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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    the good Lord Cobham.
    Cob. The inner roomes be very hot and close,
    I do not like this air here in the Tower.
    Harp. His case is hard, my Lord: you shall safely get
    out of the Tower, but I will down upon them; in which
    2060time get you away: Hard under Islington wait you my
    coming, I will bring my Lady ready with horses to get
    Cob. Fellow, go back again unto my Lord, and coun-
    sel him.
    2065Har. Nay, my good Lord of Rochester, I'le bring you
    to S. Albons through the woods I warrant you.
    Cob. Villain away.
    Har. Nay since I am past the Towers liberty,
    You part not so.He drawes.
    2070Bish. Clubs, clubs, clubs.
    1. Murther, murther, murther.
    2. Down with him.
    Har. Out you cowardly rogues.Cobh. escapes.
    Enter Lieutenant, and his men.
    2075Liev. Who is so bold as to dare to draw a sword
    So near unto the entrance of the Tower.
    1. This Ruffian, servant to sir John Oldcastle, was
    like to have slain my Lord.
    Liev. Lay hold on him.
    2080Har. Stand off if you love your puddings.
    Rochester calls within.
    Help, help, help, Mr. Lievtenant, help.
    Liev. Who's that within? some Treason in the
    Tower on my life, look in, who's that which calls?
    2085Enter Rochester bound.
    Liev. Without your cloak, my Lord of Rochester?
    Har. There, now it works; then let me speed,
    For now's the fittest time to scape away.Exit.
    Liev. Why do you look so gastly and affrighted?
    2090Bish. Oldcastle that Traitor and his man,
    When you had left me to conferre with him,
    Took, bound, and stript me as you see,
    And left me lying in this inner chamber,
    And so departed, and I----
    2095Liev. And you! Nere say that the Lord Cobham's man
    Did here set on you like to murther you.
    1. And so he did.
    Bish. It was upon his Master then he did,
    That in the brawl the Traitor might escape.
    2100Liev. Where is this Harpool?
    2. Here he was even now.
    Liev. Where, can you tell? They are both escap'd.
    Since it so happens that he is escap'd,
    I am glad you are a witnesse of the same:
    2105It might have else been laid unto my charge,
    That I had been consenting to the fact.
    Bish. Come, search shall be made for him with expedi-
    tion, the Haven's laid that he shall not escape, and hue
    and cry continue through England, to find this damned,
    2110dangerous heretick.Exeunt.
    Enter Cambridge, Scroop, and Gray, as in a chamber, and
    set down at a Table, consulting about their Treason,
    King Harry and Suffolk listning at the door.
    Cam. In mine opinion, Scroop hath well advis'd,
    2115Poison will be the onely aptest mean,
    And fittest for our purpose to dispatch him.
    Gray. But yet there may be doubt in their delivery,
    Harry is wise, therefore Earl of Cambridge,
    I judge that way not so convenient.
    2120Scr. What think ye then of this? I am his bedfellow,
    And unsuspected nightly sleep with him.
    What if I venture in those silent houres,
    When sleep hath sealed up all mortal eyes
    To murther him in bed? how like ye that?
    2125Cam. Herein consists no safety for your self,
    And you disclos'd, what shall become of us?
    But this day (as ye know) he will aboard,
    The wind's so fair, and set away for France,
    If as he goes, or entring in the ship
    2130It might be done, then were it excellent.
    Gray. Why any of these, or if you will,
    I'le cause a present sitting of the Councel,
    Wherein I will pretend some matter of such weight,
    As needs must have his royal company,
    2135And so dispatch him in his Councel chamber.
    Cam. Tush, yet I hear not any thing to purpose;
    I wonder that Lord Cobham stayes so long,
    His counsel in this case would much avail us.
    The King steps in upon them with his Lords.
    2140Scr. What shall we rise thus, and determine nothing?
    King. That were a shame indeed: no, sit again,
    And you shall have my counsel in this case:
    If you can find no way to kill the King,
    Then you shall see how I can furnish ye;
    2145Scroop's way by poison was indifferent,
    But yet being bed-fellow to the King,
    And unsuspected, sleeping in his bosome,
    In mine opinion that's the likelier way.
    For such false friends are able to do much,
    2150And silent night is Treason's fittest friend.
    Now, Cambridge in his setting hence for France,
    Or by the way, or as he goes aboard
    To do the deed, that was indifferent too,
    But somewhat doubtfull.
    2155Marry Lord Gray came very near the point,
    To have the King at Counsel, and there murder him,
    As Caesar was amongst his dearest friends.
    Tell me, oh tell me, you bright honour's staines,
    For which of all my kindnesses to you,
    2160Are ye become thus Traitors to your King?
    And France must have the spoil of Harrie's life.
    All. Oh pardon us, dread Lord.
    King. How, pardon ye? that were a sin indeed,
    Drag them to death, which justly they deserve:
    2165And France shall dearly buy this villany,
    So soon as we set footing on her breast.
    God have the praise for our deliverance,
    And next our thanks, Lord Cobham, is to thee,
    True perfect mirrour of Nobilitie.Exit.
    2170Enter the Host, L. Cobham, and Harpool.
    Host. Sir, y'are welcome to this house, to such as is
    here with all my heart: but I fear your lodging will be
    the worst. I have but two beds, and they are both in a
    chamber, and the Carrier and his daughter lies in the
    2175one, and you and your wife must lye in the other.
    Cob. Faith sir, for my self I do not greatly pass,
    My wife is weary, and would be at rest,
    For we have travel'd very far to day,
    We must be content with such as you have.
    2180Host. But I cannot tell how to do with your man.
    Har. What? hast thou never an empty room in thy
    house for me?
    Host. Not a bed in troth. There came a poor Irish-
    man, and I lodg'd him in the barn, where he has fair
    2185straw, although he have nothing else.
    Har. Well mine Host, I prythee help me to a pair of
    clean sheets, and I'le go lodge with him.
    Host. By