Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 2 (Folio 1, 1623)



The second Part of Henry the Sixt.
131

For hee's enclin'd as is the rauenous Wolues.
Who cannot steale a shape, that meanes deceit?
Take heed, my Lord, the welfare of vs all,
1375Hangs on the cutting short that fraudfull man.

Enter Somerset.
Som. All health vnto my gracious Soueraigne.
King. Welcome Lord Somerset: What Newes from
France?
1380Som. That all your Interest in those Territories,
Is vtterly bereft you: all is lost.
King. Cold Newes, Lord Somerset: but Gods will be
done.
Yorke. Cold Newes for me: for I had hope of France,
1385As firmely as I hope for fertile England.
Thus are my Blossomes blasted in the Bud,
And Caterpillers eate my Leaues away:
But I will remedie this geare ere long,
Or sell my Title for a glorious Graue.

1390
Enter Gloucester.
Glost. All happinesse vnto my Lord the King:
Pardon, my Liege, that I haue stay'd so long.
Suff. Nay Gloster, know that thou art come too soone,
Vnlesse thou wert more loyall then thou art:
1395I doe arrest thee of High Treason here.
Glost. Well Suffolke, thou shalt not see me blush,
Nor change my Countenance for this Arrest:
A Heart vnspotted, is not easily daunted.
The purest Spring is not so free from mudde,
1400As I am cleare from Treason to my Soueraigne.
Who can accuse me? wherein am I guiltie?
Yorke. 'Tis thought, my Lord,
That you tooke Bribes of France,
And being Protector, stay'd the Souldiers pay,
1405By meanes whereof, his Highnesse hath lost France.
Glost. Is it but thought so?
What are they that thinke it?
I neuer rob'd the Souldiers of their pay,
Nor euer had one penny Bribe from France.
1410So helpe me God, as I haue watcht the Night,
I, Night by Night, in studying good for England.
That Doyt that ere I wrested from the King,
Or any Groat I hoorded to my vse,
Be brought against me at my Tryall day.
1415No: many a Pound of mine owne proper store,
Because I would not taxe the needie Commons,
Haue I dis-pursed to the Garrisons,
And neuer ask'd for restitution.
Card. It serues you well, my Lord, to say so much.
1420Glost. I say no more then truth, so helpe me God.
Yorke. In your Protectorship, you did deuise
Strange Tortures for Offendors, neuer heard of,
That England was defam'd by Tyrannie.
Glost. Why 'tis well known, that whiles I was Protector,
1425Pittie was all the fault that was in me:
For I should melt at an Offendors teares,
And lowly words were Ransome for their fault:
Vnlesse it were a bloody Murtherer,
Or foule felonious Theefe, that fleec'd poore passengers,
1430I neuer gaue them condigne punishment.
Murther indeede, that bloodie sinne, I tortur'd
Aboue the Felon, or what Trespas else.
Suff. My Lord, these faults are easie, quickly answer'd:
But mightier Crimes are lay'd vnto your charge,
1435Whereof you cannot easily purge your selfe.
I doe arrest you in his Highnesse Name,
And here commit you to my Lord Cardinall
To keepe, vntill your further time of Tryall.
King. My Lord of Gloster, 'tis my speciall hope,
1440That you will cleare your selfe from all suspence,
My Conscience tells me you are innocent.
Glost. Ah gracious Lord, these dayes are dangerous:
Vertue is choakt with foule Ambition,
And Charitie chas'd hence by Rancours hand;
1445Foule Subornation is predominant,
And Equitie exil'd your Highnesse Land.
I know, their Complot is to haue my Life:
And if my death might make this Iland happy,
And proue the Period of their Tyrannie,
1450I would expend it with all willingnesse.
But mine is made the Prologue to their Play:
For thousands more, that yet suspect no perill,
Will not conclude their plotted Tragedie.
Beaufords red sparkling eyes blab his hearts mallice,
1455And Suffolks cloudie Brow his stormie hate;
Sharpe Buckingham vnburthens with his tongue,
The enuious Load that lyes vpon his heart:
And dogged Yorke, that reaches at the Moone,
Whose ouer-weening Arme I haue pluckt back,
1460By false accuse doth leuell at my Life.
And you, my Soueraigne Lady, with the rest,
Causelesse haue lay'd disgraces on my head,
And with your best endeuour haue stirr'd vp
My liefest Liege to be mine Enemie:
1465I, all of you haue lay'd your heads together,
My selfe had notice of your Conuenticles,
And all to make away my guiltlesse Life.
I shall not want false Witnesse, to condemne me,
Nor store of Treasons, to augment my guilt:
1470The ancient Prouerbe will be well effected,
A Staffe is quickly found to beat a Dogge.
Card. My Liege, his rayling is intollerable.
If those that care to keepe your Royall Person
From Treasons secret Knife, and Traytors Rage,
1475Be thus vpbrayded, chid, and rated at,
And the Offendor graunted scope of speech,
'Twill make them coole in zeale vnto your Grace.
Suff. Hath he not twit our Soueraigne Lady here
With ignominious words, though Clarkely coucht?
1480As if she had suborned some to sweare
False allegations, to o'rethrow his state.
Qu. But I can giue the loser leaue to chide.
Glost. Farre truer spoke then meant: I lose indeede,
Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false,
1485And well such losers may haue leaue to speake.
Buck. Hee'le wrest the sence, and hold vs here all day.
Lord Cardinall, he is your Prisoner.
Card. Sirs, take away the Duke, and guard him sure.
Glost. Ah, thus King Henry throwes away his Crutch,
1490Before his Legges be firme to beare his Body.
Thus is the Shepheard beaten from thy side,
And Wolues are gnarling, who shall gnaw thee first.
Ah that my feare were false, ah that it were;
For good King Henry, thy decay I feare.
Exit Gloster.
1495King. My Lords, what to your wisdomes seemeth best,
Doe, or vndoe, as if our selfe were here.
Queene. What, will your Highnesse leaue the Parlia-
ment?
King. I Margaret: my heart is drown'd with griefe,
1500Whose floud begins to flowe within mine eyes;
My Body round engyrt with miserie:
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