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The Life of Sir John Oldcastle

By Benjamin Simpson,2014-11-30 10:28
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The Life of Sir John Oldcastle

by William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]

    The Actors Names in the History of Sir John Oldcastle.

King Henry the Fifth.

    Sir John Old-castle, Lord Cobham.

    Harpoole, Servant to the Lord Cobham.

    Lord Herbert, with Gough his man.

    Lord Powis, with Owen and Davy his men.

    The Mayor of Hereford, and Sheriff of Herefordshire, with Bailiffs

     and Servants.

    Two Judges of Assize.

    The Bishop of Rochester and Clun his Sumner. Sir John the Parson of Wrotham, and Doll his Concubine.

    The Duke of Suffolk.

    The Earl of Huntington.

    The Earl of Cambridge.

    Lord Scroop and Lord Grey.

    Chartres the French Agent.

    Sir Roger Acton.

    Sir Richard Lee.

    M. Bourn, M. Beverly, and Murley the Brewer of Dunstable, rebels.

    M. Butler, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Lady Cobham and Lady Powis.

    Cromer, Sheriff of Kent.

    Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

    Lieutenant of the Tower.

    The Mayor, Constable, and Gaoler of S. Albans. A Kentish Constable and an Ale-man. Soldiers and old men begging.

    Dick and Tom, servants to Murley.

    An Irishman.

    An Host, Hostler, a Carrier and Kate.

THE PROLOGUE.

    The doubtful Title (Gentlemen) prefixt Upon the Argument we have in hand,

    May breed suspence, and wrongfully disturb The peaceful quiet of your settled thoughts. To stop which scruple, let this brief suffice: It is no pampered glutton we present, Nor aged Counsellor to youthful sin, But one, whose virtue shone above the rest, A valiant Martyr and a virtuous peer; In whose true faith and loyalty expressed Unto his sovereign, and his country's weal, We strive to pay that tribute of our Love, Your favours merit. Let fair Truth be graced, Since forged invention former time defaced.

    ACT I. SCENE I. Hereford. A street.

    [Enter Lord Herbert, Lord Powis, Owen, Gough, Davy, and several other followers of the lords Herbert and Powis;

    they fight. In the fight, enter the Sheriff and two of his men.]

SHERIFF.

    My Lords, I charge ye in his Highness' name, To keep the peace, you, and your followers.

HERBERT.

    Good Master Sheriff, look unto your self.

POWIS.

    Do so, for we have other business.

[Profer to fight again.]

SHERIFF.

    Will ye disturb the Judges, and the Assize? Hear the King's proclamation, ye were best.

POWIS.

    Hold then, let's hear it.

HERBERT.

    But be brief, ye were best.

BAILIFF.

    Oyes!

DAVY.

    Cousin, make shorter O, or shall mar your Yes.

BAILIFF.

    Oyes!

OWEN.

    What, has her nothing to say but O yes?

BAILIFF.

    Oyes!

DAVY.

    O nay! pye Cosse plut down with her, down with her! A Pawesse! a Pawesse!

GOUGH.

    A Herbert! a Herbert! and down with Powis!

[Helter skelter again.]

SHERIFF.

    Hold, in the King's name, hold.

OWEN.

    Down i' tha knave's name, down.

[In this fight, the Bailiff is knocked down, and the Sheriff

    and the other run away.]

HERBERT.

    Powesse, I think thy Welsh and thou do smart.

POWIS.

    Herbert, I think my sword came near thy heart.

HERBERT.

    Thy heart's best blood shall pay the loss of mine.

GOUGH.

    A Herbert! a Herbert!

DAVY.

    A Pawesse! a Pawesse!

    [As they are lifting their weapons, enter the Mayor of Hereford, and his Officers and Towns-men with clubs.]

MAYOR.

    My Lords, as you are liege men to the Crown, True noblemen, and subjects to the King, Attend his Highness' proclamation,

    Commanded by the Judges of Assize,

    For keeping peace at this assembly.

HERBERT.

Good Master Mayor of Hereford be brief.

MAYOR.

    Sergeant, without the ceremony of Oyes,

    Pronounce aloud the proclamation.

SERVANT.

    The King's Justices, perceiving what public mischief may ensue this private quarrel, in his majesty's name do straightly charge and command all persons, of what degree soever, to depart this city of Hereford, except such as are bound to give attendance at this Assize, and that no man presume to wear any weapon, especially welsh-hooks, forest bills--

OWEN.

    Haw, no pill nor wells hoog? ha?

MAYOR.

    Peace, and hear the proclamation.

SERVANT.

    And that the Lord Powesse do presently disperse and discharge his retinue, and depart the city in the King's peace, he and his followers, on pain of imprisonment.

DAVY.

    Haw? pud her Lord Pawesse in prison? A Pawes!

    A Pawesse! cossone live and tie with her Lord.

GOUGH.

    A Herbert! a Herbert!

    [In this fight the Lord Herbert is wounded, and falls to the ground; the Mayor and his company go away, crying clubs; Powesse runs away; Gough and other of Herbert's faction busy themselves about Herbert; enter the two Judges in their robes, the Sheriff and his Bailiffs afore them, &c.]

FIRST JUDGE.

    Where's the Lord Herbert? is he hurt or slain?

SHERIFF.

    He's here, my Lord.

SECOND JUDGE.

    How fares his Lordship, friends?

GOUGH.

    Mortally wounded, speechless; he cannot live.

FIRST JUDGE.

    Convey him hence; let not his wounds take air, And get him dressed with expedition.

[Ex. Herbert & Gough.]

