Please wait

The text you requested is loading.
This shouldn't take more than a minute, depending on
the speed of your Internet connection.

progress graphic

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

      — Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene 2


Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

History of Henry VI, Part II

(complete text)

print/save print/save view

Act I

1. London. The palace.

2. GLOUCESTER’S house.

3. The palace.

4. GLOUCESTER’s garden.

Act II

1. Saint Alban’s.

2. London. YORK’S garden.

3. A hall of justice.

4. A street.


1. The Abbey at Bury St. Edmund’s.

2. Bury St. Edmund’s. A room of state.

3. A bedchamber.

Act IV

1. The coast of Kent.

2. Blackheath.

3. Another part of Blackheath.

4. London. The palace.

5. London. The Tower.

6. London. Cannon Street.

7. London. Smithfield.

8. Southwark.

9. Kenilworth Castle.

10. Kent. IDEN’s garden.

Act V

1. Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

2. Saint Alban’s.

3. Fields near St. Alban’s.


Act I, Scene 1

London. The palace.

      next scene .

[Flourish of trumpets: then hautboys. Enter KING] [p]HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and [p]CARDINAL, on the one side; QUEEN MARGARET, SUFFOLK, [p]YORK, SOMERSET, and BUCKINGHAM, on the other]

  • Earl of Suffolk. As by your high imperial majesty 5
    I had in charge at my depart for France,
    As procurator to your excellence,
    To marry Princess Margaret for your grace,
    So, in the famous ancient city, Tours,
    In presence of the Kings of France and Sicil, 10
    The Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne and Alencon,
    Seven earls, twelve barons and twenty reverend bishops,
    I have perform'd my task and was espoused:
    And humbly now upon my bended knee,
    In sight of England and her lordly peers, 15
    Deliver up my title in the queen
    To your most gracious hands, that are the substance
    Of that great shadow I did represent;
    The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
    The fairest queen that ever king received. 20
  • Henry VI. Suffolk, arise. Welcome, Queen Margaret:
    I can express no kinder sign of love
    Than this kind kiss. O Lord, that lends me life,
    Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
    For thou hast given me in this beauteous face 25
    A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
    If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
  • Queen Margaret. Great King of England and my gracious lord,
    The mutual conference that my mind hath had,
    By day, by night, waking and in my dreams, 30
    In courtly company or at my beads,
    With you, mine alder-liefest sovereign,
    Makes me the bolder to salute my king
    With ruder terms, such as my wit affords
    And over-joy of heart doth minister. 35
  • Henry VI. Her sight did ravish; but her grace in speech,
    Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty,
    Makes me from wondering fall to weeping joys;
    Such is the fulness of my heart's content.
    Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love. 40
  • All. [Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England's


  • Earl of Suffolk. My lord protector, so it please your grace, 45
    Here are the articles of contracted peace
    Between our sovereign and the French king Charles,
    For eighteen months concluded by consent.
  • Duke of Gloucester. [Reads] 'Imprimis, it is agreed between the French
    king Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of 50
    Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that
    the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret,
    daughter unto Reignier King of Naples, Sicilia and
    Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England ere the
    thirtieth of May next ensuing. Item, that the duchy 55
    of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released
    and delivered to the king her father'—

[Lets the paper fall]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Pardon me, gracious lord; 60
    Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart
    And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.
  • Henry VI. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.
  • Winchester. [Reads] 'Item, It is further agreed between them,
    that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be 65
    released and delivered over to the king her father,
    and she sent over of the King of England's own
    proper cost and charges, without having any dowry.'
  • Henry VI. They please us well. Lord marquess, kneel down:
    We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, 70
    And gird thee with the sword. Cousin of York,
    We here discharge your grace from being regent
    I' the parts of France, till term of eighteen months
    Be full expired. Thanks, uncle Winchester,
    Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset, 75
    Salisbury, and Warwick;
    We thank you all for the great favour done,
    In entertainment to my princely queen.
    Come, let us in, and with all speed provide
    To see her coronation be perform'd. 80


  • Duke of Gloucester. Brave peers of England, pillars of the state,
    To you Duke Humphrey must unload his grief,
    Your grief, the common grief of all the land.
    What! did my brother Henry spend his youth, 85
    His valour, coin and people, in the wars?
    Did he so often lodge in open field,
    In winter's cold and summer's parching heat,
    To conquer France, his true inheritance?
    And did my brother Bedford toil his wits, 90
    To keep by policy what Henry got?
    Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
    Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick,
    Received deep scars in France and Normandy?
    Or hath mine uncle Beaufort and myself, 95
    With all the learned council of the realm,
    Studied so long, sat in the council-house
    Early and late, debating to and fro
    How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe,
    And had his highness in his infancy 100
    Crowned in Paris in despite of foes?
    And shall these labours and these honours die?
    Shall Henry's conquest, Bedford's vigilance,
    Your deeds of war and all our counsel die?
    O peers of England, shameful is this league! 105
    Fatal this marriage, cancelling your fame,
    Blotting your names from books of memory,
    Razing the characters of your renown,
    Defacing monuments of conquer'd France,
    Undoing all, as all had never been! 110
  • Winchester. Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,
    This peroration with such circumstance?
    For France, 'tis ours; and we will keep it still.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;
    But now it is impossible we should: 115
    Suffolk, the new-made duke that rules the roast,
    Hath given the duchy of Anjou and Maine
    Unto the poor King Reignier, whose large style
    Agrees not with the leanness of his purse.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Now, by the death of Him that died for all, 120
    These counties were the keys of Normandy.
    But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
  • Earl of Warwick. For grief that they are past recovery:
    For, were there hope to conquer them again,
    My sword should shed hot blood, mine eyes no tears. 125
    Anjou and Maine! myself did win them both;
    Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer:
    And are the cities, that I got with wounds,
    Delivered up again with peaceful words?
    Mort Dieu! 130
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate,
    That dims the honour of this warlike isle!
    France should have torn and rent my very heart,
    Before I would have yielded to this league.
    I never read but England's kings have had 135
    Large sums of gold and dowries with their wives:
    And our King Henry gives away his own,
    To match with her that brings no vantages.
  • Duke of Gloucester. A proper jest, and never heard before,
    That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth 140
    For costs and charges in transporting her!
    She should have stayed in France and starved
    in France, Before—
  • Winchester. My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:
    It was the pleasure of my lord the King. 145
  • Duke of Gloucester. My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind;
    'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike,
    But 'tis my presence that doth trouble ye.
    Rancour will out: proud prelate, in thy face
    I see thy fury: if I longer stay, 150
    We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
    Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone,
    I prophesied France will be lost ere long.


  • Winchester. So, there goes our protector in a rage. 155
    'Tis known to you he is mine enemy,
    Nay, more, an enemy unto you all,
    And no great friend, I fear me, to the king.
    Consider, lords, he is the next of blood,
    And heir apparent to the English crown: 160
    Had Henry got an empire by his marriage,
    And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,
    There's reason he should be displeased at it.
    Look to it, lords! let not his smoothing words
    Bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect. 165
    What though the common people favour him,
    Calling him 'Humphrey, the good Duke of
    Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice,
    'Jesu maintain your royal excellence!' 170
    With 'God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!'
    I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
    He will be found a dangerous protector.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Why should he, then, protect our sovereign,
    He being of age to govern of himself? 175
    Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
    And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk,
    We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.
  • Winchester. This weighty business will not brook delay:
    I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently. 180


  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's pride
    And greatness of his place be grief to us,
    Yet let us watch the haughty cardinal:
    His insolence is more intolerable 185
    Than all the princes in the land beside:
    If Gloucester be displaced, he'll be protector.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector,
    Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.


  • Earl of Salisbury. Pride went before, ambition follows him.
    While these do labour for their own preferment,
    Behoves it us to labour for the realm.
    I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloucester
    Did bear him like a noble gentleman. 195
    Oft have I seen the haughty cardinal,
    More like a soldier than a man o' the church,
    As stout and proud as he were lord of all,
    Swear like a ruffian and demean himself
    Unlike the ruler of a commonweal. 200
    Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age,
    Thy deeds, thy plainness and thy housekeeping,
    Hath won the greatest favour of the commons,
    Excepting none but good Duke Humphrey:
    And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland, 205
    In bringing them to civil discipline,
    Thy late exploits done in the heart of France,
    When thou wert regent for our sovereign,
    Have made thee fear'd and honour'd of the people:
    Join we together, for the public good, 210
    In what we can, to bridle and suppress
    The pride of Suffolk and the cardinal,
    With Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition;
    And, as we may, cherish Duke Humphrey's deeds,
    While they do tend the profit of the land. 215
  • Earl of Warwick. So God help Warwick, as he loves the land,
    And common profit of his country!
  • Earl of Warwick. Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost; 220
    That Maine which by main force Warwick did win,
    And would have kept so long as breath did last!
    Main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine,
    Which I will win from France, or else be slain,


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Anjou and Maine are given to the French;
    Paris is lost; the state of Normandy
    Stands on a tickle point, now they are gone:
    Suffolk concluded on the articles,
    The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleased 230
    To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter.
    I cannot blame them all: what is't to them?
    'Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
    Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage
    And purchase friends and give to courtezans, 235
    Still revelling like lords till all be gone;
    While as the silly owner of the goods
    Weeps over them and wrings his hapless hands
    And shakes his head and trembling stands aloof,
    While all is shared and all is borne away, 240
    Ready to starve and dare not touch his own:
    So York must sit and fret and bite his tongue,
    While his own lands are bargain'd for and sold.
    Methinks the realms of England, France and Ireland
    Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood 245
    As did the fatal brand Althaea burn'd
    Unto the prince's heart of Calydon.
    Anjou and Maine both given unto the French!
    Cold news for me, for I had hope of France,
    Even as I have of fertile England's soil. 250
    A day will come when York shall claim his own;
    And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts
    And make a show of love to proud Duke Humphrey,
    And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
    For that's the golden mark I seek to hit: 255
    Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
    Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist,
    Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
    Whose church-like humours fits not for a crown.
    Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve: 260
    Watch thou and wake when others be asleep,
    To pry into the secrets of the state;
    Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love,
    With his new bride and England's dear-bought queen,
    And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars: 265
    Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
    With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed;
    And in my standard bear the arms of York
    To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
    And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown, 270
    Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2


      next scene .


  • Eleanor. Why droops my lord, like over-ripen'd corn,
    Hanging the head at Ceres' plenteous load? 275
    Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
    As frowning at the favours of the world?
    Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
    Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
    What seest thou there? King Henry's diadem, 280
    Enchased with all the honours of the world?
    If so, gaze on, and grovel on thy face,
    Until thy head be circled with the same.
    Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold.
    What, is't too short? I'll lengthen it with mine: 285
    And, having both together heaved it up,
    We'll both together lift our heads to heaven,
    And never more abase our sight so low
    As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
  • Duke of Gloucester. O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord, 290
    Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts.
    And may that thought, when I imagine ill
    Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
    Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
    My troublous dream this night doth make me sad. 295
  • Eleanor. What dream'd my lord? tell me, and I'll requite it
    With sweet rehearsal of my morning's dream.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Methought this staff, mine office-badge in court,
    Was broke in twain; by whom I have forgot,
    But, as I think, it was by the cardinal; 300
    And on the pieces of the broken wand
    Were placed the heads of Edmund Duke of Somerset,
    And William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk.
    This was my dream: what it doth bode, God knows.
  • Eleanor. Tut, this was nothing but an argument 305
    That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester's grove
    Shall lose his head for his presumption.
    But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
    Methought I sat in seat of majesty
    In the cathedral church of Westminster, 310
    And in that chair where kings and queens are crown'd;
    Where Henry and dame Margaret kneel'd to me
    And on my head did set the diadem.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:
    Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor, 315
    Art thou not second woman in the realm,
    And the protector's wife, beloved of him?
    Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
    Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
    And wilt thou still be hammering treachery, 320
    To tumble down thy husband and thyself
    From top of honour to disgrace's feet?
    Away from me, and let me hear no more!
  • Eleanor. What, what, my lord! are you so choleric
    With Eleanor, for telling but her dream? 325
    Next time I'll keep my dreams unto myself,
    And not be cheque'd.

[Enter Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord protector, 'tis his highness' pleasure 330
    You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban's,
    Where as the king and queen do mean to hawk.
  • Eleanor. Yes, my good lord, I'll follow presently.
    [Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Messenger] 335
    Follow I must; I cannot go before,
    While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
    Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
    I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks
    And smooth my way upon their headless necks; 340
    And, being a woman, I will not be slack
    To play my part in Fortune's pageant.
    Where are you there? Sir John! nay, fear not, man,
    We are alone; here's none but thee and I.

[Enter HUME]

  • Eleanor. What say'st thou? majesty! I am but grace.
  • Father John Hume. But, by the grace of God, and Hume's advice,
    Your grace's title shall be multiplied.
  • Eleanor. What say'st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr'd 350
    With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
    With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
    And will they undertake to do me good?
  • Father John Hume. This they have promised, to show your highness
    A spirit raised from depth of under-ground, 355
    That shall make answer to such questions
    As by your grace shall be propounded him.
  • Eleanor. It is enough; I'll think upon the questions:
    When from St. Alban's we do make return,
    We'll see these things effected to the full. 360
    Here, Hume, take this reward; make merry, man,
    With thy confederates in this weighty cause.


