London. A room of state in the palace.
(King Henry the Sixth; Duke of Gloucester; Earl of Salisbury; Earl of Warwick; Cardinal Beauford; Queen Margaret; Duke of Suffolk; Duke of York; Duke Somerset; Duke of Buckingham)
Suffolk presents to King Henry VI, Princess Margaret, whom he married by proxy for the King, and the terms of the peace with France, concluded at the same time, to last eighteen months. Gloucester reads the terms aloud, but drops the paper when he comes to the part about losing Anjou and Maine. Cardinal Beaufort (Winchester) continues, the terms being the transfer of Anjou and Maine to King Reignier, Margaret’s father, and the traveling of the Queen at Henry’s expense, and the marriage to be without dowry. After the King, Queen, and Suffolk leave Gloucester speaks passionately about the losses, seconded by Warwick and York. The Cardinal tries to calm them, but Gloucester breaks out and, referring to their long-standing enmity, leaves in a rage. The Cardinal speaks against him after he goes, pointing out that Gloucester is hot-tempered, heir to the throne, and very popular with the common people. He recommends that the Duke be curbed, and Somerset and Buckingham agree, thought after he leaves they agree that the Cardinal bears watching, too, and decide that one of them should be Protector instead of either Duke or Cardinal. Salisbury, considering the good of the realm rather than private ambition, recruits his son Warwick and Richard Duke of York to help support Gloucester. Left alone, York considers how the Kingdom is his by right, and all the wounds made to it therefore hurt him more than the others. He plans to wait until Henry is distracted by his marriage and Gloucester busy fighting with the other noblemen to stake his claim to the throne. (247 lines)
Flourish of trumpets: then hoboys. Enter King Henry, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Salisbury, Warwick, and Cardinal Beauford, on the one side; the Queen, Suffolk, York, Somerset, and Buckingham, on the other.
As by your high imperial Majesty
I had in charge at my depart for France,
As procurator to your Excellence,
To marry Princess Margaret for your Grace;
So in the famous ancient city Tours,
In presence of the Kings of France and Sicil,
The Dukes of Orléans, Calaber, Bretagne, and Alanson,
Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend bishops,
I have perform’d my task, and was espous’d;
And humbly now upon my bended knee,
In sight of England and her lordly peers,
Deliver up my title in the Queen
To your most gracious hands, that are the substance
Of that great shadow I did represent:
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
The fairest queen that ever king receiv’d.
Suffolk, arise. Welcome, Queen Margaret,
I can express no kinder sign of love
Than this kind kiss. O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
For thou hast given me in this beauteous face
A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
Great King of England, and my gracious lord,
The mutual conference that my mind hath had,
By day, by night, waking and in my dreams,
In courtly company, or at my beads,
With you, mine alder-liefest sovereign,
Makes me the bolder to salute my king
With ruder terms, such as my wit affords
And overjoy of heart doth minister.
Her sight did ravish, but her grace in speech,
Her words yclad with wisdom’s majesty,
Makes me from wond’ring fall to weeping joys,
Such is the fullness of my heart’s content.
Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.
Long live Queen Margaret, England’s happiness!
We thank you all.
My Lord Protector, so it please your Grace,
Here are the articles of contracted peace
Between our sovereign and the French King Charles,
For eighteen months concluded by consent.
“Imprimis, It is agreed between the French King Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier King of Naples, Sicilia, and Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England ere the thirtieth of May next ensuing. Item, It is further agreed between them, that the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be releas’d and deliver’d over to the King her father”—
Duke Humphrey lets it fall.
Uncle, how now?
Pardon me, gracious lord,
Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart,
And dimm’d mine eyes, that I can read no further.
Uncle of Winchester, I pray read on.
“Item, It is further agreed between them, that the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be releas’d and deliver’d over to the King her father, and she sent over of the King of England’s own proper cost and charges, without having any dowry.”
They please us well. Lord Marquess, kneel down.
We here create thee the first Duke of Suffolk,
And girt thee with the sword. Cousin of York,
We here discharge your Grace from being Regent
I’ th’ parts of France, till term of eighteen months
Be full expir’d. Thanks, uncle Winchester,
Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset,
Salisbury, and Warwick;
We thank you all for this great favor done
In entertainment to my princely queen.
Come, let us in, and with all speed provide
To see her coronation be perform’d.
Exeunt King, Queen, and Suffolk. Manent the rest, stayed by Gloucester.
Brave peers of England, pillars of the state,
To you Duke Humphrey must unload his grief,
Your grief, the common grief of all the land.
What? Did my brother Henry spend his youth,
His valor, coin, and people, in the wars?
Did he so often lodge in open field,
In winter’s cold and summer’s parching heat,
To conquer France, his true inheritance?
And did my brother Bedford toil his wits,
To keep by policy what Henry got?
Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham,
Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick,
Receiv’d deep scars in France and Normandy?
Or hath mine uncle Beauford and myself,
With all the learned Council of the realm,
Studied so long, sat in the Council-house
Early and late, debating to and fro
How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe,
And hath his Highness in his infancy
Crowned in Paris in despite of foes?
And shall these labors and these honors die?
Shall Henry’s conquest, Bedford’s vigilance,
Your deeds of war, and all our counsel die?
O peers of England, shameful is this league,
Fatal this marriage, cancelling your fame,
Blotting your names from books of memory,
Rasing the characters of your renown,
Defacing monuments of conquer’d France,
Undoing all, as all had never been!
Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,
This peroration with such circumstance?
