List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 4, scene 2

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

With a weak, unworldly king on the throne, the English nobility heightens its struggle for power in Henry VI, Part 2,…

Act 1, scene 1

King Henry meets his consort Queen Margaret, brought by Suffolk from France. The nobles fall into dissension, with the Cardinal,…

Act 1, scene 2

The Duchess of Gloucester’s dream of becoming queen is rebuked by her husband but encouraged by the treacherous priest John…

Act 1, scene 3

Queen Margaret and Suffolk dismiss petitioners seeking Gloucester’s aid and then conspire against Gloucester. Somerset and York then clash, as…

Act 1, scene 4

The Duchess of Gloucester watches while a spirit is conjured up to prophesy the fates of her rivals, but she…

Act 2, scene 1

King Henry and his court are hunting when they are interrupted by an announcement of a miracle in nearby Saint…

Act 2, scene 2

York persuades Salisbury and Warwick of the validity of his claim to the throne.

Act 2, scene 3

King Henry sentences the Duchess to public penance and exile, and removes Gloucester from his office as Lord Protector. Then…

Act 2, scene 4

Gloucester watches his Duchess’s public humiliation as she goes into exile. He is summoned to Parliament.

Act 3, scene 1

In Parliament Queen Margaret and the nobles level charges against Gloucester, but King Henry remains convinced of his uncle’s innocence….

Act 3, scene 2

The news of Gloucester’s murder makes King Henry faint and the Commons rise to demand Suffolk’s exile. The King obliges…

Act 3, scene 3

The Cardinal dies.

Act 4, scene 1

Attempting to sail to France, Suffolk is captured by shipmen and brutally assassinated.

Act 4, scene 2

In a plot instigated by York, Jack Cade leads a rebellion against King Henry. The Staffords seek to put it…

Act 4, scene 3

Cade defeats and kills the Staffords and marches on London.

Act 4, scene 4

King Henry flees London and Queen Margaret mourns Suffolk’s death. Lord Saye, whom the rebels hate, decides to hide in…

Act 4, scene 5

Citizens of London plead for military aid from Lord Scales, who commands forces at the Tower. He sends Matthew Gough,…

Act 4, scene 6

Cade enters London.

Act 4, scene 7

Cade defeats and kills Gough. Lord Saye is captured and killed.

Act 4, scene 8

Lord Clifford and Buckingham persuade Cade’s followers to return to King Henry. Cade flees.

Act 4, scene 9

As King Henry rejoices at Cade’s defeat, a messenger announces York’s approach with an Irish army ostensibly seeking Somerset’s arrest…

Act 4, scene 10

A starving Cade is killed in a fight with the Kentish gentleman Alexander Iden, in whose garden Cade looked for…

Act 5, scene 1

Buckingham seemingly placates York, and King Henry rewards Iden. York, seeing Somerset at liberty, announces his claim to the throne,…

Act 5, scene 2

York kills Lord Clifford, and York’s son Richard kills the Duke of Somerset. Defeated in battle, King Henry flees to…

Act 5, scene 3

Victorious, York and his followers set out for London.

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Scene 2
Enter Bevis and John Holland with staves.

BEVIS Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a
 lath. They have been up these two days.
HOLLAND They have the more need to sleep now, then.
BEVIS I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress
5 the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap
 upon it.
HOLLAND So he had need, for ’tis threadbare. Well, I
 say, it was never merry world in England since
 gentlemen came up.
BEVIS 10O miserable age! Virtue is not regarded in
 handicraftsmen.
HOLLAND The nobility think scorn to go in leather
 aprons.
BEVIS Nay, more, the King’s Council are no good
15 workmen.
HOLLAND True, and yet it is said “Labor in thy vocation,”
 which is as much to say as “Let the magistrates
 be laboring men.” And therefore should we
 be magistrates.
BEVIS 20Thou hast hit it, for there’s no better sign of a
 brave mind than a hard hand.
HOLLAND I see them, I see them! There’s Best’s son, the
 tanner of Wingham—
BEVIS He shall have the skins of our enemies to make
25 dog’s leather of.
HOLLAND And Dick the butcher—
BEVIS Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity’s
 throat cut like a calf.

177
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

HOLLAND And Smith the weaver.
BEVIS 30Argo, their thread of life is spun.
HOLLAND Come, come, let’s fall in with them.

Drum. Enter Cade, Dick the butcher, Smith the
weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers,
all with staves.


CADE We, John Cade, so termed of our supposed
 father—
DICK, aside Or rather of stealing a cade of herrings.
CADE 35For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired
 with the spirit of putting down kings and princes—
 command silence.
DICK Silence!
CADE My father was a Mortimer—
DICK, aside 40He was an honest man and a good
 bricklayer.
CADE My mother a Plantagenet—
DICK, aside I knew her well; she was a midwife.
CADE My wife descended of the Lacys.
DICK, aside 45She was indeed a peddler’s daughter, and
 sold many laces.
SMITH, aside But now of late, not able to travel with
 her furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
CADE Therefore am I of an honorable house.
DICK, aside 50Ay, by my faith, the field is honorable;
 and there was he born, under a hedge, for his
 father had never a house but the cage.
CADE Valiant I am—
SMITH, aside He must needs, for beggary is valiant.
CADE 55I am able to endure much—
DICK, aside No question of that; for I have seen him
 whipped three market-days together.
CADE I fear neither sword nor fire.
SMITH, aside He need not fear the sword, for his coat
60 is of proof.

