« PreviousContinue »
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.
"Tis meet that lucky ruler be employ'd;
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 stay'd 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.
Show me one scar character'd on thy skin:
Men's flesh preserv'd so whole do seldom win.
Q. Mar. Nay then, this spark will prove a
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 prov'd far worse than his.
York. What! worse than nought? 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 kerns of Ireland are in arms And temper clay with blood of Englishmen : To Ireland will you lead a band of men, Collected choicely, from each county some, And try your hap against the Irishmen?
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 perform'd.
But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.
Car. No more of him; for I will 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-fac'd fear keep with the mean-born man,
And find no harbour in a royal heart.
Faster than spring-time showers comes thought
And not a thought but thinks on dignity.
My brain, more busy than the labouring spider,
Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies. 340
Well, nobles, well; 'tis politicly done,
To send me packing with an host of men:
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherish'd in your breasts, will sting your
'Twas men I lack'd, and you will give them me :
I take it kindly; yet be well assur'd
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 1
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 seduc'd 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 360
Oppose himself against a troop of kerns,
And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts
Were almost like a sharp-quill'd porpentine:
And, in the end being rescu'd, I have seen
Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.
Full often, like a shag-hair'd crafty kern,
Hath he conversed with the enemy,
And undiscover'd come to me again,
And given me notice of their villanies.
This devil here shall be my substitute;
For that John Mortimer, which now is dead,
In face, in gait, in speech, he doth resemble:
By this I shall perceive the commons' mind,
How they affect the house and claim of York.
Say he be taken, rack'd, and tortured,
I know no pain they can inflict upon him
Will make him say I mov'd him to those arms.
Say that he thrive, as 'tis great like he will, za
Why, then from Ireland come I with my strength,
And reap the harvest which that rascal sow'd;
For Humphrey being dead, as he shall be,
And Henry put apart, the next for me.
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 nose. Q. Mar. Run, go, help, help! O, Henry! ope thine eyes.
Suf. He doth revive again. Madam, be patient.
K. Hen. O heavenly God!
How fares my gracious lord?
Suf. Comfort, my sovereign! gracious Henry,
K. Hen. What! doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me?
Came he right now to sing a raven's note,
Whose dismal tune bereft my vital powers,
And thinks he that the chirping of a wren,
By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
Can chase away the first-conceived sound?
Hide not thy poison with such sugar'd words;
Lay not thy hands on me; forbear, I say:
Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting.
Thou baleful messenger, out of my sight!
Upon thy eye-balls murderous tyranny
Sits in grim majesty to fright the world.
Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding:
Yet do not go away; come, basilisk,
And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight;
For in the shade of death I shall find joy,
In life but double death, now Gloucester's dead.
Q. Mar. Why do you rate my Lord of Suffolk
Although the duke was enemy to him,
Yet he, most Christian-like, laments his death:
And for myself, foe as he was to me,
Might liquid tears or heart-offending groans 6)
Or blood-consuming sighs recall his life,
I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,
Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs,
And all to have the noble duke alive.
What know I how the world may deem of me?
For it is known we were but hollow friends:
It may be judg'd I made the duke away :
So shall my name with slander's tongue be
And princes' courts be fill'd with my reproach.
This get I by his death. Ay me, unhappy!
To be a queen, and crown'd with infamy!
K. llen. Ah! woe is me for Gloucester, wretched man.
With tears as salt as sea through thy unkindness:
The splitting rocks cower'd in the sinking sands,
And would not dash me with their ragged sides,
Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they,
Might in thy palace perish Margaret.
As far as I could ken thy chalky cliffs,
When from the shore the tempest beat us back,
I stood upon the hatches in the storm,
And when the dusky sky began to rob
My earnest gaping sight of thy land's view,
I took a costly jewel from my neck,
A heart it was, bound in with diamonds,
And threw it towards thy land: the sea receiv'dit,
And so I wish'd thy body might my heart:
And even with this I lost fair England's view,
And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart,
And call'd them blind and dusky spectacles
For losing ken of Albion's wished coast.
