William Shakespeare's The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth in the complete original text.
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The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth

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Act V. Scene IV.


Scene IV.—The Palace-Yard.

Noise and tumult within. Enter Porter and
his Man.

Port. You'll leave your noise anon, ye rascals.
Do you take the court for Paris-garden? ye rude;
slaves, leave your gaping.
[Within.] Good Master porter, I belong to
the larder.
Port. Belong to the gallows, and be hanged,
you 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?
Man. Pray, sir, be patient: 'tis as much
impossible—
Unless we sweep 'emfrom 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 Paul's as stir 'em.
Port. How got they in, and be hang'd?
Man. 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.
Port. You did nothing, sir.
Man. I am not Samson, 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!
[Within.] Do you hear, Master porter?
Port. I shall be with you presently, good
Master puppy. Keep the door close, sirrah.
Man. What would you have me do?
Port. What should you do, but knock 'em
down by the 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.
Man. 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
bit three times on the head, and three times was
his nose discharged against me: he stands there,
like a mortar-piece, to blow us. There was a
haberdasher's wife of small wit near him, that
railed upon me till her pinked 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 succour, which were the hope o' the Strand,
where she was quartered. They fell on; I made
good my place; at length they came to the
broomstaff to me; I defied 'em still; when
suddenly a file of boys behind 'em, loose shot,
delivered such a shower of pebbles, that I was
fain to draw mine honour in, and let 'em win
the work. The devil was amongst 'em, I think,
surely.
Port. 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 Limehouse, 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 the Lord Chamberlain.
Cham. 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? Ye have made a fine hand,
fellows:
There's a trim rabble let in. Are all these
Your faithful friends o' the suburbs? We shall
have
Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies,
When they pass back from the christening.
Port. An't please your honour,
We are but men; and what so many may do,
Not being torn a-pieces, we have done:
An army cannot rule 'em.
Cham. As I live,
If the king blame me for't, I'll lay ye all
By the heels, and suddenly; and on your
heads
Clap round fines for neglect: ye're lazy knaves;
And here ye lie baiting of bombards, when
Ye should do service. Hark! the trumpets
sound;
They're 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.
Port. Make way there for the princess.
Man. You great fellow,
Stand close up, or I'll make your head ache.
Port. You i' the camlet, get up o' the rail:
I'll pick you o'er the pales else. [Exeunt.
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