Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain, a Master, a Master’s-mate, Walter Whitmore, and others; with them Suffolk, and others, prisoners
Captain The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful day
Is crept into the bosom of the sea;
And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings,
Clip dead men’s graves and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs,
Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
Or with their blood stain this discolour’d shore.
Master, this prisoner freely give I thee;
And thou that art his mate, make boot of this;
The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.
First Gentleman What is my ransom, master? let me know.
Master A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
Master’s-Mate And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.
Captain What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
And bear the name and port of gentlemen?
Cut both the villains’ throats; for die you shall:
The lives of those which we have lost in fight
Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!
First Gentleman I’ll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.
Second Gentleman And so will I and write home for it straight.
Whitmore I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;
And so should these, if I might have my will.
Captain Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.
Suffolk Look on my George; I am a gentleman:
Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
Whitmore And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
How now! why start’st thou? what, doth death affright?
Suffolk Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
A cunning man did calculate my birth
And told me that by water I should die:
Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.
Whitmore Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not:
Never yet did base dishonour blur our name,
But with our sword we wiped away the blot;
Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
And I proclaim’d a coward through the world!
Suffolk Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,
The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
Whitmore The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!
Suffolk Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke:
Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?
Captain But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
Suffolk Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry’s blood,
The honourable blood of Lancaster,
Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
Hast thou not kiss’d thy hand and held my stirrup?
Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule
And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
How often hast thou waited at my cup,
Fed from my trencher, kneel’d down at the board.
When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
Remember it and let it make thee crest-fall’n,
Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride;
How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
And duly waited for my coming forth?
This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
Whitmore Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?
Captain First let my words stab him, as he hath me.
Suffolk Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.
Captain Convey him hence and on our longboat’s side
Strike off his head.
Suffolk Thou darest not, for thy own.
Captain Yes, Pole.
Captain Pool! Sir Pool! lord!
Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt
Troubles the silver spring where England drinks.
Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
For swallowing the treasure of the realm:
Thy lips that kiss’d the queen shall sweep the ground;
And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey’s death,
Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again:
And wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
For daring to affy a mighty lord
Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
By devilish policy art thou grown great,
And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged
With gobbets of thy mother’s bleeding heart.
By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France,
The false revolting Normans thorough thee
Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts,
And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,
Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
As hating thee, are rising up in arms:
And now the house of York, thrust from the crown
By shameful murder of a guiltless king
And lofty proud encroaching tyranny,
Burns with revenging fire; whose hopeful colours
Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,
Under the which is writ ‘Invitis nubibus.’
The commons here in Kent are up in arms:
And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
Is crept into the palace of our king.
And all by thee. Away! convey him hence.
Suffolk O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder
Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
Small things make base men proud: this villain here,
Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate.
Drones suck not eagles’ blood but rob beehives:
It is impossible that I should die
By such a lowly vassal as thyself.
Thy words move rage and not remorse in me:
I go of message from the queen to France;
I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.
Captain Walter —
Whitmore Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.
Suffolk Gelidus timor occupat artus it is thee I fear.
Whitmore Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop?
First Gentleman My gracious lord, entreat him, speak him fair.
Suffolk Suffolk’s imperial tongue is stern and rough,
Used to command, untaught to plead for favour.
Far be it we should honour such as these
With humble suit: no, rather let my head
Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
Save to the God of heaven and to my king;
And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
Than stand uncover’d to the vulgar groom.
True nobility is exempt from fear:
More can I bear than you dare execute.
Captain Hale him away, and let him talk no more.
Suffolk Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can,
That this my death may never be forgot!
Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
A Roman sworder and banditto slave
Murder’d sweet Tully; Brutus’ bastard hand
Stabb’d Julius Caesar; savage islanders
Pompey the Great; and Suffolk dies by pirates.
Exeunt Whitmore and others with Suffolk
Captain And as for these whose ransom we have set,
It is our pleasure one of them depart;
Therefore come you with us and let him go.
Exeunt all but the First Gentleman
Re-enter Whitmore with Suffolk’s body
Whitmore There let his head and lifeless body lie,
Until the queen his mistress bury it.
First Gentleman O barbarous and bloody spectacle!
His body will I bear unto the king:
If he revenge it not, yet will his friends;
So will the queen, that living held him dear.
Exit with the body
Enter George Bevis and John Holland
Bevis Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath; they have been up these two days.
Holland They have the more need to sleep now, then.
Bevis I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.