How often have I tempted Suffolk's tongue,
The agent of thy foul inconstancy,
To sit and witch me, as Ascanius did
When he to madding Dido would unfold
His father's acts, commenc'd in burning Troy !
Am I not witch'd like her? or thou not false
Ay me! I can no more. Die, Margaret !
For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.
Noise within. Enter WARWICK and SALISBURY.
The Commons press to the door.
War. It is reported, mighty sovereign,
That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is
By Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort's means.
The commons, like an angry hive of bees
That want their leader, scatter up and down,
And care not who they sting in his revenge.
Myself have calm'd their spleenful mutiny,
Until they hear the order of his death.
K. Hen. That he is dead, good Warwick, 'tis too true:
But how he died God knows, not Henry. Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse, And comment then upon his sudden death.
War. That I shall do, my liege. Stay, Salisbury, With the rude multitude till I return.
Exeunt WARWICK and SALISBURY. K. Hen. O! thou that judgest all things, stay my thoughts,
My thoughts that labour to persuade my soul Some violent hands were laid on Humphrey's life.
If my suspect be false, forgive me, God,
For judgment only doth belong to thee.
Fain would go to chafe his paly lips
With twenty thousand kisses, and to drain
Upon his face an ocean of salt tears,
To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk,
And with my fingers feel his hand unfeeling :
But all in vain are these mean obsequies,
And to survey his dead and earthy image
What were it but to make my sorrow greater?
Re-enter WARWICK and Others, bearing GLOU
CESTER'S body on a bed.
War. Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.
K. Hen. That is to see how deep my grave is made;
For with his soul fled all my worldly solace,
For seeing him I see my life in death.
War. As surely as my soul intends to live With that dread King that took our state upon him
To free us from his Father's wrathful curse,
I do believe that violent hands were laid
Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.
Suf. A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!
What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?
War. See how the blood is settled in his face.
Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost,
Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale, and bloodless,
Being all descended to the labouring heart;
Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,
Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy;
Which with the heart there cools, and ne'er
To blush and beautify the cheek again.
But see, his face is black and full of blood,
His eye-balls further out than when he liv'd,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man;
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch'd with
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued.
Look! on the sheets his hair, you see, is sticking;
His well-proportion'd beard made rough and
Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodg'd.
It cannot be but he was murder'd here;
The least of all these signs were probable.
Suf. Why, Warwick, who should do the duke
Myself and Beaufort had him in protection; 180
I hope, sir, are no murderers.
War. But both of you were vow'd Duke Humphrey's foes,
And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep : 'Tis like you would not feast him like a friend, And 'tis well seen he found an enemy.
Q. Mar. Then you, belike, suspect these noble
As guilty of Duke Humphrey's timeless death.
War. Who finds the heifer dead, and bleeding fresh,
And sees fast by a butcher with an axe,
But will suspect 'twas he that made the slaughter?
Who finds the partridge in the puttock's nest,
But may imagine how the bird was dead,
Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak?
Even so suspicious is this tragedy.
Q. Mar. Are you the butcher, Suffolk ? where's
Is Beaufort term'd a kite? where are his talons? Suf. I wear no knife to slaughter sleeping men; But here's a vengeful sword, rusted with ease, That shall be scoured in his rancorous heart 199 That slanders me with murder's crimson badge. Say, if thou dar'st, proud Lord of Warwickshire, That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey's death.
Excunt Cardinal BEAUFORT, SOMERSET,
and Others. War. What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?
Q. Mar. He dares not calm his contumelious spirit,
Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.
War. Madam, be still, with reverence may I
Is slander to your royal dignity.
For every word you speak in his behalf
Suf. Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanour! If ever lady wrong'd her lord so much, Thy mother took into her blameful bed Some stern untutor'd churl, and noble stock Was graft with crab-tree slip; whose fruit thou
And never of the Nevils' noble race.
War. But that the guilt of murder bucklers
And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
I would, false murderous coward, on thy knee
And that my sovereign's presence makes me mild,
Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech,
And say it was thy mother that thou meant'st;
That thou thyself wast born in bastardy:
And after all this fearful homage done,
Give thee thy hire, and send thy soul to hell,
Pernicious blood-sucker of sleeping men!
