HISTORY OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH, SECOND PART
by William Shakespeare
KING HENRY THE SIXTH. HUMPHREY, Duke of Gloster, his uncle. CARDINAL BEAUFORT, Bishop of Winchester, great-uncle to the King. RICHARD PLANTAGENET, Duke of York. EDWARD and RICHARD, his sons. DUKE OF SOMERSET. DUKE OF SUFFOLK. DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. LORD CLIFFORD. YOUNG CLIFFORD, his son. EARL OF SALISBURY. EARL OF WARWICK.
LORD SCALES. LORD SAY. SIR HUMPHREY STAFFORD, and WILLIAM STAFFORD, his brother. SIR JOHN STANLEY. VAUX. MATTHEW GOFFE. A Sea-Captain, Master, and Master's-Mate, and WALTER WHITMORE. Two Gentlemen, prisoners with Suffolk. JOHN HUME and JOHN SOUTHWELL, priests. ROGER BOLINGBROKE, a conjurer. THOMAS HORNER, an armourer. PETER, his man. Clerk of Chatham. Mayor of Saint Albans. SIMPCOX, an impostor. ALEXANDER IDEN, a Kentish gentleman. JACK CADE, a rebel. GEORGE BEVIS, JOHN HOLLAND, DICK the butcher, SMITH the weaver, MICHAEL, etc., followers of Cade. Two Murderers.
MARGARET, Queen to King Henry. ELEANOR, Duchess of Gloster. MARGARET JOURDAIN, a witch. Wife to Simpcox.
Lords, Ladies, and Attendants, Petitioners, Aldermen, a Herald, a Beadle, Sheriff, and Officers, Citizens, Prentices, Falconers, Guards, Soldiers, Messengers, &c.
SCENE I. London. The palace
[Flourish of trumpets: then hautboys. Enter the KING, GLOSTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and CARDINAL BEAUFORT, on the one side; the QUEEN, SUFFOLK, YORK, SOMERSET, and BUCKINGHAM, on the other.]
SUFFOLK. As by your high imperial Majesty 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 espous'd, 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 receiv'd.
KING. Suffolk, arise.—Welcome, 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.
QUEEN. Great King of England and my gracious lord, 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.
KING. Her sight did ravish, but her grace in speech, Her words yclad 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.
ALL. [Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England's happiness!
QUEEN. We thank you all.
SUFFOLK. My Lord Protector, so it please your grace, Here are the articles of contracted peace Between our sovereign and the French king Charles, For eighteen months concluded by consent.
GLOSTER. [Reads] 'Imprimis, It is agreed between the French 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.]
KING. Uncle, how now!
GLOSTER. Pardon me, gracious lord; Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.
KING. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.
CARDINAL. [Reads] 'Item, It is further agreed between them, 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.'
KING. They please us well.—Lord marquess, kneel down. We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, And girt 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 expir'd.—Thanks, uncle Winchester, Gloster, York, Buckingham, Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick; We thank you all for this 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, Queen, and Suffolk.]
GLOSTER. Brave peers of England, pillars of the state, 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, Receiv'd deep scars in France and Normandy? Or hath mine uncle Beaufort and myself, With all the learned counsel 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!
CARDINAL. Nephew, what means this passionate discourse, This peroration with such circumstance? For France, 't is ours; and we will keep it still.
GLOSTER. Ay, uncle, we will keep it if we can, 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.
SALISBURY. Now, by the death of Him that died for all, These counties were the keys of Normandy!— But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
WARWICK. For grief that they are past recovery; 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 Deliver'd up again with peaceful words? Mort Dieu!
YORK. For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate, 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.
GLOSTER. A proper jest, and never heard before, That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth For costs and charges in transporting her! She should have staid in France, and starv'd in France, Before—
CARDINAL. My Lord of Gloster, now ye grow too hot; It was the pleasure of my lord the King.
GLOSTER. My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind; 'T is not my speeches that you do mislike, But 't is 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.
CARDINAL. So, there goes our protector in a rage. 'T is 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 displeas'd 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 Gloster,' 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.
BUCKINGHAM. Why should he, then, protect our sovereign, 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.
CARDINAL. This weighty business will not brook delay; I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.
SOMERSET. Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's pride 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 Gloster be displac'd, he 'll be protector.
BUCKINGHAM. Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector, Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.
[Exeunt Buckingham and Somerset.]
SALISBURY. Pride went before, ambition follows him. While these do labour for their own preferment, Behoves it us to labour for the realm. I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloster 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.
WARWICK. So God help Warwick, as he loves the land And common profit of his country!
YORK. [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; 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.]
YORK. 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 pleas'd To changes two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter. I cannot blame them all: what is't to them? 'T is thine they give away, and not their own. Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage, And purchase friends, and give to courtesans, Still revelling like lords till all be gone; Whileas 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 shar'd 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 fallen at jars. Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose, With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum'd, 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.
SCENE II. The Duke of Gloster's House.
[Enter DUKE HUMPHREY and his wife ELEANOR]
DUCHESS. 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 favours of the world? Why are thine eyes fix'd to the sullen earth, Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight? What see'st thou there? King Henry's diadem, Enchas'd 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 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.
GLOSTER. 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.
DUCHESS. What dream'd my lord? Tell me, and I'll requite it With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
GLOSTER. Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court, 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 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.
DUCHESS. Tut, this was nothing but an argument That he that breaks a stick of Gloster'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.
GLOSTER. 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 honour to disgrace's feet? Away from me, and let me hear no more!
DUCHESS. 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.
GLOSTER. Nay, be not angry; I am pleas'd again.
MESSENGER. My lord protector, 't is his highness' pleasure You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's, Whereas the king and queen do mean to hawk.
GLOSTER. I go.—Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
DUCHESS. Yes, my good lord, I'll follow presently.
[Exeunt Gloster and Messenger.]
Follow I must; I cannot go before While Gloster 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.
HUME. 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, Your grace's title shall be multiplied.
DUCHESS. What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr'd With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch, With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer? And will they undertake to do me good?
HUME. This they have promised,—to show your highness A spirit rais'd from depth of underground, That shall make answer to such questions As by your Grace shall be propounded him.
DUCHESS. It is enough; I'll think upon the questions. When from Saint 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. 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 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 its 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.
SCENE III. London. The palace.
[Enter PETER and other PETITIONERS.]
1 PETITIONER. My masters, let's stand close; my lord protector will come this way by and by, and then we may deliver our supplications in the quill.
2 PETITIONER. Marry, the Lord protect him, for he's a good man! Jesu bless him!
[Enter SUFFOLK and QUEEN.]
PETER. Here 'a comes, methinks, and the queen with him. I'll be the first, sure.
2 PETITIONER. Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk and not my lord protector.
SUFFOLK. How now, fellow! wouldst any thing with me?
1 PETITIONER. I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lord protector.
QUEEN. [Reading] 'To my Lord Protector!' Are your supplications to his lordship? Let me see them; what is thine?
1 PETITIONER. Mine is, an 't please your grace, against John Goodman, my lord cardinal's man, for keeping my house and lands, and wife and all, from me.
SUFFOLK. Thy wife too! that's some wrong, indeed.—What's yours?—What's here! [Reads] 'Against the Duke of Suffolk for enclosing the commons of Melford.'—How now, sir knave!
2 PETITIONER. Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner of our whole township.
PETER. [Giving his petition] Against my master, Thomas Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful heir to the crown.
QUEEN. What say'st thou? did the Duke of York say he was rightful heir to the crown?
PETER. That my master was? no, forsooth; my master said that he was, and that the king was an usurper.
SUFFOLK. Who is there? [Enter Servant.] Take 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.]
QUEEN. And as for you, that love to be protected Under the wings of our protector's grace, Begin your suits anew and sue to him.
[Tears the supplications.]
Away, base cullions!—Suffolk, let them go.
ALL. Come, let's be gone.
QUEEN. My Lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise, 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 Gloster'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 stol'st 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 canoniz'd 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.
SUFFOLK. Madam, be patient; as I was cause Your highness came to England, so will I In England work your grace's full content.
QUEEN. Beside the haughty protector, have we Beaufort The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham, And grumbling York; and not the least of these But can do more in England than the king.
SUFFOLK. And he of these that can do most of all Cannot do more in England than the Nevils; Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers.
QUEEN. Not all these lords do vex me half so much 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 aveng'd on her? Contemptuous base-born callat 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 land Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
SUFFOLK. Madam, myself have lim'd a bush for her, And plac'd 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.
[Sennet. Enter the KING, DUKE HUMPHREY, CARDINAL BEAUFORT, BUCKINGHAM, YORK, SOMERSET, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and the DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.]
KING. For my part, noble lords, I care not which; Or Somerset or York, all's one to me.
YORK. If York have ill demean'd himself in France, Then let him be denay'd the regentship.
SOMERSET. If Somerset be unworthy of the place, Let York be regent; I will yield to him.
WARWICK. Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no, Dispute not that; York is the worthier.
CARDINAL. 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, Why Somerset should be preferr'd in this.
QUEEN. Because the king, forsooth, will have it so.
GLOSTER. Madam, the King is old enough himself To give his censure; these are no women's matters.
QUEEN. If he be old enough, what needs your grace To be protector of his excellence?
GLOSTER. Madam, I am protector of the realm, And, at his pleasure, will resign my place.
SUFFOLK. Resign it then, and leave thine insolence. Since thou wert king—as who is king but thou?— The commonwealth hath daily run to wrack; The Dauphin hath prevail'd beyond the seas; And all the peers and nobles of the realm Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
CARDINAL. The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bags Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
SOMERSET. Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife's attire Have cost a mass of public treasury.
BUCKINGHAM. Thy cruelty in execution Upon offenders hath exceeded law, And left thee to the mercy of the law.
QUEEN. Thy sale of offices and towns in France, If they were known, as the suspect is great, Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.—
[Exit Gloster. The Queen drops her fan..]
Give me my fan. What minion! can ye not?
[She gives the Duchess a box on the ear.]
I cry your mercy, madam; was it you?
DUCHESS. Was 't I! yea, I it was, proud Frenchwoman. Could I come near your beauty with my nails, I'd set my ten commandments in your face.
KING. Sweet aunt, be quiet; 't was against her will.
DUCHESS. Against her will! good king, look to 't in time; 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 unreveng'd.
BUCKINGHAM. Lord cardinal, I will follow Eleanor, And listen after Humphrey, how he proceeds. She's tickled now; her fume needs no spurs, She'll gallop far enough to her destruction.
GLOSTER. Now, lords, my choler being overblown 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.
SUFFOLK. Before we make election, give me leave To show some reason, of no little force, That York is most unmeet of any man.
YORK. I'll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet: 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 danc'd attendance on his will Till Paris was besieg'd, famish'd, and lost.
WARWICK. That can I witness; and a fouler fact Did never traitor in the land commit.
SUFFOLK. Peace, headstrong Warwick!
WARWICK. Image of pride, why should I hold my peace?
[Enter HORNER and his man PETER, guarded.]
SUFFOLK. Because here is a man accus'd of treason. Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
YORK. Doth any one accuse York for a traitor?
KING. What mean'st thou, Suffolk? tell me, what are these?
SUFFOLK. Please it your majesty, this is the man 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 an usurper.
KING. Say, man, were these thy words?
HORNER. An 't shall please your majesty, I never said nor thought any such matter; God is my witness, I am falsely accused by the villain.
PETER. By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak them to me in the garret one night, as we were scouring my Lord of York's armour.
YORK. Base dunghill villain and mechanical, I'll have thy head for this thy traitor's speech.— I do beseech your royal majesty, Let him have all the rigour of the law.
HORNER. Alas, my lord, hang me if ever I spake the words. 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 accusation.
KING. Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?
GLOSTER. This doom, my lord, if I may judge: Let Somerset be Regent o'er 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.
SOMERSET. I humbly thank your royal Majesty.
HORNER. And I accept the combat willingly.
PETER. Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God's sake, pity 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!
GLOSTER. Sirrah, or you must fight or else be hang'd.
KING. 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.
SCENE IV. Gloster's Garden
[Enter MARGERY JOURDAIN, HUME, SOUTHWELL, and BOLINGBROKE.]
HUME. Come, my masters; the duchess, I tell you, expects performance of your promises.
BOLINGBROKE. Master Hume, we are therefore provided; will her ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms?
HUME. Ay, what else? fear you not her courage.
BOLINGBROKE. I have heard her reported to be a woman of an 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 Hume.] Mother Jourdain, be you prostrate and grovel on the earth.—John Southwell, read you; and let us to our work.
[Enter DUCHESS aloft, HUME following.]
DUCHESS. Well said, my masters; and welcome all. To this gear the sooner the better.
BOLINGBROKE. Patience, good lady, wizards know their times: 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, etc. It thunders and lightens terribly; then the Spirit riseth.]
M. JOURDAIN. Asmath, 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.
SPIRIT. Ask what thou wilt. That I had said and done!
BOLINGBROKE. [Reads] 'First of the king: what shall of him become?'
SPIRIT. The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose, But him outlive and die a violent death.
[As the Spirit speaks, Southwell writes the answer.]
BOLINGBROKE. 'What fates await the Duke of Suffolk?'
SPIRIT. By water shall he die and take his end.
BOLINGBROKE. [Reads] 'What shall befall the Duke of Somerset?'
SPIRIT. Let him shun castles; Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains Than where castles mounted stand. Have done, for more I hardly can endure.
BOLINGBROKE. Descend to darkness and the burning lake! False fiend, avoid!
[Thunder and lightning. Exit Spirit.]
[Enter the DUKE OF YORK and the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM with their Guard and break in YORK.]
Lay hands upon these traitors and their trash.— 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.
DUCHESS. Not half so bad as thine to England's king, Injurious duke, that threatest where's no cause.
BUCKINGHAM. True, madam, none at all; what call you this?— 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, guarded.]
We'll see your trinkets here all forthcoming.— All, away!
[Exeunt guard with Jourdain, Southwell, etc.]
YORK. Lord Buckingham, methinks you watch'd her well; 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 carry them; A sorry breakfast for my lord protector.
BUCKINGHAM. Your Grace shall give me leave, my Lord of York, To be the post, in hope of his reward.
YORK. At your pleasure, my good lord.— Who's within there, ho!
[Enter a Servingman.]
Invite my Lords of Salisbury and Warwick To sup with me to-morrow night. Away!
SCENE I. Saint Alban's.
[Enter the KING, QUEEN, GLOSTER, CARDINAL, and SUFFOLK, with FALCONERS halloing.]
QUEEN. Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook, 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.
KING. But what a point, my lord, your falcon made, 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.
SUFFOLK. No marvel, an it like your majesty, 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.
GLOSTER. My lord, 't is but a base ignoble mind That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.
CARDINAL. I thought as much; he would be above the clouds.
GLOSTER. Ay, my lord cardinal? how think you by that? Were it not good your grace could fly to heaven?
KING. The treasury of everlasting joy.
CARDINAL. Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughts Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart, Pernicious protector, dangerous peer, That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal.
GLOSTER. What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory? Tantaene animis coelestibus irae? Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice; With such holiness can you do it?
SUFFOLK. No malice, sir; no more than well becomes So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.
GLOSTER. As who, my lord?
SUFFOLK. Why, as you, my lord, An 't like your lordly lord-protectorship.
GLOSTER. Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.
QUEEN. And thy ambition, Gloster.
KING. I prithee, peace, good queen, And whet not on these furious peers; For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.
CARDINAL. Let me be blessed for the peace I make Against this proud protector, with my sword!
GLOSTER. [Aside to Cardinal.] Faith, holy uncle, would 't were come to that!
CARDINAL. [Aside to Gloster.] Marry, when thou dar'st.
GLOSTER. [Aside to Cardinal.] Make up no factious numbers for the matter; In thine own person answer thy abuse.
CARDINAL. [Aside to Gloster.] Ay, where thou dar'st not peep; an if thou dar'st, This evening, on the east side of the grove.
KING. How now, my lords!
CARDINAL. Believe me, cousin Gloster, Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly, We had had more sport.—[Aside to Gloster.] Come with thy two-hand sword.
GLOSTER. True, uncle.
CARDINAL. [Aside to Gloster.] Are ye advis'd? the east side of the grove?
GLOSTER. [Aside to CARDINAL.] Cardinal, I am with you.
KING. Why, how now, uncle Gloster!
GLOSTER. Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.— [Aside to Cardinal.] Now, by God's mother, priest, I'll shave your crown for this, Or all my fence shall fail.
CARDINAL. [Aside to Gloster.] Medice, teipsum— Protector, see to 't well, protect yourself.
KING. The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords. 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!']
GLOSTER. What means this noise? Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?
TOWNSMAN. A miracle! A miracle!
SUFFOLK. Come to the king, and tell him what miracle.
TOWNSMAN. Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban's shrine, Within this half hour, hath receiv'd his sight; A man that ne'er saw in his life before.
KING. Now, God be prais'd, that to believing souls 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.]
CARDINAL. Here comes the townsmen on procession, To present your highness with the man.
KING HENRY. Great is his comfort in this earthly vale, Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
GLOSTER. Stand by, my masters. Bring him near the king; His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.
KING. Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance, That we for thee may glorify the Lord. What, hast thou been long blind and now restor'd?
SIMPCOX. 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.
GLOSTER. Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst have better told.
KING. Where wert thou born?
SIMPCOX. At Berwick in the north, an 't like your grace.
KING. Poor soul, God's goodness hath been great to thee; Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass, But still remember what the Lord hath done.
QUEEN. Tell me, good fellow, cam'st thou here by chance, Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?
SIMPCOX. God knows, of pure devotion; being call'd 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.'
WIFE. Most true, forsooth; and many time and oft Myself have heard a voice to call him so.
CARDINAL. What, art thou lame?
SIMPCOX. Ay, God Almighty help me!
SUFFOLK. How cam'st thou so?
SIMPCOX. A fall off of a tree.
WIFE. A plum-tree, master.
GLOSTER. How long hast thou been blind?
SIMPCOX. O, born so, master!
GLOSTER. 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.
GLOSTER. Mass, thou lov'dst plums well that wouldst venture so.
SIMPCOX. Alas, good master, my wife desir'd some damsons, And made me climb, with danger of my life.
GLOSTER. A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve.— Let me see thine eyes.—Wink now;—now open them. In my opinion yet thou seest not well.
SIMPCOX. Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God and Saint Alban.
GLOSTER. Say'st thou me so? What colour is this cloak of?
SIMPCOX. Red, master, red as blood.
GLOSTER. Why, that's well said. What colour is my gown of?
SIMPCOX. Black, forsooth, coal-black as jet.
KING. Why, then, thou know'st what colour jet is of?
SUFFOLK. And yet, I think, jet did he never see.
GLOSTER. But cloaks and gowns before this day, a many.
WIFE. Never before this day in all his life.
GLOSTER. Tell me, sirrah, what's my name?
SIMPCOX. Alas, master, I know not.
GLOSTER. What's his name?
SIMPCOX. I know not.
GLOSTER. Nor his?
SIMPCOX. No, indeed, master.
GLOSTER. What's thine own name?
SIMPCOX. Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you, master.
GLOSTER. Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest knave in Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind, thou mightst 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?
SIMPCOX. O master, that you could!
GLOSTER. My masters of Saint Alban's, have you not beadles in your town, and things called whips?
MAYOR. Yes, my lord, if it please your grace.
GLOSTER. Then send for one presently.
MAYOR. Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.
[Exit an Attendant.]
GLOSTER. Now fetch me a stool hither by and by.—Now, sirrah, if you mean to save yourself from whipping, leap me over this stool and run away.
SIMPCOX. Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone; You go about to torture me in vain.
[Enter a Beadle with whips.]
GLOSTER. Well, sir, we must have you find your legs.— Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.
BEADLE. I will, my lord.—Come on, sirrah; off with your doublet quickly.
SIMPCOX. Alas, master, what shall I do? I am not able to stand.
[After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps over the stool and runs away; and they follow and cry, 'A miracle!']
KING. O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long?
QUEEN. It made me laugh to see the villain run.
GLOSTER. Follow the knave, and take this drab away.
WIFE. Alas, sir, we did it for pure need!
GLOSTER. Let them be whipped through every market-town till they come to Berwick, from whence they came.
[Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, etc.]
CARDINAL. Duke Humphrey has done a miracle to-day.
SUFFOLK. True; made the lame to leap and fly away.
GLOSTER. But you have done more miracles than I; You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.
KING. What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM. Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold. 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 practis'd dangerously against your state, Dealing with witches and with conjurers, Whom we have apprehended in the fact, Raising up wicked spirits from underground, Demanding of King Henry's life and death, And other of your highness' privy-council, As more at large your Grace shall understand.
CARDINAL. [Aside to Gloster.] And so, my lord protector, by this means Your lady is forthcoming yet at London. This news, I think, hath turn'd your weapon's edge; 'T is like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
GLOSTER. Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart. Sorrow and grief have vanquish'd all my powers; And, vanquish'd as I am, I yield to thee, Or to the meanest groom.
KING. O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones, Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!
QUEEN. Gloster, see here the tainture of thy nest; And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
GLOSTER. Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal, How I have lov'd 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 convers'd 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 dishonoured Gloster's honest name.
KING. 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.
SCENE II. London. The Duke of York's Garden.
[Enter YORK, SALISBURY, and WARWICK.]
YORK. Now, my good Lords of Salisbury and Warwick, 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.
SALISBURY. My lord, I long to hear it at full.
WARWICK. Sweet York, begin; and if thy claim be good, The Nevils are thy subjects to command.
YORK. Then thus: 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 Gloster; 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, Seiz'd on the realm, depos'd 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 murther'd traitorously.
WARWICK. Father, the duke hath told the truth; Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.
YORK. Which now they hold by force and not by right; For Richard, the first son's heir, being dead, The issue of the next son should have reign'd.
SALISBURY. But William of Hatfield died without an heir.
YORK. The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line I claim 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.
SALISBURY. This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke, 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.
YORK. His eldest sister, Anne, 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.
WARWICK. What plain proceeding is more plain than this? 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.
BOTH. Long live our sovereign Richard, England's king!
YORK. We thank you, lords. But I am not your king 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 snar'd the shepherd of the flock, That virtuous prince, the good Duke Humphrey; 'T is that they seek, and they in seeking that Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.
SALISBURY. My lord, break we off; we know your mind at full.
WARWICK. My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick Shall one day make the Duke of York a king.
YORK. And, Nevil, this I do assure myself: Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick The greatest man in England but the king.
SCENE III. A Hall of Justice.
[Sound trumpets. Enter the KING, the QUEEN, GLOSTER, YORK, SUFFOLK, and SALISBURY; the DUCHESS OF GLOSTER, MARGERY JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, HUME, and BOLINGBROKE, under guard.]
KING. Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloster's wife. 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 adjudg'd 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.
DUCHESS. Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.
GLOSTER. Eleanor, the law, thou seest, hath judged thee; I cannot justify whom the law condemns.—
[Exeunt Duchess and the other prisoners, guarded..]
Mine 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.
KING. Stay, Humphrey Duke of Gloster. Ere thou go, 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 belov'd Than when thou wert protector to thy king.
QUEEN. I see no reason why a king of years 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.
GLOSTER. My staff? Here, noble Henry, is my staff. 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!
QUEEN. Why, now is Henry king, and Margaret queen; And Humphrey Duke of Gloster 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.
SUFFOLK. Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays; Thus Eleanor's pride dies in her youngest days.
YORK. Lords, let him go.—Please it your majesty, 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.
QUEEN. Ay, good my lord; for purposely therefore Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.
KING. O' God's name, see the lists and all things fit. Here let them end it; and God defend the right!
YORK. I never saw a fellow worse bested, Or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant, The servant of his 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 sandbag, and Prentices drinking to him.]
1 NEIGHBOUR. Here, neighbour Horner, I drink to you in a cup of sack; and fear not, neighbour, you shall do well enough.
2 NEIGHBOUR. And here, neighbour, here's a cup of charneco.
3 NEIGHBOUR. And here's a pot of good double beer, neighbour; drink, and fear not your man.
HORNER. Let it come, i' faith, and I'll pledge you all; and a fig for Peter!
1 PRENTICE. Here, Peter, I drink to thee; and be not afraid.
2 PRENTICE. Be merry, Peter, and fear not thy master: fight for credit of the prentices.
PETER. I thank you all; drink, and pray for me, I pray 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 so much fence already.
SALISBURY. Come, leave your drinking and fall to blows.— Sirrah, what's thy name?
PETER. Peter, forsooth.
SALISBURY. Peter? what more?
SALISBURY. Thump! then see thou thump thy master well.
HORNER. Masters, I am come hither, as it were, upon my man's 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!
YORK. Dispatch; this knave's tongue begins to double.— Sound, trumpets, alarum to the combatants!
[Alarum. They fight, and Peter strikes him down.]
HORNER. Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.
YORK. Take away his weapon.—Fellow, thank God, and the good wine in thy master's way.
PETER. O God, have I overcome mine enemies in this presence? O Peter, thou hast prevail'd in right!
KING. Go, take hence that traitor from our sight, For by his death we do perceive his guilt; And God in justice hath reveal'd to us The truth and innocence of this poor fellow, Which he had thought to have murther'd wrongfully.— Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.
[Sound a flourish. Exeunt.]
SCENE IV. A Street.
[Enter GLOSTER and his Servingmen, in mourning cloaks.]
GLOSTER. Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud, 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?
SERVINGMEN. Ten, my lord.
GLOSTER. Ten is the hour that was appointed me 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 OF GLOSTER in a white sheet, and a taper burning in her hand; with SIR JOHN STANLEY, the Sheriff, and Officers.]
SERVINGMEN. So please your Grace, we'll take her from the sheriff.
GLOSTER. No, stir not for your lives; let her pass by.
DUCHESS. Come you, my lord, to see my open shame? 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, Gloster, hide thee from their hateful looks, And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame, And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine!
GLOSTER. Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.
DUCHESS. Ah, Gloster, teach me to forget myself! 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 follow'd 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. Sometimes I'll say, I am Duke Humphrey's wife, And he a prince and ruler of the land; Yet so he rul'd 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 lim'd bushes to betray thy wings, And, fly thou how thou canst, they'll tangle thee; But fear not thou until thy foot be snar'd, Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
GLOSTER. Ah, Nell, forbear! thou aimest all awry. 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 scath So long as I am loyal, true, and crimeless. Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach? Why, yet thy scandal were not wip'd 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.]
HERALD. I summon your grace to his majesty's parliament, Holden at Bury the first of this next month.
GLOSTER. And my consent ne'er ask'd herein before! This is close dealing.—Well, I will be there.—
My Nell, I take my leave;—and, master sheriff, Let not her penance exceed the king's commission.
SHERIFF. An 't please your grace, here my commission stays, And Sir John Stanley is appointed now To take her with him to the Isle of Man.
GLOSTER. Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?
STANLEY. So am I given in charge, may 't please your grace.
GLOSTER. Entreat her not the worse in that I pray 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!
DUCHESS. What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell!
GLOSTER. Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.
[Exeunt Gloster and Servingmen.]
DUCHESS. Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee! For none abides with me; my joy is death, Death, at whose name I oft have been afeard, 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.
STANLEY. Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man; There to be us'd according to your state.
DUCHESS. That's bad enough, for I am but reproach; And shall I then be us'd reproachfully?
STANLEY. Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey's lady; According to that state you shall be us'd.
DUCHESS. Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare, Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.
SHERIFF. It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.
DUCHESS. Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharg'd.— Come, Stanley, shall we go?
STANLEY. Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet, And go we to attire you for our journey.
DUCHESS. 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.
SCENE I. The Abbey at Bury St. Edmund's.
[Sound a sennet. Enter the KING, the QUEEN, CARDINAL BEAUFORT, SUFFOLK, YORK, BUCKINGHAM, SALISBURY, and WARWICK to the Parliament.]
KING. I muse my Lord of Gloster is not come; 'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man, Whate'er occasion keeps him from us now.
QUEEN. 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 'T is to be fear'd they all will follow him. Now 't is 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, can 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.
SUFFOLK. 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 harbours treason. The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.— No, no, my sovereign; Gloster is a man Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.
CARDINAL. Did he not, contrary to form of law, Devise strange deaths for small offences done?
YORK. 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.
BUCKINGHAM. Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown, Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke Humphrey.
KING. 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 Gloster 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. 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 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.
SOMERSET. All health unto my gracious sovereign!
KING. Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?
SOMERSET. That all your interest in those territories Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
KING. Cold news, Lord Somerset; but God's will be done!
YORK. [Aside.] 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.
GLOSTER. All happiness unto my lord the king! Pardon, my liege, that I have staid so long.
SUFFOLK. Nay, Gloster, know that thou art come too soon, Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art. I do arrest thee of high treason here.
GLOSTER. 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?
YORK. 'T is 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.
GLOSTER. 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.
CARDINAL. It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.
GLOSTER. I say no more than truth, so help me God!
YORK. In your protectorship you did devise Strange tortures for offenders never heard of, That England was defam'd by tyranny.
GLOSTER. Why, 't is 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 murtherer, Or foul felonious thief that fleec'd poor passengers, I never gave them condign punishment. Murther indeed, that bloody sin, I tortur'd Above the felon or what trespass else.
SUFFOLK. 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. My Lord of Gloster, 't is my special hope That you will clear yourself from all suspect; My conscience tells me you are innocent.
GLOSTER. Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous. Virtue is chok'd with foul ambition, And charity chas'd hence by rancour'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. 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 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. My liege, his railing is intolerable; If those that care to keep your royal person From treason's secret knife and traitor's rage Be thus upbraided, chid, and rated at, And the offender granted scope of speech, 'T will make them cool in zeal unto your grace.
SUFFOLK. 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?
QUEEN. But I can give the loser leave to chide.
GLOSTER. 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.
BUCKINGHAM. He'll wrest the sense and hold us here all day.— Lord Cardinal, he is your prisoner.
CARDINAL. Sirs, take away the Duke, and guard him sure.
GLOSTER. 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.
KING. My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best, Do or undo, as if ourself were here.
QUEEN. What, will your highness leave the parliament?
KING. 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 honour, 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 lowering 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 Gloster'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? Gloster he is none.'
[Exeunt all but Queen, Cardinal Beaufort, Suffolk and York; Somerset remains apart.]
QUEEN. 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 Gloster'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 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 Gloster should be quickly rid the world, To rid us from the fear we have of him.
CARDINAL. That he should die is worthy policy, But yet we want a colour for his death, 'T is meet he be condemn'd by course of law.
SUFFOLK. But, in my mind, that were no policy. 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.
YORK. So that, by this, you would not have him die.
SUFFOLK. Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I!
YORK. 'T is 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?
QUEEN. So the poor chicken should be sure of death.
SUFFOLK. Madam, 't is true; and were 't not madness, then, To make the fox surveyor of the fold? Who being accus'd a crafty murtherer, 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, 't is no matter how, So he be dead; for that is good deceit Which mates him first that first intends deceit.
QUEEN. Thrice-noble Suffolk, 't is resolutely spoke.
SUFFOLK. 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. 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.
SUFFOLK. Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.
QUEEN. And so say I.
YORK. And I; and now we three have spoke it, It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
[Enter a Post.]
POST. Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain, To signify that rebels there are up And put the Englishmen unto the sword. Send succours, lords, and stop the rage betime, Before the wound do grow uncurable; For, being green, there is great hope of help.
CARDINAL. A breach that craves a quick expedient stop! What council give you in this weighty cause?
YORK. That Somerset be sent as regent thither. 'T is meet that lucky ruler be employ'd; Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
SOMERSET. If York, with all his far-fet policy, Had been the regent there instead of me, He never would have stay'd in France so long.
YORK. No, not to lose it all as thou hast done; I rather would have lost my life betimes Than bring a burden of dishonour 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. 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.
YORK. 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. 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?
YORK. I will, my lord, so please his majesty.
SUFFOLK. Why, our authority is his consent, And what we do establish he confirms.— Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
YORK. I am content.—Provide me soldiers, lords, Whiles I take order for mine own affairs.
SUFFOLK. A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform'd. But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
CARDINAL. 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.
YORK. My Lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days At Bristol I expect my soldiers; For there I'll ship them all for Ireland.
SUFFOLK. I'll see it truly done, my Lord of York.
[Exeunt all but York.]
YORK. 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 the enjoying. Let pale-fac'd fear keep with the mean-born man, And find no harbour in a royal heart. Faster than spring-time showers comes thought on 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, 't is 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. 'T was 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 tide 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 rescu'd, 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 't is 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.
SCENE II. Bury St. Edmund's. A Room of State. [Enter certain Murderers, hastily.]
1 MURDERER. Run to my Lord of Suffolk; let him know We have dispatch'd the duke, as he commanded.
2 MURDERER. O that it were to do! What have we done? Didst ever hear a man so penitent?
1 MURDERER. Here comes my lord.
SUFFOLK. Now, sirs, have you dispatch'd this thing?
1 MURDERER. Ay, my good lord, he's dead.
SUFFOLK. Why, that's well said. Go, get you to my house; 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?
1 MURDERER. 'T is, my good lord.
SUFFOLK. Away! be gone.
[Sound trumpets. Enter the KING, the QUEEN, CARDINAL BEAUFORT, SOMERSET, with attendants.]
KING. Go, call our uncle to our presence straight; Say we intend to try his grace to-day, If he be guilty, as 't is published.
SUFFOLK. I'll call him presently, my noble lord.
KING. Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all, Proceed no straiter 'gainst our uncle Gloster Than from true evidence of good esteem He be approv'd in practice culpable.
QUEEN. God forbid any malice should prevail That faultless may condemn a nobleman! Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
KING. I thank thee, Meg; these words content me much.—
How now! why look'st thou pale? why tremblest thou? Where is our uncle? what's the matter, Suffolk?
SUFFOLK. Dead in his bed, my lord; Gloster is dead.
QUEEN. Marry, God forfend!
CARDINAL. God's secret judgment!—I did dream to-night The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.
[The King swoons.]
QUEEN. How fares my lord?—Help, lords! the king is dead.
SOMERSET. Rear up his body; wring him by the nose.
QUEEN. Run, go, help, help!—O Henry, ope thine eyes!
SUFFOLK. He doth revive again.—Madam, be patient.
KING. O heavenly God!
QUEEN. How fares my gracious lord?
SUFFOLK. Comfort, my sovereign! gracious Henry, comfort!
KING. What, doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me? 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 murtherous 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 Gloster's dead.
QUEEN. Why do you rate my Lord of Suffolk thus? 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 judg'd 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!
KING. Ah, woe is me for Gloster, wretched man!
QUEEN. Be woe for me, more wretched than he is. 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 Gloster'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 wrack'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 curs'd the gentle gusts And he that loos'd 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 murtherer, But left that hateful office unto thee. The pretty-vaulting sea refus'd 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 receiv'd 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 commenc'd 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.]
WARWICK. It is reported, mighty sovereign, That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murther'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.
KING. That he is dead, good Warwick, 't is too true; But how he died God knows, not Henry. Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse, And comment then upon his sudden death.
WARWICK. That shall I do, my liege.—Stay, Salisbury, With the rude multitude till I return.
KING. O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts, 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 earthy image, What were it but to make my sorrow greater?
[Re-enter WARWICK and others, bearing GLOSTER's body on a bed.]
WARWICK. Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.
KING. That is to see how deep my grave is made; For with his soul fled all my worldly solace, For seeing him I see my life in death.
WARWICK. As surely as my soul intends to live 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.
SUFFOLK. A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue! What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
WARWICK. See how the blood is settled in his face. 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 eyeballs further out than when he liv'd, Staring full ghastly like a strangled man; His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch'd with struggling, His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd And tugg'd for life and was by strength subdu'd. 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 murther'd here; The least of all these signs were probable.
SUFFOLK. Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death? Myself and Beaufort had him in protection; And we, I hope, sir, are no murtherers.
WARWICK. But both of you were vow'd Duke Humphrey's foes, And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep; 'T is like you would not feast him like a friend, And 't is well seen he found an enemy.
QUEEN. Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen As guilty of Duke Humphrey's timeless death.
WARWICK. Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding fresh And sees fast by a butcher with an axe But will suspect 't was 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.
QUEEN. Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where's your knife? Is Beaufort term'd a kite? Where are his talons?
SUFFOLK. I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men; But here's a vengeful sword, rusted with ease, That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart That slanders me with murther's crimson badge.— Say, if thou dar'st, proud Lord of Warwickshire, That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey's death.
[Exeunt Cardinal, Somerset, and others.]
WARWICK. What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?
QUEEN. He dares not calm his contumelious spirit, Nor cease to be an arrogant controller, Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.
WARWICK. Madam, be still,—with reverence may I say; For every word you speak in his behalf Is slander to your royal dignity.
SUFFOLK. Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanour! 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.
