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The Life and Death of Richard the Third

ACT I

SCENE I. London. A street.

Enter GLOUCESTER, solus

GLOUCESTER

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY
Brother, good day; what means this armed guard
That waits upon your grace?

CLARENCE

His majesty
Tendering my person’s safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.

GLOUCESTER

Upon what cause?

CLARENCE

Because my name is George.

GLOUCESTER

Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers:
O, belike his majesty hath some intent
That you shall be new-christen’d in the Tower.
But what’s the matter, Clarence? may I know?

CLARENCE

Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.
And says a wizard told him that by G
His issue disinherited should be;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these
Have moved his highness to commit me now.

GLOUCESTER

Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women:
‘Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:
My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ’tis she
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is deliver’d?
We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.

CLARENCE

By heaven, I think there’s no man is secure
But the queen’s kindred and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
Heard ye not what an humble suppliant
Lord hastings was to her for his delivery?

GLOUCESTER

Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I’ll tell you what; I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men and wear her livery:
The jealous o’erworn widow and herself,
Since that our brother dubb’d them gentlewomen.
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

BRAKENBURY

I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.

GLOUCESTER

Even so; an’t please your worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man: we say the king
Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And that the queen’s kindred are made gentle-folks:
How say you sir? Can you deny all this?

BRAKENBURY

With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.

GLOUCESTER

Naught to do with mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best he do it secretly, alone.

BRAKENBURY

What one, my lord?

GLOUCESTER

Her husband, knave: wouldst thou betray me?

BRAKENBURY

I beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.

CLARENCE

We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.

GLOUCESTER

We are the queen’s abjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
And whatsoever you will employ me in,
Were it to call King Edward’s widow sister,
I will perform it to enfranchise you.
Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

CLARENCE

I know it pleaseth neither of us well.

GLOUCESTER

Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
Meantime, have patience.

CLARENCE

I must perforce. Farewell.

Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard

GLOUCESTER

Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return.
Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? the new-deliver’d Hastings?

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS

Good time of day unto my gracious lord!

GLOUCESTER

As much unto my good lord chamberlain!
Well are you welcome to the open air.
How hath your lordship brook’d imprisonment?

HASTINGS

With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

GLOUCESTER

No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too;
For they that were your enemies are his,
And have prevail’d as much on him as you.

HASTINGS

More pity that the eagle should be mew’d,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

GLOUCESTER

What news abroad?

HASTINGS

No news so bad abroad as this at home;
The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.

GLOUCESTER

Now, by Saint Paul, this news is bad indeed.
O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
And overmuch consumed his royal person:
‘Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
What, is he in his bed?

HASTINGS

He is.

GLOUCESTER

Go you before, and I will follow you.

Exit HASTINGS
He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
Till George be pack’d with post-horse up to heaven.
I’ll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steel’d with weighty arguments;
And, if I fall not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live:
Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in!
For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
What though I kill’d her husband and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends
Is to become her husband and her father:
The which will I; not all so much for love
As for another secret close intent,
By marrying her which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market:
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns:
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.

Exit

SCENE II. The same. Another street.

Enter the corpse of KING HENRY the Sixth, Gentlemen with halberds to guard it; LADY ANNE being the mourner

LADY ANNE

Set down, set down your honourable load,
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster!
Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood!
Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost,
To hear the lamentations of Poor Anne,
Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter’d son,
Stabb’d by the selfsame hand that made these wounds!
Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life,
I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes!
Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do it!
Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
More direful hap betide that hated wretch,
That makes us wretched by the death of thee,
Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,
Or any creeping venom’d thing that lives!
If ever he have child, abortive be it,
Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
And that be heir to his unhappiness!
If ever he have wife, let her he made
A miserable by the death of him
As I am made by my poor lord and thee!
Come, now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
Taken from Paul’s to be interred there;
And still, as you are weary of the weight,
Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry’s corse.

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down.

LADY ANNE

What black magician conjures up this fiend,
To stop devoted charitable deeds?

GLOUCESTER

Villains, set down the corse; or, by Saint Paul,
I’ll make a corse of him that disobeys.

Gentleman

My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.

GLOUCESTER

Unmanner’d dog! stand thou, when I command:
Advance thy halbert higher than my breast,
Or, by Saint Paul, I’ll strike thee to my foot,
And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.

LADY ANNE

What, do you tremble? are you all afraid?
Alas, I blame you not; for you are mortal,
And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.
Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!
Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,
His soul thou canst not have; therefore be gone.

GLOUCESTER

Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.

LADY ANNE

Foul devil, for God’s sake, hence, and trouble us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill’d it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry’s wounds
Open their congeal’d mouths and bleed afresh!
Blush, Blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For ’tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
Thy deed, inhuman and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.
O God, which this blood madest, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink’st revenge his death!
Either heaven with lightning strike the
murderer dead,
Or earth, gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good king’s blood
Which his hell-govern’d arm hath butchered!

GLOUCESTER

Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.

LADY ANNE

Villain, thou know’st no law of God nor man:
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

GLOUCESTER

But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

LADY ANNE

O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!

GLOUCESTER

More wonderful, when angels are so angry.
Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
Of these supposed-evils, to give me leave,
By circumstance, but to acquit myself.

LADY ANNE

Vouchsafe, defused infection of a man,
For these known evils, but to give me leave,
By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self.

GLOUCESTER

Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
Some patient leisure to excuse myself.

LADY ANNE

Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
No excuse current, but to hang thyself.

GLOUCESTER

By such despair, I should accuse myself.

LADY ANNE

And, by despairing, shouldst thou stand excused;
For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,
Which didst unworthy slaughter upon others.

GLOUCESTER

Say that I slew them not?

LADY ANNE

Why, then they are not dead:
But dead they are, and devilish slave, by thee.

GLOUCESTER

I did not kill your husband.

LADY ANNE

Why, then he is alive.

GLOUCESTER

Nay, he is dead; and slain by Edward’s hand.

LADY ANNE

In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen Margaret saw
Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
But that thy brothers beat aside the point.

GLOUCESTER

I was provoked by her slanderous tongue,
which laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.

LADY ANNE

Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind.
Which never dreamt on aught but butcheries:
Didst thou not kill this king?

GLOUCESTER

I grant ye.

LADY ANNE

Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God grant me too
Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!

GLOUCESTER

The fitter for the King of heaven, that hath him.

LADY ANNE

He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.

GLOUCESTER

Let him thank me, that holp to send him thither;
For he was fitter for that place than earth.

LADY ANNE

And thou unfit for any place but hell.

GLOUCESTER

Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.

LADY ANNE

Some dungeon.

GLOUCESTER

Your bed-chamber.

LADY ANNE

I’ll rest betide the chamber where thou liest!

GLOUCESTER

So will it, madam till I lie with you.

LADY ANNE

I hope so.

GLOUCESTER

I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,
To leave this keen encounter of our wits,
And fall somewhat into a slower method,
Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
As blameful as the executioner?

LADY ANNE

Thou art the cause, and most accursed effect.

GLOUCESTER

Your beauty was the cause of that effect;
Your beauty: which did haunt me in my sleep
To undertake the death of all the world,
So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.

LADY ANNE

If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,
These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.

GLOUCESTER

These eyes could never endure sweet beauty’s wreck;
You should not blemish it, if I stood by:
As all the world is cheered by the sun,
So I by that; it is my day, my life.

LADY ANNE

Black night o’ershade thy day, and death thy life!

GLOUCESTER

Curse not thyself, fair creature thou art both.

LADY ANNE

I would I were, to be revenged on thee.

GLOUCESTER

It is a quarrel most unnatural,
To be revenged on him that loveth you.

LADY ANNE

It is a quarrel just and reasonable,
To be revenged on him that slew my husband.

GLOUCESTER

He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband,
Did it to help thee to a better husband.

LADY ANNE

His better doth not breathe upon the earth.

GLOUCESTER

He lives that loves thee better than he could.

LADY ANNE

Name him.

GLOUCESTER

Plantagenet.

LADY ANNE

Why, that was he.

GLOUCESTER

The selfsame name, but one of better nature.

LADY ANNE

Where is he?

GLOUCESTER

Here.

She spitteth at him
Why dost thou spit at me?

LADY ANNE

Would it were mortal poison, for thy sake!

GLOUCESTER

Never came poison from so sweet a place.

LADY ANNE

Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.

GLOUCESTER

Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.

LADY ANNE

Would they were basilisks, to strike thee dead!

GLOUCESTER

I would they were, that I might die at once;
For now they kill me with a living death.
Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,
Shamed their aspect with store of childish drops:
These eyes that never shed remorseful tear,
No, when my father York and Edward wept,
To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at him;
Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,
Told the sad story of my father’s death,
And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,
That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks
Like trees bedash’d with rain: in that sad time
My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;
And what these sorrows could not thence exhale,
Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.
I never sued to friend nor enemy;
My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word;
But now thy beauty is proposed my fee,
My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.

She looks scornfully at him
Teach not thy lips such scorn, for they were made
For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,
Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword;
Which if thou please to hide in this true bosom.
And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,
I lay it naked to the deadly stroke,
And humbly beg the death upon my knee.

He lays his breast open: she offers at it with his sword
Nay, do not pause; for I did kill King Henry,
But ’twas thy beauty that provoked me.
Nay, now dispatch; ’twas I that stabb’d young Edward,
But ’twas thy heavenly face that set me on.

Here she lets fall the sword
Take up the sword again, or take up me.

LADY ANNE

Arise, dissembler: though I wish thy death,
I will not be the executioner.

GLOUCESTER

Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.

LADY ANNE

I have already.

GLOUCESTER

Tush, that was in thy rage:
Speak it again, and, even with the word,
That hand, which, for thy love, did kill thy love,
Shall, for thy love, kill a far truer love;
To both their deaths thou shalt be accessary.

LADY ANNE

I would I knew thy heart.

GLOUCESTER

‘Tis figured in my tongue.

LADY ANNE

I fear me both are false.

GLOUCESTER

Then never man was true.

LADY ANNE

Well, well, put up your sword.

GLOUCESTER

Say, then, my peace is made.

LADY ANNE

That shall you know hereafter.

GLOUCESTER

But shall I live in hope?

LADY ANNE

All men, I hope, live so.

GLOUCESTER

Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

LADY ANNE

To take is not to give.

GLOUCESTER

Look, how this ring encompasseth finger.
Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart;
Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
And if thy poor devoted suppliant may
But beg one favour at thy gracious hand,
Thou dost confirm his happiness for ever.

LADY ANNE

What is it?

GLOUCESTER

That it would please thee leave these sad designs
To him that hath more cause to be a mourner,
And presently repair to Crosby Place;
Where, after I have solemnly interr’d
At Chertsey monastery this noble king,
And wet his grave with my repentant tears,
I will with all expedient duty see you:
For divers unknown reasons. I beseech you,
Grant me this boon.

LADY ANNE

With all my heart; and much it joys me too,
To see you are become so penitent.
Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.

GLOUCESTER

Bid me farewell.

LADY ANNE

‘Tis more than you deserve;
But since you teach me how to flatter you,
Imagine I have said farewell already.

Exeunt LADY ANNE, TRESSEL, and BERKELEY

GLOUCESTER

Sirs, take up the corse.

GENTLEMEN

Towards Chertsey, noble lord?

GLOUCESTER

No, to White-Friars; there attend my coining.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER
Was ever woman in this humour woo’d?
Was ever woman in this humour won?
I’ll have her; but I will not keep her long.
What! I, that kill’d her husband and his father,
To take her in her heart’s extremest hate,
With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
The bleeding witness of her hatred by;
Having God, her conscience, and these bars
against me,
And I nothing to back my suit at all,
But the plain devil and dissembling looks,
And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!
Ha!
Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
Stabb’d in my angry mood at Tewksbury?
A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,
Framed in the prodigality of nature,
Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,
The spacious world cannot again afford
And will she yet debase her eyes on me,
That cropp’d the golden prime of this sweet prince,
And made her widow to a woful bed?
On me, whose all not equals Edward’s moiety?
On me, that halt and am unshapen thus?
My dukedom to a beggarly denier,
I do mistake my person all this while:
Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
I’ll be at charges for a looking-glass,
And entertain some score or two of tailors,
To study fashions to adorn my body:
Since I am crept in favour with myself,
Will maintain it with some little cost.
But first I’ll turn yon fellow in his grave;
And then return lamenting to my love.
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as I pass.

Exit

SCENE III. The palace.

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, RIVERS, and GREY

RIVERS

Have patience, madam: there’s no doubt his majesty
Will soon recover his accustom’d health.

GREY

In that you brook it in, it makes him worse:
Therefore, for God’s sake, entertain good comfort,
And cheer his grace with quick and merry words.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

If he were dead, what would betide of me?

RIVERS

No other harm but loss of such a lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

The loss of such a lord includes all harm.

GREY

The heavens have bless’d you with a goodly son,
To be your comforter when he is gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Oh, he is young and his minority
Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.

RIVERS

Is it concluded that he shall be protector?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

It is determined, not concluded yet:
But so it must be, if the king miscarry.

Enter BUCKINGHAM and DERBY

GREY

Here come the lords of Buckingham and Derby.

BUCKINGHAM

Good time of day unto your royal grace!

DERBY

God make your majesty joyful as you have been!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby.
To your good prayers will scarcely say amen.
Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she’s your wife,
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.

DERBY

I do beseech you, either not believe
The envious slanders of her false accusers;
Or, if she be accused in true report,
Bear with her weakness, which, I think proceeds
From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.

RIVERS

Saw you the king to-day, my Lord of Derby?

DERBY

But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
Are come from visiting his majesty.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What likelihood of his amendment, lords?

BUCKINGHAM

Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

God grant him health! Did you confer with him?

BUCKINGHAM

Madam, we did: he desires to make atonement
Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
And betwixt them and my lord chamberlain;
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Would all were well! but that will never be
I fear our happiness is at the highest.

Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET

GLOUCESTER

They do me wrong, and I will not endure it:
Who are they that complain unto the king,
That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
Smile in men’s faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abused
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?

RIVERS

To whom in all this presence speaks your grace?

GLOUCESTER

To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
When have I injured thee? when done thee wrong?
Or thee? or thee? or any of your faction?
A plague upon you all! His royal person,—
Whom God preserve better than you would wish!—
Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing-while,
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
The king, of his own royal disposition,
And not provoked by any suitor else;
Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
Which in your outward actions shows itself
Against my kindred, brothers, and myself,
Makes him to send; that thereby he may gather
The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.

GLOUCESTER

I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad,
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:
Since every Jack became a gentleman
There’s many a gentle person made a Jack.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Come, come, we know your meaning, brother
Gloucester;
You envy my advancement and my friends’:
God grant we never may have need of you!

GLOUCESTER

Meantime, God grants that we have need of you:
Your brother is imprison’d by your means,
Myself disgraced, and the nobility
Held in contempt; whilst many fair promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By Him that raised me to this careful height
From that contented hap which I enjoy’d,
I never did incense his majesty
Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him.
My lord, you do me shameful injury,
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.

GLOUCESTER

You may deny that you were not the cause
Of my Lord Hastings’ late imprisonment.

RIVERS

She may, my lord, for—

GLOUCESTER

She may, Lord Rivers! why, who knows not so?
She may do more, sir, than denying that:
She may help you to many fair preferments,
And then deny her aiding hand therein,
And lay those honours on your high deserts.
What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she—

RIVERS

What, marry, may she?

GLOUCESTER

What, marry, may she! marry with a king,
A bachelor, a handsome stripling too:
I wis your grandam had a worser match.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs:
By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
With those gross taunts I often have endured.
I had rather be a country servant-maid
Than a great queen, with this condition,
To be thus taunted, scorn’d, and baited at:

Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind
Small joy have I in being England’s queen.

QUEEN MARGARET

And lessen’d be that small, God, I beseech thee!
Thy honour, state and seat is due to me.

GLOUCESTER

What! threat you me with telling of the king?
Tell him, and spare not: look, what I have said
I will avouch in presence of the king:
I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
‘Tis time to speak; my pains are quite forgot.

QUEEN MARGARET

Out, devil! I remember them too well:
Thou slewest my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.

GLOUCESTER

Ere you were queen, yea, or your husband king,
I was a pack-horse in his great affairs;
A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
A liberal rewarder of his friends:
To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.

QUEEN MARGARET

Yea, and much better blood than his or thine.

GLOUCESTER

In all which time you and your husband Grey
Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
In Margaret’s battle at Saint Alban’s slain?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
What you have been ere now, and what you are;
Withal, what I have been, and what I am.

QUEEN MARGARET

A murderous villain, and so still thou art.

GLOUCESTER

Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick;
Yea, and forswore himself,—which Jesu pardon!—

QUEEN MARGARET

Which God revenge!

GLOUCESTER

To fight on Edward’s party for the crown;
And for his meed, poor lord, he is mew’d up.
I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward’s;
Or Edward’s soft and pitiful, like mine
I am too childish-foolish for this world.

QUEEN MARGARET

Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world,
Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.

RIVERS

My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We follow’d then our lord, our lawful king:
So should we you, if you should be our king.

GLOUCESTER

If I should be! I had rather be a pedlar:
Far be it from my heart, the thought of it!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy, were you this country’s king,
As little joy may you suppose in me.
That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.

QUEEN MARGARET

A little joy enjoys the queen thereof;
For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient.

Advancing
Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
In sharing that which you have pill’d from me!
Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
If not, that, I being queen, you bow like subjects,
Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels?
O gentle villain, do not turn away!

GLOUCESTER

Foul wrinkled witch, what makest thou in my sight?

QUEEN MARGARET

But repetition of what thou hast marr’d;
That will I make before I let thee go.

GLOUCESTER

Wert thou not banished on pain of death?

QUEEN MARGARET

I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband and a son thou owest to me;
And thou a kingdom; all of you allegiance:
The sorrow that I have, by right is yours,
And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.

GLOUCESTER

The curse my noble father laid on thee,
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
And with thy scorns drew’st rivers from his eyes,
And then, to dry them, gavest the duke a clout
Steep’d in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland—
His curses, then from bitterness of soul
Denounced against thee, are all fall’n upon thee;
And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

So just is God, to right the innocent.

HASTINGS

O, ’twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
And the most merciless that e’er was heard of!

RIVERS

Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.

DORSET

No man but prophesied revenge for it.

BUCKINGHAM

Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.

QUEEN MARGARET

What were you snarling all before I came,
Ready to catch each other by the throat,
And turn you all your hatred now on me?
Did York’s dread curse prevail so much with heaven?
That Henry’s death, my lovely Edward’s death,
Their kingdom’s loss, my woful banishment,
Could all but answer for that peevish brat?
Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses!
If not by war, by surfeit die your king,
As ours by murder, to make him a king!
Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales,
Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
Long mayst thou live to wail thy children’s loss;
And see another, as I see thee now,
Deck’d in thy rights, as thou art stall’d in mine!
Long die thy happy days before thy death;
And, after many lengthen’d hours of grief,
Die neither mother, wife, nor England’s queen!
Rivers and Dorset, you were standers by,
And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son
Was stabb’d with bloody daggers: God, I pray him,
That none of you may live your natural age,
But by some unlook’d accident cut off!

GLOUCESTER

Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither’d hag!

QUEEN MARGARET

And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
If heaven have any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world’s peace!
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!
Thou that wast seal’d in thy nativity
The slave of nature and the son of hell!
Thou slander of thy mother’s heavy womb!
Thou loathed issue of thy father’s loins!
Thou rag of honour! thou detested—

GLOUCESTER

Margaret.

QUEEN MARGARET

Richard!

GLOUCESTER

Ha!

QUEEN MARGARET

I call thee not.

GLOUCESTER

I cry thee mercy then, for I had thought
That thou hadst call’d me all these bitter names.

QUEEN MARGARET

Why, so I did; but look’d for no reply.
O, let me make the period to my curse!

GLOUCESTER

‘Tis done by me, and ends in ‘Margaret.’

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.

QUEEN MARGARET

Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune!
Why strew’st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
Fool, fool! thou whet’st a knife to kill thyself.
The time will come when thou shalt wish for me
To help thee curse that poisonous bunchback’d toad.

HASTINGS

False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.

QUEEN MARGARET

Foul shame upon you! you have all moved mine.

RIVERS

Were you well served, you would be taught your duty.

QUEEN MARGARET

To serve me well, you all should do me duty,
Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects:
O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!

DORSET

Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.

QUEEN MARGARET

Peace, master marquess, you are malapert:
Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current.
O, that your young nobility could judge
What ’twere to lose it, and be miserable!
They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.

GLOUCESTER

Good counsel, marry: learn it, learn it, marquess.

DORSET

It toucheth you, my lord, as much as me.

GLOUCESTER

Yea, and much more: but I was born so high,
Our aery buildeth in the cedar’s top,
And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.

QUEEN MARGARET

And turns the sun to shade; alas! alas!
Witness my son, now in the shade of death;
Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
Your aery buildeth in our aery’s nest.
O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
As it was won with blood, lost be it so!

BUCKINGHAM

Have done! for shame, if not for charity.

QUEEN MARGARET

Urge neither charity nor shame to me:
Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
And shamefully by you my hopes are butcher’d.
My charity is outrage, life my shame
And in that shame still live my sorrow’s rage.

BUCKINGHAM

Have done, have done.

QUEEN MARGARET

O princely Buckingham I’ll kiss thy hand,
In sign of league and amity with thee:
Now fair befal thee and thy noble house!
Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
Nor thou within the compass of my curse.

BUCKINGHAM

Nor no one here; for curses never pass
The lips of those that breathe them in the air.

QUEEN MARGARET

I’ll not believe but they ascend the sky,
And there awake God’s gentle-sleeping peace.
O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
Look, when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites,
His venom tooth will rankle to the death:
Have not to do with him, beware of him;
Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
And all their ministers attend on him.

GLOUCESTER

What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham?

BUCKINGHAM

Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.

QUEEN MARGARET

What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel?
And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
O, but remember this another day,
When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
And say poor Margaret was a prophetess!
Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
And he to yours, and all of you to God’s!

Exit

HASTINGS

My hair doth stand on end to hear her curses.

RIVERS

And so doth mine: I muse why she’s at liberty.

GLOUCESTER

I cannot blame her: by God’s holy mother,
She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
My part thereof that I have done to her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I never did her any, to my knowledge.

GLOUCESTER

But you have all the vantage of her wrong.
I was too hot to do somebody good,
That is too cold in thinking of it now.
Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid,
He is frank’d up to fatting for his pains
God pardon them that are the cause of it!

RIVERS

A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion,
To pray for them that have done scathe to us.

GLOUCESTER

So do I ever:

Aside
being well-advised.
For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY

Madam, his majesty doth call for you,
And for your grace; and you, my noble lords.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Catesby, we come. Lords, will you go with us?

RIVERS

Madam, we will attend your grace.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
Clarence, whom I, indeed, have laid in darkness,
I do beweep to many simple gulls
Namely, to Hastings, Derby, Buckingham;
And say it is the queen and her allies
That stir the king against the duke my brother.
Now, they believe it; and withal whet me
To be revenged on Rivers, Vaughan, Grey:
But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

Enter two Murderers
But, soft! here come my executioners.
How now, my hardy, stout resolved mates!
Are you now going to dispatch this deed?

First Murderer

We are, my lord; and come to have the warrant
That we may be admitted where he is.

GLOUCESTER

Well thought upon; I have it here about me.

Gives the warrant
When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.

First Murderer

Tush!
Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
Talkers are no good doers: be assured
We come to use our hands and not our tongues.

GLOUCESTER

Your eyes drop millstones, when fools’ eyes drop tears:
I like you, lads; about your business straight;
Go, go, dispatch.

First Murderer

We will, my noble lord.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. The Tower.

Enter CLARENCE and BRAKENBURY

BRAKENBURY

Why looks your grace so heavily today?

CLARENCE

O, I have pass’d a miserable night,
So full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night,
Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days,
So full of dismal terror was the time!

BRAKENBURY

What was your dream? I long to hear you tell it.

CLARENCE

Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark’d to cross to Burgundy;
And, in my company, my brother Gloucester;
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches: thence we looked toward England,
And cited up a thousand fearful times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall’n us. As we paced along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloucester stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
Lord, Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!
What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw’d upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter’d in the bottom of the sea:
Some lay in dead men’s skulls; and, in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
As ’twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
Which woo’d the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock’d the dead bones that lay scatter’d by.

BRAKENBURY

Had you such leisure in the time of death
To gaze upon the secrets of the deep?

CLARENCE

Methought I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty, vast and wandering air;
But smother’d it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.

BRAKENBURY

Awaked you not with this sore agony?

CLARENCE

O, no, my dream was lengthen’d after life;
O, then began the tempest to my soul,
Who pass’d, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who cried aloud, ‘What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?’
And so he vanish’d: then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and he squeak’d out aloud,
‘Clarence is come; false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
That stabb’d me in the field by Tewksbury;
Seize on him, Furies, take him to your torments!’
With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
Environ’d me about, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that with the very noise
I trembling waked, and for a season after
Could not believe but that I was in hell,
Such terrible impression made the dream.

BRAKENBURY

No marvel, my lord, though it affrighted you;
I promise, I am afraid to hear you tell it.

CLARENCE

O Brakenbury, I have done those things,
Which now bear evidence against my soul,
For Edward’s sake; and see how he requites me!
O God! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath in me alone,
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!
I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.

BRAKENBURY

I will, my lord: God give your grace good rest!

CLARENCE sleeps
Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
Princes have but their tides for their glories,
An outward honour for an inward toil;
And, for unfelt imagination,
They often feel a world of restless cares:
So that, betwixt their tides and low names,
There’s nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter the two Murderers

First Murderer

Ho! who’s here?

BRAKENBURY

In God’s name what are you, and how came you hither?

First Murderer

I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.

BRAKENBURY

Yea, are you so brief?

Second Murderer

O sir, it is better to be brief than tedious. Show
him our commission; talk no more.

BRAKENBURY reads it

BRAKENBURY

I am, in this, commanded to deliver
The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands:
I will not reason what is meant hereby,
Because I will be guiltless of the meaning.
Here are the keys, there sits the duke asleep:
I’ll to the king; and signify to him
That thus I have resign’d my charge to you.

First Murderer

Do so, it is a point of wisdom: fare you well.

Exit BRAKENBURY

Second Murderer

What, shall we stab him as he sleeps?

First Murderer

No; then he will say ’twas done cowardly, when he wakes.

Second Murderer

When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake till
the judgment-day.

First Murderer

Why, then he will say we stabbed him sleeping.

Second Murderer

The urging of that word ‘judgment’ hath bred a kind
of remorse in me.

First Murderer

What, art thou afraid?

Second Murderer

Not to kill him, having a warrant for it; but to be
damned for killing him, from which no warrant can defend us.

First Murderer

I thought thou hadst been resolute.

Second Murderer

So I am, to let him live.

First Murderer

Back to the Duke of Gloucester, tell him so.

Second Murderer

I pray thee, stay a while: I hope my holy humour
will change; ’twas wont to hold me but while one
would tell twenty.

First Murderer

How dost thou feel thyself now?

Second Murderer

‘Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet
within me.

First Murderer

Remember our reward, when the deed is done.

Second Murderer

‘Zounds, he dies: I had forgot the reward.

First Murderer

Where is thy conscience now?

Second Murderer

In the Duke of Gloucester’s purse.

First Murderer

So when he opens his purse to give us our reward,
thy conscience flies out.

Second Murderer

Let it go; there’s few or none will entertain it.

First Murderer

How if it come to thee again?

Second Murderer

I’ll not meddle with it: it is a dangerous thing: it
makes a man a coward: a man cannot steal, but it
accuseth him; he cannot swear, but it cheques him;
he cannot lie with his neighbour’s wife, but it
detects him: ’tis a blushing shamefast spirit that
mutinies in a man’s bosom; it fills one full of
obstacles: it made me once restore a purse of gold
that I found; it beggars any man that keeps it: it
is turned out of all towns and cities for a
dangerous thing; and every man that means to live
well endeavours to trust to himself and to live
without it.

First Murderer

‘Zounds, it is even now at my elbow, persuading me
not to kill the duke.

Second Murderer

Take the devil in thy mind, and relieve him not: he
would insinuate with thee but to make thee sigh.

First Murderer

Tut, I am strong-framed, he cannot prevail with me,
I warrant thee.

Second Murderer

Spoke like a tail fellow that respects his
reputation. Come, shall we to this gear?

First Murderer

Take him over the costard with the hilts of thy
sword, and then we will chop him in the malmsey-butt
in the next room.

Second Murderer

O excellent devise! make a sop of him.

First Murderer

Hark! he stirs: shall I strike?

Second Murderer

No, first let’s reason with him.

CLARENCE

Where art thou, keeper? give me a cup of wine.

Second murderer

You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.

CLARENCE

In God’s name, what art thou?

Second Murderer

A man, as you are.

CLARENCE

But not, as I am, royal.

Second Murderer

Nor you, as we are, loyal.

CLARENCE

Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.

Second Murderer

My voice is now the king’s, my looks mine own.

CLARENCE

How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!
Your eyes do menace me: why look you pale?
Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?

Both

To, to, to—

CLARENCE

To murder me?

Both

Ay, ay.

CLARENCE

You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so,
And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?

First Murderer

Offended us you have not, but the king.

CLARENCE

I shall be reconciled to him again.

Second Murderer

Never, my lord; therefore prepare to die.

CLARENCE

Are you call’d forth from out a world of men
To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
Where are the evidence that do accuse me?
What lawful quest have given their verdict up
Unto the frowning judge? or who pronounced
The bitter sentence of poor Clarence’ death?
Before I be convict by course of law,
To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
I charge you, as you hope to have redemption
By Christ’s dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
That you depart and lay no hands on me
The deed you undertake is damnable.

First Murderer

What we will do, we do upon command.

Second Murderer

And he that hath commanded is the king.

CLARENCE

Erroneous vassal! the great King of kings
Hath in the tables of his law commanded
That thou shalt do no murder: and wilt thou, then,
Spurn at his edict and fulfil a man’s?
Take heed; for he holds vengeance in his hands,
To hurl upon their heads that break his law.

Second Murderer

And that same vengeance doth he hurl on thee,
For false forswearing and for murder too:
Thou didst receive the holy sacrament,
To fight in quarrel of the house of Lancaster.

First Murderer

And, like a traitor to the name of God,
Didst break that vow; and with thy treacherous blade
Unrip’dst the bowels of thy sovereign’s son.

Second Murderer

Whom thou wert sworn to cherish and defend.

First Murderer

How canst thou urge God’s dreadful law to us,
When thou hast broke it in so dear degree?

CLARENCE

Alas! for whose sake did I that ill deed?
For Edward, for my brother, for his sake: Why, sirs,
He sends ye not to murder me for this
For in this sin he is as deep as I.
If God will be revenged for this deed.
O, know you yet, he doth it publicly,
Take not the quarrel from his powerful arm;
He needs no indirect nor lawless course
To cut off those that have offended him.

First Murderer

Who made thee, then, a bloody minister,
When gallant-springing brave Plantagenet,
That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?

CLARENCE

My brother’s love, the devil, and my rage.

First Murderer

Thy brother’s love, our duty, and thy fault,
Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.

CLARENCE

Oh, if you love my brother, hate not me;
I am his brother, and I love him well.
If you be hired for meed, go back again,
And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,
Who shall reward you better for my life
Than Edward will for tidings of my death.

Second Murderer

You are deceived, your brother Gloucester hates you.

CLARENCE

O, no, he loves me, and he holds me dear:
Go you to him from me.

Both

Ay, so we will.

CLARENCE

Tell him, when that our princely father York
Bless’d his three sons with his victorious arm,
And charged us from his soul to love each other,
He little thought of this divided friendship:
Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.

First Murderer

Ay, millstones; as be lesson’d us to weep.

CLARENCE

O, do not slander him, for he is kind.

First Murderer

Right,
As snow in harvest. Thou deceivest thyself:
‘Tis he that sent us hither now to slaughter thee.

CLARENCE

It cannot be; for when I parted with him,
He hugg’d me in his arms, and swore, with sobs,
That he would labour my delivery.

Second Murderer

Why, so he doth, now he delivers thee
From this world’s thraldom to the joys of heaven.

First Murderer

Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.

CLARENCE

Hast thou that holy feeling in thy soul,
To counsel me to make my peace with God,
And art thou yet to thy own soul so blind,
That thou wilt war with God by murdering me?
Ah, sirs, consider, he that set you on
To do this deed will hate you for the deed.

Second Murderer

What shall we do?

CLARENCE

Relent, and save your souls.

First Murderer

Relent! ’tis cowardly and womanish.

CLARENCE

Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.
Which of you, if you were a prince’s son,
Being pent from liberty, as I am now,
if two such murderers as yourselves came to you,
Would not entreat for life?
My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks:
O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
Come thou on my side, and entreat for me,
As you would beg, were you in my distress
A begging prince what beggar pities not?

Second Murderer

Look behind you, my lord.

First Murderer

Take that, and that: if all this will not do,

Stabs him
I’ll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.

Exit, with the body

Second Murderer

A bloody deed, and desperately dispatch’d!
How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
Of this most grievous guilty murder done!

Re-enter First Murderer

First Murderer

How now! what mean’st thou, that thou help’st me not?
By heavens, the duke shall know how slack thou art!

Second Murderer

I would he knew that I had saved his brother!
Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say;
For I repent me that the duke is slain.

Exit

First Murderer

So do not I: go, coward as thou art.
Now must I hide his body in some hole,
Until the duke take order for his burial:
And when I have my meed, I must away;
For this will out, and here I must not stay.

ACT II
SCENE I. London. The palace.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DORSET, RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others

KING EDWARD IV

Why, so: now have I done a good day’s work:
You peers, continue this united league:
I every day expect an embassage
From my Redeemer to redeem me hence;
And now in peace my soul shall part to heaven,
Since I have set my friends at peace on earth.
Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand;
Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.

RIVERS

By heaven, my heart is purged from grudging hate:
And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.

HASTINGS

So thrive I, as I truly swear the like!

KING EDWARD IV

Take heed you dally not before your king;
Lest he that is the supreme King of kings
Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
Either of you to be the other’s end.

HASTINGS

So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!

RIVERS

And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!

KING EDWARD IV

Madam, yourself are not exempt in this,
Nor your son Dorset, Buckingham, nor you;
You have been factious one against the other,
Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;
And what you do, do it unfeignedly.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Here, Hastings; I will never more remember
Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!

KING EDWARD IV

Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love lord marquess.

DORSET

This interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be unviolable.

HASTINGS

And so swear I, my lord

They embrace

KING EDWARD IV

Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
With thy embracements to my wife’s allies,
And make me happy in your unity.

BUCKINGHAM

Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
On you or yours,

To the Queen
but with all duteous love
Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
With hate in those where I expect most love!
When I have most need to employ a friend,
And most assured that he is a friend
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he unto me! this do I beg of God,
When I am cold in zeal to yours.

KING EDWARD IV

A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here,
To make the perfect period of this peace.

BUCKINGHAM

And, in good time, here comes the noble duke.

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen:
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!

KING EDWARD IV

Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
Brother, we done deeds of charity;
Made peace enmity, fair love of hate,
Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.

GLOUCESTER

A blessed labour, my most sovereign liege:
Amongst this princely heap, if any here,
By false intelligence, or wrong surmise,
Hold me a foe;
If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
Have aught committed that is hardly borne
By any in this presence, I desire
To reconcile me to his friendly peace:
‘Tis death to me to be at enmity;
I hate it, and desire all good men’s love.
First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
Which I will purchase with my duteous service;
Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
If ever any grudge were lodged between us;
Of you, Lord Rivers, and, Lord Grey, of you;
That without desert have frown’d on me;
Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
I do not know that Englishman alive
With whom my soul is any jot at odds
More than the infant that is born to-night
I thank my God for my humility.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:
I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
My sovereign liege, I do beseech your majesty
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

GLOUCESTER

Why, madam, have I offer’d love for this
To be so bouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the noble duke is dead?

They all start
You do him injury to scorn his corse.

RIVERS

Who knows not he is dead! who knows he is?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

All seeing heaven, what a world is this!

BUCKINGHAM

Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?

DORSET

Ay, my good lord; and no one in this presence
But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.

KING EDWARD IV

Is Clarence dead? the order was reversed.

GLOUCESTER

But he, poor soul, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear:
Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,
That came too lag to see him buried.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, but not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion!

Enter DERBY

DORSET

A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!

KING EDWARD IV

I pray thee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.

DORSET

I will not rise, unless your highness grant.

KING EDWARD IV

Then speak at once what is it thou demand’st.

DORSET

The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life;
Who slew to-day a righteous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.

KING EDWARD IV

Have a tongue to doom my brother’s death,
And shall the same give pardon to a slave?
My brother slew no man; his fault was thought,
And yet his punishment was cruel death.
Who sued to me for him? who, in my rage,
Kneel’d at my feet, and bade me be advised
Who spake of brotherhood? who spake of love?
Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
Who told me, in the field by Tewksbury
When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
And said, ‘Dear brother, live, and be a king’?
Who told me, when we both lay in the field
Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
Even in his own garments, and gave himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
Sinfully pluck’d, and not a man of you
Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
Have done a drunken slaughter, and defaced
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
And I unjustly too, must grant it you
But for my brother not a man would speak,
Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
Have been beholding to him in his life;
Yet none of you would once plead for his life.
O God, I fear thy justice will take hold
On me, and you, and mine, and yours for this!
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.
Oh, poor Clarence!

Exeunt some with KING EDWARD IV and QUEEN MARGARET

GLOUCESTER

This is the fruit of rashness! Mark’d you not
How that the guilty kindred of the queen
Look’d pale when they did hear of Clarence’ death?
O, they did urge it still unto the king!
God will revenge it. But come, let us in,
To comfort Edward with our company.

BUCKINGHAM

We wait upon your grace.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The palace.

Enter the DUCHESS OF YORK, with the two children of CLARENCE

Boy

Tell me, good grandam, is our father dead?

DUCHESS OF YORK

No, boy.

Boy

Why do you wring your hands, and beat your breast,
And cry ‘O Clarence, my unhappy son!’

Girl

Why do you look on us, and shake your head,
And call us wretches, orphans, castaways
If that our noble father be alive?

DUCHESS OF YORK

My pretty cousins, you mistake me much;
I do lament the sickness of the king.
As loath to lose him, not your father’s death;
It were lost sorrow to wail one that’s lost.

Boy

Then, grandam, you conclude that he is dead.
The king my uncle is to blame for this:
God will revenge it; whom I will importune
With daily prayers all to that effect.

Girl

And so will I.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Peace, children, peace! the king doth love you well:
Incapable and shallow innocents,
You cannot guess who caused your father’s death.

Boy

Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloucester
Told me, the king, provoked by the queen,
Devised impeachments to imprison him :
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And hugg’d me in his arm, and kindly kiss’d my cheek;
Bade me rely on him as on my father,
And he would love me dearly as his child.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Oh, that deceit should steal such gentle shapes,
And with a virtuous vizard hide foul guile!
He is my son; yea, and therein my shame;
Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.

Boy

Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?

DUCHESS OF YORK

Ay, boy.

Boy

I cannot think it. Hark! what noise is this?

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, with her hair about her ears; RIVERS, and DORSET after her

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Oh, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
I’ll join with black despair against my soul,
And to myself become an enemy.

DUCHESS OF YORK

What means this scene of rude impatience?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

To make an act of tragic violence:
Edward, my lord, your son, our king, is dead.
Why grow the branches now the root is wither’d?
Why wither not the leaves the sap being gone?
If you will live, lament; if die, be brief,
That our swift-winged souls may catch the king’s;
Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
As I had title in thy noble husband!
I have bewept a worthy husband’s death,
And lived by looking on his images:
But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are crack’d in pieces by malignant death,
And I for comfort have but one false glass,
Which grieves me when I see my shame in him.
Thou art a widow; yet thou art a mother,
And hast the comfort of thy children left thee:
But death hath snatch’d my husband from mine arms,
And pluck’d two crutches from my feeble limbs,
Edward and Clarence. O, what cause have I,
Thine being but a moiety of my grief,
To overgo thy plaints and drown thy cries!

Boy

Good aunt, you wept not for our father’s death;
How can we aid you with our kindred tears?

Girl

Our fatherless distress was left unmoan’d;
Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Give me no help in lamentation;
I am not barren to bring forth complaints
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
That I, being govern’d by the watery moon,
May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world!
Oh for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!

Children

Oh for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What stay had I but Edward? and he’s gone.

Children

What stay had we but Clarence? and he’s gone.

DUCHESS OF YORK

What stays had I but they? and they are gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Was never widow had so dear a loss!

Children

Were never orphans had so dear a loss!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Was never mother had so dear a loss!
Alas, I am the mother of these moans!
Their woes are parcell’d, mine are general.
She for an Edward weeps, and so do I;
I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she:
These babes for Clarence weep and so do I;
I for an Edward weep, so do not they:
Alas, you three, on me, threefold distress’d,
Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow’s nurse,
And I will pamper it with lamentations.

DORSET

Comfort, dear mother: God is much displeased
That you take with unthankfulness, his doing:
In common worldly things, ’tis call’d ungrateful,
With dull unwilligness to repay a debt
Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,
For it requires the royal debt it lent you.

RIVERS

Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,
Of the young prince your son: send straight for him
Let him be crown’d; in him your comfort lives:
Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward’s grave,
And plant your joys in living Edward’s throne.

Enter GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, and RATCLIFF

GLOUCESTER

Madam, have comfort: all of us have cause
To wail the dimming of our shining star;
But none can cure their harms by wailing them.
Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;
I did not see your grace: humbly on my knee
I crave your blessing.

DUCHESS OF YORK

God bless thee; and put meekness in thy mind,
Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] Amen; and make me die a good old man!
That is the butt-end of a mother’s blessing:
I marvel why her grace did leave it out.

BUCKINGHAM

You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers,
That bear this mutual heavy load of moan,
Now cheer each other in each other’s love
Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
We are to reap the harvest of his son.
The broken rancour of your high-swoln hearts,
But lately splinter’d, knit, and join’d together,
Must gently be preserved, cherish’d, and kept:
Me seemeth good, that, with some little train,
Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fetch’d
Hither to London, to be crown’d our king.

RIVERS

Why with some little train, my Lord of Buckingham?

BUCKINGHAM

Marry, my lord, lest, by a multitude,
The new-heal’d wound of malice should break out,
Which would be so much the more dangerous
By how much the estate is green and yet ungovern’d:
Where every horse bears his commanding rein,
And may direct his course as please himself,
As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,
In my opinion, ought to be prevented.

GLOUCESTER

I hope the king made peace with all of us
And the compact is firm and true in me.

RIVERS

And so in me; and so, I think, in all:
Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
To no apparent likelihood of breach,
Which haply by much company might be urged:
Therefore I say with noble Buckingham,
That it is meet so few should fetch the prince.

HASTINGS

And so say I.

GLOUCESTER

Then be it so; and go we to determine
Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
Madam, and you, my mother, will you go
To give your censures in this weighty business?

QUEEN ELIZABETH DUCHESS OF YORK

With all our harts.

Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and GLOUCESTER

BUCKINGHAM

My lord, whoever journeys to the Prince,
For God’s sake, let not us two be behind;
For, by the way, I’ll sort occasion,
As index to the story we late talk’d of,
To part the queen’s proud kindred from the king.

GLOUCESTER

My other self, my counsel’s consistory,
My oracle, my prophet! My dear cousin,
I, like a child, will go by thy direction.
Towards Ludlow then, for we’ll not stay behind.

Exeunt

SCENE III. London. A street.

Enter two Citizens meeting

First Citizen

Neighbour, well met: whither away so fast?

Second Citizen

I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
Hear you the news abroad?

First Citizen

Ay, that the king is dead.

Second Citizen

Bad news, by’r lady; seldom comes the better:
I fear, I fear ’twill prove a troublous world.

Enter another Citizen

Third Citizen

Neighbours, God speed!

First Citizen

Give you good morrow, sir.

Third Citizen

Doth this news hold of good King Edward’s death?

Second Citizen

Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!

Third Citizen

Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.

First Citizen

No, no; by God’s good grace his son shall reign.

Third Citizen

Woe to the land that’s govern’d by a child!

Second Citizen

In him there is a hope of government,
That in his nonage council under him,
And in his full and ripen’d years himself,
No doubt, shall then and till then govern well.

First Citizen

So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crown’d in Paris but at nine months old.

Third Citizen

Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot;
For then this land was famously enrich’d
With politic grave counsel; then the king
Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.

First Citizen

Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother.

Third Citizen

Better it were they all came by the father,
Or by the father there were none at all;
For emulation now, who shall be nearest,
Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.
O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester!
And the queen’s sons and brothers haught and proud:
And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
This sickly land might solace as before.

First Citizen

Come, come, we fear the worst; all shall be well.

Third Citizen

When clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks;
When great leaves fall, the winter is at hand;
When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.
All may be well; but, if God sort it so,
‘Tis more than we deserve, or I expect.

Second Citizen

Truly, the souls of men are full of dread:
Ye cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and full of fear.

Third Citizen

Before the times of change, still is it so:
By a divine instinct men’s minds mistrust
Ensuing dangers; as by proof, we see
The waters swell before a boisterous storm.
But leave it all to God. whither away?

Second Citizen

Marry, we were sent for to the justices.

Third Citizen

And so was I: I’ll bear you company.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. The palace.

Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, young YORK, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

Last night, I hear, they lay at Northampton;
At Stony-Stratford will they be to-night:
To-morrow, or next day, they will be here.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I long with all my heart to see the prince:
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But I hear, no; they say my son of York
Hath almost overta’en him in his growth.

YORK

Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why, my young cousin, it is good to grow.

YORK

Grandam, one night, as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talk’d how I did grow
More than my brother: ‘Ay,’ quoth my uncle
Gloucester,
‘Small herbs have grace, great weeds do grow apace:’
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee;
He was the wretched’st thing when he was young,
So long a-growing and so leisurely,
That, if this rule were true, he should be gracious.

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

Why, madam, so, no doubt, he is.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.

YORK

Now, by my troth, if I had been remember’d,
I could have given my uncle’s grace a flout,
To touch his growth nearer than he touch’d mine.

DUCHESS OF YORK

How, my pretty York? I pray thee, let me hear it.

YORK

Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old
‘Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I pray thee, pretty York, who told thee this?

YORK

Grandam, his nurse.

DUCHESS OF YORK

His nurse! why, she was dead ere thou wert born.

YORK

If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

A parlous boy: go to, you are too shrewd.

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

Good madam, be not angry with the child.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Pitchers have ears.

Enter a Messenger

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

Here comes a messenger. What news?

Messenger

Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

How fares the prince?

Messenger

Well, madam, and in health.

DUCHESS OF YORK

What is thy news then?

Messenger

Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Who hath committed them?

Messenger

The mighty dukes
Gloucester and Buckingham.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

For what offence?

Messenger

The sum of all I can, I have disclosed;
Why or for what these nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ay me, I see the downfall of our house!
The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and aweless throne:
Welcome, destruction, death, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Accursed and unquiet wrangling days,
How many of you have mine eyes beheld!
My husband lost his life to get the crown;
And often up and down my sons were toss’d,
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss:
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean over-blown, themselves, the conquerors.
Make war upon themselves; blood against blood,
Self against self: O, preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen;
Or let me die, to look on death no more!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.
Madam, farewell.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I’ll go along with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You have no cause.

ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

My gracious lady, go;
And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
For my part, I’ll resign unto your grace
The seal I keep: and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours!
Come, I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. London. A street.

The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL, CATESBY, and others

BUCKINGHAM

Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.

GLOUCESTER

Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts’ sovereign
The weary way hath made you melancholy.

PRINCE EDWARD

No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy
I want more uncles here to welcome me.

GLOUCESTER

Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
Hath not yet dived into the world’s deceit
Nor more can you distinguish of a man
Than of his outward show; which, God he knows,
Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
Your grace attended to their sugar’d words,
But look’d not on the poison of their hearts :
God keep you from them, and from such false friends!

PRINCE EDWARD

God keep me from false friends! but they were none.

GLOUCESTER

My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.

Enter the Lord Mayor and his train

Lord Mayor

God bless your grace with health and happy days!

PRINCE EDWARD

I thank you, good my lord; and thank you all.
I thought my mother, and my brother York,
Would long ere this have met us on the way
Fie, what a slug is Hastings, that he comes not
To tell us whether they will come or no!

Enter HASTINGS

BUCKINGHAM

And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.

PRINCE EDWARD

Welcome, my lord: what, will our mother come?

HASTINGS

On what occasion, God he knows, not I,
The queen your mother, and your brother York,
Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince
Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
But by his mother was perforce withheld.

BUCKINGHAM

Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
Is this of hers! Lord cardinal, will your grace
Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York
Unto his princely brother presently?
If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him,
And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.

CARDINAL

My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory
Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
We should infringe the holy privilege
Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.

BUCKINGHAM

You are too senseless—obstinate, my lord,
Too ceremonious and traditional
Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
You break not sanctuary in seizing him.
The benefit thereof is always granted
To those whose dealings have deserved the place,
And those who have the wit to claim the place:
This prince hath neither claim’d it nor deserved it;
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it:
Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
You break no privilege nor charter there.
Oft have I heard of sanctuary men;
But sanctuary children ne’er till now.

CARDINAL

My lord, you shall o’er-rule my mind for once.
Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?

HASTINGS

I go, my lord.

PRINCE EDWARD

Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.

Exeunt CARDINAL and HASTINGS
Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,
Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?

GLOUCESTER

Where it seems best unto your royal self.
If I may counsel you, some day or two
Your highness shall repose you at the Tower:
Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit
For your best health and recreation.

PRINCE EDWARD

I do not like the Tower, of any place.
Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?

BUCKINGHAM

He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;
Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.

PRINCE EDWARD

Is it upon record, or else reported
Successively from age to age, he built it?

BUCKINGHAM

Upon record, my gracious lord.

PRINCE EDWARD

But say, my lord, it were not register’d,
Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
As ’twere retail’d to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] So wise so young, they say, do never
live long.

PRINCE EDWARD

What say you, uncle?

GLOUCESTER

I say, without characters, fame lives long.

Aside
Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.

PRINCE EDWARD

That Julius Caesar was a famous man;
With what his valour did enrich his wit,
His wit set down to make his valour live
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
I’ll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham,—

BUCKINGHAM

What, my gracious lord?

PRINCE EDWARD

An if I live until I be a man,
I’ll win our ancient right in France again,
Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring.

Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL

BUCKINGHAM

Now, in good time, here comes the Duke of York.

PRINCE EDWARD

Richard of York! how fares our loving brother?

YORK

Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now.

PRINCE EDWARD

Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours:
Too late he died that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty.

GLOUCESTER

How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?

YORK

I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
You said that idle weeds are fast in growth
The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.

GLOUCESTER

He hath, my lord.

YORK

And therefore is he idle?

GLOUCESTER

O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.

YORK

Then is he more beholding to you than I.

GLOUCESTER

He may command me as my sovereign;
But you have power in me as in a kinsman.

YORK

I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.

GLOUCESTER

My dagger, little cousin? with all my heart.

PRINCE EDWARD

A beggar, brother?

YORK

Of my kind uncle, that I know will give;
And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.

GLOUCESTER

A greater gift than that I’ll give my cousin.

YORK

A greater gift! O, that’s the sword to it.

GLOUCESTER

A gentle cousin, were it light enough.

YORK

O, then, I see, you will part but with light gifts;
In weightier things you’ll say a beggar nay.

GLOUCESTER

It is too heavy for your grace to wear.

YORK

I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.

GLOUCESTER

What, would you have my weapon, little lord?

YORK

I would, that I might thank you as you call me.

GLOUCESTER

How?

YORK

Little.

PRINCE EDWARD

My Lord of York will still be cross in talk:
Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.

YORK

You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me:
Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me;
Because that I am little, like an ape,
He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders.

BUCKINGHAM

With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons!
To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
He prettily and aptly taunts himself:
So cunning and so young is wonderful.

GLOUCESTER

My lord, will’t please you pass along?
Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
Will to your mother, to entreat of her
To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.

YORK

What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?

PRINCE EDWARD

My lord protector needs will have it so.

YORK

I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.

GLOUCESTER

Why, what should you fear?

YORK

Marry, my uncle Clarence’ angry ghost:
My grandam told me he was murdered there.

PRINCE EDWARD

I fear no uncles dead.

GLOUCESTER

Nor none that live, I hope.

PRINCE EDWARD

An if they live, I hope I need not fear.
But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.

A Sennet. Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM and CATESBY

BUCKINGHAM

Think you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother
To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?

GLOUCESTER

No doubt, no doubt; O, ’tis a parlous boy;
Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable
He is all the mother’s, from the top to toe.

BUCKINGHAM

Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby.
Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
As closely to conceal what we impart:
Thou know’st our reasons urged upon the way;
What think’st thou? is it not an easy matter
To make William Lord Hastings of our mind,
For the instalment of this noble duke
In the seat royal of this famous isle?

CATESBY

He for his father’s sake so loves the prince,
That he will not be won to aught against him.

BUCKINGHAM

What think’st thou, then, of Stanley? what will he?

CATESBY

He will do all in all as Hastings doth.

BUCKINGHAM

Well, then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
And, as it were far off sound thou Lord Hastings,
How doth he stand affected to our purpose;
And summon him to-morrow to the Tower,
To sit about the coronation.
If thou dost find him tractable to us,
Encourage him, and show him all our reasons:
If he be leaden, icy-cold, unwilling,
Be thou so too; and so break off your talk,
And give us notice of his inclination:
For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ’d.

GLOUCESTER

Commend me to Lord William: tell him, Catesby,
His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
To-morrow are let blood at Pomfret-castle;
And bid my friend, for joy of this good news,
Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.

BUCKINGHAM

Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.

CATESBY

My good lords both, with all the heed I may.

GLOUCESTER

Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?

CATESBY

You shall, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both.

Exit CATESBY

BUCKINGHAM

Now, my lord, what shall we do, if we perceive
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?

GLOUCESTER

Chop off his head, man; somewhat we will do:
And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me
The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables
Whereof the king my brother stood possess’d.

BUCKINGHAM

I’ll claim that promise at your grace’s hands.

GLOUCESTER

And look to have it yielded with all willingness.
Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
We may digest our complots in some form.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before Lord Hastings’ house.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

What, ho! my lord!

HASTINGS

[Within] Who knocks at the door?

Messenger

A messenger from the Lord Stanley.

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS

What is’t o’clock?

Messenger

Upon the stroke of four.

HASTINGS

Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights?

Messenger

So it should seem by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble lordship.

HASTINGS

And then?

Messenger

And then he sends you word
He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm:
Besides, he says there are two councils held;
And that may be determined at the one
which may make you and him to rue at the other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship’s pleasure,
If presently you will take horse with him,
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.

HASTINGS

Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated councils
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my servant Catesby
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers
To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.

Messenger

My gracious lord, I’ll tell him what you say.

Exit

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY

Many good morrows to my noble lord!

HASTINGS

Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?

CATESBY

It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
And I believe twill never stand upright
Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.

HASTINGS

How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?

CATESBY

Ay, my good lord.

HASTINGS

I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

CATESBY

Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.

HASTINGS

Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still mine enemies:
But, that I’ll give my voice on Richard’s side,
To bar my master’s heirs in true descent,
God knows I will not do it, to the death.

CATESBY

God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!

HASTINGS

But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
That they who brought me in my master’s hate
I live to look upon their tragedy.
I tell thee, Catesby—

CATESBY

What, my lord?

HASTINGS

Ere a fortnight make me elder,
I’ll send some packing that yet think not on it.

CATESBY

‘Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepared and look not for it.

HASTINGS

O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so ’twill do
With some men else, who think themselves as safe
As thou and I; who, as thou know’st, are dear
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

CATESBY

The princes both make high account of you;

Aside
For they account his head upon the bridge.

HASTINGS

I know they do; and I have well deserved it.

Enter STANLEY
Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

STANLEY

My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.

HASTINGS

My lord,
I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
And never in my life, I do protest,
Was it more precious to me than ’tis now:
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

STANLEY

The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
But yet, you see how soon the day o’ercast.
This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.

HASTINGS

Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord?
To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.

LORD STANLEY

They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let us away.

Enter a Pursuivant

HASTINGS

Go on before; I’ll talk with this good fellow.

Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY
How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?

Pursuivant

The better that your lordship please to ask.

HASTINGS

I tell thee, man, ’tis better with me now
Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the queen’s allies;
But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself—
This day those enemies are put to death,
And I in better state than e’er I was.

Pursuivant

God hold it, to your honour’s good content!

HASTINGS

Gramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me.

Throws him his purse

Pursuivant

God save your lordship!

Exit

Enter a Priest

Priest

Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.

HASTINGS

I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

He whispers in his ear

Enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM

What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.

HASTINGS

Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
Those men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?

BUCKINGHAM

I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay
I shall return before your lordship thence.

HASTINGS

‘Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there.

BUCKINGHAM

[Aside] And supper too, although thou know’st it not.
Come, will you go?

HASTINGS

I’ll wait upon your lordship.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Pomfret Castle.

Enter RATCLIFF, with halberds, carrying RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN to death

RATCLIFF

Come, bring forth the prisoners.

RIVERS

Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this:
To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.

GREY

God keep the prince from all the pack of you!
A knot you are of damned blood-suckers!

VAUGHAN

You live that shall cry woe for this after.

RATCLIFF

Dispatch; the limit of your lives is out.

RIVERS

O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the second here was hack’d to death;
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

GREY

Now Margaret’s curse is fall’n upon our heads,
For standing by when Richard stabb’d her son.

RIVERS

Then cursed she Hastings, then cursed she Buckingham,
Then cursed she Richard. O, remember, God
To hear her prayers for them, as now for us
And for my sister and her princely sons,
Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
Which, as thou know’st, unjustly must be spilt.

RATCLIFF

Make haste; the hour of death is expiate.

RIVERS

Come, Grey, come, Vaughan, let us all embrace:
And take our leave, until we meet in heaven.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The Tower of London.

Enter BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP OF ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, with others, and take their seats at a table

HASTINGS

My lords, at once: the cause why we are met
Is, to determine of the coronation.
In God’s name, speak: when is the royal day?

BUCKINGHAM

Are all things fitting for that royal time?

DERBY

It is, and wants but nomination.

BISHOP OF ELY

To-morrow, then, I judge a happy day.

BUCKINGHAM

Who knows the lord protector’s mind herein?
Who is most inward with the royal duke?

BISHOP OF ELY

Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.

BUCKINGHAM

Who, I, my lord I we know each other’s faces,
But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine,
Than I of yours;
Nor I no more of his, than you of mine.
Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.

HASTINGS

I thank his grace, I know he loves me well;
But, for his purpose in the coronation.
I have not sounded him, nor he deliver’d
His gracious pleasure any way therein:
But you, my noble lords, may name the time;
And in the duke’s behalf I’ll give my voice,
Which, I presume, he’ll take in gentle part.

Enter GLOUCESTER

BISHOP OF ELY

Now in good time, here comes the duke himself.

GLOUCESTER

My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
I have been long a sleeper; but, I hope,
My absence doth neglect no great designs,
Which by my presence might have been concluded.

BUCKINGHAM

Had not you come upon your cue, my lord
William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part,—
I mean, your voice,—for crowning of the king.

GLOUCESTER

Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder;
His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.

HASTINGS

I thank your grace.

GLOUCESTER

My lord of Ely!

BISHOP OF ELY

My lord?

GLOUCESTER

When I was last in Holborn,
I saw good strawberries in your garden there
I do beseech you send for some of them.

BISHOP OF ELY

Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.

Exit

GLOUCESTER

Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.

Drawing him aside
Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business,
And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
As he will lose his head ere give consent
His master’s son, as worshipful as he terms it,
Shall lose the royalty of England’s throne.

BUCKINGHAM

Withdraw you hence, my lord, I’ll follow you.

Exit GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM following

DERBY

We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
To-morrow, in mine opinion, is too sudden;
For I myself am not so well provided
As else I would be, were the day prolong’d.

Re-enter BISHOP OF ELY

BISHOP OF ELY

Where is my lord protector? I have sent for these
strawberries.

HASTINGS

His grace looks cheerfully and smooth to-day;
There’s some conceit or other likes him well,
When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
I think there’s never a man in Christendom
That can less hide his love or hate than he;
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.

DERBY

What of his heart perceive you in his face
By any likelihood he show’d to-day?

HASTINGS

Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.

DERBY

I pray God he be not, I say.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM

GLOUCESTER

I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
That do conspire my death with devilish plots
Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail’d
Upon my body with their hellish charms?

HASTINGS

The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
Makes me most forward in this noble presence
To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be
I say, my lord, they have deserved death.

GLOUCESTER

Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
See how I am bewitch’d; behold mine arm
Is, like a blasted sapling, wither’d up:
And this is Edward’s wife, that monstrous witch,
Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.

HASTINGS

If they have done this thing, my gracious lord—

GLOUCESTER

If I thou protector of this damned strumpet—
Tellest thou me of ‘ifs’? Thou art a traitor:
Off with his head! Now, by Saint Paul I swear,
I will not dine until I see the same.
Lovel and Ratcliff, look that it be done:
The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.

Exeunt all but HASTINGS, RATCLIFF, and LOVEL

HASTINGS

Woe, woe for England! not a whit for me;
For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
Stanley did dream the boar did raze his helm;
But I disdain’d it, and did scorn to fly:
Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
And startled, when he look’d upon the Tower,
As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
O, now I want the priest that spake to me:
I now repent I told the pursuivant
As ’twere triumphing at mine enemies,
How they at Pomfret bloodily were butcher’d,
And I myself secure in grace and favour.
O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
Is lighted on poor Hastings’ wretched head!

RATCLIFF

Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

HASTINGS

O momentary grace of mortal men,
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
Who builds his hopes in air of your good looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.

LOVEL

Come, come, dispatch; ’tis bootless to exclaim.

HASTINGS

O bloody Richard! miserable England!
I prophesy the fearful’st time to thee
That ever wretched age hath look’d upon.
Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
They smile at me that shortly shall be dead.

Exeunt

SCENE V. The Tower-walls.

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured

GLOUCESTER

Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy colour,
Murder thy breath in the middle of a word,
And then begin again, and stop again,
As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?

BUCKINGHAM

Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
Intending deep suspicion: ghastly looks
Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
And both are ready in their offices,
At any time, to grace my stratagems.
But what, is Catesby gone?

GLOUCESTER

He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.

Enter the Lord Mayor and CATESBY

BUCKINGHAM

Lord mayor,—

GLOUCESTER

Look to the drawbridge there!

BUCKINGHAM

Hark! a drum.

GLOUCESTER

Catesby, o’erlook the walls.

BUCKINGHAM

Lord mayor, the reason we have sent—

GLOUCESTER

Look back, defend thee, here are enemies.

BUCKINGHAM

God and our innocency defend and guard us!

GLOUCESTER

Be patient, they are friends, Ratcliff and Lovel.

Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS’ head

LOVEL

Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.

GLOUCESTER

So dear I loved the man, that I must weep.
I took him for the plainest harmless creature
That breathed upon this earth a Christian;
Made him my book wherein my soul recorded
The history of all her secret thoughts:
So smooth he daub’d his vice with show of virtue,
That, his apparent open guilt omitted,
I mean, his conversation with Shore’s wife,
He lived from all attainder of suspect.

BUCKINGHAM

Well, well, he was the covert’st shelter’d traitor
That ever lived.
Would you imagine, or almost believe,
Were’t not that, by great preservation,
We live to tell it you, the subtle traitor
This day had plotted, in the council-house
To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?

Lord Mayor

What, had he so?

GLOUCESTER

What, think You we are Turks or infidels?
Or that we would, against the form of law,
Proceed thus rashly to the villain’s death,
But that the extreme peril of the case,
The peace of England and our persons’ safety,
Enforced us to this execution?

Lord Mayor

Now, fair befall you! he deserved his death;
And you my good lords, both have well proceeded,
To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
I never look’d for better at his hands,
After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.

GLOUCESTER

Yet had not we determined he should die,
Until your lordship came to see his death;
Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
Somewhat against our meaning, have prevented:
Because, my lord, we would have had you heard
The traitor speak, and timorously confess
The manner and the purpose of his treason;
That you might well have signified the same
Unto the citizens, who haply may
Misconstrue us in him and wail his death.

Lord Mayor

But, my good lord, your grace’s word shall serve,
As well as I had seen and heard him speak
And doubt you not, right noble princes both,
But I’ll acquaint our duteous citizens
With all your just proceedings in this cause.

GLOUCESTER

And to that end we wish’d your lord-ship here,
To avoid the carping censures of the world.

BUCKINGHAM

But since you come too late of our intents,
Yet witness what you hear we did intend:
And so, my good lord mayor, we bid farewell.

Exit Lord Mayor

GLOUCESTER

Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
The mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post:
There, at your meet’st advantage of the time,
Infer the bastardy of Edward’s children:
Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen,
Only for saying he would make his son
Heir to the crown; meaning indeed his house,
Which, by the sign thereof was termed so.
Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
And bestial appetite in change of lust;
Which stretched to their servants, daughters, wives,
Even where his lustful eye or savage heart,
Without control, listed to make his prey.
Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
Tell them, when that my mother went with child
Of that unsatiate Edward, noble York
My princely father then had wars in France
And, by just computation of the time,
Found that the issue was not his begot;
Which well appeared in his lineaments,
Being nothing like the noble duke my father:
But touch this sparingly, as ’twere far off,
Because you know, my lord, my mother lives.

BUCKINGHAM

Fear not, my lord, I’ll play the orator
As if the golden fee for which I plead
Were for myself: and so, my lord, adieu.

GLOUCESTER

If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard’s Castle;
Where you shall find me well accompanied
With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.

BUCKINGHAM

I go: and towards three or four o’clock
Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.

Exit BUCKINGHAM

GLOUCESTER

Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw;

To CATESBY
Go thou to Friar Penker; bid them both
Meet me within this hour at Baynard’s Castle.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER
Now will I in, to take some privy order,
To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight;
And to give notice, that no manner of person
At any time have recourse unto the princes.

Exit

SCENE VI. The same.

Enter a Scrivener, with a paper in his hand

Scrivener

This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
Which in a set hand fairly is engross’d,
That it may be this day read over in Paul’s.
And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
Eleven hours I spent to write it over,
For yesternight by Catesby was it brought me;
The precedent was full as long a-doing:
And yet within these five hours lived Lord Hastings,
Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty
Here’s a good world the while! Why who’s so gross,
That seeth not this palpable device?
Yet who’s so blind, but says he sees it not?
Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
When such bad dealings must be seen in thought.

Exit

SCENE VII. Baynard’s Castle.

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at several doors

GLOUCESTER

How now, my lord, what say the citizens?

BUCKINGHAM

Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
The citizens are mum and speak not a word.

GLOUCESTER

Touch’d you the bastardy of Edward’s children?

BUCKINGHAM

I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
And his contract by deputy in France;
The insatiate greediness of his desires,
And his enforcement of the city wives;
His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy,
As being got, your father then in France,
His resemblance, being not like the duke;
Withal I did infer your lineaments,
Being the right idea of your father,
Both in your form and nobleness of mind;
Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
Your dicipline in war, wisdom in peace,
Your bounty, virtue, fair humility:
Indeed, left nothing fitting for the purpose
Untouch’d, or slightly handled, in discourse
And when mine oratory grew to an end
I bid them that did love their country’s good
Cry ‘God save Richard, England’s royal king!’

GLOUCESTER

Ah! and did they so?

BUCKINGHAM

No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Gazed each on other, and look’d deadly pale.
Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
And ask’d the mayor what meant this wilful silence:
His answer was, the people were not wont
To be spoke to but by the recorder.
Then he was urged to tell my tale again,
‘Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr’d;’
But nothing spake in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own,
At the lower end of the hall, hurl’d up their caps,
And some ten voices cried ‘God save King Richard!’
And thus I took the vantage of those few,
‘Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,’ quoth I;
‘This general applause and loving shout
Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:’
And even here brake off, and came away.

GLOUCESTER

What tongueless blocks were they! would not they speak?

BUCKINGHAM

No, by my troth, my lord.

GLOUCESTER

Will not the mayor then and his brethren come?

BUCKINGHAM

The mayor is here at hand: intend some fear;
Be not you spoke with, but by mighty suit:
And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord;
For on that ground I’ll build a holy descant:
And be not easily won to our request:
Play the maid’s part, still answer nay, and take it.

GLOUCESTER

I go; and if you plead as well for them
As I can say nay to thee for myself,
No doubt well bring it to a happy issue.

BUCKINGHAM

Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.

Exit GLOUCESTER

Enter the Lord Mayor and Citizens
Welcome my lord; I dance attendance here;
I think the duke will not be spoke withal.

Enter CATESBY
Here comes his servant: how now, Catesby,
What says he?

CATESBY

My lord: he doth entreat your grace;
To visit him to-morrow or next day:
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to meditation;
And no worldly suit would he be moved,
To draw him from his holy exercise.

BUCKINGHAM

Return, good Catesby, to thy lord again;
Tell him, myself, the mayor and citizens,
In deep designs and matters of great moment,
No less importing than our general good,
Are come to have some conference with his grace.

CATESBY

I’ll tell him what you say, my lord.

Exit

BUCKINGHAM

Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
He is not lolling on a lewd day-bed,
But on his knees at meditation;
Not dallying with a brace of courtezans,
But meditating with two deep divines;
Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
But praying, to enrich his watchful soul:
Happy were England, would this gracious prince
Take on himself the sovereignty thereof:
But, sure, I fear, we shall ne’er win him to it.

Lord Mayor

Marry, God forbid his grace should say us nay!