  • Father John Hume. Hume must make merry with the duchess' gold;
    Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume! 365
    Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum:
    The business asketh silent secrecy.
    Dame Eleanor gives gold to bring the witch:
    Gold cannot come amiss, were she a devil.
    Yet have I gold flies from another coast; 370
    I dare not say, from the rich cardinal
    And from the great and new-made Duke of Suffolk,
    Yet I do find it so; for to be plain,
    They, knowing Dame Eleanor's aspiring humour,
    Have hired me to undermine the duchess 375
    And buz these conjurations in her brain.
    They say 'A crafty knave does need no broker;'
    Yet am I Suffolk and the cardinal's broker.
    Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
    To call them both a pair of crafty knaves. 380
    Well, so it stands; and thus, I fear, at last
    Hume's knavery will be the duchess' wreck,
    And her attainture will be Humphrey's fall:
    Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

The palace.

      next scene .

[Enter three or four Petitioners, PETER, the] [p]Armourer's man, being one]

  • First Petitioner. My masters, let's stand close: my lord protector
    will come this way by and by, and then we may deliver
    our supplications in the quill. 390
  • Second Petitioner. Marry, the Lord protect him, for he's a good man!
    Jesu bless him!


  • Peter. Here a' comes, methinks, and the queen with him.
    I'll be the first, sure. 395
  • Second Petitioner. Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk, and
    not my lord protector.
  • First Petitioner. I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lord
    protector. 400
  • Queen Margaret. [Reading] 'To my Lord Protector!' Are your
    supplications to his lordship? Let me see them:
    what is thine?
  • First Petitioner. Mine is, an't please your grace, against John
    Goodman, my lord cardinal's man, for keeping my 405
    house, and lands, and wife and all, from me.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thy wife, too! that's some wrong, indeed. What's
    yours? What's here!
    'Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the 410
    commons of Melford.' How now, sir knave!
  • Peter. [Giving his petition] Against my master, Thomas
    Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful
    heir to the crown. 415
  • Queen Margaret. What sayst thou? did the Duke of York say he was
    rightful heir to the crown?
  • Peter. That my master was? no, forsooth: my master said
    that he was, and that the king was an usurper.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Who is there? 420
    [Enter Servant]
    Take this fellow in, and send for
    his master with a pursuivant presently: we'll hear
    more of your matter before the King.

[Exit Servant with PETER]

  • Queen Margaret. And as for you, that love to be protected
    Under the wings of our protector's grace,
    Begin your suits anew, and sue to him.
    [Tears the supplication]
    Away, base cullions! Suffolk, let them go. 430
  • All. Come, let's be gone.


  • Queen Margaret. My Lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise,
    Is this the fashion in the court of England?
    Is this the government of Britain's isle, 435
    And this the royalty of Albion's king?
    What shall King Henry be a pupil still
    Under the surly Gloucester's governance?
    Am I a queen in title and in style,
    And must be made a subject to a duke? 440
    I tell thee, Pole, when in the city Tours
    Thou ran'st a tilt in honour of my love
    And stolest away the ladies' hearts of France,
    I thought King Henry had resembled thee
    In courage, courtship and proportion: 445
    But all his mind is bent to holiness,
    To number Ave-Maries on his beads;
    His champions are the prophets and apostles,
    His weapons holy saws of sacred writ,
    His study is his tilt-yard, and his loves 450
    Are brazen images of canonized saints.
    I would the college of the cardinals
    Would choose him pope, and carry him to Rome,
    And set the triple crown upon his head:
    That were a state fit for his holiness. 455
  • Earl of Suffolk. Madam, be patient: as I was cause
    Your highness came to England, so will I
    In England work your grace's full content.
  • Queen Margaret. Beside the haughty protector, have we Beaufort,
    The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham, 460
    And grumbling York: and not the least of these
    But can do more in England than the king.
  • Earl of Suffolk. And he of these that can do most of all
    Cannot do more in England than the Nevils:
    Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers. 465
  • Queen Margaret. Not all these lords do vex me half so much
    As that proud dame, the lord protector's wife.
    She sweeps it through the court with troops of ladies,
    More like an empress than Duke Humphrey's wife:
    Strangers in court do take her for the queen: 470
    She bears a duke's revenues on her back,
    And in her heart she scorns our poverty:
    Shall I not live to be avenged on her?
    Contemptuous base-born callet as she is,
    She vaunted 'mongst her minions t'other day, 475
    The very train of her worst wearing gown
    Was better worth than all my father's lands,
    Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Madam, myself have limed a bush for her,
    And placed a quire of such enticing birds, 480
    That she will light to listen to the lays,
    And never mount to trouble you again.
    So, let her rest: and, madam, list to me;
    For I am bold to counsel you in this.
    Although we fancy not the cardinal, 485
    Yet must we join with him and with the lords,
    Till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace.
    As for the Duke of York, this late complaint
    Will make but little for his benefit.
    So, one by one, we'll weed them all at last, 490
    And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.
    [Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER,]
    WARWICK, and the DUCHESS]
  • Henry VI. For my part, noble lords, I care not which; 495
    Or Somerset or York, all's one to me.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. If Somerset be unworthy of the place,
    Let York be regent; I will yield to him. 500
  • Earl of Warwick. Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no,
    Dispute not that: York is the worthier.
  • Winchester. Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Peace, son! and show some reason, Buckingham,
    Why Somerset should be preferred in this.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Madam, the king is old enough himself 510
    To give his censure: these are no women's matters.
  • Queen Margaret. If he be old enough, what needs your grace
    To be protector of his excellence?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Madam, I am protector of the realm;
    And, at his pleasure, will resign my place. 515
  • Earl of Suffolk. Resign it then and leave thine insolence.
    Since thou wert king—as who is king but thou?—
    The commonwealth hath daily run to wreck;
    The Dauphin hath prevail'd beyond the seas;
    And all the peers and nobles of the realm 520
    Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
  • Winchester. The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bags
    Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife's attire
    Have cost a mass of public treasury. 525
  • Duke of Buckingham. Thy cruelty in execution
    Upon offenders, hath exceeded law,
    And left thee to the mercy of the law.
  • Queen Margaret. They sale of offices and towns in France,
    If they were known, as the suspect is great, 530
    Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
    [Exit GLOUCESTER. QUEEN MARGARET drops her fan]
    Give me my fan: what, minion! can ye not?
    [She gives the DUCHESS a box on the ear]
    I cry you mercy, madam; was it you? 535
  • Eleanor. Was't I! yea, I it was, proud Frenchwoman:
    Could I come near your beauty with my nails,
    I'd set my ten commandments in your face.
  • Henry VI. Sweet aunt, be quiet; 'twas against her will.
  • Eleanor. Against her will! good king, look to't in time; 540
    She'll hamper thee, and dandle thee like a baby:
    Though in this place most master wear no breeches,
    She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged.


  • Duke of Buckingham. Lord cardinal, I will follow Eleanor, 545
    And listen after Humphrey, how he proceeds:
    She's tickled now; her fume needs no spurs,
    She'll gallop far enough to her destruction.



  • Duke of Gloucester. Now, lords, my choler being over-blown
    With walking once about the quadrangle,
    I come to talk of commonwealth affairs.
    As for your spiteful false objections,
    Prove them, and I lie open to the law: 555
    But God in mercy so deal with my soul,
    As I in duty love my king and country!
    But, to the matter that we have in hand:
    I say, my sovereign, York is meetest man
    To be your regent in the realm of France. 560
  • Earl of Suffolk. Before we make election, give me leave
    To show some reason, of no little force,
    That York is most unmeet of any man.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I'll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:
    First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride; 565
    Next, if I be appointed for the place,
    My Lord of Somerset will keep me here,
    Without discharge, money, or furniture,
    Till France be won into the Dauphin's hands:
    Last time, I danced attendance on his will 570
    Till Paris was besieged, famish'd, and lost.
  • Earl of Warwick. That can I witness; and a fouler fact
    Did never traitor in the land commit.
  • Earl of Warwick. Image of pride, why should I hold my peace? 575
    [Enter HORNER, the Armourer, and his man]
    PETER, guarded]
  • Earl of Suffolk. Because here is a man accused of treason:
    Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
  • Henry VI. What mean'st thou, Suffolk; tell me, what are these?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Please it your majesty, this is the man
    That doth accuse his master of high treason:
    His words were these: that Richard, Duke of York,
    Was rightful heir unto the English crown 585
    And that your majesty was a usurper.
  • Henry VI. Say, man, were these thy words?
  • Thomas Horner. An't shall please your majesty, I never said nor
    thought any such matter: God is my witness, I am
    falsely accused by the villain. 590
  • Peter. By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak them to
    me in the garret one night, as we were scouring my
    Lord of York's armour.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Base dunghill villain and mechanical,
    I'll have thy head for this thy traitor's speech. 595
    I do beseech your royal majesty,
    Let him have all the rigor of the law.
  • Thomas Horner. Alas, my lord, hang me, if ever I spake the words.
    My accuser is my 'prentice; and when I did correct
    him for his fault the other day, he did vow upon his 600
    knees he would be even with me: I have good
    witness of this: therefore I beseech your majesty,
    do not cast away an honest man for a villain's
  • Henry VI. Uncle, what shall we say to this in law? 605
  • Duke of Gloucester. This doom, my lord, if I may judge:
    Let Somerset be regent over the French,
    Because in York this breeds suspicion:
    And let these have a day appointed them
    For single combat in convenient place, 610
    For he hath witness of his servant's malice:
    This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey's doom.
  • Peter. Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God's sake, pity 615
    my case. The spite of man prevaileth against me. O
    Lord, have mercy upon me! I shall never be able to
    fight a blow. O Lord, my heart!
  • Henry VI. Away with them to prison; and the day of combat 620
    shall be the last of the next month. Come,
    Somerset, we'll see thee sent away.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

GLOUCESTER’s garden.

      next scene .


  • 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!


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

Saint Alban’s.

      next scene .


  • Queen Margaret. Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook,
    I saw not better sport these seven years' day:
    Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high;
    And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out. 730
  • Henry VI. But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,
    And what a pitch she flew above the rest!
    To see how God in all his creatures works!
    Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
  • Earl of Suffolk. No marvel, an it like your majesty, 735
    My lord protector's hawks do tower so well;
    They know their master loves to be aloft,
    And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch.
  • Duke of Gloucester. My lord, 'tis but a base ignoble mind
    That mounts no higher than a bird can soar. 740
  • Winchester. I thought as much; he would be above the clouds.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ay, my lord cardinal? how think you by that?
    Were it not good your grace could fly to heaven?
  • Henry VI. The treasury of everlasting joy.
  • Winchester. Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughts 745
    Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart;
    Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,
    That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal!
  • Duke of Gloucester. What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory?
    Tantaene animis coelestibus irae? 750
    Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice;
    With such holiness can you do it?
  • Earl of Suffolk. No malice, sir; no more than well becomes
    So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Why, as you, my lord,
    An't like your lordly lord-protectorship.
  • Henry VI. I prithee, peace, good queen, 760
    And whet not on these furious peers;
    For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.
  • Winchester. Let me be blessed for the peace I make,
    Against this proud protector, with my sword!
  • Winchester. [Aside to GLOUCESTER] Marry, when thou darest.
  • Duke of Gloucester. [Aside to CARDINAL] Make up no factious
    numbers for the matter;
    In thine own person answer thy abuse. 770
  • Winchester. [Aside to GLOUCESTER] Ay, where thou darest
    not peep: an if thou darest,
    This evening, on the east side of the grove.
  • Winchester. Believe me, cousin Gloucester, 775
    Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
    We had had more sport.
    [Aside to GLOUCESTER]
    Come with thy two-hand sword.
  • Winchester. [Aside to GLOUCESTER] Are ye advised? the
    east side of the grove?
  • Henry VI. Why, how now, uncle Gloucester!
  • Duke of Gloucester. Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord. 785
    [Aside to CARDINAL]
    Now, by God's mother, priest, I'll shave your crown for this,
    Or all my fence shall fail.
  • Winchester. [Aside to GLOUCESTER] Medice, teipsum—
    Protector, see to't well, protect yourself. 790
  • Henry VI. The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords.
    How irksome is this music to my heart!
    When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
    I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.

[Enter a Townsman of Saint Alban's, crying 'A miracle!']

