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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    Not Peer Reviewed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,
    Which Roger likewise had of his descent,
    Edmund, Roger, Anne, and Elianor,
    1005Two Daughters and two Sons, but of those, three
    Di'd without issue: Anne, that did survive,
    And now was left her Fathers onely Heir,
    By fortune was to marry, Being too
    By my Grandfather of King Edward's Line:
    1010So of his Sir-name, I am cal'd you know.
    Richard Plantaginet, my Father was,
    Edward the Duke of York, and son and heir
    To Edmund Langley, Edward the third's first son.
    Scro. So that it seems your claim comes by your wife,
    1015As lawfull heir to Roger Mortimer
    The son of Edmund, which did marry Phillip
    Daughter and heir to Lyonel Duke of Clarence.
    Cam. True, for this Harry, and his father both
    Harry the first, as plainly doth appear,
    1020Are false intruders, and usurp the Crown.
    For when young Richard was at Pomfret slain,
    In him the Title of Prince Edward di'd,
    That was the eldest of King Edward's sons:
    William of Hatfield, and their second brother,
    1025Death in his nonage had before bereft:
    So that my wife deriv'd from Lionel
    Third son unto King Edward, ought proceed
    And take possession of the Diadem
    Before this Harry, or his Father King,
    1030Who fetch their Title but from Lancaster,
    Forth of that royal line. And being thus,
    What reason is't, but she should have her right?
    Scro. I am resolv'd, our enterprize is just.
    Gray. Harry shall die or else resigne his Crown.
    1035Chart. Performe but that, and Charles the King of
    Shall aid you Lords, not only with his men,
    But send yor money to maintain your warrs:
    Five hundred thousand Crowns he bad me proffer,
    If you can stop but Harrie's voyage for France.
    1040Scr. We never had a fitter time then now,
    The Realme in such division as it is.
    Cam. Besides you must perswade you, there is due
    Vengeance for Richards murther, which although
    It be deferr'd, yet will it fall at last,
    1045And now as likely as another time.
    Sin hath had many years to ripen in,
    And now the harvest cannot be far off,
    Wherein the weeds of usurpation
    Are to be cropt, and cast into the fire.
    1050Scr. No more, Earle Cambridge, here I plight my faith,
    To set up thee, and thy renowned wife.
    Gray. Gray will performe the same, as he is Knight.
    Chart. And to assist ye, as I said before,
    Chartres doth 'gage the honour of his King.
    1055Scr.We lack but now Lord Cobham's fellowship,
    And then our plot were absolute indeed.
    Cam. Doubt not of him, my Lord, his life's pursu'd
    By th'incensed Clergy, and of late
    Brought in displeasure with the King, assures
    1060He may be quickly won unto our faction.
    Who hath the Articles were drawn at large
    Of our whole purpose?
    Gray. That have I, my Lord.
    Cam. We should not now be far off from his house,
    1065Our serious Conference hath beguild the way:
    See where his Castle stands, give me the writing.
    When we are come unto the speech of him,
    Because we will not stand to make recount
    Of that which hath been said, here he shall read
    1070Our minds at large, and what we crave of him.
    Enter Cobham.
    Scr. A ready way: here comes the man himself
    Booted and spurr'd, it seems he hath been riding.
    Cam. Well met, Lord Cobham.
    1075Cob. My Lord of Cambridge?
    Your Honour is most welcome into Kent,
    And all the rest of this fair company.
    I am new come from London, gentle Lords:
    But will ye not take Cowling for your Host,
    1080And see what entertainment it affords?
    Cam. We were intended to have been your guests:
    But now this lucky meeting shall suffice
    To end our businesse, and deferre that kindesse.
    Cob. Business my Lord? what business should
    1085Let you to be merry? we have no delicates;
    Yet this I'le promise you, a piece
    of Venison,
    A cup of wine, and so forth, hunters fare:
    And if you please, we'll strike the stag our selves
    Shall fill our dishes with his well-fed flesh.
    1090Scro. That is indeed the thing we all desire.
    Cob. My Lords, and you shall have your choice with me.
    Cam. Nay but the Stag which we desire to strike,
    Lives not in Cowling: if you will consent,
    And go with us, we'll bring you to a Forrest,
    1095Where runs a lusty heard: among the which
    There is a Stag superiour to the rest;
    A stately beast, that when his fellows run
    He leads the race, and beats the sullen earth,
    As though he scorn'd it with his trampling hoofs,
    1100Aloft he bears his head, and with his brest
    Like a huge bulwark counter-checks the wind:
    And when he standeth still, he stretcheth forth
    His proud ambitious neck, as if he meant
    To wound the firmament with forked horns.
    1105Cob. 'Tis pitty such a goodly beast should die.
    Cam.Not so, Sir John, for he is tyranous,
    And gores the other Deer, and will not keep
    Within the limits are appointed him.
    Of late he's broke into a several,
    1110Which doth belong to me, and there he spoiles
    Both corn and pasture, two of his wild race
    Alike for stealth, and covetous incroaching,
    Already are remov'd; if he were dead,
    I should not only be secure from hurt,
    1115But with his body make a royal feast.
    Scro. How say you then, will you first hunt with us?
    Cob. Faith Lords, I like the pastime, where's the place?
    Cam. Peruse this writing, it will shew you all,
    And what occasion we have for the sport.
    He reads.
    1120Cob. Call ye this hunting, my Lords? Is this the Stag
    You fain would chase, Harry our dread King?
    So we may make a banquet for the devil?
    And in the stead of wholsome meat, prepare
    A dish of poison to confound our selves.
    1125Cam. Why so, Lord Cobham? See you not our claim?
    And how imperiously he holds the Crown?
    Scro. Besides, you know your self is in disgrace,
    Held as a recreant, and pursu'd to death.
    This will defend you from your enemies,
    1130And stablish your Religion through the Land.
    Cob. Notorious treason! yet I will conceal
    My secret thoughts to sound the depth of it.
    My Lord of Cambridge, I do see your claim,
    And what good may redound unto the Land,