The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 1, Scene 1

Return to Prologue


My Lord Mayor, you have sundry times
Feasted myself and many courtiers more;
Seldom or never can we be so kind
To make requital of your courtesy.
But leaving this, I hear my cousin Lacy
Is much affected to your daughter Rose.

True, my good lord, and she loves him so well
That I mislike her boldness in the chase.

Why, my Lord Mayor, think you it then a shame
To join a Lacy with an Otley’s name?

Too mean is my poor girl for his high birth;
Poor citizens must not with courtiers wed,
Who will in silks and gay apparel spend
More in one year than I am worth by far.
Therefore your Honour need not doubt my girl.

Take heed, my Lord, advise you what you do:
A verier unthrift lives not in this world
Than is my cousin, for, I’ll tell you what,
‘Tis now almost a year since he requested
To travel countries for experience;
I furnished him with coin, bills of exchange,
Letters of credit, men to wait on him,
Solicited my friends in Italy
Well to respect him, but see the end:
Scant had he journeyed through half Germany,
But all his coin was spent, his men cast off,
His bills embezzled, and my jolly coz,
Ashamed to show his bankrupt presence here,
Became a shoemaker in Presence:
A goodly science for a gentleman
Of such descent!  Now judge the rest by this.
Suppose your daughter have a thousand pound,
He did consume me more in one half-year;
And make him heir to all the wealth you have,
One twelve-month’s rioting will waste it all.
Then seek, my Lord, some honest citizen
To wed your daughter to.

I thank you Lordship.
[Aside.] Well, fox, I understand your subtlety.
[Aloud.]As for your nephew, let your lordship’s eyes
But watch his actions, and you need not fear,
For I have sent my daughter far enough;
And yet your cousin Rowland might do well
Now he hath learned an occupation.
[Aside.] And yet I scorn to call him son-in-law.

Ay, but I have a better trade for him:
I thank his Grace he hath appointed him
Chief colonel of all those companies
Mustered in London and the shires about
To serve his Highness in those wars in France.
See where he comes:  Lovell, what news with you?


My Lord of Lincoln, ’tis his Highness will
That presently your cousin ship for France
With all his powers:  he would not for a million
But they should land at Deepe within four days.

Go certify his Grace it shall be done.                                              [Exit LOVELL.
Now, cousin Lacy, in what forwardness
Are all your companies?

All well prepared:
The men of Hertfordshire lie at Mile End,
Suffolk and Essex train in Tothill-fields,
The Londoners and those of Middlesex,
All gallantly prepared in Finsbury,
With frolic spirits long for their parting hour.

They have their imprest, coats and furniture,
And if it please your cousin Lacy come
To the Guildhall, he shall receive his pay,
And twenty pounds beside my brethren
Will freely give him, to approve our loves
We bear unto my Lord your uncle here.

I thank your Honour.

Thanks, my good Lord Mayor

At the Guildhall we will expect your coming.                                                                   [Exit LORD MAYOR.

To approve your loves to me?  No, subtlety!
Nephew, that twenty pound he doth bestow
For joy to rid you from his daughter Rose.
But, cousins both, now here are none but friends,
I would not have you cast an amorous eye
Upon so mean a project as the love
Of a gay, wanton, painted citizen.
I know this churl, even in the height of scorn,
Doth hate the mixture of his blood with thine:
I pray thee do thou so.  Remember, coz,
What honourable fortunes wait on thee:
Increase the King’s love, which so brightly shines
And gilds thy hopes; I have no heir but thee
And yet not thee, if with a wayward spirit
Thou start from the true bias of my love.

My Lord, I will for honour, not desire
Of land or livings, or to be your heir,
So guide my actions in pursuit of France
As shall add glory to the Lacys’ name.

Coz, for those words here’s thirty portuguese,
And nephew Askew, there’s a few for you.
Fair Honour in her loftiest eminence
Stays in France for you to fetch her thence.
Then, nephews, clap swift wings on your designs:
Begone, begone, make haste to the Guildhall.
There presently I’ll meet you; do not stay:
Where Honour beckons, shame attends delay.                                                                  [Exit LINCOLN.

How gladly would your uncle have you gone!

True, coz, but I’ll o’erreach his policies.
I have some serious business for three days,
Which nothing but my presence can dispatch.
You therefore, cousin, with the companies
Shall haste to Dover; there I’ll meet with you,
Or, if I stay past my prefixed time,
Away for France:  we’ll meet in Normandy.
The twenty pounds my Lord Mayor gives to me
You shall receive, and these ten portuguese,
Part of mine uncle’s thirty.  Gentle coz,
Have care to our great charge:  I know your wisdom
Hath tried itself in higher consequence.

Coz, all myself am yours; yet have this care,
To lodge in London with all secrecy:
Our uncle Lincoln hath, besides his own,
Many a jealous eye that in your face
Stares only to watch means for your disgrace.

Stay, cousin:  who be these?

with a piece.

Leave whining, leave whining; away with this whimpering, this puling, these blubbering tears, and these wet eyes.  I’ll get thy husband discharged, I warrant thee, sweet Jane:  go to!

Master, here be the captains.

Peace, Hodge; husht, ye knave, husht!

Here be the cavaliers and the coronels, master.

Peace, Firk; peace, my fine Firk!  Stand by with your pishery-pashery, away!  I am a man of the best presence:  I’ll speak to them and they were Popes!  Gentlemen, captains, colonels, commanders:  brave men, brave leaders, may it please you to give me audience?  I am Simon Eyre, the mad shoemaker of Tower Street; this wench with the mealy mouth that will never tire is my wife, I can tell you; here’s Hodge, my man and my foreman; here’s Firk, my fine firking journeyman; and this is blubbered Jane.  All we come to be suitors for this honest Ralph:  keep him at home, and as I am a true shoemaker and a gentleman of the Gentle Craft, buy spurs yourself, and I’ll find ye boots these seven years.

