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King Henry VI, Second Part by William Shakespeare [Rolfe edition]

Part 2 out of 3

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GLOSTER.
Must you, Sir John, protect my lady here?

STANLEY.
So am I given in charge, may 't please your grace.

GLOSTER.
Entreat her not the worse in that I pray
You use her well.
The world may laugh again,
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!

GLOSTER.
Witness my tears, I cannot stay to speak.

[Exeunt Gloster and Servingmen.]

DUCHESS.
Art thou gone too? all comfort go with thee!
For none abides with me; my joy is death,
Death, at whose name I oft have been afeard,
Because I wish'd this world's eternity.--
Stanley, I prithee, go, and take me hence;
I care not whither, for I beg no favour,
Only convey me where thou art commanded.

STANLEY.
Why, madam, that is to the Isle of Man;
There to be us'd according to your state.

DUCHESS.
That's bad enough, for I am but reproach;
And shall I then be us'd reproachfully?

STANLEY.
Like to a duchess, and Duke Humphrey's lady;
According to that state you shall be us'd.

DUCHESS.
Sheriff, farewell, and better than I fare,
Although thou hast been conduct of my shame.

SHERIFF.
It is my office; and, madam, pardon me.

DUCHESS.
Ay, ay, farewell; thy office is discharg'd.--
Come, Stanley, shall we go?

STANLEY.
Madam, your penance done, throw off this sheet,
And go we to attire you for our journey.

DUCHESS.
My shame will not be shifted with my sheet;
No, it will hang upon my richest robes
And show itself, attire me how I can.
Go, lead the way; I long to see my prison.

[Exeunt.]

ACT III.

SCENE I. The Abbey at Bury St. Edmund's.

[Sound a sennet. Enter the KING, the QUEEN, CARDINAL
BEAUFORT, SUFFOLK, YORK, BUCKINGHAM, SALISBURY,
and WARWICK to the Parliament.]

KING.
I muse my Lord of Gloster 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? or will ye not observe
The strangeness of his alter'd countenance?
With what a majesty he bears himself,
How insolent of late he is become,
How proud, how 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 admir'd 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 shows an angry eye,
And passeth by with stiff unbowed 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
'T is to be fear'd they all will follow him.
Now 't is the spring and weeds are shallow-rooted;
Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden
And choke the herbs for want of husbandry.
The reverent care I bear unto my lord
Made me collect these dangers in the duke.
If it be fond, can it a woman's fear;
Which fear if better reasons can supplant,
I will subscribe and say I wrong'd the duke.--
My Lord of Suffolk, Buckingham, and York,
Reprove my allegation if you can,
Or else conclude my words effectual.

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.
The duchess by his subornation,
Upon my life, began her devilish practices;
Or, if he were not privy to those faults,
Yet, by reputing of his high descent,
As next the king he was successive heir,
And such high vaunts of his nobility,
Did instigate the bedlam brain-sick duchess
By wicked means to frame our sovereign's fall.
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep,
And in his simple show he harbours treason.
The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.--
No, no, my sovereign; Gloster is a man
Unsounded yet and full of deep deceit.

CARDINAL.
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.

BUCKINGHAM.
Tut, these are petty faults to faults unknown,
Which time will bring to light in smooth Duke Humphrey.

KING.
My lords, at once: the care you have of us,
To mow down thorns that would annoy our foot,
Is worthy praise; but, shall I speak my conscience,
Our kinsman Gloster is as innocent
From meaning treason to our royal person
As is the sucking lamb or harmless dove.
The duke is virtuous, mild, and too well given
To dream on evil or to work my downfall.

QUEEN.
Ah, what's more dangerous than this fond affiance!
Seems he a dove? his feathers are but borrow'd,
For he's disposed as the hateful raven;
Is he a lamb? his skin is surely lent him,
For he's inclin'd as is the ravenous wolf.
Who cannot steal a shape that means deceit?
Take heed, my lord; the welfare of us all
Hangs on the cutting short that fraudful man.

[Enter SOMERSET.]

SOMERSET.
All health unto my gracious sovereign!

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; but God's will be done!

YORK.
[Aside.] Cold news for me, for I had hope of France
As firmly as I hope for fertile England.
Thus are my blossoms blasted in the bud,
And caterpillars eat my leaves away;
But I will remedy this gear ere long
Or sell my title for a glorious grave.

[Enter GLOSTER.]

GLOSTER.
All happiness unto my lord the king!
Pardon, my liege, that I have staid so long.

SUFFOLK.
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.

GLOSTER.
Well, Suffolk, 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.
'T is thought, my lord, that you took bribes of France,
And, being protector, stay'd the soldiers' pay,
By means whereof his highness hath lost France.

GLOSTER.
Is it but thought so? what are they that think it?
I never robb'd the soldiers of their pay,
Nor ever had one penny bribe from France.
So help me God, as I have watch'd 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 dispursed to the garrisons,
And never ask'd for restitution.

CARDINAL.
It serves you well, my lord, to say so much.

GLOSTER.
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 defam'd by tyranny.

GLOSTER.
Why, 't is well known that, whiles I was 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 murtherer,
Or foul felonious thief that fleec'd poor passengers,
I never gave them condign punishment.
Murther indeed, that bloody sin, I tortur'd
Above the felon or what trespass else.

SUFFOLK.
My lord, these faults are easy, quickly answer'd;
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.

KING.
My Lord of Gloster, 't is my special hope
That you will clear yourself from all suspect;
My conscience tells me you are innocent.

GLOSTER.
Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous.
Virtue is chok'd with foul ambition,
And charity chas'd hence by rancour's hand;
Foul subornation is predominant,
And equity exil'd 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 unburthens with his tongue
The envious load that lies upon his heart;
And dogged York, that reaches at the moon,
Whose overweening arm I have pluck'd 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 stirr'd 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.'

CARDINAL.
My liege, his railing is intolerable;
If those that care to keep your royal person
From treason's secret knife and traitor's 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.

SUFFOLK.
Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here
With ignominious words, though clerkly couch'd,
As if she had suborned some to swear
False allegations to o'erthrow his state?

QUEEN.
But I can give the loser leave to chide.

GLOSTER.
Far truer spoke than meant; I lose, indeed.
Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false!
And well such losers may have leave to speak.

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.

GLOSTER.
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.

[Exit, guarded.]

KING.
My lords, what to your wisdoms seemeth best,
Do or undo, as if ourself were here.

QUEEN.
What, will your highness leave the parliament?

KING.
Ay, Margaret; my heart is drown'd 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 prov'd thee false or fear'd thy faith.
What lowering 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;
And as the butcher takes away the calf
And binds the wretch and beats it when it strays,
Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house,
Even so remorseless have they borne him hence;
And as the dam runs lowing up and down,
Looking the way her harmless young one went,
And can do nought but wail her darling's loss,
Even so myself bewails good Gloster's case
With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimm'd eyes
Look after him, and cannot do him good,
So mighty are his vowed enemies.
His fortunes I will weep and 'twixt each groan
Say 'Who's a traitor? Gloster he is none.'

[Exeunt all but Queen, Cardinal Beaufort, Suffolk
and York; Somerset remains apart.]

QUEEN.
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 roll'd in a flowering bank,
With shining checker'd 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 mine own wit good--
This Gloster should be quickly rid the world,
To rid us from the fear we have of him.

CARDINAL.
That he should die is worthy policy,
But yet we want a colour for his death,
'T is meet he be condemn'd by course of law.

SUFFOLK.
But, in my mind, that were no policy.
The king will labour still to save his life;
The commons haply rise to save his life,
And yet we have but trivial argument,
More than mistrust, that shows him worthy death.

YORK.
So that, by this, you would not have him die.

SUFFOLK.
Ah, York, no man alive so fain as I!

YORK.
'T is York that hath more reason for his death.--
But, my lord cardinal, and you, my Lord of Suffolk,
Say as you think, and speak it from your souls,
Were 't not all one an empty eagle were set
To guard the chicken from a hungry kite,
As place Duke Humphrey for the king's protector?

QUEEN.
So the poor chicken should be sure of death.

SUFFOLK.
Madam, 't is true; and were 't not madness, then,
To make the fox surveyor of the fold?
Who being accus'd a crafty murtherer,
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 prov'd an enemy to the flock,
Before his chaps be stain'd with crimson blood,
As Humphrey, prov'd by reasons, to my liege.
And do not stand on quillets how to slay him.
Be it by gins, by snares, by subtlety,
Sleeping or waking, 't is no matter how,
So he be dead; for that is good deceit
Which mates him first that first intends deceit.

QUEEN.
Thrice-noble Suffolk, 't is resolutely spoke.

SUFFOLK.
Not resolute, except so much were done,
For things are often spoke and seldom meant;
But that my heart accordeth with my tongue,--
Seeing the deed is meritorious,
And to preserve my sovereign from his foe,--
Say but the word, and I will be his priest.

CARDINAL.
But I would have him dead, my Lord of Suffolk,
Ere you can take due orders for a priest.
Say you consent and censure well the deed,
And I'll provide his executioner,
I tender so the safety of my liege.

SUFFOLK.
Here is my hand, the deed is worthy doing.

QUEEN.
And so say I.

YORK.
And I; and now we three have spoke it,
It skills not greatly who impugns our doom.

[Enter a Post.]

POST.
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 uncurable;
For, being green, there is great hope of help.

CARDINAL.
A breach that craves a quick expedient stop!
What council give you in this weighty cause?

YORK.
That Somerset be sent as regent thither.
'T is meet that lucky ruler be employ'd;
Witness the fortune he hath had in France.

SOMERSET.
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.

QUEEN.
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 prov'd far worse than his.

YORK.
What, worse than nought? nay, then a shame take all!

SOMERSET.
And, in the number, thee that wishest shame!

CARDINAL.
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.

SUFFOLK.
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.

SUFFOLK.
A charge, Lord York, that I will see perform'd.
But now return we to the false Duke Humphrey.

CARDINAL.
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.

SUFFOLK.
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 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 an host of men;
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherish'd in your breasts, will sting your hearts.
'T was 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
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 tide of John Mortimer.
In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
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 villainies.
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 't is great like he will,
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.

[Exit.]

SCENE II. Bury St. Edmund's. A Room of State.

[Enter certain Murderers, hastily.]

1 MURDERER.
Run to my Lord of Suffolk; let him know
We have dispatch'd the duke, as he commanded.

2 MURDERER.
O that it were to do! What have we done?
Didst ever hear a man so penitent?

[Enter SUFFOLK.]

1 MURDERER.
Here comes my lord.

SUFFOLK.
Now, sirs, have you dispatch'd this thing?

1 MURDERER.
Ay, my good lord, he's dead.

SUFFOLK.
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? Is all things well,
According as I gave directions?

1 MURDERER.
'T is, my good lord.

SUFFOLK.
Away! be gone.

[Exeunt Murderers.]

[Sound trumpets. Enter the KING, the QUEEN,
CARDINAL BEAUFORT, SOMERSET, with attendants.]

KING.
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.

SUFFOLK.
I'll call him presently, my noble lord.

[Exit.]

KING.
Lords, take your places; and, I pray you all,
Proceed no straiter 'gainst our uncle Gloster
Than from true evidence of good esteem
He be approv'd in practice culpable.

QUEEN.
God forbid any malice should prevail
That faultless may condemn a nobleman!
Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!

KING.
I thank thee, Meg; these words content me much.--

[Re-enter SUFFOLK.]

How now! why look'st thou pale? why tremblest thou?
Where is our uncle? what's the matter, Suffolk?

SUFFOLK.
Dead in his bed, my lord; Gloster is dead.

QUEEN.
Marry, God forfend!

CARDINAL.
God's secret judgment!--I did dream to-night
The duke was dumb and could not speak a word.

[The King swoons.]

QUEEN.
How fares my lord?--Help, lords! the king is dead.

SOMERSET.
Rear up his body; wring him by the nose.

QUEEN.
Run, go, help, help!--O Henry, ope thine eyes!

SUFFOLK.
He doth revive again.--Madam, be patient.

KING.
O heavenly God!

QUEEN.
How fares my gracious lord?

SUFFOLK.
Comfort, my sovereign! gracious Henry, comfort!

KING.
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 murtherous 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 Gloster's dead.

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;
And for myself, foe as he was to me,
Might liquid tears or heart-offending groans
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 wounded
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!

