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Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.

      — The Merchant of Venice, Act I Scene 1

History of Henry VI, Part II

Act I

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Scene 1. London. The palace.

Scene 2. GLOUCESTER’S house.

Scene 3. The palace.

Scene 4. GLOUCESTER’s garden.

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Act I, Scene 1

London. The palace.

      next scene .
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[Flourish of trumpets: then hautboys. Enter KING] [p]HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and [p]CARDINAL, on the one side; QUEEN MARGARET, SUFFOLK, [p]YORK, SOMERSET, and BUCKINGHAM, on the other]

  • Earl of Suffolk. As by your high imperial majesty 5
    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, 10
    The Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne and Alencon,
    Seven earls, twelve barons and twenty reverend bishops,
    I have perform'd my task and was espoused:
    And humbly now upon my bended knee,
    In sight of England and her lordly peers, 15
    Deliver up my title in the queen
    To your most gracious hands, that are the substance
    Of that great shadow I did represent;
    The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
    The fairest queen that ever king received. 20
  • Henry VI. 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 25
    A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
    If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
  • Queen Margaret. 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, 30
    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. 35
  • Henry VI. Her sight did ravish; but her grace in speech,
    Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty,
    Makes me from wondering fall to weeping joys;
    Such is the fulness of my heart's content.
    Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love. 40
  • All. [Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England's
    happiness!

[Flourish]

  • Earl of Suffolk. My lord protector, so it please your grace, 45
    Here are the articles of contracted peace
    Between our sovereign and the French king Charles,
    For eighteen months concluded by consent.
  • Duke of Gloucester. [Reads] 'Imprimis, it is agreed between the French
    king Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of 50
    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 55
    of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released
    and delivered to the king her father'—

[Lets the paper fall]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Pardon me, gracious lord; 60
    Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart
    And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.
  • Henry VI. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.
  • Winchester. [Reads] 'Item, It is further agreed between them,
    that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be 65
    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.'
  • Henry VI. They please us well. Lord marquess, kneel down:
    We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, 70
    And gird thee with the sword. Cousin of York,
    We here discharge your grace from being regent
    I' the parts of France, till term of eighteen months
    Be full expired. Thanks, uncle Winchester,
    Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset, 75
    Salisbury, and Warwick;
    We thank you all for the great favour done,
    In entertainment to my princely queen.
    Come, let us in, and with all speed provide
    To see her coronation be perform'd. 80

[Exeunt KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and SUFFOLK]

  • Duke of Gloucester. 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, 85
    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, 90
    To keep by policy what Henry got?
    Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
    Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick,
    Received deep scars in France and Normandy?
    Or hath mine uncle Beaufort and myself, 95
    With all the learned council of the realm,
    Studied so long, sat in the council-house
    Early and late, debating to and fro
    How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe,
    And had his highness in his infancy 100
    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! 105
    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! 110
  • Winchester. Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,
    This peroration with such circumstance?
    For France, 'tis ours; and we will keep it still.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;
    But now it is impossible we should: 115
    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.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Now, by the death of Him that died for all, 120
    These counties were the keys of Normandy.
    But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
  • Earl of 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. 125
    Anjou and Maine! myself did win them both;
    Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer:
    And are the cities, that I got with wounds,
    Delivered up again with peaceful words?
    Mort Dieu! 130
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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 135
    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.
  • Duke of Gloucester. A proper jest, and never heard before,
    That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth 140
    For costs and charges in transporting her!
    She should have stayed in France and starved
    in France, Before—
  • Winchester. My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:
    It was the pleasure of my lord the King. 145
  • Duke of Gloucester. My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind;
    'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike,
    But 'tis my presence that doth trouble ye.
    Rancour will out: proud prelate, in thy face
    I see thy fury: if I longer stay, 150
    We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
    Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone,
    I prophesied France will be lost ere long.

[Exit]

  • Winchester. So, there goes our protector in a rage. 155
    'Tis known to you he is mine enemy,
    Nay, more, an enemy unto you all,
    And no great friend, I fear me, to the king.
    Consider, lords, he is the next of blood,
    And heir apparent to the English crown: 160
    Had Henry got an empire by his marriage,
    And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,
    There's reason he should be displeased at it.
    Look to it, lords! let not his smoothing words
    Bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect. 165
    What though the common people favour him,
    Calling him 'Humphrey, the good Duke of
    Gloucester,'
    Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice,
    'Jesu maintain your royal excellence!' 170
    With 'God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!'
    I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
    He will be found a dangerous protector.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Why should he, then, protect our sovereign,
    He being of age to govern of himself? 175
    Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
    And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk,
    We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.
  • Winchester. This weighty business will not brook delay:
    I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently. 180

[Exit]

  • Duke/Earl of 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 185
    Than all the princes in the land beside:
    If Gloucester be displaced, he'll be protector.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector,
    Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.

[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET]

  • Earl of 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 Gloucester
    Did bear him like a noble gentleman. 195
    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. 200
    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, 205
    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, 210
    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. 215
  • Earl of Warwick. So God help Warwick, as he loves the land,
    And common profit of his country!
  • Earl of Warwick. Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost; 220
    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]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Anjou and Maine are given to the French;
    Paris is lost; the state of Normandy
    Stands on a tickle point, now they are gone:
    Suffolk concluded on the articles,
    The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleased 230
    To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter.
    I cannot blame them all: what is't to them?
    'Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
    Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage
    And purchase friends and give to courtezans, 235
    Still revelling like lords till all be gone;
    While as the silly owner of the goods
    Weeps over them and wrings his hapless hands
    And shakes his head and trembling stands aloof,
    While all is shared and all is borne away, 240
    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 245
    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. 250
    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: 255
    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: 260
    Watch thou and wake when others be asleep,
    To pry into the secrets of the state;
    Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
    With his new bride and England's dear-bought queen,
    And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars: 265
    Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
    With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed;
    And in my standard bear the arms of York
    To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
    And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown, 270
    Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.

[Exit]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

GLOUCESTER’S house.

      next scene .
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[Enter GLOUCESTER and his DUCHESS]

  • Eleanor. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd corn,
    Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load? 275
    Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
    As frowning at the favours of the world?
    Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
    Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
    What seest thou there? King Henry's diadem, 280
    Enchased with all the honours of the world?
    If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face,
    Until thy head be circled with the same.
    Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold.
    What, is't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine: 285
    And, having both together heaved it up,
    We'll both together lift our heads to heaven,
    And never more abase our sight so low
    As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
  • Duke of Gloucester. O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord, 290
    Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts.
    And may that thought, when I imagine ill
    Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
    Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
    My troublous dream this night doth make me sad. 295
  • Eleanor. What dream'd my lord? tell me, and I'll requite it
    With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
  • Duke of Gloucester. 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; 300
    And on the pieces of the broken wand
    Were placed the heads of Edmund Duke of Somerset,
    And William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk.
    This was my dream: what it doth bode, God knows.
  • Eleanor. Tut, this was nothing but an argument 305
    That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester's grove
    Shall lose his head for his presumption.
    But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
    Methought I sat in seat of majesty
    In the cathedral church of Westminster, 310
    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.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:
    Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor, 315
    Art thou not second woman in the realm,
    And the protector's wife, beloved of him?
    Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
    Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
    And wilt thou still be hammering treachery, 320
    To tumble down thy husband and thyself
    From top of honour to disgrace's feet?
    Away from me, and let me hear no more!
  • Eleanor. What, what, my lord! are you so choleric
    With Eleanor, for telling but her dream? 325
    Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself,
    And not be cheque'd.

[Enter Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasure 330
    You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's,
    Where as the king and queen do mean to hawk.
  • Eleanor. Yes, my good lord, I'll follow presently.
    [Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Messenger] 335
    Follow I must; I cannot go before,
    While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
    Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
    I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks
    And smooth my way upon their headless necks; 340
    And, being a woman, I will not be slack
    To play my part in Fortune's pageant.
    Where are you there? Sir John! nay, fear not, man,
    We are alone; here's none but thee and I.

[Enter HUME]

  • Eleanor. What say'st thou? majesty! I am but grace.
  • Father John Hume. But, by the grace of God, and Hume's advice,
    Your grace's title shall be multiplied.
  • Eleanor. What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr'd 350
    With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
    With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
    And will they undertake to do me good?
  • Father John Hume. This they have promised, to show your highness
    A spirit raised from depth of under-ground, 355
    That shall make answer to such questions
    As by your grace shall be propounded him.
  • Eleanor. It is enough; I'll think upon the questions:
    When from St. Alban's we do make return,
    We'll see these things effected to the full. 360
    Here, Hume, take this reward; make merry, man,
    With thy confederates in this weighty cause.

