Dark Sovereign: Calming a mob

Drawn from ‘Dark Sovereign’, ACT 3, SCENE 7

 When news spread that the dukes, Richard Gloucester and Harry Buckingham, had seized young Prince Richard, the heir to the throne, Londoners began to choose sides and take up arms. Mobs formed, weapons came out and men drank heavily to build up their courage.

Confronting one such mob on May 1st, Lord Hasting shouted down the crowd, hoping to break it up. He succeeded. Readers, I invite you to try this speech when you need people in a mob to go home.

However, there are no guarantees! Good luck. 

 

‘Dark Sovereign’, ACT 3, SCENE 7

London, Thursday, May 1, 1483

LORD HASTINGS shouts an attempt to calm an ill-armed CROWD, the AUDIENCE, or both.

HASTINGS: My lords and commons, Londoners,

Dark Sovereign

Photo by Philippe Leroyer, Paris, 6th May, 2007, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

all you which have great heart to this affair,

I urge you eschew bitterness, to seek forth truth.

By that I honour, trow I Gloucester sure,

and fastly faithful to his prince. [1]

King Edward’s house are under an arrest

to keep the dukes from jeopardy;

’tis not to jeopardy the king.

SOME: (Affray) Aha! No. No.

HASTINGS: There stick they, only but until the thing be judged,

indifferently, by the Council: We shall appease all griefs. [2]

Know ye, of a surety th’authority remaineth to that side where is the king.

SOME: (Affray) Aha! No. No.

HASTINGS: Countrymen, I treat you—nay, herefor I chide—

put not the times to bloody judgment till ye do know truth!

Nor turn your private grudges into common hurt,

unless th’unsteady hour come so far out of joint

it never should be brought in frame again.

Heat but engenders ire, the which, consuming up,

doth render good with ill, nobility of soul with base,

and so an end. Deny t’incline to baseness; pluck it out.

In likewise put off arms; come not abroad by warring companies.

And look how far you are the body of the weal,

so far the common weal is you.

If, therefore, that you love your land, your king,

your lives, your loves, your self, begone!

That hearth you have, betake you home!

The CROWD breaks up, revealing TRUTH, the identical twin to RUMOUR.

HASTINGS makes to go.

TRUTH: Thus noble Hastings, boldly,

keeping London from commotion;

bedulling the hot edge of war to whispering churlish peace.

HASTINGS, aside: God grant I said truth.

But if I went beyond the moon I pray they look not through me. [3]

I wot not which of that I spoke were false or true.

He goes. Exit the CROWD.

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[1] 3.7.5. The line is Sir Thomas More’s. Much of Hastings’ address is adapted after More, altered by me for the benefit of metre and ‘modernized’ into Period English.

[2] 3.7.11. indifferently: impartially.

[3] 3.7.33. went beyond the moon: exaggerated.

RF / Dark Sovereign Act 3, scene 7, Calming a mob / 18 Oct 2015

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