Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,
And change misdoubt to resolution;
Be that thou hop’st to be, or what thou art
Resign to death; it is not worth th’ enjoying.
Let pale-fac’d fear keep with the mean-born man,
And find no harbor in a royal heart.
Faster than spring-time show’rs comes thought on thought,
And not a thought but thinks on dignity.
My brain, more busy than the laboring spider,
Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies.
Well, nobles, well; ’tis politicly done,
To send me packing with an host of men:
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherish’d in your breasts, will sting your hearts.
’Twas men I lack’d, and you will give them me;
I take it kindly. Yet be well assur’d
You put sharp weapons in a madman’s hands.
Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,
I will stir up in England some black storm
Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;
And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage
Until the golden circuit on my head,
Like to the glorious sun’s transparent beams,
Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.
And for a minister of my intent,
I have seduc’d a headstrong Kentishman,
John Cade of Ashford,
To make commotion, as full well he can,
Under the title of John Mortimer.
In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,
And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts
Were almost like a sharp-quill’d porpentine;
And in the end being rescued, I have seen
Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.
Full often, like a shag-hair’d crafty kern,
Hath he conversed with the enemy,
And undiscover’d come to me again,
And given me notice of their villainies.
This devil here shall be my substitute;
For that John Mortimer, which now is dead,
In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble.
By this I shall perceive the commons’ mind,
How they affect the house and claim of York.
Say he be taken, rack’d, and tortured,
I know no pain they can inflict upon him
Will make him say I mov’d him to those arms.
Say that he thrive, as ’tis great like he will,
Why then from Ireland come I with my strength,
And reap the harvest which that rascal sow’d.
For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,
And Henry put apart, the next for me.