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Scene I.—The Abbey at Bury.
'T is to be feared they all will follow him.
Suf. Well hath your highness seen into this
Enter to the Parliament, King Henry, Queen
Margaret, Cardinal BEAUFORT, SUFFOLK,
K. Hen. I muse my lord of Gloster is not come:
observe, The strangeness of his altered countenance ? With what a majesty he bears himself; How insolent of late he is become: How proud, peremptory, and unlike himself? We know the time since he was mild and affable; And if we did but glance a far-off look, Immediately he was upon his knee, That all the court admired him for submission : But meet him now, and be it in the morn, When every one will give the time of day, He knits his brow and shews an angry eye, And passeth by with stiff unbowéd knee, Disdaining duty that to us belongs. Small curs are not regarded when they grin, But great men tremble when the lion roars ; And Humphrey is no little man in England. First, note that he is near you in descent; And should you fall, he is the next will mount. Me seemeth, then, it is no policy, Respecting what a rancorous mind he bears, And his advantage following your decease, That he should come about your royal person, Or be admitted to your highness' council. By flattery hath he won the commons' hearts ; And when he please to make commotion,
And had I first been put to speak my mind,
Car. Did he not, contrary to form of law, Devise strange deaths for small offences 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? By means whereof the towns each day revolted.
Buck. Tut! these are petty faults to faults
unknown, Which time will bring too light in smooth Duke
have of us,
this fond affiance !
news from France ?
God's will be done!
Enter Gloster. Glo. All happiness unto my lord the King ! Pardon, my liege, that I have stayed so long. Suf. Nay Gloster, know that thou art come
too soon, Unless thou wert more loyal than thou art : I do arrest thee of high treason here. Glo. Well, Suffolk's duke, thou shalt not see
me blush, Nor change my countenance for this arrest : 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.
Glo. 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. So help me God as I have watched the night, Ay night by night, in studying good for England! That doit that e'er I wrested from the King, Or any groat I hoarded to my use, Be brought against me at my trial day! No:
: many a pound of mine own proper store (Because I would not tax the needy commons) Have I disperséd to the garrisons, And never asked for restitution.
Car. It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.
York. In your protectorship you did devise
protector, Pity was all the fault that was in me: For I should melt at an offender's tears And lowly words were ransom for their fault. Unless it were a bloody murderer, Or foul felonious thief that fleeced poor passengers, I never gave them condign punishment. Murder, indeed, that bloody sin, I tortured Above the felon or what trespass else. Suf. My lord, these faults are easy; quickly
answered: But mightier crimes are laid unto your charge, Whereof you cannot easily purge yourself. I do arrest you in his highness' name: And here commit you to my lord cardinal, To keep until your further time of trial.
K. Hen. My lord of Gloster, 't is my special hope That you will clear yourself from all suspects : My conscience tells me you are innocent.
Glo. Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous. Virtue is choked with foul ambition, And charity chased hence by rancour's hand; Foul subornation is predominant, And equity exiled your highness' land. I know their complot is to have my life: And if my death might make this island happy, And prove the period of their tyranny, I would expend it with all willingness. But mine is made the prologue to their play: For thousands more, that yet suspect no peril, Will not conclude their plotted tragedy. Beaufort's red sparkling eyes blab his heart's
malice, And Suffolk's cloudy brow his stormy hate; Sharp Buckingham unburdens with his tongue The envious load that lies upon his heart; And doggéd York, that reaches at the moon (Whose overweening arm I have plucked back),
By false accuse doth level at my
life : And you, my sovereign lady, with the rest, Causeless have laid disgraces on my head, And with your best endeavour have stirred up My liefest liege to be mine enemy:Ay, all of you have laid your heads together (Myself had notice of your conventicles), And all to make away my guiltless life. I shall not want false witness to condemn me, Nor store of treasons to augment my guilt. The ancient proverb will be well effected : “ A staff is quickly found to beat a dog."
Car. My liege, his railing is intolerable. If those that care to keep your royal person From treason's secret knife and traitors' rage. Be thus upbraided, chid, and rated at, And the offender granted scope of speech, 'T will make them cool in zeal unto your grace.
Suf. Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here With ignominious words, though clerkly couched, As if she had subornéd some to swear False allegations, to o'erthrow his state ?
Q. Mar. But I can give the loser leave to chide.
Glo. Far truer spoke than meant: I lose indeed : Beshrew the winners, for they played me false ! And well such losers may have leave to speak. Buck. He 'll wrest the sense and hold us here
all day : Lord cardinal, he is your prisoner.
Car. Sirs, take away the duke, and guard
And as the butcher takes away the calf,
[Exit. Q. Mar. Free lords, cold snow melts with the
sun's hot beams. Henry my lord is cold in great affairs; Too full of foolish pity: and Gloster's show Beguiles him, as the mournful crocodile With sorrow snares relenting passengers ; Or as the snake, rolled in a flowering bank With shining chequered slough, doth sting a child, That for the beauty thinks it excellent. Believe me, lords, were none more wise than I (And yet herein I judge my own wit good), This Gloster should be quickly rid the world, To rid us from the fear we have of him.
