Henry VI Part 2 simplified

Synopsis

Life changes abruptly for the young Henry VI, now that he’s married to the beautiful Margaret of Anjou.  His wife Margaret was the daughter of Reignier, a well-connected, but relatively poor French nobleman.  With little if any courtship, Henry VI and Margaret were married right at the end of the last play.  William de la Pole, known here as Suffolk, the dashing and charismatic Englishman with ambitious plans, had successfully promoted Margaret to become the young king’s queen.  The married Suffolk had two motives in mind as he was promoting Margaret. He had just met her, had fallen for her, and wanted to keep her nearby.  He also felt he would have more influence over public policy if she became the king’s wife.  At the time of their marriage she naively believed that the English king would be as charming as Suffolk.  At the time Suffolk was promoting Margaret, the king’s uncle Humphrey was pressing his own case, reminding the king that he had earlier agreed to marry the daughter of the earl of Armagnac, another French nobleman.  Having cut some political deals, Suffolk prevailed, overriding the protests of the king’s uncle Humphrey. 

This play opens on a contentious note when Suffolk presents Henry VI’s young queen to a group of English nobility.  Humphrey immediately offers a stinging rebuke of the marriage, “arranged” for the young king, a rebuke supported by Salisbury, Warwick and York, all nobles and all major players in this play.  Humphrey, generally referred to in the play as Gloucester, had been appointed by the king’s father (Henry V) to become the boy’s Protector in the event of his death.  He therefore became the young king’s Protector when the boy became king, the young Henry VI at the time being eight months old. 

Humphrey, generally referred to as Gloucester, is in particular upset with Suffolk whom he says “hath given the Duchy of Anjou and Maine unto the poor King Reignier.”  This aggressive political-power-play gets heated. The young king is pious and naïve.  He has dismissed Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of York, as his Regent of France, York being the leader of the white rose contingent.  He replaced him with Somerset, one of the young king’s uncles through John of Gaunt’s Beaufort line and the leader of the red rose contingent.  York and Somerset had been at each other’s throat in the last play. 

Gloucester’s wife is the Duchess. She, the queen, Suffolk, Winchester (the Cardinal), York and Somerset are talented and ambitious people, and each has an agenda.  Gloucester being, as we say, the king’s only living uncle in the Legitimate line, is next in line to be king, and prospective to-be-kings are always easy targets.  Major constituencies develop; the king, Gloucester and Somerset being one; Suffolk, the queen and Cardinal Winchester another. York does all he can to build support in his effort to in due course be named king.  Salisbury and his son Warwick are the two Nevilles York is recruiting; both in the words of Suffolk being “no simple peers.” The Nevilles are major players in the Beaufort line.  Correctly figuring that he has the support of these two Nevilles, York further develops his strategy to gain the crown, saying to himself “A day will come when York shall claim his own.” The queen and the Duchess are ferociously competitive, this being a tough crowd all the way around.  The War of the Roses, the conflict that quietly began in a London garden in Part 1 between Somerset and York, continues to grow. 

John Hume, a priest, in the “employ” of Suffolk and the Cardinal, arranges for Margery Jourdain, a witch, and Bolingbroke, a conjurer, to visit the Duchess in her garden. These two have “mystical powers” and are there to help the Duchess gain more insight into her future. The two of them cause a “Spirit” to rise from the earth. The Spirit then offers prophecies about the king and about Suffolk and Somerset.  She pays Hume as he is about to leave, saying “Here, Hume, take this reward: make merry, man.” York and Buckingham enter and have her arrested.  Buckingham then fatefully tells the king, queen and Cardinal about the Duchess and her indiscretions with conjurers and the like.  As with soothsayers and witches in other plays, Shakespeare has the Spirit accurately and mysteriously foretell happenings.  The Duchess will find herself in big trouble.  Part of the problem for the Duchess is Queen Margaret, who lets her good friend Suffolk know how disappointed she is with her husband (the king) and with some of those around him.  When Suffolk tries to comfort her, she says “Not all these lords do vex me half so much as that proud dame the Lord Protector’s wife (the Duchess).”

The wily York invites Salisbury and his son Warwick to dinner where he provides them with a powerful refresher course in family history, convincing them that through his mother’s line he justifiably should be king. York’s wife is Cicely, Salisbury’s sister and Warwick’s aunt. These two Nevilles agree to York’s argument and pledge him their allegiance.

Meanwhile, for consorting with witches and conjurers, the king banishes the Duchess of Gloucester to the Isle of Man. In protest, Gloucester resigns his role as the king’s Protector, the king now becoming his own Protector.  The Duchess is shamefully led through the streets.  She prophetically warns her husband of the dangerous-for-him motives of some members of the King’s Council, a threat he naively dismisses. He disappointingly puts up little fight to protest his wife’s banishment.  Gloucester is like his grandfather’s brother York, back in the times of Richard II; his playing by the book, supporting his country’s monarch, regardless of other issues. 

The King’s Council convenes at the Parliament building, and Gloucester arrives late.  Before Gloucester’s arrival, Suffolk, Winchester and York had claimed among other accusations that Gloucester has unjustly profiteered as the king’s Protector. The queen suggests to the king that Gloucester represents a threat, he being, as we’ve said, next in line to be king. When Gloucester does arrive, Suffolk says “I do arrest thee of high treason here.”  The often weak king offers Gloucester surprisingly little support, saying “‘tis my special hope that you will clear yourself,” Gloucester having supported the king time-after-time, being his only living uncle in the Legitimate line.  Gloucester gallantly lashes out at the council and at Winchester, Suffolk, Buckingham, and York in particular, telling the king “I know their conspiracy is to have my life.” Gloucester is taken away and soon murdered. The Duchess was on target with her warnings.  The king mourns Gloucester’s death.  The queen cries out at the king “Is all thy comfort shut in Gloucester’s tomb.”  Having seen the strangled Gloucester on his death bed, Warwick verbally attacks Suffolk. Warwick becomes a major player in the future histories.  The “common people,” those in the streets, led by Salisbury and Warwick, claim mightily that Suffolk and the Cardinal (Winchester) are guilty of Gloucester’s murder.  The king banishes Suffolk.  Suffolk and the queen, long having had an intimate relationship, have a tender moment before he has to leave the country. Winchester soon dies, acknowledging his guilt, sort of.  Suffolk is killed at sea.

At about this point he king learns that the Irish are once again rebelling and asks York to lead an effort to quell them. York accepts the assignment, using the opportunity to form a plan to advance his personal objectives, figuring he can best position himself by leading the king’s forces in Ireland. While in Ireland, York engineers a plan to have one Jack Cade create some distractions in London.  Cade’s “rebellion” becomes a class issue; the lettered versus the craftsmen.  It’s here where Dick the butcher famously says “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”  It’s here where Shakespeare adds a little lightness, offsetting the deaths of Gloucester, Suffolk and the Cardinal. 

Lord Say, a loyal-to-the-king noble, soon enters.  Lord Say unrealistically believes that he himself can quell Cade’s rebellion.  Jack Cade captures him and has him taken away. Later, Buckingham and Clifford offer to pardon Cade if he’ll stop his rebellion, a pardon he rejects.  Cade flees.  A starving Jack Cade soon enters Alexander Iden’s garden looking for something to eat.  Not knowing who he is, Iden challenges him; they fight; a weak and famished Cade loses quickly and dies.  Meanwhile York returns from Ireland with his army and with plans to challenge the king.  He boldly confronts the king directly, suggesting he replace him.

At St. Albans, Somerset enters and attempts to arrest York.  The action is quick here. It’s the site of the only actual battle in the War of the Roses. Old Clifford enters, Old Clifford being a nobleman very loyal to the king.  Salisbury and Warwick let the king know that they support York’s cause, infuriating the king.  Old Clifford and York fight; Old Clifford falls and dies.  Richard, one of York’s sons, fights with Somerset, York’s long time red-rose-bearing nemesis.  Somerset is killed.  These two deaths, Old Clifford and Somerset, set the stage, so to speak, for furious action in the next play between Young Clifford and Richard, York’s fourth son.  

Young Clifford pledges that he will avenge his father’s death by getting even when “I meet an infant of the house of York.”  The king, queen and Young Clifford, having lost at St. Albans, quickly head for London.  The play ends with Warwick, Salisbury, York and his son Richard planning to intercept the king and others as they flee to London.  But they fail to catch up with the king and his wife.

Principal Characters

Cardinal.  The Cardinal is Winchester, the Cardinal of Winchester, also known as Cardinal Beaufort or as just Beaufort.  He is one of the king’s great uncles in the Beaufort line, ambitious for a higher role in the scheme of things.  He is never very loyal to the king, acknowledging on his deathbed of his sins against the state.

Duchess.  The Duchess is Eleanor, the ambitious wife of the Duke of Gloucester, the king’s only living uncle in the Legitimate line.  The duke is Humphrey, and to him, she is Nell.  She is advised (misled) by Margery Jourdain, a witch, Roger Bolingbroke, a conjurer, and Hume, a priest.  Hume introduces her to Bolingbroke, who introduces her to a “Spirit,” who offers prophecies; prophecies which end up being true.  She is exiled to the Isle of Man for being in the company of a sorcerer.

