The Shoemaker’s Holiday

From Beer as Water

The Shoemaker’s Holiday by Thomas Dekker
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Act I
Scene I


LINCOLN. MY lord mayor, you have sundry times
Feasted myself and many courtiers more;
Seldom or never can we be so kind
To make requital of your courtesy.
But leaving this, I hear my cousin Lacy
Is much affected to your daughter Rose.

L. MAYOR. True, my good lord, and she loves him so well
That I mislike her boldness in the chase.

LINCOLN. Why, my lord mayor, think you it then a shame,
To join a Lacy with an Oateley’s name?

L. MAYOR. Too mean is my poor girl for his high birth;
Poor citizens must not with courtiers wed,
Who will in silks and gay apparel spend
More in one year than I am worth, by far:
Therefore your honour need not doubt my girl.

LINCOLN. Take heed, my lord, advise you what you do!
A verier unthrift lives not in the world,
Than is my cousin; for I’ll tell you what:
’Tis now almost a year since he requested
To travel countries for experience.
I furnished him with coins, bills of exchange,
Letters of credit, men to wait on him,
Solicited my friends in Italy
Well to respect him. But to see the end:
Scant had he journey’d through half Germany,
But all his coin was spent, his men cast off,
His bills embezzl’d, and my jolly coz,
Asham’d to show his bankrupt presence here,
Became a shoemaker in Wittenberg,
A goodly science for a gentleman
Of such descent! Now judge the rest by this:
Suppose your daughter have a thousand pound,
He did consume me more in one half year;
And make him heir to all the wealth you have
One twelvemonth’s rioting will waste it all.
Then seek, my lord, some honest citizen
To wed your daughter to.

L. MAYOR. I thank your lordship.
[Aside.] Well, fox, I understand your subtilty.—
As for your nephew, let your lordship’s eye
But watch his actions, and you need not fear,
For I have sent my daughter far enough.
And yet your cousin Rowland might do well,
Now he hath learn’d an occupation;
And yet I scorn to call him son-in-law.

LINCOLN. Ay, but I have a better trade for him.
I thank his grace, he hath appointed him
Chief colonel of all those companies
Must’red in London and the shires about,
To serve his highness in those wars of France.
See where he comes!—


Lovell, what news with you?

LOVELL. My Lord of Lincoln, ’tis his highness’ will,
That presently 6 your cousin ship for France
With all his powers; he would not for a million,
But they should land at Dieppe within four days.

LINCOLN. Go certify his grace, it shall be done.


Now, cousin Lacy, in what forwardness
Are all your companies?

LACY. All well prepared.
The men of Hertfordshire lie at Mile-end,
Suffolk and Essex train in Tothill-fields,
The Londoners and those of Middlesex,
All gallantly prepar’d in Finsbury,
With frolic spirits long for their parting hour.

L. MAYOR. They have their imprest, coats, and furniture;
And, if it please your cousin Lacy come
To the Guildhall, he shall receive his pay;
And twenty pounds besides my brethren
Will freely give him, to approve our loves
We bear unto my lord, your uncle here.

LACY. I thank your honour.

LINCOLN. Thanks, my good lord mayor.

L. MAYOR. At the Guildhall we will expect your coming.


LINCOLN. To approve your loves to me? No subtilty!
Nephew, that twenty pound he doth bestow
For joy to rid you from his daughter Rose.
But, cousins both, now here are none but friends,
I would not have you cast an amorous eye
Upon so mean a project as the love
Of a gay, wanton, painted citizen.
I know, this churl even in the height of scorn
Doth hate the mixture of his blood with thine.
I pray thee, do thou so! Remember, coz,
What honourable fortunes wait on thee.
Increase the king’s love, which so brightly shines,
And gilds thy hopes. I have no heir but thee,—
And yet not thee, if with a wayward spirit
Thou start from the true bias of my love.

LACY. My lord, I will for honour, not desire
Of land or livings, or to be your heir,
So guide my actions in pursuit of France,
As shall add glory to the Lacys’ name.

LINCOLN. Coz, for those words here’s thirty Portuguese,
And, nephew Askew, there’s a few for you.
Fair Honour, in her loftiest eminence,
Stays in France for you, till you fetch her thence.
Then, nephews, clap swift wings on your designs.
Begone, begone, make haste to the Guildhall;
There presently I’ll meet you. Do not stay:
Where honour beckons, shame attends delay.


ASKEW. How gladly would your uncle have you gone!

LACY. True, coz, but I’ll o’erreach his policies.
I have some serious business for three days,
Which nothing but my presence can dispatch.
You, therefore, cousin, with the companies,
Shall haste to Dover; there I’ll meet with you:
Or, if I stay past my prefixed time,
Away for France; we’ll meet in Normandy.
The twenty poun

ds my lord mayor gives to me
You shall receive, and these ten Portuguese,
Part of mine uncle’s thirty. Gentle coz,
Have care to our great charge; I know, your wisdom
Hath tried itself in higher consequence.

ASKEW. Coz, all myself am yours: yet have this care,
To lodge in London with all secrecy;
Our uncle Lincoln hath, besides his own,
Many a jealous eye, that in your face
Stares only to watch means for your disgrace.

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