Act III. Scene II. A Room In An Hotel.

[Enter Bedford and his Host.]

BEDFORD.
Am I betrayed? was Bedford born to die
By such base slaves in such a place as this?
Have I escaped so many times in France,
So many battles have I over passed,
And made the French stir when they heard my name;
And am I now betrayed unto my death?
Some of their hearts' blood first shall pay for it.

HOST.
They do desire, my Lord, to speak with you.

BEDFORD.
The traitors do desire to have my blood,
But by my birth, my honour, and my name,
By all my hopes, my life shall cost them dear.
Open the door; I'll venture out upon them,
And if I must die, then I'll die with honour.

HOST.
Alas, my Lord, that is a desperate course;
They have begirt you round about the house;
Their meaning is to take you prisoner,
And so to send your body unto France.

BEDFORD.
First shall the Ocean be as dry as sand,
Before alive they send me unto France:
I'll have my body first bored like a Sieve,
And die as Hector, gainst the Mirmidons,
Ere France shall boast Bedford's their prisoner.
Treacherous France, that, gainst the law of arms,
Hath here betrayed thy enemy to death.
But be assured, my blood shall be revenged
Upon the best lives that remains in France.--

[Enter a Servant.]

Stand back, or else thou run'st upon thy death.

MESSENGER.
Pardon, my Lord; I come to tell your honour,
That they have hired a Neopolitan,
Who by his Oratory hath promised them,
Without the shedding of one drop of blood,
Into their hands safe to deliver you,
And therefore craves none but himself may enter
And a poor swain that attends on him.

[Exit servant.]

BEDFORD.
A Neopolitan? bid him come in.
Were he as cunning in his Eloquence
As Cicero, the famous man of Rome,
His words would be as chaff against the wind.
Sweet tongued Ulysses that made Ajax mad,
Were he and his tongue in this speaker's head,
Alive he wins me not; then, tis no conquest dead.

[Enter Cromwell like a Neopolitan, and Hodge with him.]

CROMWELL.
Sir, are you the master of the house?

HOST.
I am, sir.

CROMWELL.
By this same token you must leave this place,
And leave none but the Earl and I together,
And this my Peasant here to tend on us.

HOST.
With all my heart. God grant, you do some good.

[Exit Host. Cromwell shuts the door.]

BEDFORD.
Now, sir, what's you will with me?

CROMWELL.
Intends your honour not to yield your self?

BEDFORD.
No, good man goose, not while my sword doth last.
Is this your eloquence for to persuade me?

CROMWELL.
My Lord, my eloquence is for to save you.
I am not, as you judge, a Neopolitan,
But Cromwell, your servant, and an Englishman.

BEDFORD.
How? Cromwell? not my Farrier's son?

CROMWELL.
The same, sir, and am come to succour you.

HODGE.
Yes, faith, sir; and I am Hodge, your poor Smith.
Many a time and oft have I shoed your Dapper Gray.

BEDFORD.
And what avails it me that thou art here?

CROMWELL.
It may avail, if you'll be ruled by me.
My Lord, you know the men of Mantua
And these Bononians are at deadly strife,
And they, my Lord, both love and honour you.
Could you but get out of the Mantua port,
Then were you safe despite of all their force.

BEDFORD.
Tut, man, thou talkest of things impossible.
Dost thou not see that we are round beset?
How, then, is it possible we should escape?

CROMWELL.
By force we cannot, but by policy.
Put on the apparel here that Hodge doth wear,
And give him yours--the States, they know you not,
For, as I think, they never saw your face--
And at a watch-word must I call them in,
And will desire, that we safe may pass
To Mantua, where I'll say my business lies.
How doth your Honor like of this devise?

BEDFORD.
O wondrous good! But wilt thou venter, Hodge?

HODGE.
Will I?--
O noble Lord, I do accord,
In anything I can,
And do agree, to set thee free,
Do fortune what she can.

BEDFORD.
Come, then, let's change our apparel straight.

CROMWELL.
Go, Hodge; make haste, least they chance to call.

HODGE.
I warrant you I'll fit him with a suit.

[Exit Earl & Hodge.]

CROMWELL.
Heavens grant this policy doth take success,
And that the Earl may safely scape away.
And yet it grieves me for this simple wretch,
For fear they should offer him violence:
But of two evils, tis best to shun the greatest,
And better is it that he lives in thrall,
Than such a Noble Earl as he should fall.
Their stubborn hearts, it may be, will relent,
Since he is gone to whom their hate is bent.--
My Lord, have you dispatched?

[Enter Bedford like the Clown, and Hodge in his
cloak and his Hat.]

