the sea.

He’s gone to Rotterdam; peace go with him;

He left me heavy when he went from hence.

But this recomforts me; the kind Lord Mayor,

His brethren aldermen, with their fair wives,

Will feast this night with us.  Why, so’t should be;

More’s merry heart lives by good company.

Good gentlemen, be careful; give great charge

Our diet be made dainty for the taste;

For, of all people that the earth affords,

The Londoners fare richest at their boards.

Original Scene

[Enter Master Roper, Servingmen setting stools.]

More: Come, my good fellows, stir, be diligent;

Sloth is an idle fellow, leave him now;

The time requires your expeditious service.

Place me here stools, to set the ladies on,

Son Roper, you have given order for the banquet.

Roper: I have, my lord, and everything is ready.

[Enter his Lady.]

More: Oh, welcome, wife! give you direction

How women should be placed; you know it best.

For my Lord Mayor, his brethren, and the rest,

Let me alone; men best can order men.

Lady: I warrant ye, my lord, all shall be well.

There’s one without that stays to speak with ye,

And bade me tell ye that he is a player.

More: A player, wife!—One of ye bid him come in.       [exit one.]

Nay, stir there, fellows; fie, ye are too slow!

See that your lights be in a readiness;

The banquet shall be here.—Gods me, madam,

Leave my lady mayoress?  Both of us from the board?

And my son Roper too?  What may our guests think?

Lady: My lord, they are risen, and sitting by the fire.

More: Why, yet go you and keep them company;

It is not meet we should be absent both.

[exit Lady; enter Player]

Welcome good friend, what is your will with me?

Player: My lord, my fellows and myself

Are come to tender ye our willing service,

So please you to command vs.

More: What, for a play, you mean?

Whom do ye serve?

Player: My Lord Cardinal’s grace.

More: My Lord Cardinal’s players? now, trust me, welcome.

You happen hither in a lucky time,

To pleasure me, and benefit yourselves.

The Mayor of London and some aldermen,

His lady, and their wives, are my kind guests

This night at supper.  Now, to have a play

Before the banquet will be excellent.

How think you, Son Roper?

Roper: ‘Twill do well, my Lord,

And be right pleasing pastime to your guests.

More: I prithee, tell me, what plays have ye?

Player: Diverse, my lord: The Cradle of Security,

Hit Nail o’th Head, Impatient Poverty,

The Play of Four P’s, Dives and Lazarus,

Lusty Juventus, and The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom.

More: The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom?  That, my lads,

I’ll none but that; the theme is very good,

And may maintain a liberal argument.

To marry wit to wisdom asks some cunning;

Many have wit, that may come short of wisdom.

We’ll see how Master poet plays his part,

And whether wit or wisdom grace his arte.

Go, make him drink, and all his fellows too.

How many are ye?

Player: Four men and a boy, sir.

More: But one boy? then I see,

There’s but few women in the play.

Player: Three, my lord: Dame Science, Lady Vanity,

And Wisdom she herself.

More: And one boy play them all?  By’r Lady, he’s loaden.

Well, my good fellow, get ye straight together,

And make ye ready with what haste ye may.

Provide their supper ‘gainst the play be done,

Else shall we stay our guests here over long.

Make haste, I pray ye.

Player: We will, my lord.

[Exeunt Servingman and player.]

More: Where are the waits?  Go, bid them play,

To spend the time a while.

[Enter Lady.]

How now, madam?

Lady: My lord, th’are coming hither.

More: Th’are welcome.  Wife, I’ll tell ye one thing;

Our sport is somewhat mended; we shall have

A play tonight, The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom,

And acted by my good Lord Cardinal’s players.

How like ye that, wife?

Lady: My lord, I like it well.

See, they are coming.

[The waits plays; enters Lord Mayor, so many Aldermen as may, the Lady Mayoress in scarlet, with other ladies and Sir Thomas More’s daughters, servants carrying lighted torches by them.]

More: Once again welcome, welcome my good Mayor,

And brethren all for once I was your brother,

And so am still in heart.  It is not state,

That can our love from London separate.

{True, upstart fools, by sudden fortune tried}

{Regard their former mates with} naught but pride.

But they that cast an eye still whence they came,

Know how they rose, and how to use the same.

Lord Mayor: My lord, you set a gloss on London’s fame,

And make it happy ever by your name.

Needs must we say, when we remember More,

‘Twas he that drove rebellion from our door

With grave discretions mild and gentle breath,

Shielding a many subjects’ lives from death.

Oh, how our city is by you renowned,

And with your virtues our endeavors crowned!

More: No more, my good Lord Mayor, but thanks to all,

That on so short a summons you would come

To visit him that holds your kindness dear.

Madame, you are not merry with my Lady Mayoress

And these fair ladies; pray ye, seat them all.

And here, my lord, let me appoint your place;

The rest to seat themselves.  Nay, I’ll weary ye;

You will not long in haste to visit me.

Lady: Good madam, sit; in sooth, you shall sit here.    

Lady Mayoress: Good madam, pardon me; it may not be.

Lady: In troth, I’ll have it so; I’ll sit here by ye.

Good ladies, sit.  More stools here, ho!

Lady Mayoress: It is your favor, madam, makes me thus

Presume above my merit.

Lady: When we come to you

Then shall you rule us as we rule you here.

Now must I tell ye, madam, we have a play,

To welcome ye withal; how good so ere,

That know not I; my lord will have it so.

More: Wife, hope the best; I am sure they’ll do their best.

They that would better, comes not at their feast.

My good Lord Cardinal’s players, I thank them for it,

Play us a play, to lengthen out your welcome,

***My good Lord Mayor and all my other friends.***

They say it is The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom,

A theme of some import, how ere it prove,

But, if art fail, we’ll inch it out with love.

[{Enter a Servant.}] What, are they ready?

Servant: My lord, one of the players craves I speak with you.

More: With me?  Where is he?

[Enter Inclination the Vice, ready.]

Inclination: Here, my lord.

More: How now, what’s the matter?

Inclination: We would desire your honor but to stay a little; one of my fellows is but run to Ogle’s for a long beard for young Wit, and he’ll be here presently.

More: A long beard for young Wit?  Why man, he may be without a beard till he come to marriage, for wit goes not all by the hair.  When comes Wit in?

Inclination: In the second scene, next to the prologue, my lord.

More: Why, play on till that scene come and by that time Wit’s beard will be grown or else the fellow returned with it.  And what part playst thou?

Inclination:   Inclination the Vice, my lord.

More: Gramercies, now I may take the vice if I list; and wherefore hast thou that bridle in thy hand?

Inclination: I must be bridled anon, my lord.

More: And thou beest not saddled too, it makes no matter, for then Wit’s inclination may gallop so fast that he will outstrip Wisdom, and fall to folly.

Inclination:   Indeed, so he does to Lady Vanity, but we have no Folly in our play.

More: Then there’s no wit in’t, I’ll be sworn: folly waits on wit, as the shadow on the body, and where wit is ripest, there folly still is readiest.  But begin, I prithee, we’ll rather allow a beardless Wit, than wit all beard to have no brain.

Inclination: Nay, he has his apparel on too, my lord, and therefore he is the readier to enter.

More: Then, good Inclination, begin at a venture.

[Exit Inclination.]

My Lord Mayor, Wit lacks a beard, or else they would begin;

I’d lend him mine, but that it is too thin.

Silence, they come.

[The trumpet sounds; enter the Prologue.]

Prologue: Now, for as much as in these latter days

Throughout the whole world in every land,

Vice doth increase, and virtue decays,

Iniquity having the upper hand;

We therefore intend, good gentle audience,

A pretty short interlude to play at this present,

Desiring your leave and quiet silence,

To show the same as is meet and expedient.

It is called The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom,

A matter right pithy and pleasing to hear,

Whereof in brief we will show the whole sum.

But I must be gone, for Wit doth appear. [Exit]

[Enter Wit ruffling, and Inclination the Vice.]

Wit: In an arbor green, asleep whereas I lay,

The birds sang sweetly in the midst of the day,

I dreamed fast of mirth and play.

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

Methought I walked still to and fro,

And from her company I could not go,

But when I waked it was not so.

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure,

Therefore my heart is surely plight

Of her alone to have a sight,

Which is my joy and hearts delight.

In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.

More: Mark ye, my lord, this is Wit without a beard; what will he be by that time he comes to the commodity of a beard?

Inclination: Oh, sir, the ground is the better on which she doth go;

For she will make better cheer with a little she can get

Than many a one can with a great banquet of meat.

Wit: And is her name Wisdom?

Inclination: Ay, sir, a wife most fit

For you, my good master, my dainty sweet Wit.

Wit: To be in her company my heart it is set.

Therefore I prithee to let us be gone,

For unto Wisdom Wit hath inclination.

Inclination: Oh, sir, she will come herself even anon,

For I told her before where we would stand,

And then she said she would beck us with her hand.

Back with those boys and saucy great knaves!

[Flourishing his dagger.]

What, stand ye here so big in your braves?

My dagger about your coxcombs shall walk

If I may but so much as hear ye chat or talk.

Wit: But will she take pains to come for us hither?

Inclination: I warrant ye; therefore you must be familiar with her.

When she cometh in place,

You must her embrace

Somewhat handsomely,

Least she think it danger,

Because you are a stranger,

To come in your company.

Wit: I warrant thee, Inclination, I will be busy.

Oh, how Wit longs to be in Wisdom’s company.

[Enter Lady Vanity singing and beckoning with her hand.]

Vanity: Come hither, come hither, come hither, come;

Such cheer as I have, thou shalt have some.

More: This is Lady Vanity, I’ll hold my life—

Beware, good Wit, you take not her to wife.

Inclination: What, Unknown Honesty, a word in your ear.

[She offers to depart.]

You shall not be gone as yet, I swear.

Here’s none but your friends, you need not to fray.

This young gentleman loves ye, therefore you must stay.

Wit: I trust in me she will think no danger,

For I love well the company of fair women;

And though to you I am a stranger,

Yet Wit may pleasure you now and then.

Vanity: Who, you?  Nay, you are such a holy man,

That to touch one you dare not be bold;

I think you would not kiss a young woman

If one would give ye twenty pound in gold.

Wit: Yes, in good sadness, lady, that I would,

I could find in my heart to kiss you in your smock.

Vanity: My back is broad enough to bear that mock,

For it hath been told me many a time

That you would be seen in no such company as mine.

Wit: Not Wit in the company of Lady Wisdom?

Oh Jove, for what do I hither come?

Inclination: Sir, she did this nothing else but to prove

Whether a little thing would you move

To be angry and fret.

What and if one said so,

Let such trifling matters go,

And with a kind kiss come out of her debt.

[Enter another Player.]

Is Luggins come yet with the beard?

Player: No, faith, he is not come.  Alas, what shall we do?

Inclination: Forsooth, we can go no further till our fellow Luggins come; for he plays Good Counsel, and now he should enter, to admonish Wit that this is Lady Vanity, and not Lady Wisdom.

More: Nay, and it be no more but so, ye shall not tarry at a stand for that; we’ll not have our play marred for lack of a little good counsel: till your fellow come I’ll give him the best counsel that I can.  Pardon me, my Lord Mayor; I love to be merry.

O Wit, thou art now on the bow hand,

And blindly in thine own opinion dost stand.

I tell thee, this naughty lewd Inclination

Does lead thee amiss in a very strange fashion.

This is not Wisdom, but Lady Vanity;

Therefore list to Good Counsel, and be ruled by me.

Inclination: In troth, my lord, it is as right to Luggins’s part as can be.  Speak, Wit.

More: Nay, we will not have our audience disappointed, if I can help it.

Wit: Art thou Good Counsel, and wilt tell me so?

Wouldst thou have Wit from Lady Wisdom to go?

Than art some deceiver, I tell thee verily,

In saying that this is Lady Vanity.

More: Wit, judge not things by the outward show;

The eye oft mistakes, right well you do know.

Good Counsel assures thee upon his honesty,

That this is not Wisdom, but Lady Vanity.

[Enter Luggins with the beard.]

Inclination: Oh, my lord, he is come; now we shall go forward.

More: Art thou come?  Well, fellow, I have holp to save thine honesty a little.  Now, if thou canst give Wit any better counsel then I have done, spare not.  There I leave him to thy mercy.

But by this time, I am sure, our banquet’s ready.

My lord and ladies, we will taste that first,

And then they shall begin the play again,

Which, through the fellow’s absence, and by me,

Instead of helping, hath been hindered.

Prepare against we come—lights there, I say!

Thus fools oft times do help to mar the play.

[Exeunt all but the players.]

Wit: Fie, fellow Luggins, you serve us handsomely; do ye not, think ye?

Luggins: Why, Ogle was not within, and his wife would not let me have the beard, and by my troth, I ran so fast that I sweat again.

Inclination: Do ye hear, fellows?  Would my lord make a rare player?  O he would uphold a company beyond all ho, better than Mason among the King’s players.  Did ye mark how extemprically he fell to the matter, and spake Luggins’s part almost as it is in the very book set down?

Wit: Peace; do ye know what ye say?  My lord a player!  Let us not meddle with any such matters.  Yet I may be a little proud that my lord hath answered me in my part.  But come, let us go and be ready to begin play again.

Luggins: Ay, that’s the best, for now we lack nothing.

Addition VI

[Enter a Servingman to the players with a reward.]

Servingman: Where be these players?

All: Here, sir.

Servingman: My lord is sent for to the court,

And all the guests do after supper part,

And for he will not treble you again,

By me for your reward ‘a sends eight angels

With many thanks.  But supp before you go:

It is his will you should be fairly entreated.

Follow, I pray ye.

Wit: This, Luggins, is your negligence,

Wanting Wit’s beard brought things into dislike,

For otherwise the play had been all seen,

Where now some curious citizen disgraced it

And discommending it, all is dismissed.

Inclination: Fore God, ‘a says true.  But hear ye sirs: eight angels ha?  My lord would never give’s eight angels more or less for twelvepence.  Either it should be three pounds, five pounds, or ten pounds; There twenty shillings wanting, sure.

Wit: Twenty to one ‘tis so.  I have a trick.  My lord comes; stand aside.

[Enter More, with Attendants with Purse and Mace.]

More: In haste to council!  What’s the business now,

That all so late his highness sends for me?

What seekst thou, fellow?

Wit: Nay, nothing;

Your lordship sent eight angels by your man,

And I have lost two of them in the rushes.

More: Wit, look to that—eight angels!  I did send

Them ten.  Who gave it them?

Servingman: I, my lord; I had no more about me,

But by and by they shall receive the rest.

More: Well, Wit, ‘twas wisely done; thou playest Wit well indeed,

Not to be thus deceived of thy right.

Am I a man by office truly ordained

Equally to divide true right his own,

And shall I have deceivers in my house?

Then what avails my bounty, when such servants

Deceive the poor of what the Master gives?

Go one, and pull his coat over his ears.

There are too many such.  Give them their right.

Wit, let thy fellows thank thee: ‘twas well done,

Thou now deservest to match with Lady Wisdom.

[Exit More with Attendants.]

Inclination: God a’ mercy, Wit.—Sir, you had a master Sir Thomas More more, but now we shall have more.

Luggins: God bless him!  I would there were more of his mind: ‘a loves our quality, and yet he’s a learned man, and knows what the world is.

Inclination: Well, a kind man, and more loving then many other: but I think we ha’ met with the first chance—

Luggins: First served his man that had our angels; and he may chance dine with Duke Humphrey tomorrow, being turned away today.  Come, let’s go.

Inclination: And many such rewards would make us all ride, and horse us with the best nags in Smithfield.

[Exeunt.]

Act IV Scene i

Privy Council scene

Source: Harpsfield and Chronicles.

Author: Oliphant identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand E [Chettle]; Jowett likewise gives this scene to Chettle.

Revision: None.

Tilney: One passage is marked for deletion with a marginal note “all altr”.

Original and Final Version

[Whitehall.  The Council Chamber.  Enter the Earls of Shrewsbury, Surrey, Bishop of Rochester, and other Lords, severally, doing courtesy to each other; Clark of the Council waiting bare­headed.]

Surrey: Good morrow to my Lord of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury: The like unto the honored Earl of Surrey.

Yond comes my Lord of Rochester.

Rochester: Good morrow, my good lords.

Surrey: Clerk of the Council, what time is’t of day?

Clerk: Past eight of clock, my lord.

Shrewsbury: I wonder that my good Lord Chancellor

Doth stay so long, considering there’s matters

Of high importance to be scanned upon.

Surrey: Clerk of the Council, certify his lordship

The lords expect him here.

