Come, my Tresilian.
Thus like an emperor shall King Richard reign
and you so many Kings attendant on him.
our guard of archers, keep the doors, I charge ye,
let no man enter to disturb our pleasures.
thou toldest me, kind Tresilian, thou hadst devised
blank charters, to fill up our treasury
opening the chests of hoarding cormorants
that laugh to see their Kingly sovereign lack.
let us know the means, we may applaud thy wit.
see here, my lord: only with parchment, innocent
sheepskins. ye see here is no fraud, no clause, no
deceit in the writing.
why, there is nothing writ!
there is the trick on it!
these blank charters shall be forthwith sent
to every Shrieve through all the shires of England,
with charge to call before them presently
all landed men, freeholders, Farmers, Grasiers,
or any else that have ability.
then in your highness' name they shall be charged
to set their names, and forthwith seal these blanks.
that done, these shall return to court again,
but cartloads of money soon shall follow them.
noble lord chief justice!
where should his grace get such a councillor!
not if his beard were off! prithee Tresilian,
off with it. sfoot, thou seest we have not a beard
amongst us! thou sendest our barbers there to poll
the whole country. sfoot, let some shave thee!
it would become thee better in faith, and make thee
look more grim when thou sitst in judgment.
I tell ye, gallants: I will not lose a hair of my
lordship and King Richard's favour for the pope's
Enter the Queen
by your leave, there, give way to the Queen!
now, Anne-a-Beame, how cheers my dearest Queen?
is it holiday, my love? believe me, lords,
it is strange to take her from her sempstery;
she and her maids are all for housewifery.
shalt work no more, sweet nan, now Richard is King,
and peers and people all shall stoop to him.
we will have no more protecting uncles, trust me!
prithee look smooth and bid these nobles welcome.
whom my lord favours must to me be welcome.
these are our councillors, I tell ye, lady,
and these shall better grace King Richard's court
than all the doting heads that late controlled us.
thou seest already we begin to alter
the vulgar fashions of our homespun Kingdom.
I tell thee, nan, the states of christendom
shall wonder at our english royalty.
we held a council to devise these suits:
sir henry Greene devised this fashion shoe,
Bushy this peak; Bagot and Scroope set forth
this kind coherence betwixt the toe and knee
to have them chained together lovingly;
and we as sovereign did confirm them all.
suit they not quaintly, nan? sweet Queen, resolve me.
I see no fault that I dare call a fault.
but would your grace consider with advice
what you have done unto your reverent uncles?
(my fears provoke me to be bold, my lord)
they are your noble kinsmen, to revoke the
sentence were -
an act of folly, nan! King's words are laws.
if we infringe our word, we break our law.
no more of them, sweet Queen.
madam, what is done was with advice enough.
the King is now at years and hath shook off
the servile yoke of mean protectorship.
his highness can direct himself sufficient.
why should his pleasures then be curbed by any
as if he did not understand his state?
they tell thee true, sweet love. come, ride with me
and see today my hall at Westminster
which we have builded now to feast our friends.
do, do, good madam. prithee sweet King, let us ride
somewhither and it be but to show ourselves. sfoot,
our devices here are like jewels kept in caskets, or
good faces in masks, that grace not the owners because
they are obscured. if our fashions be not published,
what glory is in the wearing?
we will ride through London only to be gazed at.
fair Anne-a-Beame, you shall along with us.
at Westminster shalt see my sumptuous hall,
my royal tables richly furnished
where every day I feast ten thousand men;
to furnish out which feast I daily spend
thirty fat oxen and three hundred sheep,
with fish and fowl in numbers numberless.
not all our chronicles shall point a King
to match our bounty, state, and royalty.
or let all our successors yet to come
strive to exceed me, and if they forbid it,
let records say, only King Richard did it.
oh but, my lord, it will tire your revenues
to keep this festival a year together!
as many days as I write England's King
we will maintain that bounteous festival.