BUCKINGHAM

I fear he will.

Re-enter CATESBY
How now, Catesby, what says your lord?

CATESBY

My lord,
He wonders to what end you have assembled
Such troops of citizens to speak with him,
His grace not being warn’d thereof before:
My lord, he fears you mean no good to him.

BUCKINGHAM

Sorry I am my noble cousin should
Suspect me, that I mean no good to him:
By heaven, I come in perfect love to him;
And so once more return and tell his grace.

Exit CATESBY
When holy and devout religious men
Are at their beads, ’tis hard to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous contemplation.

Enter GLOUCESTER aloft, between two Bishops. CATESBY returns

Lord Mayor

See, where he stands between two clergymen!

BUCKINGHAM

Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
To stay him from the fall of vanity:
And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,
True ornaments to know a holy man.
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
Lend favourable ears to our request;
And pardon us the interruption
Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.

GLOUCESTER

My lord, there needs no such apology:
I rather do beseech you pardon me,
Who, earnest in the service of my God,
Neglect the visitation of my friends.
But, leaving this, what is your grace’s pleasure?

BUCKINGHAM

Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above,
And all good men of this ungovern’d isle.

GLOUCESTER

I do suspect I have done some offence
That seems disgracious in the city’s eyes,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.

BUCKINGHAM

You have, my lord: would it might please your grace,
At our entreaties, to amend that fault!

GLOUCESTER

Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?

BUCKINGHAM

Then know, it is your fault that you resign
The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
The scepter’d office of your ancestors,
Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
The lineal glory of your royal house,
To the corruption of a blemished stock:
Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
Which here we waken to our country’s good,
This noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
And almost shoulder’d in the swallowing gulf
Of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicit
Your gracious self to take on you the charge
And kingly government of this your land,
Not as protector, steward, substitute,
Or lowly factor for another’s gain;
But as successively from blood to blood,
Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
For this, consorted with the citizens,
Your very worshipful and loving friends,
And by their vehement instigation,
In this just suit come I to move your grace.

GLOUCESTER

I know not whether to depart in silence,
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof.
Best fitteth my degree or your condition
If not to answer, you might haply think
Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
Which fondly you would here impose on me;
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So season’d with your faithful love to me.
Then, on the other side, I cheque’d my friends.
Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first,
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,
Definitively thus I answer you.
Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert
Unmeritable shuns your high request.
First if all obstacles were cut away,
And that my path were even to the crown,
As my ripe revenue and due by birth
Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
So mighty and so many my defects,
As I had rather hide me from my greatness,
Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
And in the vapour of my glory smother’d.
But, God be thank’d, there’s no need of me,
And much I need to help you, if need were;
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
Which, mellow’d by the stealing hours of time,
Will well become the seat of majesty,
And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
On him I lay what you would lay on me,
The right and fortune of his happy stars;
Which God defend that I should wring from him!

BUCKINGHAM

My lord, this argues conscience in your grace;
But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
All circumstances well considered.
You say that Edward is your brother’s son:
So say we too, but not by Edward’s wife;
For first he was contract to Lady Lucy—
Your mother lives a witness to that vow—
And afterward by substitute betroth’d
To Bona, sister to the King of France.
These both put by a poor petitioner,
A care-crazed mother of a many children,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his lustful eye,
Seduced the pitch and height of all his thoughts
To base declension and loathed bigamy
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners term the prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
Save that, for reverence to some alive,
I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
This proffer’d benefit of dignity;
If non to bless us and the land withal,
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
From the corruption of abusing times,
Unto a lineal true-derived course.

Lord Mayor

Do, good my lord, your citizens entreat you.

BUCKINGHAM

Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer’d love.

CATESBY

O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!

GLOUCESTER

Alas, why would you heap these cares on me?
I am unfit for state and majesty;
I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
I cannot nor I will not yield to you.

BUCKINGHAM

If you refuse it,—as, in love and zeal,
Loath to depose the child, Your brother’s son;
As well we know your tenderness of heart
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
Which we have noted in you to your kin,
And egally indeed to all estates,—
Yet whether you accept our suit or no,
Your brother’s son shall never reign our king;
But we will plant some other in the throne,
To the disgrace and downfall of your house:
And in this resolution here we leave you.—
Come, citizens: ‘zounds! I’ll entreat no more.

GLOUCESTER

O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham.

Exit BUCKINGHAM with the Citizens

CATESBY

Call them again, my lord, and accept their suit.

ANOTHER

Do, good my lord, lest all the land do rue it.

GLOUCESTER

Would you enforce me to a world of care?
Well, call them again. I am not made of stone,
But penetrable to your. kind entreats,
Albeit against my conscience and my soul.

Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest
Cousin of Buckingham, and you sage, grave men,
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burthen, whether I will or no,
I must have patience to endure the load:
But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
For God he knows, and you may partly see,
How far I am from the desire thereof.

Lord Mayor

God bless your grace! we see it, and will say it.

GLOUCESTER

In saying so, you shall but say the truth.

BUCKINGHAM

Then I salute you with this kingly title:
Long live Richard, England’s royal king!

Lord Mayor Citizens

Amen.

BUCKINGHAM

To-morrow will it please you to be crown’d?

GLOUCESTER

Even when you please, since you will have it so.

BUCKINGHAM

To-morrow, then, we will attend your grace:
And so most joyfully we take our leave.

GLOUCESTER

Come, let us to our holy task again.
Farewell, good cousin; farewell, gentle friends.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. Before the Tower.

Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and DORSET; on the other, ANNE, Duchess of Gloucester, leading Lady Margaret Plantagenet, CLARENCE’s young Daughter

DUCHESS OF YORK

Who m eets us here? my niece Plantagenet
Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
Now, for my life, she’s wandering to the Tower,
On pure heart’s love to greet the tender princes.
Daughter, well met.

LADY ANNE

God give your graces both
A happy and a joyful time of day!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

As much to you, good sister! Whither away?

LADY ANNE

No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
To gratulate the gentle princes there.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Kind sister, thanks: we’ll enter all together.

Enter BRAKENBURY
And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
How doth the prince, and my young son of York?

BRAKENBURY

Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
I may not suffer you to visit them;
The king hath straitly charged the contrary.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

The king! why, who’s that?

BRAKENBURY

I cry you mercy: I mean the lord protector.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
I am their mother; who should keep me from them?

DUCHESS OF YORK

I am their fathers mother; I will see them.

LADY ANNE

Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:
Then bring me to their sights; I’ll bear thy blame
And take thy office from thee, on my peril.

BRAKENBURY

No, madam, no; I may not leave it so:
I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.

Exit

Enter LORD STANLEY

LORD STANLEY

Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,
And I’ll salute your grace of York as mother,
And reverend looker on, of two fair queens.

To LADY ANNE
Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
There to be crowned Richard’s royal queen.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O, cut my lace in sunder, that my pent heart
May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon
With this dead-killing news!

LADY ANNE

Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!

DORSET

Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence!
Death and destruction dog thee at the heels;
Thy mother’s name is ominous to children.
If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell
Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,
Lest thou increase the number of the dead;
And make me die the thrall of Margaret’s curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England’s counted queen.

LORD STANLEY

Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
Take all the swift advantage of the hours;
You shall have letters from me to my son
To meet you on the way, and welcome you.
Be not ta’en tardy by unwise delay.

DUCHESS OF YORK

O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
A cockatrice hast thou hatch’d to the world,
Whose unavoided eye is murderous.

LORD STANLEY

Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.

LADY ANNE

And I in all unwillingness will go.
I would to God that the inclusive verge
Of golden metal that must round my brow
Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain!
Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
And die, ere men can say, God save the queen!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory
To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.

LADY ANNE

No! why? When he that is my husband now
Came to me, as I follow’d Henry’s corse,
When scarce the blood was well wash’d from his hands
Which issued from my other angel husband
And that dead saint which then I weeping follow’d;
O, when, I say, I look’d on Richard’s face,
This was my wish: ‘Be thou,’ quoth I, ‘ accursed,
For making me, so young, so old a widow!
And, when thou wed’st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
And be thy wife—if any be so mad—
As miserable by the life of thee
As thou hast made me by my dear lord’s death!
Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
Even in so short a space, my woman’s heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words
And proved the subject of my own soul’s curse,
Which ever since hath kept my eyes from rest;
For never yet one hour in his bed
Have I enjoy’d the golden dew of sleep,
But have been waked by his timorous dreams.
Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.

LADY ANNE

No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Farewell, thou woful welcomer of glory!

LADY ANNE

Adieu, poor soul, that takest thy leave of it!

DUCHESS OF YORK

[To DORSET]
Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!

To LADY ANNE
Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee!

To QUEEN ELIZABETH
Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
And each hour’s joy wrecked with a week of teen.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
Whom envy hath immured within your walls!
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
For tender princes, use my babies well!
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.

Exeunt

SCENE II. London. The palace.

Sennet. Enter KING RICHARD III, in pomp, crowned; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a page, and others

KING RICHARD III

Stand all apart Cousin of Buckingham!

BUCKINGHAM

My gracious sovereign?

KING RICHARD III

Give me thy hand.

Here he ascendeth his throne
Thus high, by thy advice
And thy assistance, is King Richard seated;
But shall we wear these honours for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?

BUCKINGHAM

Still live they and for ever may they last!

KING RICHARD III

O Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
To try if thou be current gold indeed
Young Edward lives: think now what I would say.

BUCKINGHAM

Say on, my loving lord.

KING RICHARD III

Why, Buckingham, I say, I would be king,

BUCKINGHAM

Why, so you are, my thrice renowned liege.

KING RICHARD III

Ha! am I king? ’tis so: but Edward lives.

BUCKINGHAM

True, noble prince.

KING RICHARD III

O bitter consequence,
That Edward still should live! ‘True, noble prince!’
Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull:
Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead;
And I would have it suddenly perform’d.
What sayest thou? speak suddenly; be brief.

BUCKINGHAM

Your grace may do your pleasure.

KING RICHARD III

Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezeth:
Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?

BUCKINGHAM

Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
Before I positively herein:
I will resolve your grace immediately.

Exit

CATESBY

[Aside to a stander by]
The king is angry: see, he bites the lip.

KING RICHARD III

I will converse with iron-witted fools
And unrespective boys: none are for me
That look into me with considerate eyes:
High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
Boy!

Page

My lord?

KING RICHARD III

Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold
Would tempt unto a close exploit of death?

Page

My lord, I know a discontented gentleman,
Whose humble means match not his haughty mind:
Gold were as good as twenty orators,
And will, no doubt, tempt him to any thing.

KING RICHARD III

What is his name?

Page

His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.

KING RICHARD III

I partly know the man: go, call him hither.

Exit Page
The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
No more shall be the neighbour to my counsel:
Hath he so long held out with me untired,
And stops he now for breath?

Enter STANLEY
How now! what news with you?

STANLEY

My lord, I hear the Marquis Dorset’s fled
To Richmond, in those parts beyond the sea
Where he abides.

Stands apart

KING RICHARD III

Catesby!

CATESBY

My lord?

KING RICHARD III

Rumour it abroad
That Anne, my wife, is sick and like to die:
I will take order for her keeping close.
Inquire me out some mean-born gentleman,
Whom I will marry straight to Clarence’ daughter:
The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
Look, how thou dream’st! I say again, give out
That Anne my wife is sick and like to die:
About it; for it stands me much upon,
To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.

Exit CATESBY
I must be married to my brother’s daughter,
Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
Murder her brothers, and then marry her!
Uncertain way of gain! But I am in
So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin:
Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.

Re-enter Page, with TYRREL
Is thy name Tyrrel?

TYRREL

James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.

KING RICHARD III

Art thou, indeed?

TYRREL

Prove me, my gracious sovereign.

KING RICHARD III

Darest thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?

TYRREL

Ay, my lord;
But I had rather kill two enemies.

KING RICHARD III

Why, there thou hast it: two deep enemies,
Foes to my rest and my sweet sleep’s disturbers
Are they that I would have thee deal upon:
Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.

TYRREL

Let me have open means to come to them,
And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.

KING RICHARD III

Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel
Go, by this token: rise, and lend thine ear:

Whispers
There is no more but so: say it is done,
And I will love thee, and prefer thee too.

TYRREL

‘Tis done, my gracious lord.

KING RICHARD III

Shall we hear from thee, Tyrrel, ere we sleep?

TYRREL

Ye shall, my Lord.

Exit

Re-enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM

My Lord, I have consider’d in my mind
The late demand that you did sound me in.

KING RICHARD III

Well, let that pass. Dorset is fled to Richmond.

BUCKINGHAM

I hear that news, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

Stanley, he is your wife’s son well, look to it.

BUCKINGHAM

My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise,
For which your honour and your faith is pawn’d;
The earldom of Hereford and the moveables
The which you promised I should possess.

KING RICHARD III

Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey
Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.

BUCKINGHAM

What says your highness to my just demand?

KING RICHARD III

As I remember, Henry the Sixth
Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
A king, perhaps, perhaps,—

BUCKINGHAM

My lord!

KING RICHARD III

How chance the prophet could not at that time
Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?

BUCKINGHAM

My lord, your promise for the earldom,—

KING RICHARD III

Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
The mayor in courtesy show’d me the castle,
And call’d it Rougemont: at which name I started,
Because a bard of Ireland told me once
I should not live long after I saw Richmond.

BUCKINGHAM

My Lord!

KING RICHARD III

Ay, what’s o’clock?

BUCKINGHAM

I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
Of what you promised me.

KING RICHARD III

Well, but what’s o’clock?

BUCKINGHAM

Upon the stroke of ten.

KING RICHARD III

Well, let it strike.

BUCKINGHAM

Why let it strike?

KING RICHARD III

Because that, like a Jack, thou keep’st the stroke
Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
I am not in the giving vein to-day.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then resolve me whether you will or no.

KING RICHARD III

Tut, tut,
Thou troublest me; am not in the vein.

Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM

Is it even so? rewards he my true service
With such deep contempt made I him king for this?
O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!

Exit

SCENE III. The same.

Enter TYRREL

TYRREL

The tyrannous and bloody deed is done.
The most arch of piteous massacre
That ever yet this land was guilty of.
Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn
To do this ruthless piece of butchery,
Although they were flesh’d villains, bloody dogs,
Melting with tenderness and kind compassion
Wept like two children in their deaths’ sad stories.
‘Lo, thus’ quoth Dighton, ‘lay those tender babes:’
‘Thus, thus,’ quoth Forrest, ‘girdling one another
Within their innocent alabaster arms:
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
Which in their summer beauty kiss’d each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;
Which once,’ quoth Forrest, ‘almost changed my mind;
But O! the devil’—there the villain stopp’d
Whilst Dighton thus told on: ‘We smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature,
That from the prime creation e’er she framed.’
Thus both are gone with conscience and remorse;
They could not speak; and so I left them both,
To bring this tidings to the bloody king.
And here he comes.

Enter KING RICHARD III
All hail, my sovereign liege!

KING RICHARD III

Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?

TYRREL

If to have done the thing you gave in charge
Beget your happiness, be happy then,
For it is done, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

But didst thou see them dead?

TYRREL

I did, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

And buried, gentle Tyrrel?

TYRREL

The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
But how or in what place I do not know.

KING RICHARD III

Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper,
And thou shalt tell the process of their death.
Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,
And be inheritor of thy desire.
Farewell till soon.

Exit TYRREL
The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
His daughter meanly have I match’d in marriage;
The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,
And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night.
Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,
And, by that knot, looks proudly o’er the crown,
To her I go, a jolly thriving wooer.

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY

My lord!

KING RICHARD III

Good news or bad, that thou comest in so bluntly?

CATESBY

Bad news, my lord: Ely is fled to Richmond;
And Buckingham, back’d with the hardy Welshmen,
Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.

KING RICHARD III

Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied army.
Come, I have heard that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king!
Come, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
We must be brief when traitors brave the field.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Before the palace.

Enter QUEEN MARGARET

QUEEN MARGARET

So, now prosperity begins to mellow
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk’d,
To watch the waning of mine adversaries.
A dire induction am I witness to,
And will to France, hoping the consequence
Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.
Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS OF YORK

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ah, my young princes! ah, my tender babes!
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
And be not fix’d in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings
And hear your mother’s lamentation!

QUEEN MARGARET

Hover about her; say, that right for right
Hath dimm’d your infant morn to aged night.

DUCHESS OF YORK

So many miseries have crazed my voice,
That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb,
Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?

QUEEN MARGARET

Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet.
Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?

QUEEN MARGARET

When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe’s scene, world’s shame, grave’s due by life usurp’d,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
Rest thy unrest on England’s lawful earth,

Sitting down
Unlawfully made drunk with innocents’ blood!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O, that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat!
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?

Sitting down by her

QUEEN MARGARET

If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
Give mine the benefit of seniory,
And let my woes frown on the upper hand.
If sorrow can admit society,

Sitting down with them
Tell o’er your woes again by viewing mine:
I had an Edward, till a Richard kill’d him;
I had a Harry, till a Richard kill’d him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill’d him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;

DUCHESS OF YORK

I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
I had a Rutland too, thou holp’st to kill him.

QUEEN MARGARET

Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill’d him.
From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood,
That foul defacer of God’s handiwork,
That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How do I thank thee, that this carnal cur
Preys on the issue of his mother’s body,
And makes her pew-fellow with others’ moan!

DUCHESS OF YORK

O Harry’s wife, triumph not in my woes!
God witness with me, I have wept for thine.

QUEEN MARGARET

Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward he is dead, that stabb’d my Edward:
Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they
Match not the high perfection of my loss:
Thy Clarence he is dead that kill’d my Edward;
And the beholders of this tragic play,
The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother’d in their dusky graves.
Richard yet lives, hell’s black intelligencer,
Only reserved their factor, to buy souls
And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray.
To have him suddenly convey’d away.
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I prey,
That I may live to say, The dog is dead!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
That I should wish for thee to help me curse
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back’d toad!

QUEEN MARGARET

I call’d thee then vain flourish of my fortune;
I call’d thee then poor shadow, painted queen;
The presentation of but what I was;
The flattering index of a direful pageant;
One heaved a-high, to be hurl’d down below;
A mother only mock’d with two sweet babes;
A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
Where are thy children? wherein dost thou, joy?
Who sues to thee and cries ‘God save the queen’?
Where be the bending peers that flatter’d thee?
Where be the thronging troops that follow’d thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
For queen, a very caitiff crown’d with care;
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
For one that scorn’d at me, now scorn’d of me;
For one being fear’d of all, now fearing one;
For one commanding all, obey’d of none.
Thus hath the course of justice wheel’d about,
And left thee but a very prey to time;
Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
Now thy proud neck bears half my burthen’d yoke;
From which even here I slip my weary neck,
And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
Farewell, York’s wife, and queen of sad mischance:
These English woes will make me smile in France.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O thou well skill’d in curses, stay awhile,
And teach me how to curse mine enemies!

QUEEN MARGARET

Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were fairer than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is:
Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse:
Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

My words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!

QUEEN MARGARET

Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.

Exit

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why should calamity be full of words?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries!
Let them have scope: though what they do impart
Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.

DUCHESS OF YORK

If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me.
And in the breath of bitter words let’s smother
My damned son, which thy two sweet sons smother’d.
I hear his drum: be copious in exclaims.

Enter KING RICHARD III, marching, with drums and trumpets

KING RICHARD III

Who intercepts my expedition?

DUCHESS OF YORK

O, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
Where should be graven, if that right were right,
The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown,
And the dire death of my two sons and brothers?
Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?

DUCHESS OF YORK

Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Where is kind Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?

KING RICHARD III

A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums!
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
Rail on the Lord’s enointed: strike, I say!

Flourish. Alarums
Either be patient, and entreat me fair,
Or with the clamorous report of war
Thus will I drown your exclamations.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Art thou my son?

KING RICHARD III

Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Then patiently hear my impatience.

KING RICHARD III

Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
Which cannot brook the accent of reproof.

DUCHESS OF YORK

O, let me speak!

KING RICHARD III

Do then: but I’ll not hear.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I will be mild and gentle in my speech.

KING RICHARD III

And brief, good mother; for I am in haste.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Art thou so hasty? I have stay’d for thee,
God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.

KING RICHARD III

And came I not at last to comfort you?

DUCHESS OF YORK

No, by the holy rood, thou know’st it well,
Thou camest on earth to make the earth my hell.
A grievous burthen was thy birth to me;
Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious,
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous,
Thy age confirm’d, proud, subdued, bloody,
treacherous,
More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
What comfortable hour canst thou name,
That ever graced me in thy company?

KING RICHARD III

Faith, none, but Humphrey Hour, that call’d
your grace
To breakfast once forth of my company.
If I be so disgracious in your sight,
Let me march on, and not offend your grace.
Strike the drum.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I prithee, hear me speak.

KING RICHARD III

You speak too bitterly.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Hear me a word;
For I shall never speak to thee again.

KING RICHARD III

So.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Either thou wilt die, by God’s just ordinance,
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
And never look upon thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse;
Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear’st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight;
And there the little souls of Edward’s children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.

Exit

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to all.

KING RICHARD III

Stay, madam; I must speak a word with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
And therefore level not to hit their lives.

KING RICHARD III

You have a daughter call’d Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty;
Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed;
Throw over her the veil of infamy:
So she may live unscarr’d of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward’s daughter.

KING RICHARD III

Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.

KING RICHARD III

Her life is only safest in her birth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

And only in that safety died her brothers.

KING RICHARD III

Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.

KING RICHARD III

All unavoided is the doom of destiny.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
My babes were destined to a fairer death,
If grace had bless’d thee with a fairer life.

KING RICHARD III

You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen’d
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt
Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor’d in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

KING RICHARD III

Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you and yours,
Than ever you or yours were by me wrong’d!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What good is cover’d with the face of heaven,
To be discover’d, that can do me good?

KING RICHARD III

The advancement of your children, gentle lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?

KING RICHARD III

No, to the dignity and height of honour
The high imperial type of this earth’s glory.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?

KING RICHARD III

Even all I have; yea, and myself and all,
Will I withal endow a child of thine;
So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Be brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness’ date.

KING RICHARD III

Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.

KING RICHARD III

What do you think?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
So from thy soul’s love didst thou love her brothers;
And from my heart’s love I do thank thee for it.

KING RICHARD III

Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And mean to make her queen of England.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Say then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

KING RICHARD III

Even he that makes her queen who should be else?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What, thou?

KING RICHARD III

I, even I: what think you of it, madam?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

How canst thou woo her?

KING RICHARD III

That would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humour.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

And wilt thou learn of me?

KING RICHARD III

Madam, with all my heart.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
Edward and York; then haply she will weep:
Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret
Did to thy father, steep’d in Rutland’s blood,—
A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body
And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith.
If this inducement force her not to love,
Send her a story of thy noble acts;
Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers; yea, and, for her sake,
Madest quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.

KING RICHARD III

Come, come, you mock me; this is not the way
To win our daughter.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

There is no other way
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
And not be Richard that hath done all this.

KING RICHARD III

Say that I did all this for love of her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

KING RICHARD III

Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
Which after hours give leisure to repent.
If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends, Ill give it to your daughter.
If I have kill’d the issue of your womb,
To quicken your increase, I will beget
Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter
A grandam’s name is little less in love
Than is the doting title of a mother;
They are as children but one step below,
Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
Of an one pain, save for a night of groans
Endured of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
Your children were vexation to your youth,
But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
The loss you have is but a son being king,
And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
I cannot make you what amends I would,
Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
This fair alliance quickly shall call home
To high promotions and great dignity:
The king, that calls your beauteous daughter wife.
Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
Again shall you be mother to a king,
And all the ruins of distressful times
Repair’d with double riches of content.
What! we have many goodly days to see:
The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
Shall come again, transform’d to orient pearl,
Advantaging their loan with interest
Of ten times double gain of happiness.
Go, then my mother, to thy daughter go
Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
Prepare her ears to hear a wooer’s tale
Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame
Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys
And when this arm of mine hath chastised
The petty rebel, dull-brain’d Buckingham,
Bound with triumphant garlands will I come
And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed;
To whom I will retail my conquest won,
And she shall be sole victress, Caesar’s Caesar.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What were I best to say? her father’s brother
Would be her lord? or shall I say, her uncle?
Or, he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
Under what title shall I woo for thee,
That God, the law, my honour and her love,
Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?

KING RICHARD III

Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Which she shall purchase with still lasting war.

KING RICHARD III

Say that the king, which may command, entreats.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

That at her hands which the king’s King forbids.

KING RICHARD III

Say, she shall be a high and mighty queen.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

To wail the tide, as her mother doth.

KING RICHARD III

Say, I will love her everlastingly.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But how long shall that title ‘ever’ last?

KING RICHARD III

Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But how long fairly shall her sweet lie last?

KING RICHARD III

So long as heaven and nature lengthens it.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

So long as hell and Richard likes of it.

KING RICHARD III

Say, I, her sovereign, am her subject love.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.

KING RICHARD III

Be eloquent in my behalf to her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.

KING RICHARD III

Then in plain terms tell her my loving tale.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.

KING RICHARD III

Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave.

KING RICHARD III

Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.

KING RICHARD III

Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Profaned, dishonour’d, and the third usurp’d.

KING RICHARD III

I swear—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By nothing; for this is no oath:
The George, profaned, hath lost his holy honour;
The garter, blemish’d, pawn’d his knightly virtue;
The crown, usurp’d, disgraced his kingly glory.
if something thou wilt swear to be believed,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong’d.

KING RICHARD III

Now, by the world—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

‘Tis full of thy foul wrongs.

KING RICHARD III

My father’s death—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thy life hath that dishonour’d.

KING RICHARD III

Then, by myself—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thyself thyself misusest.

KING RICHARD III

Why then, by God—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

God’s wrong is most of all.
If thou hadst fear’d to break an oath by Him,
The unity the king thy brother made
Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
If thou hadst fear’d to break an oath by Him,
The imperial metal, circling now thy brow,
Had graced the tender temples of my child,
And both the princes had been breathing here,
Which now, two tender playfellows to dust,
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?

KING RICHARD III

The time to come.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

That thou hast wronged in the time o’erpast;
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wrong’d by thee.
The children live, whose parents thou hast
slaughter’d,
Ungovern’d youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live, whose children thou hast butcher’d,
Old wither’d plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
Misused ere used, by time misused o’erpast.

KING RICHARD III

As I intend to prosper and repent,
So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!
Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest!
Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceedings, if, with pure heart’s love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
In her consists my happiness and thine;
Without her, follows to this land and me,
To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin and decay:
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, good mother,—I must can you so—
Be the attorney of my love to her:
Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
Urge the necessity and state of times,
And be not peevish-fond in great designs.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?

KING RICHARD III

Ay, if the devil tempt thee to do good.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I forget myself to be myself?

KING RICHARD III

Ay, if yourself’s remembrance wrong yourself.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But thou didst kill my children.

KING RICHARD III

But in your daughter’s womb I bury them:
Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?

KING RICHARD III

And be a happy mother by the deed.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.

KING RICHARD III

Bear her my true love’s kiss; and so, farewell.

Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!

Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following
How now! what news?

RATCLIFF

My gracious sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore
Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
Unarm’d, and unresolved to beat them back:
‘Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
And there they hull, expecting but the aid
Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.

KING RICHARD III

Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk:
Ratcliff, thyself, or Catesby; where is he?

CATESBY

Here, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

Fly to the duke:

To RATCLIFF
Post thou to Salisbury
When thou comest thither—

To CATESBY
Dull, unmindful villain,
Why stand’st thou still, and go’st not to the duke?

CATESBY

First, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
What from your grace I shall deliver to him.

KING RICHARD III

O, true, good Catesby: bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power he can make,
And meet me presently at Salisbury.

CATESBY

I go.

Exit

RATCLIFF

What is’t your highness’ pleasure I shall do at
Salisbury?

KING RICHARD III

Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?

RATCLIFF

Your highness told me I should post before.

KING RICHARD III

My mind is changed, sir, my mind is changed.

Enter STANLEY
How now, what news with you?

STANLEY

None good, my lord, to please you with the hearing;
Nor none so bad, but it may well be told.

KING RICHARD III

Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
Why dost thou run so many mile about,
When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way?
Once more, what news?

STANLEY

Richmond is on the seas.

KING RICHARD III

There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver’d runagate, what doth he there?

STANLEY

I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.

KING RICHARD III

Well, sir, as you guess, as you guess?

STANLEY

Stirr’d up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Ely,
He makes for England, there to claim the crown.

KING RICHARD III

Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway’d?
Is the king dead? the empire unpossess’d?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
And who is England’s king but great York’s heir?
Then, tell me, what doth he upon the sea?

STANLEY

Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.

KING RICHARD III

Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.

STANLEY

No, mighty liege; therefore mistrust me not.

KING RICHARD III

Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore.
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships!

STANLEY

No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.

KING RICHARD III

Cold friends to Richard: what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?

STANLEY

They have not been commanded, mighty sovereign:
Please it your majesty to give me leave,
I’ll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.

KING RICHARD III

Ay, ay. thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond:
I will not trust you, sir.

STANLEY

Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
I never was nor never will be false.

KING RICHARD III

Well,
Go muster men; but, hear you, leave behind
Your son, George Stanley: look your faith be firm.
Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.

STANLEY

So deal with him as I prove true to you.

Exit

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate
Bishop of Exeter, his brother there,
With many more confederates, are in arms.

Enter another Messenger

Second Messenger

My liege, in Kent the Guildfords are in arms;
And every hour more competitors
Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.

Enter another Messenger

Third Messenger

My lord, the army of the Duke of Buckingham—

KING RICHARD III

Out on you, owls! nothing but songs of death?

He striketh him
Take that, until thou bring me better news.

Third Messenger

The news I have to tell your majesty
Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham’s army is dispersed and scatter’d;
And he himself wander’d away alone,
No man knows whither.

KING RICHARD III

I cry thee mercy:
There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
Hath any well-advised friend proclaim’d
Reward to him that brings the traitor in?

Third Messenger

Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.

Enter another Messenger

Fourth Messenger

Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
‘Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest:
Richmond, in Yorkshire, sent out a boat
Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
If they were his assistants, yea or no;
Who answer’d him, they came from Buckingham.
Upon his party: he, mistrusting them,
Hoisted sail and made away for Brittany.

KING RICHARD III

March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

Re-enter CATESBY

CATESBY

My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken;
That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
Is with a mighty power landed at Milford,
Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.

KING RICHARD III

Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here,
A royal battle might be won and lost
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE V. Lord Derby’s house.

Enter DERBY and SIR CHRISTOPHER URSWICK

DERBY

Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:
That in the sty of this most bloody boar
My son George Stanley is frank’d up in hold:
If I revolt, off goes young George’s head;
The fear of that withholds my present aid.
But, tell me, where is princely Richmond now?

CHRISTOPHER

At Pembroke, or at Harford-west, in Wales.

DERBY

What men of name resort to him?

CHRISTOPHER

Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,
And Rice ap Thomas with a valiant crew;
And many more of noble fame and worth:
And towards London they do bend their course,
If by the way they be not fought withal.

DERBY

Return unto thy lord; commend me to him:
Tell him the queen hath heartily consented
He shall espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
These letters will resolve him of my mind. Farewell.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Salisbury. An open place.

Enter the Sheriff, and BUCKINGHAM, with halberds, led to execution

BUCKINGHAM

Will not King Richard let me speak with him?

Sheriff

No, my good lord; therefore be patient.

BUCKINGHAM

Hastings, and Edward’s children, Rivers, Grey,
Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward,
Vaughan, and all that have miscarried
By underhand corrupted foul injustice,
If that your moody discontented souls
Do through the clouds behold this present hour,
Even for revenge mock my destruction!
This is All-Souls’ day, fellows, is it not?

Sheriff

It is, my lord.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then All-Souls’ day is my body’s doomsday.
This is the day that, in King Edward’s time,
I wish’t might fall on me, when I was found
False to his children or his wife’s allies
This is the day wherein I wish’d to fall
By the false faith of him I trusted most;
This, this All-Souls’ day to my fearful soul
Is the determined respite of my wrongs:
That high All-Seer that I dallied with
Hath turn’d my feigned prayer on my head
And given in earnest what I begg’d in jest.
Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men
To turn their own points on their masters’ bosoms:
Now Margaret’s curse is fallen upon my head;
‘When he,’ quoth she, ‘shall split thy heart with sorrow,
Remember Margaret was a prophetess.’
Come, sirs, convey me to the block of shame;
Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The camp near Tamworth.

Enter RICHMOND, OXFORD, BLUNT, HERBERT, and others, with drum and colours

RICHMOND

Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
Bruised underneath the yoke of tyranny,
Thus far into the bowels of the land
Have we march’d on without impediment;
And here receive we from our father Stanley
Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil’d your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowell’d bosoms, this foul swine
Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn
From Tamworth thither is but one day’s march.
In God’s name, cheerly on, courageous friends,
To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
By this one bloody trial of sharp war.

OXFORD

Every man’s conscience is a thousand swords,
To fight against that bloody homicide.

HERBERT

I doubt not but his friends will fly to us.

BLUNT

He hath no friends but who are friends for fear.
Which in his greatest need will shrink from him.

RICHMOND

All for our vantage. Then, in God’s name, march:
True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings:
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Bosworth Field.

Enter KING RICHARD III in arms, with NORFOLK, SURREY, and others

KING RICHARD III

Here pitch our tents, even here in Bosworth field.
My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?

SURREY

My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.

KING RICHARD III

My Lord of Norfolk,—

NORFOLK

Here, most gracious liege.

KING RICHARD III

Norfolk, we must have knocks; ha! must we not?

NORFOLK

We must both give and take, my gracious lord.

KING RICHARD III

Up with my tent there! here will I lie tonight;
But where to-morrow? Well, all’s one for that.
Who hath descried the number of the foe?

NORFOLK

Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.

KING RICHARD III

Why, our battalion trebles that account:
Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength,
Which they upon the adverse party want.
Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen,
Let us survey the vantage of the field
Call for some men of sound direction
Let’s want no discipline, make no delay,
For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.

Exeunt

Enter, on the other side of the field, RICHMOND, Sir William Brandon, OXFORD, and others. Some of the Soldiers pitch RICHMOND’s tent

RICHMOND

The weary sun hath made a golden set,
And by the bright track of his fiery car,
Gives signal, of a goodly day to-morrow.
Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.
Give me some ink and paper in my tent
I’ll draw the form and model of our battle,
Limit each leader to his several charge,
And part in just proportion our small strength.
My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon,
And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me.
The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment:
Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him
And by the second hour in the morning
Desire the earl to see me in my tent:
Yet one thing more, good Blunt, before thou go’st,
Where is Lord Stanley quarter’d, dost thou know?

BLUNT

Unless I have mista’en his colours much,
Which well I am assured I have not done,
His regiment lies half a mile at least
South from the mighty power of the king.

RICHMOND

If without peril it be possible,
Good Captain Blunt, bear my good-night to him,
And give him from me this most needful scroll.

BLUNT

Upon my life, my lord, I’ll under-take it;
And so, God give you quiet rest to-night!

RICHMOND

Good night, good Captain Blunt. Come gentlemen,
Let us consult upon to-morrow’s business
In to our tent; the air is raw and cold.

They withdraw into the tent

Enter, to his tent, KING RICHARD III, NORFOLK, RATCLIFF, CATESBY, and others

KING RICHARD III

What is’t o’clock?

CATESBY

It’s supper-time, my lord;
It’s nine o’clock.

KING RICHARD III

I will not sup to-night.
Give me some ink and paper.
What, is my beaver easier than it was?
And all my armour laid into my tent?

CATESBY

If is, my liege; and all things are in readiness.

KING RICHARD III

Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge;
Use careful watch, choose trusty sentinels.

NORFOLK

I go, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

Stir with the lark to-morrow, gentle Norfolk.

NORFOLK

I warrant you, my lord.

Exit

KING RICHARD III

Catesby!

CATESBY

My lord?

KING RICHARD III

Send out a pursuivant at arms
To Stanley’s regiment; bid him bring his power
Before sunrising, lest his son George fall
Into the blind cave of eternal night.

Exit CATESBY
Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a watch.
Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.
Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.
Ratcliff!

RATCLIFF

My lord?

KING RICHARD III

Saw’st thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?

RATCLIFF

Thomas the Earl of Surrey, and himself,
Much about cock-shut time, from troop to troop
Went through the army, cheering up the soldiers.

KING RICHARD III

So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine:
I have not that alacrity of spirit,
Nor cheer of mind, that I was wont to have.
Set it down. Is ink and paper ready?

RATCLIFF

It is, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

Bid my guard watch; leave me.
Ratcliff, about the mid of night come to my tent
And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.

Exeunt RATCLIFF and the other Attendants

Enter DERBY to RICHMOND in his tent, Lords and others attending

DERBY

Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!

RICHMOND

All comfort that the dark night can afford
Be to thy person, noble father-in-law!
Tell me, how fares our loving mother?

DERBY

I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother
Who prays continually for Richmond’s good:
So much for that. The silent hours steal on,
And flaky darkness breaks within the east.
In brief,—for so the season bids us be,—
Prepare thy battle early in the morning,
And put thy fortune to the arbitrement
Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring war.
I, as I may—that which I would I cannot,—
With best advantage will deceive the time,
And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms:
But on thy side I may not be too forward
Lest, being seen, thy brother, tender George,
Be executed in his father’s sight.
Farewell: the leisure and the fearful time
Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love
And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
Which so long sunder’d friends should dwell upon:
God give us leisure for these rites of love!
Once more, adieu: be valiant, and speed well!

RICHMOND

Good lords, conduct him to his regiment:
I’ll strive, with troubled thoughts, to take a nap,
Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow,
When I should mount with wings of victory:
Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

Exeunt all but RICHMOND
O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
Look on my forces with a gracious eye;
Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
That they may crush down with a heavy fall
The usurping helmets of our adversaries!
Make us thy ministers of chastisement,
That we may praise thee in the victory!
To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still!

Sleeps

Enter the Ghost of Prince Edward, son to King Henry VI
Ghost

of Prince Edward

[To KING RICHARD III]
Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
Think, how thou stab’dst me in my prime of youth
At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!

To RICHMOND
Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls
Of butcher’d princes fight in thy behalf
King Henry’s issue, Richmond, comforts thee.

Enter the Ghost of King Henry VI
Ghost

of King Henry VI

[To KING RICHARD III]
When I was mortal, my anointed body
By thee was punched full of deadly holes
Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die!
Harry the Sixth bids thee despair, and die!

To RICHMOND
Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!
Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish!

Enter the Ghost of CLARENCE

Ghost of CLARENCE

[To KING RICHARD III]
Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
I, that was wash’d to death with fulsome wine,
Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death!
To-morrow in the battle think on me,
And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—

To RICHMOND
Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster
The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee
Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!

Enter the Ghosts of RIVERS, GRAY, and VAUGHAN

Ghost of RIVERS

[To KING RICHARD III]
Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow,
Rivers. that died at Pomfret! despair, and die!

Ghost of GREY

[To KING RICHARD III]
Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!

Ghost of VAUGHAN

[To KING RICHARD III]
Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,
Let fall thy lance: despair, and die!

All

[To RICHMOND]
Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard’s bosom
Will conquer him! awake, and win the day!

Enter the Ghost of HASTINGS

Ghost of HASTINGS

[To KING RICHARD III]
Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
And in a bloody battle end thy days!
Think on Lord Hastings: despair, and die!

To RICHMOND
Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake!
Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England’s sake!

Enter the Ghosts of the two young Princes
Ghosts

of young Princes

[To KING RICHARD III]
Dream on thy cousins smother’d in the Tower:
Let us be led within thy bosom, Richard,
And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death!
Thy nephews’ souls bid thee despair and die!

To RICHMOND
Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;
Good angels guard thee from the boar’s annoy!
Live, and beget a happy race of kings!
Edward’s unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.

Enter the Ghost of LADY ANNE

Ghost of LADY ANNE

[To KING RICHARD III]
Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife,
That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
Now fills thy sleep with perturbations
To-morrow in the battle think on me,
And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!

To RICHMOND
Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep
Dream of success and happy victory!
Thy adversary’s wife doth pray for thee.

Enter the Ghost of BUCKINGHAM
Ghost

of BUCKINGHAM

[To KING RICHARD III]
The last was I that helped thee to the crown;
The last was I that felt thy tyranny:
O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death:
Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!

To RICHMOND
I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:
But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismay’d:
God and good angel fight on Richmond’s side;
And Richard falls in height of all his pride.

The Ghosts vanish

KING RICHARD III starts out of his dream

KING RICHARD III

Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft! I did but dream.
O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
What do I fear? myself? there’s none else by:
Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:
Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
That I myself have done unto myself?
O, no! alas, I rather hate myself
For hateful deeds committed by myself!
I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.
Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
Perjury, perjury, in the high’st degree
Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;
All several sins, all used in each degree,
Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!
I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
And if I die, no soul shall pity me:
Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself?
Methought the souls of all that I had murder’d
Came to my tent; and every one did threat
To-morrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.

Enter RATCLIFF

RATCLIFF

My lord!

KING RICHARD III

‘Zounds! who is there?

RATCLIFF

Ratcliff, my lord; ’tis I. The early village-cock
Hath twice done salutation to the morn;
Your friends are up, and buckle on their armour.

KING RICHARD III

O Ratcliff, I have dream’d a fearful dream!
What thinkest thou, will our friends prove all true?

RATCLIFF

No doubt, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

O Ratcliff, I fear, I fear,—

RATCLIFF

Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.

KING RICHARD III

By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
Armed in proof, and led by shallow Richmond.
It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;
Under our tents I’ll play the eaves-dropper,
To see if any mean to shrink from me.

Exeunt

Enter the Lords to RICHMOND, sitting in his tent

LORDS

Good morrow, Richmond!

RICHMOND

Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,
That you have ta’en a tardy sluggard here.

LORDS

How have you slept, my lord?

RICHMOND

The sweetest sleep, and fairest-boding dreams
That ever enter’d in a drowsy head,
Have I since your departure had, my lords.
Methought their souls, whose bodies Richard murder’d,
Came to my tent, and cried on victory:
I promise you, my soul is very jocund
In the remembrance of so fair a dream.
How far into the morning is it, lords?

LORDS

Upon the stroke of four.

RICHMOND

Why, then ’tis time to arm and give direction.

His oration to his soldiers
More than I have said, loving countrymen,
The leisure and enforcement of the time
Forbids to dwell upon: yet remember this,
God and our good cause fight upon our side;
The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,
Like high-rear’d bulwarks, stand before our faces;
Richard except, those whom we fight against
Had rather have us win than him they follow:
For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,
A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
One raised in blood, and one in blood establish’d;
One that made means to come by what he hath,
And slaughter’d those that were the means to help him;
Abase foul stone, made precious by the foil
Of England’s chair, where he is falsely set;
One that hath ever been God’s enemy:
Then, if you fight against God’s enemy,
God will in justice ward you as his soldiers;
If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,
You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;
If you do fight against your country’s foes,
Your country’s fat shall pay your pains the hire;
If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;
If you do free your children from the sword,
Your children’s children quit it in your age.
Then, in the name of God and all these rights,
Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.
For me, the ransom of my bold attempt
Shall be this cold corpse on the earth’s cold face;
But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt
The least of you shall share his part thereof.
Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;
God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!

Exeunt

Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants and Forces

KING RICHARD III

What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?

RATCLIFF

That he was never trained up in arms.

KING RICHARD III

He said the truth: and what said Surrey then?

RATCLIFF

He smiled and said ‘The better for our purpose.’

KING RICHARD III

He was in the right; and so indeed it is.

Clock striketh
Ten the clock there. Give me a calendar.
Who saw the sun to-day?

RATCLIFF

Not I, my lord.

KING RICHARD III

Then he disdains to shine; for by the book
He should have braved the east an hour ago
A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliff!

RATCLIFF

My lord?

KING RICHARD III

The sun will not be seen to-day;
The sky doth frown and lour upon our army.
I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven
That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

Enter NORFOLK

NORFOLK

Arm, arm, my lord; the foe vaunts in the field.

KING RICHARD III

Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse.
Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:
I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
And thus my battle shall be ordered:
My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
Consisting equally of horse and foot;
Our archers shall be placed in the midst
John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.
They thus directed, we will follow
In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse.
This, and Saint George to boot! What think’st thou, Norfolk?

NORFOLK

A good direction, warlike sovereign.
This found I on my tent this morning.

He sheweth him a paper

KING RICHARD III

[Reads]
‘Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.’
A thing devised by the enemy.
Go, gentleman, every man unto his charge
Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls:
Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe:
Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
March on, join bravely, let us to’t pell-mell
If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.

His oration to his Army
What shall I say more than I have inferr’d?
Remember whom you are to cope withal;
A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
A scum of Bretons, and base lackey peasants,
Whom their o’er-cloyed country vomits forth
To desperate ventures and assured destruction.
You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
You having lands, and blest with beauteous wives,
They would restrain the one, distain the other.
And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
Long kept in Bretagne at our mother’s cost?
A milk-sop, one that never in his life
Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow?
Let’s whip these stragglers o’er the seas again;
Lash hence these overweening rags of France,
These famish’d beggars, weary of their lives;
Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
For want of means, poor rats, had hang’d themselves:
If we be conquer’d, let men conquer us,
And not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers
Have in their own land beaten, bobb’d, and thump’d,
And in record, left them the heirs of shame.
Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives?
Ravish our daughters?

Drum afar off
Hark! I hear their drum.
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yoemen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!

Enter a Messenger
What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?

Messenger

My lord, he doth deny to come.

KING RICHARD III

Off with his son George’s head!

NORFOLK

My lord, the enemy is past the marsh
After the battle let George Stanley die.

KING RICHARD III

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:
Advance our standards, set upon our foes
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
Upon them! victory sits on our helms.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Another part of the field.

Alarum: excursions. Enter NORFOLK and forces fighting; to him CATESBY

CATESBY

Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
The king enacts more wonders than a man,
Daring an opposite to every danger:
His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

Alarums. Enter KING RICHARD III

KING RICHARD III

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

CATESBY

Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.

KING RICHARD III

Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die:
I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

Exeunt

SCENE V. Another part of the field.

Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD III and RICHMOND; they fight. KING RICHARD III is slain. Retreat and flourish. Re-enter RICHMOND, DERBY bearing the crown, with divers other Lords

RICHMOND

God and your arms be praised, victorious friends,
The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.

DERBY

Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee.
Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty
From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
Have I pluck’d off, to grace thy brows withal:
Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.

RICHMOND

Great God of heaven, say Amen to all!
But, tell me, is young George Stanley living?

DERBY

He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town;
Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.

RICHMOND

What men of name are slain on either side?

DERBY

John Duke of Norfolk, Walter Lord Ferrers,
Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.

RICHMOND

Inter their bodies as becomes their births:
Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled
That in submission will return to us:
And then, as we have ta’en the sacrament,
We will unite the white rose and the red:
Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction,
That long have frown’d upon their enmity!
What traitor hears me, and says not amen?
England hath long been mad, and scarr’d herself;
The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood,
The father rashly slaughter’d his own son,
The son, compell’d, been butcher to the sire:
All this divided York and Lancaster,
Divided in their dire division,
O, now, let Richmond and Elizabeth,
The true succeeders of each royal house,
By God’s fair ordinance conjoin together!
And let their heirs, God, if thy will be so.
Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days!
Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
That would reduce these bloody days again,
And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
Let them not live to taste this land’s increase
That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace!
Now civil wounds are stopp’d, peace lives again:
That she may long live here, God say amen!

Exeunt

The Life and Death of Richard the Second

ACT I

SCENE I. London. KING RICHARD II’s palace.

Enter KING RICHARD II, JOHN OF GAUNT, with other Nobles and Attendants

KING RICHARD II

Old John of Gaunt, time-honour’d Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

JOHN OF GAUNT

I have, my liege.

KING RICHARD II

Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him?

JOHN OF GAUNT

As near as I could sift him on that argument,
On some apparent danger seen in him
Aim’d at your highness, no inveterate malice.

KING RICHARD II

Then call them to our presence; face to face,
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
The accuser and the accused freely speak:
High-stomach’d are they both, and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE and THOMAS MOWBRAY

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Many years of happy days befal
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Each day still better other’s happiness;
Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,
Add an immortal title to your crown!

KING RICHARD II

We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,
As well appeareth by the cause you come;
Namely to appeal each other of high treason.
Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

First, heaven be the record to my speech!
In the devotion of a subject’s love,
Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appellant to this princely presence.
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
And mark my greeting well; for what I speak
My body shall make good upon this earth,
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
Too good to be so and too bad to live,
Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat;
And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move,
What my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:
‘Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this:
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast
As to be hush’d and nought at all to say:
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;
Which else would post until it had return’d
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,
And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
I do defy him, and I spit at him;
Call him a slanderous coward and a villain:
Which to maintain I would allow him odds,
And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable,
Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time let this defend my loyalty,
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king,
And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
If guilty dread have left thee so much strength
As to take up mine honour’s pawn, then stoop:
By that and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

I take it up; and by that sword I swear
Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
I’ll answer thee in any fair degree,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
And when I mount, alive may I not light,
If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

KING RICHARD II

What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?
It must be great that can inherit us
So much as of a thought of ill in him.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true;
That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles
In name of lendings for your highness’ soldiers,
The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,
Like a false traitor and injurious villain.
Besides I say and will in battle prove,
Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge
That ever was survey’d by English eye,
That all the treasons for these eighteen years
Complotted and contrived in this land
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Further I say and further will maintain
Upon his bad life to make all this good,
That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
And consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me for justice and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

KING RICHARD II

How high a pitch his resolution soars!
Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this?

THOMAS MOWBRAY

O, let my sovereign turn away his face
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,
How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

KING RICHARD II

Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,
As he is but my father’s brother’s son,
Now, by my sceptre’s awe, I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul:
He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou:
Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais
Disbursed I duly to his highness’ soldiers;
The other part reserved I by consent,
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,
I slew him not; but to my own disgrace
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.
For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul
But ere I last received the sacrament
I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
Your grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.
This is my fault: as for the rest appeall’d,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor
Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom.
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.

KING RICHARD II

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me;
Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision;
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed;
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.

JOHN OF GAUNT

To be a make-peace shall become my age:
Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

KING RICHARD II

And, Norfolk, throw down his.

JOHN OF GAUNT

When, Harry, when?
Obedience bids I should not bid again.

KING RICHARD II

Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no boot.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.
My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:
The one my duty owes; but my fair name,
Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
To dark dishonour’s use thou shalt not have.
I am disgraced, impeach’d and baffled here,
Pierced to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,
The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
Which breathed this poison.

KING RICHARD II

Rage must be withstood:
Give me his gage: lions make leopards tame.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame.
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation: that away,
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life; both grow in one:
Take honour from me, and my life is done:
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;
In that I live and for that will I die.

KING RICHARD II

Cousin, throw up your gage; do you begin.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O, God defend my soul from such deep sin!
Shall I seem crest-fall’n in my father’s sight?
Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
Before this out-dared dastard? Ere my tongue
Shall wound my honour with such feeble wrong,
Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
The slavish motive of recanting fear,
And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray’s face.

Exit JOHN OF GAUNT

KING RICHARD II

We were not born to sue, but to command;
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert’s day:
There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your settled hate:
Since we can not atone you, we shall see
Justice design the victor’s chivalry.
Lord marshal, command our officers at arms
Be ready to direct these home alarms.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The DUKE OF LANCASTER’S palace.

Enter JOHN OF GAUNT with DUCHESS

JOHN OF GAUNT

Alas, the part I had in Woodstock’s blood
Doth more solicit me than your exclaims,
To stir against the butchers of his life!
But since correction lieth in those hands
Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;
Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.

DUCHESS

Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?
Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
Edward’s seven sons, whereof thyself art one,
Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,
Or seven fair branches springing from one root:
Some of those seven are dried by nature’s course,
Some of those branches by the Destinies cut;
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,
One vial full of Edward’s sacred blood,
One flourishing branch of his most royal root,
Is crack’d, and all the precious liquor spilt,
Is hack’d down, and his summer leaves all faded,
By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody axe.
Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! that bed, that womb,
That metal, that self-mould, that fashion’d thee
Made him a man; and though thou livest and breathest,
Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent
In some large measure to thy father’s death,
In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
Who was the model of thy father’s life.
Call it not patience, Gaunt; it is despair:
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter’d,
Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:
That which in mean men we intitle patience
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,
The best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.

JOHN OF GAUNT

God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute,
His deputy anointed in His sight,
Hath caused his death: the which if wrongfully,
Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against His minister.

DUCHESS

Where then, alas, may I complain myself?

JOHN OF GAUNT

To God, the widow’s champion and defence.

DUCHESS

Why, then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
Thou goest to Coventry, there to behold
Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight:
O, sit my husband’s wrongs on Hereford’s spear,
That it may enter butcher Mowbray’s breast!
Or, if misfortune miss the first career,
Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom,
They may break his foaming courser’s back,
And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother’s wife
With her companion grief must end her life.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry:
As much good stay with thee as go with me!

DUCHESS

Yet one word more: grief boundeth where it falls,
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight:
I take my leave before I have begun,
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York.
Lo, this is all:—nay, yet depart not so;
Though this be all, do not so quickly go;
I shall remember more. Bid him—ah, what?—
With all good speed at Plashy visit me.
Alack, and what shall good old York there see
But empty lodgings and unfurnish’d walls,
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
And what hear there for welcome but my groans?
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
To seek out sorrow that dwells every where.
Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die:
The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The lists at Coventry.

Enter the Lord Marshal and the DUKE OF AUMERLE

Lord Marshal

My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm’d?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in.

Lord Marshal

The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
Stays but the summons of the appellant’s trumpet.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Why, then, the champions are prepared, and stay
For nothing but his majesty’s approach.

The trumpets sound, and KING RICHARD enters with his nobles, JOHN OF GAUNT, BUSHY, BAGOT, GREEN, and others. When they are set, enter THOMAS MOWBRAY in arms, defendant, with a Herald

KING RICHARD II

Marshal, demand of yonder champion
The cause of his arrival here in arms:
Ask him his name and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.

Lord Marshal

In God’s name and the king’s, say who thou art
And why thou comest thus knightly clad in arms,
Against what man thou comest, and what thy quarrel:
Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thy oath;
As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk;
Who hither come engaged by my oath—
Which God defend a knight should violate!—
Both to defend my loyalty and truth
To God, my king and my succeeding issue,
Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me
And, by the grace of God and this mine arm,
To prove him, in defending of myself,
A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

The trumpets sound. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, appellant, in armour, with a Herald

KING RICHARD II

Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,
Both who he is and why he cometh hither
Thus plated in habiliments of war,
And formally, according to our law,
Depose him in the justice of his cause.

Lord Marshal

What is thy name? and wherefore comest thou hither,
Before King Richard in his royal lists?
Against whom comest thou? and what’s thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby
Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
To prove, by God’s grace and my body’s valour,
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
That he is a traitor, foul and dangerous,
To God of heaven, King Richard and to me;
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

Lord Marshal

On pain of death, no person be so bold
Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,
Except the marshal and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign’s hand,
And bow my knee before his majesty:
For Mowbray and myself are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;
Then let us take a ceremonious leave
And loving farewell of our several friends.

Lord Marshal

The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.

KING RICHARD II

We will descend and fold him in our arms.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O let no noble eye profane a tear
For me, if I be gored with Mowbray’s spear:
As confident as is the falcon’s flight
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.
My loving lord, I take my leave of you;
Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;
Not sick, although I have to do with death,
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:
O thou, the earthly author of my blood,
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,
Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers;
And with thy blessings steel my lance’s point,
That it may enter Mowbray’s waxen coat,
And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt,
Even in the lusty havior of his son.

JOHN OF GAUNT

God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
Be swift like lightning in the execution;
And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,
Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:
Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

However God or fortune cast my lot,
There lives or dies, true to King Richard’s throne,
A loyal, just and upright gentleman:
Never did captive with a freer heart
Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace
His golden uncontroll’d enfranchisement,
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
This feast of battle with mine adversary.
Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years:
As gentle and as jocund as to jest
Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast.

KING RICHARD II

Farewell, my lord: securely I espy
Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.
Order the trial, marshal, and begin.

Lord Marshal

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Strong as a tower in hope, I cry amen.

Lord Marshal

Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.

First Herald

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
Stands here for God, his sovereign and himself,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
A traitor to his God, his king and him;
And dares him to set forward to the fight.

Second Herald

Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
Both to defend himself and to approve
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
To God, his sovereign and to him disloyal;
Courageously and with a free desire
Attending but the signal to begin.

Lord Marshal

Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.

A charge sounded
Stay, the king hath thrown his warder down.

KING RICHARD II

Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,
And both return back to their chairs again:
Withdraw with us: and let the trumpets sound
While we return these dukes what we decree.

A long flourish
Draw near,
And list what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom’s earth should not be soil’d
With that dear blood which it hath fostered;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil wounds plough’d up with neighbours’ sword;
And for we think the eagle-winged pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
With rival-hating envy, set on you
To wake our peace, which in our country’s cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;
Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
With harsh resounding trumpets’ dreadful bray,
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
And make us wade even in our kindred’s blood,
Therefore, we banish you our territories:
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,
Till twice five summers have enrich’d our fields
Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Your will be done: this must my comfort be,
Sun that warms you here shall shine on me;
And those his golden beams to you here lent
Shall point on me and gild my banishment.

KING RICHARD II

Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:
The sly slow hours shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy dear exile;
The hopeless word of ‘never to return’
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlook’d for from your highness’ mouth:
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deserved at your highness’ hands.
The language I have learn’d these forty years,
My native English, now I must forego:
And now my tongue’s use is to me no more
Than an unstringed viol or a harp,
Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony:
Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,
Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips;
And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
Is made my gaoler to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now:
What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?

KING RICHARD II

It boots thee not to be compassionate:
After our sentence plaining comes too late.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then thus I turn me from my country’s light,
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.

KING RICHARD II

Return again, and take an oath with thee.
Lay on our royal sword your banish’d hands;
Swear by the duty that you owe to God—
Our part therein we banish with yourselves—
To keep the oath that we administer:
You never shall, so help you truth and God!
Embrace each other’s love in banishment;
Nor never look upon each other’s face;
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This louring tempest of your home-bred hate;
Nor never by advised purpose meet
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
‘Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I swear.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

And I, to keep all this.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:—
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander’d in the air.
Banish’d this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish’d from this land:
Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burthen of a guilty soul.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish’d as from hence!
But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.
Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;
Save back to England, all the world’s my way.

Exit

KING RICHARD II

Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banish’d years
Pluck’d four away.

To HENRY BOLINGBROKE
Six frozen winter spent,
Return with welcome home from banishment.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of kings.

JOHN OF GAUNT

I thank my liege, that in regard of me
He shortens four years of my son’s exile:
But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
For, ere the six years that he hath to spend
Can change their moons and bring their times about
My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light
Shall be extinct with age and endless night;
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.

KING RICHARD II

Why uncle, thou hast many years to live.

JOHN OF GAUNT

But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:
Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow;
Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;
Thy word is current with him for my death,
But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.

KING RICHARD II

Thy son is banish’d upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:
Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lour?

JOHN OF GAUNT

Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
You urged me as a judge; but I had rather
You would have bid me argue like a father.
O, had it been a stranger, not my child,
To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:
A partial slander sought I to avoid,
And in the sentence my own life destroy’d.
Alas, I look’d when some of you should say,
I was too strict to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue
Against my will to do myself this wrong.

KING RICHARD II

Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so:
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.

Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II and train

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know,
From where you do remain let paper show.

Lord Marshal

My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride,
As far as land will let me, by your side.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
That thou return’st no greeting to thy friends?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue’s office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Joy absent, grief is present for that time.

JOHN OF GAUNT

What is six winters? they are quickly gone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Call it a travel that thou takest for pleasure.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage.

JOHN OF GAUNT

The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home return.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief?

JOHN OF GAUNT

All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
There is no virtue like necessity.
Think not the king did banish thee,
But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour
And not the king exiled thee; or suppose
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air
And thou art flying to a fresher clime:
Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie that way thou go’st, not whence thou comest:
Suppose the singing birds musicians,
The grass whereon thou tread’st the presence strew’d,
The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
Than a delightful measure or a dance;
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it and sets it light.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O, who can hold a fire in his hand
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December snow
By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?
O, no! the apprehension of the good
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:
Fell sorrow’s tooth doth never rankle more
Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way:
Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Then, England’s ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu;
My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!
Where’er I wander, boast of this I can,
Though banish’d, yet a trueborn Englishman.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The court.

Enter KING RICHARD II, with BAGOT and GREEN at one door; and the DUKE OF AUMERLE at another

KING RICHARD II

We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,
How far brought you high Hereford on his way?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,
But to the next highway, and there I left him.

KING RICHARD II

And say, what store of parting tears were shed?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Faith, none for me; except the north-east wind,
Which then blew bitterly against our faces,
Awaked the sleeping rheum, and so by chance
Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.

KING RICHARD II

What said our cousin when you parted with him?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

‘Farewell:’
And, for my heart disdained that my tongue
Should so profane the word, that taught me craft
To counterfeit oppression of such grief
That words seem’d buried in my sorrow’s grave.
Marry, would the word ‘farewell’ have lengthen’d hours
And added years to his short banishment,
He should have had a volume of farewells;
But since it would not, he had none of me.

KING RICHARD II

He is our cousin, cousin; but ’tis doubt,
When time shall call him home from banishment,
Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.
Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green
Observed his courtship to the common people;
How he did seem to dive into their hearts
With humble and familiar courtesy,
What reverence he did throw away on slaves,
Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles
And patient underbearing of his fortune,
As ’twere to banish their affects with him.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
A brace of draymen bid God speed him well
And had the tribute of his supple knee,
With ‘Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;’
As were our England in reversion his,
And he our subjects’ next degree in hope.

GREEN

Well, he is gone; and with him go these thoughts.
Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland,
Expedient manage must be made, my liege,
Ere further leisure yield them further means
For their advantage and your highness’ loss.

KING RICHARD II

We will ourself in person to this war:
And, for our coffers, with too great a court
And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,
We are inforced to farm our royal realm;
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand: if that come short,
Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,
They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold
And send them after to supply our wants;
For we will make for Ireland presently.

Enter BUSHY
Bushy, what news?

BUSHY

Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,
Suddenly taken; and hath sent post haste
To entreat your majesty to visit him.

KING RICHARD II

Where lies he?

BUSHY

At Ely House.

KING RICHARD II

Now put it, God, in the physician’s mind
To help him to his grave immediately!
The lining of his coffers shall make coats
To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.
Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him:
Pray God we may make haste, and come too late!

All

Amen.

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. Ely House.

Enter JOHN OF GAUNT sick, with the DUKE OF YORK, & c

JOHN OF GAUNT

Will the king come, that I may breathe my last
In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?

DUKE OF YORK

Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
He that no more must say is listen’d more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose;
More are men’s ends mark’d than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past:
Though Richard my life’s counsel would not hear,
My death’s sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.

DUKE OF YORK

No; it is stopp’d with other flattering sounds,
As praises, of whose taste the wise are fond,
Lascivious metres, to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen;
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after in base imitation.
Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity—
So it be new, there’s no respect how vile—
That is not quickly buzzed into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.
Direct not him whose way himself will choose:
‘Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

Enter KING RICHARD II and QUEEN, DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, BAGOT, LORD ROSS, and LORD WILLOUGHBY

DUKE OF YORK

The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;
For young hot colts being raged do rage the more.

QUEEN

How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

KING RICHARD II

What comfort, man? how is’t with aged Gaunt?

JOHN OF GAUNT

O how that name befits my composition!
Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:
Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;
And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?
For sleeping England long time have I watch’d;
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt:
The pleasure that some fathers feed upon,
Is my strict fast; I mean, my children’s looks;
And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt:
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

KING RICHARD II

Can sick men play so nicely with their names?

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, misery makes sport to mock itself:
Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,
I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

KING RICHARD II

Should dying men flatter with those that live?

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, no, men living flatter those that die.

KING RICHARD II

Thou, now a-dying, say’st thou flatterest me.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, no! thou diest, though I the sicker be.

KING RICHARD II

I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Now He that made me knows I see thee ill;
Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.
Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Commit’st thy anointed body to the cure
Of those physicians that first wounded thee:
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head;
And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.
O, had thy grandsire with a prophet’s eye
Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons,
From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,
Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d,
Which art possess’d now to depose thyself.
Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame to let this land by lease;
But for thy world enjoying but this land,
Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king:
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law; And thou—

KING RICHARD II

A lunatic lean-witted fool,
Presuming on an ague’s privilege,
Darest with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood
With fury from his native residence.
Now, by my seat’s right royal majesty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward’s son,
This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head
Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,
For that I was his father Edward’s son;
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapp’d out and drunkenly caroused:
My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,
Whom fair befal in heaven ‘mongst happy souls!
May be a precedent and witness good
That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood:
Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too long wither’d flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
These words hereafter thy tormentors be!
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
Love they to live that love and honour have.

Exit, borne off by his Attendants

KING RICHARD II

And let them die that age and sullens have;
For both hast thou, and both become the grave.

DUKE OF YORK

I do beseech your majesty, impute his words
To wayward sickliness and age in him:
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
As Harry Duke of Hereford, were he here.

KING RICHARD II

Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his;
As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND

NORTHUMBERLAND

My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.

KING RICHARD II

What says he?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Nay, nothing; all is said
His tongue is now a stringless instrument;
Words, life and all, old Lancaster hath spent.

DUKE OF YORK

Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!
Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

KING RICHARD II

The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he;
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be.
So much for that. Now for our Irish wars:
We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,
Which live like venom where no venom else
But only they have privilege to live.
And for these great affairs do ask some charge,
Towards our assistance we do seize to us
The plate, corn, revenues and moveables,
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.

DUKE OF YORK

How long shall I be patient? ah, how long
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Gloucester’s death, nor Hereford’s banishment
Not Gaunt’s rebukes, nor England’s private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign’s face.
I am the last of noble Edward’s sons,
Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first:
In war was never lion raged more fierce,
In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman.
His face thou hast, for even so look’d he,
Accomplish’d with the number of thy hours;
But when he frown’d, it was against the French
And not against his friends; his noble hand
Did will what he did spend and spent not that
Which his triumphant father’s hand had won;
His hands were guilty of no kindred blood,
But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
O Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.

KING RICHARD II

Why, uncle, what’s the matter?

DUKE OF YORK

O my liege,
Pardon me, if you please; if n ot, I, pleased
Not to be pardon’d, am content withal.
Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands
The royalties and rights of banish’d Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir?
Is not his heir a well-deserving son?
Take Hereford’s rights away, and take from Time
His charters and his customary rights;
Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;
Be not thyself; for how art thou a king
But by fair sequence and succession?
Now, afore God—God forbid I say true!—
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights,
Call in the letters patent that he hath
By his attorneys-general to sue
His livery, and deny his offer’d homage,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts
And prick my tender patience, to those thoughts
Which honour and allegiance cannot think.

KING RICHARD II

Think what you will, we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money and his lands.

DUKE OF YORK

I’ll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:
What will ensue hereof, there’s none can tell;
But by bad courses may be understood
That their events can never fall out good.

Exit

KING RICHARD II

Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight:
Bid him repair to us to Ely House
To see this business. To-morrow next
We will for Ireland; and ’tis time, I trow:
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York lord governor of England;
For he is just and always loved us well.
Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;
Be merry, for our time of stay is short

Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II, QUEEN, DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, and BAGOT

NORTHUMBERLAND

Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.

LORD ROSS

And living too; for now his son is duke.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Barely in title, not in revenue.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Richly in both, if justice had her right.

LORD ROSS

My heart is great; but it must break with silence,
Ere’t be disburden’d with a liberal tongue.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne’er speak more
That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Tends that thou wouldst speak to the Duke of Hereford?
If it be so, out with it boldly, man;
Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.

LORD ROSS

No good at all that I can do for him;
Unless you call it good to pity him,
Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Now, afore God, ’tis shame such wrongs are borne
In him, a royal prince, and many moe
Of noble blood in this declining land.
The king is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers; and what they will inform,
Merely in hate, ‘gainst any of us all,
That will the king severely prosecute
‘Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.

LORD ROSS

The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes,
And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fined
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

And daily new exactions are devised,
As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:
But what, o’ God’s name, doth become of this?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Wars have not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,
But basely yielded upon compromise
That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows:
More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.

LORD ROSS

The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.

LORD ROSS

He hath not money for these Irish wars,
His burthenous taxations notwithstanding,
But by the robbing of the banish’d duke.

NORTHUMBERLAND

His noble kinsman: most degenerate king!
But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,
Yet see no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.

LORD ROSS

We see the very wreck that we must suffer;
And unavoided is the danger now,
For suffering so the causes of our wreck.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Not so; even through the hollow eyes of death
I spy life peering; but I dare not say
How near the tidings of our comfort is.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.

LORD ROSS

Be confident to speak, Northumberland:
We three are but thyself; and, speaking so,
Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Then thus: I have from Port le Blanc, a bay
In Brittany, received intelligence
That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord Cobham,
That late broke from the Duke of Exeter,
His brother, Archbishop late of Canterbury,
Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir John Ramston,
Sir John Norbery, Sir Robert Waterton and Francis Quoint,
All these well furnish’d by the Duke of Bretagne
With eight tall ships, three thousand men of war,
Are making hither with all due expedience
And shortly mean to touch our northern shore:
Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay
The first departing of the king for Ireland.
If then we shall shake off our slavish yoke,
Imp out our drooping country’s broken wing,
Redeem from broking pawn the blemish’d crown,
Wipe off the dust that hides our sceptre’s gilt
And make high majesty look like itself,
Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;
But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
Stay and be secret, and myself will go.

LORD ROSS

To horse, to horse! urge doubts to them that fear.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The palace.