Rochester: It shall not need:

Yond comes his lordship.

[Enter Sir Thomas More, with Purse and Mace borne before him.]

More: Good morrow to this fair assembly.

Come, my good lords, let’s sit.  [They sit.]  Oh serious square,

Upon this little horde is daily scanned

The health and preservation of the land.

We the physicians that effect this good,

Now by choice diet, anon by letting blood.

Our toil and careful watching brings the king

In league with slumbers, to which peace doth sing.

Avoid the room there!—

What business, lords, today?

Shrewsbury: This, my good lord:

About the entertainment of the emperor

‘Gainst the perfidious French into our pay.

Surrey: My lords, as ‘tis the custom in this place

The youngest should speak first, so, if I chance

In this case to speak youngly, pardon me.

I will agree, France now hath her full strength

As having new recovered the pale blood

Which war sluiced forth; and I consent to this,

That the conjunction of our English forces

With arms of Germany may sooner bring

This prize of conquest in.  But, then, my lords,

As in the moral hunting twixt the lion

And other beasts, force joined {with greed}

Frighted the weaker sharers from their parts.

So if the empire’s sovereign chance to put

His plea of partnership into war’s court,

Swords should decide the difference, and our blood

In private tears lament his entertainment.

Shrewsbury: To doubt the worst is still the wise man’s shield

That arms him safely, but the world knows this.

The emperor is a man of royal faith;

His love unto our sovereign brings him down

From his imperial seat to march in pay

Under our English flag, and wear the cross,

Like some high order, on his manly breast.

Thus serving, he’s not master of himself,

But, like a colonel commanding other,

Is by the general over-awed himself.

Rochester:   Yet, my good lord—

Shrewsbury:   Let me conclude my speech.

As subjects share no portion in the conquest

Of their true sovereign, other then the merit

That from the sovereign guerdons the true subject,

So the good emperor, in a friendly league

Of amity with England, will not soil

His honor with the theft of English spoil.

More: There is no question but this entertainment

Will be most honorable, most commodious.

I have oft heard good captains wish to have

Rich soldiers to attend them, such as would fight

Both for their lives and livings.  Such a one

Is the good emperor.  I would to God

We had ten thousand of such able men!

Hah, then there would appear no court, no city,

But where the wars were; they would pay themselves.

Then to prevent in French wars England’s loss,

Let German flags wave with our English cross.

[Enter Sir Thomas Palmer.]

Palmer: My lords, his majesty hath sent by me

These articles enclosed, first to be viewed,

And then to be subscribed to.  I tender them

In that due reverence which befits this place. [With great reverence.]

More: Subscribe these articles?  Stay, let us pause;

Our conscience first shall parley with our laws.

My Lord of Rochester, view you the paper.

Rochester: Subscribe to these?  Now good Sir Thomas Palmer,

Beseech the king that he will pardon me.

My heart will check my hand whilst I do write;

Subscribing so, I were an hypocrite.

Palmer: Do you refuse it then, my lord?

Rochester: I do, Sir Thomas.

Palmer: Then here I summon you forthwith t’appear

Before his majesty, to answer there

This capital contempt.

Rochester: I rise and part,

In lieu of this to tender him my heart.  [He riseth]

Palmer: Wilt please your honor to subscribe my lord?

More: Sir, tell his highness, I entreat

Some time for to bethink me of this task.

In the meanwhile I do resign mine office

Into my sovereign’s hands.

Palmer: Then, my lord,

Hear the prepared order from the king:

On your refusal, you shall straight depart

Unto your house at Chelsea, till you know

Our sovereign’s further pleasure.

More: Most willingly I go.

My lords, if you will visit me at Chelsea,

We’ll go a-fishing, and with a cunning net,

Not like weak film, we’ll catch none but the great.

Farewell, my noble lords.  Why, this is right;

Good morrow to the sun, to state good night!

[Exit More]

Palmer: Will you subscribe, my lords?

Surrey: Instantly, good Sir Thomas,

We’ll bring the writing unto our sovereign.

[They write.]

Palmer: My Lord of Rochester,

You must with me, to answer this contempt.

Rochester: This is the worst,

Who’s freed from life is from all care exempt.

[Exeunt Rochester and Palmer.]

Surrey: Now let us {bear this} to our sovereign.

‘Tis strange that my Lord Chancellor should refuse

The duty that the law of God bequeaths

Unto the king.

Shrewsbury: Come, let us in.  No doubt

His mind will alter, and the bishop’s too.

Error in learned heads hath much to do.

[Exeunt]

Act IV Scene ii

More’s Retirement

Source: Unhistorical, but draws on Harpsfield.

Author: Oliphant identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand E [Chettle]; Jowett attributes it to Chettle with some misgivings.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original and Final Version

[Enter the Lady More, her two Daughters, and Master Roper, as walking.]

Roper: Madame, what ails ye for to look so sad?

Lady More: Troth, son, I know not what; I am not sick,

And yet I am not well.  I would be merry,

But somewhat lies so heavy on my heart,

I cannot choose but sigh.  You are a scholar—

I pray ye, tell me, may one credit dreams?

Roper: Why ask you that, dear madam?

Lady More: Because to night I had the strangest dream

That e’er my sleep was troubled with.

Methought ‘twas night,

And that the king and queen went on the Thames

In barges to hear music.  My lord and I

Were in a little boat methought—Lord, Lord,

What strange things live in slumbers!—and being near,

We grappled to the barge that bare the king.

But after many pleasing voices spent

In that still moving music house, methought

The violence of the stream did sever us

Quite from the golden fleet, and hurried us

Unto the bridge, which with unused horror

We entered at full tide; thence some flight shoot

Being carried by the waves, our boat stood still

Just opposite the Tower, and there it turned

And turned about, as when a whirlpool sucks

The circled waters.  Methought that we both cried

Till that we sunk, where arm in arm we died.

Roper: Give no respect, dear madam, to fond dreams;

They are but slight illusions of the blood.

Lady More: Tell me not all are so; for often dreams

Are true diviners, either of good or ill.

I cannot be in quiet till I hear

How my lord fares.

Roper (aside): Nor I.  Come hither, wife.

I will not fright thy mother, to interpret

The nature of a dream; but trust me, sweet,

This night I have been troubled with thy father

Beyond all thought.

Roper’s Wife: Truly, and so have I:

Methought I saw him here in Chelsea church,

Standing upon the rood loft, now defaced,

And whilst he kneeled and prayed before the image,

It fell with him into the upper choir,

Where my poor father lay all stained in blood.

Roper: Our dreams all meet in one conclusion,

Fatal, I fear.

Lady More: What’s that you talk?  I pray ye, let me know it.

Roper’s Wife: Nothing, good mother.

Lady More: This is your fashion still; I must know nothing.

Call Master Catesby; he shall straight to court,

And see how my lord does: I shall not rest,

Until my heart lean panting on his breast.

[Enter Sir Thomas Moore merrily, Servants attending.]

Second Daughter: See where my father comes, joyful and merry.

More: As seamen, having past a troubled storm,

Dance on the pleasant shore, so I—Oh, I could speak

Now like a poet!  Now, afore God, I am passing light!

Wife, give me kind welcome; thou wast wont to blame

My kissing when my beard was in the stubble,

But I have been trimmed of late; I have had

A smooth court shaving, in good faith, I have.

[Daughters kneel.]

God bless ye!  Son Roper, give me your hand.

Roper: Your honor’s welcome home.

More: Honor! ha ha!  And how dost, wife?

Roper: He bears himself most strangely.

Lady More: Will your lordship in?

More: Lordship?  No, wife, that’s gone;

The ground was slight that we did lean upon.

Lady More: Lord, that your honor ne’er will leave these jests!

In faith, it ill becomes ye.

More: Oh, good wife,

Honor and jests are both together fled;

The merriest councilor of England’s dead.

Lady More: Who’s that, my lord?

More: Still lord!  The Lord Chancellor, wife.

Lady More: That’s you.

More: Certain; but I have changed my life.

Am I not leaner then I was before?

The fat is gone; my title’s only More.

Contented with one style, I’ll live at rest;

They that have many names are not still best.

I have resigned mine office; count’st me not wise?

Lady More: Oh God!

More:  Come, breed not female children in your eyes;

The king will have it so.

Lady More: What’s the offence?

More: Tush, let that pass; we’ll talk of that anon.

