The Life of Sir John Oldcastle
William Shakespeare [Apocrypha]
Part 3 out of 3
sheep that comes shall lose his fleece, we'll have these
crowns, wench, I warrant thee.
[Enter the Irish man with his master slain.]
Stay, who comes here? some Irish villain, me thinks,
that has slain a man, and draws him out of the way to
rifle him. Stand close, Doll, we'll see the end.
[The Irish man falls to rifle his master.]
Alas, poe mester, Sir Rishard Lee, be saint Patrick is
rob and cut thy trote for dee shaine, and dy money, and
dee gold ring be me truly: is love thee well, but now dow
be kill, thee bee shitten kanave.
Stand, sirra; what art thou?
Be saint Patrick, mester, is pore Irisman, is a leufter.
Sirra, sirra, you are a damned rogue; you have killed a
man here, and rifled him of all that he has. Sblood, you
rogue, deliver, or I'll not leave you so much as an Irish
hair above your shoulders, you whoreson Irish dog.
Sirra, untruss presently; come, off and dispatch, or by
this cross I'll fetch your head off as clean as a bark.
Wee's me, saint Patrick! Ise kill me mester for chain
and his ring, and nows be rob of all: mee's undoo.
[Priest robs him.]
Avant, you rascal! Go, sirra, be walking. Come, Doll,
the devil laughs, when one thief robs another: come,
mad wench, we'll to saint Albans, and revel in our
bower; hey, my brave girl.
O thou art old sir John when all's done, yfaith.
ACT V. SCENE III. St. Albans. The entrance of a
[Enter the host of the Bell with the Irish man.]
Be me tro, mester, is pore Irisman, is want ludging, is
have no money, is starve and cold: good mester, give
her some meat; is famise and tie.
Yfaith, my fellow, I have no lodging, but what I keep
for my guess, that I may not disappoint: as for meat
thou shalt have such as there is, & if thou wilt lie in
the barn, there's fair straw, and room enough.
Is thank my mester hartily, de straw is good bed for me.
Shew this poor Irishman into the barn; go, sirra.
[Enter carrier and Kate.]
Ho, who's within here? who looks to the horses?
God's hat! here's fine work: the hens in the manger,
and the hogs in the litter. A bots found you all; here's
a house well looked to, yvaith.
Mas, goffe Club, I'se very cawd.
Get in, Kate, get in to fire and warm thee. Ho! John
What, gaffer Club? welcome to saint Albans. How does
all our friends in Lancashire?
Well, God have mercy, John; how does Tom; where's he?
O, Tom is gone from hence; he's at the three horse-loves
at Stony-stratford. How does old Dick Dunne?
God's hat, old Dunne has been moyerd in a slough in
Brickhill-lane, a plague found it; yonder is such
abomination weather as never was seen.
God's hat, thief, have one half peck of peas and oats more
for that: as I am John Ostler, he has been ever as good a
jade as ever travelled.
Faith, well said, old Jack; thou art the old lad still.
Come, Gaffer Club, unload, unload, and get to supper, and
I'll rub dun the while. Come.
ACT V. SCENE IV. The same. A room in the carrier's inn.
[Enter the host, sir John Old-castle, and Harpoole.]
Sir, you are welcome to this house, to such as here is with
all my heart, but, by the mass, I fear your lodging will be
the worst. I have but two beds, and they are both in a
chamber, and the carrier and his daughter lies in the one,
and you and your wife must lie in the other.
In faith, sir, for my self I do not greatly pass.
My wife is weary, and would be at rest,
For we have travelled very far today;
We must be content with such as you have.
But I cannot tell how to do with your man.
What, hast thou never an empty room in thy house for me?
Not a bed, by my troth: there came a poor Irish man, and
I lodged him in the barn, where he has fair straw, though
he have nothing else.
Well, mine host, I pray thee help me to a pair of fair
sheets, and I'll go lodge with him.
By the mass, that thou shalt; a good pair of hempen
sheets, were never lain in: Come.
ACT V. SCENE V. The same. A street.
[Enter Constable, Mayor, and Watch.]
What? have you searched the town?
All the town, sir; we have not left a house
unsearched that uses to lodge.
Surely, my lord of Rochester was then deceived,
Or ill informed of sir John Old-castle,
Or if he came this way he's past the town.
He could not else have scaped you in the search.
The privy watch hath been abroad all night,
And not a stranger lodgeth in the town
But he is known; only a lusty priest
We found in bed with a pretty wench,
That says she is his wife--yonder at the sheeres;
But we have charged the host with his forth coming
What think you best to do?
Faith, master mayor, here's a few straggling houses
beyond the bridge, and a little Inn where carriers use
to lodge, though I think sure he would ne'er lodge
there: but we'll go search, & the rather, because there
came notice to the town the last night of an Irish man,
that had done a murder, whom we are to make search for.
Come, I pray you, and be circumspect.
ACT V. SCENE VI. The same. Before the Carrier's Inn.
First beset the house, before you begin the search.
Content; every man take a several place.
[Here is heard a great noise within. Keep, keep,
strike him down there, down with him]]
[Enter Constable with the Irish man in Harpoole's
Come, you villainous heretic, confess where your
Vat mester, you counterfeit rebel? this shall not serve
Be sent Patrick I ha no mester.
Where's the lord Cobham, sir John Old-castle, that
lately is escaped out of the Tower?
Vat lort Cobham?
You counterfeit, this shall not serve you; we'll torture
you, we'll make you to confess where that arch-heretic,
Lord Cobham, is: come, bind him fast.
Ahone, ahone, ahone, a Cree!
Ahone, you crafty rascal!
ACT V. SCENE VII. The same. The yard of the Inn.
[Lord Cobham comes out in his gown stealing.]
Harpoole, Harpoole, I hear a marvelous noise about
the house: God warrant us, I fear we are pursued:
[Within.] Who calls there?
Tis I; dost thou not hear a noise about the house?
Yes, mary, do I:--zwounds, I can not find my hose;
this Irish rascal that was lodged with me all night
hath stolen my apparel, and has left me nothing but
a lowsy mantle, and a pair of brogues. Get up, get
up, and if the carrier and his wench be asleep, change
you with them as he hath done with me, and see if
we can escape.
[Exit lord Cobham.]
[A hoise again heard about the house, a pretty while;
then enter the Constable, meeting Harpoole in the
Irish man's apparel.]
Stand close, here comes the Irish man that did the
murther; by all tokens, this is he.
And perceiving the house beset, would get away.
What are thou that bidst me stand?
I am the Officer, and am come to search for an Irish
man, such a villain as thy self, that hast murthered a
man this last night by the high way.
Sblood, Constable, art thou mad? am I an Irish man?
Sirra, we'll find you an Irish man before we part: lay
hold upon him.
Make him fast. O thou bloody rogue!
[Enter Lord Cobham and his lady in the carrier and
What, will these Ostlers sleep all day?
Good morrow, good morrow. Come, wench, come.
Saddle! saddle! Now afore God too fair days, ha?
Who comes there?
Oh, tis Lancashire carrier; let him pass.
What, will no body open the gates here?
Come, let's int stable to look to our capons.
[Exeunt Cobham and his Lady.]
[The carrier calling.]
[Calling.] Host! why ostler! zwooks, here's such a
bomination company of boys. A pox of this pigsty
at the house end: it fills all the house full of fleas.
Who calls there? what would you have?
Zwooks, do you rob your guests? do you lodge rogues
and slaves, and scoundrels, ha? they ha stolen our clothes
here: why, ostler!
A murrein choke you, what a bawlin you keep.
How now, what would the carrier have? look up there.
They say that the man and woman that lay by them have
stolen their clothes.
What, are the strange folks up yet that come in yester night?
What, mine host, up so early?
What, master Mayor, and master Constable!
We are come to seek for some suspected persons,
And such as here we found, have apprehended.
[Enter the Carrier and Kate in lord Cobham and ladies apparel.]
Who comes here?
Who comes here? a plague found ome! you bawl, quoth a!
ods hat, I'll forzwear your house: you lodged a fellow and
his wife by that ha run away with our parrel, and left us such
gew-gaws here!--Come Kate, come to me, thowse dizeard,
Mine host, know you this man?
Yes, master Mayor, I'll give my word for him. Why, neighbor
Club, how comes this gear about?
Now, a fowl ont, I can not make this gew-gaw stand on my
head: now the lads and the lasses won flout me too too--
How came this man and woman thus attired?
Here came a man and woman hither this last night, which I did
take for substantial people, and lodged all in one chamber by
these folks, me thinks, have been so bold to change apparel,
and gone away this morning ere they rose.
That was that villain traitor, Old-castle, that thus escaped us:
make out hue and cry yet after him, keep fast that traitorous
rebel, his servant, there: farewell, mine host.
Come, Kate Owdham, thou and Ise trimly dizard.
ACT V. SCENE VIII. A wood near St. Albans.
[Enter sir John Old-castle, and his Lady disguised.]
Come, Madam, happily escaped; here let us sit.