179
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

DICK, aside But methinks he should stand in fear of
 fire, being burnt i’ th’ hand for stealing of sheep.
CADE Be brave, then, for your captain is brave and
 vows reformation. There shall be in England seven
65 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—
ALL 70God save your Majesty!
CADE 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.
DICK 75The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
CADE 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
80 stings, but I say, ’tis the beeswax; for I did but seal
 once to a thing, and I was never mine own man
 since. How now? Who’s there?

Enter a Clerk of Chartham, under guard.

SMITH The clerk of Chartham. He can write and read
 and cast account.
CADE 85O, monstrous!
SMITH We took him setting of boys’ copies.
CADE Here’s a villain!
SMITH H’as a book in his pocket with red letters in ’t.
CADE Nay, then, he is a conjurer.
DICK 90Nay, he can make obligations and write court
 hand.
CADE I am sorry for ’t. The man is a proper man, of
 mine honor. Unless I find him guilty, he shall not

181
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

 die.—Come hither, sirrah; I must examine thee.
95 What is thy name?
CLERK Emmanuel.
DICK They use to write it on the top of letters.—’Twill
 go hard with you.
CADE Let me alone.—Dost thou use to write thy
100 name? Or hast thou a mark to thyself, like an
 honest, plain-dealing man?
CLERK Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought
 up that I can write my name.
ALL He hath confessed. Away with him! He’s a villain
105 and a traitor.
CADE Away with him, I say! Hang him with his pen
 and inkhorn about his neck.
One exits with the Clerk.

Enter Michael.

MICHAEL Where’s our general?
CADE Here I am, thou particular fellow.
MICHAEL 110Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his
 brother are hard by, with the King’s forces.
CADE Stand, villain, stand, or I’ll fell thee down. He
 shall be encountered with a man as good as himself.
 He is but a knight, is he?
MICHAEL 115No.
CADE To equal him I will make myself a knight
 presently. He kneels. Rise up Sir John Mortimer.
 He rises. Now have at him!

Enter Sir Humphrey Stafford and his Brother, with
a Herald, Drum, and Soldiers.


STAFFORD 
 Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
120 Marked for the gallows, lay your weapons down!
 Home to your cottages; forsake this groom.
 The King is merciful, if you revolt.

183
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

BROTHER 
 But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,
 If you go forward. Therefore yield, or die.
CADE 
125 As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not.
 It is to you, good people, that I speak,
 Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign,
 For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
STAFFORD 
 Villain, thy father was a plasterer,
130 And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
CADE 
 And Adam was a gardener.
BROTHER  And what of that?
CADE 
 Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March,
 Married the Duke of Clarence’ daughter, did he not?
STAFFORD 135Ay, sir.
CADE 
 By her he had two children at one birth.
BROTHER That’s false.
CADE 
 Ay, there’s the question. But I say ’tis true.
 The elder of them, being put to nurse,
140 Was by a beggar-woman stol’n away,
 And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
 Became a bricklayer when he came to age.
 His son am I. Deny it if you can.
DICK 
 Nay, ’tis too true. Therefore he shall be king.
SMITH 145Sir, he made a chimney in my father’s house,
 and the bricks are alive at this day to testify it.
 Therefore deny it not.
STAFFORD 
 And will you credit this base drudge’s words,
 That speaks he knows not what?

185
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 2

ALL 
150 Ay, marry, will we. Therefore get you gone.
BROTHER 
 Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.
CADE He lies, aside for I invented it myself.—Go to,
 sirrah. Tell the King from me that, for his father’s
 sake, Henry the Fifth, in whose time boys went to
155 span-counter for French crowns, I am content he
 shall reign, but I’ll be Protector over him.
DICK And, furthermore, we’ll have the Lord Saye’s
 head for selling the dukedom of Maine.
CADE And good reason: for thereby is England mained
160 and fain to go with a staff, but that my puissance
 holds it up. Fellow kings, I tell you that that Lord
 Saye hath gelded the commonwealth and made it
 an eunuch; and, more than that, he can speak
 French, and therefore he is a traitor.
STAFFORD 
165 O, gross and miserable ignorance!
CADE Nay, answer if you can. The Frenchmen are our
 enemies. Go to, then, I ask but this: can he that
 speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good
 counselor, or no?
ALL 170No, no, and therefore we’ll have his head!
BROTHER, to Stafford 
 Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,
 Assail them with the army of the King.
STAFFORD 
 Herald, away, and throughout every town
 Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade,
175 That those which fly before the battle ends
 May, even in their wives’ and children’s sight
 Be hanged up for example at their doors.—
 And you that be the King’s friends, follow me.
The Staffords, Soldiers, and Herald exit.

187
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 4. SC. 3

CADE 
 And you that love the Commons, follow me.
180 Now show yourselves men. ’Tis for liberty!
 We will not leave one lord, one gentleman;
 Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon,
 For they are thrifty, honest men and such
 As would, but that they dare not, take our parts.
DICK 185They are all in order and march toward us.
CADE But then are we in order when we are most out
 of order. Come, march forward.
They exit.