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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
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Henry VI, Part 2 Scenes


Scene 1

St. Albans.

(King Henry the Sixth; Queen Margaret; Duke of Gloucester; Cardinal Beauford; Duke of Suffolk; Falconers; Mayor of Saint Albans; Simpcox; Simpcox’s Wife; Beadle; Duke of Buckingham; One Citizen)


Various nobles quarrel with Gloucester while out hawking, despite King Henry’s pious attempts to calm everyone down and stop Margaret from egging them on. In the end Gloucester and the Cardinal agree to personal combat, though they hide it from the King. Commoners enter, crying out that a miracle has taken place: a blind man has been cured. The King is delighted at this evidence of God’s goodness, but Gloucester quickly exposes the man as a fraud and has him and his wife whipped out of town; the man’s wife pleads that they did it only out of need. Buckingham enters with the news of Eleanor’s arrest; shaken, Gloucester abandons his project of fighting with the Cardinal. He insists on his personal loyalty to the King, and announces that he banishes Eleanor from his presence. ( line)

Enter the King, Queen with her hawk on her fist, Protector Gloucester, Cardinal, and Suffolk, with Falc’ners hallowing.

QUEEN.

Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook,

I saw not better sport these seven years’ day;

Yet by your leave, the wind was very high,

And ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.

KING.

But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,

And what a pitch she flew above the rest!

To see how God in all his creatures works!

Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.

SUF.

No marvel, and it like your Majesty,

My Lord Protector’s hawks do tow’r so well;

They know their master loves to be aloft,

And bears his thoughts above his falcon’s pitch.

GLOU.

My lord, ’tis but a base ignoble mind

That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.

CAR.

I thought as much, he would be above the clouds.

GLOU.

Ay, my Lord Cardinal, how think you by that?

Were it not good your Grace could fly to heaven?

KING.

The treasury of everlasting joy.

CAR.

Thy heaven is on earth, thine eyes and thoughts

Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart,

Pernicious Protector, dangerous peer,

That smooth’st it so with king and commonweal!

GLOU.

What, Cardinal? Is your priesthood grown peremptory?

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

Churchmen so hot? Good uncle, hide such malice;

With such holiness can you do it?

SUF.

No malice, sir, no more than well becomes

So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.

GLOU.

As who, my lord?

SUF.

Why, as you, my lord,

An’t like your lordly Lord’s Protectorship.

GLOU.

Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.

QUEEN.

And thy ambition, Gloucester.

KING.

I prithee peace,

Good queen, and whet not on these furious peers,

For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.

CAR.

Let me be blessed for the peace I make

Against this proud Protector with my sword!

GLOU.

Aside to CardinalGLOU.CAR.

Faith, holy uncle, would’t were come to that!

CAR.

Aside to GloucesterCAR.GLOU.

Marry, when thou dar’st.

GLOU.

Aside to CardinalGLOU.CAR.

Make up no factious numbers for the matter,

In thine own person answer thy abuse.

CAR.

Aside to GloucesterCAR.GLOU.

Ay, where thou dar’st not peep. And if thou dar’st,

This evening, on the east side of the grove.

KING.

How now, my lords?

CAR.

Believe me, cousin Gloucester,

Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,

We had had more sport.

Aside to Gloucester.CAR.GLOU.

Come with thy two-hand sword.

GLOU.

True, uncle.

CAR.

Aside to GloucesterCAR.GLOU.

Are ye advis’d? The east side of the grove.

GLOU.

Aside to CardinalGLOU.CAR.

Cardinal, I am with you.

KING.

Why, how now, uncle Gloucester?

GLOU.

Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.

Aside to Cardinal.GLOU.CAR.

Now by God’s Mother, priest,

I’ll shave your crown for this,

Or all my fence shall fail.

CAR.

Aside to Gloucester.CAR.

Medice, teipsum

Protector, see to’t well, protect yourself.

KING.

The winds grow high, so do your stomachs, lords.

How irksome is this music to my heart!

When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?

I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.

Enter one crying, “A miracle!” ONE. CIT.

GLOU.

What means this noise?

Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?

ONE. CIT.

A miracle, a miracle!

SUF.

Come to the King and tell him what miracle.

ONE. CIT.

Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Albon’s shrine,

Within this half hour, hath receiv’d his sight,

A man that ne’er saw in his life before.

KING.

Now God be prais’d, that to believing souls

Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

Enter the Mayor of Saint Albans and his Brethren, with music, bearing the man Simpcox between two in a chair, Simpcox’s Wife and others following.

CAR.

Here comes the townsmen on procession,

To present your Highness with the man.

KING.

Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,

Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.

GLOU.

Stand by, my masters. Bring him near the King,

His Highness’ pleasure is to talk with him.

KING.

Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,

That we for thee may glorify the Lord.

What, hast thou been long blind and now restor’d?

SIMP.

Born blind, and’t please your Grace.

SIMP. WIFE.

Ay indeed was he.

SUF.

What woman is this?

SIMP. WIFE.

His wife, and’t like your worship.

GLOU.

Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst have better told.

KING.

Where wert thou born?

SIMP.

At Berwick in the north, and’t like your Grace.

KING.

Poor soul, God’s goodness hath been great to thee.

