Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed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 Earle of Cambridge, Lord Scroop, Gray,
and Chartres the French Factor.
990Scr. Once more, my Lord of Cambridge, make rehersal
How you do stand intitled to the Crown,
The deeper shall we print it in our minds,
And every man the better be resolv'd,
When he perceiv's his quarrel to be just.
995Cam. Then thus, Lord Scroop, Sir Thomas Grey & you
Mounsieur de Chartes, Agent for the French.
This Lionel Duke of Clarence (as I said)
Third son of Edward (England's King) the third,
Had issue Philip his sole daughter and heir;
1000Which Philip, afterward was given in marriage
To Edmund Mortimer the Earle of March,
And by him had a son call'd Roger Mortimer;
Which Roger likewise had of his descent,
Edmund, Roger, Anne, and Elianor,
1005Two Daughters and two Sons, but of those, three
Di'd without issue: Anne, that did survive,
And now was left her Fathers onely Heir,
By fortune was to marry, Being too
By my Grandfather of King Edward's Line:
1010So of his Sir-name, I am cal'd you know.
Richard Plantaginet, my Father was,
Edward the Duke of York, and son and heir
To Edmund Langley, Edward the third's first son.
Scro. So that it seems your claim comes by your wife,
1015As lawfull heir to Roger Mortimer
The son of Edmund, which did marry Phillip
Daughter and heir to Lyonel Duke of Clarence.
Cam. True, for this Harry, and his father both
Harry the first, as plainly doth appear,
1020Are false intruders, and usurp the Crown.
For when young Richard was at Pomfret slain,
In him the Title of Prince Edward di'd,
That was the eldest of King Edward's sons:
William of Hatfield, and their second brother,
1025Death in his nonage had before bereft:
So that my wife deriv'd from Lionel
Third son unto King Edward, ought proceed
And take possession of the Diadem
Before this Harry, or his Father King,
1030Who fetch their Title but from Lancaster,
Forth of that royal line. And being thus,
What reason is't, but she should have her right?
Scro. I am resolv'd, our enterprize is just.
Gray. Harry shall die or else resigne his Crown.
1035Chart. Performe but that, and Charles the King of (France
Shall aid you Lords, not only with his men,
But send yor money to maintain your warrs:
Five hundred thousand Crowns he bad me proffer,
If you can stop but Harrie's voyage for France.
1040Scr. We never had a fitter time then now,
The Realme in such division as it is.
Cam. Besides you must perswade you, there is due
Vengeance for Richards murther, which although
It be deferr'd, yet will it fall at last,
1045And now as likely as another time.
Sin hath had many years to ripen in,
And now the harvest cannot be far off,
Wherein the weeds of usurpation
Are to be cropt, and cast into the fire.
1050Scr. No more, Earle Cambridge, here I plight my faith,
To set up thee, and thy renowned wife.
Gray. Gray will performe the same, as he is Knight.
Chart. And to assist ye, as I said before,
Chartres doth 'gage the honour of his King.
1055Scr.We lack but now Lord Cobham's fellowship,
And then our plot were absolute indeed.
Cam. Doubt not of him, my Lord, his life's pursu'd
By th'incensed Clergy, and of late
Brought in displeasure with the King, assures
1060He may be quickly won unto our faction.
Who hath the Articles were drawn at large
Of our whole purpose?
Gray. That have I, my Lord.
Cam. We should not now be far off from his house,
1065Our serious Conference hath beguild the way:
See where his Castle stands, give me the writing.
When we are come unto the speech of him,
Because we will not stand to make recount
Of that which hath been said, here he shall read
1070Our minds at large, and what we crave of him.
Enter Cobham.
Scr. A ready way: here comes the man himself
Booted and spurr'd, it seems he hath been riding.
Cam. Well met, Lord Cobham.
1075Cob. My Lord of Cambridge?
Your Honour is most welcome into Kent,
And all the rest of this fair company.
I am new come from London, gentle Lords:
But will ye not take Cowling for your Host,
1080And see what entertainment it affords?
Cam. We were intended to have been your guests:
But now this lucky meeting shall suffice
To end our businesse, and deferre that kindesse.
Cob. Business my Lord? what business should
1085Let you to be merry? we have no delicates;
Yet this I'le promise you, a piece
of Venison,
A cup of wine, and so forth, hunters fare:
And if you please, we'll strike the stag our selves
Shall fill our dishes with his well-fed flesh.
1090Scro. That is indeed the thing we all desire.
Cob. My Lords, and you shall have your choice with me.
Cam. Nay but the Stag which we desire to strike,
Lives not in Cowling: if you will consent,
And go with us, we'll bring you to a Forrest,
1095Where runs a lusty heard: among the which
There is a Stag superiour to the rest;
A stately beast, that when his fellows run
He leads the race, and beats the sullen earth,
As though he scorn'd it with his trampling hoofs,
1100Aloft he bears his head, and with his brest
Like a huge bulwark counter-checks the wind:
And when he standeth still, he stretcheth forth
His proud ambitious neck, as if he meant
To wound the firmament with forked horns.
1105Cob. 'Tis pitty such a goodly beast should die.
Cam.Not so, Sir John, for he is tyranous,
And gores the other Deer, and will not keep
Within the limits are appointed him.
Of late he's broke into a several,
1110Which doth belong to me, and there he spoiles
Both corn and pasture, two of his wild race
Alike for stealth, and covetous incroaching,
Already are remov'd; if he were dead,
I should not only be secure from hurt,
1115But with his body make a royal feast.
Scro. How say you then, will you first hunt with us?
Cob. Faith Lords, I like the pastime, where's the place?
Cam. Peruse this writing, it will shew you all,
And what occasion we have for the sport.He reads.
1120Cob. Call ye this hunting, my Lords? Is this the Stag
You fain would chase, Harry our dread King?
So we may make a banquet for the devil?
And in the stead of wholsome meat, prepare
A dish of poison to confound our selves.
1125Cam. Why so, Lord Cobham? See you not our claim?
And how imperiously he holds the Crown?
Scro. Besides, you know your self is in disgrace,
Held as a recreant, and pursu'd to death.
This will defend you from your enemies,
1130And stablish your Religion through the Land.
Cob. Notorious treason! yet I will concealAside.
My secret thoughts to sound the depth of it.
My Lord of Cambridge, I do see your claim,
And what good may redound unto the Land,
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.