Gloucester.  Gloucester is the king’s uncle Humphrey, named Protector of the realm by the King’s father, Henry V.  As Protector, he is to act on behalf of the king, protecting the young king and the state.  He is competent, loyal and honorable, but being first in line to succeed the king is a political burden for him, as it would be for anyone in that position. 

Henry VI.  Henry VI is king.   His father was Henry V; his grandfather, Henry IV and his great-grandfather, John of Gaunt, King Edward III’s fourth son.  They are of the House of Lancaster, the Legitimate line.  Their followers wear red roses.  He was named king at age eight months, certainly never seeking the title.

Queen.  The king calls her Meg.  She is Margaret, daughter of Reignier, the French King of Naples.  Reignier retained all rights to the French counties Anjou and Maine, a condition granted to him by Suffolk when Reignier offered his daughter to be the English king’s bride, an issue that haunts many in England throughout the play.   She is loyal to the state, but her heart remains with Suffolk.  Late in the play York questions the Queen’s parentage.

Salisbury.  Salisbury is Richard Neville, the Earl of Salisbury, John of Gaunt’s daughter’s grandson-in-law.  Warwick (The Kingmaker) is Salisbury’s son.  John of Gaunt’s daughter, Joan Beaufort, had married Ralph Neville, known in earlier plays as Westmorland, the “first” of the Nevilles.  Salisbury’s father, Thomas, also the Earl of Salisbury, had died at Orleans in Henry VI Part 1.  A point here is that Salisbury and his son Warwick are important figures in the Neville’s line, a family that plays a big role in these histories.

Somerset.  He is Edmund Beaufort, one of John of Gaunt’s great-grandsons in the Beaufort line, and loyal to the Lancaster side of this powerful family.  He and Richard Plantagenet (York) began the War of the Roses in a quiet garden in London in Part 1.  He is the Second Duke of Somerset and one of the king’s uncles, but not the close uncle Gloucester is.   He dies late in the play in a duel with York’s physically impaired son Richard, an introduction of sorts to events to be disclosed in the next history.

SuffolkSuffolk is William de la Pole who actively entered this series of plays late in Part 1 with a major role, somehow meeting in France the beautiful Margaret, the daughter of Reignier.  He successfully persuaded the youthful Henry VI that she should be his wife.  Suffolk and Queen Margaret had a continuing romantic affair from the time they met right up and through the murder of Gloucester. 

Warwick.  Warwick is Salisbury’s talented and outspoken son.  He is, as is his father, a Richard Neville.  Later he becomes known as “The Kingmaker.”  He’s a heavyweight.  He has some of the characteristics of Hotspur and the French Dauphin featured in earlier plays.

