The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 5, Scene 4

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Enter EYRE, HODGE, FIRK, RALPH, and other Shoemakers,
all with napkins on their shoulders.

Come, my fine Hodge, my jolly gentlemen shoemakers.  Soft, where be these cannibals, these varlets my officers?  Let them all walk and wait upon my brethren, for my meaning is that none but shoemakers, none but the livery of my Company shall in their satin hoods wait upon the trencher of my Sovereign.

O my Lord, it will be rare!

No more, Firk!  Come, lively!  Let your fellow prentices want no cheer; let wine be plentiful as beer, and beer as water!  Hang these penny-pinching fathers, that cram wealth in innocent lambskins!  Rip, knaves, avaunt, look to my guests!

My Lord, we are at our wits’s end for room; those hundred tables will not feast the fourth part of them!

Then cover me those hundred tables again, and again, till all my jolly prentices be feasted.  Avoid, Hodge; run, Ralph; frisk about, my nimble Firk!  Carouse me fathom healths to the honour of the shoemakers!  Do they drink lively, Hodge?  Do they tickle it, Firk?

Tickle it?  Some of them have taken their liquor standing so long, that they can stand no longer. But for meat, they would eat it, and they had it.

Want they meat?  Where’s this swag-belly, this greasy kitchen-stuff cook?  Call the varlet to me!  Want meat!  Firk, Hodge, lame Ralph, run, my tall men, beleaguer the shambles, beggar all Eastcheap, serve me whole oxen in chargers, and let sleep whine upon the tables like pigs for want of good fellows to eat them!  Want meat!  Vanish, Firk!  Avaunt, Hodge!

Your Lordship mistakes my man Firk:  he means their bellies want meat, not the boards, for they have drunk so much they can eat nothing.


Where is my Lord?

How now, Lady Madgy?

The King’s most excellent Majesty is new come!  He sends me for thy Honour:  one of his most worshipful peers bade me tell thou must be merry, and so forth, but let that pass.

Is my Sovereign come?  Vanish, my tall shoemakers, my nimble brethren, look to my guests the prentices.  Yet stay a little:  how now, Hans?  How looks my little Rose?

Let me request you to remember me:
I know your Honour easily may obtain
Free pardon of the King for me and Rose,
And reconcile me to my uncle’s grace.

Have done, my good Hans, my honest journeyman.  Look cheerily:  I’ll fall upon both my knees till they be as hard as horn, but I’ll get thy pardon.

Good my Lord, have a care what you speak to his Grace.

Away, you Islington whitepot!  Hence, you hopperarse,  you barley pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado!  Avaunt, avaunt, Mephostophilus!  Shall Sim Eyre learn to speak of you, Lady Madgy?  Vanish, Mother Miniver-cap, vanish, go, trip and go, meddle with your partlets and your pishery-pashery, your flewes and your whirligigs!  Go, rub out of mine alley!  Sim Eyre knows how to speak to a Pope, to Sultan Soliman, to Tamberlaine, and he were here:  and shall I melt, shall I droop before my Sovereign?  No!  Come, my Lady Madgy; follow me, Hans; about your business, my frolic free-booters;  Firk, frisk about and about and about, for the honour of mad Simon Eyre, Lord Mayor of London.

Hey, for the honour of the shoemakers!                                        [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene


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