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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
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    The History of Sir John Oldcastle (Folio 3, 1664)

    The History of Sir John Oldcastle,
    1135By prosecuting of this enterprize.
    But where are men? where's power and furniture
    To order such an action? we are weak,
    Harry, you know's a mighty Potentate.
    Cam. Tut, we are strong enough; you are belov'd,
    1140And many will be glad to follow you,
    We are the like, and some will follow us:
    Nay, there is hope from France : here's an Ambassador
    That promiseth both men and money too.
    The Commons likewise (as we hear) pretend
    1145A sudden tumult, we will joyn with them.
    Cob. Some likelyhood, I must confesse, to speed:
    But how shall I believe this in plain truth?
    You are (my Lords) such men as live in Court,
    And have been highly favoured of the King,
    1150Especially Lord Scroop, whom oftentimes
    He maketh choice for his bed-fellow.
    And you, Lord Gray, are of his privy Counsel:
    Is not this a train laid to intrap my life?
    Cam. Then perish may my soul: what, think you so?
    1155Scr. We'll swear to you.
    Gray. Or take the Sacrament.
    Cob. Nay you are Noble men, and I imagine,
    As you are honourable by birth, and bloud,
    So you will be in heart, in thought, in word.
    1160I crave no other testimony but this.
    That you would all subscribe, and set your hands
    Unto this writing which you gave to me.
    Cam. With all our hearts: who hath any pen and ink?
    Scr. My pocket should have one; O, here it is.
    1165Cam. Give it me, Lord Scroop. There is my name.
    Scr. And there is my name.
    Gray. And mine.
    Cob. Sir, let me crave that would likewise write your
    name with theirs, for confirmation of your Masters words
    1170the King of France.
    Char. That will I, Noble Lord.
    Cob. So, now this action is well knit together,
    And I am for you; where's our meeting, Lords?
    Cam. Here if you please, the tenth of July next.
    1175Cob. In Kent? agreed. Now let us in to supper,
    I hope your honours will not away to night.
    Cam. Yes presently, for I have far to ride,
    About soliciting of other friends.
    Scr. And we would not be absent from the Court,
    1180Lest thereby grow suspition in the King.
    Cob. Yet taste a cup of wine before ye go.
    Cam. Not now, my Lord, we thank you: so farewel.Exit.
    Cob. Farewell, my Noble Lords. My Noble Lords?
    My noble villains, base Conspirators,
    1185How can they look his Highnesse in the face,
    Whom they so closely study to betray?
    But I'le not sleep until I make it known,
    This head shall not be burthen'd with such thoughts,
    Nor in this heart will I conceal a deed
    1190Of such impiety against my King.
    Madam, how now?
    Enter Harpool, and the rest.
    La. Cob. Y'are welcome home, my Lord:
    Why seem ye so unquiet in your looks?
    1195What hath befaln you that disturbs your mind?
    La. Powis. Bad news I am afraid touching my husband.
    Cob. Madam, not so: there is your husband's pardon;
    Long may ye live, each joy unto the other.
    La. Po. So great a kindnesse, as I know not how to
    1200reply, my sense is quite confounded.
    Cob. Let that alone: and Madam stay me not,
    For I must back unto the Court again,
    With all the speed I can: Harpool, my horse.
    L. Cob. So soon my Lord? what will you ride all night?
    1205Cob. All night or day, it must be so sweet wife;
    Urge me not why, or what my businesse is,
    But get you in: Lord Powess, bear with me.
    And Madam, think your welcome ne're the worse,
    My house is at your use. Harpool, away.
    1210Har. Shall I attend your Lordship to the Court?
    Cob. Yea sir, your Gelding, mount you presently.Exit.
    La. Cob. I prythee Harpool look unto thy Lord,
    I do not like this sudden posting back.
    Po. Some earnest business is a-foot belike,
    1215What ere it be, pray God be his good guide.
    La. Po. Amen, that hath so highly us bested.
    La. Cob. Come Madam & my Lord, we'll hope the best,
    You shall not into Wales till he return.
    Pow. Though great occasion be we should depart, yet,
    1220Madam, will we stay to be resolv'd of this unlookt for
    doubtfull accident.Exeunt.

    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