Seven years, husband?

Peace, midriff, peace!  I know what I do:  peace!

Truly, master cormorant, you shall do God good service to let Ralph and his wife stay together.  She’s a young new-married woman; if you take her husband away from her a-night, you undo her; she may beg in the daytime, for he’s as good a workman at a prick and an awl as any in our trade.

O let him stay, else I shall be undone!

Ay, truly, she shall be laid at one side like a pair of old shoes else, and be occupied for no use.

Truly, my friends, it lies not in my power;
The Londoners are pressed, paid, and set forth
By the Lord Mayor:  I cannot change a man.

Why, then you were as good be a corporal as a colonel, if you cannot discharge one good fellow; and I tell you true, I think you do more than you can answer, to press a man within a year and a day of his marriage.

Well said, melancholy Hodge!  Gramercy, my fine foreman!

Truly, gentlemen, it were ill done for such as you to stand so stiffly against a poor young wife:  considering her case, she is new-married, but let that pass.  I pray, deal not roughly with her; her husband is a young man and but newly entered, but let that pass.

Away with your pishery-pashery, your polls and your edipolls!  Peace, midriff; silence, Cicely Bumtrinket!  Let your head speak.

Yea, and the horns too, master.

Tawsoone, my fine Firk, tawsoone!  Peace, scoundrels!  See you this man captains?  You will not release him?  Well, let him go!  He’s a proper shot:  let him vanish!  Peace, Jane, dry up thy tears:  they’ll make his powder dankish.  Take him, brave men: Hector of Troy was an hackney to him, Hercules and Termagant scoundrels;  Prince Arthur’s Round Table, by the Lord of Ludgate, ne’er fed such a tall, such a dapper swordman!  By the life of Pharaoh, a brave, resolute swordsman!  Peace, Jane; I say no more, mad knaves!

See, see, Hodge, how my master raves in commendation of Ralph!

Ralph, th’art a gull, by this hand, and thou goest not.

I am glad, good Master Eyre, it is my hap
To meet so resolute a soldier.
Trust me, for your report and love to him,
A common slight regard shall not respect him.

Is thy name Ralph?

Yes, sir.

Give me thy hand;
Thou shalt not want, as I’m a gentleman
Woman, be patient; God no doubt will send
Thy husband safe again, but he must go:
His country’s quarrel says it shall be so.

Th’art a gull, by my stirrup, if thou dost not go!  I will not have thee strike thy gimlet into these weak vessels:  prick thine enemies, Ralph!


My Lord, your uncle on the Tower Hill
Stays with the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen,
And doth request you will all speed you may
To hasten thither.

Cousin, let us go.

Dodger, run you before; tell them we come.                     [Exit DODGER.
This Dodger is mine uncle’s parasite,
The arrant’st varlet that e’er breathed on earth;
He sets more discord in a noble house,
By one day’s broaching of his pickthank tales,
Than can be salved again in twenty years;
And he, I fear, shall go with us to France,
To pry into our actions.

Therefore, coz,
It shall behove you to be circumspect.

Fear not, good cousin.  Ralph, hie to your colours.   [Exit LACY and ASKEW.

I must, because there is no remedy;
But, gentle master and my loving dame,
As you have always been a friend to me,
So in my absence think upon my wife.

Alas, my Ralph.

She cannot speak for weeping.

Peace, you cracked groats, you mustard tokens:  disquiet not the brave soldier.  Go thy ways, Ralph.

Ay, ay, you bid him go; what shall I do when he is gone?

Why, be doing with me, or my friend Hodge:  be not idle.

Let me see thy hand, Jane: this fine hand, this white hand, these pretty fingers must spin, must card, must work!  Work, you bombast-cotton-candle-quean, work for your living, with a pox to you!  Hold thee, Ralph, here’s five sixpences for thee:  fight for the honour of the Gentle Craft, for the gentlemen shoemakers, the courageous cordwainers, the flower of Saint Martin’s, the mad knaves of Bedlam, Fleet Street, Tower Street and Whitechapel!  Crack me the crown of the French knaves, a pox on them, crack them!  Fight, by the Lord of Ludgate, fight, my fine boy!

Here, Ralph, here’s three twopences:  two carry into France, the third shall wash our souls at parting, for sorrow is dry.  For my sake, firk the Basa mon cues.

Ralph, I am heavy at parting, but here’s a shilling for thee.  God send thee to cram thy slops with French crowns, and thy enemies’ bellies with bullets!

I thank you, master, and I thank you all.
Now, gentle wife, my loving lovely Jane,
Rich men at parting give their wives rich gifts,
Jewels and rings, to grace their lily hands;
Thou know’st our trade makes rings for women’s heels:
Here, take this pair of shoes cut out by Hodge,
Stitched by my fellow Firk, seamed by myself,
Made up and pinked with letters for thy name.
Wear them, my dear Jane, for thy husband’s sake,
And every morning, when thou pull’st them on,
Remember me, and pray for my return.
Make much of them, for I have made them so,
That I can know them from a thousand mo.

Sound drum:  enter LORD MAYOR, LINCOLN, LACY, ASKEW, DODGER, and soldiers.  They pass over the stage, RALPH falls in amongst them, FIRK and the rest cry farewell, &c., and so Exeunt.


Proceed to the next scene.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: