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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Scene Study (Male-Female)

ANNE.

What do you tremble? are you all afraid?

Alas, I blame you not, for you are mortal,

And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.—

Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!

Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,

His soul thou canst not have. Therefore be gone.

GLOU.

Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.

ANNE.

Foul devil, for God’s sake hence, and trouble us not,

For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,

Fill’d it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.

If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,

Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.

O gentlemen, see, see dead Henry’s wounds

Open their congeal’d mouths and bleed afresh!

Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;

For ’tis thy presence that exhales this blood

From cold and empty veins where no blood dwells.

Thy deeds inhuman and unnatural

Provokes this deluge most unnatural.

O God! which this blood mad’st, revenge his death!

O earth! which this blood drink’st, revenge his death!

Either heav’n with lightning strike the murth’rer dead;

Or earth gape open wide and eat him quick,

As thou dost swallow up this good king’s blood,

Which his hell-govern’d arm hath butchered!

GLOU.

Lady, you know no rules of charity,

Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.

ANNE.

Villain, thou know’st nor law of God nor man:

No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

GLOU.

But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

ANNE.

O wonderful, when devils tell the troth!

GLOU.

More wonderful, when angels are so angry.

Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,

Of these supposed crimes, to give me leave

By circumstance but to acquit myself.

ANNE.

Vouchsafe, defus’d infection of a man,

Of these known evils, but to give me leave

By circumstance t’ accuse thy cursed self.

GLOU.

Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have

Some patient leisure to excuse myself.

ANNE.

Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make

No excuse current but to hang thyself.

GLOU.

By such despair I should accuse myself.

ANNE.

And by despairing shalt thou stand excused

For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,

That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.

GLOU.

Say that I slew them not?

ANNE.

Then say they were not slain.

But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.

GLOU.

I did not kill your husband.

ANNE.

Why then he is alive.

GLOU.

Nay, he is dead, and slain by Edward’s hands.

ANNE.

In thy foul throat thou li’st! Queen Margaret saw

Thy murd’rous falchion smoking in his blood;

The which thou once didst bend against her breast,

But that thy brothers beat aside the point.

GLOU.

I was provoked by her sland’rous tongue,

That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.

ANNE.

Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind,

That never dream’st on aught but butcheries.

Didst thou not kill this king?

GLOU.

I grant ye.

ANNE.

Dost grant me, hedgehog? Then God grant me too

Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!

O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!

GLOU.

The better for the King of Heaven that hath him.

ANNE.

He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.

GLOU.

Let him thank me that holp to send him thither;

For he was fitter for that place than earth.

ANNE.

And thou unfit for any place, but hell.

GLOU.

Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.

ANNE.

Some dungeon.

GLOU.

Your bedchamber.

ANNE.

Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!

GLOU.

So will it, madam, till I lie with you.

ANNE.

I hope so.

GLOU.

I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,

To leave this keen encounter of our wits

And fall something into a slower method:

Is not the causer of the timeless deaths

Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,

As blameful as the executioner?

ANNE.

Thou wast the cause, and most accurs’d effect.

GLOU.

Your beauty was the cause of that effect—

Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep

To undertake the death of all the world,

So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.

ANNE.

If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,

These nails should rent that beauty from my cheeks.

GLOU.

These eyes could not endure that beauty’s wrack;

You should not blemish it, if I stood by:

As all the world is cheered by the sun,

So I by that; it is my day, my life.

ANNE.

Black night o’ershade thy day, and death thy life!

GLOU.

Curse not thyself, fair creature—thou art both.

ANNE.

I would I were, to be reveng’d on thee.

GLOU.

It is a quarrel most unnatural,

To be reveng’d on him that loveth thee.

ANNE.

It is a quarrel just and reasonable,

To be reveng’d on him that kill’d my husband.

GLOU.

He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband,

Did it to help thee to a better husband.

ANNE.

His better doth not breathe upon the earth.

GLOU.

He lives, that loves thee better than he could.

ANNE.

Name him.

GLOU.

Plantagenet.

ANNE.

Why, that was he.

GLOU.

The self-same name, but one of better nature.

ANNE.

Where is he?

GLOU.

Here.

She spits at him.

Why dost thou spit at me?

ANNE.

Would it were mortal poison for thy sake!

GLOU.

Never came poison from so sweet a place.

ANNE.

Never hung poison on a fouler toad.

Out of my sight, thou dost infect mine eyes!

GLOU.

Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.

ANNE.

Would they were basilisks, to strike thee dead!

GLOU.

I would they were, that I might die at once;

For now they kill me with a living death.

Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,

Sham’d their aspects with store of childish drops:

These eyes, which never shed remorseful tear—

No, when my father York and Edward wept

To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made

When black-fac’d Clifford shook his sword at him;

Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,

Told the sad story of my father’s death,

And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,

That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks

Like trees bedash’d with rain—in that sad time

My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;

And what these sorrows could not thence exhale,

Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.

I never sued to friend nor enemy;

My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word;

But now thy beauty is propos’d my fee,

My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.

She looks scornfully at him.

Teach not thy lip such scorn; for it was made

For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,

Lo here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword,

Which if thou please to hide in this true breast,

And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,

I lay it naked to the deadly stroke,

And humbly beg the death upon my knee.

He lays his breast open: she offers at it with his sword.

Nay, do not pause: for I did kill King Henry—

But ’twas thy beauty that provoked me.

Nay, now dispatch: ’twas I that stabb’d young Edward

But ’twas thy heavenly face that set me on.

She falls the sword.

Take up the sword again, or take up me.

ANNE.

Arise, dissembler! Though I wish thy death,

I will not be thy executioner.

GLOU.

Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.

ANNE.

I have already.

GLOU.

That was in thy rage.

Speak it again, and even with the word

This hand, which for thy love did kill thy love,

Shall for thy love kill a far truer love;

To both their deaths shalt thou be accessary.

ANNE.

I would I knew thy heart.

GLOU.

’Tis figur’d in my tongue.

ANNE.

I fear me both are false.

GLOU.

Then never was man true.

ANNE.

Well, well, put up your sword.

GLOU.

Say then my peace is made.

ANNE.

That shalt thou know hereafter.

GLOU.

But shall I live in hope?

ANNE.

All men, I hope, live so.

GLOU.

Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

ANNE.

To take is not to give.

Gloucester slips the ring on her finger.

GLOU.

Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger,

Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart:

Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.

And if thy poor devoted servant may

But beg one favor at thy gracious hand,

Thou dost confirm his happiness for ever.

ANNE.

What is it?

GLOU.

That it may please you leave these sad designs

To him that hath most cause to be a mourner,

And presently repair to Crosby House;

Where (after I have solemnly interr’d

At Chertsey monast’ry this noble king,

And wet his grave with my repentant tears)

I will with all expedient duty see you.

For divers unknown reasons, I beseech you,

Grant me this boon.

ANNE.

With all my heart, and much it joys me too,

To see you are become so penitent.

Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.

GLOU.

Bid me farewell.

ANNE.

’Tis more than you deserve;

But since you teach me how to flatter you,

Imagine I have said farewell already.

 

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