  • Townsman. Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban's shrine, 800
    Within this half-hour, hath received his sight;
    A man that ne'er saw in his life before.
  • Henry VI. Now, God be praised, that to believing souls
    Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!
    [Enter the Mayor of Saint Alban's and his] 805
    brethren, bearing SIMPCOX, between two in a
    chair, SIMPCOX's Wife following]
  • Winchester. Here comes the townsmen on procession,
    To present your highness with the man.
  • Henry VI. Great is his comfort in this earthly vale, 810
    Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Stand by, my masters: bring him near the king;
    His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.
  • Henry VI. Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
    That we for thee may glorify the Lord. 815
    What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?
  • Simpcox. Born blind, an't please your grace.
  • Simpcox. At Berwick in the north, an't like your grace.
  • Henry VI. Poor soul, God's goodness hath been great to thee: 825
    Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,
    But still remember what the Lord hath done.
  • Queen Margaret. Tell me, good fellow, camest thou here by chance,
    Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?
  • Simpcox. God knows, of pure devotion; being call'd 830
    A hundred times and oftener, in my sleep,
    By good Saint Alban; who said, 'Simpcox, come,
    Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.'
  • Simpcox's Wife. Most true, forsooth; and many time and oft
    Myself have heard a voice to call him so. 835
  • Simpcox. Ay, God Almighty help me!
  • Simpcox. But that in all my life, when I was a youth.
  • Simpcox. Alas, good master, my wife desired some damsons,
    And made me climb, with danger of my life.
  • Duke of Gloucester. A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve. 850
    Let me see thine eyes: wink now: now open them:
    In my opinion yet thou seest not well.
  • Simpcox. Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God and
    Saint Alban.
  • Simpcox. Red, master; red as blood.
  • Simpcox. Black, forsooth: coal-black as jet.
  • Henry VI. Why, then, thou know'st what colour jet is of?
  • Simpcox. Alas, master, I know not.
  • Simpcox. Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you, master. 870
  • Duke of Gloucester. Then, Saunder, sit there, the lyingest knave in
    Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind, thou
    mightest as well have known all our names as thus to
    name the several colours we do wear. Sight may
    distinguish of colours, but suddenly to nominate them 875
    all, it is impossible. My lords, Saint Alban here
    hath done a miracle; and would ye not think his
    cunning to be great, that could restore this cripple
    to his legs again?
  • Simpcox. O master, that you could! 880
  • Duke of Gloucester. My masters of Saint Alban's, have you not beadles in
    your town, and things called whips?

[Exit an Attendant]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Now fetch me a stool hither by and by. Now, sirrah,
    if you mean to save yourself from whipping, leap me
    over this stool and run away.
  • Simpcox. Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone: 890
    You go about to torture me in vain.

[Enter a Beadle with whips]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Well, sir, we must have you find your legs. Sirrah
    beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.
  • Beadle. I will, my lord. Come on, sirrah; off with your 895
    doublet quickly.
  • Simpcox. Alas, master, what shall I do? I am not able to stand.
    [After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps over]
    the stool and runs away; and they follow and cry, 'A miracle!']
  • Henry VI. O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long? 900
  • Duke of Gloucester. Let them be whipped through every market-town, till
    they come to Berwick, from whence they came. 905

[Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, &c]

  • Winchester. Duke Humphrey has done a miracle to-day.
  • Duke of Gloucester. But you have done more miracles than I;
    You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly. 910


  • Henry VI. What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold.
    A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
    Under the countenance and confederacy 915
    Of Lady Eleanor, the protector's wife,
    The ringleader and head of all this rout,
    Have practised dangerously against your state,
    Dealing with witches and with conjurers:
    Whom we have apprehended in the fact; 920
    Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,
    Demanding of King Henry's life and death,
    And other of your highness' privy-council;
    As more at large your grace shall understand.
  • Winchester. [Aside to GLOUCESTER] And so, my lord protector, 925
    by this means
    Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.
    This news, I think, hath turn'd your weapon's edge;
    'Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart: 930
    Sorrow and grief have vanquish'd all my powers;
    And, vanquish'd as I am, I yield to thee,
    Or to the meanest groom.
  • Henry VI. O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
    Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby! 935
  • Queen Margaret. Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest.
    And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal,
    How I have loved my king and commonweal:
    And, for my wife, I know not how it stands; 940
    Sorry I am to hear what I have heard:
    Noble she is, but if she have forgot
    Honour and virtue and conversed with such
    As, like to pitch, defile nobility,
    I banish her my bed and company 945
    And give her as a prey to law and shame,
    That hath dishonour'd Gloucester's honest name.
  • Henry VI. Well, for this night we will repose us here:
    To-morrow toward London back again,
    To look into this business thoroughly 950
    And call these foul offenders to their answers
    And poise the cause in justice' equal scales,
    Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause prevails.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

London. YORK’S garden.

      next scene .


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Now, my good Lords of Salisbury and Warwick,
    Our simple supper ended, give me leave
    In this close walk to satisfy myself,
    In craving your opinion of my title,
    Which is infallible, to England's crown. 960
  • Earl of Warwick. Sweet York, begin: and if thy claim be good,
    The Nevils are thy subjects to command.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then thus:
    Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons: 965
    The first, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales;
    The second, William of Hatfield, and the third,
    Lionel Duke of Clarence: next to whom
    Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;
    The fifth was Edmund Langley, Duke of York; 970
    The sixth was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester;
    William of Windsor was the seventh and last.
    Edward the Black Prince died before his father
    And left behind him Richard, his only son,
    Who after Edward the Third's death reign'd as king; 975
    Till Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
    The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,
    Crown'd by the name of Henry the Fourth,
    Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king,
    Sent his poor queen to France, from whence she came, 980
    And him to Pomfret; where, as all you know,
    Harmless Richard was murder'd traitorously.
  • Earl of Warwick. Father, the duke hath told the truth:
    Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line
    I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter, 990
    Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
    Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
    Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
  • Earl of Salisbury. This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke,
    As I have read, laid claim unto the crown; 995
    And, but for Owen Glendower, had been king,
    Who kept him in captivity till he died.
    But to the rest.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). His eldest sister, Anne,
    My mother, being heir unto the crown 1000
    Married Richard Earl of Cambridge; who was son
    To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son.
    By her I claim the kingdom: she was heir
    To Roger Earl of March, who was the son
    Of Edmund Mortimer, who married Philippe, 1005
    Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
    So, if the issue of the elder son
    Succeed before the younger, I am king.
  • Earl of Warwick. What plain proceeding is more plain than this?
    Henry doth claim the crown from John of Gaunt, 1010
    The fourth son; York claims it from the third.
    Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign:
    It fails not yet, but flourishes in thee
    And in thy sons, fair slips of such a stock.
    Then, father Salisbury, kneel we together; 1015
    And in this private plot be we the first
    That shall salute our rightful sovereign
    With honour of his birthright to the crown.
  • Both. Long live our sovereign Richard, England's king!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). We thank you, lords. But I am not your king 1020
    Till I be crown'd and that my sword be stain'd
    With heart-blood of the house of Lancaster;
    And that's not suddenly to be perform'd,
    But with advice and silent secrecy.
    Do you as I do in these dangerous days: 1025
    Wink at the Duke of Suffolk's insolence,
    At Beaufort's pride, at Somerset's ambition,
    At Buckingham and all the crew of them,
    Till they have snared the shepherd of the flock,
    That virtuous prince, the good Duke Humphrey: 1030
    'Tis that they seek, and they in seeking that
    Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.
  • Earl of Warwick. My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick
    Shall one day make the Duke of York a king. 1035


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

A hall of justice.

      next scene .


  • 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]

. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

A street.

      next scene .

[Enter GLOUCESTER and his Servingmen, in] [p]mourning cloaks]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;
    And after summer evermore succeeds
    Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold:
    So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet. 1160
    Sirs, what's o'clock?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ten is the hour that was appointed me
    To watch the coming of my punish'd duchess:
    Uneath may she endure the flinty streets, 1165
    To tread them with her tender-feeling feet.
    Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook
    The abject people gazing on thy face,
    With envious looks, laughing at thy shame,
    That erst did follow thy proud chariot-wheels 1170
    When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
    But, soft! I think she comes; and I'll prepare
    My tear-stain'd eyes to see her miseries.
    [Enter the DUCHESS in a white sheet, and a taper]
    burning in her hand; with STANLEY, the Sheriff, 1175
    and Officers]
  • Servant. So please your grace, we'll take her from the sheriff.
  • Eleanor. Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?
    Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze! 1180
    See how the giddy multitude do point,
    And nod their heads, and throw their eyes on thee!
    Ah, Gloucester, hide thee from their hateful looks,
    And, in thy closet pent up, rue my shame,
    And ban thine enemies, both mine and thine! 1185
  • Eleanor. Ah, Gloucester, teach me to forget myself!
    For whilst I think I am thy married wife
    And thou a prince, protector of this land,
    Methinks I should not thus be led along, 1190
    Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back,
    And followed with a rabble that rejoice
    To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
    The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
    And when I start, the envious people laugh 1195
    And bid me be advised how I tread.
    Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
    Trow'st thou that e'er I'll look upon the world,
    Or count them happy that enjoy the sun?
    No; dark shall be my light and night my day; 1200
    To think upon my pomp shall be my hell.
    Sometime I'll say, I am Duke Humphrey's wife,
    And he a prince and ruler of the land:
    Yet so he ruled and such a prince he was
    As he stood by whilst I, his forlorn duchess, 1205
    Was made a wonder and a pointing-stock
    To every idle rascal follower.
    But be thou mild and blush not at my shame,
    Nor stir at nothing till the axe of death
    Hang over thee, as, sure, it shortly will; 1210
    For Suffolk, he that can do all in all
    With her that hateth thee and hates us all,
    And York and impious Beaufort, that false priest,
    Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings,
    And, fly thou how thou canst, they'll tangle thee: 1215
    But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
    Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ah, Nell, forbear! thou aimest all awry;
    I must offend before I be attainted;
    And had I twenty times so many foes, 1220
    And each of them had twenty times their power,
    All these could not procure me any scathe,
    So long as I am loyal, true and crimeless.
    Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?
    Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away 1225
    But I in danger for the breach of law.
    Thy greatest help is quiet, gentle Nell:
    I pray thee, sort thy heart to patience;
    These few days' wonder will be quickly worn.

[Enter a Herald]

  • Herald. I summon your grace to his majesty's parliament,
    Holden at Bury the first of this next month.
  • Duke of Gloucester. And my consent ne'er ask'd herein before!
    This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
    [Exit Herald] 1235
    My Nell, I take my leave: and, master sheriff,
    Let not her penance exceed the king's commission.
  • Sheriff. An't please your grace, here my commission stays,
    And Sir John Stanley is appointed now
    To take her with him to the Isle of Man. 1240
  • Duke of Gloucester. Entreat her not the worse in that I pray
    You use her well: the world may laugh again;
    And I may live to do you kindness if 1245
    You do it her: and so, Sir John, farewell!
  • Eleanor. What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell!

[Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Servingmen]

  • Eleanor. Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee! 1250
    For none abides with me: my joy is death;
    Death, at whose name I oft have been afear'd,
    Because I wish'd this world's eternity.
    Stanley, I prithee, go, and take me hence;
    I care not whither, for I beg no favour, 1255
    Only convey me where thou art commanded.
  • Sir John Stanley. Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man;
    There to be used according to your state.
  • Eleanor. That's bad enough, for I am but reproach:
    And shall I then be used reproachfully? 1260
  • Sir John Stanley. Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey's lady;
    According to that state you shall be used.
  • Eleanor. Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
    Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.
  • Sheriff. It is my office; and, madam, pardon me. 1265
  • Eleanor. Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharged.
    Come, Stanley, shall we go?
  • Sir John Stanley. Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,
    And go we to attire you for our journey.
  • Eleanor. My shame will not be shifted with my sheet: 1270
    No, it will hang upon my richest robes
    And show itself, attire me how I can.
    Go, lead the way; I long to see my prison.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

The Abbey at Bury St. Edmund’s.

      next scene .


  • Henry VI. I muse my Lord of Gloucester is not come:
    'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,
    Whate'er occasion keeps him from us now. 1280
  • Queen Margaret. Can you not see? or will ye not observe
    The strangeness of his alter'd countenance?
    With what a majesty he bears himself,
    How insolent of late he is become,
    How proud, how peremptory, and unlike himself? 1285
    We know the time since he was mild and affable,
    And if we did but glance a far-off look,
    Immediately he was upon his knee,
    That all the court admired him for submission:
    But meet him now, and, be it in the morn, 1290
    When every one will give the time of day,
    He knits his brow and shows an angry eye,
    And passeth by with stiff unbowed knee,
    Disdaining duty that to us belongs.
    Small curs are not regarded when they grin; 1295
    But great men tremble when the lion roars;
    And Humphrey is no little man in England.
    First note that he is near you in descent,
    And should you fall, he as the next will mount.
    Me seemeth then it is no policy, 1300
    Respecting what a rancorous mind he bears
    And his advantage following your decease,
    That he should come about your royal person
    Or be admitted to your highness' council.
    By flattery hath he won the commons' hearts, 1305
    And when he please to make commotion,
    'Tis to be fear'd they all will follow him.
    Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;
    Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden
    And choke the herbs for want of husbandry. 1310
    The reverent care I bear unto my lord
    Made me collect these dangers in the duke.
    If it be fond, call it a woman's fear;
    Which fear if better reasons can supplant,
    I will subscribe and say I wrong'd the duke. 1315
    My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,
    Reprove my allegation, if you can;
    Or else conclude my words effectual.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Well hath your highness seen into this duke;
    And, had I first been put to speak my mind, 1320
    I think I should have told your grace's tale.
    The duchess, by his subornation,
    Upon my life, began her devilish practises:
    Or, if he were not privy to those faults,
    Yet, by reputing of his high descent, 1325
    As next the king he was successive heir,
    And such high vaunts of his nobility,
    Did instigate the bedlam brain-sick duchess
    By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
    Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep; 1330
    And in his simple show he harbours treason.
    The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
    No, no, my sovereign; Gloucester is a man
    Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.
  • Winchester. Did he not, contrary to form of law, 1335
    Devise strange deaths for small offences done?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). And did he not, in his protectorship,
    Levy great sums of money through the realm
    For soldiers' pay in France, and never sent it?
    By means whereof the towns each day revolted. 1340
  • Duke of Buckingham. Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown.
    Which time will bring to light in smooth
    Duke Humphrey.
  • Henry VI. My lords, at once: the care you have of us,
    To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot, 1345
    Is worthy praise: but, shall I speak my conscience,
    Our kinsman Gloucester is as innocent
    From meaning treason to our royal person
    As is the sucking lamb or harmless dove:
    The duke is virtuous, mild and too well given 1350
    To dream on evil or to work my downfall.
  • Queen Margaret. Ah, what's more dangerous than this fond affiance!
    Seems he a dove? his feathers are but borrowed,
    For he's disposed as the hateful raven:
    Is he a lamb? his skin is surely lent him, 1355
    For he's inclined as is the ravenous wolf.
    Who cannot steal a shape that means deceit?
    Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all
    Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.


  • Henry VI. Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?
  • Henry VI. Cold news, Lord Somerset: but God's will be done! 1365
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Cold news for me; for I had hope of France
    As firmly as I hope for fertile England.
    Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud
    And caterpillars eat my leaves away;
    But I will remedy this gear ere long, 1370
    Or sell my title for a glorious grave.


  • Duke of Gloucester. All happiness unto my lord the king!
    Pardon, my liege, that I have stay'd so long.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come too soon, 1375
    Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art:
    I do arrest thee of high treason here.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush
    Nor change my countenance for this arrest:
    A heart unspotted is not easily daunted. 1380
    The purest spring is not so free from mud
    As I am clear from treason to my sovereign:
    Who can accuse me? wherein am I guilty?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Is it but thought so? what are they that think it?
    I never robb'd the soldiers of their pay,
    Nor ever had one penny bribe from France.
    So help me God, as I have watch'd the night, 1390
    Ay, night by night, in studying good for England,
    That doit that e'er I wrested from the king,
    Or any groat I hoarded to my use,
    Be brought against me at my trial-day!
    No; many a pound of mine own proper store, 1395
    Because I would not tax the needy commons,
    Have I disbursed to the garrisons,
    And never ask'd for restitution.
  • Winchester. It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Why, 'tis well known that, whiles I was
    protector, 1405
    Pity was all the fault that was in me;
    For I should melt at an offender's tears,
    And lowly words were ransom for their fault.
    Unless it were a bloody murderer,
    Or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers, 1410
    I never gave them condign punishment:
    Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured
    Above the felon or what trespass else.
  • Earl of Suffolk. My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answered:
    But mightier crimes are laid unto your charge, 1415
    Whereof you cannot easily purge yourself.
    I do arrest you in his highness' name;
    And here commit you to my lord cardinal
    To keep, until your further time of trial.
  • Henry VI. My lord of Gloucester, 'tis my special hope 1420
    That you will clear yourself from all suspect:
    My conscience tells me you are innocent.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous:
    Virtue is choked with foul ambition
    And charity chased hence by rancour's hand; 1425
    Foul subornation is predominant
    And equity exiled your highness' land.
    I know their complot is to have my life,
    And if my death might make this island happy,
    And prove the period of their tyranny, 1430
    I would expend it with all willingness:
    But mine is made the prologue to their play;
    For thousands more, that yet suspect no peril,
    Will not conclude their plotted tragedy.
    Beaufort's red sparkling eyes blab his heart's malice, 1435
    And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate;
    Sharp Buckingham unburthens with his tongue
    The envious load that lies upon his heart;
    And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
    Whose overweening arm I have pluck'd back, 1440
    By false accuse doth level at my life:
    And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest,
    Causeless have laid disgraces on my head,
    And with your best endeavour have stirr'd up
    My liefest liege to be mine enemy: 1445
    Ay, all you have laid your heads together—
    Myself had notice of your conventicles—
    And all to make away my guiltless life.
    I shall not want false witness to condemn me,
    Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt; 1450
    The ancient proverb will be well effected:
    'A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.'
  • Winchester. My liege, his railing is intolerable:
    If those that care to keep your royal person
    From treason's secret knife and traitors' rage 1455
    Be thus upbraided, chid and rated at,
    And the offender granted scope of speech,
    'Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here
    With ignominious words, though clerkly couch'd, 1460
    As if she had suborned some to swear
    False allegations to o'erthrow his state?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Far truer spoke than meant: I lose, indeed;
    Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false! 1465
    And well such losers may have leave to speak.
  • Duke of Buckingham. He'll wrest the sense and hold us here all day:
    Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.
  • Winchester. Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him sure.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Ah! thus King Henry throws away his crutch 1470
    Before his legs be firm to bear his body.
    Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side,
    And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
    Ah, that my fear were false! ah, that it were!
    For, good King Henry, thy decay I fear. 1475

[Exit, guarded]

  • Henry VI. My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best,
    Do or undo, as if ourself were here.
  • Henry VI. Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd with grief, 1480
    Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes,
    My body round engirt with misery,
    For what's more miserable than discontent?
    Ah, uncle Humphrey! in thy face I see
    The map of honour, truth and loyalty: 1485
    And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come
    That e'er I proved thee false or fear'd thy faith.
    What louring star now envies thy estate,
    That these great lords and Margaret our queen
    Do seek subversion of thy harmless life? 1490
    Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong;
    And as the butcher takes away the calf
    And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays,
    Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house,
    Even so remorseless have they borne him hence; 1495
    And as the dam runs lowing up and down,
    Looking the way her harmless young one went,
    And can do nought but wail her darling's loss,
    Even so myself bewails good Gloucester's case
    With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimm'd eyes 1500
    Look after him and cannot do him good,
    So mighty are his vowed enemies.
    His fortunes I will weep; and, 'twixt each groan
    Say 'Who's a traitor? Gloucester he is none.'
    [Exeunt all but QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL,] 1505
    SUFFOLK, and YORK; SOMERSET remains apart]
  • Queen Margaret. Free lords, cold snow melts with the sun's hot beams.
    Henry my lord is cold in great affairs,
    Too full of foolish pity, and Gloucester's show
    Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile 1510
    With sorrow snares relenting passengers,
    Or as the snake roll'd in a flowering bank,
    With shining chequer'd slough, doth sting a child
    That for the beauty thinks it excellent.
    Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I— 1515
    And yet herein I judge mine own wit good—
    This Gloucester should be quickly rid the world,
    To rid us of the fear we have of him.
  • Winchester. That he should die is worthy policy;
    But yet we want a colour for his death: 1520
    'Tis meet he be condemn'd by course of law.
  • Earl of Suffolk. But, in my mind, that were no policy:
    The king will labour still to save his life,
    The commons haply rise, to save his life;
    And yet we have but trivial argument, 1525
    More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 'Tis York that hath more reason for his death.
    But, my lord cardinal, and you, my Lord of Suffolk, 1530
    Say as you think, and speak it from your souls,
    Were't not all one, an empty eagle were set
    To guard the chicken from a hungry kite,
    As place Duke Humphrey for the king's protector?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Madam, 'tis true; and were't not madness, then,
    To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
    Who being accused a crafty murderer,
    His guilt should be but idly posted over,
    Because his purpose is not executed. 1540
    No; let him die, in that he is a fox,
    By nature proved an enemy to the flock,
    Before his chaps be stain'd with crimson blood,
    As Humphrey, proved by reasons, to my liege.
    And do not stand on quillets how to slay him: 1545
    Be it by gins, by snares, by subtlety,
    Sleeping or waking, 'tis no matter how,
    So he be dead; for that is good deceit
    Which mates him first that first intends deceit.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Not resolute, except so much were done;
    For things are often spoke and seldom meant:
    But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,
    Seeing the deed is meritorious,
    And to preserve my sovereign from his foe, 1555
    Say but the word, and I will be his priest.
  • Winchester. But I would have him dead, my Lord of Suffolk,
    Ere you can take due orders for a priest:
    Say you consent and censure well the deed,
    And I'll provide his executioner, 1560
    I tender so the safety of my liege.

[Enter a Post]

  • Post. Great lords, from Ireland am I come amain,
    To signify that rebels there are up
    And put the Englishmen unto the sword:
    Send succors, lords, and stop the rage betime, 1570
    Before the wound do grow uncurable;
    For, being green, there is great hope of help.
  • Winchester. A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!
    What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. If York, with all his far-fet policy,
    Had been the regent there instead of me,
    He never would have stay'd in France so long. 1580
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done:
    I rather would have lost my life betimes
    Than bring a burthen of dishonour home
    By staying there so long till all were lost.
    Show me one scar character'd on thy skin: 1585
    Men's flesh preserved so whole do seldom win.
  • Queen Margaret. Nay, then, this spark will prove a raging fire,
    If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with:
    No more, good York; sweet Somerset, be still:
    Thy fortune, York, hadst thou been regent there, 1590
    Might happily have proved far worse than his.
  • Winchester. My Lord of York, try what your fortune is.
    The uncivil kerns of Ireland are in arms 1595
    And temper clay with blood of Englishmen:
    To Ireland will you lead a band of men,
    Collected choicely, from each county some,
    And try your hap against the Irishmen?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Why, our authority is his consent,
    And what we do establish he confirms:
    Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
  • Earl of Suffolk. A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform'd.
    But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
  • Winchester. No more of him; for I will deal with him
    That henceforth he shall trouble us no more.
    And so break off; the day is almost spent: 1610
    Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event.

[Exeunt all but YORK]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts,
    And change misdoubt to resolution:
    Be that thou hopest to be, or what thou art
    Resign to death; it is not worth the enjoying: 1620
    Let pale-faced fear keep with the mean-born man,
    And find no harbour in a royal heart.
    Faster than spring-time showers comes thought
    on thought,
    And not a thought but thinks on dignity. 1625
    My brain more busy than the labouring spider
    Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies.
    Well, nobles, well, 'tis politicly done,
    To send me packing with an host of men:
    I fear me you but warm the starved snake, 1630
    Who, cherish'd in your breasts, will sting
    your hearts.
    'Twas men I lack'd and you will give them me:
    I take it kindly; and yet be well assured
    You put sharp weapons in a madman's hands. 1635
    Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,
    I will stir up in England some black storm
    Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;
    And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage
    Until the golden circuit on my head, 1640
    Like to the glorious sun's transparent beams,
    Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.
    And, for a minister of my intent,
    I have seduced a headstrong Kentishman,
    John Cade of Ashford, 1645
    To make commotion, as full well he can,
    Under the title of John Mortimer.
    In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
    Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,
    And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts 1650
    Were almost like a sharp-quill'd porpentine;
    And, in the end being rescued, I have seen
    Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
    Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.
    Full often, like a shag-hair'd crafty kern, 1655
    Hath he conversed with the enemy,
    And undiscover'd come to me again
    And given me notice of their villanies.
    This devil here shall be my substitute;
    For that John Mortimer, which now is dead, 1660
    In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble:
    By this I shall perceive the commons' mind,
    How they affect the house and claim of York.
    Say he be taken, rack'd and tortured,
    I know no pain they can inflict upon him 1665
    Will make him say I moved him to those arms.
    Say that he thrive, as 'tis great like he will,
    Why, then from Ireland come I with my strength
    And reap the harvest which that rascal sow'd;
    For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be, 1670
    And Henry put apart, the next for me.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Bury St. Edmund’s. A room of state.

      next scene .

[Enter certain Murderers, hastily]

  • First Murderer. Run to my Lord of Suffolk; let him know
    We have dispatch'd the duke, as he commanded. 1675
  • Second Murderer. O that it were to do! What have we done?
    Didst ever hear a man so penitent?


  • Earl of Suffolk. Why, that's well said. Go, get you to my house;
    I will reward you for this venturous deed.
    The king and all the peers are here at hand.
    Have you laid fair the bed? Is all things well, 1685
    According as I gave directions?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Away! be gone.
    [Exeunt Murderers]
    [Sound trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN] 1690
    MARGARET, CARDINAL, SOMERSET, with Attendants]
  • Henry VI. Go, call our uncle to our presence straight;
    Say we intend to try his grace to-day.
    If he be guilty, as 'tis published.


  • Henry VI. Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all,
    Proceed no straiter 'gainst our uncle Gloucester
    Than from true evidence of good esteem
    He be approved in practise culpable. 1700
  • Queen Margaret. God forbid any malice should prevail,
    That faultless may condemn a nobleman!
    Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
  • Henry VI. I thank thee, Meg; these words content me much.
    [Re-enter SUFFOLK] 1705
    How now! why look'st thou pale? why tremblest thou?
    Where is our uncle? what's the matter, Suffolk?
  • Winchester. God's secret judgment: I did dream to-night 1710
    The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.