This place is far remote from any path,
And here awhile our weary limbs may rest,
To take refreshing, free from the pursuit
Of envious Rochester.
But where, my Lord,
Shall we find rest for our disquiet minds?
There dwell untamed thoughts that hardly stop,
To such abasement of disdained rags.
We were not wont to travel thus by night,
Especially on foot.
No matter, love;
Extremities admit no better choice,
And were it not for thee, say froward time
Imposed a greater task, I would esteem it
As lightly as the wind that blows upon us;
But in thy sufference I am doubly tasked.
Thou wast not wont to have the earth thy stool,
Nor the moist dewy grass thy pillow, nor
Thy chamber to be the wide horizon.
How can it seem a trouble, having you
A partner with me in the worst I feel?
No, gentle Lord, your presence would give ease
To death it self, should he now seize upon me.
Behold what my foresight hath underta'en
[Here's bread and cheese & a bottle.]
For fear we faint; they are but homely cates,
Yet sauced with hunger, they may seem as sweet
As greater dainties we were wont to taste.
Praise be to him whose plenty sends both this
And all things else our mortal bodies need;
Nor scorn we this poor feeding, nor the state
We now are in, for what is it on earth,
Nay, under heaven, continues at a stay?
Ebbs not the sea, when it hath overflown?
Follows not darkness when the day is gone?
And see we not sometime the eye of heaven
Dimmed with overflying clouds: there's not that work
Of careful nature, or of cunning art,
(How strong, how beauteous, or how rich it be)
But falls in time to ruin. Here, gentle Madame,
In this one draught I wash my sorrow down.
And I, encouraged with your cheerful speech,
Will do the like.
Pray God poor Harpoole come.
If he should fall into the Bishop's hands,
Or not remember where we bade him meet us,
It were the thing of all things else, that now
Could breed revolt in this new peace of mind.
Fear not, my Lord, he's witty to devise,
And strong to execute a present shift.
That power be still his guide hath guided us!
My drowsy eyes wax heavy: early rising,
Together with the travel we have had,
Make me that I could gladly take a nap,
Were I persuaded we might be secure.
Let that depend on me: whilst you do sleep,
I'll watch that no misfortune happen us.
Lay then your head upon my lap, sweet Lord,
And boldly take your rest.
I shall, dear wife,
Be too much trouble to thee.
Urge not that;
My duty binds me, and your love commands.
I would I had the skill with tuned voice
To draw on sleep with some sweet melody,
But imperfection, and unaptness too,
Are both repugnant: fear insert the one,
The other nature hath denied me use.
But what talk I of means to purchase that,
Is freely happened? sleep with gentle hand
Hath shut his eye-lids. Oh victorious labour,
How soon thy power can charm the bodies sense?
And now thou likewise climbst unto my brain,
Making my heavy temples stoop to thee.
Great God of heaven from danger keep us free.
[Enter sir Richard Lee, and his men.]
A murder closely done, and in my ground?
Search carefully, if any where it were,
This obscure thicket is the likeliest place.
Sir, I have found the body stiff with cold,
And mangled cruelly with many wounds.
Look if thou knowest him, turn his body up.--
Alack, it is my son, my son and heir,
Whom two years since I sent to Ireland,
To practice there the discipline of war,
And coming home (for so he wrote to me)
Some savage heart, some bloody devilish hand,
Either in hate, or thirsting for his coin,
Hath here sluiced out his blood. Unhappy hour,
Accursed place, but most inconstant fate,
That hadst reserved him from the bullet's fire,
And suffered him to scape the wood-karn's fury,
Didst here ordain the treasure of his life,
(Even here within the arms of tender peace,
And where security gave greatest hope)
To be consumed by treason's wasteful hand!
And what is most afflicting to my soul,
That this his death and murther should be wrought
Without the knowledge by whose means twas done.
Not so, sir; I have found the authors of it.
See where they sit, and in their bloody fists,
The fatal instruments of death and sin.
Just judgement of that power, whose gracious eye,
Loathing the sight of such a heinous fact,
Dazzled their senses with benumbing sleep,
Till their unhallowed treachery were known!
Awake, ye monsters; murderers, awake;
Tremble for horror; blush, you cannot choose,
Beholding this inhumane deed of yours.
What mean you, sir, to trouble weary souls,
And interrupt us of our quiet sleep?
Oh devilish! can you boast unto your selves
Of quiet sleep, having within your hearts
The guilt of murder waking, that with cries
Deafs the loud thunder, and solicits heaven
With more than Mandrake's shrieks for your offence?
What murder? you upbraid us wrongfully.
Can you deny the fact? see you not here
The body of my son by you mis-done?
Look on his wounds, look on his purple hue:
Do we not find you where the deed was done?
Were not your knives fast closed in your hands?
Is not this cloth an argument beside,
Thus stained and spotted with his innocent blood?
These speaking characters, were nothing else
To plead against ye, would convict you both.
Bring them away, bereavers of my joy.
At Hartford, where the Sizes now are kept,
Their lives shall answer for my son's lost life.
As we are innocent, so may we speed.
As I am wronged, so may the law proceed.
ACT V. SCENE IX. St. Albans.
[Enter bishop of Rochester, constable of St. Albans,
with sir John of Wrotham, Doll his wench, and the
Irishman in Harpoole's apparel.]
What intricate confusion have we here?
Not two hours since we apprehended one,
In habit Irish, but in speech not so:
And now you bring another, that in speech
Is altogether Irish, but in habit
Seems to be English: yea and more than so,
The servant of that heretic Lord Cobham.
Fait, me be no servant of the lord Cobham,
Me be Mack Chane of Vister.
Otherwise called Harpoole of Kent; go to, sir,
You cannot blind us with your broken Irish.
Trust me, my Lord Bishop, whether Irish,
Or English, Harpoole or not Harpoole, that
I leave to be decided by the trial:
But sure I am this man by face and speech
Is he that murdered young sir Richard Lee--
I met him presently upon the fact--
And that he slew his master for that gold;
Those jewels, and that chain I took from him.
Well, our affairs do call us back to London,
So that we cannot prosecute the cause,
As we desire to do; therefore we leave
The charge with you, to see they be conveyed
To Hartford Sise: both this counterfeit
And you, sir John of Wrotham, and your wench,
For you are culpable as well as they,
Though not for murder, yet for felony.
But since you are the means to bring to light
This graceless murder, you shall bear with you
Our letters to the Judges of the bench,
To be your friends in what they lawful may.
So, away with them.
ACT V. SCENE X. Hertford. A Hall of Justice.
[Enter Gaoler and his man, bringing forth Old-castle.]
Bring forth the prisoners, see the court prepared;
The Justices are coming to the bench.
So, let him stand; away, and fetch the rest.
Oh, give me patience to endure this scourge,
Thou that art fountain of that virtuous stream,
And though contempt, false witness, and reproach
Hang on these iron gyves, to press my life
As low as earth, yet strengthen me with faith,
That I may mount in spirit above the clouds.
[Enter Gaoler, bringing in Lady Old-castle and
Here comes my lady: sorrow, tis for her
Thy wound is grievous; else I scoff at thee.
What, and poor Harpoole! art thou ith bryars too?
Ifaith, my Lord, I am in, get out how I can.
Say, gentle Lord, for now we are alone,
And may confer, shall we confess in brief,
Of whence, and what we are, and so prevent
The accusation is commenced against us?
What will that help us? being known, sweet love,
We shall for heresy be put to death,
For so they term the religion we profess.
No, if it be ordained we must die,
And at this instant, this our comfort be,
That of the guilt imposed, our souls are free.
Yea, yea, my lord, Harpoole is so resolved.
I wreak of death the less, in that I die
Not by the sentence of that envious priest
The Bishop of Rochester: oh, were it he,
Or by his means that I should suffer here,
It would be double torment to my soul.
Well, be it then according as heaven please.
[Enter lord Judge, two Justices, Mayor of Saint
Albans, lord Powesse and his lady, and old sir
Richard Lee: the Judge and Justices take their
Now, Master Mayor, what gentleman is that,
You bring with you before us and the bench?
The Lord Powis, if it like your honor,
And this his Lady, travelling toward Wales,
Who, for they lodged last night within my house,
And my Lord Bishop did lay search for such,
Were very willing to come on with me,
Lest for their sakes suspicion me might wrong.
We cry your honor mercy, good my Lord,
Wilt please ye take your place. Madame, your ladyship
May here or where you will repose your self,
Until this business now in hand be past.
I will withdraw into some other room,
So that your Lordship and the rest be pleased.
With all our hearts: attend the Lady there.
Wife, I have eyed yond prisoners all this while,
And my conceit doth tell me, tis our friend,
The noble Cobham, and his virtuous Lady.
I think no less: are they suspected, trow ye,
For doing of this murder?
What is means
I cannot tell, but we shall know anon.
Mean space as you pass by them, ask the question,
But do it secretly, you be not seen,
And make some sign that I may know your mind.
My Lord Cobham? madam?
