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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    1485Enter King Henry, Suffolk, Huntington, and
    two with Lights.
    King.My Lords of Suffolk and of Huntington,
    Who scouts it now? or who stands sentinels?
    What men of worth? what Lords do walk the round?
    1490Suf. May't please your Highnesse.
    King. Peace, no more of that,
    The King's asleep, wake not his Majesty,
    With termes nor Titles; he's at rest in bed,
    Kings do not use to watch themselves, they sleep,
    1495And let rebellion and conspiracy
    Revel and havock in the Commonwealth.
    Is London look'd unto?
    Hun. It is, my Lord:
    Your noble Unckle Exeter is there.
    1500Your Brother Glocester, and my Lord of Warwick,
    Who with the Mayor and the Aldermen
    Do guard the Gates, and keep good rule within.
    The Earl of Cambridge, and sir Thomas Gray
    Do walk the round, Lord Scroop and Butler scout,
    1505So though it please your Majesty to jest,
    Were you in bed, well might you take your rest.
    King. I thank ye Lords: but you do know of old,
    That I have been a perfect night-walker:
    London, you say, is safely lookt unto,
    1510Alass, poor Rebels, there your aid must fail,
    And the Lord Cobham Sir John Oldcastle,
    Quiet in Kent, Acton, ye are deceiv'd:
    Reckon again, you count without your Hoste.
    To morrow you shall give account to us,
    1515Till when, my friends, this long cold winters night
    How can we spend? King Harry is asleep,
    And all his Lords, these garments tell us so:
    All friends at Foot-ball, fellowes all in field,
    Harry, and Dick, and George, bring us a Drumme,
    1520Give us square Dice, we'll keep this Court of Guard,
    For all good fellowes companies that come.
    Where's that mad Priest ye told me was in Armes
    To fight, as well as pray, if need required.
    Suf. He's in the Camp, and if he knew of this,
    1525I undertake he would not be long hence.
    King. Trip Dick, trip George.
    Hun. I must have the Dice: what doe we play at?
    Suf. Passage if ye please.
    Hunt. Set round then: so, at all.
    1530Har. George, you are out.
    Give me the Dice, I passe for twenty pound,
    Here's to our lucky passage into France.
    Hun. Harry, you passe indeed, for you sweep all.
    Suf. A sign King Harry shall sweep all in France.
    1535Enter Priest.
    Pri. Edge ye good fellowes, take a fresh gamester in.
    Har. Master Parson, we play nothing but gold?
    Pri. And, fellow, I tell thee that the Priest hath gold,
    gold: what? ye are but beggarly soldiers to me, I think I
    1540have more gold then all you three.
    Hun. It may be so, but we believe it not.
    Har. Set, Priest, set, I passe for all that gold.
    Pri. Ye passe indeed.
    Har. Priest, hast any more?
    1545Pri. More? what a question's that?
    I tell thee I have more then all you three,
    At these ten Angels.
    Har. I wonder how thou com'st by all this gold.
    How many Benefices hast thou, Priest?
    1550Pri. Faith, but one, dost wonder how I come by gold?
    I wonder rather how poor soldiers should have gold: for
    I'le tell thee, good fellow, we have every day tythes,
    off'rings, christnings, weddings, burials: and you poor
    snakes come seldome to a booty. I'le speak a proud word,
    1555I have but one Parsonage, Wrotham, 'tis better then the
    Bishoprick of Rochester: there's ne're a hill, heath, nor
    down in all Kent, but 'tis in my Parish, Barrham-down,
    Chobham-down, Gads-hill, Wrotham-hill, Black-heath,
    Cocks-heath, Birchen-wood, all pay me tythe, gold quoth
    1560a? ye pas not for that.
    Suf. Harry, ye are out; now, Parson, shake the Dice.
    Pri. Set, set, I'le cover ye, at all: A plague on't I am
    out the Devil, and Dice, and a Wench, who will trust
    1565Suf. Say'st thou so, Priest? set fair, at all for once.
    Har. Out, sir, pay all.
    Pri. Sir, pay me Angel gold,
    I'le none of your crackt French Crownes nor Pistolets,
    Pay me fair Angel gold, as I pay you.
    1570King. No crackt French Crownes? I hope to see more
    crackt French Crownes ere long.
    Pri. Thou mean'st of French-mens Crownes, when
    the King's in France.
    Hun. Set round, at all.
    1575Pri. Pay all: this is some luck.
    King. Give me the Dice, 'tis I must shred the Priest:
    At all, Sir John.
