Anthony Munday
Thomas Dekker
Henry Chettle
[Thomas Heywood?, William Shakespeare?, others?]

[Shakespeare Apocrypha]


circa 1593–circa 1601
(Revision of a play originally composed circa1590–1593)
(1600–1601 often urged for date of revision)

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


A "ghost character". Adrian Martin is one of the foreign residents of London who becomes a target of the rioters in the uprising of May Day in 1517.


A "ghost character". Sir Thomas Palmer mentions to the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury that Sherwin cannot get a hearing to complain of Francis de Bard's abuse of Sherwin's Wife because the unnamed French (or Lombard) Ambassador uses his influence with Henry VIII to protect the foreigners in London. Although the names of many of the foreigners who have abused the common folk of London are French, the people who have suffered abuses usually refer to them as Lombards, a generic label for any foreign resident.


A "ghost character". Arthur Watchins is Doll Williamson's brother. During the May Day riots, Doll urges the London crowd to hear More speak because he has always been generous to the common people, and as evidence, she notes that More made her brother Arthur a yeoman working for Sergeant Safe.


A "ghost character". When Falkner is arrested for the fray in Paternoster Row between the servants of the Bishop of Ely and those of the Bishop of Winchester, he claims to have been only trying to part the two sides.


A "ghost character". The ruffian Falkner serves Morris, the secretary to the Bishop of Winchester.


Catesby is More's household steward. He informs the family servants of More's death sentence.


A Lombard residing in London, Caveler steals two doves from the carpenter Williamson, and when confronted with the theft, he refuses to return them. His behavior, like that of Francis de Bard and the other foreign merchants who abuse the London citizens with impunity, helps to provoke the May Day riots of 1517.


These are "ghost characters". When it appears that Doll Williamson is to be hanged, she tells the crowd that her only regret is leaving her two "babes," but she trusts that some honest friend will come forward to raise them.


The character labeled simply Another Citizen appears during the May Day riots and supports Lincoln's view that, unless something is done about the gouging of the common people by the foreign merchants, the price of essential foodstuffs will become ruinous.


Just before the arrival of Sir Thomas Palmer at the Privy Council, the Clerk informs the Earl of Surrey that it is past eight-o-clock in the morning.


The character identified as Clown in some of the speech headings is Ralph Betts.


Crofts is the king's messenger. After the leaders of the May Day uprising are arrested, Crofts arrives to inform More and the Earl of Shrewsbury that the king has ordered the immediate arraignment of the chief offenders.


More's Second Daughter, historically Elizabeth More, appears several times with her older sister Margaret, Lady More, and Margaret's husband William Roper, usually to exemplify the warm family life enjoyed in the More household and finally to exhibit the grief felt as More faces his execution.


A "ghost character". John Lincoln assures his fellow citizens that, unlike Doctor Standish, Doctor Beale supports their cause and has agreed to read their bill of complaints against the foreigners during the "Spital sermons" (the Easter week sermons delivered at St. Mary of the Hospital).


The Bishop of Rochester, Doctor John Fisher is a friend of More's, and like him, unwilling to submit to Henry VIII's claim to be the head of the Church of England. Arrested by Sir Thomas Palmer, Fisher is imprisoned in the Tower of London, where the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury visit him in an unsuccessful attempt to convince him to sign the articles of submission. More is informed of Fisher's execution shortly before his own.


A "ghost character". Doctor Henry Standish is mentioned by John Lincoln as a preacher who refuses to read the bill of complaints against foreigners during the "Spital sermons" (the Easter week sermons delivered at St. Mary of the Hospital).


The wife of Williamson the carpenter, Doll is targeted for abduction by Francis de Bard, but her fierce and spirited resistance inspires John Lincoln and the other Londoners who have suffered abuse at the hands of the foreigners to action, first by having a bill of their complaints read during the Easter sermons and later by taking up arms during the May Day riots. In the latter event, Doll enters wearing a coat of mail and a helmet, and carrying a sword and buckler. After More calms the crowd and convinces the ringleaders to surrender, Doll urges More to keep his word and gain a pardon for them from the king. When the Sheriff is ordered to begin the executions, John Lincoln is hanged first, and Doll then follows him up the scaffold. She delivers a touching speech defending her role in the matter, kisses her husband and tells him their next kiss will be in heaven, and urges the other ringleaders to face their executions bravely. The sudden arrival of the Earl of Surrey with an order from the king countermanding the death sentences and pardoning the offenders saves Doll's life and confirms her faith in More as a friend of the people.


