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History of Henry VI, Part II

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Act I, Scene 4

GLOUCESTER’s garden.



  • 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?
    '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!