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Sir Thomas More Scenes

Scene 2

Saint Martin’s-le-Grand.

(Lincoln; George Betts; Clown Betts; Williamson; Sherwin; Doll)

Doll and Lincoln whip up the rioters further. Doll has decked herself out in full armor. A clown proposes burning down the foreigners’ houses, though Sherwin protests that would put the entire city at risk. Doll suggests rather that they drag all the foreigners they can find and stone them. They run out to do so, though Williamson warns that the Mayor has raised a force to fight them back. The clown comes back to report that all the foreigners have fled, and Lincoln tells them to burn down the houses so that the Mayor will be distracted by dealing with the fire and the rioters can get away. (64 lines)

Enter Lincoln, two Bettses, Williamson, Sherwin, and other, armed; Doll in a shirt of mail, a headpiece, sword, and buckler; a crew attending.


Come, come; we’ll tickle their turnips, we’ll butter their boxes. Shall strangers rule the roost? Yes; but we’ll baste the roost. Come, come; aflaunt, aflaunt!


Brother, give place, and hear John Lincoln speak.


Aye, Lincoln my leader,

And Doll my true breeder,

With the rest of our crew,

Shall ran tan tarra ran;

Do all they what they can.

Shall we be bobbed, braved? No:

Shall we be held under? No;

We are freeborne,

And do take scorn

To be used so.


Peace there, I say! Hear Captain Lincoln speak. Keep silence, till we know his mind at large.


Then largely deliver; speak, bully. And he that presumes to interrupt thee in thy oration, this for him.


Then, gallant bloods, you whose free souls do scorn

To bear the inforced wrongs of aliens,

Add rage to resolution, fire the houses

Of these audacious strangers. This is St. Martin’s,

And yonder dwells Mutas, a wealthy Piccardy,

At the Green Gate,

De Barde, Peter Van Hollocke, Adrian Martine,

With many more outlandish fugitives.

Shall these enjoy more privilege than we

In our own country? Let’s, then, become their slaves.

Since justice keeps not them in greater awe,

We be ourselves rough ministers at law.


Use no more swords,

Nor no more words,

But fire the houses;

Brave captain courageous,

Fire me their houses.


Aye, for we may as well make bonfires on May Day as at Midsummer. We’ll alter the day in the calendar, and set it down in flaming letters.



No, that would much endanger the whole city,

Whereto I would not the least prejudice.


No, nor I neither; so may mine own house be burned for company. I’ll tell ye what. We’ll drag the strangers into More fields, and there bombast them till they stink again.


And that’s soon done; for they smell for fear already.


Let some of us enter the strangers’ houses,

And, if we find them there, then bring them forth.


But if ye bring them forth ere ye find them, I’ll ne’er allow of that.


Now, Mars, for thy honor,

Dutch or French,

So it be a wench,

I’ll upon her.

Exeunt some and Sherwin.


Now, lads, sure shall we labor in our safety.

I hear the Mayor hath gathered men in arms,

And that Sheriff More an hour ago rised

Some of the Privy Counsel in at Ludgate:

Force now must make our peace, or else we fall;

’Twill soon be known we are the principal.


And what of that? If thou beest afraid, husband, go home again, and hide they head; for, by the Lord, I’ll have a little sport, now we are at it.


Let’s stand upon our swords, and if they come,

Receive them as they were our enemies.

Enter Sherwin and the rest.


A purchase, a purchase! We have found, we ha found—




Nothing; not a French Fleming nor a Fleming French to be found; but all fled, in plain English.


How now! Have you found any?


No, not one; they’re all fled.


Then fire the houses, that, the Mayor being busy

About the quenching of them, we may escape;

Burn down their kennels. Let us straight away,

Least this day prove to us an ill May Day.

Exeunt manet Clown.


Fire, fire! I’ll be the first.

If hanging come, ’tis welcome; that’s the worst.



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