Holland So he had need, for ’tis threadbare. Well, I say it was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
Bevis O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.
Holland The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.
Bevis Nay, more, the king’s council are no good workmen.
Holland True; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation; which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be labouring men; and therefore should we be magistrates.
Bevis Thou hast hit it; for there’s no better sign of a brave mind than a hard hand.
Holland I see them! I see them! there’s Best’s son, the tanner of Wingham —
Bevis He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make dog’s-leather of.
Holland And Dick the Butcher —
Bevis Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity’s throat cut like a calf.
Holland And Smith the weaver —
Bevis Argo, their thread of life is spun.
Holland Come, come, let’s fall in with them.
Drum. Enter Cade, Dick the Butcher, Smith the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers
Cade We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father —
Dick [Aside] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.
Cade For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with the spirit of putting down kings and princes, — Command silence.
Cade My father was a Mortimer —
Dick [Aside] He was an honest man, and a good bricklayer.
Cade My mother a Plantagenet —
Dick [Aside] I knew her well; she was a midwife.
Cade My wife descended of the Lacies —
Dick [Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler’s daughter, and sold many laces.
Smith [Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with her furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
Cade Therefore am I of an honourable house.
Dick [Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable; and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his father had never a house but the cage.
Cade Valiant I am.
Smith [Aside] A’ must needs; for beggary is valiant.
Cade I am able to endure much.
Dick [Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him whipped three market-days together.
Cade I fear neither sword nor fire.
Smith [Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.
Dick [Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being burnt i’ the hand for stealing of sheep.
Cade Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass: and when I am king, as king I will be —
All God save your majesty!
Cade I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord.
Dick The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
Cade Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings: but I say, ’tis the bee’s wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since. How now! who’s there?
Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham
Smith The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and cast accompt.
Cade O monstrous!
Smith We took him setting of boys’ copies.
Cade Here’s a villain!
Smith Has a book in his pocket with red letters in’t.
Cade Nay, then, he is a conjurer.
Dick Nay, he can make obligations, and write court-hand.
Cade I am sorry for’t: the man is a proper man, of mine honour; unless I find him guilty, he shall not die. Come hither, sirrah, I must examine thee: what is thy name?
Dick They use to write it on the top of letters: ’twill go hard with you.
Cade Let me alone. Dost thou use to write thy name? or hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest plain-dealing man?
Clerk Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up that I can write my name.
All He hath confessed: away with him! he’s a villain and a traitor.
Cade Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and ink-horn about his neck.
Exit one with the Clerk
Michael Where’s our general?
Cade Here I am, thou particular fellow.
Michael Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother are hard by, with the king’s forces.
Cade Stand, villain, stand, or I’ll fell thee down. He shall be encountered with a man as good as himself: he is but a knight, is a’?
Cade To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
Rise up Sir John Mortimer.
Now have at him!
Enter Sir Humphrey and William Stafford, with drum and soldiers
Sir Humphrey Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
Mark’d for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom:
The king is merciful, if you revolt.
William Stafford But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,
If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.
Cade As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
Sir Humphrey Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
Cade And Adam was a gardener.
William Stafford And what of that?
Cade Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
Married the Duke of Clarence’ daughter, did he not?
Sir Humphrey Ay, sir.
Cade By her he had two children at one birth.
William Stafford That’s false.
Cade Ay, there’s the question; but I say, ’tis true:
The elder of them, being put to nurse,
Was by a beggar-woman stolen away;
And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
His son am I; deny it, if you can.
Dick Nay, ’tis too true; therefore he shall be king.
Smith Sir, he made a chimney in my father’s house, and the bricks are alive at this day to testify it; therefore deny it not.
Sir Humphrey And will you credit this base drudge’s words,
That speaks he knows not what?
All Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.
William Stafford Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.
Cade [Aside] He lies, for I invented it myself.
Go to, sirrah, tell the king from me, that, for his father’s sake, Henry the Fifth, in whose time boys went to span-counter for French crowns, I am content he shall reign; but I’ll be protector over him.
Dick And furthermore, well have the Lord Say’s head for selling the dukedom of Maine.
Cade And good reason; for thereby is England mained, and fain to go with a staff, but that my puissance holds it up. Fellow kings, I tell you that that Lord Say hath gelded the commonwealth, and made it an eunuch: and more than that, he can speak French; and therefore he is a traitor.
Sir Humphrey O gross and miserable ignorance!
Cade Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are our enemies; go to, then, I ask but this: can he that speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good counsellor, or no?