The king seems a physician to my fate;

His princely mind would train me back to state.

Roper: Then be his patient, my most honored father.

More:  Oh, son Roper,

Ubi turpis est medicina, sanari piget.

No, wife, be merry; and be merry, all,

You smiled at rising, weep not at my fall.

Let’s in, and here joy like to private friends,

Since days of pleasure have repentant ends.

The light of greatness is with triumph borne;

It sets at midday oft with public scorn.

[Exeunt.]

Act IV Scene iii

Rochester in the Tower

Source: Original.

Author: Oliphant identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand E [Chettle].

Revision: None.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original and Final Version

[The Tower.  Enter the Bishop of Rochester, Surrey, Shrewsbury, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Warders with weapons.]

Rochester: Your kind persuasions, honorable lords,

I can but thank ye for; but in this breast

There lives a soul that aims at higher things

Than temporary pleasing earthly kings.

God bless his highness even with all my heart!

We shall meet one day, though that now we part.

Surrey: We not misdoubt, your wisdom can discern

What best befits it; yet in love and zeal

We could entreat it might be otherwise.

Shrewsbury: No doubt your fatherhood will by yourself

Consider better of the present case,

And grow as great in favor as before.

Rochester: For that, as pleaseth God, in my restraint

From worldly causes, I shall better see

Into myself than at proud liberty;

The Tower and I will privately confer

Of things, wherein at freedom I may err.

But I am troublesome unto your honors

And hold ye longer then becomes my duty.

Master Lieutenant, I am now your charge;

And though you keep my body, yet my love

Waits on my king and you, while Fisher lives.

Surrey: Farewell, my Lord of Rochester, we’ll pray

For your release, and labor’t as we may.

Shrewsbury: Thereof assure yourself.  So do we leave ye,

And to your happy private thoughts bequeath ye.

[Exeunt Lords.]

Rochester: Now, Master Lieutenant, on, a God’s name, go!

And with as glad a mind go I with you

As ever truant bade the school adieu.

[Exeunt.]

Act IV Scene iv

More’s arrest

Source: ??

Author: Oliphant identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand E [Chettle]; Jowett attributes it to Chettle.

Revision: One passage is revised by Henry Chettle [Addition I].

Tilney: Nothing.

Original Version

[Chelsea.  A Room in More’s House.  Enter Sir Thomas More, his Lady, Master Roper, Gentlemen, and Servants, as in his house at Chelsea.]

More: Good morrow, good son Roper.  Sit, good madam,            [Low stools]

Upon an humble seat; the time so craves,

Rest your good heart on earth, the roof of graves.

You see the floor of greatness is uneven;

The cricket and high throne alike near heaven.

Now, daughters, you that like to branches spread,

And give best shadow to a private house.

Be comforted, my girls; your hopes stand fair;

Virtue breeds gentry, she makes the best heir.

Both Daughters: Good morrow to your honor.

More: Nay, good night rather;

Your honor’s crestfallen with your happy father.

Roper: Oh what formality, what square observance,

Lives in a little room!  Here public care

Gags not the eyes of slumber; here fierce riot

Ruffles not proudly in a coat of trust,

Whilst like a pawn at chess he keeps in rank

With kings and mighty fellows, yet indeed

Those men that stand on tiptoe smile to see

Him pawn his fortunes.

More: True son,

Nor does the wanton tongue here screw itself

Into the ear, that like a vise, drinks up

The iron instrument.

Lady More: We are here at peace—

More: Then peace, good wife.

Lady More: We are exiled the Court—

More: Still thou harpst on that?

‘Tis sin for to deserve that banishment;

But he that ne’er knew court, courts sweet content.

Lady More: Oh, but, dear husband—

More:  I will not hear thee, wife;

The winding labyrinth of thy strange discourse

Will ne’er have end.  Sit still, and, my good wife,

Entreat thy tongue be still; or, credit me,

Thou shalt not understand a word we speak—

We’ll talk in Latin.

Humida vallis raros patitur fulminis ictus.

More rest enjoys the subject meanly bred

Than he that bears the kingdom in his head.

***Great men are still musicians, else the world lies

***They learn low strains after the notes that rise.

Roper: Good sir, be still yourself, and but remember

How in this general court of short-lived pleasure,

The world, creation is the ample food

That is digested in the maw of time.

If man himself be subject to such ruin,

How shall his garment then, or the loose points

That tie respect unto his awful place,

Avoid destruction?  Most honored father-in-law,

The blood you have bequeathed these several hearts

To nourish your posterity, stands firm

As as with joy you led us first to rise,

So with like hearts we’ll lock preferment’s eyes.

More: Close them not then with tears, for that ostent

Gives a wet signal of your discontent.

If you will share my fortunes, comfort then;

An hundred smiles for one sigh; what, we are men.

Resign wet passion to these weaker eyes,

Which proves their sex, but grants ne’er more wise.

Let’s now survey our state.  Here sits my wife,

And dear esteemed issue; yonder stand

My loving servants.  Now the difference

Twixt those and these.  Now you shall hear me speak

Like More in melancholy.  I conceive that Nature

Hath sundry metals, out of which she frames

Us mortals, each in valuation

Outprizing other.  Of the finest stuff

The finest features come; the rest of earth

Receive base fortune even before their birth.

Hence slaves have their creation; and I think

Nature provides content for the base mind;

Under the whip, the burden, and the toil,

Their low-wrought bodies drudge in patience.

As for the prince in all his sweet-gorged maw,

And his rank flesh, that sinfully renews

The noon’s excess in the night’s dangerous surfeits.

What means or misery from our birth doth flow

Nature entitles to us; that we owe.

But we, being subject to the rack of hate,

Falling from happy life to bondage state,

Having seen better days, now know the lack

Of glory that once reared each high-fed back.

But [you] that in your age did ne’er view better

Challenged not fortune for your thriftless debtor.

Catesby: Sir, we have seen far better days than these.

More: I was the patron of those days and know

Those were but painted days, only for show.

Then grieve not you to fall with him that gave them.

Pro eris generosis servis gloriosum mori.

Dear Gough, thou art my learned secretary;

You, Master Catesby, steward of my house;

The rest like you have had fair time to grow

In sunshine of my fortunes.   But I must tell ye,

Corruption is fled hence with each man’s office.

Bribes that make open traffic twixt the soul

And netherland of hell, deliver up

Their guilty homage to their second lords.

Then, living thus untainted, you are well;

Truth is no pilot for the land of hell.

[Enter a Servant.]

Servant: My lord, there are new lighted at the gate

The Earls of Surrey [and] of Shrewsbury,

And they expect you in the inner court.

More: Entreat their lordships come into the hall.

[{Exit Ser.}]

Lady More: Oh, God, what news with them?

More: Why, how now, wife!

They are but come to visit their old friend.

Lady More: Oh, God, I fear, I fear!

More: What shouldst thou fear, fond woman?

Justum si fractas illabatur orbis, inpavidum ferient ruinæ.

Here let me live estranged from great men’s looks;

They are like golden flies on leaden hooks.

[Enter the Earls, Downes with his mace, and Attendants]

Shrewsbury: Good morrow, good Sir Thomas.

[Kind salutations.]

Surrey: Good day, good madam.

More: Welcome, my good lords.

What ails your lordships look so melancholy?

Oh, I know; you live in court, and the court diet

Is only friend to physic.

Surrey: Oh, Sir Thomas,

Our words are now the king’s, and our sad looks

The interest of your love.  We are sent to you

From our mild sovereign, once more to demand

If you’ll subscribe unto those articles

He sent ye th’other day.  Be well advised,

For on mine honor, lord, grave Doctor Fisher,

Bishop of Rochester, at the self same instant

Attached with you, is sent unto the Tower

For the like obstinacy; his majesty

Hath only sent you prisoner to your house.

But if you now refuse for to subscribe,

A stricter course will follow.

Lady More (kneeling and weeping): Oh, dear husband!

Both Daughters: Dear father!

More: See, my lords,

This partner and these subjects to my flesh

Prove rebels to my conscience.  But, my good lords,

If I refuse, must I unto the Tower?

Shrewsbury: You must, my lord; here is an officer

Ready for to arrest you of high treason.

Lady More and Daughters: Oh God, oh God!

Roper: Be patient, good madam.

More: Ay, Downes, is’t thou?  I once did save thy life,

When else by cruel riotous assault

Thou hadst been torn in pieces.  Thou art reserved

To be my summ’ner to yond spiritual court.