[Exit]

  • Father John Hume. Hume must make merry with the duchess' gold;
    Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume! 365
    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; 370
    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 375
    And buz these conjurations in her brain.
    They say 'A crafty knave does need no broker;'
    Yet am I Suffolk and the cardinal's broker.
    Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
    To call them both a pair of crafty knaves. 380
    Well, so it stands; and thus, I fear, at last
    Hume's knavery will be the duchess' wreck,
    And her attainture will be Humphrey's fall:
    Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.

[Exit]

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. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

The palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter three or four Petitioners, PETER, the] [p]Armourer's man, being one]

  • First 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. 390
  • Second Petitioner. Marry, the Lord protect him, for he's a good man!
    Jesu bless him!

[Enter SUFFOLK and QUEEN MARGARET]

  • Peter. Here a' comes, methinks, and the queen with him.
    I'll be the first, sure. 395
  • Second Petitioner. Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk, and
    not my lord protector.
  • First Petitioner. I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lord
    protector. 400
  • Queen Margaret. [Reading] 'To my Lord Protector!' Are your
    supplications to his lordship? Let me see them:
    what is thine?
  • First Petitioner. Mine is, an't please your grace, against John
    Goodman, my lord cardinal's man, for keeping my 405
    house, and lands, and wife and all, from me.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thy wife, too! that's some wrong, indeed. What's
    yours? What's here!
    [Reads]
    'Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the 410
    commons of Melford.' How now, sir knave!
  • Peter. [Giving his petition] Against my master, Thomas
    Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful
    heir to the crown. 415
  • Queen Margaret. What sayst 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.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Who is there? 420
    [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 Margaret. 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 supplication]
    Away, base cullions! Suffolk, let them go. 430
  • All. Come, let's be gone.

[Exeunt]

  • Queen Margaret. 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, 435
    And this the royalty of Albion's king?
    What shall King Henry be a pupil still
    Under the surly Gloucester's governance?
    Am I a queen in title and in style,
    And must be made a subject to a duke? 440
    I tell thee, Pole, when in the city Tours
    Thou ran'st a tilt in honour of my love
    And stolest away the ladies' hearts of France,
    I thought King Henry had resembled thee
    In courage, courtship and proportion: 445
    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 450
    Are brazen images of canonized saints.
    I would the college of the cardinals
    Would choose him pope, and carry him to Rome,
    And set the triple crown upon his head:
    That were a state fit for his holiness. 455
  • Earl of 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 Margaret. Beside the haughty protector, have we Beaufort,
    The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham, 460
    And grumbling York: and not the least of these
    But can do more in England than the king.
  • Earl of 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. 465
  • Queen Margaret. 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: 470
    She bears a duke's revenues on her back,
    And in her heart she scorns our poverty:
    Shall I not live to be avenged on her?
    Contemptuous base-born callet as she is,
    She vaunted 'mongst her minions t'other day, 475
    The very train of her worst wearing gown
    Was better worth than all my father's lands,
    Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Madam, myself have limed a bush for her,
    And placed a quire of such enticing birds, 480
    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, 485
    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, 490
    And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.
    [Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER,]
    CARDINAL, BUCKINGHAM, YORK, SOMERSET, SALISBURY,
    WARWICK, and the DUCHESS]
  • Henry VI. For my part, noble lords, I care not which; 495
    Or Somerset or York, all's one to me.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. If Somerset be unworthy of the place,
    Let York be regent; I will yield to him. 500
  • Earl of Warwick. Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no,
    Dispute not that: York is the worthier.
  • Winchester. Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Peace, son! and show some reason, Buckingham,
    Why Somerset should be preferred in this.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Madam, the king is old enough himself 510
    To give his censure: these are no women's matters.
  • Queen Margaret. If he be old enough, what needs your grace
    To be protector of his excellence?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Madam, I am protector of the realm;
    And, at his pleasure, will resign my place. 515
  • Earl of Suffolk. Resign it then and leave thine insolence.
    Since thou wert king—as who is king but thou?—
    The commonwealth hath daily run to wreck;
    The Dauphin hath prevail'd beyond the seas;
    And all the peers and nobles of the realm 520
    Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
  • Winchester. The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bags
    Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife's attire
    Have cost a mass of public treasury. 525
  • Duke of Buckingham. Thy cruelty in execution
    Upon offenders, hath exceeded law,
    And left thee to the mercy of the law.
  • Queen Margaret. They sale of offices and towns in France,
    If they were known, as the suspect is great, 530
    Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
    [Exit GLOUCESTER. QUEEN MARGARET drops her fan]
    Give me my fan: what, minion! can ye not?
    [She gives the DUCHESS a box on the ear]
    I cry you mercy, madam; was it you? 535
  • Eleanor. 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.
  • Henry VI. Sweet aunt, be quiet; 'twas against her will.
  • Eleanor. Against her will! good king, look to't in time; 540
    She'll hamper thee, and dandle thee like a baby:
    Though in this place most master wear no breeches,
    She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged.

