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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Sumner with Books.
    1980Bish. What bring'st thou there? what, books of heresie?
    Sum. Yea, my Lord, here's not a Latine Book,
    No not so much as our Ladies Psalter:
    Here's the Bible, the Testament, the Psalmes in meeter,
    The sick-man's salve, the Treasure of Gladness,
    1985All English, no not so much but the Almanack's English.
    Bish. Away with them, to th'fire with them, Clun,
    Now fie upon these upstart Hereticks.
    All English, burn them, burn them quickly, Clun.
    Harp. But do not, Sumner, as you'll answer it, for I
    1990have there English books, my Lord, that I'le not part
    withall for your Bishoprick, Bevis of Hampton, Owle-
    glasse, The Fryer and the Boy, Ellen of Rumming, Ro-
    bin-hood, and other such godly stories, which if you burn,
    by this flesh I'le make ye drink their ashes in S. Marget's
    Enter the Bishop of Rochester, with his men in Livery Coats.
    1. Ser. Is it your honours we shall stay,
    Or come back in the afternoon to fetch you.
    Bish. Now have ye brought me here unto the Tower,
    2000You may go back unto the Porter's lodge,
    Where if I have occasion to employ you,
    I'le send some officer to call you to me.
    Into the City go not, I command you,
    Perhaps I may have present need to use you.
    20052. We will attend your honour here without.
    3. Come, we may have a quart of wine at the Rose at
    Barking, and come back an hour before he'll go.
    1.We must hie us then.
    3. Let's away.Exeunt.
    2010Bish. Ho, Mr. Lievtenant.
    Liev. Who calls there?
    Bish. A friend of yours.
    Liev. My Lord of Rochester? your honour's welcome.
    Bish. Sir, here's my warrant from the counsel,
    2015For conference with Sir John Oldcastle,
    Upon some matter of great consequence.
    Liev. Ho, Sir John.
    Har. Who calls there?
    Liev. Harpool, tell sir John, that my Lord of Rochester
    2020Comes from the counsel to confer with him,
    I think you may as safe without suspition.
    As any man in England as I hear,
    For it was you most labour'd his commitment.
    Bish. I did, sir, and nothing repent it I assure you.
    2025Enter Sir John Oldcastle.
    Mr. Lievtenant, I pray you give us leave,
    I must confer here with sir John a little.
    Liev. With all my heart, my Lord.
    Har. aside. My Lord, be rul'd by me, take this occasion
    2030while it is offered, & on my life your Lordship will escape.
    Cob. No more I say, peace lest he should suspect it.
    Bish. Sir John, I am come to you from the Lords of
    the Counsel, to know if you do recant your errours.
    Cob. My Lord of Rochester, on good advice.
    2035I see my errour; but yet understand me,
    I mean not errour in the Faith I hold,
    But errour in submitting to your pleasure,
    Therefore your Lordship without more to do,
    Must be a means to help me to escape.
    2040Bish. What means, thou heretick?
    Dar'st thou but lift thy hand against my calling?
    Cob. No, not to hurt you for a thousand pound.
    Har. Nothing but to borrow your upper garment a
    little, not a word more, peace for waking the children;
    2045there, put on, dispatch, my Lord, the window that goes
    out into the Leads is sure enough: as for you, I'le bind
    you surely in the inner room.
    Cob. This is well begun, God send us happy speed,
    Hard shift you see men make in time of need.