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'T is a cruelty
To load a falling man.

      — King Henry VIII, Act V Scene 3


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History of Henry VI, Part II

Act IV

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Scene 1. The coast of Kent.

Scene 2. Blackheath.

Scene 3. Another part of Blackheath.

Scene 4. London. The palace.

Scene 5. London. The Tower.

Scene 6. London. Cannon Street.

Scene 7. London. Smithfield.

Scene 8. Southwark.

Scene 9. Kenilworth Castle.

Scene 10. Kent. IDEN’s garden.


Act IV, Scene 1

The coast of Kent.

      next scene .

[Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a] [p]Captain, a Master, a Master's-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, [p]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; 2155
    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, 2160
    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. 2165
  • Master. A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
  • Captain. What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
    And bear the name and port of gentlemen? 2170
    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!
  • Walter Whitmore. I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
    And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;
    [To SUFFOLK]
    And so should these, if I might have my will.
  • Captain. Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live. 2180
  • Earl of Suffolk. Look on my George; I am a gentleman:
    Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
  • Walter Whitmore. And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
    How now! why start'st thou? what, doth
    death affright? 2185
  • Earl of 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. 2190
  • Walter 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, 2195
    And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!
  • Earl of Suffolk. Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,
    The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke: 2200
    Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?
  • Captain. But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood,
    The honourable blood of Lancaster,
    Must not be shed by such a jaded groom. 2205
    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. 2210
    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? 2215
    This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
    And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
  • Captain. First let my words stab him, as he hath me.
  • Captain. Convey him hence and on our longboat's side
    Strike off his head.
  • 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: 2230
    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, 2235
    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 2240
    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, 2245
    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 2250
    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.' 2255
    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.
  • Earl of Suffolk. O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder 2260
    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: 2265
    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. 2270
  • Walter Whitmore. Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
    What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop? 2275
  • Earl of 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 2280
    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: 2285
    More can I bear than you dare execute.
  • Captain. Hale him away, and let him talk no more.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can,
    That this my death may never be forgot!
    Great men oft die by vile bezonians: 2290
    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]

  • Walter 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: 2305
    If he revenge it not, yet will his friends;
    So will the queen, that living held him dear.

[Exit with the body]

. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2


      next scene .


  • George Bevis. Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath; 2310
    they have been up these two days.
  • George Bevis. I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress
    the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.
  • John Holland. So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say it 2315
    was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
  • George Bevis. O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.
  • John Holland. The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.
  • George Bevis. Nay, more, the king's council are no good workmen.
  • John Holland. True; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation; 2320
    which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
    labouring men; and therefore should we be
  • George Bevis. Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of a
    brave mind than a hard hand. 2325
  • John Holland. I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, the
    tanner of Wingham,—
  • George Bevis. He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make
    dog's-leather of.
  • George Bevis. Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity's
    throat cut like a calf.
  • John Holland. Come, come, let's fall in with them. 2335
    [Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the]
    Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers]
  • Jack Cade. We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father,—
  • Jack Cade. For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with 2340
    the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
    —Command silence.
  • Jack Cade. My wife descended of the Lacies,—
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler's daughter, and 2350
    sold many laces.
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with her
    furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
  • Jack Cade. Therefore am I of an honourable house.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable; 2355
    and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
    father had never a house but the cage.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him
    whipped three market-days together.
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of 2365
    fire, being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.
  • Jack 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 2370
    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!
  • Jack Cade. I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; 2375
    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.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable 2380
    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 2385
    since. How now! who's there?

[Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham]

  • Smith the Weaver. The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and
    cast accompt.
  • Jack 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 the Butcher. They use to write it on the top of letters: 'twill 2400
    go hard with you.
  • Jack 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 of Chatham. Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up 2405
    that I can write my name.
  • All. He hath confessed: away with him! he's a villain
    and a traitor.
  • Jack Cade. Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and
    ink-horn about his neck. 2410

[Exit one with the Clerk]


