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History of Henry VI, Part II

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Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.


[Enter KING HENRY VI with a supplication, and the] [p]QUEEN with SUFFOLK'S head, BUCKINGHAM and Lord SAY]

  • Queen Margaret. Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind,
    And makes it fearful and degenerate;
    Think therefore on revenge and cease to weep. 2525
    But who can cease to weep and look on this?
    Here may his head lie on my throbbing breast:
    But where's the body that I should embrace?
  • Henry VI. I'll send some holy bishop to entreat;
    For God forbid so many simple souls
    Should perish by the sword! And I myself,
    Rather than bloody war shall cut them short,
    Will parley with Jack Cade their general: 2535
    But stay, I'll read it over once again.
  • Queen Margaret. Ah, barbarous villains! hath this lovely face
    Ruled, like a wandering planet, over me,
    And could it not enforce them to relent,
    That were unworthy to behold the same? 2540
  • Henry VI. Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.
  • Lord Say. Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.
  • Henry VI. How now, madam!
    Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk's death?
    I fear me, love, if that I had been dead, 2545
    Thou wouldst not have mourn'd so much for me.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Henry VI. How now! what news? why comest thou in such haste?
  • Messenger. The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord! 2550
    Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
    Descended from the Duke of Clarence' house,
    And calls your grace usurper openly
    And vows to crown himself in Westminster.
    His army is a ragged multitude 2555
    Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless:
    Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother's death
    Hath given them heart and courage to proceed:
    All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
    They call false caterpillars, and intend their death. 2560
  • Henry VI. O graceless men! they know not what they do.
  • Duke of Buckingham. My gracious lord, return to Killingworth,
    Until a power be raised to put them down.
  • Queen Margaret. Ah, were the Duke of Suffolk now alive,
    These Kentish rebels would be soon appeased! 2565
  • Henry VI. Lord Say, the traitors hate thee;
    Therefore away with us to Killingworth.
  • Lord Say. So might your grace's person be in danger.
    The sight of me is odious in their eyes;
    And therefore in this city will I stay 2570
    And live alone as secret as I may.

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Messenger. Jack Cade hath gotten London bridge:
    The citizens fly and forsake their houses:
    The rascal people, thirsting after prey, 2575
    Join with the traitor, and they jointly swear
    To spoil the city and your royal court.
  • Henry VI. Come, Margaret; God, our hope, will succor us.
  • Henry VI. Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.
  • Lord Say. The trust I have is in mine innocence,
    And therefore am I bold and resolute.