York.  York is Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, husband to Cecily Neville, Salisbury’s sister and Warwick’s aunt.  He is the only grandson of Edmund Langley, Edward III’s fifth son. His father, the Earl of Cambridge, had married Anne Mortimer, the great-granddaughter of Lionel, Edward III’s third son.  Lionel was John of Gaunt’s older brother. Edmund Langley, the original duke of York, was John of Gaunt’s younger brother.  York is quite a talent and certainly royalty.  He claims his right to be king through his mother’s line, his connection to Edward III’s third son, but he is also a direct descendent through his father to Edward III’s fifth son. He is the father of four sons and a daughter; two of the sons becoming England’s kings.  The queen claims that York’s wife is not the mother of his sons.  His followers wear white roses.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • The King, the Queen and all of the king’s men are on stage.
  • SUFFOLK
  • As agent to your Excellence, to marry Princess Margaret for your Grace, so, in the famous ancient city Tours, I have performed my task and was espoused, and in sight of England and her lordly peers, deliver up my title in the Queen to your most gracious hands, the happiest gift that ever marquess gave, the fairest Queen that ever King received.
  • KING
  • Suffolk, arise. Welcome Queen Margaret. Thou hast given me in this beauteous face a world of early blessings to my soul, if sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
  • QUEEN
  • Great King of England and my gracious lord, the mutual conference that my mind hath had with you, makes me the bolder to salute my King with terms, such as my wit affords and overjoy of heart doth minister.
  • KING
  • Her sight did ravish; but her grace in speech makes me from wond’ring fall to weeping joys. Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.
  • ALL KNEELING
  • Long live Queen Margaret.
  • QUEEN
  • We thank you all.
  • SUFFOLK
  • My Lord Protector, here are the articles of contracted peace between our sovereign and the French King Charles, for eighteen months concluded by consent.
  • GLOUCESTER READS
  • “It is agreed between the French King Charles and William de la Pole, Marquess of Suffolk, ambassador of Henry King of England, that the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier King of Naples, and crown her Queen of England. Item, that the Duchy of Anjou and the County of Maine shall be released and delivered to the King her father-----“
  • He lets the paper fall.
  • KING
  • Uncle, how now!
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Pardon me, gracious lord
  • I can read no further.
  • 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
  • They please us well. Lord Marquess, kneel down: we here create thee the first Duke of Suffolk. 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 this great favor done, in entertainment to my princely queen.
  • The king, queen and Suffolk exit.
  • 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.
  •  
  •  
  • Gloucester to King’s Council
  •  
  • What of my brother Henry in the wars,
  • There lodged in open fields, as he conquers
  • France, his inheritance. Did my brother
  • John to th’ end toil to keep what Henry
  • Got? And those deep scars received when you were
  • In France and Normandy? And did not we,
  • Uncle Beaufort with the Council of the
  • Realm, work long, debating how France might be
  • Kept in awe? Shall these labors and honors
  • End? Shall Henry’s win, Bedford’s o’erseeing,
  • Our counsel die, ‘long with your deeds of wars
  • Gone by? Fatal this marriage, canceling
  • Your fame, defacing monuments within,
  • Undoing all, as all had never been?
  • CARDINAL
  • Nephew, what means this passionate discourse? France, ‘tis ours, and we will keep it still.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • 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
  • But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
  • WARWICK
  • Anjou and Maine! Myself did win them both. Are the cities that I got with wounds delivered up again with peaceful words?
  • YORK
  • France should have torn and rent my very heart before I would have yielded to this league.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • She should have stayed in France and starved in France.
  • CARDINAL
  • My lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot.
  • 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. Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone, I prophesied France will be lost ere long.
  • He exits.
  • 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. I fear me, lords, he will be found a dangerous Protector.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Why should he, then, protect our sovereign, he being of age to govern of himself? We’ll soon oust Duke Humphrey from his seat.
  • CARDINAL
  • This weighty business will not brook delay; I’ll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.
  • He exits.
  • SOMERSET
  • Cousin of Buckingham, let us watch the haughty Cardinal. If Gloucester be displaced, he’ll be Protector.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Or thou or I, Somerset, will be Protector, despite Duke Humphrey or the Cardinal.
  • Buckingham and Somerset exit.
  •  
  •  
  • Salisbury to Warwick and York
  •  
  • As they jostle with this King at the helm,
  • Doth behoove us to labor for the realm,
  • These laboring for their own preferment.
  • Gloucester bears himself as a gentleman,
  • Yet we’ve seen the haughty Cardinal bent
  • More like a soldier than as a churchman.
  • Warwick, my son, generous as thou art
  • With thy plainness, thou hast won a great part
  • Of the commons’ favor, excepting good
  • Duke Humphrey. And valiant brother York, you,
  • With late exploits done in France, hath withstood
  • Ambition. For the public good and to
  • Cherish Humphrey’s deeds, let’s together band
  • 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.
  • Warwick and Salisbury exit.
  • 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.
  •  
  •  
  • York to himself, No. 1
  •  
  • The peers agreed to Suffolk’s dealings. The
  • King was pleased to change two dukedoms for a
  • Duke’s daughter. I can’t blame them. What is ‘t
  • To them? ‘Tis thine they give away and not
  • Their own. So Richard must sit and fret ‘t
  • And bite his tongue, while his own lands are bought
  • And sold. A day will come when I will spy
  • Advantage and claim the king’s crown. York, lie
  • Still awhile, till time do serve. When Humphrey
  • Is at odds with peers and Henry’s in love
  • With England’s dear-bought queen, then bearing the
  • Arms of York to grapple with the House of
  • Lancaster, whose rule hath pulled England down,
  • I’ll against his will make him yield the crown.
  • He exits.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Duke Humphrey and his wife, Eleanor, enter. She is known as the Duchess.
  • DUCHESS
  • Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth, gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight? Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold. What, is’t too short? I’ll lengthen it with mine.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord, banish the canker of ambitious thoughts. My troublous drams this night doth make me sad.
  • DUCHESS
  • What dreamed my lord?
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Methought this staff was broke in twain, by, as I think, the Cardinal. And on the pieces of the broken wand were placed the heads of Somerset and Suffolk.
  • DUCHESS
  • Tut, this was nothing but an argument. But list to me, my Humphrey, methought I sat in the cathedral church of Westminster, and in that fair chair where kings and queens were crowned, Henry and Dame Margaret kneeled to me, and on my head set the diadem.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Nay, Eleanor then must I chide outright. Art thou not second woman in the realm and the Protector’s wife, beloved of him? Let me hear no more!
  • DUCHESS
  • What, my lord! Next time I’ll keep my dreams to myself and not be checked.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Nay, be not angry.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • My Lord Protector, ‘tis his Highness’ pleasure you do prepare to ride unto St. Albans.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • I go. Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
  • DUCHESS
  • Yes, my good lord. I’ll follow presently.
  • Gloucester and the Messenger exit.
  • DUCHESS
  • Follow I must. Were I a man, I would remove these tedious stumbling-blocks and smooth my way upon their headless necks.
  • Hume, a priest, enters.
  • HUME
  • Jesus preserve your royal Majesty!
  • DUCHESS
  • What sayst 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 sayst thou, Man? Hast thou as yet conferee 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 underground.
  • DUCHESS
  • It is enough. We’ll see these things effected to the full. Here, Hume, take this reward. Make merry, man.
  • She exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Hume to himself
  •  
  • I’ll make merry with the Duchess’ gold.
  • But first Sir John Hume, say not a word; fold
  • Tight your lips. Dame Eleanor gives gold to
  • Bring the witch; gold be gold, the devil she
  • Be. The rich Cardinal and Suffolk do
  • Furnish me with their gold having hired me
  • To undermine the Duchess, knowing her
  • Aspiring ambition. Just their broker
  • Am I in this scheme, where they in this land
  • Are but a pair of crafty knaves. Hume sees
  • ‘Twill be the Duchess’ undoing, and
  • Her disgrace will be the cause of Humphrey’s
  • Fall. So, however, this is how it stands.
  • For my knavery, the gold ends in my hands.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Thomas Horner is an armorer and Peter is his man. Peter and a petitioner are on stage at the Palace in London. Suffolk and the Queen enter.
  • SUFFOLK
  • How now, fellow! Wouldst anything with me?
  • PETITIONER
  • I pray, my lord, pardon me. I took ye for my Lord Protector.
  • QUEEN READING
  • “To my Lord Protector!” Are your supplications to His Lordship?
  • SUFFOLK
  • What’s here! He reads: “Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the commons of Melford.” How now, sir knave!
  • PETITIONER
  • Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner of our whole township.
  • PETER
  • Against my master, Thomas Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful heir to the crown.
  • QUEEN
  • What sayst thou? Did the Duke of York say he was rightful heir to the crown?
  • PETER
  • No, forsooth: my master said that he was, and that the King was an usurper.
  • SUFFOLK
  • We’ll hear more of your matter before the King.
  • Peter and the Petitioner exit.
  • QUEEN
  • Away, base wretches! Suffolk, let them go.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen to Suffolk, No. 1
  •  
  • Am I, Lord Suffolk, a queen in title,
  • Subject to a duke? Is Great Britain’s isle
  • Governed thus? Shall the king be a pupil
  • Under the surly Gloucester? I tell thee,
  • Pole, when in the city of Tours, thou stole
  • The French ladies’ hearts. I thought King Henry
  • Had resembled thee, but I find him less,
  • Where all his mind is bent to holiness,
  • To say Ave Maries, champion
  • The apostles and to repeat holy
  • Saws of sacred writ; his loves are brazen
  • Pictures of canonized saints. I would the
  • College of Cardinals, for me alone,
  • Would choose him Pope and carry him to Rome.
  • 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
  • Besides 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 Nevilles: Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers.
  • QUEEN
