Act 4 - Scene 10
Kent. IDEN's garden.
Fie on ambition! fie on myself, that have a sword,
and yet am ready to famish! These five days have
hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for
all the country is laid for me; but now am I so
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
must serve me to feed on.
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,
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.
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
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
eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and
thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead
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
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
the burly-boned clown in chines of beef ere thou
sleep in thy sheath, I beseech God on my knees
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