All No, no; and therefore we’ll have his head.
William Stafford Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,
Assail them with the army of the king.
Sir Humphrey Herald, away; and throughout every town
Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade;
That those which fly before the battle ends
May, even in their wives’ and children’s sight,
Be hang’d up for example at their doors:
And you that be the king’s friends, follow me.
Exeunt William Stafford and Sir Humphrey, and soldiers
Cade And you that love the commons, follow me.
Now show yourselves men; ’tis for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman:
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon;
For they are thrifty honest men, and such
As would, but that they dare not, take our parts.
Dick They are all in order and march toward us.
Cade But then are we in order when we are most out of order. Come, march forward.
Alarums to the fight, wherein Sir Humphrey and William Stafford are slain. Enter Cade and the rest
Cade Where’s Dick, the butcher of Ashford?
Dick Here, sir.
Cade They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thou behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own slaughter-house: therefore thus will I reward thee, the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking one.
Dick I desire no more.
Cade And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less. This monument of the victory will I bear;
Putting on Sir Humphrey’s brigandine
and the bodies shall be dragged at my horse’ heels till I do come to London, where we will have the mayor’s sword borne before us.
Dick If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the gaols and let out the prisoners.
Cade Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let’s march towards London.
Enter King Henry VI with a supplication, and the Queen with Suffolk’s head, Buckingham and Lord Say
Queen Margaret Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind,
And makes it fearful and degenerate;
Think therefore on revenge and cease to weep.
But who can cease to weep and look on this?
Here may his head lie on my throbbing breast:
But where’s the body that I should embrace?
Buckingham What answer makes your grace to the rebels’ supplication?
King Henry VI I’ll send some holy bishop to entreat;
For God forbid so many simple souls
Should perish by the sword! And I myself,
Rather than bloody war shall cut them short,
Will parley with Jack Cade their general:
But stay, I’ll read it over once again.
Queen Margaret Ah, barbarous villains! hath this lovely face
Ruled, like a wandering planet, over me,
And could it not enforce them to relent,
That were unworthy to behold the same?
King Henry VI Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.
Say Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.
King Henry VI How now, madam!
Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk’s death?
I fear me, love, if that I had been dead,
Thou wouldst not have mourn’d so much for me.
Queen Margaret No, my love, I should not mourn, but die for thee.
Enter a Messenger
King Henry VI How now! what news? why comest thou in such haste?
Messenger The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord!
Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
Descended from the Duke of Clarence’ house,
And calls your grace usurper openly
And vows to crown himself in Westminster.
His army is a ragged multitude
Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless:
Sir Humphrey Stafford and h is brother’s death
Hath given them heart and courage to proceed:
All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.
King Henry VI O graceless men! they know not what they do.
Buckingham My gracious lord, return to Killingworth,
Until a power be raised to put them down.
Queen Margaret Ah, were the Duke of Suffolk now alive,
These Kentish rebels would be soon appeased!
King Henry VI Lord Say, the traitors hate thee;
Therefore away with us to Killingworth.
Say So might your grace’s person be in danger.
The sight of me is odious in their eyes;
And therefore in this city will I stay
And live alone as secret as I may.
Enter another Messenger
Messenger Jack Cade hath gotten London bridge:
The citizens fly and forsake their houses:
The rascal people, thirsting after prey,
Join with the traitor, and they jointly swear
To spoil the city and your royal court.
Buckingham Then linger not, my lord, away, take horse.
King Henry VI Come, Margaret; God, our hope, will succor us.
Queen Margaret My hope is gone, now Suffolk is deceased.
King Henry VI Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.
Buckingham Trust nobody, for fear you be betray’d.
Say The trust I have is in mine innocence,
And therefore am I bold and resolute.
Enter Scales upon the Tower, walking. Then enter two or three Citizens below
Scales How now! is Jack Cade slain?
First Citizen No, my lord, nor likely to be slain; for they have won the bridge, killing all those that withstand them: the lord mayor craves aid of your honour from the Tower, to defend the city from the rebels.
Scales Such aid as I can spare you shall command;
But I am troubled here with them myself;
The rebels have assay’d to win the Tower.
But get you to Smithfield, and gather head,
And thither I will send you Matthew Goffe;
Fight for your king, your country and your lives;
And so, farewell, for I must hence again.
Enter Cade and the rest, and strikes his staff on London-stone
Cade Now is Mortimer lord of this city. And here, sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city’s cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign. And now henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer.
