CROMWELL. Father, be patient, and content your self. The time will come I shall hold gold as trash: And here I speak with a presaging soul, To build a palace where now this cottage stands, As fine as is King Henry's house at Sheene.

OLD CROMWELL. You build a house! you knave, you'll be a beggar. Now, afore God, all is but cast away, That is bestowed upon this thriftless lad. Well, had I bound him to some honest trade, This had not been, but it was his mother's doing, To send him to the University. How? build a house where now this cottage stands, As fair as that at Sheene!--[Aside.] He shall not hear me. A good boy Tom! I con thee thank Tom! Well said Tom! gramarcies Tom!-- Into your work, knaves; hence, you saucy boy.

[Exit all but young Cromwell.]

CROMWELL. Why should my birth keep down my mounting spirit? Are not all creatures subject unto time: To time, who doth abuse the world, And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy? There's legions now of beggars on the earth, That their original did spring from Kings: And many Monarchs now whose fathers were The riffe-raffe of their age: for Time and Fortune Wears out a noble train to beggary, And from the hunghill minions do advance To state and mark in this admiring world. This is but course, which in the name of Fate Is seen as often as it whirls about: The River Thames, that by our door doth pass, His first beginning is but small and shallow: Yet keeping on his course, grows to a sea. And likewise Wolsey, the wonder of our age, His birth as mean as mine, a Butcher's son, Now who within this land a greater man? Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy soul, That thou maist live to flourish and control.

[Enter Old Cromwell.]

OLD CROMWELL. Tom Cromwell! what, Tom, I say!

CROMWELL. Do you call, sir.

OLD CROMWELL. Here is master Bowser come to know if you have dispatched his petition for the Lords of the counsel or no.

CROMWELL. Father, I have; please you to call him in.

OLD CROMWELL. That's well said, Tom; a good lad, Tom.

[Enter Master Bowser.]


Now, Master Cromwell, have you dispatched this petition?

CROMWELL. I have, sir; here it is: please you peruse it.

BOWSER. It shall not need; we'll read it as we go by water: And, Master Cromwell, I have made a motion May do you good, and if you like of it. Our Secretary at Antwerp, sir, is dead, And the Merchants there hath sent to me, For to provide a man fit for the place: Now I do know none fitter than your self, If with your liking it stand, master Cromwell.

CROMWELL. With all my heart, sir, and I much am bound, In love and duty for your kindness shown.

OLD CROMWELL. Body of me, Tom, make haste, least some body get between thee and home, Tom. I thank you, good master Bowser, I thank you for my boy; I thank you always, I thank you most heartily, sir. Ho, a cup of Beer there for master Bowser.

BOWSER. It shall not need, sir. Master Cromwell, will you go?

CROMWELL. I will attend you, sir.

OLD CROMWELL. Farewell, Tom; God bless thee, Tom; God speed thee, good Tom.

[Exit omnes.]

ACT I. SCENE III. London. A street before Frescobald's house.

[Enter Bagot, a Broker, solus.]

BAGOT. I hope this day is fatal unto some, And by their loss must Bagot seek to gain. This is the lodging of master Friskiball, A liberal Merchant, and a Florentine, To whom Banister owes a thousand pound, A Merchant Banckrout, whose Father was my master. What do I care for pity or regard? He once was wealthy, but he now is fallen, And this morning have I got him arrested, At the suit of master Friskiball, And by this means shall I be sure of coin, For doing this same good to him unknown: And in good time, see where the merchant comes.

[Enter Friskiball.]

BAGOT. Good morrow to kind master Friskiball.

FRISKIBALL. Good morrow to your self, good master Bagot, And what's the news, you are so early stirring: It is for gain, I make no doubt of that.

BAGOT. It is for the love, sir, that I bear

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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The life and death of King John