[As she passeth over the stage by them.]
No Cobham now, nor madam, as you love us,
But John of Lancashire, and Ione his wife.
Oh tell, what is it that our love can do,
To pleasure you? for we are bound to you.
Nothing but this, that you conceal our names;
So, gentle lady, pass for being spied.
My heart I leave, to bear part of your grief.
Call the prisoners to the bar. Sir Richard Lee,
What evidence can you bring against these people,
To prove them guilty of the murder done?
This bloody towel and these naked knives,
Beside we found them sitting by the place,
Where the dead body lay, within a bush.
What answer you why law should not proceed,
According to the evidence given in,
To tax ye with the penalty of death?
That we are free from murder's very thoughts,
And know not how the gentleman was slain.
How came this linen cloth so bloody then?
My husband hot with travelling, my lord,
His nose gushed out a bleeding, that was it.
But wherefore were your sharp edged knives
To cut such simple victual as we had.
Say we admit this answer to those articles,
What made ye in so private a dark nook,
So far remote from any common path,
As was the thick where the dead corpse was thrown?
Journeying, my lord, from London from the term,
Down into Lancashire where we do dwell,
And what with age and travel being faint,
We gladly sought a place where we might rest,
Free from resort of other passengers,
And so we strayed into that secret corner.
These are but ambages to drive of time,
And linger Justice from her purposed end.
But who are these?
[Enter the Constable, bringing in the Irishman, sir
John of Wrotham, and Doll.]
Stay Judgement, and release those innocents,
For here is he, whose hand hath done the deed,
For which they stand indicted at the bar,--
This savage villain, this rude Irish slave.
His tongue already hath confessed the fact,
And here is witness to confirm as much.
Yes, my good Lords, no sooner had he slain
His loving master for the wealth he had,
But I upon the instant met with him,
And what he purchased with the loss of blood:
With strokes I presently bereaved him of;
Some of the which is spent, the rest remaining
I willingly surrender to the hands
Of old sir Richard Lee, as being his.
Beside, my Lord Judge, I greet your honor
With letters from my Lord of Rochester.
[Delivers a letter.]
Is this the wolf whose thirsty throat did drink
My dear son's blood? art thou the snake
He cherished, yet with envious piercing sting
Assailed him mortally? foul stigmatic,
Thou venom of the country where thou livedst,
And pestilence of this: were it not that law
Stands ready to revenge thy cruelty,
Traitor to God, thy master, and to me,
These hands should be thy executioner.
Patience, sir Richard Lee, you shall have justice,
And he the guerdon of his base desert.
The fact is odious; therefore, take him hence,
And being hanged until the wretch be dead,
His body after shall be handed in chains
Near to the place where he did act the murder.
Prethee, Lord shudge, let me have mine own
clothes, my strouces there, and let me be hanged
in a with after my cuntry--the Irish--fashion.
Go to; away with him. And now, sir John,
Although by you this murther came to light,
And therein you have well deserved, yet upright law,
So will not have you be excused and quit,
For you did rob the Irishman, by which
You stand attainted here of felony.
Beside, you have been lewd, and many years
Led a lascivious, unbeseeming life.
Oh but, my Lord, he repents, sir John repents,
and he will mend.
In hope thereof, together with the favour,
My Lord of Rochester entreats for you,
We are content you shall be proved.
I thank you good Lordship.
These other falsely here accused, and brought
In peril wrongfully, we in like sort
Do set at liberty, paying their fees.
That office, if it please ye, I will do,
For countries sake, because I know them well.
They are my neighbours, therefore of my cost
Their charges shall be paid.
And for amends,
Touching the wrong unwittingly I have done,
There are a few crowns more for them to drink.
[Gives them a purse.]
Your kindness merits praise, sir Richard Lee:
So let us hence.
[Exeunt all but Lord Powis and Old-castle.]
But Powis still must stay.
There yet remains a part of that true love
He owes his noble friend unsatisfied,
And unperformed, which first of all doth bind me
To gratulate your lordship's safe delivery,
And then entreat, that since unlooked for thus
We here are met, your honor would vouchsafe,
To ride with me to Wales, where to my power,
(Though not to quittance those great benefits,
I have received of you) yet both my house,
My purse, my servants, and what else I have,
Are all at your command. Deny me not;
I know the Bishop's hate pursues ye so,
As there's no safety in abiding here.
Tis true, my Lord, and God forgive him for it.
Then, let us hence: you shall be straight provided
Of lusty geldings, and once entered Wales,
Well may the Bishop hunt, but, spite his face,
He never more shall have the game in chase.
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