Suf. Thou shalt be waking while I shed thy
If from this presence thou dar'st go with me. War. Away even now, or I will drag thee
Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee,
And do some service to Duke Humphrey's ghost.
Exeunt SUFFOLK and WARWICK.
K. Hen. What stronger breastplate than a
Thrice is he arm'd that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
A noise within.
Q. Mar. What noise is this?
Re-enter SUFFOLK and WARWICK, with their
K. IIen. Why, how now, lords! your wrathful weapons drawn
Here in our presence! dare you be so bold! Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?
Suf. The traitorous Warwick, with the men | Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with of Bury,
Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.
Noise of a crowd within. Re-enter SALISBURY. Sal. Speaking to those within. Sirs, stand apart; the king shall know your mind. Dread lord, the commons send you word by me, Unless false 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 lingering death. They say, by him the good Duke Humphrey died; They say, in him they fear your highness' death; And mere instinct of love and loyalty, Free from a stubborn opposite intent, As being thought to contradict your liking, Makes them thus forward in his banishment. They say, in care of your most royal person, That if your highness should intend to sleep, And charge that no man should disturb your rest
In pain of your dislike or pain of death,
Yet, notwithstanding such a strait edict,
Were there a serpent seen, with forked tongue,
That slily glided towards your majesty, 260
It were but necessary you were wak'd,
Lest, being suffer'd in that harmful slumber,
The mortal worm might make the sleep eternal:
And therefore do they cry, though you forbid,
That they will guard you, whe'r you will or no,
From such fell serpents as false Suffolk is;
With whose envenomed and fatal sting,
Your loving uncle, twenty times his worth
They say, is shamefully bereft of life.
Commons. Within. An answer from the king,
my Lord of Salisbury!
Suf. "Tis like the commons, rude unpolish'd hinds,
Could send such message to their sovereign;
But you, my lord, were glad to be employ'd,
To show how quaint an orator you are:
But all the honour Salisbury hath won
Is that he was the lord ambassador,
Sent from a sort of tinkers to the king.
Commons. Within. An answer from the king,
or we will all break in!
K. Hen. Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from
I thank them for their tender loving care;
And had I not been cited so by them,
Yet did I purpose as they do entreat;
For sure, my thoughts do hourly prophesy
Mischance unto my state by Suffolk's means:
And therefore, by his majesty I swear,
Whose far unworthy deputy I am,
He shall not breathe infection in this air
But three days longer, on the pain of death.
Q. Mar. O Henry! let me plead for gentle
K. Hen. Ungentle queen, to call him gentle
No more, I say; if thou dost plead for him
Thou wilt but add increase unto my wrath.
Had I but said, I would have kept my word,
But when I swear, it is irrevocable.
If after three days' space thou here be'st found On any ground that I am ruler of,
The world shall not be ransom for thy life.
Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan,
I would invent as bitter-searching terms,
As curst, as harsh and horrible to hear,
Deliver'd strongly through my fixed teeth,
With full as many signs of deadly hate,
As lean-fac'd Envy in her loathsome cave.
My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words;
Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint;
My hair be fix'd on end, as one distract;
Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban:
And even now my burden'd heart would break
Should I not curse them. Poison be their drink!
Gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste!
Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress trees!
Their chiefest prospect murdering basilisks!
Their softest touch as smart as lizards' stings!
Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss,
And boding screech-owls make the concert full!
All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell-
Q. Mar. Enough, sweet Suffolk; thou torment'st thyself;
And these dread curses, like the sun 'gainst glass,
Or like an overcharged gun, recoil
And turn the force of them upon thyself.
Suf. You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave?
Now, by the ground that I am banish'd from, Well could I curse away a winter's night, Though standing naked on a mountain top, Where biting cold would never let grass grow, And think it but a minute spent in sport.
Q. Mar. O let me entreat thee, cease. Give me thy hand,
That I may dew it with my mournful tears; 340
Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place,
To wash away my woeful monuments.
