Sir Thomas More – Act 1, Scene 3

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< Mend this.
My Lord of Surrey, and Sir Thomas Palmer,
Might I with patience tempt your grave advice?
I tell ye true, that in these dangerous times
I do not like this frowning vulgar brow.
My searching eye did never entertain
A more distracted countenance of grief
Than I have late observed
In the displeased commons of the city.

‘Tis strange that form his princely clemency,
So well a tempered mercy and a grace
To all the aliens in this fruitful land,
That this high-crested insolence should spring
From them that breathe from his majestic bounty
That fattened with the traffic of our country,
Already leap into his subjects’ face.

Yet Sherwin hindered to commence his suit
Against De Bard, by the ambassador
By supplication made unto the king,
Who having first enticed away his wife
And got his plate, near worth four hundred pound,
To grieve some wronged citizens that found
This vile disgrace oft cast into their teeth,
Of late sues Sherwin, and arrested him
For money for the boarding of his wife.

The more knave Bard, that using Sherwin’s goods
Doth ask him interest for the occupation;
I like not that, my lord of Shrewsbury.
He’s ill bestead that lends a well-paced horse
Unto a man that will not find him meat.

My lord of Surrey will be pleasant still.

I being then employed by your honours
To stay the broil that fell about the same,
Where, by persuasion I enforced the wrongs
And urged the grief of the displeased city,
He answered me, and with a solemn oath,
That if he had the Mayor of London’s wife,
He would keep her in despite of any English {man}.

‘Tis good, Sir Thomas, then for you and me
Your wife is dead and I a bachelor.
If no man can possess his wife alone,
I am glad, Sir Thomas Palmer, I have none.

If ‘a take my wife, ‘a shall find her meat.

And reason good, Sir Roger Cholmley, too.
If these hot Frenchmen needsly will have sport,
They should in kindness yet defray the charge.
‘Tis hard when men possess our wives in quiet
And yet leave us in to discharge their diet.

My lord, our caters shall not use the market
For our provision, but some stranger {Lombard} now
Will take the victuals from him he hath bought.
A carpenter, as I was late informed,
Who having bought a pair of doors in Cheap,
Immediately a Frenchman {Lombard} took them from him
And beat the poor man for resisting him,
And when the fellow did complain his wrongs
He was severely punished for his labour.

<Begin cut
But if the English blood be once but up,
As I perceive their hearts already full,
I fear me much, before their spleens be cold,
Some of these saucy aliens for their pride
Will pay for’t soundly, wheresoe’er it lights.
This tide of rage, that with the eddy strives,
I fear me much will drown too many lives.

Now afore God, your honours, pardon me,
Men of your place and greatness are to blame,
I tell you true, my lords, in that his majesty
Is not informed of this base abuse,
And daily wrongs are offered to his subjects,
For if he were, I know his gracious wisdom
Would soon redress it.
End cut>

Enter a Messenger.

Sirrah, what news?

None good, I fear.

<Begin cut
My lord, ill news, and worse, I fear, will follow,
If speedily it be not looked to.
The city is in an uproar, and the mayor
Is threatened if he come out of his house
End cut>
A number poor artifi{cers are up
And threaten to avenge their wrongs.

‘Twas to be} feared what this would come unto.
This follows the doctor’s publishing
The bill of wrongs in public at the Spital.

That Doctor Beale may chance beshrew himself
For reading of the bill.

Let us gather forces to the mayor
For quick suppressing this rebellious riot.

Now I bethink myself of Master More,
One of the sheriffs, a wise and learned gentleman
And in especial favour with the people
He, backed with other grave and sober men,
May by his gentle and persuasive speech
Perhaps prevail more then we can with power.

Believe me, but your honour well advises.
Let us make haste, or I do greatly fear
Some to their graves this morning’s work will bear.                     [Exeunt.


Proceed to the next scene


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