[KING HENRY VI swoons]

  • Henry VI. What, doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me? 1720
    Came he right now to sing a raven's note,
    Whose dismal tune bereft my vital powers;
    And thinks he that the chirping of a wren,
    By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
    Can chase away the first-conceived sound? 1725
    Hide not thy poison with such sugar'd words;
    Lay not thy hands on me; forbear, I say;
    Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting.
    Thou baleful messenger, out of my sight!
    Upon thy eye-balls murderous tyranny 1730
    Sits in grim majesty, to fright the world.
    Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding:
    Yet do not go away: come, basilisk,
    And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight;
    For in the shade of death I shall find joy; 1735
    In life but double death, now Gloucester's dead.
  • Queen Margaret. Why do you rate my Lord of Suffolk thus?
    Although the duke was enemy to him,
    Yet he most Christian-like laments his death:
    And for myself, foe as he was to me, 1740
    Might liquid tears or heart-offending groans
    Or blood-consuming sighs recall his life,
    I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,
    Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs,
    And all to have the noble duke alive. 1745
    What know I how the world may deem of me?
    For it is known we were but hollow friends:
    It may be judged I made the duke away;
    So shall my name with slander's tongue be wounded,
    And princes' courts be fill'd with my reproach. 1750
    This get I by his death: ay me, unhappy!
    To be a queen, and crown'd with infamy!
  • Henry VI. Ah, woe is me for Gloucester, wretched man!
  • Queen Margaret. Be woe for me, more wretched than he is.
    What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face? 1755
    I am no loathsome leper; look on me.
    What! art thou, like the adder, waxen deaf?
    Be poisonous too and kill thy forlorn queen.
    Is all thy comfort shut in Gloucester's tomb?
    Why, then, dame Margaret was ne'er thy joy. 1760
    Erect his statue and worship it,
    And make my image but an alehouse sign.
    Was I for this nigh wreck'd upon the sea
    And twice by awkward wind from England's bank
    Drove back again unto my native clime? 1765
    What boded this, but well forewarning wind
    Did seem to say 'Seek not a scorpion's nest,
    Nor set no footing on this unkind shore'?
    What did I then, but cursed the gentle gusts
    And he that loosed them forth their brazen caves: 1770
    And bid them blow towards England's blessed shore,
    Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock
    Yet AEolus would not be a murderer,
    But left that hateful office unto thee:
    The pretty-vaulting sea refused to drown me, 1775
    Knowing that thou wouldst have me drown'd on shore,
    With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness:
    The splitting rocks cower'd in the sinking sands
    And would not dash me with their ragged sides,
    Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they, 1780
    Might in thy palace perish Margaret.
    As far as I could ken thy chalky cliffs,
    When from thy shore the tempest beat us back,
    I stood upon the hatches in the storm,
    And when the dusky sky began to rob 1785
    My earnest-gaping sight of thy land's view,
    I took a costly jewel from my neck,
    A heart it was, bound in with diamonds,
    And threw it towards thy land: the sea received it,
    And so I wish'd thy body might my heart: 1790
    And even with this I lost fair England's view
    And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart
    And call'd them blind and dusky spectacles,
    For losing ken of Albion's wished coast.
    How often have I tempted Suffolk's tongue, 1795
    The agent of thy foul inconstancy,
    To sit and witch me, as Ascanius did
    When he to madding Dido would unfold
    His father's acts commenced in burning Troy!
    Am I not witch'd like her? or thou not false like him? 1800
    Ay me, I can no more! die, Margaret!
    For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.

[Noise within. Enter WARWICK, SALISBURY, and many Commons]

  • Earl of Warwick. It is reported, mighty sovereign,
    That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murder'd 1805
    By Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort's means.
    The commons, like an angry hive of bees
    That want their leader, scatter up and down
    And care not who they sting in his revenge.
    Myself have calm'd their spleenful mutiny, 1810
    Until they hear the order of his death.
  • Henry VI. That he is dead, good Warwick, 'tis too true;
    But how he died God knows, not Henry:
    Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse,
    And comment then upon his sudden death. 1815
  • Earl of Warwick. That shall I do, my liege. Stay, Salisbury,
    With the rude multitude till I return.


  • Henry VI. O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts,
    My thoughts, that labour to persuade my soul 1820
    Some violent hands were laid on Humphrey's life!
    If my suspect be false, forgive me, God,
    For judgment only doth belong to thee.
    Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
    With twenty thousand kisses, and to drain 1825
    Upon his face an ocean of salt tears,
    To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk,
    And with my fingers feel his hand unfeeling:
    But all in vain are these mean obsequies;
    And to survey his dead and earthly image, 1830
    What were it but to make my sorrow greater?
    [Re-enter WARWICK and others, bearing]
    GLOUCESTER'S body on a bed]
  • Henry VI. That is to see how deep my grave is made; 1835
    For with his soul fled all my worldly solace,
    For seeing him I see my life in death.
  • Earl of Warwick. As surely as my soul intends to live
    With that dread King that took our state upon him
    To free us from his father's wrathful curse, 1840
    I do believe that violent hands were laid
    Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.
  • Earl of Suffolk. A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!
    What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
  • Earl of Warwick. See how the blood is settled in his face. 1845
    Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,
    Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale and bloodless,
    Being all descended to the labouring heart;
    Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
    Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy; 1850
    Which with the heart there cools and ne'er returneth
    To blush and beautify the cheek again.
    But see, his face is black and full of blood,
    His eye-balls further out than when he lived,
    Staring full ghastly like a strangled man; 1855
    His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretched with struggling;
    His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
    And tugg'd for life and was by strength subdued:
    Look, on the sheets his hair you see, is sticking;
    His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged, 1860
    Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodged.
    It cannot be but he was murder'd here;
    The least of all these signs were probable.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death?
    Myself and Beaufort had him in protection; 1865
    And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.
  • Earl of Warwick. But both of you were vow'd Duke Humphrey's foes,
    And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep:
    'Tis like you would not feast him like a friend;
    And 'tis well seen he found an enemy. 1870
  • Queen Margaret. Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen
    As guilty of Duke Humphrey's timeless death.
  • Earl of Warwick. Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding fresh
    And sees fast by a butcher with an axe,
    But will suspect 'twas he that made the slaughter? 1875
    Who finds the partridge in the puttock's nest,
    But may imagine how the bird was dead,
    Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak?
    Even so suspicious is this tragedy.
  • Queen Margaret. Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where's your knife? 1880
    Is Beaufort term'd a kite? Where are his talons?
  • Earl of Suffolk. I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men;
    But here's a vengeful sword, rusted with ease,
    That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart
    That slanders me with murder's crimson badge. 1885
    Say, if thou darest, proud Lord of Warwick-shire,
    That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey's death.

[Exeunt CARDINAL, SOMERSET, and others]

  • Queen Margaret. He dares not calm his contumelious spirit 1890
    Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
    Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.
  • Earl of Warwick. Madam, be still; with reverence may I say;
    For every word you speak in his behalf
    Is slander to your royal dignity. 1895
  • Earl of Suffolk. Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanor!
    If ever lady wrong'd her lord so much,
    Thy mother took into her blameful bed
    Some stern untutor'd churl, and noble stock
    Was graft with crab-tree slip; whose fruit thou art, 1900
    And never of the Nevils' noble race.
  • Earl of Warwick. But that the guilt of murder bucklers thee
    And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
    Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
    And that my sovereign's presence makes me mild, 1905
    I would, false murderous coward, on thy knee
    Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech,
    And say it was thy mother that thou meant'st
    That thou thyself was born in bastardy;
    And after all this fearful homage done, 1910
    Give thee thy hire and send thy soul to hell,
    Pernicious blood-sucker of sleeping men!
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thou shall be waking well I shed thy blood,
    If from this presence thou darest go with me.
  • Earl of Warwick. Away even now, or I will drag thee hence: 1915
    Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee
    And do some service to Duke Humphrey's ghost.


  • Henry VI. What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
    Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just, 1920
    And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel
    Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

[A noise within]

  • Queen Margaret. What noise is this?
    [Re-enter SUFFOLK and WARWICK, with their] 1925
    weapons drawn]
  • Henry VI. Why, how now, lords! your wrathful weapons drawn
    Here in our presence! dare you be so bold?
    Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?
  • Earl of Suffolk. The traitorous Warwick with the men of Bury 1930
    Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
  • Earl of Salisbury. [To the Commons, entering] Sirs, stand apart;
    the king shall know your mind.
    Dread lord, the commons send you word by me,
    Unless Lord Suffolk straight be done to death, 1935
    Or banished fair England's territories,
    They will by violence tear him from your palace
    And torture him with grievous lingering death.
    They say, by him the good Duke Humphrey died;
    They say, in him they fear your highness' death; 1940
    And mere instinct of love and loyalty,
    Free from a stubborn opposite intent,
    As being thought to contradict your liking,
    Makes them thus forward in his banishment.
    They say, in care of your most royal person, 1945
    That if your highness should intend to sleep
    And charge that no man should disturb your rest
    In pain of your dislike or pain of death,
    Yet, notwithstanding such a strait edict,
    Were there a serpent seen, with forked tongue, 1950
    That slily glided towards your majesty,
    It were but necessary you were waked,
    Lest, being suffer'd in that harmful slumber,
    The mortal worm might make the sleep eternal;
    And therefore do they cry, though you forbid, 1955
    That they will guard you, whether you will or no,
    From such fell serpents as false Suffolk is,
    With whose envenomed and fatal sting,
    Your loving uncle, twenty times his worth,
    They say, is shamefully bereft of life. 1960
  • Commons. [Within] An answer from the king, my
    Lord of Salisbury!
  • Earl of Suffolk. 'Tis like the commons, rude unpolish'd hinds,
    Could send such message to their sovereign:
    But you, my lord, were glad to be employ'd, 1965
    To show how quaint an orator you are:
    But all the honour Salisbury hath won
    Is, that he was the lord ambassador
    Sent from a sort of tinkers to the king.
  • Commons. [Within] An answer from the king, or we will all break in! 1970
  • Henry VI. Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me.
    I thank them for their tender loving care;
    And had I not been cited so by them,
    Yet did I purpose as they do entreat;
    For, sure, my thoughts do hourly prophesy 1975
    Mischance unto my state by Suffolk's means:
    And therefore, by His majesty I swear,
    Whose far unworthy deputy I am,
    He shall not breathe infection in this air
    But three days longer, on the pain of death. 1980


  • Henry VI. Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suffolk!
    No more, I say: if thou dost plead for him,
    Thou wilt but add increase unto my wrath. 1985
    Had I but said, I would have kept my word,
    But when I swear, it is irrevocable.
    If, after three days' space, thou here be'st found
    On any ground that I am ruler of,
    The world shall not be ransom for thy life. 1990
    Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with me;
    I have great matters to impart to thee.

[Exeunt all but QUEEN MARGARET and SUFFOLK]

  • Queen Margaret. Mischance and sorrow go along with you!
    Heart's discontent and sour affliction 1995
    Be playfellows to keep you company!
    There's two of you; the devil make a third!
    And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps!
  • Earl of Suffolk. Cease, gentle queen, these execrations,
    And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave. 2000
  • Queen Margaret. Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch!
    Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?
  • Earl of Suffolk. A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them?
    Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan,
    I would invent as bitter-searching terms, 2005
    As curst, as harsh and horrible to hear,
    Deliver'd strongly through my fixed teeth,
    With full as many signs of deadly hate,
    As lean-faced Envy in her loathsome cave:
    My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words; 2010
    Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint;
    Mine hair be fixed on end, as one distract;
    Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban:
    And even now my burthen'd heart would break,
    Should I not curse them. Poison be their drink! 2015
    Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste!
    Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress trees!
    Their chiefest prospect murdering basilisks!
    Their softest touch as smart as lizards' sting!
    Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss, 2020
    And boding screech-owls make the concert full!
    All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell—
  • Queen Margaret. Enough, sweet Suffolk; thou torment'st thyself;
    And these dread curses, like the sun 'gainst glass,
    Or like an overcharged gun, recoil, 2025
    And turn the force of them upon thyself.
  • Earl of Suffolk. You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave?
    Now, by the ground that I am banish'd from,
    Well could I curse away a winter's night,
    Though standing naked on a mountain top, 2030
    Where biting cold would never let grass grow,
    And think it but a minute spent in sport.
  • Queen Margaret. O, let me entreat thee cease. Give me thy hand,
    That I may dew it with my mournful tears;
    Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place, 2035
    To wash away my woful monuments.
    O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand,
    That thou mightst think upon these by the seal,
    Through whom a thousand sighs are breathed for thee!
    So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief; 2040
    'Tis but surmised whiles thou art standing by,
    As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
    I will repeal thee, or, be well assured,
    Adventure to be banished myself:
    And banished I am, if but from thee. 2045
    Go; speak not to me; even now be gone.
    O, go not yet! Even thus two friends condemn'd
    Embrace and kiss and take ten thousand leaves,
    Loather a hundred times to part than die.
    Yet now farewell; and farewell life with thee! 2050
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished;
    Once by the king, and three times thrice by thee.
    'Tis not the land I care for, wert thou thence;
    A wilderness is populous enough,
    So Suffolk had thy heavenly company: 2055
    For where thou art, there is the world itself,
    With every several pleasure in the world,
    And where thou art not, desolation.
    I can no more: live thou to joy thy life;
    Myself no joy in nought but that thou livest. 2060

[Enter VAUX]

  • Vaux. To signify unto his majesty
    That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
    For suddenly a grievous sickness took him, 2065
    That makes him gasp and stare and catch the air,
    Blaspheming God and cursing men on earth.
    Sometimes he talks as if Duke Humphrey's ghost
    Were by his side; sometime he calls the king,
    And whispers to his pillow, as to him, 2070
    The secrets of his overcharged soul;
    And I am sent to tell his majesty
    That even now he cries aloud for him.
  • Queen Margaret. Go tell this heavy message to the king.
    [Exit VAUX] 2075
    Ay me! what is this world! what news are these!
    But wherefore grieve I at an hour's poor loss,
    Omitting Suffolk's exile, my soul's treasure?
    Why only, Suffolk, mourn I not for thee,
    And with the southern clouds contend in tears, 2080
    Theirs for the earth's increase, mine for my sorrows?
    Now get thee hence: the king, thou know'st, is coming;
    If thou be found by me, thou art but dead.
  • Earl of Suffolk. If I depart from thee, I cannot live;
    And in thy sight to die, what were it else 2085
    But like a pleasant slumber in thy lap?
    Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
    As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe
    Dying with mother's dug between its lips:
    Where, from thy sight, I should be raging mad, 2090
    And cry out for thee to close up mine eyes,
    To have thee with thy lips to stop my mouth;
    So shouldst thou either turn my flying soul,
    Or I should breathe it so into thy body,
    And then it lived in sweet Elysium. 2095
    To die by thee were but to die in jest;
    From thee to die were torture more than death:
    O, let me stay, befall what may befall!
  • Queen Margaret. Away! though parting be a fretful corrosive,
    It is applied to a deathful wound. 2100
    To France, sweet Suffolk: let me hear from thee;
    For wheresoe'er thou art in this world's globe,
    I'll have an Iris that shall find thee out.
  • Earl of Suffolk. A jewel, lock'd into the wofull'st cask
    That ever did contain a thing of worth.
    Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we
    This way fall I to death.

