Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Not Peer Reviewed

Thomas Lord Cromwell (Folio 3, 1664)


Enter Cromwell in the Tower.
Crom. Now, Cromwell, hast thou time to meditate,
And think upon thy state, and of the time:
1660Thy honours came unsought, I, and unlooked for,
They fall as sudden, and unlooked for too:
What glory was in England that I had not?
Who in this Land commanded more then Cromwell?
Except the King, who greater then my self?
1665But now I see what after ages shall,
The greater men, more sudden is their fall.
And now I doe remember, the Earl of Bedford
Was very desirous for to speak to me:
And afterward sent unto me a Letter,
1670The which I think I have still in my Pocket,
Now may I read it, for I now have leisure,
And this I take it is.
He reads the Letter.
My Lord, come not this night to Lambeth,
For if you doe, your state is overthrown.
1675And much I doubt your life, and if you come:
Then if you love your self, stay where you are.
O God, had I but read this Letter,
Then had I been free from the Lyons paw:
Deferring this to read untill to morrow,
1680I spurn'd at joy, and did embrace my sorrow.
Enter the Lieutenant of the Tower and Officers.
Now, Master Lieutenant, when's this day of death?
Lieu. Alass, my Lord, would I might never see it:
Here are the Dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk,
1685Winchester, Bedford, and Sir Richard Ratcliffe,
With others, but why they come I know not.
Crom. No matter wherefore, Cromwell is prepar'd,
For Gardiner has my life and state insnar'd:
Bid them come in, or you shall doe them wrong,
1690For here stands he, whom some thinks lives too long,
Learning kills Learning, and, instead of Ink
To dip his Pen, Cromwell's heart blood doth drink.
Enter all the Nobles.
Norf. Good morrow, Cromwell, what, alone so sad?
1695Crom. One good among you, none of you are bad:
For my part, it best fits me be alone,
Sadnesse with me, not I with any one.
What, is the King acquainted with my cause?
Norf. We have, and he hath answered us, my Lord.
1700Crom. How shall I come to speak with him my self.
Gard. The King is so advertised of your guilt,
He will by no meanes admit you to his presence.
Crom. No way admit me, am I so soon forgot?
Did he but yesterday embrace my neck,
1705And said that Cromwell was even half himself,
And is his Princely eares so much bewitched
With scandalous ignominy, and slanderous speeches,
That now he doth deny to look on me?
Well, my Lord of Winchester, no doubt but you
1710Are much in favour with his Majesty,
Will you bear a Letter from me to his Grace?
Gar. Pardon me, I'le bear no Traitors Letters.
Crom. Ha, will you doe this kindesse then?
Tell him by word of mouth what I shall say to you.
1715Gard. That will I.
Crom. But on your honour will you?
Gar. I, on my honour.
Crom. Bear witnesse, Lords.
Tell him, when he hath known you,
1720And try'd your faith but half so much as mine,
He'll find you to be the falsest hearted man
In England: Pray tell him this.
Bed. Be patient, good my Lord, in these extremities.
Crom. My kind and honourable Lord of Bedford,
1725I know your honour alwayes lov'd me well,
But, pardon me, this still shall be my theam,
Gardiner is the cause makes Cromwell so extream:
Sir Ralph Sadler, pray a word with you;
You were my man, and all that you possess
1730Came by my means, to requite all this,
Will you take this Letter here of me,
And give it with your own hands to the King.
Sad. I kiss your hand, and never will I rest,
E're to the King this be delivered.
Exit Sadler.
1735Crom. Why yet Cromwell hath one Friend in store.
Gard. But all the haste he makes shall be but vain;
Here's a discharge for your Prisoner,
To see him executed presently:
My Lord, you heare the tenor of your life.
1740Crom. I do embrace it, welcome my last date,
And of this glistering world I take last leave;
And, Noble Lords, I take my leave of you:
As willingly I go to meet with death,
As Gardiner did pronounce it with his breath;
1745From Treason is my heart as white as Snow,
My death onely procured by my Foe:
I pray commend me to my Soveraign King,
And tell him in what sort his Cromwell dy'd,
To loose his head before his cause was try'd:
1750But let his Grace, when he shall hear my name,
Say onely this, Gardiner procur'd the same.
Enter young Cromwell.
Liev. Here is your Son come to take his leave.
Crom. To take his leave?
1755Come hither, Harry Cromwell;
Mark, Boy, the last words that I speak to thee;
Flatter not Fortune, neither fawn upon her;
Gape not for state, yet lose no spark of honour;
Ambition, like the plague see thou eschew it;
1760I die for Treason, Boy, and never knew it;
Yet let thy faith as spotless be as mine,
And Cromwell's virtues in thy face shall shine:
Come, go along and see me leave my breath,
And I'le leave thee upon the floor of death.
1765Son. O father, I shall die to see that wound,
Your bloud being spilt will make my heart to sound.
Crom. How, Boy, not look upon the Axe?
How shall I do then to have my head strook off?
Come on, my child, and see the end of all,
1770And after say that Gardiner was my fall.
Gard. My Lord, you speak it of an envious heart,
I have done no more then Law and equity.
Bed. O, my good Lord of Winchester, forbear;
It would better seemed you to been absent,
1775Then with your words disturb a dying man.
Crom. Who me, my Lord? no: he disturbs not me,
My mind he stirres not, though his mighty shock
Hath brought moe Peers heads down to the block.
Farewell, my Boy, all Cromwell can bequeath,
1780My hearty blessing, so I take my leave.
Hang. I am your death's-man, pray my Lord forgive me.
Cro. Even with my soul, why man thou art my Doctor,
And bring'st me precious Physick for my Soul;
My Lord of Bedford, I desire of you,
1785Before my death a corporal embrace.
Bedford comes to him, Cromwell embraces him.
Farewell, great Lord, my love I do commend:
My heart to you, my soul to heaven I send;
This is my joy, that e're my body fleet,
1790Your honour'd armes is my true winding-sheet;
Farewell, dear Bedford, my peace is made in heaven;
Thus falls great Cromwell a poor ell in length,
To rise to unmeasur'd height, winged with new strength.
The land of Wormes, which dying men discover.
1795My soul is shrin'd with heaven's celestial cover.
Exeunt Cromwell and the Officers, and others.
Bed. Well, farewell Cromwell, the truest friend
That ever Bedford shall possess again,
Well, Lords, I fear when this man is dead,
1800You'll wish in vain that Cromwell had a head.
Enter one with Cromwell's head.
Offi. Here is the head of the deceased Cromwell.
Bed. Pray thee go hence, and bear his head away,
Unto his body, interre them both in clay.
1805
Enter Sir Ralph Sadler.
Sad. How now my Lords, what is Lord Cromwell dead?
Bed. Lord Cromwell's body now doth want a head.
Sad. O God, a little speed had sav'd his life,
Here is a kind Reprieve come from the King,
1810To bring him straight unto his Majesty.
Suff. I, I, sir Ralph, Reprieves come now too late.
Gar. My conscience now tells me this deed was ill,
Would Christ that Cromwell were alive again.
Nor. Come let us to the King, whom well I know,
1815Will grieve for Cromwell, that his death was so.
Exeunt omnes.