Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 2 (Folio 1, 1623)



132
The second Part of Henry the Sixt.

For what's more miserable then Discontent?
Ah Vnckle Humfrey, in thy face I see
The Map of Honor, Truth, and Loyaltie:
1505And yet, good Humfrey, is the houre to come,
That ere I prou'd thee false, or fear'd thy faith.
What lowring Starre now enuies thy estate?
That these great Lords, and Margaret our Queene,
Doe seeke subuersion of thy harmelesse Life.
1510Thou neuer didst them wrong, nor no man wrong:
And as the Butcher takes away the Calfe,
And binds the Wretch, and beats it when it strayes,
Bearing it to the bloody Slaughter-house;
Euen so remorselesse haue they borne him hence:
1515And as the Damme runnes lowing vp and downe,
Looking the way her harmelesse young one went,
And can doe naught but wayle her Darlings losse;
Euen so my selfe bewayles good Glosters case
With sad vnhelpefull teares, and with dimn'd eyes;
1520Looke after him, and cannot doe him good:
So mightie are his vowed Enemies.
His fortunes I will weepe, and 'twixt each groane,
Say, who's a Traytor? Gloster he is none.
Exit.
Queene. Free Lords:
1525Cold Snow melts with the Sunnes hot Beames:
Henry, my Lord, is cold in great Affaires,
Too full of foolish pittie: and Glosters shew
Beguiles him, as the mournefull Crocodile
With sorrow snares relenting passengers;
1530Or as the Snake, roll'd in a flowring Banke,
With shining checker'd slough doth sting a Child,
That for the beautie thinkes it excellent.
Beleeue me Lords, were none more wise then I,
And yet herein I iudge mine owne Wit good;
1535This Gloster should be quickly rid the World,
To rid vs from the feare we haue of him.
Card. That he should dye, is worthie pollicie,
But yet we want a Colour for his death:
'Tis meet he be condemn'd by course of Law.
1540Suff. But in my minde, that were no pollicie:
The King will labour still to saue his Life,
The Commons haply rise, to saue his Life;
And yet we haue but triuiall argument,
More then mistrust, that shewes him worthy death.
1545Yorke. So that by this, you would not haue him dye.
Suff. Ah Yorke, no man aliue, so faine as I.
Yorke. 'Tis Yorke that hath more reason for his death.
But my Lord Cardinall, and you my Lord of Suffolke,
Say as you thinke, and speake it from your Soules:
1550Wer't not all one, an emptie Eagle were set,
To guard the Chicken from a hungry Kyte,
As place Duke Humfrey for the Kings Protector?
Queene. So the poore Chicken should be sure of death.
Suff. Madame 'tis true: and wer't not madnesse then,
1555To make the Fox surueyor of the Fold?
Who being accus'd a craftie Murtherer,
His guilt should be but idly posted ouer,
Because his purpose is not executed.
No: let him dye, in that he is a Fox,
1560By nature prou'd an Enemie to the Flock,
Before his Chaps be stayn'd with Crimson blood,
As Humfrey prou'd by Reasons to my Liege.
And doe not stand on Quillets how to slay him:
Be it by Gynnes, by Snares, by Subtletie,
1565Sleeping, or Waking, 'tis no matter how,
So he be dead; for that is good deceit,
Which mates him first, that first intends deceit.
Queene. Thrice Noble Suffolke, 'tis resolutely spoke.
Suff. Not resolute, except so much were done,
1570For things are often spoke, and seldome meant,
But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,
Seeing the deed is meritorious,
And to preserue my Soueraigne from his Foe,
Say but the word, and I will be his Priest.
1575Card. But I would haue him dead, my Lord of Suffolke,
Ere you can take due Orders for a Priest:
Say you consent, and censure well the deed,
And Ile prouide his Executioner,
I tender so the safetie of my Liege.
1580Suff. Here is my Hand, the deed is worthy doing.
Queene. And so say I.
Yorke. And I: and now we three haue spoke it,
It skills not greatly who impugnes our doome.

Enter a Poste.

1585Post. Great Lords, from Ireland am I come amaine,
To signifie, that Rebels there are vp,
And put the Englishmen vnto the Sword.
Send Succours (Lords) and stop the Rage betime,
Before the Wound doe grow vncurable;
1590For being greene, there is great hope of helpe.
Card. A Breach that craues a quick expedient stoppe.
What counsaile giue you in this weightie cause?
Yorke. That Somerset be sent as Regent thither:
'Tis meet that luckie Ruler be imploy'd,
1595Witnesse the fortune he hath had in France.
Som. If Yorke, with all his farre-fet pollicie,
Had beene the Regent there, in stead of me,
He neuer would haue stay'd in France so long.
Yorke. No, not to lose it all, as thou hast done.
1600I rather would haue lost my Life betimes,
Then bring a burthen of dis-honour home,
By staying there so long, till all were lost.
Shew me one skarre, character'd on thy Skinne,
Mens flesh preseru'd so whole, doe seldome winne.
1605Qu. Nay then, this sparke will proue a raging fire,
If Wind and Fuell be brought, to feed it with:
No more, good Yorke; sweet Somerset be still.
Thy fortune, Yorke, hadst thou beene Regent there,
Might happily haue prou'd farre worse then his.
1610Yorke. What, worse then naught? nay, then a shame
take all.
Somerset. And in the number, thee, that wishest
shame.
Card. My Lord of Yorke, trie what your fortune is:
1615Th'vnciuill Kernes of Ireland are in Armes,
And temper Clay with blood of Englishmen.
To Ireland will you leade a Band of men,
Collected choycely, from each Countie some,
And trie your hap against the Irishmen?
1620Yorke. I will, my Lord, so please his Maiestie.
Suff. Why, our Authoritie is his consent,
And what we doe establish, he confirmes:
Then, Noble Yorke, take thou this Taske in hand.
Yorke. I am content: Prouide me Souldiers, Lords,
1625Whiles I take order for mine owne affaires.
Suff. A charge, Lord Yorke, that I will see perform'd.
But now returne we to the false Duke Humfrey.
Card. No more of him: for I will deale with him,
That henceforth he shall trouble vs no more:
1630And so breake off, the day is almost spent,
Lord Suffolke, you and I must talke of that euent.
Yorke.My