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  • Title: Thomas Lord Cromwell (Folio 3, 1664)

  • Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Anonymous, William Shakespeare
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    Thomas Lord Cromwell (Folio 3, 1664)

    The Life and Death
    Cro. Why should my birth keep down my mounting
    Are not all creatures subject unto time?
    To time, who doth abuse the world,
    And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy;
    There's legions now of beggars on the earth,
    95That their original did spring from Kings,
    And many Monarchs now, whose Fathers were
    The riffe-raffe of their age; for time and fortune
    Weares out a noble train to beggery;
    And from the Dunghill minions doe advance
    100To state: and mark, in this admiring world
    This is but course, which in the name of Fate
    Is seen as often as it whirles about:
    The River Thames that by our door doth passe,
    His first beginning is but small and shallow,
    105Yet keeping on his course growes to a Sea.
    And likewise Wolsey, the wonder of our age,
    His birth as mean as mine, a Butchers Son;
    Now who within this Land a greater man?
    Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy soul,
    110That thou may'st live to flourish and controule.

    Enter old Cromwell.
    Old Crom. Tom Cromwell, what Tom I say.
    Crom. Doe you call, sir?
    Old Crom. Here is Master Bowser come to know if
    115you have dispach'd his petition for the Lords of the
    Council, or no.
    Crom. Father, I have, please you to call him in.
    Old Crom. That's well said, Tom, a good Lad, Tom.

    Enter Master Bowser.
    120Bow. Now, Mr. Cromwell, have you dispatch'd this
    Crom. I have, sir, here it is, please you peruse it.
    Bow. It shall not need, we'll read it as we go by water.
    And, Master Cromwell, I have made a motion
    125May doe you good, and if you like of it.
    Our Secretary at Antwerpe, sir, is dead,
    And the Merchants there hath sent to me,
    For to provide a man fit for the place:
    Now I doe know none fitter than your self,
    130If with your liking it stand, Master Cromwell.
    Crom. With all my heart, sir, and I much am bound,
    In love and duty for your kindnesse shown.
    Old Crom. Body of me, Tom, make haste, least some
    Get between thee and home, Tom.
    135I thank you, good Master Bowser, I thank you for my
    I thank you alwayes, I thank you most heartily, sir:
    Ho, a Cup of Beer here for Master Bowser.
    Bow. It shall not need, sir: Master Cromwell, will you
    140Crom. I will attend you, sir.
    Old Crom. Farewell, Tom, God blesse thee, Tom,
    God speed thee, good Tom.
    Exeunt omnes.

    Enter Bagot a Broker solus.
    Bag. I hope this day is fatal unto some,
    145And by their losse must Bagot seek to gain.
    This is the Lodging of Master Friskiball,
    A liberall Merchant, and a Florentine,
    To whom Banister owes a thousand pound,
    A Merchant-Banckrupt, whose Father was my Master.
    150What doe I care for pity or regard,
    He once was wealthy, but he now is faln,
    And this morning have I got him arrested
    At the suit of Master Friskiball,
    And by this meanes shall I be sure of Coyn,
    155For doing this same good to him unknown:
    And in good time, see where the Merchant comes.
    Enter Friskiball.
    Good morrow to kind Master Friskiball.
    Fris. Good morrow to your self, good Master Bagot,
    160And whats the newes your are so early stirring?
    It is for gain, I make no doubt of that.
    Bag. It is for the love, sir, that I bear to you.
    When did you see your debtor Banister?
    Fris. I promise you, I have not seen the man
    165This two moneths day, his poverty is such,
    As I doe think he shames to see his friends.
    Bag. Why then assure your self to see him straight,
    For at your suit I have arrested him,
    And here they will be with him presently.
    170Fris. Arrest him at my suit? you were too blame,
    I know the mans misfortunes to be such,
    As he's not able for to pay the debt,
    And were it known to some, he were undone.
    Bag. This is your pittifull heart to think it so,
    175But you are much deceiv'd in Banister:
    Why, such as he will break for fashion sake,
    And unto those they owe a thousand pound,
    Pay scarce a hundred: O, sir, beware of him,
    The man is lewdly given, to Dice and Drabs,
    180Spends all he hath in Harlots companies,
    It is no mercy for to pity him:
    I speak the truth of him, for nothing else,
    But for the kindnesse that I bear to you.
    Fris. If it be so, he hath deceiv'd me much,
    185And to deale strictly with such a one as he,
    Better severe than too much lenity:
    But here is Master Banister himself,
    And with him, as I take't, the Officers.

    Enter Banister, his Wife, and two Officers.
    190Ban. O, Master Friskiball, you have undone me:
    My state was well nigh overthrown before,
    Now altogether down-cast by your meanes.
    Mist. Ba. O, Mr. Friskiball, pity my husband's case,
    He is a man hath liv'd as well as any,
    195Till envious Fortune, and the ravenous Sea
    Did rob, disrobe, and spoil us of our own.
    Fris. Mistresse Banister, I envy not your husband,
    Nor willingly would I have us'd him thus:
    But that I hear he is so lewdly given,
    200Haunts wicked company, and hath enough
    To pay his debts, yet will not be known thereof.
    Ban. This is that damned Broker, that same Bagot,
    Whom I have often from my Trencher fed:
    Ingratefull villain for to use me thus.
    205Bag. What I have said to him is nought but truth.
    Mi. Ba. What thou hast said springs from an en-
    (vious heart.
    A Cannibal that doth eat men alive:
    But here upon my knee believe me, sir,
    And what I speak, so help me God, is true,
    210We scrace have meat to feed our little Babes:
    Most of our Plate is in that Broker's hand,
    Which had we money to defray our debts,
    O think, we would not bide that penury:
    Be mercifull, kind Master Friskiball,
    215My husband, children, and my self will eat
    But one meale a day, the other will we keep and sell,