For France, ’tis ours; and we will keep it still.
Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;
But now it is impossible we should.
Suffolk, the new-made duke that rules the roast,
Hath given the duchy of Anjou, and Maine,
Unto the poor King Reignier, whose large style
Agrees not with the leanness of his purse.
Now by the death of Him that died for all,
These counties were the keys of Normandy.
But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?
For grief that they are past recovery;
For were there hope to conquer them again,
My sword should shed hot blood, mine eyes no tears.
Anjou and Maine? Myself did win them both.
Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer,
And are the cities that I got with wounds
Deliver’d up again with peaceful words?
For Suffolk’s duke, may he be suffocate,
That dims the honor of this warlike isle!
France should have torn and rent my very heart
Before I would have yielded to this league.
I never read but England’s kings have had
Large sums of gold and dowries with their wives,
And our King Henry gives away his own,
To match with her that brings no vantages.
A proper jest, and never heard before,
That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenth
For costs and charges in transporting her!
She should have stay’d in France, and starv’d in France,
My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:
It was the pleasure of my lord the King.
My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind.
’Tis not my speeches that you do mislike,
But ’tis my presence that doth trouble ye;
Rancor will out. Proud prelate, in thy face
I see thy fury. If I longer stay,
We shall begin our ancient bickerings.
Lordings, farewell, and say, when I am gone,
I prophesied France will be lost ere long.
So, there goes our Protector in a rage.
’Tis known to you he is mine enemy;
Nay more, an enemy unto you all,
And no great friend, I fear me, to the King.
Consider, lords, he is the next of blood,
And heir-apparent to the English crown.
Had Henry got an empire by his marriage,
And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,
There’s reason he should be displeas’d at it.
Look to it, lords, let not his smoothing words
Bewitch your hearts. Be wise and circumspect.
What though the common people favor him,
Calling him “Humphrey, the good Duke of Gloucester,”
Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice,
“Jesu maintain your royal Excellence!”
With “God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!”
I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss,
He will be found a dangerous Protector.
Why should he then protect our sovereign,
He being of age to govern of himself?
Cousin of Somerset, join you with me,
And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk,
We’ll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.
This weighty business will not brook delay,
I’ll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.
Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey’s pride
And greatness of his place be grief to us,
Yet let us watch the haughty Cardinal;
His insolence is more intolerable
Than all the princes in the land beside.
If Gloucester be displac’d, he’ll be Protector.
Or thou or I, Somerset, will be Protector,
Despite Duke Humphrey or the Cardinal.
Exeunt Buckingham and Somerset.
Pride went before, ambition follows him.
While these do labor for their own preferment,
Behooves it us to labor for the realm.
I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloucester
Did bear him like a noble gentleman.
Oft have I seen the haughty Cardinal,
More like a soldier than a man o’ th’ church,
As stout and proud as he were lord of all,
Swear like a ruffian, and demean himself
Unlike the ruler of a commonweal.
Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age,
Thy deeds, thy plainness, and thy house-keeping,
Hath won the greatest favor of the commons,
Excepting none but good Duke Humphrey;
And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland,
In bringing them to civil discipline,
Thy late exploits done in the heart of France
When thou wert Regent for our sovereign,
Have made thee fear’d and honor’d of the people;
Join we together, for the public good,
In what we can to bridle and suppress
The pride of Suffolk and the Cardinal,
With Somerset’s and Buckingham’s ambition;
And as we may, cherish Duke Humphrey’s deeds
While they do tend the profit of the land.
So God help Warwick, as he loves the land
And common profit of his country!
And so says York—
for he hath greatest cause.
Then let’s make haste away, and look unto the main.
Unto the main? O father, Maine is lost!
That Maine which by main force Warwick did win,
And would have kept so long as breath did last!
Main chance, father, you meant, but I meant Maine,
Which I will win from France, or else be slain.
Exeunt Warwick and Salisbury. Manet York.
Anjou and Maine are given to the French,
Paris is lost, the state of Normandy
Stands on a tickle point now they are gone.
Suffolk concluded on the articles,
The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleas’d
To change two dukedoms for a duke’s fair daughter.
I cannot blame them all, what is’t to them?
’Tis thine they give away, and not their own.
Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage
And purchase friends and give to courtezans,
Still reveling like lords till all be gone;
While as the silly owner of the goods
Weeps over them, and wrings his hapless hands,
And shakes his head, and trembling stands aloof,
While all is shar’d and all is borne away,
Ready to starve, and dare not touch his own.
So York must sit, and fret, and bite his tongue,
While his own lands are bargain’d for and sold.
Methinks the realms of England, France, and Ireland
Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood
As did the fatal brand Althaea burnt
Unto the Prince’s heart of Calydon.
Anjou and Maine both given unto the French!
Cold news for me; for I had hope of France,
Even as I have of fertile England’s soil.
A day will come when York shall claim his own,
And therefore I will take the Nevils’ parts,
And make a show of love to proud Duke Humphrey,
And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown,
For that’s the golden mark I seek to hit.
Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right,
Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist,
Nor wear the diadem upon his head,
Whose church-like humors fits not for a crown.
Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve.
Watch thou, and wake when others be asleep,
To pry into the secrets of the state,
Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love
With his new bride and England’s dear-bought queen,
And Humphrey with the peers be fall’n at jars:
Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose,
With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum’d,
And in my standard bear the arms of York,
To grapple with the house of Lancaster;
And force perforce I’ll make him yield the crown,
Whose bookish rule hath pull’d fair England down.