William Shakespeare: King Henry VI, Second Part

10. SCENE X. Kent. Iden's Garden. (continued)

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 door-nail, 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 turn'd
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'd 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 hallow 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.


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