O! could this kiss be printed in thy hand,
That thou might'st think upon these by the seal,
Through whom a thousand sighs are breath'd for
So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
'Tis but surmis'd whiles thou art standing by,
As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
I will repeal thee, or, be well assur'd,
Adventure to be banished myself;
And banished I am, if but from thee.
Go; speak not to me; even now be gone.
O! go not yet. Even thus two friends condemn'd
Embrace and kiss and take ten thousand leaves,
Loather a hundred times to part than die.
Yet now farewell; and farewell life with thee.
Suf. Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished,
SCENE III.-London. Cardinal BEAUFORT'S
Enter King HENRY, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and
Others. The Cardinal in bed; Attendants with
K. Hen. How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, to thy sovereign.
Car. If thou be'st death, I'll give thee Eng. land's treasure,
Enough to purchase such another island,
Q. Mar. Whither goes Vaux so fast? what So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain.
Vaux. To signify unto his majesty
That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
For suddenly a grievous sickness took him, 370
That makes him gasp and stare and catch the
Blaspheming God, and cursing men on earth.
Sometime he talks as if Duke Humphrey's
Were by his side; sometime he calls the king,
And whispers to his pillow, as to him,
The secrets of his overcharged soul:
And I am sent to tell his majesty
That even now he cries aloud for him.
Q. Mar. Go, tell this heavy message to the king.
Ay me! what is this world! what news are
But wherefore grieve I at an hour's poor loss,
Omitting Suffolk's exile, my soul's treasure?
Why only, Suffolk, mourn I not for thee,
And with the southern clouds contend in tears,
Theirs for the earth's increase, mine for my
Now get thee hence: the king, thou know'st, is
If thou be found by me thou art but dead.
Suf. If I depart from thee I cannot live;
And in thy sight to die, what were it else
But like a pleasant slumber in thy lap?
Here could I breathe my soul into the air,
As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe
Dying with mother's dug between its lips ;
Where, from thy sight, I should be raging mad,
And cry out for thee to close up mine eyes,
To have thee with thy lips to stop my mouth:
So should'st thou either turn my flying soul,
Or I should breathe it so into thy body,
And then it liv'd in sweet Elysium.
To die by thee were but to die in jest ;
From thee to die were torture more than death.
O let me stay, befall what may befall.
K. Hen. Ah! what a sign it is of evil life
Where death's approach is seen so terrible.
War. Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to
Car. Bring me unto my trial when you will.
Died he not in his bed? where should he die?
Can I make men live whe'r they will or no? 10
O! torture me no more, I will confess.
Alive again? then show me where he is:
I'll give a thousand pound to look upon him.
He hath no eyes, the dust hath blinded them.
Comb down his hair; look! look! it stands
Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul.
Give me some drink; and bid the apothecary
Bring the strong poison that I bought of him.
K. Hen. O thou eternal Mover of the heavens!
Look with a gentle eye upon this wretch;
O beat away the busy meddling fiend
That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul
And from his bosom purge this black despair.
War. See how the pangs of death do make
Sal. Disturb him not; let him pass peaceably.
K. Hen. Peace to his soul! if God's good
Lord cardinal, if thou think'st on heaven's bliss,
Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.
He dies, and makes no sign. O God, forgive him!
War. So bad a death argues a monstrous life.
K. Hen. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.
Close up his eyes, and draw the curtain close;
And let us all to meditation.
The Sea-shore near Dover.
Firing heard at sea. Then enter from a boat, a
Captain, a Master, a Master's-Mate, WALTER
WHITMORE, and Others; with them SUFFOLK,
disguised, and other Gentlemen, prisoners.
Cap. The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day
Is crept into the bosom of the sea,
And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
Clip dead men's graves, and from their misty jaws
Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air.
Therefore bring forth the soldiers of our prize,
For whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs
Here shall they make their ransom on the sand,
Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.
Master, this prisoner freely give I thee;
And thou that art his mate make boot of this;
The other, Walter Whitmore, is thy share.