[Exeunt severally]

. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

A bedchamber.

      next scene .

[Enter the KING, SALISBURY, WARWICK, to the] [p]CARDINAL in bed]

  • Henry VI. How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, to
    thy sovereign. 2115
  • Winchester. If thou be'st death, I'll give thee England's treasure,
    Enough to purchase such another island,
    So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain.
  • Henry VI. Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,
    Where death's approach is seen so terrible! 2120
  • Winchester. Bring me unto my trial when you will.
    Died he not in his bed? where should he die?
    Can I make men live, whether they will or no?
    O, torture me no more! I will confess. 2125
    Alive again? then show me where he is:
    I'll give a thousand pound to look upon him.
    He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them.
    Comb down his hair; look, look! it stands upright,
    Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul. 2130
    Give me some drink; and bid the apothecary
    Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.
  • Henry VI. O thou eternal Mover of the heavens.
    Look with a gentle eye upon this wretch!
    O, beat away the busy meddling fiend 2135
    That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul.
    And from his bosom purge this black despair!
  • Henry VI. Peace to his soul, if God's good pleasure be! 2140
    Lord cardinal, if thou think'st on heaven's bliss,
    Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.
    He dies, and makes no sign. O God, forgive him!
  • Henry VI. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all. 2145
    Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close;
    And let us all to meditation.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 1

The coast of Kent.

      next scene .

[Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a] [p]Captain, a Master, a Master's-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, [p]and others; with them SUFFOLK, and others, prisoners]

  • Captain. The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful day
    Is crept into the bosom of the sea;
    And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
    That drag the tragic melancholy night; 2155
    Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings,
    Clip dead men's graves and from their misty jaws
    Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
    Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize;
    For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs, 2160
    Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
    Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.
    Master, this prisoner freely give I thee;
    And thou that art his mate, make boot of this;
    The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share. 2165
  • Master. A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
  • Captain. What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
    And bear the name and port of gentlemen? 2170
    Cut both the villains' throats; for die you shall:
    The lives of those which we have lost in fight
    Be counterpoised with such a petty sum!
  • Walter Whitmore. I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
    And therefore to revenge it, shalt thou die;
    [To SUFFOLK]
    And so should these, if I might have my will.
  • Captain. Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live. 2180
  • Earl of Suffolk. Look on my George; I am a gentleman:
    Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
  • Walter Whitmore. And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
    How now! why start'st thou? what, doth
    death affright? 2185
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
    A cunning man did calculate my birth
    And told me that by water I should die:
    Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
    Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded. 2190
  • Walter Whitmore. Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not:
    Never yet did base dishonour blur our name,
    But with our sword we wiped away the blot;
    Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
    Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced, 2195
    And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!
  • Earl of Suffolk. Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,
    The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke: 2200
    Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?
  • Captain. But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood,
    The honourable blood of Lancaster,
    Must not be shed by such a jaded groom. 2205
    Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand and held my stirrup?
    Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule
    And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
    How often hast thou waited at my cup,
    Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board. 2210
    When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
    Remember it and let it make thee crest-fall'n,
    Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride;
    How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
    And duly waited for my coming forth? 2215
    This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
    And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.
  • Captain. First let my words stab him, as he hath me.
  • Captain. Convey him hence and on our longboat's side
    Strike off his head.
  • Captain. Pool! Sir Pool! lord!
    Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt
    Troubles the silver spring where England drinks.
    Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
    For swallowing the treasure of the realm: 2230
    Thy lips that kiss'd the queen shall sweep the ground;
    And thou that smiledst at good Duke Humphrey's death,
    Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
    Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again:
    And wedded be thou to the hags of hell, 2235
    For daring to affy a mighty lord
    Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
    Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
    By devilish policy art thou grown great,
    And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorged 2240
    With gobbets of thy mother's bleeding heart.
    By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France,
    The false revolting Normans thorough thee
    Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
    Hath slain their governors, surprised our forts, 2245
    And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
    The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,
    Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
    As hating thee, are rising up in arms:
    And now the house of York, thrust from the crown 2250
    By shameful murder of a guiltless king
    And lofty proud encroaching tyranny,
    Burns with revenging fire; whose hopeful colours
    Advance our half-faced sun, striving to shine,
    Under the which is writ 'Invitis nubibus.' 2255
    The commons here in Kent are up in arms:
    And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
    Is crept into the palace of our king.
    And all by thee. Away! convey him hence.
  • Earl of Suffolk. O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder 2260
    Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
    Small things make base men proud: this villain here,
    Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
    Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate.
    Drones suck not eagles' blood but rob beehives: 2265
    It is impossible that I should die
    By such a lowly vassal as thyself.
    Thy words move rage and not remorse in me:
    I go of message from the queen to France;
    I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel. 2270
  • Walter Whitmore. Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
    What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop? 2275
  • Earl of Suffolk. Suffolk's imperial tongue is stern and rough,
    Used to command, untaught to plead for favour.
    Far be it we should honour such as these
    With humble suit: no, rather let my head 2280
    Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
    Save to the God of heaven and to my king;
    And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
    Than stand uncover'd to the vulgar groom.
    True nobility is exempt from fear: 2285
    More can I bear than you dare execute.
  • Captain. Hale him away, and let him talk no more.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can,
    That this my death may never be forgot!
    Great men oft die by vile bezonians: 2290
    A Roman sworder and banditto slave
    Murder'd sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard hand
    Stabb'd Julius Caesar; savage islanders
    Pompey the Great; and Suffolk dies by pirates.

[Exeunt Whitmore and others with Suffolk]

  • Captain. And as for these whose ransom we have set,
    It is our pleasure one of them depart;
    Therefore come you with us and let him go.

[Exeunt all but the First Gentleman]

[Re-enter WHITMORE with SUFFOLK's body]

  • Walter Whitmore. There let his head and lifeless body lie,
    Until the queen his mistress bury it.


  • First Gentleman. O barbarous and bloody spectacle!
    His body will I bear unto the king: 2305
    If he revenge it not, yet will his friends;
    So will the queen, that living held him dear.

[Exit with the body]

. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2


      next scene .


  • George Bevis. Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath; 2310
    they have been up these two days.
  • George Bevis. I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress
    the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.
  • John Holland. So he had need, for 'tis threadbare. Well, I say it 2315
    was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
  • George Bevis. O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.
  • John Holland. The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.
  • George Bevis. Nay, more, the king's council are no good workmen.
  • John Holland. True; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation; 2320
    which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
    labouring men; and therefore should we be
  • George Bevis. Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of a
    brave mind than a hard hand. 2325
  • John Holland. I see them! I see them! there's Best's son, the
    tanner of Wingham,—
  • George Bevis. He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make
    dog's-leather of.
  • George Bevis. Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity's
    throat cut like a calf.
  • John Holland. Come, come, let's fall in with them. 2335
    [Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the]
    Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers]
  • Jack Cade. We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father,—
  • Jack Cade. For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with 2340
    the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
    —Command silence.
  • Jack Cade. My wife descended of the Lacies,—
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler's daughter, and 2350
    sold many laces.
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with her
    furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.
  • Jack Cade. Therefore am I of an honourable house.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable; 2355
    and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
    father had never a house but the cage.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him
    whipped three market-days together.
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.
  • Dick the Butcher. [Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of 2365
    fire, being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.
  • Jack Cade. Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows
    reformation. There shall be in England seven
    halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped
    pot; shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony 2370
    to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in
    common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to
    grass: and when I am king, as king I will be,—
  • All. God save your majesty!
  • Jack Cade. I thank you, good people: there shall be no money; 2375
    all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
    apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
    like brothers and worship me their lord.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable 2380
    thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
    be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
    o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
    but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
    once to a thing, and I was never mine own man 2385
    since. How now! who's there?

[Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham]

  • Smith the Weaver. The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and
    cast accompt.
  • Jack Cade. I am sorry for't: the man is a proper man, of mine
    honour; unless I find him guilty, he shall not die.
    Come hither, sirrah, I must examine thee: what is thy name?
  • Dick the Butcher. They use to write it on the top of letters: 'twill 2400
    go hard with you.
  • Jack Cade. Let me alone. Dost thou use to write thy name? or
    hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest
    plain-dealing man?
  • Clerk of Chatham. Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up 2405
    that I can write my name.
  • All. He hath confessed: away with him! he's a villain
    and a traitor.
  • Jack Cade. Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and
    ink-horn about his neck. 2410

[Exit one with the Clerk]


  • Jack Cade. Here I am, thou particular fellow.
  • Michael. Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his 2415
    brother are hard by, with the king's forces.
  • Jack Cade. Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee down. He
    shall be encountered with a man as good as himself:
    he is but a knight, is a'?
  • Jack Cade. To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
    Rise up Sir John Mortimer.
    Now have at him! 2425
    drum and soldiers]
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford. Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
    Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
    Home to your cottages, forsake this groom: 2430
    The king is merciful, if you revolt.
  • William Stafford. But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,
    If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.
  • Jack Cade. As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:
    It is to you, good people, that I speak, 2435
    Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
    For I am rightful heir unto the crown.
  • Jack Cade. Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
    Married the Duke of Clarence' daughter, did he not?
  • Jack Cade. By her he had two children at one birth. 2445
  • Jack Cade. Ay, there's the question; but I say, 'tis true:
    The elder of them, being put to nurse,
    Was by a beggar-woman stolen away;
    And, ignorant of his birth and parentage, 2450
    Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
    His son am I; deny it, if you can.
  • Smith the Weaver. Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, and
    the bricks are alive at this day to testify it; 2455
    therefore deny it not.
  • All. Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.
  • Jack Cade. [Aside] He lies, for I invented it myself.
    Go to, sirrah, tell the king from me, that, for his
    father's sake, Henry the Fifth, in whose time boys
    went to span-counter for French crowns, I am content
    he shall reign; but I'll be protector over him. 2465
  • Dick the Butcher. And furthermore, well have the Lord Say's head for
    selling the dukedom of Maine.
  • Jack Cade. And good reason; for thereby is England mained, and
    fain to go with a staff, but that my puissance holds
    it up. Fellow kings, I tell you that that Lord Say 2470
    hath gelded the commonwealth, and made it an eunuch:
    and more than that, he can speak French; and
    therefore he is a traitor.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are our 2475
    enemies; go to, then, I ask but this: can he that
    speaks with the tongue of an enemy be a good
    counsellor, or no?
  • All. No, no; and therefore we'll have his head.
  • William Stafford. Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail, 2480
    Assail them with the army of the king.
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford. Herald, away; and throughout every town
    Proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade;
    That those which fly before the battle ends
    May, even in their wives' and children's sight, 2485
    Be hang'd up for example at their doors:
    And you that be the king's friends, follow me.

[Exeunt WILLIAM STAFFORD and SIR HUMPHREY, and soldiers]

  • Jack Cade. And you that love the commons, follow me.
    Now show yourselves men; 'tis for liberty. 2490
    We will not leave one lord, one gentleman:
    Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon;
    For they are thrifty honest men, and such
    As would, but that they dare not, take our parts.
  • Jack Cade. But then are we in order when we are most
    out of order. Come, march forward.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

Another part of Blackheath.

      next scene .

[Alarums to the fight, wherein SIR HUMPHREY and] [p]WILLIAM STAFFORD are slain. Enter CADE and the rest]

  • Jack Cade. Where's Dick, the butcher of Ashford?
  • Jack Cade. They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thou
    behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own
    slaughter-house: therefore thus will I reward thee, 2505
    the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou
    shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking
  • Jack Cade. And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less. This 2510
    monument of the victory will I bear;
    [Putting on SIR HUMPHREY'S brigandine]
    and the bodies shall be dragged at my horse' heels
    till I do come to London, where we will have the
    mayor's sword borne before us. 2515
  • Dick the Butcher. If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the
    gaols and let out the prisoners.
  • Jack Cade. Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let's march
    towards London.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

London. The palace.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

London. The Tower.

      next scene .

[Enter SCALES upon the Tower, walking.] [p]Then enter two or three Citizens below]

  • First Citizen. No, my lord, nor likely to be slain; for they have
    won the bridge, killing all those that withstand 2590
    them: the lord mayor craves aid of your honour from
    the Tower, to defend the city from the rebels.
  • Lord Scales. Such aid as I can spare you shall command;
    But I am troubled here with them myself;
    The rebels have assay'd to win the Tower. 2595
    But get you to Smithfield, and gather head,
    And thither I will send you Matthew Goffe;
    Fight for your king, your country and your lives;
    And so, farewell, for I must hence again.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 6

London. Cannon Street.

      next scene .

