Page images

Pow. But Powis still must stay.

Are all at your command. Deny me not: There yet remains a part of that true love I know the bishop's hate pursues you so, He owes his noble friend, unsatisfied

As there's no safety in abiding here. And unperformed; which first of all doch bind me Cob. 'Tis true, my lord, and God forgive him To gratulate your lordship's safe delivery;

for it. And then entreat, that since unlook'd-for thus Pow. Then let us hence. You shall be straight We here are met, your honour would vouchsafe

provided To ride with me to Wales, where, to my power,

,20 Of lusty geldings: and once entered Wales, Though not to quittance those great benefits Well may the bishop hunt; but, spite his face, I have received of you, yet both my house, He never more shall have the game in chace. My purse, my servants, and what else I have,


26 –Where, to my power,—The old copies read where though my power. This cannot, I think, be right. Perhaps we ought to read,

where though my power
May not acquittance those great benefits
I have received of you, yet both my house,

My purse, &c.
-where though it be not in my power to repay all the obligations that I have received from you, yet
I will do my utmost to shew my gratitude.-Malone.
I would read,

where through my power, Though not, &c.


[blocks in formation]

SCENE-Partly in London, and the adjoining District ; partly in Antwerp and Bononia.

A booke called the Lyfe and Death of the Lord Cromwell, as yt was lately acted by the Lord Chamberleyn his Servanles, was entered on the Stationers' Books, by William Cotton, August 11, 1602; and the play, I am informed, was printed in that year. I have met with no earlier edition than that published in 1613, in the title of which it is said to be written by W. S. I believe these letters were not the initials of the real author's name, but added merely with a view to deceive the public, and to induce them to suppose this piece the composition of Shakespeare. The fraud was, I imagine, suggested by the appearance of our author's King Henry VIII., to which the printer probably entertained a hope that this play would be considered as a sequel or second part. Viewed in this light, the date of the first edition of the present pero formance in some measure confirms that which has been assigned to King Henry VIII; whicb, for the reasons stated in the Attempt to ascertain the order in which the Plays of Shakespeare were written, (Vol. I. p. 309. last edit.) is supposed to have been first acted in 1601, or 1602. The present piece, we find, followed close after it. King Henry VIII. it appears, was, after its first exhibition, laid by for some years, and revived with great splendour in 1613. The attention of the town being now a second time called to the story and age of Wolsey, so favourable an opportunity was not to be lost; accordingly a second impression of the Life and Death of Lord Cromwell was issued out in that year.

This play has been hitherto pripted without any division of acts or scenes:-MALONE.

The part of history on which this play is founded, occurs in Fuller, Stow, Speed, Holinshed, &c. but more amply in Fox's Book of Martyrs. The particulars relating to Francesco Frescobaldi, (whom our author, or his printer, so familiarly has styled Friskiball,) were first published by Bandello the novelist, in 1554. “ Francesco Frescobaldi fa cortesia ad un straniero, e nè ben remeritato, essendo colui divenuto contestabile d'Inghilterra." Seconda Parte, Novell. 34. This story is translated by Fox, edit. 1590 Vol. II. p. 1082.-S1EEVENS.




SCENE I.-Putney. The entrance of a Smith's Tom. Ay, this 'tis for him to make him a genShop.

tleman. Shall we leave work for your musing ?

that's well, i'faith:-But here comes my old master Enter HoDGE, WILL, and Tom. Hodge. Come, masters, I think it be past five

Enter Old CROMWELL. o'clock; is it not time we were at work? my old master, he'll be stirring anon.

Old Crom. You idle knaves, what are you Will. I cannot tell whether my old master will

Joit’ring now? be stirring or no; but I am sure I can hardly take No hammers walking, and my work to do! my afternoon's nap, for my young master Thomas. What, not a heat among your work to-day? He keeps such a coil in his study, with the sun, Hodge. Marry, sir, your son Thomas will not and the moon, and the seven stars, that I do verily let us work at all. think he'll read out his wits.

Old Crom. Why knave, I say, have I thus Hodge. He skill of the stars? There's goodman

cark'd and cared, Car of Fulham, (he that carried us to the strong And all to keep thee like a gentleman; ale, where goody Trundel had her maid got with And dust thou let my servants at their work, child) O, he knows the stars; he'll tickle you That sweat for thee, knave, labour thus for thee? Charles's wain in nine degrees : that sanie man Crom. Father, their hammers do offend my study. will tell goody Trundel when her ale shall miscar- Old Crom. Out of my doors, knave, if thou lik'st ry, only by the stars.

it not. Tom. Ay! that's a great virtue indeed; I think, I cry you mercy; are your ears so fine? Thomas be nobody in comparison to bim. I tell thee, knave, these get when I do sleep;

Will. Well, masters, come; shall we to our I will not have my anvil stand for thee. hammers?

Crom. There's money, father; I will pay your Hodge. Ay, content: first let's take our morn

[Throws money among them. ing's draught, and then to work roundly.

Old Crom. Have I thus brought thee up unto Tom. Ay, agreed. Go in, Hodge. [Ereunt.

my cost,

In hope that one day thou’dst relieve niy age;
SCENE II.-The same.

And art thou now so lavish of thy coin,
Enter Young CROMWELL.

To scatter it among these idle knaves?

Crom. Father, be patient, and content yourself: Crom. Good morrow, morn; I do salute thy The time will come I shall hold gold as trash. brightness.

And here I speak with a presaging soul, The night seems tedious to my troubled soul, To build a palace where this cottage stands, Whose black obscurity binds in my mind As fine as is king Henry's house at Sheen. A thousand sundry cogitations :

Old Crom. You build a house? you knave, And now Aurora with a lively dye

you'll be a beggar.-
Adds comfort to my spirit, that mounts on high; Now, afore God, all is but cast away,
Too high indeed, my state being so inean. That is bestowed upon this thriftless lad !
My study, like a mineral of gold,

Well, had I bound him to some honest trade,
Makes my heart proud, wherein my hope's enrolled; | This had not been; but 'twas his mother's doing,
My books are all the wealth I do possess, To send him to the university.
And unto them I have engaged my heart. How? build a house where now this cottage stands,
0, Learning, bow divine thou seem'st to me, As fair as that at Sheen?— They shall not hear
Within whose arms is all felicity!

[Aside. (The Smiths beat with their hammers, within. A good boy Tom, I con thee thank, Tom; Peace with your hammers ! leave your knocking Well said, Tom; gramercy, Tom.there !

In to your work, knaves ! Hence, you saucy boy! You do disturb my study and my rest :

[Ereunt all but Young CROMWELL, Leave off, I say : you mad nie with the noise. Crom. Why should my birth keep down my Enter HODCE, Will, and Tom.

mounting spirit?

Are not all creatures subject unto time, Hodge. Why, how now, master Thomas ? how To time, who doth abuse the chcated world, now? will you not let us work for you?

And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy? Crom. You fret my heart with making of this There's legions now of beggars on the earth, noise.

That their original did spring from kings; Hodge. How, fret your heart? ay, but Thomas, and many monarchs now, whose fathers were you'll fret your father's purse, if you let us from The riff-ráff of their age: for time and fortune working.

Wears out a noble train to beggary;



And from the dunghill minions do advance SCENE III.-London. A Street before FoisTo state and mark in this admiring world.

COBALD's House. This is but course, which in the name of fate

Enter Bagot. Is seen as often as it whirls about. The river Thames, that by our door doth pass, Bag. I hope this day is fatal unto some, His first beginning is but small and shallow; And by their loss must Bagot seek to gain. Yet, keeping on bis course, grows to a sea. This is the lodging of master Frescobald, 2 And likewise Wolsey, the wonder of our age,

A liberal merchant, and a Florentine; His birth as mean as mine, a butcher's son; To whom Banister owes a thousand pound, Now who within this land a greater man?

A merchant-bankrupt, whiose father was my masThen, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy soul, That thou may'st live to flourish and controul. What do I care for pity or regard?

He once was wealthy, but he now is fallen; Enter Old CROMWELL.

And I this morning have got him arrested Old Crom. Tom Cromwell; what, Tom, I say. At suit of this same master Frescobald ; Crom. Do you call, sir?

And by this means shall I be sure of coin, Old Crom. Here is master Bowser come to For doing this same good to him unknowo: know if you have dispatched his petition for the And in good time, see where the merchant comes. lords of the council, or no.

Enter FRESCOBALD. Crom. Father, I have ; please you to call him in.

Old Crom. That's well said, Tom; a good lad, Good morrow to kind master Frescobald. Tom.

Fres. Good morrow to yourself, good master

Enter Bowser.

And what's the news, you are so early stirring? Bow. Now, master Cromwell, have you dis. It is for gain, I make no doubt of that. patched this petition?

Bag. 'Tis for the love, sir, that I bear to you. Crom. I have, sir; here it is: please you pe- When did you see your debtor Banister?

Fres. I promise you, I have not seen the man Bow. It shall not need; we'll read it as we go This two months day: bis poverty is such, by water.

As I do think he shames to see his friends. And, master Cromwell, I have made a motion Bag. Why then assure yourself to see him May do you good, and if you like of it.

straight, Our secretary at Antwerp, sir, is dead;

For at your suit I have arrested him, And the merchants there have sent to me, And here they will be with him presently. For to provide a man fit for the place :

Fres. Arrest him at my suit? you were to blame. Now I do know none fitter than yourself, I know the man's misfortunes to be such, If with your liking it stand, master Cromwell. As he's not able for to pay the debt; Crom. With all my heart, sir; and I much am And were it known to some, he were undone. bound

Bug. This is your pitiful heart to think it so; In love and dury, for your kindness shown. But you are much deceived in Banister.

Old Crom. Body of me, Tom, make haste, lest Why, such as he will break for fashion-sake, some body get between thee and home, Tom. I And unto those they owe a thousand pound, thank you, good master Bowser, I thank you for Pay scarce a bundred. O, sir, beware of him. my boy; I thank you always, I thank you most | The man is lewdly given to dice and drabs; heartily, sir: ho, a cup of beer here for master Spends all he hath in harlots' companies. Bowser.

It is no mercy for to pity him. Bow. It shall not need, sir - Master Cromwell, I speak the truth of him, for nothing else, will you go?

But for the kindness that I hear to you. Crum. I will attend you, sir.

Fres. If it be so, he hath deceived me much; Old Crom. Farewell, Tom: God bless thee, and to deal strictly with such a one as he, Tom! God speed thee, good Tom ! [E.reunt. Better severe than too much lenity.

ruse it.

2 This is the lodging of master Frescobald.-In all the copies of this play, (that I have seen) this Ita lian merchant is called Friskiball. But as his name is given rightly (omitting only the Italian termination) in Fox's Book of Martyrs, and the other English narratives in which he is mentioned, (some of which the author of this piece had probably read,) I suppose that the corruption was owing either to the transcriber or printer, and therefore have not followed it.-MALONE.

me !

But here is master Banister himself,


pray rise up; you shall have your desire. And with him, as I take it, the officers.

Hold, officers; be gone; there's for your pains. Enter Mr and Mrs BANISTER, and two Officers.

You know you owe to me a thousand pound;

Here, take my hand; if e'er God make you able, Ban. O, master Frescobald, you have undone And place you in your former state again,

Pay me; But yet if still your fortune frown, My state was well-nigh overthrown before; Upon my faith I'll never ask a crown. Now altogether downcast by your means. I vever yet did wrong to men iu thrall, Mrs Ban. O, master Frescobald, pity my hus. For God doth know what to myself may fall. band's case.

Ban. This unexpected favour, undeserved, He is a man hath lived as well as any,

Doth make my heart bleed inwardly with joy. Till envious Fortune and the ravenous sea Ne'er may aught prosper with me is my own, Did rob, disrobe, and spoil us of our own. If I forget this kindness you have shown. Fres. Mistress Banister, I envy not your hus- Mrs Ban. My children in their prayers, both band,

night and day, Nor willingly would I have used him thus, For your good fortune and success shall pray. But that I hear he is so lewdiy given ;

Fre I thank you both; I pray go dine with me. Haunts wicked company, and hath enough Within these three days, if God give me leave, To pay his debts, yet will not be known thereof. I will 10 Florence, to my native home. Ban. This is that damned broker, that same Hold, Bagot, there's a portague to drink, Bagot,

Although you ill deserved it by your merit. Whom I have often from my trencher fed. Give not such cruel scope unto your heart; Ungrateful villain for to use me thus !

Be sure the ill you do will be requited; Bag. What I have said to him is nought but Remember what I say, Bagot; farewell.truth.

Come, master Banister, you shall with me; Mrs Ban. What thou hast said springs from an | My fare's but simple, but welcome heartily. envious heart;

(E.reunt all but Bagot. A cannibal, that doth eat men alive!

Bag. A plague go with you! would you

had But here upon my knee believe me, sir,

eat your last ! (And what I speak, so help ine God, is true,) Is this the thanks I have for all my pains? We scarce have meat to feed our little babes. Confusion light upon you all for me! Most of our plate is in that broker's hand; Where he had wont to give a score of crowns, Which, had we money to defray our debts, Doth he now foist me with a portague? O think, we would not 'bide that penury. Well, I will be revenged upon this Banister. Be merciful, kind master Frescobald;

I'll to his creditors; buy all the debts he owes, My husband, children, and myself, will eat As seeming that I do it for good will; But one ineal a day; the other will we keep, I am sure to have them at an easy rate ; And sell, as part to pay the debt we owe you. And when 'tis doue, in Christendom he stays not, If ever tears did pierce a tender mind,

But I'll make his heart to ache with sorrow. Be pitiful; let me some favour find.

And if that Banister become my debtor, Fres. Co to, I see thou art an envious man.- By heaven and earth I'll make his plague the Good mistress Banister, kneel not to me;




Enter Chorus.

SCENE I.-Antwerp.
Cho. Now, gentlemen, imagine that young Cromwell discovered in his Study, sitting at

In Antwerp, leiger for the English merchants;

table, on which are placed money-bags and books And Banister, to shun this Bagot's hate,

of account. Hearing that he hath got some of his debts, Crom. Thus far my reckoning doth go straight Is Aed to Antwerp, with his wife and children;

and eveli.
Which Bagot hearing, is gone after them, But, Cromwell, this same plodding fits oot thee;
And thither sends his bills of debt before, Thy mind is altogether set on travel,
To be revenged on wretched Banister.

And not to live thus cloyster'd like a nun.
What doth fall out, with patience sit and see, It is not this same trash that I regard ;
A just requital of false treachery. [Erit. | Experience is the jewel of my heart.

3 Hold, Bagot, there's a portague to drink. -A portague was a gold coio of Portugal, worth about four pounds ten shillings, sterling. Portugaise. Fr. VOL. I.


« PreviousContinue »