Downes is the Officer of Justice who arrests More for treason. The dramatis personae indicates that he may be one and the same with the Sergeant-at-Arms who appears elsewhere in the play.


The Earl of Shrewsbury (historically, George Talbot, the fourth earl) appears throughout the play, often in the company of the Earl of Surrey. Early on he is aware of the suffering of the Londoners, even making specific mention of Caveler's theft of two doves from the carpenter Williamson. When the May Day insurrection begins, he is sent by the king (with Surrey, Sir Thomas Palmer, and Sir Roger Cholmley) to aid the forces of the Lord Mayor in restoring order. Later, in the Privy Council meeting, when Sir Thomas Palmer arrives to demand that the members submit to the king's authority over the church, he, like the Earl of Surrey, subscribes at once, and when Doctor John Fisher (the Bishop of Rochester) and More refuse, he assumes that eventually both of them will change their minds and submit in order to please the king. With Surrey, Shrewsbury visits the bishop in prison, but they are unsuccessful in persuading him to subscribe to the terms of the Oath of Supremacy, and he leaves promising that he and Surrey will pray for the bishop and do whatever they can to help him. Later, when More is led to the scaffold, Surrey and Shrewsbury arrive, and it is Shrewsbury who asks More for a public proclamation of his offense against the king, a formality expected in such circumstances.


The Earl of Surrey appears early with Sir Thomas Palmer, Sir Roger Cholmley, and the Earl of Shrewsbury discussing the abuses the foreign merchants have heaped upon the London populace. He predicts that, once aroused, the common citizens might well turn to violence against the foreigners. When news arrives that this has happened, it is Surrey who recommends sending for Sheriff More, "a wise and learned gentleman" and one beloved by the common people. Later, Surrey escorts the Dutch humanist Erasmus to More's house and informs the visitor of More's devotion to the arts. During the scene in the Privy Council, Surrey and the Earl of Shrewsbury subscribe at once to the Oath of Supremacy (recognizing King Henry's position as head of the church in England). Surrey and Shrewsbury later visit the imprisoned Bishop of Rochester (Doctor John Fisher) in an unsuccessful attempt to get the prelate to submit to the king, and later still Surrey bears the king's ultimatum to More in the Tower. As More is led off to execution, Surrey is on hand to lend him encouragement. He delivers the final lines of the play, commenting that More has now paid with his blood for having offended the monarch, and he leads the remaining characters off-stage "to perfect unknown fates" (i.e. to complete whatever destiny has in store for them). The last remark is intentionally ironic because throughout the play the author has depicted this Earl of Surrey as Henry Howard (instead of the historical earl Thomas Howard, Henry's father), the poet who would share More's fate some years later and be executed by Henry VIII.


A "ghost character". In the Privy Council, Surrey fears that the German Emperor's offer to lead his troops in support of the English against the French will result in the Emperor's claiming too much of the spoil, but Shrewsbury argues that the Emperor, a true friend of Henry VIII, would never engage in such trickery. More agrees with Shrewsbury, praising the Emperor's goodness.


Desiderius Erasmus, the famous Dutch humanist, visits More in England. To see if Erasmus can tell the difference between merit and ceremony, More orders his servant Randall to dress like the Lord Chancellor and to impersonate him.


A Lombard residing in London, Francis de Bard tries to abduct Doll Williamson after having earlier enticed Sherwin's Wife to leave home. His villainous behavior contributes to the Londoners' hatred for foreigners and leads to the May Day riots of 1517.


A "ghost character". In one of the deleted scenes, the apprentices Harry and Robin refer to Garrett as the owner of a fencing school.


When More is led into the Tower of London, the Gentleman Porter, a jailer, asks for More's "upper garment" or his cloak (as was his right), but More instead gives him his cap. When the Gentleman Porter then specifies the "upmost on your back," More jokes that his cap does satisfy that description.


George Betts is a shopkeeper and one of the chief figures in the May Day uprising against the foreigners in London. When he witnesses Francis de Bard attempting to abduct Doll Williamson and Caveler's refusal to return the two doves he has stolen from her husband, George wants to attack the foreigners at once. He is dissuaded by John Lincoln, who argues that their first effort at redress should be to have a bill of their complaints read from the pulpit during the Easter season. When the uprising against the foreigners does begin, George recommends entering the houses of the aliens and dragging them into the streets. Later, he counsels his fellow ringleaders to receive More (as the Sheriff of London) and his party with suspicion, but he is soon persuaded by More that laying down their arms and surrendering to the king would be their best course. After John Lincoln is executed, George's life is spared by the timely arrival of the king's pardon.


A "ghost character". In one of the deleted scenes, the apprentice Harry claims to frequent George Philpot's fencing school in Dowgate.


Giles serves as More's porter, and along with the rest of the loyal staff, receives twenty nobles for his service. Erasmus remarks to the Earl of Surrey that More oversees a remarkable household and reminds him that, upon their arrival, the porter had entertained them "in Latin good phrase." This may be meant to suggest that, after ordering Randall to impersonate him, More has disguised himself as the porter to see if Erasmus can recognize "merit over ceremony."


The Lord Cardinal's player Luggins is scheduled to perform the role of Good Counsel in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. When he fails to appear on time, More performs the part himself extemporaneously.


Gough is More's secretary. Near the end of the play, he and Catesby inform More's household servants that their master has been condemned to death and has ordered that each of them be paid twenty nobles for their loyal service.


The Hangman is More's executioner. Technically, in this play, he is a headsman, but the term hangman can be used generically for anyone performing an execution. He follows the conventional behavior of those in his occupation: he asks More's forgiveness and assures the condemned man he will strike true. In the short exchange between the two, More constantly jokes (for example, calling the Hangman the "doctor" sent by the king to cure him of a "headache"), thus continuing to the very end the characterization of More as a man of extraordinary good humor.


Harry appears in one of the deleted scenes. He is an apprentice participating in the May Day riots of 1517. Conversing with his fellow apprentice Robin, Harry claims to have broken the head of the usher at Garrett's fencing academy.


A "ghost character". King Henry advances More's career by knighting him and, finally, making him the Lord Chancellor. When More refuses to sign the articles that will allow the king to be recognized as the head of the church in England (and thus free the way for the divorce he seeks in order to marry Anne Boleyn), Henry has him charged with treason and orders him executed.


One of the Lord Cardinal's players takes the role of Inclination the Vice in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. Before the interlude, he asks More to delay the performance until a false beard the players have sent for arrives. When More insists that the interlude begin, Inclination launches into the traditional Vice role, ranting loudly and attempting to deceive Wit into taking Lady Vanity for Wisdom.


Falkner is a servant to Morris, the Bishop of Winchester's secretary. Arrested for taking part in a melee in Paternoster Row, he is brought before More, who orders the man to be taken to Newgate. Falkner begs to be sent instead to one of the "Counters" (prisons for lesser offenders), and More sends for Morris. As they wait for the secretary, More calls Falkner a ruffian and asks about the prisoner's extraordinarily long hair. When the latter claims that he has taken a vow not to be shorn for three years, More orders him to Newgate for three years unless he submits to a haircut, in which case the sentence will be reduced to one month. Falkner refuses and is led off. Morris arrives a short time later to plead for Falkner's release, saying the man has had his hair cut and promises to live a quiet life. More has Falkner brought in, likes the reformation he sees, and orders the man released. When More leaves to attend to guests, Falkner begins to rant so uncontrollably about his lost hair that Morris discharges him, only to relent when Falkner begins to weep.


John Lincoln, a broker by trade, is one of the leaders of the May Day uprising against foreigners in 1517. It is he who convinces the Bettses (George and Ralph), Doll Williamson, and the others who have suffered abuse to rouse the commons of London by having Doctor Beale read a list of charges during the Easter week sermons. When the riots begin, Lincoln assumes command of the insurgents and urges them against the hated foreigners. When More, whom he respects, arrives to address the crowd in his capacity as Sheriff of London, Lincoln helps still the mob, and when More convinces them to lay down their arms and submit to the king, Lincoln agrees to the recommendation, provided More will attempt to procure pardons for them. Condemned along with the other ringleaders, Lincoln patiently submits to the law, and climbing the scaffold accepts his fate as just, forgives all who have played a part in his undoing, and is hanged only moments before the Earl of Surrey arrives with the pardons More has procured from the king.


In one of the deleted scenes, Sir John Munday informs More that he has been beaten by a group of unruly apprentices and fears they have gone to join Lincoln, Sherwin, and the rest of the May Day rioters.


Justice Suresby presides over the court that had referred the trial of Lifter for stealing Smart's purse to the Court of Sessions. He pretends to have sympathy for the accused and berates the victim Smart for carrying ten pounds around with him to tempt the poor, although his chief pleasure comes from pursuing criminals of all sorts. Acting to help Lifter, More has the thief steal Suresby's purse, and when the loss is discovered, More returns the purse and the seven pounds in it, berating Suresby for carrying such a sum with almost the exact words the justice had used earlier to castigate Smart. By this "jest," More hopes to effect Lifter's release, but the scene ends suddenly and without result.


Kit appears in one of the deleted scenes. During the May Day riots of 1517, he argues with the apprentice Harry and challenges him to a duel with cudgels.


The Lieutenant of the Tower is charged with overseeing More's imprisonment. Knowing that More has enjoyed the king's favor, he is confused by More's assertion that the estate he will leave behind is not large. More then explains that he has been giving large sums of money to provide crutches for crippled soldiers and cloaks for poor scholars. The Lieutenant weeps openly as More is taken off to be executed.


A "ghost character". As More is led off to be executed, he asks the Lieutenant of the Tower to thank his wife for the good food she had provided during the stay in the prison.


As his name implies, Lifter is a cutpurse. Charged with having stolen a purse containing ten pounds from Smart, Lifter asks More to help him while the jury deliberates his fate. More instructs Lifter to steal Justice Suresby's purse and promises to win his release by this "jest." More himself serves as Lifter's "setter" by sending Suresby to speak to Lifter, and the criminal uses the distraction of his story about another thief (Lifter's Namesake) to get the justice's purse and then pass it on to More.


A fictional character in the play. In order to take Justice Suresby's purse, Lifter claims that there is a superior pickpocket who goes by the name of "Lifter," and while pretending to explain how this Namesake operates, Lifter uses the Justice's excitement at learning more about the criminals he so enjoys pursuing to cloak his actual lifting of Suresby's purse.


A "ghost character". The players who offer to perform The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom for More and his guests are in the service of the unnamed Lord Cardinal.


The Lord Mayor presides over the Court of Sessions when More, then a Sheriff of London, plays his practical joke on Justice Suresby. During the May Day riots, he give orders in an attempt to rein in the commoners, and when More's speech to the crowd calms the situation, he praises More for having saved the City from fire and murders. After More is knighted and made Lord Chancellor, the Lord Mayor leads a group of aldermen and their wives to visit More at his town house in the City and praises him for having set "a gloss on London's name."


One of the Lord Cardinal's players, Luggins was supposed to perform the role of Good Counsel in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, but he fails to arrive on time for the performance because Ogle's Wife will not let him have the false beard he needs for the role. More steps forward during the performance and handles the part extemporaneously.


A "ghost character". The actor playing Inclination the Vice in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom compliments More's ability to substitute for Luggins in the role of Good Counsel without any preparation and comments More could "uphold" any acting troop better than "Mason among the King's players."


After More is named Lord Chancellor, the Lord Mayor of London, his wife the Lady Mayoress, and others pay More a surprise visit at his town house in the City. As everyone prepares to watch The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom performed by the Lord Cardinal's men, Lady More invites the Lady Mayoress to sit by her, but the latter objects on the grounds that, given More's new position, she should be seated further away. Lady More insists, saying that when she and More visit the Lord Mayor's house, then the Lady Mayoress can order things as she wishes.


A "ghost character". John Meautis is a wealthy Picard whose house near St. Martin-le-Grand is pointed out by Lincoln during the May Day riots of 1517.


Two messengers figure in the play:
  • An unnamed Messenger reports to More and the Lord Mayor that the May Day rebels have broken into Newgate and released numbers of dangerous criminals.
  • An unnamed Messenger informs the Sheriff of London that the Privy Council has directed him to erect a scaffold in Cheapside for the immediate execution of John Lincoln, Doll Williamson, and the rest of the chief leaders of the uprising against the foreigners in London.


