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History of Henry VIII

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Act V, Scene 4

The palace yard.


[Noise and tumult within. Enter Porter and his Man]

  • Porter. You'll leave your noise anon, ye rascals: do you
    take the court for Paris-garden? ye rude slaves, 3270
    leave your gaping.
    Good master porter, I belong to the larder.
  • Porter. Belong to the gallows, and be hanged, ye rogue! is
    this a place to roar in? Fetch me a dozen crab-tree 3275
    staves, and strong ones: these are but switches to
    'em. I'll scratch your heads: you must be seeing
    christenings? do you look for ale and cakes here,
    you rude rascals?
  • Man. Pray, sir, be patient: 'tis as much impossible— 3280
    Unless we sweep 'em from the door with cannons—
    To scatter 'em, as 'tis to make 'em sleep
    On May-day morning; which will never be:
    We may as well push against Powle's, as stir em.
  • Porter. How got they in, and be hang'd? 3285
  • Man. Alas, I know not; how gets the tide in?
    As much as one sound cudgel of four foot—
    You see the poor remainder—could distribute,
    I made no spare, sir.
  • Porter. You did nothing, sir. 3290
  • Man. I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand,
    To mow 'em down before me: but if I spared any
    That had a head to hit, either young or old,
    He or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker,
    Let me ne'er hope to see a chine again 3295
    And that I would not for a cow, God save her!
    Do you hear, master porter?
  • Porter. I shall be with you presently, good master puppy.
    Keep the door close, sirrah. 3300
  • Man. What would you have me do?
  • Porter. What should you do, but knock 'em down by the
    dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? or have
    we some strange Indian with the great tool come to
    court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a 3305
    fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian
    conscience, this one christening will beget a
    thousand; here will be father, godfather, and all together.
  • Man. The spoons will be the bigger, sir. There is a
    fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a 3310
    brazier by his face, for, o' my conscience, twenty
    of the dog-days now reign in's nose; all that stand
    about him are under the line, they need no other
    penance: that fire-drake did I hit three times on
    the head, and three times was his nose discharged 3315
    against me; he stands there, like a mortar-piece, to
    blow us. There was a haberdasher's wife of small
    wit near him, that railed upon me till her pinked
    porringer fell off her head, for kindling such a
    combustion in the state. I missed the meteor once, 3320
    and hit that woman; who cried out 'Clubs!' when I
    might see from far some forty truncheoners draw to
    her succor, which were the hope o' the Strand, where
    she was quartered. They fell on; I made good my
    place: at length they came to the broom-staff to 3325
    me; I defied 'em still: when suddenly a file of
    boys behind 'em, loose shot, delivered such a shower
    of pebbles, that I was fain to draw mine honour in,
    and let 'em win the work: the devil was amongst
    'em, I think, surely. 3330
  • Porter. These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse,
    and fight for bitten apples; that no audience, but
    the tribulation of Tower-hill, or the limbs of
    Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure.
    I have some of 'em in Limbo Patrum, and there they 3335
    are like to dance these three days; besides the
    running banquet of two beadles that is to come.

[Enter Chamberlain]

  • Lord Chamberlain. Mercy o' me, what a multitude are here!
    They grow still too; from all parts they are coming, 3340
    As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters,
    These lazy knaves? Ye have made a fine hand, fellows:
    There's a trim rabble let in: are all these
    Your faithful friends o' the suburbs? We shall have
    Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies, 3345
    When they pass back from the christening.
  • Porter. An't please
    your honour,
    We are but men; and what so many may do,
    Not being torn a-pieces, we have done: 3350
    An army cannot rule 'em.
  • Lord Chamberlain. As I live,
    If the king blame me for't, I'll lay ye all
    By the heels, and suddenly; and on your heads
    Clap round fines for neglect: ye are lazy knaves; 3355
    And here ye lie baiting of bombards, when
    Ye should do service. Hark! the trumpets sound;
    They're come already from the christening:
    Go, break among the press, and find a way out
    To let the troop pass fairly; or I'll find 3360
    A Marshalsea shall hold ye play these two months.
  • Porter. Make way there for the princess.
  • Man. You great fellow,
    Stand close up, or I'll make your head ache.
  • Porter. You i' the camlet, get up o' the rail; 3365
    I'll peck you o'er the pales else.