Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2
From Politics as Usual
Henry VI, Part 2 by William Shakespeare,
Act 4, Scene 2 (Excerpt)
Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers
We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father,–
[Aside] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.
For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with
the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
My father was a Mortimer,–
[Aside] He was an honest man, and a good
My mother a Plantagenet,–
[Aside] I knew her well; she was a midwife.
My wife descended of the Lacies,–
[Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler’s daughter, and
sold many laces.
[Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with her
furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
Therefore am I of an honourable house.
[Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable;
and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
father had never a house but the cage.
Valiant I am.
[Aside] A’ must needs; for beggary is valiant.
I am able to endure much.
[Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him
whipped three market-days together.
I fear neither sword nor fire.
[Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.
[Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of
fire, being burnt i’ the hand for stealing of sheep.
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,–
God save your majesty!
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.
The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
thing, that of the skin of an innocent 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