List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 1, scene 2

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Entire Play

With a weak, unworldly king on the throne, the English nobility heightens its struggle for power in Henry VI, Part 2,…

Act 1, scene 1

King Henry meets his consort Queen Margaret, brought by Suffolk from France. The nobles fall into dissension, with the Cardinal,…

Act 1, scene 2

The Duchess of Gloucester’s dream of becoming queen is rebuked by her husband but encouraged by the treacherous priest John…

Act 1, scene 3

Queen Margaret and Suffolk dismiss petitioners seeking Gloucester’s aid and then conspire against Gloucester. Somerset and York then clash, as…

Act 1, scene 4

The Duchess of Gloucester watches while a spirit is conjured up to prophesy the fates of her rivals, but she…

Act 2, scene 1

King Henry and his court are hunting when they are interrupted by an announcement of a miracle in nearby Saint…

Act 2, scene 2

York persuades Salisbury and Warwick of the validity of his claim to the throne.

Act 2, scene 3

King Henry sentences the Duchess to public penance and exile, and removes Gloucester from his office as Lord Protector. Then…

Act 2, scene 4

Gloucester watches his Duchess’s public humiliation as she goes into exile. He is summoned to Parliament.

Act 3, scene 1

In Parliament Queen Margaret and the nobles level charges against Gloucester, but King Henry remains convinced of his uncle’s innocence….

Act 3, scene 2

The news of Gloucester’s murder makes King Henry faint and the Commons rise to demand Suffolk’s exile. The King obliges…

Act 3, scene 3

The Cardinal dies.

Act 4, scene 1

Attempting to sail to France, Suffolk is captured by shipmen and brutally assassinated.

Act 4, scene 2

In a plot instigated by York, Jack Cade leads a rebellion against King Henry. The Staffords seek to put it…

Act 4, scene 3

Cade defeats and kills the Staffords and marches on London.

Act 4, scene 4

King Henry flees London and Queen Margaret mourns Suffolk’s death. Lord Saye, whom the rebels hate, decides to hide in…

Act 4, scene 5

Citizens of London plead for military aid from Lord Scales, who commands forces at the Tower. He sends Matthew Gough,…

Act 4, scene 6

Cade enters London.

Act 4, scene 7

Cade defeats and kills Gough. Lord Saye is captured and killed.

Act 4, scene 8

Lord Clifford and Buckingham persuade Cade’s followers to return to King Henry. Cade flees.

Act 4, scene 9

As King Henry rejoices at Cade’s defeat, a messenger announces York’s approach with an Irish army ostensibly seeking Somerset’s arrest…

Act 4, scene 10

A starving Cade is killed in a fight with the Kentish gentleman Alexander Iden, in whose garden Cade looked for…

Act 5, scene 1

Buckingham seemingly placates York, and King Henry rewards Iden. York, seeing Somerset at liberty, announces his claim to the throne,…

Act 5, scene 2

York kills Lord Clifford, and York’s son Richard kills the Duke of Somerset. Defeated in battle, King Henry flees to…

Act 5, scene 3

Victorious, York and his followers set out for London.

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Scene 2
Enter Duke Humphrey of Gloucester and his wife
the Duchess Eleanor.


DUCHESS 
 Why droops my lord like over-ripened corn
 Hanging the head at Ceres’ plenteous load?
 Why doth the great Duke Humphrey knit his brows,
 As frowning at the favors of the world?
5 Why are thine eyes fixed to the sullen earth,
 Gazing on that which seems to dim thy sight?
 What seest thou there? King Henry’s diadem,
 Enchased with all the honors of the world?
 If so, gaze on and grovel on thy face
10 Until thy head be circled with the same.
 Put forth thy hand; reach at the glorious gold.
 What, is ’t too short? I’ll lengthen it with mine;
 And, having both together heaved it up,
 We’ll both together lift our heads to heaven
15 And never more abase our sight so low
 As to vouchsafe one glance unto the ground.
GLOUCESTER 
 O Nell, sweet Nell, if thou dost love thy lord,
 Banish the canker of ambitious thoughts!
 And may that hour when I imagine ill
20 Against my king and nephew, virtuous Henry,
 Be my last breathing in this mortal world!
 My troublous dreams this night doth make me sad.
DUCHESS 
 What dreamed my lord? Tell me, and I’ll requite it
 With sweet rehearsal of my morning’s dream.

27
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

GLOUCESTER 
25 Methought this staff, mine office badge in court,
 Was broke in twain—by whom I have forgot,
 But, as I think, it was by th’ Cardinal—
 And on the pieces of the broken wand
 Were placed the heads of Edmund, Duke of
30 Somerset,
 And William de la Pole, first Duke of Suffolk.
 This was my dream. What it doth bode God knows.
DUCHESS 
 Tut, this was nothing but an argument
 That he that breaks a stick of Gloucester’s grove
35 Shall lose his head for his presumption.
 But list to me, my Humphrey, my sweet duke:
 Methought I sat in seat of majesty,
 In the cathedral church of Westminster
 And in that chair where kings and queens were
40 crowned,
 Where Henry and Dame Margaret kneeled to me
 And on my head did set the diadem.
GLOUCESTER 
 Nay, Eleanor, then must I chide outright.
 Presumptuous dame, ill-nurtured Eleanor,
45 Art thou not second woman in the realm
 And the Protector’s wife, beloved of him?
 Hast thou not worldly pleasure at command,
 Above the reach or compass of thy thought?
 And wilt thou still be hammering treachery
50 To tumble down thy husband and thyself
 From top of honor to disgrace’s feet?
 Away from me, and let me hear no more!
DUCHESS 
 What, what, my lord? Are you so choleric
 With Eleanor for telling but her dream?
55 Next time I’ll keep my dreams unto myself
 And not be checked.

29
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

GLOUCESTER 
 Nay, be not angry. I am pleased again.

Enter Messenger.

MESSENGER 
 My Lord Protector, ’tis his Highness’ pleasure
 You do prepare to ride unto Saint Albans,
60 Whereas the King and Queen do mean to hawk.
GLOUCESTER 
 I go.—Come, Nell, thou wilt ride with us?
DUCHESS 
 Yes, my good lord. I’ll follow presently.
Gloucester exits, with Messenger.
 Follow I must; I cannot go before
 While Gloucester bears this base and humble mind.
65 Were I a man, a duke, and next of blood,
 I would remove these tedious stumbling blocks
 And smooth my way upon their headless necks;
 And, being a woman, I will not be slack
 To play my part in Fortune’s pageant.—
70 Where are you there? Sir John! Nay, fear not, man.
 We are alone; here’s none but thee and I.

Enter Sir John Hume.

HUME 
 Jesus preserve your royal Majesty!
DUCHESS 
 What sayst thou? “Majesty”? I am but “Grace.”
HUME 
 But by the grace of God and Hume’s advice,
75 Your Grace’s title shall be multiplied.
DUCHESS 
 What sayst thou, man? Hast thou as yet conferred
 With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch,
 With Roger Bolingbroke, the conjurer?
 And will they undertake to do me good?

31
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 2

HUME 
80 This they have promisèd: to show your Highness
 A spirit raised from depth of underground
 That shall make answer to such questions
 As by your Grace shall be propounded him.
DUCHESS 
 It is enough. I’ll think upon the questions.
85 When from Saint Albans we do make return,
 We’ll see these things effected to the full.
 Here, Hume, take this reward.
She gives him money.
 Make merry, man,
 With thy confederates in this weighty cause.
Duchess exits.
HUME 
90 Hume must make merry with the Duchess’ gold.
 Marry, and shall! But, how now, Sir John Hume?
 Seal up your lips, and give no words but “mum”;
 The business asketh silent secrecy.
 Dame Eleanor gives gold to bring the witch;
95 Gold cannot come amiss, were she a devil.
 Yet have I gold flies from another coast—
 I dare not say, from the rich cardinal
 And from the great and new-made Duke of Suffolk,
 Yet I do find it so. For, to be plain,
100 They, knowing Dame Eleanor’s aspiring humor,
 Have hirèd me to undermine the Duchess
 And buzz these conjurations in her brain.
 They say a crafty knave does need no broker,
 Yet am I Suffolk and the Cardinal’s broker.
105 Hume, if you take not heed, you shall go near
 To call them both a pair of crafty knaves.
 Well, so it stands; and thus I fear at last
 Hume’s knavery will be the Duchess’ wrack,
 And her attainture will be Humphrey’s fall.
110 Sort how it will, I shall have gold for all.
He exits.