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Henry VI, Part 1 Scenes

Scene 3

London. Before the Tower.

(Duke of Gloucester; Gloucester’s First Serving Attendant; Gloucester’s Second Serving Attendant; First Warder of the Tower; Second Warder of the Tower; Lieutenant Woodvile; Bishop of Winchester; Mayor of London; Officers)


The Duke of Gloucester is refused admittance to the Tower on Winchester’s orders. Winchester’s men come out and fight with Gloucester’s, who best them. The Mayor of London and his men arrive to restore peace, in the end having to read out the riot act to make the fighting cease. Winchester and Gloucester agree to obey the law, but leave swearing to continue the fight. (86 lines)

Enter Gloucester with his Serving Attendants in blue coats. GLOU. 1. GLOU. SERV. ATT. 2. GLOU. SERV. ATT.


I am come to survey the Tower this day;

Since Henry’s death, I fear, there is conveyance.

Where be these warders, that they wait not here?

Open the gates, ’tis Gloucester that calls.


Within. 1. WARDER

Who’s there, that knocks so imperiously?


It is the noble Duke of Gloucester.


Within. 2. WARDER

Whoe’er he be, you may not be let in.


Villains, answer you so the Lord Protector?


Within. 1. WARDER

The Lord protect him! So we answer him.

We do no otherwise than we are will’d.


Who willed you? Or whose will stands but mine?

There’s none Protector of the realm but I.—

Break up the gates, I’ll be your warrantize.

Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms?

Gloucester’s men rush at the Tower gates, and Woodvile the Lieutenant speaks within. 1. GLOU. SERV. ATT. 2. GLOU. SERV. ATT. WOODV.


What noise is this? What traitors have we here?


Lieutenant, is it you whose voice I hear?

Open the gates, here’s Gloucester that would enter.


Have patience, noble Duke, I may not open,

The Cardinal of Winchester forbids.

From him I have express commandment

That thou nor none of thine shall be let in.


Faint-hearted Woodvile, prizest him ’fore me?

Arrogant Winchester, that haughty prelate,

Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne’er could brook?

Thou art no friend to God or to the King.

Open the gates, or I’ll shut thee out shortly.


Open the gates unto the Lord Protector,

Or we’ll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.

Enter to the Protector at the Tower gates Winchester and his Men in tawny coats. WIN.


How now, ambitious Humphrey, what means this?


Peel’d priest, dost thou command me to be shut out?


I do, thou most usurping proditor,

And not Protector, of the King or realm.


Stand back, thou manifest conspirator,

Thou that contrivedst to murder our dead lord,

Thou that giv’st whores indulgences to sin.

I’ll canvass thee in thy broad cardinal’s hat,

If thou proceed in this thy insolence.


Nay, stand thou back, I will not budge a foot:

This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,

To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.


I will not slay thee, but I’ll drive thee back.

Thy scarlet robes as a child’s bearing-cloth

I’ll use to carry thee out of this place.


Do what thou dar’st, I beard thee to thy face.


What? Am I dar’d and bearded to my face?

Draw, men, for all this privileged place—

Blue coats to tawny coats! Priest, beware your beard,

I mean to tug it and to cuff you soundly.

Under my feet I stamp thy cardinal’s hat;

In spite of Pope or dignities of church,

Here by the cheeks I’ll drag thee up and down.


Gloucester, thou wilt answer this before the Pope.


Winchester goose, I cry, “A rope! A rope!”

Now beat them hence, why do you let them stay?

Thee I’ll chase hence, thou wolf in sheep’s array.

Out, tawny-coats! Out, scarlet hypocrite!

Here Gloucester’s men beat out the Cardinal’s men, and enter in the hurly-burly the Mayor of London and his Officers. MAY. OFF.


Fie, lords, that you, being supreme magistrates,

Thus contumeliously should break the peace!


Peace, Mayor, thou know’st little of my wrongs.

Here’s Beauford, that regards nor God nor king,

Hath here distrain’d the Tower to his use.


Here’s Gloucester, a foe to citizens,

One that still motions war and never peace,

O’ercharging your free purses with large fines;

That seeks to overthrow religion

Because he is Protector of the realm,

And would have armor here out of the Tower,

To crown himself king and suppress the Prince.


I will not answer thee with words, but blows.

Here they skirmish again.


Nought rests for me in this tumultuous strife

But to make open proclamation.

Come, officer, as loud as e’er thou canst,



All manner of men assembled here in arms this day against God’s peace and the King’s, we charge and command you, in his Highness’ name, to repair to your several dwelling-places, and not to wear, handle, or use any sword, weapon, or dagger, henceforward, upon pain of death.


Cardinal, I’ll be no breaker of the law;

But we shall meet, and break our minds at large.


Gloucester, we’ll meet to thy cost, be sure:

Thy heart-blood I will have for this day’s work.


I’ll call for clubs, if you will not away.

This cardinal’s more haughty than the devil.


Mayor, farewell; thou dost but what thou mayst.


Abominable Gloucester, guard thy head,

For I intend to have it ere long.

Exeunt, several ways, Gloucester and Winchester with their Servingmen. GLOU. 1. GLOU. SERV. ATT. 2. GLOU. SERV. ATT. WIN.


See the coast clear’d, and then we will depart.

Good God, these nobles should such stomachs bear!

I myself fight not once in forty year.

Exeunt. MAY. OFF.


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