Lady More (the historical Alice Middleton) is More's second wife. Her gracious nature is signaled by her insistence that the Lady Mayoress be seated next to her during the performance of The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, even though her new position as wife to the Lord Chancellor places her above the Mayor's spouse. Later, just before More returns to announce he has resigned his post, Lady More tells her son-in-law (Master Roper) and her step-daughter (Mistress Roper) of a dream she has had in which she and More become separated from the king's party on the Thames and find themselves drifting to a point near the Tower of London where a whirlpool sucks them down. When the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury come with the king's final invitation to take the Oath of Supremacy, Lady More pleads with her husband to do so, and when they last meet in the Tower, she begs one last time that he consider the family and submit to the king.


The secretary to the Bishop of Winchester, Morris attempts to intercede for his servant Falkner when the latter appears before More. When Falkner rails against More for having ordered him to cut his hair, Morris becomes exasperated and threatens to fire the servant, but he relents when Falkner calms down and begs not to be let go.


Ned is the butler in More's household. With his fellows Robin the brewer and Giles the porter, he is dismayed to learn of More's death sentence, and with them, he receives More's gift of twenty nobles.


When the Sheriff of London is ordered to hang the leaders of the May Day uprising, the unnamed Another Officer informs him that the carts bearing the prisoners have been blocked by the huge crowds gathering in the streets. The Sheriff then orders the condemned to be brought on foot to Eastcheap, but because someone else has already thought of that, he is interrupted by their arrival.


A "ghost character". John Ogle was a leading supplier of wigs and costumes for the Elizabethan theater companies from the 1570s to 1600. The actor playing Inclination the Vice in the interlude presented by the Lord Cardinal's men asks More to delay the performance because they are waiting for a false beard to be fetched from Ogle for the actor playing Wit.


A "ghost character". Peter van Hollock is one of the wealthy foreigners mentioned by the May Day rioters. He resides at the Green Gate in Cornhill.


One of the Lord Cardinal's players delivers the conventional opening speech for the interlude performed at More's house and indicates that it is called The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom.


Ralph Betts is the brother of George Betts and figures in the May Day riots of 1517. The stage direction in the opening scene places him on the stage, but he is mute at that time. When the riots against the foreign merchants begin, Ralph appears in the speech headings as the Clown, and he delivers a constant stream of banter (sometimes sexual and rhymed) condemning the foreigners. Sentenced to death with the other ringleaders, he escapes hanging when More prevails upon the king for pardons.


Ralph is the horsekeeper in More's household. Along with Robin the brewer, Giles the porter, and the rest of the servants, he will receive a gift from More of twenty nobles in recognition of his loyal service.


Randall is one of More's chief servants. Before the arrival of Erasmus, More has Randall dressed in the regalia of the Lord Chancellor and instructs him to pretend to be that high official. Randall assures his master that he can pull off this joke, one that More has devised in part to learn if the famous Dutch humanist will see through the ruse or will simply accept things as they appear to be. In the event, Randall manages enough bluster to keep Erasmus unsure.


The Recorder of London serves as the jury foreman in the Court of Sessions that hears the case against Lifter. He reports the guilty verdict and the sentence of death for the cutpurse, and when the Lord Mayor calls for members of the court to contribute money for the burial of the condemned man, he and an Unnamed Justice follow the Lord Mayor's lead and make a contribution.


In one of the deleted scenes, Robin is an apprentice taking part in the May Day riots of 1517. Speaking to his fellow apprentice Harry, he complains of being out of practice with a sword and asks his fellow when he was last at Garrett's fencing school.


Robin is the More household brewer. Like Giles the porter, Ralph the horsekeeper, and the other servants, he is upset upon learning that More must die. With his fellows, he will receive a gift of twenty nobles for his good service.


Present when the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury discuss the many indignities heaped upon the Londoners by the city's foreign residents, Cholmley remarks that, in some ways, they and the other great lords are at fault for not making the king aware of his subjects' plight.


The wife of Master Roper, Mistress Roper is More's elder daughter Margaret. (Historically, More had three daughters-Margaret, Elizabeth, and Cecily-but the play speaks of only two.) Like her step-mother Lady More, she has a premonitory dream the night before her father resigns the chancellorship, telling her husband that she saw More praying in the rood loft at Chelsea church when it suddenly collapsed leaving him bloody. She accompanies her husband, sister, and step-mother to visit More in the Tower, and there assures him that even at such a late moment the king would spare him, if only he would submit to the Oath of Supremacy.


