List iconHenry VI, Part 2List icon

Henry VI, Part 2
Act 2, scene 1

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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 1
Enter King Henry, Queen Margaret, Gloucester the
Lord Protector, Cardinal, and Suffolk, and
Attendants, with Falconers hallowing.


QUEEN MARGARET 
 Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook
 I saw not better sport these seven years’ day.
 Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high,
 And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.
KING HENRY, to Gloucester 
5 But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,
 And what a pitch she flew above the rest!
 To see how God in all his creatures works!
 Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high.
SUFFOLK 
 No marvel, an it like your Majesty,
10 My Lord Protector’s hawks do tower so well;
 They know their master loves to be aloft
 And bears his thoughts above his falcon’s pitch.
GLOUCESTER 
 My lord, ’tis but a base ignoble mind
 That mounts no higher than a bird can soar.
CARDINAL 
15 I thought as much. He would be above the clouds.
GLOUCESTER 
 Ay, my Lord Cardinal, how think you by that?
 Were it not good your Grace could fly to heaven?
59

61
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING HENRY 
 The treasury of everlasting joy.
CARDINAL, to Gloucester 
 Thy heaven is on Earth; thine eyes and thoughts
20 Beat on a crown, the treasure of thy heart.
 Pernicious Protector, dangerous peer,
 That smooth’st it so with king and commonweal!
GLOUCESTER 
 What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown
 peremptory?
25 Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?
 Churchmen so hot? Good uncle, hide such malice.
 With such holiness, can you do it?
SUFFOLK 
 No malice, sir, no more than well becomes
 So good a quarrel and so bad a peer.
GLOUCESTER 
30 As who, my lord?
SUFFOLK  Why, as you, my lord,
 An ’t like your lordly Lord Protectorship.
GLOUCESTER 
 Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 And thy ambition, Gloucester.
KING HENRY 35 I prithee peace,
 Good queen, and whet not on these furious peers,
 For blessèd are the peacemakers on Earth.
CARDINAL 
 Let me be blessèd for the peace I make
 Against this proud Protector with my sword!
GLOUCESTER, aside to Cardinal 
40 Faith, holy uncle, would ’t were come to that!
CARDINAL, aside to Gloucester Marry, when thou
 dar’st!
GLOUCESTER, aside to Cardinal 
 Make up no factious numbers for the matter.
 In thine own person answer thy abuse.

63
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

CARDINAL, aside to Gloucester 
45 Ay, where thou dar’st not peep. An if thou dar’st,
 This evening, on the east side of the grove.
KING HENRY 
 How now, my lords?
CARDINAL  Believe me, cousin Gloucester,
 Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,
50 We had had more sport. (Aside to Gloucester.)
 Come with thy two-hand sword.
GLOUCESTER 
 True, uncle. (Aside to Cardinal.) Are you advised?
 The east side of the grove.
CARDINAL, aside to Gloucester 
 I am with you.
KING HENRY 55 Why, how now, uncle Gloucester?
GLOUCESTER 
 Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.
 (Aside to Cardinal.) Now, by God’s mother, priest,
 I’ll shave your crown for this,
 Or all my fence shall fail.
CARDINAL, aside to Gloucester 60 Medice, teipsum;
 Protector, see to ’t well; protect yourself.
KING HENRY 
 The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords.
 How irksome is this music to my heart!
 When such strings jar, what hope of harmony?
65 I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.

Enter a man from St. Albans crying “A miracle!”

GLOUCESTER What means this noise?—
 Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim?
MAN A miracle, a miracle!
SUFFOLK 
 Come to the King, and tell him what miracle.
MAN 
70 Forsooth, a blind man at Saint Alban’s shrine

65
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Within this half hour hath received his sight,
 A man that ne’er saw in his life before.
KING HENRY 
 Now, God be praised, that to believing souls
 Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.

Enter the Mayor of Saint Albans, and his brethren,
bearing the man Simpcox between two in a chair,
followed by Simpcox’s Wife and Others.


CARDINAL 
75 Here comes the townsmen on procession
 To present your Highness with the man.
KING HENRY 
 Great is his comfort in this earthly vale,
 Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.
GLOUCESTER 
 Stand by, my masters.—Bring him near the King.
80 His Highness’ pleasure is to talk with him.
The two bearers bring the chair forward.
KING HENRY 
 Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance,
 That we for thee may glorify the Lord.
 What, hast thou been long blind and now restored?
SIMPCOX Born blind, an ’t please your Grace.
WIFE 85Ay, indeed, was he.
SUFFOLK What woman is this?
WIFE His wife, an ’t like your Worship.
GLOUCESTER Hadst thou been his mother, thou couldst
 have better told.
KING HENRY 90Where wert thou born?
SIMPCOX 
 At Berwick in the North, an ’t like your Grace.
KING HENRY 
 Poor soul, God’s goodness hath been great to thee.
 Let never day nor night unhallowed pass,
 But still remember what the Lord hath done.

