previous next

SCENE II

Blackheath.
Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLAND.

Bevis.
Come, and get thee a sword, though
made of lath: they have been up these two days.

Holl.
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.

Holl.
So he had need, for 'tis threadbare.
Well, I say it was never merry world in England (10)
since gentlemen came up.

Bevis.
O miserable age! virtue is not regarded
in handicrafts-men.

Holl.
The nobility think scorn to go in
leather aprons.

Bevis.
Nay, more, the king's council are no
good workmen.

Holl.
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 (20)
should we become magistrates.

Bevis.
Thou hast hit it; for there's no better
sign of a brave mind than a hard hand.

Holl.
I see them! I see them! There's Best's
son, the tanner of Wingham,--

Bevis.
He shall have the skins of our enemies,
to make dog's-leather of.

Holl.
And Dick the Butcher,--

Bevis.
Then is sin struck down like an ox,
and iniquity's throat cut like a calf. (30)

Holl.
And Smith the weaver,--

Bevis.
Argo, their thread of life is spun.

Holl.
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. (40)

Dick.
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 (49)
daughter, and sold many laces.

Smith.
[Aside]
But now of late, not able 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 born, 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. (60)

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 a felony to drink
small beer: all the realm shall be in common;
and in Cheapside shall my palfry 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. (91)
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. (100)

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?

Clerk.
Emmanuel.

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 (111)
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. Enter MICHAEL.

Mich.
Where's our general? (119)

Cade.
Here I am, thou particular fellow.

Mich.
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'?

Mich.
No.

Cade.
To equal him, I will make myself a
knight presently. [Kneels] Rise up Sir John
Mortimer. [Rises] Now have at him! Enter SIR HUMPHREY STAFFORD and his Brother, with drum and soldiers. (130)

Staf.
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.

Bro.
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; (139)
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.

Staf.
Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?

Cade.
And Adam was a gardener.

Bro.
And what of that?

Cade.
Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March,
Married the Duke of Clarence's daughter, did he not?

Staf.
Ay, sir.

Cade.
By her he had two children at one birth.

Bro.
That's false.

Cade.
Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis true: (150)
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.

Staf.
And will you credit this base drudge's words, (160)
That speaks he knows not what?

All.
Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.

Bro.
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, we'll 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.

Staf.
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.

Bro.
Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail.
Assail them with the army of the king.

Staf.
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, (190)
Be hang'd up for example at their doors:
And you that be the king's friends, follow me. Exeunt the two Staffords, 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 (200)
are most out of order. Come, march forward. [Exeunt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (33 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: