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A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VII (4th edition) by Various

Part 8 out of 11

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LADY F. Nay, hear you, young lord! [for] God's pity, stay.

ROB. What, have you more in Richard's praise to say?

LADY F. I have said too much, if you misconstrue me.
Duty bids praise him, not unchastity.

ROB. Unchastity? holy heavens forfend it,
That he or I, or you should once intend it!

SCENE THE NINTH.

_Enter_ BLOCK _and_ RICHARD.

BLO. They are there, sir, close at it, I leave
you, sir; the more room the less company.

RICH. Drink that; farewell. [_Gives him money_.

BLO. If that Sir Richard comes; this ties, this binds;
O gold, thy power converteth servants' minds.
[_Exit_.

RICH. How now, fair madam, who hath anger'd you?

LADY F. Grief at my brother's durance angers me.

RICH. I had thought my ward, young Huntington, had vex'd you.

LADY F. Who? he? alas, good gentleman, he wrong'd me not;
No matter, for all this I'll tell your tale.

_A noise within, enter_ SKINK, BLOCK, CONSTABLE.

BLO. Sir, there comes no more of you in with him than the constable.
Zounds, here's a beadroll of bills at the gate indeed; back, ye base!

LADY F. Now, sirrah, what's the matter?

BLO. Marry, here's a stammerer taken clipping the king's English, and
the constable and his watch hath brought him to you to be examin'd.

CON. No, madam, we are commanded by the king to watch; and meeting this
fellow at Mile-end, he tells us he is the porter's son of the Fleet,
[and] that the Earl of Gloster sent him to you.

SKINK. Ay, f-forsooth he desire[d] you to speak to the p-prince for him.

LADY F. O, I conceive thee; bid him blithely fare,
Bear him this ring in token of my care.

SKINK. If I be rid of this evil angel that haunts me, many rings, much
Fleet, will Skink come unto. [_Aside_.

CON. Madam, if you know this fellow, we'll discharge him.

BLO. Madam, and you be wise, trust your honest neighbours here;
let them bring this ca-ca-ca-ca-to the Fleet, and s-see your ring
delivered.

SKINK. A plague upon you for a damned rogue!
The porter of the Fleet will surely know me. [_Aside_.

LADY F. Good neighbours, bring this honest fellow thither;
There's for his pains a crown, if he say true,
And for your labour there's as much for you.

SKINK. Why, ma-ma-madam, I am Re-Re-Redcap, the porter's son.

LADY F. Thou hast no wrong in this; farewell, good fellow.

SKINK. Best speaking to Prince Richard? no, I'll try
And face out Redcap, if the slave were by.

LADY F. Make them drink, Block.

BLO. Come to the buttery-bar, stitty-stitty stammerer; come, honest
Constable, hey! the watch of our town; we'll drink, try-lill, i'faith.

SCENE THE TENTH.

_As they go out, enters_ SIR RICHARD FAUCONBRIDGE,
_stealing forward_, PRINCE _and_ LADY _talking_.[471]

ROB. _Lupus in fabula_, my noble Lord;
See the old fox, Sir Richard Fauconbridge.

RICH. We'll fit him well enough; second us, Robin.

LADY F. I'll fit you well enough for all your hope.

[FAUC. _beckons to_ BLOCK.

FAU. Leave quaffing, sirrah, listen to their talk.

BLO. O, while you live, beware, two are sooner seen than one; besides,
bear a brain, master, if Block should be now spied, my madam would not
trust this sconce neither in time nor tide.

FAU. Well, leave me, now it buds; see, see, they kiss.

BLO. Adieu, good old sinner, you may recover it with a sallet of
parsley and the herb patience; if not, sir, you know the worst.
It's but even this.

RICH. Madam, what you desire, I not deny,
But promise Gloster life and liberty.
I beg but love.

FAU. When doth she give her alms? [_Aside_.

LADY F. Fair, honourable prince.

FAU. Nay, then, they speed. [_Aside_.

LADY F. My soul hath your deserts in good esteem.

FAU. Witness these goodly tines[472], that grace my head. [_Aside_.

LADY F. But were you the sole monarch of the earth,
Your power were insufficient to invade
My never-yielding heart of chastity.

FAU. Sayst thou so, Mall? I promise thee for this,
I'll owe thy cherry lips an old man's kiss;
Look, how my cockerell droops; 'tis no matter,
I like it best, when women will not flatter. [_Aside_.

RICH. Nay, but sweet lady--

ROB. Nay, but gracious lord,
Do not so much forget your princely worth
As to tempt[473] virtue t' unchastity.

FAU. O noble youth! [_Aside_.

ROB. Let not the lady's dead grief for her brother
Give life to shameless and detested sin.

FAU. Sweet child. [_Aside_.

ROB. Consider that she is of high descent.

FAU. Most virtuous earl. [_Aside_.

ROB. Wife to the noblest knight that ever breath'd.

FAU. Now, blessing on thee, blessed Huntington! [_Aside_.

ROB. And would you then first stain your princely stock,
Wrong beauty, virtue, honour, chastity,
And blemish Fauconbridge's untainted arms?

FAU. By adding horns unto our falcon's head?
Well thought on, noble youth: 'twas well put in. [_Aside_.

LADY F. Besides, my gracious lord,--

FAU. Tickle him, Mall,
Plague him on that side for his hot desire.

LADY F.--however secretly great princes sin.

FAU. O, now the spring! she'll do it secretly. [_Aside_.

LADY F. The King of all hearts will have all sins known.

FAU. Ah, then she yields not! [_Aside_.

RICH. Lady, here's my hand.
I did but try your honourable faith.

FAU. He did but try her! would she have been tried,
It had gone hard on this and on this side. [_Aside_.

RICH. And since I see your virtue so confirm'd,
As vice can have no entrance in your heart,
I vow, in sight of heaven, never again,
To move like question but for love.

FAU. My heart is eased; hold, Block, take up my cloak.

BLO. And your cap, too, sir?[474]

[_Sir_ RICH. FAUC. _comes forward_.

RICH. Sir Richard!

FAU. What, sweet Prince, welcome, i'faith,
I see youth quickly gets the start of age;
But welcome, welcome; and, young Huntington,
Sweet Robin Hood, honour's best flow'ring bloom,
Welcome to Fauconbridge with all my heart!
How cheers my love, how fares my Marian, ha?
Be merry, chuck, and, Prince Richard, welcome.
Let it go, Mall; I know thy grievances.
Away, away; tut, let it pass, sweet girl.
We needs must have his help about the earls. [_Aside_.

LADY F. Let it not be delay'd, dear Fauconbridge.

RICH. Sir Richard, first make suit unto my father,
I'll follow you to Court, and second you.

FAU. Follow to court, ha? then I smell a rat,
It's probable he'll have a bout again;
Long siege makes entrance to the strongest fort.
It must not be; I must not leave him here. [_Aside_.
Prince Richard, if you love my brother's good,
Let's ride back to the court: I'll wait on you.

RICH. He's jealous; but I must observe the time. [_Aside_.
We'll ride unto the court; I'll leave my boy
Till we return; are you agreed to this?

FAU. O, ay, he is an honourable youth,
Virtuous and modest, Huntington's right heir,
His father Gilbert was the smoothest-fac'd lord
That e'er bare arms in England or in France.

RICH. Solicit,[475] Robin: Lady, give good ear,
And of your brother's freedom never fear. [_Aside_.

FAU. Marian, farewell; where's Block? open the gate;
Come, Prince, God send us to prove fortunate.

[_Exeunt_.

LADY F. Why do you stay,[476] sir?

ROB. Madam, as a lieger to solicit for your absent love.

LADY F. Walk in the garden; I will follow you,
I'faith, i'faith, you are a noble wag.

ROB. An honourable wag and waggish earl,
Even what you will, sweet lady, I must bear,
Hoping of patience profit will ensue,
That you will bear the Prince as I bear you.

LADY F. Well said, well said, I'll have these toys amended,
Go, will you walk into the garden, sir?

ROB. But will you promise me to bring no maids,
To set upon my little manship there?
You threat'ned whipping, and I am in fear.

LADY F. Upon my word, I'll bring none but myself.

ROB. You see I am weapon'd, do not, I beseech thee.[477]
I'll stab them, come there twenty, ere they breech me.
[_Exit_.

LADY F. This youth and Richard think me easily won;
But Marian rather will embrace
The bony carcase of dismaying death,
Than prove unchaste to noble Fauconbridge.
Richard,[478] King Henry's son, is light,
Wanton, and loves not humble modesty,
Which makes me (much contrary to my thoughts)
Flatter his humour for my brother's safety,
But I protest I'll dwell among the dead,
Ere I pollute my sacred nuptial bed.
[_Exit_.

SCENE THE ELEVENTH.

_Enter_ GLOSTER _in his gown, calling_.

GLO. Porter, what, porter, where's this drowsy ass?

_Enter_ PORTER.

POR. Who calls? my Lord of Gloucester all alone?

GLO. Alone, and have your wisdom's company!
Pray, where's the stammering chatterer, your son?
He's ever running; but he makes small haste.
I'll bring his lither legs in better frame,
And if he serve me thus another time--
[_Knock within_.
Hark, sir, your clients knock; and't be your pye,
Let him[479] vouchsafe to chatter us some news,
Tell him we dance attendance in our chamber.
[_Exit_ PORTER.
This John and Henry are so full of hate,
That they will have my head by some device,
Gloster hath plotted means for an escape,
And if it fadge,[480] why so; if not, then well.
The way to heaven is death, this life's a hell.

SCENE THE TWELFTH.

_Enter_ PORTER _and_ SKINK.

POR. Why should the watchman come along with thee?

SKINK. There's such, a que-question for yon s-same r-rogue; Skink,
p-plague keep [me] far enough from him, that a-an-honest f-fellow
ca-can-not w-w-walk the streets.

POR. Well, sir, dispatch your business with the earl;
He's angry at your stay, I tell ye that.
[_Exit_.

SKINK. 'Sblood, what a frown this Gloster casts at me;
I hope he means to lend me no more cuffs,
Such as he paid me at the Parliament. [_Aside_.

GLO. What mutter you? what tidings from my sister?

SKINK. Co-commendations, and s-she hath s-sent ye this r-ring.

GLO. Hold, there's two angels; shut the chamber-door,
You must about some business for me straight;
Come nearer, man.

SKINK. I fear I am too near. [_Aside_.

GLO. Hast thou no tidings for my liberty?

SKINK. No, b-but ye sh-shall he-hear f-from her p-p-presently.

GLO. And p-presently, sir, off with your coat.
Nay, quick, uncase, I am bold to borrow it,
I'll leave my gown; change is no robbery.
Stutterer, it's so, ne'er flinch, ye cannot pass:
Cry, and by heaven I'll cut thy coward's throat,
Quickly cashier yourself: you see me stay.

SKINK. N-n-nay, b-b-but wh-wh-what m-mean ye?

GLO. To 'scape, I hope, sir, with your privilege--
[_He takes his coat off_.
How now, who's this? my fine familiar Skink,
Queen Beldam's minion?

SKINK. Zounds, ye see 'tis I.

GLO. Time sorts not now to know these mysteries.
How thou cam'st by this ring, or stol'st this coat,
They are mine now in possession, for which kindness,
If I escape, I'll get thee liberty,
Or fire the Fleet about the warden's ears.
Mumbudget, not a word, as thou lovest thy life.

SKINK. Ay mum, mum fair, pray God may chance it,
My lord, but that my case is desperate,
I'd see your eyes out, ere I would be cheated.

GLO. Walk like an earl, villain; some are coming.

SCENE THE THIRTEENTH.

_Enter PRINCE JOHN and PORTER_.

JOHN. Where is this Gloster?

GLO. Y-y-yonder he walks. Fa-fa-father, l-let me out.

POR. Why, whither must you now?

GLO. To Je-Jericho, I th-think; 'tis such a h-h-humorous earl.

POR. Well, sir, will't please you hasten home again.

GLO. I-I-ll be h-here in a trice; b-but p-pray have a care of th-this
madcap; if he g-give us the s-s-slip, s-s-some of us a-are like to
m-make a sl-sl-slippery occupation on't.

[_This while_ JOHN _walks and stalks by_ SKINK [_disguised as_
GLO'STER], _never a word between them_.

POR. Look to your business, sir; let me alone.

GLO. Alone; never trust me, if I trouble thee.

JOHN. Mad Gloster mute, all mirth turn'd to despair?
Why, now you see what 'tis to cross a king,
Deal against princes of the royal blood,
You'll snarl and rail, but now your tongue is bedrid,
Come, caperhay[481], set all at six and seven;
What, musest thou with thought of hell or heaven?

SKINK. Of neither, John; I muse at my disgrace,
That I am thus kept prisoner in this place.

JOHN. O, sir, a number are here prisoners:
My cousin Morton, whom I came to visit.
But he (good man) is at his morrow mass;
But I, that neither care to say nor sing,
Come to seek that preaching hate and prayer,
And while they mumble up their orisons,
We'll play a game at bowls. What say'st thou, Gloster?

SKINK. I care not, if I do.

JOHN. You do not care,
Let old men care for graves, we for our sports;
Off with your gown, there lies my hat and cloak,
The bowls there quickly, ho?

SKINK. No, my gown stirs not; it keeps sorrow warm,
And she and I am not to be divorced.

_Enter_ PORTER _with bowls_.

JOHN. Yes, there's an axe must part your head and you,
And with your head sorrow will leave your heart.
But come, shall I begin? a pound a game?

SKINK. More pounds, and we thus heavy? well, begin.

JOHN. Rub, rub, rub, rub.

SKINK. Amen, God send it short enough, and me
A safe running with these[482] clothes from thee.

JOHN. Play, Robin; run, run, run.

SKINK. Far enough and well: fly one foot more;
Would I were half so far without the door.

JOHN. Now, Porter, what's the news?

POR. Your cousin Morton humbly craves,
Leaving your game, you would come visit him.

JOHN. Bowl, Gloster; I'll come presently.
So near, mad Robin? then have after you.

[_Ex_. PORT.

SKINK. Would I were gone, make after as you may.

JOHN. Well, sir, 'tis yours, one all; throw but the jack,
While I go talk with Morton. I'll not stay,
Keep coat and hat in pawn, I'll hold out play.
[_Ex_. JOHN.

SKINK. I would be sorry, John, but you should stay,
Until my bias run another way.
Now pass and hey-pass, Skink, unto your tricks:
'Tis but a chance at hazard. There lies Gloster,
And here stands Skink; now, John, play thou thy part,
And if I 'scape I'll love thee with my heart.
[_Puts on_ PRINCE JOHN'S _cloak, sword, and hat_.
So, porter! let me forth.

_Enter_ PORTER.

POR. God bless your grace, spoke ye[483] with the Lord Morton?

SKINK. I have, and must about his business to the Court.
It grieves me to break my sport with Gloster:
The melancholy earl is comfortless.

POR. I would your grace would comfort him from hence,
The Fleet is weary of his company.

[REDCAP _knocks_.

SKINK. Drink that, some knocks; I prythee, let me out,
His head shall off ere long, never make doubt.

[_Exeunt_.

_Enter_ JOHN _at the other door_.

JOHN. Now, madcap, thou winn'st all; where art thou, Robin?
Uncased? nay, then, he means to play in earnest.
But where's my cloak, my rapier, and my hat?
I hold my birthright to a beggar's scrip,
The bastard is escaped in my clothes.
'Tis well he left me his to walk the streets;
I'll fire the city, but I'll find him out.
Perchance he hides himself to try my spleen.
I'll to his chamber. Gloster! hallo! Gloster!
[_Exit_.

_Enter_ REDCAP.

POR. I wonder how thou cam'st so strangely chang'd!
'Tis not an hour since thou went'st from hence.

