William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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

[WARWICK goes into an inner room, and
SALISBURY retires.

* K. Hen. O Thou that judgest all things, stay my

thoughts ;
* My thoughts, that labor to persuade my soul,

1 The old copy reads, " watch me : " the emendation is Theobald s.

2 Steevens thinks the word or should be omitted in this line, which
would improve both the sense and metre. Mason proposes to read art
instead of or.


* 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 1

* 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 earthly image,

* What were it but to make my sorrow greater ?

The folding doors of an inner chamber are thrown
open, and GLOSTER is discovered dead in his bed ;
WARWICK and others standing by it. 2

* War. Come hither, gracious sovereign ; view this


* 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, 3

4 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,
4 I do believe that violent hands were laid
Upon the life of this thrice-famed duke.

Suff. 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 !

1 Steevens proposed to read rain instead of drain.

2 This stage direction was inserted by Malone as best suited to the
exhibition. The stage direction in the quarto is, " Warwick draws the
curtaines, and shows duke Humphrey in his bed ; " in the folio, " A bed
with Gloster s body put forth." By these and other circumstances it
seems that the theatres were then unfurnished with scenes. In those
days, it appears that curtains were occasionally hung- across the middle
of the stage on an iron rod, which being drawn open formed a second
apartment, when a change of scene was required. See Malone s Account
of the ancient Theatres, prefixed to the variorum edition of Shakspeare.

3 This passage evidently means, " I see my own life threatened with
extermination, or surrounded by death:


Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost, 1

4 Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale, and bloodless,

4 Being all descended to the laboring heart ;

4 Who, in the conflict that it holds with death,

4 Attracts the same for aidance gainst the enemy ;

4 Which with the heart there cools, and ne er returneth

4 To blush and beautify the cheek again.

4 But, see, his face is black, and full of blood;

4 His eyeballs further out than when he lived.

4 Staring full ghastly like a strangled man ;

4 His hair upreared, his nostrils stretched with strug

gling ,

4 His hands abroad displayed, as one that grasped
4 And tugged for life, and was by strength subdued.
4 Look, on the sheets, his hair, you see, is sticking ;
4 His well-proportioned board made rough and rugged,
4 Like to the summer s corn by tempest lodged.
4 It cannot be, but he was murdered here ;
4 The least of all these signs were probable.

4 Suff. Why, Warwick, who should do the duke to

death ?

4 Myself, and Beaufort, had him in protection ;
4 And we, I hope, sir, are no murderers.

4 War. But both of you were vowed duke Hum
phrey s foes ;

4 And you, forsooth, had the good duke to keep.
4 Tis like, you would not feast him like a friend ;
4 And tis well seen he found an enemy.

4 Q. Mar. Then you, belike, suspect these noblemen
4 As guilty of duke Humphrey s timeless death.

War. Who finds the heifer dead, and bleeding


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.
Hut may imagine how the bird was dead,
Although the kite soar with unbloodied beak ?


Even so suspicious is this tragedy.

1 Timely may mean early, recently, neivly.


i Q. Mar. Are you the butcher, Suffolk ; where s

jour knife ?
Is Beaufort termed a kite ? where are his talons ?

Suff. 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 murder s crimson badge.
Say, if thou dar st, proud lord of Warwickshire,
Tliat I am faulty in duke Humphrey s death.

[Exeunt Cardinal, SOM., 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


For every word you speak in his behalf,
Is slander to your royal dignity.

i Suff. Blunt-witted lord, ignoble in demeanor!
If ever lady wronged her lord so much,
Thy mother took into her blameful bed
Some stern, untutored churl, and noble stock
Was graft with crab-tree slip ; whose fruit thou art,
And never of the Nevils noble race.

War. But that the guilt of murder 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, murderous coward, on thy knee
Make thee beg pardon for thy passed speech,
And say it was thy mother that thou mean 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 bloodsucker of sleeping men !

Suff. Thou slmlt 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 hence ;


* Unworthy though thou art, I ll cope with thee,

* And do some service to duke Humphrey s ghost.

* K. Hen. What stronger breast plate than a heart
untainted ?

* Thrice is he armed, that hath his quarrel just;

* And he but naked, though locked up in steel,

* Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

\_A noise within.
Q. Mar. What noise is this ?

Re-enter SUFFOLK, and WARWICK, with their weapons


4 K. Hen. Why, how now, lords ? your wrathful

weapons drawn

i Here in our presence ? Dare you be so bold ?
Why, what tumultuous clamor have we here ?

Sujf. The traitorous Warwick, with the men of

Set all upon me, mighty sovereign.

Noise of a crowd within. Re-enter SALISBURY.

* Sal. Sirs, stand apart ; the king shall know your
mind. [Speaking to those within

Dread lord, the commons send you word by me,
Unless false Suffolk straight be done to death,
Or banished fair England s territories,
1 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 :
1 They say, in him they fear your highness death ;
And mere instinct of love and loyalty
4 Free from a stubborn, opposite intent,
i 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 slyly glided towards your majesty,

* It were but necessary you were waked ;

* Lest, being suffered 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.

Suff. Tis like the commons, rude, unpolished hinds,
Could send such message to their sovereign.
But you, my lord, were glad to be employed,
To show how quaint 1 an orator you are :
But all the honor Salisbury hath won,
Is that he was the lord ambassador,
Sent from a sort 3 of tinkers to the king.

Commons. [Within."] An answer from the king, or
we ll all break in.

4 K. Hen. Go, Salisbury, and tell them all from me
4 I thank them for their tender, loving care ;
1 And had I riot been cited so by them,
4 Yet did I purpose as they do entreat ;
4 For, sure, my thoughts do hourly prophesy
4 Mischance unto my state by Suffolk s means.
i And therefore by his Majesty I swear,
4 Whose far unworthy deputy I am
4 He shall not breathe infection in this air 3
4 But three days longer, on the pain of death.


4 Q. Mar. O, Henry, let me plead for gentle Suffolk !

4 K. Hen. Ungentle queen, to call him gentle Suf

i i. e. dexterous. 2 A company.

3 i. e. he shall not contaminate this air with his infected breath.
VOL. iv. 49


4 No more, I say ; if tbou dost plead for him,
6 Thou wilt but add increase unto my wrath.
Had I but said, I would have kept my word ;
1 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,

K " The world shall not be ransom for thy life.

Come, Warwick, come, good Warwick, go with me ;

4 I have great matters to impart to thee.

[Exeunt K. HENRY, WARWICK, Lords, &c.
i Q. Mar. Mischance, and sorrow, go along with

you !

4 Heart s discontent, and sour affliction,
4 Be playfellows to keep you company !
c There s two of you, the devil make a third!

* And threefold vengeance tend upon your steps !

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

i Q. Mar. Fie, coward woman, and soft-hearted

wretch !
Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemies ?

Suff. A plague upon them ! wherefore should I

curse them ?

Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake s groan, 1
4 I would invent as bitter- searching terms,

* As curst, as harsh, and horrible to hear,
Delivered strongly through my fixed teeth,
With full as many signs of deadly hate,
As lean-faced Envy in her loathsome cave.

My tongue should stumble in mine earnest words ;
Mine eyes should sparkle like the beaten flint ;
My hair be fixed on end, as one distract ;
Ay, every joint should seem to curse and ban :
And even now my burdened heart would break,

1 The fabulous accounts of the plant called a mandrake givj it an in
ferior degree of animal life, and relate that, when it is torn from the ground,
it groans, and that, this groan being certainly fatal to him that is offering
such unwelcome violence, the practice of those who gathered mandrakes
was to tie one end of a string to the plant, and the other to a dog, upon
whom the fatal groan discharged its malignity. See Bulleine s Bulwarke
of Defence against Sicknesse, &c. fol. 1579, p. 41.


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

* And these dread curses like the sun gainst glass,

* Or like an overcharged gun recoil,

* And turn the force of them upon thyself.

Suff. You bade me ban, and will you bid me leave ?
Now, by the ground that I am banished 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 ;

* Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place,
*To wash away my woful monuments.

4 O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand ;

[Kisses his hand.

* That thou might st think upon these by the seal,

4 Through whom a thousand sighs are breathed for

thee ! 2

4 So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
4 Tis but surmised whilst thou art standing by,

* As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
4 I will repeal thee, or, be well assured,

4 Adventure to be banished myself;

1 This is one of the vulgar errors in the natural history of our ancestors.
The lizard has no sting, and is quite harmless.

2 That by the impression of my kiss forever remaining on thy hand,
thou mightst think on those lips through which a thousand sighs will be
breathed for thee.


* 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 condemned

* Embrace, and kiss, and take ten thousand leaves,

* Leather a hundred times to part than die.

* Yet now farewell ; and farewell life with thee !

Siiff. Thus is poor Suffolk ten times banished,
Once by the king, and three times thrice by thee.
Tis not the land I care for, wert thou hence ;

* 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.

Q. Mar. Whither goes Vaux so fast ? what news,
I pr ythee ?

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,
6 Blaspheming God, and cursing men on earth.
Sometime he talks as if duke Humphrey s ghost
4 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.

[Exit VAUX.

4 Ah me ! what is this world ? what news are these ?
But wherefore grieve I at an hour s poor loss,
6 Omitting Suffolk s exile, my soul s treasure ?
< Why only, Suffolk, mourn I not for thee,
1 And with the southern clouds, contend in tears ;


c Theirs for the earth s increase, mine for my sorrow s ?
Now, get thee hence. The king, thou know st, is

coming :

If thou be found by me, thou art but dead.

4 Stiff. If I depart from thee, I cannot live ;
4 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,
4 As mild and gentle as the cradle-babe,
Dying with mother s dug between its lips :
Where, 1 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 lived 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.

4 Q. Mar. Away! though parting be a fretful

cor sive,

It is applied to a deathful wound.
4 To France, sweet Suffolk; let me hear from thee ;
4 For wheresoe er thou art in this world s globe,
I ll have an Iris that shall find thee out.

Suff. I go.

Q. Mar. And take my heart with thee.

Suff. A jewel, locked into the woful st cask
That ever did contain a thing of worth.
Even as a splitted bark, so sunder we ;
This way fall I to death.

Q. Mar. This way for me.

[Exeunt, severally.

1 Where for whereas ; as in other places.

2 Corrosive was generally pronounced and most frequently written cor
sive in Shakspe are s time.


SCENE III. London. Cardinal Beaufort s Bed

others. The Cardinal in bed ; Attendants with him.

* K. Hen. How fares my lord ? Speak, Beaufort, to

thy sovereign.
< Car. If thou be st death, I ll give thee England s


Enough to purchase such another island,
6 So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain.

* K. Hen. Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,

* When death s approach is seen so terrible !

* War. Beaufort, it is thy sovereign speaks to thee.

* Car. Bring me unto my trial when you will.
4 Died lie not in his bed ? Where should he die ?
Can I make men live, whe r they will or no?
*O! torture me no more; I will confess.

Alive again ? Then show me where he is ;
i I ll give a thousand pound to look upon him.
x He hath no eyes ; the dust hath blinded them.
Comb down his hair; look! look! it stands upright,
4 Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul !
i 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 him

* Sal. Disturb him not ; let him pass peaceably.

1 The quarto offers this stage direction: "Enter the King and Salis
bury, and then the curtaines be drawne, and the Cardinal is discovered in
his bed, raving and staring as if he were mad." This description did not
escape Shakspeare, for he has availed himself of it in a preceding speech
by Vaux.

SC. 1.] KING HENRY VI. 391

* K. Hen. Peace to his soul, if God s good pleasure


4 Lord cardinal, if thou think st on heaven s bliss,
4 Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.
4 He dies, and makes no sign. O, God, forgive him !

4 War. So bad a death argues a monstrous life.

4 K. Hen. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners


4 Close up his eyes, and draw the curtain close ;
4 Arid let us all to meditation. [Exeunt.


SCENE I. Kent, The Sea-shore near Dover. 1

Firing heard at sea. Then enter, from a boat, a
Captain, a Master, a Master s Mate, WALTER WHIT-
MORE, and others ; with them SUFFOLK, 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 discolored shore.
4 Master, this prisoner freely give I thee ;

i There is a curious circumstantial account of the event on which this
scene is founded in the Paston Letters, published by sir John Fenn, vol.
i. p. 38, Letter x. The scene is founded on the narration of Hall, which
is copied by Holinshed.


< And thou that art his mate, make boot of this ;
{ The other, [Pointing to SUFFOLK.] Walter Whitmore,

is thy share.
1 Gent. What is my ransom, master? Let me


* Mast. A thousand crowns, or else lay down your


; Mate. And so much shall you give, or off goes

* Cap. What, think you much to pay two thousand

*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

* Cannot l be counterpoised with such a petty sum.

* 1 Gent. I ll give it, sir ; and therefore spare my

*2 Gent. And so will I, and write home for it


1 Whit. I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard,
4 And therefore, to revenge it, shall thou die ;

And so should these, if 1 might have my will.

* Cap. Be not so rash ; take ransom ; let him live.
Svff. Look on my George; I am a gentleman;

1 Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shall be paid.

; Whit. And so am I ; my name is Walter Whitmore.
4 How now ? Why starl sl ihou ? What, doth death

4 Stiff. Thy name affrights me, 2 in whose sound is


4 A cunning man did calculate my birth,
; And told me that by Water I should die.

1 The word cannot, which is necessary to complete the sense of the pas
sage, is not in the old copy : it was supplied by Malone.

2 Suffolk had heard his name before without being startled by it. In
the old play, as soon as ever the captain has consigned him to " JTaUer
Whickmore," he immediately exclaims, " Walter ! " Whickmore asks him
why he fears him ; and Suffolk replies, " It is thy name affrights me."
The Poet here, as in other instances, has fallen into an impropriety by
sometimes following and sometimes deserting his original.


1 Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded ;
4 Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.

4 Whit. Gaultier, or Walter, which it is, I care not ;
4 Ne er yet did base dishonor blur our name,
But with our sword we wiped away the blot ;
6 Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge,
6 Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defaced,
4 And I proclaimed a coward through the world !

[Lays hold on SUFFOLK.

6 Suff. Stay, Whitmore ; for thy prisoner is a prince,
The duke of Suffolk, William de la Poole.

4 Whit. The duke of Suffolk, muffled up in rags!

Suff. Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke ;
Jove sometime went disguised, and why not I ?

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

i Suff. Obscure and lowly swain, king Henry s


The honorable blood of Lancaster,
4 Must not be shed by such a jaded groom. 1
Hast thou not kissed thy hand, and held my stirrup ?
4 Bare-headed plodded by my footcloth mule,
4 And thought thee happy when I shook my head ?
4 How often hast thou waited at my cup,
4 Fed from my trencher, kneeled down at the board,
4 When I have feasted with queen Margaret !

* Remember it, and let it make thee crest-fallen ;

* Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride.

* How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood,

* And duly waited for my coming forth!

4 This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf,

4 And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue.

* Whit. Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn

swain ?

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

* Suff. Base slave ! thy words are blunt, and so

art thou.

1 A. jaded groom is a low fellow. Suffolk s boast of his own blood was
hardly warranted by his origin. His great grandfather had been a mer
chant at Hull.

VOL. iv 50


i Cap. Convey him hence, and on our longboat s side
6 Strike off his head.

Suff. Thou dar st not for thy own.

Cap. Yes, Poole.

Sufi. Poole ?

Cap. Poole ? sir Poole ? Lord !

* Ay, kennel, puddle, sink ; whose filth and dirt

6 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 kissed the queen, shall sweep the ground;

4 And thou, that smiPdst at good duke Humphrey s

i Against the senseless winds shall grin in vain,

* Who, in contempt, shall hiss at thee again ;
*And wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
*For daring to affy 1 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, overgorged
*With goblets 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, surprised 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 murder of a guiltless king,

* And lofty, proud, encroaching tyranny

* Burns with revenging fire ; whose hopeful colors

* Advance our half-faced sun, 2 striving to shine,

* Under the which is writ Invitis nubibus.

1 To betroth in marriage. This enumeration of Suffolk s crimes seems
to have been suggested by the Mirror for Magistrates.

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