HENRY VI PART II
Comments on this play
Flourish of trumpets: then hautboys. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and CARDINAL, on the one side; QUEEN MARGARET, SUFFOLK, YORK, SOMERSET, and BUCKINGHAM, on the otherSUFFOLK
As by your high imperial majestyKING HENRY VI
I had in charge at my depart for France,
As procurator to your excellence,
To marry Princess Margaret for your grace,
So, in the famous ancient city, Tours,
In presence of the Kings of France and Sicil,
The Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne and Alencon,
Seven earls, twelve barons and twenty reverend bishops,
I have perform'd my task and was espoused:
And humbly now upon my bended knee,
In sight of England and her lordly peers,
Deliver up my title in the queen
To your most gracious hands, that are the substance
Of that great shadow I did represent;
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
The fairest queen that ever king received.
Suffolk, arise. Welcome, Queen Margaret:QUEEN MARGARET
I can express no kinder sign of love
Than this kind kiss. O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
For thou hast given me in this beauteous face
A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
Great King of England and my gracious lord,KING HENRY VI
The mutual conference that my mind hath had,
By day, by night, waking and in my dreams,
In courtly company or at my beads,
With you, mine alder-liefest sovereign,
Makes me the bolder to salute my king
With ruder terms, such as my wit affords
And over-joy of heart doth minister.
Her sight did ravish; but her grace in speech,ALL
Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty,
Makes me from wondering fall to weeping joys;
Such is the fulness of my heart's content.
Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.
[Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England'sQUEEN MARGARET
We thank you all.SUFFOLK
My lord protector, so it please your grace,GLOUCESTER
Here are the articles of contracted peace
Between our sovereign and the French king Charles,
For eighteen months concluded by consent.
[Reads] 'Imprimis, it is agreed between the FrenchKING HENRY VI
king Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of
Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that
the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret,
daughter unto Reignier King of Naples, Sicilia and
Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England ere the
thirtieth of May next ensuing. Item, that the duchy
of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released
and delivered to the king her father'--
Lets the paper fall
Uncle, how now!GLOUCESTER
Pardon me, gracious lord;KING HENRY VI
Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart
And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.
Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.CARDINAL
[Reads] 'Item, It is further agreed between them,KING HENRY VI
that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be
released and delivered over to the king her father,
and she sent over of the King of England's own
proper cost and charges, without having any dowry.'
They please us well. Lord marquess, kneel down:GLOUCESTER
We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk,
And gird thee with the sword. Cousin of York,
We here discharge your grace from being regent
I' the parts of France, till term of eighteen months
Be full expired. Thanks, uncle Winchester,
Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset,
Salisbury, and Warwick;
We thank you all for the great favour done,
In entertainment to my princely queen.
Come, let us in, and with all speed provide
To see her coronation be perform'd.
Exeunt KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and SUFFOLK
Brave peers of England, pillars of the state,CARDINAL
To you Duke Humphrey must unload his grief,
Your grief, the common grief of all the land.
What! did my brother Henry spend his youth,
His valour, coin and people, in the wars?
Did he so often lodge in open field,
In winter's cold and summer's parching heat,
To conquer France, his true inheritance?
And did my brother Bedford toil his wits,
To keep by policy what Henry got?
Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick,
Received deep scars in France and Normandy?
Or hath mine uncle Beaufort and myself,
With all the learned council of the realm,
Studied so long, sat in the council-house
Early and late, debating to and fro
How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe,
And had his highness in his infancy
Crowned in Paris in despite of foes?
And shall these labours and these honours die?
Shall Henry's conquest, Bedford's vigilance,
Your deeds of war and all our counsel die?
O peers of England, shameful is this league!
Fatal this marriage, cancelling your fame,
Blotting your names from books of memory,
Razing the characters of your renown,
Defacing monuments of conquer'd France,
Undoing all, as all had never been!
Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,GLOUCESTER
This peroration with such circumstance?
For France, 'tis ours; and we will keep it still.
Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;SALISBURY
But now it is impossible we should:
Suffolk, the new-made duke that rules the roast,
Hath given the duchy of Anjou and Maine
Unto the poor King Reignier, whose large style
Agrees not with the leanness of his purse.
Now, by the death of Him that died for all,WARWICK
These counties were the keys of Normandy.
But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
For grief that they are past recovery:YORK
For, were there hope to conquer them again,
My sword should shed hot blood, mine eyes no tears.
Anjou and Maine! myself did win them both;
Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer:
And are the cities, that I got with wounds,
Delivered up again with peaceful words?
For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate,GLOUCESTER
That dims the honour of this warlike isle!
France should have torn and rent my very heart,
Before I would have yielded to this league.
I never read but England's kings have had
Large sums of gold and dowries with their wives:
And our King Henry gives away his own,
To match with her that brings no vantages.
A proper jest, and never heard before,CARDINAL
That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth
For costs and charges in transporting her!
She should have stayed in France and starved
in France, Before--
My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:GLOUCESTER
It was the pleasure of my lord the King.
My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind;CARDINAL
'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike,
But 'tis my presence that doth trouble ye.
Rancour will out: proud prelate, in thy face
I see thy fury: if I longer stay,
We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone,
I prophesied France will be lost ere long.
So, there goes our protector in a rage.BUCKINGHAM
'Tis known to you he is mine enemy,
Nay, more, an enemy unto you all,
And no great friend, I fear me, to the king.
Consider, lords, he is the next of blood,
And heir apparent to the English crown:
Had Henry got an empire by his marriage,
And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,
There's reason he should be displeased at it.
Look to it, lords! let not his smoothing words
Bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect.
What though the common people favour him,
Calling him 'Humphrey, the good Duke of
Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice,
'Jesu maintain your royal excellence!'
With 'God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!'
I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
He will be found a dangerous protector.
Why should he, then, protect our sovereign,CARDINAL
He being of age to govern of himself?
Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk,
We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.
This weighty business will not brook delay:SOMERSET
I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.
Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's prideBUCKINGHAM
And greatness of his place be grief to us,
Yet let us watch the haughty cardinal:
His insolence is more intolerable
Than all the princes in the land beside:
If Gloucester be displaced, he'll be protector.
Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector,SALISBURY
Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.
Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET
Pride went before, ambition follows him.WARWICK
While these do labour for their own preferment,
Behoves it us to labour for the realm.
I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloucester
Did bear him like a noble gentleman.
Oft have I seen the haughty cardinal,
More like a soldier than a man o' the church,
As stout and proud as he were lord of all,
Swear like a ruffian and demean himself
Unlike the ruler of a commonweal.
Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age,
Thy deeds, thy plainness and thy housekeeping,
Hath won the greatest favour of the commons,
Excepting none but good Duke Humphrey:
And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland,
In bringing them to civil discipline,
Thy late exploits done in the heart of France,
When thou wert regent for our sovereign,
Have made thee fear'd and honour'd of the people:
Join we together, for the public good,
In what we can, to bridle and suppress
The pride of Suffolk and the cardinal,
With Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition;
And, as we may, cherish Duke Humphrey's deeds,
While they do tend the profit of the land.
So God help Warwick, as he loves the land,YORK
And common profit of his country!
[Aside] And so says York, for he hath greatest cause.SALISBURY
Then let's make haste away, and look unto the main.WARWICK
Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost;YORK
That Maine which by main force Warwick did win,
And would have kept so long as breath did last!
Main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine,
Which I will win from France, or else be slain,
Exeunt WARWICK and SALISBURY
Anjou and Maine are given to the French;
Paris is lost; the state of Normandy
Stands on a tickle point, now they are gone:
Suffolk concluded on the articles,
The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleased
To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter.
I cannot blame them all: what is't to them?
'Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage
And purchase friends and give to courtezans,
Still revelling like lords till all be gone;
While as the silly owner of the goods
Weeps over them and wrings his hapless hands
And shakes his head and trembling stands aloof,
While all is shared and all is borne away,
Ready to starve and dare not touch his own:
So York must sit and fret and bite his tongue,
While his own lands are bargain'd for and sold.
Methinks the realms of England, France and Ireland
Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood
As did the fatal brand Althaea burn'd
Unto the prince's heart of Calydon.
Anjou and Maine both given unto the French!
Cold news for me, for I had hope of France,
Even as I have of fertile England's soil.
A day will come when York shall claim his own;
And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts
And make a show of love to proud Duke Humphrey,
And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
For that's the golden mark I seek to hit:
Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
Whose church-like humours fits not for a crown.
Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve:
Watch thou and wake when others be asleep,
To pry into the secrets of the state;
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
With his new bride and England's dear-bought queen,
And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars:
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed;
And in my standard bear the arms of York
To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown,
Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.
Enter GLOUCESTER and his DUCHESSDUCHESS
Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd corn,GLOUCESTER
Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load?
Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
As frowning at the favours of the world?
Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
What seest thou there? King Henry's diadem,
Enchased with all the honours of the world?
If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face,
Until thy head be circled with the same.
Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold.
What, is't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine:
And, having both together heaved it up,
We'll both together lift our heads to heaven,
And never more abase our sight so low
As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,DUCHESS
Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts.
And may that thought, when I imagine ill
Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
My troublous dream this night doth make me sad.
What dream'd my lord? tell me, and I'll requite itGLOUCESTER
With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court,DUCHESS
Was broke in twain; by whom I have forgot,
But, as I think, it was by the cardinal;
And on the pieces of the broken wand
Were placed the heads of Edmund Duke of Somerset,
And William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk.
This was my dream: what it doth bode, God knows.
Tut, this was nothing but an argumentGLOUCESTER
That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester's grove
Shall lose his head for his presumption.
But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
Methought I sat in seat of majesty
In the cathedral church of Westminster,
And in that chair where kings and queens are crown'd;
Where Henry and dame Margaret kneel'd to me
And on my head did set the diadem.
Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:DUCHESS
Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor,
Art thou not second woman in the realm,
And the protector's wife, beloved of him?
Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
And wilt thou still be hammering treachery,
To tumble down thy husband and thyself
From top of honour to disgrace's feet?
Away from me, and let me hear no more!
What, what, my lord! are you so cholericGLOUCESTER
With Eleanor, for telling but her dream?
Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself,
And not be cheque'd.
Nay, be not angry; I am pleased again.Messenger
My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasureGLOUCESTER
You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's,
Where as the king and queen do mean to hawk.
I go. Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?DUCHESS
Yes, my good lord, I'll follow presently.HUME
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and MessengerFollow I must; I cannot go before,
While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks
And smooth my way upon their headless necks;
And, being a woman, I will not be slack
To play my part in Fortune's pageant.
Where are you there? Sir John! nay, fear not, man,
We are alone; here's none but thee and I.
Jesus preserve your royal majesty!DUCHESS
What say'st thou? majesty! I am but grace.HUME
But, by the grace of God, and Hume's advice,DUCHESS
Your grace's title shall be multiplied.
What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr'dHUME
With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
And will they undertake to do me good?
This they have promised, to show your highnessDUCHESS
A spirit raised from depth of under-ground,
That shall make answer to such questions
As by your grace shall be propounded him.
It is enough; I'll think upon the questions:HUME
When from St. Alban's we do make return,
We'll see these things effected to the full.
Here, Hume, take this reward; make merry, man,
With thy confederates in this weighty cause.
Hume must make merry with the duchess' gold;
Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume!
Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum:
The business asketh silent secrecy.
Dame Eleanor gives gold to bring the witch:
Gold cannot come amiss, were she a devil.
Yet have I gold flies from another coast;
I dare not say, from the rich cardinal
And from the great and new-made Duke of Suffolk,
Yet I do find it so; for to be plain,
They, knowing Dame Eleanor's aspiring humour,
Have hired me to undermine the duchess
And buz these conjurations in her brain.
They say 'A crafty knave does need no broker;'
Yet am I Suffolk and the cardinal's broker.
Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
To call them both a pair of crafty knaves.
Well, so it stands; and thus, I fear, at last
Hume's knavery will be the duchess' wreck,
And her attainture will be Humphrey's fall:
Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.
Enter three or four Petitioners, PETER, the Armourer's man, being oneFirst Petitioner
My masters, let's stand close: my lord protectorSecond Petitioner
will come this way by and by, and then we may deliver
our supplications in the quill.
Marry, the Lord protect him, for he's a good man!PETER
Jesu bless him!
Enter SUFFOLK and QUEEN MARGARET
Here a' comes, methinks, and the queen with him.Second Petitioner
I'll be the first, sure.
Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk, andSUFFOLK
not my lord protector.
How now, fellow! would'st anything with me?First Petitioner
I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lordQUEEN MARGARET
[Reading] 'To my Lord Protector!' Are yourFirst Petitioner
supplications to his lordship? Let me see them:
what is thine?
Mine is, an't please your grace, against JohnSUFFOLK
Goodman, my lord cardinal's man, for keeping my
house, and lands, and wife and all, from me.
Thy wife, too! that's some wrong, indeed. What'sSecond Petitioner
yours? What's here!
Reads'Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the
commons of Melford.' How now, sir knave!
Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner of our whole township.PETER
[Giving his petition] Against my master, ThomasQUEEN MARGARET
Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful
heir to the crown.
What sayst thou? did the Duke of York say he wasPETER
rightful heir to the crown?
That my master was? no, forsooth: my master saidSUFFOLK
that he was, and that the king was an usurper.
Who is there?QUEEN MARGARET
Enter ServantTake this fellow in, and send for
his master with a pursuivant presently: we'll hear
more of your matter before the King.
Exit Servant with PETER
And as for you, that love to be protectedALL
Under the wings of our protector's grace,
Begin your suits anew, and sue to him.
Tears the supplicationAway, base cullions! Suffolk, let them go.
Come, let's be gone.QUEEN MARGARET
My Lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise,SUFFOLK
Is this the fashion in the court of England?
Is this the government of Britain's isle,
And this the royalty of Albion's king?
What shall King Henry be a pupil still
Under the surly Gloucester's governance?
Am I a queen in title and in style,
And must be made a subject to a duke?
I tell thee, Pole, when in the city Tours
Thou ran'st a tilt in honour of my love
And stolest away the ladies' hearts of France,
I thought King Henry had resembled thee
In courage, courtship and proportion:
But all his mind is bent to holiness,
To number Ave-Maries on his beads;
His champions are the prophets and apostles,
His weapons holy saws of sacred writ,
His study is his tilt-yard, and his loves
Are brazen images of canonized saints.
I would the college of the cardinals
Would choose him pope, and carry him to Rome,
And set the triple crown upon his head:
That were a state fit for his holiness.
Madam, be patient: as I was causeQUEEN MARGARET
Your highness came to England, so will I
In England work your grace's full content.
Beside the haughty protector, have we Beaufort,SUFFOLK
The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham,
And grumbling York: and not the least of these
But can do more in England than the king.
And he of these that can do most of allQUEEN MARGARET
Cannot do more in England than the Nevils:
Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers.
Not all these lords do vex me half so muchSUFFOLK
As that proud dame, the lord protector's wife.
She sweeps it through the court with troops of ladies,
More like an empress than Duke Humphrey's wife:
Strangers in court do take her for the queen:
She bears a duke's revenues on her back,
And in her heart she scorns our poverty:
Shall I not live to be avenged on her?
Contemptuous base-born callet as she is,
She vaunted 'mongst her minions t'other day,
The very train of her worst wearing gown
Was better worth than all my father's lands,
Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
Madam, myself have limed a bush for her,KING HENRY VI
And placed a quire of such enticing birds,
That she will light to listen to the lays,
And never mount to trouble you again.
So, let her rest: and, madam, list to me;
For I am bold to counsel you in this.
Although we fancy not the cardinal,
Yet must we join with him and with the lords,
Till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace.
As for the Duke of York, this late complaint
Will make but little for his benefit.
So, one by one, we'll weed them all at last,
And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.
Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, BUCKINGHAM, YORK, SOMERSET, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and the DUCHESS
For my part, noble lords, I care not which;YORK
Or Somerset or York, all's one to me.
If York have ill demean'd himself in France,SOMERSET
Then let him be denay'd the regentship.
If Somerset be unworthy of the place,WARWICK
Let York be regent; I will yield to him.
Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no,CARDINAL
Dispute not that: York is the worthier.
Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.WARWICK
The cardinal's not my better in the field.BUCKINGHAM
All in this presence are thy betters, Warwick.WARWICK
Warwick may live to be the best of all.SALISBURY
Peace, son! and show some reason, Buckingham,QUEEN MARGARET
Why Somerset should be preferred in this.
Because the king, forsooth, will have it so.GLOUCESTER
Madam, the king is old enough himselfQUEEN MARGARET
To give his censure: these are no women's matters.
If he be old enough, what needs your graceGLOUCESTER
To be protector of his excellence?
Madam, I am protector of the realm;SUFFOLK
And, at his pleasure, will resign my place.
Resign it then and leave thine insolence.CARDINAL
Since thou wert king--as who is king but thou?--
The commonwealth hath daily run to wreck;
The Dauphin hath prevail'd beyond the seas;
And all the peers and nobles of the realm
Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bagsSOMERSET
Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife's attireBUCKINGHAM
Have cost a mass of public treasury.
Thy cruelty in executionQUEEN MARGARET
Upon offenders, hath exceeded law,
And left thee to the mercy of the law.
They sale of offices and towns in France,DUCHESS
If they were known, as the suspect is great,
Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
Exit GLOUCESTER. QUEEN MARGARET drops her fanGive me my fan: what, minion! can ye not?
She gives the DUCHESS a box on the earI cry you mercy, madam; was it you?
Was't I! yea, I it was, proud Frenchwoman:KING HENRY VI
Could I come near your beauty with my nails,
I'd set my ten commandments in your face.
Sweet aunt, be quiet; 'twas against her will.DUCHESS
Against her will! good king, look to't in time;BUCKINGHAM
She'll hamper thee, and dandle thee like a baby:
Though in this place most master wear no breeches,
She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged.
Lord cardinal, I will follow Eleanor,GLOUCESTER
And listen after Humphrey, how he proceeds:
She's tickled now; her fume needs no spurs,
She'll gallop far enough to her destruction.
Now, lords, my choler being over-blownSUFFOLK
With walking once about the quadrangle,
I come to talk of commonwealth affairs.
As for your spiteful false objections,
Prove them, and I lie open to the law:
But God in mercy so deal with my soul,
As I in duty love my king and country!
But, to the matter that we have in hand:
I say, my sovereign, York is meetest man
To be your regent in the realm of France.
Before we make election, give me leaveYORK
To show some reason, of no little force,
That York is most unmeet of any man.
I'll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:WARWICK
First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride;
Next, if I be appointed for the place,
My Lord of Somerset will keep me here,
Without discharge, money, or furniture,
Till France be won into the Dauphin's hands:
Last time, I danced attendance on his will
Till Paris was besieged, famish'd, and lost.
That can I witness; and a fouler factSUFFOLK
Did never traitor in the land commit.
Peace, headstrong Warwick!WARWICK
Image of pride, why should I hold my peace?SUFFOLK
Enter HORNER, the Armourer, and his man PETER, guarded
Because here is a man accused of treason:YORK
Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
Doth any one accuse York for a traitor?KING HENRY VI
What mean'st thou, Suffolk; tell me, what are these?SUFFOLK
Please it your majesty, this is the manKING HENRY VI
That doth accuse his master of high treason:
His words were these: that Richard, Duke of York,
Was rightful heir unto the English crown
And that your majesty was a usurper.
Say, man, were these thy words?HORNER
An't shall please your majesty, I never said norPETER
thought any such matter: God is my witness, I am
falsely accused by the villain.
By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak them toYORK
me in the garret one night, as we were scouring my
Lord of York's armour.
Base dunghill villain and mechanical,HORNER
I'll have thy head for this thy traitor's speech.
I do beseech your royal majesty,
Let him have all the rigor of the law.
Alas, my lord, hang me, if ever I spake the words.KING HENRY VI
My accuser is my 'prentice; and when I did correct
him for his fault the other day, he did vow upon his
knees he would be even with me: I have good
witness of this: therefore I beseech your majesty,
do not cast away an honest man for a villain's
Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?GLOUCESTER
This doom, my lord, if I may judge:SOMERSET
Let Somerset be regent over the French,
Because in York this breeds suspicion:
And let these have a day appointed them
For single combat in convenient place,
For he hath witness of his servant's malice:
This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey's doom.
I humbly thank your royal majesty.HORNER
And I accept the combat willingly.PETER
Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God's sake, pityGLOUCESTER
my case. The spite of man prevaileth against me. O
Lord, have mercy upon me! I shall never be able to
fight a blow. O Lord, my heart!
Sirrah, or you must fight, or else be hang'd.KING HENRY VI
Away with them to prison; and the day of combat
shall be the last of the next month. Come,
Somerset, we'll see thee sent away.
Enter MARGARET JOURDAIN, HUME, SOUTHWELL, and BOLINGBROKEHUME
Come, my masters; the duchess, I tell you, expectsBOLINGBROKE
performance of your promises.
Master Hume, we are therefore provided: will herHUME
ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms?
Ay, what else? fear you not her courage.BOLINGBROKE
I have heard her reported to be a woman of anDUCHESS
invincible spirit: but it shall be convenient,
Master Hume, that you be by her aloft, while we be
busy below; and so, I pray you, go, in God's name,
and leave us.
Exit HUMEMother Jourdain, be you
prostrate and grovel on the earth; John Southwell,
read you; and let us to our work.
Enter the DUCHESS aloft, HUME following
Well said, my masters; and welcome all. To thisBOLINGBROKE
gear the sooner the better.
Patience, good lady; wizards know their times:Spirit
Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night,
The time of night when Troy was set on fire;
The time when screech-owls cry and ban-dogs howl,
And spirits walk and ghosts break up their graves,
That time best fits the work we have in hand.
Madam, sit you and fear not: whom we raise,
We will make fast within a hallow'd verge.
Here they do the ceremonies belonging, and make the circle; BOLINGBROKE or SOUTHWELL reads, Conjuro te, & c. It thunders and lightens terribly; then the Spirit riseth
By the eternal God, whose name and power
Thou tremblest at, answer that I shall ask;
For, till thou speak, thou shalt not pass from hence.
Ask what thou wilt. That I had said and done!BOLINGBROKE
'First of the king: what shall of him become?'Spirit
Reading out of a paper
The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose;BOLINGBROKE
But him outlive, and die a violent death.
As the Spirit speaks, SOUTHWELL writes the answer
'What fates await the Duke of Suffolk?'Spirit
By water shall he die, and take his end.BOLINGBROKE
'What shall befall the Duke of Somerset?'Spirit
Let him shun castles;BOLINGBROKE
Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains
Than where castles mounted stand.
Have done, for more I hardly can endure.
Descend to darkness and the burning lake!YORK
False fiend, avoid!
Thunder and lightning. Exit Spirit
Enter YORK and BUCKINGHAM with their Guard and break in
Lay hands upon these traitors and their trash.DUCHESS
Beldam, I think we watch'd you at an inch.
What, madam, are you there? the king and commonweal
Are deeply indebted for this piece of pains:
My lord protector will, I doubt it not,
See you well guerdon'd for these good deserts.
Not half so bad as thine to England's king,BUCKINGHAM
Injurious duke, that threatest where's no cause.
True, madam, none at all: what call you this?YORK
Away with them! let them be clapp'd up close.
And kept asunder. You, madam, shall with us.
Stafford, take her to thee.
Exeunt above DUCHESS and HUME, guardedWe'll see your trinkets here all forthcoming.
Exeunt guard with MARGARET JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, & c
Lord Buckingham, methinks, you watch'd her well:BUCKINGHAM
A pretty plot, well chosen to build upon!
Now, pray, my lord, let's see the devil's writ.
What have we here?
Reads'The duke yet lives, that Henry shall depose;
But him outlive, and die a violent death.'
Why, this is just
'Aio te, AEacida, Romanos vincere posse.'
Well, to the rest:
'Tell me what fate awaits the Duke of Suffolk?
By water shall he die, and take his end.
What shall betide the Duke of Somerset?
Let him shun castles;
Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains
Than where castles mounted stand.'
Come, come, my lords;
These oracles are hardly attain'd,
And hardly understood.
The king is now in progress towards Saint Alban's,
With him the husband of this lovely lady:
Thither go these news, as fast as horse can
A sorry breakfast for my lord protector.
Your grace shall give me leave, my Lord of York,YORK
To be the post, in hope of his reward.
At your pleasure, my good lord. Who's within
Enter a ServingmanInvite my Lords of Salisbury and Warwick
To sup with me to-morrow night. Away!
Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, and SUFFOLK, with Falconers halloingQUEEN MARGARET
Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook,KING HENRY VI
I saw not better sport these seven years' day:
Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high;
And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.
But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,SUFFOLK
And what a pitch she flew above the rest!
To see how God in all his creatures works!
Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
No marvel, an it like your majesty,GLOUCESTER
My lord protector's hawks do tower so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft,
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.
My lord, 'tis but a base ignoble mindCARDINAL
That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.
I thought as much; he would be above the clouds.GLOUCESTER
Ay, my lord cardinal? how think you by that?KING HENRY VI
Were it not good your grace could fly to heaven?
The treasury of everlasting joy.CARDINAL
Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughtsGLOUCESTER
Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart;
Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,
That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal!
What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory?SUFFOLK
Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?
Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice;
With such holiness can you do it?
No malice, sir; no more than well becomesGLOUCESTER
So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.
As who, my lord?SUFFOLK
Why, as you, my lord,GLOUCESTER
An't like your lordly lord-protectorship.
Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.QUEEN MARGARET
And thy ambition, Gloucester.KING HENRY VI
I prithee, peace, good queen,CARDINAL
And whet not on these furious peers;
For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.
Let me be blessed for the peace I make,GLOUCESTER
Against this proud protector, with my sword!
[Aside to CARDINAL] Faith, holy uncle, wouldCARDINAL
'twere come to that!
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Marry, when thou darest.GLOUCESTER
[Aside to CARDINAL] Make up no factiousCARDINAL
numbers for the matter;
In thine own person answer thy abuse.
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Ay, where thou darestKING HENRY VI
not peep: an if thou darest,
This evening, on the east side of the grove.
How now, my lords!CARDINAL
Believe me, cousin Gloucester,GLOUCESTER
Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
We had had more sport.
Aside to GLOUCESTERCome with thy two-hand sword.
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Are ye advised? theGLOUCESTER
east side of the grove?
[Aside to CARDINAL] Cardinal, I am with you.KING HENRY VI
Why, how now, uncle Gloucester!GLOUCESTER
Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.CARDINAL
Aside to CARDINALNow, by God's mother, priest, I'll shave your crown for this,
Or all my fence shall fail.
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Medice, teipsum--KING HENRY VI
Protector, see to't well, protect yourself.
The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords.GLOUCESTER
How irksome is this music to my heart!
When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.
Enter a Townsman of Saint Alban's, crying 'A miracle!'
What means this noise?Townsman
Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?
A miracle! a miracle!SUFFOLK
Come to the king and tell him what miracle.Townsman
Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban's shrine,KING HENRY VI
Within this half-hour, hath received his sight;
A man that ne'er saw in his life before.
Now, God be praised, that to believing soulsCARDINAL
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!
Enter the Mayor of Saint Alban's and his brethren, bearing SIMPCOX, between two in a chair, SIMPCOX's Wife following
Here comes the townsmen on procession,KING HENRY VI
To present your highness with the man.
Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,GLOUCESTER
Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
Stand by, my masters: bring him near the king;KING HENRY VI
His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.
Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,SIMPCOX
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?
Born blind, an't please your grace.Wife
Ay, indeed, was he.SUFFOLK
What woman is this?Wife
His wife, an't like your worship.GLOUCESTER
Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst haveKING HENRY VI
Where wert thou born?SIMPCOX
At Berwick in the north, an't like your grace.KING HENRY VI
Poor soul, God's goodness hath been great to thee:QUEEN MARGARET
Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.
Tell me, good fellow, camest thou here by chance,SIMPCOX
Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?
God knows, of pure devotion; being call'dWife
A hundred times and oftener, in my sleep,
By good Saint Alban; who said, 'Simpcox, come,
Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.'
Most true, forsooth; and many time and oftCARDINAL
Myself have heard a voice to call him so.
What, art thou lame?SIMPCOX
Ay, God Almighty help me!SUFFOLK
How camest thou so?SIMPCOX
A fall off of a tree.Wife
A plum-tree, master.GLOUCESTER
How long hast thou been blind?SIMPCOX
Born so, master.GLOUCESTER
What, and wouldst climb a tree?SIMPCOX
But that in all my life, when I was a youth.Wife
Too true; and bought his climbing very dear.GLOUCESTER
Mass, thou lovedst plums well, that wouldstSIMPCOX
Alas, good master, my wife desired some damsons,GLOUCESTER
And made me climb, with danger of my life.
A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve.SIMPCOX
Let me see thine eyes: wink now: now open them:
In my opinion yet thou seest not well.
Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God andGLOUCESTER
Say'st thou me so? What colour is this cloak of?SIMPCOX
Red, master; red as blood.GLOUCESTER
Why, that's well said. What colour is my gown of?SIMPCOX
Black, forsooth: coal-black as jet.KING HENRY VI
Why, then, thou know'st what colour jet is of?SUFFOLK
And yet, I think, jet did he never see.GLOUCESTER
But cloaks and gowns, before this day, a many.Wife
Never, before this day, in all his life.GLOUCESTER
Tell me, sirrah, what's my name?SIMPCOX
Alas, master, I know not.GLOUCESTER
What's his name?SIMPCOX
I know not.GLOUCESTER
No, indeed, master.GLOUCESTER
What's thine own name?SIMPCOX
Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you, master.GLOUCESTER
Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest knave inSIMPCOX
Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind, thou
mightest as well have known all our names as thus to
name the several colours we do wear. Sight may
distinguish of colours, but suddenly to nominate them
all, it is impossible. My lords, Saint Alban here
hath done a miracle; and would ye not think his
cunning to be great, that could restore this cripple
to his legs again?
O master, that you could!GLOUCESTER
My masters of Saint Alban's, have you not beadles inMayor
your town, and things called whips?
Yes, my lord, if it please your grace.GLOUCESTER
Then send for one presently.Mayor
Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.GLOUCESTER
Exit an Attendant
Now fetch me a stool hither by and by. Now, sirrah,SIMPCOX
if you mean to save yourself from whipping, leap me
over this stool and run away.
Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone:GLOUCESTER
You go about to torture me in vain.
Enter a Beadle with whips
Well, sir, we must have you find your legs. SirrahBeadle
beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.
I will, my lord. Come on, sirrah; off with yourSIMPCOX
Alas, master, what shall I do? I am not able to stand.KING HENRY VI
After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps over the stool and runs away; and they follow and cry, 'A miracle!'
O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long?QUEEN MARGARET
It made me laugh to see the villain run.GLOUCESTER
Follow the knave; and take this drab away.Wife
Alas, sir, we did it for pure need.GLOUCESTER
Let them be whipped through every market-town, tillCARDINAL
they come to Berwick, from whence they came.
Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, & c
Duke Humphrey has done a miracle to-day.SUFFOLK
True; made the lame to leap and fly away.GLOUCESTER
But you have done more miracles than I;KING HENRY VI
You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.
What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?BUCKINGHAM
Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold.CARDINAL
A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
Of Lady Eleanor, the protector's wife,
The ringleader and head of all this rout,
Have practised dangerously against your state,
Dealing with witches and with conjurers:
Whom we have apprehended in the fact;
Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,
Demanding of King Henry's life and death,
And other of your highness' privy-council;
As more at large your grace shall understand.
[Aside to GLOUCESTER] And so, my lord protector,GLOUCESTER
by this means
Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.
This news, I think, hath turn'd your weapon's edge;
'Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart:KING HENRY VI
Sorrow and grief have vanquish'd all my powers;
And, vanquish'd as I am, I yield to thee,
Or to the meanest groom.
O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,QUEEN MARGARET
Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!
Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest.GLOUCESTER
And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal,KING HENRY VI
How I have loved my king and commonweal:
And, for my wife, I know not how it stands;
Sorry I am to hear what I have heard:
Noble she is, but if she have forgot
Honour and virtue and conversed with such
As, like to pitch, defile nobility,
I banish her my bed and company
And give her as a prey to law and shame,
That hath dishonour'd Gloucester's honest name.
Well, for this night we will repose us here:
To-morrow toward London back again,
To look into this business thoroughly
And call these foul offenders to their answers
And poise the cause in justice' equal scales,
Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause prevails.
Enter YORK, SALISBURY, and WARWICKYORK
Now, my good Lords of Salisbury and Warwick,SALISBURY
Our simple supper ended, give me leave
In this close walk to satisfy myself,
In craving your opinion of my title,
Which is infallible, to England's crown.
My lord, I long to hear it at full.WARWICK
Sweet York, begin: and if thy claim be good,YORK
The Nevils are thy subjects to command.
Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons:
The first, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales;
The second, William of Hatfield, and the third,
Lionel Duke of Clarence: next to whom
Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;
The fifth was Edmund Langley, Duke of York;
The sixth was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester;
William of Windsor was the seventh and last.
Edward the Black Prince died before his father
And left behind him Richard, his only son,
Who after Edward the Third's death reign'd as king;
Till Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,
Crown'd by the name of Henry the Fourth,
Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king,
Sent his poor queen to France, from whence she came,
And him to Pomfret; where, as all you know,
Harmless Richard was murder'd traitorously.
Father, the duke hath told the truth:YORK
Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.
Which now they hold by force and not by right;SALISBURY
For Richard, the first son's heir, being dead,
The issue of the next son should have reign'd.
But William of Hatfield died without an heir.YORK
The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose lineSALISBURY
I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter,
Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke,YORK
As I have read, laid claim unto the crown;
And, but for Owen Glendower, had been king,
Who kept him in captivity till he died.
But to the rest.
His eldest sister, Anne,WARWICK
My mother, being heir unto the crown
Married Richard Earl of Cambridge; who was son
To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son.
By her I claim the kingdom: she was heir
To Roger Earl of March, who was the son
Of Edmund Mortimer, who married Philippe,
Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
So, if the issue of the elder son
Succeed before the younger, I am king.
What plain proceeding is more plain than this?BOTH
Henry doth claim the crown from John of Gaunt,
The fourth son; York claims it from the third.
Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign:
It fails not yet, but flourishes in thee
And in thy sons, fair slips of such a stock.
Then, father Salisbury, kneel we together;
And in this private plot be we the first
That shall salute our rightful sovereign
With honour of his birthright to the crown.
Long live our sovereign Richard, England's king!YORK
We thank you, lords. But I am not your kingSALISBURY
Till I be crown'd and that my sword be stain'd
With heart-blood of the house of Lancaster;
And that's not suddenly to be perform'd,
But with advice and silent secrecy.
Do you as I do in these dangerous days:
Wink at the Duke of Suffolk's insolence,
At Beaufort's pride, at Somerset's ambition,
At Buckingham and all the crew of them,
Till they have snared the shepherd of the flock,
That virtuous prince, the good Duke Humphrey:
'Tis that they seek, and they in seeking that
Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.
My lord, break we off; we know your mind at full.WARWICK
My heart assures me that the Earl of WarwickYORK
Shall one day make the Duke of York a king.
And, Nevil, this I do assure myself:
Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick
The greatest man in England but the king.
Sound trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, YORK, SUFFOLK, and SALISBURY; the DUCHESS, MARGARET JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, HUME, and BOLINGBROKE, under guardKING HENRY VI
Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester's wife:DUCHESS
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great:
Receive the sentence of the law for sins
Such as by God's book are adjudged to death.
You four, from hence to prison back again;
From thence unto the place of execution:
The witch in Smithfield shall be burn'd to ashes,
And you three shall be strangled on the gallows.
You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days' open penance done,
Live in your country here in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.
Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.GLOUCESTER
Eleanor, the law, thou see'st, hath judged thee:KING HENRY VI
I cannot justify whom the law condemns.
Exeunt DUCHESS and other prisoners, guardedMine eyes are full of tears, my heart of grief.
Ah, Humphrey, this dishonour in thine age
Will bring thy head with sorrow to the ground!
I beseech your majesty, give me leave to go;
Sorrow would solace and mine age would ease.
Stay, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester: ere thou go,QUEEN MARGARET
Give up thy staff: Henry will to himself
Protector be; and God shall be my hope,
My stay, my guide and lantern to my feet:
And go in peace, Humphrey, no less beloved
Than when thou wert protector to thy King.
I see no reason why a king of yearsGLOUCESTER
Should be to be protected like a child.
God and King Henry govern England's realm.
Give up your staff, sir, and the king his realm.
My staff? here, noble Henry, is my staff:QUEEN MARGARET
As willingly do I the same resign
As e'er thy father Henry made it mine;
And even as willingly at thy feet I leave it
As others would ambitiously receive it.
Farewell, good king: when I am dead and gone,
May honourable peace attend thy throne!
Why, now is Henry king, and Margaret queen;SUFFOLK
And Humphrey Duke of Gloucester scarce himself,
That bears so shrewd a maim; two pulls at once;
His lady banish'd, and a limb lopp'd off.
This staff of honour raught, there let it stand
Where it best fits to be, in Henry's hand.
Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays;YORK
Thus Eleanor's pride dies in her youngest days.
Lords, let him go. Please it your majesty,QUEEN MARGARET
This is the day appointed for the combat;
And ready are the appellant and defendant,
The armourer and his man, to enter the lists,
So please your highness to behold the fight.
Ay, good my lord; for purposely thereforeKING HENRY VI
Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.
O God's name, see the lists and all things fit:YORK
Here let them end it; and God defend the right!
I never saw a fellow worse bested,First Neighbour
Or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant,
The servant of this armourer, my lords.
Enter at one door, HORNER, the Armourer, and his Neighbours, drinking to him so much that he is drunk; and he enters with a drum before him and his staff with a sand-bag fastened to it; and at the other door PETER, his man, with a drum and sand-bag, and 'Prentices drinking to him
Here, neighbour Horner, I drink to you in a cup ofSecond Neighbour
sack: and fear not, neighbour, you shall do well enough.
And here, neighbour, here's a cup of charneco.Third Neighbour
And here's a pot of good double beer, neighbour:HORNER
drink, and fear not your man.
Let it come, i' faith, and I'll pledge you all; andPETER
a fig for Peter!
First 'Prentice Here, Peter, I drink to thee: and be not afraid.
Second 'Prentice Be merry, Peter, and fear not thy master: fight
for credit of the 'prentices.
I thank you all: drink, and pray for me, I praySALISBURY
you; for I think I have taken my last draught in
this world. Here, Robin, an if I die, I give thee
my apron: and, Will, thou shalt have my hammer:
and here, Tom, take all the money that I have. O
Lord bless me! I pray God! for I am never able to
deal with my master, he hath learnt me so much fence already.
Come, leave your drinking, and fall to blows.PETER
Sirrah, what's thy name?
Peter! what more?PETER
Thump! then see thou thump thy master well.HORNER
Masters, I am come hither, as it were, upon my man'sYORK
instigation, to prove him a knave and myself an
honest man: and touching the Duke of York, I will
take my death, I never meant him any ill, nor the
king, nor the queen: and therefore, Peter, have at
thee with a downright blow!
Dispatch: this knave's tongue begins to double.HORNER
Sound, trumpets, alarum to the combatants!
Alarum. They fight, and PETER strikes him down
Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.YORK
Take away his weapon. Fellow, thank God, and thePETER
good wine in thy master's way.
O God, have I overcome mine enemy in this presence?KING HENRY VI
O Peter, thou hast prevailed in right!
Go, take hence that traitor from our sight;
For his death we do perceive his guilt:
And God in justice hath revealed to us
The truth and innocence of this poor fellow,
Which he had thought to have murder'd wrongfully.
Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.
Sound a flourish. Exeunt
Enter GLOUCESTER and his Servingmen, in mourning cloaksGLOUCESTER
Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;Servants
And after summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold:
So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
Sirs, what's o'clock?
Ten, my lord.GLOUCESTER
Ten is the hour that was appointed meServant
To watch the coming of my punish'd duchess:
Uneath may she endure the flinty streets,
To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.
Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook
The abject people gazing on thy face,
With envious looks, laughing at thy shame,
That erst did follow thy proud chariot-wheels
When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
But, soft! I think she comes; and I'll prepare
My tear-stain'd eyes to see her miseries.
Enter the DUCHESS in a white sheet, and a taper burning in her hand; with STANLEY, the Sheriff, and Officers
So please your grace, we'll take her from the sheriff.GLOUCESTER
No, stir not, for your lives; let her pass by.DUCHESS
Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?GLOUCESTER
Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze!
See how the giddy multitude do point,
And nod their heads, and throw their eyes on thee!
Ah, Gloucester, hide thee from their hateful looks,
And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine!
Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.DUCHESS
Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself!GLOUCESTER
For whilst I think I am thy married wife
And thou a prince, protector of this land,
Methinks I should not thus be led along,
Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back,
And followed with a rabble that rejoice
To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
And when I start, the envious people laugh
And bid me be advised how I tread.
Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
Trow'st thou that e'er I'll look upon the world,
Or count them happy that enjoy the sun?
No; dark shall be my light and night my day;
To think upon my pomp shall be my hell.
Sometime I'll say, I am Duke Humphrey's wife,
And he a prince and ruler of the land:
Yet so he ruled and such a prince he was
As he stood by whilst I, his forlorn duchess,
Was made a wonder and a pointing-stock
To every idle rascal follower.
But be thou mild and blush not at my shame,
Nor stir at nothing till the axe of death
Hang over thee, as, sure, it shortly will;
For Suffolk, he that can do all in all
With her that hateth thee and hates us all,
And York and impious Beaufort, that false priest,
Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings,
And, fly thou how thou canst, they'll tangle thee:
But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
Ah, Nell, forbear! thou aimest all awry;Herald
I must offend before I be attainted;
And had I twenty times so many foes,
And each of them had twenty times their power,
All these could not procure me any scathe,
So long as I am loyal, true and crimeless.
Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?
Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away
But I in danger for the breach of law.
Thy greatest help is quiet, gentle Nell:
I pray thee, sort thy heart to patience;
These few days' wonder will be quickly worn.
Enter a Herald
I summon your grace to his majesty's parliament,GLOUCESTER
Holden at Bury the first of this next month.
And my consent ne'er ask'd herein before!Sheriff
This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
Exit HeraldMy Nell, I take my leave: and, master sheriff,
Let not her penance exceed the king's commission.
An't please your grace, here my commission stays,GLOUCESTER
And Sir John Stanley is appointed now
To take her with him to the Isle of Man.
Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?STANLEY
So am I given in charge, may't please your grace.GLOUCESTER
Entreat her not the worse in that I prayDUCHESS
You use her well: the world may laugh again;
And I may live to do you kindness if
You do it her: and so, Sir John, farewell!
What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell!GLOUCESTER
Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.DUCHESS
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Servingmen
Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee!STANLEY
For none abides with me: my joy is death;
Death, at whose name I oft have been afear'd,
Because I wish'd this world's eternity.
Stanley, I prithee, go, and take me hence;
I care not whither, for I beg no favour,
Only convey me where thou art commanded.
Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man;DUCHESS
There to be used according to your state.
That's bad enough, for I am but reproach:STANLEY
And shall I then be used reproachfully?
Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey's lady;DUCHESS
According to that state you shall be used.
Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,Sheriff
Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.
It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.DUCHESS
Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharged.STANLEY
Come, Stanley, shall we go?
Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,DUCHESS
And go we to attire you for our journey.
My shame will not be shifted with my sheet:
No, it will hang upon my richest robes
And show itself, attire me how I can.
Go, lead the way; I long to see my prison.
Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL, SUFFOLK, YORK, BUCKINGHAM, SALISBURY and WARWICK to the ParliamentKING HENRY VI
I muse my Lord of Gloucester is not come:QUEEN MARGARET
'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,
Whate'er occasion keeps him from us now.
Can you not see? or will ye not observeSUFFOLK
The strangeness of his alter'd countenance?
With what a majesty he bears himself,
How insolent of late he is become,
How proud, how peremptory, and unlike himself?
We know the time since he was mild and affable,
And if we did but glance a far-off look,
Immediately he was upon his knee,
That all the court admired him for submission:
But meet him now, and, be it in the morn,
When every one will give the time of day,
He knits his brow and shows an angry eye,
And passeth by with stiff unbowed knee,
Disdaining duty that to us belongs.
Small curs are not regarded when they grin;
But great men tremble when the lion roars;
And Humphrey is no little man in England.
First note that he is near you in descent,
And should you fall, he as the next will mount.
Me seemeth then it is no policy,
Respecting what a rancorous mind he bears
And his advantage following your decease,
That he should come about your royal person
Or be admitted to your highness' council.
By flattery hath he won the commons' hearts,
And when he please to make commotion,
'Tis to be fear'd they all will follow him.
Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;
Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden
And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.
The reverent care I bear unto my lord
Made me collect these dangers in the duke.
If it be fond, call it a woman's fear;
Which fear if better reasons can supplant,
I will subscribe and say I wrong'd the duke.
My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,
Reprove my allegation, if you can;
Or else conclude my words effectual.
Well hath your highness seen into this duke;CARDINAL
And, had I first been put to speak my mind,
I think I should have told your grace's tale.
The duchess, by his subornation,
Upon my life, began her devilish practises:
Or, if he were not privy to those faults,
Yet, by reputing of his high descent,
As next the king he was successive heir,
And such high vaunts of his nobility,
Did instigate the bedlam brain-sick duchess
By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep;
And in his simple show he harbours treason.
The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
No, no, my sovereign; Gloucester is a man
Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.
Did he not, contrary to form of law,YORK
Devise strange deaths for small offences done?
And did he not, in his protectorship,BUCKINGHAM
Levy great sums of money through the realm
For soldiers' pay in France, and never sent it?
By means whereof the towns each day revolted.
Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown.KING HENRY VI
Which time will bring to light in smooth
My lords, at once: the care you have of us,QUEEN MARGARET
To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot,
Is worthy praise: but, shall I speak my conscience,
Our kinsman Gloucester is as innocent
From meaning treason to our royal person
As is the sucking lamb or harmless dove:
The duke is virtuous, mild and too well given
To dream on evil or to work my downfall.
Ah, what's more dangerous than this fond affiance!SOMERSET
Seems he a dove? his feathers are but borrowed,
For he's disposed as the hateful raven:
Is he a lamb? his skin is surely lent him,
For he's inclined as is the ravenous wolf.
Who cannot steal a shape that means deceit?
Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all
Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.
All health unto my gracious sovereign!KING HENRY VI
Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?SOMERSET
That all your interest in those territoriesKING HENRY VI
Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
Cold news, Lord Somerset: but God's will be done!YORK
[Aside] Cold news for me; for I had hope of FranceGLOUCESTER
As firmly as I hope for fertile England.
Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud
And caterpillars eat my leaves away;
But I will remedy this gear ere long,
Or sell my title for a glorious grave.
All happiness unto my lord the king!SUFFOLK
Pardon, my liege, that I have stay'd so long.
Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come too soon,GLOUCESTER
Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art:
I do arrest thee of high treason here.
Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blushYORK
Nor change my countenance for this arrest:
A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.
The purest spring is not so free from mud
As I am clear from treason to my sovereign:
Who can accuse me? wherein am I guilty?
'Tis thought, my lord, that you took bribes of France,GLOUCESTER
And, being protector, stayed the soldiers' pay;
By means whereof his highness hath lost France.
Is it but thought so? what are they that think it?CARDINAL
I never robb'd the soldiers of their pay,
Nor ever had one penny bribe from France.
So help me God, as I have watch'd the night,
Ay, night by night, in studying good for England,
That doit that e'er I wrested from the king,
Or any groat I hoarded to my use,
Be brought against me at my trial-day!
No; many a pound of mine own proper store,
Because I would not tax the needy commons,
Have I disbursed to the garrisons,
And never ask'd for restitution.
It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.GLOUCESTER
I say no more than truth, so help me God!YORK
In your protectorship you did deviseGLOUCESTER
Strange tortures for offenders never heard of,
That England was defamed by tyranny.
Why, 'tis well known that, whiles I wasSUFFOLK
Pity was all the fault that was in me;
For I should melt at an offender's tears,
And lowly words were ransom for their fault.
Unless it were a bloody murderer,
Or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers,
I never gave them condign punishment:
Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured
Above the felon or what trespass else.
My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answered:KING HENRY VI
But mightier crimes are laid unto your charge,
Whereof you cannot easily purge yourself.
I do arrest you in his highness' name;
And here commit you to my lord cardinal
To keep, until your further time of trial.
My lord of Gloucester, 'tis my special hopeGLOUCESTER
That you will clear yourself from all suspect:
My conscience tells me you are innocent.
Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous:CARDINAL
Virtue is choked with foul ambition
And charity chased hence by rancour's hand;
Foul subornation is predominant
And equity exiled your highness' land.
I know their complot is to have my life,
And if my death might make this island happy,
And prove the period of their tyranny,
I would expend it with all willingness:
But mine is made the prologue to their play;
For thousands more, that yet suspect no peril,
Will not conclude their plotted tragedy.
Beaufort's red sparkling eyes blab his heart's malice,
And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate;
Sharp Buckingham unburthens with his tongue
The envious load that lies upon his heart;
And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
Whose overweening arm I have pluck'd back,
By false accuse doth level at my life:
And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest,
Causeless have laid disgraces on my head,
And with your best endeavour have stirr'd up
My liefest liege to be mine enemy:
Ay, all you have laid your heads together--
Myself had notice of your conventicles--
And all to make away my guiltless life.
I shall not want false witness to condemn me,
Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt;
The ancient proverb will be well effected:
'A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.'
My liege, his railing is intolerable:SUFFOLK
If those that care to keep your royal person
From treason's secret knife and traitors' rage
Be thus upbraided, chid and rated at,
And the offender granted scope of speech,
'Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.
Hath he not twit our sovereign lady hereQUEEN MARGARET
With ignominious words, though clerkly couch'd,
As if she had suborned some to swear
False allegations to o'erthrow his state?
But I can give the loser leave to chide.GLOUCESTER
Far truer spoke than meant: I lose, indeed;BUCKINGHAM
Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false!
And well such losers may have leave to speak.
He'll wrest the sense and hold us here all day:CARDINAL
Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.
Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him sure.GLOUCESTER
Ah! thus King Henry throws away his crutchKING HENRY VI
Before his legs be firm to bear his body.
Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side,
And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
Ah, that my fear were false! ah, that it were!
For, good King Henry, thy decay I fear.
My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best,QUEEN MARGARET
Do or undo, as if ourself were here.
What, will your highness leave the parliament?KING HENRY VI
Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd with grief,QUEEN MARGARET
Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes,
My body round engirt with misery,
For what's more miserable than discontent?
Ah, uncle Humphrey! in thy face I see
The map of honour, truth and loyalty:
And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come
That e'er I proved thee false or fear'd thy faith.
What louring star now envies thy estate,
That these great lords and Margaret our queen
Do seek subversion of thy harmless life?
Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong;
And as the butcher takes away the calf
And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays,
Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house,
Even so remorseless have they borne him hence;
And as the dam runs lowing up and down,
Looking the way her harmless young one went,
And can do nought but wail her darling's loss,
Even so myself bewails good Gloucester's case
With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimm'd eyes
Look after him and cannot do him good,
So mighty are his vowed enemies.
His fortunes I will weep; and, 'twixt each groan
Say 'Who's a traitor? Gloucester he is none.'
Exeunt all but QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL, SUFFOLK, and YORK; SOMERSET remains apart
Free lords, cold snow melts with the sun's hot beams.CARDINAL
Henry my lord is cold in great affairs,
Too full of foolish pity, and Gloucester's show
Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile
With sorrow snares relenting passengers,
Or as the snake roll'd in a flowering bank,
With shining chequer'd slough, doth sting a child
That for the beauty thinks it excellent.
Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I--
And yet herein I judge mine own wit good--
This Gloucester should be quickly rid the world,
To rid us of the fear we have of him.
That he should die is worthy policy;SUFFOLK
But yet we want a colour for his death:
'Tis meet he be condemn'd by course of law.
But, in my mind, that were no policy:YORK
The king will labour still to save his life,
The commons haply rise, to save his life;
And yet we have but trivial argument,
More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death.
So that, by this, you would not have him die.SUFFOLK
Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I!YORK
'Tis York that hath more reason for his death.QUEEN MARGARET
But, my lord cardinal, and you, my Lord of Suffolk,
Say as you think, and speak it from your souls,
Were't not all one, an empty eagle were set
To guard the chicken from a hungry kite,
As place Duke Humphrey for the king's protector?
So the poor chicken should be sure of death.SUFFOLK
Madam, 'tis true; and were't not madness, then,QUEEN MARGARET
To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
Who being accused a crafty murderer,
His guilt should be but idly posted over,
Because his purpose is not executed.
No; let him die, in that he is a fox,
By nature proved an enemy to the flock,
Before his chaps be stain'd with crimson blood,
As Humphrey, proved by reasons, to my liege.
And do not stand on quillets how to slay him:
Be it by gins, by snares, by subtlety,
Sleeping or waking, 'tis no matter how,
So he be dead; for that is good deceit
Which mates him first that first intends deceit.
Thrice-noble Suffolk, 'tis resolutely spoke.SUFFOLK
Not resolute, except so much were done;CARDINAL
For things are often spoke and seldom meant:
But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,
Seeing the deed is meritorious,
And to preserve my sovereign from his foe,
Say but the word, and I will be his priest.
But I would have him dead, my Lord of Suffolk,SUFFOLK
Ere you can take due orders for a priest:
Say you consent and censure well the deed,
And I'll provide his executioner,
I tender so the safety of my liege.
Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.QUEEN MARGARET
And so say I.YORK
And I and now we three have spoke it,Post
It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
Enter a Post
Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain,CARDINAL
To signify that rebels there are up
And put the Englishmen unto the sword:
Send succors, lords, and stop the rage betime,
Before the wound do grow uncurable;
For, being green, there is great hope of help.
A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!YORK
What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
That Somerset be sent as regent thither:SOMERSET
'Tis meet that lucky ruler be employ'd;
Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
If York, with all his far-fet policy,YORK
Had been the regent there instead of me,
He never would have stay'd in France so long.
No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done:QUEEN MARGARET
I rather would have lost my life betimes
Than bring a burthen of dishonour home
By staying there so long till all were lost.
Show me one scar character'd on thy skin:
Men's flesh preserved so whole do seldom win.
Nay, then, this spark will prove a raging fire,YORK
If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with:
No more, good York; sweet Somerset, be still:
Thy fortune, York, hadst thou been regent there,
Might happily have proved far worse than his.
What, worse than nought? nay, then, a shame take all!SOMERSET
And, in the number, thee that wishest shame!CARDINAL
My Lord of York, try what your fortune is.YORK
The uncivil kerns of Ireland are in arms
And temper clay with blood of Englishmen:
To Ireland will you lead a band of men,
Collected choicely, from each county some,
And try your hap against the Irishmen?
I will, my lord, so please his majesty.SUFFOLK
Why, our authority is his consent,YORK
And what we do establish he confirms:
Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
I am content: provide me soldiers, lords,SUFFOLK
Whiles I take order for mine own affairs.
A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform'd.CARDINAL
But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
No more of him; for I will deal with himYORK
That henceforth he shall trouble us no more.
And so break off; the day is almost spent:
Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event.
My Lord of Suffolk, within fourteen daysSUFFOLK
At Bristol I expect my soldiers;
For there I'll ship them all for Ireland.
I'll see it truly done, my Lord of York.YORK
Exeunt all but YORK
Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,
And change misdoubt to resolution:
Be that thou hopest to be, or what thou art
Resign to death; it is not worth the enjoying:
Let pale-faced fear keep with the mean-born man,
And find no harbour in a royal heart.
Faster than spring-time showers comes thought
And not a thought but thinks on dignity.
My brain more busy than the labouring spider
Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies.
Well, nobles, well, 'tis politicly done,
To send me packing with an host of men:
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherish'd in your breasts, will sting
'Twas men I lack'd and you will give them me:
I take it kindly; and yet be well assured
You put sharp weapons in a madman's hands.
Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,
I will stir up in England some black storm
Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;
And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage
Until the golden circuit on my head,
Like to the glorious sun's transparent beams,
Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.
And, for a minister of my intent,
I have seduced a headstrong Kentishman,
John Cade of Ashford,
To make commotion, as full well he can,
Under the title of John Mortimer.
In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,
And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts
Were almost like a sharp-quill'd porpentine;
And, in the end being rescued, I have seen
Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.
Full often, like a shag-hair'd crafty kern,
Hath he conversed with the enemy,
And undiscover'd come to me again
And given me notice of their villanies.
This devil here shall be my substitute;
For that John Mortimer, which now is dead,
In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble:
By this I shall perceive the commons' mind,
How they affect the house and claim of York.
Say he be taken, rack'd and tortured,
I know no pain they can inflict upon him
Will make him say I moved him to those arms.
Say that he thrive, as 'tis great like he will,
Why, then from Ireland come I with my strength
And reap the harvest which that rascal sow'd;
For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,
And Henry put apart, the next for me.
Enter certain Murderers, hastilyFirst Murderer
Run to my Lord of Suffolk; let him knowSecond Murderer
We have dispatch'd the duke, as he commanded.
O that it were to do! What have we done?First Murder
Didst ever hear a man so penitent?
Here comes my lord.SUFFOLK
Now, sirs, have you dispatch'd this thing?First Murderer
Ay, my good lord, he's dead.SUFFOLK
Why, that's well said. Go, get you to my house;First Murderer
I will reward you for this venturous deed.
The king and all the peers are here at hand.
Have you laid fair the bed? Is all things well,
According as I gave directions?
'Tis, my good lord.SUFFOLK
Away! be gone.KING HENRY VI
Sound trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL, SOMERSET, with Attendants
Go, call our uncle to our presence straight;SUFFOLK
Say we intend to try his grace to-day.
If he be guilty, as 'tis published.
I'll call him presently, my noble lord.KING HENRY VI
Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all,QUEEN MARGARET
Proceed no straiter 'gainst our uncle Gloucester
Than from true evidence of good esteem
He be approved in practise culpable.
God forbid any malice should prevail,KING HENRY VI
That faultless may condemn a nobleman!
Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
I thank thee, Meg; these words content me much.SUFFOLK
Re-enter SUFFOLKHow now! why look'st thou pale? why tremblest thou?
Where is our uncle? what's the matter, Suffolk?
Dead in his bed, my lord; Gloucester is dead.QUEEN MARGARET
Marry, God forfend!CARDINAL
God's secret judgment: I did dream to-nightQUEEN MARGARET
The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.
KING HENRY VI swoons
How fares my lord? Help, lords! the king is dead.SOMERSET
Rear up his body; wring him by the nose.QUEEN MARGARET
Run, go, help, help! O Henry, ope thine eyes!SUFFOLK
He doth revive again: madam, be patient.KING HENRY VI
O heavenly God!QUEEN MARGARET
How fares my gracious lord?SUFFOLK
Comfort, my sovereign! gracious Henry, comfort!KING HENRY VI
What, doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me?QUEEN MARGARET
Came he right now to sing a raven's note,
Whose dismal tune bereft my vital powers;
And thinks he that the chirping of a wren,
By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
Can chase away the first-conceived sound?
Hide not thy poison with such sugar'd words;
Lay not thy hands on me; forbear, I say;
Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting.
Thou baleful messenger, out of my sight!
Upon thy eye-balls murderous tyranny
Sits in grim majesty, to fright the world.
Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding:
Yet do not go away: come, basilisk,
And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight;
For in the shade of death I shall find joy;
In life but double death, now Gloucester's dead.
Why do you rate my Lord of Suffolk thus?KING HENRY VI
Although the duke was enemy to him,
Yet he most Christian-like laments his death:
And for myself, foe as he was to me,
Might liquid tears or heart-offending groans
Or blood-consuming sighs recall his life,
I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,
Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs,
And all to have the noble duke alive.
What know I how the world may deem of me?
For it is known we were but hollow friends:
It may be judged I made the duke away;
So shall my name with slander's tongue be wounded,
And princes' courts be fill'd with my reproach.
This get I by his death: ay me, unhappy!
To be a queen, and crown'd with infamy!
Ah, woe is me for Gloucester, wretched man!QUEEN MARGARET
Be woe for me, more wretched than he is.WARWICK
What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face?
I am no loathsome leper; look on me.
What! art thou, like the adder, waxen deaf?
Be poisonous too and kill thy forlorn queen.
Is all thy comfort shut in Gloucester's tomb?
Why, then, dame Margaret was ne'er thy joy.
Erect his statue and worship it,
And make my image but an alehouse sign.
Was I for this nigh wreck'd upon the sea
And twice by awkward wind from England's bank
Drove back again unto my native clime?
What boded this, but well forewarning wind
Did seem to say 'Seek not a scorpion's nest,
Nor set no footing on this unkind shore'?
What did I then, but cursed the gentle gusts
And he that loosed them forth their brazen caves:
And bid them blow towards England's blessed shore,
Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock
Yet AEolus would not be a murderer,
But left that hateful office unto thee:
The pretty-vaulting sea refused to drown me,
Knowing that thou wouldst have me drown'd on shore,
With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness:
The splitting rocks cower'd in the sinking sands
And would not dash me with their ragged sides,
Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they,
Might in thy palace perish Margaret.
As far as I could ken thy chalky cliffs,
When from thy shore the tempest beat us back,
I stood upon the hatches in the storm,
And when the dusky sky began to rob
My earnest-gaping sight of thy land's view,
I took a costly jewel from my neck,
A heart it was, bound in with diamonds,
And threw it towards thy land: the sea received it,
And so I wish'd thy body might my heart:
And even with this I lost fair England's view
And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart
And call'd them blind and dusky spectacles,
For losing ken of Albion's wished coast.
How often have I tempted Suffolk's tongue,
The agent of thy foul inconstancy,
To sit and witch me, as Ascanius did
When he to madding Dido would unfold
His father's acts commenced in burning Troy!
Am I not witch'd like her? or thou not false like him?
Ay me, I can no more! die, Margaret!
For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.
Noise within. Enter WARWICK, SALISBURY, and many Commons
It is reported, mighty sovereign,KING HENRY VI
That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murder'd
By Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort's means.
The commons, like an angry hive of bees
That want their leader, scatter up and down
And care not who they sting in his revenge.
Myself have calm'd their spleenful mutiny,
Until they hear the order of his death.
That he is dead, good Warwick, 'tis too true;WARWICK
But how he died God knows, not Henry:
Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse,
And comment then upon his sudden death.
That shall I do, my liege. Stay, Salisbury,KING HENRY VI
With the rude multitude till I return.
O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts,WARWICK
My thoughts, that labour to persuade my soul
Some violent hands were laid on Humphrey's life!
If my suspect be false, forgive me, God,
For judgment only doth belong to thee.
Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
With twenty thousand kisses, and to drain
Upon his face an ocean of salt tears,
To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk,
And with my fingers feel his hand unfeeling:
But all in vain are these mean obsequies;
And to survey his dead and earthly image,
What were it but to make my sorrow greater?
Re-enter WARWICK and others, bearing GLOUCESTER'S body on a bed
Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.KING HENRY VI
That is to see how deep my grave is made;WARWICK
For with his soul fled all my worldly solace,
For seeing him I see my life in death.
As surely as my soul intends to liveSUFFOLK
With that dread King that took our state upon him
To free us from his father's wrathful curse,
I do believe that violent hands were laid
Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.
A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!WARWICK
What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
See how the blood is settled in his face.SUFFOLK
Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,
Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale and bloodless,
Being all descended to the labouring heart;
Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy;
Which with the heart there cools and ne'er returneth
To blush and beautify the cheek again.
But see, his face is black and full of blood,
His eye-balls further out than when he lived,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man;
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretched with struggling;
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg'd for life and was by strength subdued:
Look, on the sheets his hair you see, is sticking;
His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged,
Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodged.
It cannot be but he was murder'd here;
The least of all these signs were probable.
Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death?WARWICK
Myself and Beaufort had him in protection;
And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.
But both of you were vow'd Duke Humphrey's foes,QUEEN MARGARET
And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep:
'Tis like you would not feast him like a friend;
And 'tis well seen he found an enemy.
Then you, belike, suspect these noblemenWARWICK
As guilty of Duke Humphrey's timeless death.
Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding freshQUEEN MARGARET
And sees fast by a butcher with an axe,
But will suspect 'twas he that made the slaughter?
Who finds the partridge in the puttock's nest,
But may imagine how the bird was dead,
Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak?
Even so suspicious is this tragedy.
Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where's your knife?SUFFOLK
Is Beaufort term'd a kite? Where are his talons?
I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men;WARWICK
But here's a vengeful sword, rusted with ease,
That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart
That slanders me with murder's crimson badge.
Say, if thou darest, proud Lord of Warwick-shire,
That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey's death.
Exeunt CARDINAL, SOMERSET, and others
What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?QUEEN MARGARET
He dares not calm his contumelious spiritWARWICK
Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.
Madam, be still; with reverence may I say;SUFFOLK
For every word you speak in his behalf
Is slander to your royal dignity.
Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanor!WARWICK
If ever lady wrong'd her lord so much,
Thy mother took into her blameful bed
Some stern untutor'd churl, and noble stock
Was graft with crab-tree slip; whose fruit thou art,
And never of the Nevils' noble race.
But that the guilt of murder bucklers theeSUFFOLK
And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
And that my sovereign's presence makes me mild,
I would, false murderous coward, on thy knee
Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech,
And say it was thy mother that thou meant'st
That thou thyself was born in bastardy;
And after all this fearful homage done,
Give thee thy hire and send thy soul to hell,
Pernicious blood-sucker of sleeping men!
Thou shall be waking well I shed thy blood,WARWICK
If from this presence thou darest go with me.
Away even now, or I will drag thee hence:KING HENRY VI
Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee
And do some service to Duke Humphrey's ghost.
Exeunt SUFFOLK and WARWICK
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!QUEEN MARGARET
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
A noise within
What noise is this?KING HENRY VI
Re-enter SUFFOLK and WARWICK, with their weapons drawn
Why, how now, lords! your wrathful weapons drawnSUFFOLK
Here in our presence! dare you be so bold?
Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?
The traitorous Warwick with the men of BurySALISBURY
Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
[To the Commons, entering] Sirs, stand apart;Commons
the king shall know your mind.
Dread lord, the commons send you word by me,
Unless Lord Suffolk straight be done to death,
Or banished fair England's territories,
They will by violence tear him from your palace
And torture him with grievous lingering death.
They say, by him the good Duke Humphrey died;
They say, in him they fear your highness' death;
And mere instinct of love and loyalty,
Free from a stubborn opposite intent,
As being thought to contradict your liking,
Makes them thus forward in his banishment.
They say, in care of your most royal person,
That if your highness should intend to sleep
And charge that no man should disturb your rest
In pain of your dislike or pain of death,
Yet, notwithstanding such a strait edict,
Were there a serpent seen, with forked tongue,
That slily glided towards your majesty,
It were but necessary you were waked,
Lest, being suffer'd in that harmful slumber,
The mortal worm might make the sleep eternal;
And therefore do they cry, though you forbid,
That they will guard you, whether you will or no,
From such fell serpents as false Suffolk is,
With whose envenomed and fatal sting,
Your loving uncle, twenty times his worth,
They say, is shamefully bereft of life.
[Within] An answer from the king, mySUFFOLK
Lord of Salisbury!
'Tis like the commons, rude unpolish'd hinds,Commons
Could send such message to their sovereign:
But you, my lord, were glad to be employ'd,
To show how quaint an orator you are:
But all the honour Salisbury hath won
Is, that he was the lord ambassador
Sent from a sort of tinkers to the king.
[Within] An answer from the king, or we will all break in!KING HENRY VI
Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me.QUEEN MARGARET
I thank them for their tender loving care;
And had I not been cited so by them,
Yet did I purpose as they do entreat;
For, sure, my thoughts do hourly prophesy
Mischance unto my state by Suffolk's means:
And therefore, by His majesty I swear,
Whose far unworthy deputy I am,
He shall not breathe infection in this air
But three days longer, on the pain of death.
O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!KING HENRY VI
Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suffolk!QUEEN MARGARET
No more, I say: if thou dost plead for him,
Thou wilt but add increase unto my wrath.
Had I but said, I would have kept my word,
But when I swear, it is irrevocable.
If, after three days' space, thou here be'st found
On any ground that I am ruler of,
The world shall not be ransom for thy life.
Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with me;
I have great matters to impart to thee.
Exeunt all but QUEEN MARGARET and SUFFOLK
Mischance and sorrow go along with you!SUFFOLK
Heart's discontent and sour affliction
Be playfellows to keep you company!
There's two of you; the devil make a third!
And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps!
Cease, gentle queen, these execrations,QUEEN MARGARET
And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.
Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch!SUFFOLK
Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?
A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them?QUEEN MARGARET
Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan,
I would invent as bitter-searching terms,
As curst, as harsh and horrible to hear,
Deliver'd strongly through my fixed teeth,
With full as many signs of deadly hate,
As lean-faced Envy in her loathsome cave:
My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words;
Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint;
Mine hair be fixed on end, as one distract;
Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban:
And even now my burthen'd heart would break,
Should I not curse them. Poison be their drink!
Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste!
Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress trees!
Their chiefest prospect murdering basilisks!
Their softest touch as smart as lizards' sting!
Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss,
And boding screech-owls make the concert full!
All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell--
Enough, sweet Suffolk; thou torment'st thyself;SUFFOLK
And these dread curses, like the sun 'gainst glass,
Or like an overcharged gun, recoil,
And turn the force of them upon thyself.
You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave?QUEEN MARGARET
Now, by the ground that I am banish'd from,
Well could I curse away a winter's night,
Though standing naked on a mountain top,
Where biting cold would never let grass grow,
And think it but a minute spent in sport.
O, let me entreat thee cease. Give me thy hand,SUFFOLK
That I may dew it with my mournful tears;
Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place,
To wash away my woful monuments.
O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand,
That thou mightst think upon these by the seal,
Through whom a thousand sighs are breathed for thee!
So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
'Tis but surmised whiles thou art standing by,
As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
I will repeal thee, or, be well assured,
Adventure to be banished myself:
And banished I am, if but from thee.
Go; speak not to me; even now be gone.
O, go not yet! Even thus two friends condemn'd
Embrace and kiss and take ten thousand leaves,
Loather a hundred times to part than die.
Yet now farewell; and farewell life with thee!
Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished;QUEEN MARGARET
Once by the king, and three times thrice by thee.
'Tis not the land I care for, wert thou thence;
A wilderness is populous enough,
So Suffolk had thy heavenly company:
For where thou art, there is the world itself,
With every several pleasure in the world,
And where thou art not, desolation.
I can no more: live thou to joy thy life;
Myself no joy in nought but that thou livest.
Wither goes Vaux so fast? what news, I prithee?VAUX
To signify unto his majestyQUEEN MARGARET
That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
For suddenly a grievous sickness took him,
That makes him gasp and stare and catch the air,
Blaspheming God and cursing men on earth.
Sometimes he talks as if Duke Humphrey's ghost
Were by his side; sometime he calls the king,
And whispers to his pillow, as to him,
The secrets of his overcharged soul;
And I am sent to tell his majesty
That even now he cries aloud for him.
Go tell this heavy message to the king.SUFFOLK
Exit VAUXAy me! what is this world! what news are these!
But wherefore grieve I at an hour's poor loss,
Omitting Suffolk's exile, my soul's treasure?
Why only, Suffolk, mourn I not for thee,
And with the southern clouds contend in tears,
Theirs for the earth's increase, mine for my sorrows?
Now get thee hence: the king, thou know'st, is coming;
If thou be found by me, thou art but dead.
If I depart from thee, I cannot live;QUEEN MARGARET
And in thy sight to die, what were it else
But like a pleasant slumber in thy lap?
Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe
Dying with mother's dug between its lips:
Where, from thy sight, I should be raging mad,
And cry out for thee to close up mine eyes,
To have thee with thy lips to stop my mouth;
So shouldst thou either turn my flying soul,
Or I should breathe it so into thy body,
And then it lived in sweet Elysium.
To die by thee were but to die in jest;
From thee to die were torture more than death:
O, let me stay, befall what may befall!
Away! though parting be a fretful corrosive,SUFFOLK
It is applied to a deathful wound.
To France, sweet Suffolk: let me hear from thee;
For wheresoe'er thou art in this world's globe,
I'll have an Iris that shall find thee out.
I go.QUEEN MARGARET
And take my heart with thee.SUFFOLK
A jewel, lock'd into the wofull'st caskQUEEN MARGARET
That ever did contain a thing of worth.
Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we
This way fall I to death.
This way for me.
Enter the KING, SALISBURY, WARWICK, to the CARDINAL in bedKING HENRY VI
How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, toCARDINAL
If thou be'st death, I'll give thee England's treasure,KING HENRY VI
Enough to purchase such another island,
So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain.
Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,WARWICK
Where death's approach is seen so terrible!
Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to thee.CARDINAL
Bring me unto my trial when you will.KING HENRY VI
Died he not in his bed? where should he die?
Can I make men live, whether they will or no?
O, torture me no more! I will confess.
Alive again? then show me where he is:
I'll give a thousand pound to look upon him.
He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them.
Comb down his hair; look, look! it stands upright,
Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul.
Give me some drink; and bid the apothecary
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.
O thou eternal Mover of the heavens.WARWICK
Look with a gentle eye upon this wretch!
O, beat away the busy meddling fiend
That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul.
And from his bosom purge this black despair!
See, how the pangs of death do make him grin!SALISBURY
Disturb him not; let him pass peaceably.KING HENRY VI
Peace to his soul, if God's good pleasure be!WARWICK
Lord cardinal, if thou think'st on heaven's bliss,
Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.
He dies, and makes no sign. O God, forgive him!
So bad a death argues a monstrous life.KING HENRY VI
Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.
Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close;
And let us all to meditation.
Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain, a Master, a Master's-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, and others; with them SUFFOLK, and others, prisonersCaptain
The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful dayFirst Gentleman
Is crept into the bosom of the sea;
And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings,
Clip dead men's graves and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs,
Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.
Master, this prisoner freely give I thee;
And thou that art his mate, make boot of this;
The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.
What is my ransom, master? let me know.Master
A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.Captain
Master's-Mate And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.
What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,First Gentleman
And bear the name and port of gentlemen?
Cut both the villains' throats; for die you shall:
The lives of those which we have lost in fight
Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!
I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.Second Gentleman
And so will I and write home for it straight.WHITMORE
I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,Captain
And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;
To SUFFOLKAnd so should these, if I might have my will.
Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.SUFFOLK
Look on my George; I am a gentleman:WHITMORE
Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.SUFFOLK
How now! why start'st thou? what, doth
Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.WHITMORE
A cunning man did calculate my birth
And told me that by water I should die:
Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.
Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not:SUFFOLK
Never yet did base dishonour blur our name,
But with our sword we wiped away the blot;
Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!
Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,WHITMORE
The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!SUFFOLK
Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke:Captain
Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?
But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.SUFFOLK
Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood,WHITMORE
The honourable blood of Lancaster,
Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand and held my stirrup?
Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule
And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
How often hast thou waited at my cup,
Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board.
When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
Remember it and let it make thee crest-fall'n,
Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride;
How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
And duly waited for my coming forth?
This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?Captain
First let my words stab him, as he hath me.SUFFOLK
Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.Captain
Convey him hence and on our longboat's sideSUFFOLK
Strike off his head.
Thou darest not, for thy own.Captain
Pool! Sir Pool! lord!SUFFOLK
Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt
Troubles the silver spring where England drinks.
Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
For swallowing the treasure of the realm:
Thy lips that kiss'd the queen shall sweep the ground;
And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey's death,
Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again:
And wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
For daring to affy a mighty lord
Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
By devilish policy art thou grown great,
And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged
With gobbets of thy mother's bleeding heart.
By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France,
The false revolting Normans thorough thee
Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts,
And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,
Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
As hating thee, are rising up in arms:
And now the house of York, thrust from the crown
By shameful murder of a guiltless king
And lofty proud encroaching tyranny,
Burns with revenging fire; whose hopeful colours
Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,
Under the which is writ 'Invitis nubibus.'
The commons here in Kent are up in arms:
And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
Is crept into the palace of our king.
And all by thee. Away! convey him hence.
O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunderCaptain
Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
Small things make base men proud: this villain here,
Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate.
Drones suck not eagles' blood but rob beehives:
It is impossible that I should die
By such a lowly vassal as thyself.
Thy words move rage and not remorse in me:
I go of message from the queen to France;
I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.
Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.SUFFOLK
Gelidus timor occupat artus it is thee I fear.WHITMORE
Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.First Gentleman
What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop?
My gracious lord, entreat him, speak him fair.SUFFOLK
Suffolk's imperial tongue is stern and rough,Captain
Used to command, untaught to plead for favour.
Far be it we should honour such as these
With humble suit: no, rather let my head
Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
Save to the God of heaven and to my king;
And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
Than stand uncover'd to the vulgar groom.
True nobility is exempt from fear:
More can I bear than you dare execute.
Hale him away, and let him talk no more.SUFFOLK
Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can,Captain
That this my death may never be forgot!
Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
A Roman sworder and banditto slave
Murder'd sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard hand
Stabb'd Julius Caesar; savage islanders
Pompey the Great; and Suffolk dies by pirates.
Exeunt Whitmore and others with Suffolk
And as for these whose ransom we have set,WHITMORE
It is our pleasure one of them depart;
Therefore come you with us and let him go.
Exeunt all but the First Gentleman
Re-enter WHITMORE with SUFFOLK's body
There let his head and lifeless body lie,First Gentleman
Until the queen his mistress bury it.
O barbarous and bloody spectacle!
His body will I bear unto the king:
If he revenge it not, yet will his friends;
So will the queen, that living held him dear.
Exit with the body
Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLANDBEVIS
Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath;HOLLAND
they have been up these two days.
They have the more need to sleep now, then.BEVIS
I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dressHOLLAND
the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.
So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say itBEVIS
was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.HOLLAND
The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.BEVIS
Nay, more, the king's council are no good workmen.HOLLAND
True; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation;BEVIS
which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
labouring men; and therefore should we be
Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of aHOLLAND
brave mind than a hard hand.
I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, theBEVIS
tanner of Wingham,--
He shall have the skin of our enemies, to makeHOLLAND
And Dick the Butcher,--BEVIS
Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity'sHOLLAND
throat cut like a calf.
And Smith the weaver,--BEVIS
Argo, their thread of life is spun.HOLLAND
Come, come, let's fall in with them.CADE
Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers
We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father,--DICK
[Aside] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.CADE
For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired withDICK
the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
My father was a Mortimer,--DICK
[Aside] He was an honest man, and a goodCADE
My mother a Plantagenet,--DICK
[Aside] I knew her well; she was a midwife.CADE
My wife descended of the Lacies,--DICK
[Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler's daughter, andSMITH
sold many laces.
[Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with herCADE
furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
Therefore am I of an honourable house.DICK
[Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable;CADE
and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
father had never a house but the cage.
Valiant I am.SMITH
[Aside] A' must needs; for beggary is valiant.CADE
I am able to endure much.DICK
[Aside] No question of that; for I have seen himCADE
whipped three market-days together.
I fear neither sword nor fire.SMITH
[Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.DICK
[Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear ofCADE
fire, being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.
Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vowsALL
reformation. There shall be in England seven
halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped
pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony
to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in
common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to
grass: and when I am king, as king I will be,--
God save your majesty!CADE
I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;DICK
all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
like brothers and worship me their lord.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.CADE
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentableSMITH
thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
once to a thing, and I was never mine own man
since. How now! who's there?
Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham
The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read andCADE
We took him setting of boys' copies.CADE
Here's a villain!SMITH
Has a book in his pocket with red letters in't.CADE
Nay, then, he is a conjurer.DICK
Nay, he can make obligations, and write court-hand.CADE
I am sorry for't: the man is a proper man, of mineClerk
honour; unless I find him guilty, he shall not die.
Come hither, sirrah, I must examine thee: what is thy name?
They use to write it on the top of letters: 'twillCADE
go hard with you.
Let me alone. Dost thou use to write thy name? orCLERK
hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest
Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought upALL
that I can write my name.
He hath confessed: away with him! he's a villainCADE
and a traitor.
Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen andMICHAEL
ink-horn about his neck.
Exit one with the Clerk
Where's our general?CADE
Here I am, thou particular fellow.MICHAEL
Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and hisCADE
brother are hard by, with the king's forces.
Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee down. HeMICHAEL
shall be encountered with a man as good as himself:
he is but a knight, is a'?
To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.SIR HUMPHREY
KneelsRise up Sir John Mortimer.
RisesNow have at him!
Enter SIR HUMPHREY and WILLIAM STAFFORD, with drum and soldiers
Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,WILLIAM STAFFORD
Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom:
The king is merciful, if you revolt.
But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,CADE
If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.
As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:SIR HUMPHREY
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
Villain, thy father was a plasterer;CADE
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?
And Adam was a gardener.WILLIAM STAFFORD
And what of that?CADE
Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.SIR HUMPHREY
Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?
By her he had two children at one birth.WILLIAM STAFFORD
Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis true:DICK
The elder of them, being put to nurse,
Was by a beggar-woman stolen away;
And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
His son am I; deny it, if you can.
Nay, 'tis too true; therefore he shall be king.SMITH
Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, andSIR HUMPHREY
the bricks are alive at this day to testify it;
therefore deny it not.
And will you credit this base drudge's words,ALL
That speaks he knows not what?
Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.WILLIAM STAFFORD
Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.CADE
[Aside] He lies, for I invented it myself.DICK
Go to, sirrah, tell the king from me, that, for his
father's sake, Henry the Fifth, in whose time boys
went to span-counter for French crowns, I am content
he shall reign; but I'll be protector over him.
And furthermore, well have the Lord Say's head forCADE
selling the dukedom of Maine.
And good reason; for thereby is England mained, andSIR HUMPHREY
fain to go with a staff, but that my puissance holds
it up. Fellow kings, I tell you that that Lord Say
hath gelded the commonwealth, and made it an eunuch:
and more than that, he can speak French; and
therefore he is a traitor.
O gross and miserable ignorance!CADE
Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are ourALL
enemies; go to, then, I ask but this: can he that
speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good
counsellor, or no?
No, no; and therefore we'll have his head.WILLIAM STAFFORD
Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail,SIR HUMPHREY
Assail them with the army of the king.
Herald, away; and throughout every townCADE
Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade;
That those which fly before the battle ends
May, even in their wives' and children's sight,
Be hang'd up for example at their doors:
And you that be the king's friends, follow me.
Exeunt WILLIAM STAFFORD and SIR HUMPHREY, and soldiers
And you that love the commons, follow me.DICK
Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman:
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon;
For they are thrifty honest men, and such
As would, but that they dare not, take our parts.
They are all in order and march toward us.CADE
But then are we in order when we are most
out of order. Come, march forward.
Alarums to the fight, wherein SIR HUMPHREY and WILLIAM STAFFORD are slain. Enter CADE and the restCADE
Where's Dick, the butcher of Ashford?DICK
They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thouDICK
behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own
slaughter-house: therefore thus will I reward thee,
the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou
shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking
I desire no more.CADE
And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less. ThisDICK
monument of the victory will I bear;
Putting on SIR HUMPHREY'S brigandineand the bodies shall be dragged at my horse' heels
till I do come to London, where we will have the
mayor's sword borne before us.
If we mean to thrive and do good, break open theCADE
gaols and let out the prisoners.
Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let's march
Enter KING HENRY VI with a supplication, and the QUEEN with SUFFOLK'S head, BUCKINGHAM and Lord SAYQUEEN MARGARET
Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind,BUCKINGHAM
And makes it fearful and degenerate;
Think therefore on revenge and cease to weep.
But who can cease to weep and look on this?
Here may his head lie on my throbbing breast:
But where's the body that I should embrace?
What answer makes your grace to the rebels'KING HENRY VI
I'll send some holy bishop to entreat;QUEEN MARGARET
For God forbid so many simple souls
Should perish by the sword! And I myself,
Rather than bloody war shall cut them short,
Will parley with Jack Cade their general:
But stay, I'll read it over once again.
Ah, barbarous villains! hath this lovely faceKING HENRY VI
Ruled, like a wandering planet, over me,
And could it not enforce them to relent,
That were unworthy to behold the same?
Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.SAY
Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.KING HENRY VI
How now, madam!QUEEN MARGARET
Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk's death?
I fear me, love, if that I had been dead,
Thou wouldst not have mourn'd so much for me.
No, my love, I should not mourn, but die for thee.KING HENRY VI
Enter a Messenger
How now! what news? why comest thou in such haste?Messenger
The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord!KING HENRY VI
Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
Descended from the Duke of Clarence' house,
And calls your grace usurper openly
And vows to crown himself in Westminster.
His army is a ragged multitude
Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless:
Sir Humphrey Stafford and h is brother's death
Hath given them heart and courage to proceed:
All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.
O graceless men! they know not what they do.BUCKINGHAM
My gracious lord, return to Killingworth,QUEEN MARGARET
Until a power be raised to put them down.
Ah, were the Duke of Suffolk now alive,KING HENRY VI
These Kentish rebels would be soon appeased!
Lord Say, the traitors hate thee;SAY
Therefore away with us to Killingworth.
So might your grace's person be in danger.Messenger
The sight of me is odious in their eyes;
And therefore in this city will I stay
And live alone as secret as I may.
Enter another Messenger
Jack Cade hath gotten London bridge:BUCKINGHAM
The citizens fly and forsake their houses:
The rascal people, thirsting after prey,
Join with the traitor, and they jointly swear
To spoil the city and your royal court.
Then linger not, my lord, away, take horse.KING HENRY VI
Come, Margaret; God, our hope, will succor us.QUEEN MARGARET
My hope is gone, now Suffolk is deceased.KING HENRY VI
Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.BUCKINGHAM
Trust nobody, for fear you be betray'd.SAY
The trust I have is in mine innocence,
And therefore am I bold and resolute.
Enter SCALES upon the Tower, walking. Then enter two or three Citizens belowSCALES
How now! is Jack Cade slain?First Citizen
No, my lord, nor likely to be slain; for they haveSCALES
won the bridge, killing all those that withstand
them: the lord mayor craves aid of your honour from
the Tower, to defend the city from the rebels.
Such aid as I can spare you shall command;
But I am troubled here with them myself;
The rebels have assay'd to win the Tower.
But get you to Smithfield, and gather head,
And thither I will send you Matthew Goffe;
Fight for your king, your country and your lives;
And so, farewell, for I must hence again.
Enter CADE and the rest, and strikes his staff on London-stoneCADE
Now is Mortimer lord of this city. And here, sittingSoldier
upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the
city's cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but
claret wine this first year of our reign. And now
henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls
me other than Lord Mortimer.
Enter a Soldier, running
Jack Cade! Jack Cade!CADE
Knock him down there.SMITH
They kill him
If this fellow be wise, he'll never call ye JackDICK
Cade more: I think he hath a very fair warning.
My lord, there's an army gathered together inCADE
Come, then, let's go fight with them; but first, go
and set London bridge on fire; and, if you can, burn
down the Tower too. Come, let's away.
Alarums. MATTHEW GOFFE is slain, and all the rest. Then enter CADE, with his company.CADE
So, sirs: now go some and pull down the Savoy;DICK
others to the inns of court; down with them all.
I have a suit unto your lordship.CADE
Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.DICK
Only that the laws of England may come out of your mouth.HOLLAND
[Aside] Mass, 'twill be sore law, then; for he wasSMITH
thrust in the mouth with a spear, and 'tis not whole
[Aside] Nay, John, it will be stinking law for hisCADE
breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.
I have thought upon it, it shall be so. Away, burnHOLLAND
all the records of the realm: my mouth shall be
the parliament of England.
[Aside] Then we are like to have biting statutes,CADE
unless his teeth be pulled out.
And henceforward all things shall be in common.Messenger
Enter a Messenger
My lord, a prize, a prize! here's the Lord Say,CADE
which sold the towns in France; he that made us pay
one and twenty fifteens, and one shilling to the
pound, the last subsidy.
Enter BEVIS, with Lord SAY
Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times. Ah,SAY
thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord! now
art thou within point-blank of our jurisdiction
regal. What canst thou answer to my majesty for
giving up of Normandy unto Mounsieur Basimecu, the
dauphin of France? Be it known unto thee by these
presence, even the presence of Lord Mortimer, that I
am the besom that must sweep the court clean of such
filth as thou art. Thou hast most traitorously
corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a
grammar school; and whereas, before, our forefathers
had no other books but the score and the tally, thou
hast caused printing to be used, and, contrary to
the king, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a
paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou
hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and
a verb, and such abominable words as no Christian
ear can endure to hear. Thou hast appointed
justices of peace, to call poor men before them
about matters they were not able to answer.
Moreover, thou hast put them in prison; and because
they could not read, thou hast hanged them; when,
indeed, only for that cause they have been most
worthy to live. Thou dost ride in a foot-cloth, dost thou not?
What of that?CADE
Marry, thou oughtest not to let thy horse wear aDICK
cloak, when honester men than thou go in their hose
And work in their shirt too; as myself, for example,SAY
that am a butcher.
You men of Kent,--DICK
What say you of Kent?SAY
Nothing but this; 'tis 'bona terra, mala gens.'CADE
Away with him, away with him! he speaks Latin.SAY
Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.CADE
Kent, in the Commentaries Caesar writ,
Is term'd the civil'st place of this isle:
Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy;
Which makes me hope you are not void of pity.
I sold not Maine, I lost not Normandy,
Yet, to recover them, would lose my life.
Justice with favour have I always done;
Prayers and tears have moved me, gifts could never.
When have I aught exacted at your hands,
But to maintain the king, the realm and you?
Large gifts have I bestow'd on learned clerks,
Because my book preferr'd me to the king,
And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,
Unless you be possess'd with devilish spirits,
You cannot but forbear to murder me:
This tongue hath parley'd unto foreign kings
For your behoof,--
Tut, when struck'st thou one blow in the field?SAY
Great men have reaching hands: oft have I struckBEVIS
Those that I never saw and struck them dead.
O monstrous coward! what, to come behind folks?SAY
These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.CADE
Give him a box o' the ear and that will make 'em red again.SAY
Long sitting to determine poor men's causesCADE
Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.DICK
Why dost thou quiver, man?SAY
The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.CADE
Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I'll be evenSAY
with you: I'll see if his head will stand steadier
on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him.
Tell me wherein have I offended most?CADE
Have I affected wealth or honour? speak.
Are my chests fill'd up with extorted gold?
Is my apparel sumptuous to behold?
Whom have I injured, that ye seek my death?
These hands are free from guiltless bloodshedding,
This breast from harbouring foul deceitful thoughts.
O, let me live!
[Aside] I feel remorse in myself with his words;ALL
but I'll bridle it: he shall die, an it be but for
pleading so well for his life. Away with him! he
has a familiar under his tongue; he speaks not o'
God's name. Go, take him away, I say, and strike
off his head presently; and then break into his
son-in-law's house, Sir James Cromer, and strike off
his head, and bring them both upon two poles hither.
It shall be done.SAY
Ah, countrymen! if when you make your prayers,CADE
God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
How would it fare with your departed souls?
And therefore yet relent, and save my life.
Away with him! and do as I command ye.DICK
Exeunt some with Lord SAYThe proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a head
on his shoulders, unless he pay me tribute; there
shall not a maid be married, but she shall pay to me
her maidenhead ere they have it: men shall hold of
me in capite; and we charge and command that their
wives be as free as heart can wish or tongue can tell.
My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take upCADE
commodities upon our bills?
Re-enter one with the heads
But is not this braver? Let them kiss one another,
for they loved well when they were alive. Now part
them again, lest they consult about the giving up of
some more towns in France. Soldiers, defer the
spoil of the city until night: for with these borne
before us, instead of maces, will we ride through
the streets, and at every corner have them kiss. Away!
Alarum and retreat. Enter CADE and all his rabblementCADE
Up Fish Street! down Saint Magnus' Corner! KillBUCKINGHAM
and knock down! throw them into Thames!
Sound a parleyWhat noise is this I hear? Dare any be so bold to
sound retreat or parley, when I command them kill?
Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD, attended
Ay, here they be that dare and will disturb thee:CLIFFORD
Know, Cade, we come ambassadors from the king
Unto the commons whom thou hast misled;
And here pronounce free pardon to them all
That will forsake thee and go home in peace.
What say ye, countrymen? will ye relent,ALL
And yield to mercy whilst 'tis offer'd you;
Or let a rebel lead you to your deaths?
Who loves the king and will embrace his pardon,
Fling up his cap, and say 'God save his majesty!'
Who hateth him and honours not his father,
Henry the Fifth, that made all France to quake,
Shake he his weapon at us and pass by.
God save the king! God save the king!CADE
What, Buckingham and Clifford, are ye so brave? AndALL
you, base peasants, do ye believe him? will you
needs be hanged with your pardons about your necks?
Hath my sword therefore broke through London gates,
that you should leave me at the White Hart in
Southwark? I thought ye would never have given out
these arms till you had recovered your ancient
freedom: but you are all recreants and dastards,
and delight to live in slavery to the nobility. Let
them break your backs with burthens, take your
houses over your heads, ravish your wives and
daughters before your faces: for me, I will make
shift for one; and so, God's curse light upon you
We'll follow Cade, we'll follow Cade!CLIFFORD
Is Cade the son of Henry the Fifth,ALL
That thus you do exclaim you'll go with him?
Will he conduct you through the heart of France,
And make the meanest of you earls and dukes?
Alas, he hath no home, no place to fly to;
Nor knows he how to live but by the spoil,
Unless by robbing of your friends and us.
Were't not a shame, that whilst you live at jar,
The fearful French, whom you late vanquished,
Should make a start o'er seas and vanquish you?
Methinks already in this civil broil
I see them lording it in London streets,
Crying 'Villiago!' unto all they meet.
Better ten thousand base-born Cades miscarry
Than you should stoop unto a Frenchman's mercy.
To France, to France, and get what you have lost;
Spare England, for it is your native coast;
Henry hath money, you are strong and manly;
God on our side, doubt not of victory.
A Clifford! a Clifford! we'll follow the king and Clifford.CADE
Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as thisBUCKINGHAM
multitude? The name of Henry the Fifth hales them
to an hundred mischiefs, and makes them leave me
desolate. I see them lay their heads together to
surprise me. My sword make way for me, for here is
no staying. In despite of the devils and hell, have
through the very middest of you? and heavens and
honour be witness, that no want of resolution in me.
but only my followers' base and ignominious
treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.
What, is he fled? Go some, and follow him;
And he that brings his head unto the king
Shall have a thousand crowns for his reward.
Exeunt some of themFollow me, soldiers: we'll devise a mean
To reconcile you all unto the king.
Sound Trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and SOMERSET, on the terraceKING HENRY VI
Was ever king that joy'd an earthly throne,BUCKINGHAM
And could command no more content than I?
No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
But I was made a king, at nine months old.
Was never subject long'd to be a king
As I do long and wish to be a subject.
Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD
Health and glad tidings to your majesty!KING HENRY VI
Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised?CLIFFORD
Or is he but retired to make him strong?
Enter below, multitudes, with halters about their necks
He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield;KING HENRY VI
And humbly thus, with halters on their necks,
Expect your highness' doom of life or death.
Then, heaven, set ope thy everlasting gates,ALL
To entertain my vows of thanks and praise!
Soldiers, this day have you redeemed your lives,
And show'd how well you love your prince and country:
Continue still in this so good a mind,
And Henry, though he be infortunate,
Assure yourselves, will never be unkind:
And so, with thanks and pardon to you all,
I do dismiss you to your several countries.
God save the king! God save the king!Messenger
Enter a Messenger
Please it your grace to be advertisedKING HENRY VI
The Duke of York is newly come from Ireland,
And with a puissant and a mighty power
Of gallowglasses and stout kerns
Is marching hitherward in proud array,
And still proclaimeth, as he comes along,
His arms are only to remove from thee
The Duke of Somerset, whom he terms traitor.
Thus stands my state, 'twixt Cade and York distress'd.SOMERSET
Like to a ship that, having 'scaped a tempest,
Is straightway calm'd and boarded with a pirate:
But now is Cade driven back, his men dispersed;
And now is York in arms to second him.
I pray thee, Buckingham, go and meet him,
And ask him what's the reason of these arms.
Tell him I'll send Duke Edmund to the Tower;
And, Somerset, we'll commit thee thither,
Until his army be dismiss'd from him.
My lord,KING HENRY VI
I'll yield myself to prison willingly,
Or unto death, to do my country good.
In any case, be not too rough in terms;BUCKINGHAM
For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language.
I will, my lord; and doubt not so to dealKING HENRY VI
As all things shall redound unto your good.
Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better;
For yet may England curse my wretched reign.
Fie on ambition! fie on myself, that have a sword,IDEN
and yet am ready to famish! These five days have I
hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for
all the country is laid for me; but now am I so
hungry that if I might have a lease of my life for a
thousand years I could stay no longer. Wherefore,
on a brick wall have I climbed into this garden, to
see if I can eat grass, or pick a sallet another
while, which is not amiss to cool a man's stomach
this hot weather. And I think this word 'sallet'
was born to do me good: for many a time, but for a
sallet, my brainpan had been cleft with a brown
bill; and many a time, when I have been dry and
bravely marching, it hath served me instead of a
quart pot to drink in; and now the word 'sallet'
must serve me to feed on.
Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,CADE
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?
This small inheritance my father left me
Contenteth me, and worth a monarchy.
I seek not to wax great by others' waning,
Or gather wealth, I care not, with what envy:
Sufficeth that I have maintains my state
And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
Here's the lord of the soil come to seize me for aIDEN
stray, for entering his fee-simple without leave.
Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me, and get a thousand
crowns of the king carrying my head to him: but
I'll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow
my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.
Why, rude companion, whatsoe'er thou be,CADE
I know thee not; why, then, should I betray thee?
Is't not enough to break into my garden,
And, like a thief, to come to rob my grounds,
Climbing my walls in spite of me the owner,
But thou wilt brave me with these saucy terms?
Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever wasIDEN
broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I
have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and
thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead
as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.
Nay, it shall ne'er be said, while England stands,CADE
That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent,
Took odds to combat a poor famish'd man.
Oppose thy steadfast-gazing eyes to mine,
See if thou canst outface me with thy looks:
Set limb to limb, and thou art far the lesser;
Thy hand is but a finger to my fist,
Thy leg a stick compared with this truncheon;
My foot shall fight with all the strength thou hast;
And if mine arm be heaved in the air,
Thy grave is digg'd already in the earth.
As for words, whose greatness answers words,
Let this my sword report what speech forbears.
By my valour, the most complete champion that ever IIDEN
heard! Steel, if thou turn the edge, or cut not out
the burly-boned clown in chines of beef ere thou
sleep in thy sheath, I beseech God on my knees thou
mayst be turned to hobnails.
Here they fight. CADE fallsO, I am slain! famine and no other hath slain me:
let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me
but the ten meals I have lost, and I'll defy them
all. Wither, garden; and be henceforth a
burying-place to all that do dwell in this house,
because the unconquered soul of Cade is fled.
Is't Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?CADE
Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed,
And hang thee o'er my tomb when I am dead:
Ne'er shall this blood be wiped from thy point;
But thou shalt wear it as a herald's coat,
To emblaze the honour that thy master got.
Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. TellIDEN
Kent from me, she hath lost her best man, and exhort
all the world to be cowards; for I, that never
feared any, am vanquished by famine, not by valour.
How much thou wrong'st me, heaven be my judge.
Die, damned wretch, the curse of her that bare thee;
And as I thrust thy body in with my sword,
So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell.
Hence will I drag thee headlong by the heels
Unto a dunghill which shall be thy grave,
And there cut off thy most ungracious head;
Which I will bear in triumph to the king,
Leaving thy trunk for crows to feed upon.
Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum and coloursYORK
From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,BUCKINGHAM
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
To entertain great England's lawful king.
Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?
Let them obey that know not how to rule;
This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
I cannot give due action to my words,
Except a sword or sceptre balance it:
A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
Enter BUCKINGHAMWhom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble.
York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.YORK
Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.BUCKINGHAM
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,YORK
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
Should raise so great a power without his leave,
Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
[Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:BUCKINGHAM
O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
I am so angry at these abject terms;
And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
I am far better born than is the king,
More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts:
But I must make fair weather yet a while,
Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,--
Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
That I have given no answer all this while;
My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
The cause why I have brought this army hither
Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
Seditious to his grace and to the state.
That is too much presumption on thy part:YORK
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
Upon thine honour, is he prisoner?BUCKINGHAM
Upon mine honour, he is prisoner.YORK
Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.BUCKINGHAM
Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field,
You shall have pay and every thing you wish.
And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry,
Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
As pledges of my fealty and love;
I'll send them all as willing as I live:
Lands, goods, horse, armour, any thing I have,
Is his to use, so Somerset may die.
York, I commend this kind submission:KING HENRY VI
We twain will go into his highness' tent.
Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants
Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,YORK
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
In all submission and humilityKING HENRY VI
York doth present himself unto your highness.
Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?YORK
To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,IDEN
And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.
Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head
If one so rude and of so mean conditionKING HENRY VI
May pass into the presence of a king,
Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
The head of Cade! Great God, how just art Thou!IDEN
O, let me view his visage, being dead,
That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
I was, an't like your majesty.KING HENRY VI
How art thou call'd? and what is thy degree?IDEN
Alexander Iden, that's my name;BUCKINGHAM
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.
So please it you, my lord, 'twere not amissKING HENRY VI
He were created knight for his good service.
Iden, kneel down.IDEN
He kneelsRise up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks,
And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
May Iden live to merit such a bounty.KING HENRY VI
And never live but true unto his liege!
Enter QUEEN MARGARET and SOMERSET
See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen:QUEEN MARGARET
Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,YORK
But boldly stand and front him to his face.
How now! is Somerset at liberty?SOMERSET
Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts,
And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse?
King did I call thee? no, thou art not king,
Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
Which darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
That head of thine doth not become a crown;
Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff,
And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
Is able with the change to kill and cure.
Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up
And with the same to act controlling laws.
Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,YORK
Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown;
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
Wouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these,QUEEN MARGARET
If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;
Exit AttendantI know, ere they will have me go to ward,
They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
Call hither Clifford! bid him come amain,YORK
To say if that the bastard boys of York
Shall be the surety for their traitor father.
O blood-besotted Neapolitan,QUEEN MARGARET
Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those
That for my surety will refuse the boys!
Enter EDWARD and RICHARDSee where they come: I'll warrant they'll
make it good.
Enter CLIFFORD and YOUNG CLIFFORD
And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.CLIFFORD
Health and all happiness to my lord the king!YORK
I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?CLIFFORD
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look;
We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
This is my king, York, I do not mistake;KING HENRY VI
But thou mistakest me much to think I do:
To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?
Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humourCLIFFORD
Makes him oppose himself against his king.
He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,QUEEN MARGARET
And chop away that factious pate of his.
He is arrested, but will not obey;YORK
His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
Will you not, sons?EDWARD
Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.RICHARD
And if words will not, then our weapons shall.CLIFFORD
Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!YORK
Look in a glass, and call thy image so:CLIFFORD
I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
That with the very shaking of their chains
They may astonish these fell-lurking curs:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.
Enter the WARWICK and SALISBURY
Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death.RICHARD
And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
If thou darest bring them to the baiting place.
Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening curCLIFFORD
Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs and cried:
And such a piece of service will you do,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,YORK
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.CLIFFORD
Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.KING HENRY VI
Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?SALISBURY
Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
What, wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles?
O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?
Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
And shame thine honourable age with blood?
Why art thou old, and want'st experience?
Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me
That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
My lord, I have consider'd with myselfKING HENRY VI
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his grace
The rightful heir to England's royal seat.
Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?SALISBURY
I have.KING HENRY VI
Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?SALISBURY
It is great sin to swear unto a sin,QUEEN MARGARET
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
Who can be bound by any solemn vow
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
And have no other reason for this wrong
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?
A subtle traitor needs no sophister.KING HENRY VI
Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.YORK
Call Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,CLIFFORD
I am resolved for death or dignity.
The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.WARWICK
You were best to go to bed and dream again,CLIFFORD
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
I am resolved to bear a greater stormWARWICK
Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
And that I'll write upon thy burgonet,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,CLIFFORD
The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,
This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
As on a mountain top the cedar shows
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bearYOUNG CLIFFORD
And tread it under foot with all contempt,
Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear.
And so to arms, victorious father,RICHARD
To quell the rebels and their complices.
Fie! charity, for shame! speak not in spite,YOUNG CLIFFORD
For you shall sup with Jesu Christ to-night.
Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell.RICHARD
If not in heaven, you'll surely sup in hell.
Alarums to the battle. Enter WARWICKWARWICK
Clifford of Cumberland, 'tis Warwick calls:YORK
And if thou dost not hide thee from the bear,
Now, when the angry trumpet sounds alarum
And dead men's cries do fill the empty air,
Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me:
Proud northern lord, Clifford of Cumberland,
Warwick is hoarse with calling thee to arms.
Enter YORKHow now, my noble lord? what, all afoot?
The deadly-handed Clifford slew my steed,WARWICK
But match to match I have encounter'd him
And made a prey for carrion kites and crows
Even of the bonny beast he loved so well.
Of one or both of us the time is come.YORK
Hold, Warwick, seek thee out some other chase,WARWICK
For I myself must hunt this deer to death.
Then, nobly, York; 'tis for a crown thou fight'st.CLIFFORD
As I intend, Clifford, to thrive to-day,
It grieves my soul to leave thee unassail'd.
What seest thou in me, York? why dost thou pause?YORK
With thy brave bearing should I be in love,CLIFFORD
But that thou art so fast mine enemy.
Nor should thy prowess want praise and esteem,YORK
But that 'tis shown ignobly and in treason.
So let it help me now against thy swordCLIFFORD
As I in justice and true right express it.
My soul and body on the action both!YORK
A dreadful lay! Address thee instantly.CLIFFORD
They fight, and CLIFFORD falls
La fin couronne les oeuvres.YORK
Thus war hath given thee peace, for thou art still.YOUNG CLIFFORD
Peace with his soul, heaven, if it be thy will!
Enter YOUNG CLIFFORD
Shame and confusion! all is on the rout;RICHARD
Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds
Where it should guard. O war, thou son of hell,
Whom angry heavens do make their minister
Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part
Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly.
He that is truly dedicate to war
Hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself
Hath not essentially but by circumstance
The name of valour.
Seeing his dead fatherO, let the vile world end,
And the premised flames of the last day
Knit earth and heaven together!
Now let the general trumpet blow his blast,
Particularities and petty sounds
To cease! Wast thou ordain'd, dear father,
To lose thy youth in peace, and to achieve
The silver livery of advised age,
And, in thy reverence and thy chair-days, thus
To die in ruffian battle? Even at this sight
My heart is turn'd to stone: and while 'tis mine,
It shall be stony. York not our old men spares;
No more will I their babes: tears virginal
Shall be to me even as the dew to fire,
And beauty that the tyrant oft reclaims
Shall to my flaming wrath be oil and flax.
Henceforth I will not have to do with pity:
Meet I an infant of the house of York,
Into as many gobbets will I cut it
As wild Medea young Absyrtus did:
In cruelty will I seek out my fame.
Come, thou new ruin of old Clifford's house:
As did AEneas old Anchises bear,
So bear I thee upon my manly shoulders;
But then AEneas bare a living load,
Nothing so heavy as these woes of mine.
Exit, bearing off his father
Enter RICHARD and SOMERSET to fight. SOMERSET is killed
So, lie thou there;QUEEN MARGARET
For underneath an alehouse' paltry sign,
The Castle in Saint Alban's, Somerset
Hath made the wizard famous in his death.
Sword, hold thy temper; heart, be wrathful still:
Priests pray for enemies, but princes kill.
Fight: excursions. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and others
Away, my lord! you are slow; for shame, away!KING HENRY VI
Can we outrun the heavens? good Margaret, stay.QUEEN MARGARET
What are you made of? you'll nor fight nor fly:YOUNG CLIFFORD
Now is it manhood, wisdom and defence,
To give the enemy way, and to secure us
By what we can, which can no more but fly.
Alarum afar offIf you be ta'en, we then should see the bottom
Of all our fortunes: but if we haply scape,
As well we may, if not through your neglect,
We shall to London get, where you are loved
And where this breach now in our fortunes made
May readily be stopp'd.
Re-enter YOUNG CLIFFORD
But that my heart's on future mischief set,
I would speak blasphemy ere bid you fly:
But fly you must; uncurable discomfit
Reigns in the hearts of all our present parts.
Away, for your relief! and we will live
To see their day and them our fortune give:
Away, my lord, away!
Alarum. Retreat. Enter YORK, RICHARD, WARWICK, and Soldiers, with drum and coloursYORK
Of Salisbury, who can report of him,RICHARD
That winter lion, who in rage forgets
Aged contusions and all brush of time,
And, like a gallant in the brow of youth,
Repairs him with occasion? This happy day
Is not itself, nor have we won one foot,
If Salisbury be lost.
My noble father,SALISBURY
Three times to-day I holp him to his horse,
Three times bestrid him; thrice I led him off,
Persuaded him from any further act:
But still, where danger was, still there I met him;
And like rich hangings in a homely house,
So was his will in his old feeble body.
But, noble as he is, look where he comes.
Now, by my sword, well hast thou fought to-day;YORK
By the mass, so did we all. I thank you, Richard:
God knows how long it is I have to live;
And it hath pleased him that three times to-day
You have defended me from imminent death.
Well, lords, we have not got that which we have:
'Tis not enough our foes are this time fled,
Being opposites of such repairing nature.
I know our safety is to follow them;WARWICK
For, as I hear, the king is fled to London,
To call a present court of parliament.
Let us pursue him ere the writs go forth.
What says Lord Warwick? shall we after them?
After them! nay, before them, if we can.
Now, by my faith, lords, 'twas a glorious day:
Saint Alban's battle won by famous York
Shall be eternized in all age to come.
Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all:
And more such days as these to us befall!