BEDFORD.
How doost thou like us, Cromwell? is it well?

CROMWELL.
O, my Lord, excellent: Hodge, how doost feel thy self?

HODGE.
How do I feel my self? why, as a Noble man should do.
O, how I feel honor come creeping on! My Nobility is
wonderful melancholy: Is it not most Gentlemen like
to be melancholy?

CROMWELL.
Yes, Hodge; now go sit down in his study, and take
state upon thee.

HODGE.
I warrant you, my Lord; let me alone to take state upon
me: but hark you, my Lord, do you feel nothing bite
about you?

BEDFORD.
No, trust me, Hodge.

HODGE.
Aye, they know they want their pasture; it's a strange
thing of this vermine, they dare not meddle with Nobility.

CROMWELL.
Go, take thy place, Hodge; I'll call them in.--

[Hodge sits in the study, and Cromwell calls in the States.]

All is done, enter and if you please.

[Enter the States and Officers, with Halberts.]

GOVERNOUR.
What, have you won him? will he yield himself?

CROMWELL.
I have, an't please you, and the quiet Earl
Doth yield himself to be disposed by you.

GOVERNOUR.
Give him the money that we promised him;
So let him go, whether it please himself.

CROMWELL.
My business, sir, lies unto Mantua,
Please you to give me safe conduct thether.

GOVERNOUR.
Go and conduct him to the Mantua Port,
And see him safe delivered presently.

[Exit Cromwell and Bedford.]

Go draw the curtains, let us see the Earl.--
O, he is writing; stand apart awhile.

HODGE.
Fellow William, I am not as I have been: I went
from you a Smith, I write to you as a Lord. I am,
at this present writing, among the Polonian Sasiges.
I do commend my Lordship to Raphe & to Roger,
to Bridget & to Doritie, & so to all the youth of
Putney.

GOVERNOUR.
Sure, these are the names of English Noblemen,
Some of his special friends, to whom he writes:
But stay, he doth address himself to sing.

[Here he sings a song.]

My Lord, I am glad you are so frolic and so blithe:
Believe me, noble Lord, if you knew all,
You'd change your merry vein to sudden sorrow.

HODGE.
I change my merry vein? no, thou Bononian, no.
I am a Lord--and therefore let me go--
And do defy thee and thy Sasigis;
Therefore stand off, and come not near my honor.

GOVERNOUR.
My Lord, this jesting cannot serve your turn.

HODGE.
Doost think, thou black Bononian beast,
That I do flout, do gibe, or jest,
No, no, thou Beer-pot, know that I,
A noble Earl, a Lord pardie--

[A Trumpet sounds.]

GOVERNOUR.
What means this Trumpet's sound?

[Enter a Messenger.]

CITIZEN.
One come from the States of Mantua.

GOVERNOUR.
What would you with us? speak, thou man of Mantua.

MESSENGER.
Men of Bononia, this my message is:
To let you know the Noble Earl of Bedford
Is safe within the town of Mantua,
And wills you send the peasant that you have,
Who hath deceived your expectation;
Or else the States of Mantua have vowed
They will recall the truce that they have made,
And not a man shall stir from forth your town,
That shall return, unless you send him back.

GOVERNOUR.
O this misfortune, how it mads my heart!
The Neopolitan hath beguiled us all.
Hence with this fool! what shall we do with him,
The Earl being gone? a plague upon it all.

HODGE.
No, I'll assure you, I am no Earl, but a smith, sir;
One Hodge, a smith at Putney, sir;
One that hath gulled you, that hath bored you, sir.

GOVERNOUR.
Away with him! take hence the fool you came for.

HODGE.
Aye, sir, and I'll leave the greater fool with you.

MESSENGER.
Farewell, Bononians. Come, friend, a long with me.

HODGE.
My friend, afore; my Lordship will follow thee.

[Exit.]

GOVERNOUR.
Well, Mantua, since by thee the Earl is lost,
Within few days I hope to see thee crossed.

[Exit omnes.]

[Enter Chorus.]

CHORUS.
Thus far you see how Cromwell's fortune passed.
The Earl of Bedford, being safe in Mantua,
Desires Cromwell's company into France,
To make requital for his courtesy:
But Cromwell doth deny the Earl his suit,
And tells him that those parts he meant to see,
he had not yet set footing on the land,
And so directly takes his way to Spain:
The Earl to France, and so they both do part.
Now let your thoughts, as swift as is the wind,
Skip some few years, that Cromwell spent in travel,
And now imagine him to be in England,
Servant unto the master of the Rules,
Where in short time he there began to flourish.
An hour shall show you what few years did cherish.

[Exit.]
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