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Henry VI, Pt. 2: Act 2, Scene 4

Henry VI, Pt. 2
Act 2, Scene 4

London. A street.

  1. Enter Duke Humphrey of Gloucester and his Attendants in
  2. mourning cloaks.

Duke of Gloucester

3 - 7
  1. Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud,
  2. And after summer evermore succeeds
  3. Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold;
  4. So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
  5. Sirs, what’s a’ clock?

Gloucester’s First Attendant

8
  1.                        Ten, my lord.

Duke of Gloucester

9 - 19
  1. Ten is the hour that was appointed me
  2. To watch the coming of my punish’d duchess.
  3. Uneath may she endure the flinty streets,
  4. To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.
  5. Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook
  6. The abject people gazing on thy face,
  7. With envious looks laughing at thy shame,
  8. That erst did follow thy proud chariot-wheels
  9. When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
  10. But soft, I think she comes, and I’ll prepare
  11. My tear-stain’d eyes to see her miseries.
  1. Enter the Duchess of Gloucester, barefoot, in a white sheet,
  2. and verses written on her back and
  3. pinned on, and a taper burning in her hand, with Sir John
  4. Stanley, the Sheriff, and Officers.

Gloucester’s Second Attendant

24
  1. So please your Grace, we’ll take her from the sheriff.

Duke of Gloucester

25
  1. No, stir not for your lives, let her pass by.

Duchess

26 - 32
  1. Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?
  2. Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze!
  3. See how the giddy multitude do point
  4. And nod their heads, and throw their eyes on thee!
  5. Ah, Gloucester, hide thee from their hateful looks,
  6. And in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
  7. And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine.

Duke of Gloucester

33
  1. Be patient, gentle Nell, forget this grief.

Duchess

34 - 64
  1. Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself;
  2. For whilest I think I am thy married wife,
  3. And thou a prince, Protector of this land,
  4. Methinks I should not thus be led along,
  5. Mail’d up in shame, with papers on my back,
  6. And follow’d with a rabble that rejoice
  7. To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
  8. The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
  9. And when I start, the envious people laugh,
  10. And bid me be advised how I tread.
  11. Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
  12. Trowest thou that e’er I’ll look upon the world,
  13. Or count them happy that enjoys the sun?
  14. No; dark shall be my light, and night my day;
  15. To think upon my pomp shall be my hell.
  16. Sometime I’ll say, I am Duke Humphrey’s wife,
  17. And he a prince, and ruler of the land;
  18. Yet so he rul’d, and such a prince he was,
  19. As he stood by, whilest I, his forlorn duchess,
  20. Was made a wonder and a pointing-stock
  21. To every idle rascal follower.
  22. But be thou mild, and blush not at my shame,
  23. Nor stir at nothing, till the axe of death
  24. Hang over thee, as sure it shortly will;
  25. For Suffolk, he that can do all in all
  26. With her that hateth thee and hates us all,
  27. And York and impious Beauford, that false priest,
  28. Have all lim’d bushes to betray thy wings,
  29. And fly thou how thou canst, they’ll tangle thee.
  30. But fear not thou, until thy foot be snar’d,
  31. Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.

Duke of Gloucester

65 - 76
  1. Ah, Nell, forbear! Thou aimest all awry.
  2. I must offend before I be attainted;
  3. And had I twenty times so many foes,
  4. And each of them had twenty times their power,
  5. All these could not procure me any scathe
  6. So long as I am loyal, true, and crimeless.
  7. Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?
  8. Why, yet thy scandal were not wip’d away,
  9. But I in danger for the breach of law.
  10. Thy greatest help is quiet, gentle Nell.
  11. I pray thee sort thy heart to patience,
  12. These few days’ wonder will be quickly worn.
  1. Enter a Herald.

Herald

78 - 79
  1. I summon your Grace to his Majesty’s parliament,
  2. Holden at Bury the first of this next month.

Duke of Gloucester

80 - 84
  1. And my consent ne’er ask’d herein before?
  2. This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
  3. Exit Herald.
  4. My Nell, I take my leave; and, Master Sheriff,
  5. Let not her penance exceed the King’s commission.

Sheriff of London

85 - 87
  1. And’t please your Grace, here my commission stays;
  2. And Sir John Stanley is appointed now
  3. To take her with him to the Isle of Man.

Duke of Gloucester

88
  1. Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?

Sir John Stanley

89
  1. So am I given in charge, may’t please your Grace.

Duke of Gloucester

90 - 93
  1. Entreat her not the worse in that I pray
  2. You use her well. The world may laugh again,
  3. And I may live to do you kindness if
  4. You do it her. And so, Sir John, farewell!

Duchess

94
  1. What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell?

Duke of Gloucester

95
  1. Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.
  1. Exit Gloucester with his Men.

Duchess

97 - 103
  1. Art thou gone too? All comfort go with thee,
  2. For none abides with me. My joy is death;
  3. Death, at whose name I oft have been afeard,
  4. Because I wish’d this world’s eternity.
  5. Stanley, I prithee go, and take me hence,
  6. I care not whither, for I beg no favor;
  7. Only convey me where thou art commanded.

Sir John Stanley

104 - 105
  1. Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man,
  2. There to be us’d according to your state.

Duchess

106 - 107
  1. That’s bad enough, for I am but reproach;
  2. And shall I then be us’d reproachfully?

Sir John Stanley

108 - 109
  1. Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey’s lady,
  2. According to that state you shall be us’d.

Duchess

110 - 111
  1. Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
  2. Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.

Sheriff of London

112
  1. It is my office, and, madam, pardon me.

Duchess

113 - 114
  1. Ay, ay, farewell, thy office is discharg’d.
  2. Come, Stanley, shall we go?

Sir John Stanley

115 - 116
  1. Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,
  2. And go we to attire you for our journey.

Duchess

117 - 120
  1. My shame will not be shifted with my sheet.
  2. No, it will hang upon my richest robes,
  3. And show itself, attire me how I can.
  4. Go, lead the way, I long to see my prison.
  1. Exeunt.
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