A "ghost character". As evidence of More's kindness to the common people, Doll Williamson remarks that, as Sheriff of London, More had arranged a position with Sergeant Safe for her brother Arthur Watchins.


When the May Day riots of 1517 erupt, the Sergeant-at-Arms asks the ringleaders whether they would refuse the king's mercy. John Lincoln replies that they would not, but he vows they will show none to the foreigners who have abused the London citizens with impunity. Later in the play, an official named Downes arrests More, and because the source passage for the May Day riots in Holinshed's Chronicles names the Sergeant-at-Arms as Nicholas Downes, it may be that Munday and his fellow contributors considered the two characters to be one and the same.


As More converses with his family about how good it is to have resigned as Lord Chancellor and to be able to pursue a private life, the unnamed Servant at Chelsea interrupts to report the arrival of the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury, who have come to give More one last chance to submit to the king's authority over the church in England. More sends the Servant out to escort the nobles inside.


When More learns that he is to be executed the next day, the Lieutenant of the Tower praises him for his patience, resolve, and good humor. More then sends the unnamed Servant at the Tower to fetch a urinal. When it arrives, the condemned man notes that there is "gravel" in the water, and the Servant asks if it should be sent to a doctor for examination. More jokes that such an action is unnecessary, for the king has a cure for him the next day.


The unnamed Servingman informs the Lord Cardinal's men that More has been summoned to court and their production of The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom has been cut short. He gives them payment for the part of the play that has been performed, but he shortchanges them. Later, More fires him after learning that he has only disbursed eight angels instead of the ten More had authorized.


Although More is one person to hold this title during the May Day riots, it is an unnamed Sheriff of London who arranges for the execution of the ringleaders, has a gibbet erected in Eastcheap to make a more vivid example of the condemned individuals, and when he learns from the unnamed Another Officer that the streets are blocked, preventing the prisoners from making their way to the place of execution, orders that they be brought on foot. Their sudden arrival allows for the regrettable execution of John Lincoln just moments before the Earl of Surrey comes with word of the king's pardon. He may be the same as either the First Sheriff or the Second Sheriff who both appear as More is taken off to execution.


Two Sheriffs figure in the play:
  • The First Sheriff officially assumes custody of More from the Lieutenant of the Tower and escorts him to the place of execution. While doing so, he reminds More that he and his companions are only doing their duty (just as More had done his when he served as Sheriff of London).
  • The Second Sheriff appears in the party of officers who take custody of More from the Lieutenant of the Tower and escort the condemned man to the scaffold. More recognizes him as an old friend, and the Second Sheriff remarks that he, and many others, had derived comfort from a divinity lecture More had once delivered at Saint Lawrence's.


Sherwin is a goldsmith whose wife has run off with the Lombard Francis de Bard. After the woman is returned to him, Sherwin finds himself sued by the foreigner for the woman's "maintenance" while their affair was occurring.


A plaintiff in Justice Suresby's court, Smart has charged Lifter with stealing his purse (and the ten pounds in it). He is pompously berated by the judge for carrying such a sum around to tempt poor people.


Sir Thomas More is presented throughout the play as a learned, pious, compassionate, and good humored man. He first appears as one of the Sheriffs of London at the Court of Sessions, where he has the cutpurse Lifter steal a purse from the pompous and self-righteous Justice Suresby, in order to be able to give Suresby the same admonishment against carrying large sums of money that the justice had given Smart. During the May Day riots of 1517, he addresses the ringleaders of the uprising with a plea for order, and he convinces them to surrender to the king, promising that he will personally attempt to beg pardons for them all. For his service, the king has More knighted and made Lord Chancellor of England. He later receives the Lord Mayor and a party of aldermen (and their wives), and commissions a performance by the Lord Cardinal's players of the interlude The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. When the actor who is to play the role of Good Counsel (Luggins) fails to appear, More takes the part himself extemporaneously. During the Privy Council scene, when the king sends a demand that the members subscribe to the Oath of Supremacy, More and Doctor John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, are unable in good conscience to do so. The bishop is taken to prison at once, but More is allowed to remain at home where the Earls of Shrewsbury and Surrey present him with a final chance to submit. When he again refuses, he is arrested by Downes and taken to the Tower. In his confinement, More impresses the Lieutenant of the Tower with his good humor, courage, and principled stand. During a final visit by his family, More assures them he is not able to submit, entrusts what is left of his estate to his wife Lady More, asks his son-in-law Master Roper to look out for Lady Roper (More's daughter Margaret), and urges them to "live all, and love together." Joking constantly as he is taken to the scaffold, he bids a warm farewell to the Earls of Surrey and Shrewsbury, and he follows the protocols expected on such occasions by forgiving the executioner (here listed as the Hangman) and giving him his gown. At Shrewsbury's urging he publicly accepts his fate for having disappointed the monarch, but jokes that he will send the king for "my trespass a reverent head, somewhat bald."


