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'A BOOKE called The Lyfe and Death of the Lord Cromwell, as yt was lately acted by the Lord Chamberleyn his Servantes,' was entered on the Stationers' books by William Cotton, August 11, 1602; and the play 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 Shakspeare. 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. Dr. Farmer attributes the authorship to Heywood.
SCENE, partly in London, and the adjoining district; partly in Antwerp and Bononia.
SCENE I-Putney. The entrance of a Smith's Shop.
Enter HODGE, WILL, and TOM.
Hodge. Come, masters, I think it be past five o'clock; is it not time we were at work? my old master he'll be stirring anon. Will. I cannot tell whether my old master will be stirring or no; but I am sure I can hardly take my afternoon's nap, for my young Master Thomas. He keeps such a coil in his study, with
the sun, and the moon, and the seven stars, that I do verily think he'll read out his wits.
Hodge. He skill of the stars! There's goodman Car of Fulham (he that carried us to the strong ale,* where goody Trundel had her maid got with child), O, he knows the stars; he'll tickle you Charles's wain in nine degrees: that same man will tell goody Trundel when her ale shall miscarry, only by the stars.
Tom. Ay! that's a great virtue indeed; I think Thomas be nobody in comparison to him.
Will. Well, masters, come; shall we to our hammers?
Hodge. Ay, content: first let's take our morning's draught, and then to work roundly.
Tom. Ay, agreed. Go in, Hodge.
SCENE II-The same.
Enter young CROMWELL.
Crom. Good morrow, morn; I do salute thy brightness.
The night seems tedious to my troubled soul,
Whose black obscurity binds in my mind
A thousand sundry cogitations:
And now Aurora with a lively dye
Adds comfort to my spirit, that mounts on high;
Too high indeed, my state being so mean.
My study, like a mineral of gold,
Makes my heart proud, wherein my hope 's enroll❜d:
My books are all the wealth I do possess,
And unto them I have engaged my heart.
O, learning, how divine thou seem'st to me,
Within whose arms is all felicity!
[The smiths beat with their hammers, within.
Peace with your hammers! leave your knocking there!
You do disturb my study and my rest:
Leave off, I say: you mad me with the noise.
Enter HODGE, WILL, and TOM.
Hodge. Why, how now, Master Thomas? how now ? will you not let us work for you?
Crom. You fret my heart with making of this noise.
Hodge. How, fret your heart? ay, but Thomas, you'll fret your father's purse, if you let us from working.
Tom. Ay, this 'tis for him to make him a gentleman. Shall we leave work for your musing? that's well, i' faith. But here comes my old master now.
Enter OLD CROMWELL.
Old Crom. You idle knaves, what are you loit'ring now? No hammers, talking, and my work to do!
What, not a heat among your work to-day?
Hodge. Marry, Sir, your son Thomas will not let us work at all
Old Crom. Why, knave, I say, have I thus cark'd‡ and cared,
*I. e. ale-feast.
+ I. e. hinder us.
I. e. been anxious.
And all to keep thee like a gentleman;
And dost thou let my servants at their work,
That sweat for thee, knave, labour thus for thee?
Crom. Father, their hammers do offend my study.
Old Crom. Out of my doors, knave, if thou lik'st it not. I cry you mercy; are your ears so fine?
I tell thee, knave, these get when I do sleep;
I will not have my anvil stand for thee.
Crom. There's money, father; I will pay your men.
[Throws money among them. Old Crom. Have I thus brought thee up unto my cost, In hope that one day thou'dst relieve my age;
And art thou now so lavish of thy coin,
To scatter it among these idle knaves ?
Crom. Father, be patient, and content yourself:
The time will come I shall hold gold as trash.
And here I speak with a presaging soul,
I'll build a palace where this cottage stands,
As fine as is King Henry's house at Sheen.
Old Crom. You build a house? you knave, you'll be a beggar. Now afore God all is but cast away,
That is bestow'd upon this thriftless lad.
Well, bad I bound him to some honest trade,
This had not been; but 'twas his mother's doing,
To send him to the University.
How? build a house where now this cottage stands,
In to your work, knaves; hence, you saucy boy.
[Exeunt all but young CROMWELL.
Crom. Why should my birth keep down my mounting spirit?
Are not all creatures subject unto time,
To time, who doth abuse the cheated world,
And from the dunghill minions do advance
The river Thames, that by our door doth pass,
* I. e. obstruct.
+ I. e. give. I. e. but the common course of events.
I. e. distinction.
I. e. the world.
Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy soul,
Enter OLD CROMWELL.
Old Crom. Tom Cromwell; what, Tom, I say.
Old Crom. Here is Master Bowser come to know if you have despatched his petition for the lords of the council or no.
Crom. Father, I have; please you to call him in.
Old Crom. That's well said, Tom; a good lad, Tom.
Bow. Now, Master Cromwell, have you despatched this petition?
Crom. I have, Sir; here it is: please you peruse it.
Bow. It shall not need; we'll read it as we go
And, Master Cromwell, I have made a motion
Our secretary at Antwerp, Sir, is
Dead; and the merchants there have sent to me,
For to provide a man fit for the place:
Now I do know none fitter than yourself,
If with your liking it stand, Master Cromwell.
Crom. With all my heart, Sir; and I much am bound
In love and duty, for your kindness shown.
Old Crom. Body of me, Tom, make haste, lest somebody 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 here for Master Bowser.
Bow. It shall not need, Sir.-Master Cromwell, will you go? Crom. I will attend you, Sir.
Old Crom. Farewell, Tom: God bless thee, Tom! God speed thee, good Tom!
SCENE III.-London. A Street before FRESCOBALD'S House.
Bag. I hope this day is fatal unto some,
merchant-bankrupt, whose father was my master. What do I care for pity or regard ?
He once was wealthy, but he now is fallen;