  • Not all these lords do vex me half so much as that proud dame the Lord Protector’s wife. She bears a duke’s revenues on her back, and in her heart she scorns our poverty. 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, although we fancy not the Cardinal, yet must we join with him and with the lords, till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace. So, one by one, we’ll weed them all at last, and you yourself shall steer the happy helm.
  • The King, Gloucester, the Duchess, Cardinal, Buckingham, York, Salisbury and Warwick enter.
  • KING
  • For my part, noble lords, I care not which: or Somerset or York, all’s one to me.
  • WARWICK
  • 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.
  • SALISBURY
  • Peace, son! Show some reason, Buckingham, why Somerset should be preferred in this.
  • QUEEN
  • 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
  • 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?
  • CARDINAL
  • 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.
  • QUEEN
  • The sale of offices and towns in France, if they were known, would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
  • Gloucester exits. The Queen hits the Duchess in the ear.
  • DUCHESS
  • Could I come near your beauty with my nails, I’d set my Ten Commandments in your face.
  • KING
  • Sweet aunt, be quiet; ‘twas against her will.
  • DUCHESS
  • Against her will! 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.
  • She exits.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Lord Cardinal, I will follow Eleanor.
  • He exits. Gloucester enters.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Now, lords, my choler being overblown with walking once about the quadrangle, I come to talk of commonwealth affairs. God in mercy so deal with my soul as I in duty love my king and country. I say, my sovereign, York is most suitable to be your regent in the realm of France.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Before we make election, give me leave to show some reason that York is most unsuitable of any man.
  • YORK
  • I’ll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unsuitable. First, 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, famished, and lost.
  • WARWICK
  • That can I witness. A fouler fact did never traitor in the land commit.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Peace, headstrong Warwick!
  • WARWICK
  • Why should I hold my peace?
  • Thomas Horner and Peter enter, guarded.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Because here is a man accused of treason. Pray God the duke of York excuse himself!
  • YORK
  • Doth anyone accuse York for a traitor?
  • KING
  • What meanst thou, Suffolk?
  • SUFFOLK
  • Please it your Majesty, this is the man whose words were these: that Richard duke of York was rightful heir unto the English crown, and that your Majesty was an usurper.
  • KING
  • Say, man, were thee thy words.
  • HORNER
  • And’t shall please your Majesty, I never said nor thought any such matter.
  • PETER
  • By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak them to me in the garret one night.
  • YORK
  • 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. Do not cast away an honest man for a villain’s accusation.
  • KING
  • Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?
  • GLOUCESTER
  • This doom, my lord, if I may judge; let Somerset be Regent o’er the French, because in York this breeds suspicion. And let these have a day appointed them for single combat in convenient place.
  • KING
  • Then be it so, my Lord of Somerset. We make your Grace Regent over the French.
  • SOMERSET
  • I humbly thank your royal Majesty.
  • HORNER
  • And I accept the combat willingly.
  • HORNER
  • And I accept the combat willingly.
  • PETER
  • Alas, my lord, I cannot fight. O Lord, my heart!
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Sirrah, or you must fight, or else be hanged.
  • KING
  • Away with them to prison; the day of combat shall be the last of the next month.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • The scene is Gloucester’s garden where Margery Jourdain, Southwell and Hume (both priests), and Bolingbroke are present. The Duchess enters.
  • DUCHESS
  • Welcome all; to this business the sooner the better.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Patience, good lady; wizards know their times. Madam, sit you and fear not.
  • Lightening strikes and thunder claps. The Spirit rises.
  • SPIRIT
  • Ask what thou wilt.
  • BOLINGBROKE READS
  • “First, of the King; what shall of him become?”
  • 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. Have done, for more I hardly can endure.
  • Spirit exits. York and Buckingham with their guards break in.
  • YORK
  • Lay hands upon these traitors and their trash. My Lord Protector will see you well rewarded for these good deserts.
  • DUCHESS
  • Injurious Duke, that threatest where’s no cause.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Away with them! Let them be clapped up close, and kept asunder. You, madam, shall with us.
  • The Duchess, Hume, Southwell and Jourdain exit, guarded.
  • YORK
  • Let’s see the Devil’s writ. What have we here?
  • YORK READS
  • “The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose, but him outlive and die a violent death.” 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.”
  • YORK
  • The King is now in progress toward St. Albans, with him the husband of this lovely lady; a sorry breakfast for my Lord Protector.
  • A servingman enters.
  • YORK
  • Invite my lords of Salisbury and Warwick to sup with me tomorrow night.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • The King, Queen, Gloucester, Cardinal and Suffolk enter.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.
  • QUEEN
  • And thy ambition, Gloucester.
  • KING
  • 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
  • Assemble no followers to support you.
  • CARDINAL ASIDE TO GLOUCESTER
  • Ay, this evening, on the east side of the grove.
  • KING
  • How now, my lords!
  • CARDINAL ASIDE TO GLOUCESTER
  • Come with thy two-hand sword.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • True, uncle.
  • KING
  • Why, how now, uncle Gloucester.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.
  • KING
  • The winds grow high. How irksome is this music to my heart! When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
  • Buckingham enters.
  • KING
  • What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold. A sort of naughty persons, under the countenance and confederacy of Lady Eleanor, the Protector’s wife, have practiced dangerously against your state, dealing with witches and conjurers; whom we have apprehended in the fact; raising up wicked spirits from underground, demanding of King Henry’s life and death.
  • CARDINAL ASIDE TO GLOUCESTER
  • This news, I think, hath turned 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 vanquished all my powers; and , vanquished as I am, I yield to thee.
  • KING
  • O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones.
  • QUEEN
  • Gloucester, see here the disgrace of thy nest.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Madam, to Heaven I do appeal and, for my wife, noble she is, but if she have forgot honor and virtue and conversed with such as, like to defile nobility, I banish her my company and give her as a prey to law and shame, that hath dishonored Gloucester’s honest name.
  • KING
  • Well, tomorrow toward London back again, to look into this business thoroughly.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • York, Salisbury and Warwick are in York’s garden.
  • YORK
  • Now, my good lords of Salisbury and Warwick, our simple summer ended, give me leave in this close walk to satisfy myself in requesting your opinion of my title, which is infallible, to England’s crown.
  • SALISBURY
  • My lord, I long to hear it at full.
  • WARWICK
  • York, begin; and if the claim be good, the Nevilles are thy subjects to command.
  •  
  •  
  • York to Salisbury and Warwick, No. 1
  •  
  • My lords, seven sons had Edward the Third.
  • First, the Prince of Wales, the Black Prince, Edward.
  • Second, William of Hatfield died for want
  • Of an heir; the third, Lionel, Duke of
  • Clarence, sans a son; next was John of Gaunt,
  • The Duke of Lancaster; the fifth, Duke of
  • York, Edmund Langley; Thomas of Woodstock
  • Was the sixth; William, the last from this rock.
  • The Black Prince died before his father took
  • Ill and died, leaving Richard, his only
  • Son to reign as rightful king. Bolingbroke,
  • Gaunt’s son, deposed Richard, unrightfully;
  • Seizing the realm; sending him to Pomfret
  • Where an unkind death harmless Richard met.
  • 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 reigned.
  • SALISBURY
  • But William of Hatfield died without an heir.
  •  
  •  
  • York to Salisbury and Warwick, No. 2
  •  
  • The third son, Duke of Clarence, had issue,
  • Philippa, who married Edmund, who
  • Had issue, Roger, Earl of March. Roger
  • Had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
  • Edmund’s eldest sister, Anne, my mother,
  • Being heir unto England’s crown before
  • Gaunt’s son, married the Earl of Cambridge, son
  • Of the Duke of York. My mother’s the one
  • Through whom I claim the kingdom. She was heir
  • To Roger, Earl of March, the son of my
  • Great-grandfather, Edmund, who married fair
  • Philippa, Lionel’s sole daughter. I
  • Am king, if the issue of the elder
  • Son succeed to the throne ere the younger.
  • WARWICK
  • What plain proceedings 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, fir 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 honor of his birthright to the crown.
  • SALISBURY AND WARWICK
  • Long live our sovereign Richard, England’s king!
  • YORK
  • We thank you, lords. But I am not your king till I be crowned and that my sword be stained with heartblood of the house of Lancaster; and that’s no suddenly to be performed, but with advice and silent secrecy. Do you as I do in these dangerous days; wink at the Duke of Suffolk’s insolence, as Beaufort’s pride, at Somerset’s ambition, at Buckingham and all the crew of the, 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.
  • WARWICK
  • My heart assures me that the Earl of Warwick shall one day make the Duke of York a king.
  • YORK
  • And, Neville, this I do assure myself: Richard shall live to make the Earl of Warwick the greatest man in England but the King.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • The King, Queen, Gloucester, York, Suffolk and Salisbury are on stage. The Dutchess, Margery Jourdain, Southwell, Hume and Bolingbroke enter, guarded.
  • KING
  • Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester’s wife. In sight of God and us your guilt is great. The witch in Smithfield shall be burned to ashes, and you three shall be strangled on the gallows. You, madam, for you are more nobly born, shall, after three days’ open penance done, live in the Isle of Man.
  • DUCHESS
  • Welcome is banishment; welcome were my death.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • I cannot justify whom the law condemns.
  • The Duchess and the other prisoners exit, guarded.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • I beseech your Majesty, give me leave to go.
  • KING
  • Stay, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Ere thou go, give up thy staff. Henry will to himself Protector be. And go in peace, Humphrey, no less beloved than when thou wert Protector to thy king.
  • 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. Farewell, good King.
  • He exits.
  • 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 armorer and his apprentice.
  • KING
  • Here let them end it; and God defend the right!
