Henry VI, Pt. 2
Act III, Scene 1
The Abbey at Bury St Edmunds.
- Sound a sennet. Enter two Heralds before. Then enter King,
- Queen, Cardinal, Suffolk, York, Buckingham,
- Salisbury, and Warwick to the parliament.
King Henry the Sixth1 - 3
- I muse my Lord of Gloucester is not come;
- ’Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,
- What e’er occasion keeps him from us now.
Queen Margaret4 - 41
- Can you not see? Or will ye not observe
- 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 admir’d 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 is 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.
Duke of Suffolk42 - 57
- Well hath your Highness seen into this duke;
- 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 practices;
- 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 harbors 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.
Cardinal Beauford58 - 59
- Did he not, contrary to form of law,
- Devise strange deaths for small offenses done?
Duke of York60 - 63
- And did he not, in his protectorship,
- 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?
Duke of Buckingham64 - 65
- Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown,
- Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke Humphrey.
King Henry the Sixth66 - 73
- My lords, at once: the care you have of us
- 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.
Queen Margaret74 - 81
- Ah, what’s more dangerous than this fond affiance!
- Seems he a dove? His feathers are but borrow’d,
- For he’s disposed as the hateful raven.
- Is he a lamb? His skin is surely lent him,
- For he’s inclin’d as is the ravenous wolves.
- 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.
- Enter Somerset.
Duke of Somerset82
- All health unto my gracious sovereign!
King Henry the Sixth83
- Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?
Duke of Somerset84 - 85
- That all your interest in those territories
- Is utterly bereft you: all is lost.
King Henry the Sixth86
- Cold news, Lord Somerset; but God’s will be done!
Duke of York87 - 92
- Cold news for me; for I had hope of France
- 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.
- Enter Gloucester.
Duke of Gloucester93 - 94
- All happiness unto my lord the King!
- Pardon, my liege, that I have stay’d so long.
Duke of Suffolk95 - 97
- Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come too soon,
- Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art.
- I do arrest thee of high treason here.
Duke of Gloucester98 - 103
- Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush
- 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?
Duke of York104 - 106
- ’Tis thought, my lord, that you took bribes of France,
- And being Protector, stay’d the soldiers’ pay,
- By means whereof his Highness hath lost France.
Duke of Gloucester107 - 118
- Is it but thought so? What are they that think it?
- 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 dispursed to the garrisons,
- And never ask’d for restitution.
- It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.
Duke of Gloucester120
- I say no more than truth, so help me God!
Duke of York121 - 123
- In your protectorship you did devise
- Strange tortures for offenders, never heard of,
- That England was defam’d by tyranny.
Duke of Gloucester124 - 132
- Why, ’tis well known that, whiles I was Protector,
- 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 fleec’d poor passengers,
- I never gave them condign punishment.
- Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortur’d
- Above the felon or what trespass else.
Duke of Suffolk133 - 138
- My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answer’d;
- 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.
King Henry the Sixth139 - 141
- My Lord of Gloucester, ’tis my special hope
- That you will clear yourself from all suspense.
- My conscience tells me you are innocent.
Duke of Gloucester142 - 171
- Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous:
- Virtue is chok’d with foul ambition,
- And charity chas’d hence by rancor’s hand;
- Foul subornation is predominant,
- And equity exil’d 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.
- Beauford’s red sparkling eyes blab his heart’s malice,
- And Suffolk’s cloudy brow his stormy hate;
- Sharp Buckingham unburdens 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 endeavor have stirr’d up
- My liefest liege to be mine enemy.
- Ay, all of 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.”
Cardinal Beauford172 - 177
- My liege, his railing is intolerable.
- 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.
Duke of Suffolk178 - 181
- Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here
- 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.
Duke of Gloucester183 - 185
- Far truer spoke than meant. I lose indeed;
- Beshrew the winners, for they play’d me false!
- And well such losers may have leave to speak.
Duke of Buckingham186 - 187
- He’ll wrest the sense and hold us here all day.
- Lord Cardinal, he is your prisoner.
- Sirs, take away the Duke, and guard him sure.
Duke of Gloucester189 - 194
- Ah, thus King Henry throws away his crutch
- 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.
- Exit Gloucester with the Cardinal’s Men.
King Henry the Sixth195 - 196
- My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best,
- Do or undo, as if ourself were here.
- What, will your Highness leave the parliament?
King Henry the Sixth198 - 222
- Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown’d with grief,
- 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 honor, truth, and loyalty;
- And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come
- That e’er I prov’d thee false or fear’d thy faith.
- What low’ring 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.”
- Exit with Buckingham, Salisbury, and Warwick.
Queen Margaret223 - 234
- Free lords, cold snow melts with the sun’s hot beams:
- 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 flow’ring bank,
- With shining checker’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 from the fear we have of him.
Cardinal Beauford235 - 237
- That he should die is worthy policy,
- But yet we want a color for his death.
- ’Tis meet he be condemn’d by course of law.
Duke of Suffolk238 - 242
- But, in my mind, that were no policy:
- The King will labor 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.
Duke of York243
- So that, by this, you would not have him die.
Duke of Suffolk244
- Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I!
Duke of York245 - 250
- ’Tis York that hath more reason for his death.
- 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.
Duke of Suffolk252 - 265
- Madam, ’tis true; and were’t not madness then,
- To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
- Who being accus’d 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 prov’d an enemy to the flock,
- Before his chaps be stain’d with crimson blood,
- As Humphrey, prov’d 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.
Duke of Suffolk267 - 272
- Not resolute, except so much were done,
- 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.
Cardinal Beauford273 - 277
- But I would have him dead, my Lord of 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.
Duke of Suffolk278
- Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.
- And so say I.
Duke of York280 - 281
- And I; and now we three have spoke it,
- It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
- Enter a Post.
Post282 - 287
- Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain,
- 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.
Cardinal Beauford288 - 289
- A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!
- What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
Duke of York290 - 292
- That Somerset be sent as Regent thither:
- ’Tis meet that lucky ruler be employ’d—
- Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
Duke of Somerset293 - 295
- If York, with all his far-fet policy,
- Had been the Regent there in stead of me,
- He never would have stay’d in France so long.
Duke of York296 - 301
- No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done.
- I rather would have lost my life betimes
- Than bring a burden of dishonor home
- By staying there so long till all were lost.
- Show me one scar character’d on thy skin:
- Men’s flesh preserv’d so whole do seldom win.
Queen Margaret302 - 306
- Nay then, this spark will prove a raging fire,
- 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 prov’d far worse than his.
Duke of York307
- What, worse than nought? Nay, then a shame take all!
Duke of Somerset308
- And, in the number, thee that wishest shame!
Cardinal Beauford309 - 314
- My Lord of York, try what your fortune is.
- Th’ 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?
Duke of York315
- I will, my lord, so please his Majesty.
Duke of Suffolk316 - 318
- Why, our authority is his consent,
- And what we do establish he confirms.
- Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
Duke of York319 - 320
- I am content. Provide me soldiers, lords,
- Whiles I take order for mine own affairs.
Duke of Suffolk321 - 322
- A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform’d.
- But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
Cardinal Beauford323 - 326
- No more of him; for I will deal with him
- 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.
Duke of York327 - 329
- My Lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days
- At Bristow I expect my soldiers,
- For there I’ll ship them all for Ireland.
Duke of Suffolk330
- I’ll see it truly done, my Lord of York.
- Exeunt. Manet York.
Duke of York331 - 383
- Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,
- And change misdoubt to resolution;
- Be that thou hop’st to be, or what thou art
- Resign to death; it is not worth th’ enjoying.
- Let pale-fac’d fear keep with the mean-born man,
- And find no harbor in a royal heart.
- Faster than spring-time show’rs comes thought on thought,
- And not a thought but thinks on dignity.
- My brain, more busy than the laboring 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 your hearts.
- ’Twas men I lack’d, and you will give them me;
- I take it kindly. Yet be well assur’d
- 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 seduc’d 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 villainies.
- 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 mov’d 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.