Enter QUEEN, BUSHY, and BAGOT

BUSHY

Madam, your majesty is too much sad:
You promised, when you parted with the king,
To lay aside life-harming heaviness
And entertain a cheerful disposition.

QUEEN

To please the king I did; to please myself
I cannot do it; yet I know no cause
Why I should welcome such a guest as grief,
Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest
As my sweet Richard: yet again, methinks,
Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune’s womb,
Is coming towards me, and my inward soul
With nothing trembles: at some thing it grieves,
More than with parting from my lord the king.

BUSHY

Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
Which shows like grief itself, but is not so;
For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects;
Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,
Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail;
Which, look’d on as it is, is nought but shadows
Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
More than your lord’s departure weep not: more’s not seen;
Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,
Which for things true weeps things imaginary.

QUEEN

It may be so; but yet my inward soul
Persuades me it is otherwise: howe’er it be,
I cannot but be sad; so heavy sad
As, though on thinking on no thought I think,
Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.

BUSHY

‘Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.

QUEEN

‘Tis nothing less: conceit is still derived
From some forefather grief; mine is not so,
For nothing had begot my something grief;
Or something hath the nothing that I grieve:
‘Tis in reversion that I do possess;
But what it is, that is not yet known; what
I cannot name; ’tis nameless woe, I wot.

Enter GREEN

GREEN

God save your majesty! and well met, gentlemen:
I hope the king is not yet shipp’d for Ireland.

QUEEN

Why hopest thou so? ’tis better hope he is;
For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope:
Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp’d?

GREEN

That he, our hope, might have retired his power,
And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,
Who strongly hath set footing in this land:
The banish’d Bolingbroke repeals himself,
And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
At Ravenspurgh.

QUEEN

Now God in heaven forbid!

GREEN

Ah, madam, ’tis too true: and that is worse,
The Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy,
The Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby,
With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.

BUSHY

Why have you not proclaim’d Northumberland
And all the rest revolted faction traitors?

GREEN

We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester
Hath broke his staff, resign’d his stewardship,
And all the household servants fled with him
To Bolingbroke.

QUEEN

So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe,
And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir:
Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,
And I, a gasping new-deliver’d mother,
Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow join’d.

BUSHY

Despair not, madam.

QUEEN

Who shall hinder me?
I will despair, and be at enmity
With cozening hope: he is a flatterer,
A parasite, a keeper back of death,
Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,
Which false hope lingers in extremity.

Enter DUKE OF YORK

GREEN

Here comes the Duke of York.

QUEEN

With signs of war about his aged neck:
O, full of careful business are his looks!
Uncle, for God’s sake, speak comfortable words.

DUKE OF YORK

Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts:
Comfort’s in heaven; and we are on the earth,
Where nothing lives but crosses, cares and grief.
Your husband, he is gone to save far off,
Whilst others come to make him lose at home:
Here am I left to underprop his land,
Who, weak with age, cannot support myself:
Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;
Now shall he try his friends that flatter’d him.

Enter a Servant

Servant

My lord, your son was gone before I came.

DUKE OF YORK

He was? Why, so! go all which way it will!
The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold,
And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford’s side.
Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester;
Bid her send me presently a thousand pound:
Hold, take my ring.

Servant

My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship,
To-day, as I came by, I called there;
But I shall grieve you to report the rest.

DUKE OF YORK

What is’t, knave?

Servant

An hour before I came, the duchess died.

DUKE OF YORK

God for his mercy! what a tide of woes
Comes rushing on this woeful land at once!
I know not what to do: I would to God,
So my untruth had not provoked him to it,
The king had cut off my head with my brother’s.
What, are there no posts dispatch’d for Ireland?
How shall we do for money for these wars?
Come, sister,—cousin, I would say—pray, pardon me.
Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some carts
And bring away the armour that is there.

Exit Servant
Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
If I know how or which way to order these affairs
Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen:
The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath
And duty bids defend; the other again
Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong’d,
Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.
Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin, I’ll
Dispose of you.
Gentlemen, go, muster up your men,
And meet me presently at Berkeley.
I should to Plashy too;
But time will not permit: all is uneven,
And every thing is left at six and seven.

Exeunt DUKE OF YORK and QUEEN

BUSHY

The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland,
But none returns. For us to levy power
Proportionable to the enemy
Is all unpossible.

GREEN

Besides, our nearness to the king in love
Is near the hate of those love not the king.

BAGOT

And that’s the wavering commons: for their love
Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them
By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.

BUSHY

Wherein the king stands generally condemn’d.

BAGOT

If judgement lie in them, then so do we,
Because we ever have been near the king.

GREEN

Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristol castle:
The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.

BUSHY

Thither will I with you; for little office
The hateful commons will perform for us,
Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.
Will you go along with us?

BAGOT

No; I will to Ireland to his majesty.
Farewell: if heart’s presages be not vain,
We three here art that ne’er shall meet again.

BUSHY

That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.

GREEN

Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes
Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry:
Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.
Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever.

BUSHY

Well, we may meet again.

BAGOT

I fear me, never.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Wilds in Gloucestershire.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE and NORTHUMBERLAND, with Forces

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Believe me, noble lord,
I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire:
These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draws out our miles, and makes them wearisome,
And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,
Making the hard way sweet and delectable.
But I bethink me what a weary way
From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found
In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,
Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled
The tediousness and process of my travel:
But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have
The present benefit which I possess;
And hope to joy is little less in joy
Than hope enjoy’d: by this the weary lords
Shall make their way seem short, as mine hath done
By sight of what I have, your noble company.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Of much less value is my company
Than your good words. But who comes here?

Enter HENRY PERCY

NORTHUMBERLAND

It is my son, young Harry Percy,
Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever.
Harry, how fares your uncle?

HENRY PERCY

I had thought, my lord, to have learn’d his health of you.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why, is he not with the queen?

HENRY PERCY

No, my good Lord; he hath forsook the court,
Broken his staff of office and dispersed
The household of the king.

NORTHUMBERLAND

What was his reason?
He was not so resolved when last we spake together.

HENRY PERCY

Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.
But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh,
To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,
And sent me over by Berkeley, to discover
What power the Duke of York had levied there;
Then with directions to repair to Ravenspurgh.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?

HENRY PERCY

No, my good lord, for that is not forgot
Which ne’er I did remember: to my knowledge,
I never in my life did look on him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Then learn to know him now; this is the duke.

HENRY PERCY

My gracious lord, I tender you my service,
Such as it is, being tender, raw and young:
Which elder days shall ripen and confirm
To more approved service and desert.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure
I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul remembering my good friends;
And, as my fortune ripens with thy love,
It shall be still thy true love’s recompense:
My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.

NORTHUMBERLAND

How far is it to Berkeley? and what stir
Keeps good old York there with his men of war?

HENRY PERCY

There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees,
Mann’d with three hundred men, as I have heard;
And in it are the Lords of York, Berkeley, and Seymour;
None else of name and noble estimate.

Enter LORD ROSS and LORD WILLOUGHBY

NORTHUMBERLAND

Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,
Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
A banish’d traitor: all my treasury
Is yet but unfelt thanks, which more enrich’d
Shall be your love and labour’s recompense.

LORD ROSS

Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

And far surmounts our labour to attain it.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor;
Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,
Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?

Enter LORD BERKELEY

NORTHUMBERLAND

It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.

LORD BERKELEY

My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My lord, my answer is—to Lancaster;
And I am come to seek that name in England;
And I must find that title in your tongue,
Before I make reply to aught you say.

LORD BERKELEY

Mistake me not, my lord; ’tis not my meaning
To raze one title of your honour out:
To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,
From the most gracious regent of this land,
The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on
To take advantage of the absent time
And fright our native peace with self-born arms.

Enter DUKE OF YORK attended

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I shall not need transport my words by you;
Here comes his grace in person. My noble uncle!

Kneels

DUKE OF YORK

Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,
Whose duty is deceiveable and false.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious uncle—

DUKE OF YORK

Tut, tut!
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle:
I am no traitor’s uncle; and that word ‘grace.’
In an ungracious mouth is but profane.
Why have those banish’d and forbidden legs
Dared once to touch a dust of England’s ground?
But then more ‘why?’ why have they dared to march
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
And ostentation of despised arms?
Comest thou because the anointed king is hence?
Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind,
And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
Were I but now the lord of such hot youth
As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men,
From forth the ranks of many thousand French,
O, then how quickly should this arm of mine.
Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee
And minister correction to thy fault!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious uncle, let me know my fault:
On what condition stands it and wherein?

DUKE OF YORK

Even in condition of the worst degree,
In gross rebellion and detested treason:
Thou art a banish’d man, and here art come
Before the expiration of thy time,
In braving arms against thy sovereign.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As I was banish’d, I was banish’d Hereford;
But as I come, I come for Lancaster.
And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace
Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye:
You are my father, for methinks in you
I see old Gaunt alive; O, then, my father,
Will you permit that I shall stand condemn’d
A wandering vagabond; my rights and royalties
Pluck’d from my arms perforce and given away
To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?
If that my cousin king be King of England,
It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.
You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin;
Had you first died, and he been thus trod down,
He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father,
To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.
I am denied to sue my livery here,
And yet my letters-patents give me leave:
My father’s goods are all distrain’d and sold,
And these and all are all amiss employ’d.
What would you have me do? I am a subject,
And I challenge law: attorneys are denied me;
And therefore, personally I lay my claim
To my inheritance of free descent.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The noble duke hath been too much abused.

LORD ROSS

It stands your grace upon to do him right.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Base men by his endowments are made great.

DUKE OF YORK

My lords of England, let me tell you this:
I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs
And laboured all I could to do him right;
But in this kind to come, in braving arms,
Be his own carver and cut out his way,
To find out right with wrong, it may not be;
And you that do abet him in this kind
Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The noble duke hath sworn his coming is
But for his own; and for the right of that
We all have strongly sworn to give him aid;
And let him ne’er see joy that breaks that oath!

DUKE OF YORK

Well, well, I see the issue of these arms:
I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,
Because my power is weak and all ill left:
But if I could, by Him that gave me life,
I would attach you all and make you stoop
Unto the sovereign mercy of the king;
But since I cannot, be it known to you
I do remain as neuter. So, fare you well;
Unless you please to enter in the castle
And there repose you for this night.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

An offer, uncle, that we will accept:
But we must win your grace to go with us
To Bristol castle, which they say is held
By Bushy, Bagot and their complices,
The caterpillars of the commonwealth,
Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.

DUKE OF YORK

It may be I will go with you: but yet I’ll pause;
For I am loath to break our country’s laws.
Nor friends nor foes, to me welcome you are:
Things past redress are now with me past care.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A camp in Wales.

Enter EARL OF SALISBURY and a Welsh Captain

Captain

My lord of Salisbury, we have stay’d ten days,
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings from the king;
Therefore we will disperse ourselves: farewell.

EARL OF SALISBURY

Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:
The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.

Captain

‘Tis thought the king is dead; we will not stay.
The bay-trees in our country are all wither’d
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven;
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change;
Rich men look sad and ruffians dance and leap,
The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,
The other to enjoy by rage and war:
These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.
Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,
As well assured Richard their king is dead.

Exit

EARL OF SALISBURY

Ah, Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind
I see thy glory like a shooting star
Fall to the base earth from the firmament.
Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west,
Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest:
Thy friends are fled to wait upon thy foes,
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.

Exit

ACT III
SCENE I. Bristol. Before the castle.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, LORD ROSS, HENRY PERCY, LORD WILLOUGHBY, with BUSHY and GREEN, prisoners

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Bring forth these men.
Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls—
Since presently your souls must part your bodies—
With too much urging your pernicious lives,
For ’twere no charity; yet, to wash your blood
From off my hands, here in the view of men
I will unfold some causes of your deaths.
You have misled a prince, a royal king,
A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments,
By you unhappied and disfigured clean:
You have in manner with your sinful hours
Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him,
Broke the possession of a royal bed
And stain’d the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks
With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs.
Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth,
Near to the king in blood, and near in love
Till you did make him misinterpret me,
Have stoop’d my neck under your injuries,
And sigh’d my English breath in foreign clouds,
Eating the bitter bread of banishment;
Whilst you have fed upon my signories,
Dispark’d my parks and fell’d my forest woods,
From my own windows torn my household coat,
Razed out my imprese, leaving me no sign,
Save men’s opinions and my living blood,
To show the world I am a gentleman.
This and much more, much more than twice all this,
Condemns you to the death. See them deliver’d over
To execution and the hand of death.

BUSHY

More welcome is the stroke of death to me
Than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.

GREEN

My comfort is that heaven will take our souls
And plague injustice with the pains of hell.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatch’d.

Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND and others, with the prisoners
Uncle, you say the queen is at your house;
For God’s sake, fairly let her be entreated:
Tell her I send to her my kind commends;
Take special care my greetings be deliver’d.

DUKE OF YORK

A gentleman of mine I have dispatch’d
With letters of your love to her at large.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Thank, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away.
To fight with Glendower and his complices:
Awhile to work, and after holiday.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The coast of Wales. A castle in view.

Drums; flourish and colours. Enter KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, and Soldiers

KING RICHARD II

Barkloughly castle call they this at hand?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air,
After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

KING RICHARD II

Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy
To stand upon my kingdom once again.
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs:
As a long-parted mother with her child
Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,
And do thee favours with my royal hands.
Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,
Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense;
But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,
And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,
Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet
Which with usurping steps do trample thee:
Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies;
And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder
Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.
Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords:
This earth shall have a feeling and these stones
Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king
Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Fear not, my lord: that Power that made you king
Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.
The means that heaven yields must be embraced,
And not neglected; else, if heaven would,
And we will not, heaven’s offer we refuse,
The proffer’d means of succor and redress.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

He means, my lord, that we are too remiss;
Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,
Grows strong and great in substance and in power.

KING RICHARD II

Discomfortable cousin! know’st thou not
That when the searching eye of heaven is hid,
Behind the globe, that lights the lower world,
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
In murders and in outrage, boldly here;
But when from under this terrestrial ball
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
And darts his light through every guilty hole,
Then murders, treasons and detested sins,
The cloak of night being pluck’d from off their backs,
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?
So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,
Who all this while hath revell’d in the night
Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes,
Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
Not able to endure the sight of day,
But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord:
For every man that Bolingbroke hath press’d
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,
Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

Enter EARL OF SALISBURY
Welcome, my lord how far off lies your power?

EARL OF SALISBURY

Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord,
Than this weak arm: discomfort guides my tongue
And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth:
O, call back yesterday, bid time return,
And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men!
To-day, to-day, unhappy day, too late,
O’erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune and thy state:
For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead.
Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed and fled.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; why looks your grace so pale?

KING RICHARD II

But now the blood of twenty thousand men
Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
And, till so much blood thither come again,
Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
All souls that will be safe fly from my side,
For time hath set a blot upon my pride.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; remember who you are.

KING RICHARD II

I had forgot myself; am I not king?
Awake, thou coward majesty! thou sleepest.
Is not the king’s name twenty thousand names?
Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes
At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,
Ye favourites of a king: are we not high?
High be our thoughts: I know my uncle York
Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?

Enter SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

More health and happiness betide my liege
Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him!

KING RICHARD II

Mine ear is open and my heart prepared;
The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
Say, is my kingdom lost? why, ’twas my care
And what loss is it to be rid of care?
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
Greater he shall not be; if he serve God,
We’ll serve Him too and be his fellow so:
Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend;
They break their faith to God as well as us:
Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay:
The worst is death, and death will have his day.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Glad am I that your highness is so arm’d
To bear the tidings of calamity.
Like an unseasonable stormy day,
Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores,
As if the world were all dissolved to tears,
So high above his limits swells the rage
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.
White-beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps
Against thy majesty; boys, with women’s voices,
Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown:
The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
Of double-fatal yew against thy state;
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.

KING RICHARD II

Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?
What is become of Bushy? where is Green?
That they have let the dangerous enemy
Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it:
I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.

KING RICHARD II

O villains, vipers, damn’d without redemption!
Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man!
Snakes, in my heart-blood warm’d, that sting my heart!
Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!
Would they make peace? terrible hell make war
Upon their spotted souls for this offence!

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate:
Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made
With heads, and not with hands; those whom you curse
Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound
And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Ay, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the duke my father with his power?

KING RICHARD II

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke’s,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:
And fight and die is death destroying death;
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My father hath a power; inquire of him
And learn to make a body of a limb.

KING RICHARD II

Thou chidest me well: proud Bolingbroke, I come
To change blows with thee for our day of doom.
This ague fit of fear is over-blown;
An easy task it is to win our own.
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Men judge by the complexion of the sky
The state and inclination of the day:
So may you by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
I play the torturer, by small and small
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken:
Your uncle York is join’d with Bolingbroke,
And all your northern castles yielded up,
And all your southern gentlemen in arms
Upon his party.

KING RICHARD II

Thou hast said enough.
Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth

To DUKE OF AUMERLE
Of that sweet way I was in to despair!
What say you now? what comfort have we now?
By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly
That bids me be of comfort any more.
Go to Flint castle: there I’ll pine away;
A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.
That power I have, discharge; and let them go
To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
For I have none: let no man speak again
To alter this, for counsel is but vain.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My liege, one word.

KING RICHARD II

He does me double wrong
That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
Discharge my followers: let them hence away,
From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Wales. Before Flint castle.

Enter, with drum and colours, HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, Attendants, and forces

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So that by this intelligence we learn
The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury
Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed
With some few private friends upon this coast.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The news is very fair and good, my lord:
Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.

DUKE OF YORK

It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
To say ‘King Richard:’ alack the heavy day
When such a sacred king should hide his head.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Your grace mistakes; only to be brief
Left I his title out.

DUKE OF YORK

The time hath been,
Would you have been so brief with him, he would
Have been so brief with you, to shorten you,
For taking so the head, your whole head’s length.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.

DUKE OF YORK

Take not, good cousin, further than you should.
Lest you mistake the heavens are o’er our heads.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
Against their will. But who comes here?

Enter HENRY PERCY
Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?

HENRY PERCY

The castle royally is mann’d, my lord,
Against thy entrance.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Royally!
Why, it contains no king?

HENRY PERCY

Yes, my good lord,
It doth contain a king; King Richard lies
Within the limits of yon lime and stone:
And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,
Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman
Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.

NORTHUMBERLAND

O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Noble lords,
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle;
Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
Into his ruin’d ears, and thus deliver:
Henry Bolingbroke
On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand
And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
To his most royal person, hither come
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
Provided that my banishment repeal’d
And lands restored again be freely granted:
If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power
And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood
Rain’d from the wounds of slaughter’d Englishmen:
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench
The fresh green lap of fair King Richard’s land,
My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
Go, signify as much, while here we march
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
Let’s march without the noise of threatening drum,
That from this castle’s tatter’d battlements
Our fair appointments may be well perused.
Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water, when their thundering shock
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water:
The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
My waters; on the earth, and not on him.
March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.

Parle without, and answer within. Then a flourish. Enter on the walls, KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, SIR STEPHEN SCROOP, and EARL OF SALISBURY
See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,
As doth the blushing discontented sun
From out the fiery portal of the east,
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
To dim his glory and to stain the track
Of his bright passage to the occident.

DUKE OF YORK

Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,
As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth
Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe,
That any harm should stain so fair a show!

KING RICHARD II

We are amazed; and thus long have we stood
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,

To NORTHUMBERLAND
Because we thought ourself thy lawful king:
And if we be, how dare thy joints forget
To pay their awful duty to our presence?
If we be not, show us the hand of God
That hath dismissed us from our stewardship;
For well we know, no hand of blood and bone
Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,
Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
And though you think that all, as you have done,
Have torn their souls by turning them from us,
And we are barren and bereft of friends;
Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike
Your children yet unborn and unbegot,
That lift your vassal hands against my head
And threat the glory of my precious crown.
Tell Bolingbroke—for yond methinks he stands—
That every stride he makes upon my land
Is dangerous treason: he is come to open
The purple testament of bleeding war;
But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons
Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
To scarlet indignation and bedew
Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The king of heaven forbid our lord the king
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
Be rush’d upon! Thy thrice noble cousin
Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand;
And by the honourable tomb he swears,
That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,
And by the worth and honour of himself,
Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
His coming hither hath no further scope
Than for his lineal royalties and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his kn ees:
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your majesty.
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, say thus the king returns:
His noble cousin is right welcome hither;
And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish’d without contradiction:
With all the gracious utterance thou hast
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,

To DUKE OF AUMERLE
To look so poorly and to speak so fair?
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send
Defiance to the traitor, and so die?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

No, good my lord; let’s fight with gentle words
Till time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.

KING RICHARD II

O God, O God! that e’er this tongue of mine,
That laid the sentence of dread banishment
On yon proud man, should take it off again
With words of sooth! O that I were as great
As is my grief, or lesser than my name!
Or that I could forget what I have been,
Or not remember what I must be now!
Swell’st thou, proud heart? I’ll give thee scope to beat,
Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

What must the king do now? must he submit?
The king shall do it: must he be deposed?
The king shall be contented: must he lose
The name of king? o’ God’s name, let it go:
I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
My sceptre for a palmer’s walking staff,
My subjects for a pair of carved saints
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little little grave, an obscure grave;
Or I’ll be buried in the king’s highway,
Some way of common trade, where subjects’ feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign’s head;
For on my heart they tread now whilst I live;
And buried once, why not upon my head?
Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin!
We’ll make foul weather with despised tears;
Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,
And make a dearth in this revolting land.
Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,
And make some pretty match with shedding tears?
As thus, to drop them still upon one place,
Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
Within the earth; and, therein laid,—there lies
Two kinsmen digg’d their graves with weeping eyes.
Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,
What says King Bolingbroke? will his majesty
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, in the base court he doth attend
To speak with you; may it please you to come down.

KING RICHARD II

Down, down I come; like glistering Phaethon,
Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,
To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.
In the base court? Come down? Down, court!
down, king!
For night-owls shriek where mounting larks
should sing.

Exeunt from above

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What says his majesty?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Sorrow and grief of heart
Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man
Yet he is come.

Enter KING RICHARD and his attendants below

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Stand all apart,
And show fair duty to his majesty.

He kneels down
My gracious lord,—

KING RICHARD II

Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
To make the base earth proud with kissing it:
Me rather had my heart might feel your love
Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know,
Thus high at least, although your knee be low.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.

KING RICHARD II

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
As my true service shall deserve your love.

KING RICHARD II

Well you deserve: they well deserve to have,
That know the strong’st and surest way to get.
Uncle, give me your hands: nay, dry your eyes;
Tears show their love, but want their remedies.
Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
Though you are old enough to be my heir.
What you will have, I’ll give, and willing too;
For do we must what force will have us do.
Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yea, my good lord.

KING RICHARD II

Then I must not say no.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE IV. LANGLEY. The DUKE OF YORK’s garden.

Enter the QUEEN and two Ladies

QUEEN

What sport shall we devise here in this garden,
To drive away the heavy thought of care?

Lady

Madam, we’ll play at bowls.

QUEEN

‘Twill make me think the world is full of rubs,
And that my fortune rubs against the bias.

Lady

Madam, we’ll dance.

QUEEN

My legs can keep no measure in delight,
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief:
Therefore, no dancing, girl; some other sport.

Lady

Madam, we’ll tell tales.

QUEEN

Of sorrow or of joy?

Lady

Of either, madam.

QUEEN

Of neither, girl:
For of joy, being altogether wanting,
It doth remember me the more of sorrow;
Or if of grief, being altogether had,
It adds more sorrow to my want of joy:
For what I have I need not to repeat;
And what I want it boots not to complain.

Lady

Madam, I’ll sing.

QUEEN

‘Tis well that thou hast cause
But thou shouldst please me better, wouldst thou weep.

Lady

I could weep, madam, would it do you good.

QUEEN

And I could sing, would weeping do me good,
And never borrow any tear of thee.

Enter a Gardener, and two Servants
But stay, here come the gardeners:
Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.
My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They’ll talk of state; for every one doth so
Against a change; woe is forerun with woe.

QUEEN and Ladies retire

Gardener

Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:
Give some supportance to the bending twigs.
Go thou, and like an executioner,
Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays,
That look too lofty in our commonwealth:
All must be even in our government.
You thus employ’d, I will go root away
The noisome weeds, which without profit suck
The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

Servant

Why should we in the compass of a pale
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,
When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit-trees all upturned, her hedges ruin’d,
Her knots disorder’d and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?

Gardener

Hold thy peace:
He that hath suffer’d this disorder’d spring
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf:
The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,
That seem’d in eating him to hold him up,
Are pluck’d up root and all by Bolingbroke,
I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.

Servant

What, are they dead?

Gardener

They are; and Bolingbroke
Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity is it
That he had not so trimm’d and dress’d his land
As we this garden! We at time of year
Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,
Lest, being over-proud in sap and blood,
With too much riches it confound itself:
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have lived to bear and he to taste
Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.

Servant

What, think you then the king shall be deposed?

Gardener

Depress’d he is already, and deposed
‘Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night
To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s,
That tell black tidings.

QUEEN

O, I am press’d to death through want of speaking!

Coming forward
Thou, old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,
How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?
What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
To make a second fall of cursed man?
Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
Darest thou, thou little better thing than earth,
Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how,
Camest thou by this ill tidings? speak, thou wretch.

Gardener

Pardon me, madam: little joy have I
To breathe this news; yet what I say is true.
King Richard, he is in the mighty hold
Of Bolingbroke: their fortunes both are weigh’d:
In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself,
And some few vanities that make him light;
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
Besides himself, are all the English peers,
And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
Post you to London, and you will find it so;
I speak no more than every one doth know.

QUEEN

Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
Doth not thy embassage belong to me,
And am I last that knows it? O, thou think’st
To serve me last, that I may longest keep
Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go,
To meet at London London’s king in woe.
What, was I born to this, that my sad look
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?
Gardener, for telling me these news of woe,
Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.

Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies

GARDENER

Poor queen! so that thy state might be no worse,
I would my skill were subject to thy curse.
Here did she fall a tear; here in this place
I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace:
Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen,
In the remembrance of a weeping queen.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. Westminster Hall.

Enter, as to the Parliament, HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, HENRY PERCY, LORD FITZWATER, DUKE OF SURREY, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the Abbot Of Westminster, and another Lord, Herald, Officers, and BAGOT

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Call forth Bagot.
Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;
What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,
Who wrought it with the king, and who perform’d
The bloody office of his timeless end.

BAGOT

Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.

BAGOT

My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue
Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d.
In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,
I heard you say, ‘Is not my arm of length,
That reacheth from the restful English court
As far as Calais, to mine uncle’s head?’
Amongst much other talk, that very time,
I heard you say that you had rather refuse
The offer of an hundred thousand crowns
Than Bolingbroke’s return to England;
Adding withal how blest this land would be
In this your cousin’s death.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Princes and noble lords,
What answer shall I make to this base man?
Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,
On equal terms to give him chastisement?
Either I must, or have mine honour soil’d
With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
There is my gage, the manual seal of death,
That marks thee out for hell: I say, thou liest,
And will maintain what thou hast said is false
In thy heart-blood, though being all too base
To stain the temper of my knightly sword.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Excepting one, I would he were the best
In all this presence that hath moved me so.

LORD FITZWATER

If that thy valour stand on sympathy,
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:
By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,
I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spakest it
That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.
If thou deny’st it twenty times, thou liest;
And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
Where it was forged, with my rapier’s point.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Thou darest not, coward, live to see that day.

LORD FITZWATER

Now by my soul, I would it were this hour.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.

HENRY PERCY

Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true
In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
To prove it on thee to the extremest point
Of mortal breathing: seize it, if thou darest.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

An if I do not, may my hands rot off
And never brandish more revengeful steel
Over the glittering helmet of my foe!

Lord

I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;
And spur thee on with full as many lies
As may be holloa’d in thy treacherous ear
From sun to sun: there is my honour’s pawn;
Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Who sets me else? by heaven, I’ll throw at all:
I have a thousand spirits in one breast,
To answer twenty thousand such as you.

DUKE OF SURREY

My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well
The very time Aumerle and you did talk.

LORD FITZWATER

‘Tis very true: you were in presence then;
And you can witness with me this is true.

DUKE OF SURREY

As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.

LORD FITZWATER

Surrey, thou liest.

DUKE OF SURREY

Dishonourable boy!
That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword,
That it shall render vengeance and revenge
Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie
In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull:
In proof whereof, there is my honour’s pawn;
Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.

LORD FITZWATER

How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!
If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,
I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,
And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,
And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith,
To tie thee to my strong correction.
As I intend to thrive in this new world,
Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:
Besides, I heard the banish’d Norfolk say
That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men
To execute the noble duke at Calais.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Some honest Christian trust me with a gage
That Norfolk lies: here do I throw down this,
If he may be repeal’d, to try his honour.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

These differences shall all rest under gage
Till Norfolk be repeal’d: repeal’d he shall be,
And, though mine enemy, restored again
To all his lands and signories: when he’s return’d,
Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

That honourable day shall ne’er be seen.
Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought
For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens:
And toil’d with works of war, retired himself
To Italy; and there at Venice gave
His body to that pleasant country’s earth,
And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,
Under whose colours he had fought so long.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

As surely as I live, my lord.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom
Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,
Your differences shall all rest under gage
Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter DUKE OF YORK, attended

DUKE OF YORK

Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
From plume-pluck’d Richard; who with willing soul
Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
To the possession of thy royal hand:
Ascend his throne, descending now from him;
And long live Henry, fourth of that name!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Marry. God forbid!
Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
Would God that any in this noble presence
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would
Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
What subject can give sentence on his king?
And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?
Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
And shall the figure of God’s majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy-elect,
Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,
That in a Christian climate souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
Stirr’d up by God, thus boldly for his king:
My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king:
And if you crown him, let me prophesy:
The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act;
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d
The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child, child’s children, cry against you woe!

NORTHUMBERLAND

Well have you argued, sir; and, for your pains,
Of capital treason we arrest you here.
My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge
To keep him safely till his day of trial.
May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ suit.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Fetch hither Richard, that in common view
He may surrender; so we shall proceed
Without suspicion.

DUKE OF YORK

I will be his conduct.

Exit

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Lords, you that here are under our arrest,
Procure your sureties for your days of answer.
Little are we beholding to your love,
And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Re-enter DUKE OF YORK, with KING RICHARD II, and Officers bearing the regalia

KING RICHARD II

Alack, why am I sent for to a king,
Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d
To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:
Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
To this submission. Yet I well remember
The favours of these men: were they not mine?
Did they not sometime cry, ‘all hail!’ to me?
So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,
Found truth in all but one: I, in twelve thousand, none.
God save the king! Will no man say amen?
Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.
God save the king! although I be not he;
And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.
To do what service am I sent for hither?

DUKE OF YORK

To do that office of thine own good will
Which tired majesty did make thee offer,
The resignation of thy state and crown
To Henry Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;
Here cousin:
On this side my hand, and on that side yours.
Now is this golden crown like a deep well
That owes two buckets, filling one another,
The emptier ever dancing in the air,
The other down, unseen and full of water:
That bucket down and full of tears am I,
Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I thought you had been willing to resign.

KING RICHARD II

My crown I am; but still my griefs are mine:
You may my glories and my state depose,
But not my griefs; still am I king of those.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Part of your cares you give me with your crown.

KING RICHARD II

Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.
My care is loss of care, by old care done;
Your care is gain of care, by new care won:
The cares I give I have, though given away;
They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Are you contented to resign the crown?

KING RICHARD II

Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;
Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.
Now mark me, how I will undo myself;
I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown,
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
With mine own breath release all duty’s rites:
All pomp and majesty I do forswear;
My manors, rents, revenues I forego;
My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!
God keep all vows unbroke that swear to thee!
Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,
And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved!
Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,
And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit!
God save King Harry, unking’d Richard says,
And send him many years of sunshine days!
What more remains?

NORTHUMBERLAND

No more, but that you read
These accusations and these grievous crimes
Committed by your person and your followers
Against the state and profit of this land;
That, by confessing them, the souls of men
May deem that you are worthily deposed.

KING RICHARD II

Must I do so? and must I ravel out
My weaved-up folly? Gentle Northumberland,
If thy offences were upon record,
Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop
To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
There shouldst thou find one heinous article,
Containing the deposing of a king
And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,
Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven:
Nay, all of you that stand and look upon,
Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands
Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates
Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,
And water cannot wash away your sin.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, dispatch; read o’er these articles.

KING RICHARD II

Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:
And yet salt water blinds them not so much
But they can see a sort of traitors here.
Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
I find myself a traitor with the rest;
For I have given here my soul’s consent
To undeck the pompous body of a king;
Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,
Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord,—

KING RICHARD II

No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,
Nor no man’s lord; I have no name, no title,
No, not that name was given me at the font,
But ’tis usurp’d: alack the heavy day,
That I have worn so many winters out,
And know not now what name to call myself!
O that I were a mockery king of snow,
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
To melt myself away in water-drops!
Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,
An if my word be sterling yet in England,
Let it command a mirror hither straight,
That it may show me what a face I have,
Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.

Exit an attendant

NORTHUMBERLAND

Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.

KING RICHARD II

Fiend, thou torment’st me ere I come to hell!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The commons will not then be satisfied.

KING RICHARD II

They shall be satisfied: I’ll read enough,
When I do see the very book indeed
Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

Re-enter Attendant, with a glass
Give me the glass, and therein will I read.
No deeper wrinkles yet? hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine,
And made no deeper wounds? O flattering glass,
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face
That every day under his household roof
Did keep ten thousand men? was this the face
That, like the sun, did make beholders wink?
Was this the face that faced so many follies,
And was at last out-faced by Bolingbroke?
A brittle glory shineth in this face:
As brittle as the glory is the face;

Dashes the glass against the ground
For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.
Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,
How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d
The shadow or your face.

KING RICHARD II

Say that again.
The shadow of my sorrow! ha! let’s see:
‘Tis very true, my grief lies all within;
And these external manners of laments
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
That swells with silence in the tortured soul;
There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,
For thy great bounty, that not only givest
Me cause to wail but teachest me the way
How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon,
And then be gone and trouble you no more.
Shall I obtain it?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Name it, fair cousin.

KING RICHARD II

‘Fair cousin’? I am greater than a king:
For when I was a king, my flatterers
Were then but subjects; being now a subject,
I have a king here to my flatterer.
Being so great, I have no need to beg.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yet ask.

KING RICHARD II

And shall I have?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

You shall.

KING RICHARD II

Then give me leave to go.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Whither?

KING RICHARD II

Whither you will, so I were from your sights.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Go, some of you convey him to the Tower.

KING RICHARD II

O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,
That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.

Exeunt KING RICHARD II, some Lords, and a Guard

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

On Wednesday next we solemnly set down
Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves.

Exeunt all except the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the Abbot of Westminster, and DUKE OF AUMERLE

Abbot

A woeful pageant have we here beheld.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

The woe’s to come; the children yet unborn.
Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

You holy clergymen, is there no plot
To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?

Abbot

My lord,
Before I freely speak my mind herein,
You shall not only take the sacrament
To bury mine intents, but also to effect
Whatever I shall happen to devise.
I see your brows are full of discontent,
Your hearts of sorrow and your eyes of tears:
Come home with me to supper; and I’ll lay
A plot shall show us all a merry day.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. London. A street leading to the Tower.

Enter QUEEN and Ladies

QUEEN

This way the king will come; this is the way
To Julius Caesar’s ill-erected tower,
To whose flint bosom my condemned lord
Is doom’d a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke:
Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth
Have any resting for her true king’s queen.

Enter KING RICHARD II and Guard
But soft, but see, or rather do not see,
My fair rose wither: yet look up, behold,
That you in pity may dissolve to dew,
And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.
Ah, thou, the model where old Troy did stand,
Thou map of honour, thou King Richard’s tomb,
And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,
Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodged in thee,
When triumph is become an alehouse guest?

KING RICHARD II

Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,
To make my end too sudden: learn, good soul,
To think our former state a happy dream;
From which awaked, the truth of what we are
Shows us but this: I am sworn brother, sweet,
To grim Necessity, and he and I
Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France
And cloister thee in some religious house:
Our holy lives must win a new world’s crown,
Which our profane hours here have stricken down.

QUEEN

What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform’d and weaken’d? hath Bolingbroke deposed
Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?
The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw,
And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,
And fawn on rage with base humility,
Which art a lion and a king of beasts?

KING RICHARD II

A king of beasts, indeed; if aught but beasts,
I had been still a happy king of men.
Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France:
Think I am dead and that even here thou takest,
As from my death-bed, thy last living leave.
In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire
With good old folks and let them tell thee tales
Of woeful ages long ago betid;
And ere thou bid good night, to quit their griefs,
Tell thou the lamentable tale of me
And send the hearers weeping to their beds:
For why, the senseless brands will sympathize
The heavy accent of thy moving tongue
And in compassion weep the fire out;
And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,
For the deposing of a rightful king.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND and others

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is changed:
You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.
And, madam, there is order ta’en for you;
With all swift speed you must away to France.

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal
The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne,
The time shall not be many hours of age
More than it is ere foul sin gathering head
Shalt break into corruption: thou shalt think,
Though he divide the realm and give thee half,
It is too little, helping him to all;
And he shall think that thou, which know’st the way
To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again,
Being ne’er so little urged, another way
To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne.
The love of wicked men converts to fear;
That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both
To worthy danger and deserved death.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My guilt be on my head, and there an end.
Take leave and part; for you must part forthwith.

KING RICHARD II

Doubly divorced! Bad men, you violate
A twofold marriage, ‘twixt my crown and me,
And then betwixt me and my married wife.
Let me unkiss the oath ‘twixt thee and me;
And yet not so, for with a kiss ’twas made.
Part us, Northumberland; I toward the north,
Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime;
My wife to France: from whence, set forth in pomp,
She came adorned hither like sweet May,
Sent back like Hallowmas or short’st of day.

QUEEN

And must we be divided? must we part?

KING RICHARD II

Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from heart.

QUEEN

Banish us both and send the king with me.

NORTHUMBERLAND

That were some love but little policy.

QUEEN

Then whither he goes, thither let me go.

KING RICHARD II

So two, together weeping, make one woe.
Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here;
Better far off than near, be ne’er the near.
Go, count thy way with sighs; I mine with groans.

QUEEN

So longest way shall have the longest moans.

KING RICHARD II

Twice for one step I’ll groan, the way being short,
And piece the way out with a heavy heart.
Come, come, in wooing sorrow let’s be brief,
Since, wedding it, there is such length in grief;
One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part;
Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart.

QUEEN

Give me mine own again; ’twere no good part
To take on me to keep and kill thy heart.
So, now I have mine own again, be gone,
That I might strive to kill it with a groan.

KING RICHARD II

We make woe wanton with this fond delay:
Once more, adieu; the rest let sorrow say.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The DUKE OF YORK’s palace.

Enter DUKE OF YORK and DUCHESS OF YORK

DUCHESS OF YORK

My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,
When weeping made you break the story off,
of our two cousins coming into London.

DUKE OF YORK

Where did I leave?

DUCHESS OF YORK

At that sad stop, my lord,
Where rude misgovern’d hands from windows’ tops
Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.

DUKE OF YORK

Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,
Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed
Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,
With slow but stately pace kept on his course,
Whilst all tongues cried ‘God save thee,
Bolingbroke!’
You would have thought the very windows spake,
So many greedy looks of young and old
Through casements darted their desiring eyes
Upon his visage, and that all the walls
With painted imagery had said at once
‘Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!’
Whilst he, from the one side to the other turning,
Bareheaded, lower than his proud steed’s neck,
Bespake them thus: ‘I thank you, countrymen:’
And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Alack, poor Richard! where rode he the whilst?

DUKE OF YORK

As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes
Did scowl on gentle Richard; no man cried ‘God save him!’
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home:
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience,
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
But heaven hath a hand in these events,
To whose high will we bound our calm contents.
To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,
Whose state and honour I for aye allow.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Here comes my son Aumerle.

DUKE OF YORK

Aumerle that was;
But that is lost for being Richard’s friend,
And, madam, you must call him Rutland now:
I am in parliament pledge for his truth
And lasting fealty to the new-made king.

Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUCHESS OF YORK

Welcome, my son: who are the violets now
That strew the green lap of the new come spring?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:
God knows I had as lief be none as one.

DUKE OF YORK

Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,
Lest you be cropp’d before you come to prime.
What news from Oxford? hold those justs and triumphs?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

For aught I know, my lord, they do.

DUKE OF YORK

You will be there, I know.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

If God prevent not, I purpose so.

DUKE OF YORK

What seal is that, that hangs without thy bosom?
Yea, look’st thou pale? let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My lord, ’tis nothing.

DUKE OF YORK

No matter, then, who see it;
I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I do beseech your grace to pardon me:
It is a matter of small consequence,
Which for some reasons I would not have seen.

DUKE OF YORK

Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.
I fear, I fear,—

DUCHESS OF YORK

What should you fear?
‘Tis nothing but some bond, that he is enter’d into
For gay apparel ‘gainst the triumph day.

DUKE OF YORK

Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond
That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.
Boy, let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I do beseech you, pardon me; I may not show it.

DUKE OF YORK

I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.

He plucks it out of his bosom and reads it
Treason! foul treason! Villain! traitor! slave!

DUCHESS OF YORK

What is the matter, my lord?

DUKE OF YORK

Ho! who is within there?

Enter a Servant
Saddle my horse.
God for his mercy, what treachery is here!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why, what is it, my lord?

DUKE OF YORK

Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse.
Now, by mine honour, by my life, by my troth,
I will appeach the villain.

DUCHESS OF YORK

What is the matter?

DUKE OF YORK

Peace, foolish woman.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Good mother, be content; it is no more
Than my poor life must answer.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Thy life answer!

DUKE OF YORK

Bring me my boots: I will unto the king.

Re-enter Servant with boots

DUCHESS OF YORK

Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amazed.
Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.

DUKE OF YORK

Give me my boots, I say.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why, York, what wilt thou do?
Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?
Have we more sons? or are we like to have?
Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?
And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,
And rob me of a happy mother’s name?
Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?

DUKE OF YORK

Thou fond mad woman,
Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?
A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,
And interchangeably set down their hands,
To kill the king at Oxford.

DUCHESS OF YORK

He shall be none;
We’ll keep him here: then what is that to him?

DUKE OF YORK

Away, fond woman! were he twenty times my son,
I would appeach him.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Hadst thou groan’d for him
As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, or any of my kin,
And yet I love him.

DUKE OF YORK

Make way, unruly woman!

Exit

DUCHESS OF YORK

After, Aumerle! mount thee upon his horse;
Spur post, and get before him to the king,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:
And never will I rise up from the ground
Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away, be gone!

Exeunt

SCENE III. A royal palace.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, HENRY PERCY, and other Lords

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
‘Tis full three months since I did see him last;
If any plague hang over us, ’tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found:
Inquire at London, ‘mongst the taverns there,
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained loose companions,
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes,
And beat our watch, and rob our passengers;
Which he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honour to support
So dissolute a crew.

HENRY PERCY

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

And what said the gallant?

HENRY PERCY

His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And from the common’st creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favour; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As dissolute as desperate; yet through both
I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years
May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the king?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What means our cousin, that he stares and looks
So wildly?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty,
To have some conference with your grace alone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

Exeunt HENRY PERCY and Lords
What is the matter with our cousin now?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

For ever may my knees grow to the earth,
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth
Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Intended or committed was this fault?
If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,
To win thy after-love I pardon thee.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
That no man enter till my tale be done.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Have thy desire.

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] My liege, beware; look to thyself;
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Villain, I’ll make thee safe.

Drawing

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:
Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
Open the door, or I will break it open.

Enter DUKE OF YORK

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter, uncle? speak;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.

DUKE OF YORK

Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
The treason that my haste forbids me show.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise pass’d:
I do repent me; read not my name there
My heart is not confederate with my hand.

DUKE OF YORK

It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.
I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king;
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence:
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O heinous, strong and bold conspiracy!
O loyal father of a treacherous son!
Thou sheer, immaculate and silver fountain,
From when this stream through muddy passages
Hath held his current and defiled himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

DUKE OF YORK

So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd;
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies:
Thou kill’st me in his life; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.

DUCHESS OF YORK

[Within] What ho, my liege! for God’s sake,
let me in.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?

DUCHESS OF YORK

A woman, and thy aunt, great king; ’tis I.
Speak with me, pity me, open the door.
A beggar begs that never begg’d before.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Our scene is alter’d from a serious thing,
And now changed to ‘The Beggar and the King.’
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:
I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.

DUKE OF YORK

If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
This fester’d joint cut off, the rest rest sound;
This let alone will all the rest confound.

Enter DUCHESS OF YORK

DUCHESS OF YORK

O king, believe not this hard-hearted man!
Love loving not itself none other can.

DUKE OF YORK

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?

DUCHESS OF YORK

Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

Kneels

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Rise up, good aunt.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Not yet, I thee beseech:
For ever will I walk upon my knees,
And never see day that the happy sees,
Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,
By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.

DUKE OF YORK

Against them both my true joints bended be.
Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;
His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:
He prays but faintly and would be denied;
We pray with heart and soul and all beside:
His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;
Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow:
His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;
Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.
Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
That mercy which true prayer ought to have.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Nay, do not say, ‘stand up;’
Say, ‘pardon’ first, and afterwards ‘stand up.’
And if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
‘Pardon’ should be the first word of thy speech.
I never long’d to hear a word till now;
Say ‘pardon,’ king; let pity teach thee how:
The word is short, but not so short as sweet;
No word like ‘pardon’ for kings’ mouths so meet.

DUKE OF YORK

Speak it in French, king; say, ‘pardonne moi.’

DUCHESS OF YORK

Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
That set’st the word itself against the word!
Speak ‘pardon’ as ’tis current in our land;
The chopping French we do not understand.
Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there;
Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear;
That hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce,
Pity may move thee ‘pardon’ to rehearse.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I do not sue to stand;
Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.

DUCHESS OF YORK

O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;
Twice saying ‘pardon’ doth not pardon twain,
But makes one pardon strong.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

With all my heart
I pardon him.

DUCHESS OF YORK

A god on earth thou art.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot,
With all the rest of that consorted crew,
Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
Good uncle, help to order several powers
To Oxford, or where’er these traitors are:
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell: and, cousin too, adieu:
Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same.

Enter EXTON and Servant

EXTON

Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake,
‘Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?’
Was it not so?

Servant

These were his very words.

EXTON

‘Have I no friend?’ quoth he: he spake it twice,
And urged it twice together, did he not?

Servant

He did.

EXTON

And speaking it, he wistly look’d on me,
And who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man’
That would divorce this terror from my heart;’
Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go:
I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Pomfret castle.

Enter KING RICHARD

KING RICHARD II

I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented. The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d
With scruples and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, ‘Come, little ones,’ and then again,
‘It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.’
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls,
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That many have and others must sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I king’d again: and by and by
Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing. Music do I hear?

Music
Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours: but my time
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.
This music mads me; let it sound no more;
For though it have holp madmen to their wits,
In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
For ’tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

Enter a Groom of the Stable

Groom

Hail, royal prince!

KING RICHARD II

Thanks, noble peer;
The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
What art thou? and how comest thou hither,
Where no man never comes but that sad dog
That brings me food to make misfortune live?

Groom

I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,
With much ado at length have gotten leave
To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.
O, how it yearn’d my heart when I beheld
In London streets, that coronation-day,
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,
That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,
That horse that I so carefully have dress’d!

KING RICHARD II

Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
How went he under him?

Groom

So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.

KING RICHARD II

So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!
That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;
This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.
Would he not stumble? would he not fall down,
Since pride must have a fall, and break the neck
Of that proud man that did usurp his back?
Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee,
Since thou, created to be awed by man,
Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse;
And yet I bear a burthen like an ass,
Spurr’d, gall’d and tired by jouncing Bolingbroke.

Enter Keeper, with a dish

Keeper

Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.

KING RICHARD II

If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.

Groom

What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.

Exit

Keeper

My lord, will’t please you to fall to?

KING RICHARD II

Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.

Keeper

My lord, I dare not: Sir Pierce of Exton, who
lately came from the king, commands the contrary.

KING RICHARD II

The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee!
Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.

Beats the keeper

Keeper

Help, help, help!

Enter EXTON and Servants, armed

KING RICHARD II

How now! what means death in this rude assault?
Villain, thy own hand yields thy death’s instrument.

Snatching an axe from a Servant and killing him
Go thou, and fill another room in hell.

He kills another. Then Exton strikes him down
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire
That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with the king’s blood stain’d the king’s own land.
Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.

Dies

EXTON

As full of valour as of royal blood:
Both have I spill’d; O would the deed were good!
For now the devil, that told me I did well,
Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
This dead king to the living king I’ll bear
Take hence the rest, and give them burial here.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Windsor castle.

Flourish. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, with other Lords, and Attendants

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear
Is that the rebels have consumed with fire
Our town of Cicester in Gloucestershire;
But whether they be ta’en or slain we hear not.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND
Welcome, my lord what is the news?

NORTHUMBERLAND

First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness.
The next news is, I have to London sent
The heads of Oxford, Salisbury, Blunt, and Kent:
The manner of their taking may appear
At large discoursed in this paper here.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains;
And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.

Enter LORD FITZWATER

LORD FITZWATER

My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London
The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely,
Two of the dangerous consorted traitors
That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot;
Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.

Enter HENRY PERCY, and the BISHOP OF CARLISLE

HENRY PERCY

The grand conspirator, Abbot of Westminster,
With clog of conscience and sour melancholy
Hath yielded up his body to the grave;
But here is Carlisle living, to abide
Thy kingly doom and sentence of his pride.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Carlisle, this is your doom:
Choose out some secret place, some reverend room,
More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life;
So as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:
For though mine enemy thou hast ever been,
High sparks of honour in thee have I seen.

Enter EXTON, with persons bearing a coffin

EXTON

Great king, within this coffin I present
Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies
The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,
Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought
A deed of slander with thy fatal hand
Upon my head and all this famous land.

EXTON

From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

They love not poison that do poison need,
Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him murdered.
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,
But neither my good word nor princely favour:
With Cain go wander through shades of night,
And never show thy head by day nor light.
Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,
And put on sullen black incontinent:
I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land,
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand:
March sadly after; grace my mournings here;
In weeping after this untimely bier.

Exeunt

The Life and Death of King John

ACT I

SCENE I. KING JOHN’S palace.

Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON

KING JOHN

Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?

CHATILLON

Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France
In my behavior to the majesty,
The borrow’d majesty, of England here.

QUEEN ELINOR

A strange beginning: ‘borrow’d majesty!’

KING JOHN

Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.

CHATILLON

Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey’s son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island and the territories,
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
And put these same into young Arthur’s hand,
Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.

KING JOHN

What follows if we disallow of this?

CHATILLON

The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.

KING JOHN

Here have we war for war and blood for blood,
Controlment for controlment: so answer France.

CHATILLON

Then take my king’s defiance from my mouth,
The farthest limit of my embassy.

KING JOHN

Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard:
So hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath
And sullen presage of your own decay.
An honourable conduct let him have:
Pembroke, look to ‘t. Farewell, Chatillon.

Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE

QUEEN ELINOR

What now, my son! have I not ever said
How that ambitious Constance would not cease
Till she had kindled France and all the world,
Upon the right and party of her son?
This might have been prevented and made whole
With very easy arguments of love,
Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

KING JOHN

Our strong possession and our right for us.

QUEEN ELINOR

Your strong possession much more than your right,
Or else it must go wrong with you and me:
So much my conscience whispers in your ear,
Which none but heaven and you and I shall hear.

Enter a Sheriff

ESSEX

My liege, here is the strangest controversy
Come from country to be judged by you,
That e’er I heard: shall I produce the men?

KING JOHN

Let them approach.
Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
This expedition’s charge.

Enter ROBERT and the BASTARD
What men are you?

BASTARD

Your faithful subject I, a gentleman
Born in Northamptonshire and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.

KING JOHN

What art thou?

ROBERT

The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.

KING JOHN

Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
You came not of one mother then, it seems.

BASTARD

Most certain of one mother, mighty king;
That is well known; and, as I think, one father:
But for the certain knowledge of that truth
I put you o’er to heaven and to my mother:
Of that I doubt, as all men’s children may.

QUEEN ELINOR

Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother
And wound her honour with this diffidence.

BASTARD

I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
That is my brother’s plea and none of mine;
The which if he can prove, a’ pops me out
At least from fair five hundred pound a year:
Heaven guard my mother’s honour and my land!

KING JOHN

A good blunt fellow. Why, being younger born,
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

BASTARD

I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander’d me with bastardy:
But whether I be as true begot or no,
That still I lay upon my mother’s head,
But that I am as well begot, my liege,—
Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!—
Compare our faces and be judge yourself.
If old sir Robert did beget us both
And were our father and this son like him,
O old sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!

KING JOHN

Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!

QUEEN ELINOR

He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion’s face;
The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
Do you not read some tokens of my son
In the large composition of this man?

KING JOHN

Mine eye hath well examined his parts
And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak,
What doth move you to claim your brother’s land?

BASTARD

Because he hath a half-face, like my father.
With half that face would he have all my land:
A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year!

ROBERT

My gracious liege, when that my father lived,
Your brother did employ my father much,—

BASTARD

Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:
Your tale must be how he employ’d my mother.

ROBERT

And once dispatch’d him in an embassy
To Germany, there with the emperor
To treat of high affairs touching that time.
The advantage of his absence took the king
And in the mean time sojourn’d at my father’s;
Where how he did prevail I shame to speak,
But truth is truth: large lengths of seas and shores
Between my father and my mother lay,
As I have heard my father speak himself,
When this same lusty gentleman was got.
Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath’d
His lands to me, and took it on his death
That this my mother’s son was none of his;
And if he were, he came into the world
Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
My father’s land, as was my father’s will.

KING JOHN

Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Your father’s wife did after wedlock bear him,
And if she did play false, the fault was hers;
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
Had of your father claim’d this son for his?
In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
This calf bred from his cow from all the world;
In sooth he might; then, if he were my brother’s,
My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
Being none of his, refuse him: this concludes;
My mother’s son did get your father’s heir;
Your father’s heir must have your father’s land.

ROBERT

Shall then my father’s will be of no force
To dispossess that child which is not his?

BASTARD

Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Than was his will to get me, as I think.

QUEEN ELINOR

Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presence and no land beside?

BASTARD

Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And I had his, sir Robert’s his, like him;
And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
My arms such eel-skins stuff’d, my face so thin
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose
Lest men should say ‘Look, where three-farthings goes!’
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,
Would I might never stir from off this place,
I would give it every foot to have this face;
I would not be sir Nob in any case.

QUEEN ELINOR

I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Bequeath thy land to him and follow me?
I am a soldier and now bound to France.

BASTARD

Brother, take you my land, I’ll take my chance.
Your face hath got five hundred pound a year,
Yet sell your face for five pence and ’tis dear.
Madam, I’ll follow you unto the death.

QUEEN ELINOR

Nay, I would have you go before me thither.

BASTARD

Our country manners give our betters way.

KING JOHN

What is thy name?

BASTARD

Philip, my liege, so is my name begun,
Philip, good old sir Robert’s wife’s eldest son.

KING JOHN

From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bear’st:
Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,
Arise sir Richard and Plantagenet.

BASTARD

Brother by the mother’s side, give me your hand:
My father gave me honour, yours gave land.
Now blessed by the hour, by night or day,
When I was got, sir Robert was away!

QUEEN ELINOR

The very spirit of Plantagenet!
I am thy grandam, Richard; call me so.

BASTARD

Madam, by chance but not by truth; what though?
Something about, a little from the right,
In at the window, or else o’er the hatch:
Who dares not stir by day must walk by night,
And have is have, however men do catch:
Near or far off, well won is still well shot,
And I am I, howe’er I was begot.

KING JOHN

Go, Faulconbridge: now hast thou thy desire;
A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.
Come, madam, and come, Richard, we must speed
For France, for France, for it is more than need.

BASTARD

Brother, adieu: good fortune come to thee!
For thou wast got i’ the way of honesty.

Exeunt all but BASTARD
A foot of honour better than I was;
But many a many foot of land the worse.
Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.
‘Good den, sir Richard!’—‘God-a-mercy, fellow!’—
And if his name be George, I’ll call him Peter;
For new-made honour doth forget men’s names;
‘Tis too respective and too sociable
For your conversion. Now your traveller,
He and his toothpick at my worship’s mess,
And when my knightly stomach is sufficed,
Why then I suck my teeth and catechise
My picked man of countries: ‘My dear sir,’
Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,
‘I shall beseech you’—that is question now;
And then comes answer like an Absey book:
‘O sir,’ says answer, ‘at your best command;
At your employment; at your service, sir;’
‘No, sir,’ says question, ‘I, sweet sir, at yours:’
And so, ere answer knows what question would,
Saving in dialogue of compliment,
And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
The Pyrenean and the river Po,
It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipful society
And fits the mounting spirit like myself,
For he is but a bastard to the time
That doth not smack of observation;
And so am I, whether I smack or no;
And not alone in habit and device,
Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
But from the inward motion to deliver
Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age’s tooth:
Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.
But who comes in such haste in riding-robes?
What woman-post is this? hath she no husband
That will take pains to blow a horn before her?

Enter LADY FAULCONBRIDGE and GURNEY
O me! it is my mother. How now, good lady!
What brings you here to court so hastily?

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he,
That holds in chase mine honour up and down?

BASTARD

My brother Robert? old sir Robert’s son?
Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
Is it sir Robert’s son that you seek so?

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

Sir Robert’s son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
Sir Robert’s son: why scorn’st thou at sir Robert?
He is sir Robert’s son, and so art thou.

BASTARD

James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?

GURNEY

Good leave, good Philip.

BASTARD

Philip! sparrow: James,
There’s toys abroad: anon I’ll tell thee more.

Exit GURNEY
Madam, I was not old sir Robert’s son:
Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-Friday and ne’er broke his fast:
Sir Robert could do well: marry, to confess,
Could he get me? Sir Robert could not do it:
We know his handiwork: therefore, good mother,
To whom am I beholding for these limbs?
Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour?
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?

BASTARD

Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like.
What! I am dubb’d! I have it on my shoulder.
But, mother, I am not sir Robert’s son;
I have disclaim’d sir Robert and my land;
Legitimation, name and all is gone:
Then, good my mother, let me know my father;
Some proper man, I hope: who was it, mother?

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?

BASTARD

As faithfully as I deny the devil.

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father:
By long and vehement suit I was seduced
To make room for him in my husband’s bed:
Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!
Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urged past my defence.

BASTARD

Now, by this light, were I to get again,
Madam, I would not wish a better father.
Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
Subjected tribute to commanding love,
Against whose fury and unmatched force
The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
Nor keep his princely heart from Richard’s hand.
He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
May easily win a woman’s. Ay, my mother,
With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
Who lives and dares but say thou didst not well
When I was got, I’ll send his soul to hell.
Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;
And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
Who says it was, he lies; I say ’twas not.

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. France. Before Angiers.

Enter AUSTRIA and forces, drums, etc. on one side: on the other KING PHILIP and his power; LEWIS, ARTHUR, CONSTANCE and attendants

LEWIS

Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.
Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
Richard, that robb’d the lion of his heart
And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
By this brave duke came early to his grave:
And for amends to his posterity,
At our importance hither is he come,
To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf,
And to rebuke the usurpation
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.

ARTHUR

God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion’s death
The rather that you give his offspring life,
Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
But with a heart full of unstained love:
Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.

LEWIS

A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?

AUSTRIA

Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
As seal to this indenture of my love,
That to my home I will no more return,
Till Angiers and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
Whose foot spurns back the ocean’s roaring tides
And coops from other lands her islanders,
Even till that England, hedged in with the main,
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident from foreign purposes,
Even till that utmost corner of the west
Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,
Will I not think of home, but follow arms.

CONSTANCE

O, take his mother’s thanks, a widow’s thanks,
Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
To make a more requital to your love!

AUSTRIA

The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
In such a just and charitable war.

KING PHILIP

Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent
Against the brows of this resisting town.
Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best advantages:
We’ll lay before this town our royal bones,
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen’s blood,
But we will make it subject to this boy.

CONSTANCE

Stay for an answer to your embassy,
Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood:
My Lord Chatillon may from England bring,
That right in peace which here we urge in war,
And then we shall repent each drop of blood
That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.

Enter CHATILLON

KING PHILIP

A wonder, lady! lo, upon thy wish,
Our messenger Chatillon is arrived!
What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;
We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.

CHATILLON

Then turn your forces from this paltry siege
And stir them up against a mightier task.
England, impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have stay’d, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I;
His marches are expedient to this town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the mother-queen,
An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the king’s deceased,
And all the unsettled humours of the land,
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
With ladies’ faces and fierce dragons’ spleens,
Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
To make hazard of new fortunes here:
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
Than now the English bottoms have waft o’er
Did nearer float upon the swelling tide,
To do offence and scath in Christendom.

Drum beats
The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand,
To parley or to fight; therefore prepare.

KING PHILIP

How much unlook’d for is this expedition!

AUSTRIA

By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endavour for defence;
For courage mounteth with occasion:
Let them be welcome then: we are prepared.

Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD, Lords, and forces

KING JOHN

Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
Our just and lineal entrance to our own;
If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,
Whiles we, God’s wrathful agent, do correct
Their proud contempt that beats His peace to heaven.

KING PHILIP

Peace be to England, if that war return
From France to England, there to live in peace.
England we love; and for that England’s sake
With burden of our armour here we sweat.
This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
But thou from loving England art so far,
That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king
Cut off the sequence of posterity,
Out-faced infant state and done a rape
Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey’s face;
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his:
This little abstract doth contain that large
Which died in Geffrey, and the hand of time
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey’s right
And this is Geffrey’s: in the name of God
How comes it then that thou art call’d a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o’ermasterest?

KING JOHN

From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
To draw my answer from thy articles?

KING PHILIP

From that supernal judge, that stirs good thoughts
In any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of right:
That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong
And by whose help I mean to chastise it.

KING JOHN

Alack, thou dost usurp authority.

KING PHILIP

Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.

QUEEN ELINOR

Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?

CONSTANCE

Let me make answer; thy usurping son.

QUEEN ELINOR

Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,
That thou mayst be a queen, and cheque the world!

CONSTANCE

My bed was ever to thy son as true
As thine was to thy husband; and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey
Than thou and John in manners; being as like
As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think
His father never was so true begot:
It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.

QUEEN ELINOR

There’s a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

CONSTANCE

There’s a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.

AUSTRIA

Peace!

BASTARD

Hear the crier.

AUSTRIA

What the devil art thou?

BASTARD

One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
An a’ may catch your hide and you alone:
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard;
I’ll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to’t; i’ faith, I will, i’ faith.

BLANCH

O, well did he become that lion’s robe
That did disrobe the lion of that robe!

BASTARD

It lies as sightly on the back of him
As great Alcides’ shows upon an ass:
But, ass, I’ll take that burthen from your back,
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.

AUSTRIA

What craker is this same that deafs our ears
With this abundance of superfluous breath?

KING PHILIP

Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.

LEWIS

Women and fools, break off your conference.
King John, this is the very sum of all;
England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur do I claim of thee:
Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?

KING JOHN

My life as soon: I do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
And out of my dear love I’ll give thee more
Than e’er the coward hand of France can win:
Submit thee, boy.

QUEEN ELINOR

Come to thy grandam, child.

CONSTANCE

Do, child, go to it grandam, child:
Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig:
There’s a good grandam.

ARTHUR

Good my mother, peace!
I would that I were low laid in my grave:
I am not worth this coil that’s made for me.

QUEEN ELINOR

His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.

CONSTANCE

Now shame upon you, whether she does or no!
His grandam’s wrongs, and not his mother’s shames,
Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee;
Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be bribed
To do him justice and revenge on you.

QUEEN ELINOR

Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!

CONSTANCE

Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
Call not me slanderer; thou and thine usurp
The dominations, royalties and rights
Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eld’st son’s son,
Infortunate in nothing but in thee:
Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
The canon of the law is laid on him,
Being but the second generation
Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.

KING JOHN

Bedlam, have done.

CONSTANCE

I have but this to say,
That he is not only plagued for her sin,
But God hath made her sin and her the plague
On this removed issue, plague for her
And with her plague; her sin his injury,
Her injury the beadle to her sin,
All punish’d in the person of this child,
And all for her; a plague upon her!

QUEEN ELINOR

Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
A will that bars the title of thy son.

CONSTANCE

Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will:
A woman’s will; a canker’d grandam’s will!

KING PHILIP

Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:
It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
To these ill-tuned repetitions.
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak
Whose title they admit, Arthur’s or John’s.

Trumpet sounds. Enter certain Citizens upon the walls

First Citizen

Who is it that hath warn’d us to the walls?

KING PHILIP

‘Tis France, for England.

KING JOHN

England, for itself.
You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects—

KING PHILIP

You loving men of Angiers, Arthur’s subjects,
Our trumpet call’d you to this gentle parle—

KING JOHN

For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
These flags of France, that are advanced here
Before the eye and prospect of your town,
Have hither march’d to your endamagement:
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
And ready mounted are they to spit forth
Their iron indignation ‘gainst your walls:
All preparation for a bloody siege
All merciless proceeding by these French
Confronts your city’s eyes, your winking gates;
And but for our approach those sleeping stones,
That as a waist doth girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordinance
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
But on the sight of us your lawful king,
Who painfully with much expedient march
Have brought a countercheque before your gates,
To save unscratch’d your city’s threatened cheeks,
Behold, the French amazed vouchsafe a parle;
And now, instead of bullets wrapp’d in fire,
To make a shaking fever in your walls,
They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke,
To make a faithless error in your ears:
Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
And let us in, your king, whose labour’d spirits,
Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.

KING PHILIP

When I have said, make answer to us both.
Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
Is most divinely vow’d upon the right
Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
Son to the elder brother of this man,
And king o’er him and all that he enjoys:
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In warlike march these greens before your town,
Being no further enemy to you
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal
In the relief of this oppressed child
Religiously provokes. Be pleased then
To pay that duty which you truly owe
To that owes it, namely this young prince:
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
Save in aspect, hath all offence seal’d up;
Our cannons’ malice vainly shall be spent
Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;
And with a blessed and unvex’d retire,
With unhack’d swords and helmets all unbruised,
We will bear home that lusty blood again
Which here we came to spout against your town,
And leave your children, wives and you in peace.
But if you fondly pass our proffer’d offer,
‘Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls
Can hide you from our messengers of war,
Though all these English and their discipline
Were harbour’d in their rude circumference.
Then tell us, shall your city call us lord,
In that behalf which we have challenged it?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage
And stalk in blood to our possession?

First Citizen

In brief, we are the king of England’s subjects:
For him, and in his right, we hold this town.

KING JOHN

Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.

First Citizen

That can we not; but he that proves the king,
To him will we prove loyal: till that time
Have we ramm’d up our gates against the world.

KING JOHN

Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
And if not that, I bring you witnesses,
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England’s breed,—

BASTARD

Bastards, and else.

KING JOHN

To verify our title with their lives.

KING PHILIP

As many and as well-born bloods as those,—

BASTARD

Some bastards too.

KING PHILIP

Stand in his face to contradict his claim.

First Citizen

Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We for the worthiest hold the right from both.

KING JOHN

Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
That to their everlasting residence,
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
In dreadful trial of our kingdom’s king!

KING PHILIP

Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! to arms!

BASTARD

Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e’er since
Sits on his horseback at mine hostess’ door,
Teach us some fence!

To AUSTRIA
Sirrah, were I at home,
At your den, sirrah, with your lioness
I would set an ox-head to your lion’s hide,
And make a monster of you.

AUSTRIA

Peace! no more.

BASTARD

O tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

KING JOHN

Up higher to the plain; where we’ll set forth
In best appointment all our regiments.

BASTARD

Speed then, to take advantage of the field.

KING PHILIP

It shall be so; and at the other hill
Command the rest to stand. God and our right!

Exeunt

Here after excursions, enter the Herald of France, with trumpets, to the gates

French Herald

You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
And let young Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, in,
Who by the hand of France this day hath made
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground;
Many a widow’s husband grovelling lies,
Coldly embracing the discolour’d earth;
And victory, with little loss, doth play
Upon the dancing banners of the French,
Who are at hand, triumphantly display’d,
To enter conquerors and to proclaim
Arthur of Bretagne England’s king and yours.

Enter English Herald, with trumpet

English Herald

Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells:
King John, your king and England’s doth approach,
Commander of this hot malicious day:
Their armours, that march’d hence so silver-bright,
Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen’s blood;
There stuck no plume in any English crest
That is removed by a staff of France;
Our colours do return in those same hands
That did display them when we first march’d forth;
And, like a troop of jolly huntsmen, come
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes:
Open your gates and gives the victors way.

First Citizen

Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,
From first to last, the onset and retire
Of both your armies; whose equality
By our best eyes cannot be censured:
Blood hath bought blood and blows have answered blows;
Strength match’d with strength, and power confronted power:
Both are alike; and both alike we like.
One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even,
We hold our town for neither, yet for both.

Re-enter KING JOHN and KING PHILIP, with their powers, severally

KING JOHN

France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
Say, shall the current of our right run on?
Whose passage, vex’d with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel and o’erswell
With course disturb’d even thy confining shores,
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress to the ocean.

KING PHILIP

England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood,
In this hot trial, more than we of France;
Rather, lost more. And by this hand I swear,
That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
We’ll put thee down, ‘gainst whom these arms we bear,
Or add a royal number to the dead,
Gracing the scroll that tells of this war’s loss
With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.

BASTARD

Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers,
When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel;
The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;
And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
In undetermined differences of kings.
Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?
Cry, ‘havoc!’ kings; back to the stained field,
You equal potents, fiery kindled spirits!
Then let confusion of one part confirm
The other’s peace: till then, blows, blood and death!