Tresilian, look to your blank charters speedily,
send them abroad with trusty officers;
and Bagot, see a messenger be sent
to call our uncle Woodstock home to the court.
not that we love his meddling company,
but that the raged commons loves his plainness
and should grow mutinous about these blanks.
we will have him near us. within his arrow's length,
we stand secure: we can restrain his strength.
see it be done. come, Anne, to our great hall
where Richard keeps his gorgeous festival.
[Trumpets] sound. Exeunt. Manet Tresilian
within there ho!
Enter Crosby and Fleming
your lordship's pleasure?
what, are those blanks dispatched?
they are all trussed up, my lord, in several
where is Nimble? where is that varlet?
Enter Nimble [in peaked shoes with knee-chains]
as Nimble as a morris dancer, now my bells are on.
how do ye like the rattling of my chains, my lord?
oh, villain, thou wilt hang in chains for this.
art thou crept into the court fashion, knave?
alas, my lord, ye know I have followed your lordship
without ever a rag since ye ran away from the
court once; and I pray let me follow the fashion a
little, to show myself a courtier.
go spread those several blanks throughout the
Kingdom, and here is commission with the council's
hands with charge to every Shrieve and officer
to assist and aid you; and when they are sealed and
signed, see ye note well such men's ability as set
their hands to them. inquire what rents, what lands,
or what revenues they spend by the year, and let me
straight receive intelligence. besides, I would have you
use yourselves so cunningly to mark who grudges, or
but speaks amiss of good King Richard, myself, or any
of his new councillors. attach them all for privy
whisperers and send them up. I have a trick in law
shall make King Richard seize into his hands
the forfeiture of all their goods and lands.
Nimble, take thou these blanks, and see you take
especial note of them.
I will take the ditty, sir, but you shall set a note
to it, for if any man shall speak but an ill word of
anything that is written here -
why, ass, there is nothing.
and would ye have them speak ill of nothing? that is
strange. but I mean, my lord, if they should but give
this paper an ill word, as to say, "I will tear this
paper", or worse, "I will rend this paper", or fouler
words than that, as to say, "I will bumfiddle your
paper," if there be any such, I have a black book for
them, my lord, I warrant ye.
be it your greatest care to be severe.
Crosby and Fleming, pray be diligent.
we shall, my lord.
but how if we meet with some ignoramus fellows,
my lord, that cannot write their minds. what shall
if they but set to their marks, it is good.
we shall meddle with no women in the blanks,
rich widows, none else; for a widow is as much as
man and wife.
then a widow is a hermaphrodite, both cut and
long tail. and if she cannot write, she shall set her
mark to it?
what else, sir?
but if she have a daughter, she shall set her
mother's mark to it?
meddle with none but men and widows, sir,
I charge ye.
well, sir, I shall see a widow's mark then: i
never saw none yet!
you have your lessons perfect, now begone:
be bold and swift in execution. Exit Tresilian
god be ' ye, my lord. we will domineer over the
vulgar like so many saint georges over the poor dragons.
come, sirs, we are like to have a flourishing commonwealth,
[Act III, Scene 2: Plashey House, Essex]
Enter Woodstock, Lancaster and York, at Plashey.
come, my good brothers, here at plashey house
I will bid you welcome with as true a heart
as Richard with a false, and mind corrupt
disgraced our names and thrust us from his court.
beshrew him that repines, my lord, for me.
I lived with care at court, I now am free.
come, come, let us find some other talk. I think
not on it. I never slept soundly when I was amongst
them, so let them go. this house of plashey, brother,
stands in a sweet and pleasant air, in faith.
it is near the thames and circled round with trees
that in the summer serve for pleasant fans
to cool ye, and in winter strongly break
the stormy winds that else would nip ye too.
and in faith, old York,
we have all need of some kind wintering.
we are beset (heaven shield) with many storms.
and yet these trees at length will prove to me
like Richard and his riotous minions.
their wanton heads so oft play with the winds
throwing their leaves so prodigally down,
they will leave me cold at last; and so will they
make England wretched; and, in the end, themselves.
if Westminster hall devour as it has begun
it were better it were ruined lime and stone.
afore my god, I late was certified
that at one feast was served ten thousand dishes.
he daily feasts, they say, ten thousand men
and every man must have his dish, at least.
