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King Henry VI, Part 2: Act 4 Scene 10
Scene X Kent. IDEN's garden.
- [Enter CADE]
- Fie on ambition! fie on myself, that have a sword,
- and yet am ready to famish! These five days have I
- hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for
- all the country is laid for me; but now am I so
- hungry that if I might have a lease of my life for a
- thousand years I could stay no longer. Wherefore,
- on a brick wall have I climbed into this garden, to
- see if I can eat grass, or pick a sallet another
- while, which is not amiss to cool a man's stomach
- this hot weather. And I think this word 'sallet'
- was born to do me good: for many a time, but for a
- sallet, my brainpan had been cleft with a brown
- bill; and many a time, when I have been dry and
- bravely marching, it hath served me instead of a
- quart pot to drink in; and now the word 'sallet'
- must serve me to feed on.
- [Enter IDEN]
- Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
- And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?
- This small inheritance my father left me
- Contenteth me, and worth a monarchy.
- I seek not to wax great by others' waning,
- Or gather wealth, I care not, with what envy:
- Sufficeth that I have maintains my state
- And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
- Here's the lord of the soil come to seize me for a
- stray, for entering his fee-simple without leave.
- Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me, and get a thousand
- crowns of the king carrying my head to him: but
- I'll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow
- my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.
- Why, rude companion, whatsoe'er thou be,
- I know thee not; why, then, should I betray thee?
- Is't not enough to break into my garden,
- And, like a thief, to come to rob my grounds,
- Climbing my walls in spite of me the owner,
- But thou wilt brave me with these saucy terms?
- Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was
- broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I
- have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and
- thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead
- as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.
- Nay, it shall ne'er be said, while England stands,
- That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent,
- Took odds to combat a poor famish'd man.
- Oppose thy steadfast-gazing eyes to mine,
- See if thou canst outface me with thy looks:
- Set limb to limb, and thou art far the lesser;
- Thy hand is but a finger to my fist,
- Thy leg a stick compared with this truncheon;
- My foot shall fight with all the strength thou hast;
- And if mine arm be heaved in the air,
- Thy grave is digg'd already in the earth.
- As for words, whose greatness answers words,
- Let this my sword report what speech forbears.
- By my valour, the most complete champion that ever I
- heard! Steel, if thou turn the edge, or cut not out
- the burly-boned clown in chines of beef ere thou
- sleep in thy sheath, I beseech God on my knees thou
- mayst be turned to hobnails.
- [Here they fight. CADE falls]
- O, I am slain! famine and no other hath slain me:
- let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me
- but the ten meals I have lost, and I'll defy them
- all. Wither, garden; and be henceforth a
- burying-place to all that do dwell in this house,
- because the unconquered soul of Cade is fled.
- Is't Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?
- Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed,
- And hang thee o'er my tomb when I am dead:
- Ne'er shall this blood be wiped from thy point;
- But thou shalt wear it as a herald's coat,
- To emblaze the honour that thy master got.
- Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. Tell
- Kent from me, she hath lost her best man, and exhort
- all the world to be cowards; for I, that never
- feared any, am vanquished by famine, not by valour.
- How much thou wrong'st me, heaven be my judge.
- Die, damned wretch, the curse of her that bare thee;
- And as I thrust thy body in with my sword,
- So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell.
- Hence will I drag thee headlong by the heels
- Unto a dunghill which shall be thy grave,
- And there cut off thy most ungracious head;
- Which I will bear in triumph to the king,
- Leaving thy trunk for crows to feed upon.