  • YORK
  • I never saw a fellow more daunted or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant, the servant of this armorer, my lords.
  • NEIGHBOR
  • Here, neighbor Horner, I drink to you in a cup of sack; and fear not, neighbor, you shall do well enough.
  • APPRENTICE
  • Here, Peter, I drink to thee, and be not afraid. I thank you all. Drink and pray for me, I pray you; for I think I have taken my last draught in this world.
  • SALISBURY
  • Come, leave your drinking and fall to blows.
  • HORNER
  • Masters, I am come hither to prove him a knave and myself an honest man.
  • They fight and Peter strikes him down.
  • HORNER
  • Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.
  • He dies.
  • PETER
  • O Peter, thou hast prevailed in right!
  • KING
  • Go, take hence that traitor from our sight, for by his death we do perceive his guilt. Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • Gloucester and his men enter on a street in London.
  • 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?
  • SERVANT
  • Ten, my lord.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Ten is the hour that was appointed me to watch the coming of my punished duchess. Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook the abject people gazing on thy face, with envious looks laughing at thy shame. But soft! I think she comes, and I’ll prepare my tear-stained eyes to see her miseries.
  • The Dutchess enters with the Sheriff.
  • 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? 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
  • Whilst I think I am thy married wife, and thou a prince, Protector of this land, methinks I should not thus be led along, mailed up in shame and followed with a rabble that rejoice to see my tears and hear my deep-fetched groans. Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?
  •  
  •  
  • Duchess to Gloucester
  •  
  • Someday I’ll say I am Duke Humphrey’s wife,
  • A prince and ruler in this great but strife
  • Ridden land, yet as he ruled he stood by
  • Whilst his forlorn wife was made a wonder
  • And a pointing-stick to every wry
  • Rascal. But Gloucester, neither blush nor stir
  • At nothing ‘till death’s ax hang over thee,
  • For Suffolk and she hateth thee and me,
  • And they with York and impious Beaufort,
  • That false priest, have placed decoys and traps to
  • Betray thy wings; so fly King Henry’s court
  • Now before they tangle thee, or fear you
  • Not ‘till thy foot be snared ‘mongst other woes
  • Nor never seek protection from thy foes.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Ah, Nell, forbear! Thou aimest all awry. 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.
  • A Herald enters.
  • HERALD
  • I summon your Grace to His Majesty’s Parliament, Holden at Bury, the first of this next month.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Well, I will be there.
  • The Herald exits.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • My Nell, I take my leave.
  • SHERIFF
  • And ‘t please your Grace, 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.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Entreat her not the worse in that I pray you use her well. 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.
  • Gloucester exits.
  • DUCHESS
  • All comfort go with thee! For none abides with me. My joy is death. Stanley, I prithee, go and take me hence. Only convey me where thou art commanded.
  • STANLEY
  • Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man.
  • DUCHESS
  • Stanley, shall we go? I long to see my prison.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • The scene is the Parliament. The King, Queen, Cardinal, Suffolk, York, Buckingham, Salisbury and Warwick are present.
  • KING
  • 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
  • Can you not see? Will ye not observe the strangeness of his altered countenance?
  •  
  •  
  • Queen to King, No. 1
  •  
  • How insolent and unlike himself he
  • Is become. When he was affable we
  • Did not glance and he was on his knee. But
  • Meet him now he knits his brow and passeth
  • With unbowed knee, disdaining duty what
  • Doth to us belong. Humphrey, meseemeth,
  • Is next in descent should you fall; therefore
  • Should he come about your royal person or
  • Allowed into your Highness’ Council?
  • Having won the commons’ hearts he could make
  • Mischief. In spring, weeds have shallow roots; till
  • Them not and suffer them, they overtake
  • The garden. My care makes these dangers dear.
  • If it be fond, call it a woman’s fear.
  • QUEEN
  • My lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York, reprove my allegation, if you can.
  • 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. Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep; and in his simple show he harbors 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 devise strange deaths for small offenses 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?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown.
  • KING
  • My lords, 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.
  • QUEEN
  • Ah, seems he a dove? Is he a lamb? His skin is surely lent him, for he’s inclined as is the ravenous wolves. Take heed, my lord, the welfare of us all hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.
  • Somerset enters.
  • KING
  • Welcome, Lord Somerset. What news from France?
  • SOMERSET
  • That all your interest in those territories is utterly bereft you; all is lost.
  • KING
  • Cold news, Lord Somerset.
  • YORK ASIDE
  • Cold news for me, for I had hope of France. But I will remedy this matter ere long, or sell my title for a glorious grave.
  • Gloucester enters.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Pardon, my liege, that I have stayed 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
  • 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 robbed the soldiers of their pay, nor ever had one penny bribe from France. Many a pound of mine own proper store, because I would not tax the needy commons, have I dispursed to the garrisons, and never asked 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, unless it were a bloody murderer, or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers, I never gave them deserved punishment.
  • SUFFOLK
  • My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answered; but mightier crimes are laid unto your charge. 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
  • My lord of Gloucester, ‘tis my special hope that you will clear yourself from all suspense. My conscience tells me you are innocent.
  •  
  •  
  • Gloucester to King
  •  
  • Ay, my lord, these are dangerous days. I
  • Know their conspiracy is to have my
  • Life; and if my death might make this island
  • Happy, I would gladly expend it. But
  • My death is but a prologue to this band
  • Of plotters’ play, leading to peril. What
  • Is seen in Beaufort’s eyes is malice and
  • In Suffolk’s brow his stormy hate. The hand
  • Of York stretcheth to accuse. My sovereign
  • Lady hath stirred up my liege to be my
  • Enemy. Ay, you come as one to turn
  • Away my guiltless life. I want no lie
  • Or false witness to condemn me nor wilt
  • Accept false treasons to augment my guilt.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • The ancient proverb will be well effected: “A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.”
  • CARDINAL
  • My liege, his railing is intolerable.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here with ignominious words.
  • QUEEN
  • But I can allow the loser his say.
  • GLOUCESTER
  • Far truer spoke than meant. I lose, indeed: beshrew the winners, for they played me false!
  • 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.
  • Gloucester exits, guarded.
  • KING
  • My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best?
  • QUEEN
  • What, will your Highness leave the Parliament?
  •  
  •  
  • King to the Queen and Lords
  •  
  • My heart is drowned with grief, for what is more
  • Wretched than discontent. I see honor,
  • Truth and loyalty in thy face, Humphrey,
  • Yet is this the fateful time I feared one
  • Day would come? What frowning star affects the
  • Great lords and my Queen to seek subversion
  • Of thy harmless life? Thou ne’er didst them wrong
  • Nor no man wrong. I bewaileth as strong
  • As a dam who lows up and down as the
  • Butcher takes away her calf, bearing it
  • To the cruel slaughterhouse, trying to see
  • Where her gentle one went, in an angst fit,
  • Wailing her darling’s loss. My dimmed eyes see
  • Him gone, so mighty is this enemy.
  • The King and others exit. The Queen, Cardinal, Suffolk and York remain. Somerset steps aside.
  • QUEEN
  • 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. Believe me, lords, this Gloucester should be quickly rid the world, to rid us from the fear we have of him.
  • CARDINAL
  • ‘Tis suitable he be condemned by course of law.
  • SUFFOLK
  • But, in my mind, that were no policy. The King will labor still to save his life; the commons haply rise, to save his life. And yet we have but trivial argument.
  • YORK
  • ‘Tis York that hath more reason for his death. Were’t not all one an empty eagle were set to guard the chicken from a hungry hawk, as place Duke Humphrey for the King’s Protector?
  • QUEEN
  • 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? Let him die, in that he is a fox, by nature proved an enemy to the flock, be it by snares, by subtlety, sleeping or waking, ‘tis no matter how, so he be dead.
  • QUEEN
  • Thrice-noble Suffolk, ‘tis resolutely spoke.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Not resolute, except so much were done; for things are often spoke and seldom meant. Say but the word, and I will be his priest.
  • CARDINAL
  • Say you consent and censure well the deed, and I’ll provide his executioner.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.
  • QUEEN
  • And so say I.
  • YORK
  • And I. It matters not greatly who impugns our doom.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • 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.
  • CARDINAL
  • What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
  • YORK
  • That Somerset be sent as regent thither. Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
  • SOMERSET
  • If York, with all his far-fetched policy, had been the regent there instead of me, he never would have stayed 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 burden of dishonor home, by staying there so long till all were lost.
  • QUEEN
  • Nay, then, this spark will prove a raging fire. 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?
  • CARDINAL
  • My lord of York, try what your fortune is. To Ireland will you lead a band of men and try your luck against the Irishmen?
  • YORK
  • I will, my lord, so please His Majesty. I am content. Provide me soldiers, lords, whiles I take order for mine own affairs.
  • SUFFOLK
  • A charge, Lord York, that I will see performed. But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
  • CARDINAL
  • No more of him, for I will deal with him. 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.
  • All exit but York.
  •  
  •  
  • York to himself, No. 2
  •  
  • Now, York, steel thy fearful thoughts and be thou
  • Hope to be. My brain weaves snares that allow
  • Me to trap mine enemies. Let pale-faced
  • Fear find no harbor in a royal heart. Well,
  • Nobles, ‘tis your mistake to send me laced
  • With a host of men in Ireland to spell
  • You. Whiles my men there I’ll stir in England
  • Some black storm that will blow ‘till the gold band
  • Is on my head. I have seduced, to suit
  • My need, headstrong John Cade, to at some length
  • Make commotion here, as my substitute.