Car. That he should die is worthy policy: But yet we want a colour for his death : 'T is meet he be condemned by course of law.
Suf. But in my mind that were no policy.
York. So that by this you would not have him die.
of death. Suf. Madam, 't is true. And wer 't not mad
ness, then, To make the fox surveyor of the fold: Who being accused a crafty murderer, His guilt should be but idly posted over Because his purpose is not executed ? No; let him die in that he is a fox, By nature proved an enemy to the flock, Before his chaps be stained with crimson blood : As Humphrey, proved by reasons, to my liege. And do not stand on quillets how to slay him :
Glo. Ah, thus King Henry throws away bis
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.
[Exeunt Attendants, with GLOSTER. K. Hen. My lords, what to your wisdoms
seemeth best, Do or undo, as if ourselves were here. Q. Mar. What, will your highness leave the
parliament ? K. Hen. Ay, Margaret: my heart is drowned
with grief, Whose flood begins to flow within mine eyes: My body round engirt with misery : For what's more miserable than discontent ?Ah, uncle Humphrey! in thy face I see The map
of honour, truth, and loyalty : And yet, good Humphrey, is the hour to come That e'er I proved thee false, or feared thy faith. What low'ring star now envies thy estate, That these great lords, and Margaret our Queen, Do seek subversion of thy harmless life? Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong:
Be it by gins, by snares, by subtilty,
Suf. Here is my hand; the deed is worthy doing.
York. And I: and now we three have spoke it, It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.
Enter a Messenger. Mess. Great lords, from Ireland am I come
amain, To signify that rebels there are up, And put the Englishmen unto the sword. Send succours, lords, and stop the rage betime, Before the wound do grow incurable : For, being green, there is great hope of help. Car. A breach that craves a quick expedient
stop! What counsel give you in this weighty cause?
York. That Somerset be sent as regent thither. 'T is meet that lucky ruler be employed: Witness the fortune he hath had in France.
Som. If York, with all his far-fet 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 dishonour home, By staying there so long till all were lost. Shew me one scar charáctered on thy skin: Men's flesh preserved so whole, do seldom win. Q. Mar. Nay then, this spark will prove a
raging fire, If wind and fuel be brought to feed it with :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 naught? nay, then a
shame take all ! Som. And in the number thee, that wishest
shame! Car My lord of York, try what your fortune is.
The uncivil kernes of Ireland are in arms,
York. I will, my lord, so please his majesty.
Suf. Why, our authority is his consent, And what we do establish he confirms : Then, noble York, take thou this task in hand.
York. I am content. Provide me soldiers, lords, Whiles I take order for mine own affairs. Suf. A charge, Lord York, that I will see
performed. But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
Car. No more of him; for I wiil deal with him That henceforth he shall trouble us no more. And so break off; the day is almost spent : 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. Suf. I 'll see it truly done, my lord of York.
[Exeunt all but York. York. Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful
thoughts, And change misdoubt to resolution. Be that thou hop'st to be: or what thou art Resign to death ; it is not worth the enjoying. Let pale-faced fear keep within the mean-born
man, And find no harbour in a royal heart. Faster than spring-time showers comes thought
on thought, And not a thought but thinks on dignity. My brain, more busy than the labouring spider, Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies. Well, nobles, well, 't is politicly done To send me packing with a host of men! I fear me you but warm the starvéd snake, Wh: cherished in your breasts, will sting your
hearts. 'T was men I lacked, and you will give them me! I take it kindly: yet be well assured You put sharp weapons in a madman's hands. Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band, I will stir up in England some black storm Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell : And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage Until the golden circuit on my head, Like to the glorious sun's transparent beams, Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw. And, for a minister of my intent, I have seduced a headstrong Kentishman, John Cade, of Ashford, To make commotion (as full well he can) Under the title of John Mortimer. In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
Oppose himself against a troop of kernes,
the harvest which that rascal sowed: For, Humphrey being dead, as he shall be, And Henry put apart, the next for me. [Exit.
Re-enter SUFFOLK. How now: why look’st thou pale? why tremblest
thou? Where is our uncle? what is the matter, Suffolk ? Suf. Dead in his bed, my lord: Gloster is
dead! Q. Mar. Marry, God forefend ! Car. God's secret judgment!- .I did dream
to-night The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.
[The KING swoons. Q. Mar. How fares my lord ?—Help, lords !
the King is dead ! Som. Rear up his body; wring him by the
Enter SUFFOLK. 1st Mur. Here comes my lord. Suf. Now, sirs, have you despatched this thing? 1st Mur. Ah, my good lord, he's dead. Suf. Why, that 's well said. Go, get you to
my house : I will reward you for this venturous deed. The King and all the peers are here at hand.-Have you laid fair the bed ? are all things well, According as
gave directions ? 1st Mur. 'T is, my good lord. Suf. Away, be gone! [Exeunt Murderers.
Q. Mar. Run, go, help, help!-0 Henry, ope
thine eyes !
Enter King Henry, Queen Margaret, CarDINAL BEAUFORT, Somerset, Lords, and others. K. Hen. Go, call our uncle to our presence
straight : Say we intend to try his grace to-day, If he be guilty, as 't is published. Suf. I'll call him presently, my noble lord.