[Enter CADE and the rest, and strikes his staff on] [p]London-stone]

  • Jack Cade. Now is Mortimer lord of this city. And here, sitting
    upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the
    city's cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but 2605
    claret wine this first year of our reign. And now
    henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls
    me other than Lord Mortimer.

[Enter a Soldier, running]

  • Soldier. Jack Cade! Jack Cade! 2610

[They kill him]

  • Smith the Weaver. If this fellow be wise, he'll never call ye Jack
    Cade more: I think he hath a very fair warning.
  • Dick the Butcher. My lord, there's an army gathered together in 2615
  • Jack Cade. Come, then, let's go fight with them; but first, go
    and set London bridge on fire; and, if you can, burn
    down the Tower too. Come, let's away.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 7

London. Smithfield.

      next scene .

[Alarums. MATTHEW GOFFE is slain, and all the rest.] [p]Then enter CADE, with his company.

  • Jack Cade. So, sirs: now go some and pull down the Savoy;
    others to the inns of court; down with them all.
  • Jack Cade. Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.
  • John Holland. [Aside] Mass, 'twill be sore law, then; for he was
    thrust in the mouth with a spear, and 'tis not whole
    yet. 2630
  • Smith the Weaver. [Aside] Nay, John, it will be stinking law for his
    breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.
  • Jack Cade. I have thought upon it, it shall be so. Away, burn
    all the records of the realm: my mouth shall be
    the parliament of England. 2635
  • John Holland. [Aside] Then we are like to have biting statutes,
    unless his teeth be pulled out.
  • Jack Cade. And henceforward all things shall be in common.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, a prize, a prize! here's the Lord Say, 2640
    which sold the towns in France; he that made us pay
    one and twenty fifteens, and one shilling to the
    pound, the last subsidy.

[Enter BEVIS, with Lord SAY]

  • Jack Cade. Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times. Ah, 2645
    thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord! now
    art thou within point-blank of our jurisdiction
    regal. What canst thou answer to my majesty for
    giving up of Normandy unto Mounsieur Basimecu, the
    dauphin of France? Be it known unto thee by these 2650
    presence, even the presence of Lord Mortimer, that I
    am the besom that must sweep the court clean of such
    filth as thou art. Thou hast most traitorously
    corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a
    grammar school; and whereas, before, our forefathers 2655
    had no other books but the score and the tally, thou
    hast caused printing to be used, and, contrary to
    the king, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a
    paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou
    hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and 2660
    a verb, and such abominable words as no Christian
    ear can endure to hear. Thou hast appointed
    justices of peace, to call poor men before them
    about matters they were not able to answer.
    Moreover, thou hast put them in prison; and because 2665
    they could not read, thou hast hanged them; when,
    indeed, only for that cause they have been most
    worthy to live. Thou dost ride in a foot-cloth, dost thou not?
  • Jack Cade. Marry, thou oughtest not to let thy horse wear a 2670
    cloak, when honester men than thou go in their hose
    and doublets.
  • Dick the Butcher. And work in their shirt too; as myself, for example,
    that am a butcher.
  • Lord Say. Nothing but this; 'tis 'bona terra, mala gens.'
  • Jack Cade. Away with him, away with him! he speaks Latin.
  • Lord Say. Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
    Kent, in the Commentaries Caesar writ, 2680
    Is term'd the civil'st place of this isle:
    Sweet is the country, because full of riches;
    The people liberal, valiant, active, wealthy;
    Which makes me hope you are not void of pity.
    I sold not Maine, I lost not Normandy, 2685
    Yet, to recover them, would lose my life.
    Justice with favour have I always done;
    Prayers and tears have moved me, gifts could never.
    When have I aught exacted at your hands,
    But to maintain the king, the realm and you? 2690
    Large gifts have I bestow'd on learned clerks,
    Because my book preferr'd me to the king,
    And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
    Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,
    Unless you be possess'd with devilish spirits, 2695
    You cannot but forbear to murder me:
    This tongue hath parley'd unto foreign kings
    For your behoof,—
  • Jack Cade. Tut, when struck'st thou one blow in the field?
  • Lord Say. Great men have reaching hands: oft have I struck 2700
    Those that I never saw and struck them dead.
  • George Bevis. O monstrous coward! what, to come behind folks?
  • Lord Say. These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.
  • Jack Cade. Give him a box o' the ear and that will make 'em red again.
  • Lord Say. Long sitting to determine poor men's causes 2705
    Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
  • Jack Cade. Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.
  • Lord Say. The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.
  • Jack Cade. Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I'll be even 2710
    with you: I'll see if his head will stand steadier
    on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him.
  • Lord Say. Tell me wherein have I offended most?
    Have I affected wealth or honour? speak.
    Are my chests fill'd up with extorted gold? 2715
    Is my apparel sumptuous to behold?
    Whom have I injured, that ye seek my death?
    These hands are free from guiltless bloodshedding,
    This breast from harbouring foul deceitful thoughts.
    O, let me live! 2720
  • Jack Cade. [Aside] I feel remorse in myself with his words;
    but I'll bridle it: he shall die, an it be but for
    pleading so well for his life. Away with him! he
    has a familiar under his tongue; he speaks not o'
    God's name. Go, take him away, I say, and strike 2725
    off his head presently; and then break into his
    son-in-law's house, Sir James Cromer, and strike off
    his head, and bring them both upon two poles hither.
  • All. It shall be done.
  • Lord Say. Ah, countrymen! if when you make your prayers, 2730
    God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
    How would it fare with your departed souls?
    And therefore yet relent, and save my life.
  • Jack Cade. Away with him! and do as I command ye.
    [Exeunt some with Lord SAY] 2735
    The proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a head
    on his shoulders, unless he pay me tribute; there
    shall not a maid be married, but she shall pay to me
    her maidenhead ere they have it: men shall hold of
    me in capite; and we charge and command that their 2740
    wives be as free as heart can wish or tongue can tell.
  • Dick the Butcher. My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take up
    commodities upon our bills?
  • All. O, brave! 2745

[Re-enter one with the heads]

  • Jack Cade. But is not this braver? Let them kiss one another,
    for they loved well when they were alive. Now part
    them again, lest they consult about the giving up of
    some more towns in France. Soldiers, defer the 2750
    spoil of the city until night: for with these borne
    before us, instead of maces, will we ride through
    the streets, and at every corner have them kiss. Away!


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 8


      next scene .

[Alarum and retreat. Enter CADE and all his] [p]rabblement]

  • Jack Cade. Up Fish Street! down Saint Magnus' Corner! Kill
    and knock down! throw them into Thames!
    [Sound a parley]
    What noise is this I hear? Dare any be so bold to 2760
    sound retreat or parley, when I command them kill?

[Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD, attended]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Ay, here they be that dare and will disturb thee:
    Know, Cade, we come ambassadors from the king
    Unto the commons whom thou hast misled; 2765
    And here pronounce free pardon to them all
    That will forsake thee and go home in peace.
  • Lord Clifford. What say ye, countrymen? will ye relent,
    And yield to mercy whilst 'tis offer'd you;
    Or let a rebel lead you to your deaths? 2770
    Who loves the king and will embrace his pardon,
    Fling up his cap, and say 'God save his majesty!'
    Who hateth him and honours not his father,
    Henry the Fifth, that made all France to quake,
    Shake he his weapon at us and pass by. 2775
  • All. God save the king! God save the king!
  • Jack Cade. What, Buckingham and Clifford, are ye so brave? And
    you, base peasants, do ye believe him? will you
    needs be hanged with your pardons about your necks?
    Hath my sword therefore broke through London gates, 2780
    that you should leave me at the White Hart in
    Southwark? I thought ye would never have given out
    these arms till you had recovered your ancient
    freedom: but you are all recreants and dastards,
    and delight to live in slavery to the nobility. Let 2785
    them break your backs with burthens, take your
    houses over your heads, ravish your wives and
    daughters before your faces: for me, I will make
    shift for one; and so, God's curse light upon you
    all! 2790
  • All. We'll follow Cade, we'll follow Cade!
  • Lord Clifford. Is Cade the son of Henry the Fifth,
    That thus you do exclaim you'll go with him?
    Will he conduct you through the heart of France,
    And make the meanest of you earls and dukes? 2795
    Alas, he hath no home, no place to fly to;
    Nor knows he how to live but by the spoil,
    Unless by robbing of your friends and us.
    Were't not a shame, that whilst you live at jar,
    The fearful French, whom you late vanquished, 2800
    Should make a start o'er seas and vanquish you?
    Methinks already in this civil broil
    I see them lording it in London streets,
    Crying 'Villiago!' unto all they meet.
    Better ten thousand base-born Cades miscarry 2805
    Than you should stoop unto a Frenchman's mercy.
    To France, to France, and get what you have lost;
    Spare England, for it is your native coast;
    Henry hath money, you are strong and manly;
    God on our side, doubt not of victory. 2810
  • All. A Clifford! a Clifford! we'll follow the king and Clifford.
  • Jack Cade. Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this
    multitude? The name of Henry the Fifth hales them
    to an hundred mischiefs, and makes them leave me
    desolate. I see them lay their heads together to 2815
    surprise me. My sword make way for me, for here is
    no staying. In despite of the devils and hell, have
    through the very middest of you? and heavens and
    honour be witness, that no want of resolution in me.
    but only my followers' base and ignominious 2820
    treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.


  • Duke of Buckingham. What, is he fled? Go some, and follow him;
    And he that brings his head unto the king
    Shall have a thousand crowns for his reward. 2825
    [Exeunt some of them]
    Follow me, soldiers: we'll devise a mean
    To reconcile you all unto the king.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 9

Kenilworth Castle.

      next scene .

[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]

. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 10

Kent. IDEN’s garden.

      next scene .

[Enter CADE]

  • Jack Cade. Fie on ambition! fie on myself, that have a sword,
    and yet am ready to famish! These five days have I
    hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for
    all the country is laid for me; but now am I so 2890
    hungry that if I might have a lease of my life for a
    thousand years I could stay no longer. Wherefore,
    on a brick wall have I climbed into this garden, to
    see if I can eat grass, or pick a sallet another
    while, which is not amiss to cool a man's stomach 2895
    this hot weather. And I think this word 'sallet'
    was born to do me good: for many a time, but for a
    sallet, my brainpan had been cleft with a brown
    bill; and many a time, when I have been dry and
    bravely marching, it hath served me instead of a 2900
    quart pot to drink in; and now the word 'sallet'
    must serve me to feed on.

[Enter IDEN]

  • Alexander Iden. Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
    And may enjoy such quiet walks as these? 2905
    This small inheritance my father left me
    Contenteth me, and worth a monarchy.
    I seek not to wax great by others' waning,
    Or gather wealth, I care not, with what envy:
    Sufficeth that I have maintains my state 2910
    And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
  • Jack Cade. Here's the lord of the soil come to seize me for a
    stray, for entering his fee-simple without leave.
    Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me, and get a thousand
    crowns of the king carrying my head to him: but 2915
    I'll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow
    my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.
  • Alexander Iden. Why, rude companion, whatsoe'er thou be,
    I know thee not; why, then, should I betray thee?
    Is't not enough to break into my garden, 2920
    And, like a thief, to come to rob my grounds,
    Climbing my walls in spite of me the owner,
    But thou wilt brave me with these saucy terms?
  • Jack Cade. Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was
    broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I 2925
    have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and
    thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead
    as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.
  • Alexander Iden. Nay, it shall ne'er be said, while England stands,
    That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent, 2930
    Took odds to combat a poor famish'd man.
    Oppose thy steadfast-gazing eyes to mine,
    See if thou canst outface me with thy looks:
    Set limb to limb, and thou art far the lesser;
    Thy hand is but a finger to my fist, 2935
    Thy leg a stick compared with this truncheon;
    My foot shall fight with all the strength thou hast;
    And if mine arm be heaved in the air,
    Thy grave is digg'd already in the earth.
    As for words, whose greatness answers words, 2940
    Let this my sword report what speech forbears.
  • Jack Cade. By my valour, the most complete champion that ever I
    heard! Steel, if thou turn the edge, or cut not out
    the burly-boned clown in chines of beef ere thou
    sleep in thy sheath, I beseech God on my knees thou 2945
    mayst be turned to hobnails.
    [Here they fight. CADE falls]
    O, I am slain! famine and no other hath slain me:
    let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me
    but the ten meals I have lost, and I'll defy them 2950
    all. Wither, garden; and be henceforth a
    burying-place to all that do dwell in this house,
    because the unconquered soul of Cade is fled.
  • Alexander Iden. Is't Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?
    Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed, 2955
    And hang thee o'er my tomb when I am dead:
    Ne'er shall this blood be wiped from thy point;
    But thou shalt wear it as a herald's coat,
    To emblaze the honour that thy master got.
  • Jack Cade. Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. Tell 2960
    Kent from me, she hath lost her best man, and exhort
    all the world to be cowards; for I, that never
    feared any, am vanquished by famine, not by valour.