KING.
Ah, woe is me for Gloster, 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.
What! art thou, like the adder, waxen deaf?
Be poisonous too and kill thy forlorn queen.
Is all thy comfort shut in Gloster'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.
Was I for this nigh wrack'd upon the sea,
And twice by awkward wind from England's bank
Drove back again unto my native clime?
What boded this but well forewarning wind
Did seem to say 'Seek not a scorpion's nest,
Nor set no footing on this unkind shore?'
What did I then, but curs'd the gentle gusts
And he that loos'd them forth their brazen caves,
And bid them blow towards England's blessed shore,
Or turn our stern upon a dreadful rock?
Yet Aeolus would not be a murtherer,
But left that hateful office unto thee.
The pretty-vaulting sea refus'd to drown me,
Knowing that thou wouldst have me drown'd on shore,
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 thy 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'd it,
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 like him?
Ay me, I can no more! die, Margaret!
For Henry weeps that thou dost live so long.

[Noise within. Enter WARWICK, SALISBURY, and many Commons.]

WARWICK.
It is reported, mighty sovereign,
That good Duke Humphrey traitorously is murther'd
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.

KING.
That he is dead, good Warwick, 't is too true;
But how he died God knows, not Henry.
Enter his chamber, view his breathless corpse,
And comment then upon his sudden death.

WARWICK.
That shall I do, my liege.--Stay, Salisbury,
With the rude multitude till I return.

[Exit.]

KING.
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 I 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 GLOSTER's
body on a bed.]

WARWICK.
Come hither, gracious sovereign, view this body.

KING.
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.

WARWICK.
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.

SUFFOLK.
A dreadful oath, sworn with a solemn tongue!
What instance gives Lord Warwick for his vow?

WARWICK.
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 returneth
To blush and beautify the cheek again.
But see, his face is black and full of blood,
His eyeballs further out than when he liv'd,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man;
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch'd with struggling,
His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd
And tugg'd for life and was by strength subdu'd.
Look, on the sheets his hair, you see, is sticking;
His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged,
Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodged.
It cannot be but he was murther'd here;
The least of all these signs were probable.

SUFFOLK.
Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to death?
Myself and Beaufort had him in protection;
And we, I hope, sir, are no murtherers.

WARWICK.
But both of you were vow'd Duke Humphrey's foes,
And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep;
'T is like you would not feast him like a friend,
And 't is 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 axe
But will suspect 't was 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.

QUEEN.
Are you the butcher, Suffolk? Where's your knife?
Is Beaufort term'd a kite? Where are his talons?

SUFFOLK.
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
That slanders me with murther's crimson badge.--
Say, if thou dar'st, proud Lord of Warwickshire,
That I am faulty in Duke Humphrey's death.

[Exeunt Cardinal, Somerset, and others.]

WARWICK.
What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him?

QUEEN.
He dares not calm his contumelious spirit,
Nor cease to be an arrogant controller,
Though Suffolk dare him twenty thousand times.

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 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 art,
And never of the Nevils' noble race.

WARWICK.
But that the guilt of murther bucklers thee
And I should rob the deathsman of his fee,
Quitting thee thereby of ten thousand shames,
And that my sovereign's presence makes me mild,
I would, false murtherous coward, on thy knee
Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech
And say it was thy mother that thou meant'st,
That thou thyself was 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!

SUFFOLK.
Thou shalt be waking while I shed thy blood,
If from this presence thou dar'st go with me.

WARWICK.
Away even now, or I will drag thee hence.
Unworthy though thou art, I'll cope with thee
And do some service to Duke Humphrey's ghost.

[Exeunt Suffolk and Warwick.]

KING.
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
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.]

QUEEN.
What noise is this?

[Re-enter Suffolk and Warwick, with their weapons drawn.]

KING.
Why, how now, lords! your wrathful weapons drawn
Here in our presence! dare you be so bold?
Why, what tumultuous clamour have we here?

SUFFOLK.
The traitorous Warwick with the men of Bury
Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.

SALISBURY.
[To the Commons, entering.] 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,
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, whether 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!

SUFFOLK.
'T is 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!

KING.
Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me,
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.

[Exit Salisbury.]

QUEEN.
O Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk!

KING.
Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suffolk!
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.--
Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with me;
I have great matters to impart to thee.

[Exeunt all but Queen and Suffolk.]

QUEEN.
Mischance and sorrow go along with you!
Heart's discontent and sour affliction
Be playfellows to keep you company!
There's two of you; the devil make a third!
And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps!

