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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter the King, Suffolk, and Butler. great hast.My Lord of Suffolk, post away for
    1360And let our forces of such horse and foot,
    As can be gathered up by any means.
    Make speedy randevouze in Tuttle fields,
    It must be done this evening my Lord,
    This night the Rebels mean to draw to head
    1365Near Islington, which if your speed prevent not,
    If once they should unite their several forces,
    Their power is almost thought invincible,
    Away my Lord, I will be with you soon.
    Suff. I go, my Soveraigne, with all happy speed.
    1370Kin. Make hast, my Lord of Suffolk, as you love us.
    Butler, post you to London with all speed:
    Command the Maior and Sheriffs on their allegeance,
    The City gates be presently shut up,
    And guarded with a strong sufficient watch,
    1375And not a man be suffered to passe,
    Without a special Warrant from our self.
    Command the Postern by the Tower be kept,
    And Proclamation on the pain of death,
    That not a Citizen stir from his doors,
    1380Except such as the Mayor and Sheriffs shall choose
    For their own guard, and safety of their persons:
    Butler away, have care unto my charge.
    But. I go, my Soveraigne.
    King. Butler.
    1385But. My Lord.
    Kin. Go down by Greenwitch, and command a boat,
    At the Friars Bridge attend my coming down.
    But. I will, my Lord.
    Exit Butler.
    King. It's time I think to look unto Rebellion,
    1390When Acton doth expect unto his aid,
    No lesse then fifty thousand Londoners.
    Well, I'le to Westminster in this disguise,
    To hear what news is stirring in these brawls.
    Enter Priest.
    1395Priest. Stand true-man, sayes a Thief.
    King. Stand Thief sayes a true-man: how if a Thief?
    Pri. Stand Thief too.
    Kin. Then thief or true-man, I must stand I see,
    howsoever the world wags, the trade of thieving yet will
    1400never down. What art thou?
    Pri. A good fellow.
    Kin. So I am too, I see thou dost know me.
    Pri. If thou be a good fellow, play the good fellowes
    part, deliver thy purse without more adoe.
    1405King. I have no money.
    Pri. I must make you finde some before we part, if
    you have no money you shall have ware, as many sound
    blowes as your skin can carry.
    Kin. Is that the plain truth?
    1410Pri.Sirrha, no more adoe; come, come, give me the
    money you have. Dispatch, I cannot stand all day.
    Kin. Well, if thou wilt needs have it, there it is: just
    the Proverbe, one thief robs another. Where the Devil
    are all my old thieves? Falstaffe that villain is so fat, he
    1415cannot get on's Horse, but me thinks Poynes and Peto
    should be stirring hereabouts.
    Pri. How much is there on't of thy word?
    Kin. A hundred pound in Angels, on my word.
    The time has been I would have done as much
    1420For thee, if thou hadst past this way, as I have now.
    Pri. Sirrha, what art thou? thou seem'st a Gentleman?
    Kin. I am no lesse, yet a poor one now, for thou hast
    all my money.
    Pri. From whence cam'st thou?
    1425Kin. From the Court at Eltham.
    Pri. Art thou one of the King's Servants?
    Kin. Yes that I am, and one of his Chamber.
    Pri. I am glad th'art no worse: thou may'st the better
    spare thy money, and think thou might'st get a poor
    1430Thief his pardon if he should have need.
    Kin. Yes that I can.
    Pri. Wilt thou doe so much for me, when I shall have
    Kin. Yes faith will I, so it be for no murther.
    1435Pri.Nay, I am a pittifull thief, all the hurt I do a man,
    I take but his purse, I'le kill no man.
    Kin. Then of my word I'le do't.
    Pri. Give me thy hand of the same.
    Kin. There 'tis.
    1440Pri. Me thinks the King should be good to Thieves,
    because he has bin a thief himself, although I think now
    he be turned a true-man.
    Kin. Faith I have heard indeed h'as had an ill name
    that way in's youth: but how canst thou tell that he has
    1445been a thief?
    Pri. How? because he once robb'd me before I fell to
    the trade my self, when that foul villanous guts, that led
    him to all that Roguery, was in's company there, that
    1450King aside.Well, if he did rob thee then, thou art but
    even with him now I'le be sworn: Thou knowest not the
    King now I think, if thou sawest him?
    Pri. Not I, ifaith.
    King aside. So it should seem.
    1455Pri. Well, if old King Harry had liv'd, this King
    that is now, had made thieving the best trade in England.
    King. Why so?
    Pri. Because he was the chief Warden of our Com-
    pany, it's pitty that e're he should have been a King, he
    1460was so brave a thief. But sirrha, wilt remember my par-
    don if need be?
    King. Yes faith will I.
    Pri. Wilt thou? well then, because thou shalt go safe,
    for thou may'st hap (being so early) be met with again,
    1465before thou come to Southwarke, if any man when he
    should bid thee good morrow, bid the stand, say thou but
    sir John, and they will let thee passe.
    King. Is that the word? then let me alone.
    Pri. Nay sirrha, because I think indeed I shall have
    1470some occasion to use thee, and as thou comm'st oft this
    way, I may light on thee another time not knowing thee,
    here I'le break this Angel, take thou half of it, this is a to-
    ken betwixt thee and me.
    King. God a mercy: farewell.
    1475Pri. O my fine golden slaves, here's for thee, wench,
    ifaith. Now, Doll, we will revell in our Bever, this is a
    Tythe Pig of my Vicarage. God a mercy, neighbour
    Shooters-hill, you ha paid your Tythe honestly. Well, I
    hear there is a company of Rebels up against the King,
    1480got together in Ficket-field near Holborn, and as it is
    thought, here in Kent, the King will be there to night
    in's own person: well, I'le to the Kings Camp, and it
    shall go hard, if there be any doings but I'le make some
    good boot among them.