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History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act I, Scene 3

London. Before the Tower.


[Enter GLOUCESTER, with his Serving-men in blue coats]

  • Duke of Gloucester. I am come to survey the Tower this day:
    Since Henry's death, I fear, there is conveyance.
    Where be these warders, that they wait not here?
    Open the gates; 'tis Gloucester that calls. 355
  • First Warder. [Within] Who's there that knocks so imperiously?
  • First Warder. [Within] The Lord protect him! so we answer him: 360
    We do no otherwise than we are will'd.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Who willed you? or whose will stands but mine?
    There's none protector of the realm but I.
    Break up the gates, I'll be your warrantize.
    Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms? 365
    [Gloucester's men rush at the Tower Gates, and]
    WOODVILE the Lieutenant speaks within]
  • Woodvile. What noise is this? what traitors have we here?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Lieutenant, is it you whose voice I hear?
    Open the gates; here's Gloucester that would enter. 370
  • Woodvile. Have patience, noble duke; I may not open;
    The Cardinal of Winchester forbids:
    From him I have express commandment
    That thou nor none of thine shall be let in.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Faint-hearted Woodvile, prizest him 'fore me? 375
    Arrogant Winchester, that haughty prelate,
    Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook?
    Thou art no friend to God or to the king:
    Open the gates, or I'll shut thee out shortly.
  • Serving-Men. Open the gates unto the lord protector, 380
    Or we'll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.
    [Enter to the Protector at the Tower Gates BISHOP]
    OF WINCHESTER and his men in tawny coats]
  • Winchester. How now, ambitious Humphry! what means this?
  • Winchester. I do, thou most usurping proditor,
    And not protector, of the king or realm.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator,
    Thou that contrivedst to murder our dead lord;
    Thou that givest whores indulgences to sin: 390
    I'll canvass thee in thy broad cardinal's hat,
    If thou proceed in this thy insolence.
  • Winchester. Nay, stand thou back, I will not budge a foot:
    This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,
    To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt. 395
  • Duke of Gloucester. I will not slay thee, but I'll drive thee back:
    Thy scarlet robes as a child's bearing-cloth
    I'll use to carry thee out of this place.
  • Winchester. Do what thou darest; I beard thee to thy face.
  • Duke of Gloucester. What! am I dared and bearded to my face? 400
    Draw, men, for all this privileged place;
    Blue coats to tawny coats. Priest, beware your beard,
    I mean to tug it and to cuff you soundly:
    Under my feet I stamp thy cardinal's hat:
    In spite of pope or dignities of church, 405
    Here by the cheeks I'll drag thee up and down.
  • Winchester. Gloucester, thou wilt answer this before the pope.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Winchester goose, I cry, a rope! a rope!
    Now beat them hence; why do you let them stay?
    Thee I'll chase hence, thou wolf in sheep's array. 410
    Out, tawny coats! out, scarlet hypocrite!
    [Here GLOUCESTER's men beat out BISHOP OF]
    WINCHESTER's men, and enter in the hurly-
    burly the Mayor of London and his Officers]
  • Lord Mayor of London. Fie, lords! that you, being supreme magistrates, 415
    Thus contumeliously should break the peace!
  • Duke of Gloucester. Peace, mayor! thou know'st little of my wrongs:
    Here's Beaufort, that regards nor God nor king,
    Hath here distrain'd the Tower to his use.
  • Winchester. Here's Gloucester, a foe to citizens, 420
    One that still motions war and never peace,
    O'ercharging your free purses with large fines,
    That seeks to overthrow religion,
    Because he is protector of the realm,
    And would have armour here out of the Tower, 425
    To crown himself king and suppress the prince.

[Here they skirmish again]

  • Lord Mayor of London. Naught rests for me in this tumultuous strife
    But to make open proclamation: 430
    Come, officer; as loud as e'er thou canst,
  • Officer. All manner of men assembled here in arms this day
    against God's peace and the king's, we charge and
    command you, in his highness' name, to repair to 435
    your several dwelling-places; and not to wear,
    handle, or use any sword, weapon, or dagger,
    henceforward, upon pain of death.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Cardinal, I'll be no breaker of the law:
    But we shall meet, and break our minds at large. 440
  • Winchester. Gloucester, we will meet; to thy cost, be sure:
    Thy heart-blood I will have for this day's work.
  • Lord Mayor of London. I'll call for clubs, if you will not away.
    This cardinal's more haughty than the devil.
  • Winchester. Abominable Gloucester, guard thy head;
    For I intend to have it ere long.
    [Exeunt, severally, GLOUCESTER and BISHOP OF]
    WINCHESTER with their Serving-men]
  • Lord Mayor of London. See the coast clear'd, and then we will depart. 450
    Good God, these nobles should such stomachs bear!
    I myself fight not once in forty year.