  • And then from Ireland come I with my strength,
  • For Humphrey being dead, as he will be,
  • And Henry put apart, the next for me.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Two murderers run over the stage, following the murder of Duke Humphrey.
  • MURDERER ONE
  • Run to my lord of Suffolk. Let him know we have dispatched the Duke, as he commanded.
  • Suffolk enters.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Now, sirs, have you dispatched this thing?
  • MURDERER ONE
  • Ay, my good lord, he’s dead.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Go, get you to my house. I will reward you for this venturous deed.
  • The murderers exit. The King, Queen, Cardinal and Somerset enter.
  • KING
  • Go, call our uncle to our presence straight; say we intend to try His Grace today.
  • SUFFOLK
  • I’ll call him presently, my noble lord.
  • He exits.
  • KING
  • Lords, I pray you all, proceed no straiter ‘gainst our uncle Gloucester than from true evidence of good esteem.
  • QUEEN
  • God forbid any malice should prevail that faultless may condemn a nobleman!
  • KING
  • I think thee, Meg; these words content me much.
  • Suffolk enters.
  • KING
  • Why tremblest thou? Where is our uncle? What’s the matter, Suffolk.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Dead in his bed, my lord. Gloucester is dead.
  • QUEEN
  • Marry, God forfend!
  • CARDINAL
  • God’s secret judgment!
  • The King swoons.
  • QUEEN
  • The King is dead.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Comfort, my sovereign! Gracious Henry, comfort!
  • KING
  • What, doth my lord of Suffolk comfort me, crying comfort from a hollow breast? Hide not thy poison with such sugared words. Lay not thy hands on me. Thou baleful messenger, out of my sight. Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding.
  • QUEEN
  • Why do you rate my lord of Suffolk thus? Although the Duke was enemy to him, yet he most Christian-like laments his death. 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. To be a queen and crowned with infamy!
  • KING
  • Ah, woe is me for Gloucester, wretched man!
  • QUEEN
  • 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. 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.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen to King, No. 2
  •  
  • Upon the harsh sea my ship nearly sank
  • When twice awkward north wind from England’s bank
  • Drove us backward unto my native clime.
  • This boding-forewarned wind did seem to say
  • “Set no foot this shore.” Ignoring this sign
  • I then cursed the gentle gusts and bid they
  • Blow toward England’s blessed shore, or turn our
  • Stern upon a dreadful rock. Though cower
  • I, drowning not, the sea aware thou would
  • Drown me on shore with tears as salt as sea
  • With thy unkindness. The splitting rocks could
  • Not dash nor shred me, knowing thy flinty
  • Heart, being hard, might perish Margaret,
  • For Henry dost weep that I do live yet.
  • Salisbury, Warwick and many Commons enter.
  • WARWICK
  • It is reported, mighty sovereign, that good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murdered by Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort’s means. The commons scatter up and down and care not who they sting in his revenge.
  • KING
  • That he is dead, good Warwick, ‘tis too true. But how he died God knows, not Henry.
  • Warwick exits to view the corpse.
  • KING
  • O Thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts, my thoughts that labor to persuade my soul some violent hands were laid on Humphrey’s life! If my suspect be false, forgive me, God.
  • Warwick and others enter bearing Gloucester’s body on a bed.
  • KING
  • With his soul fled all my worldly solace, for seeing him I see my life in death.
  • WARWICK
  • I do believe that violent hands were laid upon the life of this thrice-famed Duke.
  • SUFFOLK
  • What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
  • WARWICK
  • See how his face is black and full of blood, his eyeballs further out than when he lived, staring full ghastly like a strangled man; his hair upreared, his nostrils stretched with struggling. It cannot be but he was murdered here.
  • 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 vowed Duke Humphrey’s foes, and you, forsooth, had the good Duke to keep. ‘Tis well seen he found an enemy.
  • QUEEN
  • 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 ax, but will suspect ‘twas he that made the slaughter?
  • QUEEN
  • Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where’s your knife?
  • SUFFOLK
  • I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men, but here’s a vengeful sword that shall be scoured in his rancorous heart that slanders me with murder’s crimson badge.
  • The Cardinal, Somerset and others exit.
  • WARWICK
  • What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?
  • QUEEN
  • He dares not calm his insolent spirit.
  • 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!
  • WARWICK
  • Give thee thy earned reward and send thy soul to hell, pernicious bloodsucker of sleeping men!
  • SUFFOLK
  • Thou shalt be waking while I shed thy blood, if from this presence thou darest go with me.
  • WARWICK
  • Away even now, or I will drag thee hence.
  • Suffolk and Warwick exit.
  • KING
  • What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just, and he but naked, though locked up in steel, whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
  • Suffolk and Warwick enter with their weapons drawn.
  • KING
  • Why lords! Your wrathful weapons are drawn here in our presence! Dare you be so bold?
  • SUFFOLK
  • The trait’rous Warwick with the common men set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
  • The common men enter.
  • SALISBURY
  • 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 ling’ring death. They say, by him the good duke Humphrey died; they say, in him they fear your Highness’ death.
  • COMMON MAN WITHIN
  • An answer from the King, my lord of Salisbury.
  • SUFFOLK
  • ‘Tis like the commons, rude unpolished hinds, could send such message to their sovereign.
  • COMMON MAN WITHIN
  • An answer from the King, or we will all break in.
  • KING
  • Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me, I thank them for their tender loving care. He shall not breathe infection in this air but three days longer, on the pain of death.
  • Salisbury exits.
  • QUEEN
  • O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!
  • KING
  • Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suffolk! No more, I say. When I swear, it is irrevocable.
  • KING TO SUFFOLK
  • If, after three days’ space, thou here beest found on any ground that I am ruler of, the world shall not be ransom for thy life.
  • KING
  • Come, Warwick, I have great matters to impart to thee.
  • All exit but the Queen and Suffolk.
  • QUEEN
  • Mischance and sorrow go along with you! Heart’s discontent and sour affliction be playfellows to keep you company!
  • SUFFOLK
  • Cease, gentle queen, and let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.
  • QUEEN
  • Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?
  • SUFFOLK
  • A plague upon them! Wherefore should I curse them? Would curses kill my tongue should stumble in mine earnest words; mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint-----.
  • QUEEN
  • Enough, sweet Suffolk, thou tormentest thyself. These dread curses, like an overcharged gun, recoil and turn the force of them upon thyself.
  • SUFFOLK
  • You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave?
  • QUEEN
  • Oh, let me entreat thee cease.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen to Suffolk, No. 2
  •  
  • Give me thy hand that with my tears I may
  • Dew it, and let not the rain wash away
  • My dreams. If only this kiss could let you
  • Know that through this seal a thousand signs would
  • Be breathed for thee. What hard news, yet I woo
  • Suffolk, my soul’s treasure. Get thee far, should
  • I better alone bear grief missing you.
  • Ay, me! What a world this is where we, two
  • Friends condemned, embrace and kiss, loath to quell
  • The fire. Go, now be gone
  • speak not to me.
  • Oh, go not yet! Yet farewell and farewell
  • Life with thee. Get thee hence; thou knowst the
  • King is coming; before a word be said
  • If thou art found by me thou art but dead.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death that makes him gasp and stare and catch the air, blaspheming God and cursing men on earth. I am sent to tell His Majesty that even now he cries aloud for him.
  • QUEEN
  • Go tell this heavy message to the King.
  • The Messenger exits.
  • SUFFOLK
  • If I depart from thee, I cannot live.
  •  
  •  
  • Suffolk to Queen
  •  
  • There is no joy in a world without you.
  • The world is populous enough if two,
  • And I have thy company. Joy is nought
  • If thou not livest, for where thou art, there
  • Is the world itself; and where thou art not,
  • Nothing. If I depart I would but stare
  • Aimlessly; I could not live. If I leave
  • Thee, I should be raging mad; here I breathe
  • My soul to the air, as gentle and mild
  • As the cradle babe. I cry that thee come
  • To me, and with thy lips stop my beguiled
  • Mouth. Draw in this soul; to die away from
  • Thee were torture more than facing death’s gall.
  • Oh, let me stay, befall what may befall.
  • QUEEN
  • Away! To France, sweet Suffolk. Let me hear from you.
  • SUFFOLK
  • I go.
  • QUEEN
  • And take my heart with thee.
  • SUFFOLK
  • A jewel, locked into the woefull’st cask that ever did contain a thing of worth. This way fall I to death.
  • QUEEN
  • This way for me.
  • They exit severally.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • The King, Salisbury and Warwick visit the Cardinal on his death bed.
  • KING
  • How fares my lord? Speak, Beaufort, to thy sovereign.
  • CARDINAL
  • If thou beest 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
  • 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? Oh, torture me no more! I will confess. Give me some drink; and bid the apothecary bring the strong poison that I bought of him.
  • KING
  • O Thou eternal mover of the heavens, look with a gentle eye upon this wretch!
  • SALISBURY
  • Disturb him not; let him pass peaceable.
  • KING
  • Lord Card’nal, if thou thinkst on Heaven’s bliss, hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope. He dies and makes no sign. O God, forgive him!
  • CARDINAL
  • So bad a death argues a monstrous life.
  • KING
  • Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Suffolk has been captured at sea. A Lieutenant, Walter (pronounced Water) Whitmore and others enter with Suffolk and others as their prisoners.
  • LIEUTENANT
  • The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day is crept into the bosom of the sea. Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize.
  • WHITMORE TO SUFFOLK
  • I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard, and therefore, to revenge it, shalt thou die.
  • SUFFOLK
  • I am a gentleman.
  • WHITMORE
  • And so am I. My name is Walter Whitmore. 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. 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 sometime went disguised, and why not I?
  • LIEUTENANT
  • But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Lowly swain, King Henry’s blood must not be shed by such a jaded groom. Host thou not kissed thy hand and held my stirrup? 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?
  • LIEUTENANT
  • First, let my words stab him, as he hath me.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Base slave, thy words are blunt, and so art thou.
  •  
  •  
  • Lieutenant to Suffolk
  •  
  • By devilish policy thou hath grown