Give me thy hand, good fellow, smooth thy face;

The diet that thou drinkst is spiced with mace

And I could ne’er abide it; twill not disgest,

‘Twill lie too heavy, man, on my weak breast.

Shrewsbury: Be brief, my lord, for we art limited

Unto an hour.

More: Unto an hour?  ‘Tis well;

The bell, earth’s thunder, soon shall toll my knell.

Lady More: Dear loving husband, if you respect not me,

Yet think upon your daughters.  [Kneeling.]

More: Wife, stand up; I have bethought me,

And I’ll now satisfy the king’s good pleasure. [Pondering to himself.]

Both Daughters: Oh, happy alteration!

Shrewsbury: Come then, subscribe my lord.

Surrey: I am right glad of this your fair conversion.

More: Oh, pardon me!

I will subscribe to go unto the Tower

With all submissive willingness, and thereto add

My bones to strengthen the foundation

Of Julius Caesar’s palace.  Now, my lord,

I’ll satisfy the king, even with my blood,

Nor will I wrong your patience.  Friend, do thine office.

Downes: Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England,

I arrest you in the king’s name of high treason.

More: Gramercies, friend.

To a great prison, to discharge the strife

Commenced ‘twixt conscience and my frailer life,

More now must march.  Chelsea, adieu, adieu,

Strange farewell, thou shalt ne’er more see More true,

For I shall ne’er see thee more.  Servants, farewell.

Wife, mar not thine indifferent face; be wise.

More’s widow’s husband, he must make thee rise.

Daughters, […] what’s here?  What’s here?

Mine eye had almost parted with a tear.

Dear son, possess my virtue, that I ne’er gave.

Grave More thus lightly walks to a quick grave.

Roper: Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.

More: You that way in; mind you my course in prayer:

By water I to prison, to heaven through air.

[Exeunt.]

Revised Version

[Chelsea.  A Room in More’s House.  Enter Sir Thomas More, his Lady, Master Roper, Gentlemen, and Servants, as in his house at Chelsea.]

More: Good morrow, good son Roper.  Sit, good madam,            [Low stools]

Upon an humble seat; the time so craves,

Rest your good heart on earth, the roof of graves.

You see the floor of greatness is uneven;

The cricket and high throne alike near heaven.

Now, daughters, you that like to branches spread,

And give best shadow to a private house.

Be comforted, my girls; your hopes stand fair;

Virtue breeds gentry, she makes the best heir.

Both Daughters: Good morrow to your honor.

More: Nay, good night rather;

Your honor’s crestfallen with your happy father.

Roper: Oh what formality, what square observance,

Lives in a little room!  Here public care

Gags not the eyes of slumber; here fierce riot

Ruffles not proudly in a coat of trust,

Whilst like a pawn at chess he keeps in rank

With kings and mighty fellows, yet indeed

Those men that stand on tiptoe smile to see

Him pawn his fortunes.

More: True son,

Nor does the wanton tongue here screw itself

Into the ear, that like a vise, drinks up

The iron instrument.

Lady More: We are here at peace—

More: Then peace, good wife.

Lady More: We are exiled the Court—

More: Still thou harpst on that?

‘Tis sin for to deserve that banishment;

But he that ne’er knew court, courts sweet content.

Lady More: Oh, but, dear husband—

More:  I will not hear thee, wife;

The winding labyrinth of thy strange discourse

Will ne’er have end.  Sit still, and, my good wife,

Entreat thy tongue be still; or, credit me,

Thou shalt not understand a word we speak—

We’ll talk in Latin.

Humida vallis raros patitur fulminis ictus.

More rest enjoys the subject meanly bred

Than he that bears the kingdom in his head.

***Great men are still musicians, else the world lies

***They learn low strains after the notes that rise.

Roper: Good sir, be still yourself, and but remember

How in this general court of short-lived pleasure,

The world, creation is the ample food

That is digested in the maw of time.

If man himself be subject to such ruin,

How shall his garment then, or the loose points

That tie respect unto his awful place,

Avoid destruction?  Most honored father-in-law,

The blood you have bequeathed these several hearts

To nourish your posterity, stands firm

As as with joy you led us first to rise,

So with like hearts we’ll lock preferment’s eyes.

More: Now will I speak like More in melancholy;

For, if grief’s power could with her sharpest darts

Pierce my firm bosom, here’s sufficient cause

To take my farewell of mirth’s hurtless laws.

Poor humbled lady, thou that wert of late

Placed with the noblest women of the land,

Invited to their angel companies,

Seeming a bright star in the courtly sphere,

Why shouldst thou, like a widow, sit thus low,

And all thy fair consorts move from the clouds

That overdreep thy beauty and thy worth?

I’ll tell thee the true cause: the court, like heaven,

Examines not the anger of the prince,

And being more frail, composed of gilded earth,

Shines upon them on whom the king doth shine,

Smiles if he smile, declines if he decline;

Yet, seeing both are mortal, court and king,

Shed not one tear for any earthly thing;

For, so God pardon me, in my saddest hour

Thou hast no more occasion to lament,

Nor these, nor those, my exile from the court,

No, nor this body’s torture, wert imposed,

(As commonly disgraces of great men

Are the fore warnings of a hasty death,)

Than to behold me after many a toil

Honored with endless rest.  Perchance the king,

Seeing the court is full of vanity,

Has pity least our souls should be misled,

And sends us to a life contemplative.

O happy banishment from worldly pride,

When souls by private life are sanctified!

Wife: O, but I fear some plot against your life!

More: Why, then, ‘tis thus; the king, of his high grace,

Seeing my faithful service to his state,

Intends to send me to the King of Heaven

For a rich present; where my soul shall prove

A true remembrer of his majesty.

Come, prithee, mourn not: the worst chance is death,

And that brings endless joy for fickle breath.

Wife: Ah, but your children!

More: Tush, let them alone:

Say they be stripped from this poor painted cloth,

This outside of the earth, left houseless, bare,

They have minds instructed how to gather more;

There’s no man that’s ingenuous can be poor:

And therefore do not weep, my little ones,

Though you loose all the earth; keep your souls even,

And you shall find inheritance in heaven.

But for my servants, there’s my chiefest care.

Come hither, faithful steward: be not grieved

That in thy person I discharge both thee

And all thy other fellow officers,

For my great master hath discharged me.

If thou by serving me hast suffered loss,

Then benefit thyself by leaving me.

I hope thou hast not; for such times as these

Bring gain to officers, whoever leese:

Great lords have only name; but, in their fall,

Lord Spend-all’s steward’s Master Gather-all.

But I suspect not thee; admit thou hast,

It’s good the servants save when masters waste.

But you, poor gentlemen, that had no place

T’enrich yourselves but by loathed bribery,

Which I abhorred, and never found you loved,

Think, when an oak falls, underwood shrinks down,

And yet may live, though bruised; I pray ye strive

To shun my ruin; for the ax is set

Even at my root, to fell me to the ground:

The best I can do to prefer you all

With my mean store, expect; for Heaven can tell

That More loves all his followers more than well.

Catesby: Sir, we have seen far better days than these.

More: I was the patron of those days and know

Those were but painted days, only for show.

Then grieve not you to fall with him that gave them.

 [Enter a Servant.]

Servant: My lord, there are new lighted at the gate

The Earls of Surrey [and] of Shrewsbury,

And they expect you in the inner court.

More: Entreat their lordships come into the hall.

[{Exit Ser.}]

Lady More: Oh, God, what news with them?

More: Why, how now, wife!

They are but come to visit their old friend.

Lady More: Oh, God, I fear, I fear!

More: What shouldst thou fear, fond woman?

Justum si fractas illabatur orbis, inpavidum ferient ruinæ.

Here let me live estranged from great men’s looks;

They are like golden flies on leaden hooks.

[Enter the Earls, Downes with his mace, and Attendants]

Shrewsbury: Good morrow, good Sir Thomas.

[Kind salutations.]

Surrey: Good day, good madam.

More: Welcome, my good lords.

What ails your lordships look so melancholy?

Oh, I know; you live in court, and the court diet

Is only friend to physic.

Surrey: Oh, Sir Thomas,

Our words are now the king’s, and our sad looks

The interest of your love.  We are sent to you

From our mild sovereign, once more to demand

If you’ll subscribe unto those articles

He sent ye th’other day.  Be well advised,

For on mine honor, lord, grave Doctor Fisher,

Bishop of Rochester, at the self same instant

Attached with you, is sent unto the Tower

For the like obstinacy; his majesty

Hath only sent you prisoner to your house.

