Sir Thomas More – Act 2, Scene 1

Return to the previous scene

Enter LINCOLN, the two BETTSES, WILLIAMSON, SHERWIN,
And others armed, DOLL in a shirt of mail, a headpiece, sword and
Buckler, a crew attending.

 CLOWN
Come, come, we’ll tickle their turnips, we’ll butter their boxes.  Shall strangers rule the roost?  Yes, but we’ll baste the roast. Come, come, a-flaunt, a-flaunt!

 GEORGE
Brother, give place and hear John Lincoln speak.

 CLOWN
Ay, Lincoln, my leader
And Doll my true breeder
With the rest of our crew
Shall ran tan tarra ran,
Do all what they can.
Shall we be bobbed? No.  Shall we be held under? No.  We are free born and do take scorn to be used so.

 DOLL
Peace there, I say, hear Captain Lincoln speak,
Keep silence till we know his mind at large.

 CLOWN
Then largely deliver:  speak bully, and he that presumes to interrupt thee in thy oration, this for him!

 LINCOLN
Then, gallant bloods, you whose free souls do scorn
To bear the enforced wrongs of aliens
Add rage to resolution, fire the houses
Of these audacious strangers.  This is St. Martin’s,
And yonder dwells Meautis, a wealthy Picard,
At the Green Gate,
De Bard, Peter van Hollock, Adrian Martin,
With many more outlandish fugitives.
Shall these enjoy more privilege than we
In our own country?  Let’s then become their slaves.
Since justice keeps not them in greater awe
We’ll be ourselves rough ministers of law.

 CLOWN
Use no more swords
Nor no more words
But fire the houses!
Brave captains courageous, fire me their houses!

 DOLL
Ay, for we may as well make bonfires on May Day as at Midsummer; we’ll alter the day in the calendar, and set it down in flaming letters.

 SHERWIN
Stay no, that would much endanger the whole city
Whereto I would not the least prejudice.

 DOLL
No, nor I neither, so may mine own house be burned for company.  I’ll tell ye what:  we’ll drag the strangers out into Moorfields, and there bombast them till they stink again.

 CLOWN
And that’s soon done, for they smell for fear already.

 GEORGE
Let some of us enter the strangers’ houses
And if we find them there, then bring them forth.

 DOLL
But if ye bring them forth ere ye find them, I’ll ne’er allow of that.

 CLOWN
Now, Mars, for thy honour,
Dutch or French,
So it be a wench,
I’ll upon her.                                                [Exeunt some and SHERWIN.

 WILLIAMSON
Now, lads, how shall we labour in our safety?
I hear the mayor hat gathered men in arms
And that shrieve More an hour ago received
Some of the Privy Council in at Ludgate.
Force now must make our peace or else we fall;
‘Twill soon be known we are the principal.

 DOLL
And what of that?  If thou beest afraid, go home again and hide thy head, for by the lord, I’ll have a little sport now we are at it!

 GEORGE
Let’s stand upon our swords, and if they come
Reassure them as they were our enemies.

Enter SHERWIN and the rest.

 CLOWN
A purchase!  A purchase!  We have found, we ha’ found—

 DOLL
What?

 CLOWN
Nothing.  Not a French Fleming, nor a Fleming French to be found, but all fled in plain English.

 LINCOLN
How now, have you found any?

 SHERWIN
No, not one, they’re all fled.

 LINCOLN
Then fire the houses , that the mayor being busy
About the quenching of them, we may ‘scape.
Burn down their kennels, let us straight away,
Lest this day prove to us an ill May Day.

 CLOWN
Fire, fire!  I’ll be the first;
If hanging come, ‘tis welcome, that’s the worst.    [Exeunt. Manet CLOWN.

Proceed to the next scene

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