67
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

QUEEN MARGARET 
95 Tell me, good fellow, cam’st thou here by chance,
 Or of devotion to this holy shrine?
SIMPCOX 
 God knows, of pure devotion, being called
 A hundred times and oftener in my sleep
 By good Saint Alban, who said “Simon, come,
100 Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee.”
WIFE 
 Most true, forsooth, and many time and oft
 Myself have heard a voice to call him so.
CARDINAL What, art thou lame?
SIMPCOX Ay, God Almighty help me!
SUFFOLK 105How cam’st thou so?
SIMPCOX A fall off of a tree.
WIFE A plum tree, master.
GLOUCESTER How long hast thou been blind?
SIMPCOX O, born so, master.
GLOUCESTER 110What, and wouldst climb a tree?
SIMPCOX But that in all my life, when I was a youth.
WIFE Too true, and bought his climbing very dear.
GLOUCESTER Mass, thou lov’dst plums well, that
 wouldst venture so.
SIMPCOX 115Alas, good master, my wife desired some
 damsons, and made me climb, with danger of my
 life.
GLOUCESTER 
 A subtle knave, but yet it shall not serve.—
 Let me see thine eyes. Wink now. Now open them.
120 In my opinion, yet thou seest not well.
SIMPCOX Yes, master, clear as day, I thank God and
 Saint Alban.
GLOUCESTER 
 Sayst thou me so? What color is this cloak of?
SIMPCOX Red, master, red as blood.

69
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

GLOUCESTER 
125 Why, that’s well said. What color is my gown of?
SIMPCOX Black, forsooth, coal-black as jet.
KING HENRY 
 Why, then, thou know’st what color jet is of.
SUFFOLK 
 And yet, I think, jet did he never see.
GLOUCESTER 
 But cloaks and gowns, before this day, a many.
WIFE 
130 Never, before this day, in all his life.
GLOUCESTER Tell me, sirrah, what’s my name?
SIMPCOX Alas, master, I know not.
GLOUCESTER, pointing What’s his name?
SIMPCOX I know not.
GLOUCESTER, pointing to someone else 135Nor his?
SIMPCOX No, indeed, master.
GLOUCESTER What’s thine own name?
SIMPCOX Sander Simpcox, an if it please you, master.
GLOUCESTER Then, Sander, sit there, the lying’st knave
140 in Christendom. If thou hadst been born blind,
 thou mightst as well have known all our names as
 thus to name the several colors we do wear. Sight
 may distinguish of colors; but suddenly to nominate
 them all, it is impossible.—My lords, Saint
145 Alban here hath done a miracle; and would you
 not think his cunning to be great that could
 restore this cripple to his legs again?
SIMPCOX O master, that you could!
GLOUCESTER My masters of Saint Albans, have you not
150 beadles in your town and things called whips?
MAYOR Yes, my lord, if it please your Grace.
GLOUCESTER Then send for one presently.
MAYOR Sirrah, go fetch the beadle hither straight.
A man exits.

71
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

GLOUCESTER Now fetch me a stool hither by and by.
155 One brings a stool. Now, sirrah, if you mean to
 save yourself from whipping, leap me over this
 stool, and run away.
SIMPCOX Alas, master, I am not able to stand alone.
 You go about to torture me in vain.

Enter a Beadle with whips.

GLOUCESTER 160Well, sir, we must have you find your
 legs.—Sirrah beadle, whip him till he leap over
 that same stool.
BEADLE I will, my lord.—Come on, sirrah, off with
 your doublet quickly.
SIMPCOX 165Alas, master, what shall I do? I am not able to
 stand.
After the Beadle hath hit him once, he leaps
over the stool and runs away;
 and they follow
and cry “A miracle!”

KING HENRY 
 O God, seest Thou this, and bearest so long?
QUEEN MARGARET 
 It made me laugh to see the villain run.
GLOUCESTER, to the Beadle 
 Follow the knave, and take this drab away.
WIFE 170Alas, sir, we did it for pure need.
GLOUCESTER 
 Let them be whipped through every market town
 Till they come to Berwick, from whence they came.
The Beadle, Mayor, Wife, and the others from
Saint Albans exit.

CARDINAL 
 Duke Humphrey has done a miracle today.
SUFFOLK 
 True, made the lame to leap and fly away.
GLOUCESTER 
175 But you have done more miracles than I.
 You made in a day, my lord, whole towns to fly.

73
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 1

Enter Buckingham.

KING HENRY 
 What tidings with our cousin Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Such as my heart doth tremble to unfold:
 A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
180 Under the countenance and confederacy
 Of Lady Eleanor, the Protector’s wife,
 The ringleader and head of all this rout,
 Have practiced dangerously against your state,
 Dealing with witches and with conjurers,
185 Whom we have apprehended in the fact,
 Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,
 Demanding of King Henry’s life and death
 And other of your Highness’ Privy Council,
 As more at large your Grace shall understand.
CARDINAL 
190 And so, my Lord Protector, by this means
 Your lady is forthcoming yet at London.
 Aside to Gloucester. This news, I think, hath turned
 your weapon’s edge;
 ’Tis like, my lord, you will not keep your hour.
GLOUCESTER 
195 Ambitious churchman, leave to afflict my heart.
 Sorrow and grief have vanquished all my powers,
 And, vanquished as I am, I yield to thee,
 Or to the meanest groom.
KING HENRY 
 O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
200 Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Gloucester, see here the tainture of thy nest,
 And look thyself be faultless, thou wert best.
GLOUCESTER 
 Madam, for myself, to heaven I do appeal

75
Henry VI, Part 2
ACT 2. SC. 2

 How I have loved my king and commonweal;
205 And, for my wife, I know not how it stands.
 Sorry I am to hear what I have heard.
 Noble she is; but if she have forgot
 Honor and virtue, and conversed with such
 As, like to pitch, defile nobility,
210 I banish her my bed and company
 And give her as a prey to law and shame
 That hath dishonored Gloucester’s honest name.
KING HENRY 
 Well, for this night we will repose us here.
 Tomorrow toward London back again,
215 To look into this business thoroughly,
 And call these foul offenders to their answers,
 And poise the cause in Justice’ equal scales,
 Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause
 prevails.
Flourish. They exit.