The First Part of the True and Honorable Historie of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle/Act 3

Enter Earle of Cambridge, Lord Scroope, Gray, and Chartres the French factor.


Scroop.Once more my Lord of Cambridge make rehersal,
How you do stand intiteled to the Crowne,
The deeper shall we print it in our mindes,
And euery man the better be resolu'de,
When he perceiues his quarrell to be iust.

Cam.Then thus Lord Scroope, sir Thomas Gray, & you
Mounsieur de Chartres, agent for the French,
This Lionell Duke of Clarence, as I said,
Third sonne of Edward (Englands King) the third
Had issue Phillip his sole daughter and heyre,
Which Phillip afterward was giuen in marriage,
To Edmund Mortimer the Earle of March,
And by him had a son cald Roger Mortimer,
Which Roger likewise had of his discent,
Edmund, Roger, Anne, and Elianor,
Two daughters and two sonnes, but those three
Dide without issue, Anne that did suruiue,
And now was left her fathers onely heyre,
My fortune was to marry, being too
By my grandfather of King Edwardes line,
So of his sirname, I am calde you know,
Richard Plantagenet, my father was,
Edward the Duke of Yorke, and son and heyre
To Edmund Langley, Edward the third's first sonne.

ScroopSo that it seemes your claime comes by your wife,
As lawfull heyre to Roger Mortimer,
The son of Edmund, which did marry Phillip
Daughter and heyre to Lyonell Duke of Clarence.

Cam.True, for this Harry, and his father both
Harry the first, as plainely doth appeare,
Are false intruders, and vsurp the Crowne.
For when yong Richard was at Pomfret slaine,

In him the title of prince Edward dide,
That was the eldest of king Edwards sonnes:
William of Hatfield, and their second brother,
Death in his nonage had before bereft:
So that my wife deriu'd from Lionell,
Third sonne vnto king Edward, ought proceede,
And take possession of the Diademe
Before this Harry, or his father king,
Who fetcht their title but from Lancaster,
Forth of that royall line. And being thus,
What reason ist but she should haue her right?

ScroopeI am resolu'de our enterprise is iust.

GrayHarry shall die, or else resigne his crowne.

Chart.Performe but that, and Charles the king of France
Shall ayde you lordes, not onely with his men,
But send you money to maintaine your warres,
Fiue hundred thousand crownes he bade me proffer,
If you can stop but Harries voyage for France.

ScropeWe neuer had a fitter time than now
The realme in such diuision as it is.

Camb.Besides, you must perswade ye there is due,
Vengeance for Richards murder, which although
It be defende, yet will it fall at last,
And now as likely as another time.
Sinne hath had many yeeres to ripen in,
And now the haruest cannot be farre off,
Wherein the weedes of vsurpation,
Are to be cropt, and cast into the fire.

ScroopeNo more earle Cambridge, here I plight my faith,
To set vp thee, and thy renowned wife.

GrayGray will performe the same, as he is knight.

Chart.And to assist ye, as I said before,
Charters doth gage the honor of his king.

ScroopeWe lacke but now Lord Cobhams fellowship,
And then our plot were absolute indeede.

Camb.Doubt not of him, my lord, his life's pursu'de

By th'incensed Cleargy, and of late,
Brought in displeasure with the king, assures
He may be quickly wonne vnto our faction.
Who hath the articles were drawne at large
Of our whole purpose?

GrayThat haue I my Lord.

Camb.We should not now be farre off from his house,
Our serious conference hath beguild the way,
See where his castle stands, giue me the writing.
When we are come vnto the speech of him,
Because we will not stand to make recount,
Of that which hath beene saide, here he shall reade enter Cob.
Our mindes at large, and what we craue of him.

ScroopeA ready way: here comes the man himselfe
Booted and spurrd, it seemes he hath beene riding.

Camb.VVell met lord Cobham.

Cobh.My lord of Cambridge?
Your honor is most welcome into Kent,
And all the rest of this faire company.
I am new come from London, gentle Lordes:
But will ye not take Cowling for your host,
And see what entertainement it affordes?

Camb.We were intended to haue beene your guests:
But now this lucky meeting shall suffise
To end our businesse, and deferre that kindnesse.

Cobh.Businesse my lord? what businesse should you haue
But to be mery? we haue no delicates,
But this Ile promise you, a peece of venison,
A cup of wine, and so forth: hunters fare:
And if you please, weele strike the stagge our selues
Shall fill our dishes with his wel-fed flesh.

ScroopeThat is indeede the thing we all desire.

Cobh.My lordes, and you shall haue your choice with me.

Camb.Nay but the stagge which we desire to strike,
Liues not in Cowling: if you will consent,
And goe with vs, weele bring you to a forrest,

Where runnes a lusty hierd: amongst the which
There is a stagge superior to the rest,
A stately beast, that when his fellows runne,
He leades the race, and beates the sullen earth,
As though he scornd it with his trampling hoofes,
Aloft he beares his head, and with his breast,
Like a huge bulwarke counter-checkes the wind:
And when he standeth still, he stretcheth forth
His prowd ambitious necke, as if he meant
To wound the firmament with forked hornes.

Cobh.Tis pitty such a goodly beast should die.

Camb.Not so, sir Iohn, for he is tyrannous,
And gores the other deere, and will not keep
Within the limites are appointed him.
Of late hees broke into a seueral,
Which doth belong to me, and there he spoiles
Both corne and pasture, two of his wilde race
Alike sor stealth, and couetous incroatching,
Already are remou'd, if he were dead,
I should not onely be secure from hurt,
But with his body make a royall feast.

ScroopeHow say you then, will you first hunt with vs?

Cobh.Faith Lords, I like the pastime, wheres the place?

Camb.Peruse this writing, it will shew you all,
And what occasion we haue for the sport. he reades

Cobh.Call ye this hunting, my lords? Is this the stag
You faine would chase, Harry our dread king?
So we may make a banquet for the diuell,
And in the fleede of wholsome meate, prepare
A dish of poison to confound our selues.

Camb.Why so lord Cobham? see you not our claime?
And how imperiously he holdes the crowne?

ScroopeBesides, you know your selfe is in disgrace,
Held as a recreant, and pursude to death.
This will defend you from your enemies,
And stablish your religion through the land.

Cobh.Notorious treason! yet I will conceale aside
My secret thoughts, to sound the depth of it.
My lord of Cambridge, I doe see your claime,
And what good may redound vnto the land,
By prosecuting of this enterprise.
But where are men? where's power and furniture
To order such an action? we are weake,
Harry, you know's a mighty potentate.

Camb.Tut, we are strong enough, you are belou'de,
And many will be glad to follow you,
VVe are the light, and some will follow vs:
Besides, there is hope from France: heres an embassador
That promiseth both men and money too.
The commons likewise (as we heare) pretend
A sodaine tumult, we wil ioyne with them.

Cobh.Some likelihoode, I must confesse, to speede:
But how shall I beleeue this is plaine truth?
You are (my lords) such men as liue in Court,
And highly haue beene fauour'd of the king,
Especially lord Scroope, whome oftentimes
He maketh choice of for his bedfellow.
And you lord Gray are of his priuy councell:
Is not this a traine to intrappe my life?

Camb.Then perish may my soule: what thinke you so?

ScroopeVVeele sweare to you.

GrayOr take the sacrament.

Cobh.Nay you are noble men, and I imagine,
As you are honorable by birth and bloud,
So you will be in heart, in thought, in word.
I craue no other testimony but this.
That you would all subscribe, and set your hands
Vnto this writing which you gaue to me.

Camb.VVith all our hearts: who hath any pen and inke?

ScroopeMy pocket should haue one: yea, heere it is.

Camb.Giue it me lord Scroope: there is my name.

ScroopeAnd there is my name.

GrayAnd mine.

Cobh.Sir, let me craue,
That you would likewise write your name with theirs,
For confirmation of your maisters word,
The king of Fraunce.

Char.That will I noble Lord.

Cobh.So now this action is well knit together,
And I am for you: where`s our meeting, lords?

Camb.Here if you please, the tenth of Iuly next.

Cobh.In Kent? agreed: now let vs in to supper,
I hope your honors will not away to night.

Camb.Yes presently, for I haue farre to ride,
About solliciting of other friends.

ScroopeAnd we would not be absent from the court,
Lest thereby grow suspition in the king.

Cobh.Yet taste a cup of wine before ye go.

Camb.Not now my lord, we thanke you: so farewell.

Cob.Farewell my noble lordes: my noble lords?
My noble villaines, base conspirators,
How can they looke his Highnesse in the face,
Whome they so closly study to betray?
But ile not sleepe vntill I make it knowne.
This head shall not be burdned with such thoughts,
Nor in this heart will I conceale a deede
Of such impietie against my king.
Madam, how now? Enter Harpoole and the rest.

Lady cobh.You are welcome home, my Lord,
Why seeme ye so disquiet in your lookes?
What hath befalne you that disquiets your minde?

Lady Po.Bad newes I am afraide touching my husband.

Cobh.Madam, not so: there is your husbands pardon,
Long may ye liue, each ioy vnto the other.

PowesseSo great a ki•dnesse as I knowe not howe to make reply, my sense is quite confounded.

Cobh.Let that alone: and madam stay me not,
For I must backe vnto the court againe

With all the speede I can: Harpoole, my horse.

Lady Cob.So soone my Lord? what will you ride all night?

CobhamAll night or day it must be so, sweete wife,
Vrge me not why or what my businesse is,
But get you in: Lord Powesse, beare with me,
And madam, thinke your welcome nere the worse:
My house is at your vse. Harpoole, away.

Harp.Shall I attend your lordship to the court?

Cobh.Yea sir, your gelding, mount you presently exe.

Lady Cobh.I prythee Harpoole, looke vnto thy Lord,
I do not like this sodaine posting backe.

PowesSome earnest businesse is a foote belike,
What e're it be, pray God be his good guide.

Lady Po.Amen that hath so highly vs bested.

Lady Co.Come madam, and my lord, weele hope the best,
You shall not into Wales till he returne.

PowesseThough great occasion be we should departe, yet madam will we stay to be resolude, of this vnlookt for doubtful accident.Exeunt.

Enter Murley and his men, prepared in some filthy order for warre.


Murly.Come my hearts of flint, modestly, decently, soberly, and handsomly, no man afore his Leader, follow your master, your Captaine, your Knight that shal be, for the honor of Meale-men, Millers, and Mault-men dunne is the mowse, Dicke and Tom for the credite of Dunstable, ding downe the enemie to morrow, ye shall not come into the field like beggars, where be Leonard and Laurence my two loaders, Lord haue mercie vpon vs, what a world is this? I would giue a couple of shillings for a dozen of good fethers for ye, and forty pence for as many skarffes to set ye out withall, frost and snow, a man has no heart to fight till he be braue.

DickeMaster I hope we be no babes, for our manhood, our bucklers, and our towne foote-balls can beare witnesse: and this lite parrell we haue shall off, and wee'l fight naked afore we runne away.

Tom.Nay, I am of Laurence mind for that, for he meanes

to leaue his life behind him, he and Leonard your two loaders are making their wills because they haue wiues, now we Bachellers bid our friends scramble for our goods if we die: but master, pray ye let me ride vpon Cutte.

MurlyMeale and salt, wheat and mault, fire and tow, frost and snow, why Tom thou shalt: let me see, here are you, William and George are with my cart, and Robin and Hodge holding my owne two horses, proper men, handsom men, tall men, true men.

DickeBut master, master, me thinkes you are a mad man, to hazard your owne person and a cart load of money too.

Tom.Yea, and maister theres a worse matter in't, if it be as I heard say, we go to fight against all the learned Bishops, that should giue vs their blessing, and if they curse vs, we shall speede nere the better.

DickeNay bir lady, some say the King takes their part, and master, dare you fight against the King?

MurlyFie paltry, paltry in and out, to and fro vpon occasion, if the King be so vnwise to come there, weele fight with him too.

Tom.What if we should kill the King?

Mur.Then weele make another.

DickeIs that all, do ye not speake treason?

Mur.If we do, who dare trippe vs? we come to fight for our conscience, and for honor, little know you what is in my bosome, looke here madde knaues, a paire of guilt spurres.

Tom.A paire of golden spurres? why do you not put them on your heeles? your bosome's no place for spurres.

Mur.Bee't more or lesse vpon occasion, Lord haue mercy vs, Tom th'art a foole, and thou speakest treason to knighthood, dare any weare golden or siluer spurs til he be a knight? no, I shall be knighted to morrow, and then they shall on: sirs, was it euer read in the church booke of Dunstable, that euer mault man was made knight?

Tom.No but you are more, you are meal-man, maultman, miller, corne-master and all.

DickeYea, and halfe a brewer too, and the diuell and all for wealth, you b•ing more money with you, than all the rest.

Mur.The more's my honor, I shal be a knight to morow, let me spose my men, Tom vpon cutte, Dicke vpon hobbe, Hodge vpon Ball, Raph vpon Sorell, and Robin vpon the forehorse.

