Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry VI, Part 2 (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter Duke Humfrey and his Men in
1170Mourning Cloakes.
Glost. Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a Cloud:
And after Summer, euermore succeedes
Barren Winter, with his wrathfull nipping Cold;
So Cares and Ioyes abound, as Seasons fleet.
1175Sirs, what's a Clock?
Seru. Tenne, my Lord.
Glost. Tenne is the houre that was appointed me,
To watch the comming of my punisht Duchesse:
Vnneath may shee endure the Flintie Streets,
1180To treade them with her tender-feeling feet.
Sweet Nell, ill can thy Noble Minde abrooke
The abiect People, gazing on thy face,
With enuious Lookes laughing at thy shame,
That erst did follow thy prowd Chariot-Wheeles,
1185When thou didst ride in triumph through the streets.
But soft, I thinke she comes, and Ile prepare
My teare-stayn'd eyes, to see her Miseries.
Enter the Duchesse in a white Sheet, and a Taper
burning in her hand, with the Sherife
1190and Officers.
Seru. So please your Grace, wee'le take her from the
Sherife.
Gloster. No, stirre not for your liues, let her passe
by.
1195Elianor. Come you, my Lord, to see my open shame?
Now thou do'st Penance too. Looke how they gaze,
See how the giddy multitude doe point,
And nodde their heads, and throw their eyes on thee.
Ah Gloster, hide thee from their hatefull lookes,
1200And in thy Closet pent vp, rue my shame,
And banne thine Enemies, both mine and thine.
Glost. Be patient, gentle Nell, forget this griefe.
Elianor. Ah Gloster, teach me to forget my selfe:
For whilest I thinke I am thy married Wife,
1205And thou a Prince, Protector of this Land;
Me thinkes I should not thus be led along,
Mayl'd vp in shame, with Papers on my back,
And follow'd with a Rabble, that reioyce
To see my teares, and heare my deepe-set groanes.
1210The ruthlesse Flint doth cut my tender feet,
And when I start, the enuious people laugh,
And bid me be aduised how I treade.
Ah Humfrey, can I beare this shamefull yoake?
Trowest thou, that ere Ile looke vpon the World,
1215Or count them happy, that enioyes the Sunne?
No: Darke shall be my Light, and Night my Day.
To thinke vpon my Pompe, shall be my Hell.
Sometime Ile say, I am Duke Humfreyes Wife,
And he a Prince, and Ruler of the Land:
1220Yet so he rul'd, and such a Prince he was,
As he stood by, whilest I, his forlorne Duchesse,
Was made a wonder, and a pointing stock
To euery idle Rascall follower.
But be thou milde, and blush not at my shame,
1225Nor stirre at nothing, till the Axe of Death
Hang ouer thee, as sure it shortly will.
For Suffolke, he that can doe all in all
With her, that hateth thee and hates vs all,
And Yorke, and impious Beauford, that false Priest,
1230Haue all lym'd Bushes to betray thy Wings,
And flye thou how thou canst, they'le tangle thee.
But feare not thou, vntill thy foot be snar'd,
Nor neuer seeke preuention of thy foes.
Glost. Ah Nell, forbeare: thou aymest all awry.
1235I must offend, before I be attainted:
And had I twentie times so many foes,
And each of them had twentie times their power,
All these could not procure me any scathe,
So long as I am loyall, true, and crimelesse.
1240Would'st haue me rescue thee from this reproach?
Why yet thy scandall were not wipt away,
But I in danger for the breach of Law.
Thy greatest helpe is quiet, gentle Nell:
I pray thee sort thy heart to patience,
1245These few dayes wonder will be quickly worne.
Enter a Herald.
Her. I summon your Grace to his Maiesties Parliament,
Holden at Bury, the first of this next Moneth.
Glost. And my consent ne're ask'd herein before?
1250This is close dealing. Well, I will be there.
My Nell, I take my leaue: and Master Sherife,
Let not her Penance exceede the Kings Commission.
Sh. And't please your Grace, here my Commission stayes:
And Sir Iohn Stanly is appointed now,
1255To take her with him to the Ile of Man.
Glost. Must you, Sir Iohn, protect my Lady here?
Stanly. So am I giuen in charge, may't please your
Grace.
Glost. Entreat her not the worse, in that I pray
1260You vse her well: the World may laugh againe,
And I may liue to doe you kindnesse, if you doe it her.
And so Sir Iohn, farewell.
Elianor. What, gone my Lord, and bid me not fare-
well?
1265Glost. Witnesse my teares, I cannot stay to speake.
Exit Gloster.
Elianor. Art thou gone to? all comfort goe with thee,
For none abides with me: my Ioy, is Death;
Death, at whose Name I oft haue beene afear'd,
1270Because I wish'd this Worlds eternitie.
Stanley, I prethee goe, and take me hence,
I care not whither, for I begge no fauor;
Onely conuey me where thou art commanded.
Stanley. Why, Madame, that is to the Ile of Man,
1275There to be vs'd according to your State.
Elianor. That's bad enough, for I am but reproach:
And shall I then be vs'd reproachfully?
Stanley. Like to a Duchesse, and Duke Humfreyes Lady,
According to that State you shall be vs'd.
1280Elianor. Sherife farewell, and better then I fare,
Although thou hast beene Conduct of my shame.
Sherife. It is my Office, and Madame pardon me.
Elianor. I, I, farewell, thy Office is discharg'd:
Come Stanley, shall we goe?
1285Stanley. Madame, your Penance done,
Throw off this Sheet,
And goe we to attyre you for our Iourney.
Elianor. My shame will not be shifted with my Sheet:
No, it will hang vpon my richest Robes,
1290And shew it selfe, attyre me how I can.
Goe, leade the way, I long to see my Prison.
Exeunt