KING JOHN

Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

KING PHILIP

Speak, citizens, for England; who’s your king?

First Citizen

The king of England; when we know the king.

KING PHILIP

Know him in us, that here hold up his right.

KING JOHN

In us, that are our own great deputy
And bear possession of our person here,
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.

First Citizen

A greater power then we denies all this;
And till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr’d gates;
King’d of our fears, until our fears, resolved,
Be by some certain king purged and deposed.

BASTARD

By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,
And stand securely on their battlements,
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
Your royal presences be ruled by me:
Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend
Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town:
By east and west let France and England mount
Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,
Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl’d down
The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
I’ld play incessantly upon these jades,
Even till unfenced desolation
Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
That done, dissever your united strengths,
And part your mingled colours once again;
Turn face to face and bloody point to point;
Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth
Out of one side her happy minion,
To whom in favour she shall give the day,
And kiss him with a glorious victory.
How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
Smacks it not something of the policy?

KING JOHN

Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers
And lay this Angiers even to the ground;
Then after fight who shall be king of it?

BASTARD

An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
Being wronged as we are by this peevish town,
Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
And when that we have dash’d them to the ground,
Why then defy each other and pell-mell
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.

KING PHILIP

Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?

KING JOHN

We from the west will send destruction
Into this city’s bosom.

AUSTRIA

I from the north.

KING PHILIP

Our thunder from the south
Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.

BASTARD

O prudent discipline! From north to south:
Austria and France shoot in each other’s mouth:
I’ll stir them to it. Come, away, away!

First Citizen

Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to stay,
And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league;
Win you this city without stroke or wound;
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
That here come sacrifices for the field:
Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.

KING JOHN

Speak on with favour; we are bent to hear.

First Citizen

That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,
Is niece to England: look upon the years
Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid:
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
If not complete of, say he is not she;
And she again wants nothing, to name want,
If want it be not that she is not he:
He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
O, two such silver currents, when they join,
Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
And two such shores to two such streams made one,
Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
To these two princes, if you marry them.
This union shall do more than battery can
To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,
With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
And give you entrance: but without this match,
The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
More free from motion, no, not Death himself
In moral fury half so peremptory,
As we to keep this city.

BASTARD

Here’s a stay
That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death
Out of his rags! Here’s a large mouth, indeed,
That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas,
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce;
He gives the bastinado with his tongue:
Our ears are cudgell’d; not a word of his
But buffets better than a fist of France:
Zounds! I was never so bethump’d with words
Since I first call’d my brother’s father dad.

QUEEN ELINOR

Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;
Give with our niece a dowry large enough:
For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
Thy now unsured assurance to the crown,
That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.
I see a yielding in the looks of France;
Mark, how they whisper: urge them while their souls
Are capable of this ambition,
Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
Of soft petitions, pity and remorse,
Cool and congeal again to what it was.

First Citizen

Why answer not the double majesties
This friendly treaty of our threaten’d town?

KING PHILIP

Speak England first, that hath been forward first
To speak unto this city: what say you?

KING JOHN

If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
Can in this book of beauty read ‘I love,’
Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
And all that we upon this side the sea,
Except this city now by us besieged,
Find liable to our crown and dignity,
Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
In titles, honours and promotions,
As she in beauty, education, blood,
Holds hand with any princess of the world.

KING PHILIP

What say’st thou, boy? look in the lady’s face.

LEWIS

I do, my lord; and in her eye I find
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of myself form’d in her eye:
Which being but the shadow of your son,
Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow:
I do protest I never loved myself
Till now infixed I beheld myself
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.

Whispers with BLANCH

BASTARD

Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!
Hang’d in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!
And quarter’d in her heart! he doth espy
Himself love’s traitor: this is pity now,
That hang’d and drawn and quartered, there should be
In such a love so vile a lout as he.

BLANCH

My uncle’s will in this respect is mine:
If he see aught in you that makes him like,
That any thing he sees, which moves his liking,
I can with ease translate it to my will;
Or if you will, to speak more properly,
I will enforce it easily to my love.
Further I will not flatter you, my lord,
That all I see in you is worthy love,
Than this; that nothing do I see in you,
Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,
That I can find should merit any hate.

KING JOHN

What say these young ones? What say you my niece?

BLANCH

That she is bound in honour still to do
What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.

KING JOHN

Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?

LEWIS

Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;
For I do love her most unfeignedly.

KING JOHN

Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,
Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces,
With her to thee; and this addition more,
Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.
Philip of France, if thou be pleased withal,
Command thy son and daughter to join hands.

KING PHILIP

It likes us well; young princes, close your hands.

AUSTRIA

And your lips too; for I am well assured
That I did so when I was first assured.

KING PHILIP

Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,
Let in that amity which you have made;
For at Saint Mary’s chapel presently
The rites of marriage shall be solemnized.
Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
I know she is not, for this match made up
Her presence would have interrupted much:
Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.

LEWIS

She is sad and passionate at your highness’ tent.

KING PHILIP

And, by my faith, this league that we have made
Will give her sadness very little cure.
Brother of England, how may we content
This widow lady? In her right we came;
Which we, God knows, have turn’d another way,
To our own vantage.

KING JOHN

We will heal up all;
For we’ll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne
And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance;
Some speedy messenger bid her repair
To our solemnity: I trust we shall,
If not fill up the measure of her will,
Yet in some measure satisfy her so
That we shall stop her exclamation.
Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,
To this unlook’d for, unprepared pomp.

Exeunt all but the BASTARD

BASTARD

Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!
John, to stop Arthur’s title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part,
And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
As God’s own soldier, rounded in the ear
With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith,
That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,
Who, having no external thing to lose
But the word ‘maid,’ cheats the poor maid of that,
That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity,
Commodity, the bias of the world,
The world, who of itself is peised well,
Made to run even upon even ground,
Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this Commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
And this same bias, this Commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
Clapp’d on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,
From a resolved and honourable war,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rail I on this Commodity?
But for because he hath not woo’d me yet:
Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
When his fair angels would salute my palm;
But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
And say there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say there is no vice but beggary.
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.

Exit

ACT III
SCENE I. The French King’s pavilion.

Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY

CONSTANCE

Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
False blood to false blood join’d! gone to be friends!
Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch those provinces?
It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard:
Be well advised, tell o’er thy tale again:
It cannot be; thou dost but say ’tis so:
I trust I may not trust thee; for thy word
Is but the vain breath of a common man:
Believe me, I do not believe thee, man;
I have a king’s oath to the contrary.
Thou shalt be punish’d for thus frighting me,
For I am sick and capable of fears,
Oppress’d with wrongs and therefore full of fears,
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears,
A woman, naturally born to fears;
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
With my vex’d spirits I cannot take a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day.
What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
Why dost thou look so sadly on my son?
What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum,
Like a proud river peering o’er his bounds?
Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again; not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true.

SALISBURY

As true as I believe you think them false
That give you cause to prove my saying true.

CONSTANCE

O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die,
And let belief and life encounter so
As doth the fury of two desperate men
Which in the very meeting fall and die.
Lewis marry Blanch! O boy, then where art thou?
France friend with England, what becomes of me?
Fellow, be gone: I cannot brook thy sight:
This news hath made thee a most ugly man.

SALISBURY

What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But spoke the harm that is by others done?

CONSTANCE

Which harm within itself so heinous is
As it makes harmful all that speak of it.

ARTHUR

I do beseech you, madam, be content.

CONSTANCE

If thou, that bid’st me be content, wert grim,
Ugly and slanderous to thy mother’s womb,
Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
Patch’d with foul moles and eye-offending marks,
I would not care, I then would be content,
For then I should not love thee, no, nor thou
Become thy great birth nor deserve a crown.
But thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune join’d to make thee great:
Of Nature’s gifts thou mayst with lilies boast,
And with the half-blown rose. But Fortune, O,
She is corrupted, changed and won from thee;
She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John,
And with her golden hand hath pluck’d on France
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to Fortune and King John,
That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
Envenom him with words, or get thee gone
And leave those woes alone which I alone
Am bound to under-bear.

SALISBURY

Pardon me, madam,
I may not go without you to the kings.

CONSTANCE

Thou mayst, thou shalt; I will not go with thee:
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop.
To me and to the state of my great grief
Let kings assemble; for my grief’s so great
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

Seats herself on the ground

Enter KING JOHN, KING PHILLIP, LEWIS, BLANCH, QUEEN ELINOR, the BASTARD, AUSTRIA, and Attendants

KING PHILIP

‘Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
Ever in France shall be kept festival:
To solemnize this day the glorious sun
Stays in his course and plays the alchemist,
Turning with splendor of his precious eye
The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
The yearly course that brings this day about
Shall never see it but a holiday.

CONSTANCE

A wicked day, and not a holy day!

Rising
What hath this day deserved? what hath it done,
That it in golden letters should be set
Among the high tides in the calendar?
Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,
This day of shame, oppression, perjury.
Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child
Pray that their burthens may not fall this day,
Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross’d:
But on this day let seamen fear no wreck;
No bargains break that are not this day made:
This day, all things begun come to ill end,
Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change!

KING PHILIP

By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
To curse the fair proceedings of this day:
Have I not pawn’d to you my majesty?

CONSTANCE

You have beguiled me with a counterfeit
Resembling majesty, which, being touch’d and tried,
Proves valueless: you are forsworn, forsworn;
You came in arms to spill mine enemies’ blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:
The grappling vigour and rough frown of war
Is cold in amity and painted peace,
And our oppression hath made up this league.
Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjured kings!
A widow cries; be husband to me, heavens!
Let not the hours of this ungodly day
Wear out the day in peace; but, ere sunset,
Set armed discord ‘twixt these perjured kings!
Hear me, O, hear me!

AUSTRIA

Lady Constance, peace!

CONSTANCE

War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war
O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame
That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward!
Thou little valiant, great in villany!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Thou Fortune’s champion that dost never fight
But when her humorous ladyship is by
To teach thee safety! thou art perjured too,
And soothest up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool, to brag and stamp and swear
Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side,
Been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune and thy strength,
And dost thou now fall over to my fores?
Thou wear a lion’s hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA

O, that a man should speak those words to me!

BASTARD

And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA

Thou darest not say so, villain, for thy life.

BASTARD

And hang a calf’s-skin on those recreant limbs.

KING JOHN

We like not this; thou dost forget thyself.

Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH

KING PHILIP

Here comes the holy legate of the pope.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!
To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
Do in his name religiously demand
Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
So wilfully dost spurn; and force perforce
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop
Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
This, in our foresaid holy father’s name,
Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.

KING JOHN

What earthy name to interrogatories
Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy and ridiculous,
To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England
Add thus much more, that no Italian priest
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;
But as we, under heaven, are supreme head,
So under Him that great supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
Without the assistance of a mortal hand:
So tell the pope, all reverence set apart
To him and his usurp’d authority.

KING PHILIP

Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.

KING JOHN

Though you and all the kings of Christendom
Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,
Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
Who in that sale sells pardon from himself,
Though you and all the rest so grossly led
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish,
Yet I alone, alone do me oppose
Against the pope and count his friends my foes.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Then, by the lawful power that I have,
Thou shalt stand cursed and excommunicate.
And blessed shall he be that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretic;
And meritorious shall that hand be call’d,
Canonized and worshipped as a saint,
That takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.

CONSTANCE

O, lawful let it be
That I have room with Rome to curse awhile!
Good father cardinal, cry thou amen
To my keen curses; for without my wrong
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

There’s law and warrant, lady, for my curse.

CONSTANCE

And for mine too: when law can do no right,
Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong:
Law cannot give my child his kingdom here,
For he that holds his kingdom holds the law;
Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,
How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Philip of France, on peril of a curse,
Let go the hand of that arch-heretic;
And raise the power of France upon his head,
Unless he do submit himself to Rome.

QUEEN ELINOR

Look’st thou pale, France? do not let go thy hand.

CONSTANCE

Look to that, devil; lest that France repent,
And by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.

AUSTRIA

King Philip, listen to the cardinal.

BASTARD

And hang a calf’s-skin on his recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA

Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs, Because—

BASTARD

Your breeches best may carry them.

KING JOHN

Philip, what say’st thou to the cardinal?

CONSTANCE

What should he say, but as the cardinal?

LEWIS

Bethink you, father; for the difference
Is purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,
Or the light loss of England for a friend:
Forego the easier.

BLANCH

That’s the curse of Rome.

CONSTANCE

O Lewis, stand fast! the devil tempts thee here
In likeness of a new untrimmed bride.

BLANCH

The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,
But from her need.

CONSTANCE

O, if thou grant my need,
Which only lives but by the death of faith,
That need must needs infer this principle,
That faith would live again by death of need.
O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up;
Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down!

KING JOHN

The king is moved, and answers not to this.

CONSTANCE

O, be removed from him, and answer well!

AUSTRIA

Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.

BASTARD

Hang nothing but a calf’s-skin, most sweet lout.

KING PHILIP

I am perplex’d, and know not what to say.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

What canst thou say but will perplex thee more,
If thou stand excommunicate and cursed?

KING PHILIP

Good reverend father, make my person yours,
And tell me how you would bestow yourself.
This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
And the conjunction of our inward souls
Married in league, coupled and linked together
With all religious strength of sacred vows;
The latest breath that gave the sound of words
Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love
Between our kingdoms and our royal selves,
And even before this truce, but new before,
No longer than we well could wash our hands
To clap this royal bargain up of peace,
Heaven knows, they were besmear’d and over-stain’d
With slaughter’s pencil, where revenge did paint
The fearful difference of incensed kings:
And shall these hands, so lately purged of blood,
So newly join’d in love, so strong in both,
Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?
Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
As now again to snatch our palm from palm,
Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed
Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
And make a riot on the gentle brow
Of true sincerity? O, holy sir,
My reverend father, let it not be so!
Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose
Some gentle order; and then we shall be blest
To do your pleasure and continue friends.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

All form is formless, order orderless,
Save what is opposite to England’s love.
Therefore to arms! be champion of our church,
Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,
A mother’s curse, on her revolting son.
France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,
A chafed lion by the mortal paw,
A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

KING PHILIP

I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

So makest thou faith an enemy to faith;
And like a civil war set’st oath to oath,
Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow
First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform’d,
That is, to be the champion of our church!
What since thou sworest is sworn against thyself
And may not be performed by thyself,
For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss
Is not amiss when it is truly done,
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then most done not doing it:
The better act of purposes mistook
Is to mistake again; though indirect,
Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
And falsehood falsehood cures, as fire cools fire
Within the scorched veins of one new-burn’d.
It is religion that doth make vows kept;
But thou hast sworn against religion,
By what thou swear’st against the thing thou swear’st,
And makest an oath the surety for thy truth
Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure
To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;
Else what a mockery should it be to swear!
But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;
And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.
Therefore thy later vows against thy first
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself;
And better conquest never canst thou make
Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
Against these giddy loose suggestions:
Upon which better part our prayers come in,
If thou vouchsafe them. But if not, then know
The peril of our curses light on thee
So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,
But in despair die under their black weight.

AUSTRIA

Rebellion, flat rebellion!

BASTARD

Will’t not be?
Will not a calfs-skin stop that mouth of thine?

LEWIS

Father, to arms!

BLANCH

Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.

CONSTANCE

O, upon my knee,
Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
Forethought by heaven!

BLANCH

Now shall I see thy love: what motive may
Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?

CONSTANCE

That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,
His honour: O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour!

LEWIS

I muse your majesty doth seem so cold,
When such profound respects do pull you on.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

I will denounce a curse upon his head.

KING PHILIP

Thou shalt not need. England, I will fall from thee.

CONSTANCE

O fair return of banish’d majesty!

QUEEN ELINOR

O foul revolt of French inconstancy!

KING JOHN

France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.

BASTARD

Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,
Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue.

BLANCH

The sun’s o’ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!
Which is the side that I must go withal?
I am with both: each army hath a hand;
And in their rage, I having hold of both,
They swirl asunder and dismember me.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;
Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
Grandam, I will not wish thy fortunes thrive:
Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose
Assured loss before the match be play’d.

LEWIS

Lady, with me, with me thy fortune lies.

BLANCH

There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

KING JOHN

Cousin, go draw our puissance together.

Exit BASTARD
France, I am burn’d up with inflaming wrath;
A rage whose heat hath this condition,
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.

KING PHILIP

Thy rage sham burn thee up, and thou shalt turn
To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.

KING JOHN

No more than he that threats. To arms let’s hie!

Exeunt

SCENE II. The same. Plains near Angiers.

Alarums, excursions. Enter the BASTARD, with AUSTRIA’S head

BASTARD

Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot;
Some airy devil hovers in the sky
And pours down mischief. Austria’s head lie there,
While Philip breathes.

Enter KING JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT

KING JOHN

Hubert, keep this boy. Philip, make up:
My mother is assailed in our tent,
And ta’en, I fear.

BASTARD

My lord, I rescued her;
Her highness is in safety, fear you not:
But on, my liege; for very little pains
Will bring this labour to an happy end.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The same.

Alarums, excursions, retreat. Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, ARTHUR, the BASTARD, HUBERT, and Lords

KING JOHN

[To QUEEN ELINOR] So shall it be; your grace shall
stay behind
So strongly guarded.

To ARTHUR
Cousin, look not sad:
Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will
As dear be to thee as thy father was.

ARTHUR

O, this will make my mother die with grief!

KING JOHN

[To the BASTARD] Cousin, away for England!
haste before:
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels
Set at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
Use our commission in his utmost force.

BASTARD

Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
When gold and silver becks me to come on.
I leave your highness. Grandam, I will pray,
If ever I remember to be holy,
For your fair safety; so, I kiss your hand.

ELINOR

Farewell, gentle cousin.

KING JOHN

Coz, farewell.

Exit the BASTARD

QUEEN ELINOR

Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.

KING JOHN

Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much! within this wall of flesh
There is a soul counts thee her creditor
And with advantage means to pay thy love:
And my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,
But I will fit it with some better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost ashamed
To say what good respect I have of thee.

HUBERT

I am much bounden to your majesty.

KING JOHN

Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet,
But thou shalt have; and creep time ne’er so slow,
Yet it shall come from me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say, but let it go:
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton and too full of gawds
To give me audience: if the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs,
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had baked thy blood and made it heavy-thick,
Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men’s eyes
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes,
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears and harmful sound of words;
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:
But, ah, I will not! yet I love thee well;
And, by my troth, I think thou lovest me well.

HUBERT

So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I would do it.

KING JOHN

Do not I know thou wouldst?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
On yon young boy: I’ll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And whereso’er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me: dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.

HUBERT

And I’ll keep him so,
That he shall not offend your majesty.

KING JOHN

Death.

HUBERT

My lord?

KING JOHN

A grave.

HUBERT

He shall not live.

KING JOHN

Enough.
I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;
Well, I’ll not say what I intend for thee:
Remember. Madam, fare you well:
I’ll send those powers o’er to your majesty.

ELINOR

My blessing go with thee!

KING JOHN

For England, cousin, go:
Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same. KING PHILIP’S tent.

Enter KING PHILIP, LEWIS, CARDINAL PANDULPH, and Attendants

KING PHILIP

So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,
A whole armado of convicted sail
Is scatter’d and disjoin’d from fellowship.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.

KING PHILIP

What can go well, when we have run so ill?
Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
Arthur ta’en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?
And bloody England into England gone,
O’erbearing interruption, spite of France?

LEWIS

What he hath won, that hath he fortified:
So hot a speed with such advice disposed,
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,
Doth want example: who hath read or heard
Of any kindred action like to this?

KING PHILIP

Well could I bear that England had this praise,
So we could find some pattern of our shame.

Enter CONSTANCE
Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
Holding the eternal spirit against her will,
In the vile prison of afflicted breath.
I prithee, lady, go away with me.

CONSTANCE

Lo, now I now see the issue of your peace.

KING PHILIP

Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!

CONSTANCE

No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
But that which ends all counsel, true redress,
Death, death; O amiable lovely death!
Thou odouriferous stench! sound rottenness!
Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
And I will kiss thy detestable bones
And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows
And ring these fingers with thy household worms
And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust
And be a carrion monster like thyself:
Come, grin on me, and I will think thou smilest
And buss thee as thy wife. Misery’s love,
O, come to me!

KING PHILIP

O fair affliction, peace!

CONSTANCE

No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:
O, that my tongue were in the thunder’s mouth!
Then with a passion would I shake the world;
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy
Which cannot hear a lady’s feeble voice,
Which scorns a modern invocation.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

CONSTANCE

Thou art not holy to belie me so;
I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey’s wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad: I would to heaven I were!
For then, ’tis like I should forget myself:
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canonized, cardinal;
For being not mad but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver’d of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son,
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

KING PHILIP

Bind up those tresses. O, what love I note
In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
Do glue themselves in sociable grief,
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.

CONSTANCE

To England, if you will.

KING PHILIP

Bind up your hairs.

CONSTANCE

Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds and cried aloud
‘O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty!’
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud
And chase the native beauty from his cheek
And he will look as hollow as a ghost,
As dim and meagre as an ague’s fit,
And so he’ll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You hold too heinous a respect of grief.

CONSTANCE

He talks to me that never had a son.

KING PHILIP

You are as fond of grief as of your child.

CONSTANCE

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head,
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows’ cure!

Exit

KING PHILIP

I fear some outrage, and I’ll follow her.

Exit

LEWIS

There’s nothing in this world can make me joy:
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoil’d the sweet world’s taste
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health,
The fit is strongest; evils that take leave,
On their departure most of all show evil:
What have you lost by losing of this day?

LEWIS

All days of glory, joy and happiness.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

If you had won it, certainly you had.
No, no; when Fortune means to men most good,
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
‘Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost
In this which he accounts so clearly won:
Are not you grieved that Arthur is his prisoner?

LEWIS

As heartily as he is glad he hath him.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit;
For even the breath of what I mean to speak
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foot to England’s throne; and therefore mark.
John hath seized Arthur; and it cannot be
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant’s veins,
The misplaced John should entertain an hour,
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest.
A sceptre snatch’d with an unruly hand
Must be as boisterously maintain’d as gain’d;
And he that stands upon a slippery place
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall;
So be it, for it cannot be but so.

LEWIS

But what shall I gain by young Arthur’s fall?

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife,
May then make all the claim that Arthur did.

LEWIS

And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

How green you are and fresh in this old world!
John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;
For he that steeps his safety in true blood
Shall find but bloody safety and untrue.
This act so evilly born shall cool the hearts
Of all his people and freeze up their zeal,
That none so small advantage shall step forth
To cheque his reign, but they will cherish it;
No natural exhalation in the sky,
No scope of nature, no distemper’d day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause
And call them meteors, prodigies and signs,
Abortives, presages and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.

LEWIS

May be he will not touch young Arthur’s life,
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change
And pick strong matter of revolt and wrath
Out of the bloody fingers’ ends of John.
Methinks I see this hurly all on foot:
And, O, what better matter breeds for you
Than I have named! The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity: if but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call
To train ten thousand English to their side,
Or as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
Go with me to the king: ’tis wonderful
What may be wrought out of their discontent,
Now that their souls are topful of offence.
For England go: I will whet on the king.

LEWIS

Strong reasons make strong actions: let us go:
If you say ay, the king will not say no.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. A room in a castle.

Enter HUBERT and Executioners

HUBERT

Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand
Within the arras: when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy which you shall find with me
Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.

First Executioner

I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.

HUBERT

Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to’t.

Exeunt Executioners
Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.

Enter ARTHUR

ARTHUR

Good morrow, Hubert.

HUBERT

Good morrow, little prince.

ARTHUR

As little prince, having so great a title
To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.

HUBERT

Indeed, I have been merrier.

ARTHUR

Mercy on me!
Methinks no body should be sad but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me:
He is afraid of me and I of him:
Is it my fault that I was Geffrey’s son?
No, indeed, is’t not; and I would to heaven
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.

HUBERT

[Aside] If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.

ARTHUR

Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day:
In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
That I might sit all night and watch with you:
I warrant I love you more than you do me.

HUBERT

[Aside] His words do take possession of my bosom.
Read here, young Arthur.

Showing a paper

Aside
How now, foolish rheum!
Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
I must be brief, lest resolution drop
Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.
Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?

ARTHUR

Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?

HUBERT

Young boy, I must.

ARTHUR

And will you?

HUBERT

And I will.

ARTHUR

Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,
I knit my handercher about your brows,
The best I had, a princess wrought it me,
And I did never ask it you again;
And with my hand at midnight held your head,
And like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheer’d up the heavy time,
Saying, ‘What lack you?’ and ‘Where lies your grief?’
Or ‘What good love may I perform for you?’
Many a poor man’s son would have lien still
And ne’er have spoke a loving word to you;
But you at your sick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think my love was crafty love
And call it cunning: do, an if you will:
If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill,
Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?
These eyes that never did nor never shall
So much as frown on you.

HUBERT

I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.

ARTHUR

Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears
And quench his fiery indignation
Even in the matter of mine innocence;
Nay, after that, consume away in rust
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer’d iron?
An if an angel should have come to me
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believed him,—no tongue but Hubert’s.

HUBERT

Come forth.

Stamps

Re-enter Executioners, with a cord, irons, & c
Do as I bid you do.

ARTHUR

O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out
Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.

HUBERT

Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.

ARTHUR

Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and I’ll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.

HUBERT

Go, stand within; let me alone with him.

First Executioner

I am best pleased to be from such a deed.

Exeunt Executioners

ARTHUR

Alas, I then have chid away my friend!
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart:
Let him come back, that his compassion may
Give life to yours.

HUBERT

Come, boy, prepare yourself.

ARTHUR

Is there no remedy?

HUBERT

None, but to lose your eyes.

ARTHUR

O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense!
Then feeling what small things are boisterous there,
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.

HUBERT

Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.

ARTHUR

Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes:
Let me not hold my tongue, let me not, Hubert;
Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes.
Though to no use but still to look on you!
Lo, by my truth, the instrument is cold
And would not harm me.

HUBERT

I can heat it, boy.

ARTHUR

No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be used
In undeserved extremes: see else yourself;
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out
And strew’d repentent ashes on his head.

HUBERT

But with my breath I can revive it, boy.

ARTHUR

An if you do, you will but make it blush
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:
Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes;
And like a dog that is compell’d to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
All things that you should use to do me wrong
Deny their office: only you do lack
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.

HUBERT

Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye
For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:
Yet am I sworn and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.

ARTHUR

O, now you look like Hubert! all this while
You were disguised.

HUBERT

Peace; no more. Adieu.
Your uncle must not know but you are dead;
I’ll fill these dogged spies with false reports:
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.

ARTHUR

O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.

HUBERT

Silence; no more: go closely in with me:
Much danger do I undergo for thee.

Exeunt

SCENE II. KING JOHN’S palace.

Enter KING JOHN, PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other Lords

KING JOHN

Here once again we sit, once again crown’d,
And looked upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.

PEMBROKE

This ‘once again,’ but that your highness pleased,
Was once superfluous: you were crown’d before,
And that high royalty was ne’er pluck’d off,
The faiths of men ne’er stained with revolt;
Fresh expectation troubled not the land
With any long’d-for change or better state.

SALISBURY

Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

PEMBROKE

But that your royal pleasure must be done,
This act is as an ancient tale new told,
And in the last repeating troublesome,
Being urged at a time unseasonable.

SALISBURY

In this the antique and well noted face
Of plain old form is much disfigured;
And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,
Startles and frights consideration,
Makes sound opinion sick and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion’d robe.

PEMBROKE

When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness;
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,
As patches set upon a little breach
Discredit more in hiding of the fault
Than did the fault before it was so patch’d.

SALISBURY

To this effect, before you were new crown’d,
We breathed our counsel: but it pleased your highness
To overbear it, and we are all well pleased,
Since all and every part of what we would
Doth make a stand at what your highness will.

KING JOHN

Some reasons of this double coronation
I have possess’d you with and think them strong;
And more, more strong, then lesser is my fear,
I shall indue you with: meantime but ask
What you would have reform’d that is not well,
And well shall you perceive how willingly
I will both hear and grant you your requests.

PEMBROKE

Then I, as one that am the tongue of these,
To sound the purpose of all their hearts,
Both for myself and them, but, chief of all,
Your safety, for the which myself and them
Bend their best studies, heartily request
The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument,—
If what in rest you have in right you hold,
Why then your fears, which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman and to choke his days
With barbarous ignorance and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise?
That the time’s enemies may not have this
To grace occasions, let it be our suit
That you have bid us ask his liberty;
Which for our goods we do no further ask
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal he have his liberty.

Enter HUBERT

KING JOHN

Let it be so: I do commit his youth
To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

Taking him apart

PEMBROKE

This is the man should do the bloody deed;
He show’d his warrant to a friend of mine:
The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;
And I do fearfully believe ’tis done,
What we so fear’d he had a charge to do.

SALISBURY

The colour of the king doth come and go
Between his purpose and his conscience,
Like heralds ‘twixt two dreadful battles set:
His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

PEMBROKE

And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence
The foul corruption of a sweet child’s death.

KING JOHN

We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand:
Good lords, although my will to give is living,
The suit which you demand is gone and dead:
He tells us Arthur is deceased to-night.

SALISBURY

Indeed we fear’d his sickness was past cure.

PEMBROKE

Indeed we heard how near his death he was
Before the child himself felt he was sick:
This must be answer’d either here or hence.

KING JOHN

Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

SALISBURY

It is apparent foul play; and ’tis shame
That greatness should so grossly offer it:
So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.

PEMBROKE

Stay yet, Lord Salisbury; I’ll go with thee,
And find the inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood which owed the breadth of all this isle,
Three foot of it doth hold: bad world the while!
This must not be thus borne: this will break out
To all our sorrows, and ere long I doubt.

Exeunt Lords

KING JOHN

They burn in indignation. I repent:
There is no sure foundation set on blood,
No certain life achieved by others’ death.

Enter a Messenger
A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood
That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?
So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
Pour down thy weather: how goes all in France?

Messenger

From France to England. Never such a power
For any foreign preparation
Was levied in the body of a land.
The copy of your speed is learn’d by them;
For when you should be told they do prepare,
The tidings come that they are all arrived.

KING JOHN

O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it slept? Where is my mother’s care,
That such an army could be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it?

Messenger

My liege, her ear
Is stopp’d with dust; the first of April died
Your noble mother: and, as I hear, my lord,
The Lady Constance in a frenzy died
Three days before: but this from rumour’s tongue
I idly heard; if true or false I know not.

KING JOHN

Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
O, make a league with me, till I have pleased
My discontented peers! What! mother dead!
How wildly then walks my estate in France!
Under whose conduct came those powers of France
That thou for truth givest out are landed here?

Messenger

Under the Dauphin.

KING JOHN

Thou hast made me giddy
With these ill tidings.

Enter the BASTARD and PETER of Pomfret
Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
My head with more ill news, for it is full.

BASTARD

But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
Then let the worst unheard fall on your bead.

KING JOHN

Bear with me cousin, for I was amazed
Under the tide: but now I breathe again
Aloft the flood, and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

BASTARD

How I have sped among the clergymen,
The sums I have collected shall express.
But as I travell’d hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess’d with rumours, full of idle dreams,
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear:
And here a prophet, that I brought with me
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels;
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

KING JOHN

Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?

PETER

Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.

KING JOHN

Hubert, away with him; imprison him;
And on that day at noon whereon he says
I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d.
Deliver him to safety; and return,
For I must use thee.

Exeunt HUBERT with PETER
O my gentle cousin,
Hear’st thou the news abroad, who are arrived?

BASTARD

The French, my lord; men’s mouths are full of it:
Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,
With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who they say is kill’d to-night
On your suggestion.

KING JOHN

Gentle kinsman, go,
And thrust thyself into their companies:
I have a way to win their loves again;
Bring them before me.

BASTARD

I will seek them out.

KING JOHN

Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
O, let me have no subject enemies,
When adverse foreigners affright my towns
With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!
Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,
And fly like thought from them to me again.

BASTARD

The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

Exit

KING JOHN

Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.
Go after him; for he perhaps shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
And be thou he.

Messenger

With all my heart, my liege.

Exit

KING JOHN

My mother dead!

Re-enter HUBERT

HUBERT

My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;
Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
The other four in wondrous motion.

KING JOHN

Five moons!

HUBERT

Old men and beldams in the streets
Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur’s death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads
And whisper one another in the ear;
And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer’s wrist,
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor’s news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
Told of a many thousand warlike French
That were embattailed and rank’d in Kent:
Another lean unwash’d artificer
Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur’s death.

KING JOHN

Why seek’st thou to possess me with these fears?
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur’s death?
Thy hand hath murder’d him: I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.

HUBERT

No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?

KING JOHN

It is the curse of kings to be attended
By slaves that take their humours for a warrant
To break within the bloody house of life,
And on the winking of authority
To understand a law, to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
More upon humour than advised respect.

HUBERT

Here is your hand and seal for what I did.

KING JOHN

O, when the last account ‘twixt heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,
Quoted and sign’d to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But taking note of thy abhorr’d aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
Apt, liable to be employ’d in danger,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur’s death;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.

HUBERT

My lord—

KING JOHN

Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause
When I spake darkly what I purposed,
Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words,
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me:
But thou didst understand me by my signs
And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And consequently thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.
Out of my sight, and never see me more!
My nobles leave me; and my state is braved,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns
Between my conscience and my cousin’s death.

HUBERT

Arm you against your other enemies,
I’ll make a peace between your soul and you.
Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Within this bosom never enter’d yet
The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;
And you have slander’d nature in my form,
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

KING JOHN

Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,
Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience!
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
O, answer not, but to my closet bring
The angry lords with all expedient haste.
I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Before the castle.

Enter ARTHUR, on the walls

ARTHUR

The wall is high, and yet will I leap down:
Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!
There’s few or none do know me: if they did,
This ship-boy’s semblance hath disguised me quite.
I am afraid; and yet I’ll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
I’ll find a thousand shifts to get away:
As good to die and go, as die and stay.

Leaps down
O me! my uncle’s spirit is in these stones:
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

Dies

Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and BIGOT

SALISBURY

Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury:
It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.

PEMBROKE

Who brought that letter from the cardinal?

SALISBURY

The Count Melun, a noble lord of France,
Whose private with me of the Dauphin’s love
Is much more general than these lines import.

BIGOT

To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

SALISBURY

Or rather then set forward; for ’twill be
Two long days’ journey, lords, or ere we meet.

Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD

Once more to-day well met, distemper’d lords!
The king by me requests your presence straight.

SALISBURY

The king hath dispossess’d himself of us:
We will not line his thin bestained cloak
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
That leaves the print of blood where’er it walks.
Return and tell him so: we know the worst.

BASTARD

Whate’er you think, good words, I think, were best.

SALISBURY

Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.

BASTARD

But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore ’twere reason you had manners now.

PEMBROKE

Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.

BASTARD

‘Tis true, to hurt his master, no man else.

SALISBURY

This is the prison. What is he lies here?

Seeing ARTHUR

PEMBROKE

O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!
The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.

SALISBURY

Murder, as hating what himself hath done,
Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.

BIGOT

Or, when he doom’d this beauty to a grave,
Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

SALISBURY

Sir Richard, what think you? have you beheld,
Or have you read or heard? or could you think?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see? could thought, without this object,
Form such another? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder’s arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.

PEMBROKE

All murders past do stand excused in this:
And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

BASTARD

It is a damned and a bloody work;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.

SALISBURY

If that it be the work of any hand!
We had a kind of light what would ensue:
It is the shameful work of Hubert’s hand;
The practise and the purpose of the king:
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.

PEMBROKE BIGOT

Our souls religiously confirm thy words.

Enter HUBERT

HUBERT

Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.

SALISBURY

O, he is old and blushes not at death.
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!

HUBERT

I am no villain.

SALISBURY

Must I rob the law?

Drawing his sword

BASTARD

Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.

SALISBURY

Not till I sheathe it in a murderer’s skin.

HUBERT

Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
By heaven, I think my sword’s as sharp as yours:
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your worth, your greatness and nobility.

BIGOT

Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman?

HUBERT

Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.

SALISBURY

Thou art a murderer.

HUBERT

Do not prove me so;
Yet I am none: whose tongue soe’er speaks false,
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.

PEMBROKE

Cut him to pieces.

BASTARD

Keep the peace, I say.

SALISBURY

Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.

BASTARD

Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I’ll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
Or I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from hell.

BIGOT

What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
Second a villain and a murderer?

HUBERT

Lord Bigot, I am none.

BIGOT

Who kill’d this prince?

HUBERT

‘Tis not an hour since I left him well:
I honour’d him, I loved him, and will weep
My date of life out for his sweet life’s loss.

SALISBURY

Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villany is not without such rheum;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
Away with me, all you whose souls abhor
The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.

BIGOT

Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!

PEMBROKE

There tell the king he may inquire us out.

Exeunt Lords

BASTARD

Here’s a good world! Knew you of this fair work?
Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
Art thou damn’d, Hubert.

HUBERT

Do but hear me, sir.

BASTARD

Ha! I’ll tell thee what;
Thou’rt damn’d as black—nay, nothing is so black;
Thou art more deep damn’d than Prince Lucifer:
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.

HUBERT

Upon my soul—

BASTARD

If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair;
And if thou want’st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb
Will serve to strangle thee, a rush will be a beam
To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
Put but a little water in a spoon,
And it shall be as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up.
I do suspect thee very grievously.

HUBERT

If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
I left him well.

BASTARD

Go, bear him in thine arms.
I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way
Among the thorns and dangers of this world.
How easy dost thou take all England up!
From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
The life, the right and truth of all this realm
Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth
The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.
Now for the bare-pick’d bone of majesty
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home and discontents at home
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
As doth a raven on a sick-fall’n beast,
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child
And follow me with speed: I’ll to the king:
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. KING JOHN’S palace.

Enter KING JOHN, CARDINAL PANDULPH, and Attendants

KING JOHN

Thus have I yielded up into your hand
The circle of my glory.

Giving the crown

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Take again
From this my hand, as holding of the pope
Your sovereign greatness and authority.

KING JOHN

Now keep your holy word: go meet the French,
And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches ‘fore we are inflamed.
Our discontented counties do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience,
Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper’d humour
Rests by you only to be qualified:
Then pause not; for the present time’s so sick,
That present medicine must be minister’d,
Or overthrow incurable ensues.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

It was my breath that blew this tempest up,
Upon your stubborn usage of the pope;
But since you are a gentle convertite,
My tongue shall hush again this storm of war
And make fair weather in your blustering land.
On this Ascension-day, remember well,
Upon your oath of service to the pope,
Go I to make the French lay down their arms.

Exit

KING JOHN

Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet
Say that before Ascension-day at noon
My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
I did suppose it should be on constraint:
But, heaven be thank’d, it is but voluntary.

Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD

All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out
But Dover castle: London hath received,
Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone
To offer service to your enemy,
And wild amazement hurries up and down
The little number of your doubtful friends.

KING JOHN

Would not my lords return to me again,
After they heard young Arthur was alive?

BASTARD

They found him dead and cast into the streets,
An empty casket, where the jewel of life
By some damn’d hand was robb’d and ta’en away.

KING JOHN

That villain Hubert told me he did live.

BASTARD

So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.
But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?
Be great in act, as you have been in thought;
Let not the world see fear and sad distrust
Govern the motion of a kingly eye:
Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threatener and outface the brow
Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,
That borrow their behaviors from the great,
Grow great by your example and put on
The dauntless spirit of resolution.
Away, and glister like the god of war,
When he intendeth to become the field:
Show boldness and aspiring confidence.
What, shall they seek the lion in his den,
And fright him there? and make him tremble there?
O, let it not be said: forage, and run
To meet displeasure farther from the doors,
And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.

KING JOHN

The legate of the pope hath been with me,
And I have made a happy peace with him;
And he hath promised to dismiss the powers
Led by the Dauphin.

BASTARD

O inglorious league!
Shall we, upon the footing of our land,
Send fair-play orders and make compromise,
Insinuation, parley and base truce
To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
A cocker’d silken wanton, brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
And find no cheque? Let us, my liege, to arms:
Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;
Or if he do, let it at least be said
They saw we had a purpose of defence.

KING JOHN

Have thou the ordering of this present time.

BASTARD

Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know,
Our party may well meet a prouder foe.

Exeunt

SCENE II. LEWIS’s camp at St. Edmundsbury.

Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers

LEWIS

My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,
And keep it safe for our remembrance:
Return the precedent to these lords again;
That, having our fair order written down,
Both they and we, perusing o’er these notes,
May know wherefore we took the sacrament
And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.

SALISBURY

Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith
To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince,
I am not glad that such a sore of time
Should seek a plaster by contemn’d revolt,
And heal the inveterate canker of one wound
By making many. O, it grieves my soul,
That I must draw this metal from my side
To be a widow-maker! O, and there
Where honourable rescue and defence
Cries out upon the name of Salisbury!
But such is the infection of the time,
That, for the health and physic of our right,
We cannot deal but with the very hand
Of stern injustice and confused wrong.
And is’t not pity, O my grieved friends,
That we, the sons and children of this isle,
Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
Wherein we step after a stranger march
Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up
Her enemies’ ranks,—I must withdraw and weep
Upon the spot of this enforced cause,—
To grace the gentry of a land remote,
And follow unacquainted colours here?
What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove!
That Neptune’s arms, who clippeth thee about,
Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
Where these two Christian armies might combine
The blood of malice in a vein of league,
And not to spend it so unneighbourly!

LEWIS

A noble temper dost thou show in this;
And great affections wrestling in thy bosom
Doth make an earthquake of nobility.
O, what a noble combat hast thou fought
Between compulsion and a brave respect!
Let me wipe off this honourable dew,
That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks:
My heart hath melted at a lady’s tears,
Being an ordinary inundation;
But this effusion of such manly drops,
This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,
Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed
Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven
Figured quite o’er with burning meteors.
Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
And with a great heart heave away the storm:
Commend these waters to those baby eyes
That never saw the giant world enraged;
Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep
Into the purse of rich prosperity
As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all,
That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.
And even there, methinks, an angel spake:

Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH
Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
To give us warrant from the hand of heaven
And on our actions set the name of right
With holy breath.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Hail, noble prince of France!
The next is this, King John hath reconciled
Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in,
That so stood out against the holy church,
The great metropolis and see of Rome:
Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up;
And tame the savage spirit of wild war,
That like a lion foster’d up at hand,
It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmful than in show.

LEWIS

Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back:
I am too high-born to be propertied,
To be a secondary at control,
Or useful serving-man and instrument,
To any sovereign state throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now ’tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this land,
Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
And come ye now to tell me John hath made
His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, now it is half-conquer’d, must I back
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
Am I Rome’s slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action? Is’t not I
That undergo this charge? who else but I,
And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
Have I not heard these islanders shout out
‘Vive le roi!’ as I have bank’d their towns?
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match play’d for a crown?
And shall I now give o’er the yielded set?
No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You look but on the outside of this work.

LEWIS

Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And cull’d these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook conquest and to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.

Trumpet sounds
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?

Enter the BASTARD, attended

BASTARD

According to the fair play of the world,
Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:
My holy lord of Milan, from the king
I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
And, as you answer, I do know the scope
And warrant limited unto my tongue.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
And will not temporize with my entreaties;
He flatly says he’ll not lay down his arms.

BASTARD

By all the blood that ever fury breathed,
The youth says well. Now hear our English king;
For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
He is prepared, and reason too he should:
This apish and unmannerly approach,
This harness’d masque and unadvised revel,
This unhair’d sauciness and boyish troops,
The king doth smile at; and is well prepared
To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
From out the circle of his territories.
That hand which had the strength, even at your door,
To cudgel you and make you take the hatch,
To dive like buckets in concealed wells,
To crouch in litter of your stable planks,
To lie like pawns lock’d up in chests and trunks,
To hug with swine, to seek sweet safety out
In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake
Even at the crying of your nation’s crow,
Thinking his voice an armed Englishman;
Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
No: know the gallant monarch is in arms
And like an eagle o’er his aery towers,
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.
And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
Of your dear mother England, blush for shame;
For your own ladies and pale-visaged maids
Like Amazons come tripping after drums,
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.

LEWIS

There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;
We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Give me leave to speak.

BASTARD

No, I will speak.

LEWIS

We will attend to neither.
Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
Plead for our interest and our being here.

BASTARD

Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out;
And so shall you, being beaten: do but start
An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready braced
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
Sound but another, and another shall
As loud as thine rattle the welkin’s ear
And mock the deep-mouth’d thunder: for at hand,
Not trusting to this halting legate here,
Whom he hath used rather for sport than need
Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb’d death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.

LEWIS

Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.

BASTARD

And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The field of battle.

Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT

KING JOHN

How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert.

HUBERT

Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?

KING JOHN

This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,
Desires your majesty to leave the field
And send him word by me which way you go.

KING JOHN

Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the abbey there.

Messenger

Be of good comfort; for the great supply
That was expected by the Dauphin here,
Are wreck’d three nights ago on Goodwin Sands.
This news was brought to Richard but even now:
The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.

KING JOHN

Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let me welcome this good news.
Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Another part of the field.

Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, and BIGOT

SALISBURY

I did not think the king so stored with friends.

PEMBROKE

Up once again; put spirit in the French:
If they miscarry, we miscarry too.

SALISBURY

That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,
In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.

PEMBROKE

They say King John sore sick hath left the field.

Enter MELUN, wounded

MELUN

Lead me to the revolts of England here.

SALISBURY

When we were happy we had other names.

PEMBROKE

It is the Count Melun.

SALISBURY

Wounded to death.

MELUN

Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion
And welcome home again discarded faith.
Seek out King John and fall before his feet;
For if the French be lords of this loud day,
He means to recompense the pains you take
By cutting off your heads: thus hath he sworn
And I with him, and many moe with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;
Even on that altar where we swore to you
Dear amity and everlasting love.

SALISBURY

May this be possible? may this be true?

MELUN

Have I not hideous death within my view,
Retaining but a quantity of life,
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolveth from his figure ‘gainst the fire?
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit?
Why should I then be false, since it is true
That I must die here and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e’er those eyes of yours
Behold another day break in the east:
But even this night, whose black contagious breath
Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble and day-wearied sun,
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
Paying the fine of rated treachery
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert with your king:
The love of him, and this respect besides,
For that my grandsire was an Englishman,
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the field,
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
In peace, and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.

SALISBURY

We do believe thee: and beshrew my soul
But I do love the favour and the form
Of this most fair occasion, by the which
We will untread the steps of damned flight,
And like a bated and retired flood,
Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
Stoop low within those bounds we have o’erlook’d
And cabby run on in obedience
Even to our ocean, to our great King John.
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
For I do see the cruel pangs of death
Right in thine eye. Away, my friends! New flight;
And happy newness, that intends old right.

Exeunt, leading off MELUN

SCENE V. The French camp.

Enter LEWIS and his train

LEWIS

The sun of heaven methought was loath to set,
But stay’d and made the western welkin blush,
When English measure backward their own ground
In faint retire. O, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tattering colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

Where is my prince, the Dauphin?

LEWIS

Here: what news?

Messenger

The Count Melun is slain; the English lords
By his persuasion are again fall’n off,
And your supply, which you have wish’d so long,
Are cast away and sunk on Goodwin Sands.

LEWIS

Ah, foul shrewd news! beshrew thy very heart!
I did not think to be so sad to-night
As this hath made me. Who was he that said
King John did fly an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers?

Messenger

Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.

LEWIS

Well; keep good quarter and good care to-night:
The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. An open place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, severally

HUBERT

Who’s there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.

BASTARD

A friend. What art thou?

HUBERT

Of the part of England.

BASTARD

Whither dost thou go?

HUBERT

What’s that to thee? why may not I demand
Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?

BASTARD

Hubert, I think?

HUBERT

Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will upon all hazards well believe
Thou art my friend, that know’st my tongue so well.
Who art thou?

BASTARD

Who thou wilt: and if thou please,
Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think
I come one way of the Plantagenets.

HUBERT

Unkind remembrance! thou and eyeless night
Have done me shame: brave soldier, pardon me,
That any accent breaking from thy tongue
Should ‘scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.

BASTARD

Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?

HUBERT

Why, here walk I in the black brow of night,
To find you out.

BASTARD

Brief, then; and what’s the news?

HUBERT

O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
Black, fearful, comfortless and horrible.

BASTARD

Show me the very wound of this ill news:
I am no woman, I’ll not swoon at it.

HUBERT

The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk:
I left him almost speechless; and broke out
To acquaint you with this evil, that you might
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Than if you had at leisure known of this.

BASTARD

How did he take it? who did taste to him?

HUBERT

A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks and peradventure may recover.

BASTARD

Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?

HUBERT

Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
And brought Prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon’d them,
And they are all about his majesty.

BASTARD

Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
And tempt us not to bear above our power!
I’ll tell tree, Hubert, half my power this night,
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide;
These Lincoln Washes have devoured them;
Myself, well mounted, hardly have escaped.
Away before: conduct me to the king;
I doubt he will be dead or ere I come.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. The orchard in Swinstead Abbey.

Enter PRINCE HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT

PRINCE HENRY

It is too late: the life of all his blood
Is touch’d corruptibly, and his pure brain,
Which some suppose the soul’s frail dwelling-house,
Doth by the idle comments that it makes
Foretell the ending of mortality.

Enter PEMBROKE

PEMBROKE

His highness yet doth speak, and holds belief
That, being brought into the open air,
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.

PRINCE HENRY

Let him be brought into the orchard here.
Doth he still rage?

Exit BIGOT

PEMBROKE

He is more patient
Than when you left him; even now he sung.

PRINCE HENRY

O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes
In their continuance will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey’d upon the outward parts,
Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies,
Whi ch, in their throng and press to that last hold,
Confound themselves. ‘Tis strange that death
should sing.
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,
And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.

SALISBURY

Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born
To set a form upon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.

Enter Attendants, and BIGOT, carrying KING JOHN in a chair

KING JOHN

Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;
It would not out at windows nor at doors.
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust:
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment, and against this fire
Do I shrink up.

PRINCE HENRY

How fares your majesty?

KING JOHN

Poison’d,—ill fare—dead, forsook, cast off:
And none of you will bid the winter come
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw,
Nor let my kingdom’s rivers take their course
Through my burn’d bosom, nor entreat the north
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips
And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much,
I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait
And so ingrateful, you deny me that.

PRINCE HENRY

O that there were some virtue in my tears,
That might relieve you!

KING JOHN

The salt in them is hot.
Within me is a hell; and there the poison
Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.

Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD

O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
And spleen of speed to see your majesty!

KING JOHN

O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
The tackle of my heart is crack’d and burn’d,
And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
And then all this thou seest is but a clod
And module of confounded royalty.

BASTARD

The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
Where heaven He knows how we shall answer him;
For in a night the best part of my power,
As I upon advantage did remove,
Were in the Washes all unwarily
Devoured by the unexpected flood.

KING JOHN dies

SALISBURY

You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.
My liege! my lord! but now a king, now thus.

PRINCE HENRY

Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
When this was now a king, and now is clay?

BASTARD

Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind
To do the office for thee of revenge,
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
As it on earth hath been thy servant still.
Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres,
Where be your powers? show now your mended faiths,
And instantly return with me again,
To push destruction and perpetual shame
Out of the weak door of our fainting land.
Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
The Dauphin rages at our very heels.

SALISBURY

It seems you know not, then, so much as we:
The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,
And brings from him such offers of our peace
As we with honour and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leave this war.

BASTARD

He will the rather do it when he sees
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.

SALISBURY

Nay, it is in a manner done already;
For many carriages he hath dispatch’d
To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
To the disposing of the cardinal:
With whom yourself, myself and other lords,
If you think meet, this afternoon will post
To consummate this business happily.

BASTARD

Let it be so: and you, my noble prince,
With other princes that may best be spared,
Shall wait upon your father’s funeral.

PRINCE HENRY

At Worcester must his body be interr’d;
For so he will’d it.

BASTARD

Thither shall it then:
And happily may your sweet self put on
The lineal state and glory of the land!
To whom with all submission, on my knee
I do bequeath my faithful services
And true subjection everlastingly.

SALISBURY

And the like tender of our love we make,
To rest without a spot for evermore.

PRINCE HENRY

I have a kind soul that would give you thanks
And knows not how to do it but with tears.

BASTARD

O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
This England never did, nor never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.

Exeunt

The Life of King Henry the Eighth

ACT I

PROLOGUE

I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present. Those that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let fall a tear;
The subject will deserve it. Such as give
Their money out of hope they may believe,
May here find truth too. Those that come to see
Only a show or two, and so agree
The play may pass, if they be still and willing,
I’ll undertake may see away their shilling
Richly in two short hours. Only they
That come to hear a merry bawdy play,
A noise of targets, or to see a fellow
In a long motley coat guarded with yellow,
Will be deceived; for, gentle hearers, know,
To rank our chosen truth with such a show
As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting
Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring,
To make that only true we now intend,
Will leave us never an understanding friend.
Therefore, for goodness’ sake, and as you are known
The first and happiest hearers of the town,
Be sad, as we would make ye: think ye see
The very persons of our noble story
As they were living; think you see them great,
And follow’d with the general throng and sweat
Of thousand friends; then in a moment, see
How soon this mightiness meets misery:
And, if you can be merry then, I’ll say
A man may weep upon his wedding-day.

SCENE I. London. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Enter NORFOLK at one door; at the other, BUCKINGHAM and ABERGAVENNY

BUCKINGHAM

Good morrow, and well met. How have ye done
Since last we saw in France?

NORFOLK

I thank your grace,
Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.

BUCKINGHAM

An untimely ague
Stay’d me a prisoner in my chamber when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Andren.

NORFOLK

‘Twixt Guynes and Arde:
I was then present, saw them salute on horseback;
Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung
In their embracement, as they grew together;
Which had they, what four throned ones could have weigh’d
Such a compounded one?

BUCKINGHAM

All the whole time
I was my chamber’s prisoner.

NORFOLK

Then you lost
The view of earthly glory: men might say,
Till this time pomp was single, but now married
To one above itself. Each following day
Became the next day’s master, till the last
Made former wonders its. To-day the French,
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the English; and, to-morrow, they
Made Britain India: every man that stood
Show’d like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all guilt: the madams too,
Not used to toil, did almost sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labour
Was to them as a painting: now this masque
Was cried incomparable; and the ensuing night
Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings,
Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,
As presence did present them; him in eye,
Still him in praise: and, being present both
‘Twas said they saw but one; and no discerner
Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns—
For so they phrase ’em—by their heralds challenged
The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
Beyond thought’s compass; that former fabulous story,
Being now seen possible enough, got credit,
That Bevis was believed.

BUCKINGHAM

O, you go far.

NORFOLK

As I belong to worship and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of every thing
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action’s self was tongue to. All was royal;
To the disposing of it nought rebell’d.
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Distinctly his full function.

BUCKINGHAM

Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess?

NORFOLK

One, certes, that promises no element
In such a business.

BUCKINGHAM

I pray you, who, my lord?

NORFOLK

All this was order’d by the good discretion
Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.

BUCKINGHAM

The devil speed him! no man’s pie is freed
From his ambitious finger. What had he
To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder
That such a keech can with his very bulk
Take up the rays o’ the beneficial sun
And keep it from the earth.

NORFOLK

Surely, sir,
There’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp’d by ancestry, whose grace
Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
For eminent assistants; but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the king.

ABERGAVENNY

I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him,—let some graver eye
Pierce into that; but I can see his pride
Peep through each part of him: whence has he that,
If not from hell? the devil is a niggard,
Or has given all before, and he begins
A new hell in himself.

BUCKINGHAM

Why the devil,
Upon this French going out, took he upon him,
Without the privity o’ the king, to appoint
Who should attend on him? He makes up the file
Of all the gentry; for the most part such
To whom as great a charge as little honour
He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,
The honourable board of council out,
Must fetch him in the papers.

ABERGAVENNY

I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
By this so sickened their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.

BUCKINGHAM

O, many
Have broke their backs with laying manors on ’em
For this great journey. What did this vanity
But minister communication of
A most poor issue?

NORFOLK

Grievingly I think,
The peace between the French and us not values
The cost that did conclude it.

BUCKINGHAM

Every man,
After the hideous storm that follow’d, was
A thing inspired; and, not consulting, broke
Into a general prophecy; That this tempest,
Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
The sudden breach on’t.

NORFOLK

Which is budded out;
For France hath flaw’d the league, and hath attach’d
Our merchants’ goods at Bourdeaux.

ABERGAVENNY

Is it therefore
The ambassador is silenced?

NORFOLK

Marry, is’t.

ABERGAVENNY

A proper title of a peace; and purchased
At a superfluous rate!

BUCKINGHAM

Why, all this business
Our reverend cardinal carried.

NORFOLK

Like it your grace,
The state takes notice of the private difference
Betwixt you and the cardinal. I advise you—
And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
Honour and plenteous safety—that you read
The cardinal’s malice and his potency
Together; to consider further that
What his high hatred would effect wants not
A minister in his power. You know his nature,
That he’s revengeful, and I know his sword
Hath a sharp edge: it’s long and, ‘t may be said,
It reaches far, and where ’twill not extend,
Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel,
You’ll find it wholesome. Lo, where comes that rock
That I advise your shunning.

Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, the purse borne before him, certain of the Guard, and two Secretaries with papers. CARDINAL WOLSEY in his passage fixeth his eye on BUCKINGHAM, and BUCKINGHAM on him, both full of disdain

CARDINAL WOLSEY

The Duke of Buckingham’s surveyor, ha?
Where’s his examination?

First Secretary

Here, so please you.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Is he in person ready?

First Secretary

Ay, please your grace.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham
Shall lessen this big look.

Exeunt CARDINAL WOLSEY and his Train

BUCKINGHAM

This butcher’s cur is venom-mouth’d, and I
Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best
Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar’s book
Outworths a noble’s blood.

NORFOLK

What, are you chafed?
Ask God for temperance; that’s the appliance only
Which your disease requires.

BUCKINGHAM

I read in’s looks
Matter against me; and his eye reviled
Me, as his abject object: at this instant
He bores me with some trick: he’s gone to the king;
I’ll follow and outstare him.

NORFOLK

Stay, my lord,
And let your reason with your choler question
What ’tis you go about: to climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first: anger is like
A full-hot horse, who being allow’d his way,
Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
Can advise me like you: be to yourself
As you would to your friend.

BUCKINGHAM

I’ll to the king;
And from a mouth of honour quite cry down
This Ipswich fellow’s insolence; or proclaim
There’s difference in no persons.

NORFOLK

Be advised;
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself: we may outrun,
By violent swiftness, that which we run at,
And lose by over-running. Know you not,
The fire that mounts the liquor til run o’er,
In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advised:
I say again, there is no English soul
More stronger to direct you than yourself,
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay, the fire of passion.

BUCKINGHAM

Sir,
I am thankful to you; and I’ll go along
By your prescription: but this top-proud fellow,
Whom from the flow of gall I name not but
From sincere motions, by intelligence,
And proofs as clear as founts in July when
We see each grain of gravel, I do know
To be corrupt and treasonous.

NORFOLK

Say not ‘treasonous.’

BUCKINGHAM

To the king I’ll say’t; and make my vouch as strong
As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,
Or wolf, or both,—for he is equal ravenous
As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief
As able to perform’t; his mind and place
Infecting one another, yea, reciprocally—
Only to show his pomp as well in France
As here at home, suggests the king our master
To this last costly treaty, the interview,
That swallow’d so much treasure, and like a glass
Did break i’ the rinsing.

NORFOLK

Faith, and so it did.

BUCKINGHAM

Pray, give me favour, sir. This cunning cardinal
The articles o’ the combination drew
As himself pleased; and they were ratified
As he cried ‘Thus let be’: to as much end
As give a crutch to the dead: but our count-cardinal
Has done this, and ’tis well; for worthy Wolsey,
Who cannot err, he did it. Now this follows,—
Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy
To the old dam, treason,—Charles the emperor,
Under pretence to see the queen his aunt—
For ’twas indeed his colour, but he came
To whisper Wolsey,—here makes visitation:
His fears were, that the interview betwixt
England and France might, through their amity,
Breed him some prejudice; for from this league
Peep’d harms that menaced him: he privily
Deals with our cardinal; and, as I trow,—
Which I do well; for I am sure the emperor
Paid ere he promised; whereby his suit was granted
Ere it was ask’d; but when the way was made,
And paved with gold, the emperor thus desired,
That he would please to alter the king’s course,
And break the foresaid peace. Let the king know,
As soon he shall by me, that thus the cardinal
Does buy and sell his honour as he pleases,
And for his own advantage.

NORFOLK

I am sorry
To hear this of him; and could wish he were
Something mistaken in’t.

BUCKINGHAM

No, not a syllable:
I do pronounce him in that very shape
He shall appear in proof.

Enter BRANDON, a Sergeant-at-arms before him, and two or three of the Guard

BRANDON

Your office, sergeant; execute it.

Sergeant

Sir,
My lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl
Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I
Arrest thee of high treason, in the name
Of our most sovereign king.

BUCKINGHAM

Lo, you, my lord,
The net has fall’n upon me! I shall perish
Under device and practise.

BRANDON

I am sorry
To see you ta’en from liberty, to look on
The business present: ’tis his highness’ pleasure
You shall to the Tower.

BUCKINGHAM

It will help me nothing
To plead mine innocence; for that dye is on me
Which makes my whitest part black. The will of heaven
Be done in this and all things! I obey.
O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well!

BRANDON

Nay, he must bear you company. The king

To ABERGAVENNY
Is pleased you shall to the Tower, till you know
How he determines further.

ABERGAVENNY

As the duke said,
The will of heaven be done, and the king’s pleasure
By me obey’d!

BRANDON

Here is a warrant from
The king to attach Lord Montacute; and the bodies
Of the duke’s confessor, John de la Car,
One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor—

BUCKINGHAM

So, so;
These are the limbs o’ the plot: no more, I hope.

BRANDON

A monk o’ the Chartreux.

BUCKINGHAM

O, Nicholas Hopkins?

BRANDON

He.

BUCKINGHAM

My surveyor is false; the o’er-great cardinal
Hath show’d him gold; my life is spann’d already:
I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,
By darkening my clear sun. My lord, farewell.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The same. The council-chamber.

Cornets. Enter KING HENRY VIII, leaning on CARDINAL WOLSEY’s shoulder, the Nobles, and LOVELL; CARDINAL WOLSEY places himself under KING HENRY VIII’s feet on his right side

KING HENRY VIII

My life itself, and the best heart of it,
Thanks you for this great care: I stood i’ the level
Of a full-charged confederacy, and give thanks
To you that choked it. Let be call’d before us
That gentleman of Buckingham’s; in person
I’ll hear him his confessions justify;
And point by point the treasons of his master
He shall again relate.

A noise within, crying ‘Room for the Queen!’ Enter QUEEN KATHARINE, ushered by NORFOLK, and SUFFOLK: she kneels. KING HENRY VIII riseth from his state, takes her up, kisses and placeth her by him

QUEEN KATHARINE

Nay, we must longer kneel: I am a suitor.

KING HENRY VIII

Arise, and take place by us: half your suit
Never name to us; you have half our power:
The other moiety, ere you ask, is given;
Repeat your will and take it.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Thank your majesty.
That you would love yourself, and in that love
Not unconsider’d leave your honour, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.

KING HENRY VIII

Lady mine, proceed.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am solicited, not by a few,
And those of true condition, that your subjects
Are in great grievance: there have been commissions
Sent down among ’em, which hath flaw’d the heart
Of all their loyalties: wherein, although,
My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches
Most bitterly on you, as putter on
Of these exactions, yet the king our master—
Whose honour heaven shield from soil!—even he
escapes not
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty, and almost appears
In loud rebellion.

NORFOLK

Not almost appears,
It doth appear; for, upon these taxations,
The clothiers all, not able to maintain
The many to them longing, have put off
The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compell’d by hunger
And lack of other means, in desperate manner
Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
And danger serves among then!

KING HENRY VIII

Taxation!
Wherein? and what taxation? My lord cardinal,
You that are blamed for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Please you, sir,
I know but of a single part, in aught
Pertains to the state; and front but in that file
Where others tell steps with me.

QUEEN KATHARINE

No, my lord,
You know no more than others; but you frame
Things that are known alike; which are not wholesome
To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to the bearing; and, to bear ’em,
The back is sacrifice to the load. They say
They are devised by you; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.

KING HENRY VIII

Still exaction!
The nature of it? in what kind, let’s know,
Is this exaction?

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience; but am bolden’d
Under your promised pardon. The subjects’ grief
Comes through commissions, which compel from each
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is named, your wars in France: this makes bold mouths:
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curses now
Live where their prayers did: and it’s come to pass,
This tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business.

KING HENRY VIII

By my life,
This is against our pleasure.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

And for me,
I have no further gone in this than by
A single voice; and that not pass’d me but
By learned approbation of the judges. If I am
Traduced by ignorant tongues, which neither know
My faculties nor person, yet will be
The chronicles of my doing, let me say
‘Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new-trimm’d, but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow’d; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up
For our best act. If we shall stand still,
In fear our motion will be mock’d or carp’d at,
We should take root here where we sit, or sit
State-statues only.

KING HENRY VIII

Things done well,
And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear’d. Have you a precedent
Of this commission? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take
From every tree lop, bark, and part o’ the timber;
And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack’d,
The air will drink the sap. To every county
Where this is question’d send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has denied
The force of this commission: pray, look to’t;
I put it to your care.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

A word with you.

To the Secretary
Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the king’s grace and pardon. The grieved commons
Hardly conceive of me; let it be noised
That through our intercession this revokement
And pardon comes: I shall anon advise you
Further in the proceeding.

Exit Secretary

Enter Surveyor

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am sorry that the Duke of Buckingham
Is run in your displeasure.

KING HENRY VIII

It grieves many:
The gentleman is learn’d, and a most rare speaker;
To nature none more bound; his training such,
That he may furnish and instruct great teachers,
And never seek for aid out of himself. Yet see,
When these so noble benefits shall prove
Not well disposed, the mind growing once corrupt,
They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
Than ever they were fair. This man so complete,
Who was enroll’d ‘mongst wonders, and when we,
Almost with ravish’d listening, could not find
His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,
Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
That once were his, and is become as black
As if besmear’d in hell. Sit by us; you shall hear—
This was his gentleman in trust—of him
Things to strike honour sad. Bid him recount
The fore-recited practises; whereof
We cannot feel too little, hear too much.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Stand forth, and with bold spirit relate what you,
Most like a careful subject, have collected
Out of the Duke of Buckingham.

KING HENRY VIII

Speak freely.

Surveyor

First, it was usual with him, every day
It would infect his speech, that if the king
Should without issue die, he’ll carry it so
To make the sceptre his: these very words
I’ve heard him utter to his son-in-law,
Lord Abergavenny; to whom by oath he menaced
Revenge upon the cardinal.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Please your highness, note
This dangerous conception in this point.
Not friended by by his wish, to your high person
His will is most malignant; and it stretches
Beyond you, to your friends.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My learn’d lord cardinal,
Deliver all with charity.

KING HENRY VIII

Speak on:
How grounded he his title to the crown,
Upon our fail? to this point hast thou heard him
At any time speak aught?

Surveyor

He was brought to this
By a vain prophecy of Nicholas Hopkins.

KING HENRY VIII

What was that Hopkins?

Surveyor

Sir, a Chartreux friar,
His confessor, who fed him every minute
With words of sovereignty.

KING HENRY VIII

How know’st thou this?

Surveyor

Not long before your highness sped to France,
The duke being at the Rose, within the parish
Saint Lawrence Poultney, did of me demand
What was the speech among the Londoners
Concerning the French journey: I replied,
Men fear’d the French would prove perfidious,
To the king’s danger. Presently the duke
Said, ’twas the fear, indeed; and that he doubted
‘Twould prove the verity of certain words
Spoke by a holy monk; ‘that oft,’ says he,
‘Hath sent to me, wishing me to permit
John de la Car, my chaplain, a choice hour
To hear from him a matter of some moment:
Whom after under the confession’s seal
He solemnly had sworn, that what he spoke
My chaplain to no creature living, but
To me, should utter, with demure confidence
This pausingly ensued: neither the king nor’s heirs,
Tell you the duke, shall prosper: bid him strive
To gain the love o’ the commonalty: the duke
Shall govern England.’

QUEEN KATHARINE

If I know you well,
You were the duke’s surveyor, and lost your office
On the complaint o’ the tenants: take good heed
You charge not in your spleen a noble person
And spoil your nobler soul: I say, take heed;
Yes, heartily beseech you.

KING HENRY VIII

Let him on.
Go forward.

Surveyor

On my soul, I’ll speak but truth.
I told my lord the duke, by the devil’s illusions
The monk might be deceived; and that ’twas dangerous for him
To ruminate on this so far, until
It forged him some design, which, being believed,
It was much like to do: he answer’d, ‘Tush,
It can do me no damage;’ adding further,
That, had the king in his last sickness fail’d,
The cardinal’s and Sir Thomas Lovell’s heads
Should have gone off.

KING HENRY VIII

Ha! what, so rank? Ah ha!
There’s mischief in this man: canst thou say further?

Surveyor

I can, my liege.

KING HENRY VIII

Proceed.

Surveyor

Being at Greenwich,
After your highness had reproved the duke
About Sir William Blomer,—

KING HENRY VIII

I remember
Of such a time: being my sworn servant,
The duke retain’d him his. But on; what hence?

Surveyor

‘If,’ quoth he, ‘I for this had been committed,
As, to the Tower, I thought, I would have play’d
The part my father meant to act upon
The usurper Richard; who, being at Salisbury,
Made suit to come in’s presence; which if granted,
As he made semblance of his duty, would
Have put his knife to him.’