    Master Mayor of Hereford, Master Shrieve o' the shire, Commit Lord Powesse to safe custody,

    To answer the disturbance of the peace, Lord Herbert's peril, and his high contempt Of us, and you the King's commissioners. See it be done with care and diligence.

SHERIFF.

    Please it your Lordship, my Lord Powesse is gone Past all recovery.

SECOND JUDGE.

    Yet let search be made,

    To apprehend his followers that are left.

SHERIFF.

    There are some of them. Sirs, lay hold of them.

OWEN.

    Of us? and why? what has her done, I pray you?

SHERIFF.

    Disarm them, Bailiffs.

MAYOR.

    Officers, assist.

DAVY.

    Hear you, Lor shudge, what resson is for this?

OWEN.

    Cosson pe puse for fighting for our Lord?

FIRST JUDGE.

    Away with them.

DAVY.

    Harg you, my Lord.

OWEN.

    Gough my Lord Herbert's man's a shitten kanave.

DAVY.

    Ise live and tie in good quarrel.

OWEN.

    Pray you do shustice; let all be preson.

DAVY.

    Prison! no.

    Lord shudge, I wool give you pale, good suerty.

SECOND JUDGE.

    What Bail? what sureties?

DAVY.

    Her coozin ap Ries, ap Evan, ap Morris, ap Morgan, ap Lluellyn, ap Madoc, ap Meredith, ap Griffen, ap Davy, ap

    Owen, ap Shinken Shones.

SECOND JUDGE.

    Two of the most sufficient are ynow.

SHERIFF.

    And 't please your Lordship, these are all but one.

FIRST JUDGE.

    To Jail with them, and the Lord Herbert's men; We'll talk with them, when the Assize is done.

[Exeunt.]

    Riotous, audacious, and unruly Grooms, Must we be forced to come from the Bench, To quiet brawls, which every Constable

In other civil places can suppress?

SECOND JUDGE.

    What was the quarrel that caused all this stir?

SHERIFF.

    About religion, as I heard, my Lord.

    Lord Powesse detracted from the power of Rome, Affirming Wickliffe's doctrine to be true, And Rome's erroneous. Hot reply was made By the lord Herbert, they were traitors all That would maintain it: Powesse answered, They were as true, as noble, and as wise As he, that would defend it with their lives; He named for instance sir John Old-castle The Lord Cobham: Herbert replied again, "He, thou, and all are traitors that so hold." The lie was given, the several factions drawn, And so enraged, that we could not appease it.

FIRST JUDGE.

    This case concerns the King's prerogative, And's dangerous to the State and common wealth. Gentlemen, Justices, master Mayor, and master Shrieve, It doth behoove us all, and each of us In general and particular, to have care For suppressing of all mutinies,

    And all assemblies, except soldiers' musters For the King's preparation into France. We hear of secret conventicles made,

    And there is doubt of some conspiracies, Which may break out into rebellious arms When the King's gone, perchance before he go: Note as an instance, this one perilous fray; What factions might have grown on either part, To the destruction of the King and Realm. Yet, in my conscience, sir John Old-castle, Innocent of it, only his name was used. We, therefore, from his Highness give this charge: You, master Mayor, look to your citizens; You, master Sheriff, unto your shire; and you As Justices, in every one's precinct, There be no meetings. When the vulgar sort Sit on their Ale-bench, with their cups and cans,

    Matters of state be not their common talk, Nor pure religion by their lips profaned. Let us return unto the Bench again, And there examine further of this fray.

[Enter a Bailiff and a Servant.]

SHERIFF.

    Sirs, have ye taken the lord Powesse yet?

BAILIFF.

    No, nor heard of him.

SERVANT.

    No, he's gone far enough.

SECOND JUDGE.

    They that are left behind shall answer all.

[Exeunt.]

    ACT I. SCENE II. Eltham. An antechamber in the palace.

[Enter Suffolk, Bishop of Rochester, Butler, parson of

    Wrotham.]

SUFFOLK.

    Now, my lord Bishop, take free liberty To speak your mind: what is your suit to us?

BISHOP.

    My noble Lord, no more than what you know, And have been oftentimes invested with: Grievous complaints have past between the lips Of envious persons to upbraid the Clergy, Some carping at the livings which we have, And others spurning at the ceremonies That are of ancient custom in the church. Amongst the which, Lord Cobham is a chief: What inconvenience may proceed hereof, Both to the King and to the commonwealth, May easily be discerned, when like a frenzy

    This innovation shall possess their minds. These upstarts will have followers, to uphold Their damned opinion, more than Harry shall To undergo his quarrel gainst the French.

SUFFOLK.

    What proof is there against them to be had, That what you say the law may justify?

BISHOP.

    They give themselves the name of Protestants, And meet in fields and solitary groves.

SIR JOHN.

    Was ever heard, my Lord, the like til now? That thieves and rebels--sblood, heretics, Plain heretics, I'll stand tooth to their teeth-- Should have, to colour their vile practices, A title of such worth as Protestant?

[Enter one with a letter.]

SUFFOLK.

    O, but you must not swear; it ill becomes One of your coat to rap out bloody oaths.

BISHOP.

    Pardon him, good my Lord, it is his zeal; An honest country prelate, who laments To see such foul disorder in the church.

SIR JOHN.

    There's one--they call him Sir John Old-castle-- He has not his name for naught: for like a castle Doth he encompass them within his walls; But till that castle be subverted quite, We ne'er shall be at quiet in the realm.

BISHOP.

    That is not our suit, my Lord, that he be ta'en, And brought in question for his heresy. Beside, two letters brought me out of Wales, Wherein my Lord Hereford writes to me, What tumult and sedition was begun,

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