Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
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Henry VI, Part 2 (Folio 1, 1623)


Sound a Senet. Enter King, Queene, Cardinall, Suffolke,
Yorke, Buckingham, Salisbury, and Warwicke,
to the Parliament.
1295King. I muse my Lord of Gloster is not come:
'Tis not his wont to be the hindmost man,
What e're occasion keepes him from vs now.
Queene. Can you not see? or will ye not obserue
The strangenesse of his alter'd Countenance?
1300With what a Maiestie he beares himselfe,
How insolent of late he is become,
How prowd, how peremptorie, and vnlike himselfe.
We know the time since he was milde and affable,
And if we did but glance a farre-off Looke,
1305Immediately he was vpon his Knee,
That all the Court admir'd him for submission.
But meet him now, and be it in the Morne,
When euery one will giue the time of day,
He knits his Brow, and shewes an angry Eye,
1310And passeth by with stiffe vnbowed Knee,
Disdaining dutie that to vs belongs.
Small Curres are not regarded when they grynne,
But great men tremble when the Lyon rores,
And Humfrey is no little Man in England.
1315First note, that he is neere you in discent,
And should you fall, he is the next will mount.
Me seemeth then, it is no Pollicie,
Respecting what a rancorous minde he beares,
And his aduantage following your decease,
1320That he should come about your Royall Person,
Or be admitted to your Highnesse Councell.
By flatterie hath he wonne the Commons hearts:
And when he please to make Commotion,
'Tis to be fear'd they all will follow him.
1325Now 'tis the Spring, and Weeds are shallow-rooted,
Suffer them now, and they'le o're-grow the Garden,
And choake the Herbes for want of Husbandry.
The reuerent care I beare vnto my Lord,
Made me collect these dangers in the Duke.
1330If it be fond, call it a Womans feare:
Which feare, if better Reasons can supplant,
I will subscribe, and say I wrong'd the Duke.
My Lord of Suffolke, Buckingham, and Yorke,
Reproue my allegation, if you can,
1335Or else conclude my words effectuall.
Suff. Well hath your Highnesse seene into this Duke:
And had I first beene put to speake my minde,
I thinke I should haue told your Graces Tale.
The Duchesse, by his subornation,
1340Vpon my Life began her diuellish practises:
Or if he were not priuie to those Faults,
Yet by reputing of his high discent,
As next the King, he was successiue Heire,
And such high vaunts of his Nobilitie,
1345Did instigate the Bedlam braine-sick Duchesse,
By wicked meanes to frame our Soueraignes fall.
Smooth runnes the Water, where the Brooke is deepe,
And in his simple shew he harbours Treason.
The Fox barkes not, when he would steale the Lambe.
1350No, no, my Soueraigne, Glouster is a man
Vnsounded yet, and full of deepe deceit.
Card. Did he not, contrary to forme of Law,
Deuise strange deaths, for small offences done?
Yorke. And did he not, in his Protectorship,
1355Leuie great summes of Money through the Realme,
For Souldiers pay in France, and neuer sent it?
By meanes whereof, the Townes each day reuolted.
Buck. Tut, these are petty faults to faults vnknowne,
Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke Humfrey.
1360King. My Lords at once: the care you haue of vs,
To mowe downe Thornes that would annoy our Foot,
Is worthy prayse: but shall I speake my conscience,
Our Kinsman Gloster is as innocent,
From meaning Treason to our Royall Person,
1365As is the sucking Lambe, or harmelesse Doue:
The Duke is vertuous, milde, and too well giuen,
To dreame on euill, or to worke my downefall.
Qu. Ah what's more dangerous, then this fond affiance?
Seemes he a Doue? his feathers are but borrow'd,
1370For hee's disposed as the hatefull Rauen.
Is he a Lambe? his Skinne is surely lent him,
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:
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 Lord of Suffolke, within foureteene dayes
At Bristow I expect my Souldiers,
For there Ile shippe them all for Ireland.
1635Suff. Ile see it truly done, my Lord of Yorke.
Exeunt.
Manet Yorke.
Yorke. Now Yorke, or neuer, steele thy fearfull thoughts,
And change misdoubt to resolution;
Be that thou hop'st to be, or what thou art;
1640Resigne to death, it is not worth th' enioying:
Let pale-fac't feare keepe with the meane-borne man,
And finde no harbor in a Royall heart.
Faster thẽ Spring-time showres, comes thoght on thoght,
And not a thought, but thinkes on Dignitie.
1645My Brayne, more busie then the laboring Spider,
Weaues tedious Snares to trap mine Enemies.
Well Nobles, well: 'tis politikely done,
To send me packing with an Hoast of men:
I feare me, you but warme the starued Snake,
1650Who cherisht in your breasts, will sting your hearts.
'Twas men I lackt, and you will giue them me;
I take it kindly: yet be well assur'd,
You put sharpe Weapons in a mad-mans hands.
Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mightie Band,
1655I will stirre vp in England some black Storme,
Shall blowe ten thousand Soules to Heauen, or Hell:
And this fell Tempest shall not cease to rage,
Vntill the Golden Circuit on my Head,
Like to the glorious Sunnes transparant Beames,
1660Doe calme the furie of this mad-bred Flawe.
And for a minister of my intent,
I haue seduc'd a head-strong Kentishman,
Iohn Cade of Ashford,
To make Commotion, as full well he can,
1665Vnder the Title of Iohn Mortimer.
In Ireland haue I seene this stubborne Cade
Oppose himselfe against a Troupe of Kernes,
And fought so long, till that his thighes with Darts
Were almost like a sharpe-quill'd Porpentine:
1670And in the end being rescued, I haue seene
Him capre vpright, like a wilde Morisco,
Shaking the bloody Darts, as he his Bells.
Full often, like a shag-hayr'd craftie Kerne,
Hath he conuersed with the Enemie,
1675And vndiscouer'd, come to me againe,
And giuen me notice of their Villanies.
This Deuill here shall be my substitute;
For that Iohn Mortimer, which now is dead,
In face, in gate, in speech he doth resemble.
1680By this, I shall perceiue the Commons minde,
How they affect the House and Clayme of Yorke.
Say he be taken, rackt, and tortured;
I know, no paine they can inflict vpon him,
Will make him say, I mou'd him to those Armes.
1685Say that he thriue, as 'tis great like he will,
Why then from Ireland come I with my strength,
And reape the Haruest which that Rascall sow'd.
For Humfrey; being dead, as he shall be,
And Henry put apart: the next for me.
Exit.