(King Henry the Sixth; Queen Margaret; Duke Somerset; Duke of Buckingham; Lord Clifford; Fourth Royal Messenger; Cade’s Followers)
Henry bewails his fate, becoming King at nine months old and never really wanting to be the monarch. Buckingham and Clifford bring the news of the end of the rebellion, and the repentant mob enters with halters around their necks. The King forgives them, and they cheer. News comes that York has landed in England with his Irish army and is marching on London, intending to remove the Duke of Somerset. The King sends Somerset to the Tower in the hopes of defusing the situation. Henry wishes he knew how to rule better. (49 lines)
Sound trumpets. Enter King, Queen, and Somerset on the tarras.
Was ever king that joy’d an earthly throne
And could command no more content than I?
No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
But I was made a king, at nine months old.
Was never subject long’d to be a king
As I do long and wish to be a subject.
Enter Buckingham and old Clifford.
Health and glad tidings to your Majesty!
Why, Buckingham, is the traitor Cade surpris’d?
Or is he but retir’d to make him strong?
Enter, below, multitudes with halters about their necks.
He is fled, my lord, and all his powers do yield,
And humbly thus, with halters on their necks,
Expect your Highness’ doom, of life or death.
Then, heaven, set ope thy everlasting gates
To entertain my vows of thanks and praise!
Soldiers, this day have you redeem’d your lives,
And show’d how well you love your prince and country:
Continue still in this so good a mind,
And Henry, though he be infortunate,
Assure yourselves, will never be unkind.
And so with thanks and pardon to you all,
I do dismiss you to your several countries.
God save the King! God save the King!
Enter Fourth Royal Messenger.
Please it your Grace to be advertised
The Duke of York is newly come from Ireland,
And with a puissant and a mighty power
Of gallowglasses and stout kerns
Is marching hitherward in proud array,
And still proclaimeth, as he comes along,
His arms are only to remove from thee
The Duke of Somerset, whom he terms a traitor.
Thus stands my state, ’twixt Cade and York distress’d,
Like to a ship that, having scap’d a tempest,
Is straightway calm’d and boarded with a pirate.
But now is Cade driven back, his men dispers’d,
And now is York in arms to second him.
I pray thee, Buckingham, go and meet him,
And ask him what’s the reason of these arms.
Tell him I’ll send Duke Edmund to the Tower;
And, Somerset, we will commit thee thither,
Until his army be dismiss’d from him.
I’ll yield myself to prison willingly,
Or unto death, to do my country good.
In any case, be not too rough in terms,
For he is fierce and cannot brook hard language.
I will, my lord, and doubt not so to deal
As all things shall redound unto your good.
Come, wife, let’s in, and learn to govern better,
For yet may England curse my wretched reign.