The Weakest Goeth to the Wall – Scene 2

Return to the previous scene

Enter BARNABY BUNCH, a botcher, with a pair of shears, a handbasket with acrossbottom of thread, three or four pair of old stockings, pieces of fustianand cloth, &c.

Bonjour in French is “good morrow” in English; true, and therewithal good morrow, fair—what? maids?—no, good morrow, fair morning; and yet as fair as it looks, I fear we shall have rain.  These French fleas bite so filthily.  We travellers are abject—that’s to say order’d to many mysteries and troubles.  I, Barnaby Bunch, the botcher, no whilome—that is, sometime—of a better trade; for I was an ale-draper as Thames and Tower-wharf can witness.  Well, God be with them both!  My honourable humour to learn language and see fashions has lost me many a stout draught of strong ale, what at London, what at Gravesend, were I was born.  This France, I confess, is a goodly country, but it breeds no ale herbs.  Good water, that’s drink for a horse, and de vine blanket and de vine coverlet, dat is vine claret for great out-rich cobs.  Well, fare England wherethe poor may have a pot of ale for a penny, fresh ale, firm ale, nappy ale,nippitate ale, irregular, secular ale, courageous ale, contagious ale,alcumistical ale.  Well, up with my ware, and down to my work, and on to mysong, for a merry heart lives long.

[He hangs three or four pair of hose upon a stick, and falls to sewing one hose heel, and sings.

King Richard’s gone to Walsingham,
[Speaks.] Kate, is my goose roasted?
[Sings.] To the Holy Land,
[Speaks.] I mean my pressing iron, wench.
[Sings.] To kill Turk and Saracen that the truth do withstand.
[Speaks.] Prithee, make it hot; I must use it.
[Sings.] Christ, his cross be his good speed; Christ his foes to quell.
[Speaks.] Let it not be hot, Kate.
[Sings.] Send him help in time of need, and to come home well.
[Speaks.] Oh, for one pot of Mother Bunch’s ale, my own mother’s ale, to wash my throat this misty morning!  It would clear my sight, comfort my heart, and stuff my veins, that I should not smell the favour of these stockings.  Well, fare cleanly Englishmen yet.  These Frenchmen’s feet have a pocky strong scent.

Enter two or three Citizens, one after another, with bags and plate and things to hide.

Who be these that run so fearfully?  Ha?  citizens by the mass!  Citizens that look as they were scar’d.
[Sings.] John Dory bought him an ambling nag, to Paris to ride-a
And happy are they can seek and find, for they are gone to hida-a.

How blessed is this botcher that can sing
When all the city is set on sorrowing. [He seeks up and down for a place to hide his plate.
Where shall I hide this little that I have,
Whilst speedy flight attempt my life to save?

Oh, unexpected, sudden misery,
More bitter made by our security!
We unprovided and our foes at hand,
The head depress’d, how can the body stand?           [He seeks as above.
Where shall I shroud unseen this little pelf,
Whilst I by flight assay to save myself?

Whom have we here?  My gold will me betray.
Thee must I leave, with life to steal away.                                  [He seeks.
Thou art my life, then if I live ‘tis wonder,
When limbs and life are forc’d to part in sunder.

Who’s there?

A friend.  Who thou?

No enemy.  What’s he?

A citizen your neighbour.  What fellow’s that?

A botcher, a poor English mechanic.

What shall we do in this calamity?

Hide what we have, and fly from th’enemy.

O, how near is he?

He’ll be here to-night.

No mean to save our lives but present flight.

What, are these thick-skinn’d, heavy purs’d gorbellied churls mad?  What do they fear?  To be robb’d, I think.  O, that they would hide their money where I might find it, that should be the first language I would learn to speak. Though I have no money, I am as merry as they, and well fare nothing once a year.  For early up and never the near.


O, whither fly ye, silly, heartless shadows?
What sudden fear so daunts your courages?
Are ye surpris’d with dread of enemies?
Then arm yourselves to guard yourselves and yours.
Let not base rumours drive ye from your den,
As hares from forms.  Stay, fight, and die like men.

O, noble duke Lod’wick, what avails our stay
When all our power cannot defend one part?

We shall have help.

From whom?

From Count Lavall.

No, he and Trosthey are with Mercury.

Yet Monsieur Rossibroune may come in time.

All is but hazard; we are sure of none.
Therefore God buy you my lord, for I’ll save one.                              [Exit.

And I another.

And I, if I can.                                                                           [Exeunt ambo.

Are ye all gone?  Stays there not one man?
Good fellow, what art thou?

A corrector of extravagant hose feet.

Wilt thou abide?
And fight against th’approaching enemy?

Envy?  What envy?

The proud Duke of Anjou, Mercury,
That comes to sack this unprovided town.

Is he near hand?

Ay, nearer than I wish.

O, that I had my pressing iron out of the fire, and my clean shirt from my laundress, that I might bid this town farewell, and bless it with my heels toward it!  Fie, fie, down with my stall, up with my wares, shift for myself.

So all will leave me in extremity.

Enter a Messenger.

Dear honoured lord, made haste to save yourself!
The armed troups of treacherous Mercury
Approach so fast, and in such multitudes,
That some of them are seen within a league,
And not a man of ours in readiness,
Except it be to run, none to resist.

Then must I run as fast as they.
Lod’wick till now was never runaway.                  [Exeunt LOD’WICK and Messenger.

If everybody run, it’s time for me to go.  O, that my customers had their ware, and I money for mending them, here’s sudden wars when we ne’er thought upon it.  Well, if I had had grace, I might have tarried at Tower- wharf, armed with a white apron, a pot in my left hand, a chalk in my right.  “What makes this in the pie?”  “Six pence,” said I.  “Fill here hey in the Swan!” “By and by, anon, anon.”  There might I have eat my fill, and drunk my fill, and slept my fill, and all without fear; safe as mouse in a mill; here if th’envy come, will be nothing but kill, kill, kill; and I am sure to be in most danger, because I am an English man and a stranger; this is the luck of them that travel foreign lands.  Now one pair of running legs are worth two pair of working hands.                                                                   [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: