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Henry VIII Scenes

Scene 3

The council chamber.

(Porter; Porter’s Man; Servant; Lord Chamberlain)

The Porter and his servants are unable to contain the crowds come to see the new Princess’ christening. (53 lines)

Noise and tumult within.

Enter Porter and his Man.


You’ll leave your noise anon, ye rascals; do you take the court for Parish Garden? Ye rude slaves, leave your gaping.



Good Master Porter, I belong to th’ larder.


Belong to th’ gallows, and be hang’d, ye rogue! Is this a place to roar in? Fetch me a dozen crab-tree staves, and strong ones; these are but switches to ’em. I’ll scratch your heads; you must be seeing christenings? Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals?


Pray, sir, be patient; ’tis as much impossible,

Unless we sweep ’em from the door with cannons,

To scatter ’em, as ’tis to make ’em sleep

On May-day morning, which will never be.

We may as well push against Powle’s as stir ’em.


How got they in, and be hang’d?


Alas, I know not, how gets the tide in?

As much as one sound cudgel of four foot

(You see the poor remainder) could distribute,

I made no spare, sir.


You did nothing, sir.


I am not Sampson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand,

To mow ’em down before me; but if I spar’d any

That had a head to hit, either young or old,

He or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker,

Let me ne’er hope to see a chine again,

And that I would not for a cow, God save her!



Do you hear, Master Porter?


I shall be with you presently, good Master Puppy.—Keep the door close, sirrah.


What would you have me do?


What should you do, but knock ’em down by th’ dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? Or have we some strange Indian with the great tool come to court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian conscience, this one christening will beget a thousand, here will be father, godfather, and all together.


The spoons will be the bigger, sir. There is a fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a brazier by his face, for, o’ my conscience, twenty of the dog-days now reign in ’s nose; all that stand about him are under the line, they need no other penance: that fire-drake did I hit three times on the head, and three times was his nose discharg’d against me; he stands there like a mortar-piece to blow us. There was a haberdasher’s wife of small wit near him, that rail’d upon me till her pink’d porringer fell off her head, for kindling such a combustion in the state. I miss’d the meteor once, and hit that woman, who cried out “Clubs!” , when I might see from far some forty truncheoners draw to her succor, which were the hope o’ th’ Strond, where she was quarter’d. They fell on, I made good my place; at length they came to th’ broom-staff to me, I defied ’em still, when suddenly a file of boys behind ’em, loose shot, deliver’d such a show’r of pebbles, that I was fain to draw mine honor in, and let ’em win the work. The devil was amongst ’em, I think, surely.


These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse and fight for bitten apples, that no audience but the tribulation of Tower-hill or the limbs of Lime-house, their dear brothers, are able to endure. I have some of ’em in Limbo Patrum, and there they are like to dance these three days; besides the running banquet of two beadles that is to come.

Enter Lord Chamberlain.


Mercy o’ me, what a multitude are here!

They grow still too; from all parts they are coming,

As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters?

These lazy knaves? Y’ have made a fine hand, fellows!

There’s a trim rabble let in. Are all these

Your faithful friends o’ th’ suburbs? We shall have

Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies,

When they pass back from the christening.


And’t please your honor,

We are but men; and what so many may do,

Not being torn a-pieces, we have done.

An army cannot rule ’em.


As I live,

If the King blame me for’t, I’ll lay ye all

By th’ heels, and suddenly; and on your heads

Clap round fines for neglect. Y’ are lazy knaves,

And here ye lie baiting of bombards, when

Ye should do service. Hark, the trumpets sound;

Th’ are come already from the christening.

Go break among the press, and find a way out

To let the troop pass fairly; or I’ll find

A Marshalsea shall hold ye play these two months.


Make way there for the Princess.


You great fellow,

Stand close up, or I’ll make your head ache.


You i’ th’ chamblet, get up o’ th’ rail,

I’ll peck you o’er the pales else.



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