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History of Henry VI, Part II

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Act IV, Scene 9

Kenilworth Castle.


[Sound Trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN] [p]MARGARET, and SOMERSET, on the terrace]

  • Henry VI. Was ever king that joy'd an earthly throne,
    And could command no more content than I?
    No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
    But I was made a king, at nine months old. 2835
    Was never subject long'd to be a king
    As I do long and wish to be a subject.


  • Henry VI. Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised? 2840
    Or is he but retired to make him strong?
    [Enter below, multitudes, with halters about]
    their necks]
  • Lord Clifford. He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield;
    And humbly thus, with halters on their necks, 2845
    Expect your highness' doom of life or death.
  • Henry VI. Then, heaven, set ope thy everlasting gates,
    To entertain my vows of thanks and praise!
    Soldiers, this day have you redeemed your lives,
    And show'd how well you love your prince and country: 2850
    Continue still in this so good a mind,
    And Henry, though he be infortunate,
    Assure yourselves, will never be unkind:
    And so, with thanks and pardon to you all,
    I do dismiss you to your several countries. 2855
  • All. God save the king! God save the king!

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Please it your grace to be advertised
    The Duke of York is newly come from Ireland,
    And with a puissant and a mighty power 2860
    Of gallowglasses and stout kerns
    Is marching hitherward in proud array,
    And still proclaimeth, as he comes along,
    His arms are only to remove from thee
    The Duke of Somerset, whom he terms traitor. 2865
  • Henry VI. Thus stands my state, 'twixt Cade and York distress'd.
    Like to a ship that, having 'scaped a tempest,
    Is straightway calm'd and boarded with a pirate:
    But now is Cade driven back, his men dispersed;
    And now is York in arms to second him. 2870
    I pray thee, Buckingham, go and meet him,
    And ask him what's the reason of these arms.
    Tell him I'll send Duke Edmund to the Tower;
    And, Somerset, we'll commit thee thither,
    Until his army be dismiss'd from him. 2875
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. My lord,
    I'll yield myself to prison willingly,
    Or unto death, to do my country good.
  • Henry VI. In any case, be not too rough in terms;
    For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language. 2880
  • Duke of Buckingham. I will, my lord; and doubt not so to deal
    As all things shall redound unto your good.
  • Henry VI. Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better;
    For yet may England curse my wretched reign.

[Flourish. Exeunt]