thirty fat oxen and three hundred sheep
serve but one day's expenses.
a hundred scarcely can suffice his guard.
a camp of soldiers feeds not like those bowmen.
but how will these expenses be maintained?
oh, they say there are strange tricks come forth
to fetch in money. what they are, I know not.
you have heard of the fantastic suits they wear?
never was english King so habited.
we could allow his clothing, brother Woodstock,
but we have four Kings more, are equalled with him.
there is Bagot, Bushy, wanton Greene, and Scroope
in state and fashion without difference.
indeed, they are more than Kings; for they rule him.
come, come, our breaths reverberate the wind.
we talk like good divines, but cannot cure
the grossness of the sin. or shall we speak
like all-commanding wise astronomers,
and flatly say, such a day shall be fair?
and yet it rains, whether he will or no.
so may we talk; but thus will Richard do.
Enter Cheyney, with blanks
how now, Cheyney, what drives thee on so fast?
if I durst, I would say (my lord)
Tresilian drives me, one half as ill,
I am still the pursuivant of unhappy news.
here is blank charters, my lord. I pray, behold them,
sent from King Richard and his councillors.
thou makest me blank at very sight of them!
what must these?
they appear in shape of obligations.
they are no less, the country is full of them.
commissions are come down to every Shrieve
to force the richest subjects of the land
to set their hands, and forthwith seal these blanks
and then the bond must afterwards be paid:
that shall confirm a due debt to the King
as much or little as they please to point it.
oh, strange unheard-of vild taxation!
who is it can help my memory a little?
has not this ever been held a principle:
"there is nothing spoke or done that has not been?"
it was a maxim ere I had a beard.
it is now found false, an open heresy!
this is a thing was never spoke nor done.
blank charters call ye them? if any age
keep but a record of this policy
(I phrase it too, too well) flat villainy,
let me be chronicled apostata,
rebellious to my god and country both!
how do the people entertain these blanks?
with much dislike, yet some for fear have signed
them; others there be, refuse and murmur strongly.
afore my god I cannot blame them for it.
he might as well have sent defiance to them.
oh, vulture England, wilt thou eat thine own?
can they be rebels called, that now turn head?
I speak but what I fear, not what I wish.
this foul oppression will withdraw all duty,
and in the commons' hearts hot rancours breed
to make our country's bosom shortly bleed.
what shall we do to seek for remedy?
let each man hie him to his several home
before the people rise in mutiny,
and, in the mildest part of lenity,
seek to restrain them from rebellion,
for what can else be looked for? promise redress;
that eloquence is best in this distress.
York counsels well. let us haste away.
the time is sick. we must not use delay.
let us still confer by letters.
so friends may parley, even in banishment.
farewell, good brothers. Cheyney, conduct them forth.
Exuent all but Woodstock
adieu, good York and Gaunt, farewell forever.
I have a sad presage comes suddenly
that I shall never see these brothers more.
on earth, I fear, we never more shall meet.
of Edward the third's seven sons we three are left
to see our father's Kingdom ruinate.
I would my death might end the misery
my fear presageth to my wretched country.
the commons will rebel without all question,
and before my god, I have no eloquence
to stay this uproar, I must tell them plain
we all are struck, but must not strike again.
Enter a Servant
how now? what news?
there is a horseman at the gate, my lord.
he comes from the King, he says, to see your grace.
to see me, sayest thou? a' god's name, let him
come, he brings no blank charters with him.
prithee, bid him alight and enter.
I think he dares not for fouling on his feet, my
lord, I would have him alight, but he swears as
he is a courtier, he will not off on his horseback till
the inner gate be open.
passion of me, that is strange. I prithee, give him
satisfaction, open the inner gate. what might this
some fine fool: he is attired very fantastically,
and talks as foolishly.
go let him in, and when your have done, bid Cheyney
come and speak with me.
I will, my lord.
Enter a Spruce Courtier on horseback
come on, sir, ye may ride into my lord's cellar now,
and ye will sir.
prithee, fellow, stay and take my horse.