  • Jack Cade. Here I am, thou particular fellow.
  • Michael. Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his 2415
    brother are hard by, with the king's forces.
  • Jack 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'?
  • Jack Cade. To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
    Rise up Sir John Mortimer.
    Now have at him! 2425
    drum and soldiers]
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford. Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
    Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
    Home to your cottages, forsake this groom: 2430
    The king is merciful, if you revolt.
  • William Stafford. But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,
    If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.
  • Jack Cade. As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:
    It is to you, good people, that I speak, 2435
    Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
    For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
  • Jack Cade. Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
    Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?
  • Jack Cade. By her he had two children at one birth. 2445
  • Jack 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, 2450
    Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
    His son am I; deny it, if you can.
  • Smith the Weaver. Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, and
    the bricks are alive at this day to testify it; 2455
    therefore deny it not.
  • All. Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.
  • Jack 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. 2465
  • Dick the Butcher. And furthermore, well have the Lord Say's head for
    selling the dukedom of Maine.
  • Jack 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 2470
    hath gelded the commonwealth, and made it an eunuch:
    and more than that, he can speak French; and
    therefore he is a traitor.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are our 2475
    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, 2480
    Assail them with the army of the king.
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford. 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, 2485
    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]

  • Jack Cade. And you that love the commons, follow me.
    Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty. 2490
    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.
  • Jack Cade. But then are we in order when we are most
    out of order. Come, march forward.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

Another part of Blackheath.

      next scene .

[Alarums to the fight, wherein SIR HUMPHREY and] [p]WILLIAM STAFFORD are slain. Enter CADE and the rest]

  • Jack Cade. Where's Dick, the butcher of Ashford?
  • Jack 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, 2505
    the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou
    shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking
  • Jack Cade. And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less. This 2510
    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. 2515
  • Dick the Butcher. If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the
    gaols and let out the prisoners.
  • Jack Cade. Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let's march
    towards London.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.

      next scene .

[Enter KING HENRY VI with a supplication, and the] [p]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. 2525
    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?
  • 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: 2535
    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? 2540
  • Henry VI. Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.
  • Lord Say. Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.
  • Henry VI. How now, madam!
    Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk's death?
    I fear me, love, if that I had been dead, 2545
    Thou wouldst not have mourn'd so much for me.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Henry VI. How now! what news? why comest thou in such haste?
  • Messenger. The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord! 2550
    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 2555
    Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless:
    Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother's death
    Hath given them heart and courage to proceed:
    All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
    They call false caterpillars, and intend their death. 2560
  • Henry VI. O graceless men! they know not what they do.
  • Duke of 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! 2565
  • Henry VI. Lord Say, the traitors hate thee;
    Therefore away with us to Killingworth.
  • Lord 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 2570
    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, 2575
    Join with the traitor, and they jointly swear
    To spoil the city and your royal court.
  • Henry VI. Come, Margaret; God, our hope, will succor us.
  • Henry VI. Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.
  • Lord Say. The trust I have is in mine innocence,
    And therefore am I bold and resolute.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

London. The Tower.

      next scene .

[Enter SCALES upon the Tower, walking.] [p]Then enter two or three Citizens below]

  • First Citizen. No, my lord, nor likely to be slain; for they have
    won the bridge, killing all those that withstand 2590
    them: the lord mayor craves aid of your honour from
    the Tower, to defend the city from the rebels.
  • Lord 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. 2595
    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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 6

London. Cannon Street.

      next scene .

[Enter CADE and the rest, and strikes his staff on] [p]London-stone]

  • Jack 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 2605
    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! 2610

[They kill him]

  • Smith the Weaver. If this fellow be wise, he'll never call ye Jack
    Cade more: I think he hath a very fair warning.
  • Dick the Butcher. My lord, there's an army gathered together in 2615
  • Jack 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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 7

London. Smithfield.

      next scene .

[Alarums. MATTHEW GOFFE is slain, and all the rest.] [p]Then enter CADE, with his company.

