List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 1, scene 3

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

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.

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 3
Enter three or four Petitioners, Peter, the
Armorer’s man, being one.


FIRST PETITIONER My masters, let’s stand close. My
 Lord Protector will come this way by and by, and
 then we may deliver our supplications in the quill.
SECOND PETITIONER Marry, the Lord protect him, for
5 he’s a good man! Jesu bless him!

Enter Suffolk, wearing the red rose,
and Queen Margaret.


FIRST PETITIONER Here he comes, methinks, and the
 Queen with him. I’ll be the first, sure.
He steps forward.
SECOND PETITIONER Come back, fool! This is the Duke
 of Suffolk, and not my Lord Protector.
SUFFOLK 10How now, fellow? Wouldst anything with
 me?
FIRST PETITIONER I pray, my lord, pardon me. I took
 you for my Lord Protector.
QUEEN MARGARET takes a petition and reads. To my
15 Lord Protector.
 Are your supplications to his Lordship?
 Let me see them.—What is thine?
FIRST PETITIONER Mine is, an ’t please your Grace,
 against John Goodman, my Lord Cardinal’s man,
 for keeping my house, and lands, and wife and all,
20 from me.
SUFFOLK Thy wife too? That’s some wrong indeed.—
 What’s yours? Taking a petition. What’s here?
 (Reads.) Against the Duke of Suffolk for enclosing
 the commons of Melford.
 How now, sir knave?
SECOND PETITIONER 25Alas, sir, I am but a poor petitioner
 of our whole township.
PETER, showing his petition Against my master,

35
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Thomas Horner, for saying that the Duke of York
 was rightful heir to the crown.
QUEEN MARGARET 30What sayst thou? Did the Duke of
 York say he was rightful heir to the crown?
PETER That my master was? No, forsooth. My master
 said that he was and that the King was an
 usurper.
SUFFOLK, calling 35Who is there?

Enter Servant.

 Take this fellow in, and send for his master with a
 pursuivant presently.—We’ll hear more of your
 matter before the King.
Peter exits with Servant.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 And as for you that love to be protected
40 Under the wings of our Protector’s grace,
 Begin your suits anew, and sue to him.
Tear the supplication.
 Away, base cullions.—Suffolk, let them go.
ALL Come, let’s be gone.They exit.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 My lord of Suffolk, say, is this the guise,
45 Is this the fashions in the court of England?
 Is this the government of Britain’s isle
 And this the royalty of Albion’s king?
 What, shall King Henry be a pupil still
 Under the surly Gloucester’s governance?
50 Am I a queen in title and in style,
 And must be made a subject to a duke?
 I tell thee, Pole, when in the city Tours
 Thou rann’st atilt in honor of my love
 And stol’st away the ladies’ hearts of France,
55 I thought King Henry had resembled thee
 In courage, courtship, and proportion.
 But all his mind is bent to holiness,

37
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

 To number Ave Marys on his beads;
 His champions are the prophets and apostles,
60 His weapons holy saws of sacred writ,
 His study is his tiltyard, and his loves
 Are brazen images of canonized saints.
 I would the College of the Cardinals
 Would choose him pope and carry him to Rome
65 And set the triple crown upon his head!
 That were a state fit for his holiness.
SUFFOLK 
 Madam, be patient. As I was cause
 Your Highness came to England, so will I
 In England work your Grace’s full content.
QUEEN MARGARET 
70 Besides the haughty Protector, have we Beaufort
 The imperious churchman, Somerset, Buckingham,
 And grumbling York; and not the least of these
 But can do more in England than the King.
SUFFOLK 
 And he of these that can do most of all
75 Cannot do more in England than the Nevilles;
 Salisbury and Warwick are no simple peers.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Not all these lords do vex me half so much
 As that proud dame, the Lord Protector’s wife.
 She sweeps it through the court with troops of
80 ladies,
 More like an empress than Duke Humphrey’s wife.
 Strangers in court do take her for the Queen.
 She bears a duke’s revenues on her back,
 And in her heart she scorns our poverty.
85 Shall I not live to be avenged on her?
 Contemptuous baseborn callet as she is,
 She vaunted ’mongst her minions t’ other day
 The very train of her worst wearing gown

39
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Was better worth than all my father’s lands
90 Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms for his daughter.
SUFFOLK 
 Madam, myself have limed a bush for her
 And placed a choir of such enticing birds
 That she will light to listen to the lays
 And never mount to trouble you again.
95 So let her rest. And, madam, list to me,
 For I am bold to counsel you in this:
 Although we fancy not the Cardinal,
 Yet must we join with him and with the lords
 Till we have brought Duke Humphrey in disgrace.
100 As for the Duke of York, this late complaint
 Will make but little for his benefit.
 So, one by one, we’ll weed them all at last,
 And you yourself shall steer the happy helm.

Sound a sennet. Enter King Henry, Duke Humphrey
of Gloucester, Cardinal, Somerset, wearing the red
rose, Buckingham, Salisbury; York and Warwick, both
wearing the white rose; and the Duchess of
Gloucester.


KING HENRY 
 For my part, noble lords, I care not which;
105 Or Somerset or York, all’s one to me.
YORK 
 If York have ill demeaned himself in France,
 Then let him be denied the regentship.
SOMERSET 
 If Somerset be unworthy of the place,
 Let York be regent; I will yield to him.
WARWICK 
110 Whether your Grace be worthy, yea or no,
 Dispute not that. York is the worthier.
CARDINAL 
 Ambitious Warwick, let thy betters speak.