I have business for my lord, sir, I cannot.
a rude swain, by heaven, but stay, here walks
another. hearest ta, thou, fellow? is this plashey
ye should have asked that question before ye came
in, sir. but this is it.
the hinds are all most rude and gross. I prithee,
walk my horse.
I have a little business, sir.
thou shalt not lose by it. I will give thee a tester
for thy pains.
I shall be glad to earn money, sir.
prithee, do, and know thy duty. thy head is too
cry ye mercy, I did not understand your worship's
the Duke of Gloucester lies here, does he not?
marry, does he, sir.
is he within?
he is not far off, sir. he was here even now.
ah, very good, walk my horse well, I prithee, he has
travelled hard and he is hot in faith. I will in and
speak with the Duke, and pay thee presently.
I make no doubt sir. oh, strange metamorphosis!
is it possible that this fellow that is all made of
fashions should be an englishman? no marvel if he
know not me, being so brave, and I so beggarly. well,
I shall earn money to enrich me now and it is the first
I earned, by the rood, this forty year. come on, sir,
you have sweat hard about this haste, yet I think you
know little of the business. why so I say! you are a
very indifferent beast, you will follow any man that
will lead you. now, truly, sir, you look but even
leanly on it. you feed not in Westminster hall a-days,
where so many sheep and oxen are devoured. I am afraid
they will eat you shortly, if you tarry amongst them.
you are pricked more with the spur than the provender,
I see that. I think your dwelling be at hackney when
you are at home, is it not? you know not the Duke
neither, no more than your master, and yet I think
you have as much wit as he. faith, say a man should
steal ye and feed ye fatter, could ye run away with
ah, your silence argues a consent, I see, by the
mass, here comes company. we had been both taken if
we had, I see.
Enter Cheyney, Courtier, and Servants
saw ye not my lord at the gate, say ye?
why, I left him there but now.
in sooth I saw no creature, sir, only an old groom
I got to walk my horse.
a groom, say ye! sfoot, it is my lord, the Duke.
what have ye done? this is somewhat too coarse!
your grace should be an hostler to this fellow!
I do beseech your grace's pardon. the error was
in the mistake; your plainness did deceive me.
please it your grace to redeliver.
no, by my faith. I will have my money first.
promise is a promise.
I know your grace's goodness will refuse it.
think not so nicely of me; indeed, I will not.
if you so please, there is your tester.
if you so please, there is your horse, sir.
now pray you tell me, is your haste to me?
most swift and serious, from his majesty.
what, from King Richard, my dear lord and kinsman?
go, sirrah, take you his horse, lead him to the stable,
meat him well, I will double his reward. there is twelve
pence for ye.
I thank your grace. Exit with the horse
now, sir, your business.
his majesty commends him to your grace.
this same is a rare fashion you have got at court.
of whose devising was it, I pray?
I assure your grace, the King his council sat three
days about it.
by my faith, their wisdoms took great pains, I assure ye.
the state was well employed the whiles, by the rood.
then this at court is all the fashion now?
the King himself doth wear it;
whose most gracious majesty sent me in haste.
this peak doth strangely well become the foot.
this peak, the King doth likewise wear, being a
polonian peak; and me did his highness pick from forth
he could not have picked out such another,
I assure ye.
I thank your grace that picks me out so well;
but as I said, his highness would request -
but this most fashionable chain, that links as it were
the toe and knee together?
in a most kind coherence, so it like your grace;
for these two parts, being in operation and quality
different, as for example: the toe a disdainer or
spurner; the knee a dutiful and most humble orator.
this chain doth, as it were, so toeify the knee and so
kneeify the toe, that between both it makes a most
methodical coherence, or coherent method.
it is most excellent, sir, and full of art. please ye
my message tendered, I will tend your grace.
cry ye mercy, have you a message to me?
his majesty, most affectionately, and like a royal
entreats your grace's presence at the court.
is that your message sir? I must refuse it, then.
my english plainness will not suit that place,
the court is too fine for me. my service here
will stand in better stead, to quench the fire
those blanks have made. I would they were all burnt,
or he were hanged that first devised them, sir.
they stir the country so. I dare not come
and so excuse me, sir. if the King think it ill,
he thinks amiss. I am plain Thomas still.
the rest I will tell ye as ye sit at meat.
furnish a table, Cheyney, call for wine.
come, sir, ye shall commend me to the King.
tell him I will keep these parts in peace to him.