Sir Thomas Palmer visits the Privy Council with the articles of submission King Henry VIII wants the nobles to sign. When Doctor John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, and Thomas More refuse, Palmer orders the clergyman taken to prison and More to be kept under house arrest in Chelsea.


Inclination the Vice addresses Lady Vanity as Unknown Honesty when he encourages her to accept Wit in the interlude The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom performed for More by the Lord Cardinal's men.


After the guilty verdict is announced and the death sentence given in the case of Lifter's having stolen Smart's purse, the Lord Mayor asks the members of the Court of Sessions to contribute money for the condemned man's funeral. The Unnamed Justice and the Recorder of London make contributions at once.


Lady Vanity appears in the interlude The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom presented by the Lord Cardinal's men. Inclination the Vice attempts to pass her off as Wisdom to Wit. He also addresses her as Unknown Honesty when he urges her to accept Wit.


When the First and Second Sheriffs of London arrive at the Tower, the First Warder greets them and tells them the Lieutenant wishes them to come the "limits" of the Tower to receive their prisoner.


A "ghost character". Luggins reports that Ogle's Wife would not give him the false beard he needed for the part of Good Counsel in the interlude presented to More. Earlier, the beard was mentioned by Inclination the Vice as needed for the actor playing Wit in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom.


A "ghost character". Sherwin's Wife is seduced by Francis de Bard. She moves in with the Lombard, gives him her husband's plate, and is finally sent back home. Then, in another outrage perpetrated on innocent Londoners by foreign residents, de Bard sues Sherwin for the "maintenance" of the wife during the period of the affair.


Master William Roper is married to Margaret, More's elder daughter. He is present when the Lord Mayor's party is treated to a partial performance of The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. After More resigns the chancellorship, Roper comments how good it will be for the family to be out of the public eye. When More rejects the final chance to submit to the king, Roper attempts to calm the distressed Lady More and her step-daughters, and he accompanies them to visit More in the Tower where he urges his father-in-law to relent and "yield to the opinion of the state."


Williamson, a carpenter, provides examples of the type of outrageous behavior that common Londoners have had to accept from the Lombard or French residents of the city: his wife Doll is accosted by Francis de Bard, he has two doves stolen from him by Caveler, and at the request of the French ambassador, he has served time in Newgate for having taken "the wall of a stranger" (that is, walking on the part of the sidewalk nearest the building walls where the path was relatively clean). Present when More calms the leaders of the attack on the foreigners, Williamson and his wife are taken off to prison. When it appears that Doll is to be hanged, he takes heart from the touching speech she delivers as she mounts the scaffold, takes her hand as she climbs, and kisses her. He, like his wife, is spared by the sudden arrival of the Earl of Surrey with word that the king, responding to pleas from More, has granted pardon to the rioters.


The lone boy actor in the Lord Cardinal's troop takes the role of Wit in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom. In the interlude, Inclination the Vice tries to persuade him that Lady Vanity is really Wisdom. After the show is canceled and More's Servingman attempts to shortchange the players, Wit accosts More, saying that he has received eight angels but lost two of them, and More realizes that the payment of ten angels he had authorized for the performance has not be made. He compliments Wit for cleverly informing him in this way of the attempt to cheat them and discharges the Servingman. After More's departure, the players praise Wit for his shrewdness and More for being a good man.


The Poor Woman visits More shortly before his execution to ask that he return some documents she had given him as evidence in a case she had been pressing. More informs her that the king now has all such material and that she must plead with the monarch for their return. As she leaves, the Poor Woman praises More as the best friend the poor have ever had.

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