41
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

WARWICK 
 The Cardinal’s not my better in the field.
BUCKINGHAM 
 All in this presence are thy betters, Warwick.
WARWICK 
115 Warwick may live to be the best of all.
SALISBURY 
 Peace, son.—And show some reason, Buckingham,
 Why Somerset should be preferred in this.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Because the King, forsooth, will have it so.
GLOUCESTER 
 Madam, the King is old enough himself
120 To give his censure. These are no women’s matters.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 If he be old enough, what needs your Grace
 To be Protector of his Excellence?
GLOUCESTER 
 Madam, I am Protector of the realm,
 And at his pleasure will resign my place.
SUFFOLK 
125 Resign it, then, and leave thine insolence.
 Since thou wert king—as who is king but thou?—
 The commonwealth hath daily run to wrack,
 The Dauphin hath prevailed beyond the seas,
 And all the peers and nobles of the realm
130 Have been as bondmen to thy sovereignty.
CARDINAL, to Gloucester 
 The Commons hast thou racked; the clergy’s bags
 Are lank and lean with thy extortions.
SOMERSET, to Gloucester 
 Thy sumptuous buildings and thy wife’s attire
 Have cost a mass of public treasury.
BUCKINGHAM, to Gloucester 
135 Thy cruelty in execution
 Upon offenders hath exceeded law
 And left thee to the mercy of the law.

43
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

QUEEN MARGARET, to Gloucester 
 Thy sale of offices and towns in France,
 If they were known, as the suspect is great,
140 Would make thee quickly hop without thy head.
Gloucester exits.
Queen Margaret drops her fan.
 To Duchess. Give me my fan. What, minion, can
 you not?She gives the Duchess a box on the ear.
 I cry you mercy, madam. Was it you?
DUCHESS 
 Was ’t I? Yea, I it was, proud Frenchwoman.
145 Could I come near your beauty with my nails,
 I’d set my ten commandments in your face.
KING HENRY 
 Sweet aunt, be quiet. ’Twas against her will.
DUCHESS 
 Against her will, good king? Look to ’t in time.
 She’ll hamper thee and dandle thee like a baby.
150 Though in this place most master wear no breeches,
 She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged.
Eleanor, the Duchess, exits.
BUCKINGHAM, aside to Cardinal 
 Lord Cardinal, I will follow Eleanor
 And listen after Humphrey how he proceeds.
 She’s tickled now; her fume needs no spurs;
155 She’ll gallop far enough to her destruction.
Buckingham exits.

Enter Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER 
 Now, lords, my choler being overblown
 With walking once about the quadrangle,
 I come to talk of commonwealth affairs.
 As for your spiteful false objections,
160 Prove them, and I lie open to the law;
 But God in mercy so deal with my soul

45
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

 As I in duty love my king and country!
 But, to the matter that we have in hand:
 I say, my sovereign, York is meetest man
165 To be your regent in the realm of France.
SUFFOLK 
 Before we make election, give me leave
 To show some reason, of no little force,
 That York is most unmeet of any man.
YORK 
 I’ll tell thee, Suffolk, why I am unmeet:
170 First, for I cannot flatter thee in pride;
 Next, if I be appointed for the place,
 My lord of Somerset will keep me here
 Without discharge, money, or furniture
 Till France be won into the Dauphin’s hands.
175 Last time I danced attendance on his will
 Till Paris was besieged, famished, and lost.
WARWICK 
 That can I witness, and a fouler fact
 Did never traitor in the land commit.
SUFFOLK Peace, headstrong Warwick!
WARWICK 
180 Image of pride, why should I hold my peace?

Enter Horner, the Armorer, and his Man
Peter, under guard.


SUFFOLK 
 Because here is a man accused of treason.
 Pray God the Duke of York excuse himself!
YORK 
 Doth anyone accuse York for a traitor?
KING HENRY 
 What mean’st thou, Suffolk? Tell me, what are
185 these?

47
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 3

SUFFOLK 
 Please it your Majesty, this is the man
 That doth accuse his master of high treason.
 His words were these: that Richard, Duke of York,
 Was rightful heir unto the English crown,
190 And that your Majesty was an usurper.
KING HENRY Say, man, were these thy words?
HORNER An ’t shall please your Majesty, I never said
 nor thought any such matter. God is my witness, I
 am falsely accused by the villain.
PETER 195By these ten bones, my lords, he did speak
 them to me in the garret one night as we were
 scouring my lord of York’s armor.
YORK, to Horner 
 Base dunghill villain and mechanical,
 I’ll have thy head for this thy traitor’s speech!—
200 I do beseech your royal Majesty,
 Let him have all the rigor of the law.
HORNER Alas, my lord, hang me if ever I spake the
 words. My accuser is my prentice; and when I did
 correct him for his fault the other day, he did vow
205 upon his knees he would be even with me. I have
 good witness of this. Therefore I beseech your
 Majesty, do not cast away an honest man for a
 villain’s accusation!
KING HENRY 
 Uncle, what shall we say to this in law?
GLOUCESTER 
210 This doom, my lord, if I may judge:
 Let Somerset be regent o’er the French,
 Because in York this breeds suspicion;
 And let these have a day appointed them
 For single combat in convenient place,
215 For he hath witness of his servant’s malice.
 This is the law, and this Duke Humphrey’s doom.

49
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 1. SC. 4

SOMERSET 
 I humbly thank your royal Majesty.
HORNER 
 And I accept the combat willingly.
PETER Alas, my lord, I cannot fight; for God’s sake pity
220 my case! The spite of man prevaileth against me. O
 Lord, have mercy upon me! I shall never be able to
 fight a blow. O Lord, my heart!
GLOUCESTER 
 Sirrah, or you must fight or else be hanged.
KING HENRY Away with them to prison; and the day of
225 combat shall be the last of the next month.—
 Come, Somerset, we’ll see thee sent away.
Flourish. They exit.