[Act III, Scene 3: The market square, Dunstable]
Enter Master Ignorance, the Bailey of Dunstable, Crosby, Fleming, and
Nimble, with blanks. [Officers with bills in attendance]
dispatch, good mr Bailey, the market is almost done,
you see. it is rumored that the blanks are come and the
rich choughs begin to flock out of the town already.
you have seen the high Shrieve's warrant and the
council's commission, and therefore I charge ye in the
King's name, be ready to assist us.
nay, look ye sir. be not too pestiferous, I beseech
ye. I have begun myself and sealed one of your blanks
already, and by my example there is more shall follow.
I know my place and calling, my name is ignorance and
I am Bailey of dunstable. I cannot write nor read,
I confess it, mo more could my father, nor his father
nor none of the ignorants this hundred year, I assure ye.
your name proclaims no less, sir, and it has been a
most learned generation.
though I cannot write, I have set my mark, ecce
signum! read it I beseech ye.
the mark of simon ignorance, the Bailey of dunstable,
being a sheephook with a tarbox at end on it.
very right. it was my mark ever since I was an
innocent and therefore, as I say, I have begun and
will assist ye. for here be rich whoresons in the
town, I can tell ye, that will ye the slip and ye look
not to it.
we therefore presently will divide ourselves. you
two shall stay here whiles we, mr ignorance, with some
of your brethren, the men of dunstable, walk through
the town noting the carriage of the people. they say
there are strange songs and libels cast about the
market place against my lord Tresilian and the rest of
the King's young counsellors. if such there be, we will
have some aid and attach them speedily.
ye shall do well, sir, and for your better aiding,
if you can but find out my brother, mr ignoramus, he
will be most pestiferous unto ye, I assure ye.
I am afraid he will not be found, sir, but we will
inquire. come, fellow Fleming and Nimble, look to the
whisperers I charge ye.
I warrant ye. come, mr Bailey, let your billmen
retire till we call them; and you and I will here
shadow ourselves and write down their speeches.
nay, you shall write and I will mark, sir.
Enter a Farmer, a Butcher, and a Grazier, very hastily
and see, see, here come some already, all rich
chubbs, by the mass. I know them all, sir.
tarry, tarry, good neighbours, take a knave with
ye! what a murrain! is there a bear broke loose in
the town, that ye make such haste from the market?
a bear? no, nor a lion baited neither. I tell ye,
neighbour, I am more afraid of the bee than the bear.
there is wax to be used today, and I have no seal about
me. I may tell you in secret, here is a dangerous
world towards. neighbour, you are a Farmer, and I hope
here is none but god and good company. we live in such
a state, I am even almost weary of all, I assure ye.
here is my other neighbour, the Butcher, that dwells at
hockley, has heard his landlord tell strange tidings.
we shall be all hoisted and we tarry here, I can tell
they begin to murmur. I will put them down all for
whisperers. mr Bailey, what is he that talks so?
his name is cowtail, a rich Grasier, and dwells
here hard by at leighton buzzard.
cowtail, a Grasier, dwelling at leighton,
buzzard, my Bailey?
right, sir. listen again, sir.
ah, sirrah? and what said the good knight your
marry, he said, but I will not stand to anything, I
tell ye that aforehand. he said that King Richard's
new counsellors (god amend them) had crept into honester
men's places than themselves were; and that the King's
uncles and the old lords were all banished the
court. and he said flatly we should never have a
merry world as long as it was so.
Butcher, you and your landlord will be both hanged
and then he said there is one Tresilian, a lawyer,
that has crept in amongst them and is now a lord forsooth,
and he has sent down into every country of England
a sort of black chapters.
black chapters? a' god's name, neighbour, out
of what black book were they taken?
come, come. they are blank charters, neighbours.