KING HENRY VIII

A giant traitor!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Now, madam, may his highness live in freedom,
and this man out of prison?

QUEEN KATHARINE

God mend all!

KING HENRY VIII

There’s something more would out of thee; what say’st?

Surveyor

After ‘the duke his father,’ with ‘the knife,’
He stretch’d him, and, with one hand on his dagger,
Another spread on’s breast, mounting his eyes
He did discharge a horrible oath; whose tenor
Was,—were he evil used, he would outgo
His father by as much as a performance
Does an irresolute purpose.

KING HENRY VIII

There’s his period,
To sheathe his knife in us. He is attach’d;
Call him to present trial: if he may
Find mercy in the law, ’tis his: if none,
Let him not seek ‘t of us: by day and night,
He’s traitor to the height.

Exeunt

SCENE III. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Enter Chamberlain and SANDS

Chamberlain

Is’t possible the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?

SANDS

New customs,
Though they be never so ridiculous,
Nay, let ’em be unmanly, yet are follow’d.

Chamberlain

As far as I see, all the good our English
Have got by the late voyage is but merely
A fit or two o’ the face; but they are shrewd ones;
For when they hold ’em, you would swear directly
Their very noses had been counsellors
To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.

SANDS

They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,
That never saw ’em pace before, the spavin
Or springhalt reign’d among ’em.

Chamberlain

Death! my lord,
Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too,
That, sure, they’ve worn out Christendom.

Enter LOVELL
How now!
What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?

LOVELL

Faith, my lord,
I hear of none, but the new proclamation
That’s clapp’d upon the court-gate.

Chamberlain

What is’t for?

LOVELL

The reformation of our travell’d gallants,
That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.

Chamberlain

I’m glad ’tis there: now I would pray our monsieurs
To think an English courtier may be wise,
And never see the Louvre.

LOVELL

They must either,
For so run the conditions, leave those remnants
Of fool and feather that they got in France,
With all their honourable point of ignorance
Pertaining thereunto, as fights and fireworks,
Abusing better men than they can be,
Out of a foreign wisdom, renouncing clean
The faith they have in tennis, and tall stockings,
Short blister’d breeches, and those types of travel,
And understand again like honest men;
Or pack to their old playfellows: there, I take it,
They may, ‘cum privilegio,’ wear away
The lag end of their lewdness and be laugh’d at.

SANDS

‘Tis time to give ’em physic, their diseases
Are grown so catching.

Chamberlain

What a loss our ladies
Will have of these trim vanities!

LOVELL

Ay, marry,
There will be woe indeed, lords: the sly whoresons
Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies;
A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.

SANDS

The devil fiddle ’em! I am glad they are going,
For, sure, there’s no converting of ’em: now
An honest country lord, as I am, beaten
A long time out of play, may bring his plainsong
And have an hour of hearing; and, by’r lady,
Held current music too.

Chamberlain

Well said, Lord Sands;
Your colt’s tooth is not cast yet.

SANDS

No, my lord;
Nor shall not, while I have a stump.

Chamberlain

Sir Thomas,
Whither were you a-going?

LOVELL

To the cardinal’s:
Your lordship is a guest too.

Chamberlain

O, ’tis true:
This night he makes a supper, and a great one,
To many lords and ladies; there will be
The beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.

LOVELL

That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,
A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;
His dews fall every where.

Chamberlain

No doubt he’s noble;
He had a black mouth that said other of him.

SANDS

He may, my lord; has wherewithal: in him
Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine:
Men of his way should be most liberal;
They are set here for examples.

Chamberlain

True, they are so:
But few now give so great ones. My barge stays;
Your lordship shall along. Come, good Sir Thomas,
We shall be late else; which I would not be,
For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guildford
This night to be comptrollers.

SANDS

I am your lordship’s.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A Hall in York Place.

Hautboys. A small table under a state for CARDINAL WOLSEY, a longer table for the guests. Then enter ANNE and divers other Ladies and Gentlemen as guests, at one door; at another door, enter GUILDFORD

GUILDFORD

Ladies, a general welcome from his grace
Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates
To fair content and you: none here, he hopes,
In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
One care abroad; he would have all as merry
As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people. O, my lord, you’re tardy:

Enter Chamberlain, SANDS, and LOVELL
The very thought of this fair company
Clapp’d wings to me.

Chamberlain

You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.

SANDS

Sir Thomas Lovell, had the cardinal
But half my lay thoughts in him, some of these
Should find a running banquet ere they rested,
I think would better please ’em: by my life,
They are a sweet society of fair ones.

LOVELL

O, that your lordship were but now confessor
To one or two of these!

SANDS

I would I were;
They should find easy penance.

LOVELL

Faith, how easy?

SANDS

As easy as a down-bed would afford it.

Chamberlain

Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,
Place you that side; I’ll take the charge of this:
His grace is entering. Nay, you must not freeze;
Two women placed together makes cold weather:
My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ’em waking;
Pray, sit between these ladies.

SANDS

By my faith,
And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies:
If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;
I had it from my father.

ANNE

Was he mad, sir?

SANDS

O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too:
But he would bite none; just as I do now,
He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

Kisses her

Chamberlain

Well said, my lord.
So, now you’re fairly seated. Gentlemen,
The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies
Pass away frowning.

SANDS

For my little cure,
Let me alone.

Hautboys. Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, and takes his state

CARDINAL WOLSEY

You’re welcome, my fair guests: that noble lady,
Or gentleman, that is not freely merry,
Is not my friend: this, to confirm my welcome;
And to you all, good health.

Drinks

SANDS

Your grace is noble:
Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,
And save me so much talking.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

My Lord Sands,
I am beholding to you: cheer your neighbours.
Ladies, you are not merry: gentlemen,
Whose fault is this?

SANDS

The red wine first must rise
In their fair cheeks, my lord; then we shall have ’em
Talk us to silence.

ANNE

You are a merry gamester,
My Lord Sands.

SANDS

Yes, if I make my play.
Here’s to your ladyship: and pledge it, madam,
For ’tis to such a thing,—

ANNE

You cannot show me.

SANDS

I told your grace they would talk anon.

Drum and trumpet, chambers discharged

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What’s that?

Chamberlain

Look out there, some of ye.

Exit Servant

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What warlike voice,
And to what end is this? Nay, ladies, fear not;
By all the laws of war you’re privileged.

Re-enter Servant

Chamberlain

How now! what is’t?

Servant

A noble troop of strangers;
For so they seem: they’ve left their barge and landed;
And hither make, as great ambassadors
From foreign princes.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Good lord chamberlain,
Go, give ’em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;
And, pray, receive ’em nobly, and conduct ’em
Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty
Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.

Exit Chamberlain, attended. All rise, and tables removed
You have now a broken banquet; but we’ll mend it.
A good digestion to you all: and once more
I shower a welcome on ye; welcome all.

Hautboys. Enter KING HENRY VIII and others, as masquers, habited like shepherds, ushered by the Chamberlain. They pass directly before CARDINAL WOLSEY, and gracefully salute him
A noble company! what are their pleasures?

Chamberlain

Because they speak no English, thus they pray’d
To tell your grace, that, having heard by fame
Of this so noble and so fair assembly
This night to meet here, they could do no less
Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,
But leave their flocks; and, under your fair conduct,
Crave leave to view these ladies and entreat
An hour of revels with ’em.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Say, lord chamberlain,
They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay ’em
A thousand thanks, and pray ’em take their pleasures.

They choose Ladies for the dance. KING HENRY VIII chooses ANNE

KING HENRY VIII

The fairest hand I ever touch’d! O beauty,
Till now I never knew thee!

Music. Dance

CARDINAL WOLSEY

My lord!

Chamberlain

Your grace?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Pray, tell ’em thus much from me:
There should be one amongst ’em, by his person,
More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
If I but knew him, with my love and duty
I would surrender it.

Chamberlain

I will, my lord.

Whispers the Masquers

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What say they?

Chamberlain

Such a one, they all confess,
There is indeed; which they would have your grace
Find out, and he will take it.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Let me see, then.
By all your good leaves, gentlemen; here I’ll make
My royal choice.

KING HENRY VIII

Ye have found him, cardinal:

Unmasking
You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord:
You are a churchman, or, I’ll tell you, cardinal,
I should judge now unhappily.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I am glad
Your grace is grown so pleasant.

KING HENRY VIII

My lord chamberlain,
Prithee, come hither: what fair lady’s that?

Chamberlain

An’t please your grace, Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter—
The Viscount Rochford,—one of her highness’ women.

KING HENRY VIII

By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart,
I were unmannerly, to take you out,
And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!
Let it go round.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
I’ the privy chamber?

LOVELL

Yes, my lord.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Your grace,
I fear, with dancing is a little heated.

KING HENRY VIII

I fear, too much.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

There’s fresher air, my lord,
In the next chamber.

KING HENRY VIII

Lead in your ladies, every one: sweet partner,
I must not yet forsake you: let’s be merry:
Good my lord cardinal, I have half a dozen healths
To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure
To lead ’em once again; and then let’s dream
Who’s best in favour. Let the music knock it.

Exeunt with trumpets

ACT II
SCENE I. Westminster. A street.

Enter two Gentlemen, meeting

First Gentleman

Whither away so fast?

Second Gentleman

O, God save ye!
Even to the hall, to hear what shall become
Of the great Duke of Buckingham.

First Gentleman

I’ll save you
That labour, sir. All’s now done, but the ceremony
Of bringing back the prisoner.

Second Gentleman

Were you there?

First Gentleman

Yes, indeed, was I.

Second Gentleman

Pray, speak what has happen’d.

First Gentleman

You may guess quickly what.

Second Gentleman

Is he found guilty?

First Gentleman

Yes, truly is he, and condemn’d upon’t.

Second Gentleman

I am sorry for’t.

First Gentleman

So are a number more.

Second Gentleman

But, pray, how pass’d it?

First Gentleman

I’ll tell you in a little. The great duke
Came to the bar; where to his accusations
He pleaded still not guilty and alleged
Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
The king’s attorney on the contrary
Urged on the examinations, proofs, confessions
Of divers witnesses; which the duke desired
To have brought viva voce to his face:
At which appear’d against him his surveyor;
Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car,
Confessor to him; with that devil-monk,
Hopkins, that made this mischief.

Second Gentleman

That was he
That fed him with his prophecies?

First Gentleman

The same.
All these accused him strongly; which he fain
Would have flung from him, but, indeed, he could not:
And so his peers, upon this evidence,
Have found him guilty of high treason. Much
He spoke, and learnedly, for life; but all
Was either pitied in him or forgotten.

Second Gentleman

After all this, how did he bear himself?

First Gentleman

When he was brought again to the bar, to hear
His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirr’d
With such an agony, he sweat extremely,
And something spoke in choler, ill, and hasty:
But he fell to himself again, and sweetly
In all the rest show’d a most noble patience.

Second Gentleman

I do not think he fears death.

First Gentleman

Sure, he does not:
He never was so womanish; the cause
He may a little grieve at.

Second Gentleman

Certainly
The cardinal is the end of this.

First Gentleman

‘Tis likely,
By all conjectures: first, Kildare’s attainder,
Then deputy of Ireland; who removed,
Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,
Lest he should help his father.

Second Gentleman

That trick of state
Was a deep envious one.

First Gentleman

At his return
No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,
And generally, whoever the king favours,
The cardinal instantly will find employment,
And far enough from court too.

Second Gentleman

All the commons
Hate him perniciously, and, o’ my conscience,
Wish him ten fathom deep: this duke as much
They love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham,
The mirror of all courtesy;—

First Gentleman

Stay there, sir,
And see the noble ruin’d man you speak of.

Enter BUCKINGHAM from his arraignment; tip-staves before him; the axe with the edge towards him; halberds on each side: accompanied with LOVELL, VAUX, SANDS, and common people

Second Gentleman

Let’s stand close, and behold him.

BUCKINGHAM

All good people,
You that thus far have come to pity me,
Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
I have this day received a traitor’s judgment,
And by that name must die: yet, heaven bear witness,
And if I have a co nscience, let it sink me,
Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful!
The law I bear no malice for my death;
‘T has done, upon the premises, but justice:
But those that sought it I could wish more Christians:
Be what they will, I heartily forgive ’em:
Yet let ’em look they glory not in mischief,
Nor build their evils on the graves of great men;
For then my guiltless blood must cry against ’em.
For further life in this world I ne’er hope,
Nor will I sue, although the king have mercies
More than I dare make faults. You few that loved me,
And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
Is only bitter to him, only dying,
Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me,
Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
And lift my soul to heaven. Lead on, o’ God’s name.

LOVELL

I do beseech your grace, for charity,
If ever any malice in your heart
Were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly.

BUCKINGHAM

Sir Thomas Lovell, I as free forgive you
As I would be forgiven: I forgive all;
There cannot be those numberless offences
‘Gainst me, that I cannot take peace with:
no black envy
Shall mark my grave. Commend me to his grace;
And if he speak of Buckingham, pray, tell him
You met him half in heaven: my vows and prayers
Yet are the king’s; and, till my soul forsake,
Shall cry for blessings on him: may he live
Longer than I have time to tell his years!
Ever beloved and loving may his rule be!
And when old time shall lead him to his end,
Goodness and he fill up one monument!

LOVELL

To the water side I must conduct your grace;
Then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux,
Who undertakes you to your end.

VAUX

Prepare there,
The duke is coming: see the barge be ready;
And fit it with such furniture as suits
The greatness of his person.

BUCKINGHAM

Nay, Sir Nicholas,
Let it alone; my state now will but mock me.
When I came hither, I was lord high constable
And Duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun:
Yet I am richer than my base accusers,
That never knew what truth meant: I now seal it;
And with that blood will make ’em one day groan for’t.
My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,
Who first raised head against usurping Richard,
Flying for succor to his servant Banister,
Being distress’d, was by that wretch betray’d,
And without trial fell; God’s peace be with him!
Henry the Seventh succeeding, truly pitying
My father’s loss, like a most royal prince,
Restored me to my honours, and, out of ruins,
Made my name once more noble. Now his son,
Henry the Eighth, life, honour, name and all
That made me happy at one stroke has taken
For ever from the world. I had my trial,
And, must needs say, a noble one; which makes me,
A little happier than my wretched father:
Yet thus far we are one in fortunes: both
Fell by our servants, by those men we loved most;
A most unnatural and faithless service!
Heaven has an end in all: yet, you that hear me,
This from a dying man receive as certain:
Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels
Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends
And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
Like water from ye, never found again
But where they mean to sink ye. All good people,
Pray for me! I must now forsake ye: the last hour
Of my long weary life is come upon me. Farewell:
And when you would say something that is sad,
Speak how I fell. I have done; and God forgive me!

Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and Train

First Gentleman

O, this is full of pity! Sir, it calls,
I fear, too many curses on their beads
That were the authors.

Second Gentleman

If the duke be guiltless,
‘Tis full of woe: yet I can give you inkling
Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,
Greater than this.

First Gentleman

Good angels keep it from us!
What may it be? You do not doubt my faith, sir?

Second Gentleman

This secret is so weighty, ’twill require
A strong faith to conceal it.

First Gentleman

Let me have it;
I do not talk much.

Second Gentleman

I am confident,
You shall, sir: did you not of late days hear
A buzzing of a separation
Between the king and Katharine?

First Gentleman

Yes, but it held not:
For when the king once heard it, out of anger
He sent command to the lord mayor straight
To stop the rumor, and allay those tongues
That durst disperse it.

Second Gentleman

But that slander, sir,
Is found a truth now: for it grows again
Fresher than e’er it was; and held for certain
The king will venture at it. Either the cardinal,
Or some about him near, have, out of malice
To the good queen, possess’d him with a scruple
That will undo her: to confirm this too,
Cardinal Campeius is arrived, and lately;
As all think, for this business.

First Gentleman

‘Tis the cardinal;
And merely to revenge him on the emperor
For not bestowing on him, at his asking,
The archbishopric of Toledo, this is purposed.

Second Gentleman

I think you have hit the mark: but is’t not cruel
That she should feel the smart of this? The cardinal
Will have his will, and she must fall.

First Gentleman

‘Tis woful.
We are too open here to argue this;
Let’s think in private more.

Exeunt

SCENE II. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Enter Chamberlain, reading a letter

Chamberlain

‘My lord, the horses your lordship sent for, with
all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and
furnished. They were young and handsome, and of the
best breed in the north. When they were ready to
set out for London, a man of my lord cardinal’s, by
commission and main power, took ’em from me; with
this reason: His master would be served before a
subject, if not before the king; which stopped our
mouths, sir.’
I fear he will indeed: well, let him have them:
He will have all, I think.

Enter, to Chamberlain, NORFOLK and SUFFOLK

NORFOLK

Well met, my lord chamberlain.

Chamberlain

Good day to both your graces.

SUFFOLK

How is the king employ’d?

Chamberlain

I left him private,
Full of sad thoughts and troubles.

NORFOLK

What’s the cause?

Chamberlain

It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife
Has crept too near his conscience.

SUFFOLK

No, his conscience
Has crept too near another lady.

NORFOLK

‘Tis so:
This is the cardinal’s doing, the king-cardinal:
That blind priest, like the eldest son of fortune,
Turns what he list. The king will know him one day.

SUFFOLK

Pray God he do! he’ll never know himself else.

NORFOLK

How holily he works in all his business!
And with what zeal! for, now he has crack’d the league
Between us and the emperor, the queen’s great nephew,
He dives into the king’s soul, and there scatters
Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,
Fears, and despairs; and all these for his marriage:
And out of all these to restore the king,
He counsels a divorce; a loss of her
That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years
About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;
Of her that loves him with that excellence
That angels love good men with; even of her
That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
Will bless the king: and is not this course pious?

Chamberlain

Heaven keep me from such counsel! ‘Tis most true
These news are every where; every tongue speaks ’em,
And every true heart weeps for’t: all that dare
Look into these affairs see this main end,
The French king’s sister. Heaven will one day open
The king’s eyes, that so long have slept upon
This bold bad man.

SUFFOLK

And free us from his slavery.

NORFOLK

We had need pray,
And heartily, for our deliverance;
Or this imperious man will work us all
From princes into pages: all men’s honours
Lie like one lump before him, to be fashion’d
Into what pitch he please.

SUFFOLK

For me, my lords,
I love him not, nor fear him; there’s my creed:
As I am made without him, so I’ll stand,
If the king please; his curses and his blessings
Touch me alike, they’re breath I not believe in.
I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him
To him that made him proud, the pope.

NORFOLK

Let’s in;
And with some other business put the king
From these sad thoughts, that work too much upon him:
My lord, you’ll bear us company?

Chamberlain

Excuse me;
The king has sent me otherwhere: besides,
You’ll find a most unfit time to disturb him:
Health to your lordships.

NORFOLK

Thanks, my good lord chamberlain.

Exit Chamberlain; and KING HENRY VIII draws the curtain, and sits reading pensively

SUFFOLK

How sad he looks! sure, he is much afflicted.

KING HENRY VIII

Who’s there, ha?

NORFOLK

Pray God he be not angry.

KING HENRY VIII

Who’s there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves
Into my private meditations?
Who am I? ha?

NORFOLK

A gracious king that pardons all offences
Malice ne’er meant: our breach of duty this way
Is business of estate; in which we come
To know your royal pleasure.

KING HENRY VIII

Ye are too bold:
Go to; I’ll make ye know your times of business:
Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?

Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS, with a commission
Who’s there? my good lord cardinal? O my Wolsey,
The quiet of my wounded conscience;
Thou art a cure fit for a king.

To CARDINAL CAMPEIUS
You’re welcome,
Most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom:
Use us and it.

To CARDINAL WOLSEY
My good lord, have great care
I be not found a talker.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Sir, you cannot.
I would your grace would give us but an hour
Of private conference.

KING HENRY VIII

[To NORFOLK and SUFFOLK]
We are busy; go.

NORFOLK

[Aside to SUFFOLK]
This priest has no pride in him?

SUFFOLK

[Aside to NORFOLK] Not to speak of:
I would not be so sick though for his place:
But this cannot continue.

NORFOLK

[Aside to SUFFOLK] If it do,
I’ll venture one have-at-him.

SUFFOLK

[Aside to NORFOLK] I another.

Exeunt NORFOLK and SUFFOLK

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom
Above all princes, in committing freely
Your scruple to the voice of Christendom:
Who can be angry now? what envy reach you?
The Spaniard, tied blood and favour to her,
Must now confess, if they have any goodness,
The trial just and noble. All the clerks,
I mean the learned ones, in Christian kingdoms
Have their free voices: Rome, the nurse of judgment,
Invited by your noble self, hath sent
One general tongue unto us, this good man,
This just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius;
Whom once more I present unto your highness.

KING HENRY VIII

And once more in mine arms I bid him welcome,
And thank the holy conclave for their loves:
They have sent me such a man I would have wish’d for.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Your grace must needs deserve all strangers’ loves,
You are so noble. To your highness’ hand
I tender my commission; by whose virtue,
The court of Rome commanding, you, my lord
Cardinal of York, are join’d with me their servant
In the unpartial judging of this business.

KING HENRY VIII

Two equal men. The queen shall be acquainted
Forthwith for what you come. Where’s Gardiner?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I know your majesty has always loved her
So dear in heart, not to deny her that
A woman of less place might ask by law:
Scholars allow’d freely to argue for her.

KING HENRY VIII

Ay, and the best she shall have; and my favour
To him that does best: God forbid else. Cardinal,
Prithee, call Gardiner to me, my new secretary:
I find him a fit fellow.

Exit CARDINAL WOLSEY

Re-enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, with GARDINER

CARDINAL WOLSEY

[Aside to GARDINER] Give me your hand much joy and
favour to you;
You are the king’s now.

GARDINER

[Aside to CARDINAL WOLSEY]
But to be commanded
For ever by your grace, whose hand has raised me.

KING HENRY VIII

Come hither, Gardiner.

Walks and whispers

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

My Lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace
In this man’s place before him?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Yes, he was.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Was he not held a learned man?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Yes, surely.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Believe me, there’s an ill opinion spread then
Even of yourself, lord cardinal.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

How! of me?

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

They will not stick to say you envied him,
And fearing he would rise, he was so virtuous,
Kept him a foreign man still; which so grieved him,
That he ran mad and died.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Heaven’s peace be with him!
That’s Christian care enough: for living murmurers
There’s places of rebuke. He was a fool;
For he would needs be virtuous: that good fellow,
If I command him, follows my appointment:
I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother,
We live not to be grip’d by meaner persons.

KING HENRY VIII

Deliver this with modesty to the queen.

Exit GARDINER
The most convenient place that I can think of
For such receipt of learning is Black-Friars;
There ye shall meet about this weighty business.
My Wolsey, see it furnish’d. O, my lord,
Would it not grieve an able man to leave
So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience!
O, ’tis a tender place; and I must leave her.

Exeunt

SCENE III. An ante-chamber of the QUEEN’S apartments.

Enter ANNE and an Old Lady

ANNE

Not for that neither: here’s the pang that pinches:
His highness having lived so long with her, and she
So good a lady that no tongue could ever
Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,
She never knew harm-doing: O, now, after
So many courses of the sun enthroned,
Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which
To leave a thousand-fold more bitter than
‘Tis sweet at first to acquire,—after this process,
To give her the avaunt! it is a pity
Would move a monster.

Old Lady

Hearts of most hard temper
Melt and lament for her.

ANNE

O, God’s will! much better
She ne’er had known pomp: though’t be temporal,
Yet, if that quarrel, fortune, do divorce
It from the bearer, ’tis a sufferance panging
As soul and body’s severing.

Old Lady

Alas, poor lady!
She’s a stranger now again.

ANNE

So much the more
Must pity drop upon her. Verily,
I swear, ’tis better to be lowly born,
And range with humble livers in content,
Than to be perk’d up in a glistering grief,
And wear a golden sorrow.

Old Lady

Our content
Is our best having.

ANNE

By my troth and maidenhead,
I would not be a queen.

Old Lady

Beshrew me, I would,
And venture maidenhead for’t; and so would you,
For all this spice of your hypocrisy:
You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,
Have too a woman’s heart; which ever yet
Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty;
Which, to say sooth, are blessings; and which gifts,
Saving your mincing, the capacity
Of your soft cheveril conscience would receive,
If you might please to stretch it.

ANNE

Nay, good troth.

Old Lady

Yes, troth, and troth; you would not be a queen?

ANNE

No, not for all the riches under heaven.
Old Lady: ‘Tis strange: a three-pence bow’d would hire me,
Old as I am, to queen it: but, I pray you,
What think you of a duchess? have you limbs
To bear that load of title?

ANNE

No, in truth.

Old Lady

Then you are weakly made: pluck off a little;
I would not be a young count in your way,
For more than blushing comes to: if your back
Cannot vouchsafe this burthen,’tis too weak
Ever to get a boy.

ANNE

How you do talk!
I swear again, I would not be a queen
For all the world.

Old Lady

In faith, for little England
You’ld venture an emballing: I myself
Would for Carnarvonshire, although there long’d
No more to the crown but that. Lo, who comes here?

Enter Chamberlain

Chamberlain

Good morrow, ladies. What were’t worth to know
The secret of your conference?

ANNE

My good lord,
Not your demand; it values not your asking:
Our mistress’ sorrows we were pitying.

Chamberlain

It was a gentle business, and becoming
The action of good women: there is hope
All will be well.

ANNE

Now, I pray God, amen!

Chamberlain

You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings
Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note’s
Ta’en of your many virtues, the king’s majesty
Commends his good opinion of you, and
Does purpose honour to you no less flowing
Than Marchioness of Pembroke: to which title
A thousand pound a year, annual support,
Out of his grace he adds.

ANNE

I do not know
What kind of my obedience I should tender;
More than my all is nothing: nor my prayers
Are not words duly hallow’d, nor my wishes
More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers and wishes
Are all I can return. Beseech your lordship,
Vouchsafe to speak my thanks and my obedience,
As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness;
Whose health and royalty I pray for.

Chamberlain

Lady,
I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit
The king hath of you.

Aside
I have perused her well;
Beauty and honour in her are so mingled
That they have caught the king: and who knows yet
But from this lady may proceed a gem
To lighten all this isle? I’ll to the king,
And say I spoke with you.

Exit Chamberlain

ANNE

My honour’d lord.

Old Lady

Why, this it is; see, see!
I have been begging sixteen years in court,
Am yet a courtier beggarly, nor could
Come pat betwixt too early and too late
For any suit of pounds; and you, O fate!
A very fresh-fish here—fie, fie, fie upon
This compell’d fortune!—have your mouth fill’d up
Before you open it.

ANNE

This is strange to me.

Old Lady

How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence, no.
There was a lady once, ’tis an old story,
That would not be a queen, that would she not,
For all the mud in Egypt: have you heard it?

ANNE

Come, you are pleasant.

Old Lady

With your theme, I could
O’ermount the lark. The Marchioness of Pembroke!
A thousand pounds a year for pure respect!
No other obligation! By my life,
That promises moe thousands: honour’s train
Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time
I know your back will bear a duchess: say,
Are you not stronger than you were?

ANNE

Good lady,
Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,
And leave me out on’t. Would I had no being,
If this salute my blood a jot: it faints me,
To think what follows.
The queen is comfortless, and we forgetful
In our long absence: pray, do not deliver
What here you’ve heard to her.

Old Lady

What do you think me?

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A hall in Black-Friars.

Trumpets, sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers, with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in the habit of doctors; after them, CANTERBURY alone; after him, LINCOLN, Ely, Rochester, and Saint Asaph; next them, with some small distance, follows a Gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal, and a cardinal’s hat; then two Priests, bearing each a silver cross; then a Gentleman-usher bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant-at-arms bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen bearing two great silver pillars; after them, side by side, CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS; two Noblemen with the sword and mace. KING HENRY VIII takes place under the cloth of state; CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS sit under him as judges. QUEEN KATHARINE takes place some distance from KING HENRY VIII. The Bishops place themselves on each side the court, in manner of a consistory; below them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. The rest of the Attendants stand in convenient order about the stage

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Whilst our commission from Rome is read,
Let silence be commanded.

KING HENRY VIII

What’s the need?
It hath already publicly been read,
And on all sides the authority allow’d;
You may, then, spare that time.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Be’t so. Proceed.

Scribe

Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.

Crier

Henry King of England, & c.

KING HENRY VIII

Here.

Scribe

Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

Crier

Katharine Queen of England, & c.

QUEEN KATHARINE makes no answer, rises out of her chair, goes about the court, comes to KING HENRY VIII, and kneels at his feet; then speaks

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;
And to bestow your pity on me: for
I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
Born out of your dominions; having here
No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
In what have I offended you? what cause
Hath my behavior given to your displeasure,
That thus you should proceed to put me off,
And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness,
I have been to you a true and humble wife,
At all times to your will conformable;
Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry
As I saw it inclined: when was the hour
I ever contradicted your desire,
Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends
Have I not strove to love, although I knew
He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
That had to him derived your anger, did I
Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind
That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
Upward of twenty years, and have been blest
With many children by you: if, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
Against your sacred person, in God’s name,
Turn me away; and let the foul’st contempt
Shut door upon me, and so give me up
To the sharp’st kind of justice. Please you sir,
The king, your father, was reputed for
A prince most prudent, of an excellent
And unmatch’d wit and judgment: Ferdinand,
My father, king of Spain, was reckon’d one
The wisest prince that there had reign’d by many
A year before: it is not to be question’d
That they had gather’d a wise council to them
Of every realm, that did debate this business,
Who deem’d our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly
Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel
I will implore: if not, i’ the name of God,
Your pleasure be fulfill’d!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

You have here, lady,
And of your choice, these reverend fathers; men
Of singular integrity and learning,
Yea, the elect o’ the land, who are assembled
To plead your cause: it shall be therefore bootless
That longer you desire the court; as well
For your own quiet, as to rectify
What is unsettled in the king.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

His grace
Hath spoken well and justly: therefore, madam,
It’s fit this royal session do proceed;
And that, without delay, their arguments
Be now produced and heard.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Lord cardinal,
To you I speak.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Your pleasure, madam?

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir,
I am about to weep; but, thinking that
We are a queen, or long have dream’d so, certain
The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
I’ll turn to sparks of fire.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Be patient yet.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
Or God will punish me. I do believe,
Induced by potent circumstances, that
You are mine enemy, and make my challenge
You shall not be my judge: for it is you
Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me;
Which God’s dew quench! Therefore I say again,
I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul
Refuse you for my judge; whom, yet once more,
I hold my most malicious foe, and think not
At all a friend to truth.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I do profess
You speak not like yourself; who ever yet
Have stood to charity, and display’d the effects
Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom
O’ertopping woman’s power. Madam, you do me wrong:
I have no spleen against you; nor injustice
For you or any: how far I have proceeded,
Or how far further shall, is warranted
By a commission from the consistory,
Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me
That I have blown this coal: I do deny it:
The king is present: if it be known to him
That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,
And worthily, my falsehood! yea, as much
As you have done my truth. If he know
That I am free of your report, he knows
I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him
It lies to cure me: and the cure is, to
Remove these thoughts from you: the which before
His highness shall speak in, I do beseech
You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking
And to say so no more.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My lord, my lord,
I am a simple woman, much too weak
To oppose your cunning. You’re meek and
humble-mouth’d;
You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,
With meekness and humility; but your heart
Is cramm’d with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.
You have, by fortune and his highness’ favours,
Gone slightly o’er low steps and now are mounted
Where powers are your retainers, and your words,
Domestics to you, serve your will as’t please
Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
You tender more your person’s honour than
Your high profession spiritual: that again
I do refuse you for my judge; and here,
Before you all, appeal unto the pope,
To bring my whole cause ‘fore his holiness,
And to be judged by him.

She curtsies to KING HENRY VIII, and offers to depart

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

The queen is obstinate,
Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and
Disdainful to be tried by’t: ’tis not well.
She’s going away.

KING HENRY VIII

Call her again.

Crier

Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

GRIFFITH

Madam, you are call’d back.

QUEEN KATHARINE

What need you note it? pray you, keep your way:
When you are call’d, return. Now, the Lord help,
They vex me past my patience! Pray you, pass on:
I will not tarry; no, nor ever more
Upon this business my appearance make
In any of their courts.

Exeunt QUEEN KATHARINE and her Attendants

KING HENRY VIII

Go thy ways, Kate:
That man i’ the world who shall report he has
A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,
For speaking false in that: thou art, alone,
If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,
Obeying in commanding, and thy parts
Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,
The queen of earthly queens: she’s noble born;
And, like her true nobility, she has
Carried herself towards me.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Most gracious sir,
In humblest manner I require your highness,
That it shall please you to declare, in hearing
Of all these ears,—for where I am robb’d and bound,
There must I be unloosed, although not there
At once and fully satisfied,—whether ever I
Did broach this business to your highness; or
Laid any scruple in your way, which might
Induce you to the question on’t? or ever
Have to you, but with thanks to God for such
A royal lady, spake one the least word that might
Be to the prejudice of her present state,
Or touch of her good person?

KING HENRY VIII

My lord cardinal,
I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour,
I free you from’t. You are not to be taught
That you have many enemies, that know not
Why they are so, but, like to village-curs,
Bark when their fellows do: by some of these
The queen is put in anger. You’re excused:
But will you be more justified? You ever
Have wish’d the sleeping of this business; never desired
It to be stirr’d; but oft have hinder’d, oft,
The passages made toward it: on my honour,
I speak my good lord cardinal to this point,
And thus far clear him. Now, what moved me to’t,
I will be bold with time and your attention:
Then mark the inducement. Thus it came; give heed to’t:
My conscience first received a tenderness,
Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter’d
By the Bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador;
Who had been hither sent on the debating
A marriage ‘twixt the Duke of Orleans and
Our daughter Mary: i’ the progress of this business,
Ere a determinate resolution, he,
I mean the bishop, did require a respite;
Wherein he might the king his lord advertise
Whether our daughter were legitimate,
Respecting this our marriage with the dowager,
Sometimes our brother’s wife. This respite shook
The bosom of my conscience, enter’d me,
Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble
The region of my breast; which forced such way,
That many mazed considerings did throng
And press’d in with this caution. First, methought
I stood not in the smile of heaven; who had
Commanded nature, that my lady’s womb,
If it conceived a male child by me, should
Do no more offices of life to’t than
The grave does to the dead; for her male issue
Or died where they were made, or shortly after
This world had air’d them: hence I took a thought,
This was a judgment on me; that my kingdom,
Well worthy the best heir o’ the world, should not
Be gladded in’t by me: then follows, that
I weigh’d the danger which my realms stood in
By this my issue’s fail; and that gave to me
Many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in
The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer
Toward this remedy, whereupon we are
Now present here together: that’s to say,
I meant to rectify my conscience,—which
I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,—
By all the reverend fathers of the land
And doctors learn’d: first I began in private
With you, my Lord of Lincoln; you remember
How under my oppression I did reek,
When I first moved you.

LINCOLN

Very well, my liege.

KING HENRY VIII

I have spoke long: be pleased yourself to say
How far you satisfied me.

LINCOLN

So please your highness,
The question did at first so stagger me,
Bearing a state of mighty moment in’t
And consequence of dread, that I committed
The daring’st counsel which I had to doubt;
And did entreat your highness to this course
Which you are running here.

KING HENRY VIII

I then moved you,
My Lord of Canterbury; and got your leave
To make this present summons: unsolicited
I left no reverend person in this court;
But by particular consent proceeded
Under your hands and seals: therefore, go on:
For no dislike i’ the world against the person
Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points
Of my alleged reasons, drive this forward:
Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life
And kingly dignity, we are contented
To wear our mortal state to come with her,
Katharine our queen, before the primest creature
That’s paragon’d o’ the world.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

So please your highness,
The queen being absent, ’tis a needful fitness
That we adjourn this court till further day:
Meanwhile must be an earnest motion
Made to the queen, to call back her appeal
She intends unto his holiness.

KING HENRY VIII

[Aside] I may perceive
These cardinals trifle with me: I abhor
This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.
My learn’d and well-beloved servant, Cranmer,
Prithee, return: with thy approach, I know,
My comfort comes along. Break up the court:
I say, set on.

Exeunt in manner as they entered

ACT III
SCENE I. London. QUEEN KATHARINE’s apartments.

Enter QUEEN KATHARINE and her Women, as at work

QUEEN KATHARINE

Take thy lute, wench: my soul grows sad with troubles;
Sing, and disperse ’em, if thou canst: leave working.

SONG
Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

Enter a Gentleman

QUEEN KATHARINE

How now!

Gentleman

An’t please your grace, the two great cardinals
Wait in the presence.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Would they speak with me?

Gentleman

They will’d me say so, madam.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Pray their graces
To come near.

Exit Gentleman
What can be their business
With me, a poor weak woman, fall’n from favour?
I do not like their coming. Now I think on’t,
They should be good men; their affairs as righteous:
But all hoods make not monks.

Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Peace to your highness!

QUEEN KATHARINE

Your graces find me here part of a housewife,
I would be all, against the worst may happen.
What are your pleasures with me, reverend lords?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

May it please you noble madam, to withdraw
Into your private chamber, we shall give you
The full cause of our coming.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Speak it here:
There’s nothing I have done yet, o’ my conscience,
Deserves a corner: would all other women
Could speak this with as free a soul as I do!
My lords, I care not, so much I am happy
Above a number, if my actions
Were tried by every tongue, every eye saw ’em,
Envy and base opinion set against ’em,
I know my life so even. If your business
Seek me out, and that way I am wife in,
Out with it boldly: truth loves open dealing.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Tanta est erga te mentis integritas, regina
serenissima,—

QUEEN KATHARINE

O, good my lord, no Latin;
I am not such a truant since my coming,
As not to know the language I have lived in:
A strange tongue makes my cause more strange,
suspicious;
Pray, speak in English: here are some will thank you,
If you speak truth, for their poor mistress’ sake;
Believe me, she has had much wrong: lord cardinal,
The willing’st sin I ever yet committed
May be absolved in English.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Noble lady,
I am sorry my integrity should breed,
And service to his majesty and you,
So deep suspicion, where all faith was meant.
We come not by the way of accusation,
To taint that honour every good tongue blesses,
Nor to betray you any way to sorrow,
You have too much, good lady; but to know
How you stand minded in the weighty difference
Between the king and you; and to deliver,
Like free and honest men, our just opinions
And comforts to your cause.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Most honour’d madam,
My Lord of York, out of his noble nature,
Zeal and obedience he still bore your grace,
Forgetting, like a good man your late censure
Both of his truth and him, which was too far,
Offers, as I do, in a sign of peace,
His service and his counsel.

QUEEN KATHARINE

[Aside] To betray me.—
My lords, I thank you both for your good wills;
Ye speak like honest men; pray God, ye prove so!
But how to make ye suddenly an answer,
In such a point of weight, so near mine honour,—
More near my life, I fear,—with my weak wit,
And to such men of gravity and learning,
In truth, I know not. I was set at work
Among my maids: full little, God knows, looking
Either for such men or such business.
For her sake that I have been,—for I feel
The last fit of my greatness,—good your graces,
Let me have time and counsel for my cause:
Alas, I am a woman, friendless, hopeless!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Madam, you wrong the king’s love with these fears:
Your hopes and friends are infinite.

QUEEN KATHARINE

In England
But little for my profit: can you think, lords,
That any Englishman dare give me counsel?
Or be a known friend, ‘gainst his highness’ pleasure,
Though he be grown so desperate to be honest,
And live a subject? Nay, forsooth, my friends,
They that must weigh out my afflictions,
They that my trust must grow to, live not here:
They are, as all my other comforts, far hence
In mine own country, lords.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

I would your grace
Would leave your griefs, and take my counsel.

QUEEN KATHARINE

How, sir?

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Put your main cause into the king’s protection;
He’s loving and most gracious: ’twill be much
Both for your honour better and your cause;
For if the trial of the law o’ertake ye,
You’ll part away disgraced.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

He tells you rightly.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Ye tell me what ye wish for both,—my ruin:
Is this your Christian counsel? out upon ye!
Heaven is above all yet; there sits a judge
That no king can corrupt.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Your rage mistakes us.

QUEEN KATHARINE

The more shame for ye: holy men I thought ye,
Upon my soul, two reverend cardinal virtues;
But cardinal sins and hollow hearts I fear ye:
Mend ’em, for shame, my lords. Is this your comfort?
The cordial that ye bring a wretched lady,
A woman lost among ye, laugh’d at, scorn’d?
I will not wish ye half my miseries;
I have more charity: but say, I warn’d ye;
Take heed, for heaven’s sake, take heed, lest at once
The burthen of my sorrows fall upon ye.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Madam, this is a mere distraction;
You turn the good we offer into envy.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Ye turn me into nothing: woe upon ye
And all such false professors! would you have me—
If you have any justice, any pity;
If ye be any thing but churchmen’s habits—
Put my sick cause into his hands that hates me?
Alas, has banish’d me his bed already,
His love, too long ago! I am old, my lords,
And all the fellowship I hold now with him
Is only my obedience. What can happen
To me above this wretchedness? all your studies
Make me a curse like this.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Your fears are worse.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Have I lived thus long—let me speak myself,
Since virtue finds no friends—a wife, a true one?
A woman, I dare say without vain-glory,
Never yet branded with suspicion?
Have I with all my full affections
Still met the king? loved him next heaven?
obey’d him?
Been, out of fondness, superstitious to him?
Almost forgot my prayers to content him?
And am I thus rewarded? ’tis not well, lords.
Bring me a constant woman to her husband,
One that ne’er dream’d a joy beyond his pleasure;
And to that woman, when she has done most,
Yet will I add an honour, a great patience.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Madam, you wander from the good we aim at.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My lord, I dare not make myself so guilty,
To give up willingly that noble title
Your master wed me to: nothing but death
Shall e’er divorce my dignities.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Pray, hear me.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Would I had never trod this English earth,
Or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!
Ye have angels’ faces, but heaven knows your hearts.
What will become of me now, wretched lady!
I am the most unhappy woman living.
Alas, poor wenches, where are now your fortunes!
Shipwreck’d upon a kingdom, where no pity,
No friend, no hope; no kindred weep for me;
Almost no grave allow’d me: like the lily,
That once was mistress of the field and flourish’d,
I’ll hang my head and perish.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

If your grace
Could but be brought to know our ends are honest,
You’ld feel more comfort: why should we, good lady,
Upon what cause, wrong you? alas, our places,
The way of our profession is against it:
We are to cure such sorrows, not to sow ’em.
For goodness’ sake, consider what you do;
How you may hurt yourself, ay, utterly
Grow from the king’s acquaintance, by this carriage.
The hearts of princes kiss obedience,
So much they love it; but to stubborn spirits
They swell, and grow as terrible as storms.
I know you have a gentle, noble temper,
A soul as even as a calm: pray, think us
Those we profess, peace-makers, friends, and servants.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Madam, you’ll find it so. You wrong your virtues
With these weak women’s fears: a noble spirit,
As yours was put into you, ever casts
Such doubts, as false coin, from it. The king loves you;
Beware you lose it not: for us, if you please
To trust us in your business, we are ready
To use our utmost studies in your service.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Do what ye will, my lords: and, pray, forgive me,
If I have used myself unmannerly;
You know I am a woman, lacking wit
To make a seemly answer to such persons.
Pray, do my service to his majesty:
He has my heart yet; and shall have my prayers
While I shall have my life. Come, reverend fathers,
Bestow your counsels on me: she now begs,
That little thought, when she set footing here,
She should have bought her dignities so dear.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Ante-chamber to KING HENRY VIII’s apartment.

Enter NORFOLK, SUFFOLK, SURREY, and Chamberlain

NORFOLK

If you will now unite in your complaints,
And force them with a constancy, the cardinal
Cannot stand under them: if you omit
The offer of this time, I cannot promise
But that you shall sustain moe new disgraces,
With these you bear already.

SURREY

I am joyful
To meet the least occasion that may give me
Remembrance of my father-in-law, the duke,
To be revenged on him.

SUFFOLK

Which of the peers
Have uncontemn’d gone by him, or at least
Strangely neglected? when did he regard
The stamp of nobleness in any person
Out of himself?

Chamberlain

My lords, you speak your pleasures:
What he deserves of you and me I know;
What we can do to him, though now the time
Gives way to us, I much fear. If you cannot
Bar his access to the king, never attempt
Any thing on him; for he hath a witchcraft
Over the king in’s tongue.

NORFOLK

O, fear him not;
His spell in that is out: the king hath found
Matter against him that for ever mars
The honey of his language. No, he’s settled,
Not to come off, in his displeasure.

SURREY

Sir,
I should be glad to hear such news as this
Once every hour.

NORFOLK

Believe it, this is true:
In the divorce his contrary proceedings
Are all unfolded wherein he appears
As I would wish mine enemy.

SURREY

How came
His practises to light?

SUFFOLK

Most strangely.

SURREY

O, how, how?

SUFFOLK

The cardinal’s letters to the pope miscarried,
And came to the eye o’ the king: wherein was read,
How that the cardinal did entreat his holiness
To stay the judgment o’ the divorce; for if
It did take place, ‘I do,’ quoth he, ‘perceive
My king is tangled in affection to
A creature of the queen’s, Lady Anne Bullen.’

SURREY

Has the king this?

SUFFOLK

Believe it.

SURREY

Will this work?

Chamberlain

The king in this perceives him, how he coasts
And hedges his own way. But in this point
All his tricks founder, and he brings his physic
After his patient’s death: the king already
Hath married the fair lady.

SURREY

Would he had!

SUFFOLK

May you be happy in your wish, my lord
For, I profess, you have it.

SURREY

Now, all my joy
Trace the conjunction!

SUFFOLK

My amen to’t!

NORFOLK

All men’s!

SUFFOLK

There’s order given for her coronation:
Marry, this is yet but young, and may be left
To some ears unrecounted. But, my lords,
She is a gallant creature, and complete
In mind and feature: I persuade me, from her
Will fall some blessing to this land, which shall
In it be memorised.

SURREY

But, will the king
Digest this letter of the cardinal’s?
The Lord forbid!

NORFOLK

Marry, amen!

SUFFOLK

No, no;
There be moe wasps that buzz about his nose
Will make this sting the sooner. Cardinal Campeius
Is stol’n away to Rome; hath ta’en no leave;
Has left the cause o’ the king unhandled; and
Is posted, as the agent of our cardinal,
To second all his plot. I do assure you
The king cried Ha! at this.

Chamberlain

Now, God incense him,
And let him cry Ha! louder!

NORFOLK

But, my lord,
When returns Cranmer?

SUFFOLK

He is return’d in his opinions; which
Have satisfied the king for his divorce,
Together with all famous colleges
Almost in Christendom: shortly, I believe,
His second marriage shall be publish’d, and
Her coronation. Katharine no more
Shall be call’d queen, but princess dowager
And widow to Prince Arthur.

NORFOLK

This same Cranmer’s
A worthy fellow, and hath ta’en much pain
In the king’s business.

SUFFOLK

He has; and we shall see him
For it an archbishop.

NORFOLK

So I hear.

SUFFOLK

‘Tis so.
The cardinal!

Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY and CROMWELL

NORFOLK

Observe, observe, he’s moody.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

The packet, Cromwell.
Gave’t you the king?

CROMWELL

To his own hand, in’s bedchamber.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Look’d he o’ the inside of the paper?

CROMWELL

Presently
He did unseal them: and the first he view’d,
He did it with a serious mind; a heed
Was in his countenance. You he bade
Attend him here this morning.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Is he ready
To come abroad?

CROMWELL

I think, by this he is.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Leave me awhile.

Exit CROMWELL

Aside
It shall be to the Duchess of Alencon,
The French king’s sister: he shall marry her.
Anne Bullen! No; I’ll no Anne Bullens for him:
There’s more in’t than fair visage. Bullen!
No, we’ll no Bullens. Speedily I wish
To hear from Rome. The Marchioness of Pembroke!

NORFOLK

He’s discontented.

SUFFOLK

May be, he hears the king
Does whet his anger to him.

SURREY

Sharp enough,
Lord, for thy justice!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

[Aside] The late queen’s gentlewoman,
a knight’s daughter,
To be her mistress’ mistress! the queen’s queen!
This candle burns not clear: ’tis I must snuff it;
Then out it goes. What though I know her virtuous
And well deserving? yet I know her for
A spleeny Lutheran; and not wholesome to
Our cause, that she should lie i’ the bosom of
Our hard-ruled king. Again, there is sprung up
An heretic, an arch one, Cranmer; one
Hath crawl’d into the favour of the king,
And is his oracle.

NORFOLK

He is vex’d at something.

SURREY

I would ’twere something that would fret the string,
The master-cord on’s heart!

Enter KING HENRY VIII, reading of a schedule, and LOVELL

SUFFOLK

The king, the king!

KING HENRY VIII

What piles of wealth hath he accumulated
To his own portion! and what expense by the hour
Seems to flow from him! How, i’ the name of thrift,
Does he rake this together! Now, my lords,
Saw you the cardinal?

NORFOLK

My lord, we have
Stood here observing him: some strange commotion
Is in his brain: he bites his lip, and starts;
Stops on a sudden, looks upon the ground,
Then lays his finger on his temple, straight
Springs out into fast gait; then stops again,
Strikes his breast hard, and anon he casts
His eye against the moon: in most strange postures
We have seen him set himself.

KING HENRY VIII

It may well be;
There is a mutiny in’s mind. This morning
Papers of state he sent me to peruse,
As I required: and wot you what I found
There,—on my conscience, put unwittingly?
Forsooth, an inventory, thus importing;
The several parcels of his plate, his treasure,
Rich stuffs, and ornaments of household; which
I find at such proud rate, that it out-speaks
Possession of a subject.

NORFOLK

It’s heaven’s will:
Some spirit put this paper in the packet,
To bless your eye withal.

KING HENRY VIII

If we did think
His contemplation were above the earth,
And fix’d on spiritual object, he should still
Dwell in his musings: but I am afraid
His thinkings are below the moon, not worth
His serious considering.

King HENRY VIII takes his seat; whispers LOVELL, who goes to CARDINAL WOLSEY

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Heaven forgive me!
Ever God bless your highness!

KING HENRY VIII

Good my lord,
You are full of heavenly stuff, and bear the inventory
Of your best graces in your mind; the which
You were now running o’er: you have scarce time
To steal from spiritual leisure a brief span
To keep your earthly audit: sure, in that
I deem you an ill husband, and am glad
To have you therein my companion.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Sir,
For holy offices I have a time; a time
To think upon the part of business which
I bear i’ the state; and nature does require
Her times of preservation, which perforce
I, her frail son, amongst my brethren mortal,
Must give my tendence to.

KING HENRY VIII

You have said well.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

And ever may your highness yoke together,
As I will lend you cause, my doing well
With my well saying!

KING HENRY VIII

‘Tis well said again;
And ’tis a kind of good deed to say well:
And yet words are no deeds. My father loved you:
His said he did; and with his deed did crown
His word upon you. Since I had my office,
I have kept you next my heart; have not alone
Employ’d you where high profits might come home,
But pared my present havings, to bestow
My bounties upon you.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

[Aside] What should this mean?

SURREY

[Aside] The Lord increase this business!

KING HENRY VIII

Have I not made you,
The prime man of the state? I pray you, tell me,
If what I now pronounce you have found true:
And, if you may confess it, say withal,
If you are bound to us or no. What say you?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

My sovereign, I confess your royal graces,
Shower’d on me daily, have been more than could
My studied purposes requite; which went
Beyond all man’s endeavours: my endeavours
Have ever come too short of my desires,
Yet filed with my abilities: mine own ends
Have been mine so that evermore they pointed
To the good of your most sacred person and
The profit of the state. For your great graces
Heap’d upon me, poor undeserver, I
Can nothing render but allegiant thanks,
My prayers to heaven for you, my loyalty,
Which ever has and ever shall be growing,
Till death, that winter, kill it.

KING HENRY VIII

Fairly answer’d;
A loyal and obedient subject is
Therein illustrated: the honour of it
Does pay the act of it; as, i’ the contrary,
The foulness is the punishment. I presume
That, as my hand has open’d bounty to you,
My heart dropp’d love, my power rain’d honour, more
On you than any; so your hand and heart,
Your brain, and every function of your power,
Should, notwithstanding that your bond of duty,
As ’twere in love’s particular, be more
To me, your friend, than any.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I do profess
That for your highness’ good I ever labour’d
More than mine own; that am, have, and will be—
Though all the world should crack their duty to you,
And throw it from their soul; though perils did
Abound, as thick as thought could make ’em, and
Appear in forms more horrid,—yet my duty,
As doth a rock against the chiding flood,
Should the approach of this wild river break,
And stand unshaken yours.

KING HENRY VIII

‘Tis nobly spoken:
Take notice, lords, he has a loyal breast,
For you have seen him open’t. Read o’er this;

Giving him papers
And after, this: and then to breakfast with
What appetite you have.

Exit KING HENRY VIII, frowning upon CARDINAL WOLSEY: the Nobles throng after him, smiling and whispering

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What should this mean?
What sudden anger’s this? how have I reap’d it?
He parted frowning from me, as if ruin
Leap’d from his eyes: so looks the chafed lion
Upon the daring huntsman that has gall’d him;
Then makes him nothing. I must read this paper;
I fear, the story of his anger. ‘Tis so;
This paper has undone me: ’tis the account
Of all that world of wealth I have drawn together
For mine own ends; indeed, to gain the popedom,
And fee my friends in Rome. O negligence!
Fit for a fool to fall by: what cross devil
Made me put this main secret in the packet
I sent the king? Is there no way to cure this?
No new device to beat this from his brains?
I know ’twill stir him strongly; yet I know
A way, if it take right, in spite of fortune
Will bring me off again. What’s this? ‘To the Pope!’
The letter, as I live, with all the business
I writ to’s holiness. Nay then, farewell!
I have touch’d the highest point of all my greatness;
And, from that full meridian of my glory,
I haste now to my setting: I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation m the evening,
And no man see me more.

Re-enter to CARDINAL WOLSEY, NORFOLK and SUFFOLK, SURREY, and the Chamberlain

NORFOLK

Hear the king’s pleasure, cardinal: who commands you
To render up the great seal presently
Into our hands; and to confine yourself
To Asher House, my Lord of Winchester’s,
Till you hear further from his highness.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Stay:
Where’s your commission, lords? words cannot carry
Authority so weighty.

SUFFOLK

Who dare cross ’em,
Bearing the king’s will from his mouth expressly?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Till I find more than will or words to do it,
I mean your malice, know, officious lords,
I dare and must deny it. Now I feel
Of what coarse metal ye are moulded, envy:
How eagerly ye follow my disgraces,
As if it fed ye! and how sleek and wanton
Ye appear in every thing may bring my ruin!
Follow your envious courses, men of malice;
You have Christian warrant for ’em, and, no doubt,
In time will find their fit rewards. That seal,
You ask with such a violence, the king,
Mine and your master, with his own hand gave me;
Bade me enjoy it, with the place and honours,
During my life; and, to confirm his goodness,
Tied it by letters-patents: now, who’ll take it?

SURREY

The king, that gave it.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

It must be himself, then.

SURREY

Thou art a proud traitor, priest.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Proud lord, thou liest:
Within these forty hours Surrey durst better
Have burnt that tongue than said so.

SURREY

Thy ambition,
Thou scarlet sin, robb’d this bewailing land
Of noble Buckingham, my father-in-law:
The heads of all thy brother cardinals,
With thee and all thy best parts bound together,
Weigh’d not a hair of his. Plague of your policy!
You sent me deputy for Ireland;
Far from his succor, from the king, from all
That might have mercy on the fault thou gavest him;
Whilst your great goodness, out of holy pity,
Absolved him with an axe.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

This, and all else
This talking lord can lay upon my credit,
I answer is most false. The duke by law
Found his deserts: how innocent I was
From any private malice in his end,
His noble jury and foul cause can witness.
If I loved many words, lord, I should tell you
You have as little honesty as honour,
That in the way of loyalty and truth
Toward the king, my ever royal master,
Dare mate a sounder man than Surrey can be,
And all that love his follies.

SURREY

By my soul,
Your long coat, priest, protects you; thou
shouldst feel
My sword i’ the life-blood of thee else. My lords,
Can ye endure to hear this arrogance?
And from this fellow? if we live thus tamely,
To be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet,
Farewell nobility; let his grace go forward,
And dare us with his cap like larks.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

All goodness
Is poison to thy stomach.

SURREY

Yes, that goodness
Of gleaning all the land’s wealth into one,
Into your own hands, cardinal, by extortion;
The goodness of your intercepted packets
You writ to the pope against the king: your goodness,
Since you provoke me, shall be most notorious.
My Lord of Norfolk, as you are truly noble,
As you respect the common good, the state
Of our despised nobility, our issues,
Who, if he live, will scarce be gentlemen,
Produce the grand sum of his sins, the articles
Collected from his life. I’ll startle you
Worse than the scaring bell, when the brown wench
Lay kissing in your arms, lord cardinal.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

How much, methinks, I could despise this man,
But that I am bound in charity against it!

NORFOLK

Those articles, my lord, are in the king’s hand:
But, thus much, they are foul ones.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

So much fairer
And spotless shall mine innocence arise,
When the king knows my truth.

SURREY

This cannot save you:
I thank my memory, I yet remember
Some of these articles; and out they shall.
Now, if you can blush and cry ‘guilty,’ cardinal,
You’ll show a little honesty.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Speak on, sir;
I dare your worst objections: if I blush,
It is to see a nobleman want manners.

SURREY

I had rather want those than my head. Have at you!
First, that, without the king’s assent or knowledge,
You wrought to be a legate; by which power
You maim’d the jurisdiction of all bishops.

NORFOLK

Then, that in all you writ to Rome, or else
To foreign princes, ‘Ego et Rex meus’
Was still inscribed; in which you brought the king
To be your servant.

SUFFOLK

Then that, without the knowledge
Either of king or council, when you went
Ambassador to the emperor, you made bold
To carry into Flanders the great seal.

SURREY

Item, you sent a large commission
To Gregory de Cassado, to conclude,
Without the king’s will or the state’s allowance,
A league between his highness and Ferrara.

SUFFOLK

That, out of mere ambition, you have caused
Your holy hat to be stamp’d on the king’s coin.

SURREY

Then that you have sent innumerable substance—
By what means got, I leave to your own conscience—
To furnish Rome, and to prepare the ways
You have for dignities; to the mere undoing
Of all the kingdom. Many more there are;
Which, since they are of you, and odious,
I will not taint my mouth with.

Chamberlain

O my lord,
Press not a falling man too far! ’tis virtue:
His faults lie open to the laws; let them,
Not you, correct him. My heart weeps to see him
So little of his great self.

SURREY

I forgive him.

SUFFOLK

Lord cardinal, the king’s further pleasure is,
Because all those things you have done of late,
By your power legatine, within this kingdom,
Fall into the compass of a praemunire,
That therefore such a writ be sued against you;
To forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements,
Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be
Out of the king’s protection. This is my charge.

NORFOLK

And so we’ll leave you to your meditations
How to live better. For your stubborn answer
About the giving back the great seal to us,
The king shall know it, and, no doubt, shall thank you.
So fare you well, my little good lord cardinal.

Exeunt all but CARDINAL WOLSEY

CARDINAL WOLSEY

So farewell to the little good you bear me.
Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye:
I feel my heart new open’d. O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.

Enter CROMWELL, and stands amazed
Why, how now, Cromwell!

CROMWELL

I have no power to speak, sir.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What, amazed
At my misfortunes? can thy spirit wonder
A great man should decline? Nay, an you weep,
I am fall’n indeed.

CROMWELL

How does your grace?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Why, well;
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cured me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruin’d pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy, too much honour:
O, ’tis a burthen, Cromwell, ’tis a burthen
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven!

CROMWELL

I am glad your grace has made that right use of it.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I hope I have: I am able now, methinks,
Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,
To endure more miseries and greater far
Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad?

CROMWELL

The heaviest and the worst
Is your displeasure with the king.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

God bless him!

CROMWELL

The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord chancellor in your place.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

That’s somewhat sudden:
But he’s a learned man. May he continue
Long in his highness’ favour, and do justice
For truth’s sake and his conscience; that his bones,
When he has run his course and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphans’ tears wept on em! What more?

CROMWELL

That Cranmer is return’d with welcome,
Install’d lord archbishop of Canterbury.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

That’s news indeed.

CROMWELL

Last, that the Lady Anne,
Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,
This day was view’d in open as his queen,
Going to chapel; and the voice is now
Only about her coronation.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

There was the weight that pull’d me down. O Cromwell,
The king has gone beyond me: all my glories
In that one woman I have lost for ever:
No sun shall ever usher forth mine honours,
Or gild again the noble troops that waited
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell;
I am a poor fall’n man, unworthy now
To be thy lord and master: seek the king;
That sun, I pray, may never set! I have told him
What and how true thou art: he will advance thee;
Some little memory of me will stir him—
I know his noble nature—not to let
Thy hopeful service perish too: good Cromwell,
Neglect him not; make use now, and provide
For thine own future safety.

CROMWELL

O my lord,
Must I, then, leave you? must I needs forego
So good, so noble and so true a master?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.
The king shall have my service: but my prayers
For ever and for ever shall be yours.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let’s dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of, say, I taught thee,
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss’d it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin’d me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels; how can man, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st,
O Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr! Serve the king;
And,—prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; ’tis the king’s: my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

CROMWELL

Good sir, have patience.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

So I have. Farewell
The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven do dwell.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. A street in Westminster.

Enter two Gentlemen, meeting one another

First Gentleman

You’re well met once again.

Second Gentleman

So are you.

First Gentleman

You come to take your stand here, and behold
The Lady Anne pass from her coronation?

Second Gentleman

‘Tis all my business. At our last encounter,
The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.

First Gentleman

‘Tis very true: but that time offer’d sorrow;
This, general joy.

Second Gentleman

‘Tis well: the citizens,
I am sure, have shown at full their royal minds—
As, let ’em have their rights, they are ever forward—
In celebration of this day with shows,
Pageants and sights of honour.

First Gentleman

Never greater,
Nor, I’ll assure you, better taken, sir.

Second Gentleman

May I be bold to ask at what that contains,
That paper in your hand?

First Gentleman

Yes; ’tis the list
Of those that claim their offices this day
By custom of the coronation.
The Duke of Suffolk is the first, and claims
To be high-steward; next, the Duke of Norfolk,
He to be earl marshal: you may read the rest.

Second Gentleman

I thank you, sir: had I not known those customs,
I should have been beholding to your paper.
But, I beseech you, what’s become of Katharine,
The princess dowager? how goes her business?

First Gentleman

That I can tell you too. The Archbishop
Of Canterbury, accompanied with other
Learned and reverend fathers of his order,
Held a late court at Dunstable, six miles off
From Ampthill where the princess lay; to which
She was often cited by them, but appear’d not:
And, to be short, for not appearance and
The king’s late scruple, by the main assent
Of all these learned men she was divorced,
And the late marriage made of none effect
Since which she was removed to Kimbolton,
Where she remains now sick.

Second Gentleman

Alas, good lady!

Trumpets
The trumpets sound: stand close, the queen is coming.

Hautboys

THE ORDER OF THE CORONATION
1. A lively flourish of Trumpets.
2. Then, two Judges.
3. Lord Chancellor, with the purse and mace
before him.
4. Choristers, singing.

Music
5. Mayor of London, bearing the mace. Then
Garter, in his coat of arms, and on his
head a gilt copper crown.
6. Marquess Dorset, bearing a sceptre of gold,
on his head a demi-coronal of gold. With
him, SURREY, bearing the rod of silver with
the dove, crowned with an earl’s coronet.
Collars of SS.
7. SUFFOLK, in his robe of estate, his coronet
on his head, bearing a long white wand, as
high-steward. With him, NORFOLK, with the
rod of marshalship, a coronet on his head.
Collars of SS.
8. A canopy borne by four of the Cinque-ports;
under it, QUEEN ANNE in her robe; in her hair
richly adorned with pearl, crowned. On each
side her, the Bishops of London and
Winchester.
9. The old Duchess of Norfolk, in a coronal of
gold, wrought with flowers, bearing QUEEN
ANNE’s train.
10. Certain Ladies or Countesses, with plain
circlets of gold without flowers.

They pass over the stage in order and state

Second Gentleman

A royal train, believe me. These I know:
Who’s that that bears the sceptre?

First Gentleman

Marquess Dorset:
And that the Earl of Surrey, with the rod.

Second Gentleman

A bold brave gentleman. That should be
The Duke of Suffolk?

First Gentleman

‘Tis the same: high-steward.

Second Gentleman

And that my Lord of Norfolk?

First Gentleman

Yes;

Second Gentleman

Heaven bless thee!

Looking on QUEEN ANNE
Thou hast the sweetest face I ever look’d on.
Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel;
Our king has all the Indies in his arms,
And more and richer, when he strains that lady:
I cannot blame his conscience.

First Gentleman

They that bear
The cloth of honour over her, are four barons
Of the Cinque-ports.

Second Gentleman

Those men are happy; and so are all are near her.
I take it, she that carries up the train
Is that old noble lady, Duchess of Norfolk.

First Gentleman

It is; and all the rest are countesses.

Second Gentleman

Their coronets say so. These are stars indeed;
And sometimes falling ones.

First Gentleman

No more of that.

Exit procession, and then a great flourish of trumpets

Enter a third Gentleman

First Gentleman

God save you, sir! where have you been broiling?

Third Gentleman

Among the crowd i’ the Abbey; where a finger
Could not be wedged in more: I am stifled
With the mere rankness of their joy.

Second Gentleman

You saw
The ceremony?

Third Gentleman

That I did.

First Gentleman

How was it?

Third Gentleman

Well worth the seeing.

Second Gentleman

Good sir, speak it to us.

Third Gentleman

As well as I am able. The rich stream
Of lords and ladies, having brought the queen
To a prepared place in the choir, fell off
A distance from her; while her grace sat down
To rest awhile, some half an hour or so,
In a rich chair of state, opposing freely
The beauty of her person to the people.
Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman
That ever lay by man: which when the people
Had the full view of, such a noise arose
As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest,
As loud, and to as many tunes: hats, cloaks—
Doublets, I think,—flew up; and had their faces
Been loose, this day they had been lost. Such joy
I never saw before. Great-bellied women,
That had not half a week to go, like rams
In the old time of war, would shake the press,
And make ’em reel before ’em. No man living
Could say ‘This is my wife’ there; all were woven
So strangely in one piece.

Second Gentleman

But, what follow’d?

Third Gentleman

At length her grace rose, and with modest paces
Came to the altar; where she kneel’d, and saint-like
Cast her fair eyes to heaven and pray’d devoutly.
Then rose again and bow’d her to the people:
When by the Archbishop of Canterbury
She had all the royal makings of a queen;
As holy oil, Edward Confessor’s crown,
The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems
Laid nobly on her: which perform’d, the choir,
With all the choicest music of the kingdom,
Together sung ‘Te Deum.’ So she parted,
And with the same full state paced back again
To York-place, where the feast is held.

First Gentleman

Sir,
You must no more call it York-place, that’s past;
For, since the cardinal fell, that title’s lost:
‘Tis now the king’s, and call’d Whitehall.

Third Gentleman

I know it;
But ’tis so lately alter’d, that the old name
Is fresh about me.

Second Gentleman

What two reverend bishops
Were those that went on each side of the queen?

Third Gentleman

Stokesly and Gardiner; the one of Winchester,
Newly preferr’d from the king’s secretary,
The other, London.

Second Gentleman

He of Winchester
Is held no great good lover of the archbishop’s,
The virtuous Cranmer.

Third Gentleman

All the land knows that:
However, yet there is no great breach; when it comes,
Cranmer will find a friend will not shrink from him.

Second Gentleman

Who may that be, I pray you?

Third Gentleman

Thomas Cromwell;
A man in much esteem with the king, and truly
A worthy friend. The king has made him master
O’ the jewel house,
And one, already, of the privy council.

Second Gentleman

He will deserve more.

Third Gentleman

Yes, without all doubt.
Come, gentlemen, ye shall go my way, which
Is to the court, and there ye shall be my guests:
Something I can command. As I walk thither,
I’ll tell ye more.

Both

You may command us, sir.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Kimbolton.

Enter KATHARINE, Dowager, sick; led between GRIFFITH, her gentleman usher, and PATIENCE, her woman

GRIFFITH

How does your grace?

KATHARINE

O Griffith, sick to death!
My legs, like loaden branches, bow to the earth,
Willing to leave their burthen. Reach a chair:
So; now, methinks, I feel a little ease.
Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou led’st me,
That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey, Was dead?

GRIFFITH

Yes, madam; but I think your grace,
Out of the pain you suffer’d, gave no ear to’t.

KATHARINE

Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died:
If well, he stepp’d before me, happily
For my example.

GRIFFITH

Well, the voice goes, madam:
For after the stout Earl Northumberland
Arrested him at York, and brought him forward,
As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill
He could not sit his mule.

KATHARINE

Alas, poor man!

GRIFFITH

At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
Lodged in the abbey; where the reverend abbot,
With all his covent, honourably received him;
To whom he gave these words, ‘O, father abbot,
An old man, broken with the storms of state,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
Give him a little earth for charity!’
So went to bed; where eagerly his sickness
Pursued him still: and, three nights after this,
About the hour of eight, which he himself
Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,
Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
He gave his honours to the world again,
His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.

