Document: All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry VI, part II > Act IV, scene II
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[Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLAND]
BEVIS: Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath;
they have been up these two days.
HOLLAND: 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.
HOLLAND: So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say it
was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
BEVIS: 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;
which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
labouring men; and therefore should we be
BEVIS: Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of a
brave mind than a hard hand.
HOLLAND: I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, the
tanner of Wingham,--
BEVIS: He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make
HOLLAND: And Dick the Butcher,--
BEVIS: Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity's
throat cut like a calf.
HOLLAND: And Smith the weaver,--
BEVIS: Argo, their thread of life is spun.
HOLLAND: 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,
CADE: My father was a Mortimer,--
DICK: [Aside] He was an honest man, and a good
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 daughter, and
sold many laces.
SMITH: [Aside] But now of late, notable 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 borne, 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.
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 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,--
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. How now! who's there?
[Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham]
SMITH: The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and
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.
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?
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 an honest
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]
MICHAEL: Where's our general?
CADE: Here I am, thou particular fellow.
MICHAEL: 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'?
CADE: To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
Rise up Sir John Mortimer.
Now have at him!
[Enter SIR HUMPHREY and WILLIAM STAFFORD, with
drum and soldiers]
SIR HUMPHREY: 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.
WILLIAM STAFFORD: 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;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
SIR HUMPHREY: Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
CADE: And Adam was a gardener.
WILLIAM STAFFORD: And what of that?
CADE: Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?
SIR HUMPHREY: Ay, sir.
CADE: By her he had two children at one birth.
WILLIAM STAFFORD: That's false.
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,
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.
SIR HUMPHREY: And will you credit this base drudge's words,
That speaks he knows not what?
ALL: 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.
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, well 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.
SIR HUMPHREY: 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.
WILLIAM STAFFORD: Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,
Assail them with the army of the king.
SIR HUMPHREY: 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,
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]
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 are most
out of order. Come, march forward.
2 KING HENRY VI