Enter a Soldier, running
Soldier Jack Cade! Jack Cade!
Cade Knock him down there.
They kill him
Smith If this fellow be wise, he’ll never call ye Jack
Cade more: I think he hath a very fair warning.
Dick My lord, there’s an army gathered together in
Cade Come, then, let’s go fight with them; but first, go and set London bridge on fire; and, if you can, burn down the Tower too. Come, let’s away.
Alarums. Matthew Goffe is slain, and all the rest. Then enter Cade, with his company.
Cade So, sirs: now go some and pull down the Savoy; others to the inns of court; down with them all.
Dick I have a suit unto your lordship.
Cade Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.
Dick Only that the laws of England may come out of your mouth.
Holland [Aside] Mass, ’twill be sore law, then; for he was thrust in the mouth with a spear, and ’tis not whole yet.
Smith [Aside] Nay, John, it will be stinking law for his breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.
Cade I have thought upon it, it shall be so. Away, burn all the records of the realm: my mouth shall be the parliament of England.
Holland [Aside] Then we are like to have biting statutes, unless his teeth be pulled out.
Cade And henceforward all things shall be in common.
Enter a Messenger
Messenger My lord, a prize, a prize! here’s the Lord Say, which sold the towns in France; he that made us pay one and twenty fifteens, and one shilling to the pound, the last subsidy.
Enter Bevis, with Lord Say
Cade Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times. Ah, thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord! now art thou within point-blank of our jurisdiction regal. What canst thou answer to my majesty for giving up of Normandy unto Mounsieur Basimecu, the dauphin of France? Be it known unto thee by these presence, even the presence of Lord Mortimer, that I am the besom that must sweep the court clean of such filth as thou art. Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school; and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used, and, contrary to the king, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable words as no Christian ear can endure to hear. Thou hast appointed justices of peace, to call poor men before them about matters they were not able to answer. Moreover, thou hast put them in prison; and because they could not read, thou hast hanged them; when, indeed, only for that cause they have been most worthy to live. Thou dost ride in a foot-cloth, dost thou not?
Say What of that?
Cade Marry, thou oughtest not to let thy horse wear a cloak, when honester men than thou go in their hose and doublets.
Dick And work in their shirt too; as myself, for example, that am a butcher.
Say You men of Kent —
Dick What say you of Kent?
Say Nothing but this; ’tis ‘bona terra, mala gens.’
Cade Away with him, away with him! he speaks Latin.
Say Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
Kent, in the Commentaries Caesar writ,
Is term’d the civil’st place of this isle:
Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy;
Which makes me hope you are not void of pity.
I sold not Maine, I lost not Normandy,
Yet, to recover them, would lose my life.
Justice with favour have I always done;
Prayers and tears have moved me, gifts could never.
When have I aught exacted at your hands,
But to maintain the king, the realm and you?
Large gifts have I bestow’d on learned clerks,
Because my book preferr’d me to the king,
And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,
Unless you be possess’d with devilish spirits,
You cannot but forbear to murder me:
This tongue hath parley’d unto foreign kings
For your behoof —
Cade Tut, when struck’st thou one blow in the field?
Say Great men have reaching hands: oft have I struck
Those that I never saw and struck them dead.
Bevis O monstrous coward! what, to come behind folks?
Say These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.
Cade Give him a box o’ the ear and that will make ’em red again.
Say Long sitting to determine poor men’s causes
Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
Cade Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.
Dick Why dost thou quiver, man?
Say The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.
Cade Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I’ll be even with you: I’ll see if his head will stand steadier on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him.
Say Tell me wherein have I offended most?
Have I affected wealth or honour? speak.
Are my chests fill’d up with extorted gold?
Is my apparel sumptuous to behold?
Whom have I injured, that ye seek my death?
These hands are free from guiltless bloodshedding,
This breast from harbouring foul deceitful thoughts.
O, let me live!
Cade [Aside] I feel remorse in myself with his words; but I’ll bridle it: he shall die, an it be but for pleading so well for his life. Away with him! he has a familiar under his tongue; he speaks not o’ God’s name. Go, take him away, I say, and strike off his head presently; and then break into his son-in-law’s house, Sir James Cromer, and strike off his head, and bring them both upon two poles hither.
All It shall be done.
Say Ah, countrymen! if when you make your prayers,
God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
How would it fare with your departed souls?
And therefore yet relent, and save my life.
Cade Away with him! and do as I command ye.