[Exit]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Lord cardinal, I will follow Eleanor, 545
    And listen after Humphrey, how he proceeds:
    She's tickled now; her fume needs no spurs,
    She'll gallop far enough to her destruction.

[Exit]

[Re-enter GLOUCESTER]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Now, lords, my choler being over-blown
    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: 555
    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. 560
  • Earl of Suffolk. Before we make election, give me leave
    To show some reason, of no little force,
    That York is most unmeet of any man.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I'll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:
    First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride; 565
    Next, if I be appointed for the place,
    My Lord of Somerset will keep me here,
    Without discharge, money, or furniture,
    Till France be won into the Dauphin's hands:
    Last time, I danced attendance on his will 570
    Till Paris was besieged, famish'd, and lost.
  • Earl of Warwick. That can I witness; and a fouler fact
    Did never traitor in the land commit.
  • Earl of Warwick. Image of pride, why should I hold my peace? 575
    [Enter HORNER, the Armourer, and his man]
    PETER, guarded]
  • Earl of Suffolk. Because here is a man accused of treason:
    Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
  • Henry VI. What mean'st thou, Suffolk; tell me, what are these?
  • Earl of 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 585
    And that your majesty was a usurper.
  • Henry VI. Say, man, were these thy words?
  • Thomas 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. 590
  • 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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Base dunghill villain and mechanical,
    I'll have thy head for this thy traitor's speech. 595
    I do beseech your royal majesty,
    Let him have all the rigor of the law.
  • Thomas 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 600
    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.
  • Henry VI. Uncle, what shall we say to this in law? 605
  • Duke of Gloucester. This doom, my lord, if I may judge:
    Let Somerset be regent over the French,
    Because in York this breeds suspicion:
    And let these have a day appointed them
    For single combat in convenient place, 610
    For he hath witness of his servant's malice:
    This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey's doom.
  • Peter. Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God's sake, pity 615
    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!
  • Henry VI. Away with them to prison; and the day of combat 620
    shall be the last of the next month. Come,
    Somerset, we'll see thee sent away.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

GLOUCESTER’s garden.

       
---

[Enter MARGARET JOURDAIN, HUME, SOUTHWELL, and BOLINGBROKE]

  • Father John Hume. Come, my masters; the duchess, I tell you, expects 625
    performance of your promises.
  • Bolingbroke. Master Hume, we are therefore provided: will her
    ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms?
  • Bolingbroke. I have heard her reported to be a woman of an 630
    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] 635
    Mother Jourdain, be you
    prostrate and grovel on the earth; John Southwell,
    read you; and let us to our work.

[Enter the DUCHESS aloft, HUME following]

  • Eleanor. Well said, my masters; and welcome all. To this 640
    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, 645
    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] 650
    circle; BOLINGBROKE or SOUTHWELL reads, Conjuro te,
    &c. It thunders and lightens terribly; then the
    Spirit riseth]
  • Margaret Jourdain. Asmath, 655
    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. 'First of the king: what shall of him become?' 660

[Reading out of a paper]

  • 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?' 665
  • Spirit. By water shall he die, and take his end.
  • Bolingbroke. '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. 670
    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 YORK and BUCKINGHAM with their Guard] 675
    and break in]
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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: 680
    My lord protector will, I doubt it not,
    See you well guerdon'd for these good deserts.
  • Eleanor. Not half so bad as thine to England's king,
    Injurious duke, that threatest where's no cause.
  • Duke of Buckingham. True, madam, none at all: what call you this? 685
    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. 690
    All, away!

[Exeunt guard with MARGARET JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, &c]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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. 695
    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 700
    '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? 705
    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, 710
    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: 715
    A sorry breakfast for my lord protector.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Your grace shall give me leave, my Lord of York,
    To be the post, in hope of his reward.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). At your pleasure, my good lord. Who's within
    there, ho! 720
    [Enter a Servingman]
    Invite my Lords of Salisbury and Warwick
    To sup with me to-morrow night. Away!

[Exeunt]

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