Enter Acton, Bourne, and Beuerley.


Tom.Stand, who comes there?

Act.Al friends, good fellow.

Murl.Friends and fellowes indeede sir Roger.

Act.Why thus you shew your selfe a Gentleman,
To keepe your day, and come so well preparde,
Your cart stands yonder, guarded by your men,
Who tell me it is loaden well with come,
What summe is there?

Mur.Ten thousand pound sir Roger, and modestly, decently, soberly, and handsomely, see what I haue here against I be knighted.

Act.Gilt spurs? tis well.

Mur.But where's our armie sir?

Act.Disperst in sundry villages about,
Some here with vs in Hygate, some at Finchley,
Totnam, Enfield, Edmunton, Newington,
Islington, Hogsdon, Pancredge, Kenzington,
Some neerer Thames, Ratcliffe, Blackwall and Bow,
But our chiefe strength must be the Londoners,
Which ere the Sunne to morrow shine,
Will be nere fiftie thousand in the field.

Mur.Mary God dild ye daintie my deere, but vpon occasion sir Roger Acton, doth not the King know of it, and gather his power against vs.

Act.No, hee's secure at Eltham.

Mur.What do the Cleargie?

Act.Feare extreamly, yet prepare no force.

Mur.In and out, to and fro, Bullie my boikin, we shall

carry the world afore vs, I vow by my worshippe, when I am knighted, weele take the King napping, if he stand on their part.

Act.This night we few in Higate will repose,
With the first cocke weele rise and arme our selues,
To be in Ficket fielde by breake of day,
And there expect our Generall.

Mur.Sir Iohn Old-castle, what if he come not?

BourneYet our action stands,
Sir Roger Acton may supply his place.

Mur.True M.Bourne but who shall make me knight?

Beuer.He that hath power to be our Generall.

Act.Talke not of trifles, come lets away,
Our friends of London long till it be day.exeunt.

Enter sir Iohn of Wrootham and Doll.


Doll.By my troth, thou art as ielous a man as liues.

PriestCanst thou blame me Doll, thou art my lands, my goods, my iewels, my wealth, my purse, none walks within xl. miles of London, but a plies thee as truely, as the parish does the poore mans boxe.

DollI am as true to thee, as the stone is in the wal, and thou knowest well enough sir Iohn, I was in as good doing, when I came to thee, as any wench neede to be: and therefore thou hast tried me, that thou hast: by Gods body, I wil not be kept as I haue bin, that I will not.

PriestDoll, if this blade holde, theres not a pedler walkes with a pack, but thou shalt as boldly chuse of his wares, as with thy ready mony in a Marchants shop, weele haue as good siluer as the King coynes any.

DollWhat is al the gold spent you tooke the last day from the Courtier?

PriestTis gone Doll, tis flown, merely come, merely gon, he comes a horse backe that must pay for all, weele haue as good meate, as mony can get, and as good gownes, as can be bought for gold, be mery wench, the mault-man comes on munday.

DollYou might haue left me at Cobham, vntil you had bin better prouided for.

Priest.No sweet Dol, no, I do not like that, yond old ruffian is not for the priest, I do not like a new cleark should come in the old bel-frie.

DollAh thou art a mad priest yfaith.

PriestCome Doll, Ile see thee safe at some alehouse here at Cray, and the next sheepe that comes shall leaue his fleece.exeunt.

Enter the King, Suffolke and Butler.


King in great hast.My lord of Suffolk, poste away for life,
And let our forces of such horse and foote,
As can be gathered vp by any meanes,
Make speedy randeuow in Tuttle fields,
It must be done this euening my Lord,
This night the rebells meane to draw to head
Neere Islington, which if your speede preuent not,
If once they should vnite their seuerall forces,
Their power is almost thought inuincible,
Away my Lord I will be with you soone.

Suf.I go my Soueraigne with all happie speede.Exit.

King
Make haste my lord of Suffolke as you loue vs,
Butler, poste you to London with all speede.
Commaund the Maior, and shrieues, on their alegiance,
The cittie gates be presently shut vp,
And guarded with a strong sufficient watch,
And not a man be suffered to passe,
Without a speciall warrant from our selfe.
Command the Posterne by the Tower be kept,
And proclamation on the paine of death,
That not a citizen stirre from his doores,
Except such as the Maior and Shrieues shall chuse,
For their owne guarde, and safety of their persons,
Butler away, haue care vnto my charge.

But.I goe my Soueraigne.

