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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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Thomas Lord Cromwell (Folio 3, 1664)

    of the Lord Cromwell.
    Tell him, when he hath known you,
    1720And try'd your faith but half so much as mine,
    He'll find you to be the falsest hearted man
    In England: Pray tell him this.
    Bed. Be patient, good my Lord, in these extremities.
    Crom. My kind and honourable Lord of Bedford,
    1725I know your honour alwayes lov'd me well,
    But, pardon me, this still shall be my theam,
    Gardiner is the cause makes Cromwell so extream:
    Sir Ralph Sadler, pray a word with you;
    You were my man, and all that you possess
    1730Came by my means, to requite all this,
    Will you take this Letter here of me,
    And give it with your own hands to the King.
    Sad. I kiss your hand, and never will I rest,
    E're to the King this be delivered.Exit Sadler.
    1735Crom. Why yet Cromwell hath one Friend in store.
    Gard. But all the haste he makes shall be but vain;
    Here's a discharge for your Prisoner,
    To see him executed presently:
    My Lord, you heare the tenor of your life.
    1740Crom. I do embrace it, welcome my last date,
    And of this glistering world I take last leave;
    And, Noble Lords, I take my leave of you:
    As willingly I go to meet with death,
    As Gardiner did pronounce it with his breath;
    1745From Treason is my heart as white as Snow,
    My death onely procured by my Foe:
    I pray commend me to my Soveraign King,
    And tell him in what sort his Cromwell dy'd,
    To loose his head before his cause was try'd:
    1750But let his Grace, when he shall hear my name,
    Say onely this, Gardiner procur'd the same.

    Enter young Cromwell.

    Liev. Here is your Son come to take his leave.
    Crom. To take his leave?
    1755Come hither, Harry Cromwell;
    Mark, Boy, the last words that I speak to thee;
    Flatter not Fortune, neither fawn upon her;
    Gape not for state, yet lose no spark of honour;
    Ambition, like the plague see thou eschew it;
    1760I die for Treason, Boy, and never knew it;
    Yet let thy faith as spotless be as mine,
    And Cromwell's virtues in thy face shall shine:
    Come, go along and see me leave my breath,
    And I'le leave thee upon the floor of death.
    1765Son. O father, I shall die to see that wound,
    Your bloud being spilt will make my heart to sound.
    Crom. How, Boy, not look upon the Axe?
    How shall I do then to have my head strook off?
    Come on, my child, and see the end of all,
    1770And after say that Gardiner was my fall.
    Gard. My Lord, you speak it of an envious heart,
    I have done no more then Law and equity.
    Bed. O, my good Lord of Winchester, forbear;
    It would better seemed you to been absent,
    1775Then with your words disturb a dying man.
    Crom. Who me, my Lord? no: he disturbs not me,
    My mind he stirres not, though his mighty shock
    Hath brought moe Peers heads down to the block.
    Farewell, my Boy, all Cromwell can bequeath,
    1780My hearty blessing, so I take my leave.
    Hang. I am your death's-man, pray my Lord forgive me.
    Cro. Even with my soul, why man thou art my Doctor,
    And bring'st me precious Physick for my Soul;
    My Lord of Bedford, I desire of you,
    1785Before my death a corporal embrace.
    Bedford comes to him, Cromwell embraces him.
    Farewell, great Lord, my love I do commend:
    My heart to you, my soul to heaven I send;
    This is my joy, that e're my body fleet,
    1790Your honour'd armes is my true winding-sheet;
    Farewell, dear Bedford, my peace is made in heaven;
    Thus falls great Cromwell a poor ell in length,
    To rise to unmeasur'd height, winged with new strength.
    The land of Wormes, which dying men discover.
    1795My soul is shrin'd with heaven's celestial cover.
    Exeunt Cromwell and the Officers, and others.
    Bed. Well, farewell Cromwell, the truest friend
    That ever Bedford shall possess again,
    Well, Lords, I fear when this man is dead,
    1800You'll wish in vain that Cromwell had a head.

    Enter one with Cromwell's head.

    Offi. Here is the head of the deceased Cromwell.
    Bed. Pray thee go hence, and bear his head away,
    Unto his body, interre them both in clay.

    1805Enter Sir Ralph Sadler.

    Sad. How now my Lords, what is Lord Cromwell dead?
    Bed. Lord Cromwell's body now doth want a head.
    Sad. O God, a little speed had sav'd his life,
    Here is a kind Reprieve come from the King,
    1810To bring him straight unto his Majesty.
    Suff. I, I, sir Ralph, Reprieves come now too late.
    Gar. My conscience now tells me this deed was ill,
    Would Christ that Cromwell were alive again.
    Nor. Come let us to the King, whom well I know,
    1815Will grieve for Cromwell, that his death was so.
    Exeunt omnes.