A hall of justice.
(King Henry the Sixth; Queen Margaret; Duke of Gloucester; Duke of York; Duke of Suffolk; Earl of Salisbury; Guard; Duchess Eleanor of Gloucester; Margery Jordan; John Southwell; John Hume; Roger Bolingbrook; Thomas Horner; First Neighbor; Second Neighbor; Third Neighbor; Peter Thump; First Prentice; Second Prentice; Third Prentice)
King Henry pronounces sentence on Eleanor and her accomplices, sparing Eleanor’s life but forcing her to do public penance and then to be banished to the Isle of Man. He then orders Gloucester to give up his position as Protector. Gloucester does so willingly. Margaret and Suffolk rejoice. Peter and Horner fight; as Horner is completely drunk, he is killed, confessing before his death that the accusation was true. (82 lines)
Sound trumpets. Enter the King and State: the Queen, Gloucester, York, Suffolk, and Salisbury, with Guard, to banish the Duchess. Enter, guarded, the Duchess of Gloucester, Margery Jordan, Southwell, Hume, and Bolingbrook.
Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester’s wife:
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great;
Receive the sentence of the law for sins
Such as by God’s book are adjudg’d to death.
You four, from hence to prison back again;
From thence, unto the place of execution.
The witch in Smithfield shall be burnt to ashes,
And you three shall be strangled on the gallows.
You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honor in your life,
Shall, after three days’ open penance done,
Live in your country here in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.
Welcome is banishment, welcome were my death.
Eleanor, the law, thou seest, hath judged thee;
I cannot justify whom the law condemns.
Exeunt Duchess and other prisoners, guarded.
Mine eyes are full of tears, my heart of grief.
Ah, Humphrey, this dishonor in thine age
Will bring thy head with sorrow to the ground!
I beseech your Majesty give me leave to go;
Sorrow would solace, and mine age would ease.
Stay, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester! Ere thou go,
Give up thy staff. Henry will to himself
Protector be, and God shall be my hope,
My stay, my guide, and lanthorn to my feet;
And go in peace, Humphrey, no less belov’d
Than when thou wert Protector to thy king.
I see no reason why a king of years
Should be to be protected like a child.
God and King Henry govern England’s realm.
Give up your staff, sir, and the King his realm.
My staff? Here, noble Henry, is my staff.
As willingly do I the same resign
As ere thy father Henry made it mine;
And even as willingly at thy feet I leave it
As others would ambitiously receive it.
Farewell, good King; when I am dead and gone,
May honorable peace attend thy throne!
Why, now is Henry king and Margaret queen,
And Humphrey Duke of Gloucester scarce himself,
That bears so shrewd a maim: two pulls at once—
His lady banish’d, and a limb lopp’d off.
This staff of honor raught, there let it stand,
Where it best fits to be, in Henry’s hand.
Thus droops this lofty pine and hangs his sprays,
Thus Eleanor’s pride dies in her youngest days.
Lords, let him go. Please it your Majesty,
This is the day appointed for the combat,
And ready are the appellant and defendant,
The armorer and his man, to enter the lists,
So please your Highness to behold the fight.
Ay, good my lord; for purposely therefore
Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.
A’ God’s name see the lists and all things fit;
Here let them end it, and God defend the right!
I never saw a fellow worse bestead,
Or more afraid to fight, than is the appellant,
The servant of this armorer, my lords.
Enter at one door Horner the armorer and his Neighbors, drinking to him so much that he is drunk; and he enters with a Drum before him and his staff with a sand-bag fastened to it; and at the other door Peter, his man, with a Drum and sand-bag, and Prentices drinking to him.
Here, neighbor Horner, I drink to you in a cup of sack; and fear not, neighbor, you shall do well enough.
And here, neighbor, here’s a cup of charneco.
And here’s a pot of good double beer, neighbor. Drink, and fear not your man.
Let it come, i’ faith, and I’ll pledge you all, and a fig for Peter!
Here, Peter, I drink to thee, and be not afraid.
Be merry, Peter, and fear not thy master. Fight for credit of the prentices.
I thank you all. Drink, and pray for me, I pray you, for I think I have taken my last draught in this world. Here, Robin, and if I die, I give thee my aporn; and, Will, thou shalt have my hammer; and here, Tom, take all the money that I have. O Lord bless me, I pray God, for I am never able to deal with my master, he hath learnt so much fence already.
Come, leave your drinking, and fall to blows. Sirrah, what’s thy name?
Peter? What more?
Thump? Then see thou thump thy master well.
Masters, I am come hither, as it were, upon my man’s instigation, to prove him a knave and myself an honest man; and touching the Duke of York, I will take my death, I never meant him any ill, nor the King, nor the Queen; and therefore, Peter, have at thee with a downright blow!
Dispatch. This knave’s tongue begins to double.
Sound, trumpets, alarum to the combatants!
Alarum. They fight, and Peter hits him on the head and strikes him down.
Hold, Peter, hold! I confess, I confess treason.
Take away his weapon. Fellow, thank God, and the good wine in thy master’s way.
He kneels down.
O God, have I overcome mine enemies in this presence? O Peter, thou hast prevail’d in right!
Go, take hence that traitor from our sight,
For by his death we do perceive his guilt,
And God in justice hath reveal’d to us
The truth and innocence of this poor fellow,
Which he had thought to have murder’d wrongfully.
Come, fellow, follow us for thy reward.
Sound a flourish. Exeunt.