Henry VI, Pt. 2
Act I, Scene 2
London. A room in Gloucester’s house.
- Enter Duke Humphrey of Gloucester and his wife Eleanor the
Duchess1 - 16
- Why droops my lord, like over-ripen’d corn
- Hanging the head at Ceres’ plenteous load?
- Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
- As frowning at the favors of the world?
- Why are thine eyes fix’d to the sullen earth,
- Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
- What seest thou there? King Henry’s diadem,
- Enchas’d with all the honors 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 heav’d 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.
Duke of Gloucester17 - 22
- O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,
- 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 dreams this night doth make me sad.
Duchess23 - 24
- What dream’d my lord? Tell me, and I’ll requite it
- With sweet rehearsal of my morning’s dream.
Duke of Gloucester25 - 31
- Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court,
- Was broke in twain (by whom I have forgot,
- But, as I think, it was by th’ Cardinal),
- And on the pieces of the broken wand
- Were plac’d 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.
Duchess32 - 40
- Tut, this was nothing but an argument
- 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 sate in seat of majesty
- In the cathedral church of Westminster,
- And in that chair where kings and queens were crown’d,
- Where Henry and Dame Margaret kneel’d to me,
- And on my head did set the diadem.
Duke of Gloucester41 - 50
- Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright.
- Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtur’d Eleanor,
- Art thou not second woman in the realm?
- And the Protector’s wife, belov’d 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 honor to disgrace’s feet?
- Away from me, and let me hear no more!
Duchess51 - 54
- What, what, my lord? Are you so choleric
- With Eleanor, for telling but her dream?
- Next time I’ll keep my dreams unto myself,
- And not be check’d.
Duke of Gloucester55
- Nay, be not angry, I am pleas’d again.
- Enter Messenger.
First Royal Messenger56 - 58
- My Lord Protector, ’tis his Highness’ pleasure
- You do prepare to ride unto Saint Albans,
- Where as the King and Queen do mean to hawk.
Duke of Gloucester59
- I go. Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
Duchess60 - 69
- Yes, my good lord, I’ll follow presently.
- Exit Humphrey with Messenger.
- Follow 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.
- Enter Hume.
- Jesus preserve your royal Majesty!
- What say’st thou? Majesty? I am but Grace.
John Hume72 - 73
- But, by the grace of God and Hume’s advice,
- Your Grace’s title shall be multiplied.
Duchess74 - 77
- What say’st thou, man? Hast thou as yet conferr’d
- With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
- With Roger Bolingbrook, the conjurer?
- And will they undertake to do me good?
John Hume78 - 81
- This they have promised, to show your Highness
- A spirit rais’d from depth of under ground,
- That shall make answer to such questions
- As by your Grace shall be propounded him.
Duchess82 - 86
- It is enough, I’ll think upon the questions.
- When from Saint Albans 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.
- Exit Eleanor.
John Hume87 - 107
- 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 humor,
- Have hired me to undermine the Duchess,
- And buzz 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’ wrack,
- And her attainture will be Humphrey’s fall.
- Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.