  • Alexander Iden. How much thou wrong'st me, heaven be my judge. 2965
    Die, damned wretch, the curse of her that bare thee;
    And as I thrust thy body in with my sword,
    So wish I, I might thrust thy soul to hell.
    Hence will I drag thee headlong by the heels
    Unto a dunghill which shall be thy grave, 2970
    And there cut off thy most ungracious head;
    Which I will bear in triumph to the king,
    Leaving thy trunk for crows to feed upon.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 1

Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

      next scene .

[Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum] [p]and colours]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right,
    And pluck the crown from feeble Henry's head:
    Ring, bells, aloud; burn, bonfires, clear and bright,
    To entertain great England's lawful king. 2980
    Ah! sancta majestas, who would not buy thee dear?
    Let them obey that know not how to rule;
    This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
    I cannot give due action to my words,
    Except a sword or sceptre balance it: 2985
    A sceptre shall it have, have I a soul,
    On which I'll toss the flower-de-luce of France.
    [Enter BUCKINGHAM]
    Whom have we here? Buckingham, to disturb me?
    The king hath sent him, sure: I must dissemble. 2990
  • Duke of Buckingham. A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
    To know the reason of these arms in peace; 2995
    Or why thou, being a subject as I am,
    Against thy oath and true allegiance sworn,
    Should raise so great a power without his leave,
    Or dare to bring thy force so near the court.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great: 3000
    O, I could hew up rocks and fight with flint,
    I am so angry at these abject terms;
    And now, like Ajax Telamonius,
    On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury.
    I am far better born than is the king, 3005
    More like a king, more kingly in my thoughts:
    But I must make fair weather yet a while,
    Till Henry be more weak and I more strong,—
    Buckingham, I prithee, pardon me,
    That I have given no answer all this while; 3010
    My mind was troubled with deep melancholy.
    The cause why I have brought this army hither
    Is to remove proud Somerset from the king,
    Seditious to his grace and to the state.
  • Duke of Buckingham. That is too much presumption on thy part: 3015
    But if thy arms be to no other end,
    The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
    The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my powers.
    Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;
    Meet me to-morrow in St. George's field,
    You shall have pay and every thing you wish.
    And let my sovereign, virtuous Henry, 3025
    Command my eldest son, nay, all my sons,
    As pledges of my fealty and love;
    I'll send them all as willing as I live:
    Lands, goods, horse, armour, any thing I have,
    Is his to use, so Somerset may die. 3030
  • Duke of Buckingham. York, I commend this kind submission:
    We twain will go into his highness' tent.

[Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants]

  • Henry VI. Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,
    That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm? 3035
  • Henry VI. Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?

[Enter IDEN, with CADE'S head]

  • Alexander Iden. If one so rude and of so mean condition
    May pass into the presence of a king,
    Lo, I present your grace a traitor's head, 3045
    The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
  • Henry VI. The head of Cade! Great God, how just art Thou!
    O, let me view his visage, being dead,
    That living wrought me such exceeding trouble.
    Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him? 3050
  • Henry VI. How art thou call'd? and what is thy degree?
  • Alexander Iden. Alexander Iden, that's my name;
    A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.
  • Duke of Buckingham. So please it you, my lord, 'twere not amiss 3055
    He were created knight for his good service.
  • Henry VI. Iden, kneel down.
    [He kneels]
    Rise up a knight.
    We give thee for reward a thousand marks, 3060
    And will that thou henceforth attend on us.
  • Alexander Iden. May Iden live to merit such a bounty.
    And never live but true unto his liege!



  • Henry VI. See, Buckingham, Somerset comes with the queen:
    Go, bid her hide him quickly from the duke.
  • Queen Margaret. For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head,
    But boldly stand and front him to his face.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). How now! is Somerset at liberty? 3070
    Then, York, unloose thy long-imprison'd thoughts,
    And let thy tongue be equal with thy heart.
    Shall I endure the sight of Somerset?
    False king! why hast thou broken faith with me,
    Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse? 3075
    King did I call thee? no, thou art not king,
    Not fit to govern and rule multitudes,
    Which darest not, no, nor canst not rule a traitor.
    That head of thine doth not become a crown;
    Thy hand is made to grasp a palmer's staff, 3080
    And not to grace an awful princely sceptre.
    That gold must round engirt these brows of mine,
    Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles' spear,
    Is able with the change to kill and cure.
    Here is a hand to hold a sceptre up 3085
    And with the same to act controlling laws.
    Give place: by heaven, thou shalt rule no more
    O'er him whom heaven created for thy ruler.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
    Of capital treason 'gainst the king and crown; 3090
    Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Wouldst have me kneel? first let me ask of these,
    If they can brook I bow a knee to man.
    Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail;
    [Exit Attendant] 3095
    I know, ere they will have me go to ward,
    They'll pawn their swords for my enfranchisement.
  • Queen Margaret. Call hither Clifford! bid him come amain,
    To say if that the bastard boys of York
    Shall be the surety for their traitor father. 3100


  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). O blood-besotted Neapolitan,
    Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!
    The sons of York, thy betters in their birth,
    Shall be their father's bail; and bane to those 3105
    That for my surety will refuse the boys!
    [Enter EDWARD and RICHARD]
    See where they come: I'll warrant they'll
    make it good.



  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
    Nay, do not fright us with an angry look; 3115
    We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
    For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.
  • Lord Clifford. This is my king, York, I do not mistake;
    But thou mistakest me much to think I do:
    To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad? 3120
  • Henry VI. Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
    Makes him oppose himself against his king.
  • Lord Clifford. He is a traitor; let him to the Tower,
    And chop away that factious pate of his.
  • Queen Margaret. He is arrested, but will not obey; 3125
    His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Look in a glass, and call thy image so:
    I am thy king, and thou a false-heart traitor.
    Call hither to the stake my two brave bears,
    That with the very shaking of their chains
    They may astonish these fell-lurking curs: 3135
    Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.


  • Lord Clifford. Are these thy bears? we'll bait thy bears to death.
    And manacle the bear-ward in their chains,
    If thou darest bring them to the baiting place. 3140
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. Oft have I seen a hot o'erweening cur
    Run back and bite, because he was withheld;
    Who, being suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
    Hath clapp'd his tail between his legs and cried:
    And such a piece of service will you do, 3145
    If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.
  • Lord Clifford. Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
    As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!
  • Lord Clifford. Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves. 3150
  • Henry VI. Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow?
    Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair,
    Thou mad misleader of thy brain-sick son!
    What, wilt thou on thy death-bed play the ruffian,
    And seek for sorrow with thy spectacles? 3155
    O, where is faith? O, where is loyalty?
    If it be banish'd from the frosty head,
    Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?
    Wilt thou go dig a grave to find out war,
    And shame thine honourable age with blood? 3160
    Why art thou old, and want'st experience?
    Or wherefore dost abuse it, if thou hast it?
    For shame! in duty bend thy knee to me
    That bows unto the grave with mickle age.
  • Earl of Salisbury. My lord, I have consider'd with myself 3165
    The title of this most renowned duke;
    And in my conscience do repute his grace
    The rightful heir to England's royal seat.
  • Henry VI. Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
  • Henry VI. Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?
  • Earl of Salisbury. It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
    But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
    Who can be bound by any solemn vow
    To do a murderous deed, to rob a man, 3175
    To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
    To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
    To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
    And have no other reason for this wrong
    But that he was bound by a solemn oath? 3180
  • Henry VI. Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.
  • Lord Clifford. The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true. 3185
  • Earl of Warwick. You were best to go to bed and dream again,
    To keep thee from the tempest of the field.
  • Lord Clifford. I am resolved to bear a greater storm
    Than any thou canst conjure up to-day;
    And that I'll write upon thy burgonet, 3190
    Might I but know thee by thy household badge.
  • Earl of Warwick. Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
    The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,
    This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet,
    As on a mountain top the cedar shows 3195
    That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
    Even to affright thee with the view thereof.
  • Lord Clifford. And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear
    And tread it under foot with all contempt,
    Despite the bear-ward that protects the bear. 3200
  • Young Clifford. And so to arms, victorious father,
    To quell the rebels and their complices.
  • Young Clifford. Foul stigmatic, that's more than thou canst tell. 3205

[Exeunt severally]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

Saint Alban’s.

      next scene .

[Alarums to the battle. Enter WARWICK]

  • Earl of Warwick. Clifford of Cumberland, 'tis Warwick calls:
    And if thou dost not hide thee from the bear, 3210
    Now, when the angry trumpet sounds alarum
    And dead men's cries do fill the empty air,
    Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me:
    Proud northern lord, Clifford of Cumberland,
    Warwick is hoarse with calling thee to arms. 3215
    [Enter YORK]
    How now, my noble lord? what, all afoot?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). The deadly-handed Clifford slew my steed,
    But match to match I have encounter'd him
    And made a prey for carrion kites and crows 3220
    Even of the bonny beast he loved so well.


  • Earl of Warwick. Then, nobly, York; 'tis for a crown thou fight'st.
    As I intend, Clifford, to thrive to-day,
    It grieves my soul to leave thee unassail'd.


  • Lord Clifford. What seest thou in me, York? why dost thou pause? 3230
  • Lord Clifford. Nor should thy prowess want praise and esteem,
    But that 'tis shown ignobly and in treason.

[They fight, and CLIFFORD falls]




  • Young Clifford. Shame and confusion! all is on the rout;
    Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds
    Where it should guard. O war, thou son of hell,
    Whom angry heavens do make their minister
    Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part 3250
    Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly.
    He that is truly dedicate to war
    Hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself
    Hath not essentially but by circumstance
    The name of valour. 3255
    [Seeing his dead father]
    O, let the vile world end,
    And the premised flames of the last day
    Knit earth and heaven together!
    Now let the general trumpet blow his blast, 3260
    Particularities and petty sounds
    To cease! Wast thou ordain'd, dear father,
    To lose thy youth in peace, and to achieve
    The silver livery of advised age,
    And, in thy reverence and thy chair-days, thus 3265
    To die in ruffian battle? Even at this sight
    My heart is turn'd to stone: and while 'tis mine,
    It shall be stony. York not our old men spares;
    No more will I their babes: tears virginal
    Shall be to me even as the dew to fire, 3270
    And beauty that the tyrant oft reclaims
    Shall to my flaming wrath be oil and flax.
    Henceforth I will not have to do with pity:
    Meet I an infant of the house of York,
    Into as many gobbets will I cut it 3275
    As wild Medea young Absyrtus did:
    In cruelty will I seek out my fame.
    Come, thou new ruin of old Clifford's house:
    As did AEneas old Anchises bear,
    So bear I thee upon my manly shoulders; 3280
    But then AEneas bare a living load,
    Nothing so heavy as these woes of mine.
    [Exit, bearing off his father]
    [Enter RICHARD and SOMERSET to fight. SOMERSET]
    is killed] 3285
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. So, lie thou there;
    For underneath an alehouse' paltry sign,
    The Castle in Saint Alban's, Somerset
    Hath made the wizard famous in his death.
    Sword, hold thy temper; heart, be wrathful still: 3290
    Priests pray for enemies, but princes kill.
    [Fight: excursions. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN]
    MARGARET, and others]
  • Henry VI. Can we outrun the heavens? good Margaret, stay.
  • Queen Margaret. What are you made of? you'll nor fight nor fly:
    Now is it manhood, wisdom and defence,
    To give the enemy way, and to secure us
    By what we can, which can no more but fly. 3300
    [Alarum afar off]
    If you be ta'en, we then should see the bottom
    Of all our fortunes: but if we haply scape,
    As well we may, if not through your neglect,
    We shall to London get, where you are loved 3305
    And where this breach now in our fortunes made
    May readily be stopp'd.


  • Young Clifford. But that my heart's on future mischief set,
    I would speak blasphemy ere bid you fly: 3310
    But fly you must; uncurable discomfit
    Reigns in the hearts of all our present parts.
    Away, for your relief! and we will live
    To see their day and them our fortune give:
    Away, my lord, away! 3315


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Fields near St. Alban’s.


[Alarum. Retreat. Enter YORK, RICHARD, WARWICK,] [p]and Soldiers, with drum and colours]

  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Of Salisbury, who can report of him,
    That winter lion, who in rage forgets 3320
    Aged contusions and all brush of time,
    And, like a gallant in the brow of youth,
    Repairs him with occasion? This happy day
    Is not itself, nor have we won one foot,
    If Salisbury be lost. 3325
  • Richard Plantagenet the Younger. My noble father,
    Three times to-day I holp him to his horse,
    Three times bestrid him; thrice I led him off,
    Persuaded him from any further act:
    But still, where danger was, still there I met him; 3330
    And like rich hangings in a homely house,
    So was his will in his old feeble body.
    But, noble as he is, look where he comes.


  • Earl of Salisbury. Now, by my sword, well hast thou fought to-day; 3335
    By the mass, so did we all. I thank you, Richard:
    God knows how long it is I have to live;
    And it hath pleased him that three times to-day
    You have defended me from imminent death.
    Well, lords, we have not got that which we have: 3340
    'Tis not enough our foes are this time fled,
    Being opposites of such repairing nature.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I know our safety is to follow them;
    For, as I hear, the king is fled to London,
    To call a present court of parliament. 3345
    Let us pursue him ere the writs go forth.
    What says Lord Warwick? shall we after them?
  • Earl of Warwick. After them! nay, before them, if we can.
    Now, by my faith, lords, 'twas a glorious day:
    Saint Alban's battle won by famous York 3350
    Shall be eternized in all age to come.
    Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all:
    And more such days as these to us befall!