SUFFOLK.
Cease, gentle queen, these execrations,
And let thy Suffolk take his heavy leave.

QUEEN.
Fie, coward woman and soft-hearted wretch,
Has thou not spirit to curse thine enemy?

SUFFOLK.
A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them?
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;
Mine hair be fix'd an end, as one distract;
Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban;
And even now my burthen'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 murthering basilisks!
Their softest touch as smart as lizards' stings!
Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss,
And boding screech-owls make the consort full!
All the foul terrors in dark-seated hell--

QUEEN.
Enough, sweet Suffolk; thou torment'st thyself;
And these dread curses, like the sun 'gainst glass,
Or like an overcharged gun, recoil
And turns the force of them upon thyself.

SUFFOLK.
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.

QUEEN.
O, let me entreat thee cease. Give me thy hand,
That I may dew it with my mournful tears;
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 mightest think upon these by the seal,
Through whom a thousand sighs are breath'd for thee!
So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
'T is 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!

SUFFOLK.
Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished;
Once by the king, and three times thrice by thee.
'T is not the land I care for, wert thou thence;
A wilderness is populous enough,
So Suffolk had thy heavenly company;
For where thou art, there is the world itself,
With every several pleasure in the world,
And where thou art not, desolation.
I can no more; live thou to joy thy life,
Myself no joy in nought but that thou liv'st.

[Enter VAUX.]

QUEEN.
Whither goes Vaux so fast? what news, I prithee?

VAUX.
To signify unto his majesty
That Cardinal Beaufort is at point of death;
For suddenly a grievous sickness took him,
That makes him gasp and stare and catch the air,
Blaspheming God and cursing men on earth.
Sometime he talks as if Duke Humphrey's ghost
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.

QUEEN.
Go tell this heavy message to the king.--

[Exit Vaux.]

Ay me! what is this world! what news are these!
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 sorrows?
Now get thee hence.
The king, thou know'st, is coming;
If thou be found by me; thou art but dead.

SUFFOLK.
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 shouldst 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!

QUEEN.
Away! though parting be a fretful corrosive,
It is applied to a deathful wound.
To France, sweet Suffolk; let me hear from thee,
For whereso'er thou art in this world's globe
I'll have an Iris that shall find thee out.

SUFFOLK.
I go.

QUEEN.
And take my heart with thee.

SUFFOLK.
A jewel, lock'd into the wofull'st cask
That ever did contain a thing of worth.
Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we;
This way fall I to death.

QUEEN.
This way for me.

[Exeunt severally.]

SCENE III. A Bedchamber.

[Enter the KING, SALISBURY, and WARWICK, to the CARDINAL in bed.]

KING.
How fares my lord? speak, Beaufort, to thy sovereign.

CARDINAL.
If thou be'st 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?
Can I make men live, whether they will or no?
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 upright,
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.

KING.
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!

WARWICK.
See how the pangs of death do make him grin!

SALISBURY.
Disturb him not; let him pass peaceably.

KING.
Peace to his soul, if God's good pleasure be!--
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!

WARWICK.
So bad a death argues a monstrous life.

KING HENRY.
Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.--
Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close;
And let us all to meditation.

[Exeunt.]

ACT IV.

SCENE I. The Coast of Kent.

[Alarum. Fight at sea. Ordnance goes off. Enter a Captain,
a Master, a Master's Mate, WALTER WHITMORE, and
others; with them SUFFOLK, and others, prisoners.]

CAPTAIN.
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.

1 GENTLEMAN.
What is my ransom, master? let me know?

MASTER.
A thousand crowns, or else lay down your head.

MATE.
And so much shall you give, or off goes yours.

CAPTAIN.
What, think you much to pay two thousand crowns,
And bear the name and port of gentlemen?--
Cut both the villains' throats;--for die you shall.
The lives of those which we have lost in fight
Be counterpois'd with such a petty sum!

1 GENTLEMAN.
I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my life.

2 GENTLEMAN.
And so will I, and write home for it straight.

WHITMORE.
I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,--
[To Suffolk] And therefore, to revenge it, shalt thou die;--
And so should these, if I might have my will.

CAPTAIN.
Be not so rash; take ransom, let him live.

SUFFOLK.
Look on my George; I am a gentleman.
Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.

WHITMORE.
And so am I; my name is Walter Whitmore.
How now! why start'st thou? 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.
Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.

WHITMORE.
Gaultier or Walter, which it is, I care not.
Never yet did base dishonour blur our name
But with our sword we wip'd away the blot;
Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defac'd,
And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!

SUFFOLK.
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 disguis'd, and why not I?

CAPTAIN.
But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be.

SUFFOLK.
Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's blood,
The honourable blood of Lancaster,
Must not be shed by such a jaded groom.
Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand and held my stirrup?
Bare-headed plodded by my foot-cloth mule
And thought thee happy when I shook my head?
How often hast thou waited at my cup,
Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board,
When I have feasted with Queen Margaret?
Remember it and let it make thee crest-fallen,
Ay, and allay thus thy abortive pride,
How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood
And duly waited for my coming forth.
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?

CAPTAIN.
First let my words stab him, as he hath me.

SUFFOLK.
Base slave, thy words are blunt and so art thou.

CAPTAIN.
Convey him hence, and on our long-boat's side
Strike off his head.

SUFFOLK.
Thou dar'st not, for thy own.

CAPTAIN.
Yes, Pole!

SUFFOLK.
Pole!

CAPTAIN.
Pool! Sir Pool! lord!
Ay, kennel, puddle, sink, whose filth and dirt
Troubles the silver spring where England drinks.
Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth
For swallowing the treasure of the realm;
Thy lips that kiss'd the queen shall sweep the ground;
And thou that smil'dst at good Duke Humphrey's death
Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain,
Who in contempt shall hiss at thee again.
And wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
For daring to affy a mighty lord
Unto the daughter of a worthless king,
Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem.
By devilish policy art thou grown great
And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorg'd
With gobbets of thy mother's bleeding heart.
By thee Anjou and Maine were sold to France,
The false revolting Normans thorough thee
Disdain to call us lord, and Picardy
Hath slain their governors, surpris'd our forts,
And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home.
The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,
Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in vain,
As hating thee are rising up in arms;
And now the house of York, thrust from the crown
By shameful murther of a guiltless king
And lofty proud encroaching tyranny,
Burns with revenging fire, whose hopeful colours
Advance our half-fac'd sun, striving to shine,
Under the which is writ 'Invitis nubibus.'
The commons here in Kent are up in arms;
And, to conclude, reproach and beggary
Is crept into the palace of our king,
And all by thee.--Away! convey him hence.

SUFFOLK.
O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder
Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges!
Small things make base men proud; this villain here,
Being captain of a pinnace, threatens more
Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate.--
Drones suck not eagles' blood but rob bee-hives.
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 to France;
I charge thee waft me safely cross the Channel.

CAPTAIN.
Walter,--

WHITMORE.
Come, Suffolk, I must waft thee to thy death.

SUFFOLK.
Gelidus timor occupat artus; it is thee I fear.

WHITMORE.
Thou shalt have cause to fear before I leave thee.
What, are ye daunted now? now will ye stoop?

1 GENTLEMAN.
My gracious lord, entreat him, speak him fair.

SUFFOLK.
Suffolk's imperial tongue is stern and rough,
Us'd to command, untaught to plead for favour.
Far be it we should honour such as these
With humble suit; no, rather let my head
Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
Save to the God of heaven and to my king,
And sooner dance upon a bloody pole
Than stand uncover'd to the vulgar groom.
True nobility is exempt from fear;
More can I bear than you dare execute.

CAPTAIN.
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!
Great men oft die by vile bezonians:
A Roman sworder and banditto slave
Murther'd sweet Tully; Brutus' bastard hand
Stabb'd Julius Caesar; savage islanders
Pompey the Great; and Suffolk dies by pirates.

[Exeunt Whitmore and others with Suffolk.]

CAPTAIN.
And as for these whose ransom we have set,
It is our pleasure one of them depart,
Therefore come you with us, and let him go.

[Exeunt all but the 1 Gentleman.]

[Re-enter WHITMORE with SUFFOLK'S body.]

WHITMORE.
There let his head and lifeless body lie
Until the queen his mistress bury it.

[Exit.]

1 GENTLEMAN.
O barbarous and bloody spectacle!
His body will I bear unto the king.
If he revenge it not, yet will his friends;
So will the queen, that living held him dear.

[Exit with the body.]

SCENE II. Blackheath.

[Enter GEORGE BEVIS and JOHN HOLLAND.]

GEORGE.
Come, and get thee a sword, though made of
a lath; they have been up these two days.

HOLLAND.
They have the more need to sleep now, then.

BEVIS.
I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress the
commonwealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it.

HOLLAND.
So he had need, for 't is threadbare. 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; and yet it is said, labour in thy vocation,
which is as much to say as, let the magistrates be labouring
men; and therefore should we be magistrates.

BEVIS.
Thou hast hit it; for there's no better sign of a brave
mind than a hard hand.

HOLLAND.
I see them! I see them! There's Best's son, the
tanner of Wingham,--

BEVIS.
He shall have the skin of our enemies, to make dog's-
leather of.

HOLLAND.
And Dick the butcher,--

BEVIS.
Then is sin struck down like an ox, and iniquity's
throat cut like a calf.

HOLLAND.
And Smith the weaver,--

BEVIS.
Argo, their thread of life is spun.

HOLLAND.
Come, come, let's fall in with them.

[Drum. Enter CADE, DICK the Butcher, SMITH the Weaver,
and a Sawyer, with infinite numbers.]

CADE.
We John Cade, so term'd of our supposed father,--

DICK.
[Aside.] Or rather, of stealing a cade of herrings.

CADE.
For our enemies shall fall before us, inspired with the
spirit of putting down kings and princes,--Command silence.

DICK.
Silence!

CADE.
My father was a Mortimer,--

DICK.
[Aside.] He was an honest man and a good bricklayer.

CADE.
My mother a Plantagenet,--

DICK.
[Aside.] I knew her well; she was a midwife.

CADE.
My wife descended of the Lacies,--

DICK.
[Aside.] She was, indeed, a pedler's daughter, and sold
many laces.

SMITH.
[Aside.] But now of late, not able to travel with her
furred pack, she washes bucks here at home.

CADE.
Therefore am I of an honourable house.

DICK.
[Aside.] Ay, by my faith, the field is honourable; and
there was he born, under a hedge, for his father had never a
house but
the cage.

CADE.
Valiant I am.

SMITH.
[Aside.] A' must needs; for beggary is valiant.

CADE.
I am able to endure much.

DICK.
[Aside.] No question of that; for I have seen him whipped
three market-days together.

CADE.
I fear neither sword nor fire.

SMITH.
[Aside.] He need not fear the sword, for his coat is of
proof.

DICK.
[Aside.] But methinks he should stand in fear of fire,
being burnt i' the hand for stealing of sheep.

CADE.
Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows
reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves
sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and
I will make it felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be
in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfry go to grass; and
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, and I will apparel them all in one
livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their
lord.

DICK.
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

CADE.
Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that
of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment, that
parchment, being scribbl'd o'er, should undo a man? Some say the
bee stings; but I say 't is the bee's wax, for I did but seal
once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.--How now!
who's there?

[Enter some, bringing in the Clerk of Chatham.]

SMITH.
The clerk of Chatham; he can write and read and cast
accompt.

CADE.
O monstrous!

SMITH.
We took him setting of boys' copies.

CADE.
Here's a villain!

SMITH.
Has a book in his pocket with red letters in 't.

CADE.
Nay, then, he is a conjurer.

DICK.
Nay, he can make obligations and write court-hand.

CADE.
I am sorry for 't.
The man is a proper man, of mine honour;
unless I find him guilty, he shall not die.--Come hither, sirrah,
I must examine thee; what is thy name?

CLERK.
Emmanuel.

DICK.
They use to write it on the top of letters.--'T will go
hard with you.

CADE.
Let me alone.--Dost thou use to write thy name? or hast
thou a mark to thyself, like a honest, plain-dealing man?

CLERK.
Sir, I thank God, I have been so well brought up that I
can write my name.

ALL.
He hath confess'd; 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.

[Exit one with the Clerk.]

[Enter MICHAEL.]

MICHAEL.
Where's our general?

CADE.
Here I am, thou particular fellow.

MICHAEL.
Fly, fly, fly! Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother
are hard by, with the king's forces.

CADE.
Stand, villain, stand, or I'll fell thee down. He shall be
encountered with a man as good as himself; he is but a knight,
is a'?

MICHAEL.
No.