But if you now refuse for to subscribe,

A stricter course will follow.

Lady More (kneeling and weeping): Oh, dear husband!

Both Daughters: Dear father!

More: See, my lords,

This partner and these subjects to my flesh

Prove rebels to my conscience.  But, my good lords,

If I refuse, must I unto the Tower?

Shrewsbury: You must, my lord; here is an officer

Ready for to arrest you of high treason.

Lady More and Daughters: Oh God, oh God!

Roper: Be patient, good madam.

More: Ay, Downes, is’t thou?  I once did save thy life,

When else by cruel riotous assault

Thou hadst been torn in pieces.  Thou art reserved

To be my summ’ner to yond spiritual court.

Give me thy hand, good fellow, smooth thy face;

The diet that thou drinkst is spiced with mace

And I could ne’er abide it; twill not disgest,

‘Twill lie too heavy, man, on my weak breast.

Shrewsbury: Be brief, my lord, for we art limited

Unto an hour.

More: Unto an hour?  ‘Tis well;

The bell, earth’s thunder, soon shall toll my knell.

Lady More: Dear loving husband, if you respect not me,

Yet think upon your daughters.  [Kneeling.]

More: Wife, stand up; I have bethought me,

And I’ll now satisfy the king’s good pleasure. [Pondering to himself.]

Both Daughters: Oh, happy alteration!

Shrewsbury: Come then, subscribe my lord.

Surrey: I am right glad of this your fair conversion.

More: Oh, pardon me!

I will subscribe to go unto the Tower

With all submissive willingness, and thereto add

My bones to strengthen the foundation

Of Julius Caesar’s palace.  Now, my lord,

I’ll satisfy the king, even with my blood,

Nor will I wrong your patience.  Friend, do thine office.

Downes: Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England,

I arrest you in the king’s name of high treason.

More: Gramercies, friend.

To a great prison, to discharge the strife

Commenced ‘twixt conscience and my frailer life,

More now must march.  Chelsea, adieu, adieu,

Strange farewell, thou shalt ne’er more see More true,

For I shall ne’er see thee more.  Servants, farewell.

Wife, mar not thine indifferent face; be wise.

More’s widow’s husband, he must make thee rise.

Daughters, […] what’s here?  What’s here?

Mine eye had almost parted with a tear.

Dear son, possess my virtue, that I ne’er gave.

Grave More thus lightly walks to a quick grave.

Roper: Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.

More: You that way in; mind you my course in prayer:

By water I to prison, to heaven through air.

[Exeunt.]

Act V Scene i

More arrives at Tower

Source: Two anecdotes found in Hall, Harpsfield, Foxe, Holinshed, and Stapleton.  Revels text suggests Holinshed for the first and Harpsfield for the second.

Author: Oliphant tentatively identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand B, which I assume is Heywood.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original and Final Version

[The Tower Gate.  Enter the Warders of the Tower, with halberds.]

First Warder: Ho, make a guard there!

Second Warder: Master Lieutenant gives a straight command,

The people be avoided from the bridge.

Third Warder: From whence is he committed, who can tell?

First Warder: From Durham House, I hear.

Second Warder: The guard were waiting there an hour ago.

Third Warder: If he stay long, he’ll not get near the wharf,

There’s such a crowd of boats upon the Thames.

First Warder: Well, be it spoken without offence to any,

A wiser or more virtuous gentleman

Was never bred in England.

Second Warder: I think, the poor will bury him in tears.

I never heard a man, since I was born

So generally bewailed of everyone.

[Enter a Poor Woman.]

Third Warder: What means this woman?  Whether dost thou press?

First Warder: This woman will be trod to death anon.

Second Warder: What makest thou here?

Poor Woman: To speak with that good man, Sir Thomas More.

First Warder: To speak with him?  He’s not Lord Chancellor.

Poor Woman: The more’s the pity, sir, if it pleased God.

First Warder: Therefore if thou hast a petition to deliver

Thou mayst keep it now, for anything I know.

Poor Woman: I am a poor woman, and have had, God knows,

A suit this two year in the Chancery,

And he hath all the evidence I have,

Which should I lose, I am utterly undone.

First Warder: Faith, and I fear thou’lt hardly come by ’em now;

I am sorry for thee, even with all my heart.

[Enter the Lords with Sir Thomas More, and Attendants, and enter Lieutenant and Gentleman Porter.]

Second Warder: Woman, stand back, you must avoid this place;

The lords must pass this way into the Tower.

More: I thank your lordships for your pains thus far,

To my strong house.

Poor Woman: Now, good Sir Thomas More, for Christ’s dear sake,

Deliver me my writings back again

That do concern my title.

More: What, my old client, are thou got hither too?

Poor silly wretch, I must confess indeed,

I had such writings as concern thee ne’er.

But the king has ta’en the matter into his own hand;

He has all I had.  Then, woman, sue to him;

I cannot help thee; thou must bear with me.

Poor Woman: Ah, gentle heart, my soul for thee is sad.

Farewell the best friend that the poor e’er had.

[Exit poor woman.]

Gentleman Porter: Before you enter through the Tower gate,

Your upper garment, sir, belongs to me.

More: Sir, you shall have it; there it is.

[He gives him his cap.]

Gentleman Porter: The upmost on your back, sir; you mistake me.

More: Sir, now I understand ye very well,

But that you name my back.

Sure else my cap had been the uppermost.

Shrewsbury: Farewell, kind lord; God send us merry meeting!

More: Amen, my lord.

Surrey: Farewell, dear friend; I hope your safe return.

More: My lord, and my dear fellow in the Muses,

Farewell, farewell, most noble poet.

Lieutenant: Adieu, most honored lords.

[Exeunt Lords.]

More: Fair prison, welcome—yet, methinks

For thy fair building ‘tis too foul a name.

Many a guilty soul, and many an innocent,

Have breathed their farewell to thy hollow rooms.

I oft have entered into thee this way,

Yet, I thank God, ne’er with a clearer conscience

Then at this hour:

This is my comfort yet, how hard soe’er

My lodging prove, the cry of the poor suitor,

Fatherless orphan, or distressed widow,

Shall not disturb me in my quiet sleep.

On then, a God’s name, to our close abode;

God is as strong here as he is abroad.

[Exeunt.]

Act V Scene ii

More’s servants

Source: The Revels text describes this as “an effective theatri­cal device to avoid the staging of More’s trial.”

Author: Oliphant tentatively identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand B, which I assume is Heywood.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original and Final Version

[More’s House.  Enter Butler, Brewer, Porter, and Horsekeeper several ways.]

Butler: Robin brewer, how now, man?  What cheer, what cheer?

Brewer: Faith, Ned butler, sick of thy disease; and these our other fellows here, Rafe horsekeeper and Giles porter, sad, sad; they say my lord goes to his trial today.

Horsekeeper: To it, man?  Why he is now at it, God send him well to speed!

Porter: Amen; even as I wish to mine own soul, so speed it with my honorable lord and master, Sir Thomas More.

Butler: I cannot tell, I have nothing to do with matters above my capacity; but, as God judge me, if I might speak my mind, I think there lives not a more harmless gentleman in the universal world.

Brewer: Nor a wiser, nor a merrier, nor an honester; go too, I’ll put that in upon mine own knowledge.

Porter: Nay, and ye bate him his due of his housekeeping, hang ye all!  Ye have many Lord Chancellors comes in debt at the year’s end, and for very housekeeping.

Horsekeeper: Well, he was too good a lord for us, and therefore, I fear, God himself will take him.  But I’ll be hanged, if ever I have such another service.

Brewer: Soft, man, we are not discharged yet.  My lord may come home again, and all will be well.

Butler: I much mistrust it; when they go to ‘raigning once, there’s ever foul weather for a great while after.

[Enter Gough and Catesby with a paper.]

But soft; here comes Master Gough and Master Catesby; now we shall hear more.

Horsekeeper: Before God, they are very sad; I doubt my lord is condemned.

Porter: God bless his soul, and a fig then for all worldly condemnation.

Gough: Well said, Giles porter, I commend thee for it;

‘Twas spoken like a well affected servant

Of him that was a kind lord to us all.