WARWICK. But that the guilt of murther bucklers thee 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 murtherous 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!
SUFFOLK. Thou shalt be waking while I shed thy blood, If from this presence thou dar'st go with me.
WARWICK. Away even now, or I will drag thee hence. Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee And do some service to Duke Humphrey's ghost.
[Exeunt Suffolk and Warwick.]
KING. What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd that hath his quarrel just, And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
[A noise within.]
QUEEN. What noise is this?
[Re-enter Suffolk and Warwick, with their weapons drawn.]
KING. Why, how now, lords! your wrathful weapons drawn Here in our presence! dare you be so bold? Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?
SUFFOLK. The traitorous Warwick with the men of Bury Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
SALISBURY. [To the Commons, entering.] Sirs, stand apart; the king shall know your mind.— Dread lord, the commons send you word by me, Unless false 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 wak'd, 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.
COMMONS. [Within.] An answer from the king, my Lord of Salisbury!
SUFFOLK. 'T is like the commons, rude unpolish'd hinds, 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.
COMMONS. [Within.] An answer from the king, or we will all break in!
KING. Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me, 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.
QUEEN. O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!
KING. Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suffolk! 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 and Suffolk.]
QUEEN. Mischance and sorrow go along with you! 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!
SUFFOLK. Cease, gentle queen, these execrations, And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.
QUEEN. Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch, Has thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?
SUFFOLK. A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them? 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-fac'd Envy in her loathsome cave. My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words; Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint; Mine hair be fix'd an 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 murthering basilisks! Their softest touch as smart as lizards' stings! Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss, And boding screech-owls make the consort full! All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell—
QUEEN. Enough, sweet Suffolk; thou torment'st thyself; And these dread curses, like the sun 'gainst glass, Or like an overcharged gun, recoil And turns the force of them upon thyself.
SUFFOLK. You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave? 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.
QUEEN. O, let me entreat thee cease. Give me thy hand, That I may dew it with my mournful tears; Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place, To wash away my woeful monuments. O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand, That thou mightest think upon these by the seal, Through whom a thousand sighs are breath'd for thee! So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief; 'T is but surmis'd whiles thou art standing by, As one that surfeits thinking on a want. I will repeal thee, or, be well assur'd, 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!
SUFFOLK. Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished; Once by the king, and three times thrice by thee. 'T is 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 liv'st. [Enter VAUX.]
QUEEN. Whither goes Vaux so fast? what news, I prithee?
VAUX. To signify unto his majesty 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. Sometime 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.
QUEEN. Go tell this heavy message to the king.—
Ay 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.
SUFFOLK. If I depart from thee, I cannot live; 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 liv'd 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!
QUEEN. Away! though parting be a fretful corrosive, It is applied to a deathful wound. To France, sweet Suffolk; let me hear from thee, For whereso'er thou art in this world's globe I'll have an Iris that shall find thee out.
SUFFOLK. I go.
QUEEN. And take my heart with thee.
SUFFOLK. A jewel, lock'd into the wofull'st cask That ever did contain a thing of worth. Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we; This way fall I to death.
QUEEN. This way for me.
SCENE III. A Bedchamber.
[Enter the KING, SALISBURY, and WARWICK, to the CARDINAL in bed.]
KING. How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, to thy sovereign.
CARDINAL. If thou be'st Death, I'll give thee England's treasure, Enough to purchase such another island, So thou wilt let me live and feel no pain.
KING. Ah, what a sign it is of evil life Where death's approach is seen so terrible!
WARWICK. Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to thee.
CARDINAL. Bring me unto my trial when you will. 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.
KING. O Thou eternal Mover of the Heavens, 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!
WARWICK. See how the pangs of death do make him grin!
SALISBURY. Disturb him not; let him pass peaceably.
KING. Peace to his soul, if God's good pleasure be!— 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!
WARWICK. So bad a death argues a monstrous life.
KING HENRY. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.— Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close; And let us all to meditation.
SCENE I. The Coast of Kent.
[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, prisoners.]
CAPTAIN. The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day 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.
1 GENTLEMAN. What is my ransom, master? let me know?
MASTER. A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
MATE. And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.
CAPTAIN. What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns, 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 counterpois'd with such a petty sum!
1 GENTLEMAN. I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.
2 GENTLEMAN. And so will I, and write home for it straight.
WHITMORE. I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,— [To Suffolk] And therefore, to revenge it, shalt thou die;— And so should these, if I might have my will.
CAPTAIN. Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.
SUFFOLK. Look on my George; I am a gentleman. Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
WHITMORE. And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore. How now! why start'st thou? What, doth death affright?
SUFFOLK. Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death. 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.
WHITMORE. Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not. Never yet did base dishonour blur our name But with our sword we wip'd away the blot; Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge, Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defac'd, And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!
SUFFOLK. Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince, The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
WHITMORE. The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!
SUFFOLK. Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke; Jove sometime went disguis'd, and why not I?
CAPTAIN. But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
SUFFOLK. Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood, 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-fallen, Ay, and allay thus 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.
WHITMORE. 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 long-boat's side Strike off his head.
SUFFOLK. Thou dar'st not, for thy own.
CAPTAIN. Yes, Pole!
CAPTAIN. Pool! Sir Pool! lord! 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 smil'dst 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, overgorg'd 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, surpris'd 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 murther of a guiltless king And lofty proud encroaching tyranny, Burns with revenging fire, whose hopeful colours Advance our half-fac'd 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.