CADE.
To equal him, I will make myself a knight presently.--
[Kneels.] Rise up Sir John Mortimer.--[Rises.] Now have at him!

[Enter SIR HUMPHREY STAFFORD and his Brother, with drum
and soldiers.]

STAFFORD.
Rebellious hinds, the filth and scum of Kent,
Mark'd for the gallows, lay your weapons down;
Home to your cottages, forsake this groom.
The king is merciful, if you revolt.

BROTHER.
But angry, wrathful, and inclin'd to blood,
If you go forward; therefore yield, or die.

CADE.
As for these silken-coated slaves, I pass not;
It is to you, good people, that I speak,
OVer whom, in time to come, I hope to reign,
For I am rightful heir unto the crown.

STAFFORD.
Villain, thy father was a plasterer;
And thou thyself a shearman, art thou not?

CADE.
And Adam was a gardener.

BROTHER.
And what of that?

CADE.
Marry, this: 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 't is true.
The elder of them, being put to nurse,
Was by a beggar-woman stolen away,
And, ignorant of his birth and parentage,
Became a bricklayer when he came to age.
His son am I; deny it, if you can.

DICK.
Nay, 't is too true; therefore he shall be king.

SMITH.
Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, and the bricks
are alive at this day to testify it; therefore deny it not.

STAFFORD.
And will you credit this base drudge's words,
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.--Go to, sirrah,
tell the king from me that, for his father's sake, Henry the
Fifth, in whose time boys went to span-counter for French crowns,
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.
And good reason; for thereby is England mained, and fain to go
with a staff, but that my puissance holds it up. 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!

CADE.
Nay, answer if you can: the Frenchmen are our enemies;
go to, then, I ask but this: can he that speaks with the tongue
of an enemy be a good counsellor, or no?

ALL.
No, no; and therefore we'll have his head.

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;
That those which fly before the battle ends
May, even in their wives' and children's sight,
Be hang'd up for example at their doors.--
And you that be the king's friends, follow me.

[Exeunt the two Staffords, and soldiers.]

CADE.
And you that love the commons follow me.
Now show yourselves men; 't is for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman;
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon,
For they are thrifty honest men and such
As would, but that they dare not, take our parts.

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.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE III. Another part of Blackheath.

[Alarums to the fight, wherein both the STAFFORDS are slain.
Enter CADE and the rest.]

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
slaughter-house; therefore thus will I reward thee:
the Lent shall be as long again as it is, and thou
shalt have a licence to kill for a hundred lacking one.

DICK.
I desire no more.

CADE.
And, to speak truth, thou deservest no less.
This monument of the victory will I bear
[putting on Sir Humphrey's brigandine];
and the bodies shall be dragged at my horse heels till I do come
to London, where we will have the mayor's sword borne before us.

DICK.
If we mean to thrive and do good, break open the gaols and
let out the prisoners.

CADE.
Fear not that, I warrant thee. Come, let's march towards
London.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE IV. London. The Palace.

[Enter the KING with a supplication, and the QUEEN with Suffolk's
head, the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM and the LORD SAY.]

QUEEN.
Oft have I heard that grief softens the mind
And makes it fearful and degenerate;
Think therefore on revenge and cease to weep.
But who can cease to weep and look on this?
Here may his head lie on my throbbing breast;
But where's the body that I should embrace?

BUCKINGHAM.
What answer makes your grace to the rebels'
supplication?

KING.
I'll send some holy bishop to entreat;
For God forbid so many simple souls
Should perish by the sword! And I myself,
Rather than bloody war shall cut them short,
Will parley with Jack Cade their general.--
But stay, I'll read it over once again.

QUEEN.
Ah, barbarous villains! hath this lovely face
Rul'd, like a wandering planet, over me,
And could it not enforce them to relent
That were unworthy to behold the same?

KING.
Lord Say, Jack Cade hath sworn to have thy head.

SAY.
Ay, but I hope your highness shall have his.

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 mourn'd so much for me.

QUEEN.
No, my love, I should not mourn, but die for thee.

[Enter a Messenger.]

KING.
How now! what news? why com'st thou in such haste?

MESSENGER.
The rebels are in Southwark; fly, my lord!
Jack Cade proclaims himself Lord Mortimer,
Descended from the Duke of Clarence' house,

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