SIR THOMAS MORE
SIR THOMAS MORE
An anonymous play of the sixteen century ascribed in part to
William Shakespeare. First printed in 1844 and here
re-edited from the Harleian MS. 7368 in the British Museum.
Earl of SHREWSBURY.
Earl of SURREY.
Sir THOMAS PALMER.
Sir ROGER CHOMLEY.
Sir THOMAS MORE.
SURESBY a Justice.
Sergeant at Arms.
Clerk of the Council.
Bishop of Rochester.
ROPER son-in-law to MORE.
JOHN LINCOLN a broker.
His brother (the 'Clown').
WILLIAMSON a carpenter.
SHERWIN a goldsmith.
FRANCIS DE BARDE Lombard.
LIFTER a cut-purse.
SMART plaintiff against him.
HARRY ROBIN KIT and others Prentices.
FAULKNER his servant.
Lieutenant of the Tower.
Warders of the Tower.
Gentleman Porter of the Tower.
Lords Gentlemen Officers Messengers Guard Attendants.
Mistress ROPER daughter to MORE.
Another daughter to MORE.
DOLL wife to WILLIAMSON.
A Poor Woman.
SCENE I. London. A Street.
[Enter at one end John Lincoln with the two Bettses together; at
the other end enters Francis de Barde and Doll a lusty woman he
haling her by the arm.]
Whether wilt thou hale me?
Whether I please; thou art my prize and I plead purchase of thee.
Purchase of me! away ye rascal! I am an honest plain carpenters
wife and though I have no beauty to like a husband yet
whatsoever is mine scorns to stoop to a stranger: hand off then
when I bid thee!
Go with me quietly or I'll compel thee.
Compel me ye dog's face! thou thinkst thou hast the goldsmith's
wife in hand whom thou enticedst from her husband with all his
plate and when thou turndst her home to him again madst him
like an ass pay for his wife's board.
So will I make thy husband too if please me.
[Enter Caveler with a pair of doves; Williamson the carpenter and
Sherwin following him.]
Here he comes himself; tell him so if thou darst.
Follow me no further; I say thou shalt not have them.
I bought them in Cheapside and paid my money for them.
He did sir indeed; and you offer him wrong both to take them
from him and not restore him his money neither.
If he paid for them let it suffice that I possess them: beefs and
brews may serve such hinds; are pigeons meat for a coarse
It is hard when Englishmen's patience must be thus jetted on by
strangers and they not dare to revenge their own wrongs.
Lincoln let's beat them down and bear no more of these abuses.
We may not Betts: be patient and hear more.
How now husband! what one stranger take they food from thee
and another thy wife! by our Lady flesh and blood I think can
hardly brook that.
Will this gear never be otherwise? must these wrongs be thus
Let us step in and help to revenge their injury.
What art thou that talkest of revenge? my lord ambassador shall
once more make your Major have a check if he punish thee for this
Indeed my lord Mayor on the ambassador's complaint sent me to
Newgate one day because (against my will) I took the wall of a
stranger: you may do any thing; the goldsmith's wife and mine
now must be at your commandment.
The more patient fools are ye both to suffer it.
Suffer it! mend it thou or he if ye can or dare. I tell thee fellows
and she were the Mayor of London's wife had I her once in my
possession I would keep her in spite of him that durst say nay.
I tell thee Lombard these words should cost thy best cape were I
not curbed by duty and obedience: the Mayor of London's wife!
Oh God shall it be thus?
Why Betts am not I as dear t m husband as my lord Mayor's wife
to him? and wilt thou so neglectly suffer thine own shame?--Hands
off proud stranger! or by him that bought me if men's milky
hearts dare not strike a stranger yet women beat them down ere
they bear these abuses.
Mistress I say you shall along with me.
Touch not Doll Williamson least she lay thee along on God's dear
earth.--And you sir [To Caveler] that allow such coarse cates to
carpenters whilst pigeons which they pay for must serve your
dainty appetite deliver them back to my husband again or I'll call
so many women to mine assistance as will not leave one inch
untorn of thee: if our husbands must be bridled by law and forced
to bear your wrongs their wives will be a little lawless and
soundly beat ye.
Come away De Barde and let us go complain to my lord
Aye go and send him among us and we'll give him his welcome
too.--I am ashamed that freeborn Englishmen having beaten
strangers within their own homes should thus be braved and
abused by them at home.
It is not our lack of courage in the cause but the strict obedience
that we are bound to. I am the goldsmith whose wrongs you talked
of; but how to redress yours or mine own is a matter beyond our
Not so not so my good friends: I though a mean man a broker