Ireton: He loves you.
(CROMWELL adds a word to the letter. Then he leaves IRETON to the surgeons and speaks to SETH, who is at the table.)
Cromwell: Seth, will you write, please. (He dictates very quietly, not to disturb IRETON.)
To the Speaker of the Commons of England, at Westminster.
Sir,—This, of which the General advises you, is none other but the hand of God, and to Him alone belongs the glory, wherein none are to share with him. The General served you with all faithfulness and honour; and the best commendation I can give him is, that I dare say he attributes all to God, and would rather perish than assume to himself. Which is an honest and a thriving way; and yet as much for bravery may be given to him, in this action, as to a man. Honest men served you faithfully in this action. Sir, they are trusty; I beseech you, in the name of God, not to discourage them. I wish this action may beget thankfulness and humility in all that are concerned in it. He that ventures his life for the liberty of his country, I wish he trust God for the liberty of his conscience, and you for the liberty he fights for. In this he rests, who is your most humble servant....
From the camp at Naseby field, in Northamptonshire.
(He signs the letter. Outside in the night the Puritan troops are heard singing the One Hundred and Seventeenth Psalm:
“O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness is great toward
us: and the truth of the
Lord endureth for ever.
Praise ye the Lord.”
They listen. IRETON sleeps.)
They sing well.
(He looks at a map; then, to the aide:)
Go to General Peyton. Tell him to keep three troops of horse four miles
down the Leicester road there. He is not to move them till daybreak. And
ask Colonel Reade to let me have his figures as soon as he can.
The Aide: Yes, sir.
Cromwell: Finish that other letter, will you?
(SETH writes again.)
I can say this of Naseby. When I saw the enemy draw up and march in gallant order towards us, and we, a company of poor ignorant men to seek how to order our battle,—the General having commanded me to order all the horse,—I could not, riding along about my business, but smile out to God in my praises, in assurance of victory,
(the Psalm is heard again)
because God would, by things that are not, bring to naught the things that are. Of which I had great assurance, and God did it.
(The singing still heard)
THE SCENE CLOSES
An evening in November, 1647. A room in Hampton Court, where CHARLES THE FIRST, now a prisoner with the army, is lodged.