  • Great overgorging on the grief you’ve sown
  • In thy motherland’s bleeding heart. Now will
  • I dam up the throat that spoke falsely, seize
  • This yawning mouth that hath kissed the queen, still
  • Thy lips that smiledst at good Humphrey’s
  • Death. By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to
  • The revolting, disdainful French who through
  • Thee refuse our presence, take what have been
  • Our forts, and our soldiers wounded sending
  • Home. The Nevilles all are rising up in
  • Arms. The house of York burns with revenging
  • Fire. And, to conclude, shameless beggary
  • Creeps into the king’s palace, all by thee.
  • LIEUTENANT
  • Away, convey him hence.
  • SUFFOLK
  • 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 of France; I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.
  • WHITMORE
  • Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Suffolk’s imperial tongue is stern and rough, used to command, untaught to plead for favor. Let my head stoop to the block than these knees bow to any save to the God of Heaven and to my king. True nobility is exempt from fear; more can I bear than you dare execute.
  • LIEUTENANT
  • 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!
  • Whitmore and others exit with Suffolk.
  • LIEUTENANT
  • Come you with us and let him go.
  • All but one Gentleman exit. Whitmore enters with Suffolk’s body.
  • WHITMORE
  • Thee let his head and lifeless body lie, unto the Queen his mistress bury it.
  • He exits.
  • GENTLEMAN
  • His body will I bear unto the King.
  • He exits with the body.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • The scene opens in London with two workmen, Bevis and Holland, saying their contribution to society is undervalued.
  • HOLLAND
  • Well, I say it was never merry world in England since gentlemen came up.
  • BEVIS
  • O miserable age! Virtue is not regarded in handicraftsmen.
  • HOLLAND
  • The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons.
  • BEVIS
  • Nay, more, the King’s council are no good workmen.
  • HOLLAND
  • True! Let the magistrates be laboring men; and therefore we be magistrates.
  • BEVIS
  • Thou hast hit it, for there’s no better sign on a brave mind than a hard hand.
  • Jack Cade, Dick the butcher and Smith the weaver enter.
  • CADE
  • Our enemies shall fall before us.
  • DICK
  • Silence!
  • CADE
  • My father was a Mortimer------.
  • DICK ASIDE
  • He was an honest man, and a good bricklayer.
  • CADE
  • My mother was a Plantagenet-----.
  • DICK ASIDE
  • I knew her well; she was a midwife.
  • CADE
  • Be brave. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny. I will make it a felony to drink weak beer. All the realm shall be in common, 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.
  • DICK
  • The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
  • CADE
  • Nay; that I mean to do.
  • The Clerk of Chatham is brought forward.
  • SMITH
  • The Clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and cast account.
  • CADE
  • Oh, monstrous! Here’s a villain.
  • SMITH
  • He has a book in his pocket with red letters in ‘t.
  • CADE
  • I am sorry for ‘t. Unless I find him guilty, he shall not die.
  • CLERK
  • God with us!
  • CADE
  • Dost thou use to write thy name? Or hast thou a mark to thyself, like an honest plain-dealing man?
  • CLERK
  • 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 inkhorn about his neck.
  • The Clerk is escorted away. Michael enters.
  • MICHAEL
  • Where’s our general?
  • CADE
  • Here I am.
  • MICHAEL
  • Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother are hard by, with the King’s forces.
  • CADE
  • To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.
  • He kneels.
  • CADE
  • Rise up, Sir John Mortimer.
  • He rises.
  • CADE
  • Now have at him!
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford and his Brother enter.
  • STAFFORD
  • Rebellious hinds. Forsake this groom. The King is merciful.
  • BROTHER
  • Therefore, yield, or die.
  • CADE
  • As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not; it is to you, good people, that I speak. I hope to reign, for I am rightful heir unto the crown.
  • STAFFORD
  • Villain, thy father was a plasterer.
  • CADE
  • And Adam was a gardener.
  • BROTHER
  • And what of that?
  • CADE
  • Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, married the Duke of Clarence’ daughter, did he not?
  • STAFFORD
  • Ay, sir.
  • CADE
  • By her he had two children at one birth.
  • BROTHER
  • That’s false.
  • CADE
  • Ay, there’s the question. But I say, ‘tis true. The elder of them was by a beggarywoman stol’n away. His son am I; deny it, if you can.
  • DICK
  • Nay, ‘tis too true. Therefore he shall be King.
  • STAFFORD
  • That speaks he knows not what?
  • ALL
  • Ay, marry, will we; therefore get ye gone.
  • BROTHER
  • Jack Cade, the Duke of York hath taught you this.
  • CADE ASIDE
  • He lies, for I invented it myself.
  • CADE
  • Go to, sirrah, tell the King from me that I am content he shall reign; but I’ll be Protector over him.
  • DICK
  • And furthermore, we’ll have the Lord Say’s head for selling the Dukedom of Maine.
  • CADE
  • 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.
  • STAFFORD
  • O, gross and miserable ignorance!
  • BROTHER
  • Well, seeing gentle words will not prevail, assail them with the army of the King.
  • STAFFORD
  • Herald, away, and throughout every town proclaim them traitors that are up with Cade. You that be the King’s friends, follow me.
  • The two Staffords and soldiers exit.
  • CADE
  • And you that love the commons, follow me. Now show yourselves men; ‘tis for liberty.
  • 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.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Cade and the commons fight the Staffords and the King’s men.
  • 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 slaughterhouse. This monument of the victory will I bear.
  • He puts on Stafford’s suit of body armor.
  • DICK
  • If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the jails and let out the prisoners.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 4
  • The King, Queen, Buckingham and Lord Say enter. The Queen has Suffolk’s head.
  • QUEEN
  • Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind, but who can cease to weep and look on this?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • What answer makes your Grace to the rebels’ supplication?
  • KING
  • I’ll send some holy lord bishop to entreat. I myself will parley with Jack Cade their general.
  • QUEEN
  • Ah, barbarous villains.
  • KING
  • 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 mourned so much for me.
  • QUEEN
  • No, my love, I should not mourn but die for thee.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • KING
  • Why comest thou in such haste?
  • MESSENGER
  • 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.
  • KING
  • Oh, graceless men! They know not what they do.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • My gracious lord, retire to Killingworth.
  • QUEEN
  • Ah, were the Duke of Suffolk now alive, these Kentish rebels would be soon appeased!
  • KING
  • Lord Say, the traitors hate thee; therefore away with us to Killingworth.
  • SAY
  • The sight of me is odious in their eyes; therefore in this city will I stay and live alone as secret as I may.
  • Another Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • Jack Cade hath gotten London Bridge. The rascal people join with the traitor, and they jointly swear to spoil the city and your royal court.
  • KING
  • Come, Margaret: God, our hope, will succor us.
  • QUEEN
  • My hope is gone, now Suffolk is deceased.
  • KING TO SAY
  • Farewell, my lord: trust not the Kentish rebels.
  • SAY
  • The trust I have is in mine innocence, and therefore am I bold and resolute.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 5
  • Lord Scales, a nobleman, is walking near London Bridge. Two or three citizens enter.
  • SCALES
  • Is Jack Cade slain?
  • CITIZEN
  • No, my lord, nor likely to be slain. The Lord Mayor craves aid of your Honor 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. Get you to Smithfield. Fight for your King, your country, and your lives!
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 6
  • Jack Cade and others enter at the London Stone, a Roman milestone from which distances were measured throughout Britain.
  • CADE
  • Now is Mortimer lord of this city. Now henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer.
  • A Soldier enters, running.
  • SOLDIER
  • Jack Cade! Jack Cade!
  • CADE
  • Knock him down there.
  • They kill him.
  • 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.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 7
  • The scene is Smithfield. The rebels have arrived.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • My lord, a prize. Here’s the Lord Say which sold the towns in France.
  • Bevis enters with Lord Say.
  • CADE
  • What canst thou answer to My Majesty for giving up of Normandy unto the Dauphin of France? Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school. Thou hast caused printing to be used. 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.
  • SAY
  • What of that? You men of Kent-----
  • DICK
  • What say you of Kent?
  • SAY
  • Nothing but this: good country, bad people.
  • CADE
  • Away with him.
  • SAY
  • Hear me but speak, and bear me where you will.
  •  
  •  
  • Say to Cade
  •  
  • In the Commentaries Caesar writ, Kent
  • Was termed the civil’st place his men were sent,
  • Where the country sweet, full of riches; where
  • The people liberal, active and wealthy,
  • Which makes me hope you men of Kent are fair.
  • I neither sold Maine nor lost Normandy.
  • I have always done justice with favors;
  • Gifts could never, but peoples’ tears and pray’rs
  • Have moved me. My books helped clerks and won me
  • To the king. When did I choose not to bless
  • The king, the realm and you? Knowledge is the
  • Wing wherewith we fly to Heaven. Unless
  • You be possessed with the devil’s spirit,
  • Harm not this one who served your benefit.
  • 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. Take him away and behead him.
  • SAY
  • Tell me wherein have I offended most? Whom have I injured, that ye seek my death? Oh, let me live!
  • CADE ASIDE
  • I feel remorse in myself with his words, but I’ll bridle it. He shall die and it be but for pleading so well for his life.
  • Some men exit with Lord Say.
  • CADE
  • The proudest peer in the realm shall not wear a head on his shoulders, unless he pay me tribute.
  • Act 4, Scene 8
  • Cade and his followers are in Southwark.
  • CADE
  • Up Fish Street! Down St. Magnus’ Corner! Throw them into Thames!
  • Buckingham and Old Clifford enter.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • 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? Who loves the King and will embrace his pardon, fling up his cap, and say, “God save His Majesty!” Who hateth him and honors not his father, Henry the Fifth, that made all France to quake.
  • ALL
  • God save the King!
  • CADE
  • You are all recreants and dastards and delight to live in slavery to the nobility.
  • ALL
  • We’ll follow Cade.
  • CLIFFORD
  • Is Cade the son of Henry the Fifth, that thus you do exclaim you’ll go with him?
  • ALL
  • We’ll follow the King and Clifford.
  • CADE
  • The name of Henry the Fifth hales them to an hundred mischiefs and makes them leave me desolate. And Heavens and honor be witness that no want of resolution in me but only my followers’ base and ignominious treasons makes me betake me to my heels.
  • Cade flees
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • What, is he fled? Go some and follow him. He that brings his head unto the King shall have a thousand crowns for his reward.