  • Jack Cade. So, sirs: now go some and pull down the Savoy;
    others to the inns of court; down with them all.
  • Jack Cade. Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.
  • John Holland. [Aside] Mass, 'twill be sore law, then; for he was
    thrust in the mouth with a spear, and 'tis not whole
    yet. 2630
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] Nay, John, it will be stinking law for his
    breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.
  • Jack 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. 2635
  • John Holland. [Aside] Then we are like to have biting statutes,
    unless his teeth be pulled out.
  • Jack Cade. And henceforward all things shall be in common.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, a prize, a prize! here's the Lord Say, 2640
    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]

  • Jack Cade. Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times. Ah, 2645
    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 2650
    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 2655
    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 2660
    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 2665
    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?
  • Jack Cade. Marry, thou oughtest not to let thy horse wear a 2670
    cloak, when honester men than thou go in their hose
    and doublets.
  • Dick the Butcher. And work in their shirt too; as myself, for example,
    that am a butcher.
  • Lord Say. Nothing but this; 'tis 'bona terra, mala gens.'
  • Jack Cade. Away with him, away with him! he speaks Latin.
  • Lord Say. Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
    Kent, in the Commentaries Caesar writ, 2680
    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, 2685
    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? 2690
    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, 2695
    You cannot but forbear to murder me:
    This tongue hath parley'd unto foreign kings
    For your behoof,—
  • Jack Cade. Tut, when struck'st thou one blow in the field?
  • Lord Say. Great men have reaching hands: oft have I struck 2700
    Those that I never saw and struck them dead.
  • George Bevis. O monstrous coward! what, to come behind folks?
  • Lord Say. These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.
  • Jack Cade. Give him a box o' the ear and that will make 'em red again.
  • Lord Say. Long sitting to determine poor men's causes 2705
    Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
  • Jack Cade. Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.
  • Lord Say. The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I'll be even 2710
    with you: I'll see if his head will stand steadier
    on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him.
  • Lord Say. Tell me wherein have I offended most?
    Have I affected wealth or honour? speak.
    Are my chests fill'd up with extorted gold? 2715
    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! 2720
  • Jack 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 2725
    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.
  • Lord Say. Ah, countrymen! if when you make your prayers, 2730
    God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
    How would it fare with your departed souls?
    And therefore yet relent, and save my life.
  • Jack Cade. Away with him! and do as I command ye.
    [Exeunt some with Lord SAY] 2735
    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 2740
    wives be as free as heart can wish or tongue can tell.
  • Dick the Butcher. My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take up
    commodities upon our bills?
  • All. O, brave! 2745

[Re-enter one with the heads]

  • Jack 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 2750
    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!


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 8


      next scene .

[Alarum and retreat. Enter CADE and all his] [p]rabblement]

  • Jack 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 2760
    sound retreat or parley, when I command them kill?

[Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD, attended]

  • Duke of 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; 2765
    And here pronounce free pardon to them all
    That will forsake thee and go home in peace.
  • Lord 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? 2770
    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. 2775
  • All. God save the king! God save the king!
  • Jack 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, 2780
    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 2785
    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! 2790
  • All. We'll follow Cade, we'll follow Cade!
  • Lord 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? 2795
    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, 2800
    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 2805
    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. 2810
  • All. A Clifford! a Clifford! we'll follow the king and Clifford.
  • Jack 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 2815
    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 2820
    treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.


  • Duke of 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. 2825
    [Exeunt some of them]
    Follow me, soldiers: we'll devise a mean
    To reconcile you all unto the king.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 9

Kenilworth Castle.

      next scene .

[Sound Trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN] [p]MARGARET, and SOMERSET, on the terrace]

  • 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. 2835
    Was never subject long'd to be a king
    As I do long and wish to be a subject.


  • Henry VI. Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised? 2840
    Or is he but retired to make him strong?
    [Enter below, multitudes, with halters about]
    their necks]
  • Lord Clifford. He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield;
    And humbly thus, with halters on their necks, 2845
    Expect your highness' doom of life or death.
  • 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: 2850
    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. 2855
  • 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 2860
    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. 2865
  • 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. 2870
    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. 2875
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My lord,
    I'll yield myself to prison willingly,
    Or unto death, to do my country good.
  • Henry VI. In any case, be not too rough in terms;
    For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language. 2880
  • Duke of Buckingham. I will, my lord; and doubt not so to deal
    As all things shall redound unto your good.
  • Henry VI. Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better;
    For yet may England curse my wretched reign.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

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.