I heard of them afore, and therefore I made
such haste away. they are sent down to the high
Shrieve with special charge that every man that is of
any credit or worship in the country must set their
hands and seal to them, for what intent I know not. I
say no more, I smell something.
well, well, my masters. let us be wise. we are
not all one man's sons. they say there are whispering
knaves abroad. let us hie us home, for I assure ye,
it was told me where I broke my fast this afternoon that
there were above three score gentlemen in our shire
that had set their hands and seals to those blank
now god amend them for it, they have given an ill
example we shall be forced to follow.
I would my wife and children were at jerusalem
with all the wealth! I would make shift for one, I warrant
them. come, neighbours, let us be gone.
step forward with your bills, mr Bailey. not too
fast, sirs! I charge ye in the King's name to stand
till we have done with ye.
saint benedicite, what must we do now, trow?
be not so pestiferous, my good friends and neighbours.
you are men of wealth and credit in the country
and therefore as I myself and others have begun, I
charge ye in his highness' name presently to set your
hands and seals to these blank charters.
jesu, receive my soul, I am departed!
I am even struck to at heart too.
alas, sir, we are poor men, what should our hands
there is no harm I warrant ye. what need you fear,
when ye see Bailey ignorance has sealed before ye?
I pray ye let us see them, sir.
here, ye bacon-fed pudding-eaters, are ye afraid
of a sheepskin?
mass! it is somewhat darkly written.
ay, ay, it was done in the night, sure.
mass, neighbours, here is nothing that I see.
and can it be any harm, think ye, to set your
hands to nothing? these blank charters are but little
pieces of parchment. let us set our marks to them, and
be rid of a knave's company.
as good at first as last, we can be but undone.
ay and our own hands undoes us, that is the
worst on it. lend us your pen, sir.
we must all venture, neighbours, there is no
they grumble as they do it. I must put them down
for whisperers and grumblers. come, have you done
ay, sir. (would you and they were sodden for my
here is wax, then. I will seal them for ye, and you
shall severally take them off, and then deliver them
as your deeds.
come you boar's grease, take off this
seal here. so! this is your deed.
faith, sir, in some respect it is and it is not.
and this is yours.
ay, sir, against my will, I swear.
ox-jaw, take off this seal! you will deliver your
deed with a good conscience?
there it is, sir, against my conscience, god is my
witness. I hope ye have done with us now, sir.
no, ye caterpillars, we have worse matters against
ye yet. sirrah, you know what your landlord told ye,
concerning my lord Tresilian, and King Richard's new
favourites; and more than that, you know your own
speeches; and therefore mr Bailey, let some of your
billmen away with them to the high Shrieve's presently,
either to put in bail, or be sent up to the court
for privy whisperers.
their offenses are most pestiferous. away with
now out alas, we shall all to hanging, sure!
hanging? nay, that is the least on it, ye shall
tell me that a twelvemonth hence else.
Exeunt Officers with the three men
stand close, mr Bailey; we shall catch more of these
you shall find me most pestiferous to assist ye;
and so I pray ye, commend my service to your good lord
and master. come, sir, stand close; I see -
Enter a Schoolmaster and a Serving-man
nay, sweet mr Schoolmaster, let us hear it again, I
patientia. you are a servingman, I am a scholar. I
have shown art and learning in these verses, I assure
ye, and yet if they were well searched they are little
better than libels. but the carriage of a thing is
all, sir. I have covered them rarely.
sfoot, the country is so full of intelligencers that
two men can scarce walk together but they are attached
this paper shall wipe their noses, and they shall
not boo to a goose for it; for I will have these verses
sung to their faces by one of my schoolboys, wherein
I will tickle them all, in faith. shalt hear else.
but first let us look there be no pitchers with ears,
nor needles with eyes about us.
come, come, all is safe I warrant ye.
mark then. here I come over them for their blank
charters; shalt hear else.
will ye buy any parchment knives?
we sell for little gain:
whoever are weary of their lives
they will rid them of their pain.
blank charters they are called
a vengeance on the villain,
I would he were both flayed and balled:
god bless my lord Tresilian.
is it not rare?
