Sir Thomas More – Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter the Warders of the Tower with halberds.

 FIRST WARDER
Ho, make a guard there!

SECOND WARDER
Master Lieutenant gives a straight command
The people be avoided from the bridge.

THIRD WARDER
From whence is he committed, who can tell?

FIRST WARDER
From Durham house, I hear.

SECOND WARDER
The guard were waiting there an hour ago.

THIRD WARDER
If he stay long, he’ll not get near the wharf,
There’s such a crowd of boats upon the Thames.

FIRST WARDER
Well, be it spoken without offence to any,
A wiser or more virtuous gentleman
Was never bred in England.

SECOND WARDER
I think the poor will bury him in tears.
I never heard a man since I was born
So generally bewailed of everyone.

Enter a Poor Woman.

 THIRD WARDER
What means this woman?  Whither dost thou press?

FIRST WARDER
This woman will be trod to death anon.

SECOND WARDER
What mak’st thou here?

WOMAN
To speak with that good man, Sir Thomas More.

FIRST WARDER
To speak with him?  He’s not Lord Chancellor.

WOMAN
The more’s the pity, sir, if it pleased God.

FIRST WARDER
Therefore if thou hast a petition to deliver,
Thou mayse keep it now, for anything I know.

WOMAN
I am a poor woman, and have had, God knows,
A suit this two year in the chancery,
And he hath all the evidence I have,
Which should I lose, I am utterly undone.

FIRST WARDER
Faith, and I fear thou’lt hardly come by ‘em now.
I am sorry for thee even with all my heart.

Enter the Lords of SHREWSBURY and SURREY with SIR THOMAS MORE and Attendants, and enter Lieutenant and Gentleman Porter.

 SECOND WARDER
Woman, stand back, you must avoid this place,
The lords must pass this way into the Tower.

MORE
I thank your lordships for your pains thus far.
To my strong house.

WOMAN
Now, good Sir Thomas More, for Christ’s dear sake,
Deliver me my writings back again
That do concern my title.

MORE
What, my old client, art thou got hither too?
Poor silly wretch, I must confess indeed
I had such writings as concern thee near,
But the king has ta’en the matter into his own hand;
He has all I had; then, woman, sue to him,
I cannot help thee, thou must bear with me.

WOMAN
Ah, gentle heart, my soul for thee is sad,
Farewell the best friend that the poor e’er had.                                [Exit.

GENTLEMAN PORTER
Before you enter through the Tower gate,
Your uppoer garment, sir, belongs to me.

MORE
Sir, you shall have it, there it is.                              [He gives him his cap.

GENTLEMAN PORTER
The upmost on your back, sir, you mistake me.

MORE
Sir, now I understand you very well,
But that you name my back;
Sure else my cap had been the uppermost.

SHREWSBURY
Farewell, kind lord, God send us merry meeting.

MORE
Amen, my lord.

SURREY
Farewell, dear friend, I hope your safe return.

MORE
My lord, and my dear fellow in the Muses,
Farewell, farewell most noble lords.

LIEUTENANT
Adieu, most honourable lords.                                            [Exeunt Lords.

MORE
Fair prison, welcome.  Yet methinks
For thy fair building, ‘tis too foul a name.
Many a guilty soul, and many an innocent,
Have breathed their farewell to thy hollow rooms.
I oft have entered into thee this way,
Yet, I thank God, ne’er with a clearer conscience
Than at this hour.
This if my comfort yet:  how hard soe’er
My lodging prove, thy cry of the poor suitor,
Fatherless orphan or distressed widow
Shall not disturb me in my quiet sleep.
On then, a God’s name, to our close abode;
God is as strong here as he is abroad.                                         [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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