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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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.