  • Some men exit.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Follow me, soldiers. We’ll devise a mean to reconcile you all unto the King.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 9
  • The scene is Kenilworth Castle. The King, Queen and Somerset enter.
  • KING
  • No sooner was I crept out of my cradle but I was made a king, at nine months old. I was never subject longed to be a king as I do long and wish to be a subject.
  • Buckingham and Old Clifford enter.
  • KING
  • Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surprised?
  • Many enter below with nooses about their necks.
  • CLIFFORD
  • He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield and humbly thus, with halters on their necks.
  • KING
  • Then, Heaven, set open thy everlasting gates to entertain my vows of thanks and praise! Soldiers, with thanks and pardon to you all, I do dismiss you to your several countries.
  • ALL
  • God save the King!
  • A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • Please it your Grace to be advertised the Duke of York is newly come from Ireland. His arms are only to remove from thee the Duke of Somerset, whom he terms a traitor.
  • KING
  • Thus stands my state, ‘twixt Cade and York distressed; like a ship that, having ‘scaped a tempest, is straightway calmed and boarded with a pirate. Tell him I’ll send Somerset to the Tower until his army be dismissed from him.
  • SOMERSET
  • My lord, I’ll yield myself to prison willingly, or unto death, to do my country good.
  • KING
  • Come, wife, let’s in and learn to govern better, for yet may England curse my wretched reign.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 10
  • The scene is Iden’s garden. Cade enters.
  • 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. Wherefore, on a brick wall have I climbed into this garden, to see if I can eat grass.
  • Iden enters with servants behind him.
  • IDEN
  • Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court and may enjoy such quiet walks as these.
  • CADE
  • Here’s the lord of the soil come to seize me for a stray. Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me and get a thousand crowns of the King by carrying my head to him. But I’ll make thee eat iron like an ostrich and swallow my sword like a great pin.
  • IDEN
  • Why, rude companion, I know thee not. Why then should I betray thee? Is’t not enough to break into my garden, but thou wilt brave me with these saucy terms?
  • CADE
  • Brave thee! 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, that Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent, took odds to combat a poor famished man. Oppose thy steadfast-gazing eyes to mine; see if thou canst outface me with thy looks. As for words, let this sword report what speech forbears.
  • CADE
  • Steel, if thou turn the edge, I beseech God on my knees thou mayst be turned to hobnails.
  • They fight. Cade falls.
  • CADE
  • Oh, 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’d defy them all. The unconquered soul of Cade is fled.
  • IDEN
  • Is’t Cade that I have slain; that monstrous traitor?
  • 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 valor.
  • He dies.
  • IDEN
  • Die, damned wretch. Hence will I cut off thy most ungracious head, which I will bear in triumph to the King.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • In the fields between Dartford and Blackheath, York enters with his army.
  • YORK
  • From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right and pluck the crown from feeble Henry’s head.
  • Buckingham enters.
  • YORK
  • Whom have we here? Buckingham to disturb me?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • York if thou meanest well, I greet thee well.
  • YORK
  • Buckingham, I accept thy greeting. Art thou a messenger, or come of pleasure?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • A messenger from Henry, our liege, to know the reason of these arms in peace; or why thou, being a subject as I am, dare to bring thy force so near the court.
  • YORK ASIDE
  • 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 honor, is he prisoner?
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Upon mine honor, he is prisoner.
  • YORK
  • Then, Buckingham, I do dismiss my pow’rs. Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves. Let my sovereign, virtuous Henry, command my eldest son, nay, all my sons. I’ll send them all so Somerset may die.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • York, I commend this kind submission.
  • The King enters.
  • KING
  • Buckingham, doth York intend no harm to us, that thus he marcheth with thee arm in arm?
  • YORK
  • In all submission and humility.
  • KING
  • Then what intends these forces thou dost bring?
  • YORK
  • To heave the traitor Somerset from hence, and fight against that monstrous rebel Cade.
  • Iden enters with Cade’s head.
  • IDEN
  • Lo, I present your Grace a traitor’s head, the head of Cade, whom I in combat slew.
  • KING
  • The head of Cade! Tell me, my friend, art thou the man that slew him?
  • IDEN
  • I was, if it please your Majesty.
  • KING
  • How art thou called?
  • IDEN
  • Alexander Iden.
  • KING
  • Iden, kneel down.
  • Iden kneels.
  • KING
  • Rise up a knight.
  • Iden rises. The Queen and Somerset enter.
  • KING TO QUEEN
  • Go, hide him quickly from the Duke.
  • QUEEN
  • For thousand Yorks he shall not hide his head.
  •  
  •  
  • York to King
  •  
  • Ay, York, let loose this long-imprisoned thought;
  • Let thy tongue speak to what thy heart hath taught.
  • Why hast thou broken faith with me, knowing
  • How I can hardly endure thy deceit?
  • Thou art not a king fit for governing,
  • Nor canst thou rule a traitor from thy seat
  • Of Pow’r. A crown doth not become thy head,
  • Nor thy hand a royal scepter, it be said.
  • Here is a hand to hold that scepter still
  • And control events by law. God above
  • Gave me a smile and frown to cure and kill.
  • That gold must round encircle these brows of
  • Mine. By Heaven, thou shalt rule no further
  • O’er him whom God sent to be thy ruler.
  • SOMERSET
  • O monstrous traitor! I arrest thee, York, of capital treason ‘gainst the King and crown.
  • YORK
  • Wouldst have me kneel? Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail.
  • An attendant exits.
  • QUEEN
  • Call hither Clifford; bid him come to say if that the bastard boys of York shall be the surety for their traitor father.
  • Buckingham exits.
  • YORK
  • O blood-spotted citizen of Naples, outcast of Naples, England’s bloody scourge! The sons of York, thy betters in their birth, shall be their father’s bail.
  • Enter York’s sons, Edward and Richard.
  • YORK
  • See where they come.
  • Clifford and his son enter.
  • CLIFFORD
  • Health and all happiness to my lord the King!
  • He kneels.
  • YORK
  • I thank thee, Clifford. Nay, do not fright us with an angry look. We are thy sovereign, Clifford, kneel again.
  • CLIFFORD
  • This is my king, York, I do not mistake, but thou mistakes me much to think I do.
  • KING
  • Ay, Clifford, ambitious humor makes him oppose himself against his king.
  • CLIFFORD
  • He is a traitor. Let him to the Tower.
  • QUEEN
  • 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. Bid Salisbury and Warwick come to me.
  • An Attendant exits. Salisbury and Warwick enter.
  • KING
  • Why, Warwick, hath thy knee forgot to bow? Old Salisbury, shame to thy silver hair, thou mad misleader of thy brainsick son! Oh, where is faith? Oh, where is loyalty? For shame! Bend thy knee to me.
  • SALISBURY
  • My lord, I have considered with myself the title of this most renowned duke and in my conscience do repute His Grace.
  • KING
  • Hast thou not sworn allegiance unto me?
  • SALISBURY
  • I have.
  • KING
  • 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.
  • KING
  • 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.
  • CLIFFORD
  • I am resolved to bear a greater storm than any thou canst conjure up today.
  • 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 with Jesu Christ tonight.
  • YOUNG CLIFFORD
  • Foul deformed one.
  • RICHARD
  • If not in Heaven, you’ll surely sup in hell.
  • The exit severally.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • The scene is the castle at St. Albans, where forces meet for the first engagement of the Wars of the Roses.
  • WARWICK
  • Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me.
  • York enters.
  • YORK
  • The deadly-handed Clifford slew my steed.
  • Old Clifford enters.
  • YORK
  • Warwick, seek thee out some other chase, for I myself must hunt this deer to death.
  • WARWICK
  • York, ‘tis for a crown thou fightst. It grieves my soul to leave thee unassailed.
  • He exits.
  • CLIFFORD
  • What seest thou in me, York? Thou art so fast mine enemy. Thy prowess is shown ignobly and in treason.
  • YORK
  • Let it help me now against thy sword as I in justice and true right express it.
  • They fight. Clifford falls and dies.
  • YORK
  • Peace with his soul, Heaven, if it be thy will!
  • York exits. Young Clifford enters.
  •  
  •  
  • Young Clifford to himself
  •  
  • Fear frames disorder, shame and confusion,
  • And disorder wounds where it should guard. Son
  • Of hell, war is. Ay, he that is truly
  • Dedicated to war hath no self-love;
  • He that loves himself hath not innately
  • But by narrow circumstance the name of
  • Valor. Wast thou ordained, dear father, to
  • Lose thy youth in peace and with but too few
  • Years left die in a ruffian battle?
  • My heart’s stone. Tears shall be to me even
  • As the dew to fire. Henceforward I will
  • Not have to do with pity. Death to an
  • Infant I meet in a house of York’s name.
  • In cruelty will I seek out my fame.
  • YOUNG CLIFFORD
  • Come thou new ruin of old Clifford’s house. So bear I thee upon my manly shoulders. Nothing so heavy as these woes of mine.
  • He exits, bearing his father. Richard and Somerset enter and fight. Somerset is killed.
  • RICHARD
  • So, lie thou there. Sword, hold thy temper; heart, be wrathful still. Priests pray for enemies, but princes kill.
  • He exits. The King and Queen enter.
  • QUEEN
  • Away, my lord! You are slow.
  • KING
  • Can we outrun the Heavens?
  • QUEEN
  • What are you made of? You’ll nor fight nor fly. If you be ta’en, we then should see the bottom of all our fortunes. But if we haply scape, we shall to London get, where you are loved.
  • Young Clifford enters.
  • YOUNG CLIFFORD
  • My heart’s on future mischief set. I would speak blasphemy ere bid you fly. But fly you must. Uncurable discomfit reigns in the hearts of all our present parts. Away, for your relief! Away, my lord, away.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 3
  • York, Richard, Warwick and soldiers enter.
  • YORK
  • This happy day is not itself, nor have we won one foot, if Salisbury be lost.
  • RICHARD
  • Thrice I led him off, persuaded him from any further act. But still where danger was, still there I met him.
  • Salisbury enters.
  • SALISBURY
  • Now, by my sword, well hast thou fought today. I thank you, Richard. God knows how long it is I have to live, and it hath pleased Him that three times today you have defended me from imminent death. Well, lords, we have not got that which we have. ‘Tis not enough our foes are this time fled.
  • YORK
  • I know our safety is to follow them; for, as I hear, the King is fled to London. What says Lord Warwick? Shall we after them?
  • WARWICK
  • After them! Nay, before them, if we can. St. Albans’ battle won by famous York shall be eternized in all age to come. Sound drum and trumpets, and to London all.
  • They exit.

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