Sir Thomas More

Page 10

MORE. Submit you to these noble gentlemen, Entreat their mediation to the king, Give up yourself to form, obey the magistrate, And there's no doubt but mercy may be found, If you so seek. To persist in it is present death: but, if you Yield yourselves, no doubt what punishment You in simplicity have incurred, his highness In mercy will most graciously pardon.

ALL. We yield, and desire his highness' mercy.

[They lay by their weapons.]

MORE. No doubt his majesty will grant it you: But you must yield to go to several prisons, Till that his highness' will be further known.

ALL. Most willingly; whether you will have us.

SHREWSBURY. Lord Mayor, let them be sent to several prisons, And there, in any case, be well intreated.-- My lord of Surrey, please you to take horse, And ride to Cheapside, where the aldermen Are with their several companies in arms; Will them to go unto their several wards, Both for the stay of furth mutiny, And for the apprehending of such persons As shall contend.

SURREY. I go, my noble lord.

[Exit Surrey.]

SHREWSBURY. We'll straight go tell his highness these good news; Withal, Shrieve More, I'll tell him how your breath Hath ransomed many a subject from sad death.

[Exit Shrewsbury and Cholmley.]

LORD MAYOR. Lincoln and Sherwin, you shall both to Newgate; The rest unto the Counters.

PALMER. Go guard them hence: a little breath well spent Cheats expectation in his fairest event.

DOLL. Well, Sheriff More, thou hast done more with thy good words than all they could with their weapons: give me thy hand, keep thy promise now for the king's pardon, or, by the Lord, I'll call thee a plain coney-catcher.

LINCOLN. Farewell, Shrieve More; and as we yield by thee, So make our peace; then thou dealst honestly.

CLOWN. Aye, and save us from the gallows, else a devil's double honestly!

[They are led away.]

LORD MAYOR. Master Shrieve More, you have preserved the city From a most dangerous fierce commotion; For, if this limb of riot here in St. Martins Had joined with other branches of the city That did begin to kindle, twould have bred Great rage; that rage much murder would have fed. Not steel, but eloquence hath wrought this good: You have redeemed us from much threatened blood.

MORE. My lord and brethren, what I here have spoke, My country's love, and next the city's care, Enjoined me to; which since it thus prevails, Think, God hath made weak More his instrument To thwart sedition's violent intent. I think twere best, my lord, some two hours hence We meet at the Guildhall, and there determine That thorough every ward the watch be clad In armor, but especially proud That at the city gates selected men, Substantial citizens, do ward tonight, For fear of further mischief.

LORD MAYOR. It shall be so: But yond me thinks my lord of Shrewsbury.

[Enter Shrewsbury.]

SHREWSBURY. My lord, his majesty sends loving thanks To you, your brethren, and his faithful subjects, Your careful citizens.--But, Master More, to you A rougher, yet as kind, a salutation: A knights creation is this knightly steel. Rise up, Sir Thomas More.

MORE. I thank his highness for thus honoring me.

SHREWSBURY. This is but first taste of his princely favor: For it hath pleased his high majesty (Noting your wisdom and deserving merit) To put this staff of honor in your hand, For he hath chose you of his Privy Council.

MORE. My lord, for to deny my sovereign's bounty Were to drop precious stones into the heaps Whence they first came; To urge my imperfections in excuse, Were all as stale as custom: no, my lord, My service is my kings; good reason why,-- Since life or death hangs on our sovereign's eye.

LORD MAYOR. His majesty hath honored much the city In this his princely choice.

MORE. My lord and brethren, Though I depart for court my love shall rest With you, as heretofore, a faithful guest. I now must sleep in court, sound sleeps forbear; The chamberlain to state is public care: Yet, in this rising of my private blood, My studious thoughts shall tend the city's good.

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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