RED. By my Ch-Ch-Christendom, I ha-have not b-been h-here this three
nights; a p-p-plague of him, that made me such a ch-chanting, and
s-sent me such a ja-ja-jaunt! blood, I was st-stayed for Skink, that
ill-fa-fa-fac'd rogue.

POR. I pray God there be no practice in this change.
Now I remember these are Skink's clothes,
That he wore last day at the Parl'ament.

_Knock; Enter at another door_ JOHN _in_ GLOSTER'S _gown_.

JOHN. Porter? you Porter?

POR. Do you not hear them knock? you must stay, sir.

JOHN. Blood, I could eat these rogues.

RED. Wh-wh-what, raw?
'Tis a very harsh mo-morsel,
Ne-next your he-heart.

JOHN. A plague upon your jaunts! what, porter, slave?

RED. I have been at G-Gravesend, sir.

JOHN. What's that to me?

RED. And at Ca-Ca-Canterbury.

JOHN. And at the gallows! zounds, this frets my soul.

RED. But I c-could not f-find your s-s-sister the La-Lady
Fau-Fauconbridge.

JOHN. You stammering slave, hence! chat among your daws.
Come ye to mad me? while the rogue your father--

_Enter_ PORTER.

RED. My f-fa-father?

JOHN. Porter, you damned slave.

POR. Is't midsummer: do you begin to rave?

JOHN. Hark, how the traitor flouts me to my teeth!
I would entreat your knaveship, let me forth,
For fear I dash your brains out with the keys.
What is become of Gloster and my garments?

POR. Alas, in your apparel Gloster's gone,
I let him out even now; I am undone.

JOHN. It was your practice, and to keep me back,
You sent Jack Daw your son with ka-ka-ka,
To tell a sleeveless tale! lay hold on him,
To Newgate with him and your tut-a-tut!
Run, Redcap, and trudge about,
Or bid your father's portership farewell.

[_Exeunt with_ PORTER.

RED. Eh! here's a go-good je-je-jest, by the L-Lord, to mo-mock an ape
withal! my fa-fa-father has brought his ho-ho-hogs to a fa-fa-fair
m-m-market. Po-po-porter, quoth you? p-po-porter that will for me; and
I po-po-porter it, let them po-po-post me to heaven in this qua-quarter.
But I must s-s-seek this Gl-Gl-Gloster and Sk-Sk-Skink that
co-coney-catching ra-ra-rascal, a pa-pa-plague co-co-confound him.
Re-Re-Redcap must ru-run, he cannot tell whi-whither.
[_Exit_.

SCENE THE FOURTEENTH.

_Sound trumpets, enter_ HENRY _the younger, on one
hand of him_ QUEEN ELINOR, _on the other_ LEICESTER.

HEN. Mother and Leicester, add not oil to fire;
Wrath's kindled with a word, and cannot hear
The numberless persuasions you insort.

QUEEN. O, but, my son, thy father favours him.
Richard, that vile abortive changeling brat,
And Fauconbridge, are fallen at Henry's feet.
They woo for him, but entreat my son
Gloster may die for this, that he hath done.

LEI. If Gloster live, thou wilt be overthrown.

QUEEN. If Gloster live, thy mother dies in moan.

LEI. If Gloster live, Leicester will fly the realm.

QUEEN. If Gloster live, thy kingdom's but a dream.

HEN. Have I not sworn by that eternal arm,
That puts just vengeance' sword in monarchs' hands,
Gloster shall die for his presumption!
What needs more conjuration, gracious mother?
And, honourable Leicester, mark my words.
I have a bead-roll of some threescore lords
Of Gloster's faction.

QUEEN. Nay, of Henry's faction,
Of thy false father's faction; speak the truth,
He is the head of factions; were he down,
Peace, plenty, glory, will impale thy crown.

LEI. Ay, there's the _But_, whose heart-white if we hit,
The game is ours. Well, we may rage and rave[484]
At Gloster, Lancaster, Chester, Fauconbridge;
But his the upshot.

QUEEN. Yet begin with Gloster.

HEN. The destinies run to the Book of Fates,
And read in never-changing characters
Robert of Gloster's end; he dies to-day:
So fate, so heaven, so doth King Henry say.

QUEEN. Imperially resolv'd. [_Trumpets far off_.

LEI. The old King comes.

QUEEN. Then comes luxurious lust;
The King of concubines; the King that scorns
The undefiled, chaste, and nuptial bed;
The King that hath his queen imprisoned:
For my sake, scorn him; son, call him not father;
Give him the style of a competitor.

HEN. Pride, seize upon my heart: wrath, fill mine eyes!
Sit, lawful majesty, upon my front,
Duty, fly from me; pity, be exil'd:
Senses, forget that I am Henry's child.

QUEEN. I kiss thee, and I bless thee for this thought.

SCENE THE FIFTEENTH.

_Enter_ KING, LANCASTER, RICHARD, FAUCONBRIDGE.

KING. O Lancaster, bid Henry yield some reason,
Why he desires so much the death of Gloster.

HEN. I hear thee, Henry, and I thus reply:
I do desire the death of bastard Gloster,
For that he spends the Treasure of the Crown;
I do desire the death of bastard Gloster,
For that he doth desire to pull me down.
Or were this false (I purpose to be plain),
He loves thee, and for that I him disdain.

HEN. Therein thou shewest a hate-corrupted mind;
To him the more unjust, to me unkind.

QUEEN. He loves you, as his father lov'd his mother.

KING. Fie, fie upon thee, hateful Elinor;
I thought thou hadst been long since scarlet-dyed.

HEN. She is, and therefore cannot change her colour.

RICH. You are too strict; Earl Gloster's fault
Merits not death.

FAU. By the rood, the Prince says true;
Here is a statute from the Confessor[485].

HEN. The Confessor was but a simple fool.
Away with books; my word shall be a law,
Gloster shall die.

LEI. Let Gloster die the death.

LAN. Leicester, he shall not;
He shall have law, despite of him and thee.

HEN. What law? will you be traitors? what's the law?

RICH. His right hand's loss; and that is such a loss,
As England may lament, all Christians weep.
That hand hath been advanc'd against the Moors,
Driven out the Saracens from Gad's[486] and Sicily,
Fought fifteen battles under Christ's red cross;
And is it not, think you, a grievous loss,
That for a slave (and for no other harm)
It should be sundred from his princely arm?

FAU. More for example, noble Lancaster;
But 'tis great pity too--too great a pity.

HEN. I'll have his hand and head.

RICH. Thou shalt have mine, then.

QUEEN. Well said, stubborn Dick, Jack would not
Serve me so, were the boy here.

RICH. Both John and I have serv'd your will too long;
Mother, repent your cruelty and wrong:
Gloster, you know, is full of mirth and glee,
And never else did your grace injury.

QUEEN. Gloster shall die.

HEN. Fetch him here, I'll see him dead.

RICH. He that stirs for him shall lay down his head.

FAU. O quiet, good my lords; patience, I pray,
I think he comes unsent for, by my fay.

_Enter_ JOHN _in_ GLOSTER'S _gown_.

RICH. What mean'st thou, Gloster?

HEN. Who brought Gloster hither?

JOHN. Let Gloster hang and them that ... [487]
There lies his case[488], a mischief on his carcase!
[_Throws off_ GLOSTER'S _gown_.

QUEEN. My dear son Jack!

JOHN. Your dear son Jack-an-apes;
Your monkey, your baboon, your ass, your gull!

LEI. What ails Earl John?

JOHN. Hence, further from my sight!
My fiery thoughts and wrath have work in hand;
I'll curse ye blacker than th'Avernian[489] Lake,
If you stand wond'ring at my sorrow thus.
I am with child, big, hugely swoll'n with rage,
Who'll play the midwife, and my throbs assuage?

KING. I will, my son.

HEN. I will, high-hearted brother.

JOHN. You will? and you? tut, tut, all you are nothing!
'Twill out, 'twill out, myself myself can ease:
You chafe, you swell: ye are commanding King.
My father is your footstool, when ye please.
Your word's a law; these lords dare never speak.
Gloster must die; your enemies must fall!

HEN. What means our brother?

JOHN. He means that thou art mad:
She frantic: Leicester foolish: I the babe--
Thou grind us, bite us, vex us, charge and discharge.
Gloster, O Gloster!

QUEEN. Where is Gloster, son?

HEN. Where is Gloster, brother?

KING. I hope he be escaped.

JOHN. O, I could tear my hair, and, falling thus
Upon the solid earth,
Dig into Gloster's grave,
So he were dead, and gone into the depth
Of under-world--
Or get sedition's hundreth thousand hand,
And, like Briareus, battle with the stars,
To pull him down from heaven, if he were there!

FAU. Look to Earl John; the gentleman is mad.

JOHN. O, who would not be mad at this disgrace?
Gloster the fox is fled; there lies his case.
[_Points to the gown_.
He cozen'd me of mine; the porter helped him.

HEN. The porter shall be hang'd; let's part and seek him:
Gloster shall die; all Europe shall not save him.

JOHN. He is wise, too wise for us; yet I'll go with you
To get more fools into my company.

QUEEN. This is your father's plot; revenge it, son.

HEN. Father, by heaven, if this were your advice,
Your head or heart shall pay the bitter price.
Come, mother, brother, Leicester; let's away.

JOHN. Ay, I'll be one, in hope to meet the bastard,
And then no more: myself will be his headsman.

[_Exeunt_.

KING. Richard and Fauconbridge, follow the search;
You may prevent mischance by meeting Gloster.
If ye find Skink, see that you apprehend him.
I hear there is a wizard at Blackheath;
Let some inquire of him, where Skink remains.
Although I trust not to those fallacies,
Yet now and then such men prove soothsayers.
Will you be gone?

FAU. With all my heart, with all my heart, my lord.
Come, princely Richard, we are ever yok'd.
Pray God, there be no mystery in this.

RICH. Be not suspicious, where there is no cause.

FAU. Nay, nothing, nothing; I am but in jest.

[_Exeunt_.

KING. Call in a pursuivant.

LAN. Here's one, my liege.

_Enter_ PURSUIVANT.

KING. There is a porter likely to be hang'd
For letting Gloster 'scape; sirrah, attend.
You shall have a reprieve to bring him us.
These boys are too-too stubborn, Lancaster;
But 'tis their mother's fault. If thus she move me,
I'll have her head, though all the world reprove me.

[_Exeunt_.

SCENE THE SIXTEENTH.

_Enter_ ROBIN HOOD _and_ LADY FAUCONBRIDGE.

LADY F. Do not deny me, gentle Huntington.

ROB. My lord will miss me.

LADY F. Tut, let me excuse thee.

ROB. Turn, woman? O, it is intolerable!
Except you promise me to play the page.
Do that, try one night, and you'll laugh for ever
To hear the orisons that lovers use:
Their ceremonies, sighs, their idle oaths!
To hear how you are prais'd and pray'd unto.
For you are Richard's saint. They talk of Mary
The blessed Virgin; but upon his beads
He only prays to Marian Fauconbridge.

LADY F. The more his error; but will you agree
To be the Lady Fauconbridge one day?

ROB. When is't?

LADY. F. On Monday.

ROB. Wherefore is't?

LADY F. Nay, then, you do me wrong with inquisition,
And yet I care not greatly if I tell thee.
Thou seest my husband full of jealousy:
Prince Richard in his suit importunate,
My brother Gloster threat'ned by young Henry,
To clear these doubts, I will in some disguise
Go to Blackheath, unto the holy hermit,
Whose wisdom, in foretelling things to come,
Will let me see the issue of my cares.
If destinies ordain me happiness,
I'll chase these mists of sorrow from my heart
With the bright sun of mirth; if fate agree
To't[490], and my friends must suffer misery,
Yet I'll be merry too, till mischief come.
Only I long to know the worst of ill.

ROB. I'll once put on a scarlet countenance.

LADY F. Be wary, lest ye be discovered, Robin.

ROB. Best paint me, then be sure I shall not blush.

_Enter_ BLOCK _bleeding_, GLOSTER _with him_.

BLO. Beat an officer, Redcap? I'll have ye talk'd withal!
Beat Sir Richard's porter? help, madam, help!

GLO. Peace, you damned rogue.

LADY F. Brother, I pray you forbear.

GLO. Zwounds! an hundred's at my heels almost,
And yet the villain stands on compliment.

BLO. A bots on[491] you, is't you?

GLO. Will you to the door, you fool, and bar the gate?
Hold, there's an angel for your broken pate:
If any knock, let them not in in haste.

BLO. Well, I will do, as I see cause;
Blood, thou art dear to me.
But here's a sovereign plaister for the sore:
Gold healeth wounds, gold easeth hearts!
What can a man have more? [_Exit_.

LADY F. Dear brother, tell us how you made escape?

GLO. You see I am here, but if you would know how,
I cannot 'scape, and tell the manner too,
By this I know your house is compassed
With hell-hound search[492].

LADY F. Brother, I'll furnish you with beard and hair,
And garment like my husband's.
How like you that?

GLO. Well, when I have them:
Quickly, then, dispatch. [_Exit_ LADY.] S'blood! turn
Grey beard and hair.
Robin, conceal; this dieteth my mind.
Mirth is the object of my humorous spleen.
Thou high, commanding fury, further device!
Jests are conceited. I long to see their birth.

_Re-enter_ LADY FAUCONBRIDGE.

What, come ye, sister? Robin, a thief's hand!
But, prythee, where hadst thou this beard and hair?

LADY F. Prince Richard wore them hither in a masque.

GLO. Say'st thou me so? faith, [I] love the princely youth;
Tut, you must taste stolen pleasure now and then.

ROB. But if she steal, and jealous eyes espy,
She will be sure condemn'd of burglary.

GLO. Ha! crake! can your low stumps venture so deep
Into affection's stream? go to, you wanton!
What want we now? my nightcap! O, 'tis here.
So now no Gloster, but old Fauconbridge.
Hark, the search knocks; I'll let them in myself:
Welcome, good fellows; ha! what is't you lack?

_Enter REDCAP, with two others_[493].

RED. Ma-master Co-Constable, se-se-search you th-that way; a-and, you
ho-honest man, th-that way. I'll ru-run th-this way m-my own se-self.

[_They disperse themselves_.

GLO. What search you for? what is it you would have?

_Enter_ BLOCK.

BLO. Madam, what shall I do to these brown-bill fellows? some run into
the wine cellar; some here, some there.

GLO. Let them alone; let them search their fills.

BLO. I'll look to their fingers for all that.

GLO. Do so, good Block; be careful, honest Block.

BLO. Sir stammerer and your wa-watch, y'are pa-past, i'faith.
[_Exit_.

GLO, Will you not speak, knaves? tell me who you seek.

RED. Ma-marry, sir, we s-seek a va-va-vacabond, a fu-fugative, my
la-lady's own b-brother; but, and he were the po-po-pope's own b-brother,
I would s-search f-f-for him; for I have a p-poor father r-ready to be
ha-ha-hang'd f-f-for him.

GLO. O, 'tis for Gloster? marry, search, a' God's name,
Seek, peace[494]; will he break prison too?
It's a pity he should live; nay, I defy him.
Come, look about, search every little corner,
Myself will lead the way; pray you, come.
Seek, seek, and spare not, though it be labour lost:
He comes not under my roof; hear ye, wife?
He comes not hither, take it for a warning.

RED. You sp-sp-speak like an honest ge-ge-gentleman, re-re-rest you
me-me-merry! co-co-come, my f-f-friends, I be-believe h-h-he r-ran by
the g-g-garden w-wall toward the wa-water side.

[_Exeunt running_.

GLO. This fellow is of the humour I would choose my wife:
Few words and many paces; a word and away; and so
Must I. Sister, adieu; pray you for me; I'll do the like for you.
Robin, farewell; commend me to the Prince.

LADY F. Can ye not stay here safe?

GLO. No, I'll not trust the changing humours of old Fauconbridge.
Adieu, young earl; sister, let's kiss and part.
Tush, never mourn, I have a merry heart.
[_Exit_.

LADY F. Farewell all comfort.

ROB. What, weeping, lady?
Then I perceive you have forgot Blackheath!

LADY F. No, there I'll learn both of his life and death.

ROB. Till Monday, madam, I must take my leave.

LADY F. You will not miss then?

ROB. Nay, if Robin fail ye,
Let him have never favour of fair lady!

LADY F. Meanwhile, I'll spend my time in prayers and tears,
That Gloster may escape these threat'ned fears.
[_Exit_

SCENE THE SEVENTEENTH.

_Enter_ SKINK, _like_ PRINCE[495] JOHN.

SKINK. Thus jets my noble Skink along the streets,
To whom each bonnet vails, and all knees bend;
And yet my noble humour is too light
By the six shillings. Here are two crack'd groats
To helter-skelter at some vaulting-house[496].
But who comes yonder? ha! old Fauconbridge?
Hath a brave chain; were John and he good friends,
That chain were mine, and should unto Blackheath.
I'll venture; it's but trial: luck may fall.
Good morrow, good Sir Richard Fauconbridge.

FAU. Good morrow, my sweet Prince, hearty good morrow;
This greeting well becomes us, marry does it,
Better, i'wis, than strife and jangling.
Now can I love ye; will ye to the sheriffs?
Your brother Richard hath been there this hour.

SKINK. Yes, I am plodding forward, as you do;
What cost your chain? it's passing strongly wrought,
I would my goldsmith had a pattern of it.

FAU. 'Tis at your grace's service: show it him.

SKINK. Then dare ye trust me?

FAU. Who? the princely John!
My sovereign's son: why, what a question's that.
I'll leave you; ye may know I dare trust you.

SKINK. I'll bring it ye to the sheriff's, excuse my absence.

FAU. I will, my noble lord; adieu, sweet prince.
[_Exit_.

SKINK. Why so; this breakfast was well fed upon.
When Skink's devices on Blackheath do fail,
This and such cheats would set me under sail,
I'll to the water-side, would it were later [on];
For still I am afraid to meet Prince John.

SCENE THE EIGHTEENTH.

_Enter_ GLOSTER _like_ FAUCONBRIDGE.

[SKINK.] But what a mischief meant Fauconbridge
To come again so soon? that way he went,
And now comes peaking. Upon my life,
The buzzard hath me in suspicion,
But whatsoever chance, I'll filch a share.

GLO. Yonder's Prince John; I hope he cannot know me,
There's nought but Gloster, Gloster in their mouths;
I am half-strangled with the garlic-breath
Of rascals that exclaim, as I pass by,
Gloster is fled; once taken, he must die.
But I'll to John--how does my gracious lord?
What babbles rumour now? What news of Gloster?

SKINK. What news could I hear, since you left me last?
Were you not here even now? lent me your chain?
I think you dote.

GLO. Sweet prince, age aye[497] forgets.
My brother's chain? a pretty accident!
But I'll have't, and be in the spite of John. [_Aside_.

SKINK. There's more and more; I'll geld it, ere it go.
[_He breaks the chain_.
This same shall keep me in some tavern merry,
Till night's black hand curtain this too clear sky.

GLO.[498] My sweet prince, I have some cause to use my chain;
Another time (whene'er your lordship please)
'Tis at your service, O marry God, it is.

SKINK. Here, palsy, take your chain; stoop and be hang'd,
[_Casts it down_.
Yet the fish nibbled, when she might not swallow:
Go'ut[499] I have curtail'd, what I could not borrow.
[_Exit_.

GLO. He's gone away in frets; would he might meet
My brother Fauconbridge in this mad mood,
There would be rare ado. Why, this fits me;
My brain flows with fresh wit and policy.
But, Gloster, look about, who have we yonder?
Another John, Prince Richard, and the sheriff?
Upon my life, the slave, that had the chain,
Was Skink, escap'd the Fleet by some mad sleight.
Well, farewell he, better and better still,
These seek for me; yet I will have my will.

SCENE THE NINETEENTH.

_Enter_ PRINCE JOHN, PRINCE RICHARD, _and the_ SHERIFF.

JOHN. Sheriff, in any case be diligent.
Who's yonder? Fauconbridge?

GLO. How now, sweet chuck; how fares my lovely prince?

JOHN. What carest thou? or well or ill, we crave
No help of thee.

GLO. God's mother, do ye scorn me?

JOHN. Go'ut! what then?

RICH. Fie, leave these idle brawls, I prythee, John;
Let's follow that we are enjoin'd unto.

GLO. Ay, marry, prince, if now you slip the time,
Gloster will slip away; but, though he hate me,
I have done service; I have found him out.

RICH. A shame confound thee for thy treachery,
Inconstant dotard, timorous old ass,
That shakes with cowardice, not with years.

GLO. Go, I have found him, I have winded him.

JOHN. O, let me hug thee, gentle Fauconbridge;
Forgive my oft ill-using of thine age.
I'll call thee father; I'll be penitent;
Bring me where Gloster is; I'll be thy slave,
All that is mine thou in reward shalt have.

GLO. Soft; not too hasty; I would not be seen in't;
Marry a' God, my wife would chide me dead,
If Gloster by my means should lose his head.
Princely Richard, at this corner make your stand:
And for I know you love my sister well,
Know I am Gloster, and not Fauconbridge.

RICH. Heaven prosper thee, sweet prince, in thy escape!

GLO. Sheriff, make this your quarter, make good guard;
John, stay you here; this way he means to turn,
By Thomas, I lack a sword, body a' me!

JOHN. What wouldst thou with a sword, old Fauconbridge?

GLO. O sir, to make show in his defence,
For I have left him yonder at a house,
A friend's of mine, an honest citizen.

JOHN. We'll fetch him thence.

GLO. Nay, then, you injure me. Stay, till he come; he's in a russet cloak,
And must attend me like a serving-man.

JOHN. Hold, there's my sword, and with my sword my heart.
Bring him, for God's sake, and for thy desert
My brother king and mother queen shall love thee.

GLO. Mark me, good prince; yonder away we come,
I go afore, and Gloster follows me;
Let not the sheriff nor Richard meddle with us.
Begin you first; seize Gloster, and arrest him.
I'll draw and lay about me here and here;
Be heedful that your watchmen hurt me not.

JOHN. I'll hang him that doth hurt thee; prythee, away,
I love thee; but thou kill'st me with delay.

GLO. Well, keep close watch; I'll bring him presently.

JOHN, Away then quickly.

GLO. Gloster, close, master sheriff, Prince Richard.

RICH. Gloster, adieu.

GLO. I trust you.

RICH. By my knighthood, I'll prove true.

[_Exit_ GLOSTER.

JOHN. Revenge, I'll build a temple to your name;
And the first offering shall be Gloster's head,
Thy altars shall be sprinkled with the blood,
Whose wanton current his mad humour fed;
He was a rhymer and a riddler,
A scoffer at my mother, prais'd my father:
I'll fit him now for all--escape and all.

RICH. Take heed spite burst not in his proper gall.

SCENE THE TWENTIETH.

_Enter_ FAUCONBRIDGE _and_ BLOCK.

JOHN. How now, what way took Fauconbridge, I wonder?
That is not Gloster, sure, that attends on him?

FAU. He came not at the sheriff's by the morrow-mass,
I sought the Goldsmiths' row, and found him not;
Sirrah, y'are sure he sent not home my chain?

BLO. Who should send [home] your chain, sir?

FAU. The prince, Prince John; I lent it him to-day.

JOHN. What's this they talk?

BLO. By my truth, sir, and ye lent it him, I think you may go look it:
for one of the drawers of the Salutation told me even now, that he had
took up a chamber there till evening, and then he will away to Kent.

FAU. Body of me, he means to spend my chain.
Come, Block; I'll to him.

JOHN. Hear you, Fauconbridge;

FAU. Why, what a knave art thou? yonder's Prince John.

BLO. Then the drawer's a knave; he told me Prince John was at the
Salutation.

JOHN. Where's Gloster, Fauconbridge?

FAU. Sweet prince, I know not.

JOHN. Come, jest not with me: tell me where he is?

FAU. I never saw him since the Parl'ament.

JOHN. Impudent liar, didst thou not even now
Say thou wouldst fetch him? Hadst thou not my sword?

FAU. Wert thou a king, I will not bear the lie.
Thy sword? no, boy; thou seest this sword is mine.

BLO. My master a liar? Zounds, wert thou a potentate!

FAU. I scorn to wear thy arms, untutor'd child,
I fetch thee, Gloster, shameless did I see thee,
Since as I went this morning to the Sheriffs,
Thou borrow'dst my gold chain!

JOHN. Thy chain?

FAU. I hope thou wilt not cheat me, princocks John!

JOHN. I'll cheat thee of thy life, if thou charge me
With any chain.

FAU. Come, let him come, I pray,
I'll whip ye, boy, I'll teach you to out-face.

BLO. Come, come, come! but one at once; ye dastards, come.

RICH. Keep the king's peace, I see you are both deceiv'd,
He that was last here was not Fauconbridge.

FAU. They slander me; who says that I was here?

RICH. We do believe ye, sir; nor do you think
My brother John deceiv'd you of a chain.

FAU. He did; I did deliver it with this hand.

JOHN. I'll die upon the slanderer.

FAU. Let the boy come.

BLO. Aye, let him come, let him come.

RICH. Fellow, thou speak'st even now, as if Prince John
Had been at some old tavern in the town!

BLO. Aye, sir, I came up now but from the Salutation,
And a drawer, that doth not use to lie, told me
Prince John hath been there all this afternoon.

JOHN. The devil in my likeness then is there.

FAU. The devil in thy likeness or thyself
Had my gold chain.

JOHN. Thou art the devil; for thou
Hadst my good sword, all these can witness it.

FAU. God's mother, thou beliest me.

JOHN. Give me the lie?

RICH. Nay, calm this fury; let's down to the tavern;
Or one or both: these counterfeits are there.

FAU. I know him well enough, that had my chain,
And there be two Johns, if I find one there.
By'r Lady, I will lay him fast.

RICH. It is this Skink that mocks us, I believe.

JOHN. Alas, poor Skink; it is the devil Gloster,
Who if I be so happy once to find,
I'll give contentment to his troubled mind.

RICH. I hope he's far enough, and free enough,
Yet these conceits, I know, delight his soul. [_Aside_.
Follow me, Blocker, follow me, honest Blocker.

BLO. Much follow you! I have another piece of work in hand; I hear say
Redcap's father shall be hanged this afternoon, I'll see him slip a
string, though I give my service the slip; besides, my lady bad me hear
his examination at his death. I'll get a good place, and pen it word for
word, and as I like it, let out a mournful ditty to the tune of
"Labandalashot," or "Row Well, ye Mariners," or somewhat as my muse
shall me invoke.
[_Exit_.

SCENE THE TWENTY-FIRST.

_Enter_ GLOSTER _like_ FAUCONBRIDGE, _with a_ PURSUIVANT;
GLOSTER _having a paper in his hand, the_ PURSUIVANT _bare_.

GLO. A charitable deed, God bless the king;
He shall be then reprieved.

PUR. Ay, sir, some day or two,
Till the young king and Prince John change it--
Especially if the good earl be not found,
Which God forbid!

GLO. What house is this,
That we are stepp'd into, to read this warrant in?

PUR. A tavern, sir, the Salutation.

GLO. A tavern?
Then I will turn prodigal; call for a pint
Of sack, good fellow.

PUR. Drawer!

DRA. [_Within_.] Anon, sir.

_Enter_ DRAWER.

GLO. A pint of thy best sack, my pretty youth.

DRA. God bless your worship, sir;
Ye shall have the best in London, sir.

GLO. What, know'st thou me I know'st thou old Fauconbridge?
I am no tavern-h[a]unter, I can tell thee.

DRA. But my master hath taken many a fair pound
Of your man Block; he was here to-day, sir,
And emptied[500] two bottles of nippitate[501] sack.

GLO. Well, fill us of your nippitate, sir;
This is well chanced. But hear[502] ye, boy!
Bring sugar in white paper, not in brown;
For in white paper I have here a trick,
Shall make the pursuivant first swoon, then sick. [_Aside_.
Thou honest fellow, what's thy name?

PUR. My name is Winterborne, sir.

GLO. What countryman, I prythee?

PUR. Barkshire, and please ye.

GLO. How long hast thou been sworn a messenger?

PUR. But yesterday, and please your worship,
This is the first employment I have had.

_Enter_ DRAWER, _with wine and sugar_.

GLO. A good beginning; here, have to thee, fellow;
Thou art my fellow, now thou servest the king,
Nay, take sugar too, God's Lady dear!
I put it in my pocket; but it's here:
Drink a good draught, I prythee, Winterborne.

[_He drinks and falls over the stool_.

DRA. O Lord, Sir Richard, the man, the man!

GLO. What a forgetful beast am I! Peace, boy,
It is his fashion ever, when he drinks.
Fellow, he hath the falling sickness;
Run, fetch two cushions to raise up his head,
And bring a little key to ope his teeth. [_Exit_ DRAWER.
Pursuivant, your warrant and your box--
These must with me; the shape of Fauconbridge
Will hold no longer water hereabout.
Gloster will be a Proteus every hour,
That Elinor and Leicester, Henry, John,
And all that rabble of hate-loving curs,
May minister me more mirth to play upon.

_Re-enter_ DRAWER, _with an_ ASSISTANT.

DRA. Here's a key, sir, and one of our folk to help.

GLO. No matter for a key; help him but in,
And lay him by the fire a little while,
He'll wake immediately; but be [not] heart-sick.
There's money for a candle and thy wine,
I'll go but up unto your alderman's,
And come down presently to comfort him.

[_Exeunt_.

SKINK. [_Within_.] Drawer! what Drawer? with a vengeance, Drawer!

DRA. [_Within_.] Speak in the Crown[503] there.

SCENE THE TWENTY-SECOND.

_Enter_ SKINK, _like_ PRINCE JOHN.

SKINK. They be come; the devil crown ye one by one.
Skink, thou'rt betray'd, that Master Fauconbridge,
Missing some of his chain has got thee dogg'd.
Drawer! what Drawer?

DRA. Anon, anon, sir.

SKINK. Was not Sir Richard Fauconbridge below?

DRA. Yes, and please ye.

SKINK. It does not please me well. Knows he that I am here?

DRA. No, I protest.

SKINK. Come hither, sirrah. I have little money;
But there's some few links of a chain of gold.
Upon your honesty, knows not Sir Richard
That I am here?

DRA. No, by my holy-dam.

SKINK. Who's that was with him?

DRA. Why, a pursuivant.

SKINK. Where is Sir Richard?

DRA. At the alderman's.

SKINK. A pursuivant, and at the alderman's?
What pig, or goose, or capon, have you kill'd
Within your kitchen new?

DRA. A pig new-stick'd.

SKINK. Fetch me a saucer of the blood; quick, run; [_Exit_ DRAWER.
I'll fit the pursuivant, and alderman,
And Fauconbridge, if Skink have any wit.
Well, Gloster, I did never love thee yet;
But thou'st the maddest lord that e'er I met.
If I 'scape this, and meet thee once again,
Curse Skink, if he die penny in thy debt.

_Re-enter_ DRAWER.

DRA. O my lord, the house is full of halberts, and a great many
gentlemen ask for the room where Prince John is.

SKINK. Lend me thy apron; run and fetch a pot from the next room.
Betray'd, swounds, betray'd by gout, by palsy, by dropsy--
_Re-enter_ DRAWER _with a pot_.
O brave boy, excellent blood! up, take my cloak
And my hat to thy share; when I come from Kent, I'll pay
Thee like a king.

DRA. I thank you, my lord.
[_Exit_ DRAWER.

SCENE THE TWENTY-THIRD.

_Enter_ JOHN, RICHARD, FAUCONBRIDGE, SHERIFFS, _and_ OFFICERS.

SKINK. Now, fortune, help or never. They come--_and ye were a prince,
as ye say ye are, ye would be ashamed to abuse a poor servant thus;
but and if ye were not of the blood royal, I'd break the neck of ye
down the stairs, so would I, I'd teach you to hurt 'prentices_.

RICH. Who hurt thee, fellow?

SKINK. Prince devil or his dam; Prince John they call him.

JOHN. Gloster, I hope.

RICH. I doubt not but 'tis Skink.

JOHN. Where is he?

SKINK. Up them stairs; take heed of him,
He's in the Crown.

FAU. Alas, poor fellow, he hath crown'd thee shrewdly.

JOHN. In recompence, if it be him I seek,
I'll give thee his whole head to tread upon.
Follow me, brother; come, old Fauconbridge;
Keep the stairs, sheriff. You see, it waxeth dark;
Take heed he slip not by you.

[_Exeunt_.

SKINK. Hang yourselves, this darkness shall convey me out of doors,
I'll swim the Thames, but I'll attain Blackheath.
London, farewell; curse, John, rave, Fauconbridge!
Skink 'scapes you all by twilight's privilege.
[_Exit_.

WITHIN. Where is he? lights, bring lights; drag out that boy.

_Enter all with the_ BOY.

JOHN. This is my cloak, my hat, my rapier;
And either it was Skink or Gloster.

DRA. I know not who 'twas, sir; he said he was Prince John; he took
away my apron and a pottle-pot with him, and all-to blooded his head
and face.

FAU. We met him, by St Anthony, we met him!

JOHN. The fire of St Anthony confound
This changing counterfeit, whatsoever he be.

RICH. It makes me laugh at envious greediness,
Who feeds upon her own heart's bitterness.

JOHN. Sirrah, you that were born to cry anon,
What other copes-mates have you in the house?

DRA. Sir, my master's gues's[504] be none of my copesmates.

JOHN. Well, your gues's! can you guess who they be?

DRA. Marry, here's a pursuivant, that this gentleman, sir, Richard
Fauconbridge, left sick even now.

FAU. Marry of God, did I, thou lying knave?

DRA. I am a poor boy, sir; your worship may say your pleasure; our
maids have had a foul hand with him. You said he would be sick; so he
is, with a witness.

JOHN. Look about, Fauconbridge, here's work for you!
You have some evil angel in your shape.
Go, sirrah, bring us forth that Pursuivant.

_Enter two, leading the_ PURSUIVANT, _sick_.

RICH. Gloster, thou wilt be too-too venturous;
Thou dost delight in those odd humours so,
That much I fear they'll be thy overthrow. [_Aside_.

PUR. O, O, O, not too fast; O, I am sick, O, very sick.

JOHN. What picture of the pestilence is this?

PUR. A poor man, sir, a poor man, sir: down, I pray ye; I pray, let me
sit down. Ah, Sir Richard, Sir Richard! Ah, good Sir Richard! what, have
I deserv'd to be thus dealt withal at your worship's hands? Ah! ah! ah!

FAU. At my hands, knave? at my hands, paltry knave?

DRA. And I should be brought to my book-oath, sir.

WITHIN. What, Jeffrey?

DRA. Anon, anon.

JOHN. A plague upon your Jeffring; is your name Jeffrey?

DRA. Ay, and't please you, sir.

RICH. Why, gentle Jeffrey, then stay you awhile,
What can you say, if you come to your book?

DRA. If I be pos'd upon a book, sir, though I be a poor 'prentice,
I must speak the truth, and nothing but the truth, sir.

JOHN. And what's your truth, sir?

PUR. O, O my heart.

DRA. Marry, sir, this knight, this man of worship--

FAU. Well, what of me? what did my worship do?

DRA. Marry, ye came into the Bell--our room next the bar--with this
honest man, as I take it.

FAU. As thou tak'st it?

PUR. O, sir, 'tis too true, too true, too true. O Lord.

DRA. And there he call'd for a pint of sack, as good sack (I'll be pos'd
upon all the books that ever opened and shut), as any in all Christendom.

FAU. Body of me, I come and call for sack?

PUR. O, ye did, ye did, ye did. O, O.

JOHN. Well, forward, sirrah.

RICH. Gloster hath done this jest. [_Aside_.

DRA. And you call'd then for sugar, sir, as good sugar and as wholesome,
as ever came in any cup of sack: you drank to this man, and you do well,
God be thanked--but he no sooner drank--

PUR. But I, but I, but I--O my head! O my heart!

RICH. I cannot choose but smile at these conceits.

JOHN. I am mad; and yet I must laugh at Fauconbridge:
Brother, look how Sir Richard acts his rage!

FAU. I came? I call? the man is like to die,
Practice, by the mass; practice, by the marry God!
I shall be charg'd here for a poison'd knave,
Practice, by th'Lord, practice!--I see it clear.

PUR. And more, Sir Richard. O Lord, O Sir Richard!

FAU. What more? what hast thou more? what practice more?

PUR. O my box, my box, with the king's arms! O my box,
O my box! it cost me, O Lord, every penny; O my box!

RICH. And what of your box, sir?

DRA. Marry, sir, it's lost; and 'tis well known my master keeps no
thieves in his house; O, there was none but you and he.

FAU. O, then belike thou thinkest I had his box.

PUR. O Sir Richard, I will not; O Lord, I will not charge you for all
the world; but--but--but for the warrant the old King sign'd to
reprieve the porter of the Fleet! O God, O God!

JOHN. The porter of the Fleet? the old King sign'd?--

PUR. Ay, my good lord, ay, ay.

JOHN. Is he reprieved then?

PUR. No, my lord; O, Sir Richard took it from me with his own hand, O!

FAU. Here's a device to bring me in contempt
With the old King, that I ever lov'd.
Princes and Sheriff, you can witness with me,
That I have been with you this afternoon--
Only with you, with nobody but you--
And now a fellow, whom the King would save
By a reprieve, this fellow says, is hang'd.

JOHN. If thou hadst done it, I'd have justified it;
But, Richard, I conceit this jest already:
This mad-mate Skink, this honest merry knave,
Meeting this Pursuivant, and hearing tell
He had a warrant to reprieve a slave
Whom we would hang, stole it away from him.
This is sure the jest; upon my life, it is!

PUR. O, but my warrant, how shall I do? O!

RICH. But look about you, hot-brain'd brother John,
And I believe you'll find it otherwise;
Gloster hath got the warrant in disguise,
And sav'd the fellow you so fain would hang.

JOHN. No, no; how say you, master Sheriff, is he not hang'd?

SHER. My lord, the gibbet was set up by noon
In the Old Bailey, and I charg'd my men,
If I return not, though it were by torchlight,
To see him executed, ere they come.

JOHN. I am greedy to hear news.

FAU. Robb'd of my chain, out-faced I had a sword,
Accused of poisoning, cozenage, seeking blood!
Not to be borne! it is intolerable!

RICH. Sir Richard, I prythee, have some patience.

FAU. I'll to Blackheath, talk not of patience;
It is intolerable, not to be borne.

JOHN. It is intolerable, not to be borne;
A warrant, brother; Fauconbridge, a warrant!

FAU. I saw no warrant; I defy you all.

JOHN. A slave, a pursuivant, one Winterborn.

FAU. I care not for thee that, Winterborn.

PUR. O, it is I, sir; that's my warrant.

JOHN. Is't you? you rogue, you drunkard; ye are cheated,
And we are cheated of the prisoner.
Out, dog, dog.

PUR. O, O, O, O my lord.

[_Exit with_ DRAWER.

SHER. Have patience, and we will have a privy search.

JOHN. Go hang, ye blockheads, get ye from my sight!
O, would I were a basilisk, to kill
These glear-ey'd villains.

SHER. Come away; let's leave him.
We have a warrant; let him do his worst.

[_Exeunt_ SHERIFF _and_ OFFICERS.

