Act 5, Scene II

Scene: A Street (and afterwards Mile End).

Enter RALPH and Company of Soldiers (among whom are WILLIAM HAMMERTON and GEORGE GREENGOOSE), with drums and colours.

March fair, my hearts! Lieutenant, beat the rear up.—Ancient, let your colours fly; but have a great care of the butcher's hooks at Whitechapel; they have been the death of many a fair ancient.—Open your files, that I may take a view both of your persons and munition.—Sergeant call a muster.
A stand!—William Hammerton, pewterer!
Here, captain!
A corselet and a Spanish pike; 'tis well: can you shake it with a terror?
I hope so, captain.
Charge upon me. [He charges on Ralph.]—'Tis with the weakest: but more strength, William Hammerton, more strength. As you were again!—Proceed, Sergeant.
George Greengoose, poulterer!
Let me see your piece, neighbour Greengoose: when was she shot in?
An't like you, master captain, I made a shot even now, partly to scour her, and partly for audacity.
It should seem so certainly, for her breath is yet inflamed; besides, there is a main fault in the touch-hole, it runs and stinketh; and I tell you moreover, and believe it, ten such touch-holes would breed the pox in the army. Get you a feather, neighbour, get you a feather, sweet oil, and paper, and your piece may do well enough yet. Where's your powder?
What, in a paper! as I am a soldier and a gentleman, it craves a martial court! you ought to die for't. Where's your horn? answer me to that.
An't like you, sir, I was oblivious.
It likes me not you should be so; 'tis a shame for you, and a scandal to all our neighbours, being a man of worth and estimation, to leave your horn behind you: I am afraid 'twill breed example. But let me tell you no more on't.—Stand, till I view you all.—What's become o' the nose of your flask?
1st Soldier.
Indeed, la, captain, 'twas blown away with powder.
Put on a new one at the city's charge.—Where's the stone of this piece?
2nd Soldier.
The drummer took it out to light tobacco.
'Tis a fault, my friend; put it in again.—You want a nose;—and you a stone.—Sergeant, take a note on't, for I mean to stop it in the pay.—Remove, and march! [They march.] Soft and fair, gentlemen, soft and fair! double your files! as you were! faces about! Now, you with the sodden face, keep in there! Look to your match, sirrah, it will be in your fellow's flask anon. So; make a crescent now; advance your pikes; stand and give ear!—Gentlemen, countrymen, friends, and my fellow-soldiers, I have brought you this day, from the shops of security and the counters of content, to measure out in these furious fields honour by the ell, and prowess by the pound. Let it not, oh, let it not, I say, be told hereafter, the noble issue of this city fainted; but bear yourselves in this fair action like men, valiant men, and free men! Fear not the face of the enemy, nor the noise of the guns, for, believe me, brethren, the rude rumbling of a brewer's cart is far more terrible, of which you have a daily experience; neither let the stink of powder offend you, since a more valiant stink is nightly with you.
To a resolvèd mind his home is everywhere:
I speak not this to take away
The hope of your return; for you shall see
(I do not doubt it) and that very shortly
Your loving wives again and your sweet children,
Whose care doth bear you company in baskets.
Remember, then, whose cause you, have in hand,
And, like a sort of true-born scavengers,
Scour me this famous realm of enemies.
I have no more to say but this: stand to your tacklings, lads, and show to the world you can as well brandish a sword as shake an apron. Saint George, and on, my hearts!
Saint George, Saint George!
'Twas well done, Ralph! I'll send thee a cold capon a-field and a bottle of March beer; and, it may be, come myself to see thee.
Nell, the boy hath deceived me much; I did not think it had been in him. He has performed such a matter, wench, that, if I live, next year I'll have him captain of the galley-foist, or I'll want my will.]