Page images


That you may hear us both, and reach my call. Enter Pent, STORE, and Watchmen.

Thwack. I'll stay and see him. Pert. Pall and his friend are gone, I must not Y. Pal. No, knight; you are decreed Sir Ty. stay

rant's judge; His sight; but after you have seized upon him, Go that way, sir, and force him to compound, Lead him a prisoner to the lady too. [Erit Pert. Thuack. I'll fine him soundly, Snore. Warrant ye, though he were Gog or Hil- Till's purse shrink like a bladder in the fire. debrand. 56 [They lay hold on him.

[Ereunt AMPLE, LUCY, TH VACK, E. Pal. How now! what mean you, sirs ?

Snore. Yield to the constable.
E. Pal."Tis yielded, sir, that you are constable;

But where have I offended?

Snore. Here, sir, this is your gaol; too good Snore. Here, sir; you have committed sacrilege,

for such And robb'd an alderman's tomb, of himself A great offender. Avd his two sons, kneeling in brass.

E. Pal. Sacrilege! very well; E. Pal. How ! Aca monuments of their brazen Now all the palpit-cushions, all the hearse-cloths skins !

And winding-shects, that have been stol'n about Snore. Look; a dark lanthorn, and an iron crow; The town this year, will be laid to my charge. Fine evidence for a jury !

Y. Pal. Pray leave us, master constable, and E. Pal. I like this plot; the Lady Ample and

look My brother have most rare triumphant wits;


other bondman in the parlour. Now, by this hand, I am most eagerly

[Erit SsoRE. In love with both; I find I have deserved all, E. Pal. This is the wittiest offspring that our And aın resolved to hug, them and their designs, Though they afflict me more and more. Whither E'er had; I love him beyond hope or lust: must I go?

My father was no poet, sure; I wonder
Snore. Away with him. Saucy fellow, examine How he got him.
The king's constable !

[Exeunt. Y. Pal. I know you curse me now.

E. Pal. Brother, in troth, you lie, and whoc'er Enter Younger PallatiNE, THwack, ANPLE, believes it. Lucy, MEAGER.

Y. Pal. Indeed you do; conjurors in a circle, Mea. I am become your guardian's gaoler, lady; That have raised up a wrong spirit, curse not Ile's safe lock'd in the parlour, and there howls, So much, nor yet so inwardly. Like a dog that sees a witch flying.

E. Pal. I've a great mind to kiss thee. Thwack. I long to hear how my wise tutor Y. Pal. You have not, sure? thrive3

E. Pal. I shall do't, and eat up thy lips so far, l' the new defeat.

Till th’ast nothing left to cover thy teeth. Amp. 'Tis well you are converted ;

Y. Pal. And can you think all the afflictions you Believ't, that gentleman deserves your thanks. Endured were merited? first, for misleading

Thwuck. Lady, seal my conversion on your lip; Morglay, your old friend; then, neglect of me, 'Tis the first !eading kiss that I intend

And haughty overvaluing yourself? For after chastity.

[Kisses her. E. Pal. Brother, I murmur not; the traps that Y. Pal. Luce, see you make the proposition you good,

Have laid were so ingenious, I could wish
Which I shall give my brother from this lady, To fall in them again.
Or I'll so swaddle your small bones

Y. Pal. The lady Ample, sir, Lucy. Sweet Pall, thou shalt. Madam, you'll There, is the great contriver that hath weared please to stard

These knots so intricate and safe; 'las, I
To what i lately mentioned to your own desire? Was but her lowly instrument.
Amp. To every particle, and more.

E. Pal. Ah, that lady! were I a hing, she

should Enter Pert.

Sit with me, upder my best canopy, Pert. Your brother's come; this room must be A silver sceptre in her hand, with which his prison.

I'd give her leave to break my head for erery Y. Pal. 'Way, Luce, away: stand in the closet, fault madam,

I did commit.

56 Hildebrand.-Meaning Pope Gregory the Seventh. See Bishop Warburton's note on 1st Part ef Henry 4th, A. 5. S. 3.

much inercy

Y. Pal. Bat say I bring this lady, sir, unto Amp. And, know, my glory is dispatch: My Your lawful sheets, make her your bosom wife :

ancestors Besides the plenty of her heritage,

Were of the fiery French, and taught me love, How would it sound, that you had conquered Hot eagerness, and haste. her,

E. Pal. Let nie be rude Who hath so often conquered you?

A while, lie with your judgment, and beget E. Pal. Dear brother, no new plots.

Sages on that. My dearest, chiefest lady! Y. Pal. Six thousand pounds, sir, is your year- Amp. Your brain's yet foul, and will recoil ly rent:

again. A fair temptation to a discreet lady:

E. Pal. No more; I'll swallow down my tongue. Luce hath filled both mine ears with hope ; be- Amp. If, sir, your nature be so excellent, sides,

As your kind brother hath confirmed to Luce I heard her say, she ne'er should meet a man And me, follow, and I'll present you straight That she could more subdue with wit and govern- With certain writings you shall seal to, hoodment,

winked, E. Pal. That I'll venture.

And purely ignorant of what they are : Y. Pal. Well, my first bounty is your freedom, This is the swiftest, and the easiest test, sir;

That can make of your bold love; do this, For the constable obeys no law but mine ; Perhaps I may vouchsafe to marry you; And now, madam, appear.

The writings are within.

E. Pal. Lead me to trial; come.
Enter Ample, Lucy.

Amp. But, sir, if I should marry you, it is
Amp. You're welcome 'mongst the living, sir. In confidence, I have the better wit;
E. Pal. Lady, no words ; if you've but so And can subdue you still to quietness,

Meek sufferings, and patient awe. As could secure one that your eyes affect

E. Pal. You rap me 59 still a-new. Amp. Why, you're grown arrogant again; d'you Y. Pal. In, Luce; our hopes grow strong and think


[Ereunt. They are so weak to affect you?

Enter Thrift, Szore, Mrs Snore, Queasy, E. Pal. I have a heart so kind unto myself,

To wish they could; () we should live-
Amp. Not by our wits.

Gin. To him, Mrs Snore; 'tis he has kept E. Pal. No, no; but with such soft content, Your husband from his bed so long, to watch still in

Him for a church-robbery. Conspiracy how to betray ourselves

Alrs Snore. Ah, thou Judas ! I thought what To new delights: keep harmony with no

thou'ldst come to! More noise than what the upper motions 57 make; Remember the warrant thou sent'st for me And this so constant too, turtles themselves, Into Duck-lane, 'cause I callid thy maid, Trot; Seeing our faith, shall slight their own, and pive When I was fain t'invite thy clerk to a

Fee pie, sent me by a Temple cook, my sister's Amp. Luce, the youth talks sense now; no sweetheart. medicine for

Quca. Nay, and remember who was brought The brain, like to captivity in a dark chest.

to-bed Y. Pal. O madam, you are cruel.

Under thy coach-house wall, when thou deny’dst Amp. Well, my sad convertite; 58 joy yet at A wad of straw, and wouldst not join thy half

penny I've often made a vow to marry on

To send for milk for the poor chrisom.60 That very day my wardship is expired;

Snore. Now you may sweeten nie with sugarAnd two hours since that liberty begun.

loaves Lucy. Nay, hear her out; your wishes are so At New-Year's tide, as I have you, sir.

With jealousy.

this :

saucy, sir,



$? Upper motions. i.e. the orbs in their courses.
so Convertite-See note 10 to the The Jew of Malta, p. 255.

rap mo. i. e. astonish me. So in Macbell's letter to his wife, “ While I stood rapt in wom Chrison—The mantle was the white cloth thrown over the new-baptized child. This perbaps was the perquisite of the officiating clergyman. The child itself was sometimes called a chrysomo.

der," &c. S.

Enter Tawack, Peet, Meager, Engine. |

Lucy. Yes, and her wardship out before you've

proffered her Thwack. We'll teach you to rob churches; A husband, sir; 63 so the best benefit 'slight, hereafter

Of all your guardianship is lost. We of the pious shall be afraid to go

Ansp. In seven long years you could not, sir, To a long exercise, 6? for fear our pockets should provide Be picked. Come, sir; you see already how A man deformed enough to offer me The neighbours throng to find you; will you con- For your own ends. sent?

Thrift. Cozened of wealth, of fame! Dog, Eo'Tis but a thousand pounds apiece to these

gine !

[Erit Turist. Two gentlemen, and five hundred more ľEn- Thwack. We must have you enclosed again; gine;

you're very Your crime is then concealed, and yourself free. Forward with the lady. Mea. No, he may chuse; he'll trust to the kind- E. Pal. I will be, sir, hearted law.

Until she groan: this priest stays somewhat long. Pert. Let him, and to dame Justice too; who, Thwack. How's this? troth, I shall forgive thee though

then heartily. Her ladyship be blind, will grope hard, sir, Amp. I've ta’en hinu i' the behalf of health, to To find your money-bags.

chide Eng. Sir, you are rich; besides, you kuow what And jeer far recreation sake; 'twill keep you

Me, sir, in breath, now I am past growing. Have got by your ward's death: I fear you will E. Pal. Hark, knight, here's relish for your Be begged at court, 62 unless you come off thus.

ears : I chose Thrift. There is my closei key; do what you None of your dull country madams, that spend please.

Their time in studying receipts to make Eng. Gentlemen, I'll lead you to it; follow me. March-pane, 64 and preserve plumbs; that talk Thuack. D’you use to find such sums as these Of painful child-birth, servants' wages, and beneath

Their husband's good complexion, and his leg. An oak after a long march ? I think, sure,

Thuack. New wonders yet! The wars are not so plentiful.

E. Pal. What was that, mistress, which I sealed Pert. We think so too.

to hood-winked? Thwack. Y' had better trail a bodkin, gentle- A simple trial of my confidence and love? men,

Amp. Your brother has it; 'tis a gift to liim Under the lady Ample, than a pike

Of one fair manor, 'mongst those many that you Under a German general.

Have in possession, sir; and in this bond Pert. We'll in for the money, sir, and talk You're witness to three thousand pounds I give to

Luce, [Exeunt Engine, Pert, Meager. Lucy. Yes, sir; for Pall and I must marry too. Enter Elder PALLATINE, Younger PallaTINE,

Y. Pul. I were an eunuch else, and the world

should know't. AMPLE, LUCY.

E. Pal. Thou couldst not have betrayed me to Y. Pal. Sir Tyrant Thrift, here is your ward a bounty come from

I more love. Brother, give thec joy. The dead, to indict you for a robbery

[Twack takes Y. PALLATINE aside. Upon her ghost.

Thuack. You are the cause of all these miraThrift. Hah! is she alive too?



1 long exercise-i. e. long sermon.

67 Be begg'd at court—The wardship of ideots was in the crown, and being connected with the management of their estates, was usually begged as a boon by some hungry courtier. 63 Yes, and her wardship out before y' have proffered her

A husband, sir, &c.—This refers to that power which a guardian, by law, was entitled to exercise over his ward; it was taken away, together with all the other oppressive circumstances attending the feudal system, by the stat. 12 Charles II. c. 24. Before that time," while the infant was in ward, the guar. “dian had the power of tendering him or her a suitable match, without disparagement or inequality; “ which, if the infants refused, they forfeited the value of the marriage, valorem maritagii, to their guar. “dian ; that is, so much as a jury would assess, or any one would, hona fide, give to the guardian for “ such an alliance ; and if the infants married themselves without the guardian's consent, they forfeited "double the value, duplicem valorem maritagii.2 Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 70.

64 March-panem A confection made of Pistachio nuts, almonds, sugar, &c.

Therefore I desire you to be my heir;

Mea. 'Tis for your sake we groan under these By this good day you must: for I've ta'en order, burdens. Though I love your wit, you shall not live by it. Y. Pal. The offal of sir Tyrant's trunks. BroY. Pal. My kind thauks, sir, the poor man's ther, gratitude.

