|The Second part of King Henry the Sixth|
| Henry VI, part 2
| Act 4, Scene 2
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Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLANDBEVIS
Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath;HOLLAND
they have been up these two days.
They have the more need to sleep now, then.BEVIS
I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dressHOLLAND
the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.
So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say itBEVIS
was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
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;BEVIS
which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
labouring men; and therefore should we be
Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of aHOLLAND
brave mind than a hard hand.
I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, theBEVIS
tanner of Wingham,--
He shall have the skin of our enemies, to makeHOLLAND
And Dick the Butcher,--BEVIS
Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity'sHOLLAND
throat cut like a calf.
And Smith the weaver,--BEVIS
Argo, their thread of life is spun.HOLLAND
Come, come, let's fall in with them.CADE
Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers
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 withDICK
the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
My father was a Mortimer,--DICK
[Aside] He was an honest man, and a goodCADE
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, andSMITH
sold many laces.
[Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with herCADE
furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
Therefore am I of an honourable house.DICK
[Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable;CADE
and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
father had never a house but the cage.
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 himCADE
whipped three market-days together.
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 ofCADE
fire, being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.
Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vowsALL
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,--
God save your majesty!CADE
I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;DICK
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.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.CADE
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentableSMITH
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
The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read andCADE
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 mineClerk
honour; unless I find him guilty, he shall not die.
Come hither, sirrah, I must examine thee: what is thy name?
They use to write it on the top of letters: 'twillCADE
go hard with you.
Let me alone. Dost thou use to write thy name? orCLERK
hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest
Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought upALL
that I can write my name.
He hath confessed: away with him! he's a villainCADE
and a traitor.
Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen andMICHAEL
ink-horn about his neck.
Exit one with the Clerk
Where's our general?CADE
Here I am, thou particular fellow.MICHAEL
Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and hisCADE
brother are hard by, with the king's forces.
Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee down. HeMICHAEL
shall be encountered with a man as good as himself:
he is but a knight, is a'?
To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.SIR HUMPHREY
KneelsRise up Sir John Mortimer.
RisesNow have at him!
Enter SIR HUMPHREY and WILLIAM STAFFORD, with drum and soldiers
Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,WILLIAM STAFFORD
Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom:
The king is merciful, if you revolt.
But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,CADE
If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.
As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:SIR HUMPHREY
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.
Villain, thy father was a plasterer;CADE
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
And Adam was a gardener.WILLIAM STAFFORD
And what of that?CADE
Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.SIR HUMPHREY
Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?
By her he had two children at one birth.WILLIAM STAFFORD
Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis true:DICK
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.
Nay, 'tis too true; therefore he shall be king.SMITH
Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, andSIR HUMPHREY
the bricks are alive at this day to testify it;
therefore deny it not.
And will you credit this base drudge's words,ALL
That speaks he knows not what?
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.DICK
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.
And furthermore, well have the Lord Say's head forCADE
selling the dukedom of Maine.
And good reason; for thereby is England mained, andSIR HUMPHREY
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.
O gross and miserable ignorance!CADE
Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are ourALL
enemies; go to, then, I ask but this: can he that
speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good
counsellor, or no?
No, no; and therefore we'll have his head.WILLIAM STAFFORD
Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,SIR HUMPHREY
Assail them with the army of the king.
Herald, away; and throughout every townCADE
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
And you that love the commons, follow me.DICK
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.
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.
| Henry VI, part 2
| Act 4, Scene 2
Previous scene | Next scene