    Pri. The Devil and all is yours: at that. 'Sdeath, what
    casting's this?
    1580Suf. Well thrown, Harry, ifaith.
    King. I'le cast better yet.
    Pri. Then I'le be hang'd. Sirrha, hast thou not given
    thy soul to the Devil for casting?
    Har. I passe for all.
    1585Pri. Thou passest all that e're I plaid withall:
    Sirrha, dost thou not cog, nor foist, nor slurre?
    Kin. Set, Parson, set, the Dice die in my hand.
    When, Parson, when? what, can ye find no more?
    Already dry? was't you brag'd of your store?
    1590Pri. All's gone but that.
    Hun. What? half a broken Angel.
    Pri. Why, sir? 'tis gold.
    Kin. Yea, and I'le cover it.
    Pri. The Devil give ye good on't, I am blind, you
    1595have blown me up.
    Kin. Nay, tarry, Priest, you shall not leave us yet,
    Do not these pieces fit each other well?
    Pri. What if they doe?
    King. Thereby begins a tale:
    1600There was a Thief, in face much like Sir John,
    But 'twas not he. That thief was all in green,
    Met me last day on Black-heath, near the Parke,
    With him a Woman. I was all alone
    And weaponlesse, my boy had all my tooles,
    1605And was before providing me a Boat.
    Short tale to make, Sir John, the Thief I mean,
    Took a just hundreth pound in gold from me.
    I storm'd at it, and swore to be reveng'd
    If e're we met; he like a lusty Thief,
    1610Brake with his Teeth this Angel just in two,
    To be a token at our meeting next.
    Provided, I should charge no Officer
    To apprehend him, but at weapons point
    Recover that, and what he had beside.
    1615Well met, Sir John, betake ye to your tooles
    By Torch-light, for, Master Parson, you are he
    That had my Gold.
    Pri. Zounds, I won't in play, in fair square play, of
    the Keeper of Eltham-Parke, and that I will maintain
    1620with this poor Whinyard: be you two honest men to stand
    and look upon's, and let's alone, and neither part.
    Kin. Agreed, I charge ye doe not budge a foot,
    Sir John, have at ye.
    Pri. Souldier, ware your sconce.
    1625As they proffer, enter Butler, and drawes his
    Sword to part them.
    But. Hold, villain, hold: my Lords, what d'ye mean,
    To see a Traitor draw against the King?
    Pri. The King? Gods will, I am in a proper pickle.
    1630King. Butler, what newes? why dost thou trouble us?
    But. Please your Majesty, it's break of day,
    And as I scouted near to Islington,
    The gray-ey'd morning gave me glimmering,
    Of armed men comming down Hygate hill,
    1635Who by their course are coasting hitherward.
    King. Let us withdraw, my Lords, prepare our troops,
    To charge the Rebels if there be such cause:
    For this lewd Priest, this devillish Hypocrite,
    That is a Thief, a gamester, and what not,
    1640Let him be hang'd up for example sake.
    Priest. Not so, my gracious Soveraign, I confesse I am
    a fraile man, flesh and blood as other are; but set my im-
    perfections aside, ye have not a taller man, nor a truer
    Subject to the Crown and State, than Sir John of Wro-
    Kin. Will a true Subject rob his King?
    Pri. Alass 'twas ignorance and want, my gracious
    King. 'Twas want of grace. Why, you should be as (salt
    1650To season others with good document,
    Your lives as lamps to give the people light,
    As shepheards, not as Wolves to spoile the flock;
    Go hang him, Butler.
    But. Didst thou not rob me?
    1655Prie. I must confesse I saw some of your gold, but, my
    dread Lord, I am in no humour for death: God will that
    sinners live, doe not you cause me to die, once in their
    lives the best may go astray, and if the world say true,
    your self (my Liege) have bin a Thief.
    1660Kin. I confesse I have,
    But I repent and have reclaim'd my self.
    Pri. So will I doe if you will give me time.
    Kin. Wilt thou? My Lords, will you be his sureties?
    Hun. That when he robs again he shall be hang'd.
    1665Pri. I aske no more.
    Kin.And we will grant thee that,
    Live and repent, and prove an honest man,
    Which when I hear, and safe return from France,
    I'le give thee living. Till when, take thy Gold,
    1670But spend it better then at Cards or Wine,
    For better virtues fit that Coat of thine.
    Pri. Vivat Rex, & currat Lex. My Liege, if ye have
    cause of Battel, ye shall see Sir John bestir himself in your