Exeunt some with Lord Say
The proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a head on his shoulders, unless he pay me tribute; there shall not a maid be married, but she shall pay to me her maidenhead ere they have it: men shall hold of me in capite; and we charge and command that their wives be as free as heart can wish or tongue can tell.
Dick My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take up commodities upon our bills?
Cade Marry, presently.
All O, brave!
Re-enter one with the heads
Cade But is not this braver? Let them kiss one another, for they loved well when they were alive. Now part them again, lest they consult about the giving up of some more towns in France. Soldiers, defer the spoil of the city until night: for with these borne before us, instead of maces, will we ride through the streets, and at every corner have them kiss. Away!
Alarum and retreat. Enter Cade and all his rabblement
Cade Up Fish Street! down Saint Magnus’ Corner! Kill and knock down! throw them into Thames!
Sound a parley
What noise is this I hear? Dare any be so bold to sound retreat or parley, when I command them kill?
Enter Buckingham and Clifford, attended
Buckingham Ay, here they be that dare and will disturb thee:
Know, Cade, we come ambassadors from the king
Unto the commons whom thou hast misled;
And here pronounce free pardon to them all
That will forsake thee and go home in peace.
Clifford What say ye, countrymen? will ye relent,
And yield to mercy whilst ’tis offer’d you;
Or let a rebel lead you to your deaths?
Who loves the king and will embrace his pardon,
Fling up his cap, and say ‘God save his majesty!’
Who hateth him and honours not his father,
Henry the Fifth, that made all France to quake,
Shake he his weapon at us and pass by.
All God save the king! God save the king!
Cade What, Buckingham and Clifford, are ye so brave? And you, base peasants, do ye believe him? will you needs be hanged with your pardons about your necks? Hath my sword therefore broke through London gates, that you should leave me at the White Hart in Southwark? I thought ye would never have given out these arms till you had recovered your ancient freedom: but you are all recreants and dastards, and delight to live in slavery to the nobility. Let them break your backs with burthens, take your houses over your heads, ravish your wives and daughters before your faces: for me, I will make shift for one; and so, God’s curse light upon you all!
All We’ll follow Cade, we’ll follow Cade!
Clifford Is Cade the son of Henry the Fifth,
That thus you do exclaim you’ll go with him?
Will he conduct you through the heart of France,
And make the meanest of you earls and dukes?
Alas, he hath no home, no place to fly to;
Nor knows he how to live but by the spoil,
Unless by robbing of your friends and us.
Were’t not a shame, that whilst you live at jar,
The fearful French, whom you late vanquished,
Should make a start o’er seas and vanquish you?
Methinks already in this civil broil
I see them lording it in London streets,
Crying ‘Villiago!’ unto all they meet.
Better ten thousand base-born Cades miscarry
Than you should stoop unto a Frenchman’s mercy.
To France, to France, and get what you have lost;
Spare England, for it is your native coast;
Henry hath money, you are strong and manly;
God on our side, doubt not of victory.
All A Clifford! a Clifford! we’ll follow the king and Clifford.
Cade Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this multitude? The name of Henry the Fifth hales them to an hundred mischiefs, and makes them leave me desolate. I see them lay their heads together to surprise me. My sword make way for me, for here is no staying. In despite of the devils and hell, have through the very middest of you? and heavens and honour be witness, that no want of resolution in me. but only my followers’ base and ignominious treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.
Buckingham What, is he fled? Go some, and follow him;
And he that brings his head unto the king
Shall have a thousand crowns for his reward.
Exeunt some of them
Follow me, soldiers: we’ll devise a mean
To reconcile you all unto the king.
Sound Trumpets. Enter King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, and Somerset, on the terrace
King Henry VI Was ever king that joy’d an earthly throne,
And could command no more content than I?
No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
But I was made a king, at nine months old.
Was never subject long’d to be a king
As I do long and wish to be a subject.
Enter Buckingham and Clifford
Buckingham Health and glad tidings to your majesty!
King Henry VI Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised?
Or is he but retired to make him strong?
Enter below, multitudes, with halters about their necks
Clifford He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield;
And humbly thus, with halters on their necks,
Expect your highness’ doom of life or death.
King Henry VI Then, heaven, set ope thy everlasting gates,
To entertain my vows of thanks and praise!
Soldiers, this day have you redeemed your lives,
And show’d how well you love your prince and country:
Continue still in this so good a mind,
And Henry, though he be infortunate,
Assure yourselves, will never be unkind:
And so, with thanks and pardon to you all,
I do dismiss you to your several countries.
