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  • Title: The History of Sir John Oldcastle (Folio 3, 1664)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Authors: Anonymous, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathway, Antony Munday, William Shakespeare, Robert Wilson
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The History of Sir John Oldcastle (Folio 3, 1664)

    The History of Sir John Oldcastle,
    Host. By the Mass that thou shalt, a good pair
    hempen sheets were nere layn in: come.

    Enter Constable, Mayor, and Watch.
    May. What? have you searcht the Town?
    Con. All the town, sir, we have not left a house un-
    searcht that uses to lodge.
    May. Surely, my Lord of Rochester was then deceiv'd,
    2195Or ill inform'd of sir John Oldcastle,
    Or if he came this way, he's past the Town,
    He could not else have scap'd you in the search.
    Con. The privy watch hath been abroad all night,
    And not a stranger lodgeth in the Town
    2200But he is known; onely a lusty Priest
    We found in bed with a pretty wench,
    That sayes she is his wife, yonder at the Shears:
    But we have charg'd the host with his forth coming
    To morrow morning.
    2205May. What think you best to do?
    Con. Faith, Mr. Maior, here's a few stragling houses
    beyond the hrigde, and a little Inne where Carriers use
    to lodge, although I think surely he would nere lodge
    there: but we'll go search, and the rather, because
    2210there came notice to the town the last night of an Irish
    man, that had done a murther, whom we are to make
    search for.
    Mayor. Come I pray you, and be circumspect.
    Con. First beset the house, before you begin to search.
    2215Offi. Content, every man take a several place.
    A noise within.
    Keep, keep, strike him down there, down with him.

    Enter Constable with the Irishman in Harpool's apparel.

    Con. Come you villanous heretick, tell us where your
    2220Master is.
    Irish. Vat mester?
    May. Vat mester, you counterfeit Rebel? This shall
    not serve your turn.
    Irish. Be sent Patrick I ha no mester.
    2225Con. Where's the Lord Cobham, sir John Oldcastle,
    that lately escaped out of the Tower?
    Irish. Vat Lort Cobham?
    May. You counterfeit this shall not serve you, we'll
    torture you, we'll make you confesse where that arch-he-
    2230retick is. Come bind him fast.
    Irish. Ahone, ahone, ahone, a Cree.
    Con. Ahone you crafty rascal?
    Lord Cobham comes out stealing in his gown.
    Cob. Harpool, Harpool, I hear a marvellous noise about
    2235the house, God warrant us, I fear we are pursued:
    what Harpool?
    Har. within. Who calls there?
    Cob. 'Tis I, dost thou not hear a noise about the house?
    Har. Yes marry do I, zounds I cannot find my hose,
    2240this Irish rascal that lodg'd with me all night, hath stollen
    my apparel, and has left me nothing but a lowsie mantle,
    and a pair of broags. Get up, get up, and if the Carrier
    and his wench be asleep, change you with him as he hath
    done with me, and see if we can scape.

    Noise heard about the house a pretty while, then enter
    the Constable meeting Harpool in the Irish-
    man's aparell.
    Con. Stand close, here comes the Irishman that did the
    murther, by all tokens this is he.
    2250May. And perceiving the house beset, would get away:
    stand sirra.
    Har. What art thou that bid'st me stand?
    Con. I am the Officer, and am come to search for an
    Irish man, such a villain as thy self, thou hast murther'd
    2255a man this last night by the high way.
    Harp. Sbloud Constable art thou mad? am I an
    May. Sirra, we'll find you an Irish-man befor we part:
    Lay hold upon him.
    2260Con. Make him fast, O thou bloudy rogue!

    Enter Lord Cobham and his Lady, in the Carrier
    and wenches apparel.
    Cob. What will these Ostlers sleep all day?
    Good morrow, good morrow, come wench, come;
    2265Saddle, saddle, now afore God two fair dayes, ha?
    Con. Who goes there?
    May. O 'tis Lancashire Carrier, let them pass.
    Cob. What, will no body ope the gates here?
    Come, let's int'stable to look to our Capons.
    The Carrier calling.
    Host, why Ostler?
    Zwooks here's such a bomination company of Boyes:
    A pox of this pigstie at the house end,
    It fills all the house full of fleas, Ostler, Ostler.
    2275Ost. Who calls there? what would you have?
    Club. Zwooks, do you rob your guests?
    Do you lodge rogues, and slaves, and scoundrels, ha?
    They ha stoln our clothes here: why Ostler?
    Ost. A murren choak you, what a bawling you keep.
    2280Host. How now? what would the Carrier have?
    Look up there.
    Ostler. They say the man and the woman that lay by
    them, have stoln their clothes.
    Host. What, are the strange folks up yet that came in
    2285yester night?
    Con. What mine Host, up so early?
    Host. What Mr. Maior, and Mr. Constable?
    May. We are come to seek for some suspected per-
    sons, and such as here we found have apprehended.

    Enter Carrier and Kate in Cobham and Ladies apparel.

    Con. Who comes here?
    Club. Who comes here? A plague found ome, you
    bawl quoth a, ods hat I'le forewear your house: you lodg'd
    a fellow and his wife by us, that ha run away with our
    2295parrel, and left us such gew-gaws here, come Kate, come
    to me, thowse dizeard yfaith.
    Mayor.Mine host, know you this man?
    Host. Yes master Maior, I'le give my word for him,
    why neighbour Club, how comes this gear about?
    2300Kate. Now a foule on't, I cannot make this gew-gaw
    stand on my head.
    Con. How came this man and woman thus attired?
    Host. Here came a man and woman hither this last
    night, which I did take for substantial people, and lodg'd
    2305all in one chamber by these folks: me thinks have been
    so bold to change apparel, and gone away this morning
    ere they rose.
    May. That was that Traitor Oldcastle that thus escapt
    us: make hue and cry after him, keep fast that traiterous
    2310Rebel his servant there: farewell, mine Host.
    Car. Come Kate Owdham, thou and Ise trimly dizard.
    Kate. Ifaith