The Shoemaker’s Holiday – Act 5, Scene 5

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A long flourish or two.  Enter KING, Nobles, EYRE, MARGERY,
LACY, ROSE.  LACY and ROSE kneel.

 KING
Well, Lacy, though the fact was very foul
Of your revolting from our kingly love
And your own duty, yet we pardon you.
Rise both, and, Mistress Lacy, thank my Lord Mayor
For your young bridegroom here.

EYRE
So, my dear Liege, Sim Eyre and my brethren the gentlemen shoemakers shall set your sweet Majesty’s image cheek by jowl by Saint Hugh, for this honour you have done poor Simon Eyre.  I beseech your Grace, pardon my rude behaviour; I am a handicraftsman, yet my heart is without craft. I would be sorry at my soul that my boldness should offend my King.

KING
Nay, I pray thee, good Lord Mayor, be even as merry
As if thou wert among thy shoemakers:
It does me good to see thee in this humour.

EYRE
Sayest thou me so, my sweet Diocletian?  Then hump!  Prince am I none, yet am I princely born.  By the Lord of Ludgate, I’ll be as merry as a pie!

KING
Tell me in faith, mad Eyre, how old thou art.

EYRE
My Liege, a very boy, a stripling, a younker:  you see not a white hair on my head, not a grey in this beard.  Every hair, I assure thy Majesty, that sticks in this beard Sim Eyre values at the King of Babylon’s ransom; Tamar Cham’s beard was a rubbing-brush to’t:  yet I’ll shave it off and stuff tennis balls with it.

KING
But all this while I do not know your age.

EYRE
My Liege, I am six and fifty year old, yet I can cry hump with a second heart, for the honour of Saint Hugh.  Mark this old wench my King:  I danced the shaking of the sheets with her six and thirty years ago, and yet I hope to got two or three young Lord Mayors ere I die!  I am lusty still, Sim Eyre:  care and cold lodging brings white hairs.  My sweet Majesty, let care vanish, cast it upon thy nobles; it will make thee look always young like Apollo, and cry hump!  Prince am I none, yet am I princely born.

KING
Ha, ha!
Say, Cornwall, didst thou ever see his like?

NOBLEMAN
Not I, my Lord.

Enter LINCOLN and LORD MAYOR.

 KING
Lincoln, what news with you?

LINCOLN
My gracious Lord, have care unto yourself,
For there are traitors here.

ALL
Traitors?  Where?  Who?

EYRE
Traitors in my house?  God forbid!  Where be my officers?
I’ll spend my soul ere my King feel harm.

KING
Where is the traitor, Lincoln?

LINCOLN
Here he stands.

KING
Cornwall, lay hold on Lacy!  Lincoln, speak:
What canst thou lay unto thy nephew’s charge?

LINCOLN
This, my dear Liege:  your Grace, to do me honour,
Heaped on the head of this degenerous boy
Desertless favours; you made choice of him,
To be commander over powers in France,
But he–

KING
Good Lincoln, prithee pause a while:
Even in thine eyes I read what thou wouldst speak.
I know how Lacy did neglect our love,
Ran himself deeply, in the highest degree,
Into vile treason.

LINCOLN
Is he not a traitor?

KING
Lincoln, he was; now have we pardoned him.
‘Twas not a base want of true valour’s fire
That held him out of France, but love’s desire.

LINCOLN
I will not bear his shame upon my back.

KING
Nor shalt thou, Lincoln:  I forgive you both.

LINCOLN
Then good my Liege, forbid the boy to wed
One whose mean birth will much longer disgrace his bed.

KING
Are they not married?

LINCOLN
No, my Liege.

BOTH
We are!

KING
Shall I divorce them then?  O be it far
That any hand on earth should dare untie
The sacred knot knit by God’s majesty!
I would not for my crown disjoin their hands
That are conjoined in holy nuptial bands.
How sayest thou, Lacy?  Wouldst thou lose thy Rose?

LACY
Not for all India’s wealth, my Sovereign.

KING
But Rose, I am sure, her Lacy would forgo.

ROSE
If Rose were asked that question, she’d say no.

KING
You hear them, Lincoln?

LINCOLN
Yea, my Liege, I do.

KING
Yet canst thou find i’th’heart to part these two?
Who seeks, besides you, to divorce these lovers?

LORD MAYOR
I do, my gracious Lord:  I am her father.

KING
Sir Roger Otley, our last Mayor, I think?

NOBLEMAN
The same, my Liege.

KING
Would you offend Love’s laws?
Well, you shall have your wills; you sue to me
To prohibit the match:  soft, let me see:
You both are married, Lacy, art thou not?

LACY
I am, dread Sovereign.

KING
Then, upon thy life,
I charge thee not to call this woman wife.

LORD MAYOR
I thank your Grace.

ROSE
O my most gracious Lord!                                                 [Kneels.

KING
Nay, Rose, never woo me; I’ll tell you true,
Although as yet I am a bachelor,
Yet I believe I shall not marry you.

ROSE
Can you divide the body from the soul,
Yet make the body live?