KingButler.

But.My Lord.

KingGoe downe by Greenewich, and command a boate,
At the Friers bridge attend my comming downe.

But.I will my Lord. exit.

KingIt's time I thinke to looke vnto rebellion,
When Acton doth expect vnto his ayd,
No lesse then fiftie thousand Londoners,
Well, Ile to Westminster in this disguise,
To heare what newes is stirring in these brawles.

Enter sir Iohn.


Sir IohnStand true-man saies a thiefe?

KingStand thiefe, saies a true man, how if a thiefe?

Sir IohnStand thiefe too.

KingThen thiefe or true-man I see I must stand, I see how soeuer the world wagges, the trade of theeuing yet will neuer downe, what art thou?

sir IohnA good fellow.

KingSo am I too, I see thou dost know me.

sir Iohn.If thou be a good fellow, play the good fellowes part, deliuer thy purse without more adoe.

KingI haue no mony.

sir IohnI must make you find some before we part, if you haue no mony you shal haue ware, as many sound drie blows as your skin can carrie.

KingIs that the plaine truth?

sir IohnSirra no more adoe, come, come, giue me the mony you haue, dispatch, I cannot stand all day.

KingWel, if thou wilt needs haue it, there tis: iust the prouerb, one thiefe robs another, where the diuel are all my old theeues, that were wont to keepe this walke? Falstaffe the villaine is so fat, he cannot get on's horse, but me thinkes Poines and Peto should be stirring here abouts.

sir IohnHow much is there on't of thy word?

KingA hundred pound in Angels, on my word,
The time has beene I would haue done as much
For thee, if thou hadst past this way, as I haue now.

sir. IohnSirra, what art thou, thou seem'st a gentleman?

KingI am no lesse, yet a poore one now, for thou hast all my mony.

sir IohnFrom whence cam'st thou?

KingFrom the court at Eltham.

sir IohnArt thou one of the Kings seruants?

KingYes that I am and one of his chamber.

sir IohnI am glad thou art no worse, thou maist the better spare thy mony, & thinkst thou thou mightst get a poor thiefe his pardon if he should haue neede.

King.Yes that I can.

sir IohnWilt thou do so much for me, when I shall haue occasion?

KingYes faith will I, so it be for no murther.

sir IohnNay, I am a pittifull thiefe, all the hurt I do a man, I take but his purse, Ile kill no man.

KingThen of my word Ile do it.

sir IohnGiue me thy hand of the same.

KingThere tis.

sir IohnMe thinks the King should be good to theeues because he has bin a thiefe himselfe, though I thinke now he be turned true-man.

KingFaith I haue heard indeed he has had an il name that way in his youth, but how canst thou tell he has beene a thiefe?

sir IohnHow? because he once robde me before I fell to the trade my selfe, when that foule villainous guts, that led him to all that rogery, was in's company there, that Falstaffe.

King aside.Well if he did rob thee then, thou art but euen with him now Ile be sworne: thou knowest not the king now, I thinke, if thou sawest him?

sir IohnNot I yfaith.

King aside.So it should seeme.

sir IohnWell, if old King Henry had liu'de, this King that is now, had made theeuing the best trade in England.

KingWhy so?

sir IohnBecause he was the chiefe warden of our compa∣ny, it's pittie that ere he should haue bin a King, he was so braue a thiefe, but sirra, wilt remember my pardon if neede be?

KingYes faith will I.

sir IohnWilt thou? well then because thou shalt go safe, for thou mayest hap (being so earely) be met with againe, before thou come to Southwarke, if any man when he should bid thee good morrow, bid thee stand, say thou but sir Iohn, and he will let thee passe.

KingIs that the word? well then let me alone.

sir IohnNay sirra, because I thinke indeede I shall haue some occasion to vse thee, & as thou comst oft this way, I may light on thee another time not knowing thee, here, ile breake this Angell, take thou halfe of it, this is a token betwixt thee and me.

King.God haue mercy, farewell. exit

sir IohnO my fine golden slaues, heres for thee wench yfaith, now Dol, we wil reuel in our beuer, this is a tyth pigge of my vicaridge, God haue mercy neigbour Shooters hill, you paid your tyth honestly. Wel I heare there is a company of rebelles vp against the King, got together in Ficket field neere Holborne, and as it is thought here in Kent, the King will be there to night in's owne person, well ile to the Kings camp, and it shall go hard, but if there be any doings, Ile make some good boote amongst them. exit