ACT IV
Scene II.
 

Blackheath

Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLAND

GEORGE
Come and get thee a sword, though made of a lath; they have
been up these two days.

JOHN
They have the more need to sleep now, then.

GEORGE
I tell thee Jack Cade the clothier means to dress the
commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.

JOHN
So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say it was never
merry world in England since gentlemen came up.

GEORGE
O miserable age! Virtue is not regarded in handicraftsmen.

JOHN
The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.

GEORGE
Nay, more, the King's Council are no good workmen.

JOHN
True; and yet it is said 'Labour in thy vocation'; which is
as much to say as 'Let the magistrates be labouring men'; and
therefore should we be magistrates.

GEORGE
Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of a brave
mind than a hard hand.

JOHN
I see them! I see them! There's Best's son, the tanner of
Wingham-

GEORGE
He shall have the skins of our enemies to make dog's
leather of.

JOHN
And Dick the butcher-

GEORGE
Then is sin struck down, like an ox, and iniquity's throat
cut like a calf.

JOHN
And Smith the weaver-

GEORGE
Argo, their thread of life is spun.

JOHN
Come, come, let's fall in with them.

Drum. Enter CADE, DICK THE BUTCHER, SMITH THE WEAVER, and a SAWYER, with infinite numbers

CADE
We John Cade, so term'd of our supposed father-

DICK
[Aside] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.

CADE
For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with the
spirit of putting down kings and princes- command silence.

DICK
Silence!

CADE
My father was a Mortimer-

DICK
[Aside] He was an honest man and a good bricklayer.

CADE
My mother a Plantagenet-

DICK
[Aside] I knew her well; she was a midwife.

CADE
My wife descended of the Lacies-

DICK
[Aside] She was, indeed, a pedlar's daughter, and sold many
laces.

SMITH
[Aside] But now of late, not able to travel with her furr'd
pack, she washes bucks here at home.

CADE
Therefore am I of an honourable house.

DICK
[Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable, and there
was he born, under a hedge, for his father had never a house but
the cage.

CADE
Valiant I am.

SMITH
[Aside] 'A must needs; for beggary is valiant.

CADE
I am able to endure much.

DICK
[Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him whipt three
market days together.

CADE
I fear neither sword nor fire.

SMITH
[Aside] He need not fear the sword, for his coat is of
proof.

DICK
[Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being
burnt i' th' hand for stealing of sheep.

CADE
Be brave, then, for your captain is brave, and vows
reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves
sold for a penny; the three-hoop'd pot shall have ten hoops; and
I will make it felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be
in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass. And
when I am king- as king I will be

ALL
God save your Majesty!

CADE
I thank you, good people- there shall be no money; all shall
eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one
livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their
lord.

DICK
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

CADE
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that
of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? That
parchment, being scribbl'd o'er, should undo a man? Some say the
bee stings; but I say 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal once
to a thing, and I was never mine own man since. How now! Who's
there?

Enter some, bringing in the CLERK OF CHATHAM

SMITH
The clerk of Chatham. He can write and read and cast
accompt.

CADE
O monstrous!

SMITH
We took him setting of boys' copies.

CADE
Here's a villain!

SMITH
Has a book in his pocket with red letters in't.

CADE
Nay, then he is a conjurer.

DICK
Nay, he can make obligations and write court-hand.

CADE
I am sorry for't; the man is a proper man, of mine honour;
unless I find him guilty, he shall not die. Come hither, sirrah,
I must examine thee. What is thy name?

CLERK
Emmanuel.

DICK
They use to write it on the top of letters; 'twill go hard
with you.

CADE
Let me alone. Dost thou use to write thy name, or hast thou a
mark to thyself, like a honest plain-dealing man?

CLERK
Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up that I can
write my name.

ALL
He hath confess'd. Away with him! He's a villain and a
traitor.

CADE
Away with him, I say! Hang him with his pen and inkhorn about
his neck.

Exit one with the CLERK

Enter MICHAEL

MICHAEL
Where's our General?

CADE
Here I am, thou particular fellow.

MICHAEL
Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother are
hard by, with the King's forces.

CADE
Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee down. He shall be
encount'red with a man as good as himself. He is but a knight,
is 'a?

MICHAEL
No.

CADE
To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
[Kneels] Rise up, Sir John Mortimer. [Rises] Now have at him!

Enter SIR HUMPHREY STAFFORD and WILLIAM his brother, with drum and soldiers

STAFFORD
Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom;
The King is merciful if you revolt.

WILLIAM STAFFORD
But angry, wrathful, and inclin'd to blood,
If you go forward; therefore yield or die.

CADE
As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not;
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
O'er whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.

STAFFORD
Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?

CADE
And Adam was a gardener.

WILLIAM STAFFORD
And what of that?

CADE
Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March,
Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?

STAFFORD
Ay, sir.

CADE
By her he had two children at one birth.

WILLIAM STAFFORD
That's false.

CADE
Ay, there's the question; but I say 'tis true.
The elder of them being put to nurse,
Was by a beggar-woman stol'n away,
And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age.
His son am I; deny it if you can.

DICK
Nay, 'tis too true; therefore he shall be king.

SMITH
Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, and the bricks
are alive at this day to testify it; therefore deny it not.

STAFFORD
And will you credit this base drudge's words
That speaks he knows not what?

ALL
Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.

WILLIAM STAFFORD
Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.

CADE
[Aside] He lies, for I invented it myself- Go to, sirrah,
tell the King from me that for his father's sake, Henry the
Fifth, in whose time boys went to span-counter for French crowns,
I am content he shall reign; but I'll be Protector over him.

DICK
And furthermore, we'll have the Lord Say's head for selling
the dukedom of Maine.

CADE
And good reason; for thereby is England main'd and fain to go
with a staff, but that my puissance holds it up. Fellow kings, I
tell you that that Lord Say hath gelded the commonwealth and made
it an eunuch; and more than that, he can speak French, and
therefore he is a traitor.

STAFFORD
O gross and miserable ignorance!

CADE
Nay, answer if you can; the Frenchmen are our enemies. Go to,
then, I ask but this: can he that speaks with the tongue of an
enemy be a good counsellor, or no?

ALL
No, no; and therefore we'll have his head.

WILLIAM STAFFORD
Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,
Assail them with the army of the King.

STAFFORD
Herald, away; and throughout every town
Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade;
That those which fly before the battle ends
May, even in their wives'and children's sight,
Be hang'd up for example at their doors.
And you that be the King's friends, follow me.

Exeunt the TWO STAFFORDS and soldiers

CADE
And you that love the commons follow me.
Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman;
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon,
For they are thrifty honest men and such
As would- but that they dare not- take our parts.

DICK
They are all in order, and march toward us.

CADE
But then are we in order when we are most out of order. Come,
march forward.

Exeunt