|The Second part of King Henry the Sixth|
| Henry VI, part 2
| Act 1, Scene 3
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Enter three or four Petitioners, PETER, the Armourer's man, being oneFirst Petitioner
My masters, let's stand close: my lord protectorSecond Petitioner
will come this way by and by, and then we may deliver
our supplications in the quill.
Marry, the Lord protect him, for he's a good man!PETER
Jesu bless him!
Enter SUFFOLK and QUEEN MARGARET
Here a' comes, methinks, and the queen with him.Second Petitioner
I'll be the first, sure.
Come back, fool; this is the Duke of Suffolk, andSUFFOLK
not my lord protector.
How now, fellow! would'st anything with me?First Petitioner
I pray, my lord, pardon me; I took ye for my lordQUEEN MARGARET
[Reading] 'To my Lord Protector!' Are yourFirst Petitioner
supplications to his lordship? Let me see them:
what is thine?
Mine is, an't please your grace, against JohnSUFFOLK
Goodman, my lord cardinal's man, for keeping my
house, and lands, and wife and all, from me.
Thy wife, too! that's some wrong, indeed. What'sSecond Petitioner
yours? What's here!
Reads'Against the Duke of Suffolk, for enclosing the
commons of Melford.' How now, sir knave!
Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner of our whole township.PETER
[Giving his petition] Against my master, ThomasQUEEN MARGARET
Horner, for saying that the Duke of York was rightful
heir to the crown.
What sayst thou? did the Duke of York say he wasPETER
rightful heir to the crown?
That my master was? no, forsooth: my master saidSUFFOLK
that he was, and that the king was an usurper.
Who is there?QUEEN MARGARET
Enter ServantTake this fellow in, and send for
his master with a pursuivant presently: we'll hear
more of your matter before the King.
Exit Servant with PETER
And as for you, that love to be protectedALL
Under the wings of our protector's grace,
Begin your suits anew, and sue to him.
Tears the supplicationAway, base cullions! Suffolk, let them go.
Come, let's be gone.QUEEN MARGARET
My Lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise,SUFFOLK
Is this the fashion in the court of England?
Is this the government of Britain's isle,
And this the royalty of Albion's king?
What shall King Henry be a pupil still
Under the surly Gloucester's governance?
Am I a queen in title and in style,
And must be made a subject to a duke?
I tell thee, Pole, when in the city Tours
Thou ran'st a tilt in honour of my love
And stolest away the ladies' hearts of France,
I thought King Henry had resembled thee
In courage, courtship and proportion:
But all his mind is bent to holiness,
To number Ave-Maries on his beads;
His champions are the prophets and apostles,
His weapons holy saws of sacred writ,
His study is his tilt-yard, and his loves
Are brazen images of canonized saints.
I would the college of the cardinals
Would choose him pope, and carry him to Rome,
And set the triple crown upon his head:
That were a state fit for his holiness.
Madam, be patient: as I was causeQUEEN MARGARET
Your highness came to England, so will I
In England work your grace's full content.
Beside the haughty protector, have we Beaufort,SUFFOLK
The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham,
And grumbling York: and not the least of these
But can do more in England than the king.
And he of these that can do most of allQUEEN MARGARET
Cannot do more in England than the Nevils:
Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers.
Not all these lords do vex me half so muchSUFFOLK
As that proud dame, the lord protector's wife.
She sweeps it through the court with troops of ladies,
More like an empress than Duke Humphrey's wife:
Strangers in court do take her for the queen:
She bears a duke's revenues on her back,
And in her heart she scorns our poverty:
Shall I not live to be avenged on her?
Contemptuous base-born callet as she is,
She vaunted 'mongst her minions t'other day,
The very train of her worst wearing gown
Was better worth than all my father's lands,
Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
Madam, myself have limed a bush for her,KING HENRY VI
And placed a quire of such enticing birds,
That she will light to listen to the lays,
And never mount to trouble you again.
So, let her rest: and, madam, list to me;
For I am bold to counsel you in this.
Although we fancy not the cardinal,
Yet must we join with him and with the lords,
Till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace.
As for the Duke of York, this late complaint
Will make but little for his benefit.
So, one by one, we'll weed them all at last,
And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.
Sound a sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, CARDINAL, BUCKINGHAM, YORK, SOMERSET, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and the DUCHESS
For my part, noble lords, I care not which;YORK
Or Somerset or York, all's one to me.
If York have ill demean'd himself in France,SOMERSET
Then let him be denay'd the regentship.
If Somerset be unworthy of the place,WARWICK
Let York be regent; I will yield to him.
Whether your grace be worthy, yea or no,CARDINAL
Dispute not that: York is the worthier.
Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.WARWICK
The cardinal's not my better in the field.BUCKINGHAM
All in this presence are thy betters, Warwick.WARWICK
Warwick may live to be the best of all.SALISBURY
Peace, son! and show some reason, Buckingham,QUEEN MARGARET
Why Somerset should be preferred in this.
Because the king, forsooth, will have it so.GLOUCESTER
Madam, the king is old enough himselfQUEEN MARGARET
To give his censure: these are no women's matters.
If he be old enough, what needs your graceGLOUCESTER
To be protector of his excellence?
Madam, I am protector of the realm;SUFFOLK
And, at his pleasure, will resign my place.
Resign it then and leave thine insolence.CARDINAL
Since thou wert king--as who is king but thou?--
The commonwealth hath daily run to wreck;
The Dauphin hath prevail'd beyond the seas;
And all the peers and nobles of the realm
Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
The commons hast thou rack'd; the clergy's bagsSOMERSET
Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife's attireBUCKINGHAM
Have cost a mass of public treasury.
Thy cruelty in executionQUEEN MARGARET
Upon offenders, hath exceeded law,
And left thee to the mercy of the law.
They sale of offices and towns in France,DUCHESS
If they were known, as the suspect is great,
Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
Exit GLOUCESTER. QUEEN MARGARET drops her fanGive me my fan: what, minion! can ye not?
She gives the DUCHESS a box on the earI cry you mercy, madam; was it you?
Was't I! yea, I it was, proud Frenchwoman:KING HENRY VI
Could I come near your beauty with my nails,
I'd set my ten commandments in your face.
Sweet aunt, be quiet; 'twas against her will.DUCHESS
Against her will! good king, look to't in time;BUCKINGHAM
She'll hamper thee, and dandle thee like a baby:
Though in this place most master wear no breeches,
She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged.
Lord cardinal, I will follow Eleanor,GLOUCESTER
And listen after Humphrey, how he proceeds:
She's tickled now; her fume needs no spurs,
She'll gallop far enough to her destruction.
Now, lords, my choler being over-blownSUFFOLK
With walking once about the quadrangle,
I come to talk of commonwealth affairs.
As for your spiteful false objections,
Prove them, and I lie open to the law:
But God in mercy so deal with my soul,
As I in duty love my king and country!
But, to the matter that we have in hand:
I say, my sovereign, York is meetest man
To be your regent in the realm of France.
Before we make election, give me leaveYORK
To show some reason, of no little force,
That York is most unmeet of any man.
I'll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:WARWICK
First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride;
Next, if I be appointed for the place,
My Lord of Somerset will keep me here,
Without discharge, money, or furniture,
Till France be won into the Dauphin's hands:
Last time, I danced attendance on his will
Till Paris was besieged, famish'd, and lost.
That can I witness; and a fouler factSUFFOLK
Did never traitor in the land commit.
Peace, headstrong Warwick!WARWICK
Image of pride, why should I hold my peace?SUFFOLK
Enter HORNER, the Armourer, and his man PETER, guarded
Because here is a man accused of treason:YORK
Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
Doth any one accuse York for a traitor?KING HENRY VI
What mean'st thou, Suffolk; tell me, what are these?SUFFOLK
Please it your majesty, this is the manKING HENRY VI
That doth accuse his master of high treason:
His words were these: that Richard, Duke of York,
Was rightful heir unto the English crown
And that your majesty was a usurper.
Say, man, were these thy words?HORNER
An't shall please your majesty, I never said norPETER
thought any such matter: God is my witness, I am
falsely accused by the villain.
By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak them toYORK
me in the garret one night, as we were scouring my
Lord of York's armour.
Base dunghill villain and mechanical,HORNER
I'll have thy head for this thy traitor's speech.
I do beseech your royal majesty,
Let him have all the rigor of the law.
Alas, my lord, hang me, if ever I spake the words.KING HENRY VI
My accuser is my 'prentice; and when I did correct
him for his fault the other day, he did vow upon his
knees he would be even with me: I have good
witness of this: therefore I beseech your majesty,
do not cast away an honest man for a villain's
Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?GLOUCESTER
This doom, my lord, if I may judge:SOMERSET
Let Somerset be regent over the French,
Because in York this breeds suspicion:
And let these have a day appointed them
For single combat in convenient place,
For he hath witness of his servant's malice:
This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey's doom.
I humbly thank your royal majesty.HORNER
And I accept the combat willingly.PETER
Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God's sake, pityGLOUCESTER
my case. The spite of man prevaileth against me. O
Lord, have mercy upon me! I shall never be able to
fight a blow. O Lord, my heart!
Sirrah, or you must fight, or else be hang'd.KING HENRY VI
Away with them to prison; and the day of combat
shall be the last of the next month. Come,
Somerset, we'll see thee sent away.
| Henry VI, part 2
| Act 1, Scene 3
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