Catesby: Which now no more he shall be; for, dear fellows,

Now we are masterless, though he may live

So long as please the king.  But law hath made him

A dead man to the world, and given the axe his head,

But his sweet soul to live among the saints.

Gough: Let us entreat ye to go call together

The rest of your sad fellows—by the roll

Y’are just seven score—and tell them what ye hear

A virtuous honorable lord hath done

Even for the meanest follower that he had.

This writing found my lady in his study,

This instant morning, wherein is set down

Each servant’s name, according to his place

And office in the house; on every man

He frankly hath bestowen twenty nobles,

The best and worst together, all alike,

Which Master Catesby here forth will pay ye.

Gate: Take it as it is meant, a kind remembrance

Of a far kinder lord, with whose sad fall

He gives up house and farewell to us all:

Thus the fair spreading oak falls not alone

But all the neighbor plants and under-trees

Are crushed down with his weight.  No more of this;

Come, and receive your due, and after go

Fellow-like hence, copartners of one woe.

[Exeunt.]

Act V Scene iii

More in the Tower

Source: Mainly from Harpsfield, but makes use of two anecdotes not known to have been published until a few years later.

Author: Oliphant tentatively identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand B, which I assume is Heywood.

Revision: None.

Tilney: Nothing.

Original and Final Version

[The Tower.  Enter Sir Thomas More, the Lieutenant, and a Servant attending, as in his chamber in the Tower.]

More: Master Lieutenant, is the warrant come?

If it be so, a God’s name, let us know it.

Lieutenant: My lord, it is.

More: ‘Tis welcome, sir, to me with all my heart;

His blessed will be done!

Lieutenant: Your wisdom, Sir, hath been so well approved

And your fair patience in imprisonment

Hath ever shown such constancy of mind

And Christian resolution in all troubles,

As warrants us you are not unprepared.

More: No, Master Lieutenant, I thank my God,

I have peace of conscience, though the world and I

Are at a little odds.

But we’ll be even now, I hope, ere long.

When is the execution of your warrant?

Lieutenant: Tomorrow morning.

More: So, sir, I thank ye;

I have not lived so ill I fear to die.

Master Lieutenant, I have had a sore fit of the stone tonight,

But the king hath sent me such a rare receipt

I thank him, as I shall not need to fear it much.

Lieutenant: In life and death still merry Sir Thomas More.

More: Sirrah fellow, reach me the urinal.

[He gives it him.]

Ha, let me see—{there’s} gravel in the water;

{And yet in sober truth it seemeth that} {me sort of}

The man were likely to live long enough,

So pleased the king.—Here, fellow, take it.

Servant: Shall I go with it to the doctor, sir?

More: No, save thy labor; we’ll cozen him of a fee.

Thou shalt see me take a dram tomorrow morning

Shall cure the stone, I warrant—doubt it not.

Master Lieutenant, what news of my Lord of Rochester?

Lieutenant: Yesterday morning was he put to death.

More: The peace of soul sleep with him!

He was a learned and a reverend prelate,

And a rich man, believe me.

Lieutenant: If he were rich, what is Sir Thomas More,

That all this while hath been Lord Chancellor?

More: Say ye so, Master Lieutenant?  What do you think

A man that with my time had held my place

Might purchase?

Lieutenant: Perhaps, my lord, two thousand pound a year.

More: Master Lieutenant, I protest to you,

I never had the means in all my life

To purchase one poor hundred pound a year.

I think I am the poorest Chancellor

That ever was in England, though I could wish

For credit of the place, that my estate were better.

Lieutenant: It’s very strange.

More: It will be found as true.

I think, sir, that with most part of my coin

I have purchased as strange commodities

As ever you heard tell of in your life.

Lieutenant: Commodities, my lord?

Might I, without offence, enquire of them?

More: Crutches, Master Lieutenant, and bare cloaks,

For halting soldiers and poor needy scholars

Have had my gettings in the Chancery.

To think but what a cheat the crown shall have

By my attainder!

I prithee, if thou beest a gentleman,

Get but a copy of my inventory.

That part of poet that was given me

Made me a very unthrift;

For this is the disease attends us all:

Poets were never thrifty, never shall.

[Enter Lady More mourning, Daughters, Master Roper.]

Lieutenant:   Oh, noble More!

My lord, your wife, your son in law, and daughters.

More:  Son Roper, welcome; welcome, wife, and girls.

Why do you weep?  Because I live at ease?

Did you not see, when I was Chancellor

I was so cloyed with suitors every hour

I could not sleep, nor dine, nor sup in quiet?

Here’s none of this—here I can sit and talk

With my honest keeper half a day together,

Laugh and be merry.  Why then should you weep?

Roper: These tears, my lord, for this your long restraint

Hope had dried up with comfort that we yet,

Although imprisoned, might have had your life.

More: To live in prison, what a life were that!

The king—I thank him—loves me more than so.

Tomorrow I shall be at liberty

To go even whither I can,

After I have dispatched my business.

Lady More: Ah, husband, husband, yet submit yourself

Have care of your poor wife and children.

More: Wife, so I have; and I do leave you all

To his protection hath the power to keep

You safer then I can—

The father of the widow and the orphan.

Roper: The world, my lord, hath ever held you wise,

And’t shall be no distaste unto your wisdom,

To yield to the opinion of the state.

More: I have deceived myself, I must acknowledge,

And, as you say, son Roper, to confess the same,

It will be no disparagement at all.

Lady More (offering to depart): His highness shall be certified thereof immediately.

More: Nay, hear me, wife; first let me tell ye how:

I thought to have had a barber for my beard;

Now, I remember, that were labor lost,

The headsman now shall cut off head and all.

Roper’s Wife: Father, his majesty, upon your meek submission,

Will yet, they say, receive you to his grace

In as great credit as you were before.

More: {‘Tis so indeed,} wench.  Faith, my lord the King

Has appointed me to do a little business.

If that were past, my girl, thou then shouldst see

What I would say to him about that matter;

But I shall be so busy until then,

I shall not tend it.

Daughters: Ah, my dear father!

Lady More: Dear lord and husband!

More: Be comforted, good wife, to live and love my children;

For with thee leave I all my care of them.

Son Roper, for my sake that have loved thee well,

And for her virtue’s sake, cherish my child.

Girl, be not proud, but of thy husband’s love;

Ever retain thy virtuous modesty;

That modesty is such a comely garment

As it is never out of fashion, sits as fair

Upon the meaner woman as the empress;

No stuff that gold can buy is half so rich,

Nor ornament that so becomes a woman.

Live all and love together, and thereby

You give your father a rich obsequy.

Both Daughters: Your blessing, dear father.

More:  I must be gone—God bless you!—

To talk with God, who now doth call.

Lady More: Ah, my dear husband!

More: Sweet wife, good night, good night:

God send us all his everlasting light!

Roper: I think, before this hour,

More heavy hearts ne’er parted in the Tower.

[Exeunt.]

Act V Scene iv

Execution scene

Source: Harpsfield and others.

Author: Oliphant tentatively identifies the author of this scene with the writer of hand B, which I assume is Heywood.  The text of course is in Munday’s hand, and at the end there is a signifi­cant piece of revision, which suggests at least that Munday here is revising the text of anotherÄÄHeywood, on my current hypothe­sis, following Oliphant to some extent.

Revision: No further revision.

Ending (Rejected Version)

More: One thing more; take heed thou cutst not off my beard.  Oh, I forgot, execution [was] passed upon that last night, and the body of it lies buried in the Tower.—Come, let’s to the block.

Hangman: My lord, I pray ye, put off your doublet.

More: No my good friend; I have a great cold already, and I would be loath to take more.  Point me to the block, for I was ne’er here before.

Hangman: To the east side, my lord.

More: Then to the east

We go to sigh; that o’er, to sleep in rest.

No eye salute my trunk with a sad tear:

Our birth to heaven should be thus, void of fear.

[Exit with Hangman]

[Surrey: A very learned worthy gentleman

Seals error with his blood.  Come, we’ll to court.

Let’s sadly hence to perfect unknown fates,

Whilst he tends progress to the state of states.]

Original and Final Version

[Tower Hill.  Enter the Sheriffs of London and their Officer at one door, the Warders with their halberds at another.]

First Sheriff: Officers, what time of day is’t?

Officer: Almost eight o’clock.

Second Sheriff: We must make {haste} then, lest we stay to long.