All God save the king! God save the king!
Enter a Messenger
Messenger Please it your grace to be advertised
The Duke of York is newly come from Ireland,
And with a puissant and a mighty power
Of gallowglasses and stout kerns
Is marching hitherward in proud array,
And still proclaimeth, as he comes along,
His arms are only to remove from thee
The Duke of Somerset, whom he terms traitor.
King Henry VI Thus stands my state, ’twixt Cade and York distress’d.
Like to a ship that, having ’scaped a tempest,
Is straightway calm’d and boarded with a pirate:
But now is Cade driven back, his men dispersed;
And now is York in arms to second him.
I pray thee, Buckingham, go and meet him,
And ask him what’s the reason of these arms.
Tell him I’ll send Duke Edmund to the Tower;
And, Somerset, we’ll commit thee thither,
Until his army be dismiss’d from him.
Somerset My lord,
I’ll yield myself to prison willingly,
Or unto death, to do my country good.
King Henry VI In any case, be not too rough in terms;
For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language.
Buckingham I will, my lord; and doubt not so to deal
As all things shall redound unto your good.
King Henry VI Come, wife, let’s in, and learn to govern better;
For yet may England curse my wretched reign.
Cade Fie on ambition! fie on myself, that have a sword, and yet am ready to famish! These five days have I hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for all the country is laid for me; but now am I so hungry that if I might have a lease of my life for a thousand years I could stay no longer. Wherefore, on a brick wall have I climbed into this garden, to see if I can eat grass, or pick a sallet another while, which is not amiss to cool a man’s stomach this hot weather. And I think this word ‘sallet’ was born to do me good: for many a time, but for a sallet, my brainpan had been cleft with a brown bill; and many a time, when I have been dry and bravely marching, it hath served me instead of a quart pot to drink in; and now the word ‘sallet’ must serve me to feed on.
Iden Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?
This small inheritance my father left me
Contenteth me, and worth a monarchy.
I seek not to wax great by others’ waning,
Or gather wealth, I care not, with what envy:
Sufficeth that I have maintains my state
And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
Cade Here’s the lord of the soil come to seize me for a stray, for entering his fee-simple without leave. Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me, and get a thousand crowns of the king carrying my head to him: but I’ll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.
Iden Why, rude companion, whatsoe’er thou be,
I know thee not; why, then, should I betray thee?
Is’t not enough to break into my garden,
And, like a thief, to come to rob my grounds,
Climbing my walls in spite of me the owner,
But thou wilt brave me with these saucy terms?
Cade Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.
Iden Nay, it shall ne’er be said, while England stands,
That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent,
Took odds to combat a poor famish’d man.
Oppose thy steadfast-gazing eyes to mine,
See if thou canst outface me with thy looks:
Set limb to limb, and thou art far the lesser;
Thy hand is but a finger to my fist,
Thy leg a stick compared with this truncheon;
My foot shall fight with all the strength thou hast;
And if mine arm be heaved in the air,
Thy grave is digg’d already in the earth.
As for words, whose greatness answers words,
Let this my sword report what speech forbears.
Cade By my valour, the most complete champion that ever I heard! Steel, if thou turn the edge, or cut not out the burly-boned clown in chines of beef ere thou sleep in thy sheath, I beseech God on my knees thou mayst be turned to hobnails.
Here they fight. Cade falls
O, I am slain! famine and no other hath slain me: let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me but the ten meals I have lost, and I’ll defy them all. Wither, garden; and be henceforth a burying-place to all that do dwell in this house, because the unconquered soul of Cade is fled.
Iden Is’t Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?
Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed,
And hang thee o’er my tomb when I am dead:
Ne’er shall this blood be wiped from thy point;
But thou shalt wear it as a herald’s coat,
To emblaze the honour that thy master got.
Cade Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. Tell Kent from me, she hath lost her best man, and exhort all the world to be cowards; for I, that never feared any, am vanquished by famine, not by valour.
Iden How much thou wrong’st me, heaven be my judge.
Die, damned wretch, the curse of her that bare thee;
And as I thrust thy body in with my sword,
So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell.
Hence will I drag thee headlong by the heels
Unto a dunghill which shall be thy grave,
And there cut off thy most ungracious head;
Which I will bear in triumph to the king,
Leaving thy trunk for crows to feed upon.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:13