KATHARINE

So may he rest; his faults lie gently on him!
Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,
And yet with charity. He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
Himself with princes; one that, by suggestion,
Tied all the kingdom: simony was fair-play;
His own opinion was his law: i’ the presence
He would say untruths; and be ever double
Both in his words and meaning: he was never,
But where he meant to ruin, pitiful:
His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
But his performance, as he is now, nothing:
Of his own body he was ill, and gave
The clergy in example.

GRIFFITH

Noble madam,
Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water. May it please your highness
To hear me speak his good now?

KATHARINE

Yes, good Griffith;
I were malicious else.

GRIFFITH

This cardinal,
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
Was fashion’d to much honour from his cradle.
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;
Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading:
Lofty and sour to them that loved him not;
But to those men that sought him sweet as summer.
And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam,
He was most princely: ever witness for him
Those twins Of learning that he raised in you,
Ipswich and Oxford! one of which fell with him,
Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
The other, though unfinish’d, yet so famous,
So excellent in art, and still so rising,
That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.
His overthrow heap’d happiness upon him;
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little:
And, to add greater honours to his age
Than man could give him, he died fearing God.

KATHARINE

After my death I wish no other herald,
No other speaker of my living actions,
To keep mine honour from corruption,
But such an honest chronicler as Griffith.
Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,
With thy religious truth and modesty,
Now in his ashes honour: peace be with him!
Patience, be near me still; and set me lower:
I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,
Cause the musicians play me that sad note
I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating
On that celestial harmony I go to.

Sad and solemn music

GRIFFITH

She is asleep: good wench, let’s sit down quiet,
For fear we wake her: softly, gentle Patience.

The vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after another, six personages, clad in white robes, wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their faces; branches of bays or palm in their hands. They first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her head; at which the other four make reverent curtsies; then the two that held the garland deliver the same to the other next two, who observe the same order in their changes, and holding the garland over her head: which done, they deliver the same garland to the last two, who likewise observe the same order: at which, as it were by inspiration, she makes in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven: and so in their dancing vanish, carrying the garland with them. The music continues

KATHARINE

Spirits of peace, where are ye? are ye all gone,
And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?

GRIFFITH

Madam, we are here.

KATHARINE

It is not you I call for:
Saw ye none enter since I slept?

GRIFFITH

None, madam.

KATHARINE

No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop
Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces
Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun?
They promised me eternal happiness;
And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel
I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall, assuredly.

GRIFFITH

I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams
Possess your fancy.

KATHARINE

Bid the music leave,
They are harsh and heavy to me.

Music ceases

PATIENCE

Do you note
How much her grace is alter’d on the sudden?
How long her face is drawn? how pale she looks,
And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes!

GRIFFITH

She is going, wench: pray, pray.

PATIENCE

Heaven comfort her!

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

An’t like your grace,—

KATHARINE

You are a saucy fellow:
Deserve we no more reverence?

GRIFFITH

You are to blame,
Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,
To use so rude behavior; go to, kneel.

Messenger

I humbly do entreat your highness’ pardon;
My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying
A gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.

KATHARINE

Admit him entrance, Griffith: but this fellow
Let me ne’er see again.

Exeunt GRIFFITH and Messenger

Re-enter GRIFFITH, with CAPUCIUS
If my sight fail not,
You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,
My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.

CAPUCIUS

Madam, the same; your servant.

KATHARINE

O, my lord,
The times and titles now are alter’d strangely
With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you,
What is your pleasure with me?

CAPUCIUS

Noble lady,
First mine own service to your grace; the next,
The king’s request that I would visit you;
Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me
Sends you his princely commendations,
And heartily entreats you take good comfort.

KATHARINE

O my good lord, that comfort comes too late;
‘Tis like a pardon after execution:
That gentle physic, given in time, had cured me;
But now I am past an comforts here, but prayers.
How does his highness?

CAPUCIUS

Madam, in good health.

KATHARINE

So may he ever do! and ever flourish,
When I shal l dwell with worms, and my poor name
Banish’d the kingdom! Patience, is that letter,
I caused you write, yet sent away?

PATIENCE

No, madam.

Giving it to KATHARINE

KATHARINE

Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver
This to my lord the king.

CAPUCIUS

Most willing, madam.

KATHARINE

In which I have commended to his goodness
The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter;
The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her!
Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding—
She is young, and of a noble modest nature,
I hope she will deserve well,—and a little
To love her for her mother’s sake, that loved him,
Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition
Is, that his noble grace would have some pity
Upon my wretched women, that so long
Have follow’d both my fortunes faithfully:
Of which there is not one, I dare avow,
And now I should not lie, but will deserve
For virtue and true beauty of the soul,
For honesty and decent carriage,
A right good husband, let him be a noble
And, sure, those men are happy that shall have ’em.
The last is, for my men; they are the poorest,
But poverty could never draw ’em from me;
That they may have their wages duly paid ’em,
And something over to remember me by:
If heaven had pleased to have given me longer life
And able means, we had not parted thus.
These are the whole contents: and, good my lord,
By that you love the dearest in this world,
As you wish Christian peace to souls departed,
Stand these poor people’s friend, and urge the king
To do me this last right.

CAPUCIUS

By heaven, I will,
Or let me lose the fashion of a man!

KATHARINE

I thank you, honest lord. Remember me
In all humility unto his highness:
Say his long trouble now is passing
Out of this world; tell him, in death I bless’d him,
For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell,
My lord. Griffith, farewell. Nay, Patience,
You must not leave me yet: I must to bed;
Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench,
Let me be used with honour: strew me over
With maiden flowers, that all the world may know
I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me,
Then lay me forth: although unqueen’d, yet like
A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me.
I can no more.

Exeunt, leading KATHARINE

ACT V
SCENE I. London. A gallery in the palace.

Enter GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester, a Page with a torch before him, met by LOVELL

GARDINER

It’s one o’clock, boy, is’t not?

Boy

It hath struck.

GARDINER

These should be hours for necessities,
Not for delights; times to repair our nature
With comforting repose, and not for us
To waste these times. Good hour of night, Sir Thomas!
Whither so late?

LOVELL

Came you from the king, my lord

GARDINER

I did, Sir Thomas: and left him at primero
With the Duke of Suffolk.

LOVELL

I must to him too,
Before he go to bed. I’ll take my leave.

GARDINER

Not yet, Sir Thomas Lovell. What’s the matter?
It seems you are in haste: an if there be
No great offence belongs to’t, give your friend
Some touch of your late business: affairs, that walk,
As they say spirits do, at midnight, have
In them a wilder nature than the business
That seeks dispatch by day.

LOVELL

My lord, I love you;
And durst commend a secret to your ear
Much weightier than this work. The queen’s in labour,
They say, in great extremity; and fear’d
She’ll with the labour end.

GARDINER

The fruit she goes with
I pray for heartily, that it may find
Good time, and live: but for the stock, Sir Thomas,
I wish it grubb’d up now.

LOVELL

Methinks I could
Cry the amen; and yet my conscience says
She’s a good creature, and, sweet lady, does
Deserve our better wishes.

GARDINER

But, sir, sir,
Hear me, Sir Thomas: you’re a gentleman
Of mine own way; I know you wise, religious;
And, let me tell you, it will ne’er be well,
‘Twill not, Sir Thomas Lovell, take’t of me,
Till Cranmer, Cromwell, her two hands, and she,
Sleep in their graves.

LOVELL

Now, sir, you speak of two
The most remark’d i’ the kingdom. As for Cromwell,
Beside that of the jewel house, is made master
O’ the rolls, and the king’s secretary; further, sir,
Stands in the gap and trade of moe preferments,
With which the time will load him. The archbishop
Is the king’s hand and tongue; and who dare speak
One syllable against him?

GARDINER

Yes, yes, Sir Thomas,
There are that dare; and I myself have ventured
To speak my mind of him: and indeed this day,
Sir, I may tell it you, I think I have
Incensed the lords o’ the council, that he is,
For so I know he is, they know he is,
A most arch heretic, a pestilence
That does infect the land: with which they moved
Have broken with the king; who hath so far
Given ear to our complaint, of his great grace
And princely care foreseeing those fell mischiefs
Our reasons laid before him, hath commanded
To-morrow morning to the council-board
He be convented. He’s a rank weed, Sir Thomas,
And we must root him out. From your affairs
I hinder you too long: good night, Sir Thomas.

LOVELL

Many good nights, my lord: I rest your servant.

Exeunt GARDINER and Page

Enter KING HENRY VIII and SUFFOLK

KING HENRY VIII

Charles, I will play no more tonight;
My mind’s not on’t; you are too hard for me.

SUFFOLK

Sir, I did never win of you before.

KING HENRY VIII

But little, Charles;
Nor shall not, when my fancy’s on my play.
Now, Lovell, from the queen what is the news?

LOVELL

I could not personally deliver to her
What you commanded me, but by her woman
I sent your message; who return’d her thanks
In the great’st humbleness, and desired your highness
Most heartily to pray for her.

KING HENRY VIII

What say’st thou, ha?
To pray for her? what, is she crying out?

LOVELL

So said her woman; and that her sufferance made
Almost each pang a death.

KING HENRY VIII

Alas, good lady!

SUFFOLK

God safely quit her of her burthen, and
With gentle travail, to the gladding of
Your highness with an heir!

KING HENRY VIII

‘Tis midnight, Charles;
Prithee, to bed; and in thy prayers remember
The estate of my poor queen. Leave me alone;
For I must think of that which company
Would not be friendly to.

SUFFOLK

I wish your highness
A quiet night; and my good mistress will
Remember in my prayers.

KING HENRY VIII

Charles, good night.

Exit SUFFOLK

Enter DENNY
Well, sir, what follows?

DENNY

Sir, I have brought my lord the archbishop,
As you commanded me.

KING HENRY VIII

Ha! Canterbury?

DENNY

Ay, my good lord.

KING HENRY VIII

‘Tis true: where is he, Denny?

DENNY

He attends your highness’ pleasure.

Exit DENNY

LOVELL

[Aside] This is about that which the bishop spake:
I am happily come hither.

Re-enter DENNY, with CRANMER

KING HENRY VIII

Avoid the gallery.

LOVELL seems to stay
Ha! I have said. Be gone. What!

Exeunt LOVELL and DENNY

CRANMER

[Aside]
I am fearful: wherefore frowns he thus?
‘Tis his aspect of terror. All’s not well.

KING HENRY VIII

How now, my lord! you desire to know
Wherefore I sent for you.

CRANMER

[Kneeling] It is my duty
To attend your highness’ pleasure.

KING HENRY VIII

Pray you, arise,
My good and gracious Lord of Canterbury.
Come, you and I must walk a turn together;
I have news to tell you: come, come, give me your hand.
Ah, my good lord, I grieve at what I speak,
And am right sorry to repeat what follows
I have, and most unwillingly, of late
Heard many grievous, I do say, my lord,
Grievous complaints of you; which, being consider’d,
Have moved us and our council, that you shall
This morning come before us; where, I know,
You cannot with such freedom purge yourself,
But that, till further trial in those charges
Which will require your answer, you must take
Your patience to you, and be well contented
To make your house our Tower: you a brother of us,
It fits we thus proceed, or else no witness
Would come against you.

CRANMER

[Kneeling]
I humbly thank your highness;
And am right glad to catch this good occasion
Most throughly to be winnow’d, where my chaff
And corn shall fly asunder: for, I know,
There’s none stands under more calumnious tongues
Than I myself, poor man.

KING HENRY VIII

Stand up, good Canterbury:
Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted
In us, thy friend: give me thy hand, stand up:
Prithee, let’s walk. Now, by my holidame.
What manner of man are you? My lord, I look’d
You would have given me your petition, that
I should have ta’en some pains to bring together
Yourself and your accusers; and to have heard you,
Without indurance, further.

CRANMER

Most dread liege,
The good I stand on is my truth and honesty:
If they shall fail, I, with mine enemies,
Will triumph o’er my person; which I weigh not,
Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing
What can be said against me.

KING HENRY VIII

Know you not
How your state stands i’ the world, with the whole world?
Your enemies are many, and not small; their practises
Must bear the same proportion; and not ever
The justice and the truth o’ the question carries
The due o’ the verdict with it: at what ease
Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt
To swear against you? such things have been done.
You are potently opposed; and with a malice
Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,
I mean, in perjured witness, than your master,
Whose minister you are, whiles here he lived
Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to;
You take a precipice for no leap of danger,
And woo your own destruction.

CRANMER

God and your majesty
Protect mine innocence, or I fall into
The trap is laid for me!

KING HENRY VIII

Be of good cheer;
They shall no more prevail than we give way to.
Keep comfort to you; and this morning see
You do appear before them: if they shall chance,
In charging you with matters, to commit you,
The best persuasions to the contrary
Fail not to use, and with what vehemency
The occasion shall instruct you: if entreaties
Will render you no remedy, this ring
Deliver them, and your appeal to us
There make before them. Look, the good man weeps!
He’s honest, on mine honour. God’s blest mother!
I swear he is true—hearted; and a soul
None better in my kingdom. Get you gone,
And do as I have bid you.

Exit CRANMER
He has strangled
His language in his tears.

Enter Old Lady, LOVELL following

Gentleman

[Within] Come back: what mean you?

Old Lady

I’ll not come back; the tidings that I bring
Will make my boldness manners. Now, good angels
Fly o’er thy royal head, and shade thy person
Under their blessed wings!

KING HENRY VIII

Now, by thy looks
I guess thy message. Is the queen deliver’d?
Say, ay; and of a boy.

Old Lady

Ay, ay, my liege;
And of a lovely boy: the God of heaven
Both now and ever bless her! ’tis a girl,
Promises boys hereafter. Sir, your queen
Desires your visitation, and to be
Acquainted with this stranger ’tis as like you
As cherry is to cherry.

KING HENRY VIII

Lovell!

LOVELL

Sir?

KING HENRY VIII

Give her an hundred marks. I’ll to the queen.

Exit

Old Lady

An hundred marks! By this light, I’ll ha’ more.
An ordinary groom is for such payment.
I will have more, or scold it out of him.
Said I for this, the girl was like to him?
I will have more, or else unsay’t; and now,
While it is hot, I’ll put it to the issue.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before the council-chamber. Pursuivants, Pages, & c.

attending.

Enter CRANMER

CRANMER

I hope I am not too late; and yet the gentleman,
That was sent to me from the council, pray’d me
To make great haste. All fast? what means this? Ho!
Who waits there? Sure, you know me?

Enter Keeper

Keeper

Yes, my lord;
But yet I cannot help you.

CRANMER

Why?

Enter DOCTOR BUTTS

Keeper

Your grace must wait till you be call’d for.

CRANMER

So.

DOCTOR BUTTS

[Aside] This is a piece of malice. I am glad
I came this way so happily: the king
Shall understand it presently.

Exit

CRANMER

[Aside] ‘Tis Butts,
The king’s physician: as he pass’d along,
How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me!
Pray heaven, he sound not my disgrace! For certain,
This is of purpose laid by some that hate me—
God turn their hearts! I never sought their malice—
To quench mine honour: they would shame to make me
Wait else at door, a fellow-counsellor,
‘Mong boys, grooms, and lackeys. But their pleasures
Must be fulfill’d, and I attend with patience.

Enter the KING HENRY VIII and DOCTOR BUTTS at a window above

DOCTOR BUTTS

I’ll show your grace the strangest sight—

KING HENRY VIII

What’s that, Butts?

DOCTOR BUTTS

I think your highness saw this many a day.

KING HENRY VIII

Body o’ me, where is it?

DOCTOR BUTTS

There, my lord:
The high promotion of his grace of Canterbury;
Who holds his state at door, ‘mongst pursuivants,
Pages, and footboys.

KING HENRY VIII

Ha! ’tis he, indeed:
Is this the honour they do one another?
‘Tis well there’s one above ’em yet. I had thought
They had parted so much honesty among ’em
At least, good manners, as not thus to suffer
A man of his place, and so near our favour,
To dance attendance on their lordships’ pleasures,
And at the door too, like a post with packets.
By holy Mary, Butts, there’s knavery:
Let ’em alone, and draw the curtain close:
We shall hear more anon.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The Council-Chamber.

Enter Chancellor; places himself at the upper end of the table on the left hand; a seat being left void above him, as for CRANMER’s seat. SUFFOLK, NORFOLK, SURREY, Chamberlain, GARDINER, seat themselves in order on each side. CROMWELL at lower end, as secretary. Keeper at the door

Chancellor

Speak to the business, master-secretary:
Why are we met in council?

CROMWELL

Please your honours,
The chief cause concerns his grace of Canterbury.

GARDINER

Has he had knowledge of it?

CROMWELL

Yes.

NORFOLK

Who waits there?

Keeper

Without, my noble lords?

GARDINER

Yes.

Keeper

My lord archbishop;
And has done half an hour, to know your pleasures.

Chancellor

Let him come in.

Keeper

Your grace may enter now.

CRANMER enters and approaches the council-table

Chancellor

My good lord archbishop, I’m very sorry
To sit here at this present, and behold
That chair stand empty: but we all are men,
In our own natures frail, and capable
Of our flesh; few are angels: out of which frailty
And want of wisdom, you, that best should teach us,
Have misdemean’d yourself, and not a little,
Toward the king first, then his laws, in filling
The whole realm, by your teaching and your chaplains,
For so we are inform’d, with new opinions,
Divers and dangerous; which are heresies,
And, not reform’d, may prove pernicious.

GARDINER

Which reformation must be sudden too,
My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses
Pace ’em not in their hands to make ’em gentle,
But stop their mouths with stubborn bits, and spur ’em,
Till they obey the manage. If we suffer,
Out of our easiness and childish pity
To one man’s honour, this contagious sickness,
Farewell all physic: and what follows then?
Commotions, uproars, with a general taint
Of the whole state: as, of late days, our neighbours,
The upper Germany, can dearly witness,
Yet freshly pitied in our memories.

CRANMER

My good lords, hitherto, in all the progress
Both of my life and office, I have labour’d,
And with no little study, that my teaching
And the strong course of my authority
Might go one way, and safely; and the end
Was ever, to do well: nor is there living,
I speak it with a single heart, my lords,
A man that more detests, more stirs against,
Both in his private conscience and his place,
Defacers of a public peace, than I do.
Pray heaven, the king may never find a heart
With less allegiance in it! Men that make
Envy and crooked malice nourishment
Dare bite the best. I do beseech your lordships,
That, in this case of justice, my accusers,
Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
And freely urge against me.

SUFFOLK

Nay, my lord,
That cannot be: you are a counsellor,
And, by that virtue, no man dare accuse you.

GARDINER

My lord, because we have business of more moment,
We will be short with you. ‘Tis his highness’ pleasure,
And our consent, for better trial of you,
From hence you be committed to the Tower;
Where, being but a private man again,
You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
More than, I fear, you are provided for.

CRANMER

Ah, my good Lord of Winchester, I thank you;
You are always my good friend; if your will pass,
I shall both find your lordship judge and juror,
You are so merciful: I see your end;
‘Tis my undoing: love and meekness, lord,
Become a churchman better than ambition:
Win straying souls with modesty again,
Cast none away. That I shall clear myself,
Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience,
I make as little doubt, as you do conscience
In doing daily wrongs. I could say more,
But reverence to your calling makes me modest.

GARDINER

My lord, my lord, you are a sectary,
That’s the plain truth: your painted gloss discovers,
To men that understand you, words and weakness.

CROMWELL

My Lord of Winchester, you are a little,
By your good favour, too sharp; men so noble,
However faulty, yet should find respect
For what they have been: ’tis a cruelty
To load a falling man.

GARDINER

Good master secretary,
I cry your honour mercy; you may, worst
Of all this table, say so.

CROMWELL

Why, my lord?

GARDINER

Do not I know you for a favourer
Of this new sect? ye are not sound.

CROMWELL

Not sound?

GARDINER

Not sound, I say.

CROMWELL

Would you were half so honest!
Men’s prayers then would seek you, not their fears.

GARDINER

I shall remember this bold language.

CROMWELL

Do.
Remember your bold life too.

Chancellor

This is too much;
Forbear, for shame, my lords.

GARDINER

I have done.

CROMWELL

And I.

Chancellor

Then thus for you, my lord: it stands agreed,
I take it, by all voices, that forthwith
You be convey’d to the Tower a prisoner;
There to remain till the king’s further pleasure
Be known unto us: are you all agreed, lords?

All

We are.

CRANMER

Is there no other way of mercy,
But I must needs to the Tower, my lords?

GARDINER

What other
Would you expect? you are strangely troublesome.
Let some o’ the guard be ready there.

Enter Guard

CRANMER

For me?
Must I go like a traitor thither?

GARDINER

Receive him,
And see him safe i’ the Tower.

CRANMER

Stay, good my lords,
I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords;
By virtue of that ring, I take my cause
Out of the gripes of cruel men, and give it
To a most noble judge, the king my master.

Chamberlain

This is the king’s ring.

SURREY

‘Tis no counterfeit.

SUFFOLK

‘Tis the right ring, by heaven: I told ye all,
When ye first put this dangerous stone a-rolling,
‘Twould fall upon ourselves.

NORFOLK

Do you think, my lords,
The king will suffer but the little finger
Of this man to be vex’d?

Chancellor

‘Tis now too certain:
How much more is his life in value with him?
Would I were fairly out on’t!

CROMWELL

My mind gave me,
In seeking tales and informations
Against this man, whose honesty the devil
And his disciples only envy at,
Ye blew the fire that burns ye: now have at ye!

Enter KING, frowning on them; takes his seat

GARDINER

Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven
In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince;
Not only good and wise, but most religious:
One that, in all obedience, makes the church
The chief aim of his honour; and, to strengthen
That holy duty, out of dear respect,
His royal self in judgment comes to hear
The cause betwixt her and this great offender.

KING HENRY VIII

You were ever good at sudden commendations,
Bishop of Winchester. But know, I come not
To hear such flattery now, and in my presence;
They are too thin and bare to hide offences.
To me you cannot reach, you play the spaniel,
And think with wagging of your tongue to win me;
But, whatsoe’er thou takest me for, I’m sure
Thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody.

To CRANMER
Good man, sit down. Now let me see the proudest
He, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee:
By all that’s holy, he had better starve
Than but once think this place becomes thee not.

SURREY

May it please your grace,—

KING HENRY VIII

No, sir, it does not please me.
I had thought I had had men of some understanding
And wisdom of my council; but I find none.
Was it discretion, lords, to let this man,
This good man,—few of you deserve that title,—
This honest man, wait like a lousy footboy
At chamber—door? and one as great as you are?
Why, what a shame was this! Did my commission
Bid ye so far forget yourselves? I gave ye
Power as he was a counsellor to try him,
Not as a groom: there’s some of ye, I see,
More out of malice than integrity,
Would try him to the utmost, had ye mean;
Which ye shall never have while I live.

Chancellor

Thus far,
My most dread sovereign, may it like your grace
To let my tongue excuse all. What was purposed
Concerning his imprisonment, was rather,
If there be faith in men, meant for his trial,
And fair purgation to the world, than malice,
I’m sure, in me.

KING HENRY VIII

Well, well, my lords, respect him;
Take him, and use him well, he’s worthy of it.
I will say thus much for him, if a prince
May be beholding to a subject, I
Am, for his love and service, so to him.
Make me no more ado, but all embrace him:
Be friends, for shame, my lords! My Lord of
Canterbury,
I have a suit which you must not deny me;
That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism,
You must be godfather, and answer for her.

CRANMER

The greatest monarch now alive may glory
In such an honour: how may I deserve it
That am a poor and humble subject to you?

KING HENRY VIII

Come, come, my lord, you’ld spare your spoons: you
shall have two noble partners with you; the old
Duchess of Norfolk, and Lady Marquess Dorset: will
these please you?
Once more, my Lord of Winchester, I charge you,
Embrace and love this man.

GARDINER

With a true heart
And brother-love I do it.

CRANMER

And let heaven
Witness, how dear I hold this confirmation.

KING HENRY VIII

Good man, those joyful tears show thy true heart:
The common voice, I see, is verified
Of thee, which says thus, ‘Do my Lord of Canterbury
A shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.’
Come, lords, we trifle time away; I long
To have this young one made a Christian.
As I have made ye one, lords, one remain;
So I grow stronger, you more honour gain.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The palace yard.

Noise and tumult within. Enter Porter and his Man

Porter

You’ll leave your noise anon, ye rascals: do you
take the court for Paris-garden? ye rude slaves,
leave your gaping.

Within
Good master porter, I belong to the larder.

Porter

Belong to the gallows, and be hanged, ye rogue! is
this a place to roar in? Fetch me a dozen crab-tree
staves, and strong ones: these are but switches to
’em. I’ll scratch your heads: you must be seeing
christenings? do you look for ale and cakes here,
you rude rascals?

Man

Pray, sir, be patient: ’tis as much impossible—
Unless we sweep ’em from the door with cannons—
To scatter ’em, as ’tis to make ’em sleep
On May-day morning; which will never be:
We may as well push against Powle’s, as stir em.

Porter

How got they in, and be hang’d?

Man

Alas, I know not; how gets the tide in?
As much as one sound cudgel of four foot—
You see the poor remainder—could distribute,
I made no spare, sir.

Porter

You did nothing, sir.

Man

I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand,
To mow ’em down before me: but if I spared any
That had a head to hit, either young or old,
He or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker,
Let me ne’er hope to see a chine again
And that I would not for a cow, God save her!

Within
Do you hear, master porter?

Porter

I shall be with you presently, good master puppy.
Keep the door close, sirrah.

Man

What would you have me do?

Porter

What should you do, but knock ’em down by the
dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? or have
we some strange Indian with the great tool come to
court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a
fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian
conscience, this one christening will beget a
thousand; here will be father, godfather, and all together.

Man

The spoons will be the bigger, sir. There is a
fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a
brazier by his face, for, o’ my conscience, twenty
of the dog-days now reign in’s nose; all that stand
about him are under the line, they need no other
penance: that fire-drake did I hit three times on
the head, and three times was his nose discharged
against me; he stands there, like a mortar-piece, to
blow us. There was a haberdasher’s wife of small
wit near him, that railed upon me till her pinked
porringer fell off her head, for kindling such a
combustion in the state. I missed the meteor once,
and hit that woman; who cried out ‘Clubs!’ when I
might see from far some forty truncheoners draw to
her succor, which were the hope o’ the Strand, where
she was quartered. They fell on; I made good my
place: at length they came to the broom-staff to
me; I defied ’em still: when suddenly a file of
boys behind ’em, loose shot, delivered such a shower
of pebbles, that I was fain to draw mine honour in,
and let ’em win the work: the devil was amongst
’em, I think, surely.

Porter

These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse,
and fight for bitten apples; that no audience, but
the tribulation of Tower-hill, or the limbs of
Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure.
I have some of ’em in Limbo Patrum, and there they
are like to dance these three days; besides the
running banquet of two beadles that is to come.

Enter Chamberlain

Chamberlain

Mercy o’ me, what a multitude are here!
They grow still too; from all parts they are coming,
As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters,
These lazy knaves? Ye have made a fine hand, fellows:
There’s a trim rabble let in: are all these
Your faithful friends o’ the suburbs? We shall have
Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies,
When they pass back from the christening.

Porter

An’t please
your honour,
We are but men; and what so many may do,
Not being torn a-pieces, we have done:
An army cannot rule ’em.

Chamberlain

As I live,
If the king blame me for’t, I’ll lay ye all
By the heels, and suddenly; and on your heads
Clap round fines for neglect: ye are lazy knaves;
And here ye lie baiting of bombards, when
Ye should do service. Hark! the trumpets sound;
They’re come already from the christening:
Go, break among the press, and find a way out
To let the troop pass fairly; or I’ll find
A Marshalsea shall hold ye play these two months.

Porter

Make way there for the princess.

Man

You great fellow,
Stand close up, or I’ll make your head ache.

Porter

You i’ the camlet, get up o’ the rail;
I’ll peck you o’er the pales else.

Exeunt

SCENE V. The palace.

Enter trumpets, sounding; then two Aldermen, Lord Mayor, Garter, CRANMER, NORFOLK with his marshal’s staff, SUFFOLK, two Noblemen bearing great standing-bowls for the christening-gifts; then four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Duchess of Norfolk, godmother, bearing the child richly habited in a mantle, & c., train borne by a Lady; then follows the Marchioness Dorset, the other godmother, and Ladies. The troop pass once about the stage, and Garter speaks

Garter

Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prosperous
life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty
princess of England, Elizabeth!

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VIII and Guard

CRANMER

[Kneeling] And to your royal grace, and the good queen,
My noble partners, and myself, thus pray:
All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady,
Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy,
May hourly fall upon ye!

KING HENRY VIII

Thank you, good lord archbishop:
What is her name?

CRANMER

Elizabeth.

KING HENRY VIII

Stand up, lord.

KING HENRY VIII kisses the child
With this kiss take my blessing: God protect thee!
Into whose hand I give thy life.

CRANMER

Amen.

KING HENRY VIII

My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal:
I thank ye heartily; so shall this lady,
When she has so much English.

CRANMER

Let me speak, sir,
For heaven now bids me; and the words I utter
Let none think flattery, for they’ll find ’em truth.
This royal infant—heaven still move about her!—
Though in her cradle, yet now promises
Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
Which time shall bring to ripeness: she shall be—
But few now living can behold that goodness—
A pattern to all princes living with her,
And all that shall succeed: Saba was never
More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue
Than this pure soul shall be: all princely graces,
That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
With all the virtues that attend the good,
Shall still be doubled on her: truth shall nurse her,
Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her:
She shall be loved and fear’d: her own shall bless her;
Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
And hang their heads with sorrow: good grows with her:
In her days every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
Who from the sacred ashes of her honour
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix’d: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him:
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him: our children’s children
Shall see this, and bless heaven.

KING HENRY VIII

Thou speakest wonders.

CRANMER

She shall be, to the happiness of England,
An aged princess; many days shall see her,
And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
Would I had known no more! but she must die,
She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin,
A most unspotted lily shall she pass
To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her.

KING HENRY VIII

O lord archbishop,
Thou hast made me now a man! never, before
This happy child, did I get any thing:
This oracle of comfort has so pleased me,
That when I am in heaven I shall desire
To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.
I thank ye all. To you, my good lord mayor,
And your good brethren, I am much beholding;
I have received much honour by your presence,
And ye shall find me thankful. Lead the way, lords:
Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye,
She will be sick else. This day, no man think
Has business at his house; for all shall stay:
This little one shall make it holiday.

Exeunt
EPILOGUE
‘Tis ten to one this play can never please
All that are here: some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, ’tis clear,
They’ll say ’tis naught: others, to hear the city
Abused extremely, and to cry ‘That’s witty!’
Which we have not done neither: that, I fear,
All the expected good we’re like to hear
For this play at this time, is only in
The merciful construction of good women;
For such a one we show’d ’em: if they smile,
And say ’twill do, I know, within a while
All the best men are ours; for ’tis ill hap,
If they hold when their ladies bid ’em clap.

The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth

ACT I

SCENE I. London. The Parliament-house.

Alarum. Enter YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers

WARWICK

I wonder how the king escaped our hands.

YORK

While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
He slily stole away and left his men:
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
Cheer’d up the drooping army; and himself,
Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all abreast,
Charged our main battle’s front, and breaking in
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.

EDWARD

Lord Stafford’s father, Duke of Buckingham,
Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
That this is true, father, behold his blood.

MONTAGUE

And, brother, here’s the Earl of Wiltshire’s blood,
Whom I encounter’d as the battles join’d.

RICHARD

Speak thou for me and tell them what I did.

Throwing down SOMERSET’s head

YORK

Richard hath best deserved of all my sons.
But is your grace dead, my Lord of Somerset?

NORFOLK

Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!

RICHARD

Thus do I hope to shake King Henry’s head.

WARWICK

And so do I. Victorious Prince of York,
Before I see thee seated in that throne
Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
I vow by heaven these eyes shall never close.
This is the palace of the fearful king,
And this the regal seat: possess it, York;
For this is thine and not King Henry’s heirs’

YORK

Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will;
For hither we have broken in by force.

NORFOLK

We’ll all assist you; he that flies shall die.

YORK

Thanks, gentle Norfolk: stay by me, my lords;
And, soldiers, stay and lodge by me this night.

They go up

WARWICK

And when the king comes, offer no violence,
Unless he seek to thrust you out perforce.

YORK

The queen this day here holds her parliament,
But little thinks we shall be of her council:
By words or blows here let us win our right.

RICHARD

Arm’d as we are, let’s stay within this house.

WARWICK

The bloody parliament shall this be call’d,
Unless Plantagenet, Duke of York, be king,
And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice
Hath made us by-words to our enemies.

YORK

Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute;
I mean to take possession of my right.

WARWICK

Neither the king, nor he that loves him best,
The proudest he that holds up Lancaster,
Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.
I’ll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares:
Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, WESTMORELAND, EXETER, and the rest

KING HENRY VI

My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits,
Even in the chair of state: belike he means,
Back’d by the power of Warwick, that false peer,
To aspire unto the crown and reign as king.
Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father.
And thine, Lord Clifford; and you both have vow’d revenge
On him, his sons, his favourites and his friends.

NORTHUMBERLAND

If I be not, heavens be revenged on me!

CLIFFORD

The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in steel.

WESTMORELAND

What, shall we suffer this? let’s pluck him down:
My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.

KING HENRY VI

Be patient, gentle Earl of Westmoreland.

CLIFFORD

Patience is for poltroons, such as he:
He durst not sit there, had your father lived.
My gracious lord, here in the parliament
Let us assail the family of York.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Well hast thou spoken, cousin: be it so.

KING HENRY VI

Ah, know you not the city favours them,
And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?

EXETER

But when the duke is slain, they’ll quickly fly.

KING HENRY VI

Far be the thought of this from Henry’s heart,
To make a shambles of the parliament-house!
Cousin of Exeter, frowns, words and threats
Shall be the war that Henry means to use.
Thou factious Duke of York, descend my throne,
and kneel for grace and mercy at my feet;
I am thy sovereign.

YORK

I am thine.

EXETER

For shame, come down: he made thee Duke of York.

YORK

‘Twas my inheritance, as the earldom was.

EXETER

Thy father was a traitor to the crown.

WARWICK

Exeter, thou art a traitor to the crown
In following this usurping Henry.

CLIFFORD

Whom should he follow but his natural king?

WARWICK

True, Clifford; and that’s Richard Duke of York.

KING HENRY VI

And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne?

YORK

It must and shall be so: content thyself.

WARWICK

Be Duke of Lancaster; let him be king.

WESTMORELAND

He is both king and Duke of Lancaster;
And that the Lord of Westmoreland shall maintain.

WARWICK

And Warwick shall disprove it. You forget
That we are those which chased you from the field
And slew your fathers, and with colours spread
March’d through the city to the palace gates.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yes, Warwick, I remember it to my grief;
And, by his soul, thou and thy house shall rue it.

WESTMORELAND

Plantagenet, of thee and these thy sons,
Thy kinsman and thy friends, I’ll have more lives
Than drops of blood were in my father’s veins.

CLIFFORD

Urge it no more; lest that, instead of words,
I send thee, Warwick, such a messenger
As shall revenge his death before I stir.

WARWICK

Poor Clifford! how I scorn his worthless threats!

YORK

Will you we show our title to the crown?
If not, our swords shall plead it in the field.

KING HENRY VI

What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown?
Thy father was, as thou art, Duke of York;
Thy grandfather, Roger Mortimer, Earl of March:
I am the son of Henry the Fifth,
Who made the Dauphin and the French to stoop
And seized upon their towns and provinces.

WARWICK

Talk not of France, sith thou hast lost it all.

KING HENRY VI

The lord protector lost it, and not I:
When I was crown’d I was but nine months old.

RICHARD

You are old enough now, and yet, methinks, you lose.
Father, tear the crown from the usurper’s head.

EDWARD

Sweet father, do so; set it on your head.

MONTAGUE

Good brother, as thou lovest and honourest arms,
Let’s fight it out and not stand cavilling thus.

RICHARD

Sound drums and trumpets, and the king will fly.

YORK

Sons, peace!

KING HENRY VI

Peace, thou! and give King Henry leave to speak.

WARWICK

Plantagenet shall speak first: hear him, lords;
And be you silent and attentive too,
For he that interrupts him shall not live.

KING HENRY VI

Think’st thou that I will leave my kingly throne,
Wherein my grandsire and my father sat?
No: first shall war unpeople this my realm;
Ay, and their colours, often borne in France,
And now in England to our heart’s great sorrow,
Shall be my winding-sheet. Why faint you, lords?
My title’s good, and better far than his.

WARWICK

Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king.

KING HENRY VI

Henry the Fourth by conquest got the crown.

YORK

‘Twas by rebellion against his king.

KING HENRY VI

[Aside] I know not what to say; my title’s weak.—
Tell me, may not a king adopt an heir?

YORK

What then?

KING HENRY VI

An if he may, then am I lawful king;
For Richard, in the view of many lords,
Resign’d the crown to Henry the Fourth,
Whose heir my father was, and I am his.

YORK

He rose against him, being his sovereign,
And made him to resign his crown perforce.

WARWICK

Suppose, my lords, he did it unconstrain’d,
Think you ’twere prejudicial to his crown?

EXETER

No; for he could not so resign his crown
But that the next heir should succeed and reign.

KING HENRY VI

Art thou against us, Duke of Exeter?

EXETER

His is the right, and therefore pardon me.

YORK

Why whisper you, my lords, and answer not?

EXETER

My conscience tells me he is lawful king.

KING HENRY VI

[Aside] All will revolt from me, and turn to him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Plantagenet, for all the claim thou lay’st,
Think not that Henry shall be so deposed.

WARWICK

Deposed he shall be, in despite of all.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Thou art deceived: ’tis not thy southern power,
Of Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, nor of Kent,
Which makes thee thus presumptuous and proud,
Can set the duke up in despite of me.

CLIFFORD

King Henry, be thy title right or wrong,
Lord Clifford vows to fight in thy defence:
May that ground gape and swallow me alive,
Where I shall kneel to him that slew my father!

KING HENRY VI

O Clifford, how thy words revive my heart!

YORK

Henry of Lancaster, resign thy crown.
What mutter you, or what conspire you, lords?

WARWICK

Do right unto this princely Duke of York,
Or I will fill the house with armed men,
And over the chair of state, where now he sits,
Write up his title with usurping blood.

He stamps with his foot and the soldiers show themselves

KING HENRY VI

My Lord of Warwick, hear me but one word:
Let me for this my life-time reign as king.

YORK

Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs,
And thou shalt reign in quiet while thou livest.

KING HENRY VI

I am content: Richard Plantagenet,
Enjoy the kingdom after my decease.

CLIFFORD

What wrong is this unto the prince your son!

WARWICK

What good is this to England and himself!

WESTMORELAND

Base, fearful and despairing Henry!

CLIFFORD

How hast thou injured both thyself and us!

WESTMORELAND

I cannot stay to hear these articles.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Nor I.

CLIFFORD

Come, cousin, let us tell the queen these news.

WESTMORELAND

Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Be thou a prey unto the house of York,
And die in bands for this unmanly deed!

CLIFFORD

In dreadful war mayst thou be overcome,
Or live in peace abandon’d and despised!

Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, CLIFFORD, and WESTMORELAND

WARWICK

Turn this way, Henry, and regard them not.

EXETER

They seek revenge and therefore will not yield.

KING HENRY VI

Ah, Exeter!

WARWICK

Why should you sigh, my lord?

KING HENRY VI

Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son,
Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.
But be it as it may: I here entail
The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever;
Conditionally, that here thou take an oath
To cease this civil war, and, whilst I live,
To honour me as thy king and sovereign,
And neither by treason nor hostility
To seek to put me down and reign thyself.

YORK

This oath I willingly take and will perform.

WARWICK

Long live King Henry! Plantagenet embrace him.

KING HENRY VI

And long live thou and these thy forward sons!

YORK

Now York and Lancaster are reconciled.

EXETER

Accursed be he that seeks to make them foes!

Sennet. Here they come down

YORK

Farewell, my gracious lord; I’ll to my castle.

WARWICK

And I’ll keep London with my soldiers.

NORFOLK

And I to Norfolk with my followers.

MONTAGUE

And I unto the sea from whence I came.

Exeunt YORK, EDWARD, EDMUND, GEORGE, RICHARD, WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, their Soldiers, and Attendants

KING HENRY VI

And I, with grief and sorrow, to the court.

Enter QUEEN MARGARET and PRINCE EDWARD

EXETER

Here comes the queen, whose looks bewray her anger:
I’ll steal away.

KING HENRY VI

Exeter, so will I.

QUEEN MARGARET

Nay, go not from me; I will follow thee.

KING HENRY VI

Be patient, gentle queen, and I will stay.

QUEEN MARGARET

Who can be patient in such extremes?
Ah, wretched man! would I had died a maid
And never seen thee, never borne thee son,
Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father
Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus?
Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I,
Or felt that pain which I did for him once,
Or nourish’d him as I did with my blood,
Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there,
Rather than have that savage duke thine heir
And disinherited thine only son.

PRINCE EDWARD

Father, you cannot disinherit me:
If you be king, why should not I succeed?

KING HENRY VI

Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son:
The Earl of Warwick and the duke enforced me.

QUEEN MARGARET

Enforced thee! art thou king, and wilt be forced?
I shame to hear thee speak. Ah, timorous wretch!
Thou hast undone thyself, thy son and me;
And given unto the house of York such head
As thou shalt reign but by their sufferance.
To entail him and his heirs unto the crown,
What is it, but to make thy sepulchre
And creep into it far before thy time?
Warwick is chancellor and the lord of Calais;
Stern Falconbridge commands the narrow seas;
The duke is made protector of the realm;
And yet shalt thou be safe? such safety finds
The trembling lamb environed with wolves.
Had I been there, which am a silly woman,
The soldiers should have toss’d me on their pikes
Before I would have granted to that act.
But thou preferr’st thy life before thine honour:
And seeing thou dost, I here divorce myself
Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed,
Until that act of parliament be repeal’d
Whereby my son is disinherited.
The northern lords that have forsworn thy colours
Will follow mine, if once they see them spread;
And spread they shall be, to thy foul disgrace
And utter ruin of the house of York.
Thus do I leave thee. Come, son, let’s away;
Our army is ready; come, we’ll after them.

KING HENRY VI

Stay, gentle Margaret, and hear me speak.

QUEEN MARGARET

Thou hast spoke too much already: get thee gone.

KING HENRY VI

Gentle son Edward, thou wilt stay with me?

QUEEN MARGARET

Ay, to be murder’d by his enemies.

PRINCE EDWARD

When I return with victory from the field
I’ll see your grace: till then I’ll follow her.

QUEEN MARGARET

Come, son, away; we may not linger thus.

Exeunt QUEEN MARGARET and PRINCE EDWARD

KING HENRY VI

Poor queen! how love to me and to her son
Hath made her break out into terms of rage!
Revenged may she be on that hateful duke,
Whose haughty spirit, winged with desire,
Will cost my crown, and like an empty eagle
Tire on the flesh of me and of my son!
The loss of those three lords torments my heart:
I’ll write unto them and entreat them fair.
Come, cousin you shall be the messenger.

EXETER

And I, I hope, shall reconcile them all.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Sandal Castle.

Enter RICHARD, EDWARD, and MONTAGUE

RICHARD

Brother, though I be youngest, give me leave.

EDWARD

No, I can better play the orator.

MONTAGUE

But I have reasons strong and forcible.

Enter YORK

YORK

Why, how now, sons and brother! at a strife?
What is your quarrel? how began it first?

EDWARD

No quarrel, but a slight contention.

YORK

About what?

RICHARD

About that which concerns your grace and us;
The crown of England, father, which is yours.

YORK

Mine boy? not till King Henry be dead.

RICHARD

Your right depends not on his life or death.

EDWARD

Now you are heir, therefore enjoy it now:
By giving the house of Lancaster leave to breathe,
It will outrun you, father, in the end.

YORK

I took an oath that he should quietly reign.

EDWARD

But for a kingdom any oath may be broken:
I would break a thousand oaths to reign one year.

RICHARD

No; God forbid your grace should be forsworn.

YORK

I shall be, if I claim by open war.

RICHARD

I’ll prove the contrary, if you’ll hear me speak.

YORK

Thou canst not, son; it is impossible.

RICHARD

An oath is of no moment, being not took
Before a true and lawful magistrate,
That hath authority over him that swears:
Henry had none, but did usurp the place;
Then, seeing ’twas he that made you to depose,
Your oath, my lord, is vain and frivolous.
Therefore, to arms! And, father, do but think
How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown;
Within whose circuit is Elysium
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
Why do we finger thus? I cannot rest
Until the white rose that I wear be dyed
Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry’s heart.

YORK

Richard, enough; I will be king, or die.
Brother, thou shalt to London presently,
And whet on Warwick to this enterprise.
Thou, Richard, shalt to the Duke of Norfolk,
And tell him privily of our intent.
You Edward, shall unto my Lord Cobham,
With whom the Kentishmen will willingly rise:
In them I trust; for they are soldiers,
Witty, courteous, liberal, full of spirit.
While you are thus employ’d, what resteth more,
But that I seek occasion how to rise,
And yet the king not privy to my drift,
Nor any of the house of Lancaster?

Enter a Messenger
But, stay: what news? Why comest thou in such post?

Messenger

The queen with all the northern earls and lords
Intend here to besiege you in your castle:
She is hard by with twenty thousand men;
And therefore fortify your hold, my lord.

YORK

Ay, with my sword. What! think’st thou that we fear them?
Edward and Richard, you shall stay with me;
My brother Montague shall post to London:
Let noble Warwick, Cobham, and the rest,
Whom we have left protectors of the king,
With powerful policy strengthen themselves,
And trust not simple Henry nor his oaths.

MONTAGUE

Brother, I go; I’ll win them, fear it not:
And thus most humbly I do take my leave.

Exit

Enter JOHN MORTIMER and HUGH MORTIMER
Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, mine uncles,
You are come to Sandal in a happy hour;
The army of the queen mean to besiege us.

JOHN MORTIMER

She shall not need; we’ll meet her in the field.

YORK

What, with five thousand men?

RICHARD

Ay, with five hundred, father, for a need:
A woman’s general; what should we fear?

A march afar off

EDWARD

I hear their drums: let’s set our men in order,
And issue forth and bid them battle straight.

YORK

Five men to twenty! though the odds be great,
I doubt not, uncle, of our victory.
Many a battle have I won in France,
When as the enemy hath been ten to one:
Why should I not now have the like success?

Alarum. Exeunt

SCENE III. Field of battle betwixt Sandal Castle and Wakefield.

Alarums. Enter RUTLAND and his Tutor

RUTLAND

Ah, whither shall I fly to ‘scape their hands?
Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes!

Enter CLIFFORD and Soldiers

CLIFFORD

Chaplain, away! thy priesthood saves thy life.
As for the brat of this accursed duke,
Whose father slew my father, he shall die.

Tutor

And I, my lord, will bear him company.

CLIFFORD

Soldiers, away with him!

Tutor

Ah, Clifford, murder not this innocent child,
Lest thou be hated both of God and man!

Exit, dragged off by Soldiers

CLIFFORD

How now! is he dead already? or is it fear
That makes him close his eyes? I’ll open them.

RUTLAND

So looks the pent-up lion o’er the wretch
That trembles under his devouring paws;
And so he walks, insulting o’er his prey,
And so he comes, to rend his limbs asunder.
Ah, gentle Clifford, kill me with thy sword,
And not with such a cruel threatening look.
Sweet Clifford, hear me speak before I die.
I am too mean a subject for thy wrath:
Be thou revenged on men, and let me live.

CLIFFORD

In vain thou speak’st, poor boy; my father’s blood
Hath stopp’d the passage where thy words should enter.

RUTLAND

Then let my father’s blood open it again:
He is a man, and, Clifford, cope with him.

CLIFFORD

Had thy brethren here, their lives and thine
Were not revenge sufficient for me;
No, if I digg’d up thy forefathers’ graves
And hung their rotten coffins up in chains,
It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart.
The sight of any of the house of York
Is as a fury to torment my soul;
And till I root out their accursed line
And leave not one alive, I live in hell.
Therefore—

Lifting his hand

RUTLAND

O, let me pray before I take my death!
To thee I pray; sweet Clifford, pity me!

CLIFFORD

Such pity as my rapier’s point affords.

RUTLAND

I never did thee harm: why wilt thou slay me?

CLIFFORD

Thy father hath.

RUTLAND

But ’twas ere I was born.
Thou hast one son; for his sake pity me,
Lest in revenge thereof, sith God is just,
He be as miserably slain as I.
Ah, let me live in prison all my days;
And when I give occasion of offence,
Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause.

CLIFFORD

No cause!
Thy father slew my father; therefore, die.

Stabs him

RUTLAND

Di faciant laudis summa sit ista tuae!

Dies

CLIFFORD

Plantagenet! I come, Plantagenet!
And this thy son’s blood cleaving to my blade
Shall rust upon my weapon, till thy blood,
Congeal’d with this, do make me wipe off both.

Exit

SCENE IV. Another part of the field.

Alarum. Enter YORK

YORK

The army of the queen hath got the field:
My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
And all my followers to the eager foe
Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind
Or lambs pursued by hunger-starved wolves.
My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them:
But this I know, they have demean’d themselves
Like men born to renown by life or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me.
And thrice cried ‘Courage, father! fight it out!’
And full as oft came Edward to my side,
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encounter’d him:
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Richard cried ‘Charge! and give no foot of ground!’
And cried ‘A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
A sceptre, or an earthly sepulchre!’
With this, we charged again: but, out, alas!
We bodged again; as I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide
And spend her strength with over-matching waves.

A short alarum within
Ah, hark! the fatal followers do pursue;
And I am faint and cannot fly their fury:
And were I strong, I would not shun their fury:
The sands are number’d that make up my life;
Here must I stay, and here my life must end.

Enter QUEEN MARGARET, CLIFFORD, NORTHUMBERLAND, PRINCE EDWARD, and Soldiers
Come, bloody Clifford, rough Northumberland,
I dare your quenchless fury to more rage:
I am your butt, and I abide your shot.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Yield to our mercy, proud Plantagenet.

CLIFFORD

Ay, to such mercy as his ruthless arm,
With downright payment, show’d unto my father.
Now Phaethon hath tumbled from his car,
And made an evening at the noontide prick.

YORK

My ashes, as the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all:
And in that hope I throw mine eyes to heaven,
Scorning whate’er you can afflict me with.
Why come you not? what! multitudes, and fear?

CLIFFORD

So cowards fight when they can fly no further;
So doves do peck the falcon’s piercing talons;
So desperate thieves, all hopeless of their lives,
Breathe out invectives ‘gainst the officers.

YORK

O Clifford, but bethink thee once again,
And in thy thought o’er-run my former time;
And, if though canst for blushing, view this face,
And bite thy tongue, that slanders him with cowardice
Whose frown hath made thee faint and fly ere this!

CLIFFORD

I will not bandy with thee word for word,
But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one.

QUEEN MARGARET

Hold, valiant Clifford! for a thousand causes
I would prolong awhile the traitor’s life.
Wrath makes him deaf: speak thou, Northumberland.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Hold, Clifford! do not honour him so much
To prick thy finger, though to wound his heart:
What valour were it, when a cur doth grin,
For one to thrust his hand between his teeth,
When he might spurn him with his foot away?
It is war’s prize to take all vantages;
And ten to one is no impeach of valour.

They lay hands on YORK, who struggles

CLIFFORD

Ay, ay, so strives the woodcock with the gin.

NORTHUMBERLAND

So doth the cony struggle in the net.

YORK

So triumph thieves upon their conquer’d booty;
So true men yield, with robbers so o’ermatch’d.

NORTHUMBERLAND

What would your grace have done unto him now?

QUEEN MARGARET

Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
Come, make him stand upon this molehill here,
That raught at mountains with outstretched arms,
Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
What! was it you that would be England’s king?
Was’t you that revell’d in our parliament,
And made a preachment of your high descent?
Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
And where’s that valiant crook-back prodigy,
Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice
Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
Look, York: I stain’d this napkin with the blood
That valiant Clifford, with his rapier’s point,
Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
And if thine eyes can water for his death,
I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
I should lament thy miserable state.
I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York.
What, hath thy fiery heart so parch’d thine entrails
That not a tear can fall for Rutland’s death?
Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
Thou wouldst be fee’d, I see, to make me sport:
York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown.
A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him:
Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.

Putting a paper crown on his head
Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king!
Ay, this is he that took King Henry’s chair,
And this is he was his adopted heir.
But how is it that great Plantagenet
Is crown’d so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
As I bethink me, you should not be king
Till our King Henry had shook hands with death.
And will you pale your head in Henry’s glory,
And rob his temples of the diadem,
Now in his life, against your holy oath?
O, ’tis a fault too too unpardonable!
Off with the crown, and with the crown his head;
And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.

CLIFFORD

That is my office, for my father’s sake.

QUEEN MARGARET

Nay, stay; lets hear the orisons he makes.

YORK

She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,
Whose tongue more poisons than the adder’s tooth!
How ill-beseeming is it in thy sex
To triumph, like an Amazonian trull,
Upon their woes whom fortune captivates!
But that thy face is, vizard-like, unchanging,
Made impudent with use of evil deeds,
I would assay, proud queen, to make thee blush.
To tell thee whence thou camest, of whom derived,
Were shame enough to shame thee, wert thou not shameless.
Thy father bears the type of King of Naples,
Of both the Sicils and Jerusalem,
Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman.
Hath that poor monarch taught thee to insult?
It needs not, nor it boots thee not, proud queen,
Unless the adage must be verified,
That beggars mounted run their horse to death.
‘Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud;
But, God he knows, thy share thereof is small:
‘Tis virtue that doth make them most admired;
The contrary doth make thee wonder’d at:
‘Tis government that makes them seem divine;
The want thereof makes thee abominable:
Thou art as opposite to every good
As the Antipodes are unto us,
Or as the south to the septentrion.
O tiger’s heart wrapt in a woman’s hide!
How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child,
To bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
And yet be seen to bear a woman’s face?
Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible;
Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
Bids’t thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish:
Wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will:
For raging wind blows up incessant showers,
And when the rage allays, the rain begins.
These tears are my sweet Rutland’s obsequies:
And every drop cries vengeance for his death,
‘Gainst thee, fell Clifford, and thee, false
Frenchwoman.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Beshrew me, but his passion moves me so
That hardly can I cheque my eyes from tears.

YORK

That face of his the hungry cannibals
Would not have touch’d, would not have stain’d with blood:
But you are more inhuman, more inexorable,
O, ten times more, than tigers of Hyrcania.
See, ruthless queen, a hapless father’s tears:
This cloth thou dip’dst in blood of my sweet boy,
And I with tears do wash the blood away.
Keep thou the napkin, and go boast of this:
And if thou tell’st the heavy story right,
Upon my soul, the hearers will shed tears;
Yea even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
And say ‘Alas, it was a piteous deed!’
There, take the crown, and, with the crown, my curse;
And in thy need such comfort come to thee
As now I reap at thy too cruel hand!
Hard-hearted Clifford, take me from the world:
My soul to heaven, my blood upon your heads!

NORTHUMBERLAND

Had he been slaughter-man to all my kin,
I should not for my life but weep with him.
To see how inly sorrow gripes his soul.

QUEEN MARGARET

What, weeping-ripe, my Lord Northumberland?
Think but upon the wrong he did us all,
And that will quickly dry thy melting tears.

CLIFFORD

Here’s for my oath, here’s for my father’s death.

Stabbing him

QUEEN MARGARET

And here’s to right our gentle-hearted king.

Stabbing him

YORK

Open Thy gate of mercy, gracious God!
My soul flies through these wounds to seek out Thee.

Dies

QUEEN MARGARET

Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
So York may overlook the town of York.

Flourish. Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. A plain near Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire.

A march. Enter EDWARD, RICHARD, and their power

EDWARD

I wonder how our princely father ‘scaped,
Or whether he be ‘scaped away or no
From Clifford’s and Northumberland’s pursuit:
Had he been ta’en, we should have heard the news;
Had he been slain, we should have heard the news;
Or had he ‘scaped, methinks we should have heard
The happy tidings of his good escape.
How fares my brother? why is he so sad?

RICHARD

I cannot joy, until I be resolved
Where our right valiant father is become.
I saw him in the battle range about;
And watch’d him how he singled Clifford forth.
Methought he bore him in the thickest troop
As doth a lion in a herd of neat;
Or as a bear, encompass’d round with dogs,
Who having pinch’d a few and made them cry,
The rest stand all aloof, and bark at him.
So fared our father with his enemies;
So fled his enemies my warlike father:
Methinks, ’tis prize enough to be his son.
See how the morning opes her golden gates,
And takes her farewell of the glorious sun!
How well resembles it the prime of youth,
Trimm’d like a younker prancing to his love!

EDWARD

Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?

RICHARD

Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;
Not separated with the racking clouds,
But sever’d in a pale clear-shining sky.
See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
As if they vow’d some league inviolable:
Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
In this the heaven figures some event.

EDWARD

‘Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
Each one already blazing by our meeds,
Should notwithstanding join our lights together
And over-shine the earth as this the world.
Whate’er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
Upon my target three fair-shining suns.

RICHARD

Nay, bear three daughters: by your leave I speak it,
You love the breeder better than the male.

Enter a Messenger
But what art thou, whose heavy looks foretell
Some dreadful story hanging on thy tongue?

Messenger

Ah, one that was a woful looker-on
When as the noble Duke of York was slain,
Your princely father and my loving lord!

EDWARD

O, speak no more, for I have heard too much.

RICHARD

Say how he died, for I will hear it all.

Messenger

Environed he was with many foes,
And stood against them, as the hope of Troy
Against the Greeks that would have enter’d Troy.
But Hercules himself must yield to odds;
And many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest-timber’d oak.
By many hands your father was subdued;
But only slaughter’d by the ireful arm
Of unrelenting Clifford and the queen,
Who crown’d the gracious duke in high despite,
Laugh’d in his face; and when with grief he wept,
The ruthless queen gave him to dry his cheeks
A napkin steeped in the harmless blood
Of sweet young Rutland, by rough Clifford slain:
And after many scorns, many foul taunts,
They took his head, and on the gates of York
They set the same; and there it doth remain,
The saddest spectacle that e’er I view’d.

EDWARD

Sweet Duke of York, our prop to lean upon,
Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay.
O Clifford, boisterous Clifford! thou hast slain
The flower of Europe for his chivalry;
And treacherously hast thou vanquish’d him,
For hand to hand he would have vanquish’d thee.
Now my soul’s palace is become a prison:
Ah, would she break from hence, that this my body
Might in the ground be closed up in rest!
For never henceforth shall I joy again,
Never, O never shall I see more joy!

RICHARD

I cannot weep; for all my body’s moisture
Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart:
Nor can my tongue unload my heart’s great burthen;
For selfsame wind that I should speak withal
Is kindling coals that fires all my breast,
And burns me up with flames that tears would quench.
To weep is to make less the depth of grief:
Tears then for babes; blows and revenge for me
Richard, I bear thy name; I’ll venge thy death,
Or die renowned by attempting it.

EDWARD

His name that valiant duke hath left with thee;
His dukedom and his chair with me is left.

RICHARD

Nay, if thou be that princely eagle’s bird,
Show thy descent by gazing ‘gainst the sun:
For chair and dukedom, throne and kingdom say;
Either that is thine, or else thou wert not his.

March. Enter WARWICK, MONTAGUE, and their army

WARWICK

How now, fair lords! What fare? what news abroad?

RICHARD

Great Lord of Warwick, if we should recount
Our baleful news, and at each word’s deliverance
Stab poniards in our flesh till all were told,
The words would add more anguish than the wounds.
O valiant lord, the Duke of York is slain!

EDWARD

O Warwick, Warwick! that Plantagenet,
Which held three dearly as his soul’s redemption,
Is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.

WARWICK

Ten days ago I drown’d these news in tears;
And now, to add more measure to your woes,
I come to tell you things sith then befall’n.
After the bloody fray at Wakefield fought,
Where your brave father breathed his latest gasp,
Tidings, as swiftly as the posts could run,
Were brought me of your loss and his depart.
I, then in London keeper of the king,
Muster’d my soldiers, gather’d flocks of friends,
And very well appointed, as I thought,
March’d toward Saint Alban’s to intercept the queen,
Bearing the king in my behalf along;
For by my scouts I was advertised
That she was coming with a full intent
To dash our late decree in parliament
Touching King Henry’s oath and your succession.
Short tale to make, we at Saint Alban’s met
Our battles join’d, and both sides fiercely fought:
But whether ’twas the coldness of the king,
Who look’d full gently on his warlike queen,
That robb’d my soldiers of their heated spleen;
Or whether ’twas report of her success;
Or more than common fear of Clifford’s rigour,
Who thunders to his captives blood and death,
I cannot judge: but to conclude with truth,
Their weapons like to lightning came and went;
Our soldiers’, like the night-owl’s lazy flight,
Or like an idle thresher with a flail,
Fell gently down, as if they struck their friends.
I cheer’d them up with justice of our cause,
With promise of high pay and great rewards:
But all in vain; they had no heart to fight,
And we in them no hope to win the day;
So that we fled; the king unto the queen;
Lord George your brother, Norfolk and myself,
In haste, post-haste, are come to join with you:
For in the marches here we heard you were,
Making another head to fight again.

EDWARD

Where is the Duke of Norfolk, gentle Warwick?
And when came George from Burgundy to England?

WARWICK

Some six miles off the duke is with the soldiers;
And for your brother, he was lately sent
From your kind aunt, Duchess of Burgundy,
With aid of soldiers to this needful war.

RICHARD

‘Twas odds, belike, when valiant Warwick fled:
Oft have I heard his praises in pursuit,
But ne’er till now his scandal of retire.

WARWICK

Nor now my scandal, Richard, dost thou hear;
For thou shalt know this strong right hand of mine
Can pluck the diadem from faint Henry’s head,
And wring the awful sceptre from his fist,
Were he as famous and as bold in war
As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer.

RICHARD

I know it well, Lord Warwick; blame me not:
‘Tis love I bear thy glories makes me speak.
But in this troublous time what’s to be done?
Shall we go throw away our coats of steel,
And wrap our bodies in black mourning gowns,
Numbering our Ave-Maries with our beads?
Or shall we on the helmets of our foes
Tell our devotion with revengeful arms?
If for the last, say ay, and to it, lords.

WARWICK

Why, therefore Warwick came to seek you out;
And therefore comes my brother Montague.
Attend me, lords. The proud insulting queen,
With Clifford and the haught Northumberland,
And of their feather many more proud birds,
Have wrought the easy-melting king like wax.
He swore consent to your succession,
His oath enrolled in the parliament;
And now to London all the crew are gone,
To frustrate both his oath and what beside
May make against the house of Lancaster.
Their power, I think, is thirty thousand strong:
Now, if the help of Norfolk and myself,
With all the friends that thou, brave Earl of March,
Amongst the loving Welshmen canst procure,
Will but amount to five and twenty thousand,
Why, Via! to London will we march amain,
And once again bestride our foaming steeds,
And once again cry ‘Charge upon our foes!’
But never once again turn back and fly.

RICHARD

Ay, now methinks I hear great Warwick speak:
Ne’er may he live to see a sunshine day,
That cries ‘Retire,’ if Warwick bid him stay.

EDWARD

Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean;
And when thou fail’st—as God forbid the hour!—
Must Edward fall, which peril heaven forfend!

WARWICK

No longer Earl of March, but Duke of York:
The next degree is England’s royal throne;
For King of England shalt thou be proclaim’d
In every borough as we pass along;
And he that throws not up his cap for joy
Shall for the fault make forfeit of his head.
King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague,
Stay we no longer, dreaming of renown,
But sound the trumpets, and about our task.

RICHARD

Then, Clifford, were thy heart as hard as steel,
As thou hast shown it flinty by thy deeds,
I come to pierce it, or to give thee mine.

EDWARD

Then strike up drums: God and Saint George for us!

Enter a Messenger

WARWICK

How now! what news?

Messenger

The Duke of Norfolk sends you word by me,
The queen is coming with a puissant host;
And craves your company for speedy counsel.

WARWICK

Why then it sorts, brave warriors, let’s away.

Exeunt

SCENE II. Before York.

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, CLIFFORD, and NORTHUMBERLAND, with drum and trumpets

QUEEN MARGARET

Welcome, my lord, to this brave town of York.
Yonder’s the head of that arch-enemy
That sought to be encompass’d with your crown:
Doth not the object cheer your heart, my lord?

KING HENRY VI

Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck:
To see this sight, it irks my very soul.
Withhold revenge, dear God! ’tis not my fault,
Nor wittingly have I infringed my vow.

CLIFFORD

My gracious liege, this too much lenity
And harmful pity must be laid aside.
To whom do lions cast their gentle looks?
Not to the beast that would usurp their den.
Whose hand is that the forest bear doth lick?
Not his that spoils her young before her face.
Who ‘scapes the lurking serpent’s mortal sting?
Not he that sets his foot upon her back.
The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,
And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.
Ambitious York doth level at thy crown,
Thou smiling while he knit his angry brows:
He, but a duke, would have his son a king,
And raise his issue, like a loving sire;
Thou, being a king, blest with a goodly son,
Didst yield consent to disinherit him,
Which argued thee a most unloving father.
Unreasonable creatures feed their young;
And though man’s face be fearful to their eyes,
Yet, in protection of their tender ones,
Who hath not seen them, even with those wings
Which sometime they have used with fearful flight,
Make war with him that climb’d unto their nest,
Offer their own lives in their young’s defence?
For shame, my liege, make them your precedent!
Were it not pity that this goodly boy
Should lose his birthright by his father’s fault,
And long hereafter say unto his child,
‘What my great-grandfather and his grandsire got
My careless father fondly gave away’?
Ah, what a shame were this! Look on the boy;
And let his manly face, which promiseth
Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart
To hold thine own and leave thine own with him.

KING HENRY VI

Full well hath Clifford play’d the orator,
Inferring arguments of mighty force.
But, Clifford, tell me, didst thou never hear
That things ill-got had ever bad success?
And happy always was it for that son
Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?
I’ll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
And would my father had left me no more!
For all the rest is held at such a rate
As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
Than in possession and jot of pleasure.
Ah, cousin York! would thy best friends did know
How it doth grieve me that thy head is here!

QUEEN MARGARET

My lord, cheer up your spirits: our foes are nigh,
And this soft courage makes your followers faint.
You promised knighthood to our forward son:
Unsheathe your sword, and dub him presently.
Edward, kneel down.

KING HENRY VI

Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight;
And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right.

PRINCE

My gracious father, by your kingly leave,
I’ll draw it as apparent to the crown,
And in that quarrel use it to the death.

CLIFFORD

Why, that is spoken like a toward prince.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

Royal commanders, be in readiness:
For with a band of thirty thousand men
Comes Warwick, backing of the Duke of York;
And in the towns, as they do march along,
Proclaims him king, and many fly to him:
Darraign your battle, for they are at hand.

CLIFFORD

I would your highness would depart the field:
The queen hath best success when you are absent.

QUEEN MARGARET

Ay, good my lord, and leave us to our fortune.

KING HENRY VI

Why, that’s my fortune too; therefore I’ll stay.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Be it with resolution then to fight.

PRINCE EDWARD

My royal father, cheer these noble lords
And hearten those that fight in your defence:
Unsheathe your sword, good father; cry ‘Saint George!’

March. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, WARWICK, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, and Soldiers

EDWARD

Now, perjured Henry! wilt thou kneel for grace,
And set thy diadem upon my head;
Or bide the mortal fortune of the field?

QUEEN MARGARET

Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy!
Becomes it thee to be thus bold in terms
Before thy sovereign and thy lawful king?

EDWARD

I am his king, and he should bow his knee;
I was adopted heir by his consent:
Since when, his oath is broke; for, as I hear,
You, that are king, though he do wear the crown,
Have caused him, by new act of parliament,
To blot out me, and put his own son in.

CLIFFORD

And reason too:
Who should succeed the father but the son?

RICHARD

Are you there, butcher? O, I cannot speak!

CLIFFORD

Ay, crook-back, here I stand to answer thee,
Or any he the proudest of thy sort.

RICHARD

‘Twas you that kill’d young Rutland, was it not?

CLIFFORD

Ay, and old York, and yet not satisfied.

RICHARD

For God’s sake, lords, give signal to the fight.

WARWICK

What say’st thou, Henry, wilt thou yield the crown?

QUEEN MARGARET

Why, how now, long-tongued Warwick! dare you speak?
When you and I met at Saint Alban’s last,
Your legs did better service than your hands.

WARWICK

Then ’twas my turn to fly, and now ’tis thine.

CLIFFORD

You said so much before, and yet you fled.

WARWICK

‘Twas not your valour, Clifford, drove me thence.

NORTHUMBERLAND

No, nor your manhood that durst make you stay.

RICHARD

Northumberland, I hold thee reverently.
Break off the parley; for scarce I can refrain
The execution of my big-swoln heart
Upon that Clifford, that cruel child-killer.

CLIFFORD

I slew thy father, call’st thou him a child?

RICHARD

Ay, like a dastard and a treacherous coward,
As thou didst kill our tender brother Rutland;
But ere sunset I’ll make thee curse the deed.

KING HENRY VI

Have done with words, my lords, and hear me speak.

QUEEN MARGARET

Defy them then, or else hold close thy lips.

