(Butler; Porter; Horsekeeper; Brewer; Gough; Catesby)
More’s servants discuss their master, who is going to trial this day. They all praise him and wish for the best, though they have little hope. Gough and Catesby arrive; they have received news that More was found guilty, and has been condemned to death, though he will not be executed until the King chooses. Gough announces that they have found a document from More that pays them all off, extremely generously. (40 lines)
Enter Butler, Porter, Brewer, and Horsekeeper several ways.
Robin brewer, how now, man! What cheer, what cheer?
Faith, Ned Butler, sick of thy disease; and these our other fellows here, Rafe Horsekeeper and Giles Porter, sad, sad; they say my lord goes to his trial today.
To it, man! Why, he is now at it, God send him well to speed!
Amen; even as I wish to mine own soul, so speed it with my honorable lord and master, Sir Thomas More.
I cannot tell, I have nothing to do with matters above my capacity; but, as God judge me, if I might speak my mind, I think there lives not a more harmless gentleman in the universal world.
Nor a wiser, nor a merrier, nor an honester; go to, I’ll put that in upon mine own knowledge.
Nay, and ye bait him his due of his housekeeping, hang ye all! Ye have many Lord Chancellor’s comes in debt at the year’s end, and for very housekeeping.
Well, he was too good a lord for us, and therefore, I fear, God himself will take him. But I’ll be hanged, if ever I have such an other service.
Soft, man, we are not discharged yet. My lord may come home again, and all will be well.
I much mistrust it; when they go to ‘raigning once, there’s ever foul weather for a great while after. But soft; here comes Master Gough and Master Catesby. Now we shall hear more.
Enter Gough and Catesby with a paper.
Before God, they are very sad; I doubt my lord is condemned.
God bless his soul! And a fig then for all wordly condemnation.
Well said, Giles Porter, I commend thee for it;
Twas spoken like a well affected servant
Of him that was a kind lord to us all.
Which now no more he shall be; for, dear fellows,
Now we are masterless, though he may live
So long as please the king. But law hath made him
A dead man to the world, and given the axe his head,
But his sweet soul to live among the saints.
Let us entreat ye to go call together
The rest of your sad fellows (by the rule
Y’are just seven score), and tell them what we hear
A virtuous honorable lord hath done
Even for the meanest follower that he had.
This writing found my lady in his study,
This instant morning, wherein is set down
Each servant’s name, according to his place
And office in the house. On every man
He frankly hath bestown twenty nobles,
The best and worst together, all alike,
Which Master Catesby here forth will pay ye.
Take it as it is meant, a kind remembrance
Of a fair kinder lord, with whose sad fall
He gives up house and farewell to us all:
Thus the fair spreading oak falls not alone,
But all the neighbor plants and under-trees
Are crushed down with his weight. No more of this:
Come, and receive your due, and after go
Fellow-like hence, copartners of one woe.