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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
    If ever my heart against the King was set,
    O let my soule in judgement answer it,
    Then if my faith's confirmed with his reason,
    'Gainst whom hath Cromwell then committed treason?
    1600Suf. My Lord, your matter shall be tried,
    Mean time with patience content your self.
    Crom. Perforce I must with patience be content:
    O, dear friend Bedford, dost thou stand so near?
    Cromwell rejoyceth one friend sheds a tear:
    1605And whether is't? which way must Cromwell now?
    Gar. My Lord, you must unto the Tower:
    Lieutenant, take him to your charge.
    Crom. Well, where you please, yet before I part,
    Let me conferre a little with my men.
    1610Gar. As you go by water so you shall.
    Crom. I have some businesse present to impart.
    Nor. You may not stay, Lieutenant, take your charg.
    Crom. Well, well, my Lord, you second Gardiners text.
    Norfolk, farewell, thy turn will be the next.
    1615Exit Cromwell and the Lieutenant.
    Gar. His guilty Conscience makes him rave, my Lord.
    Nor. I, let him talk, his time is short enough.
    Gar. My Lord of Bedford, come, you weep for him,
    That would not shed a tear for you.
    1620Bed. It grieves me for to see his sudden fall.
    Gar. Such successe wish I unto Traitors all.Exeunt.

    Enter two Citizens.

    1. Why? can this newes be true? is't possible?
    The great Lord Cromwell arrested upon Treason,
    1625I hardly will believe it can be so.
    2. It is too true, sir, would it were otherwise,
    Condition I spent half the wealth I have;
    I was at Lambeth, saw him there arrested,
    And afterward committed to the Tower.
    16301. What was't for Treason that he was committed?
    2. Kind, Noble Gentleman: I may rue the time;
    All that I have, I did enjoy by him,
    And if he die, then all my state is gone.
    1. It may be hoped that he shall not die,
    1635Because the King did favour him so much.
    2. O, sir, you are deceived in thinking so:
    The grace and favour he had with the King,
    Hath caus'd him have so many enemies:
    He that in Court secure will keep himself,
    1640Must not be great, for then he is envied at.
    The Shrub is safe, when as the Cedar shakes,
    For where the King doth love above compare,
    Of others they as much more envied are.
    1. 'Tis pitty that this noble man should fall,
    1645He did so many charitable deeds.
    2. 'Tis true, and yet you see in each estate,
    There's none so good, but some one doth him hate,
    And they before would smile him in the face,
    Will be the formost to doe him disgrace:
    1650What, will you go along unto the Court?
    1. I care not if I doe, and hear the newes,
    How men will judge what shall become of him.
    2. Some men will speak hardly, some will speak in (pity,
    Go you to the Court. I'le go into the City,
    1655There I am sure to hear more newes then you.
    1. Why then soon will we meet again.Exeunt.

    Enter Cromwell in the Tower.
    Crom. Now, Cromwell, hast thou time to meditate,
    And think upon thy state, and of the time:
    1660Thy honours came unsought, I, and unlooked for,
    They fall as sudden, and unlooked for too:
    What glory was in England that I had not?
    Who in this Land commanded more then Cromwell?
    Except the King, who greater then my self?
    1665But now I see what after ages shall,
    The greater men, more sudden is their fall.
    And now I doe remember, the Earl of Bedford
    Was very desirous for to speak to me:
    And afterward sent unto me a Letter,
    1670The which I think I have still in my Pocket,
    Now may I read it, for I now have leisure,
    And this I take it is.He reads the Letter.

    My Lord, come not this night to Lambeth,
    For if you doe, your state is overthrown.
    1675And much I doubt your life, and if you come:
    Then if you love your self, stay where you are.

    O God, had I but read this Letter,
    Then had I been free from the Lyons paw:
    Deferring this to read untill to morrow,
    1680I spurn'd at joy, and did embrace my sorrow.

    Enter the Lieutenant of the Tower and Officers.

    Now, Master Lieutenant, when's this day of death?
    Lieu. Alass, my Lord, would I might never see it:
    Here are the Dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk,
    1685Winchester, Bedford, and Sir Richard Ratcliffe,
    With others, but why they come I know not.
    Crom. No matter wherefore, Cromwell is prepar'd,
    For Gardiner has my life and state insnar'd:
    Bid them come in, or you shall doe them wrong,
    1690For here stands he, whom some thinks lives too long,
    Learning kills Learning, and, instead of Ink
    To dip his Pen, Cromwell's heart blood doth drink.

    Enter all the Nobles.

    Norf. Good morrow, Cromwell, what, alone so sad?
    1695Crom. One good among you, none of you are bad:
    For my part, it best fits me be alone,
    Sadnesse with me, not I with any one.
    What, is the King acquainted with my cause?
    Norf. We have, and he hath answered us, my Lord.
    1700Crom. How shall I come to speak with him my self.
    Gard. The King is so advertised of your guilt,
    He will by no meanes admit you to his presence.
    Crom. No way admit me, am I so soon forgot?
    Did he but yesterday embrace my neck,
    1705And said that Cromwell was even half himself,
    And is his Princely eares so much bewitched
    With scandalous ignominy, and slanderous speeches,
    That now he doth deny to look on me?
    Well, my Lord of Winchester, no doubt but you
    1710Are much in favour with his Majesty,
    Will you bear a Letter from me to his Grace?
    Gar. Pardon me, I'le bear no Traitors Letters.
    Crom. Ha, will you doe this kindesse then?
    Tell him by word of mouth what I shall say to you.
    1715Gard. That will I.
    Crom. But on your honour will you?
    Gar. I, on my honour.
    Crom. Bear witnesse, Lords.