Let never day nor night unhallowed pass,

But still remember what the Lord hath done.

QUEEN.

Tell me, good fellow, cam’st thou here by chance

Or of devotion, to this holy shrine?

SIMP.

God knows, of pure devotion, being call’d

A hundred times and oft’ner, in my sleep,

By good Saint Albon, who said, “Simon, come;

Come offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.”

SIMP. WIFE.

Most true, forsooth; and many time and oft

Myself have heard a voice to call him so.

CAR.

What, art thou lame?

SIMP.

Ay, God Almighty help me!

SUF.

How cam’st thou so?

SIMP.

A fall off of a tree.

SIMP. WIFE.

A plum-tree, master.

GLOU.

How long hast thou been blind?

SIMP.

O, born so, master.

GLOU.

What, and wouldst climb a tree?

SIMP.

But that in all my life, when I was a youth.

SIMP. WIFE.

Too true, and bought his climbing very dear.

GLOU.

Mass, thou lov’dst plums well, that wouldst venture so.

SIMP.

Alas, good master, my wife desired some damsons,

And made me climb, with danger of my life.

GLOU.

A subtile knave, but yet it shall not serve.

Let me see thine eyes. Wink now; now open them.

In my opinion yet thou seest not well.

SIMP.

Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God and Saint Albon.

GLOU.

Say’st thou me so? What color is this cloak of?

SIMP.

Red, master, red as blood.

GLOU.

Why, that’s well said. What color is my gown of?

SIMP.

Black, forsooth, coal-black as jet.

KING.

Why then, thou know’st what color jet is of?

SUF.

And yet, I think, jet did he never see.

GLOU.

But cloaks and gowns, before this day, a many.

SIMP. WIFE.

Never, before this day, in all his life.

GLOU.

Tell me, sirrah, what’s my name?

SIMP.

Alas, master, I know not.

GLOU.

What’s his name?

SIMP.

I know not.

GLOU.

Nor his?

SIMP.

No indeed, master.

GLOU.

What’s thine own name?

SIMP.

Saunder Simpcox, and if it please you, master.

GLOU.

Then, Saunder, sit there, the lying’st knave

In Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind,

Thou mightst as well have known all our names, as thus

To name the several colors we do wear.

Sight may distinguish colors; but suddenly

To nominate them all, it is impossible.

My lords, Saint Albon here hath done a miracle;

And would ye not think his cunning to be great,

That could restore this cripple to his legs again?

SIMP.

O master, that you could!

GLOU.

My masters of Saint Albans, have you not

Beadles in your town, and things call’d whips?

MAY.

Yes, my lord, if it please your Grace.

GLOU.

Then send for one presently.

MAY.

Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.

Exit One Citizen.ONE. CIT.

GLOU.

Now fetch me a stool hither by and by.

A stool brought.

Now, sirrah, if you mean to save yourself from whipping, leap me over this stool and run away.

SIMP.

Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone;

You go about to torture me in vain.

Enter a Beadle with whips.BEAD.

GLOU.

Well, sir, we must have you find your legs. Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over that same stool.

BEAD.

I will, my lord. Come on, sirrah, off with your doublet quickly.

SIMP.

Alas, master, what shall I do? I am not able to stand.

After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps over the stool and runs away; and they follow and cry, “A miracle!”

KING.

O God, seest thou this, and bearest so long?

QUEEN.

It made me laugh to see the villain run.

GLOU.

Follow the knave, and take this drab away.

SIMP. WIFE.

Alas, sir, we did it for pure need.

GLOU.

Lee them be whipt through every market town,

Till they come to Berwick, from whence they came.

Exeunt Wife, Beadle, Mayor, etc.

CAR.

Duke Humphrey has done a miracle today.

SUF.

True; made the lame to leap and fly away.

GLOU.

But you have done more miracles than I:

You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.

Enter Buckingham.BUCK.

KING.

What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?

BUCK.

Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold:

A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,

Under the countenance and confederacy

Of Lady Eleanor, the Protector’s wife,

The ringleader and head of all this rout,

Have practic’d dangerously against your state,

Dealing with witches and with conjurers,

Whom we have apprehended in the fact,

Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,

Demanding of King Henry’s life and death,

And other of your Highness’ Privy Council,

As more at large your Grace shall understand.

CAR.

And so, my Lord Protector, by this means

Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.

Aside to Gloucester.CAR.

This news, I think, hath turn’d your weapon’s edge;

’Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.

GLOU.

Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart.

Sorrow and grief have vanquish’d all my powers;

And vanquish’d as I am, I yield to thee,

Or to the meanest groom.

KING.

O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,

Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!

QUEEN.

Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest,

And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.

GLOU.

Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal,

How I have lov’d my king and commonweal;

And for my wife, I know not how it stands.

Sorry I am to hear what I have heard.

Noble she is; but if she have forgot

Honor and virtue, and convers’d with such

As, like to pitch, defile nobility,

I banish her my bed and company,

And give her as a prey to law and shame,

That hath dishonored Gloucester’s honest name.

KING.

Well, for this night we will repose us here;

Tomorrow toward London back again,

To look into this business thoroughly,

And call these foul offenders to their answers,

And poise the cause in justice’ equal scales,

Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause prevails.

Flourish. Exeunt.

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