FAU. I'll to Blackheath, I'll to the holy hermit;
There shall I know not only these deceivers,
But how my wife plays fast and loose with Richard.
Ha! I shall fit them, I shall tickle them;
I'll do it, I'll hence, I'll to the heath amain.
[_Exit_.

JOHN. There shall I know where this damned Gloster is,
I'll have the devils rous'd to find that devil,
O[r] else I'll conjure the old conjuror.
I'll to Blackheath, and there with friends conspire,
But I'll have Gloster's head, my heart's desire.

RICH. Would mad Earl Robin saw these humourists:
'Twould feed him fit with laughter! O, 'twould fit him.
Wherever he is, I know the bare conceit
Is better to him than his daintiest food.
Well, and it fits me well, now I have time,
To court my Lady Fauconbridge at leisure.
Love, I implore thy aid; fair Cipria,
Thou sea-born mother at affection's ring,
Shine brightly in thy sphere, that art[505] my star,
My planet, thou of all lights most beauteous,
Be thou to my desires auspicious.
[_Exit_.

SCENE THE TWENTY-FOURTH.

_Enter_ ROBIN HOOD _in the_ LADY FAUCONBRIDGE'S
_gown, night attire on his head_.

ROB. O, for this lady! Was never poor gentleman troubled with
gentlewoman as I am with myself! My Lady Fauconbridge hath fitted me
a turn. Here I am, visited with sleeveless errands and with asking for
_This thing, Madam_, and _That thing, Madam_, that they make me almost
mad in earnest. Whoop, here's another client.

_Enter a_ SERVING-MAN.

SER. Here's my Lady Rawford's page attends to speak with your ladyship.

ROB. I pray ye bid her lordship's page come into my Ladyship.
[_Exit_. SERVINGMAN.]
Well, Robin Hood, part with these petticoats,
And cast these loose devices from thy back,
I'll ne'er go more untruss'd, never be kerchief'd,
Never have this ado with _what do you lack_?

_Enter_ PAGE.

PAGE. Madam, my lady greets your honour kindly,
And sends you the first grapes of her young vine.

ROB. I am much indebted to her honour, there's an angel for you to
drink; set them up till after supper. Humphrey, pray look about for
Block. Humphrey! trust me, I think the fool be lost.

PAGE. No, forsooth, madam, he's upon the green, jesting with a
stammerer, one Redcap.

ROB. It is a lewd fellow; pray, bid him come in, youth; I'll give him
his welcome at the door. Commend me to your lady, I pray ye, heartily.
[_Exit_ PAGE.
Humphrey, I marvel where Sir Richard is so late! Truly, truly, he does
not as beseems a gentleman of his calling; pray, let some go forth to
meet him on the green, and send in that blockhead Block.
[_Exit_ HUMPHREY.

_Enter_ REDCAP, _and_ BLOCK _after him_.

BLO. Will ye tell tales, ye ass, will ye?

RED. I'll te-te-tell your la-la-lady, or I would to G-God we were
ha-hang'd else, as my fa-father should have been.

ROB. Now, what's the matter there, I pray you? What company have you
there, a-God's name? where spend you the day, I pray?

BLO. Why, where you gave me leave; at the gallows I was--no farther.

RED. A-a-and you be his la-lady, you are the La-Lady Fau-Fauconbridge,
the Earl of Glo-Gloster's sister.

ROB. I am so, fellow.

RED. Y-y-your man B-B-Blocke here does no--nothing but f-f-flout m-me,
a-and cr-cries _r-run Re-Redcap and s-s-see you f-f-father ha-ha-hang'd_.
I sh-shall g-go-near to m-make m-murder, and he u-use it.

ROB. Well, sirrah, leave your mocking, you were best, I'll bob your
beetle head, and if you mock him.

BLO. He's _run Redcap_.

RED. La-la-law, ma-madam.

ROB. Away, ye saucy fool; go, wait within.

BLO. _Run, Redcap; run, Redcap_. [_Exit_.

ROB. Art thou the porter's son, that was condemned about my brother
Gloster?

RED. Ay, G-G-God be with you, I am the p-p-porter's son, I m-must r-run
to s-s-seek your b-br-brother.

ROB. Well, drink that, fellow; if thou find my brother, be not too
violent, and I'll reward thee.

RED. I th-th-thank ye h-heartily; and I had not been cozened with
Sk-Skink, I had no nee-need of these ja-jaunts, for Gl-Gloster was
s-safe enough.

_Enter_ BLOCK _and the_ PORTER _with his cloak muffled_.

BLO. Ah, farewell, Redcap.

RED. Fa-fare we-well, and be ha-hang'd. [_Exit_.

ROB. You'll never leave your knavery. Who's there more.

BLO. One, madam, that hath commendations to you from your brother.

ROB. Comest thou from Gloster? thou art welcome, friend.

BLO. O, it's one of the kindest ladies (though she will now and then
have a bout with Block) that ever breath'd, and she had been in her mood
now, Redcap would have made her such sp-sp-sport as 't a' pa-pa-pass'd.

ROB. Will you make sport, and see who knocks again?

BLO. Our gates are like an anvil; from four to ten, nothing but
knick-a-knock upon't.

ROB. Will you be gone, sir? [_Exit_ BLOCK.]
Honest friend, I am glad
My brother Gloster got thy liberty,
Whose flight was cause of thy captivity:
Nor shall there be in us such negligence,
Though thou have lost thy office and thy house,
But we will see thee better far provided
Than when thou wert [the] Porter in the Fleet.

_Re-enter_ BLOCK.

BLO. Madam, your old friend, Prince Richard,
All alone,
Making moan,
Fetching many a grievous groan.

ROB. Prince Richard come so late? lights to his chamber;
Sirrah, in any case, say I am sick.

BLO. Very sick, sick, and like to die! I'll sing it, and you will.

ROB. Away, ye knave; tell him, in the morning
I'll humbly wait upon his excellence.

BLO. That's all his desire to have ye lowly and humble, and 'tis a
courteous thing in a lady.
[_Exit_.

ROB. Hence, or else I'll set you hence. Go in, good friend.
Come, Lady Fauconbridge; it's time to come;
Robin can hold out no longer, I see:
Hot wooers will be tempters presently.
[_Exit_.

SCENE THE TWENTY-FIFTH.

_Enter_ SKINK _like a Hermit_.

SKINK. Now, holy Skink, in thy religious weed,
Look out for purchase or thy wonted clients.
Warrants, quoth you? I was fairly warranted;
Young Robin Hood, the Earl of Huntington,
Shall never fetch me more unto his prince.

_Enter_ LADY FAUCONBRIDGE, _in Merchant's Wife's attire_.

But, _pauca verba_, Skink! a prize, a prize;
By th'mass, a pretty girl; close, hermit, close.
Overhear, if thou canst, what she desires,
For so my cunning and my credit spreads.

LADY F. See, how affection arms my feeble strength,
To this so desperate journeying all alone,
While Robin Hood, young Earl of Huntington,
Plays Lady Fauconbridge for me at home.

SKINK. What mystery is this? The Lady Fauconbridge!
It's she? Sweet fortune, thou hast sent her well;
I will entice this morsel to my cell.
Her husband's jealous; I will give him cause.
As he believes, I hope it shall succeed.
Nay, swounds, it shall; she's mine in scorn of speed.

LADY F. By this broad beaten path, it should appear,
The holy hermit's cave cannot be far,
And if I err not, this is he himself.

SKINK. What honour'd tongue enquireth for the hermit?

LADY F. What honour'd tongue?

SKINK. Ay, Lady Fauconbridge,
I know ye, and I know for what ye come,
For Gloster and your husband's jealousy.

LADY F. O thou, whose eye of contemplation
Looks through the windows of the highest heavens,
Resolve thy handmaid, where Earl Gloster lives:
And whether he shall live, and 'scape the hate
Of proud young Henry and his brother John?

SKINK. I'll have you first in; I'll tell you more anon.
Madam, they say bushes have ears and eyes;
And these are matters of great secrecy;
And you'll vouchsafe enter my holy cell,

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