First Warder: Good morrow, Master Shrieves of London; Master Lieutenant

Wills ye repair to the limits of the Tower

There to receive your prisoner.

First Sheriff: Go back and tell his worship we are ready.

Second Sheriff: Go bid the officers make clear the way,

There may be passage for the prisoner.

[Enter Lieutenant and his Guard, with More.]

More: Yet, God be thanked, here’s a fair day toward

To take our journey in.  Master Lieutenant,

It were fair walking on the Tower leads.

Lieutenant: And so it might have liked my sovereign lord,

I would to God you might have walked there still.

[He weeps.]

More: Sir, we are walking to a better place.

Oh, sir, your kind and loving tears

Are like sweet odors to embalm your friend.

Thank your good lady; since I was your guest

She has made me a very wanton, in good sooth.

Lieutenant: Oh, I had hoped we should not have parted.

More: But I must leave ye for a little while.

Within an hour or two you may look at me,

But there will be so many come to see me,

That I shall be so proud, I will not speak.

And, sure, my memory is grown so ill,

I fear I shall forget my head behind me.

Lieutenant: God and his blessed angels be about ye!

Here, Master Shrieves, receive your prisoner.

More: Good morrow, Master Shrieves of London, to ye both.

I thank ye that ye will vouchsafe to meet me;

I see by this you have not quite forgot

That I was in times past, as you are now,

A sheriff of London.

First Sheriff: Sir, then you know our duty doth require it.

More: I know it well, sir, else I would have been glad

You might have saved a labor at this time.

Ah, Master Sheriff, you and I have been of old acquaintance.

You were a patient auditor of mine,

When I read the divinity lecture at St. Lawrence’s.

Second Sheriff: Sir Thomas More, I have heard you oft,

As many other did, to our great comfort.

More: Pray God, you may so now, with all my heart.

And, as I call to mind,

When I studied the law in Lincoln’s Inn,

I was of counsel with ye in a cause.

[First] Sheriff:   I was about to say so, good Sir Thomas.

{I mind the case well and your part in it.} {S} {omission preferable?}

More: Oh, is this the place?

I promise ye, it is a goodly scaffold.

In sooth, I am come about a headless errand,

For I have not much to say, now I am here.

Well, let’s ascend, a Gods name.

In troth, methinks, your stair is somewhat weak;

I prithee, honest friend, lend me thy hand

To help me up; as for my coming down,

Let me alone, I’ll look to that myself.

[As he is going up the stairs, enters the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury.]

My Lords of Surrey and of Shrewsbury, give : me your hands yet before we {part}.  Ye see, though it pleaseth the king to raise me thus high, yet I am not p{roud}, for the higher I mount, the better I can see my friends about me.  I am now {on a} far voyage, and this strange wooden horse must bear me thither; yet I perceive by your looks you like my bargain so ill that there’s not one of ye all dare venture with me.  [Walking]  Truly, here’s a most sweet gallery; I like the air of it better then my garden at Chelsea.  By your patience, good people that have pressed thus into my bedchamber, if you’ll not trouble me, I’ll take a sound sleep here.

Shrewsbury: My lord, ‘twere good you’d publish to the world

Your great offence unto his majesty.

More: My lord, I’ll bequeath this legacy to the hangman, [gives him his gown] and do it instantly.  I confess, his majesty hath been ever good to me; and my offence to his highness makes me of a state pleader a stage player (though I am old, and have a bad voice), to act this last scene of my tragedy.  I’ll send him for my trespass a reverend head, somewhat bald; for it is not requisite any head should stand covered to so high majesty.  If that content him not, because I think my body will then do me small pleasure, let him but bury it, and take it.

Surrey: My lord, my lord, hold conference with your soul;

You see, my lord, the time of life is short.

More: I see it, my good lord; I dispatched that business the last night.  I come hither only to be let blood; my doctor here tells me it is good for the headache.

Hangman: I beseech ye, my lord, forgive me!

More:  Forgive thee, honest fellow?  Why?

Hang.  For your death, my lord.

More: O, my death?  I had rather it were in thy power to forgive me, for thou hast the sharpest action against me; the law, my honest friend, lies in thy hands now.  Here’s thy fee [his purse], and, my good fellow, let my suit be dispatched presently; for ‘tis all one pain to die a lingering death and to live in the continual mill of a lawsuit.  But I can tell thee, my neck is so short that if thou shouldst behead an hundred noblemen like myself thou wouldst ne’er get credit by it.  Therefore, look ye, sir, do it handsomely, or of my word, thou shalt never deal with me hereafter.

Hangman: I’ll take an order for that, my lord.

More: One thing more; take heed thou cutst not off my beard.  Oh, I forgot, execution [was] passed upon that last night, and the body of it lies buried in the Tower.—Stay; is’t not possible to make a scape from all this strong guard?  It is.

There is a thing within me, that will raise

And elevate my better part ‘bove sight

Of these same weaker eyes: and, Master Shrieves,

For all this troop of steel that tends my death,

I shall break from you, and fly up to heaven.

Let’s seek the means for this.

Hangman: My lord, I pray ye, put off your doublet.

More: Speak not so coldly to me; I am hoarse already;

I would be loathe, good fellow, to take more.

Point me the block; I ne’er was here before.

Hangman: To the east side, my lord.

More: Then to the east

We go to sigh; that o’er, to sleep in rest.

Here More forsakes all mirth; good reason why;

The fool of flesh must with her frail life die.

No eye salute my trunk with a sad tear:

Our birth to heaven should be thus, void of fear.

[Exit with Hangman]

Surrey: A very learned worthy gentleman

Seals error with his blood.  Come, we’ll to court.

Let’s sadly hence to perfect unknown fates,

Whilst he tends progress to the state of states.

 

FINIS.

 


 

[1] G&M.  Dyce etc. have “would. Take”; while there’s not much to choose from between them, “will” sounds more like Doll to me.

[2] Jenkins.  Dyce and others have “our proceeding?”; G&M call this “unnecessarily elaborate” and I tend to agree.

[3] G&M reconstruction, based on Holinshed.  Dyce suggested “hath answered that it becomes him not to move any such thing in his sermon, and tells us we must move the Mayor and aldermen to”; Jenkins has “hath answered that it becomes not him to move any such thing in a sermon, but Master Doctor hath promised that he will do in this matter as much as a priest may do to”; Shirley has “hath been at pains to”; G&M reject the first two as too long and the third as “careless”.  I like adapting a line from Holinshed (the source of the passage in question) and so go with G&M.

[4] Hopkinson; “ensu[    ]” MS; “ensue upon statement of” Dyce; “ensue upon” Jenkins, G&M; “ensure the urging of” Shirley.

[5] Shirley; “more careful of” Hopkinson etc.

[6] Hopkinson; “I tell ye faith ye had been” is Shirley’s conjecture for the first part, though he is with the rest for the second line.

[7] Shirley; “point or two” Hopkinson etc.

[8] Shirley; Hopkinson has “He’ll steal your worship’s purse under your nose. / Suresby: Ha ha!  Art thou so sure varlet?  Well, well”.  G&M refer to both attempts as “valiant”; to my mind the sense must be as Shirley has it, while Hopkinson’s filler is embarrassingly feeble.

[9] This is Hopkinson’s conjecture; it is not satisfactory, but I can’t think of anything better.  (Wisdom still entreats thee mind the door?  Wisdom still is lurking at the door?

[10] Hopkinson, with the addition of “up” (Tucker Brooke?); Shirley has “artificers are out / Inflamed to kill the hated aliens.”

[11] G&M; Hopkinson has “We”; Jenkins has “I”; Shirley has “’Twas always” (and gives the entire speech to the messenger; all the others attribute it to Cholmley).

[12] Hopkinson, with the addition of “up” (Tucker Brooke?); Shirley has “artificers are out / Inflamed to kill the hated aliens.”

[13] G&M; Hopkinson has “We”; Jenkins has “I”; Shirley has “’Twas always” (and gives the entire speech to the messenger; all the others attribute it to Cholmley).

[14] Crossed out in the MS; only included in G&M.

[15] Hopkinson etc.  Shirley suggests “True to the home wherewith my youth was blessed”.

[16] The speeches attributed here to First and Second Prentice are simply attributed to “other” by Shakespeare; the bookkeeper assigned them to George Betts and Williamson respectively.

[17] This and the following speech attributed to Ralph Betts here were attributed to “other” by Shakespeare; the bookkeeper reassigned them to the clown.