William Shakespeare's Second Part of King Henry the Sixth in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > Second Part of King Henry the Sixth > Act IV. Scene II.

Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act IV. Scene II.

Scene II.—Blackheath.


Geo. Come, and get thee a sword, though
made of a lath: they have been up these two
John. They have the more need to sleep now
Geo. I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means
to dress the commonwealth, and turn it, and set
a new nap upon it.
John. So he had need, for 'tis threadbare.
Well, I say it was never merry world in England
since gentlemen came up.
Geo. O miserable age! Virtue is not regarded
in handicrafts-men.
John. The nobility think scorn to go in
leather aprons.
Geo. Nay, more; the king's council are no
good workmen.
John. True; and yet it is said, 'Labour in thy
vocation:' which is as much to say as, let the
magistrates be labouring men; and therefore
should we be magistrates.
Geo. Thou hast hit it; for there's no better
sign of a brave mind than a hard hand.
John. I see them! I see them! There's Best's
son, the tanner of Wingham,—
Geo. He shall have the skins of our enemies
to make dog's-leather of.
John. And Dick the butcher,—
Geo. Then is sin struck down like an ox, and
iniquity's throat cut like a calf.
John. And Smith the weaver,—
Geo. Argo, their thread of life is spun.
John. Come, come, let's fall in with them.

Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH
the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite num-
Cade. We John Cade, so termed of our sup-
posed father,—
Dick. [Aside.] Or rather, of stealing a cade of
Cade. For our enemies shall fall before us,
inspired with the spirit of putting down kings
and princes,—Command silence. 40
Dick. Silence!
Cade. My father was a Mortimer.—
Dick. [Aside.] He was an honest man, and a
good bricklayer.
Cade. My mother a Plantagenet,—
Dick. [Aside.] I knew her well; she was a
Cade. My wife descended of the Lacies,—
Dick. [Aside.] She was, indeed, a pedlar's
daughter, and sold many laces.
Smith. [Aside.] But now of late, not able to
travel with her furred gack, she washes bucks
here at home.
Cade. Therefore am I of an honourable
Dick. [Aside.] Ay, by my faith, the field is
honourable; and there was he born, under a
hedge; for his father had never a house but the
Cade. Valiant I am.
Smith. [Aside.] A' must needs, for beggary is
Cade. I am able to endure much.
Dick. [Aside.] No question of that, for I have
seen him whipped three market-days together.
Cade. I fear neither sword nor fire.
Smith. [Aside.] He need not fear the sword,
for his coat is of proof.
Dick. [Aside.] But methinks he should stand
in fear of fire, being burnt i' the hand for steal-
ing of sheep.
Cade. Be brave, then; for your captain is
brave, and vows reformation. There shall be
in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a
penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten
hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small
beer. All the realm shall be in common, and in
Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass. And
when I am king,—as king I will be,—
All. God save your majesty!
Cade. I thank you, good people: there shall
be no money; all shall eat and drink on my
score; and I will apparel them all in one livery,
that they may agree like brothers, and worship
me their lord.
Dick. The first thing we do, let's kill all the
Cade. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this
a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an inno-
cent lamb should be made parchment? that
parchment, being scribbled o'er, should undo
a man? Some say the bee stings; but I say, 'tis
the bee's wax, for I did but seal once to a thing,
and I was never mine own man since. How now!
who's there?
Enter some, bringing in the Clerk of Chatham.
Smith. The clerk of Chatham: he can write
and read and cast accompt.
Cade. O monstrous!
Smith. We took him setting of boys' copies.
Cade. Here's a villain!
Smith. Has a book in his pocket with red
letters in't.
Cade. Nay, then he is a conjurer.
Dick. Nay, he can make obligations, and write
Cade. I am sorry for't: the man is a proper
man, of mine honour; unless I find him guilty,
he shall not die. Come hither, sirrah, I must
examine thee. What is thy name?
Clerk. Emmanuel.
Dick. They use to write it on the top of
letters. 'Twill go hard with you.
Cade. Let me alone. Dost thou use to write
thy name, or hast thou a mark to thyself, like an
honest plain-dealing man?
Clerk. Sir, I thank God, I have been so well
brought up, that I can write my name.
All. He hath confessed: away with him! he's
a villain and a traitor.
Cade. Away with him! I say; hang him with
his pen and ink-horn about his neck.
[Exeunt some with the Clerk.

Mich. Where's our general?
Cade. Here I am, thou particular fellow.
Mich. Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford
and his brother are hard by, with the king's
Cade. Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee
down. He shall be encountered with a man as
good as himself: he is but a knight, is a'?
Mich. No.
Cade. To equal him, I will make myself a
knight presently. [Kneels.] Rise up Sir John
Mortimer. [Rises.] Now have at him.

William his Brother, with drum and Forces.
Staf. Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of
Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom:
The king is merciful, if you revolt.
W. Staf. But angry, wrathful, and inclin'd to
If you go forward: therefore yield, or die.
Cade. As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
O'er whom, in time to come I hope to reign;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
Staf. Villain! thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
Cade. And Adam was a gardener.
W. Staf. And what of that?
Cade. Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl
of March,
Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did
he not?
Staf. Ay, sir.
Cade. By her he had two children at one
W. Staf. That's false.
Cade. Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis
The elder of them, being put to nurse,
Was by a beggar-woman stol'n away;
And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
His son am I; deny it if you can.
Dick. Nay, 'tis too true; therefore he shall be
Smith. Sir, he made a chimney in my father's
house, and the bricks are alive at this day to
testify it; therefore deny it not.
Staf. And will you credit this base drudge's
That speaks he knows not what?
All. Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye
W. Staf. Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath
taught you this.
Cade. [Aside.] He lies, for I invented it im-
self. Go to, sirrah; tell the king from me, that,
for his father's sake. Henry the Fifth, in whose
time boys went to span-counter for French
crowns, I am content he shall reign; but I'll be
protector over him.
Dick. And furthermore, we'll have the Lord
Say's head for selling the dukedom of Maine.
Cade. And good reason; for thereby is Eng-
land mained, and fain to go with a staff, but
that my puissance holds it up. Fellow kings, I
tell you that that Lord Say hath gelded the com-
monwealth, and made it a eunuch; and more
than that, he can speak French; and therefore
he is a traitor.
Staf. O gross and miserable ignorance!
Cade. Nay, answer, if you can: the French-
men are our enemies; go to then, I ask but
this, can he that speaks with the tongue of an
enemy be a good counsellor, or no?
All. No, no; and therefore we'll have his
W. Staf. Well, seeing gentle words will not
Assail them with the army of the king.
Staf. Herald, away; and throughout every
Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade;
That those which fly before the battle ends
May, even in their wives' and children's sight,
Be hang'd up for example at their doors:
And you, that be the king's friends, follow me.
[Exeunt the two STAFFORDS and Forces.
Cade. And you, that love the commons, fol-
low me.
Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman:
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon,
For they are thrifty honest men, and such
As would, but that they dare not take our parts.
Dick. They are all in order, and march to-
ward us.
Cade. But then are we in order when we are
most out of order. Come, march! forward!
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards