SHREWSBURY. How now, Crofts! what news?
CROFTS. My lord, his highness sends express command That a record be entered of this riot, And that the chief and capital offenders Be thereon straight arraigned, for himself intends To sit in person on the rest tomorrow At Westminster.
SHREWSBURY. Lord Mayor, you hear your charge.-- Come, good Sir Thomas More, to court let's hie; You are th' appeaser of this mutiny.
MORE. My lord, farewell: new days begets new tides; Life whirls bout fate, then to a grave it slides.
SCENE I. Cheapside.
[Enter Master Sheriff, and meet a Messenger.]
SHERIFF. Messenger, what news?
MESSENGER. Is execution yet performed?
SHERIFF. Not yet; the carts stand ready at the stairs, And they shall presently away to Tibourne.
MESSENGER. Stay, Master Shrieve; it is the council's pleasure, For more example in so bad a case, A gibbet be erected in Cheapside, Hard by the Standard; whether you must bring Lincoln and those that were the chief with him,
To suffer death, and that immediately.
SHERIFF. It shall be done, sir.
--Officers, be speedy; Call for a gibbet, see it be erected; Others make haste to Newgate, bid them bring The prisoners hither, for they here must die: Away, I say, and see no time be slacked.
OFFICERS. We go, sir.
[Exit some severally; others set up the gibbet.]
SHERIFF. That's well said, fellow; now you do your duty.-- God for his pity help these troublous times! The streets stopped up with gazing multitudes: Command our armed officers with halberds Make way for entrance of the prisoners; Let proclamation once again be made. That every householder, on pain of death, Keep in his prentices, and every man Stand with a weapon ready at his door, As he will answer to the contrary.
OFFICER. I'll see it done, sir.
[Enter another Officer.]
SHERIFF. Bring them away to execution: The writ is come above two hours since: The city will be fined for this neglect.
OFFICER. There's such a press and multitude at Newgate, They cannot bring the carts onto the stairs, To take the prisoners in.
SHERIFF. Then let them come on foot; We may not dally time with great command.
OFFICER. Some of the bench, sir, think it very fit That stay be made, and give it out abroad The execution is deferred till morning, And, when the streets shall be a little cleared, To chain them up, and suddenly dispatch it.
SHERIFF. Stay; in mean time me thinks they come along: See, they are coming. So, tis very well:
[The prisoners are brought in, well guarded.]
Bring Lincoln there the first unto the tree.
CLOWN. I, for I cry lug, sir.
LINCOLN. I knew the first, sir, did belong to me: This the old proverb now complete doth make, That Lincoln should be hanged for London's sake.
[He goes up.]
A God's name, let us to work. Fellow, dispatch: I was the foremost man in this rebellion, And I the foremost that must die for it.
DOLL. Bravely, John Lincoln, let thy death express, That, as thou liv'dst a man, thou diest no less.
LINCOLN. Doll Williamson, thine eyes shall witness it.-- Then to all you that come to view mine end I must confess, I had no ill intent, But against such as wronged us over much: And now I can perceive it was not fit That private men should carve out their redress, Which way they list; no, learn it now by me,-- Obedience is the best in each degree: And asking mercy meekly of my king, I patiently submit me to the law; But God forgive them that were cause of it! And, as a Christian, truly from my heart I likewise crave they would forgive me too (As freely as I do forgive their wrong) That others by example of the same Henceforth be warned to attempt the like Gainst any alien that repaireth hither. Fare ye well, all: the next time that we meet, I trust in heaven we shall each other greet.
[He leaps off.]
DOLL. Farewell, John Lincoln: say all what they can, Thou liv'dst a good fellow, and diedst an honest man.