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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Murley and his men, prepared in some filthy
    order for war.
    Mur. Come my hearts of flint, modestly, decently,
    1225soberly, and handsomly; no man afore his Leader: fol-
    low your Master, your Captain, your Knight that shall-
    be, for the honour of Meal-men, Millers, and Malt-men,
    dun is the mouse: Dick and Tom for the credit of Dun-
    stable, ding down the Enemy to morrow. Ye shall not
    1230come into the field like beggars. Where be Leonard and
    Lawrence my two Loaders? Lord have mercy upon us,
    what a world is this? I would give a couple of shillings
    for a dozen of good Feathers for ye, and fourty pence for
    as many Scarffes to set ye out withall. Frost and snow,
    1235a man has no heart to fight till he be brave.
    Dick. Master, we are no babes, our town foot-balls
    can bear witnesse: this little parrel we have shall off, and
    we'll fight naked before we run away.
    Tom. Nay, I'me of Lawrence mind for that, for he
    1240means to leave his life behind him, he and Leonard, your
    two Loaders are making their Wills because they have
    wives, now we Batchellors bid our friends scramble for
    our goods if we dye: but Master, pray let me ride upon Cut.
    Mur. Meal and salt, wheat and Malt, fire and tow,
    1245frost and snow, why Tom thou shalt. Let me see, here
    are you, William and George are with my Cart, and Ro-
    bin and Hodge holding my own two Horses; proper
    men, handsome men, tall men, true men.
    Dick. But Master, Master, me thinks you are mad
    1250to hazard your own person, and a cart-load of money too.
    Tom. Yea, and Master there's a worse matter in't; if
    it be as I heard say, we go fight against all the learned
    Bishops, that shauld give us their blessing, and if they
    curse us, we shall speed nere the better.
    1255Dick. Nay birlady, some say the King takes their part,
    and Master dare you fight against the King.
    Mur. Fie paltry, paltry, in and out, to and fro upon
    occasion, if the King be so unwise to come there, we'll
    fight with him too.
    1260Tom. What if ye should kill the King?
    Mur. Then we'll make another.
    Dick. Is that all? do ye not speak Treason?
    Mur. If we do, who dare trip us? We come to fight for
    our conscience, and for honour: little know you what is in
    1265my bosome, look here mad knaves, a pair of gilt Spurres.
    Tom. A pair of golden spurs? why do you not put
    them on your heels? your bosome's no place for spurs.
    Mur. Be't more or lesse upon occasion, Lord have
    mercy upon us, Tom th'art a fool, and thou speak'st trea-
    1270son to Knight-hood: dare any wear gold or silver spurrs
    till he be a Knight? No, I shall be knighted to morrow,
    and then they shall on: Sirs, was it ever read in the
    Church book of Dunstable, that ever Malt-man was made
    1275Tom. No but you are more: you are Meal-man, Malt-
    man, Miller, Corn-Master and all.
    Dick. Yea, and half a Brewer too, and the devil and
    all for wealth: you bring more money with you, then all
    the rest.
    1280Mur. The more's my honour, I shall be a Knight to
    morrow. Let me spose my men, Tom upon Cut, Dick
    upon Hob, Hodge upon Ball, Raph upon Sorel, and Ro-
    bin upon the fore-horse.
    Enter Acton, Bourn, and Beverley.
    1285Tom. Stand, who comes there?
    Act. All friends, good fellow.
    Mur. Friends and fellows indeed, Sir Roger.
    Act. Why thus you shew your self a Gentleman,
    To keep your day, and come so well prepar'd.
    1290Your Cart stands yonder, guarded by your men,
    Who tell me it is loaden well with Coin,
    What summe is there?
    Mur. Ten thousand pound, Sir Roger, and modestly,
    decently, soberly, and handsomely, see what I have here
    1295against I be Knighted.
    Act. Gilt spurrs? 'Tis well.
    Mur. Where's our Army, sir?
    Act. Disperst in sundry villages about;
    Some here with us in Hygate, some at Finchley,
    1300Totnam, Enfield, Edmunton, Newington,
    Islington, Hogsdone, Pancredge, Kenzington,
    Some nearer Thames, Ratcliff, Blackwall, and Bow :
    But our chief strength must be the Londoners,
    Which ere the Sun to morrow shine,
    1305Will be near fifty thousand in the field.
    Mur. Marry God dild ye dainty my dear, but upon
    occasion Sir Roger Acton, doth not the King know of it,
    and gather his power against us?
    Act. No, he's secure at Eltham.
    1310Mur. What do the Clergy?
    Act. Fear extreamly, yet prepare no force.
    Mur. In and out, to and fro, bully my boykin, we
    shall carry the world afore us, I vow by my worship,
    when I am Knighted, we'll take the King napping, if he
    1315stand on their part.
    Act. This night we few in Hygate will repose,
    With the first Cock we'll rise and arme our selves,
    To be in Ficket field by break of day,
    And there expect our General.
    1320Mur. Sir John Oldcastle, what if he come not?
    Bour. Yet our action stands,
    Sir Roger Acton may supply his place.
    Mur. True M. Bourn, but who shall make me Knight?
    Bev. He that hath power to be our General.
    1325Act. Talk not of trifles, come let's away,
    Our friends of London long till it be day.