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History of Henry VI, Part II

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Act II, Scene 3

A hall of justice.



  • Henry VI. Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester's wife:
    In sight of God and us, your guilt is great: 1045
    Receive the sentence of the law for sins
    Such as by God's book are adjudged 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, 1050
    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, 1055
    With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.
  • Eleanor. Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Eleanor, the law, thou see'st, hath judged thee:
    I cannot justify whom the law condemns.
    [Exeunt DUCHESS and other prisoners, guarded] 1060
    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. 1065
  • Henry VI. Stay, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester: 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 beloved 1070
    Than when thou wert protector to thy King.
  • Queen Margaret. 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. 1075
  • Duke of Gloucester. 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. 1080
    Farewell, good king: when I am dead and gone,
    May honourable peace attend thy throne!


  • Queen Margaret. Why, now is Henry king, and Margaret queen;
    And Humphrey Duke of Gloucester scarce himself, 1085
    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.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays; 1090
    Thus Eleanor's pride dies in her youngest days.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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, 1095
    So please your highness to behold the fight.
  • Queen Margaret. Ay, good my lord; for purposely therefore
    Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.
  • Henry VI. O God's name, see the lists and all things fit:
    Here let them end it; and God defend the right! 1100
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I never saw a fellow worse bested,
    Or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant,
    The servant of this armourer, my lords.
    [Enter at one door, HORNER, the Armourer, and his]
    Neighbours, drinking to him so much that he is drunk; 1105
    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 sand-bag, and
    'Prentices drinking to him]
  • First Neighbour. Here, neighbour Horner, I drink to you in a cup of 1110
    sack: and fear not, neighbour, you shall do well enough.
  • Third Neighbour. And here's a pot of good double beer, neighbour:
    drink, and fear not your man.
  • Thomas Horner. Let it come, i' faith, and I'll pledge you all; and 1115
    a fig for Peter!
    for credit of the 'prentices.
  • Peter. I thank you all: drink, and pray for me, I pray 1120
    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 1125
    deal with my master, he hath learnt me so much fence already.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Come, leave your drinking, and fall to blows.
    Sirrah, what's thy name?
  • Thomas 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 1135
    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!

[Alarum. They fight, and PETER strikes him down]


  • Peter. O God, have I overcome mine enemy in this presence?
    O Peter, thou hast prevailed in right!
  • Henry VI. Go, take hence that traitor from our sight;
    For his death we do perceive his guilt:
    And God in justice hath revealed to us 1150
    The truth and innocence of this poor fellow,
    Which he had thought to have murder'd wrongfully.
    Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.

[Sound a flourish. Exeunt]