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History of Henry VI, Part II

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Act IV, Scene 10

Kent. IDEN’s garden.


[Enter CADE]

  • Jack 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 2890
    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 2895
    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 2900
    quart pot to drink in; and now the word 'sallet'
    must serve me to feed on.

[Enter IDEN]

  • Alexander Iden. Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
    And may enjoy such quiet walks as these? 2905
    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 2910
    And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
  • Jack 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 2915
    I'll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow
    my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.
  • Alexander 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, 2920
    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?
  • Jack Cade. Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was
    broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I 2925
    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.
  • Alexander Iden. Nay, it shall ne'er be said, while England stands,
    That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent, 2930
    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, 2935
    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, 2940
    Let this my sword report what speech forbears.
  • Jack 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 2945
    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 2950
    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.
  • Alexander Iden. Is't Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?
    Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed, 2955
    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.
  • Jack Cade. Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. Tell 2960
    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.


  • Alexander Iden. How much thou wrong'st me, heaven be my judge. 2965
    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, 2970
    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.