Hampden: Sherry, Oliver.
(CROMWELL pours out the sherry.)
Ireton: Thank you.
Cromwell (giving glasses): Amos?
Amos: I’d liefer have a pot of ale, master, if might be.
Cromwell: Yes, yes. Bridget, girl.
Mrs. Cromwell: Oliver, boy, you were quite right—all that you said to those men, I mean. I don’t approve, mind you, but you were quite right.
Cromwell: Thank you, mother. I knew you would think so.
Elizabeth: I wonder what will come of it. You never know, once you begin like this.
Cromwell: You never know, wife.
Hampden: There are lessons to be learnt.
Cromwell: That’s what they said.
(BRIDGET returns with a foaming pot of ale, which she gives to AMOS.)
Cromwell (drinking): To freedom, John. That’s good sherry. I respect not such ill reasoners as would keep all wine out of the country lest men should be drunk. Now, Amos. Come along, John, my touch was good last night. I shall beat you.
(He goes out on to the lawn beyond the window, with HAMPDEN and IRETON. They are seen passing to and fro, playing bowls.)
When I shall in the churchyard lie,
Poor scholar though I be,
The wheat, the barley, and the rye
Will better wear for me.
For truly have I ploughed and sown,
And kept my acres clean;
And written on my churchyard stone
This character be seen:
“His flocks, his barns, his gear
His daily diligence,
Nor counted all his earnings paid
In pockets full of pence.”
(As he finishes, the bowlers stand listening at the window.)
THE SCENE CLOSES
The Commons of England in session at St. Hepburn’s Chapel, Westminster, on November 22, 1641. CROMWELL, HAMPDEN, IRETON among those sitting. We see the east end of the Chapel, with the SPEAKER. It is past midnight, and the house is lighted with candles. A member is speaking.
The Member: That the grievances set out in this Remonstrance now before you are just is clear. The matter has been debated by us these eight hours, and none has been able to deny the wrongs which are here set forth. It is not well with our state, and correction is needed. Mr. Ireton has very clearly shown us how this is. But we must be wary. The King is the King, a necessary part, as it must seem to us, of the government of this country.
(There are murmurs for and against this; assent in the majority.)
To pass this Remonstrance can be no other than to pass a vote of no confidence in that King. Consider this. Saying so much, how shall you deny to overthrow the crown if need be? And who among you is willing to bear that burden?