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him more.

Lichfield, I'll give thee twenty nobles ready money with my Nell, and trust thee with a dicker of leather to set up 70 thy trade.

Sellenger. Ned, he offers you fair, if you have the grace to take it. King. He does, indeed, Tom; and hereafter I'll tell

75 Hobs. Come, sit down to supper : [aside] go to, Nell ; no more sheep's eyes ; ye may be caught, I tell you.

Nell [aside). I warrant you, father, yet in truth Ned is a very proper man, and tother may serve ; but Ned's a pearl in my eye.

80 Hobs. Daughter, call Dudgeon and his fellows. We'll have a three-man's song, to make our guests merry.

[Exit Nell. Nails, what courtnols are ye? ye'll neither talk nor eat. What news at court ? Do somewhat for your meat.

85 King. Heavy news there : King Henry is dead.

Hobs. That's light news and merry for your master, King Edward.

King. But how will the commons take it ?

Hobs. Well, God be with good King Henry ! 90 Faith, the commons will take it as a common thing. Death 's an honest man; for he spares not the King. For as one comes, another 's ta'en away ; And seldom comes the better, that's all we say.

Sellenger. Shrewdly spoken, tanner, by my fay! 95

Hobs. Come, fill me a cup of mother Whetstone's ale; I

may drink to my friends and drive down my tale. Here, Ned and Tom, I drink to ye ; and yet if I come to the court, I doubt ye'll not know me.

King. Yes, Tom shall be my surety, tanner; I will 100 know thee.

Sellenger. If thou dost not, Ned, by my troth, I beshrew thee.

King. I drink to my wife that may be.

Sellenger. Faith, Ned, thou mayest live to make her 105 a lady.

King. Tush, her father offers nothing, having no more children but her.

Hobs. I would I had not, condition she had all. But I have a knave to my son; I remember him by you; even 110

such an unthrift as one of you two, that spends all on gay clothes and new fashions; and no work will down with him, that I fear he'll be hanged. God bless you from a better fortune, yet you wear such filthy breeks. Lord, were not this a good fashion ? [Pointing to his own leather 115 breeches.] Aye, and would save many a fair penny. .

King. Let that pass, and let us hear your song.

Hobs. Agreed, agreed! [Re-enter Nell with Dudgeon.]
Come, sol, sol, sol, fa, fa, fa! Say, Dudgeon.

Here they sing the three-man's song.
Agincourt, Agincourt ! know ye not Agincourt ?
Where the English slew and hurt

All the French foemen ?
With our guns and bills brown,
Oh, the French were beaten down,
Morris-pikes and bowmen.

125 Sellenger. Well sung, good fellows ! I would the King

I 20

heard ye.

Hobs. So would I, faith; I should strain a note for him. Come, take away, and let's to bed. [Nell and Dudgeon take away the table.] Ye shall have clean sheets, Ned; 130 but they be coarse, good strong hemp, of my daughter's own spinning

King. No matter, Hobs; we will not go to bed.
Hobs. What then ?

King. Even what thou wilt ; for it is near day. 135
Tanner, gramercies for our hearty cheer!
If e'er it be thy chance to come to court,
Inquire for me, Ned, the King's butler,
Or Tom, of the King's chamber, my companion,
And see what welcome we will give thee there. 140

Hobs. I have heard of courtiers have said as much as you, and when they have been tried, would not bid their friends drink.

Sellenger. We are none such. Let our horses be brought out; for we must away; and so, with thanks, 145 farewell !

Hobs. Farewell to ye both! Commend me to the King; and tell him I would have been glad to have seen his worship here.

[Exit. King. Come, Tom, for London ! horse, and hence, 150 away!

[Exeunt.

IO

SCENE II. THE RETURN VISIT.
Hobs' forebodings about his son are realized ; the boy is in

prison for highway robbery. Hobs, who has just made
a liberal contribution as a 'benevolence' for the French
war, saddles his mare and comes to court to see it Ned

the Butler can save his son's life.
Enter King Edward, the Lord Mayor of London in his

robes and chain, Howard, Sellenger, and a train of
Courtiers.
King. Awhile we will give truce unto our care ;
There is a merry tanner near at hand
With whom we mean to be right merry.
Therefore, Lord Mayor, and you my other friends,
I must intreat you not to knowledge me :

5
No man stand bare; all as companions.
Give me a cloak that I may be disguised ;
Tom Sellenger, go thou and take another.
So, tanner, now come when you please; we are provided,
And in good time : see where he comes already.

Enter Hobs, looking about uneasily.
Tom Sellenger, go thou and meet him.
Sellenger. What, John Hobs ? welcome, i' faith, to

court.
Hobs [brightening up]. Gramercies, honest Tom. Where
is the hangman Ned? Where is that mad rascal ? shall
I not see him ?

15 Sellinger. See, here he stands; that same is he.

Hobs. What, Ned ? a plague 'found thee ! how dost thou for a villain ? how dost thou, mad rogue ? and how ? and how ? [He thumps the King on the back.

King. In health, John Hobs, and very glad to see But say, what wind drove thee to London ?

Hobs. Ah, Ned, I was brought hither by a whirlwind, man,-my son, my son ! Did I not tell thee I had a knave to my son ? King. Yes, tanner; what of him ?

25 Hobs. Faith, he's in Caperdochie, Ned; in Stafford gaol for a robbery; and is like to be hanged, except thou get the King to be more miserable unto him.

King. If that be all, tanner, I'll warrant him ;

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thee;

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I will procure his pardon of the King.

30 Hobs. Wilt thou, Ned ? For those good words, see what my daughter Nell hath sent thee; a handkercher wrought with as good Coventry silk, blue thread, as ever thou sawest.

[He spreads the handkerchief out. King. And I perhaps may wear it for her sake 35 In better presence than thou art aware of.

Hobs. How, Ned ? a better present ? That canst thou not have for silk, cloth, and workmanship; why, Nell made it, man. But, Ned, is not the King in this company ? [He points to the Lord Mayor.] What 's he in the 40 long beard and the red petticoat ? I misdoubt, Ned, that is the King; I know it by my Lord What-ye-call's players.

King. How by them, tanner ?

Hobs. Ever when they play an enterlout or a com- 45 modity at Tamworth, the King always is in a long beard and a red gown like him; therefore I 'spect him to be the King

King. No, trust me, tanner, this is not the King ; But thou shalt see the King before thou goest, 50 And have a pardon for thy son with thee. This man is the Lord Mayor, Lord Mayor of London, Here was the Recorder too, but he is gone.

Hobs. What nicknames these courtnols have ! 'Mare' and 'Corder ' quotha ! We have no such at Lichfield, 55 there 's the honest Bailiff and his Brethren : such words 'gree best with us.

King. My Lord Mayor, I pray you for my sake To bid this honest tanner welcome.

Lord Mayor. You are welcome, my honest friend ; 60 In sign whereof I pray you see my house And sup with me this night.

Hobs. I thank you, good goodman Mare, but I care not for no meat; my stomach is like to a sick swine's, that will neither eat nor drink till she know what shall 65 become of her pig. Ned and Tom, you promised me a good turn when I came to court; either do it now, or go hang yourselves.

King. No sooner comes the King, but I will do it. Sellinger. I warrant thee, tanner, fear not thy son's 70 life.

Hobs. Nay, I fear not his life; I fear his death.

Enter the Master of Saint Katherine's with five hundred

pounds as his gift for the war; he goes straight to the King and kneels. Master. All health and happiness to my sovereign. King. The Master of Saint Katherine's has marred all. Hobs. Out, alas, that ever I was born !

75 [He falls in a swoon ; they labour to recover him.

Meanwhile the King puts on his royal robes. King. Look to the tanner there, he takes no harm; I would not have him for my crown miscarry.

Hobs [recovering consciousness]. I am but a dead man, Ah, my liege, that you should deal so with a poor, wellmeaning man; but it makes no matter, I can but die. 80

King. But when, tanner ? canst thou tell ?

Hobs. Nay, even when you please ; for I have so defended ye by calling ye plain .Ned', 'mad rogue' and

rascal', that I know you'll have me hanged: therefore make no more ado, but send me down to Stafford and 85 there a' God's name hang me with my son. [Pointing to Sellenger.) And here's another as honest as yourself. You made me call him plain ‘Tom': I warrant his name is Thomas, and some man of worship too. Therefore let's to it, when and where you will.

90 King. Tanner, attend: not only do we pardon thee, But in all princely kindness welcome thee; And thy son's trespass do we pardon too. One go and see that forthwith it be drawn Under our seal of England as it ought. [Exit a Courtier. 95 And forty pounds we give thee to defray Thy charges in thy coming up to London. Now, tanner, what say'st thou to us ?

Hóbs. Marry, you speak like an honest man, if you mean what you say.

King. We mean it, tanner, on our royal word. Lord Mayor, we thank you and intreat withal To recommend us to our citizens. We must for France, we bid you all farewell. Come, tanner, thou shalt go with us to court; 105 To-morrow you shall dine with my Lord Mayor, And afterward set homeward when you please. God and our right, that only fights for us ! Adieu, pray that our toil prove prosperous. (Exeunt.

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