KING
Yea, so profound?
I cannot, Rose; but you I must divide:
Fair maid, this bridegroom cannot be your bride.
Are you pleased, Lincoln?  Otley, are you pleased?

BOTH
Yes, my Lord.

KING
Then must my heart be eased,
For, credit me, my conscience lives in pain,
Till these whom I divorced be joined again.
Lacy, give me thy hand; Rose, lend me thine:
Be what you would be; kiss now; so, that’s fine!
At night, lovers, to bed!  Now, let me see,
Which of you all mislikes this harmony?

LORD MAYOR
Will you then take form me my child perforce?

KING
Why, tell me, Otley, shines not Lacy’s name
As bright in the world’s eyes as the gay beams
Of any citizen?

LINCOLN
Yea, but, my gracious Lord,
I do mislike the match far more than he:
Her blood is too too base.

KING
Lincoln, no more!
Dost thou not know that love respects no blood,
Cares not for difference or birth or state?
The maid is young, well born, fair, virtuous:
A worthy bride for any gentleman!
Besides, your nephew for her sake did stoop
To bare necessity, and, as I hear,
Forgetting honours and all courtly pleasures,
To gain her love became a shoemaker.
As for the honour which he lost in France,
Thus I redeem it:  Lacy, kneel thou down!
Arise, Sir Rowland Lacy!  Tell me now,
Tell me in earnest, Otley, canst thou chide,
Seeing thy Rose a lady and a bride?

LORD MAYOR
I am content with what your Grace hath done.

LINCOLN
And I, my Liege, since there’s no remedy.

KING
Come on, then, all shake hands:  I’ll have you friends.
Where there is much love, all discord ends.
What says my mad Lord Mayor to all this love?

EYRE
O my Liege, this honour you have done to my fine journeyman here, Rowland Lacy, and all those favours which you have shown to me this day in my poor house, will make Simon Eyre live longer by one dozen of warm summers more than he should.

KING
Nay, my mad Lord Mayor—that shall be thy name—
If any grace of mine can length thy life,
One honour more I’ll do thee:  that new building,
Which at thy cost in Cornhill is erected,
Shall take a name from us.  We’ll have it called
The Leadenhall, because in digging it
You found the lead that covereth the same.

EYRE
I thank your Majesty.

MARGERY
God bless your Grace.

KING
Lincoln, a word with you.

Enter HODGE, FIRK, RALPH, and more Shoemakers.

 EYRE
How now, my mad knaves?  Peace, speak softly:  yonder is the King.

KING
With the old troop which there we keep in pay,
We will incorporate a new supply.
Before one summer more pass o’er my head,
France shall repent England was injured.
What are all those?

LACY
All shoemakers, my Liege,
Sometimes my fellows; in their companies
I lived as merry as an emperor.

KING
My mad Lord Mayor, are all these shoemakers?

EYRE
All shoemakers, my Liege, all gentlemen of the Gentle Craft, true Trojans, courageous cordwainers; they all kneel to the shrine of holy Saint Hugh.

ALL
God save your Majesty!  All shoemakers!

KING
Mad Simon, would they anything with us?

EYRE
Mum, mad knaves, not a word!  I’ll do’t, I warrant you.  They are all beggars, my Liege, all for themselves; and I for them all on both my knees do entreat that for the honour of poor Simon Eyre, and the good of his brethren these mad knaves, your Grace would vouchsafe some privilege to my new Leadenhall, that it may be lawful for us to buy and sell leather there two days a week.

KING
Mad Sim, I grant your suit:  you shall have patent
To hold two market days in Leadenhall;
Mondays and Fridays, those shall be the times.
Will this content you?

ALL
Jesus bless your grace!

EYRE
In the name of these my poor brethren shoemakers, I most humbly thank your Grace.  But before I rise, seeing you are in the giving vein, and we in the begging, grant Sim Eyre one boon more.

KING
What is it, my Lord Mayor?

EYRE
Vouchsafe to taste of a poor banquet that stands sweetly waiting for your sweet presence.

KING
I shall undo thee Eyre, only with feasts.
Already have I been too troublesome:
Say have I not?

EYRE
O my dear King, Sim Eyre was taken unawares upon a day of shroving which I promised long ago to the prentices of London, for, and’t please your Highness, in time past,
I bare the water-tankard, and my coat
Sits not a whit the worse upon my back.
And then, upon a morning, some mad boys—
It was Shrove Tuesday even as ’tis now—gave me my breakfast, and I swore then by the stopple of my tankard, if ever I came to be Lord Mayor of London, I would feast all the prentices.  This day, my Liege, I did it, and the slaves had an hundred tables five times covered.  They are gone home and vanished:
Yet all more honour to the Gentle Trade:
Taste of Eyre’s banquet, Simon’s happy made.

KING
Eyre, I will taste of thy banquet, and will say,
I have not met more pleasure on a day.
Friends of the Gentle Craft, thanks to you all!
Thanks, my kind Lady Mayoress, for our cheer.
Come, Lords, a while let’s revel it at home:
When all our sports and banqueting are done,
Wars must right wrongs which Frenchmen have begun.     [Exeunt.

F I N I S

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