oh rascals! they are damned three hundred fathom deep
nay, look ye, sir, there can be no exceptions taken
for this last line helps all, wherein with a kind of
equivocation I say "god bless my lord Tresilian." do
ye mark, sir? now here, in the next verse I run over
all these flatterers in the court by name. ye shall
a poison may be Green,
but Bushy can be no fagot:
god mend the King and bless the Queen,
and it is no matter for Bagot.
for Scroope, he does no good;
but if you will know the villain,
his name is now to be understood:
god bless my lord Tresilian.
how like ye this, sir?
most excellent, in faith, sir.
oh, traitors! mr Bailey, do your authority.
two most pestiferous traitors. lay hold of them,
I charge ye.
what mean ye, sir?
nay, talk not, for if ye had a hundred lives they
were all hanged. ye have spoken treason in the ninth
treason? patientia, good sir, we spoke not a word.
be not so pestiferous. mine ears have heard your
examinations, wherein you uttered most shameful treason,
for ye said, "god bless my lord Tresilian."
I hope there is no treason in that, sir.
that shall be tried. come, mr Bailey: their hands
shall be bound under a horse's belly and sent up to
him presently, they will both be hanged, I warrant them.
well, sir, if we be: we will speak more ere we be
hanged, in spite of ye.
ay, ay, when you are hanged, speak what you will, we
care not. away with them.
Exeunt Schoolmaster and Serving-man [with Officer]
ye see, mr Bailey, what knaves are abroad now you are
here: it is time to look about, ye see.
I see there are knaves abroad indeed, sir. I speak
for mine own part. I will do my best to reform the
pestiferousness of the time, and as for example I have
set my mark to the charters, so will I set mine eyes
to observe these dangerous cases.
Enter one a-whistling
close again, mr Bailey: here comes another whisperer,
I see by some, oh villain! he whistles treason!
I will lay hold of him myself.
out alas, what do ye mean, sir?
a rank traitor, mr Bailey: lay hold on him, for he
has most erroneously and rebelliously whistled
whistled treason! alas, sir, how can that be?
very easily, sir. there is a piece of treason that
flies up and down the country in the likeness of a
ballad, and this being the very tune of it, thou hast
alas, sir, ye know I spake not a word.
that is all one, if any man whistles treason it is
as ill as speaKing it. mark me, mr Bailey: the bird
whistles that cannot speak, and yet there be birds in
a mAnner that can speak too. your raven will call ye
rascal, your crow will call ye knave, mr Bailey.
ergo, he that can whistle can speak, and therefore
this fellow hath both spoke and whistled treason.
how say you, Bailey ignorance?
ye have argued well, sir, but ye shall hear me sift
him nearer, for I do not think but there are greater
heads in this matter, and therefore, my good fellow,
be not pestiferous, but say and tell the truth. who
did set you a-work? or who was the cause of your whistling?
or did any man say to you, "go whistle"?
not any man, woman or child, truly, sir.
no? how durst you whistle, then? or what cause had
ye to do so?
the truth is, sir. I had lost two calves out of my
pasture, and being in search for them, from the top of
the hill I might spy you two in the bottom here, and
took ye for my calves sir; and that made me come
whistling down for joy, in hope I had found them.
more treason yet! he take a courtier and a Bailey
for two calves! to limbo with him. he shall be quartered
and then hanged.
good mr Bailey, be pitiful.
why, look ye, sir, he makes a pitiful fellow of a
Bailey too! away with him. yet stay awhile, here
comes your fellows, sir.
Enter Crosby and Fleming
now, mr Bailey, are your blanks sealed yet?
they are, sir, and we have done this day most
strange and pestiferous service, I assure ye, sir.
your care shall be rewarded. come, fellow Nimble,
we must to court about other employments. there are
already thirteen thousand blanks signed and returned to the
Shrieves, and seven hundred sent up to the court for
whisperers, out of all which my lord will fetch a
round sum, I doubt it not. come, let us away.
ay, ay. we will follow. come, ye sheepbiter. here is
a traitor of all traitors that not only speaks, but
has whistled treason. come, come, sir, I will spoil
your whistle, I warrant ye!