KING HENRY VI

I prithee, give no limits to my tongue:
I am a king, and privileged to speak.

CLIFFORD

My liege, the wound that bred this meeting here
Cannot be cured by words; therefore be still.

RICHARD

Then, executioner, unsheathe thy sword:
By him that made us all, I am resolved
that Clifford’s manhood lies upon his tongue.

EDWARD

Say, Henry, shall I have my right, or no?
A thousand men have broke their fasts to-day,
That ne’er shall dine unless thou yield the crown.

WARWICK

If thou deny, their blood upon thy head;
For York in justice puts his armour on.

PRINCE EDWARD

If that be right which Warwick says is right,
There is no wrong, but every thing is right.

RICHARD

Whoever got thee, there thy mother stands;
For, well I wot, thou hast thy mother’s tongue.

QUEEN MARGARET

But thou art neither like thy sire nor dam;
But like a foul mis-shapen stigmatic,
Mark’d by the destinies to be avoided,
As venom toads, or lizards’ dreadful stings.

RICHARD

Iron of Naples hid with English gilt,
Whose father bears the title of a king,—
As if a channel should be call’d the sea,—
Shamest thou not, knowing whence thou art extraught,
To let thy tongue detect thy base-born heart?

EDWARD

A wisp of straw were worth a thousand crowns,
To make this shameless callet know herself.
Helen of Greece was fairer far than thou,
Although thy husband may be Menelaus;
And ne’er was Agamemnon’s brother wrong’d
By that false woman, as this king by thee.
His father revell’d in the heart of France,
And tamed the king, and made the dauphin stoop;
And had he match’d according to his state,
He might have kept that glory to this day;
But when he took a beggar to his bed,
And graced thy poor sire with his bridal-day,
Even then that sunshine brew’d a shower for him,
That wash’d his father’s fortunes forth of France,
And heap’d sedition on his crown at home.
For what hath broach’d this tumult but thy pride?
Hadst thou been meek, our title still had slept;
And we, in pity of the gentle king,
Had slipp’d our claim until another age.

GEORGE

But when we saw our sunshine made thy spring,
And that thy summer bred us no increase,
We set the axe to thy usurping root;
And though the edge hath something hit ourselves,
Yet, know thou, since we have begun to strike,
We’ll never leave till we have hewn thee down,
Or bathed thy growing with our heated bloods.

EDWARD

And, in this resolution, I defy thee;
Not willing any longer conference,
Since thou deniest the gentle king to speak.
Sound trumpets! let our bloody colours wave!
And either victory, or else a grave.

QUEEN MARGARET

Stay, Edward.

EDWARD

No, wrangling woman, we’ll no longer stay:
These words will cost ten thousand lives this day.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A field of battle between Towton and Saxton, in

Yorkshire.

Alarum. Excursions. Enter WARWICK

WARWICK

Forspent with toil, as runners with a race,
I lay me down a little while to breathe;
For strokes received, and many blows repaid,
Have robb’d my strong-knit sinews of their strength,
And spite of spite needs must I rest awhile.

Enter EDWARD, running

EDWARD

Smile, gentle heaven! or strike, ungentle death!
For this world frowns, and Edward’s sun is clouded.

WARWICK

How now, my lord! what hap? what hope of good?

Enter GEORGE

GEORGE

Our hap is loss, our hope but sad despair;
Our ranks are broke, and ruin follows us:
What counsel give you? whither shall we fly?

EDWARD

Bootless is flight, they follow us with wings;
And weak we are and cannot shun pursuit.

Enter RICHARD

RICHARD

Ah, Warwick, why hast thou withdrawn thyself?
Thy brother’s blood the thirsty earth hath drunk,
Broach’d with the steely point of Clifford’s lance;
And in the very pangs of death he cried,
Like to a dismal clangour heard from far,
‘Warwick, revenge! brother, revenge my death!’
So, underneath the belly of their steeds,
That stain’d their fetlocks in his smoking blood,
The noble gentleman gave up the ghost.

WARWICK

Then let the earth be drunken with our blood:
I’ll kill my horse, because I will not fly.
Why stand we like soft-hearted women here,
Wailing our losses, whiles the foe doth rage;
And look upon, as if the tragedy
Were play’d in jest by counterfeiting actors?
Here on my knee I vow to God above,
I’ll never pause again, never stand still,
Till either death hath closed these eyes of mine
Or fortune given me measure of revenge.

EDWARD

O Warwick, I do bend my knee with thine;
And in this vow do chain my soul to thine!
And, ere my knee rise from the earth’s cold face,
I throw my hands, mine eyes, my heart to thee,
Thou setter up and plucker down of kings,
Beseeching thee, if with they will it stands
That to my foes this body must be prey,
Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ope,
And give sweet passage to my sinful soul!
Now, lords, take leave until we meet again,
Where’er it be, in heaven or in earth.

RICHARD

Brother, give me thy hand; and, gentle Warwick,
Let me embrace thee in my weary arms:
I, that did never weep, now melt with woe
That winter should cut off our spring-time so.

WARWICK

Away, away! Once more, sweet lords farewell.

GEORGE

Yet let us all together to our troops,
And give them leave to fly that will not stay;
And call them pillars that will stand to us;
And, if we thrive, promise them such rewards
As victors wear at the Olympian games:
This may plant courage in their quailing breasts;
For yet is hope of life and victory.
Forslow no longer, make we hence amain.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Another part of the field.

Excursions. Enter RICHARD and CLIFFORD

RICHARD

Now, Clifford, I have singled thee alone:
Suppose this arm is for the Duke of York,
And this for Rutland; both bound to revenge,
Wert thou environ’d with a brazen wall.

CLIFFORD

Now, Richard, I am with thee here alone:
This is the hand that stabb’d thy father York;
And this the hand that slew thy brother Rutland;
And here’s the heart that triumphs in their death
And cheers these hands that slew thy sire and brother
To execute the like upon thyself;
And so, have at thee!

They fight. WARWICK comes; CLIFFORD flies

RICHARD

Nay Warwick, single out some other chase;
For I myself will hunt this wolf to death.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Another part of the field.

Alarum. Enter KING HENRY VI alone

KING HENRY VI

This battle fares like to the morning’s war,
When dying clouds contend with growing light,
What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
Can neither call it perfect day nor night.
Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea
Forced by the tide to combat with the wind;
Now sways it that way, like the selfsame sea
Forced to retire by fury of the wind:
Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind;
Now one the better, then another best;
Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,
Yet neither conqueror nor conquered:
So is the equal of this fell war.
Here on this molehill will I sit me down.
To whom God will, there be the victory!
For Margaret my queen, and Clifford too,
Have chid me from the battle; swearing both
They prosper best of all when I am thence.
Would I were dead! if God’s good will were so;
For what is in this world but grief and woe?
O God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run,
How many make the hour full complete;
How many hours bring about the day;
How many days will finish up the year;
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times:
So many hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean:
So many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
Pass’d over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider’d canopy
To kings that fear their subjects’ treachery?
O, yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd’s homely curds,
His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle.
His wonted sleep under a fresh tree’s shade,
All which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
Is far beyond a prince’s delicates,
His viands sparkling in a golden cup,
His body couched in a curious bed,
When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him.

Alarum. Enter a Son that has killed his father, dragging in the dead body

Son

Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
This man, whom hand to hand I slew in fight,
May be possessed with some store of crowns;
And I, that haply take them from him now,
May yet ere night yield both my life and them
To some man else, as this dead man doth me.
Who’s this? O God! it is my father’s face,
Whom in this conflict I unwares have kill’d.
O heavy times, begetting such events!
From London by the king was I press’d forth;
My father, being the Earl of Warwick’s man,
Came on the part of York, press’d by his master;
And I, who at his hands received my life, him
Have by my hands of life bereaved him.
Pardon me, God, I knew not what I did!
And pardon, father, for I knew not thee!
My tears shall wipe away these bloody marks;
And no more words till they have flow’d their fill.

KING HENRY VI

O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!
Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,
Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity.
Weep, wretched man, I’ll aid thee tear for tear;
And let our hearts and eyes, like civil war,
Be blind with tears, and break o’ercharged with grief.

Enter a Father that has killed his son, bringing in the body

Father

Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me,
Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold:
For I have bought it with an hundred blows.
But let me see: is this our foeman’s face?
Ah, no, no, no, it is mine only son!
Ah, boy, if any life be left in thee,
Throw up thine eye! see, see what showers arise,
Blown with the windy tempest of my heart,
Upon thy words, that kill mine eye and heart!
O, pity, God, this miserable age!
What stratagems, how fell, how butcherly,
Erroneous, mutinous and unnatural,
This deadly quarrel daily doth beget!
O boy, thy father gave thee life too soon,
And hath bereft thee of thy life too late!

KING HENRY VI

Woe above woe! grief more than common grief!
O that my death would stay these ruthful deeds!
O pity, pity, gentle heaven, pity!
The red rose and the white are on his face,
The fatal colours of our striving houses:
The one his purple blood right well resembles;
The other his pale cheeks, methinks, presenteth:
Wither one rose, and let the other flourish;
If you contend, a thousand lives must wither.

Son

How will my mother for a father’s death
Take on with me and ne’er be satisfied!

Father

How will my wife for slaughter of my son
Shed seas of tears and ne’er be satisfied!

KING HENRY VI

How will the country for these woful chances
Misthink the king and not be satisfied!

Son

Was ever son so rued a father’s death?

Father

Was ever father so bemoan’d his son?

KING HENRY VI

Was ever king so grieved for subjects’ woe?
Much is your sorrow; mine ten times so much.

Son

I’ll bear thee hence, where I may weep my fill.

Exit with the body

Father

These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet;
My heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre,
For from my heart thine image ne’er shall go;
My sighing breast shall be thy funeral bell;
And so obsequious will thy father be,
Even for the loss of thee, having no more,
As Priam was for all his valiant sons.
I’ll bear thee hence; and let them fight that will,
For I have murdered where I should not kill.

Exit with the body

KING HENRY VI

Sad-hearted men, much overgone with care,
Here sits a king more woful than you are.

Alarums: excursions. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, and EXETER

PRINCE EDWARD

Fly, father, fly! for all your friends are fled,
And Warwick rages like a chafed bull:
Away! for death doth hold us in pursuit.

QUEEN MARGARET

Mount you, my lord; towards Berwick post amain:
Edward and Richard, like a brace of greyhounds
Having the fearful flying hare in sight,
With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath,
And bloody steel grasp’d in their ireful hands,
Are at our backs; and therefore hence amain.

EXETER

Away! for vengeance comes along with them:
Nay, stay not to expostulate, make speed;
Or else come after: I’ll away before.

KING HENRY VI

Nay, take me with thee, good sweet Exeter:
Not that I fear to stay, but love to go
Whither the queen intends. Forward; away!

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Another part of the field.

A loud alarum. Enter CLIFFORD, wounded

CLIFFORD

Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.
O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
More than my body’s parting with my soul!
My love and fear glued many friends to thee;
And, now I fall, thy tough commixture melts.
Impairing Henry, strengthening misproud York,
The common people swarm like summer flies;
And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
And who shines now but Henry’s enemies?
O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent
That Phaethon should cheque thy fiery steeds,
Thy burning car never had scorch’d the earth!
And, Henry, hadst thou sway’d as kings should do,
Or as thy father and his father did,
Giving no ground unto the house of York,
They never then had sprung like summer flies;
I and ten thousand in this luckless realm
Had left no mourning widows for our death;
And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace.
For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?
And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?
Bootless are plaints, and cureless are my wounds;
No way to fly, nor strength to hold out flight:
The foe is merciless, and will not pity;
For at their hands I have deserved no pity.
The air hath got into my deadly wounds,
And much effuse of blood doth make me faint.
Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest;
I stabb’d your fathers’ bosoms, split my breast.

He faints

Alarum and retreat. Enter EDWARD, GEORGE, RICHARD, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Soldiers

EDWARD

Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks.
Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen,
That led calm Henry, though he were a king,
As doth a sail, fill’d with a fretting gust,
Command an argosy to stem the waves.
But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?

WARWICK

No, ’tis impossible he should escape,
For, though before his face I speak the words
Your brother Richard mark’d him for the grave:
And wheresoe’er he is, he’s surely dead.

CLIFFORD groans, and dies

EDWARD

Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

RICHARD

A deadly groan, like life and death’s departing.

EDWARD

See who it is: and, now the battle’s ended,
If friend or foe, let him be gently used.

RICHARD

Revoke that doom of mercy, for ’tis Clifford;
Who not contented that he lopp’d the branch
In hewing Rutland when his leaves put forth,
But set his murdering knife unto the root
From whence that tender spray did sweetly spring,
I mean our princely father, Duke of York.

WARWICK

From off the gates of York fetch down the head,
Your father’s head, which Clifford placed there;
Instead whereof let this supply the room:
Measure for measure must be answered.

EDWARD

Bring forth that fatal screech-owl to our house,
That nothing sung but death to us and ours:
Now death shall stop his dismal threatening sound,
And his ill-boding tongue no more shall speak.

WARWICK

I think his understanding is bereft.
Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to thee?
Dark cloudy death o’ershades his beams of life,
And he nor sees nor hears us what we say.

RICHARD

O, would he did! and so perhaps he doth:
‘Tis but his policy to counterfeit,
Because he would avoid such bitter taunts
Which in the time of death he gave our father.

GEORGE

If so thou think’st, vex him with eager words.

RICHARD

Clifford, ask mercy and obtain no grace.

EDWARD

Clifford, repent in bootless penitence.

WARWICK

Clifford, devise excuses for thy faults.

GEORGE

While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.

RICHARD

Thou didst love York, and I am son to York.

EDWARD

Thou pitied’st Rutland; I will pity thee.

GEORGE

Where’s Captain Margaret, to fence you now?

WARWICK

They mock thee, Clifford: swear as thou wast wont.

RICHARD

What, not an oath? nay, then the world goes hard
When Clifford cannot spare his friends an oath.
I know by that he’s dead; and, by my soul,
If this right hand would buy two hour’s life,
That I in all despite might rail at him,
This hand should chop it off, and with the
issuing blood
Stifle the villain whose unstanched thirst
York and young Rutland could not satisfy.

WARWICK

Ay, but he’s dead: off with the traitor’s head,
And rear it in the place your father’s stands.
And now to London with triumphant march,
There to be crowned England’s royal king:
From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France,
And ask the Lady Bona for thy queen:
So shalt thou sinew both these lands together;
And, having France thy friend, thou shalt not dread
The scatter’d foe that hopes to rise again;
For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt,
Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears.
First will I see the coronation;
And then to Brittany I’ll cross the sea,
To effect this marriage, so it please my lord.

EDWARD

Even as thou wilt, sweet Warwick, let it be;
For in thy shoulder do I build my seat,
And never will I undertake the thing
Wherein thy counsel and consent is wanting.
Richard, I will create thee Duke of Gloucester,
And George, of Clarence: Warwick, as ourself,
Shall do and undo as him pleaseth best.

RICHARD

Let me be Duke of Clarence, George of Gloucester;
For Gloucester’s dukedom is too ominous.

WARWICK

Tut, that’s a foolish observation:
Richard, be Duke of Gloucester. Now to London,
To see these honours in possession.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. A forest in the north of England.

Enter two Keepers, with cross-bows in their hands

First Keeper

Under this thick-grown brake we’ll shroud ourselves;
For through this laund anon the deer will come;
And in this covert will we make our stand,
Culling the principal of all the deer.

Second Keeper

I’ll stay above the hill, so both may shoot.

First Keeper

That cannot be; the noise of thy cross-bow
Will scare the herd, and so my shoot is lost.
Here stand we both, and aim we at the best:
And, for the time shall not seem tedious,
I’ll tell thee what befell me on a day
In this self-place where now we mean to stand.

Second Keeper

Here comes a man; let’s stay till he be past.

Enter KING HENRY VI, disguised, with a prayerbook

KING HENRY VI

From Scotland am I stol’n, even of pure love,
To greet mine own land with my wishful sight.
No, Harry, Harry, ’tis no land of thine;
Thy place is fill’d, thy sceptre wrung from thee,
Thy balm wash’d off wherewith thou wast anointed:
No bending knee will call thee Caesar now,
No humble suitors press to speak for right,
No, not a man comes for redress of thee;
For how can I help them, and not myself?

First Keeper

Ay, here’s a deer whose skin’s a keeper’s fee:
This is the quondam king; let’s seize upon him.

KING HENRY VI

Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,
For wise men say it is the wisest course.

Second Keeper

Why linger we? let us lay hands upon him.

First Keeper

Forbear awhile; we’ll hear a little more.

KING HENRY VI

My queen and son are gone to France for aid;
And, as I hear, the great commanding Warwick
Is thither gone, to crave the French king’s sister
To wife for Edward: if this news be true,
Poor queen and son, your labour is but lost;
For Warwick is a subtle orator,
And Lewis a prince soon won with moving words.
By this account then Margaret may win him;
For she’s a woman to be pitied much:
Her sighs will make a battery in his breast;
Her tears will pierce into a marble heart;
The tiger will be mild whiles she doth mourn;
And Nero will be tainted with remorse,
To hear and see her plaints, her brinish tears.
Ay, but she’s come to beg, Warwick to give;
She, on his left side, craving aid for Henry,
He, on his right, asking a wife for Edward.
She weeps, and says her Henry is deposed;
He smiles, and says his Edward is install’d;
That she, poor wretch, for grief can speak no more;
Whiles Warwick tells his title, smooths the wrong,
Inferreth arguments of mighty strength,
And in conclusion wins the king from her,
With promise of his sister, and what else,
To strengthen and support King Edward’s place.
O Margaret, thus ’twill be; and thou, poor soul,
Art then forsaken, as thou went’st forlorn!

Second Keeper

Say, what art thou that talk’st of kings and queens?

KING HENRY VI

More than I seem, and less than I was born to:
A man at least, for less I should not be;
And men may talk of kings, and why not I?

Second Keeper

Ay, but thou talk’st as if thou wert a king.

KING HENRY VI

Why, so I am, in mind; and that’s enough.

Second Keeper

But, if thou be a king, where is thy crown?

KING HENRY VI

My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones,
Nor to be seen: my crown is called content:
A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.

Second Keeper

Well, if you be a king crown’d with content,
Your crown content and you must be contented
To go along with us; for as we think,
You are the king King Edward hath deposed;
And we his subjects sworn in all allegiance
Will apprehend you as his enemy.

KING HENRY VI

But did you never swear, and break an oath?

Second Keeper

No, never such an oath; nor will not now.

KING HENRY VI

Where did you dwell when I was King of England?

Second Keeper

Here in this country, where we now remain.

KING HENRY VI

I was anointed king at nine months old;
My father and my grandfather were kings,
And you were sworn true subjects unto me:
And tell me, then, have you not broke your oaths?

First Keeper

No;
For we were subjects but while you were king.

KING HENRY VI

Why, am I dead? do I not breathe a man?
Ah, simple men, you know not what you swear!
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater gust;
Such is the lightness of you common men.
But do not break your oaths; for of that sin
My mild entreaty shall not make you guilty.
Go where you will, the king shall be commanded;
And be you kings, command, and I’ll obey.

First Keeper

We are true subjects to the king, King Edward.

KING HENRY VI

So would you be again to Henry,
If he were seated as King Edward is.

First Keeper

We charge you, in God’s name, and the king’s,
To go with us unto the officers.

KING HENRY VI

In God’s name, lead; your king’s name be obey’d:
And what God will, that let your king perform;
And what he will, I humbly yield unto.

Exeunt

SCENE II. London. The palace.

Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and LADY GREY

KING EDWARD IV

Brother of Gloucester, at Saint Alban’s field
This lady’s husband, Sir Richard Grey, was slain,
His lands then seized on by the conqueror:
Her suit is now to repossess those lands;
Which we in justice cannot well deny,
Because in quarrel of the house of York
The worthy gentleman did lose his life.

GLOUCESTER

Your highness shall do well to grant her suit;
It were dishonour to deny it her.

KING EDWARD IV

It were no less; but yet I’ll make a pause.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] Yea, is it so?
I see the lady hath a thing to grant,
Before the king will grant her humble suit.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] He knows the game: how true
he keeps the wind!

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] Silence!

KING EDWARD IV

Widow, we will consider of your suit;
And come some other time to know our mind.

LADY GREY

Right gracious lord, I cannot brook delay:
May it please your highness to resolve me now;
And what your pleasure is, shall satisfy me.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] Ay, widow? then I’ll warrant
you all your lands,
An if what pleases him shall pleasure you.
Fight closer, or, good faith, you’ll catch a blow.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] I fear her not, unless she
chance to fall.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] God forbid that! for he’ll
take vantages.

KING EDWARD IV

How many children hast thou, widow? tell me.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] I think he means to beg a
child of her.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] Nay, whip me then: he’ll rather
give her two.

LADY GREY

Three, my most gracious lord.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] You shall have four, if you’ll
be ruled by him.

KING EDWARD IV

‘Twere pity they should lose their father’s lands.

LADY GREY

Be pitiful, dread lord, and grant it then.

KING EDWARD IV

Lords, give us leave: I’ll try this widow’s wit.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] Ay, good leave have you; for
you will have leave,
Till youth take leave and leave you to the crutch.

GLOUCESTER and CLARENCE retire

KING EDWARD IV

Now tell me, madam, do you love your children?

LADY GREY

Ay, full as dearly as I love myself.

KING EDWARD IV

And would you not do much to do them good?

LADY GREY

To do them good, I would sustain some harm.

KING EDWARD IV

Then get your husband’s lands, to do them good.

LADY GREY

Therefore I came unto your majesty.

KING EDWARD IV

I’ll tell you how these lands are to be got.

LADY GREY

So shall you bind me to your highness’ service.

KING EDWARD IV

What service wilt thou do me, if I give them?

LADY GREY

What you command, that rests in me to do.

KING EDWARD IV

But you will take exceptions to my boon.

LADY GREY

No, gracious lord, except I cannot do it.

KING EDWARD IV

Ay, but thou canst do what I mean to ask.

LADY GREY

Why, then I will do what your grace commands.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] He plies her hard; and much rain
wears the marble.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] As red as fire! nay, then
her wax must melt.

LADY GREY

Why stops my lord, shall I not hear my task?

KING EDWARD IV

An easy task; ’tis but to love a king.

LADY GREY

That’s soon perform’d, because I am a subject.

KING EDWARD IV

Why, then, thy husband’s lands I freely give thee.

LADY GREY

I take my leave with many thousand thanks.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] The match is made; she seals it
with a curtsy.

KING EDWARD IV

But stay thee, ’tis the fruits of love I mean.

LADY GREY

The fruits of love I mean, my loving liege.

KING EDWARD IV

Ay, but, I fear me, in another sense.
What love, think’st thou, I sue so much to get?

LADY GREY

My love till death, my humble thanks, my prayers;
That love which virtue begs and virtue grants.

KING EDWARD IV

No, by my troth, I did not mean such love.

LADY GREY

Why, then you mean not as I thought you did.

KING EDWARD IV

But now you partly may perceive my mind.

LADY GREY

My mind will never grant what I perceive
Your highness aims at, if I aim aright.

KING EDWARD IV

To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee.

LADY GREY

To tell you plain, I had rather lie in prison.

KING EDWARD IV

Why, then thou shalt not have thy husband’s lands.

LADY GREY

Why, then mine honesty shall be my dower;
For by that loss I will not purchase them.

KING EDWARD IV

Therein thou wrong’st thy children mightily.

LADY GREY

Herein your highness wrongs both them and me.
But, mighty lord, this merry inclination
Accords not with the sadness of my suit:
Please you dismiss me either with ‘ay’ or ‘no.’

KING EDWARD IV

Ay, if thou wilt say ‘ay’ to my request;
No if thou dost say ‘no’ to my demand.

LADY GREY

Then, no, my lord. My suit is at an end.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] The widow likes him not, she
knits her brows.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] He is the bluntest wooer in
Christendom.

KING EDWARD IV

[Aside] Her looks do argue her replete with modesty;
Her words do show her wit incomparable;
All her perfections challenge sovereignty:
One way or other, she is for a king;
And she shall be my love, or else my queen.—
Say that King Edward take thee for his queen?

LADY GREY

‘Tis better said than done, my gracious lord:
I am a subject fit to jest withal,
But far unfit to be a sovereign.

KING EDWARD IV

Sweet widow, by my state I swear to thee
I speak no more than what my soul intends;
And that is, to enjoy thee for my love.

LADY GREY

And that is more than I will yield unto:
I know I am too mean to be your queen,
And yet too good to be your concubine.

KING EDWARD IV

You cavil, widow: I did mean, my queen.

LADY GREY

‘Twill grieve your grace my sons should call you father.

KING EDWARD IV

No more than when my daughters call thee mother.
Thou art a widow, and thou hast some children;
And, by God’s mother, I, being but a bachelor,
Have other some: why, ’tis a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
Answer no more, for thou shalt be my queen.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CLARENCE] The ghostly father now hath done
his shrift.

CLARENCE

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] When he was made a shriver,
’twas for shift.

KING EDWARD IV

Brothers, you muse what chat we two have had.

GLOUCESTER

The widow likes it not, for she looks very sad.

KING EDWARD IV

You’ll think it strange if I should marry her.

CLARENCE

To whom, my lord?

KING EDWARD IV

Why, Clarence, to myself.

GLOUCESTER

That would be ten days’ wonder at the least.

CLARENCE

That’s a day longer than a wonder lasts.

GLOUCESTER

By so much is the wonder in extremes.

KING EDWARD IV

Well, jest on, brothers: I can tell you both
Her suit is granted for her husband’s lands.

Enter a Nobleman

Nobleman

My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken,
And brought your prisoner to your palace gate.

KING EDWARD IV

See that he be convey’d unto the Tower:
And go we, brothers, to the man that took him,
To question of his apprehension.
Widow, go you along. Lords, use her honourably.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
Would he were wasted, marrow, bones and all,
That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,
To cross me from the golden time I look for!
And yet, between my soul’s desire and me—
The lustful Edward’s title buried—
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
And all the unlook’d for issue of their bodies,
To take their rooms, ere I can place myself:
A cold premeditation for my purpose!
Why, then, I do but dream on sovereignty;
Like one that stands upon a promontory,
And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
Saying, he’ll lade it dry to have his way:
So do I wish the crown, being so far off;
And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
And so I say, I’ll cut the causes off,
Flattering me with impossibilities.
My eye’s too quick, my heart o’erweens too much,
Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard;
What other pleasure can the world afford?
I’ll make my heaven in a lady’s lap,
And deck my body in gay ornaments,
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
O miserable thought! and more unlikely
Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns!
Why, love forswore me in my mother’s womb:
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe,
To shrink mine arm up like a wither’d shrub;
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to mock my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlick’d bear-whelp
That carries no impression like the dam.
And am I then a man to be beloved?
O monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!
Then, since this earth affords no joy to me,
But to command, to cheque, to o’erbear such
As are of better person than myself,
I’ll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,
Until my mis-shaped trunk that bears this head
Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home:
And I,—like one lost in a thorny wood,
That rends the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
Seeking a way and straying from the way;
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out,—
Torment myself to catch the English crown:
And from that torment I will free myself,
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‘Content’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.

Exit

SCENE III. France. KING LEWIS XI’s palace.

Flourish. Enter KING LEWIS XI, his sister BONA, his Admiral, called BOURBON, PRINCE EDWARD, QUEEN MARGARET, and OXFORD. KING LEWIS XI sits, and riseth up again

KING LEWIS XI

Fair Queen of England, worthy Margaret,
Sit down with us: it ill befits thy state
And birth, that thou shouldst stand while Lewis doth sit.

QUEEN MARGARET

No, mighty King of France: now Margaret
Must strike her sail and learn awhile to serve
Where kings command. I was, I must confess,
Great Albion’s queen in former golden days:
But now mischance hath trod my title down,
And with dishonour laid me on the ground;
Where I must take like seat unto my fortune,
And to my humble seat conform myself.

KING LEWIS XI

Why, say, fair queen, whence springs this deep despair?

QUEEN MARGARET

From such a cause as fills mine eyes with tears
And stops my tongue, while heart is drown’d in cares.

KING LEWIS XI

Whate’er it be, be thou still like thyself,
And sit thee by our side:

Seats her by him
Yield not thy neck
To fortune’s yoke, but let thy dauntless mind
Still ride in triumph over all mischance.
Be plain, Queen Margaret, and tell thy grief;
It shall be eased, if France can yield relief.

QUEEN MARGARET

Those gracious words revive my drooping thoughts
And give my tongue-tied sorrows leave to speak.
Now, therefore, be it known to noble Lewis,
That Henry, sole possessor of my love,
Is of a king become a banish’d man,
And forced to live in Scotland a forlorn;
While proud ambitious Edward Duke of York
Usurps the regal title and the seat
Of England’s true-anointed lawful king.
This is the cause that I, poor Margaret,
With this my son, Prince Edward, Henry’s heir,
Am come to crave thy just and lawful aid;
And if thou fail us, all our hope is done:
Scotland hath will to help, but cannot help;
Our people and our peers are both misled,
Our treasures seized, our soldiers put to flight,
And, as thou seest, ourselves in heavy plight.

KING LEWIS XI

Renowned queen, with patience calm the storm,
While we bethink a means to break it off.

QUEEN MARGARET

The more we stay, the stronger grows our foe.

KING LEWIS XI

The more I stay, the more I’ll succor thee.

QUEEN MARGARET

O, but impatience waiteth on true sorrow.
And see where comes the breeder of my sorrow!

Enter WARWICK

KING LEWIS XI

What’s he approacheth boldly to our presence?

QUEEN MARGARET

Our Earl of Warwick, Edward’s greatest friend.

KING LEWIS XI

Welcome, brave Warwick! What brings thee to France?

He descends. She ariseth

QUEEN MARGARET

Ay, now begins a second storm to rise;
For this is he that moves both wind and tide.

WARWICK

From worthy Edward, King of Albion,
My lord and sovereign, and thy vowed friend,
I come, in kindness and unfeigned love,
First, to do greetings to thy royal person;
And then to crave a league of amity;
And lastly, to confirm that amity
With a nuptial knot, if thou vouchsafe to grant
That virtuous Lady Bona, thy fair sister,
To England’s king in lawful marriage.

QUEEN MARGARET

[Aside] If that go forward, Henry’s hope is done.

WARWICK

[To BONA] And, gracious madam, in our king’s behalf,
I am commanded, with your leave and favour,
Humbly to kiss your hand, and with my tongue
To tell the passion of my sovereign’s heart;
Where fame, late entering at his heedful ears,
Hath placed thy beauty’s image and thy virtue.

QUEEN MARGARET

King Lewis and Lady Bona, hear me speak,
Before you answer Warwick. His demand
Springs not from Edward’s well-meant honest love,
But from deceit bred by necessity;
For how can tyrants safely govern home,
Unless abroad they purchase great alliance?
To prove him tyrant this reason may suffice,
That Henry liveth still: but were he dead,
Yet here Prince Edward stands, King Henry’s son.
Look, therefore, Lewis, that by this league and marriage
Thou draw not on thy danger and dishonour;
For though usurpers sway the rule awhile,
Yet heavens are just, and time suppresseth wrongs.

WARWICK

Injurious Margaret!

PRINCE EDWARD

And why not queen?

WARWICK

Because thy father Henry did usurp;
And thou no more are prince than she is queen.

OXFORD

Then Warwick disannuls great John of Gaunt,
Which did subdue the greatest part of Spain;
And, after John of Gaunt, Henry the Fourth,
Whose wisdom was a mirror to the wisest;
And, after that wise prince, Henry the Fifth,
Who by his prowess conquered all France:
From these our Henry lineally descends.

WARWICK

Oxford, how haps it, in this smooth discourse,
You told not how Henry the Sixth hath lost
All that which Henry Fifth had gotten?
Methinks these peers of France should smile at that.
But for the rest, you tell a pedigree
Of threescore and two years; a silly time
To make prescription for a kingdom’s worth.

OXFORD

Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege,
Whom thou obeyed’st thirty and six years,
And not bewray thy treason with a blush?

WARWICK

Can Oxford, that did ever fence the right,
Now buckler falsehood with a pedigree?
For shame! leave Henry, and call Edward king.

OXFORD

Call him my king by whose injurious doom
My elder brother, the Lord Aubrey Vere,
Was done to death? and more than so, my father,
Even in the downfall of his mellow’d years,
When nature brought him to the door of death?
No, Warwick, no; while life upholds this arm,
This arm upholds the house of Lancaster.

WARWICK

And I the house of York.

KING LEWIS XI

Queen Margaret, Prince Edward, and Oxford,
Vouchsafe, at our request, to stand aside,
While I use further conference with Warwick.

They stand aloof

QUEEN MARGARET

Heavens grant that Warwick’s words bewitch him not!

KING LEWIS XI

Now Warwick, tell me, even upon thy conscience,
Is Edward your true king? for I were loath
To link with him that were not lawful chosen.

WARWICK

Thereon I pawn my credit and mine honour.

KING LEWIS XI

But is he gracious in the people’s eye?

WARWICK

The more that Henry was unfortunate.

KING LEWIS XI

Then further, all dissembling set aside,
Tell me for truth the measure of his love
Unto our sister Bona.

WARWICK

Such it seems
As may beseem a monarch like himself.
Myself have often heard him say and swear
That this his love was an eternal plant,
Whereof the root was fix’d in virtue’s ground,
The leaves and fruit maintain’d with beauty’s sun,
Exempt from envy, but not from disdain,
Unless the Lady Bona quit his pain.

KING LEWIS XI

Now, sister, let us hear your firm resolve.

BONA

Your grant, or your denial, shall be mine:

To WARWICK
Yet I confess that often ere this day,
When I have heard your king’s desert recounted,
Mine ear hath tempted judgment to desire.

KING LEWIS XI

Then, Warwick, thus: our sister shall be Edward’s;
And now forthwith shall articles be drawn
Touching the jointure that your king must make,
Which with her dowry shall be counterpoised.
Draw near, Queen Margaret, and be a witness
That Bona shall be wife to the English king.

PRINCE EDWARD

To Edward, but not to the English king.

QUEEN MARGARET

Deceitful Warwick! it was thy device
By this alliance to make void my suit:
Before thy coming Lewis was Henry’s friend.

KING LEWIS XI

And still is friend to him and Margaret:
But if your title to the crown be weak,
As may appear by Edward’s good success,
Then ’tis but reason that I be released
From giving aid which late I promised.
Yet shall you have all kindness at my hand
That your estate requires and mine can yield.

WARWICK

Henry now lives in Scotland at his ease,
Where having nothing, nothing can he lose.
And as for you yourself, our quondam queen,
You have a father able to maintain you;
And better ’twere you troubled him than France.

QUEEN MARGARET

Peace, impudent and shameless Warwick, peace,
Proud setter up and puller down of kings!
I will not hence, till, with my talk and tears,
Both full of truth, I make King Lewis behold
Thy sly conveyance and thy lord’s false love;
For both of you are birds of selfsame feather.

Post blows a horn within

KING LEWIS XI

Warwick, this is some post to us or thee.

Enter a Post

Post

[To WARWICK] My lord ambassador, these letters are for you,
Sent from your brother, Marquess Montague:

To KING LEWIS XI
These from our king unto your majesty:

To QUEEN MARGARET
And, madam, these for you; from whom I know not.

They all read their letters

OXFORD

I like it well that our fair queen and mistress
Smiles at her news, while Warwick frowns at his.

PRINCE EDWARD

Nay, mark how Lewis stamps, as he were nettled:
I hope all’s for the best.

KING LEWIS XI

Warwick, what are thy news? and yours, fair queen?

QUEEN MARGARET

Mine, such as fill my heart with unhoped joys.

WARWICK

Mine, full of sorrow and heart’s discontent.

KING LEWIS XI

What! has your king married the Lady Grey!
And now, to soothe your forgery and his,
Sends me a paper to persuade me patience?
Is this the alliance that he seeks with France?
Dare he presume to scorn us in this manner?

QUEEN MARGARET

I told your majesty as much before:
This proveth Edward’s love and Warwick’s honesty.

WARWICK

King Lewis, I here protest, in sight of heaven,
And by the hope I have of heavenly bliss,
That I am clear from this misdeed of Edward’s,
No more my king, for he dishonours me,
But most himself, if he could see his shame.
Did I forget that by the house of York
My father came untimely to his death?
Did I let pass the abuse done to my niece?
Did I impale him with the regal crown?
Did I put Henry from his native right?
And am I guerdon’d at the last with shame?
Shame on himself! for my desert is honour:
And to repair my honour lost for him,
I here renounce him and return to Henry.
My noble queen, let former grudges pass,
And henceforth I am thy true servitor:
I will revenge his wrong to Lady Bona,
And replant Henry in his former state.

QUEEN MARGARET

Warwick, these words have turn’d my hate to love;
And I forgive and quite forget old faults,
And joy that thou becomest King Henry’s friend.

WARWICK

So much his friend, ay, his unfeigned friend,
That, if King Lewis vouchsafe to furnish us
With some few bands of chosen soldiers,
I’ll undertake to land them on our coast
And force the tyrant from his seat by war.
‘Tis not his new-made bride shall succor him:
And as for Clarence, as my letters tell me,
He’s very likely now to fall from him,
For matching more for wanton lust than honour,
Or than for strength and safety of our country.

BONA

Dear brother, how shall Bona be revenged
But by thy help to this distressed queen?

QUEEN MARGARET

Renowned prince, how shall poor Henry live,
Unless thou rescue him from foul despair?

BONA

My quarrel and this English queen’s are one.

WARWICK

And mine, fair lady Bona, joins with yours.

KING LEWIS XI

And mine with hers, and thine, and Margaret’s.
Therefore at last I firmly am resolved
You shall have aid.

QUEEN MARGARET

Let me give humble thanks for all at once.

KING LEWIS XI

Then, England’s messenger, return in post,
And tell false Edward, thy supposed king,
That Lewis of France is sending over masquers
To revel it with him and his new bride:
Thou seest what’s past, go fear thy king withal.

BONA

Tell him, in hope he’ll prove a widower shortly,
I’ll wear the willow garland for his sake.

QUEEN MARGARET

Tell him, my mourning weeds are laid aside,
And I am ready to put armour on.

WARWICK

Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong,
And therefore I’ll uncrown him ere’t be long.
There’s thy reward: be gone.

Exit Post

KING LEWIS XI

But, Warwick,
Thou and Oxford, with five thousand men,
Shall cross the seas, and bid false Edward battle;
And, as occasion serves, this noble queen
And prince shall follow with a fresh supply.
Yet, ere thou go, but answer me one doubt,
What pledge have we of thy firm loyalty?

WARWICK

This shall assure my constant loyalty,
That if our queen and this young prince agree,
I’ll join mine eldest daughter and my joy
To him forthwith in holy wedlock bands.

QUEEN MARGARET

Yes, I agree, and thank you for your motion.
Son Edward, she is fair and virtuous,
Therefore delay not, give thy hand to Warwick;
And, with thy hand, thy faith irrevocable,
That only Warwick’s daughter shall be thine.

PRINCE EDWARD

Yes, I accept her, for she well deserves it;
And here, to pledge my vow, I give my hand.

He gives his hand to WARWICK

KING LEWIS XI

Why stay we now? These soldiers shall be levied,
And thou, Lord Bourbon, our high admiral,
Shalt waft them over with our royal fleet.
I long till Edward fall by war’s mischance,
For mocking marriage with a dame of France.

Exeunt all but WARWICK

WARWICK

I came from Edward as ambassador,
But I return his sworn and mortal foe:
Matter of marriage was the charge he gave me,
But dreadful war shall answer his demand.
Had he none else to make a stale but me?
Then none but I shall turn his jest to sorrow.
I was the chief that raised him to the crown,
And I’ll be chief to bring him down again:
Not that I pity Henry’s misery,
But seek revenge on Edward’s mockery.

Exit

ACT IV
SCENE I. London. The palace.

Enter GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, SOMERSET, and MONTAGUE

GLOUCESTER

Now tell me, brother Clarence, what think you
Of this new marriage with the Lady Grey?
Hath not our brother made a worthy choice?

CLARENCE

Alas, you know, ’tis far from hence to France;
How could he stay till Warwick made return?

SOMERSET

My lords, forbear this talk; here comes the king.

GLOUCESTER

And his well-chosen bride.

CLARENCE

I mind to tell him plainly what I think.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, attended; QUEEN ELIZABETH, PEMBROKE, STAFFORD, HASTINGS, and others

KING EDWARD IV

Now, brother of Clarence, how like you our choice,
That you stand pensive, as half malcontent?

CLARENCE

As well as Lewis of France, or the Earl of Warwick,
Which are so weak of courage and in judgment
That they’ll take no offence at our abuse.

KING EDWARD IV

Suppose they take offence without a cause,
They are but Lewis and Warwick: I am Edward,
Your king and Warwick’s, and must have my will.

GLOUCESTER

And shall have your will, because our king:
Yet hasty marriage seldom proveth well.

KING EDWARD IV

Yea, brother Richard, are you offended too?

GLOUCESTER

Not I:
No, God forbid that I should wish them sever’d
Whom God hath join’d together; ay, and ’twere pity
To sunder them that yoke so well together.

KING EDWARD IV

Setting your scorns and your mislike aside,
Tell me some reason why the Lady Grey
Should not become my wife and England’s queen.
And you too, Somerset and Montague,
Speak freely what you think.

CLARENCE

Then this is mine opinion: that King Lewis
Becomes your enemy, for mocking him
About the marriage of the Lady Bona.

GLOUCESTER

And Warwick, doing what you gave in charge,
Is now dishonoured by this new marriage.

KING EDWARD IV

What if both Lewis and Warwick be appeased
By such invention as I can devise?

MONTAGUE

Yet, to have join’d with France in such alliance
Would more have strengthen’d this our commonwealth
‘Gainst foreign storms than any home-bred marriage.

HASTINGS

Why, knows not Montague that of itself
England is safe, if true within itself?

MONTAGUE

But the safer when ’tis back’d with France.

HASTINGS

‘Tis better using France than trusting France:
Let us be back’d with God and with the seas
Which He hath given for fence impregnable,
And with their helps only defend ourselves;
In them and in ourselves our safety lies.

CLARENCE

For this one speech Lord Hastings well deserves
To have the heir of the Lord Hungerford.

KING EDWARD IV

Ay, what of that? it was my will and grant;
And for this once my will shall stand for law.

GLOUCESTER

And yet methinks your grace hath not done well,
To give the heir and daughter of Lord Scales
Unto the brother of your loving bride;
She better would have fitted me or Clarence:
But in your bride you bury brotherhood.

CLARENCE

Or else you would not have bestow’d the heir
Of the Lord Bonville on your new wife’s son,
And leave your brothers to go speed elsewhere.

KING EDWARD IV

Alas, poor Clarence! is it for a wife
That thou art malcontent? I will provide thee.

CLARENCE

In choosing for yourself, you show’d your judgment,
Which being shallow, you give me leave
To play the broker in mine own behalf;
And to that end I shortly mind to leave you.

KING EDWARD IV

Leave me, or tarry, Edward will be king,
And not be tied unto his brother’s will.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

My lords, before it pleased his majesty
To raise my state to title of a queen,
Do me but right, and you must all confess
That I was not ignoble of descent;
And meaner than myself have had like fortune.
But as this title honours me and mine,
So your dislike, to whom I would be pleasing,
Doth cloud my joys with danger and with sorrow.

KING EDWARD IV

My love, forbear to fawn upon their frowns:
What danger or what sorrow can befall thee,
So long as Edward is thy constant friend,
And their true sovereign, whom they must obey?
Nay, whom they shall obey, and love thee too,
Unless they seek for hatred at my hands;
Which if they do, yet will I keep thee safe,
And they shall feel the vengeance of my wrath.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] I hear, yet say not much, but think the more.

Enter a Post

KING EDWARD IV

Now, messenger, what letters or what news
From France?

Post

My sovereign liege, no letters; and few words,
But such as I, without your special pardon,
Dare not relate.

KING EDWARD IV

Go to, we pardon thee: therefore, in brief,
Tell me their words as near as thou canst guess them.
What answer makes King Lewis unto our letters?

Post

At my depart, these were his very words:
‘Go tell false Edward, thy supposed king,
That Lewis of France is sending over masquers
To revel it with him and his new bride.’

KING EDWARD IV

Is Lewis so brave? belike he thinks me Henry.
But what said Lady Bona to my marriage?

Post

These were her words, utter’d with mad disdain:
‘Tell him, in hope he’ll prove a widower shortly,
I’ll wear the willow garland for his sake.’

KING EDWARD IV

I blame not her, she could say little less;
She had the wrong. But what said Henry’s queen?
For I have heard that she was there in place.

Post

‘Tell him,’ quoth she, ‘my mourning weeds are done,
And I am ready to put armour on.’

KING EDWARD IV

Belike she minds to play the Amazon.
But what said Warwick to these injuries?

Post

He, more incensed against your majesty
Than all the rest, discharged me with these words:
‘Tell him from me that he hath done me wrong,
And therefore I’ll uncrown him ere’t be long.’

KING EDWARD IV

Ha! durst the traitor breathe out so proud words?
Well I will arm me, being thus forewarn’d:
They shall have wars and pay for their presumption.
But say, is Warwick friends with Margaret?

Post

Ay, gracious sovereign; they are so link’d in
friendship
That young Prince Edward marries Warwick’s daughter.

CLARENCE

Belike the elder; Clarence will have the younger.
Now, brother king, farewell, and sit you fast,
For I will hence to Warwick’s other daughter;
That, though I want a kingdom, yet in marriage
I may not prove inferior to yourself.
You that love me and Warwick, follow me.

Exit CLARENCE, and SOMERSET follows

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] Not I:
My thoughts aim at a further matter; I
Stay not for the love of Edward, but the crown.

KING EDWARD IV

Clarence and Somerset both gone to Warwick!
Yet am I arm’d against the worst can happen;
And haste is needful in this desperate case.
Pembroke and Stafford, you in our behalf
Go levy men, and make prepare for war;
They are already, or quickly will be landed:
Myself in person will straight follow you.

Exeunt PEMBROKE and STAFFORD
But, ere I go, Hastings and Montague,
Resolve my doubt. You twain, of all the rest,
Are near to Warwick by blood and by alliance:
Tell me if you love Warwick more than me?
If it be so, then both depart to him;
I rather wish you foes than hollow friends:
But if you mind to hold your true obedience,
Give me assurance with some friendly vow,
That I may never have you in suspect.

MONTAGUE

So God help Montague as he proves true!

HASTINGS

And Hastings as he favours Edward’s cause!

KING EDWARD IV

Now, brother Richard, will you stand by us?

GLOUCESTER

Ay, in despite of all that shall withstand you.

KING EDWARD IV

Why, so! then am I sure of victory.
Now therefore let us hence; and lose no hour,
Till we meet Warwick with his foreign power.

Exeunt

SCENE II. A plain in Warwickshire.

Enter WARWICK and OXFORD, with French soldiers

WARWICK

Trust me, my lord, all hitherto goes well;
The common people by numbers swarm to us.

Enter CLARENCE and SOMERSET
But see where Somerset and Clarence come!
Speak suddenly, my lords, are we all friends?

CLARENCE

Fear not that, my lord.

WARWICK

Then, gentle Clarence, welcome unto Warwick;
And welcome, Somerset: I hold it cowardice
To rest mistrustful where a noble heart
Hath pawn’d an open hand in sign of love;
Else might I think that Clarence, Edward’s brother,
Were but a feigned friend to our proceedings:
But welcome, sweet Clarence; my daughter shall be thine.
And now what rests but, in night’s coverture,
Thy brother being carelessly encamp’d,
His soldiers lurking in the towns about,
And but attended by a simple guard,
We may surprise and take him at our pleasure?
Our scouts have found the adventure very easy:
That as Ulysses and stout Diomede
With sleight and manhood stole to Rhesus’ tents,
And brought from thence the Thracian fatal steeds,
So we, well cover’d with the night’s black mantle,
At unawares may beat down Edward’s guard
And seize himself; I say not, slaughter him,
For I intend but only to surprise him.
You that will follow me to this attempt,
Applaud the name of Henry with your leader.

They all cry, ‘Henry!’
Why, then, let’s on our way in silent sort:
For Warwick and his friends, God and Saint George!

Exeunt

SCENE III. Edward’s camp, near Warwick.

Enter three Watchmen, to guard KING EDWARD IV’s tent

First Watchman

Come on, my masters, each man take his stand:
The king by this is set him down to sleep.

Second Watchman

What, will he not to bed?

First Watchman

Why, no; for he hath made a solemn vow
Never to lie and take his natural rest
Till Warwick or himself be quite suppress’d.

Second Watchman

To-morrow then belike shall be the day,
If Warwick be so near as men report.

Third Watchman

But say, I pray, what nobleman is that
That with the king here resteth in his tent?

First Watchman

‘Tis the Lord Hastings, the king’s chiefest friend.

Third Watchman

O, is it so? But why commands the king
That his chief followers lodge in towns about him,
While he himself keeps in the cold field?

Second Watchman

‘Tis the more honour, because more dangerous.

Third Watchman

Ay, but give me worship and quietness;
I like it better than a dangerous honour.
If Warwick knew in what estate he stands,
‘Tis to be doubted he would waken him.

First Watchman

Unless our halberds did shut up his passage.

Second Watchman

Ay, wherefore else guard we his royal tent,
But to defend his person from night-foes?

Enter WARWICK, CLARENCE, OXFORD, SOMERSET, and French soldiers, silent all

WARWICK

This is his tent; and see where stand his guard.
Courage, my masters! honour now or never!
But follow me, and Edward shall be ours.

First Watchman

Who goes there?

Second Watchman

Stay, or thou diest!

WARWICK and the rest cry all, ‘Warwick! Warwick!’ and set upon the Guard, who fly, crying, ‘Arm! arm!’ WARWICK and the rest following them

The drum playing and trumpet sounding, reenter WARWICK, SOMERSET, and the rest, bringing KING EDWARD IV out in his gown, sitting in a chair. RICHARD and HASTINGS fly over the stage

SOMERSET

What are they that fly there?

WARWICK

Richard and Hastings: let them go; here is The duke.

KING EDWARD IV

The duke! Why, Warwick, when we parted,
Thou call’dst me king.

WARWICK

Ay, but the case is alter’d:
When you disgraced me in my embassade,
Then I degraded you from being king,
And come now to create you Duke of York.
Alas! how should you govern any kingdom,
That know not how to use ambassadors,
Nor how to be contented with one wife,
Nor how to use your brothers brotherly,
Nor how to study for the people’s welfare,
Nor how to shroud yourself from enemies?

KING EDWARD IV

Yea, brother of Clarence, are thou here too?
Nay, then I see that Edward needs must down.
Yet, Warwick, in despite of all mischance,
Of thee thyself and all thy complices,
Edward will always bear himself as king:
Though fortune’s malice overthrow my state,
My mind exceeds the compass of her wheel.

WARWICK

Then, for his mind, be Edward England’s king:

Takes off his crown
But Henry now shall wear the English crown,
And be true king indeed, thou but the shadow.
My Lord of Somerset, at my request,
See that forthwith Duke Edward be convey’d
Unto my brother, Archbishop of York.
When I have fought with Pembroke and his fellows,
I’ll follow you, and tell what answer
Lewis and the Lady Bona send to him.
Now, for a while farewell, good Duke of York.

They lead him out forcibly

KING EDWARD IV

What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
It boots not to resist both wind and tide.

Exit, guarded

OXFORD

What now remains, my lords, for us to do
But march to London with our soldiers?

WARWICK

Ay, that’s the first thing that we have to do;
To free King Henry from imprisonment
And see him seated in the regal throne.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. The palace.

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and RIVERS

RIVERS

Madam, what makes you in this sudden change?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Why brother Rivers, are you yet to learn
What late misfortune is befall’n King Edward?

RIVERS

What! loss of some pitch’d battle against Warwick?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

No, but the loss of his own royal person.

RIVERS

Then is my sovereign slain?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ay, almost slain, for he is taken prisoner,
Either betray’d by falsehood of his guard
Or by his foe surprised at unawares:
And, as I further have to understand,
Is new committed to the Bishop of York,
Fell Warwick’s brother and by that our foe.

RIVERS

These news I must confess are full of grief;
Yet, gracious madam, bear it as you may:
Warwick may lose, that now hath won the day.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Till then fair hope must hinder life’s decay.
And I the rather wean me from despair
For love of Edward’s offspring in my womb:
This is it that makes me bridle passion
And bear with mildness my misfortune’s cross;
Ay, ay, for this I draw in many a tear
And stop the rising of blood-sucking sighs,
Lest with my sighs or tears I blast or drown
King Edward’s fruit, true heir to the English crown.

RIVERS

But, madam, where is Warwick then become?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I am inform’d that he comes towards London,
To set the crown once more on Henry’s head:
Guess thou the rest; King Edward’s friends must down,
But, to prevent the tyrant’s violence,—
For trust not him that hath once broken faith,—
I’ll hence forthwith unto the sanctuary,
To save at least the heir of Edward’s right:
There shall I rest secure from force and fraud.
Come, therefore, let us fly while we may fly:
If Warwick take us we are sure to die.

Exeunt

SCENE V. A park near Middleham Castle In Yorkshire.

Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and STANLEY

GLOUCESTER

Now, my Lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley,
Leave off to wonder why I drew you hither,
Into this chiefest thicket of the park.
Thus stands the case: you know our king, my brother,
Is prisoner to the bishop here, at whose hands
He hath good usage and great liberty,
And, often but attended with weak guard,
Comes hunting this way to disport himself.
I have advertised him by secret means
That if about this hour he make his way
Under the colour of his usual game,
He shall here find his friends with horse and men
To set him free from his captivity.

Enter KING EDWARD IV and a Huntsman with him

Huntsman

This way, my lord; for this way lies the game.

KING EDWARD IV

Nay, this way, man: see where the huntsmen stand.
Now, brother of Gloucester, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
Stand you thus close, to steal the bishop’s deer?

GLOUCESTER

Brother, the time and case requireth haste:
Your horse stands ready at the park-corner.

KING EDWARD IV

But whither shall we then?

HASTINGS

To Lynn, my lord,
And ship from thence to Flanders.

GLOUCESTER

Well guess’d, believe me; for that was my meaning.

KING EDWARD IV

Stanley, I will requite thy forwardness.

GLOUCESTER

But wherefore stay we? ’tis no time to talk.

KING EDWARD IV

Huntsman, what say’st thou? wilt thou go along?

Huntsman

Better do so than tarry and be hang’d.

GLOUCESTER

Come then, away; let’s ha’ no more ado.

KING EDWARD IV

Bishop, farewell: shield thee from Warwick’s frown;
And pray that I may repossess the crown.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. London. The Tower.

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, CLARENCE, WARWICK, SOMERSET, HENRY OF RICHMOND, OXFORD, MONTAGUE, and Lieutenant of the Tower

KING HENRY VI

Master lieutenant, now that God and friends
Have shaken Edward from the regal seat,
And turn’d my captive state to liberty,
My fear to hope, my sorrows unto joys,
At our enlargement what are thy due fees?

Lieutenant

Subjects may challenge nothing of their sovereigns;
But if an humble prayer may prevail,
I then crave pardon of your majesty.

KING HENRY VI

For what, lieutenant? for well using me?
Nay, be thou sure I’ll well requite thy kindness,
For that it made my imprisonment a pleasure;
Ay, such a pleasure as incaged birds
Conceive when after many moody thoughts
At last by notes of household harmony
They quite forget their loss of liberty.
But, Warwick, after God, thou set’st me free,
And chiefly therefore I thank God and thee;
He was the author, thou the instrument.
Therefore, that I may conquer fortune’s spite
By living low, where fortune cannot hurt me,
And that the people of this blessed land
May not be punish’d with my thwarting stars,
Warwick, although my head still wear the crown,
I here resign my government to thee,
For thou art fortunate in all thy deeds.

WARWICK

Your grace hath still been famed for virtuous;
And now may seem as wise as virtuous,
By spying and avoiding fortune’s malice,
For few men rightly temper with the stars:
Yet in this one thing let me blame your grace,
For choosing me when Clarence is in place.

CLARENCE

No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway,
To whom the heavens in thy nativity
Adjudged an olive branch and laurel crown,
As likely to be blest in peace and war;
And therefore I yield thee my free consent.

WARWICK

And I choose Clarence only for protector.

KING HENRY VI

Warwick and Clarence give me both your hands:
Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts,
That no dissension hinder government:
I make you both protectors of this land,
While I myself will lead a private life
And in devotion spend my latter days,
To sin’s rebuke and my Creator’s praise.

WARWICK

What answers Clarence to his sovereign’s will?

CLARENCE

That he consents, if Warwick yield consent;
For on thy fortune I repose myself.

WARWICK

Why, then, though loath, yet must I be content:
We’ll yoke together, like a double shadow
To Henry’s body, and supply his place;
I mean, in bearing weight of government,
While he enjoys the honour and his ease.
And, Clarence, now then it is more than needful
Forthwith that Edward be pronounced a traitor,
And all his lands and goods be confiscate.

CLARENCE

What else? and that succession be determined.

WARWICK

Ay, therein Clarence shall not want his part.

KING HENRY VI

But, with the first of all your chief affairs,
Let me entreat, for I command no more,
That Margaret your queen and my son Edward
Be sent for, to return from France with speed;
For, till I see them here, by doubtful fear
My joy of liberty is half eclipsed.

CLARENCE

It shall be done, my sovereign, with all speed.

KING HENRY VI

My Lord of Somerset, what youth is that,
Of whom you seem to have so tender care?

SOMERSET

My liege, it is young Henry, earl of Richmond.

KING HENRY VI

Come hither, England’s hope.

Lays his hand on his head
If secret powers
Suggest but truth to my divining thoughts,
This pretty lad will prove our country’s bliss.
His looks are full of peaceful majesty,
His head by nature framed to wear a crown,
His hand to wield a sceptre, and himself
Likely in time to bless a regal throne.
Make much of him, my lords, for this is he
Must help you more than you are hurt by me.

Enter a Post

WARWICK

What news, my friend?

Post

That Edward is escaped from your brother,
And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.

WARWICK

Unsavoury news! but how made he escape?

Post

He was convey’d by Richard Duke of Gloucester
And the Lord Hastings, who attended him
In secret ambush on the forest side
And from the bishop’s huntsmen rescued him;
For hunting was his daily exercise.

WARWICK

My brother was too careless of his charge.
But let us hence, my sovereign, to provide
A salve for any sore that may betide.

Exeunt all but SOMERSET, HENRY OF RICHMOND, and OXFORD

SOMERSET

My lord, I like not of this flight of Edward’s;
For doubtless Burgundy will yield him help,
And we shall have more wars before ‘t be long.
As Henry’s late presaging prophecy
Did glad my heart with hope of this young Richmond,
So doth my heart misgive me, in these conflicts
What may befall him, to his harm and ours:
Therefore, Lord Oxford, to prevent the worst,
Forthwith we’ll send him hence to Brittany,
Till storms be past of civil enmity.

OXFORD

Ay, for if Edward repossess the crown,
‘Tis like that Richmond with the rest shall down.

SOMERSET

It shall be so; he shall to Brittany.
Come, therefore, let’s about it speedily.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. Before York.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and Soldiers

KING EDWARD IV

Now, brother Richard, Lord Hastings, and the rest,
Yet thus far fortune maketh us amends,
And says that once more I shall interchange
My waned state for Henry’s regal crown.
Well have we pass’d and now repass’d the seas
And brought desired help from Burgundy:
What then remains, we being thus arrived
From Ravenspurgh haven before the gates of York,
But that we enter, as into our dukedom?

GLOUCESTER

The gates made fast! Brother, I like not this;
For many men that stumble at the threshold
Are well foretold that danger lurks within.

KING EDWARD IV

Tush, man, abodements must not now affright us:
By fair or foul means we must enter in,
For hither will our friends repair to us.

HASTINGS

My liege, I’ll knock once more to summon them.

Enter, on the walls, the Mayor of York, and his Brethren

Mayor

My lords, we were forewarned of your coming,
And shut the gates for safety of ourselves;
For now we owe allegiance unto Henry.

KING EDWARD IV

But, master mayor, if Henry be your king,
Yet Edward at the least is Duke of York.

Mayor

True, my good lord; I know you for no less.

KING EDWARD IV

Why, and I challenge nothing but my dukedom,
As being well content with that alone.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] But when the fox hath once got in his nose,
He’ll soon find means to make the body follow.

HASTINGS

Why, master mayor, why stand you in a doubt?
Open the gates; we are King Henry’s friends.

Mayor

Ay, say you so? the gates shall then be open’d.

They descend

GLOUCESTER

A wise stout captain, and soon persuaded!

HASTINGS

The good old man would fain that all were well,
So ’twere not ‘long of him; but being enter’d,
I doubt not, I, but we shall soon persuade
Both him and all his brothers unto reason.

Enter the Mayor and two Aldermen, below

KING EDWARD IV

So, master mayor: these gates must not be shut
But in the night or in the time of war.
What! fear not, man, but yield me up the keys;

Takes his keys
For Edward will defend the town and thee,
And all those friends that deign to follow me.

March. Enter MONTGOMERY, with drum and soldiers

GLOUCESTER

Brother, this is Sir John Montgomery,
Our trusty friend, unless I be deceived.

KING EDWARD IV

Welcome, Sir John! But why come you in arms?

MONTAGUE

To help King Edward in his time of storm,
As every loyal subject ought to do.

KING EDWARD IV

Thanks, good Montgomery; but we now forget
Our title to the crown and only claim
Our dukedom till God please to send the rest.

MONTAGUE

Then fare you well, for I will hence again:
I came to serve a king and not a duke.
Drummer, strike up, and let us march away.

The drum begins to march

KING EDWARD IV

Nay, stay, Sir John, awhi le, and we’ll debate
By what safe means the crown may be recover’d.

MONTAGUE

What talk you of debating? in few words,
If you’ll not here proclaim yourself our king,
I’ll leave you to your fortune and be gone
To keep them back that come to succor you:
Why shall we fight, if you pretend no title?

GLOUCESTER

Why, brother, wherefore stand you on nice points?

KING EDWARD IV

When we grow stronger, then we’ll make our claim:
Till then, ’tis wisdom to conceal our meaning.

HASTINGS

Away with scrupulous wit! now arms must rule.

GLOUCESTER

And fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.
Brother, we will proclaim you out of hand:
The bruit thereof will bring you many friends.

KING EDWARD IV

Then be it as you will; for ’tis my right,
And Henry but usurps the diadem.

MONTAGUE

Ay, now my sovereign speaketh like himself;
And now will I be Edward’s champion.

HASTINGS

Sound trumpet; Edward shall be here proclaim’d:
Come, fellow-soldier, make thou proclamation.

Flourish

Soldier

Edward the Fourth, by the grace of God, king of
England and France, and lord of Ireland, & c.

MONTAGUE

And whosoe’er gainsays King Edward’s right,
By this I challenge him to single fight.

Throws down his gauntlet

All

Long live Edward the Fourth!

KING EDWARD IV

Thanks, brave Montgomery; and thanks unto you all:
If fortune serve me, I’ll requite this kindness.
Now, for this night, let’s harbour here in York;
And when the morning sun shall raise his car
Above the border of this horizon,
We’ll forward towards Warwick and his mates;
For well I wot that Henry is no soldier.
Ah, froward Clarence! how evil it beseems thee
To flatter Henry and forsake thy brother!
Yet, as we may, we’ll meet both thee and Warwick.
Come on, brave soldiers: doubt not of the day,
And, that once gotten, doubt not of large pay.

Exeunt

SCENE VIII. London. The palace.

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, WARWICK, MONTAGUE, CLARENCE, EXETER, and OXFORD

WARWICK

What counsel, lords? Edward from Belgia,
With hasty Germans and blunt Hollanders,
Hath pass’d in safety through the narrow seas,
And with his troops doth march amain to London;
And many giddy people flock to him.

KING HENRY VI

Let’s levy men, and beat him back again.

CLARENCE

A little fire is quickly trodden out;
Which, being suffer’d, rivers cannot quench.

WARWICK

In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends,
Not mutinous in peace, yet bold in war;
Those will I muster up: and thou, son Clarence,
Shalt stir up in Suffolk, Norfolk, and in Kent,
The knights and gentlemen to come with thee:
Thou, brother Montague, in Buckingham,
Northampton and in Leicestershire, shalt find
Men well inclined to hear what thou command’st:
And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well beloved,
In Oxfordshire shalt muster up thy friends.
My sovereign, with the loving citizens,
Like to his island girt in with the ocean,
Or modest Dian circled with her nymphs,
Shall rest in London till we come to him.
Fair lords, take leave and stand not to reply.
Farewell, my sovereign.

KING HENRY VI

Farewell, my Hector, and my Troy’s true hope.

CLARENCE

In sign of truth, I kiss your highness’ hand.

KING HENRY VI

Well-minded Clarence, be thou fortunate!

MONTAGUE

Comfort, my lord; and so I take my leave.

OXFORD

And thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu.

KING HENRY VI

Sweet Oxford, and my loving Montague,
And all at once, once more a happy farewell.

WARWICK

Farewell, sweet lords: let’s meet at Coventry.

Exeunt all but KING HENRY VI and EXETER

KING HENRY VI

Here at the palace I will rest awhile.
Cousin of Exeter, what thinks your lordship?
Methinks the power that Edward hath in field
Should not be able to encounter mine.

EXETER

The doubt is that he will seduce the rest.

KING HENRY VI

That’s not my fear; my meed hath got me fame:
I have not stopp’d mine ears to their demands,
Nor posted off their suits with slow delays;
My pity hath been balm to heal their wounds,
My mildness hath allay’d their swelling griefs,
My mercy dried their water-flowing tears;
I have not been desirous of their wealth,
Nor much oppress’d them with great subsidies.
Nor forward of revenge, though they much err’d:
Then why should they love Edward more than me?
No, Exeter, these graces challenge grace:
And when the lion fawns upon the lamb,
The lamb will never cease to follow him.

Shout within. ‘A Lancaster! A Lancaster!’

EXETER

Hark, hark, my lord! what shouts are these?

Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers

KING EDWARD IV

Seize on the shame-faced Henry, bear him hence;
And once again proclaim us King of England.
You are the fount that makes small brooks to flow:
Now stops thy spring; my sea sha$l suck them dry,
And swell so much the higher by their ebb.
Hence with him to the Tower; let him not speak.

Exeunt some with KING HENRY VI
And, lords, towards Coventry bend we our course
Where peremptory Warwick now remains:
The sun shines hot; and, if we use delay,
Cold biting winter mars our hoped-for hay.

GLOUCESTER

Away betimes, before his forces join,
And take the great-grown traitor unawares:
Brave warriors, march amain towards Coventry.

Exeunt

ACT V
SCENE I. Coventry.

Enter WARWICK, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers, and others upon the walls

WARWICK

Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford?
How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?

First Messenger

By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward.

WARWICK

How far off is our brother Montague?
Where is the post that came from Montague?

Second Messenger

By this at Daintry, with a puissant troop.

Enter SIR JOHN SOMERVILLE

WARWICK

Say, Somerville, what says my loving son?
And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?

SOMERSET

At Southam I did leave him with his forces,
And do expect him here some two hours hence.

Drum heard

WARWICK

Then Clarence is at hand, I hear his drum.

SOMERSET

It is not his, my lord; here Southam lies:
The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.

WARWICK

Who should that be? belike, unlook’d-for friends.

SOMERSET

They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.

March: flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, and soldiers

KING EDWARD IV

Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.

GLOUCESTER

See how the surly Warwick mans the wall!

WARWICK

O unbid spite! is sportful Edward come?
Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced,
That we could hear no news of his repair?

KING EDWARD IV

Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city gates,
Speak gentle words and humbly bend thy knee,
Call Edward king and at his hands beg mercy?
And he shall pardon thee these outrages.

WARWICK

Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,
Confess who set thee up and pluck’d thee own,
Call Warwick patron and be penitent?
And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.

GLOUCESTER

I thought, at least, he would have said the king;
Or did he make the jest against his will?

WARWICK

Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?

GLOUCESTER

Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give:
I’ll do thee service for so good a gift.

WARWICK

‘Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.

KING EDWARD IV

Why then ’tis mine, if but by Warwick’s gift.

WARWICK

Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight:
And weakling, Warwick takes his gift again;
And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.

KING EDWARD IV

But Warwick’s king is Edward’s prisoner:
And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:
What is the body when the head is off?

GLOUCESTER

Alas, that Warwick had no more forecast,
But, whiles he thought to steal the single ten,
The king was slily finger’d from the deck!
You left poor Henry at the Bishop’s palace,
And, ten to one, you’ll meet him in the Tower.

EDWARD

‘Tis even so; yet you are Warwick still.

GLOUCESTER

Come, Warwick, take the time; kneel down, kneel down:
Nay, when? strike now, or else the iron cools.

WARWICK

I had rather chop this hand off at a blow,
And with the other fling it at thy face,
Than bear so low a sail, to strike to thee.

KING EDWARD IV

Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,
This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair
Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,
Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood,
‘Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more.’

Enter OXFORD, with drum and colours

WARWICK

O cheerful colours! see where Oxford comes!

OXFORD

Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city

GLOUCESTER

The gates are open, let us enter too.

