Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry VI, part II > Act IV, scene II

Jump to: the first appearance of the_first_thing_we_do,_let's_kill_all_the_lawyers.


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

HOLLAND: They have the more need to sleep now, then.

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

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

BEVIS: O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.

HOLLAND: The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.

BEVIS: Nay, more, the king's council are no good workmen.

HOLLAND: 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

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

HOLLAND: I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, the
	tanner of Wingham,--

BEVIS: He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make
	dog's-leather of.

HOLLAND: And Dick the Butcher,--

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

HOLLAND: And Smith the weaver,--

BEVIS: Argo, their thread of life is spun.

HOLLAND: 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 termed 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

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 pedler's daughter, and
	sold many laces.

SMITH: [Aside]  But now of late, notable to travel with her
	furred 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 borne, 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
	whipped 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' the 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-hooped
	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 scribbled
	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 forward 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 an 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 confessed: away with him! he's a villain
	and a traitor.

CADE: Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and
	ink-horn 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 encountered with a man as good as himself:
	he is but a knight, is a'?


CADE: To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.


	Rise up Sir John Mortimer.


	Now have at him!

	drum and soldiers]

SIR HUMPHREY: 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 inclined 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,
	Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
	For I am rightful heir unto the crown.

SIR HUMPHREY: 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?


CADE: By her he had two children at one birth.


CADE: Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis true:
	The elder of them, being put to nurse,
	Was by a beggar-woman stolen 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.

SIR HUMPHREY: 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, well have the Lord Say's head for
	selling the dukedom of Maine.

CADE: And good reason; for thereby is England mained, 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.

SIR HUMPHREY: 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.

SIR HUMPHREY: 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 WILLIAM STAFFORD and SIR HUMPHREY, 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.



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