Sir Thomas More – Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter SIR THOMAS MORE, the Lieutenant, and a Servant attending, as in his chamber in the Tower.

 MORE
Master Lieutenant, is the warrant come?
If it be so, a God’s name let us know it.

LIEUTENANT
My lord, it is.

MORE           ‘Tis welcome, sir, to me,
With all my heart.  His blessed will be done.

LIEUTENANT
Your wisdom, sir, hath been so well approved,
And your fair patience in imprisonment
Hath ever shown such constancy of mind
And Christian resolution in all troubles,
As warrants us you are not unprepared.

MORE
No, Master Lieutenant, I thank my God
I have peace of conscience, though the world and I
Are at a little odds.
But we’ll be even now, I hope, ere long.
When is the execution of your warrant?

LIEUTENANT
Tomorrow morning.

MORE
So, sir, I thank ye.
I have not lived so ill I fear to die.
Master Lieutenant, I have had a sore fit of the stone tonight,
But the king hath sent me such a rare receipt,
I thank him, as I shall not need to fear it much.

LIEUTENANT
In life and death, still merry Sir Thomas More.

MORE
Sirrah fellow, {reach me the urina}l.                    [The Servant gives it

him.
Ha, let me see, {There’s} gravel in the water,
{And yet, in sober truth I swear}
The man were likely to live long enough,
So pleased the king.  Here fellow, take it.

SERVANT
Shall I go with it to the doctor, sir?

MORE
No, save thy labour, we’ll cozen him of a fee.
Thou shalt see me take a dram tomorrow morning,
Shall cure the stone I warrant, doubt it not.
Master Lieutenant, what news of my Lord of Rochester?

LIEUTENANT
Yesterday morning was he put to death.

MORE
The peace of soul sleep with him.
He was a learned and a reverent prelate,
And a rich man, believe me.

LIEUTENANT
If he were rich, what is Sir Thomas More
That all this while hath been lord chancellor?

MORE
Say ye so, Master Lieutenant?  What do you think
A man that with my time had held my place
Might purchase?

LIEUTENANT
Perhaps, my lord, two thousand pound a year.

MORE
Master Lieutenant, I protest to you
I never had the means in all my life
To purchase one poor hundred pound a year.
I think I am the poorest chancellor
That ever was in England, though I could wish,
For credit of the place, that my estate were better.

LIEUTENANT
It’s very strange.

MORE
It will be found as true,
I think, sir, that with most part of my coin
I have purchased as strange commodities
As ever you hear tell of in your life.

LIEUTENANT
Commodities, my lord?
Might I, without offence, enquire of them?

MORE
Crutches, Master Lieutenant, and bare cloaks.
For halting soldiers, and poor needy scholars,
Have had my gettings in the chancery.
To think but what acheat the crown shall have
By my attainder!
I prithee, if thou beest a gentleman,
Get but a copy of my inventory.
That part of poet that was fiven me
Made me a very unthrift.
For this is the disease attends us all:
Poets were never thrifty, never shall.

Enter LADY MORE mourning, Daughters, and MASTER ROPER.

 LIEUTENANT
O noble More,
My lord, your wife, your son-in-law, and daughters.

MORE
Son Roper, welcome; welcome, wife and girls.
Why do you weep?  Because I live at ease?
Did you not see, when I was chancellor,
I was so cloyed with suitors every hour
I could not sleep, nor dine, nor sup in quiet?
Here’s none of this, here I can sit and talk
With my honest keeper half a day together,
Laugh and be merry.  Why then should you weep?

ROPER
These tears, my lord, for this your long restraint
Hope had dried up with comfort that we yet,
Although imprisoned, might have had your life.

MORE
To live in prison, what a life were that?
The king, I thank him, loves me more than so.
Tomorrow I shall be at liberty
To go even whither I can,
After I have dispatched my business.

LADY
Ah husband, husband, yet submit yourself,
Have care of your poor wife and children.

MORE
Wife, so I have, and I do leave you all
To His protection hath the power to keep
You sager than I can,
The father of the widow and the orphans.

ROPER
The world, my lord, hath ever held you wise,
And’t shall be no distaste unto your wisdom
To yield to the opinion of the state.

MORE
I have deceived myself, I must asknowledge;
And as you say, son Roper, to confess the same
It will be no disparagement at all.

LADY
His highness shall be certified thereof, immediately.     [Offering to depart.

MORE
Nay, hear me, wife, first let me tell ye how.
I thought to have had a barber for my beard,
Now I remember that were labour lost,
The headsman now shall cut off head and all.

ROPER’S WIFE
Father, his majesty upon your mock submission
Will yet, they say, receive you to his grace
In as great credit as you were before.

MORE
{‘Tis so indeed,} wench.  Faith, my lord the king
Has appointed me to do a little business.
If that were past, my firl, thou then shouldst see
What I would say to him about that matter.
But I shall be so busy until then,
I shall not tend it.

DAUGHTERS
Ah, my dear father!

LADY
Dear lord and husband!

MORE
Be comforted, good wife, to life and love my children,
For with thee leave I all my care of them.
Son Roper, for my sake that have loved thee well,
And for her virtue’s sake, cherish my child.
Girl, be not proud, but of thy husband’s love
Ever retain thy virtuous modesty.
That modesty is such a comely farment
As it is never out of fashion; sits as fair
Upon the meaner woman as the empress.
No stuff that gold can buy is half so tuch,
No ornament that so becomes a woman.
Live all, and love together, and thereby
You give you father a rich obsequy.

DAUGHTERS
Your blessing, dear father!

MORE
I must be gone.  God bless you,
To talk with God, who now doth call.

LADY
Ah my dear husband!

MORE
Sweet wife, good night, good night,
God send us all his everlasting light!

ROPER
I think before this hour,
More heavy hearts ne’er parted in the Tower.                              [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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