Pray know these gentlemen ; they owe you more Mrs Snore. Give you joy, sweet Master Palla- Money than they mean to pay now. tine, and

E. Pal. I remember 'em: but no words, my Your brother too.

cavaliers, Quea. And send you more such wives

And you are safe. Where shall we dine to-day? Every year; as many as shall please heaven. Y. Pal. At Lucy's aunt's; we'll make her cosSnore. 'Tis day; I'll not to bed, sir, now; my tive beldamship watch

Come off,05 when she beholds a goodly jointure, Shall be drunk at your worship's wedding. And our fair hopes. Y. Pal. They sħall; and there is gold enough E. Pal. First, to the church, lady; to keep

I'll make your skittish person sure. Some of Them so, until thy reigo be out.

Your pleasant arts upon me may become Enter Pert, MEAGER, ENGINE, with Money

A wise example, and a moral too;

Such as their haughty fancy well befits, bags.

That undertake to live here by their wits. Pert. Loaden with composition, Pall.

[Ereunt omnes.


The office of an epilogue is now

An over- boldness, raised from too much fear. To smooth and stroke the wrinkles from each brow; You have a freedom, wbich we bope you'll use, To guide severer judgments (if we could T' advance our youthful poet, and his muse, Be wise enough) until they thought all good, With a kind doom; aud he'll tread boldly then, Which they perhaps dislike ; and, sure, this were | In's best new comic socks, this stage again.t


The Witts, a Comedie; presented at the Private House in Blacke Fryers, by his Majesties Servants. The author William D'Avenant, servant to her Majestie. London, printed for Richard Meighen, next to the Middle Temple, in Fleet-street. 1636. 4to.

65 Come off-To come off, was a phrase formerly much used. It signifies to pay, as is very clearly proved from the instances produced by Mr Steevens, Dr Farmer, and Mr Tyrwhitt, in their notes to The Merry Wives of Windsor, A. 4. S. 3.

+ This play, after the first edition, received considerable alterations from the author.




The doubtful title, gentlemen, prefixed
Upon the argument we have in band,
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 sing

But one, whose virtue shone ahove 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.

The history of sir John Oldcastle (who, having married the heiress of lord Cobbam, was summoned to parliament by that title on the 18th of December 1409) may be found in Holinshed's Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 544, et seq. and in many other books. In order to heighten his character, the author of this drama has departed from historical truth; for the conspiracy of the earl of Cambridge, Jord Scroope, &c. against king Henry V. was discovered by Edmund earl of March, and not by sir John Oldcastle, who was himself engaged in a traitorous design against Henry, and hanged about four years after the execution of those conspirators. The present play was entered on the Stationers' books on the 4th of August 1600, by Thomas Pavier, under the title of The First Part of the History of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobhan. At the same time was entered, The Second Part the History of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, with his Martyrdom; but this was never published.

In the title-page of the original edition, in 1600, the name of William Shakspeare is printed at length. -I do not perceive the least trace of our great poet in any part of this play. It is observable, that in the entry on the Stationers' books the author's name is not mentioned. The printer, Pavier, (whose name is not prefixed to any of Shakespeare's undisputed performances, except King Henry V. and two parts of King Henry VI. of which plays he issued out copies manifestly spurious and imperfect) when he published it, was induced, I imagine, 10 ascribe it to Shakespeare by the success for the First Part of King Henry IV. The character of Falstaff having been formed, as I conceive, on the sir John Oldcastle of an elder drama, a hope was probably entertained that the public might be deceived, and suppose this piece also to be Shakespeare's performance.-MALONE.

The History of Sir John Oldcastle, and The Life and Death of Lord Cromwell, are much in the style and manner of Thomas Heywood, by whom I suppose them to have been written.-FARMER.

rcasm which this prologue contains on some writer who, in a preceding diama, had exhibited a pampered glutton and an aged counsellor to youthful sin—(by which description either sir John Oldcastle, a character in the old King Henry V. or sir John Falstaff, seems to have been pointed at) induced me, on a former occasion, to doubt whether Shakspeare was the author of the present play. The apparent allusion also to this prologue, in the epilogue to The Second Part of King Henry IV. ( for Oldcastle died a martyr-and this is not the man”) appeared to me a strong circumstance against the authenticity of this piece. I am still of the same opinion ; nor do I see how it could have been the production of an author who had before exhibited sir John Falstaff on the stage. The present play was written, I believe, after the representation of the First Part, and before that of the Second Part of King Henry IVMALONE.

2 The

« PreviousContinue »