KING EDWARD IV

So other foes may set upon our backs.
Stand we in good array; for they no doubt
Will issue out again and bid us battle:
If not, the city being but of small defence,
We’ll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.

WARWICK

O, welcome, Oxford! for we want thy help.

Enter MONTAGUE with drum and colours

MONTAGUE

Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city

GLOUCESTER

Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason
Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.

KING EDWARD IV

The harder match’d, the greater victory:
My mind presageth happy gain and conquest.

Enter SOMERSET, with drum and colours

SOMERSET

Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

He and his forces enter the city

GLOUCESTER

Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset,
Have sold their lives unto the house of York;
And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.

Enter CLARENCE, with drum and colours

WARWICK

And lo, where George of Clarence sweeps along,
Of force enough to bid his brother battle;
With whom an upright zeal to right prevails
More than the nature of a brother’s love!
Come, Clarence, come; thou wilt, if Warwick call.

CLARENCE

Father of Warwick, know you what this means?

Taking his red rose out of his hat
Look here, I throw my infamy at thee
I will not ruinate my father’s house,
Who gave his blood to lime the stones together,
And set up Lancaster. Why, trow’st thou, Warwick,
That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural,
To bend the fatal instruments of war
Against his brother and his lawful king?
Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath:
To keep that oath were more impiety
Than Jephthah’s, when he sacrificed his daughter.
I am so sorry for my trespass made
That, to deserve well at my brother’s hands,
I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe,
With resolution, wheresoe’er I meet thee—
As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad—
To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.
And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee,
And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks.
Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends:
And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults,
For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.

KING EDWARD IV

Now welcome more, and ten times more beloved,
Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.

GLOUCESTER

Welcome, good Clarence; this is brotherlike.

WARWICK

O passing traitor, perjured and unjust!

KING EDWARD IV

What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight?
Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?

WARWICK

Alas, I am not coop’d here for defence!
I will away towards Barnet presently,
And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou darest.

KING EDWARD IV

Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way.
Lords, to the field; Saint George and victory!

Exeunt King Edward and his company. March. Warwick and his company follow

SCENE II. A field of battle near Barnet.

Alarum and excursions. Enter KING EDWARD IV, bringing forth WARWICK wounded

KING EDWARD IV

So, lie thou there: die thou, and die our fear;
For Warwick was a bug that fear’d us all.
Now, Montague, sit fast; I seek for thee,
That Warwick’s bones may keep thine company.

Exit

WARWICK

Ah, who is nigh? come to me, friend or foe,
And tell me who is victor, York or Warwick?
Why ask I that? my mangled body shows,
My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows.
That I must yield my body to the earth
And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe.
Thus yields the cedar to the axe’s edge,
Whose arms gave shelter to the princely eagle,
Under whose shade the ramping lion slept,
Whose top-branch overpeer’d Jove’s spreading tree
And kept low shrubs from winter’s powerful wind.
These eyes, that now are dimm’d with death’s black veil,
Have been as piercing as the mid-day sun,
To search the secret treasons of the world:
The wrinkles in my brows, now filled with blood,
Were liken’d oft to kingly sepulchres;
For who lived king, but I could dig his grave?
And who durst mine when Warwick bent his brow?
Lo, now my glory smear’d in dust and blood!
My parks, my walks, my manors that I had.
Even now forsake me, and of all my lands
Is nothing left me but my body’s length.
Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?
And, live we how we can, yet die we must.

Enter OXFORD and SOMERSET

SOMERSET

Ah, Warwick, Warwick! wert thou as we are.
We might recover all our loss again;
The queen from France hath brought a puissant power:
Even now we heard the news: ah, could’st thou fly!

WARWICK

Why, then I would not fly. Ah, Montague,
If thou be there, sweet brother, take my hand.
And with thy lips keep in my soul awhile!
Thou lovest me not; for, brother, if thou didst,
Thy tears would wash this cold congealed blood
That glues my lips and will not let me speak.
Come quickly, Montague, or I am dead.

SOMERSET

Ah, Warwick! Montague hath breathed his last;
And to the latest gasp cried out for Warwick,
And said ‘Commend me to my valiant brother.’
And more he would have said, and more he spoke,
Which sounded like a clamour in a vault,
That mought not be distinguished; but at last
I well might hear, delivered with a groan,
‘O, farewell, Warwick!’

WARWICK

Sweet rest his soul! Fly, lords, and save yourselves;
For Warwick bids you all farewell to meet in heaven.

Dies

OXFORD

Away, away, to meet the queen’s great power!

Here they bear away his body. Exeunt

SCENE III. Another part of the field.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV in triumph; with GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and the rest

KING EDWARD IV

Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
And we are graced with wreaths of victory.
But, in the midst of this bright-shining day,
I spy a black, suspicious, threatening cloud,
That will encounter with our glorious sun,
Ere he attain his easeful western bed:
I mean, my lords, those powers that the queen
Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast
And, as we hear, march on to fight with us.

CLARENCE

A little gale will soon disperse that cloud
And blow it to the source from whence it came:
The very beams will dry those vapours up,
For every cloud engenders not a storm.

GLOUCESTER

The queen is valued thirty thousand strong,
And Somerset, with Oxford fled to her:
If she have time to breathe be well assured
Her faction will be full as strong as ours.

KING EDWARD IV

We are advertised by our loving friends
That they do hold their course toward Tewksbury:
We, having now the best at Barnet field,
Will thither straight, for willingness rids way;
And, as we march, our strength will be augmented
In every county as we go along.
Strike up the drum; cry ‘Courage!’ and away.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. Plains near Tewksbury.

March. Enter QUEEN MARGARET, PRINCE EDWARD, SOMERSET, OXFORD, and soldiers

QUEEN MARGARET

Great lords, wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss,
But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
What though the mast be now blown overboard,
The cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
And half our sailors swallow’d in the flood?
Yet lives our pilot still. Is’t meet that he
Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad
With tearful eyes add water to the sea
And give more strength to that which hath too much,
Whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
Which industry and courage might have saved?
Ah, what a shame! ah, what a fault were this!
Say Warwick was our anchor; what of that?
And Montague our topmost; what of him?
Our slaughter’d friends the tackles; what of these?
Why, is not Oxford here another anchor?
And Somerset another goodly mast?
The friends of France our shrouds and tacklings?
And, though unskilful, why not Ned and I
For once allow’d the skilful pilot’s charge?
We will not from the helm to sit and weep,
But keep our course, though the rough wind say no,
From shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck.
As good to chide the waves as speak them fair.
And what is Edward but ruthless sea?
What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit?
And Richard but a ragged fatal rock?
All these the enemies to our poor bark.
Say you can swim; alas, ’tis but a while!
Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink:
Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off,
Or else you famish; that’s a threefold death.
This speak I, lords, to let you understand,
If case some one of you would fly from us,
That there’s no hoped-for mercy with the brothers
More than with ruthless waves, with sands and rocks.
Why, courage then! what cannot be avoided
‘Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.

PRINCE EDWARD

Methinks a woman of this valiant spirit
Should, if a coward heard her speak these words,
Infuse his breast with magnanimity
And make him, naked, foil a man at arms.
I speak not this as doubting any here
For did I but suspect a fearful man
He should have leave to go away betimes,
Lest in our need he might infect another
And make him of like spirit to himself.
If any such be here—as God forbid!—
Let him depart before we need his help.

OXFORD

Women and children of so high a courage,
And warriors faint! why, ’twere perpetual shame.
O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
To bear his image and renew his glories!

SOMERSET

And he that will not fight for such a hope.
Go home to bed, and like the owl by day,
If he arise, be mock’d and wonder’d at.

QUEEN MARGARET

Thanks, gentle Somerset; sweet Oxford, thanks.

PRINCE EDWARD

And take his thanks that yet hath nothing else.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

Prepare you, lords, for Edward is at hand.
Ready to fight; therefore be resolute.

OXFORD

I thought no less: it is his policy
To haste thus fast, to find us unprovided.

SOMERSET

But he’s deceived; we are in readiness.

QUEEN MARGARET

This cheers my heart, to see your forwardness.

OXFORD

Here pitch our battle; hence we will not budge.

Flourish and march. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and soldiers

KING EDWARD IV

Brave followers, yonder stands the thorny wood,
Which, by the heavens’ assistance and your strength,
Must by the roots be hewn up yet ere night.
I need not add more fuel to your fire,
For well I wot ye blaze to burn them out
Give signal to the fight, and to it, lords!

QUEEN MARGARET

Lords, knights, and gentlemen, what I should say
My tears gainsay; for every word I speak,
Ye see, I drink the water of mine eyes.
Therefore, no more but this: Henry, your sovereign,
Is prisoner to the foe; his state usurp’d,
His realm a slaughter-house, his subjects slain,
His statutes cancell’d and his treasure spent;
And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil.
You fight in justice: then, in God’s name, lords,
Be valiant and give signal to the fight.

Alarum. Retreat. Excursions. Exeunt

SCENE V. Another part of the field.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, GLOUCESTER, CLARENCE, and soldiers; with QUEEN MARGARET, OXFORD, and SOMERSET, prisoners

KING EDWARD IV

Now here a period of tumultuous broils.
Away with Oxford to Hames Castle straight:
For Somerset, off with his guilty head.
Go, bear them hence; I will not hear them speak.

OXFORD

For my part, I’ll not trouble thee with words.

SOMERSET

Nor I, but stoop with patience to my fortune.

Exeunt Oxford and Somerset, guarded

QUEEN MARGARET

So part we sadly in this troublous world,
To meet with joy in sweet Jerusalem.

KING EDWARD IV

Is proclamation made, that who finds Edward
Shall have a high reward, and he his life?

GLOUCESTER

It is: and lo, where youthful Edward comes!

Enter soldiers, with PRINCE EDWARD

KING EDWARD IV

Bring forth the gallant, let us hear him speak.
What! can so young a thorn begin to prick?
Edward, what satisfaction canst thou make
For bearing arms, for stirring up my subjects,
And all the trouble thou hast turn’d me to?

PRINCE EDWARD

Speak like a subject, proud ambitious York!
Suppose that I am now my father’s mouth;
Resign thy chair, and where I stand kneel thou,
Whilst I propose the selfsame words to thee,
Which traitor, thou wouldst have me answer to.

QUEEN MARGARET

Ah, that thy father had been so resolved!

GLOUCESTER

That you might still have worn the petticoat,
And ne’er have stol’n the breech from Lancaster.

PRINCE EDWARD

Let AEsop fable in a winter’s night;
His currish riddles sort not with this place.

GLOUCESTER

By heaven, brat, I’ll plague ye for that word.

QUEEN MARGARET

Ay, thou wast born to be a plague to men.

GLOUCESTER

For God’s sake, take away this captive scold.

PRINCE EDWARD

Nay, take away this scolding crookback rather.

KING EDWARD IV

Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.

CLARENCE

Untutor’d lad, thou art too malapert.

PRINCE EDWARD

I know my duty; you are all undutiful:
Lascivious Edward, and thou perjured George,
And thou mis-shapen Dick, I tell ye all
I am your better, traitors as ye are:
And thou usurp’st my father’s right and mine.

KING EDWARD IV

Take that, thou likeness of this railer here.

Stabs him

GLOUCESTER

Sprawl’st thou? take that, to end thy agony.

Stabs him

CLARENCE

And there’s for twitting me with perjury.

Stabs him

QUEEN MARGARET

O, kill me too!

GLOUCESTER

Marry, and shall.

Offers to kill her

KING EDWARD IV

Hold, Richard, hold; for we have done too much.

GLOUCESTER

Why should she live, to fill the world with words?

KING EDWARD IV

What, doth she swoon? use means for her recovery.

GLOUCESTER

Clarence, excuse me to the king my brother;
I’ll hence to London on a serious matter:
Ere ye come there, be sure to hear some news.

CLARENCE

What? what?

GLOUCESTER

The Tower, the Tower.

Exit

QUEEN MARGARET

O Ned, sweet Ned! speak to thy mother, boy!
Canst thou not speak? O traitors! murderers!
They that stabb’d Caesar shed no blood at all,
Did not offend, nor were not worthy blame,
If this foul deed were by to equal it:
He was a man; this, in respect, a child:
And men ne’er spend their fury on a child.
What’s worse than murderer, that I may name it?
No, no, my heart will burst, and if I speak:
And I will speak, that so my heart may burst.
Butchers and villains! bloody cannibals!
How sweet a plant have you untimely cropp’d!
You have no children, butchers! if you had,
The thought of them would have stirr’d up remorse:
But if you ever chance to have a child,
Look in his youth to have him so cut off
As, deathmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!

KING EDWARD IV

Away with her; go, bear her hence perforce.

QUEEN MARGARET

Nay, never bear me hence, dispatch me here,
Here sheathe thy sword, I’ll pardon thee my death:
What, wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.

CLARENCE

By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.

QUEEN MARGARET

Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.

CLARENCE

Didst thou not hear me swear I would not do it?

QUEEN MARGARET

Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself:
‘Twas sin before, but now ’tis charity.
What, wilt thou not? Where is that devil’s butcher,
Hard-favour’d Richard? Richard, where art thou?
Thou art not here: murder is thy alms-deed;
Petitioners for blood thou ne’er put’st back.

KING EDWARD IV

Away, I say; I charge ye, bear her hence.

QUEEN MARGARET

So come to you and yours, as to this Prince!

Exit, led out forcibly

KING EDWARD IV

Where’s Richard gone?

CLARENCE

To London, all in post; and, as I guess,
To make a bloody supper in the Tower.

KING EDWARD IV

He’s sudden, if a thing comes in his head.
Now march we hence: discharge the common sort
With pay and thanks, and let’s away to London
And see our gentle queen how well she fares:
By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. London. The Tower.

Enter KING HENRY VI and GLOUCESTER, with the Lieutenant, on the walls

GLOUCESTER

Good day, my lord. What, at your book so hard?

KING HENRY VI

Ay, my good lord:—my lord, I should say rather;
‘Tis sin to flatter; ‘good’ was little better:
‘Good Gloucester’ and ‘good devil’ were alike,
And both preposterous; therefore, not ‘good lord.’

GLOUCESTER

Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.

Exit Lieutenant

KING HENRY VI

So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf;
So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece
And next his throat unto the butcher’s knife.
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?

GLOUCESTER

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.

KING HENRY VI

The bird that hath been limed in a bush,
With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush;
And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird,
Have now the fatal object in my eye
Where my poor young was limed, was caught and kill’d.

GLOUCESTER

Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete,
That taught his son the office of a fowl!
An yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown’d.

KING HENRY VI

I, Daedalus; my poor boy, Icarus;
Thy father, Minos, that denied our course;
The sun that sear’d the wings of my sweet boy
Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea
Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life.
Ah, kill me with thy weapon, not with words!
My breast can better brook thy dagger’s point
Than can my ears that tragic history.
But wherefore dost thou come? is’t for my life?

GLOUCESTER

Think’st thou I am an executioner?

KING HENRY VI

A persecutor, I am sure, thou art:
If murdering innocents be executing,
Why, then thou art an executioner.

GLOUCESTER

Thy son I kill’d for his presumption.

KING HENRY VI

Hadst thou been kill’d when first thou didst presume,
Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.
And thus I prophesy, that many a thousand,
Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear,
And many an old man’s sigh and many a widow’s,
And many an orphan’s water-standing eye—
Men for their sons, wives for their husbands,
And orphans for their parents timeless death—
Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
The owl shriek’d at thy birth,—an evil sign;
The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time;
Dogs howl’d, and hideous tempest shook down trees;
The raven rook’d her on the chimney’s top,
And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.
Thy mother felt more than a mother’s pain,
And, yet brought forth less than a mother’s hope,
To wit, an indigested and deformed lump,
Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.
Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born,
To signify thou camest to bite the world:
And, if the rest be true which I have heard,
Thou camest—

GLOUCESTER

I’ll hear no more: die, prophet in thy speech:

Stabs him
For this amongst the rest, was I ordain’d.

KING HENRY VI

Ay, and for much more slaughter after this.
God forgive my sins, and pardon thee!

Dies

GLOUCESTER

What, will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
Sink in the ground? I thought it would have mounted.
See how my sword weeps for the poor king’s death!
O, may such purple tears be alway shed
From those that wish the downfall of our house!
If any spark of life be yet remaining,
Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither:

Stabs him again
I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
Indeed, ’tis true that Henry told me of;
For I have often heard my mother say
I came into the world with my legs forward:
Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste,
And seek their ruin that usurp’d our right?
The midwife wonder’d and the women cried
‘O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!’
And so I was; which plainly signified
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog.
Then, since the heavens have shaped my body so,
Let hell make crook’d my mind to answer it.
I have no brother, I am like no brother;
And this word ‘love,’ which graybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another
And not in me: I am myself alone.
Clarence, beware; thou keep’st me from the light:
But I will sort a pitchy day for thee;
For I will buz abroad such prophecies
That Edward shall be fearful of his life,
And then, to purge his fear, I’ll be thy death.
King Henry and the prince his son are gone:
Clarence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
Counting myself but bad till I be best.
I’ll throw thy body in another room
And triumph, Henry, in thy day of doom.

Exit, with the body

SCENE VII. London. The palace.

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, QUEEN ELIZABETH, CLARENCE, GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, a Nurse with the young Prince, and Attendants

KING EDWARD IV

Once more we sit in England’s royal throne,
Re-purchased with the blood of enemies.
What valiant foemen, like to autumn’s corn,
Have we mow’d down, in tops of all their pride!
Three Dukes of Somerset, threefold renown’d
For hardy and undoubted champions;
Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,
And two Northumberlands; two braver men
Ne’er spurr’d their coursers at the trumpet’s sound;
With them, the two brave bears, Warwick and Montague,
That in their chains fetter’d the kingly lion
And made the forest tremble when they roar’d.
Thus have we swept suspicion from our seat
And made our footstool of security.
Come hither, Bess, and let me kiss my boy.
Young Ned, for thee, thine uncles and myself
Have in our armours watch’d the winter’s night,
Went all afoot in summer’s scalding heat,
That thou mightst repossess the crown in peace;
And of our labours thou shalt reap the gain.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside] I’ll blast his harvest, if your head were laid;
For yet I am not look’d on in the world.
This shoulder was ordain’d so thick to heave;
And heave it shall some weight, or break my back:
Work thou the way,—and thou shalt execute.

KING EDWARD IV

Clarence and Gloucester, love my lovely queen;
And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.

CLARENCE

The duty that I owe unto your majesty
I seal upon the lips of this sweet babe.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thanks, noble Clarence; worthy brother, thanks.

GLOUCESTER

And, that I love the tree from whence thou sprang’st,
Witness the loving kiss I give the fruit.

Aside
And cried ‘all hail!’ when as he meant all harm.

KING EDWARD IV

Now am I seated as my soul delights,
Having my country’s peace and brothers’ loves.

CLARENCE

What will your grace have done with Margaret?
Reignier, her father, to the king of France
Hath pawn’d the Sicils and Jerusalem,
And hither have they sent it for her ransom.

KING EDWARD IV

Away with her, and waft her hence to France.
And now what rests but that we spend the time
With stately triumphs, mirthful comic shows,
Such as befits the pleasure of the court?
Sound drums and trumpets! farewell sour annoy!
For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.

Exeunt

The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

ACT I

SCENE I. London. The palace.

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

SUFFOLK

As by your high imperial majesty
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,
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,
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.

KING 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
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,
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.

KING 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.

ALL

[Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England’s
happiness!

QUEEN MARGARET

We thank you all.

Flourish

SUFFOLK

My lord protector, so it please your grace,
Here are the articles of contracted peace
Between our sovereign and the French king Charles,
For eighteen months concluded by consent.

GLOUCESTER

[Reads] ‘Imprimis, it is agreed between the French
king Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of
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
of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released
and delivered to the king her father’—

Lets the paper fall

KING HENRY VI

Uncle, how now!

GLOUCESTER

Pardon me, gracious lord;
Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart
And dimm’d mine eyes, that I can read no further.

KING HENRY VI

Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.

CARDINAL

[Reads] ‘Item, It is further agreed between them,
that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be
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.’

KING HENRY VI

They please us well. Lord marquess, kneel down:
We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk,
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,
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.

Exeunt KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and SUFFOLK

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,
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,
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,
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
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!
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!

CARDINAL

Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,
This peroration with such circumstance?
For France, ’tis ours; and we will keep it still.

GLOUCESTER

Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;
But now it is impossible we should:
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.

SALISBURY

Now, by the death of Him that died for all,
These counties were the keys of Normandy.
But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?

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.
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!

YORK

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
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.

GLOUCESTER

A proper jest, and never heard before,
That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth
For costs and charges in transporting her!
She should have stayed in France and starved
in France, Before—

CARDINAL

My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:
It was the pleasure of my lord the King.

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,
We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone,
I prophesied France will be lost ere long.

Exit

CARDINAL

So, there goes our protector in a rage.
‘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:
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.
What though the common people favour him,
Calling him ‘Humphrey, the good Duke of
Gloucester,’
Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice,
‘Jesu maintain your royal excellence!’
With ‘God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!’
I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
He will be found a dangerous protector.

BUCKINGHAM

Why should he, then, protect our sovereign,
He being of age to govern of himself?
Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk,
We’ll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.

CARDINAL

This weighty business will not brook delay:
I’ll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.

Exit

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
Than all the princes in the land beside:
If Gloucester be displaced, he’ll be protector.

BUCKINGHAM

Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector,
Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.

Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET

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.
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.
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,
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,
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.

WARWICK

So God help Warwick, as he loves the land,
And common profit of his country!

YORK

[Aside] And so says York, for he hath greatest cause.

SALISBURY

Then let’s make haste away, and look unto the main.

WARWICK

Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost;
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,

Exeunt WARWICK and SALISBURY

YORK

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
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,
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,
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
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,
Whose bookish rule hath pull’d fair England down.

Exit

SCENE II. GLOUCESTER’S house.

Enter GLOUCESTER and his DUCHESS

DUCHESS

Why droops my lord, like over-ripen’d corn,
Hanging the head at Ceres’ plenteous load?
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,
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:
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.

GLOUCESTER

O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,
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.

DUCHESS

What dream’d my lord? tell me, and I’ll requite it
With sweet rehearsal of my morning’s dream.

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;
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.

DUCHESS

Tut, this was nothing but an argument
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,
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.

GLOUCESTER

Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright:
Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor,
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,
To tumble down thy husband and thyself
From top of honour to disgrace’s feet?
Away from me, and let me hear no more!

DUCHESS

What, what, my lord! are you so choleric
With Eleanor, for telling but her dream?
Next time I’ll keep my dreams unto myself,
And not be cheque’d.

GLOUCESTER

Nay, be not angry; I am pleased again.

Enter Messenger

Messenger

My lord protector, ’tis his highness’ pleasure
You do prepare to ride unto Saint Alban’s,
Where as the king and queen do mean to hawk.

GLOUCESTER

I go. Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?

DUCHESS

Yes, my good lord, I’ll follow presently.

Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Messenger
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;
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

HUME

Jesus preserve your royal majesty!

DUCHESS

What say’st thou? majesty! I am but grace.

HUME

But, by the grace of God, and Hume’s advice,
Your grace’s title shall be multiplied.

DUCHESS

What say’st thou, man? hast thou as yet conferr’d
With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
And will they undertake to do me good?

HUME

This they have promised, to show your highness
A spirit raised from depth of under-ground,
That shall make answer to such questions
As by your grace shall be propounded him.

DUCHESS

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.
Here, Hume, take this reward; make merry, man,
With thy confederates in this weighty cause.

Exit

HUME

Hume must make merry with the duchess’ gold;
Marry, and shall. But how now, Sir John Hume!
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;
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
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.
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.

Exit

SCENE III. The palace.

Enter three or four Petitioners, PETER, the 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.

Second Petitioner

Marry, the Lord protect him, for he’s a good man!
Jesu bless him!

Enter SUFFOLK and QUEEN MARGARET

PETER

Here a’ comes, methinks, and the queen with him.
I’ll be the first, sure.

Second Petitioner

Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk, and
not my lord protector.

SUFFOLK

How now, fellow! would’st anything with me?

First Petitioner

I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lord
protector.

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
house, and lands, and wife and all, from me.

SUFFOLK

Thy wife, too! that’s some wrong, indeed. What’s
yours? What’s here!

Reads
‘Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the
commons of Melford.’ How now, sir knave!

Second Petitioner

Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner of our whole township.

PETER

[Giving his petition] Against my master, Thomas
Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful
heir to the crown.

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.

SUFFOLK

Who is there?

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.

ALL

Come, let’s be gone.

Exeunt

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,
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?
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:
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
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.

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,
And grumbling York: and not the least of these
But can do more in England than the king.

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.

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:
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,
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.

SUFFOLK

Madam, myself have limed a bush for her,
And placed a quire of such enticing birds,
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,
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,
And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.

Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, BUCKINGHAM, YORK, SOMERSET, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and the DUCHESS

KING HENRY VI

For my part, noble lords, I care not which;
Or Somerset or York, all’s one to me.

YORK

If York have ill demean’d himself in France,
Then let him be denay’d the regentship.

SOMERSET

If Somerset be unworthy of the place,
Let York be regent; I will yield to him.

WARWICK

Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no,
Dispute not that: York is the worthier.

CARDINAL

Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.

WARWICK

The cardinal’s not my better in the field.

BUCKINGHAM

All in this presence are thy betters, Warwick.

WARWICK

Warwick may live to be the best of all.

SALISBURY

Peace, son! and show some reason, Buckingham,
Why Somerset should be preferred in this.

QUEEN MARGARET

Because the king, forsooth, will have it so.

GLOUCESTER

Madam, the king is old enough himself
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?

GLOUCESTER

Madam, I am protector of the realm;
And, at his pleasure, will resign my place.

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
Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.

CARDINAL

The commons hast thou rack’d; the clergy’s bags
Are lank and lean with thy extortions.

SOMERSET

Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife’s attire
Have cost a mass of public treasury.

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,
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?

DUCHESS

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.

KING HENRY VI

Sweet aunt, be quiet; ’twas against her will.

DUCHESS

Against her will! good king, look to’t in time;
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.

Exit

BUCKINGHAM

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

Exit

Re-enter GLOUCESTER

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:
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.

SUFFOLK

Before we make election, give me leave
To show some reason, of no little force,
That York is most unmeet of any man.

YORK

I’ll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:
First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride;
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
Till Paris was besieged, famish’d, and lost.

WARWICK

That can I witness; and a fouler fact
Did never traitor in the land commit.

SUFFOLK

Peace, headstrong Warwick!

WARWICK

Image of pride, why should I hold my peace?

Enter HORNER, the Armourer, and his man PETER, guarded

SUFFOLK

Because here is a man accused of treason:
Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!

YORK

Doth any one accuse York for a traitor?

KING HENRY VI

What mean’st thou, Suffolk; tell me, what are these?

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
And that your majesty was a usurper.

KING HENRY VI

Say, man, were these thy words?

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.

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.

YORK

Base dunghill villain and mechanical,
I’ll have thy head for this thy traitor’s speech.
I do beseech your royal majesty,
Let him have all the rigor of the law.

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
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
accusation.

KING HENRY VI

Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?

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,
For he hath witness of his servant’s malice:
This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey’s doom.

SOMERSET

I humbly thank your royal majesty.

HORNER

And I accept the combat willingly.

PETER

Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God’s sake, pity
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!

GLOUCESTER

Sirrah, or you must fight, or else be hang’d.

KING HENRY VI

Away with them to prison; and the day of combat
shall be the last of the next month. Come,
Somerset, we’ll see thee sent away.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE IV. GLOUCESTER’s garden.

Enter MARGARET JOURDAIN, HUME, SOUTHWELL, and BOLINGBROKE

HUME

Come, my masters; the duchess, I tell you, expects
performance of your promises.

BOLINGBROKE

Master Hume, we are therefore provided: will her
ladyship behold and hear our exorcisms?

HUME

Ay, what else? fear you not her courage.

BOLINGBROKE

I have heard her reported to be a woman of an
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
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

DUCHESS

Well said, my masters; and welcome all. To this
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,
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 circle; BOLINGBROKE or SOUTHWELL reads, Conjuro te, & c. It thunders and lightens terribly; then the Spirit riseth

Spirit

Adsum.

MARGARET JOURDAIN

Asmath,
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?’

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?’

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.
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 and break in

YORK

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:
My lord protector will, I doubt it not,
See you well guerdon’d for these good deserts.

DUCHESS

Not half so bad as thine to England’s king,
Injurious duke, that threatest where’s no cause.

BUCKINGHAM

True, madam, none at all: what call you this?
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.
All, away!

Exeunt guard with MARGARET JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, & c

YORK

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.
What have we here?

Reads
‘The duke yet lives, that Henry shall depose;
But him outlive, and die a violent death.’
Why, this is just
‘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?
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,
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:
A sorry breakfast for my lord protector.

BUCKINGHAM

Your grace shall give me leave, my Lord of York,
To be the post, in hope of his reward.

YORK

At your pleasure, my good lord. Who’s within
there, ho!

Enter a Servingman
Invite my Lords of Salisbury and Warwick
To sup with me to-morrow night. Away!

Exeunt

ACT II
SCENE I. Saint Alban’s.

Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, and SUFFOLK, with Falconers halloing

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.

KING 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.

SUFFOLK

No marvel, an it like your majesty,
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.

GLOUCESTER

My lord, ’tis but a base ignoble mind
That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.

CARDINAL

I thought as much; he would be above the clouds.

GLOUCESTER

Ay, my lord cardinal? how think you by that?
Were it not good your grace could fly to heaven?

KING HENRY VI

The treasury of everlasting joy.

CARDINAL

Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughts
Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart;
Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,
That smooth’st it so with king and commonweal!

GLOUCESTER

What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown peremptory?
Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?
Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice;
With such holiness can you do it?

SUFFOLK

No malice, sir; no more than well becomes
So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.

GLOUCESTER

As who, my lord?

SUFFOLK

Why, as you, my lord,
An’t like your lordly lord-protectorship.

GLOUCESTER

Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.

QUEEN MARGARET

And thy ambition, Gloucester.

KING HENRY VI

I prithee, peace, good queen,
And whet not on these furious peers;
For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.

CARDINAL

Let me be blessed for the peace I make,
Against this proud protector, with my sword!

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CARDINAL] Faith, holy uncle, would
’twere come to that!

CARDINAL

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Marry, when thou darest.

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CARDINAL] Make up no factious
numbers for the matter;
In thine own person answer thy abuse.

CARDINAL

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Ay, where thou darest
not peep: an if thou darest,
This evening, on the east side of the grove.

KING HENRY VI

How now, my lords!

CARDINAL

Believe me, cousin Gloucester,
Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
We had had more sport.

Aside to GLOUCESTER
Come with thy two-hand sword.

GLOUCESTER

True, uncle.

CARDINAL

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Are ye advised? the
east side of the grove?

GLOUCESTER

[Aside to CARDINAL] Cardinal, I am with you.

KING HENRY VI

Why, how now, uncle Gloucester!

GLOUCESTER

Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.

Aside to CARDINAL
Now, by God’s mother, priest, I’ll shave your crown for this,
Or all my fence shall fail.

CARDINAL

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] Medice, teipsum—
Protector, see to’t well, protect yourself.

KING 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!’

GLOUCESTER

What means this noise?
Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?

Townsman

A miracle! a miracle!

SUFFOLK

Come to the king and tell him what miracle.

Townsman

Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban’s shrine,
Within this half-hour, hath received his sight;
A man that ne’er saw in his life before.

KING 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 brethren, bearing SIMPCOX, between two in a chair, SIMPCOX’s Wife following

CARDINAL

Here comes the townsmen on procession,
To present your highness with the man.

KING HENRY VI

Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,
Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.

GLOUCESTER

Stand by, my masters: bring him near the king;
His highness’ pleasure is to talk with him.

KING HENRY VI

Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?

SIMPCOX

Born blind, an’t please your grace.

Wife

Ay, indeed, was he.

SUFFOLK

What woman is this?

Wife

His wife, an’t like your worship.

GLOUCESTER

Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst have
better told.

KING HENRY VI

Where wert thou born?

SIMPCOX

At Berwick in the north, an’t like your grace.

KING HENRY VI

Poor soul, God’s goodness hath been great to thee:
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
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.’

Wife

Most true, forsooth; and many time and oft
Myself have heard a voice to call him so.

CARDINAL

What, art thou lame?

SIMPCOX

Ay, God Almighty help me!

SUFFOLK

How camest thou so?

SIMPCOX

A fall off of a tree.

Wife

A plum-tree, master.

GLOUCESTER

How long hast thou been blind?

SIMPCOX

Born so, master.

GLOUCESTER

What, and wouldst climb a tree?

SIMPCOX

But that in all my life, when I was a youth.

Wife

Too true; and bought his climbing very dear.

GLOUCESTER

Mass, thou lovedst plums well, that wouldst
venture so.

SIMPCOX

Alas, good master, my wife desired some damsons,
And made me climb, with danger of my life.

GLOUCESTER

A subtle knave! but yet it shall not serve.
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.

GLOUCESTER

Say’st thou me so? What colour is this cloak of?

SIMPCOX

Red, master; red as blood.

GLOUCESTER

Why, that’s well said. What colour is my gown of?

SIMPCOX

Black, forsooth: coal-black as jet.

KING HENRY VI

Why, then, thou know’st what colour jet is of?

SUFFOLK

And yet, I think, jet did he never see.

GLOUCESTER

But cloaks and gowns, before this day, a many.

Wife

Never, before this day, in all his life.

GLOUCESTER

Tell me, sirrah, what’s my name?

SIMPCOX

Alas, master, I know not.

GLOUCESTER

What’s his name?

SIMPCOX

I know not.

GLOUCESTER

Nor his?

SIMPCOX

No, indeed, master.

GLOUCESTER

What’s thine own name?

SIMPCOX

Saunder Simpcox, an if it please you, master.

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
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!

GLOUCESTER

My masters of Saint Alban’s, have you not beadles in
your town, and things called whips?

Mayor

Yes, my lord, if it please your grace.

GLOUCESTER

Then send for one presently.

Mayor

Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.

Exit an Attendant

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:
You go about to torture me in vain.

Enter a Beadle with whips

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
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!’

KING HENRY VI

O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long?

QUEEN MARGARET

It made me laugh to see the villain run.

GLOUCESTER

Follow the knave; and take this drab away.

Wife

Alas, sir, we did it for pure need.

GLOUCESTER

Let them be whipped through every market-town, till
they come to Berwick, from whence they came.

Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, & c

CARDINAL

Duke Humphrey has done a miracle to-day.

SUFFOLK

True; made the lame to leap and fly away.

GLOUCESTER

But you have done more miracles than I;
You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.

Enter BUCKINGHAM

KING HENRY VI

What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?

BUCKINGHAM

Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold.
A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
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;
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.

CARDINAL

[Aside to GLOUCESTER] And so, my lord protector,
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.

GLOUCESTER

Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart:
Sorrow and grief have vanquish’d all my powers;
And, vanquish’d as I am, I yield to thee,
Or to the meanest groom.

KING HENRY VI

O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!

QUEEN MARGARET

Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest.
And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.

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;
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
And give her as a prey to law and shame,
That hath dishonour’d Gloucester’s honest name.

KING HENRY VI

Well, for this night we will repose us here:
To-morrow toward London back again,
To look into this business thoroughly
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

SCENE II. London. YORK’S garden.

Enter YORK, SALISBURY, and WARWICK

YORK

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.

SALISBURY

My lord, I long to hear it at full.

WARWICK

Sweet York, begin: and if thy claim be good,
The Nevils are thy subjects to command.

YORK

Then thus:
Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons:
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;
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;
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,
And him to Pomfret; where, as all you know,
Harmless Richard was murder’d traitorously.

WARWICK

Father, the duke hath told the truth:
Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.

YORK

Which now they hold by force and not by right;
For Richard, the first son’s heir, being dead,
The issue of the next son should have reign’d.

SALISBURY

But William of Hatfield died without an heir.

YORK

The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line
I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter,
Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.

SALISBURY

This Edmund, in the reign of Bolingbroke,
As I have read, laid claim unto the crown;
And, but for Owen Glendower, had been king,
Who kept him in captivity till he died.
But to the rest.

YORK

His eldest sister, Anne,
My mother, being heir unto the crown
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,
Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
So, if the issue of the elder son
Succeed before the younger, I am king.

WARWICK

What plain proceeding is more plain than this?
Henry doth claim the crown from John of Gaunt,
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;
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!

YORK

We thank you, lords. But I am not your king
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:
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:
‘Tis that they seek, and they in seeking that
Shall find their deaths, if York can prophesy.

SALISBURY

My lord, break we off; we know your mind at full.

WARWICK

My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick
Shall one day make the Duke of York a king.

YORK

And, Nevil, this I do assure myself:
Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick
The greatest man in England but the king.

Exeunt

SCENE III. A hall of justice.

Sound trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, GLOUCESTER, YORK, SUFFOLK, and SALISBURY; the DUCHESS, MARGARET JOURDAIN, SOUTHWELL, HUME, and BOLINGBROKE, under guard

KING HENRY VI

Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester’s wife:
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great:
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,
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,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.

DUCHESS

Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.

GLOUCESTER

Eleanor, the law, thou see’st, hath judged thee:
I cannot justify whom the law condemns.

Exeunt DUCHESS and other prisoners, guarded
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.

KING 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
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.

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.
Farewell, good king: when I am dead and gone,
May honourable peace attend thy throne!

Exit

QUEEN MARGARET

Why, now is Henry king, and Margaret queen;
And Humphrey Duke of Gloucester scarce himself,
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.

SUFFOLK

Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays;
Thus Eleanor’s pride dies in her youngest days.

YORK

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,
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.

KING HENRY VI

O God’s name, see the lists and all things fit:
Here let them end it; and God defend the right!

YORK

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; 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
sack: and fear not, neighbour, you shall do well enough.

Second Neighbour

And here, neighbour, here’s a cup of charneco.

Third Neighbour

And here’s a pot of good double beer, neighbour:
drink, and fear not your man.

HORNER

Let it come, i’ faith, and I’ll pledge you all; and
a fig for Peter!
First ‘Prentice Here, Peter, I drink to thee: and be not afraid.
Second ‘Prentice Be merry, Peter, and fear not thy master: fight
for credit of the ‘prentices.

PETER

I thank you all: drink, and pray for me, I pray
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
deal with my master, he hath learnt me so much fence already.

SALISBURY

Come, leave your drinking, and fall to blows.
Sirrah, what’s thy name?

PETER

Peter, forsooth.

SALISBURY

Peter! what more?

PETER

Thump.

SALISBURY

Thump! then see thou thump thy master well.

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
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!

YORK

Dispatch: this knave’s tongue begins to double.
Sound, trumpets, alarum to the combatants!

Alarum. They fight, and PETER strikes him down

HORNER

Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.

Dies

YORK

Take away his weapon. Fellow, thank God, and the
good wine in thy master’s way.

PETER

O God, have I overcome mine enemy in this presence?
O Peter, thou hast prevailed in right!

KING 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
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

SCENE IV. A street.

Enter GLOUCESTER and his Servingmen, in mourning cloaks

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.
Sirs, what’s o’clock?

Servants

Ten, my lord.

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,
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
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, and Officers

Servant

So please your grace, we’ll take her from the sheriff.

GLOUCESTER

No, stir not, for your lives; let her pass by.

DUCHESS

Come you, my lord, to see my open shame?
Now thou dost penance too. Look how they gaze!
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!

GLOUCESTER

Be patient, gentle Nell; forget this grief.

DUCHESS

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,
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
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;
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,
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;
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:
But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.

GLOUCESTER

Ah, Nell, forbear! thou aimest all awry;
I must offend before I be attainted;
And had I twenty times so many foes,
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
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.

GLOUCESTER

And my consent ne’er ask’d herein before!
This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.

Exit Herald
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.

GLOUCESTER

Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?

STANLEY

So am I given in charge, may’t please your grace.

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
You do it her: and so, Sir John, farewell!

DUCHESS

What, gone, my lord, and bid me not farewell!

GLOUCESTER

Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.

Exeunt GLOUCESTER and Servingmen

DUCHESS

Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee!
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,
Only convey me where thou art commanded.

STANLEY

Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man;
There to be used according to your state.

DUCHESS

That’s bad enough, for I am but reproach:
And shall I then be used reproachfully?

STANLEY

Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey’s lady;
According to that state you shall be used.

DUCHESS

Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.

Sheriff

It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.

DUCHESS

Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharged.
Come, Stanley, shall we go?

STANLEY

Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,
And go we to attire you for our journey.

DUCHESS

My shame will not be shifted with my sheet:
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.

Exeunt

ACT III
SCENE I. The Abbey at Bury St. Edmund’s.

Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL, SUFFOLK, YORK, BUCKINGHAM, SALISBURY and WARWICK to the Parliament

KING 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.

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?
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,
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;
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,
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,
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.
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.
My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,
Reprove my allegation, if you can;
Or else conclude my words effectual.

SUFFOLK

Well hath your highness seen into this duke;
And, had I first been put to speak my mind,
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,
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;
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.

CARDINAL

Did he not, contrary to form of law,
Devise strange deaths for small offences done?

YORK

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.

BUCKINGHAM

Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown.
Which time will bring to light in smooth
Duke Humphrey.

KING HENRY VI

My lords, at once: the care you have of us,
To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot,
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
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,
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.

Enter SOMERSET

SOMERSET

All health unto my gracious sovereign!

KING HENRY VI

Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?

SOMERSET

That all your interest in those territories
Is utterly bereft you; all is lost.

KING HENRY VI

Cold news, Lord Somerset: but God’s will be done!

YORK

[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,
Or sell my title for a glorious grave.

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

All happiness unto my lord the king!
Pardon, my liege, that I have stay’d so long.

SUFFOLK

Nay, Gloucester, know that thou art come too soon,
Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art:
I do arrest thee of high treason here.

GLOUCESTER

Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush
Nor change my countenance for this arrest:
A heart unspotted is not easily daunted.
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?

YORK

‘Tis thought, my lord, that you took bribes of France,
And, being protector, stayed the soldiers’ pay;
By means whereof his highness hath lost France.

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,
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,
Because I would not tax the needy commons,
Have I disbursed to the garrisons,
And never ask’d for restitution.

CARDINAL

It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.

GLOUCESTER

I say no more than truth, so help me God!

YORK

In your protectorship you did devise
Strange tortures for offenders never heard of,
That England was defamed by tyranny.

GLOUCESTER

Why, ’tis well known that, whiles I was
protector,
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,
I never gave them condign punishment:
Murder indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured
Above the felon or what trespass else.

SUFFOLK

My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answered:
But mightier crimes are laid unto your charge,
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.

KING HENRY VI

My lord of Gloucester, ’tis my special hope
That you will clear yourself from all suspect:
My conscience tells me you are innocent.

GLOUCESTER

Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous:
Virtue is choked with foul ambition
And charity chased hence by rancour’s hand;
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,
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,
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,
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:
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;
The ancient proverb will be well effected:
‘A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.’

CARDINAL

My liege, his railing is intolerable:
If those that care to keep your royal person
From treason’s secret knife and traitors’ rage
Be thus upbraided, chid and rated at,
And the offender granted scope of speech,
‘Twill make them cool in zeal unto your grace.

SUFFOLK

Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here
With ignominious words, though clerkly couch’d,
As if she had suborned some to swear
False allegations to o’erthrow his state?

QUEEN MARGARET

But I can give the loser leave to chide.

GLOUCESTER

Far truer spoke than meant: I lose, indeed;
Beshrew the winners, for they play’d me false!
And well such losers may have leave to speak.

BUCKINGHAM

He’ll wrest the sense and hold us here all day:
Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.

CARDINAL

Sirs, take away the duke, and guard him sure.

GLOUCESTER

Ah! thus King Henry throws away his crutch
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.

Exit, guarded

KING HENRY VI

My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best,
Do or undo, as if ourself were here.

QUEEN MARGARET

What, will your highness leave the parliament?

KING HENRY VI

Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown’d with grief,
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:
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?
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;
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
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, 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
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—
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.

CARDINAL

That he should die is worthy policy;
But yet we want a colour for his death:
‘Tis meet he be condemn’d by course of law.

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,
More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death.

YORK

So that, by this, you would not have him die.

SUFFOLK

Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I!

YORK

‘Tis York that hath more reason for his death.
But, my lord cardinal, and you, my Lord of Suffolk,
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?

QUEEN MARGARET

So the poor chicken should be sure of death.

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.
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:
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.

QUEEN MARGARET

Thrice-noble Suffolk, ’tis resolutely spoke.

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,
Say but the word, and I will be his priest.

CARDINAL

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,
I tender so the safety of my liege.

SUFFOLK

Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.

QUEEN MARGARET

And so say I.

YORK

And I and now we three have spoke it,
It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.

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,
Before the wound do grow uncurable;
For, being green, there is great hope of help.

CARDINAL

A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!
What counsel give you in this weighty cause?

YORK

That Somerset be sent as regent thither:
‘Tis meet that lucky ruler be employ’d;
Witness the fortune he hath had in France.

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.

YORK

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:
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,
Might happily have proved far worse than his.

YORK

What, worse than nought? nay, then, a shame take all!

SOMERSET

And, in the number, thee that wishest shame!

CARDINAL

My Lord of York, try what your fortune is.
The uncivil kerns of Ireland are in arms
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?

YORK

I will, my lord, so please his majesty.

SUFFOLK

Why, our authority is his consent,
And what we do establish he confirms:
Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.

YORK

I am content: provide me soldiers, lords,
Whiles I take order for mine own affairs.

SUFFOLK

A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform’d.
But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.

CARDINAL

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:
Lord Suffolk, you and I must talk of that event.

YORK

My Lord of Suffolk, within fourteen days
At Bristol I expect my soldiers;
For there I’ll ship them all for Ireland.

SUFFOLK

I’ll see it truly done, my Lord of York.

Exeunt all but YORK

YORK

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:
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.
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,
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.
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,
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,
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
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,
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,
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
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,
And Henry put apart, the next for me.

Exit

SCENE II. Bury St. Edmund’s. A room of state.

Enter certain Murderers, hastily

First Murderer

Run to my Lord of Suffolk; let him know
We have dispatch’d the duke, as he commanded.

Second Murderer

O that it were to do! What have we done?
Didst ever hear a man so penitent?

Enter SUFFOLK

First Murder

Here comes my lord.

SUFFOLK

Now, sirs, have you dispatch’d this thing?

First Murderer

Ay, my good lord, he’s dead.

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,
According as I gave directions?

First Murderer

‘Tis, my good lord.

SUFFOLK

Away! be gone.

Exeunt Murderers

Sound trumpets. Enter KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, CARDINAL, SOMERSET, with Attendants

KING 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.

SUFFOLK

I’ll call him presently, my noble lord.

Exit

KING 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.

QUEEN MARGARET

God forbid any malice should prevail,
That faultless may condemn a nobleman!
Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!

KING HENRY VI

I thank thee, Meg; these words content me much.

Re-enter SUFFOLK
How now! why look’st thou pale? why tremblest thou?
Where is our uncle? what’s the matter, Suffolk?

SUFFOLK

Dead in his bed, my lord; Gloucester is dead.

QUEEN MARGARET

Marry, God forfend!

CARDINAL

God’s secret judgment: I did dream to-night
The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.

KING HENRY VI swoons

QUEEN MARGARET

How fares my lord? Help, lords! the king is dead.

SOMERSET

Rear up his body; wring him by the nose.

QUEEN MARGARET

Run, go, help, help! O Henry, ope thine eyes!

SUFFOLK

He doth revive again: madam, be patient.

KING HENRY VI

O heavenly God!

QUEEN MARGARET

How fares my gracious lord?

SUFFOLK

Comfort, my sovereign! gracious Henry, comfort!

KING HENRY VI

What, doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me?
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?
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
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;
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,
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.
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.
This get I by his death: ay me, unhappy!
To be a queen, and crown’d with infamy!

KING 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?
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.
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?
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:
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,
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,
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
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:
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,
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?
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

WARWICK

It is reported, mighty sovereign,
That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murder’d
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,
Until they hear the order of his death.

KING 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.

WARWICK

That shall I do, my liege. Stay, Salisbury,
With the rude multitude till I return.

Exit

KING HENRY VI

O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts,
My thoughts, that labour to persuade my soul
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
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,
What were it but to make my sorrow greater?

Re-enter WARWICK and others, bearing GLOUCESTER’S body on a bed

WARWICK

Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.

KING HENRY VI

That is to see how deep my grave is made;
For with his soul fled all my worldly solace,
For seeing him I see my life in death.

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,
I do believe that violent hands were laid
Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.

SUFFOLK

A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!
What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?

WARWICK

See how the blood is settled in his face.
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;
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;
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,
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.

SUFFOLK

Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death?
Myself and Beaufort had him in protection;
And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.

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.

QUEEN MARGARET

Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen
As guilty of Duke Humphrey’s timeless death.

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?
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?
Is Beaufort term’d a kite? Where are his talons?

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.
Say, if thou darest, proud Lord of Warwick-shire,
That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey’s death.

Exeunt CARDINAL, SOMERSET, and others

WARWICK

What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?

QUEEN MARGARET

He dares not calm his contumelious spirit
Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.

WARWICK

Madam, be still; with reverence may I say;
For every word you speak in his behalf
Is slander to your royal dignity.

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,
And never of the Nevils’ noble race.

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,
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,
Give thee thy hire and send thy soul to hell,
Pernicious blood-sucker of sleeping men!

SUFFOLK

Thou shall be waking well I shed thy blood,
If from this presence thou darest go with me.

WARWICK

Away even now, or I will drag thee hence:
Unworthy though thou art, I’ll cope with thee
And do some service to Duke Humphrey’s ghost.

Exeunt SUFFOLK and WARWICK

KING HENRY VI

What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
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 weapons drawn

KING 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?

SUFFOLK

The traitorous Warwick with the men of Bury
Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.

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,
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;
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,
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,
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,
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.

Commons

[Within] An answer from the king, my
Lord of Salisbury!

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,
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!

KING 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
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.

Exit SALISBURY

QUEEN MARGARET

O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!

KING 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.
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.
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
Be playfellows to keep you company!
There’s two of you; the devil make a third!
And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps!

SUFFOLK

Cease, gentle queen, these execrations,
And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.

QUEEN MARGARET

Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch!
Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?

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,
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;
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!
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,
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,
And turn the force of them upon thyself.

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,
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,
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;
‘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.
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!

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:
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.

Enter VAUX

QUEEN MARGARET

Wither goes Vaux so fast? what news, I prithee?

VAUX

To signify unto his majesty
That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
For suddenly a grievous sickness took him,
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,
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
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,
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.

SUFFOLK

If I depart from thee, I cannot live;
And in thy sight to die, what were it else
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,
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.
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.
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.

SUFFOLK

I go.

QUEEN MARGARET

And take my heart with thee.

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.

QUEEN MARGARET

This way for me.

Exeunt severally

SCENE III. A bedchamber.

Enter the KING, SALISBURY, WARWICK, to the CARDINAL in bed

KING HENRY VI

How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, to
thy sovereign.

CARDINAL

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.

KING HENRY VI

Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,
Where death’s approach is seen so terrible!

WARWICK

Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to thee.

CARDINAL

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.
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.
Give me some drink; and bid the apothecary
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.

KING HENRY VI

O thou eternal Mover of the heavens.
Look with a gentle eye upon this wretch!
O, beat away the busy meddling fiend
That lays strong siege unto this wretch’s soul.
And from his bosom purge this black despair!

WARWICK

See, how the pangs of death do make him grin!

SALISBURY

Disturb him not; let him pass peaceably.

KING HENRY VI

Peace to his soul, if God’s good pleasure be!
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!

WARWICK

So bad a death argues a monstrous life.

KING HENRY VI

Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.
Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close;
And let us all to meditation.

Exeunt

ACT IV
SCENE I. The coast of Kent.

Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain, a Master, a Master’s-mate, WALTER WHITMORE, 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;
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,
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.

First Gentleman

What is my ransom, master? let me know.

Master

A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.
Master’s-Mate And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.

Captain

What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
And bear the name and port of gentlemen?
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!

First Gentleman

I’ll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.

Second Gentleman

And so will I and write home for it straight.

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.

SUFFOLK

Look on my George; I am a gentleman:
Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.

WHITMORE

And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
How now! why start’st thou? what, doth
death affright?

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.

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,
And I proclaim’d a coward through the world!

SUFFOLK

Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince,
The Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole.

WHITMORE

The Duke of Suffolk muffled up in rags!

SUFFOLK

Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke:
Jove sometimes went disguised, and why not I?

Captain

But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.

SUFFOLK

Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry’s blood,
The honourable blood of Lancaster,
Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
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.
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?
This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,
And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.

WHITMORE

Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn swain?

Captain

First let my words stab him, as he hath me.

SUFFOLK

Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.

Captain

Convey him hence and on our longboat’s side
Strike off his head.

SUFFOLK

Thou darest not, for thy own.

Captain

Yes, Pole.

SUFFOLK

Pole!

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:
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,
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
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,
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
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.’
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.

SUFFOLK

O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder
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:
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.

Captain

Walter,—

WHITMORE

Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.

SUFFOLK

Gelidus timor occupat artus it is thee I fear.

WHITMORE

Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop?

First Gentleman

My gracious lord, entreat him, speak him fair.

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
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:
More can I bear than you dare execute.

Captain

Hale him away, and let him talk no more.

SUFFOLK

Come, soldiers, show what cruelty ye can,
That this my death may never be forgot!
Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
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

WHITMORE

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

Exit

First Gentleman

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

Exit with the body

SCENE II. Blackheath.

Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLAND

BEVIS

Come, and get thee a sword, though made of a lath;
they have been up these two days.

HOLLAND

They have the more need to sleep now, then.

BEVIS

I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress
the commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.

HOLLAND

So he had need, for ’tis threadbare. Well, I say it
was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.

BEVIS

O miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handicrafts-men.

HOLLAND

The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.

BEVIS

Nay, more, the king’s council are no good workmen.

HOLLAND

True; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation;
which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be
labouring men; and therefore should we be
magistrates.

BEVIS

Thou hast hit it; for there’s no better sign of a
brave mind than a hard hand.

HOLLAND

I see them! I see them! there’s Best’s son, the
tanner of Wingham,—

BEVIS

He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make
dog’s-leather of.

HOLLAND

And Dick the Butcher,—

BEVIS

Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity’s
throat cut like a calf.

HOLLAND

And Smith the weaver,—

BEVIS

Argo, their thread of life is spun.

HOLLAND

Come, come, let’s fall in with them.

Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the Weaver, and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers

CADE

We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father,—

DICK

[Aside] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.

CADE

For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with
the spirit of putting down kings and princes,
—Command silence.

DICK

Silence!

CADE

My father was a Mortimer,—

DICK

[Aside] He was an honest man, and a good
bricklayer.

CADE

My mother a Plantagenet,—

DICK

[Aside] I knew her well; she was a midwife.

CADE

My wife descended of the Lacies,—

DICK

[Aside] She was, indeed, a pedler’s daughter, and
sold many laces.

SMITH

[Aside] But now of late, notable to travel with her
furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.

CADE

Therefore am I of an honourable house.

DICK

[Aside] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable;
and there was he borne, under a hedge, for his
father had never a house but the cage.

CADE

Valiant I am.

SMITH

[Aside] A’ must needs; for beggary is valiant.

CADE

I am able to endure much.

DICK

[Aside] No question of that; for I have seen him
whipped three market-days together.

CADE

I fear neither sword nor fire.

SMITH

[Aside] He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.

DICK

[Aside] But methinks he should stand in fear of
fire, being burnt i’ the hand for stealing of sheep.

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
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!

CADE

I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;
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.

DICK

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.

CADE

Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
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
since. How now! who’s there?

Enter some, bringing forward the Clerk of Chatham

SMITH

The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and
cast accompt.

CADE

O monstrous!

SMITH

We took him setting of boys’ copies.

CADE

Here’s a villain!

SMITH

Has a book in his pocket with red letters in’t.

CADE

Nay, then, he is a conjurer.

DICK

Nay, he can make obligations, and write court-hand.

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?

Clerk

Emmanuel.

DICK

They use to write it on the top of letters: ’twill
go hard with you.

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

Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up
that I can write my name.

ALL

He hath confessed: away with him! he’s a villain
and a traitor.

CADE

Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and
ink-horn about his neck.

Exit one with the Clerk

Enter MICHAEL

MICHAEL

Where’s our general?

CADE

Here I am, thou particular fellow.

MICHAEL

Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his
brother are hard by, with the king’s forces.

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’?

MICHAEL

No.

CADE

To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.

Kneels
Rise up Sir John Mortimer.

Rises
Now have at him!

Enter SIR HUMPHREY and WILLIAM STAFFORD, with drum and soldiers

SIR HUMPHREY

Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
Mark’d for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom:
The king is merciful, if you revolt.

WILLIAM STAFFORD

But angry, wrathful, and inclined to blood,
If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.

CADE

As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not:
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
Over whom, in time to come, I hope to reign;
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.

SIR HUMPHREY

Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?

CADE

And Adam was a gardener.

WILLIAM STAFFORD

And what of that?

CADE

Marry, this: Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March.
Married the Duke of Clarence’ daughter, did he not?

SIR HUMPHREY

Ay, sir.

CADE

By her he had two children at one birth.

WILLIAM STAFFORD

That’s false.

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,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age:
His son am I; deny it, if you can.

DICK

Nay, ’tis too true; therefore he shall be king.

SMITH

Sir, he made a chimney in my father’s house, and
the bricks are alive at this day to testify it;
therefore deny it not.

SIR HUMPHREY

And will you credit this base drudge’s words,
That speaks he knows not what?

ALL

Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.

WILLIAM STAFFORD

Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.

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.

DICK

And furthermore, well have the Lord Say’s head for
selling the dukedom of Maine.

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
hath gelded the commonwealth, and made it an eunuch:
and more than that, he can speak French; and
therefore he is a traitor.

SIR HUMPHREY

O gross and miserable ignorance!

CADE

Nay, answer, if you can: the Frenchmen are our
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,
Assail them with the army of the king.

SIR HUMPHREY

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,
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

CADE

And you that love the commons, follow me.
Now show yourselves men; ’tis for liberty.
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.

DICK

They are all in order and march toward us.

CADE

But then are we in order when we are most
out of order. Come, march forward.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Another part of Blackheath.

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

CADE

Where’s Dick, the butcher of Ashford?

DICK

Here, sir.

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,
the Lent shall be as long again as it is; and thou
shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking
one.

DICK

I desire no more.

CADE

And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less. This
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.

DICK

If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the
gaols and let out the prisoners.

CADE

Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let’s march
towards London.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. London. The palace.

Enter KING HENRY VI with a supplication, and the 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.
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?

BUCKINGHAM

What answer makes your grace to the rebels’
supplication?

KING 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:
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?

KING HENRY VI

Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.

SAY

Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.

KING HENRY VI

How now, madam!
Still lamenting and mourning for Suffolk’s death?
I fear me, love, if that I had been dead,
Thou wouldst not have mourn’d so much for me.

QUEEN MARGARET

No, my love, I should not mourn, but die for thee.

Enter a Messenger

KING HENRY VI

How now! what news? why comest thou in such haste?

Messenger

The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord!
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
Of hinds and peasants, rude and merciless:
Sir Humphrey Stafford and h is brother’s death
Hath given them heart and courage to proceed:
All scholars, lawyers, courtiers, gentlemen,
They call false caterpillars, and intend their death.

KING HENRY VI

O graceless men! they know not what they do.

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!

KING HENRY VI

Lord Say, the traitors hate thee;
Therefore away with us to Killingworth.

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
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,
Join with the traitor, and they jointly swear
To spoil the city and your royal court.

BUCKINGHAM

Then linger not, my lord, away, take horse.

KING HENRY VI

Come, Margaret; God, our hope, will succor us.

QUEEN MARGARET

My hope is gone, now Suffolk is deceased.

KING HENRY VI

Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.

BUCKINGHAM

Trust nobody, for fear you be betray’d.

SAY

The trust I have is in mine innocence,
And therefore am I bold and resolute.

Exeunt

SCENE V. London. The Tower.

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

SCALES

How now! is Jack Cade slain?

First Citizen

No, my lord, nor likely to be slain; for they have
won the bridge, killing all those that withstand
them: the lord mayor craves aid of your honour from
the Tower, to defend the city from the rebels.

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.
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.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. London. Cannon Street.

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

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
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!

CADE

Knock him down there.

They kill him

SMITH

If this fellow be wise, he’ll never call ye Jack
Cade more: I think he hath a very fair warning.

DICK

My lord, there’s an army gathered together in
Smithfield.

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.

Exeunt

SCENE VII. London. Smithfield.

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

CADE

So, sirs: now go some and pull down the Savoy;
others to the inns of court; down with them all.

DICK

I have a suit unto your lordship.

CADE

Be it a lordship, thou shalt have it for that word.

DICK

Only that the laws of England may come out of your mouth.

HOLLAND

[Aside] Mass, ’twill be sore law, then; for he was
thrust in the mouth with a spear, and ’tis not whole
yet.

SMITH

[Aside] Nay, John, it will be stinking law for his
breath stinks with eating toasted cheese.

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.

HOLLAND

[Aside] Then we are like to have biting statutes,
unless his teeth be pulled out.

CADE

And henceforward all things shall be in common.

Enter a Messenger

Messenger

My lord, a prize, a prize! here’s the Lord Say,
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

CADE

Well, he shall be beheaded for it ten times. Ah,
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
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
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
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
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?

SAY

What of that?

CADE

Marry, thou oughtest not to let thy horse wear a
cloak, when honester men than thou go in their hose
and doublets.

DICK

And work in their shirt too; as myself, for example,
that am a butcher.

SAY

You men of Kent,—

DICK

What say you of Kent?

SAY

Nothing but this; ’tis ‘bona terra, mala gens.’

CADE

Away with him, away with him! he speaks Latin.

SAY

Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
Kent, in the Commentaries Caesar writ,
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,
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?
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,
You cannot but forbear to murder me:
This tongue hath parley’d unto foreign kings
For your behoof,—

CADE

Tut, when struck’st thou one blow in the field?

SAY

Great men have reaching hands: oft have I struck
Those that I never saw and struck them dead.

BEVIS

O monstrous coward! what, to come behind folks?

SAY

These cheeks are pale for watching for your good.

CADE

Give him a box o’ the ear and that will make ’em red again.

SAY

Long sitting to determine poor men’s causes
Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.

CADE

Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.

DICK

Why dost thou quiver, man?

SAY

The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.

CADE

Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I’ll be even
with you: I’ll see if his head will stand steadier
on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him.

SAY

Tell me wherein have I offended most?
Have I affected wealth or honour? speak.
Are my chests fill’d up with extorted gold?
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!

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
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.

SAY

Ah, countrymen! if when you make your prayers,
God should be so obdurate as yourselves,
How would it fare with your departed souls?
And therefore yet relent, and save my life.

CADE

Away with him! and do as I command ye.

Exeunt some with Lord SAY
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
wives be as free as heart can wish or tongue can tell.

DICK

My lord, when shall we go to Cheapside and take up
commodities upon our bills?

CADE

Marry, presently.

ALL

O, brave!

Re-enter one with the heads

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
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!

Exeunt

SCENE VIII. Southwark.

Alarum and retreat. Enter CADE and all his rabblement

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
sound retreat or parley, when I command them kill?

Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD, attended

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;
And here pronounce free pardon to them all
That will forsake thee and go home in peace.

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?
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.

ALL

God save the king! God save the king!

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,
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
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!

ALL

We’ll follow Cade, we’ll follow Cade!

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?
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,
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
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.

ALL

A Clifford! a Clifford! we’ll follow the king and Clifford.

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
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
treasons, makes me betake me to my heels.

Exit

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.

Exeunt some of them
Follow me, soldiers: we’ll devise a mean
To reconcile you all unto the king.

Exeunt

SCENE IX. Kenilworth Castle.

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

KING 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.
Was never subject long’d to be a king
As I do long and wish to be a subject.

Enter BUCKINGHAM and CLIFFORD

BUCKINGHAM

Health and glad tidings to your majesty!

KING HENRY VI

Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised?
Or is he but retired to make him strong?

Enter below, multitudes, with halters about their necks

CLIFFORD

He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield;
And humbly thus, with halters on their necks,
Expect your highness’ doom of life or death.

KING 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:
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.

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
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.

KING 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.
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.

SOMERSET

My lord,
I’ll yield myself to prison willingly,
Or unto death, to do my country good.

KING HENRY VI

In any case, be not too rough in terms;
For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language.

BUCKINGHAM

I will, my lord; and doubt not so to deal
As all things shall redound unto your good.

KING HENRY VI

Come, wife, let’s in, and learn to govern better;
For yet may England curse my wretched reign.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE X. Kent. IDEN’s garden.

Enter CADE

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
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
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
quart pot to drink in; and now the word ‘sallet’
must serve me to feed on.

Enter IDEN

IDEN

Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?
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
And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.

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
I’ll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swallow
my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.

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,
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?

CADE

Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was
broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I
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.

IDEN

Nay, it shall ne’er be said, while England stands,
That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent,
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,
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,
Let this my sword report what speech forbears.

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
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
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.

IDEN

Is’t Cade that I have slain, that monstrous traitor?
Sword, I will hollow thee for this thy deed,
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.

CADE

Iden, farewell, and be proud of thy victory. Tell
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.

Dies

IDEN

How much thou wrong’st me, heaven be my judge.
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,
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.

Exit

ACT V
SCENE I. Fields between Dartford and Blackheath.

Enter YORK, and his army of Irish, with drum and colours

YORK

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.
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:
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.

BUCKINGHAM

York, if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.

YORK

Humphrey of Buckingham, I accept thy greeting.
Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?

BUCKINGHAM

A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,
To know the reason of these arms in peace;
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.

YORK

[Aside] Scarce can I speak, my choler is so great:
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,
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;
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.

BUCKINGHAM

That is too much presumption on thy part:
But if thy arms be to no other end,
The king hath yielded unto thy demand:
The Duke of Somerset is in the Tower.

YORK

Upon thine honour, is he prisoner?

BUCKINGHAM

Upon mine honour, he is prisoner.

YORK

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,
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.

BUCKINGHAM

York, I commend this kind submission:
We twain will go into his highness’ tent.

Enter KING HENRY VI and Attendants

KING HENRY VI

Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us,
That thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?

YORK

In all submission and humility
York doth present himself unto your highness.

KING HENRY VI

Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?

YORK

To heave the traitor Somerset from hence,
And fight against that monstrous rebel Cade,
Who since I heard to be discomfited.

Enter IDEN, with CADE’S head

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,
The head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.

KING 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?

IDEN

I was, an’t like your majesty.

KING HENRY VI

How art thou call’d? and what is thy degree?

IDEN

Alexander Iden, that’s my name;
A poor esquire of Kent, that loves his king.

BUCKINGHAM

So please it you, my lord, ’twere not amiss
He were created knight for his good service.

KING HENRY VI

Iden, kneel down.

He kneels
Rise up a knight.
We give thee for reward a thousand marks,
And will that thou henceforth attend on us.

IDEN

May Iden live to merit such a bounty.
And never live but true unto his liege!

Rises

Enter QUEEN MARGARET and SOMERSET

KING 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.

YORK

How now! is Somerset at liberty?
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?
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,
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
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.

SOMERSET

O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York,
Of capital treason ‘gainst the king and crown;
Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace.

YORK

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
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.

Exit BUCKINGHAM

YORK

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
That for my surety will refuse the boys!

Enter EDWARD and RICHARD
See where they come: I’ll warrant they’ll
make it good.

Enter CLIFFORD and YOUNG CLIFFORD

QUEEN MARGARET

And here comes Clifford to deny their bail.

CLIFFORD

Health and all happiness to my lord the king!

Kneels

YORK

I thank thee, Clifford: say, what news with thee?
Nay, do not fright us with an angry look;
We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again;
For thy mistaking so, we pardon thee.

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?

KING HENRY VI

Ay, Clifford; a bedlam and ambitious humour
Makes him oppose himself against his king.

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;
His sons, he says, shall give their words for him.

YORK

Will you not, sons?

EDWARD

Ay, noble father, if our words will serve.

RICHARD

And if words will not, then our weapons shall.

CLIFFORD

Why, what a brood of traitors have we here!

YORK

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:
Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.

Enter the WARWICK and SALISBURY

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.

RICHARD

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,
If you oppose yourselves to match Lord Warwick.

CLIFFORD

Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!

YORK

Nay, we shall heat you thoroughly anon.

CLIFFORD

Take heed, lest by your heat you burn yourselves.

KING 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?
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?
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.

SALISBURY

My lord, I have consider’d with myself
The title of this most renowned duke;
And in my conscience do repute his grace
The rightful heir to England’s royal seat.

KING HENRY VI

Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?

SALISBURY

I have.

KING HENRY VI

Canst thou dispense with heaven for such an oath?

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,
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?

QUEEN MARGARET

A subtle traitor needs no sophister.

KING HENRY VI

Call Buckingham, and bid him arm himself.

YORK

Call Buckingham, and all the friends thou hast,
I am resolved for death or dignity.

CLIFFORD

The first I warrant thee, if dreams prove true.

WARWICK

You were best to go to bed and dream again,
To keep thee from the tempest of the field.

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,
Might I but know thee by thy household badge.

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
That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm,
Even to affright thee with the view thereof.

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.

YOUNG CLIFFORD

And so to arms, victorious father,
To quell the rebels and their complices.

RICHARD

Fie! charity, for shame! speak not in spite,
For you shall sup